Sufi Politeness – A True Story

June 16, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

It is related in Muhammad Sa’id al-Jamal ar-Rafai as-Shadhuli’s eloquent book, Music of the Soul, that at the time he was a disciple of Sidi ‘Abd ar-Rahman, may God be well pleased with them both, there was a troublesome old man in Damascus who everyday would throw stones at the zawiyya, the Sufi lodge. Each time the incident of stone throwing happened, his guide would say, “Send him mercy. If he wants food, give him food. If he wants clothes, give him clothes. If he wants money, give him money. Give him what he wants.”

When he, according to the advice of his guide, provided for the old man, he would gather his sons and would throw more stones at the zawiyya.

He asked himself, “What is the wisdom in this?” Then he would again go to this old man and gave him some food and some money and some clothes from his guide, but at the same time he felt something very strong about this person. His guide said to him, “There are many messages when this old man throws stones at the zawiyya.”

Then one day the old man became sick and the eminent guide sent his disciple to him. When he arrived at his house, the old man woke up and asked, “Who is there?” He mentioned his name and the old man began to weep and he started to say Astaghfirullah! (seeking forgiveness from Allah). And after some days, he came to live in the zawiyya. And he became a holy student under the guide.

When Sidi as-Shadhuli later wrote down this story, this man was already one hundred and five years old. Later when he met him in Amman, Jordan, the old man said, “Sidi, excuse me for throwing stones at the zawiyya. But if I had not hit the zawiyya, I would not have reached God. How could I have known the guide and the Way, if I had not thrown stones?” The guide saw the wisdom of his actions and knew that this old man was one of his students.

This story has a picture illustrating it. The picture is of the date tree. “Be like this tree,” advises Sidi. “When any person throws something to hit the date tree, it gives him back sweets. This is the right way.”

“If anyone makes something bad for you, or speaks in an unkind way, understand Who speaks and Who hits. Be sweet and give to everyone who wants sweets, because after the fire is the garden and after the darkness is light. It is necessary to see within everything, to see where it is coming from and to return it to God. Be polite! Everything is the Face of God.”

- Edited from a longer post on Sadiq’s Mystic Saint blog. (Muhammad Sa’id al-Jamal ar-Rifai as-Shadhuli is now the Head of the Higher Sufi Council in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. He is also a teacher at the Holy mosques at al-Aqsa in Jerusalem).

Ya Haqq!


The Prophet (pbuh) and the Blind Man

March 10, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“He frowned and turned away when a blind man came his way. How do you know if (his heart) might be purified or recall (God) and by recollection be rectified? For those who are called wealthy, you attend to them closely and don’t bother if they are purified! Yet from one who comes to you hopeful, fearful and clearly humble, you let your attention be shunted aside.” - (Qur’an 80:1-12)

This Quranic verse, directed toward the Prophet himself (pbuh), is the harshest reminder in the revelation itself of allowing oneself to be distracted by the affairs of the world, and thereby, even momentarily, losing the insight of its true teachings of love and compassion, kindness and guidance in the worship of Allah, the One who has no partners.

It is further related that Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (pbuh), said that if any chapter of the Qur’an could be wiped out, he had wished it would be this short chapter entitled, He Frowned, that addresses him as the one who frowned and chastises him for his treatment of the blind man.

The old and feeble blind man came seeking some knowledge about the new religion of Islam, but his arrival interrupted an important meeting of Arab tribal elders, powerful and rich men, who, if they had embraced the religion, would have greatly strengthened the community, which was under constant threat.

The Prophet (pbuh) had done what almost any other leader would do in looking out for his community through practical means; he ignored the blind man and continued to talk to the powerful tribal elders.

Alhamdulillah! He admonishes even His own Prophet (pbuh) for ignoring the true seeker, for not taking a moment to answer the old blind man. Most certainly this would have been a real lesson to the tribal elders about the new religion of Islam.

Allah knows the truth.

May Allah bless us and grant us all the insight of this lesson and guide us to what is truly important in life.

Ameen.

 

Ya Haqq!


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