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Illness and debilitation
As hinted at various places either, Hazrat (R.A) had been used to eating, sleeping and speaking sparingly throughout his life. Constant remembrance of Allah and indulgence in related spiritual exercises had made him indifferent to worldly comforts and luxuries. As once admitted by himself, he used to go without food for several days during his student life without experiencing any hunger. Possibly as a result of this austere regimen, the stomach ceased to function properly in life, and the troublesome ailment of hiccough set in, sometimes to continue for weeks on end.
Sensitivity to the misfortunes and hardships of devotees
Despite the aforesaid austere schedule and other occasional ailments, Hazrat’s general health remained quite good until the age of about 71-
Translation: "If Thou dost punish them, lo! They are Thy slaves: and if Thou dost forgive them, Thou are the Mighty, the Wise". (V,118)
As Hazrat (R.A) advanced in years, his visionary capacity also steadily increased. Alone or in company, a state of obliviousness to everything around him absorbed him. He spoke less and less even when in company, and remained mostly occupied in silent contemplation. His complexion kept changing hues, reflecting his constant inner spiritual activity. Occasionally, he would raise his hand and heave a sigh of distress. During this period, he often recited the following Urdu verse which provided an indication of his inner state:
Translation: "In the place where my heart has set up its camp, there is room neither for speech nor quest".
For newcomers, Hazrat (R.A) would simply extend his hand for a hand shake. He did, however, respond to the visitor’s salam, and would also enquire about his welfare in a few words.
Clues to Hazrat’s inner state
Around this time, some devotees of Hazrat (R.A), who were deeply concerned about his health, were re-
Because of the physical weakness, Hazrat (R.A) had by this time been obliged to discontinue his riding schedule. Since, however, the doctors insisted that some way must be found for him to have a little daily exercise, he tried for a few days to take a short stroll after Asr prayers. This, too, could not be kept for long. Hazrat Babuji, therefore, bought a car and arranged for Hazrat (R.A) to take daily rides in it for few miles.
A letter from Allama Muhammad Iqbal
During the early stages of Hazrat’s spiritual absorption, a letter, addressed to him by the late Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, world-
English translation of Allama Iqbal’s letter in question is given below for the benefit of the reader:
Respected Hazrat Qibla,
I have wished for long time to have the privilege of meeting you, but have unable to do so. I am now trying to make amends by writing this letter. Even though I am afraid it would not be easy for you to respond (in the present state of your health), I am nevertheless taking the liberty of writing the letter because “there is no other door in India which could be knocked at for the purpose which I have in view.” Relying on your generosity of mind, therefore, I do hope that the letter will be vouchsafed a reply.
Last year, I had given a lecture in England on Mujaddid Alf-
(i) What views had Hazrat Shaikh-
(ii) In which books of Shaikh-
(iii) Have any other sufi ulama also discussed this subject in any of his writings? If so, these may kindly be identified. The late Maulvi Syed Anwar Shah had once given me an Arabic booklet titled “Dirayatuz-
Having been told that your good self had discontinued teaching for sometime, I was reluctant to write this letter. Since, however, my sole object is to serve the cause of Islam, I expect you to be kind enough to excuse this intrusion on your time.
The boundless ocean of Absolute Unity of Allah
The true reality of self-
Translation: "Love (of Allah) is that Flame which, when it is ignited, burns up everything except the (Divine) Beloved".
Ruling about immunity from ritual prayers during spiritual absorption
Numerous instances of ulama and sufia who have experienced spiritual absorption for prolonged periods are found in the annals of Sufism. Such a state was experienced, for example, by Hazrat Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (R.A) among those belonging to middle ages, and by Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Quddus Gangohi (R.A) among the latter-
Initial signs of the aforesaid state were seen in the case of Hazrat in 1932-
Some features of Istighraq
In the beginning of Istighraq, intervals of consciousness were relatively longer and more frequent. During such intervals, Hazrat used to listen to the devotee’s pleas and raise his hands in prayers. Sometimes, Maulvi Mahboob Alam, Hazrat’s constant companion and attendant, just informed Hazrat (R.A) about the arrival of devotee by name and prayed aloud himself, while Hazrat simply pronounced “Amen” at the end. On other occasions, Hazrat would simply repeat the words of the pleading devotee, and he was cured of whatever ailment he happened to be suffering from. As Maulana Rumi says in his celebrated Masnavi:
Translation: "His (i.e., the Man of God’s) pronouncement is like the pronouncement of Allah Himself, even though it comes from the throat of one of Allah’s creatures".
During this period, people undergoing a state of spiritual intoxication (who are referred to as majzub in Sufi terminology) thronged to Golra in especially large numbers from far-
Translation: "O loved one! A mere look at thee provides an answer to every question (in my mind); every problem is solved without any exchange of words".
Maulana Ghulam Muhammad Ghotavi has written in his reminiscences about a majzub who once met him while he was going to Jamia Islamia at Bahawalpur of which he was the principal. Seeing the Maulana, the majzub suddenly raised his head and addressed him thus: “ Your Pir is only pretending to be ill. The reality is that his shadow has left him, and he has confined himself to his bed in his room in order to conceal this fact form others". The majzub was in a way hinting a fact that Hazrat (R.A) had attained the stage of " Fana-
Passing Away of Hazrat (R.A)
In the early years of his spiritual journey, Hazrat had imposed upon himself an exceptionally exacting regimen of prayers, contemplation, and physical self-
Despite this most trying situation, Hazrat continued to meet the un-
The state of almost total Istighraq lasted for about 2-
Translation: "O Allah! Make our beginning good, and our end also good and settle all our affairs on a good and blessed note, for the sake of thy Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), the paragon of all good."
