Mevlana Jelalu

'd-Din Muhammed, the Revered Mystery of God upon Earth

Part 2

"In bygone days there was a monarch, who, by way oftrial, requested another sovereign to send him three things, the worst of their several kinds that he could procure; namely, the worst article of food, the worst dispositioned thing, and the worst animal.

"The sovereign so applied to sent him some cheese, as the worst food; an Armenian slave, as the worst-dispositioned thing; and an ass, as the worst of animals. In the superscription to the epistle sent with these offerings, the sovereign quoted the verse of Scripture pointed out above."

On a certain occasion, one of his disciples complained to Jelal of the scantiness of his means and the extent of his needs. Jelal answered: "Out upon thee! Get thee gone! Hence forward, count me not a friend of thine; and so, peradventure, wealth may come to thee." He then related the following anecdote:

"It happened, once, that a certain disciple of the Prophet said to him: 'I love thee!' The Prophet answered: 'Why tarriest thou, then? Haste to put on a breastplate of steel, and set thy face to encounter misfortunes. Prepare thyself, also, to endure straitness, the special gift of the friends and lovers (of God and his Apostle)! '

Another anecdote, also, he thus narrated: 'A Gnostic adept once asked of a rich man which he loved best, riches or sin. The latter answered that he loved riches best. The other replied: 'Thou sayest not the truth. Thou better lovest sin and calamity. Seest thou not that thou leavest thy riches behind. whilst thou carriest thy sin and thy calamity about with thee,

Making thyself reprehensible in the sight of God! Be a man! Exert thyself to carry thy riches with thee, and sin not; since thou lovest thy riches. What thou has to do is this: Send thy riches to God ere thou goest before him thyself; peradventure, they may work thee some advantage; even as God hath said (Qur'an lxxiii. 20): 'And that which ye send before, for your souls of good works, shall ye find with God. He is the best and the greatest in rewarding.' "

The perwana is related to have said publicly, in his own palace, that Jelal was a matchless monarch, no sovereign having ever appeared in any age like unto him; but that his disciples were a very disreputable set.

These words were reported to them, and the company of disciples were greatly scandalized at the imputation. Jelal sent a note to the perwana, of which the following is the substance:

"Had my disciples been good men, I had been their disciple. Inasmuch as they were bad, I accepted them as my disciples, that they might reform and become good - of the company of the righteous. By the soul of my father, they were not accepted as disciples until God had made himself responsible that they would attain to mercy and grace, admitted among those accepted of him.

Until that assurance was given, they were not received by me, nor had they any place in the hearts of the servants of God. 'The sons of grace are saved; the children of wrath are sick; for the sake of thy mercy, we, a people of wrath, have come to thee.' "

When the perwana had read and considered these words, he became still more attached to Jelal; arose, came to him, asked pardon, and prayed for forgiveness of God, distributing largely of his bounty among the disciples.

A certain sheykh, son of a sheykh, and a man of great reputation for learning, came to Qonya, and was respectfully visited by all the people of eminence residing there. It so happened that Jelal and his friends were gone that day to a mosque in the country; and the new-comer, offended at Jelal's not hasting to visit him, made the remark in public:

"Has Jelal never heard the adage: 'The newly-arrived one is visited'?"

One of Jelal's disciples chanced to be present, and heard this remark. On the other hand, Jelal was expounding sublime truths in the mosque to his disciples, when suddenly he exclaimed, "My dear brother! I am the newly-arrived one, not thou. Thou and those like thee are bound to visit me, and so gain honour to yourselves."

All his audience were surprised at this apostrophe; wondering to whom it was addressed. Jelal then spake a parable: "One man came from Bagdad, and another went forth out of his house and ward; which of the two ought to pay the first visit to the other?"

All agreed in opinion that the man from Bagdad ought to be visited by the other. Then Jelal explained, thus: "In reality, I am returned from the Bagdad of nulliquity, whereas this dearly beloved son of a sheykh, who has come here, has gone forth from a ward of this world. I am better entitled, therefore, to be visited than is he. I have been hymning in the Bagdad of the world of spirits the heavenly canticle: 'I am the Truth,' since a time anterior to the commencement of the present war, ere the truth obtained its victory." The disciples expressed their concurrence, and rejoiced exceedingly.

One day, in lecturing on self-abasement and humility, Jelal spake a parable from the trees of the field, and said: "Every tree that yields no fruit, as the pine, the cypress, the box, &c;., grows tall and straight, lifting up its head on high, and sending all its branches upwards; whereas all the fruit-bearing trees droop their heads, and trail their branches. In like manner, the apostle of God was the most humble of men. Though he carried within himself all the virtues and excellencies of the ancients and of the moderns, he, like a fruitful tree, was more humble, and more of a dervish, than any other prophet.

