A Stop in the Desert

May 24, 2010

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

It is related that early one morning many years ago, while still living in Iran, Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order, awoke and told his dervishes that he would be traveling to another khaniqah across the country, and that all who wanted to accompany him should be ready to depart in an hour.

Urgent calls were made and every car that was available from any source was soon filled with darvishes. They formed a long caravan on the highway, driving through the morning. The Master sat in the passenger’s seat of the first car, and after a few hours, they were traveling through the desert part of Iran.

Suddenly the Master commanded the car to pull over.  The driver stopped by the side of the road, and all the cars behind them pulled over also. The Master got out and motioned for everyone else to stay by their cars. After an hour, he looked in the distance across the sands, but nothing could be seen. Master shaded his eyes with his hand, and after a while there appeared a figure in the distance, walking slowly towards the highway.  When the figure came closer, it could be seen that it was a boy, perhaps twelve years old, and Master called him over.

“Your father is sick,” the Master said.

“Yes!” the startled boy replied. “I am going to find a doctor. How did you know? Who are you?”

“I am a doctor. Here, take this to the pharmacy in the nearby town,” the Master said, and he wrote a prescription on a pad he took out of his pocket.  The young boy thanked the Master profusely and hurried on his way.

The dervishes were astounded. The younger ones whispered questions to each other. The older ones knew better and remained silent.

Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh was a practicing psychiatrist, having both a medical degree and a PhD in psychology.  He joined the Beloved in October of 2008, after having been Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order for fifty-five years.

Ya Haqq!


March 20th, Birthday of the Prophet (pbuh), New Year, Spring

March 19, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“You have indeed in the Messenger of God a beautiful pattern of conduct for anyone whose hope is God and the Final Day.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21).

Alhamdulillah! The moon is full, a reminder that this is Rabi a-Awwal, by the Lunar calendar the month of the blessed birthday (Milad Un-Nabi) of the Prophet Muhammad (the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his family).

According to Sunni scholars, the Prophet’s birthday is observed on 12th Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on March 20, 2008, and 17th Rabi al-Awwal (march 25th this year) according to Shia scholars.

March 20th is also the first day of Spring, and celebrated as Nawrooz, the New Year in Iran and other countries. What a blessing that the birth of the Prophet (pbuh) should fall on the first day of Spring and the New Year, surely a sign of rebirth and love as we contemplate his noble attributes and teachings.

There is a difference of opinion about whether the Milad Un-Nabi should be a time of celebration. There is evidence that the Prophet (pbuh), his Companions, and the early followers after them did not celebrate or otherwise observe his birthday. On the contrary, he was careful to warn his people not to imitate other faiths, whose followers elevated their prophets and added to the religion what was not in the original teachings.

Those who disagree see it as a time to read the Qur’an, fast, pray, and remember the life, teachings, and example of the Prophet (pbuh).

When praising the Prophet (pbuh), we are also warned not to exaggerate in his praise. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Do not overpraise me as Christians overpraised Jesus, son of Mary. Say [when referring to me], ‘Servant of Allah and His messenger.'”

Servant of Allah and His messenger!

Surely that is a title that needs no embellishment. And so, what will you do to celebrate the Prophet’s (pbuh) birthday? Will you be fasting and praying? Having a celebration and giving gifts to family and friends? Giving to charity, visiting the sick, going to the mosque, helping a neighbor?

“Remember Me and I will remember you!” (Qur’an, 2:152)

May Allah bless you all, gentle readers, and guide you on the straight path of love, compassion, mercy, generosity and kindness.

Ameen.

Ya Haqq!


The Sufi Master and the Harlot

July 22, 2006

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

When the Sufi Master Mushtaq Ali  Shah was once traveling through Kerman,  Iran, the darvishes there greeted him with great honor and housed him in a room at the local inn. The clerics of the town were jealous of his popularity and his influence, so they sent a prostitute to tempt him, and make him lose favor in the eyes of the people.

She came to his room as he was meditating and danced enticingly in front of him. But he did not look up, and no matter how she flirted, he paid no attention to her. Finally, he did look at her, and said, “Get out, you whore!”

She was suddenly stricken with shame and ran from his presence to her home. The Sufi Master’s words put her into a state of severe agitation. She could not sleep, she could not eat. She kept pacing back and forth as the words rang in her head. She did not know that Mushtaq Ali Shah had spoken them with the full spiritual attention of a Sufi Master, one who had completed the path of Love, and so the words had a profound heart effect on her.

For three days her mind was in this state, filled with the words “Get out, you whore!” “Get out, you whore!” until at last they entered her heart and became her zekr

And the whore within her got out.

By the mercy and compassion of Allah, she abandoned her profession and repented of her past. Eventually, she even became a wali, a friend of God.

Ya Haqq!


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