"Through his narrative, I formed the design, now carried into effect, to visit the son of that great saint."
This wonderful narrative has been handed down ever since in the mouths of the merchants of Qonya.
One day, it is said, the Prophet (Mohammed) recited to 'Ali in private the secrets and mysteries of the "Brethren of Sincerity" (who appear to be the "Freemasons" of the Muslim dervish world), enjoining on him not to divulge them to any of the uninitiated, so that they should not be betrayed; also, to yield obedience to the rule of implicit submission.
For forty days, 'Ali kept the secret in his own sole breast, and bore therewith until he was sick at heart. Like a pregnant woman, his abdomen became swollen with the burden, so that he could no longer breathe freely.
He therefore fled to the open wilderness, and there chanced upon a well. He stooped, reached his head as far down into the well as he was able; and then, one by one, he confided those mysteries to the bowels of the earth. From the excess of his excitement, his mouth filled with froth and foam. These he spat out into the water of the well, until he had freed himself of the whole, and he felt relieved.
After a certain number of days, a single reed was observed to be growing in that well. It waxed and shot up, until at length a youth, whose heart was miraculously enlightened on the point, became aware of this growing plant, cut it down, drilled holes in it, and began to play upon it airs, similar to those performed by the dervish lovers of God, as he pastured his sheep in the neighbourhood.
By degrees, the various tribes of Arabs of the desert heard of this flute-playing of the shepherd, and its fame spread abroad. The camels and the sheep of the whole region would gather around him as he piped, ceasing to pasture that they might listen. From all directions, north and south, the nomads flocked to hear his strains, going into ecstasies with delight, weeping for joy and pleasure, breaking forth in transports of gratification.
The rumour at length reached the ears of the Prophet, who gave orders for the piper to be brought before him. When he began to play in the sacred presence, all the holy disciples of God's messenger were moved to tears and transports, bursting forth with shouts and exclamations of pure bliss, and losing all consciousness. The Prophet declared that the notes of the shepherd's flute were the interpretation of the holy mysteries he had confided in private to 'Ali's charge.
Thus it is that, until a man acquire the sincere devotion of the linnet-voiced flute-reed, he cannot hear the mysteries of the Brethren of Sincerity in its dulcet notes, or realize the delights thereof; for "faith is altogether a yearning of the heart, and a gratification of the spiritual sense."
There was once a wise monk in the monastery of Plato, who was on very friendly terms with Jelal's grandson 'Arif. He was very aged, and used to be visited by the dervishes of his neighbourhood, to whom he was very polite, and towards whom he exhibited great confidence; so much so that, one day, some of them inquired of him how he had found Jelal, and what he had thought of him.
The monk replied to them: "What do you know of him, as to who or what he was? I have seen signs and miracles without number worked by him. I became his devoted servant. I had read in the gospel and in the prophets the lives and the works of the saints of old, and I saw that he compassed them all. I therefore had faith in the truth of his reality.
"One day he came here, conferring on me the honour of a visit. For forty days he shut himself up in ecstatic seclusion. When at length he came forth from his privacy, I laid hold of his skirt, and said to him: 'God, in his holy scripture hath said (Qur'an xix. 72): "And there is none of you but shall come to it (hellfire)." Now, since it is incontestable that all shall come to the fire of hell, what preference is there in Islam over our faith?'
"For a little time he made no answer. At length, however, he made a sign towards the city, and went away in that direction. I followed after him leisurely. Near the city, we came to a bakehouse, the oven of which was being heated. He now took my black cassock, wrapped it in his own cloak, and threw the bundle into the oven. He then withdrew for a time into a corner, sunk in meditation.
"I saw a great smoke come out of the oven, such that no one had the power of utterance. After that, he said to me: 'Behold!' The baker withdrew the bundle from the oven, and assisted the saint to put on his cloak, which had become exquisitely clean; whereas my cassock was, as it were, branded and scorched, so as to fall in pieces. Then he said: 'Thus shall we enter therein, and thus shall you enter!'
