Tuesday, 15 June 2010

A King & an Old Woman

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

One day, a king and his entourage went to hunt deer in the mountains of Khurasan, the Land of the Sun, in the northeastern part of Persia.  After a week in the mountains, they had found no deer.  On their way back to the palace, they made a wrong turn and soon they were crossing the open plain of Turkman country.  As far the eye could see, the plain rolled until it met the distant horizon.  They walked and walked, hoping to find a village or a shepherd, so that they could find their way back to the palace.  The sun baked the plain in daytime, and at night, the plain froze from the cold.  Soon, the troop depleted their food and water.

On the tenth day of their journey, they saw mountains raising high over the plain all around them.  But, when they walked towards the rising sun, the mountains faded away into the horizon, in a mirage.  Exhausted, hungry, and thirsty, they began to see more mirages.  When they gazed toward the sunset, the mountains appeared nearer, but as they walked toward them, they kept creeping farther away, like a ghostly image.

Soon, the king’s entourage looked more like paupers.  Their clothes became ragged, their faces were burned from the blazing sun, and their lips were cracked from thirst.  Suffering from fatigue, hunger, and thirst, they could no longer walk.  They lay on the earth, submitting to God’s Will.

An old Turkman woman lived nearby, at the edge of the plain, by a spring.  She lived in a tent and had two goats and a small plot of land, where she planted wheat and barley.  As she was walking her goats for grazing, she came upon the king’s entourage.  She brought them back to her tent.  She butchered one of her goats and made a feast for the hungry, lost travelers.  In a few days, the king’s entourage became healthy again, and they found their way back to the palace.

Upon their return, the king ordered his prime minister to give one thousand goats to the old woman.  The prime minster said, “Your Majesty, the old woman gave us one goat.  Does his Majesty really want to give the old woman one thousand goats?”

The king said, “The old woman gave us half of what she had and saved our lives.  I need to give her half of all the goats I have in my kingdom.  Even one thousand goats are not enough.”

An Old Man & a King

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

One day, King Khosrow and his entourage went to hunt deer on the plains far in the central regions of Persia.  The king was astonished when his entourage came upon an old man in his nineties, barely standing up, who was planting fig trees.

“Don’t you know it takes thirty years for fig trees to grow?” asked the king.  “It is time for you to give thanks for your blessing of a long life and get ready for the other world.”

The old man replied, “Our fathers planted fig trees and we ate figs from them.  I am planting trees for those who will come after me and, by my good deed; I am getting ready for the other world.”

Monday, 14 June 2010

The Sincere Love

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In a village on the southern side of the Alborz Mountain, by the Caspian Sea, lived an old woman with her beautiful daughter.  Her name was Moon.  She had blue eyes that shined like two unblemished turquoise gems; her long eyelashes curved upward.  Her eyebrows hung like quarter moons when she opened her eyes.  She had silky white skin like the color of snow and breathtakingly long black hair that hung over her slender shoulders.

Every one loved Moon and Moon loved life.  She woke up at dawn, made tea for her mother, and prayed on the terrace, facing the Alborz Mountain, which were pointing in the direction of Mecca.  Moon had a beautiful melodic voice and she loved to sing.  After her morning prayer, she sat on the terrace, facing the rising sun, as it slowly peeked out from behind the mountain, spreading its rays over the valley below, and then, second by second, slowly spread a shaft of light over the sea.  She loved to gaze at the unfolding of a new day from her terrace.  She praised God and sang a harmonious tune, first in a soft voice, repeating the words, “Praise to God Who Created the heaven and earth.”  Then as the beam of light widened over the valley, her voice continued its enchanting tune, in harmony with cardinals singing in magnolia trees in the yard.  She repeated over and over, “Praise to God Who Created the heaven and earth.”

In the evening, after sunset and when the half moon shined in the sky, she prayed on the terrace, facing the moon, as its dim orange color smoldered over the mountains.  Again, she sang and praised God for the Blessings she had in life.

Moon was a good daughter.  She worked with her mother in their small plot of land, from dawn until dusk.  Bending all day to plant rice caused unbearable pain in her back.  She never whined, even when blood-sucking rice worms pinned themselves to her legs.  She would light a match to the worms, almost burning her own flesh, to get the bloodsuckers off from her legs.  Moon still did not grumble; a smile never left her face, and she gladly worked and worked.  After working until five in the afternoon, she took the family cow and goats to the fields for grazing, sang to them, and then milked them lovingly with sore hands that ached from working in the fields.  She did all this and never complained.

