Sufinama

Letter No. 5- God shows the way

Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti

Letter No. 5- God shows the way

Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti

MORE BY Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti

    “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

    “The flower of those who hold communion with God, and the lover of the Lord of the universe, my brother, Qutubuddin of Delhi, may you be happy in the shelter of true God.

    “One day when I, your well-wisher, was in attendance upon Khwaja Usman Harooni, a man came to him and said, “O Sheikh, I have acquired deferent kinds of knowledge, but have not attained my object.” The Sheikh replied, “You must do one thing which will make you a scholar and abstinent. It is what our chosen Prophet and Messenger of god, May blessings and peace of God be upon him, has said, i.e. renunciation of the world is the secret of all worship, while its love the root of all evil. If you act up to this Tradition, you will need no other knowledge. It is a subtle point which it is easy to understand but difficult to practice. Now, know it for certain that you cannot renounce the world until love for God has reached the highest pitch. And love is born only when God shows the way; without His showing the way, the object cannot be achieved. The Quranic verse runs: “He whom God shows the way is the one who has been put on the path of righteousness.” It, therefore, behaves a man not to waste his time in worldly pursuits but always keep God in view. He should, rather regarding time as a fine opportunity, spend his life in poverty and abstinence and hunger, behave with humility, and hang down his head in shame on account of his sins. He should always be humble and submissive; because, in the realm of worship and devotion, these are the most valuable assets.” Then he told this story which came pat to the purpose:-

    STORY OF HATIM’S 8 LESSONS

    “Hatim the Deaf was a pupil and disciple of Khwaja Usman. One day the Sheikh asked him how long he had lived and served him and been attending his lectures? He replied that he had done that for 30 years. The Sheikh again asked him as to how much he had acquired and benefited during this period” Hatim replied that he had learnt eight things. The Sheikh, still continuing, asked him if he did not have them before, and was told, in reply, that he did not, and that, as a matter of fact, he now needed no more. The Sheikh then said, “Verily we are jar God and verily we shall return to Him. Hatim, I spent all my life for you, and I do not want you to know more than this.” Hatim then said, “This much is enough for me, Sir, because this embraces the good of both the worlds.” “All right”, said the Sheikh, “now tell me what those eight things are.”

    Hatim began thus:-

    (1) Good deeds, the eternal companions

    Firstly- when I reflected on the world, I found that everyone had a beloved. There are several kinds of beloved; some are with him until the throes of death and some till he is dead, while others follow him to the verge of grave. Beyond this, none goes with him; none goes with him into his grave to sympathize with him there, and hold to him a torch of light, and help him travel safely through the stages of the Day-of-Judgment. It, then, dawned upon me a man’s good deeds. I, therefore, made them my beloved, and bestowed my love on them so that they might sympathize with me in my grave and not desert me.

    Sheikh- You did well.

    (2) Control of animal desires

    Hatim- Secondly, when I reflected on the conduct of the people, I found that all follow desires and are led by their longings. I, then, pondered over the Quranic verse: “He who fearing God checked the animal desires shall have his place in heaven,” and was convinced that the Holy Book was right. Therefore, I opposed the animal desires, and put them in the crucible of struggle (in defense of faith) and did not act up to a single prompting of theirs. I derived consolation from worship of God, the most high.

    Sheikh- May God bless this. You did well.

    (3) Contentment

    Hatim- Thirdly, When I reflected on the affairs of the world, and found that everyone is after the worldly affair, puts up with troubles and tribulations, gets something from the worldly lords, and is very happy. I, then, pondered over this Quranic verse; “Whatever is with you is bound to come to an end, and whatever is with God shall ever remain.” Therefore, whatever I had put by I spent for God, and consigned myself to His care so that it might be endowed with eternity and be my guide and provision in the other world.

    Sheikh- (Praying for blessings)- You did well.

    (4) Abstinence

    Hatim- fourthly, When I reflected on the condition of human beings, I found that some men regard those as nobles, respectable and great who belong to a numerous race; they look upon wealth and number of children as the source of respect and honor, and take pride in them. I, then, pondered over this Quranic verse: “With God is he most honored who is most abstemious.” It goes without saying that this is right and true, and what people think is quite wrong. So I adopted abstinence in order that I might deserve honor in the eyes of God.

