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THE STORY OF HAZRAT ZUN NOON MISRY (R.A.)

“How blessed that time when the heart is given to love.
No Istikhara is required for such a deed of righteousness.”

How blessed is that time when Allah granted Hazrat Zun Noon Misry (RA.) the pain and sorrow of His Love! A great agitation was created in the heart and he began weeping and lamenting. A little sorrow encountered through Allah’s love is better than all the other nemats (bounties) of both the worlds. It is such a sorrow which sets one free from all other sorrows. It is also such a sickness which gives one safety from all other illnesses.

“Free from the sorrows of both worlds will you be quickly,
If one atom of sorrow from Allah’s love touches you.” (Akhtar)

The heart, which up to now had only been aware of the transitory worldly pleasures and which only reached up to this transitory world, now through the blessings of true Divine Love has flown up to the heavens and up to the Throne of Allah.

The true devotee of Allah, through the blessings of the special perception of communion with Allah, experiences within himself a wonderful feeling of contact with the hereafter and thus through this perception has only a nominal contact with this worldly existence. His major perception is the contact with the hereafter. My beloved Sheikh Hazrat Phulpuri (RA.) used to explain his condition to his Sheikh Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwy (RA.) thus:

“Hazrat, it is as if I feel that I am not walking upon the ground of this world, but upon the floor of the hereafter. Being busy with worldly things does not prevent me from keeping the hereafter, before me.”

In reality this is what actually happens when the heart develops a strong bond with Allah. Sometimes it also happens that for the special devotees of Allah, special favours are sent from the unseen world. The moments of these special favours are such that words cannot describe them. Only the soul of the person, on whom those special favours descend, can know them and enjoy the pleasures thereof.

Through the Divine Love, a strange condition came over Hazrat Zun Noon Misry (RA.). Hazrat Rumi (RA.) says that he was overtaken by such a feeling of madness and confusion that his sighs and utterances caused people to become greatly affected by it. It seemed that Divine Love brought nothing but crying and sorrow and as if there was nothing good in it.

“Through crying and lamenting, the way towards Allah is easily      traversed, And so nearness is attained which is not reached through years of striving through spiritual exercises.”

The overwhelming nature of his love was such that from the sighs and cries that he uttered people became helpless. Hence a group of irreligious people had him imprisoned in jail. When they took him to jail, he went willingly and happily. Some of his closest friends accompanied him in sympathy. When they locked the door behind him, the friends began to wonder: “What has happened? Such a great Sheikh has been imprisoned.”

It seemed as if the Sheikh himself was hiding the inner condition under a cloud of madness. It may be that in order to avoid the vileness of people, he preferred himself going to. jai1. Possibly it may be that he had become fed up with the company of rational beings and presented himself as a mad one.

Hence, all those friends who visited him in the jail, said to him:
“Respected Sir, we all are your sincere friends and companions. We have come here to inquire about your health and condition. We are surprised and astounded as to who could have laid a charge of insanity against you. We look upon you as the very embodiment of sanity. These people who only look at the external appearances are completely unacquainted with your high position and rank of the nearness to Allah. They regard you as being insane, while we know that you are a True Lover of God. We are your sincere friends and lovers. We look upon. you as our beloved one in both the worlds. Please inform us the reason why you prefer to waste your time in this prison. Please do not keep the secret from us. ”

Sheikh Zun Noon (R.A.) listened to their words and was not convinced by their sincerity. Hence to test their sincerity he picked up some stones and moved towards them. Like a mad man he ran in their direction as if he, was going to stone them. When they saw this they all fled, fearing of being hurt by the stones. Seeing this the Sheikh laughed at their claim of love and sincere friendship and exclaimed:
“Have a look at these friends of the dervish; 0 You ignorant ones. What do you know of love and true friendship? ”

“When does a friend keep himself aloof from the sorrow’s of a friend?
The friendship of a friend is like a skin around him and he will bear all sorrows from his friend.
A friend is like gold and calamities and misfortunes are like fire.
And pure gold shines even brighter when the heat of fire touches it. ”

Maulana Rumi (R.A.) says:’
“0 You, when with one wound you retired from your love,
Choosing the way of those who flee.
It is clear you have not yet been touched by love,
And only mention it.”

