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Islam and Spiritualism ( 19 Nov 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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A Tale from Rumi’s Masnavi


By Dr A Q Khan

October 9, 2017

Who hasn’t heard of Maulana Rumi? He is equally well-known in the West as he is in the East. During the 14th century, Western scholars started taking a great interest in Eastern philosophy and the works of Khayyam, Tusi, Hafiz, Attar, Saadi and Rumi were translated into English, French, German and other languages.

This turned out to be a blessing as many scholars and learned intellectuals came to know more about Islam and its golden rules. Many of them even embraced Islam. In the West, Rumi’s philosophy became quite popular – as did the whirling dervishes. These dervishes used to go into a deep trance and even those who witnessed it would often be engulfed in this trance.

Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi was born in 604 at Balkh (then part of Faris, Persia). His father, Shaikh Bahauddin, was a great scholar. Rumi’s name was Muhammad Jalaluddin but he became known as Maulana Rumi. He died in Konia (Turkey) in 672, which was formerly an area inhabited by Roman settlers who were known as Rom or Rumi. This explains why he was called Rumi.

His poetic collection, Masnavi, is regarded as a divine work. This is because when he recited his verses in Persian, he would go into a trance and his disciples would write them down. Rumi’s own devotion to the Almighty and His apostle was expressed in this verse: “When I am praying, by God I don’t know what and which part of it I am following and I don’t know who the Imam is”.

Those of us who have read the Quran with its translation know about the many miracles that the Almighty performed for the human race and understand this and thank Him for His Blessings. The creation of the universe, plants, food, cattle, day and night, rain, crops, the miracles given to Prophet Musa (AS), Prophet Isa (AS), Prophet Ibrahim (AS), Prophet Nooh (AS) and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) are all signs of His power and authority. The story reproduced here is also a symbol of the miracles performed by the Almighty.

“The story of an old, blind, saintly man reading the Quran and regaining his sight while reading.

Once a dervish Shaikh saw a Qur’an in the house of an old, blind, saintly man. He became his guest and the two ascetics were together for several days. He said to himself: ‘I wonder what the Book is here for, as this righteous dervish is blind and no-one else lives here but him’. As to asking him, nay, I will be patient. He showed patience and was in a quandary for some time, till at last the secret was disclosed, for patience is the key to joy.

“At midnight one night he heard the sound of recitation of the Quran; he sprang up from sleep and beheld a marvel. The blind man was reading from the Quran. He sought an explanation from the man saying: ‘You, with sightless eyes, how are you seeing the lines? You have pointed to the lines you were reading. The motion of your fingers makes it clear that you have your eyes resting on that word’. Came the reply: ‘Oh you who have been separated from the body’s ignorance, do you not feel that this is a wonder of God? I begged God, saying that I was as covetous of reading the Book as I am of life. I do not know it by heart. At the time of reading, bestow on my two eyes an untroubled light. Give me back my eyes at that moment so that I may take the Book and read it’.

“From the Divine Presence came the reply: ‘O man of devotion who has trust in me in every grief, whenever you want to read the Quran, or want a selection from different copies (in order to ascertain what variations in the form of the text were adopted by the chief authorities), at that moment I will restore your sight so that you may read’. This He did and whenever I open the Book to read, the incomparable King immediately gives my sight back to me in accordance with the Divine ordainment that whatever He takes away, He sends compensation. If He burns your vineyard, He will give you grapes. In the midst of mourning, He will give you festivity. To the handless paralytic, He gives a hand; to the person who is mindless with grief, He gives joy to the heart. In other words, we will not submit and raise objections to things taken from us since there is a great recompense coming for what has been lost’.” (Free interpretation from the translation by R A Nicholson)

The above-mentioned miracle is nothing out of the ordinary for the miracles performed by the Almighty. In Surah Rahman, He has pointed out all the blessings done to the human race and then asked which of the favours of their Lord will they deny. There is a lesson for us to learn here: if we sincerely and honestly follow the divine edicts and are constant in prayer to the Almighty, He will definitely listen to our genuine requests. We should also carefully read Surah An-Naba and ponder over it.