He is related to have said: 'I am commanded to show consideration to all men, to be kind to them; and yet, no prophet was ever so ill-treated by men as I have been.' We know that he had his head broken, and his teeth knocked out. Still he prayed: 'O our Lord God, guide thou my people aright; for they know not what they do.' Other prophets have launched denunciations against the people to whom they were sent; and certainly, none have had greater cause to do so, than Mohammed."

'Old Adam's form was moulded first of clay from nature's face; Who's not, as mire, low-minded's not true son of Adam's race."

In like manner, Jelal also had the commendable habit to show himself humble and considerate to all, even the lowest; especially so to children, and to old women. He used to bless them; and always bowed to those who bowed to him, even though these were not Muslims.

One day he met an Armenian butcher, who bowed to him seven times. Jelal bowed to him in return. At another time he chanced upon a number of children who were playing, and who left their game, ran to him, and bowed. Jelal bowed to them also; so much so, that one little fellow called out from afar: "Wait for me until I come." Jelal moved not away, until the child had come, bowed, and been bowed to.

At that time, people were speaking and writing against him. Legal opinions were obtained and circulated, to the effect that music, singing, and dancing, are unlawful. Out of his kindly disposition, and love of peace, Jelal made no reply; and after a while all his detractors were silenced, and their writings clean forgotten, as though they had never been written; whereas his family and followers will endure to the end of time, and will go on increasing continually.

Again, the perwana request Jelal himself to instruct him and give him counsel.

After a little reflection, Jelal said: "I have heard that thou hast commited the Qur'an to memory. Is it so?" "I have." "I have heard that thou hast studied, under a great teacher, the Jami'u-'l-Usul, that mighty work on the 'Elements of Jurisprudence.' Is it so?" "It is."

"Then," answered Jelal, "thou knowest the Word of God, and thou knowest all the words and acts reported of his apostle. But thou settest them at naught, and actest not up to their precepts. How, then, canst thou expect that words of mine will profit thee?"

The perwana was abashed, and burst into tears. He went his way; but from that day he began to execute justice, so as to become a rival of the great Chosroes. He made himself the phoenix of the age, and Jelal accepted him as a disciple.

Jelal was accustomed to go every year for about six weeks to a place near Qonya, called "The Hot Waters," where there is a lake or marsh inhabited by a large colony of frogs.

A religious musical festival was arranged one day near the lake, and Jelal delivered a discourse. The frogs were vociferous, and made his words inaudible. He therefore addressed himself to them, with a loud shout, saying: "What is all this noise about? Either do you pronounce a discourse, or allow me to speak." Complete silence immediately ensued; nor was a frog ever once heard to croak again, so long as Jelal remained there.

Before leaving, he went to the marsh, and gave them his permission to croak again now as much as they pleased. The chorus instantly began. Numbers of people, who were witnesses of this miraculous power over the frogs, became believers in Jelal and professed themselves his disciples.

A party of butchers had purchased a heifer, and were leading her away to be slaughtered, when she broke loose from them, and ran away, a crowd following and shouting after her, so that she became furious, and none could pass near her.

By chance Jelal met her, his followers being at some distance behind. On beholding him, the heifer became calm and quiet, came gently towards him, and then stood still, as though communing with him mutely, heart to heart, as is the wont with saints; and as though pleading for her life. Jelal patted and caressed her.

The butchers now came up. Jelal begged of them the animal's life, as having placed herself under his protection. They gave their consent, and let her go free. Jelal's disciples now joined the party, and he improved the occasion by the following remarks:"If a brute beast, on being led away to slaughter, break loose and take refuge with me, so that God grants it immunity for my sake, how much more so would the case be, when a human being turns unto God with all his heart and soul, devoutly seeking him. God will certainly save such a man from the tormenting demons of hell-fire, and lead him to heaven, there to dwell eternally."

Those words caused such joy and gladness among the disciples that a musical festival, with dancing, at once commenced, and was carried on into the night. Alms and clothing were distributed to the poor singers of the chorus. It is related that the heifer was never seen again in the meadows of Qonya.

A meeting was held at the perwana's palace, each guest bringing his own wax light of about four or five pounds' weight. Jelal came to the assembly with a small wax taper.

The grandees smiled at the taper. Jelal, however, told them that their imposing candles depended on his taper for their light. Their looks expressed their incredulity at this. Jelal, therefore, blew out his taper, and all the candles were at once extinguished; the company being left in darkness.

