THE STORY OF HAZRAT SHAH ABUL-HASAN KHARQANI (R.A.)

Once a, true dervish (seeker after truth) undertook a long journey from Taliqaan to Khaarqaan in order to pay a visit to Hazrat Shah Abul-Hasan Kharqani (RA.). Along this journey he had to cross many mountains and valleys. Along the way he bore great difficulties like thirst, but he endured all that patiently for the sake of his love. In this dervish there was such restlessness and longing for divine love that it forced him to take up this journey. Such is the way of love. What happens in the case of Divine Love? It has a different effect upon different people.

“What word did you utter in the ear of the flower
That it now laughs in pleasure.
And what did you mention to the nightingale
That now through the pains of love it weeps and laments?”

My Sheikh Maulana Phulpoori (RA.) used to tell me a story about a great Majzoob Soofi who used to live somewhere in the rural district. The condition of ‘Qabz’ descended on him from Allah’s side. In the technical terms ‘Qabz’ is such a condition which the Soofi feels when he experiences spiritual inactivity, non-progress, depression and a lessening in the presence of Allah. His heart feels no joy in ibaadah and it seems as if there is no pleasure derived from Zikr. This condition is sent over to a devotee with the sole purpose of a spiritual training towards the acquisition of his spiritual progress. If the devotee should at all times enjoy the feeling of Allah’s nearness, then there is the possibility of pride and arrogance being created within him which could be the cause of his spiritual destruction. Allah dislikes all sins from His bondsmen but the most hated characteristic that He disapproves from them is that of pride and arrogance.

Hence, the experience of ‘Qabz’ brings the devotee towards humility which in Allah’s sight is a very well-liked characteristic. Man is a bondsman (slave) of Allah, an ‘abd’. In the word ‘abd’, the meaning of humility and distressed state are included. Hence for someone to be an ‘abd’ slave of Allah and at the same time to have in him pride or arrogance, is a contradiction and the cause of great loss.

“Allah has created you from dust, hence a bondsman,
Adopt an attitude of meekness and humility like dust.”

Sometimes, it also happens that the feeling of ‘Qabz’ comes about as a result of some sins being committed. Through these sins, darkness is created in the heart as a result of which no pleasure is felt in the performance of the ibaadat. But no matter what the cause of ‘Qabz’ may be, much seeking of forgiveness (istighfaar) proves to be very beneficial.

My Sheikh Hazrat Phulpoori (RA.) said: “No matter how strong the feelings of ‘Qabz’ one may feel, no matter how deep the feeling of darkness in the heart and the spiritual inactivity one may feel and no matter if this condition lasts for years, in order to combat it, one must daily make wudoo and then perform two rak’ ahs nafal salaah with the intention of ‘toubah’. Thereafter proceed into sujood and in utter humility, grief and crying before Allah make ‘istigfaar’ and then recite this Wazeefa 360 times:

“Ya Hayyum, Ya Qayyum,
La ilaha illa ant a Subhaanaka innee kuntu minaz ­Zaalimeen”.

“0 Living God, 0 Self Subsisting One, there is no God save Thee. Verily I have been of the unjust ones.”

In this Wazeefa we have the words ‘Ya Hayyu, Ya Qayyum’. These are two Holy Names of Allah and in the Hadith it has been mentioned as being the Ismul-A’zam – ‘The Great Name of Allah’. This is followed by that verse of the Quran which Nabi Yunus (A.5.) recited and through its recitation, he was saved from three layers of darkness. The first layer of darkness was the darkness of night. The second layer of darkness was the darkness within the’ water and the third one was the darkness within the belly of the fish. To explain Nabi Yunus’s (A.S.) condition in the three darknesses, the Quran says ‘Wa huwa Kazeem’: ‘He was depressed’ .

‘Kazm’ is an arabic term that is given to that feeling of distress in which a person remains quiet.

Through the blessings of this verse, Allah saved Nabi Yunus (A.5.) from sorrows and thereafter Allah announced: “Wa Katha lika nun-jil mu meneen”. And so we save the believers’.

This shows that from that day until Qiyamat, this verse had been revealed as a treatment for driving off sorrows and affliction. Any believer, when in trouble and encountering calamities, habitually and profusely shall recite this verse, he will surely be saved.

In this verse, there is mention of Allah’s Glory and also an admission of one’s own nothingness and unworthiness. Further, there is also a measure of the expression of grief and regret which is tantamount to toubah (repentance). In fact, it is the most important ingredient of Repentance. After reciting this verse, one must then recite Durood Shareef three times.

The story being told was about a saintly man living in the rural areas who was suffering from a very heavy form of ‘Qabz’. It so happened that the nearness he felt towards Allah became clouded like clouds over the sun. He went from one place to another crying in sorrow over the loss of Allah’s communion. He went about crying and lamenting the loss of his condition:

“My Beloved, just like cooked dhall without rice, is tasteless,
So also are the days of my life in Thy absence.
Through sorrow the days of my life seem foreign to me
And my nights and days are suffering in parting from Thee.
O My Beloved, through Thy parting my days are bitter And from my soul my comfort has been removed.”

