Searching for the Teacher of the Age

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam Ja’far ibn Yahya (q.s.) of Lisbon was determined to find the Teacher of the Age, so he travelled to Makkah as a young man to seek him.  There he met a mysterious stranger, a man in a green robe, who said to him - before any word had been spoken, “You seek the Greatest Shaykh, the Teacher of the Age.  But you seek him in the east, when he is in the west.  And there is another thing which is incorrect in your seeking.”

He sent Imam Ja’far (q.s.) back to Andalusia, to find the man he named: Muhyi ad-Din (q.s.), son of al-‘Arabi, of the tribe of Hatim ath-Thai: “He is the Greatest Shaykh.”

Telling nobody why he sought him, Imam Ja’far (q.s.) found the ath-Thai family in Murcia and inquired for their son.  He learnt that he had actually been in Lisbon when Ja’far (q.s.) set off on his travels.  Finally he traced him in Seville.

“There,” said a cleric, “is Muhyi ad-Din.”  He pointed to a mere schoolboy, carrying a book on ahadits, who was at that moment hurrying from a lecture hall.  Imam Ja’far (q.s.) was confused, but stopped the boy and asked, “Who is the Greatest Teacher?”

“I need time to answer that question,” replied the boy.

“Are you the only Muhyi ad-Din, son of al-‘Arabi, of the Tribe of Thai?” asked Imam Ja’far (q.s.).

“I am he.”

“Then I have no need of you.”

Thirty years later, in Aleppo, Imam Ja’far (q.s.) found himself entering the lecture hall of the Greatest Shaykh, Shaykh al-Islam, Shaykh Muhyi ad-Din ibn al-‘Arabi (q.s.), of the tribe of Thai.  Shaykh Muhyi ad-Din (q.s.) saw him as he entered, and spoke, “Now that I am ready to answer the question you asked me, there is no need to ask it at all.  Thirty years ago, Ja’far, you had no need of me.  Have you still no need of me?  The Green One spoke of something wrong in your seeking.  It was time and place.”

Imam Ja’far ibn Yahya (q.s.) became one of the foremost disciples of Shaykh Muhyi ad-Din ibn al-‘Arabi (q.s.).  We must remember that in everything, Allah (s.w.t.) has Decreed a time and place.  It is His time, His place, His Will.


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