Her mother called her a sweet angel of God, her beloved sweeter than her soul, a saint.  When Moon brought lunch for her, her mother would kiss her forehead, as tears rolled down her own cheeks.  When she prayed, she always put her hands up, loudly asking for a long life for Moon and begged God to take her life before Moon’s.  She told everyone how much she loved Moon and how she was ready to sacrifice her own life for her.  When young men came to her and asked to marry Moon, she sent them directly to Moon.  And as always, Moon thought of her mother and rejected them to be with her mother.

One day, it had rained all day.  Still, Moon had worked in the fields, soaking wet.  When she came home, she fell sick and burned with fever.  The old woman took her to the village doctor, but she got sicker and her temperature surged higher.  She took her to the city to a famous doctor.  He gave her many medicines, but it did not help, and Moon got weaker and weaker.  She took her to the village preacher, who gave Moon prayer beads to put around her neck; she remained sick.  She went back to the preacher; he told her to sacrifice a goat and give the meat to the villagers to pray for Moon.  Still, she did not get better.  Everyday, the old woman went to Moon’s room, kissed her forehead, and prayed for her.  Nothing worked and she became very weak.  Her shining color faded, her eyes sank, her eye protruded, and the shadow of death hung in her room.  Every night, after her prayer, the old woman stood where Moon had stood before, with her hands raised to the sky, talking to God.  Over and over again, she asked God to take her life before Moon’s life.  When anyone visited them, she repeated her prayer, over and over again.  In tears, she told them that she wanted to die before Moon.  She told her friends, where she wanted to be buried, and she even went with her oldest friend to the village graveyard, where a saint was buried, and marked where she wanted to be buried.

One day after sunset, the old woman went to Moon’s room; she saw her breathing heavily, her eyes colorless, her forehead covered with sweat, as if she were about to receive the Angel of Death. . She ran back to her room and stood in prayer.  She cried and cried, asking God to take her life and give it to Moon.  From exhaustion, she lay on the floor, half asleep and half awake, opening her eyes from time to time, gazing into the yard, as though she expected a visitor.

At the far end of the yard, the family cow was eating hay.  Next to the hay basket was a large white clay pot full of water for the cow.  The cow went to the pot and put her head into it for a drink of water.  The cow’s head was caught in the pot and it appeared to have a small, round white circle around its head.  The cow, in fright, moved around the yard making all kinds of unusual sounds.  She moved to the old woman’s window.  She cried out again: “I cannot bear this life any longer.  Ah, I wish Death would only come and take me!”  Suddenly, the old woman opened her eyes and saw something moving toward her room.  In fear, she started and her heart beat violently.  A sweat covered her face and she shook uncontrollably.  She tried to get up and run, but her legs caved under her.  In fright with a shaking voice she shouted:

“If you are coming for the sick person, she is next door there, not in my room.”

Shaykh Tayfur Bayazid al-Bistami (q.s.) & the Cure

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is from the Tadzkirat al-Awliya' of Farid ad-Din ‘Ahthtar (q.s.).  There was a certain ascetic who was thought to be one of the great saints of Bistam.  He had his own followers and admirers, and at the same time he was never absent from the circle of Shaykh Tayfur Bayazid al-Bistami or Shaykh Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bistami (q.s.) as he is also known.  He listened to all his discourses and sat with his companions.  Shaykh Bayazid al-Bistami (q.s.) is Sulthan al-‘Arifin.

One day he remarked to Shaykh Bayazid (q.s.), "Master, for thirty years I have been keeping a constant fast.  By night too, I pray, so that I never sleep at all.  Yet I discover no trace of this knowledge of which you speak.  For all that, I believe in this knowledge, and I love this preaching."

"If for three hundred years," said Shaykh Bayazid (q.s.), "you fast by day and pray by night, you will never realise one atom of this discourse."

"Why?" asked the disciple.

Because you are veiled by your own self," Shaykh Bayazid (q.s.) replied.

"What is the remedy for this?" the man asked.

"You will never accept it," answered Shaykh Bayazid (q.s.).

"I will so," said the man.  "Tell me, so that I may do as you prescribe."

"Very well," said Shaykh Bayazid (q.s.).  "This very hour go and shave your beard and hair.  Take off these clothes you are wearing, and tie a loincloth of goat's wool about your waist.  Hang a bag of nuts around your neck, then go to the marketplace.  Collect all the children you can, and tell them, `I will give a nut to everyone who slaps me.'  Go round all the city in the same way; especially go everywhere people know you.  That is your cure."

"Glory be to Allah!  There is no god but Allah!" cried the disciple on hearing these words.