When my Murshid used to relate this story, the tears used to stream from his eyes and a strange condition used to descend upon him. It is true that the pleasure of love should be heard from the one who experiences such love and knows the pains involved therein. “How can one without pain know the ecstasy of such pain?”

In any case, we were talking about a dervish undertaking a long and arduous journey to meet his Murshid, Shah Abul-Hasan Kharqani (R.A.). After this long and arduous journey he finally reached Khaarqaan. After making enquiries from various people, he finally reached the house of his Sheikh. He knocked on the door. At the time Hazrat Shah Saheb (R.A.) was not at home. He had gone towards the forest to fetch some wood. From inside the house, Shah Saheb’s wife enquired: “Who is there?” He replied: “1 am a Musaafir, who has travelled a long journey with the sole purpose of visiting Shah Saheb”. The wife was a woman with a bad and quick temperament. When she heard about the traveller’s love and confidence in the Sheikh, she became very angry and said: “0 Man, have you no other work in this world than to undertake such a long journey with so much difficulty and all that pain and effort for something useless?”    .

She then continued to criticise Hazrat Shah Saheb (RA.) in such insulting words that it would be inappropriate even to mention them. When the Mureed heard these words from the Sheikh’s wife, he could not restrain himself and said: “If you did not have a marriage relationship with Hazrat Sheikh (R.A.), then I would tear your body to pieces. But you are the wife of that Great Devoted A reef of Allah. Therefore, I will refrain from any rudeness. ”

The traveller then departed from the house and enquired from the people the whereabout of the Sheikh. Someone informed him that the Sheikh had gone to the forest to fetch wood. In his love for the Sheikh, the mureed went in that direction. On the way he thought to himself:

“Such a great and famous Sheikh and he has such a bad-tempered wife. I do not know how such a bad-tempered wife can be blessed with the company of such a man”. While those thoughts were passing through his mind, he saw someone coming along on the back of a lion with a bundle of wood. It was none other than the saint of that time, Hazrat Shah Abul-Hasan Kharqani (RA.). When the Sheikh saw the Mureed he burst out laughing. He realised that the words of the wife have made him sad and depressed. He said:

“If my patience did not bear the bitterness of a bad-tempered woman,
Then why would this lion now carry me around?
I bear the many heavy burdens and difficulties caused by this foolish woman
And these are all borne for Allah’s sake as mujahadah,
Because I am beloved and accepted amongst men
And the honour of men causes pride to be created in me.
Thus my pride and arrogance is treated for me by this woman
Through her insulting ways and ill-tempered manner.”

Allah is the Lord of this world. From Him alone comes both the outward and inner fostering of men. Thus for the inner fostering of any devotee, He produces the means towards the unseen ways of fostering. He handles every devotee according to his measure of tolerating sorrows and bearing them, No matter how purified a person’s self may be, there always exists the danger of a relapse towards evil.

“The nature of the self is like Fir-aun.
Be not satisfied with it
Whenever you become unmindful of it,
It remembers its previous Kufr.”

My Sheikh Maulana Phulpoori (RA.) told me a story about a certain saintly man. His maid servant, having seen him for quite some time eating chicken and dressed in splendid clothes, began wondering: “What kind of Holy man is this who at all times lives a life of comfort and never experiences any difficulties?”

The maid servant informed the Sheikh about her doubts: “Sir, I have heard that the saints of Allah are made to bear great burdens and calamities while on Allah’s path. Then in reply to that they become blessed with the great blessing of Wi lay at (sainthood). But I see you at all times eating chicken and dressed in splendid clothes”. The Saint on hearing these words uttered one sigh and replied: “Remove my clothes from my back”. When she lifted the clothes from his back she saw a huge running sore on his back from which pus was all the time being exuded. This sore was all the time giving the Sheikh much pain and trouble. Seeing this the servant became quite ashamed and asked for pardon for her misconception.

Thus we see that there are times when the saintly ones will joke and jest. They will sometimes wear splendid clothes, eat splendid food, accept the invitations from friends and people will press and kiss their hands and feet but ask their hearts what passes through them:

“On my lips there is always a smile and my eyes too are not wet      with tears, But, the continuous tears of my heart, no one knows.”

Lesson from this Story

From this story, we learn that if involuntarily some calamity or misfortune befalls us we should not be unduly worried because in exchange for that misfortune and sorrow, Allah grants such a bounty that is so much greater than the calamity.

Sometimes, a small calamity can be the cause of being saved from a major calamity. Just as in this story we see how the ill temper of the wife proved to be a saviour for Hazrat Shah Saheb (RA.) from pride and arrogance.

However, one should not seek misfortunes or wish for calamities but should at all times pray for well-being: “0 Allah, we are weak and do not possess the strength to bear misfortunes. I am begging of You for general well being.”

When we pray we should always pray for Aafiyah (well-being) but should also remember that whatever conditions Allah sends over us we should be satisfied therewith and should also at all times pray that Allah keep calamities far away from us.