Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Shaykh who has one murid and a half


My appreciation goes to a dear brother from Brazil, 'Abd al-Walyý al-Fatâ who had introduced me to a wonderful rose garden called the Gulistan - a Portugese language website dedicated to Brazil's Naqshbandi ladies. Indeed, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. The parable below is taken from there. Translated from Portugese by 'Abd al-Walyý Maron, I have taken the liberty of editing it slightly.

At the time of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey, one of the viziers of Sultan informed the Sultan about a great Sufi Shaykh who lived in Anatolia. He advised the Sultan to be careful with the Shaykh because he has under him, hundreds of thousands of disciples (muridin). And if the Shaykh decided to turn against the Sultan, the entire country could be in disarray and that the Sultan could even lose his throne.
The Sultan was very concerned. He then summoned the Shaykh to Istanbul. When they met, the Sultan said: "I heard that you have hundreds of thousands of Sufi disciples."
"No, that is not true" the Shaykh said.
"Well, then how many do you have?" urged the Sultan.
"I have only one murid and a half."
"If you have one and a half, why then did they tell me that you have the power to subvert the entire country?"
"We'll see. There is a huge field at the outskirt of the city and tomorrow let all the followers gather at the field."
The Sultan then sent his messengers throughout the city asking the Shaykh's murid to convene at the field because the Shaykh would be there waiting for them.
Above the field was a hill where the Sultan had erected a huge tent. Inside the tent, he put several sheep which no one could see. The next day, hundreds of thousands of people came to the field to see their great Shaykh. The Sultan stood in front of the tent with the Shaykh by his side and said: "You said you did not have many disciples. Look at all those people. I believe they are all your followers."
"They are not," said the Shaykh. "I have got only one murid and a half. You'll see."
"The Shaykh has committed an indiscretion," said the Sultan.
"If less than ten of his murid are willing to give up their lives for him, his life will be taken."
There was a great noise in the crowd.
"He is my Shaykh and master. All that I know came from him," said a man who came forward.
"I am willing to give up my life for him."
The men of the Sultan took him to the top of the hill, led him into the tent and tore the throat of a sheep. Everyone saw blood running down the sides of the tent that made them very nervous.
The Sultan said: "Is there anyone else who is willing to give up his life for the Shaykh?"
The entire field fell into silence.
Suddenly a woman stood up and offered to give away her life.
Once again, the men of the Sultan led her to the top, went into the tent and cut the throat of another sheep. At seeing more blood, the crowd began to disperse. Soon there was no one left in the field.
The Shaykh turned to the Sultan and said: "See, as I said, I only have one murid and a half."
The Sultan said: "Oh, the man is a murid and the woman is half a murid?"
"No! No!" said the Shaykh.
"The woman is a murid of mine while the man is half a murid."
Seeing the look of surprise on the face of the Sultan, the Shaykh said: "The man did not know that he would be killed when he entered the tent. But the woman knew and yet she volunteered. She is my true murid!"
________________________________________________ - ORDEM SUFI NAQSHBANDI. Bem Vindo!

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