    Sheikh- You did well.

    (5) Jealousy

    Hatim- Fifthly, When I reflected on the condition of people, I found that they speak ill of one another out of jealousy only; and they are jealous of wealth, position and knowledge. I, then, pondered over this Quranic verse; “We distributed food among them, etc. for their terrestrial life.” When this has fallen to their share from eternity and no one has a hand in it, what good can jealousy do them? I, therefore, determined to behave peacefully towards everybody.

    Sheikh- You did well.

    (6) Satan- the foe of mankind

    Hatim- Sixthly, when I reflected on the world I found that some people are enemies of one another, and bear grudge in particular matters. I, then, pondered over this Quranic verse: “Verily Satan is your enemy.” I, then, realized that the word of God is quite true. Really, Satan is our enemy; he should not be followed. Since then I look upon Satan as my enemy. I neither follow nor listen him. I follow the commands of God and honor Him, which is right. God says, “O son of Adam, did I not warn thee against the following and worshipping of Satan, and against treading on his footsteps, because he is thy open foe” Worship Me which is the way straight.”

    Sheikh- You did well.

    (7) God provides for every creature

    Hatim- Seventhly, when I reflected on the world, I found that everyone is making tremendous efforts to earn his bread, which leads to unlawful things and humiliation and degradation. I, then, pondered over the Quranic verse: “There is not a single creature on the face of the earth for whose subsistence God is not responsible.” I realized, then, that His word is true, as I am also one of those creatures. I busied myself with the worship of God, firmly believing that He will provide for me, because He Himself has promised it.

    Sheikh- You did well.

    (8) Reliance on God

    Hatim- Eighthly, When I reflected on the God’s creatures, I found that everyone relies on one thing or the other. Some rely on gold and silver, while others on their Quranic verse: “God is enough for him who relies on Him.” I, then, relied on God, and He is enough for me and is my good supporter.

    Sheikh- Hatim, may God grant you power to act up to all this. I have carefully read the Book of Moses, the Bible, the Psalms of David, and the Quran, and from these books I gathered only these points. He who acts up to them follows these books virtually. This story made it clear to me that it was the deeds, and not the pro-found knowledge, which were really needed.”

    “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

    “The flower of those who hold communion with God, and the lover of the Lord of the universe, my brother, Qutubuddin of Delhi, may you be happy in the shelter of true God.

    “One day when I, your well-wisher, was in attendance upon Khwaja Usman Harooni, a man came to him and said, “O Sheikh, I have acquired deferent kinds of knowledge, but have not attained my object.” The Sheikh replied, “You must do one thing which will make you a scholar and abstinent. It is what our chosen Prophet and Messenger of god, May blessings and peace of God be upon him, has said, i.e. renunciation of the world is the secret of all worship, while its love the root of all evil. If you act up to this Tradition, you will need no other knowledge. It is a subtle point which it is easy to understand but difficult to practice. Now, know it for certain that you cannot renounce the world until love for God has reached the highest pitch. And love is born only when God shows the way; without His showing the way, the object cannot be achieved. The Quranic verse runs: “He whom God shows the way is the one who has been put on the path of righteousness.” It, therefore, behaves a man not to waste his time in worldly pursuits but always keep God in view. He should, rather regarding time as a fine opportunity, spend his life in poverty and abstinence and hunger, behave with humility, and hang down his head in shame on account of his sins. He should always be humble and submissive; because, in the realm of worship and devotion, these are the most valuable assets.” Then he told this story which came pat to the purpose:-

    STORY OF HATIM’S 8 LESSONS

    “Hatim the Deaf was a pupil and disciple of Khwaja Usman. One day the Sheikh asked him how long he had lived and served him and been attending his lectures? He replied that he had done that for 30 years. The Sheikh again asked him as to how much he had acquired and benefited during this period” Hatim replied that he had learnt eight things. The Sheikh, still continuing, asked him if he did not have them before, and was told, in reply, that he did not, and that, as a matter of fact, he now needed no more. The Sheikh then said, “Verily we are jar God and verily we shall return to Him. Hatim, I spent all my life for you, and I do not want you to know more than this.” Hatim then said, “This much is enough for me, Sir, because this embraces the good of both the worlds.” “All right”, said the Sheikh, “now tell me what those eight things are.”

