In a letter to Hazrat Qotb Sahab, Khwaja Moinoddin Chishti [i]Radi Allahu anhu[/i] writes that his morshed ‘Othman Haruni once was pleased to narrate the following dialogue between a morshed and a morid:
“Hatim Asamm was a morid of Khwaja Shaqiq of Balkh. One day it so happened, that the morshed inquired from his morid: ‘Tell me, since how long have you been engrossed in my love and engaged in my service and have been hearing my talk and discourses?’
He replied: ‘For the last thirty years, morshed’.
Khwaja Shaqiq[i]Radi Allahu anhu[/i] then asked: ‘Now, tell me, during this long period, what have you gained and what benefits and blessings have you derived?’
Thereupon Hatim Asamm submitted: ‘I have acquired eight useful and beneficial things, morshed’’
The morshed inquired: ‘What are they? Did you not enjoy and posses them before?’
He replied: It is true to say, that I did not enjoy them before. I am happy and satisfied, morshed. I do not require anything more’.
Khwaja Shaqiq exclaimed: ‘Hatim! I have spent all my life in your work and in your training. I myself do not want, that you should acquire more than what you have already acquired’.
Hatim, as a mark of expression of his satisfaction and gratitude, humbly submitted: ‘This much knowledge is sufficient unto me, for the salvation of both the worlds is circumscribed within the eight beneficial accomplishments, which fortunately I have acquired in your blessed company.
“Thereupon shaykh Shaqiq asked Hatim Asamm [i]Radi Allahu anhu[/i] to describe them and he answered thus:
‘Morshed, the first thing is this, that when I saw the people of the world minutely, I found then that everybody has foolishly made someone his beloved. These so-called beloveds are of such a type and trait, that some are with you during your illness, some are with you till your death and some accompany your funeral to the grave. There is none, who may go with you inside the grave and partake of your sorrow and affliction therein and there is none, who may serve as a lamp in your grave.
Seeing this I thought to myself, that (s)he is indeed a good beloved, who may be prepared to go with you inside the grave and be sympathetic to you and be a bright lamp there in the grave and enable you to overcome hardship and cross the hurdles. Then I understood, that the beloveds capable of helping thus are no other than good actions! So I made them the focus of my attention and treated them as my beloved and took them as my pleader, so that they may stand by me in the grave and serve as a bright lamp therein, be with me at every stage, intercede for me and may never desert me’.
“Hearing this Khwaja Shaqiq of Balkh said: ‘Hatim, you have done very well indeed. Now describe the second thing’.
Hatim then began to describe the second thing thus: ‘The second thing is this, that when I saw the people of the world minutely, I found them to be the followers of lust and the devotees of greed and obeying their own self. I pondered over the verse of the Qur’an 79:40-41, which says:
But he who feared standing before his Lord
And restrained his self from vain desires,
His place is in heaven.
By thus meditating over the aforesaid verse, I realised that what the Qur’an said, was true. Consequently I equipped myself to oppose the self and placed it in the fireplace of asceticism. I refused to fulfil any of its desires. This unflinching obedience to God conferred upon me peace, confort and tranquility’.
Khwaja Shaqiq of Balkh thereupon expressed his joy and said: ‘May God, the Almighty, give you blessedness in your pursuit. You have done well and very well. Now proceed with the third’.”
The morid answered: ‘The third benefit is this, that when I studied carefully the condition of the people of the world, I realised that everybody runs after the world. After undergoing sorrow, trials and tribulations one is able to derive some benefit from the officials of the world. One feels happy therefrom.
Subsequently I pondered over the verse 16:96 of the Qur’an which runs thus:
Whatever you have is transient and not lasting
And whatever is with God is everlasting.
The effect of the aforesaid verse was, that whatever I had hoarded, I voluntarily spent it in the way of God and surrendered myself to God, so that it may last there in the presence of God and may thus become a means of sustenance for me in the world hereafter’.
Khwaja Shaqiq of Balkh, on hearing this, said: ‘May God bless you! You have done very well indeed. Now tell me the fourth’.
