Mr. Niktab’s Journey

January 13, 2013

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

One day many year ago, when Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order still lived in Iran, he sent for Mr. Niktab, who had been made a Shaykh recently, and instructed him to go to a remote khaniqah in another province. It was a three day journey by bus, so Mr. Niktab set out to go at once, and walked to the door of the khaniqah.

“Wait, where is your suitcase?” the Master asked.

“I don’t need a suitcase. A darvish travels light and trusts in God” Mr. Niktab said.

“Take a change of clothes,” the Master said.

“Really, Master, I will be fine,” Mr. Niktab insisted.

The Master shook his head and walked away. “Nafs!” he said.

And so Mr. Niktab began his journey. It was mid-summer and a long and dusty journey in an old rickety bus without air-conditioning. Finally, after three days of travel, getting off the bus feeling very hot and sweaty, he began the five mile walk through the desert-like countryside to the khaniqah.

About a mile from the khaniqah, he came upon a grove of trees and large pond fed by a nearby stream. Since the area was deserted, he decided to take a swim and cool off before walking the rest of the way to the khaniqah. He took off all his clothes and waded into the water, uttering a sigh of relief at the coolness, and washed off the sweat from the long journey.

Just then he heard the voices of women coming up the road.  He swam to a nearby reedbed to hide himself, and heard the women stop and talk among themselves.

“Look, someone has left clothes by the water,” one said.  They looked around, and Mr. Niktab had to duck under the water so as not to be seen.

Eventually, the women, who were dervishes on their way to the khaniqah, could not find the owner, and decided to take the clothes with them in case they had dropped out of someone’s luggage.

As they walked off, Mr. Niktab came out of hiding and stood in the center of the pond, naked and alone.  “I’m sorry, Master! Forgive me, Master!” he cried.

He broke off a few branches with leaves to cover himself, and stood waiting behind a tree for a long time, until finally a young man came walking down the path. He recognized him as a darvish, and he called him over.

The young man was astonished to find Mr. Niktab, whom they were all expecting, naked and hiding behind a tree. “What happened?” he asked?

“Nafs!” was all Mr. Niktab would say. He told him to run to the khaniqah and bring back clothes for him to wear.

As the boy disappeared down the road, Mr. Niktab sighed, shaking his head at the lesson the Master had taught him.

When the Master tells you to do something, do it.

Ya Haqq!

NOTE:  It has been suggested by brother Ruslan in the comments that if Mr. Niktab had taken a suitcase, the women would also have taken it. I repeat  that I am certain that if Mr. Niktab had taken a suitcase, no women would have come by. The Master’s lessons are designed in the most succinct way, and always for what is necessary at that moment.

For example, read the post on the Miracle of the Angel, which is also a true story.

http://darvish.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/miracle-of-the-angel/

And Allah knows best :)


“Under the Angel’s Wings!”

January 21, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

It is related that many years ago, Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order, decided it was time to establish a khaniqah, a Sufi meeting house, in Koln, Germany. The dervishes had grown sufficiently in number, and had been holding their majlis, the twice weekly zekr, in the apartment of one of them. And so the Master directed the dervishes to begin the search for a suitable house that the Order could purchase.

They began the search the very next day. The house had to meet certain requirements of interior size and amenities; and was very difficult to find. The dervishes designated to conduct the search drove each day through the neighborhoods of Koln, and each day they looked at many house and found nothing suitable. And each night the Master would call them from England and ask, “Did you find the khaniqah?”  The dervishes would have to answer that they had not, and Dr. Nurbakhsh would say, “Keep looking!”

This went on for days, then weeks, and each night the Master would call, inquire of their progress, and tell them to keep looking.

Finally, one night when Dr. Nurbakhsh called, the darvishes were tired and disheartened after a long day of searching, and said, “Master, we have looked in every neighborhood, and can’t find anything.”

The Master said, “Keep looking! It is under the angel’s wings.”

They did not know what to make of that pronouncement, but the very next day as they were once again driving through neighborhoods, they saw a For Sale sign on a house in a good area, close to public transportation, and immediately called the broker listed on the sign. He came to meet them shortly thereafter and showed them the house. There were two large rooms on the first floor suitable for serving tea and holding the zekr, and large bedrooms on the second floor for living quarters. And there was an expansive yard that with work could be turned into a garden. It fit all the requirements of a khaniqah.

