Dust Under Your Feet

10 April 1988


The Sheikh Wahid Bakhsh Rabbani (r) did train and educate his Murids by asking us to answer the following questions which are in a story form:

1.     Hazrat Shaikh Bayazid Bestami (r) says:


“Sometimes when somebody utters the name of Allah before me I feel like striking a blow on his head. But there is a time when he does that I feel like putting sugar in his mouth.”


The leader of the discourse should ask the audience to explain the reason for the difference in the Sheikh’s behavior at different occasions and let me know each answer. I will then give my answer.


2.     Shaikh Bayazid also said: “When I went for Hajj for the first time, I did Tawaf around the House (Kaaba). Next time I went I did Tawaf around the Master of the House. The third time, I did Tawaf around myself.”

Call for answers from the audience (murids) and report each answer to me.

3.     Once a murid of Shaikh Shaqiq Balkhi was going for Hajj. The Shaikh told him to say his salam to Shaikh Abu Yazid Bestami (r) who lived by the road to Mecca. When the murid met Shaikh Abu Yazid Bestami (r), he asked, “By the way, what is your Shaikh doing?” The murid said, “His status is such that the earth turns into stone and does not grow anything, and if the skies turns into iron and send no rain, my Shaikh’s Tawakkal is not affected. Shaikh Abu Yazid said, “This shows he is the greatest Mushrik on earth.” The murid was alarmed and went back to his Shaikh to report the matter. On hearing what Shaikh Abu Yazid said about him, he fell senseless for several days. When he recovered, he sent the murid back to Shaikh Abu Yazid to ask him, “What was he?” The murid went to Shaikh Abu Yazid and said, “Sir, my Shaikh wants to know what you are?” He said, “I am Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim.” He also said go and tell your sheikh to get a piece of bread from the neighbor and eat.”


Ask the audience to explain why Shaikh Abu Yazid called Shaikh Shaqiq Balkhi as the greatest Mushrik on earth, and what is the meaning of “I am Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim?” and why he advised him to get a piece of bread from the neighbor and eat?


4.     Once a Darwesh resorted to Tawakkal and went into a forest, “thinking that Allah will give me food to eat.” But he did not get anything for several days. He felt extremely hungry. He saw a lame and blind bird being fed by another big bird. He said to God, “Is that blind bird better than me.” A voice said, “Why do you try to be the blind bird?” “Why not be the bird who is feeding it?” Hearing this, the Darwesh left solitude and adopted a profession for livelihood.


5.     Once a Shaikh Ibrahim Khawaz was going to the desert to seek seclusion for some time. When he looked behind he saw a person with accursed sort-face following him. The man said, “You Shaikh do not be surprised. I am a Christian Monk and I want to share the privacy with you.” The Shaikh said, “I have nothing to feed you and how can you live with me.” The Christian Monk said, “The fame of your greatness has spread all over the world, and you say you cannot feed me.” The Shaikh said, “Alright come along.” After a week the Monk said, “I am terribly hungry and thirsty. Give me food and drink.” The Shaikh went into sajda (prostration) and implored the Almighty to send food and drink. When he raised his head he saw two breads and two cups of water lying there and both of them were satisfied. After another week the Monk said again, “O Shaikh, I cannot live. I am so hungry and thirsty.” The Shaikh said, “Now, it is your turn to ask for food and drink.” The Monk went into sajda and when he raised his head there appeared four bread and four cups of water there. The Shaikh says, “Seeing this I feel rather ashamed and perturbed that a Christian Monk got the double of my gifts.” Seeing my uneasiness the Monk said, “Sir, do not worry, first make me a Muslim and then take me as your murid. I will then tell you what had happened.”  When the Shaikh had converted the Christaian Monk to Islam and made him his murid (Baiyat), the Monk said, “When I went into sajda I prayed to the Almighty for two things. I said if Islam is your true religion, give us two breads and two cups of water. And if this Shaikh is a genuine Shaikh give us another two breads and two cups of water. When God gave me four cups of water and four breads, I was convinced that Islam is a true religion and you are a true Shaikh.”