"If a non-believer uttered that formula, he would become a believer," remarked Shaykh Bayazid (q.s.).  "But by uttering the same formula you have become a polytheist."

"How so?" demanded the disciple.

"Because you count yourself too grand to be able to do as I have said," replied Shaykh Bayazid (q.s.).  "So you have become a polytheist.  You used this formula to express your own importance, not to glorify Allah."

"This, I cannot do," the man protested.  "Give me other directions."

"The remedy is what I have said," Shaykh Bayazid (q.s.) declared.

"I cannot do it," the man repeated.

"Did I not say you would not do it, that you would never obey me?" said Shaykh Bayazid (q.s.).

The Fortress of Allah (s.w.t.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In his Tarikh Nisabur, the Imam al-Hakim, author of the Mustadrak, recorded that when Imam ‘Ali ar-Ridha’ (q.s.), son of Imam Musa al-Kazhim (q.s.) entered Nisabur, he was riding inside a veiled enclosure upon a grey mule.  When he entered the city's main marketplace, the two huffazh of ahadits, Imam Abu Zur’a ar-Razi (r.a.) and Imam ibn Aslam at-Tusi (r.a.), along with an uncountable number of students, stopped him and said, “O noble master, we ask you by the right of your noble and pure ancestors, to please expose your blessed face for us and narrate to us a hadits that you relate through your forefathers.”

Imam ‘Ali ar-Ridha’ (q.s.) stopped his servant and ordered the veil to be removed, and everyone gazed upon his noble face.  He had two long braids which fell on his shoulders, and the populace was looking upon him, some screaming, others crying, others kissing the feet of his mule or rubbing their faces on the dirt in front of him, and their voices grew.

So the ahadits scholars said, “O people, lower your voices and listen to that which will benefit you, and do not annoy us with your voices.”  Imam Abu Zur’a (r.a.) and Imam at-Tusi (r.a.) readied themselves to record.

Imam ‘Ali ar-Ridha’ (q.s.) began, “Our father, Musa al-Kazhim narrated to us, from his father, Ja’far asw-Swadiq, from his father, Muhammad al-Baqir, from his father, ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin, from his father, the martyr of Karbala, from his father ‘Ali al-Murtadha, who said, ‘My beloved and delight of my eyes, Rasulullah, said to me, ‘Jibril said to me, ‘Allah Most High Said: ‘’Laa ilaha illa Allah’ is My fortress, whoever recites it enters My fortress, and whoever enters My fortress is safe from My Wrath.’’’”

Then he lowered the veil over himself and moved on, and those who had ink and were writing were counted to be above 20,000.”

If people are impressed with the Golden Chain of Imam Malik (r.a.) from Imam Nafi’ (r.a.) from ibn ‘Umar (r.a.), then this is the Diamond Chain of healing and protection and blessing.  The Sufi, Imam Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri ash-Shafi’i (q.s.) said, “This chain of narrations reached one of the umara’ of the Samaniyyah, so he had it written in gold ink and advised that writing to be buried with him.  After he died he was seen in a dream and asked ‘What did Allah Do with you?’

He replied, ‘Allah Forgave me because of my utterance of ‘Laa ilaha illa Allah’, and my conviction of ‘Muhammadar Rasulullah’.”

The Saviours of Mankind: Imam Mahdi (a.s.) & Jesus Christ (a.s.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from various swuhbat from Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.).  It is his explanation of the coming of the Mahdi (a.s.) and Jesus Christ (a.s.).  According to Shaykh Nazim (q.s.), the Mahdi (a.s.) is already here.  Jesus Christ or ‘Isa (a.s.) will come back as the Messiah, al-Masih, to kill the Anti-Christ, who is also known as Dajjal al-Masih, the False Messiah.  Some of this is allegorical.  Much of this was said many years ago, from the 1990s.

Muhammad al-Mahdi (a.s.) is a descendant of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) through his daughter Fathimah az-Zahrah (r.a.) and her sons, Hasan (r.a.) and Husayn (r.a.), in the 40th generation.  So he is Sayyid al-Hasani and al-Husayni.  His parents live near Jeddah.  He was born between 1930 and 1940 in the Wadi Fatima, a green valley on the way from Jeddah to Madina.  When he was growing up, he had such lights, such a nur about his face.  The people started to notice him because his growth was miraculous.  He has a spot of ashes on his right cheek, like a star, and his arms reached to his knees.