In other words, the path of true love is not an easy one to tread. You will have to shed blood from your heart and your liver. Then the path will open up to you.

Hence, one should tread the path of Allah in a manly way. A modern day saintly man – Babu Saheb, who was also a Khalifa of Maulana Thanwy (R.A.) said: “Accept and then resolve. In other words – first, make a strong contact of love with Allah and then resolve to bear all the trials that will come your way while on that path”. For the sake of worldly business and employment a person will bear all kinds of calamities. But this is an affair of the hereafter, for which a person should be prepared to bear even greater burdens.

THE STORY OF HAZRAT BILAL

Hazrat Bilal was an Abyssinian slave belonging to a Jew called Umayya Bin Khalaf. He embraced Islam in the early days of Islam, when the enemies of Islam did not allow the Muslims any restful moments. They tried every effort day and night to extinguish the Noor of Allah but Allah declared that He would complete that Noor, even though the non-believers were averse to it.     .

If Hazrat Bilal had wanted to, he could have kept his conversion to Islam a secret and thus have saved himself from persecution and injury. However, the Love for Allah within him forced him to openly proclaim the Kalima-e-Tawheed and to utter the cry of
“Ahad!Ahad!”.
“When the Lover saw the dagger of Love in the hands of the Beloved,
Without fear and oblivious of danger he ran towards it.
And when the Lover saw the dagger aimed at him,
He felt it compulsory to offer his head towards the knife.
O truly Beloved, in Your remembrance Love seems good to me
And till Qiyamat I want to continue uttering this cry in madness.
When the self has claimed to be a wild duck,
Then when the storm of calamities descended what complaint could it have?”

This means that the wild duck is not afraid of the storm, but is able to overcome the ebb and flow of the waves of the storm. Similarly, the self of the Lover continues on its way along the route without being adversely affected by the storm of happenings.

Hazrat Bilal uttered the cry of “Ahad! Ahad!” till the anger of the Jew forced him to react with violence and he assaulted Hazrat Bilal q~ in such a manner, that his body became filled with blood and injury. He made him lie down on the hot desert sand, saying to him: “Now do not dare utter the cry of God’s oneness!”

Hazrat Bilal replied within himself:
“For the sake of Your Love the disbeliever wants to kill me and is   shouting at me.
O Beloved, Come hither to the lowest heaven and see the show of Your Lover. What a show it is?”

One day Hazrat Abu Bakr was passing that way and saw the blood soaked Bilal ”’crying out: “Ahad! Ahad!”. On hearing this uttered cry, Hazrat Abu Bakr stood still and perceived the love for the Divine Being and the ecstasy involved. Seeing Hazrat Bilal being persecuted to this extent, his heart became agitated and tears came to his eyes. He called Hazrat Bilal towards himself and advised him to utter Allah’s name in solitude and not to utter it in the presence of his persecutor. Otherwise his persecutor would continue to unjustly persecute and punish him. Hazrat Bilal ”’replied: “0 Honoured One, you are the Siddeeq of Rasulullah I accept your advise and will act accordingly. ”

The following day, Hazrat Abu Bakr again happened to pass that way. Again he witnessed the same sight. Hazrat Bilal was again uttering the cry of “Ahad! Ahad!” while the Jew was terribly assaulting him until again his body became blood­stained. Seeing this, Hazrat Abu Bakr ‘was again filled with agitation and he advised Hazrat Bilal “Brother, why do you utter ‘Ahad’ in the presence of this persecutor? Utter it silently and secretly within yourself”. Hazrat Bilal replied: “I make toubah and in future will not act contrary to your advise.”

“0 Foolish One, do not command the nightingale towards silence For when it remembers the garden, its complaints will come on the lips. ”

Maulana Rumi (R.A.) says:
“When Abu Bakr advised him towards silence and secrecy,
Bilal repented again,
But when love overwhelmed, he swallowed the repentance.
It is the message of the troubled heart.
Without You there can be neither peace nor comfort.”

Hazrat Bilal in spite of the numerous calamities of persecutions and pains, could not keep his love for Allah a secret and kept on openly uttering the cry of “Ahad! Ahad!”.

