Treasure of Sugar

Just suppose you are able to make an interview with shaykh Baba Fariduddin Mas’ud Ganj-e Shakar. What would you ask him? Perhaps some of your questions are similar to the ones as given below:

Q: Can you tell us something about your youth?

A: My grandfather Qazi Shuayb left Kabul and came to Qasur near Lahore. The qazi of Qasur informed the sultan of his arrival and recommended that suitable provision should be made for his maintenance. The sultan was greatly pleased to learn of my grandfather’s accomplishments and showed his willingness to help him in any possible way. To his offer my grandfather replied: “I don’t desire any worldly object, but for the simple reason that whatever is lost to me, I don’t hanker after its shadow”. His appointment as the judge of Kahtwal was in recognition of his merit and attainments.

My father Jamaluddin Sulayman shifted to and settled in Multan. I have got two brothers. My elder brother is called ‘Ezzuddin Mahmud and my younger brother is Najibuddin Muhammad Mutawakkil.

Q: Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya has stressed that a son is strongly influenced by the piety of his parents. Can you tell us something about your mother?

A: My mother was a lady of fervent piety. She kept awake in the night engaged in her prayers. One night thieves entered her house, but were so moved by her spirituality, which radiated from her face, that they repented of their sins. It was my mother who kindled a spark of divine love in me.

After I had settled in Ajodhan I asked my younger brother to fetch our mother. On the way they rested under the shade of some trees. My brother went to fetch some water, but when he returned he found our mother missing. All search proved to be in vain. When he had lost all hope of finding her, he proceeded and narrated all that happened to me. I, on hearing this account, said that food should be cooked and charity should be given.

Q: It is said that shaykh Fariduddin ‘Attar called you after his own name and it was then that you began to be known as “Fariduddin”. Some say however that Fariduddin, the Unique one of the religion, is a title conferred upon you by God. What is the name you have received at your birth?

A: Mas’ud.

Q: What is the meaning of that name?

A: Fortunate, happy, lucky.

Q: People address you as “Ganj-e-Shakar”. It is said that under the instructions of your murshid, you kept a fast that was unbroken for three days. As the time approached to break the fast, there was nothing to eat. By midnight you became restless. Not finding anything else you picked up some dust and put it in your mouth. The dust tasted sweet. You took it out of your mouth and threw it away. After some time, seized by acute hunger, you again picked up some dust and put it in your mouth. That too turned sweet. In order to satisfy your doubts, you put some more dust into your mouth and took it out again three times. Each time it tasted sweet. This you thought had been so ordained by God. Subsequently, when you went to your murshid, you were given a word of encouragement. He said: “You did well! It was ordained by God. Go and live, and be as sweet as sugar!” From that day you became famous and came to be known as “Ganj-e-Shakar”. What does it mean?

A: Treasure of sugar.

Q: A woman saint who has been mentioned in the discourses of your disciple Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya is Bibi Fatimah Sam. He once said about her: “When the lion comes from the forest, nobody asks whether the lion is a male or a female. The people should aspire for piety and sanctity, whether they be men or women”.

She treated you and your younger brother shaykh Najibuddin Mutawakkil as her own brothers. She used to say: “Giving a piece of bread and offering a glass of water to someone is more meritorious than a hundred thousand fasts and prayers”.

What is your opinion about her?

A: Fatimah Sam is a male sent in the guise of a woman.

Q: The author of “The Spiritual Journey of the Friends” has presented these Persian lines about you:

Bakhshesh-e kawnayn az shaykhayn shod dar baab-e to
Baadshaahi yaafti zin baadshaahaan-e zamaan
Mamlokat-e donyaa o din gashta mosallam mar toraa
‘Aalam-e kawn gashta eqtaa’ to ay shaah-e jahaan

The gift of both the worlds, the two shaykhs bestowed on you,
From these kings of the age, kingship has been received by you.
The dominion of state and religion has been given solely in charge to you.
O, king of the world, the entire creation has been assigned to you.

This is my question: Who are these “two shaykhs”?

A: Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti and my own murshid.

Q: What happened?

A: When Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti visited Delhi, the disciples of my murshid, Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, were presented to him. Everyone received his blessings according to his merit. Later on Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti, asked: “Baba Qutbuddin! Is there any other disciple of yours?’ Shaykh Qutbuddin replied: “There is Baba Farid, who is sitting in a retreat of forty days”. Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti got up and said: “Come along and let us see him”.