By the order of the Prophet (s.a.w.), he was taken away from people by the awliya’ of the Nuqabah, the Nujabah, the Budalah, the Awtad and the Akhyar, whose imam is Shahab ad-Din (q.s.), to a place behind the mountain of Qaf.  Then he was ordered to remain in the empty quarters, the Ruba’ al-Khali, a desert between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.  No one can go there, because there are quicksand and moving sand dunes.  He is not living with ordinary people now because he has such spiritual strength that people cannot look to him.  He lives in that desert with his 99 khulafa’, all highly spiritual people.  There is a huge cave; its entrance is 40 meters wide. In that cave is the Dome of Happiness, which had been built by the angels. No one may approach that cave because it is protected by jinn who send out electricity that may kill anyone.  The Mahdi (a.s.) and his caliphs await there for the Divine Command of Allah (s.w.t.) to appear.  The Mahdi (a.s.) is the most spiritual person on earth now, and all awliya’ are under his command.

When he appears, he will say, “Allahu Akbar,” three times, in Damascus, and this will be heard from East to West.

And then the Archangel Gabriel (a.s.), will shout, “Khalifatullah!  Allah Almighty’s Khalifah has just appeared!  Join his army, O believers!”  Everything will be clear.  Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.) will appear with such a power that all technology will stop.

Each man in his army will be worth an army.  12,000 soldiers from five countries of the West, known only to the awliya’, will come.  They are always in contact with Divine Powers, which is a sign of real faith. They are steadfast, never turning from the Face of Allah (s.w.t.) under any circumstance.  Armies turn to ashes beneath their gaze.  They are descendants of ‘Ali (k.w.).  When Imam Mahdi (a.s.) says, “Allahu Akbar!” they will be ready at the south gate of Damascus, from Amman.

Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will come as a saviour before Jesus Christ (a.s.) to stop Armageddon, the 3rd World War, with Divine Power, because no one and nothing except Divine Power can stop it.  No country will remain neutral in this war.  All the bombs will be under the control of jinn, and the jinn are under the command of Imam Mahdi (a.s.).  So nothing will be by chance; it will be only as much as Allah (s.w.t.) Wills.  Everything is arranged.  There is a group of awliya’, the five aqthab, who look after everything according to the Will of Allah (s.w.t.).  Nothing on this earth happens by chance or accident.  And nothing happens without a reason.

Armageddon is the war between the East and the West, and it is written that the West will win and the East will vanish.  This biggest of all wars is between the believers, followers of Jesus Christ (a.s.), people who have prepared themselves for the Saviour, and the followers of the Anti-Christ, unbelievers, who are running after this life’s pleasures, following materialistic thoughts, seeking pleasures which their egos are asking for, asking for every freedom.  They are people who always come into contact with the devil, falling under his control, and supporting the kingdom of Shaythan.  They will be with the Anti-Christ because they are evil in themselves.  The devils will carry them to the source of evil and devils: the Anti-Christ.

Humanity is now following false teachings, supporting the kingdom of devils on earth, and that is why a storm of fire will come as a punishment, blowing from East to West, North to South.  The supporters of the devils will die, but the supporters of the Saviours, Mahdi (a.s.) and Jesus Christ (a.s.), will be saved.  There is no shelter for the cruel, or the disobedient.  Therefore, everybody must try to prevent his ego from doing bad things and from having bad intentions.  There is no shelter for unbelievers; nothing and no one can protect them.  There is always the danger that Divine Wrath will reach them, even underground or in the skies.  To believe is the first refuge.

False beliefs are also dangerous.  For these people, it will be as if they have a shield with holes, so that the arrows of Divine Wrath may reach them.  Therefore, another refuge is to believe in the right way.  For some people, their good character will be a refuge; people with good intentions, who are sympathetic, helpful, just and respectful towards others, loving them.  And another refuge is to give charity and to pray, especially during prostration.  Allah (s.w.t.) Promises to shelter His good servants.  Everybody must ask how he can be good.

Nowadays, everything is mixed up; Truth with untruth, good with evil, purity with impurity.  Until the last world war comes, times will get worse and worse.  When Jesus (a.s.) comes, he will put everything in its place, and no one will be able to object.  The 21st century will be the century of truth.  In the last days, so many men will be killed that there will be 40 times more women than men.  This is because men are more violent than women, so many of them will die, and most of the women will stay.  And in that war, for every seven people, six will die.  For those women who do not have a husband anymore, Allah (s.w.t.) will send people from behind the mountain of Qaf, so that no one will be alone in that time.  When Imam Mahdi (a.s.), he will bring with him many people from unknown realms around this earth.

The world will be empty after that war; everywhere will be open for the believers.  According to their share, which is Written on the Lawh al-Mahfuzh, the Preserved Tablet, Imam Mahdi (a.s.), will show everyone their place.  After this big war people will be like a candle ready for the match.  Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will open the seed of faith in their hearts, opening the hearts of the believers who lived through that war.