6.     A Shaikh (I forgot the name) has said in the book Mirrat-al-Asrar (Mirror of Mystics) translated by me from Persian into Urdu and published about ten years ago, “Once I saw the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and Prophet Musa (a.s) in a dream together  in the Paradise. Hadrat Musa asked our Prophet (pbuh), “You have said in a Hadis that the Ulama (Auliya) of your Ummat are equal in status to the Prophets of Banu Israel. Now who are those persons?” The prophet (pbuh) pointed to the soul of Imam Ghazali. Hadrat Musa (a.s) looked towards Imam Ghazali and said, “What is your name?” Imam Ghazali said, “Sir, my name is Abu Hamid ,Mohammad Ghazali Ibn so and so, and Ibn so and so.” Hadrat Musa said, “I asked only your name, but you have stated the names of your father and grandfather and your profession as well.” Imam Ghazali replied, “Sir, you also did the same. When Allah s.w.t asked you, “Musa, what is in your hand? And you said it is my staff with which I tend my sheep, strike the trees to get leaves for the sheep, etc. You could have said simply that it is a staff.” What Imam Ghazali meant was that when a small person is in conversation with a higher authority, he likes to prolong the speech. But our Prophet (pbuh) did not like this straight forward reply to a Prophet by Imam Ghazali and patting his shoulder said, “Addib Ghazali Addib,” (O Ghazali be respectful, be respectful). The word Addib is from Adab which means good manners. It is said that when Imam Ghazali was born he had the mark of the Prophet’s touch on his shoulders.


7.     Once a Shaikh was sitting and his murid was in Moraqba. Suddenly the murid started weeping. When the Shaikh asked for the reason, the murid said, “I have seen my mother in the Hell.” The Shaikh said, “Do not worry. I have recited Kalima Tayyiba for 100,000 times for myself because it is said in a Hadis that he who recited Kalima Tayyiba for 100,000 times will not go to the Hell. Now, I transfer the sawab (blessings) of my recital to your mother.” The murid went again into Moraqba and was happy to see that his mother was in the Paradise. When he told his Shaikh that he saw his mother in the Paradise, the Shaikh said, “Your vision (Kashf) confirms the Hadis to be true and the Hadis confirms your vision (Kashf) to be true. According to this Hadis I was told by my Shaikh to recite the Kalima 100,000 times for myself. But later on I transferred the sawab (blessings) to my father. The Shaikh came to know about it by Kashf and said, “You must have it for yourself also.” So I recited again.

8.     Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi has narrated the following story in his Mathnavi. Please read out this story in the meeting of pir brothers and sisters and ask everybody to guess what its significance is, and then let me know the answer given by each person. You also give your own guess work. After that I will disclose the real significance.

The story:

“Once a King was going on horseback with all his courtiers and attendants. He happened to see an extremely beautiful girl who was begging. The King ordered his people to bring the girl to the royal palace. She was given a bath and was dressed in the royal robe. But she did not like the King and was not prepared to marry him. The King tried his best to convince her but she did not agree and fell ill. The King was so sad, he called all the doctors to cure her but she did not recover and was going from bad to worst. The King prayed to God Almighty in the night and was told in a dream that he should go out of the city from such and such gate and the first man he will see, will be the doctor who will cure her. Early in the morning the King went out and found a pious person coming. He took him to his palace and asked him to cure the girl. When the doctor saw her, he at once diagnosed her illness. He said to the King, “This girl is in love with a goldsmith in Samarkand and will be cured as soon as she meets him.” The King sent his guards to bring the goldsmith. As soon as she saw him (goldsmith), she was cured and looked very normal. But the King was at pains. He wanted the girl for himself. Seeing the King in a miserable plight, the doctor gave some medicine (a drink) to the goldsmith which made him ill and he lost all his charms, so that the girl got sick of him and loved him no more and turned to the King.”


Please ask every pir brother and sister to think over it and guess what the real meanings of this story are.