After a short interval, Jelal fetched a sigh. His taper took fire therefrom, and the candles all burnt brightly as before. Numerous were the conversions resulting from this miraculous display.

When Adam was created, God commanded Gabriel to take the three most precious pearls of the divine treasury, and offer them in a golden salver to Adam, to choose for himself one of the three.

The three pearls were: wisdom, faith, and modesty.

Adam chose the pearl of wisdom.

Gabriel then proceeded to remove the salver with the remaining two pearls, in order to replace them in the divine treasury. With all his mighty power, he found he could not lift the salver.

The two pearls said to him: "We will not separate from our beloved wisdom. We could not be happy and quiet away from it. From all eternity, we three have been the three comperes of God's glory, the pearls of his power. We cannot be separated."

A voice was now heard to proceed from the divine presence, saying: "Gabriel! leave them, and come away." From that time, wisdom has taken its seat on the summit of the brain of Adam; faith took up its abode in his heart; modesty established itself in his countenance. Those three pearls have remained as the heirlooms of the chosen children of Adam. For, whoever, of all his descendants, is not embellished and enriched with those three jewels, is lacking of the sentiment and lustre of his divine origin.

So runs the narrative reported by Husam, Jelal's successor, as having been imparted to him by the latter. Among the disciples there was a hunchback, a devout man, and a player on the tambourine, whom Jelal loved.

On the occasion of a festival, this poor man beat his tambourine and shouted in ecstasy to an unusual degree. Jelalwas also greatly moved in the spirit with the holy dance.

Approaching the hunchback, he said to him: "Why erectest thou not thyself like the rest?" The infirmity of the hunch was pleaded. Jelal then patted him on the back, and stroked him down. The poor man immediately arose, erect and graceful as a cypress.

When he went home, his wife refused him admittance, denying that he was her husband. His companions came, and bare witness to her of what had happened. Then she was convinced, let him in, and the couple lived together for many years afterwards.

It was once remarked to Je1al, with respect to the burial service for the dead, that, from the earliest times, it had been usual for certain prayers and Qur'anic recitations to be said at the grave and round the corpse; but, that people could not understand why he had introduced into the ceremony the practice of singing hymns during the procession towards the place of burial, which canonists had pronounced to be a mischievous innovation.

Jelal replied: "The ordinary reciters, by their services, bear witness that the deceased lived a Muslim. My singers, however, testify that he was a Muslim, a believer and a lover of God."

He added also: "Besides that; when the human spirit, after years of imprisonment in the cage and dungeon of the body, is at length set free, and wings its flight to the source whence it came, is not this an occasion for rejoicings, thanks, and dancings? The soul, in ecstasy, soars to the presence of the Eternal; and stirs up others to make proof of courage and self-sacrifice. If a prisoner be released from a dungeon and be clothed with honour, who would doubt that rejoicings are proper? So, too, the death of a saint is an exactly parallel case.

It is related that Jelal cured one of his disciples of an intermittent fever by writing down the following invocation on paper, washing off the ink in water, and giving this to the patient to drink; who was, under God's favour, immediately relieved from the malady:"O Mother of the sleek one (a nickname of the tertian ague)! If thou hast believed in God, the Most Great, make not the head to ache; vitiate not the swallow; eat not the flesh; drink not the blood; and depart thou out of so-and-so, betaking thyself to some one who attributes to God partners of other false gods. And I bear witness that there is not any god save God, and I testify that Mohammed is his servant and apostle."

In the days of Jelal there was Qonya a lady-saint, named Fakhru-'n-Nisa (the Glory of Women). She was known to all the holy men of the time, who were all aware of her sanctity. Miracles were wrought by her in countless numbers. She constantly attended the meetings at Jelal's home, and he occasionally paid her a visit at her house.

Her friends suggested to her that she ought to go and perform the pilgrimage at Mekka; but she would not undertake this duty unless she should first consult with Jelal about it. Accordingly she went to see him. As she entered his presence, before she spoke, he called out to her: "Oh, most happy idea! May thy journey be prosperous! God willing, we shall be together." She bowed, but said nothing. The disciples present were puzzled.

That night she remained a guest at Jelal's house, conversing with him till past midnight. At that hour he went up to the terraced roof of the college to perform the divine service of the vigil. When he had completed that service of worship, he fell into an ecstasy, shouting and exclaiming. Then he lifted the skylight of the room below, where the lady was, and invited her to come up on to the roof also.