    Hatim began thus:-

    (1) Good deeds, the eternal companions

    Firstly- when I reflected on the world, I found that everyone had a beloved. There are several kinds of beloved; some are with him until the throes of death and some till he is dead, while others follow him to the verge of grave. Beyond this, none goes with him; none goes with him into his grave to sympathize with him there, and hold to him a torch of light, and help him travel safely through the stages of the Day-of-Judgment. It, then, dawned upon me a man’s good deeds. I, therefore, made them my beloved, and bestowed my love on them so that they might sympathize with me in my grave and not desert me.

    Sheikh- You did well.

    (2) Control of animal desires

    Hatim- Secondly, when I reflected on the conduct of the people, I found that all follow desires and are led by their longings. I, then, pondered over the Quranic verse: “He who fearing God checked the animal desires shall have his place in heaven,” and was convinced that the Holy Book was right. Therefore, I opposed the animal desires, and put them in the crucible of struggle (in defense of faith) and did not act up to a single prompting of theirs. I derived consolation from worship of God, the most high.

    Sheikh- May God bless this. You did well.

    (3) Contentment

    Hatim- Thirdly, When I reflected on the affairs of the world, and found that everyone is after the worldly affair, puts up with troubles and tribulations, gets something from the worldly lords, and is very happy. I, then, pondered over this Quranic verse; “Whatever is with you is bound to come to an end, and whatever is with God shall ever remain.” Therefore, whatever I had put by I spent for God, and consigned myself to His care so that it might be endowed with eternity and be my guide and provision in the other world.

    Sheikh- (Praying for blessings)- You did well.

    (4) Abstinence

    Hatim- fourthly, When I reflected on the condition of human beings, I found that some men regard those as nobles, respectable and great who belong to a numerous race; they look upon wealth and number of children as the source of respect and honor, and take pride in them. I, then, pondered over this Quranic verse: “With God is he most honored who is most abstemious.” It goes without saying that this is right and true, and what people think is quite wrong. So I adopted abstinence in order that I might deserve honor in the eyes of God.

    Sheikh- You did well.

    (5) Jealousy

    Hatim- Fifthly, When I reflected on the condition of people, I found that they speak ill of one another out of jealousy only; and they are jealous of wealth, position and knowledge. I, then, pondered over this Quranic verse; “We distributed food among them, etc. for their terrestrial life.” When this has fallen to their share from eternity and no one has a hand in it, what good can jealousy do them? I, therefore, determined to behave peacefully towards everybody.

    Sheikh- You did well.

    (6) Satan- the foe of mankind

    Hatim- Sixthly, when I reflected on the world I found that some people are enemies of one another, and bear grudge in particular matters. I, then, pondered over this Quranic verse: “Verily Satan is your enemy.” I, then, realized that the word of God is quite true. Really, Satan is our enemy; he should not be followed. Since then I look upon Satan as my enemy. I neither follow nor listen him. I follow the commands of God and honor Him, which is right. God says, “O son of Adam, did I not warn thee against the following and worshipping of Satan, and against treading on his footsteps, because he is thy open foe” Worship Me which is the way straight.”

    Sheikh- You did well.

    (7) God provides for every creature

    Hatim- Seventhly, when I reflected on the world, I found that everyone is making tremendous efforts to earn his bread, which leads to unlawful things and humiliation and degradation. I, then, pondered over the Quranic verse: “There is not a single creature on the face of the earth for whose subsistence God is not responsible.” I realized, then, that His word is true, as I am also one of those creatures. I busied myself with the worship of God, firmly believing that He will provide for me, because He Himself has promised it.

    Sheikh- You did well.

    (8) Reliance on God

    Hatim- Eighthly, When I reflected on the God’s creatures, I found that everyone relies on one thing or the other. Some rely on gold and silver, while others on their Quranic verse: “God is enough for him who relies on Him.” I, then, relied on God, and He is enough for me and is my good supporter.

    Sheikh- Hatim, may God grant you power to act up to all this. I have carefully read the Book of Moses, the Bible, the Psalms of David, and the Quran, and from these books I gathered only these points. He who acts up to them follows these books virtually. This story made it clear to me that it was the deeds, and not the pro-found knowledge, which were really needed.”

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