They made plans with the real estate agent to come to his office the next day and begin the process of negotiating the contract. As they were doing a final walk-through, and congratulating themselves on finding a suitable house, one of them noticed that in one corner of the garden, set on a three foot plaster pillar, was the figure of a angel, a stone cherubim, with wings outspread. The dervishes looked at each other in disbelief.

“Alhamdulillah!” They shouted.  All praise belongs to God alone, who has given to their Master the foresight of His true friends. Ya Ali! Ya Pir!

Ya Haqq!


A Lesson of Sultan Bahu

September 21, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

My Master taught me a lesson:
“Any moment you are negligent
in remembrance of God
is a moment spent in denial of God.”

- Sultan Bahu, from Death Before Dying — The Sufi Poems of Sultan Bahu, by Jamal J. Elias

Ya Haqq!


Cleaning Your Room

May 30, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

It is related that one day a few years ago, a new darvish was sitting in one of the Nimatullahi Sufi khaniqahs when the Master, Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, walked through the room, saying in passing to one of the older dervishes, “Go clean your room. I’ll look at it later.”

The older darvish then moved to a quiet corner to meditate and repeat his zekr, while the new darvish went out to work in the garden. Much later, the new darvish came back into the room and found the older man still sitting in the corner. He went up to him with a worried expression and said, “What are you doing? Aren’t you going to clean your room?”

The older darvish looked up at him and smiled. “The Master meant my heart.”

Ya Haqq!


Interview

April 29, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

The Pakistani Spectator, a very interesting site that covers news, entertainment, politics, and all things Pakistan, has been conducting interviews with various bloggers around the world

And so it has just posted an interview with me about the Darvish blog. Please check it out by clicking HERE.

Ya Haqq!


Waiting for God II

April 10, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

In a previous post, I wrote that to a darvish, Waiting for God is cultivating patience, that is, waiting for God’s sake. As the Prophet (pbuh) said: “…Nobody can be given a blessing better and greater than patience.”

However, there is also another kind of waiting for God: The Sufi way of waiting for divine knowledge, for union with the Beloved. This is the most demanding and difficult of all trials of patience.

Sufi Masters of the past used to sit in the Haram, as did Dhu’l Nun the Egyptian, or in a mosque, like Imam al-Ghazali, or in the desert, like Abu Said Abi’l Khayr, to wait for the answers to be given.

Alhamdulillah! It doesn’t happen because we are worthy of it; no one is worthy of it. It doesn’t happen because we deserve it, or want it, or hope for it, or pray for it, or fast, or give up everything for it. It only happens as God wills.

“Nor shall they compass any of Hu’s knowledge except as Hu might will.” – Qur’an 2:255

Our brother Dara writes: “When I was in Makkah, each night I would see an African man who would circle the Ka’ba until dawn, asking Allah TO BE GIVEN. I was there for one year, and he circled the Ka’ba each night till dawn. He would carry the Qur’an and read slowly. The purpose of practices like Sufi Silence is to learn to wait, like a slave, to be given ‘ilm (knowledge).”

Although Union with the Beloved is never given as a reward for one’s efforts, Strive, O heart, as much as you are able. Hafez

This is our task then, as human beings of faith: To strive and not to yield.

May Allah bless us with patience and guide us on the straight path of Love. Ameen!

Ya Haqq!


Master of the Jinn in URDU

March 27, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Alhamdulillah! Master of the Jinn is now being translated into Urdu. Brother Nadeem in Pakistan, who is also a darvish of a Sufi Order, is the main translator. He sends out each translated section to his friends and fellow darvishes and asks for suggestions. The best ones are incorporated into the final translation :)

If you want to read what there is so far of the Urdu translation, email me at Irvingk1945 at gmail dot com, and I will send it to you in .pdf format.

Ya Haqq!


Constancy on the Sufi Path

February 15, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

The term “constancy” is taken from the Qur’anic passage in which God tells His Prophet (pbuh): “Be constant, as you are commanded.” (11:112)

On the Sufi path, one walks with the feet of Love, and constancy, or steadfastness, provides the provisions needed to carry one forward.

