Ahmad ibn Harb al-Nisaburi was a noted Auliya of Nishapur. He visited Baghdad in the time of Ahmad ibn Hanbal and taught there; he died in 234 (849) at the age of 85.
* Once some noblemen of Nishapur went to visit Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله. Whilst they were sitting in conversation with him, the son of Hadhrat Harb رحمه الله passed nearby on the outside. He was playing the guitar and walking like a drunken man totally absorbed in the music. The noblemen stared in amazement at the son. Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله who was obviously much embarrassed said: “Once some food came from my neighbour and we ate of it. That same night I had relations with my wife, and this son was conceived. It later transpired that the food had come to the neighbour from the ruler.” (The consequence of eating the doubtful food was the wayward child.)
* One of the neighbours of Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله was a fire-worshipper. He was a trader. Once robbers had waylaid his caravan and looted the entire wealth of the caravan. It was a great loss for the trader. When Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله heard of the calamity, he went with a few of his mureeds to console him. When he arrived at the neighbour’s house, he and his mureeds were warmly welcomed by the trader. He treated them very hospitably.
It occurred to the fire-worshipper that Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله and his group had come for some food. This thought occurred to him because it was a time of famine in the land. This thought of the neighbour became revealed to Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله (by way of kashf). Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله said to the trader not to make any food arrangements as they had come solely to sympathize with him because of the calamity. The trader said: “Yes, undoubtedly I have lost much wealth. But, on account of the loss I have to be incumbently grateful for three issues:
The first is that others have robbed my wealth. I have not robbed anyone’s wealth. Second: They looted half of the wealth. Half remained behind. Third: They robbed me of worldly possessions. My religion remains with me.”
Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله instructed his mureeds to write what the trader had said. He commented: “Wisdom is discernable in what he has said.” Then Hadhrat Harb رحمه الله said to the fire-worshipper: “Tell me, why do you worship the fire?” The trader said: ‘So that tomorrow on the Day of Resurrection it will not burn me., and that it (the fire) delivers me to the Almighty Creator.” Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله said: “You are dwelling in a great deception. Firstly, fire is extremely weak. The opinion you have of it is nonsensical. If even a child throws some water on the fire, it will be extinguished. Now reflect! How can such a weak entity deliver you to the All-Powerful Creator? Furthermore, the fire is ignorant. It is unable to distinguish between musk and filth. It will equally burn both.
For seventy years have you been worshipping the fire whilst I have never worshipped it. Come, let us both insert our hands into the fire to see if it appreciates your worship. Bahraam was impressed by this talk. He said: “I want to pose four questions. If you answer correctly, I shall abandon worshipping the fire and become a Muslim.” Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله told him to pose his questions.
Bahraam said: “Why did Allah create this creation? After creating it, why does He sustain creation? After sustaining creation why does He cause death? After death why will he resurrect creation?” Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله responded:
“He created creation so that his creative power is recognized. He sustains so that His providence (Razzaaqiyat) becomes known. He causes death so that His Wrath is recognized. He resurrects so that His power becomes known.”
Bahraam said: “I feel that this fire should be tested”. Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله held his hand over the fire for quite some time. The fire had no effect on his hand. When Bahraam observed this, he spontaneously proclaimed the Kalimah Shahaadat. Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله let out a scream and fell down unconscious. After a short while when he became conscious, his mureeds asked for an explanation. Hadhrat Ahmad Harb said: “The moment Bahraam recited the Kalimah, it was revealed to my heart: ‘O Ahmad! After worshipping the fire for seventy years, Bahraam embraced Imaan. You have been a Muslim for 70 years. It remains to be seen what you will bring forth.’
“Imaan is suspended between fear and hope”, said Rasulullah صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَم.
* Hadhrat Harb رحمه الله would not sleep during the nights. He perpetually remained awake the entire night. Once his companions said: “What harm will there be if you take rest for just one night?” Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله said: “How can a man who is being buffeted between Jannat and Jahannam, not knowing which of the two is his ultimate destination, ever sleep?”
* I wish that I knew who is indulging in gheebat about me so that I could send him gifts for rendering such favours to me. I shall most certainly be kind to him.”
* “Fear Allah Azza Wa Jal as much as you are able to. Be engrossed in His ibaadat. Beware of the world. Do not let it deceive and destroy you as it had destroyed others before you, for then you will be embroiled in calamity.”
* Hadhrat Yahya Bin Muaaz رحمه الله had made wasiyyat to his followers: “When I die, place my head on the feet of Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله.” This wasiyyat illustrates the lofty status of Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله.
* Once his mother roasted a fowl and encouraged him to consume it saying that he should have no doubt whatever in the wholesomeness of the fowl. There was absolutely no doubt in it. Hadhrat said: “This is the very same fowl which had once ate some seeds in the yard of our neighbour. The neighbour is a soldier, hence this fowl is not fit for eating.”
Soldiers are generally oppressors. The effect of their oppression pervades all their activities and possessions, hence Hadhrat Ahmad Harb regarded the fowl to be unfit for consuming.
* A Buzrug said: “Once I was in a majlis (gathering where a discourse is given) of Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله. He made such a statement which brightened my heart. Today even after forty years, my heart remains bright as the effect of that statement. It has never departed from my heart.”
* Once while Hadhrat Ahmad Harb رحمه الله was absorbed in Thikrullaah, it began to rain in torrents. The thought crossed his mind to attend to his kitaabs in the next room. He thought that his kitaabs would be damaged if the roof leaked. As he was ruminating, he heard a Voice reprimanding: “O Ahmad! Go to where your heart is focused.” Immediately he realized his error and repented.
For a Wali of the calibre of Hadhrat Harb رحمه الله , it was a ‘sin’ to divert from Thikrullah to an act of lesser significance. The descent from the sublime is intolerable for the Auliya, hence the Divine Reprimand.
Source: As Saadiqeen