Both of them went to my cell and opened the door. I was so weak that I could not get up and pay my respect to the two of them. Helplessly and with tears in my eyes I placed my head on the ground. When Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti saw this he said: “Qutbuddin! How long will you burn this poor fellow in the fire of penitence?” Thereupon both of them blessed me. I was thus blessed by my spiritual guide as well as by the spiritual guide of my spiritual guide.

Q: Can you tell us about your first meeting with your spiritual guide and your initiation in the Chishti order?

A: At the age of eighteen years, I went to Multan, which was then an important seat of Islamic learning. I committed the noble Qur’an to memory and attended the lectures of Mawlana Minhajuddin Tirmizi on the “Nafeh”. One day when I was studying this famous book in a mosque, Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki suddenly entered. He saw me studying the book. He enquired what I was reading to which I respectfully responded: “I am reading the “Nafeh”, Sahib!” Thereupon Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki said: “Do you know me?” I replied: “I will be benefited by your looks of grace and kindness alone”. Saying thus, I stood up and placed my head at the feet of Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, who honoured me by accepting me as his murid.

Q: How about your last meeting with him?

A: One day, when I was present in the company of my spiritual guide I suddenly stood up to seek his permission to go to Hansi. He, with tears in his eyes, gazing towards me said: “O, Mawlana! I know that you will go to Hansi”.

I submitted: “I am at your service, Sahib. Whatever it be, I will obey and abide by your command”. Thereupon he said: “It has been ordained by Allah, that you will not be present here at the time of my death”.

Later, addressing those present he said: “let all of us invoke blessings for this dervish and pray for him to Allah, the Elevated, that He may in His mercy confer upon him blessings of this world and of the world hereafter and recite the sura Ikhlas”. All those present did so.

Later he gave his special praying carpet and stick to this humble dervish. He then said: “I’ll hand over your trust, i.e. the robe of caliphate of the Chishti order to Qazi Hamiduddin Nagawri. He will hand over these to you within five days of my death. You should keep them with you with all the respects due to them. Know that my place is just your place”. Those present, hearing these words, began to weep and all of them accordingly prayed for me.

Q: What happened then?

A: One night, when in Hansi, I dreamt that I was being summoned by my murshid and immediately realised that he had expired. I left for Delhi and on the way there, at Mohim, met the person sent by Qazi Hamiduddin Nagawri to inform me of what had happened. On the fourth day, I reached Delhi and on the fifth day I paid my respect to the grave of Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki.

Qazi Hamiduddin Nagawri and shaykh Badruddin Ghaznavi entrusted to me the robe of caliphate and the other holy relics that my murshid handed over to them to be given to me. I received all the holy Chishti relics and offered my prayers on the prayer carpet I had received, donned the robe given to me by my spiritual guide and teacher, and stayed in his house.

Q: Something else, who is a Sufi?

A: A Sufi is one who makes all things pure and nothing impure.

Q: Who is a dervish?

A: A dervish must adopt four things. If he possesses these four things, then he will be entitled to be called a dervish, otherwise not.

Firstly, he must close his eyes so that he may not see the faults of the people.

Secondly, he must close his ears so that he may not hear anything undesirable.

Thirdly, he should keep his tongue tied so that he does not say anything undesirable.

Fourthly, he should keep his legs and his feet tied, so that his self does not carry him to a place undesirable or without any necessity..

Q: Who is sincere in love?

A: He alone is sincere in love, who is engaged at all times in the remembrance of the Beloved.

Q: please tell us more…

A: He who does not know his own self runs after other people, but when he realises the love of God, even if the angels and the eighteen thousand worlds pursue him, he does not look towards them.

Q: Please tell us more…

A: Nothing is better than the recitation of the Noble Qur’an.

Q: What is your goal in life?

A: I have often recited these lines:

Maqsud-e-man banda ze kawnain tu’i
Az bahr-e-tu miram ze baraa’i tu ziyam

Q: What does it mean?

A: It means:

My only object in both worlds is You,
For You I die and For You I live.

Q: What was your reply to your brother shaykh Najibuddin Mutawakkil when he asked you: ‘When you pray, you hear God saying: I am present my servant. Is it so?’

A: ….

Q: What is your opinion about listening to the music of the Sufis?

A: It moves the hearts of the listeners and breathes the fire of love in their hearts.

Q: How can we attain to God?

A: Escaping from your self is a means of attaining to God.

Q: How can we acquire knowledge?

A: Acquire knowledge through humility.

Q: Can you give us another advice?

A: Conceal your good and bad things.

Q: You are a scholar. What is the goal of acquiring knowledge of the shari’ah?

A: The aim of acquiring knowledge of the religious law is to act upon it and not to harass people.

Q: Anything else you want to say?

A: May your journey be blessed!