Constancy means to step out of your self and stand firm with God. Feeling hurt, making excuses, getting distracted, being irresponsible, making claims, all serve to block the development of constancy or steadfastness in the darvish.

Abu Ali Jauzjani said: “Practice constancy; don’t go looking for miracles, for it’s your nafs that want miracles, while God wants only constancy from you.”

Alhamdulillah! May we stand firm, and not waver on the path of Love, meeting difficulties and afflictions with courage. If someone treats you badly, apologize to him! If someone irritates you, be thankful! If affliction visits you, consider it a necessary cure!

This is the way of the Sufi on the path of Love. 

- Adapted from Discourses on the Sufi Path by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh.

 

Ya Haqq!

 



The Yellow Dog

November 15, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

A yellow dog came to visit today. He was friendly and young and full of energy, perhaps a year old, a Labrador retriever, his nose to the ground sniffing for a familiar scent. He circled the house and my wife saw him through a window out of the corner of her eye; a lean, hungry yellow dog by the look of him, his ribs plainly visible.

Fortunately, the previous tenant had left a couple of cans of dog food, and as my wife enticed him with a piece of bread, I opened both for him, along with a big bowl of water. He ran up onto the porch without any prompting, being obviously used to people, and ate it all happily and drank most of the water. He seemed so happy to see us, and to be treated like a welcome guest. He sniffed us both and circled the house again, and then was off, following whatever scent he had picked up. I thought he was lost, or got separated from his owners, and was making his way back to them. He looked as if he had been on the road many days. I have read that lost dogs sometimes travel hundreds of miles to their old home.

We were happy to help him on his journey. My wife grew up on a farm and has an affinity with all creatures great and small. And ever since his appearance, my heart has had such a feeling of love and gratitude that I can hardly describe it.

I think it came from the yellow dog.

Even though we didn’t do anything extraordinary, this chance encounter, if chance it was, was a blessing for us. We had in a small way helped one of God’s creatures on his journey home, inshallah. There is an old Persian saying: “A guest is God’s friend.”

It may have come from this old Sufi tale:

There was a darvish who one day sought a guest from God. “O Lord of the World,” he said in his heart, “may a guest come from You tomorrow, so that I may treat him as befits one of Your friends.” The following day he made preparations for his guest. The darvish cleaned his small home and prepared a meal fit for a Friend of God.

As he was keeping a lookout in all directions while waiting outside for the guest to arrive, a thin and hungry mongrel dog wandered by and, smelling the food, begged for a morsel. The darvish chased him away, not out of meanness, but in his anxiety that nothing should spoil this occasion. And so he waited and waited, but despite all his expectations, no one came. He finally fell asleep in a heartbroken and agitated state.

“O self-absorbed one,” said God in a dream, “I sent along a dog as one of My own, so that you might make him your guest, but you heedlessly sent him away.”

Alhamdulillah! That the friend of the Friend was made welcome here, and our hearts were gladdened by his visit.

Ya Haqq!

NOTE: The Sufi tale is originally from Fariduddin Attar’s Mosibat-Nama (Book of Adversity), and can be found in Dogs from a Sufi Point of View by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh. It is also told in a slightly different version, about Moses and the beggar, in the first chapter of Master of the Jinn, which you can read as an excerpt on the book’s website by clicking HERE.


Master of the Jinn Foreign Rights – A Request

November 3, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Alhamdulillah! I received an email today from a translator in Tokyo who would like to translate Master of the Jinn into Japanese. It is a blessing for this unworthy darvish, and brought to mind that perhaps some of the kind readers of this blog may also know of, or have contact with, editors, publishers or foreign rights agents in other countries.

And so, a request:

If you, gentle reader, or someone you know, has any contacts or influence with a Book Editor or Publisher, or Foreign Rights Agent in your country, please email me and, inshallah, Master of the Jinn, this Sufi novel of Allah’s infinite love and mercy, will be read in many countries in many languages. If you have not read the book yet, I will be happy to email you a copy in ebook format.

My email: Irvingk57 (@) aol (.) com (Remove the brackets and close up the email address so that there are no spaces).

May God bless you all and guide you on the straight path of love and wisdom.

Ya Haqq!


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