Magical Mystery Tour

Several years ago a Chishti shaykh and his son arrived from the East for a visit in England. The English disciples invested lots of energy in trying to get visa for the two of them for France and Spain and all in vain. The shaykh could get a visa, but the authorities refused to give a visa for the son as they were afraid that he would stay in Europe and try to find a job. They did not know that there was no economic motive for the journey. Anyhow neither of them obtained the necessary visa.

The idea was to travel to the Spanish town of Granada in order to visit a Sufi community in that town. But how to go there without the visa as in the South of Europe you get arrested when you try to enter a country illegally.

A minibus with the shaykh, his son and some English and Italian mureeds, and one American – in total seven people – left England. As visa for Belgium were obtained the first goal was to go to the mosque of Brussels, and they were in time to attend the Friday prayers. Before the prayers start the adhan, the call to prayers, was recited. In a letter describing the journey the youngest Italian remarked that it was as if this call to prayers was coming from Medina and the atmosphere was so marvellous that the American mureed thought that if it would always be thus then he could understand why people like to attend to these prayers. Later when writing about the event the Italian assumed, that in the mosque there must have been the presence of several Sufi shaykhs to create such a blessed atmosphere. One of these shaykhs was the imam leading the prayers, who was sent by the Wahabi’s to this mosque as their man in Brussels. What they did not know was that he belonged to a secret Sufi order in Saudi Arabia. A few months later he was shot as he defended in some way Salman Rushdi. He became a martyr because of his convictions.

The Chishti Sufis crossed the border of France on the main high-way at a time when every car got checked, but not theirs.

At the border of Spain they again became nervous as the shaykh and his son had no visa for Spain. Every car in front of them, one by one, was checked by the Spanish officials. You may remember that the minibus came from England so the driver was sitting on the right and the shaykh was sitting next to him on the left. As in Europe the driver is always sitting on the left side, the officials that were checking the passports were doing that on the left side of the car. The shaykh clearly differs from any European. He really sticks out, but when it was their turn the official did not ‘see’ him and the unchecked mini-bus could continue its magical mystery tour in the direction of the Sufi community in Granada…