Hadhrat Syed Muhammad Zauqi Shah (r) (the Shaikh of Hadhrat Wahid Bakhsh Rabbani (r)) said that before conversion to Sufism Hadhrat Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi was a great orthodox scholar of Islam and used to teach in a Madrisa where as many as 700 perfect Ulama received higher education as his students at a time. His Masjid was held in such sanctity that no scholar of Islam could step into it without undergoing regular tests of his ability. Once Maulana-i-Rumi was busy giving dars (lecture or lesson) when a Darwesh called Shams Tabrez dressed as a Qalandar with a long moustache, short beard and unislamic bearing walked into the Masjid, mounted the pulpit and started playing the flute to the utter bewilderment and anger of the attendants who raised great hue and cry at the audacity of the Darwesh. But the Maulana Rumi was so much impressed by him that he pacified the angry students and explained away the Darwesh’s misbehavior by saying that he may be mad and incapable of obeying the commands of Shariat.

   The subject under discussion was Miaraj (Ascension) of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). One of the students asked the following question: “How can be possible for the Prophet to go out of his room during the night of Miaraj when the door remained closed and there was no opening either in the roof to enable him to go out? This world of ours is governed by the law of Causality. Hadis says that when Hadhrat Isa (peace be upon him) descends from Heaven he will first descend on the minaret of the Jamia Masjid Damascus, and will demand a ladder to be able to come down on the ground. When the people will ask him “Why can’t you come down without a ladder while you have descended from the Heavens without a ladder?” He will say, “I want a ladder because this world is governed by the law of Causality. Now, since the Prophet of Islam (pbuh) was in the same world of Cause and Effect, how can it be possible for him to go out the room without an outlet in the ceiling?” The Maulana came forward with an argument which was rejected by the student. He gave another argument which was again rejected. He gave the third argument which also met the same fate. At this the Maulana lost his temper and told the critic not to waste his time, but see him at home to get the answer. At this Shams Tabrez said, “Why don’t you satisfy his question?” Hearing this the Maulana burst into anger and said, “I see, you have the audacity to intervene in a scholarly discussion when you do not even know that playing the flute in the Masjid and the dress you are wearing is unlawful in Islam.” Shams Tabrez said, “Well, if you think I am violating the commands of Shariah, you are duty-bound to punish me otherwise you will be answerable to God.” At this the Maulana was enraged and told the students to tie him round a pillar and flog him according to the rules of Shariah. But they were amazed to see that the rope which they tried to fasten around him passed through his body and he could not be tied. Their astonishment knew no bounds when Shams Tabrez told them to try the rope on the pillar and it passed through the pillar. Now, Shams Tabrez looked at the critic and said, “My dear son, you have seen with your own eyes how a slave of the slave of the slaves of Muhammad (pbuh) is above the law of Causality, do you think the Master himself could be bound by that law. Certainly not!” Saying this he went out and disappeared.

     Seeing this Maulana Jalaluddin was highly upset. He stopped teaching, closed the school and went out searching for the Shaikh who had so inflamed his very being. After a year’s search, he found Shams Tabrez sitting on a sand dune and playing the flute. He fell on his feet and said, “Sir, kindly teach me the lesson the alphabet of which you displayed on that day.” Shams Tabrez blew his flute into the ears of the Maulana and passed his Nisbah into him. This is how the seekers are now initiated into Silsala Maulviya. Their Zikr also consists of blowing the flute and dancing around.

      The world famous Masnawi of Maulana Rum also starts with flute. He says, “Listen to flute what it says. It complains of its separation from its origin, the tree.” What he means by the flute is Man who is crying and screaming to go back to his origin (Godhead) from which he is now cut off. Man’s love, his poetry, his sorrows, his aspirations, his ambitions, his wailings, his sobbing, his cries are for nothing but the Divine Beloved from whom he stands separated. The Masnawi comprises of 5 to 6 thousand verses all couched in the most pathetic language. At one places he pours forth his eloquence saying, “Glory be to Thee of love my sweet madness. Thou art the remedy for all my sorrows.”