EPISODES FROM THE LIVES OF THE AULIYAA-4

30. THE TRUEST MUSLIMS

Envious people misinformed the Khalifah about the Sufiyaa. On account of their lack of understanding they interpreted the statements of the Sufiyaa as being heretical and kufr. The Khalifah ordered the execution of the Sufiyaa among whom were Hadhrat Junaid Baghdaadi and Sheikh Abul Hasan Noori (rahmatullahi alaihima). When it was time for the execution, Sheikh Abul Hasan Noori eagerly advanced to the executioner who enquired: “Why did you step forward?” Sheikh Noori said: “So that my friend may live a few extra moments.”

The astonished executioner thought: “Who branded these people irreligious?”

This information was relayed to the Khalifah, who at that time was in session with his ministers. All present were full of surprise. The Qaadhi who was present said: “Allow me to go to these people. I shall debate with them on masaa`il of the Deen. Their beliefs will then become manifest.” The Khalifah consented.

When the Qaadhi came to the group of Sufis, he ordered one of them to come forward. Sheikh Noori stepped forward. After the Qaadhi posed several questions, Sheikh Noori first looked towards the right side, then to the left. He then lowered his head momentarily and satisfactorily answered all the questions. He added: “There are some servants of Allah who stand with Allah and they speak with Allah.”

Thereafter he gave a lengthy lecture which reduced the Qaadhi to tears.

The Qaadhi asked: “Why did you glace hither and thither?”

Sheikh Noori said: “I was not aware of the answers to your questions. I therefore sought the aid of my companions on the right. They expressed their inability to answer. I then sought the aid of my companions of the left side. They were unable to answer. I then questioned my heart. My heart acquired the answers from Rabbul Izzat, hence I answered you.”

The Qaadhi was bewildered. He sent word to the Khalifah: “If these people are irreligious and zindeeq (a class of kuffaar), then on the surface of the earth there are no Muslims.”

31. AN ILLITERATE SUFI

Sheikh Abul Ghaith was completely illiterate, but the Fuqahaa (Jurists of Islam — top-ranking Ulama) of the age would frequent him and discuss the most intricate masaa`il. He would present convincing explanations.

Imaam Abul Qaasim Qushairi (rahmatullahi alayh) says that Allah Ta`ala has ennobled the group of Sufiyaa. After the Ambiyaa, Allah Ta`ala has given superiority to the Sufiyaa over all people. He has made their hearts the mines of spiritual mysteries.

32. A TRUE LOVER OF ALLAH

Hadhrat Zunnun Misri (rahmatullahi alayh) said: “I was informed of a Yemeni buzrug who was unique in humility and fear of Allah Ta`ala. After I had completed Hajj, I decided to visit him so that I may derive the benefits of his naseehat. Several people accompanied me on the journey to Yemen. Among them was a youth of exceptional piety. All the signs and bearings of the Sulahaa exuded from his countenance, which glittered with Khauf-e-Ilaahi (Divine Fear). Without any physical ailment, his face had become pale. Without any calamity, tears flowed from his eyes. Solitude was his companion. He loved to be alone. Looking at him, one would think a great calamity had just befallen him.

We rebuked him for his extreme austerity and penances, but he remained silent. He would not reply. Day by day his penances and efforts would increase. This youth journeyed with us until we reached the home of the Yemeni buzrug. After knocking on his door, the buzrug appeared. He looked like a man who had just emerged from the grave. The youth was the first to greet and speak. Addressing the buzrug, the youth said: ‘Allah Ta`ala has made you and other Auliyaa like you the physicians of the heart. There is a wound in my heart. I will be greatly indebted to you if you would kindly provide me some balm for my wound.’

The Sheikh said: ‘Ask what you wish to.’

The youth said: ‘Hadhrat, what is the sign of Khauf-e-Ilaahi?’

Sheikh: ‘When the bandah is blessed with Khauf-e-Ilaahi, he becomes fearless of all other fears and Allah’s fear becomes grounded in his heart.’

Hearing this, the youth shuddered and fell down unconscious. On regaining consciousness, he asked: ‘Hadhrat, when is a man certain that he has Khauf-e-Ilaahi?’

Sheikh: ‘He abandons pleasures in the same way as a sick man abstains from delicious food because of the fear of the illness deteriorating, and he tolerates bitter medicine. Similarly, the one who has Khauf-e-Ilaahi abstains from worldly pleasures.’

On hearing this, the youth let out such a shriek which led us to think that his soul had departed from his physical body. After a while he became conscious and asked: ‘What is the sign of Divine Love?’

Sheikh: ‘Friend! The stage of Divine Love is extremely lofty.’

Youth: ‘Please say something!’

Sheikh: ‘The veils are lifted from their hearts and they perceive the splendour and grandeur of their True Beloved with the anwaar (rays of noor) of their hearts. Their souls are always connected to the lofty spiritual realm. The barriers are removed from their hearts. Their intelligence is heavenly. They dwell in the assembly of the Malaa-ikah. They perceive all this with their eyes. Their whole effort is expended for the ibaadat of Allah Ta`ala. The purpose of their ibaadat is neither desire for Jannat nor fear for Jahannum.’