Occasionally, Hazrat (R.A) would try to make some conversation, but would soon relapse into unconsciousness. Indeed these spells caused even greater strain and distress to him than usual. Although the real reason for this can be understood only by those who actually pass through such experiences it seems probable that the distress resulted from commuting between two totally different worlds, i.e., the physical world and the world of spirit, a move towards spiritual absorption.
On one such occasion Hazrat Babuji had all the doors of Hazrat’s room opened so that those desirous of having a glimpse of him could do so. As far as it can be recalled, Hazrat asked the late Qari Ghulam Muhammad to recite Surah Yusaf (Joseph-
On another occasion, an extended interval of return to consciousness took place during the Urs of Hazrat Syedna Ghaus-
An incident during “Istighraq”
The state of complete spiritual absorption experienced by Hazrat can be gauged to some extent from an incident narrated by Hazrat Babuji during this period. Hazrat’s eldest daughter one day went to his room for his Ziarah. On her entry the following conversation took place between the two:
Hazrat (R.A) : Who is it?
Daughter : I am the sister of Ghulam Muhyuddin (i.e., Babuji).
Hazrat (R.A) : Who is Ghulam Muhyuddin?
Daughter : He is your son.
Hazrat (R.A) : Who is “your”?
To his daughter’s other questions, too, Hazrat replied in the same manner.
A similar incident was experienced by the late Syed Abdul Qadir, nephew of Hazrat, who one day went to him for prayers for a cure of a persistent spell of tooth ache. Hazrat put the same questions that he had done in the case of his daughter, which forced Syed Abdul Qadir to return home. Some days later Hazrat suddenly sent a message on his own to Qadir Sahib asking him to recite a certain ayah of Quran and blow it on the teeth. Abdul Qadir did so and was instantly cured of the tooth ache.
Forecast by a Shaikh of Madina
Hazrat Babuji once narrated an incidence which occurred during his first Hajj journey in 1929. In the Holy Prophet’s (P.B.U.H) mosque one day, he said, a lean man in Arab dress came to him and grasping hand he heaved a sigh and wistfully remarked to him that a great “revolution” would occur in 1937. Hazrat Babuji interpreted this remark as a possible reference to the apprehended passing away of Hazrat in that year. The implied prediction was proved true when Hazrat did in fact pass away on 11 may 1937. The abdication of King Edward VIII of Britain took place in the same year.
The last days
In the early part of the month of Safar 1356-
The Final moment
Just before the arrival of the final irrevocable moment, Hazrat pronounced the words “ Allah” from the deepest recesses of his heart in a manner which sent a shudder through out his body from head to foot, and the reverberation of which was felt by every one who happened to touch the body. A devotee who was pressing Hazrat’s feet at that time, felt a shock like that of an electric current passing through his fingers, forcing him to recoil to dispel the shock. The next moment, Hazrat repeated the word “Allah” a second time and then turned his head towards the Qibla, thus signaling that the end had finally come. With Hazrat’s departure from the world stage, one of Islam’s brightest lights was extinguished. A great scholar and a great Sufi had left the scene that he had graced with singular distinction for nearly half a century.
Hazrat’s passing away sent a wave of intense shock among those who were present on that occasion. Everyone who heard about it was stunned and benumbed by sorrow. Indeed, but for the amazing calmness shown by Hazrat Babuji at this crucial time, it would have been exceedingly difficult for the funeral ceremonies to be completed with the needed efficiency and thoroughness. In accordance with the Chishtia tradition Hazrat Babuji who was to inherit the spiritual legacy of Hazrat, was not present at Hazrat’s bedside during the final moments. He was instead sitting in a room downstairs and was being kept informed of news about after every few minutes. Another reason for this was that because of Hazrat Babuji’s intense love for his august father, both as a son and as a sincere Murid (devotee), he did not have the heart to be a witness to the latter’s final moments.
Despite his delicate nature Hazrat Babuji not only displayed exemplary cool himself but also consoled others who were overcome with grief and gave vent to it in different forms. He also informed all heads of other shrines as well as important out-
From 1 to 6 PM on the next day (1 Rabi-
Hazrat’s mortal remains were laid to rest in the peace of land adjoining the mosque towards the south, at a spot for which Hazrat had himself expressed preference during his terminal illness.
The forlorn devotees of Hazrat have for the past years been suffering from the pangs of separation and shall continue to do so as long as the last surviving one breathes among them. The memory shall remain fresh as ever. Indeed, the flow of the spiritual benefit and blessings from Hazrat’s sublime soul is on increase every moment of time.
In the memorable words of a Persian poet:
He whose heart derives life from (Divine) love never dies. “ Our immortality has been writ large and indelibly on the pages of history” (this is the message that such a person keeps proclaiming to the world for all time to come).
Hazrat Babuji’s (R.A) vision
A few days later after Hazrat’s passing away, his son Hazrat Babuji saw him in a dream, sitting on bed in a house located at the site of his Mazar (burial place), with a semi-
Translation: “The friends of Allah do not die; they simply move from this (transient) world to the (eternal) world of the Hereafter.”
The presence of the translucent curtain on one side of Hazrat’s bed was probably meant to underscore this fact allegorically.
A devotee’s strange experience
One of Hazrat’s aggrieved devotees was found lying senseless on the road outside Golra on conclusion of Hazrat’s funeral ceremonies. After regaining consciousness, he narrated a strange experience: As he was returning from the funeral crying in intense grief, he suddenly saw Hazrat come to him in person and stand along-
Hazrat Babuji’s distressing plight
As stated earlier, Hazrat Babuji had displayed remarkable self-
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