When she was come, he told her to look upwards, saying that her wish was come to pass. On looking up, she beheld the Cubical House of Mekka in the air, circumambulating round Jelal's head above him, and spinning round like a dervish in his waltz, plainly and distinctly, so as to leave no room for doubt or uncertainty. She screamed out with astonishment and fright, swooning away. On coming to herself, she felt the conviction that the journey to Mekka was not one for her to perform; so she totally relinquished the idea.

Shemsu-'d-Din of Tebriz once asserted, in Jelal's college, that whosoever wished to see again the prophets, had only to look on Jelal, who possessed all their qualifications; more especially of those to whom revelations were made, whether by angelic communications, or whether in visions; the chief of such qualities being serenity of mind with perfect inward confidence and consciousness of being one of God's elect. "Now," said he, "to possess Jelal's approbation is heaven; while hell is to incur his displeasure. Jelal is the key of heaven. Go then, and look upon Jelal, if thou wish to comprehend the signification of that saying 'the learned are the heirs of the prophets,' together with something beyond that, which I will not here specify. He has more learning in every science than any one else upon earth. He explains better, with greater tact and taste, as also more exhaustively, than all others. Were I, with my mere intellect, to study for a hundred years, I could not acquire a tenth part of what he knows. He has intuitively thought out that knowledge, without being aware of it, in my presence, by his own subtlety."

Jelal one day addressed his son, saying: "Baha'u-'d-Din, dost thou wish to love thy enemy, and to be loved of him? Speak well of him, and extol his virtues. He will then be thy friend; and for this reason: In like manner as there is a road open between the heart and the tongue, so also is there a way from the tongue to the heart. The love of God may be found by bearing his comely names. God hath said: 'O my servants, take ye heed that ye often commemorate me, so that sincerity may abound.' The more that sincerity prevails, the more do the rays of the light of truth shine into the heart. The hotter a baker's oven is, the more bread will it bake; if cool, it will not bake at all."

Jelal once met a Turk in Qonya, who was selling fox skins in the market, and crying them: "dilku! dilku!" (fox! fox! in Turkish.) Jelal immediately began to parody his cry, calling out in Persian: "dil ku! dil ku!" (heart, where art thou?) At the same time he broke out into one of his holy waltzes of ecstasy.

In the days of Sultan Veled, a great merchant came to Qonya to visit the tomb of Jelal. He offered many rich gifts to Sultan Veled, making presents also to the disciples. He related to them many anecdotes of adventures encountered by him in his travels, such as the following:

He once went to Kish and Bahreyn in quest of pearls and rubies. ''An inhabitant told me," said he, "that I should find some in the hands of a certain fisherman. I went to him, and the fisher showed me a chest, containing pearls of inestimable value, such as impressed me with astonishment. I asked him how he had collected them; and he told me, calling God to witness, that he, his three brothers, and his father, were formerly poor fishermen. One day they hooked something that gave them immense trouble before they could bring it to land.

"They now found they had captured a 'lord of the waters,' also named a 'marvel of the sea,' as is commonly known.

We wondered," said he, "what we could do with the beast.

We wept for the ill fortune that had brought us such a disappointment. The creature looked at us as we spoke. Suddenly my father cried out: 'I have it! I will put him on a cart, and exhibit him all over the country at a penny a head!"

"Through the miraculous power of him who has endowed man with speech and his creatures with life, the beast broke forth and exclaimed: 'Make me not a staring-block in the world, and I will do anything you may wish of me, so as to suffice for you and your children for many years to come!'

"Our father answered: 'How should I set thee free, when thou art so strange and unparalleled a creature?' The beast replied: 'I will make an oath.' Our father said: 'Speak! Let us hear thy oath.'

"The beast now said: 'We are of the faith of Mohammed, and disciples of the holy Mevlana. By the soul of the Mevlana, the holy Jelalu-'d-Din of Rome, I will go, and I will return.'

"Our father fainted away with astonishment. I, therefore, now asked: 'How hast thou any knowledge of him?' The beast replied: 'We are a nation of twelve thousand individuals. We have believed in him, and he frequently showed himself to us at the bottom of the sea, lecturing and sermonizing to us on the divine mysteries of the truth. He brought us to a knowledge of the true faith; so that we continually practise what he taught us.'

"Our father instantly told him he was free. He went back, therefore, into the water, and was lost to sight. But two days later he returned, and brought with him innumerable pearls and precious stones. He asked whether he had been true and faithful to his promise; and on our expressing our satisfaction on that score, he took an affectionate farewell from us.

'We were thus raised from the depths of poverty to the pinnacle of wealth. We became merchant princes, and our slaves are the great merchants of the earth. Every dealer who wishes for pearls and rubies comes to us. We are known as the Sons of the Fisherman. Our father went to Qonya, and paid his respects to the Mevlana.

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