When the youth heard this discourse, he let out a spine-chilling screech and fell down dead. The Sheikh kissed him and sobbed. He then commented: ‘Look at the fear and humility of those who fear and love Allah Ta`ala. This is their elevated rank.’”

[The veils of Divine Love was lifted. Its splendour claimed his life.]

33. A YOUNG THAAKIR

Hadhrat Zunnun Misri (rahmatullahi alayh) narrates: “Once when I was in the land of Shaam, I passed by a luxurious orchard. A young man was performing Salaat under a tree. I went forward and made Salaam. When I made Salaam a second time, the youth quickly ended his Salaat and with his finger wrote the following verses in the sand:

‘The tongue has been prohibited from speaking,

Because it draws a variety of misfortunes and calamities,

Therefore, when you speak, be a Thaakir of your Rabb,

Do not forget Him and praise Him in all conditions.’

On reading this, I stood crying for a long time. I then, in response wrote on the sand with my fingers:

‘Every writer shall one day decompose (in the grave),

Time will retain what his hand had written

Therefore, do not write with your hand except something which will give you pleasure when you see it in Qiyaamah.’

When the youth read this, he let out a chilling scream, handing over his life to Allah Ta`ala (i.e. he died). I desired to give his body Ghusl and bury him, but I heard a Voice proclaiming:

‘Zunnun! Leave him. Allah Ta`ala had promised that the Malaa-ikah will attend to his burial.’

After hearing this Voice, I stood at a distance and engaged in Salaat. When I went to inspect the youth after I had performed a few Raka`ts, there was no trace of him, nor did I ever gain any information of him.”

34. A YOUNG DEVOTEE OF ALLAH

Once while wandering in the mountains of Baitul Maqdis (Jerusalem), Hadhrat Zunnun (rahmatullahi alayh) heard a voice supplicating to Allah Ta`ala. He went in the direction of the voice until he came upon an extremely lean and pale of complexion lad who was pouring out his heart to Allah Ta`ala. When the lad saw Zunnun, he tried to run and conceal himself among the trees. Zunnun exclaimed: “O lad! So much hatred and so much ill-manners! This does not befit the dignity of Mu`mineen. It is bad character.”

The lad responded with some admonition and advice, then supplicated to Allah Ta`ala: “O Allah! Conceal me from those who attempt to sever me from You.”

As he supplicated, he disappeared from sight.

35. THE NIKAH OF ABDAAL

Hadhrat Abul Qaasim Junaid (rahmatullahi alayh) narrates: “Once I attended the nikah of a male and female Abdaal. Each one of those present (i.e. the other Abdaal) stretched his hand above and it was miraculously filled with precious stones which they presented to the married couple. I too stretched my hand and it was filled with saffron. Hadhrat Khidr (alaihis salaam), complimenting me said: ‘You have presented the best gift to the bride and bridegroom. No one of the gathering had made such a presentation.’”

36. THE CONSEQUENCE OF DIVERTING THE GAZE FROM ALLAH

An Aarif narrated the following episode: “Once 40 houris (damsels of Jannat) were shown to me. Adorned in heavenly attire of gold and silk and resplendent in their undescribable beauty they were floated above me in the air. I stared in astonishment at them. In consequence, I was placed under Divine Displeasure for 40 days. Thereafter I was shown 80 houris more beautiful and resplendent than the first group. I immediately closed my eyes and fell into Sajdah, supplicating:

‘O Allah! I seek protection with You from all things besides You. I have no need for them. Remove them from my sight.’”

37. THE CONSEQUENCE OF SLEEPING AWAY THE NIGHT

Sheikh Abu Bakr Dhareer (rahmatullahi alayh) narrates: “I had a young, handsome slave who used to fast daily and spend the nights in ibaadat. One day he came to me and said: ‘Last night I went to sleep without reciting my auraad (plural of wird – thikr). In a dream I saw a few exceptionally beautiful damsels emerging out of the wall which had split open. One among them was extremely ugly. Never had I seen such an ugly person in my life. I asked them: ‘ To whom do you belong and for whom is the ugly one?’

They said: ‘ We are all your past nights (of ibaadat) and the ugly one is your last night when you had slept away (missing your ibaadat). If you had died this night, she would have fallen to your share permanently.’

After narrating this dream, the youth let out a shriek and his soul departed from his physical body.”

38. THE EFFECT OF A QUR`AANIC AAYAT ON A LAD

Once Sheikh Abdul Waahid Bin Zaid (rahmatullahi alayh) made preparations for going on Jihaad. He instructed every one of his companions to learn two Qur`aanic verses pertaining to the virtues of Jihaad. One of his companions recited the following Aayat:

“Verily, Allah has purchased from the Mu`mineen their lives and their wealth in lieu of Jannat for them.”