Imam Mahdi’s (a.s.) first appearance was in Hijaz, in Makkah, on Mount Arafat.  That was around 1960.  It was a private appearance, only for the awliya’.  12,000 awliya’ came and put their hands on his hand, taking bay’ah with him.  Once, when Shaykh Nazim (q.s.) was passing through Beirut, Lebanon, on his way to Cyprus, he met a shaykh from Lebanon, and was a guest in his house.  He asked Shaykh Nazim (q.s.), “What news does your shaykh have about Imam Mahdi (a.s.)?”

Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) told him that a certain number of years ago, he was with his shaykh on Arafat with Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and 12000 rijalullah, a specific category of awliya’, and that they all took bay’ah with Imam Mahdi (a.s.).  Shaykh Nazim (q.s.) was with Grand Shaykh ‘Abdillah ad-Daghistani (q.s.).at that time.  He had taken Shaykh Nazim (q.s.) with him, ‘like a hunter keeps his dog with him,’ as Shaykh Nazim (q.s.) said.

The shaykh from Lebanon then said, “You are right.  I was in Makkah al-Mukarramah the same year with my shaykh, and we met someone from Sudan.  We asked him, ‘Where are you from?’, and he told us that he had come from Central Africa: ‘A year ago, I was ordered by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) to be here this year to take bay’ah with Imam Mahdi (a.s.).  I have been travelling by foot since then to arrive here.’”

The awliya’ have already taken the bay’ah with Imam Mahdi (a.s.), in that year.  There is a second kind of bay’ah, in dreams, for people who are not prepared to meet Imam Mahdi (a.s.) physically.  And now he awaits for the order, and then common people will take bay’ah with him.  There are one hundred and one hindrances which he must overcome, before he can appear.  Ninety-nine of those hindrances have passed.  Now only two are remaining.

‘Red-coloured people’ have come to Afghanistan.  They must also go to Pakistan, and then to Turkey.  That is the first sign: Russians coming to Turkey.  Huge Russian armies will be at the West of Aleppo.  They will come up to the plain of Yarmuk near Aleppo.  At the same time, the Americans will be in Turkey, in Adana, near the sea.  There will be a great slaughter in that plain.  That conflict will last three months and during that event, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will appear.  It will be in a year of Hajj al-Akbar.

Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will appear during hajj, where people will rush to take bay’ah from him.  From there, he will go to Damascus.  He will make takbir three times as mentioned above.  With those takbirat, the problem of technological advantage is will be addressed, and it will be the signal for all Muslims to attack the devils.

There are 40 stations on Imam Mahdi’s (a.s.) way between Makkah and Damascus.  He will come to the gates of Damascus, firstly to a place where the footprints of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and his camel are in a stone.  He will enter Damascus, and there, the people will take bay’ah with him.

Then there are seven stations on his way from Damascus to Istanbul: Homs, Hama, Trablus, Halep, Konya, Bursa and in Istanbul he will take out the flag of the Prophet (s.a.w.) from Topkapi Palace.  But before that, the Padishah will appear and they will meet in Konya, where Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will put on the sword and the coat of the Prophet (s.a.w.), the amanat kept there.

After Imam Mahdi (a.s.) has taken out the flag in Istanbul, the Anti-Christ will come quickly through Khorasan in Iran, and run to Jerusalem, to go around the whole world from there for 40 days.  The Anti-Christ, the Dajjal, is now in chains- imprisoned on an unknown island that no one can approach, because he says, “I am your Lord,” claiming to be the Lord of mankind, not just a prophet.  He cannot move from there.  He is still giving orders, and he has thirty deputies who are preparing people for his coming.  And he is one-eyed.

The Muslims are expecting Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and they await also the return of Jesus Christ (a.s.) from the Heavens.  The Christians are expecting Jesus Christ’s (a.s.) return as well.  But the Jews, because they do not believe in Jesus (a.s.) and Muhammad (s.a.w.), are still waiting for a prophet from among themselves to appear.  There will be a Divine Announcement: “The enemy of Allah, Dajjal, has appeared.  Whoever wants to save himself from him must go to Damascus, Makkah or Madina.  So the believers will run because Dajjal will be after them.  They will run like streams to Damascus, and the believers there will be besieged for 40 days.  Dajjal will go around the whole world, but 700 Angels, 700 jinn, and 700 awliya’ from the Budala, the Nujaba, the Nuqaba, the Awtad and the Akhyar will protect Damascus, so he will not be able to enter it.