“When Love pulls the strings of its bow,
Many are the souls that become sold for a small price.
The body of Bilal was injured and blood-stained before the Jew,
But his soul was enjoying nearness to Allah in Divine Love, enjoying unending Spring.”

This is what is called True Love. What a sad state of affairs that today people look at sensual love and call it love. That is not love. The love that comes from metaphorical beauty is not really ‘ishq’. It is jisq’ (transgression), which is caused by overeating. If a person has to go without food for a few days he will forget his love and ask for bread. But the Divine Love, because it is placed within the essence of man, even if no worldly needs are acquired, no change comes about in the Lover and his Love does not decrease. Love is actually a name for that kind of surrender that Allah, the truly Beloved is the Doer of everything and the servant is he who is pleased and satisfied with all that He does.

It is a fact that Allah loves seeing His servants in distressed. conditions and their weeping and crying in sorrow to Him. At times, in spite of His numerous mercies and gifts, He sometimes delays in accepting their duahs, so that this sighing and crying before Him is not ended after their needs are met and so that they can continue to call on Him: “Ya Allah!’ Ya Allah!”

Maulana Rumi (R.A.) says:
“Sometimes Allah delays in answering the prayers so that one may continue earnestly to call on Him and crying in humility. While it is done, He is aware thereof and He greatly approves thereof”

Hence, this delay in answering their prayers is for the bondsman a means towards His Mercy and not a sign of His rejection or of His considering the duah as being worthless. For a person to be able to speak secretly to Allah in his communion with Him, is indeed a great honour and a favour for the believer.

A person who has attained the love of Allah, will never be able to attain freedom from it. Now at this stage someone may come forth with an objection. It would appear from this that those who are true lovers of Allah are all the time in a great calamity and distress, instead of experiencing Allah’s Mercy. This is the answer to the one who has such a perception. Actually that is how it will-appear from afar. When looking at the outward features, it gives us a bloody appearance.

“From afar love seems like being bloody
So that insincere lovers do not tread this path.
This bloody appearance is a guard
Against insincere and half-baked lovers, not to come this way.”

On the other hand, when one is endowed with true love, then the following is his description. He says:
“0 Beloved, let it not be the good fortune of your enemy, to be        destroyed by your sword,
May the heads of friends remain safe, for you to try your sword on them. ”

Imagine a certain lover who was pining for his beloved from whom he had been separated for ten years. He has turned pale, gone weak and sick. Now suddenly this beloved arrives and in an embrace presses him so hard that his ribs feel like breaking and his eyes appears to be popping out of their sockets. Noticing
his discomfort, the beloved says: “If you disapprove of this act of mine, I will discard contact with you and become intimate with someone else”. Now, what answer will that lover give? If he is really a lover, he will answer thus:

“May my breath of life go out of me and fall at your feet.
That is the desire of my heart and longing”.

Someone else, looking from afar and from the outside, will get the impression that this lover is experiencing great distress. But question the lover himself and he will explain what joy and pleasure he feels. He will look upon those moments as pleasurable moments and will wish that the time spent in them will be long. When that is the effect of sensual worldly love, then one can just imagine how much greater the ecstasy will be experienced when one has love for the true beloved, i.e. Allah.

From the above example, it should be understood that those people who have fallen prey to Divine Love, although outwardly they would appear to be in great distress and calamities, but inwardly they enjoy nearness to Allah and His Communion, which indeed provides them with great pleasure. Outwardly they may be dressed in tattered clothes, suffering hunger and starvation and be pale in the face, but inwardly they experience great peace, comfort and such joy as if it were experienced by . Kings, who would then forget the pleasure of being in possession of a throne or a crown.

Maulana Rumi (R.A.) quotes Allah as saying:
“This distressed one, covered in a quilt is My special bondsman, Among thousands one such is born.”

The main objective of this life for all creatures is to attain the love of Allah. This is the essential aim of life.

So Hazrat Bilal underwent and endured numerous difficulties and hardships because in his sight the reward for bearing them was great.

“For the sake of the love of my Beloved,
I am in love with suffering pain and sorrow.”

