Sunday, 17 August 2014
The Mu’adzin of Sefrou
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from Signs on the Horizons by Shaykh Michael Sugich.
“I would never have noticed Hajj Muhammad al-Khidhra’a (q.s.) had not one of my companions pointed him out to me in a large gathering of Sufis in Meknes in 1975. He did not have an imposing appearance. He was an elderly man in his 70s or 80s, white bearded, with a high forehead and wearing the dark green turban of the Darqawa, lost in the crowd, head bowed, reciting Sufi odes, qaswa’id. We somehow expect men of spiritual attainment to have an obvious beatific presence. This is sometimes the case, but more often than not the saints are wrapped in anonymity.
He had been the mu’adzin, the one who delivers the call to prayer, of Sefrou, a small village outside Fes. He was, I was told, a very great saint. For many years he had lived in a state of extreme dread, khawf, of God. This is an exalted and terrible spiritual condition on the Way in which the Sufi is overwhelmed with fear and paralyzed by a direct experience of God’s Majesty, Jalal. According to Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.), in Futuh al-Ghayb: ‘al-Jalal produces a disquieting fear and creates disturbing apprehension and overpowers the heart in such an awful manner and its symptoms become visible on the physical body.’
According to fuqara’ who knew him at the time, Hajj Muhammad (q.s.) lived for years in a state of paralysis and terror, rarely speaking and weeping copiously. He constantly trembled with fear and was repeatedly struck by what the Sufis call ‘lightning’, ‘barq’, which is a spiritual event where a powerful electric-like wave shoots from the base of the spine through the neck like a lightning bolt. When this happens, the faqir should cry out the Name of God, ‘Allah!’, and then lower the eyes and say a blessing on the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). The experience can be shattering and hits certain people on the path from time to time. In Hajj Muhammad’s (q.s.) case, lightning struck him over and over again for years. The impact is hard to imagine. By the time I met him, he had passed through this station transformed, and was now basking in the Beauty, Jamal, and Mercy, Rahmah, of God. His whole manner was effusive, light and overflowing. He was childlike, innocent and unreservedly sweet. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.)described this condition in Futuh al-Ghayb as the Divine ‘Reflection on the heart of man producing light, joy, elegance and sweet words and loving conversation and glad tidings with regard to great gifts and high position and closeness to Himself…’”