Damascus is a holy area, the place of the Judgement Day, where twice a day comes Nur, Divine Light, and Mercy.  This area covers all that a man can see from the minaret of the Umayyad Mosque, and its Barakah spreads for a distance of six or seven days’ camel ride in all directions.  After 40 days, Jesus (a.s.) him will come down from the Heavens.  It will be the time of fajr, when he comes down in the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.  He will descend to a minaret of that Dome in the East, under which Yahya (a.s.), John the Baptist, is buried.  Two angels will protect him with their wings, and bring him down to earth.  He will be wearing a green turban, and he will be shining.  He has the most beautiful face, rosy and white.  His beard is red, and he will be perspiring.  And he has a sword.  When he was on earth, he never touched a sword, but now that he comes as a Saviour, to save people from the hands of the Anti-Christ, he will bear one.  His sword is a miraculous sword, a Divine sword.  It can reach any point he sends it.  The Lord Gave it to him.

He is not coming as a prophet anymore, but as a member of the ummah of Muhammad (s.a.w.), following his shari’ah.  Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will offer the place to be the imam of swalah fajr to Jesus, but Jesus (a.s.) will decline.  Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will lead the prayer once, and after that, Jesus (a.s.) will be imam.  And Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will be with him for seven years. Jesus (a.s.) will kill the Anti-Christ, break the crosses, and make clear the truth about himself and his mother Maryam (a.s.).  He will govern the Kingdom of Heaven on earth for 40 years.

After Jesus (a.s.) has killed the Anti-Christ, there will be no more devils and evil in his time; people will live a life as if in Paradise.  Paradise has appeared.  Tajalli, Divine vision, will come on them.  Jesus (a.s.) will marry and have children.  When time on earth is past, he will be buried in Madina, in the fourth tomb next to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), Abu Bakr (r.a.) and ‘Umar (r.a.).  That grave is empty now.

We Sent aforetime our messengers with Clear Signs and Sent Down with them the Book and the Balance (of right and wrong), that men may stand forth in justice; and We Sent Down iron, in which is (material for) mighty war, as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allah may Test who it is that will help unseen, Him and His messengers; for Allah is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might (and Able to Enforce His Will). (Surah al-Hadid:25)

A Sufi's Wish

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In the year 1215 CE, Shaykh Farid ad-Din ‘Ahthtar (q.s.), a Sufi master, wrote a story about his beloved teacher, Shaykh ‘Umar Khayyam (q.s.), a poet, a mathematician, and an astronomer, who made tents for his livelihood.  The story goes as follows.

“I went to visit my teacher, ‘Umar Khayyam, in the city of Nishapur.  It was a mild, windy spring day when I entered the city.  The bazaar hummed like a beehive with merchants, and customers who were hurriedly coming and going.  There were all kinds of merchants: goldsmiths, pot makers, tailors, butchers, and others.

Suddenly, the melodic sound of minarets calling worshipers to pray vibrated in the bazaar.  All I could hear were the words, ‘God is great, God is great.’  Then instantly, everything stopped.  Silence fell on the bazaar and hung in the air.  Everyone left for the mosque, and I followed them.  In line after line, the worshipers stood in prayer.  Being tired from my long journey, I rested in the yard under a willow tree.  When the noon prayer ended, slowly, the vibrating sound of the pot makers and others pulsated again.  I had been searching for my Master’s shop, and being distressed over not finding it, I stopped the mosque preacher to ask for directions.

He stared at me in bewilderment and said, ‘I have never seen him praying in the mosque.  The heretic tent-maker is at the far end of the bazaar.’

By late afternoon, I found my beloved teacher sitting on a stool, making a tent.  His long white hair hung around his face, touching his snow-white beard.  I bent to kiss his hand; he pulled me towards him and kissed my forehead.  We drank tea in the yard under a blooming cherry tree.  He was serene and calm.  He opened his book of verses and read a poem to me: -

‘Ah Love!  Could thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire?
Would not shatter it a bit and remolded
Nearest to the Heart’s Desire!’

When he was finished reading the poem, I looked at his face.  It vibrated with a Divine, Bottomless joy.  The sunset was coming quickly, the earth was wash with a glow, and then a shaft of light was piercing through the trees; an, a moment later, a sudden shadow covered the garden.  He was drowned in the sublime beauty of the sunset.  He looked at the high wall at the end of the garden, where the top of the wall was covered with sunlight, and the rest was covered by a dark shadow.  Then his gaze became fixed on the ground, which was covered with white petals, as he repeated the last verse: ‘Would not shatter it a bit and remolded nearest to the Heart’s Desire!’

‘What is your heart’s desire?’ I asked.