"That self-same moment I made my bow to him and became his disciple."
It is related that, after his death, when laid on his bier, and while he was being washed by the hands of a loving and beloved disciple, while others poured the water for the ablution of Jelal's body, not one drop was allowed to fall to the earth. All was caught by the fond ones around, as had been the case with the Prophet at his death. Every drop was drunk by them as the holiest and purest of waters.
As the washer folded Jelal's arms over his breast, a tremor appeared to pass over the corpse, and the washer fell with his face on the lifeless breast, weeping. He felt his ear pulled by the dead saint's hand, as an admonition. On this, he fainted away, and in his swoon he heard a cry from heaven, which said to him: "Ho there! Verily the saints of the Lord have nothing to fear, neither shall they sorrow. Believers die not; they merely depart from one habitation to another abode!"
When the corpse was brought forth, all the men, women, and children, who flocked to the funeral procession, smote their breasts, rent their garments, and uttered loud lamentations. These mourners were of all creeds, and of various nations; Jews and Christians, Turks, Romans, and Arabians were among them. Each recited sacred passages, according to their several usages, from the Law, the Psalms, or the Gospel.
The Muslims strove to drive away these strangers, with blows of fist, or staff, or sword. They would not be repelled. A great tumult was the result. The sultan, the heir-apparent. and the perwana all flew to appease the strife, together with the chief rabbis, the bishops, abbots, &c;.
It was asked of these latter why they mixed themselves up with the funeral of an eminent Muslim sage and saint. They replied that they had learnt from him more of the mysteries shrouded in their scriptures, than they had ever known before; and had found in him all the signs and qualities of a prophet and saint, as set forth in those writings. They further declared: "If you Muslims hold him to have been the Mohammed of his age, we esteem him as the Moses, the David, the Jesus of our time; and we are his disciples, his adherents."
The Muslim leaders could make no answer. And so, in all honour, with every possible demonstration of love and respect, was he borne along, and at length laid in his grave.
He had died as the sun went down, on Sunday, the fifth of the month Jumada-'l-akhir, A.H. 672 (16th December A.D. 1273); being thus sixty-eight (lunar) years (sixty-six solar years) of age.
Sultan Veled is reported have related that, shortly after the death of his father, Jelal, he was sitting with his stepmother, Jelal's widow, Kira Khatun, and Husamu-'d-Din when his step-mother saw the spirit of the departed saint, winged as a seraph, poised over his, Sultan Veled's, head, to watch over him.
After Jelal's death, Kigatu Khan, a Mogul general, came up against Qonya, intending to sack the city and massacre the inhabitants. (He was emperor from A.H. 690 to 696, A.D. 1290-1294.)
That night, in a dream, he saw Jelal, who seized him by the throat, and nearly choked him, saying to him: "Qonya is mine. What seekest thou from its people?"
On awaking from his dream, he fell on his knees and prayed for mercy, seeking also for information as to what that portent might signify. He sent in an ambassador to beg permission for him to enter the city as a friendly guest.
When he arrived at the palace, the nobles of Qonya flocked to his court with rich offerings. All being seated in solemn conclave, Kigatu was suddenly seized with a violent tremor, and asked one of the princes of the city, who was seated on a sofa by himself: "Who may the personage be that is sitting at your side on your sofa?" The prince looked about, right and left; but saw no one. He replied accordingly. Kigatu answered: "What? How sayest thou? I see by thy side, seated, a tall man with a grisly beard and a sallow complexion, a grey turban, and an Indian plaid over his chest, who looks at me most pryingly."
The prince sagaciously suspected forthwith that Jelal's shade was there present by his side, and made answer: "The sacred eyes of majesty alone are privileged to witness that vision. It is the son of Baha'u-'d-Din of Balkh, our Lord Jelalu-'d-Din, who is entombed in this land."