The Sun of Tabriz

Just suppose you are able to make an interview with Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi.. What would you ask him? Perhaps some of your questions are similar to the ones as given below:

Q: You are so famous that you really need no introduction. Your name Shams means ‘sun’…
A: When someone is born in the sun itself, from birth he opens his eyes to the sun and becomes accustomed to it. They tell him: ‘Speak of the moon, speak of Mercury”. How can I speak of them? Does the sun even know that there is a moon in the world?

Q: Can you tell us something about your relationship with Mawlana Rumi?
A: When I came to Mawlana, the first stipulation was that I was not coming to be a shaykh. God has not yet brought to the face of the earth someone who could be Mawlana’s shaykh. That would not be a mortal. And I am not such that I could be a disciple. Nothing of that remains for me.

Right now I am Mawlana’s friend, and I am certain that Mawlana is the friend of God. In this I make no repudation or honour. Now, the friend of God’s friend is God’s friend – this has been established.

Q: What is your opinion about the retreat?
A: Be among the people, but be alone. Don’t go into seclusion, but be solitary.

Q: I wonder at the hadith that says: “This world is the prison of the believer”.
A: Me, I’ve made the prison a garden for myself. If my prison is a garden, just think what my garden must be!

Q: I’d like to test you and see if you are a stand-up comedian. So tell me a joke, right now!
A: A Jew, a Christian and a Muslim were friends. They found some money and prepared halva. It was late: “We’ll eat it tomorrow. But it isn’t much. Whoever has a fine dream will eat it.

The Christian said: “Jesus came down and pulled me up”.
The Jew said: “Moses took me to gaze upon paradise”.
The Muslim said: “Muhammad came. He said; ‘Helpless fellow! Jesus has taken one of them to the fourth heaven, and Moses took the other to paradise. You’re deprived and helpless. At least get up and eat the halva’. So I got up and ate the halva”.

Q: The are many New Age fans of Mawlana Rumi. Even Madonna has brought out music with ‘his’ poetry.
A: I wonder what these people think friendship with God is. That God who created the heavens, who created the earth, who made the universe appear – is His friendship gained so easily that you come in and sit before Him, you talk and you listen? Do you fancy this is a soup kitchen? You come in and you drink it down? Then you just leave?

Q: You will know that in the qawwali of the Chishti Sufis often the poetry of Mawlana Rumi is being used. Can you quote an example?
A: Here is an example but I am not sure if Mawlana ever wrote it:

Neither foolishly nor frivolously, in the lane and the market, I roam.
Possessed by the temperament of the lover I am, to have a glimpse, I roam.
O, God, the Almighty! Shower Your mercy upon me, disturbed and distracted, I roam.
I am guilty, I am sinful and in this wretched condition, I roam.
The wine of fondness I drink and round the Friend, I roam.
Like the intoxicated I talk, but like the wise, I roam.
Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I weep, sometimes I fall, sometimes I rise.
The Messiah is within my heart and like an invalid, I roam.
Come, o my Beloved! Come! Help you your Mawlana Rumi,
I am a slave of Shams Tabrizi and like a qalandar, I roam.

Q: Anything else you want to say to us?
A: Safar-e mubarak! May your journey be blessed!