A young Chishti dervish

A young dervish living in Ajmer, who belonged to the Chishtiyya order, every day sat in meditation near the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. He always stayed there until the lights were brought to the dargah. It was his habit to leave a little later in order to say the sunset prayers in the nearby Sufi khaneqah. One day he received the permission to travel from his pir. He travelled at first to Lahore, which in those days took several weeks to reach. After visiting the Sufi places in Lahore he went to buy some food at the local bazaar. There he saw something peculiar. He saw a painting of a Sufi who wore an unusual type of pointed hat. As in Islam paintings are frowned upon by the ‘ulama’ he had never in his life seen a painting of a human being before.

His travels then took him to the Northwest of the country but his progress was stopped as the sultan of the neighbouring region had fled and his country was in a state of turmoil. That is why he travelled to the South and hoped to travel on by means of Baluchistan. In Baluchistan he enjoyed the Sufi music very much. Many songs were dedicated to Lal Shah Baz Qalandar or to the ‘Rose of Baghdad’ or to the ‘Lion of God’, ‘Ali. It was easy for him to understand the local language and what he did not understand his heart understood.

After travelling for a long time in the desert the young dervish finally arrived in an oasis called Mahan. It was not so hot here as a cool wind from the snow-capped mountains brought with it some refreshing air. He had gone there to visit Shah Ne’matollahi Vali, whose mausoleum could clearly be seen. It had a beautiful dome, it was surrounded by a garden with water and stately cypress trees, so the Indian dervish immediately went to that place.

When entering the dargah he did not see anyone. This was something, which had never happened to him in Ajmer. He was used to sit in meditation while thousands of other people had come to for ‘ziarat’, a visit. Now he was alone. He was even alone in the room where the great Ne’matollahi Shaykh lied buried. Suddenly it was as if he simply had to turn his face into the opposite direction. What he saw, gave him a shock as he saw a painting of a Sufi with a curiously pointed hat. It was the same man he had seen on the painted portrait in Lahore. It was Shah Ne’matollahi Vali himself. So he was not alone after all…

One Comment Add yours

  1. KgnReshma says:

    Ah the Paintings, the pictures & A story to tell !…………..

    Hz Abu Said Abi’I-Khair (R.A) [(967A.D.-1049 A.D-Born Mayhana, (modern Turkmenistan)] was a great saint & an outstanding poet.

    His father was living in a large house well furnished & beautifully decorated with pictures of kings & dignitaries on the walls.
    1. One day Abu Said submitted a request to his father that a separate house be arranged for him, where he might live in peace & pursue his studies in silence & offer prayers in seclusion. His father readily accepted his request. He soon occupied a separate house & gave it a face-lift. The walls of the house bore the sayings of the saints while verses from Koran lent additional beauty & glory.

    2. One day Abu Said’s father visited his son’s place. On arrival he was bewildered & amazed to see the new type of decoration in the house. He could not conceal his astonishment & asked his son why he had decorated it in this fashion. Abu Said replied thus:

    a) “My dear respected father, you have the pictures of kings, dignitaries & nobles hanging on the walls of your house. It is but natural since you like & love them, that you have preferred to adorn the walls of your house with them.
    b) One adorns the walls of one’s house with the things one loves. For my part I love the thing which you see on the walls of this house, they stand as symbol of my love, devotion & respect for them. I believe that, perhaps, by doing this, I will please my Beloved.”

    3. This reply had a deep impact on his father who took down the pictures from walls & lost interest in them once & for all.

    We, the dervishes
    Are sitting in a narrow pass,
    Sometimes barley bread & sometimes
    A piece of meat we eat without any loss;
    The elderly people know
    & the leading people also,
    Who see us with contemptuous look,
    His place is on the cross.

    Painting speaks from the walls of ‘Abu Said Abi-I-Khair & his Rubaiyat’ as drawn by Dr Zahurul Hassan Sharib.

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