A 14 or 15 year old lad stood up. His deceased father had left for him an enormous amount of wealth. He said: “O Abdul Waahid! Has Allah indeed purchased the lives and wealth of the Mu`mineen in lieu of Jannat?”

The Shaikh replied: “Undoubtedly He has!”

The lad said: “You be my witness. I have sold my wealth and life in exchange for Jannat.”

Sheikh Abdul Waahid: “Understand well that the blade of the sword is extremely sharp and you are still a kid. I fear that you may not be able to persevere and you may back pedal.” 

The lad: “O Sheikh! How can I retract after entering in a deal with Allah? What does this mean? I make Allah my witness and say that I have sold all my wealth and my life.”

Feeling very ashamed of himself, Sheikh Abdul Waahid said to himself: “Just look at the intelligence of this lad and at my lack of intelligence inspite of my advanced age.”

In short, the lad gave in Sadaqah his entire estate except his horse, weapons and a necessary amount for expenses. On the day of departure for Jihaad, he came to Sheikh Abdul Waahid and greeted. The Sheikh responded and said: “Be happy! Your trade is extremely profitable.”

Along the journey, the lad would fast by day and remain awake at night in ibaadat. He served the others and attended to their animals. Sheikh Abdul Waahid continues the story:

“When we reached near a city of the Christians, the lad was exclaiming: ‘O Ainaa Mardhiyyah! Where are you?’

My companions said that perhaps the lad has become insane. I called him and asked him: ‘Friend, whom are you calling? Who is Ainaa Mardhiyyah?’ He gave the following explanation:

‘While I was in a state between wakefulness and sleep, a man approaching me said: ‘Come to Ainaa Mardhiyyah.’

I accompanied him until we entered a beautiful orchard. A river of crystal clear water was flowing. Along the banks were extremely beautiful girls dressed most resplendently. When they saw me, they exclaimed in delight: ‘This is the husband of Ainaa Mardhiyyah.’ I made Salaam to them and asked who among them was Ainaa Mardhiyyah. They responded that they were Ainaa Mardhiyyah’s slaves. She was further ahead. I walked on until I reached an orchard in which flowed a river of delicious milk. Along the bank were girls more beautiful than those I had seen. On seeing them I was captivated by their beauty, when they saw me, they delightfully said: ‘This is the husband of Ainaa Mardhiyyah.’ I asked: ‘Where is she?’ They said: ‘We are her servants. She is further ahead. Go to her home.’ I proceeded until I came to a river of pure delicious wine. The beauty of the damsels by this river made me forget all the other beautiful girls I had seen earlier. I greeted them and asked: ‘Is Ainaa Mardhiyyah among you?’ They said: ‘We are all her slaves. She is further on.’ I went further on until I came to a river of pure honey. The damsels on the banks of this river effaced the memory of all the females I had seen earlier. After greeting them, I asked about Ainaa Mardhiyyah. They said: ‘O Friend of Allah! We are her slaves. Walk ahead.’ I proceeded until I came to a beautiful tent-like structure of white pearls. At the entrance stood a girl of such captivating beauty which I had hitherto not seen. When she saw me, she exclaimed: ‘O Ainaa Mardhiyyah! Your husband has come.’

As I entered I saw a golden throne studded with precious stones. On it was seated Ainaa Mardhiyyah in all her resplendence. I was enraptured and beyond myself, captivated and madly in love. Seeing me, she said: ‘Welcome. O Friend of Allah! Your time of coming here is now near.’ I ran forward and wanted to embrace her, but she said: ‘Wait! It is not yet the time. There is earthly life in your soul. Insha-Allah, tonight you will have iftaar of your fast here.’ My eyes opened. Now I cannot contain myself.’”

Just as the lad completed his story, a group of the enemy attacked. The lad surged forward among the enemy. After killing nine kuffaar, he was martyred. Sheikh Abdul Waahid said: “When he was martyred I went to him. He was covered with blood and laughing delightfully. Within a few moments his soul departed.”

39. THE SUPPLICATION OF AN AABID

An Aabid (pious worshipper) had engrossed himself in ibaadat for 40 years. Once when he was in a state of spiritual ecstacy (known as Maqaam-e-Naaz), he supplicated: “O Allah! Show me here on earth whatever bounties you have prepared for me in Jannat and also the houris You have destined for me.”

While he was engaging in his supplication, the wall in front of him split open and a most beautiful damsel emerged. Such was her beauty that all mankind would be captivated and enraptured if they had to see her. The Aabid said: “O Pious one! Are you a human being or an angel?”

She said: “I am the response of your supplication to your Rabb. You have obtained what you had requested. I have been sent to comfort you.”

Aabid: “For whom are you?”

Houri: “For you.”

Aabid: “How many houris like you will I get?”

Houri: “A hundred. Every houri has a hundred servants. And every one of these servants has a hundred slave-girls. Each slave-girl has a hundred maids.”

In sheer delight the Aabid said: “O my beloved! Will anyone receive more than me?”

Houri: “You are insignificant. Every ordinary man who recites only Istighfaar morning and evening, and nothing else, will receive what you will receive.”