‘I wish upon my death, that when the north wind blows in the spring, it covers my tomb with white petals,’ said my master.

Years later, I returned to visit him.  He was dead; I went into the graveyard to pay my respects.  I could not find his grave.  I saw a preacher by the mosque.  I asked him where I could find his grave.

‘The heretic tent-maker could not be buried among the believers.’

He directed me toward the outskirts of town.  By late afternoon, I arrived at the edge of town.  It was springtime.  Row after row of cherry trees with their white flowers danced in the north wind, scattering their petals in the air.  When I found his tomb, it was covered with a blanket of white petals.  I picked up a stone, knocked on his grave, and wept for my beloved master.”

When Shaykh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.) was Seen to Change Size

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is extracted from Qala’id al-Jawahir by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Yahya at-Tadhifi (q.s.) and translated by Shaykh Muhtar Holland.

It was Shaykh Baqa’ iba Batu (q.s.) who said, “On one occasion, while I was present at the session held by our master, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir (q.s.), he was speaking from the first stair of the lectern.  He suddenly interrupted his speech, became absent minded for a moment, an stepped down on the floor.  Then he mounted the lectern, and sat on the second stair.  I noticed that the first stair had widened, until it stretched as far as the eye could see.  It was carpeted with green silk brocade, and seated upon it were Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.), Abu Bakr (r.a.), ‘Umar (r.a.), ‘Utsman (r.a.) and ‘Ali (k.w.).  The Lord of Truth (s.w.t.) Manifested Himself upon the heart of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir (r.a.), so he leaned over, until he was on the verge of falling down.  Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) held him steady, to keep him from falling.  Then the shaykh grew smaller and smaller, until he became just like a sparrow.  Then he grew larger and larger, until he assumed a gigantic form.  Then he vanished from my sight.”

When Shaykh Baqa’ (q.s.) was later questioned about his vision of Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) and his companions, he said, “Their spirits took on physical shape, and Allah (s.w.t.) Reinforced them with an energy that made them visible.  They could therefore be seen by anyone whom Allah (s.w.t.) Empowered to behold them, in the form of physical bodies, and with the attributes of substantial entities.”  Evidence of this can be found in the ahadits of the Mi’raj.

When someone asked him to explain why Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir (q.s.) grew smaller and smaller, and then larger and larger, Shaykh Baqa’ (q.s.) said, “The impact of the first tajalli was too stunning for a human being to absorb, without Prophetic support.  That is why the shaykh almost collapsed, and would have done so, if Allah's Messenger (s.a.w.) had not caught him in time.  The quality of the second manifestation was that of Divine Majesty which explains why the shaykh grew smaller and smaller.”  As for the third manifestation, he witnessed it as a display of Divine Beauty, which accounts for his reinvigoration, and why he grew larger and larger.

…that is the Grace of Allah which He Bestows on whom He Pleases: and Allah is the Lord of Grace Abounding. (Surah al-Hadid:21)

Longing for the Beloved

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In the city of Yazd, located in the center of Persia, by the great desert of Lut, lived a silk merchant, who was also a hunter with an unbounded thirst for adventure.

On one of his trips to India, he went to a forest to capture canaries, blue jays, and all kinds of parrots.  One hot summer, when it had not rained for three months, bird hunters set traps all over the forest, and under the traps, they put small pots of water.

There were two parrots that sat high on a branch and watched the entourage of hunters passing below.  The parrots listened to the hunters and repeated their words.  Because they loudly repeated the hunters’ words from high up in the branches, all of the other birds flew away.  The silk merchant noticed the pair of parrots and set an elaborate net, with water and nuts under it, and he hid in the bushes.  Both parrots flew towards the trap.  The female parrot was very cautions, hopping slowly along the trap, inspecting its surroundings, but the male parrot moved rapidly towards the water and the nuts.  As soon as he was under the trap, the trap door closed with a loud noise.  The female parrot flew away and then sat on a high branch and wailed in a melancholy voice.

The silk merchant brought his prize parrot to Yazd.  He made an elaborate cage for his parrot and hung the cage in his office.  Every morning, while drinking his tea, he talked to his parrot for hours, telling the parrot his problems.  A year went by.  When he was about to leave for India, he asked his parrot if he wanted anything from India.  On the day of his departure, the parrot said, “Just go to the same spot where you caught me, and tell my beloved how well you are treating me.  Tell her that I am in a beautiful cage and have all kinds of nuts, and ask her if she wants to come and spend her life with me in my beautiful home.”

The silk merchant was delighted with his parrot’s request and agreed to grant the request.  When he was in India, he went to the forest where he had captured his parrot.  He sat there until he heard the female parrot calling to him.

