Book 7

Chapter 22

Adab (Etiquette) of Sheiks (Chieftains) in Patience & Affection Towards The Followers

Jonaid once said to his companions, “If I was sure that short prayers had more merits than sitting with you, I would have never joined you”. (Meaning sitting i.e. teaching/exchange with the students and followers has more merit than worship)

It has been narrated about the Beshr Haafi that, “In a very cold day he took off his cloths. He was asked why? Replied, “I remembered the poor folk and the fact that they have nothing, but I can not aid them with any material goods so I wanted to offer them my Nafs (Soul, Psyche) as a sign of solidarity””. (There two lessons here, 1) Sufi Sheikh gives the followers his heart! Not knowledge not training but his innermost purified Nafs (Soul), 2) Sufi Sheikh lives equal to the lowest of his folk, he has no permission to live above their lowest standard.)

Doqqi said,”I was in Egypt amongst a bunch of paupers (Faqir) gathered in a mosque. Zaq-qaaq (A Sufi Sheikh) entered the mosque and prayed by a column (for privacy). So we decided to greet him as soon as his prayers were over. Before we knew it, he came and greeted us. We told him that it was our duty to greet him first (being so poor and he is a big Sufi Sheikh). He replied, “My Lord for certain shall not torment me for this action””. (The Sheikh did not do more prayers instead came to greet the poor students which means the reward for such greeting in his mind was much higher than worship. This Sufi Sheikh knew that Beloved was not in the folding of his knees or bending of his spine but that precious Beloved is amongst Its friends i.e. the poor)

Jorairi said, “When I decided to travel for Hajj I went to my friends to say goodbye (and vice-a-versa they would come saying goodbye too). I started with Jonaid (his Sheikh) greeted him (informed him about the intention to go to Hajj) and then went home (but no visit from the Sheikh). Next day I went to visit Jonaid and asked him, “My Sage I started with you saying goodbye but you have paid no attention to me (by coming to visit and wishing me a good trip) but why?” Replied, “O Abu-Mohammad (expression of familiarity and mutual closeness) this is your right (Hajj) and your generosity (to say goodbye to me)””. (Jonaid does see only one generosity namely his student’s generosity to say goodbye to him first, however Jonaid sees no generosity to go visit him to say goodbye, after all his student is performing the Hajj and there is nothing Jonaid can add to something that is already so prized and blessed and so personal. In other words, Jonaid knows where his merits end and assumes no extra role or appreciation for himself).

Once a man came to Jonaid and told him that he will give away his entire wealth and become a Faqir (Pauper) and equal himself to the other poor students. But Jonaid told him, “Do not give away all that which you have, keep the amount that will be enough for your livelihood. Show your generosity but also keep your strength and still keep after earning the Halal (Lawful Provision). Do not spend all that you have since your Nafs (Soul, Psyche) may desire something that might enervate you. Prophet Peace Be Upon Him anytime wanted to do something he would first consider the pros & cons.” (The Sufi Sheikh is not there to make his followers poor and destitute. He has no economic responsibilities above them to make them lose their livelihoods and families. Moreover the Sufi Sheikh chooses the safest & sanest options for his follower since no one’s capacity for endurance is known upfront.)

Abu-Ali Roodbari said, “Once we were lost in a desert and almost succumbed to hunger. Abul-Hassan Atoofi (a Sheikh) was amongst us. He climbed a hill and cried out like wolves. The dogs of a nearby tribe heard us and guided the men of the tribe towards us and we were saved". (Sufi Sheikh goes to any length and any ingenuity to preserve his students’ well being. Unlike today’s sheikhs who throw our youth in front of death & destruction promising them the paradise while themselves have no guarantee from Allah for their own salvation)

Abu-Said Kharraz said, “I entered the city of Ramlah and went to Abu-Ja’far Qas-saab (Butcher) and spend a night at his house. Then I left Ramlah and went to Jerusalem. (Later on) He followed me all the way to Jerusalem and brought me few necessities and said, “I found these in my house and they are Halal (Lawful Provision)””.  (The Sufi Sheikh drops all this affairs, his family and business and runs after this lowly student to give him few items e.g. cheese, bread, toothbrush and so on. And when he opens his mouth he assures the student that these provisions were obtained through lawful means i.e. he is worried that the student may reject the goods due to suspicion of unlawful obtaining.)

I chose the pictures of dead Iraqis as well as American soldiers to show you what happens with the Sufi Sheikhs do not perform their duties towards their followers as well as the rest of the humanity. The result is not less poetry or silence of the chants, the result is the horror you see. The horror that engulfs & torments everyone.

The Sufi Sheikh is not there for fancy meetings and cryptic books of philosophy. He is there to prevent what you see in these pictures and to preserve the humanity by his sacrifice. He is not there to sell books or Yoga mats. He is not there to send our youth to their certain death no matter who i.e. an American boy or an Iraqi boy!?

Going to the streets demonstrating against the war, or fanning the flames of war amongst the Muslim believers or developing evermore destructive hi-tech weapons to kill faster and better is far away from the Sufism.

Allah will not send back the Sufi Sages to guide the Morids (The Seekers of The Divine) unless there are Morids! Will you listen? Will you follow a Sufi Sheikh? Or just grow beard and chant and read a couple of silly books instead.

Choice is yours to see these pictures or something better.

© 2004-2002,  Dara O. Shayda