Hazrat Abu Bakr on numerous occasions, advised Hazrat Bilal but on every occasion when he passed that way, he saw the same picture – the Jew persecuting Bilal who was all the time uttering: “Ahad! Ahad!”. Hazrat Abu Bakrq then went to Rasulullah and related the story to him. When Rasulullah  heard the story he was filled with sorrow and tears flowed from his eyes. He asked: “0 Siddeeq! What is the solution to this problem? How can we save Bilal from this calamity?”

Hazrat Abu Bakr replied: “Ya Rasulullah, I shall buy Bilal. Rasulullah said: “All right! Let my share also be therein”. Allahu Akbar! What good a fortune for Bilal that Rasulullah himself also took part in purchasing him. In that black body of Hazrat Bilal was an enlightened heart, which was filled with Allah’s love. Hazrat Abu Bakr approached the Jew at a time when he was again busy beating Bilal. HazratAbn Bakr questioned: “Why are you beating this friend of Allah?” The Jew replied: “If you have so much sympathy for him, then bring the money and take him away as yours”. Hazrat Abu Bakr immediately responded: “Take my white-skinned Jewish slave with the black heart and give me this black skinned slave with the enlightened heart from Abyssinia”. Hazrat Abu Bakr took Bilal and went to Rasulullah. He asked: “Ya Rasulullah, what kind of transaction did I make? I gave away a white bodied, black hearted one and brought back a black body with an enlightened heart”. Rasulullah replied: “You have made a very good sale, 0 Siddeeq”.

Rasulullah embraced Bilal and held him to his heart.
Maulana Rumi (R.A.) says:

“Mustapha embraced Bilal and held him against his chest. The ecstasy Bilal felt! Who can ever imagine that?”

THE STORY OF HAZRAT UMAR AND THE ROMAN ENVOY

Once the ambasador of the Emperor of Rome came to Madina with many gifts. Arriving at Madina, he enquired from the people the whereabouts of the palace of the King of Madina. The people replied: “Our King has no palace. However, our leader, the leader of the believers has a mansion – his respected self which has a special contact with Allah and which has become enlightened through the splendour of His nearness. Thus this has made him independent of the need for royal palaces. ”

They further informed him: “You will find the leader of the believers, Hazrat Umar in the graveyard of Madina”. The Roman Ambassador then went to the graveyard and there saw Hazrat Umar lying down, having taken off his shirt with a sheet covering the lower part of his body. He was lying down fast asleep on the ground with no throne or crown on his head. Neither were there any soldiers nor any bodyguards. But as the ambassador looked at his face, he began shaking with fear. Within himself he said:

“I have seen many great Kings in this life
And have been the companion and confidant of many Rulers. Never have I any fear for any King.
But the awe and fear I feel for this one
Dressed in such tattered clothing is causing my senses to depart.
This person without any weapons and without any forces sleeping   here alone on this ground.
What is it that causes my whole body to shake and tremble in awe of him?
Even if I had seven bodies, they would not bear it and all would tremble. ”
Then the envoy said to himself:
“This awe and fear that I feel is not for this one who is dressed in    tattered clothes.
In fact, this is fear of Allah for this tattered clothed one has a heart that is blessed with Allah’s contact and nearness.”

Thus this envoy, through the blessings of Hazrat Umar’ s      company and grace converted to Islam.

Maulana Rumi (RA.) says:
“He who fears Allah and adopts a life of righteousness, him the jinn and men fear   .
And whoever sees him is overpowered by awe and fear. ”

Lesson from this Story

This story teaches us the lesson that true honour for men is brought about by true and deep contact with Allah and not by outward shows of beauty and adornment. But the foolish ones of our age are displeasing Allah and in spite of committing sins are endeavouring to acquire honour and respect by building beautiful mansions, dressing in expensive clothing and putting their trust in their businesses. But we see that the honour they acquire is such that in their absence, those very same people who honour them in their presence swear them.

Today, he may be the President of the country, but the moment he vacates that position or is removed from this position, then there is no more any honour for him in the newspapers. Similarly is the position of the Kings. But Saints of Allah, the Awliyaa ­Allah, are the true Kings. Hence they are called Shah. This is their true position and description in this world as well as after their demise. They continue to be mentioned with honour even after their death.