She asked, “Do you have any news of my beloved?”

“Yes,” the merchant answered, “I have a message for you.”

“Tell me, is my beloved well?”

“Yes, of course.  He told me to tell you about his beautiful cage and about all the nuts he has to eat; also, he wants you to come with me to live with him.”

Hearing this, the parrot fell from the branch, right in front of him, her wings separated, as if she died instantly.

The merchant left in bewilderment.  When he got to Yazd, his parrot asked him if he visited the forest and why he had not brought his lover with him.

As soon as he told him what had happened, the parrot fell to the floor of his cage and his wings separated, as though he had instantly died.  The merchant took his parrot out of cage, put it on the ground, covered his face with his hands, and wept.  When he next looked at his parrot, before he had a chance to say anything, the parrot flew away, headed towards India.

The Donkey in the Well

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is a Sufi story from the oral traditions.  There are several versions of the story floating around but its origin is Central Asia.  Qom is in modern Iran.

By the city of Kashan, a hundred miles east of the holy city of Qom, lived a poor peasant named Ahmad.  Ahmad’s village was at the edge of a desert, facing barren mountains to the north.  High on the mountains, snow fell heavily from December until March.  As the snow melted, a river flowed into the valley below until May, and then dried up for the rest of the year.  Peasants dug wells at the foot of the mountains, connected them together with underground tunnels, and brought water to the valley below.

Ahmad, like every other peasant, had a share of this water for the melons in his plot.  Every day, he woke up before sunrise, prayed to God, counted his blessings, and then went to work in the fields, under the blazing sun.  He worked gladly, as sweat dripped from his face.  He collected melons in gunnysacks, put them on his donkey’s back, and then took them to the bazaar.

One day, on his way to the bazaar, Ahmad’s donkey fell into an abandoned well.  Ahmad sat by the edge of the well and listened to his donkey, as it cried piteously.  Listening to the sound of the donkey’s cry, Ahmad reasoned that the donkey may have broken its legs, and since the donkey was old, he thought he should put the donkey out of its misery.

He went back to the village and called a few of the villagers to help him.  Ahmad asked every man to grab a shovel and begin to shovel dirt into the well.  Realising what was happening, the donkey, at first, cried and wailed horribly.  Then a few shovelfuls later, the donkey quieted down completely.  The peasants peered down into the well and were astounded by what they saw.  With every shovelful of dirt that landed on its back, the donkey was doing something amazing.  He was shaking the dirt off and taking a step up on a new layer of dirt.

As the peasants continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up.  Soon, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off, to the shock and astonishment of all the peasants.

Then Ahmad grinned and said, “We all have to learn from my wise donkey.  When life throws a shovel of dirt at you, all kinds of dirt, the trick to getting out of such circumstances is to not to let the dirt bury you.  Shake it off and take a step up.  Each of our troubles is a steppingstone.  Like the donkey, we can get out of the deepest wells by not stopping and never giving up!  Shake off the dirt, take a step up, and then praise God.”

Rawatib Swalah in the Shafi'i Madzhab

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is taken from The Reliance of the Traveler & Tools of the Worshipper, the chapter on rawathib swalah with regards the sunnah swalah before and after the fardh swalah with regards the Shafi’i madzhab.  I have summarised it below for easy reference.

It is sunnah to diligently perform the non-obligatory prayers that are offered before and after the prescribed ones.  The optimal number of these is as follows:

a.         Two raka’at before the swubh;
b.         Four raka’at before and after zhuhr;
c.         Four raka’at before the ‘awsr;
d.         Two raka’at after maghrib; and
e.         Two raka’at after ‘isha.

The confirmed sunnah swalah, the mu’akkadah, meaning those which the Prophet (s.a.w.) did not omit whether traveling or at home, consist of ten raka’at.  They are as follows:

a.         Two raka’at before swubh;
b.         Two raka’at before and after zhuhr;
c.         Two raka’at after maghrib; and
d.         Two raka’at after ‘isha.

It is recommended to pray two raka’at before the maghrib.  The sunnah swalah of the jumu’ah are the same as those of zhuhr.  The time for the non-obligatory raka’at that come before fardh swalah is that of the fardh swalah.  It is adab to pray such a sunnah before the fardh swalah, though if prayed after it, it is still a current performance.  It is not a make-up, and one must intend it, for example, as the sunnah swalah before zhuhr even when performed after zhuhr.  The time for non-obligatory raka’at that come after the fardh swalah begins when one has performed the fardh swalah and ends with the end of the prayer's time.