‘The fourth thing is this, that when I looked minutely into the condition of the people of the world, then I reached the conclusion that some people take a large family as the standard of honour, prestige and greatness and they feel proud of it. There are others who are of the opinion that honour depends upon wealth and children and this constitutes to them the hallmark of glory. Subsequently I thought over this verse 49:13 of the Qur’an:
Surely the noblest of you
In the sight of God
Is the most pious.
I was led to believe that the verse contained the truth and what the people thought was false and frivolous. Consequently I took to piety, so that I might become the one accepted by God.
Khwaja Shaqiq of Balkh thereupon said: ‘You have done very well. I’d like to hear about the fifth benefit’.
Hatim Asamm [i]Radi Allahu anhu[/i] then narrated thus: ‘Fifthly, when I scrutinised the people, I came to know that due to jealousy they bear enmity with each other and talk ill of each other. And… they are jealous of wealth, prestige, honour and knowledge. Then I pondered over the verse of Qur’an 29:62 that follows:
God expands the sustenance
For whomsoever He wishes of His servants
Or restricts it.
I was led to believe that since the day of eternity they have received their share and none can interfere in it, then of what use it is to be jealous. Consequently I avoided jealousy and became at peace with all’.
Khwaja Shaqiq of Balkh again remarked: ‘You have done very well. Now describe the sixth’.
And his morid thus proceeded: ‘Sixthly, when I saw the world closely, I found that some bear enmity with each other and are at loggerhead with each other to achieve a certain object. Then I studied the verse of Qur’an 35:6 minutely which gives this warning:
Satan is an enemy of yours.
This verse dispelled all doubts and led me to believe, that the word of God was true and that there could be no doubt that Satan was our enemy. I made up my mind neither to follow nor to obey Satan. I wanted to obey and worship God and God alone. And this is as it should be, for God has said in Qur’an 36:60-61:
Did I not exhort you,
O Children of Adam,
Not to worship Satan!
For he is a manifest enemy of yours.
And worship Me,
For this is a straight path.
Khwaja Shaqiq [i]Radi Allahu anhu[/i], on hearing it, said: ‘You have done well. And what is the seventh?’
Hatim Asamm [i]Radi Allahu anhu[/i] answered: ‘And seventhly, when I saw the people of the world minutely, then I came to know that everybody tries his utmost for his sustenance. For this reason he becomes diffident and doubtful. He brings upon himself humiliation. I then contemplated on Qur’an 11:6 which tells:
On the face of the earth there is no creature,
Whose sustenance is not the responsibility of Allah.
I realised that the word of God was true. I am myself a creature. Since then I took to the service of God and I felt sure, that my sustenance will come from Him, because He Himself has taken the responsibility for it’.
Khwaja Shaqiq of Balkh [i]Radi Allahu anhu[/i] then said: ‘You have done very well. Now narrate the eighth and last thing by which you are benefited’.
Hatim Asamm finished his story by telling this: ‘When I saw the people of the world minutely, I found them reposing their trust in gold, silver, wealth and in material acquisitions. Then I pondered over Qur’an 65:3 which says:
Whosoever reposes his trust in God,
God will be sufficient for him.
Since then I reposed my trust in God. He is sufficient unto me and He is a very good Pleader.
Khwaja Shaqiq of Balkh [i]Radi Allahu anhu[/i] was delighted to hear the aforesaid things and he said thus: ‘May God in His infinite grace and mercy enable you to pursue assiduously the things aforesaid. I have studied carefully the Old Testament, the Bible, the Psalms of David and the Qur’an and I have acquired from these four books the very things that you have mentioned. Whosoever acts upon these eight things, described by you, follows and acts upon the aforesaid four books in fact!’
Khwaja Mo’inoddin Chishti [i]Radi Allahu anhu[/i] concludes his letter to Hazrat Qotb Sahab [i]Radi Allahu anhu[/i] thus: ‘By this narration you have come to know that much knowledge is not needed or required. What in fact is called for is purposeful practice’.”
You may remember how the letter of Khwaja Moinoddin Chishti [i]Radi Allahu anhu[/i] to Qotb Sahab ended. He wrote: ‘By this narration you have come to know that much knowledge is not needed or required. What in fact is called for is purposeful practice