Monday, February 12, 2007

Rumi on Friendship

Category: SOUND

Once on the bank of a river there lived a mouse and a frog. A very close friendship developed between the two of them. This friendship grew until it became a love relationship. By mutual arrangement they used to meet each other daily in the mornings and would converse with each other for a very long time. These meetings made both of them very happy. They used to tell stories to each other and listened to each other's tales. They even told each other their secrets and considered each other alone as holders of their secrets. When they met they even remembered and related happenings of more than five years ago, to each other.

Moulana Rumi (RA.) says:
"The excitement of eloquence and conversation from the heart is a . . sign of love
And when there is a termination of eloquence, it is a sign of lack of love.
How can that heart which had seen its loved one ever remain stern and cross?
And when the nightingale has seen a flower, how can it ever remain silent?
When a lover sits in the company of a lover,
Thousands of stories are remembered by the heart.
The Lowhul-Mahfooz -preserved tablet is the forehead of a Beloved
Which exposes the secrets of the worlds to the Lover."
"The guide to the path of guidance - Sayedina Mustafa Muhammad had said:
'My companions are like the stars in providing guidance.'

One day the mouse told the frog: "You are swimming around in
the water while I am here on the dry earth. I suffer the pangs of sorrow
over being parted from you. I come to the edge of the water to call you,
but while you are in the water, even the voice of a lover cannot be
heard. I am not happy with just meeting and talking to you for a short while". Salaah has only been
made obligatory five times a day,
but the true lovers of Allah Ta'ala permanently enjoy communion
with Allah through "Nafl" Salaahs.
"To be called from time to time for meeting a beloved is not for lovers,
The souls of true lovers remain thirsty at all times.
To be called for a meeting with a beloved is not for the fish,
For they will find no rest without the water. .
The heart of the lover is nothing without the Beloved,
There is between them no remover or removed."

Moulana's object in mentioning these couplets }s a reference to the Hadith which says that meeting each other with intervals of a day, increases the love for each other. However, true lovers are exempted from this statement as Hazrat Abu Hurayrah (RA.) reports: "I used to make obligatory upon myself the company of Rasulullah at all times". Rasulullah did not prohibit it; which meant that he considered it permissible. Hence the first statement is a general one, while the latter one, is for special friends. The first statement was made by the Prophet at a time when Rasulullah asked Abu Hurayrah (RA.): "O Abu Hurayrah, where were you yesterday?" He replied: "Yesterday, I went to visit some relatives". Then Rasulullah said: "Meeting after a days break in between will increase love". There seems to be a contradiction between the two statements. However, this is not so. Reconciliation between the two statements is this: To make someone's company compulsory at all times, as Abu Hurayrah (RA.) did, refers to those situations where the contact and love is very strong. The other situation of meeting at specific times refers to those situations where the contact of love is not that strong.

"For a lover, the parting for even a moment is like a year's parting And the meeting lasting a whole year
is mere imagination."

Moulana Rumi (RA.) further explains that the people of this world have a good understanding of worldly
love, but as regards to Divine Love, which is granted to the Prophets and the Saints of Allah, they do not
understand. That is because they are caught
up behind the curtain of this world's external comforts and are deprived of the grace of Allah's love
which annihilates the needs of the self. Hence, only those who annihilate their selves gain this blessing.
It is not attained through reason alone.
"If through Reason the perception of Allah's love was possible,
Then of what use would spiritual strivings be?
In spite of the great mercy of having Allah ~ The Master of Reason
Why the command: Oppose your self and overpower your desires?"

It is through these strenuous spiritual exercises that the self becomes overpowered and annihilated.
The knowledge of Allah (Marifat) is dependent upon this. Moulana Sayed Sulayman Nadwi (RA.) asked
Hazrat Moulana Thanwy (RA.): "Hazrat what is the meaning of 'faquiri' ?" Hazrat Thanwy (R.A.) replied: "It
means annihilating your 'self'?"

The story continues:
The mouse then said to the frog: "O frog, beloved; without seeing your face at all times, I cannot find
peace. By day, the sight of you is my life, by night the thought of you is my consolation and sleep. It will
be q great favour on your part if you will permit me the pleasure of the opportunity of meeting you at
all times."

"It will be great generosity on your part if you will cause me the delight
Of remembering me at all times with your love.
You are unconcerned with my sorrows. 0, my Ameer!
Kindly grant me thy kindness and please me with your company."

Now Moulana returns to the object of the story, i.e. to return to Allah.
"O Allah, this indigent one without manners is most unsuited,
But Your Grace is all over, more higher and supreme.
O Allah, Your general Grace does not search for credentials or ability
And the sun of Your generosity even has effect on impurities.
The sun has warmed the belly of the earth
Which warmth has pulled impurities into its midst.
Those impurities have become part of the earth and created plants
And in this manner Allah wipes out sins.
If such is the robe of honour given to the evil ones,
How much more honourable will be the gift to righteous ones?
For His special bondsmen Allah prepares what no eye has seen,
And no tongue or language can ever describe.
Who are we? You kindly explain who we are?
O My Beloved, enlighten my day with beautiful morals. "


Moulana describes 'Allah's wonderful actions by saying: "O Allah, when out of Your kindness, the rays of the sun falls upon the earth it enlightens it, when it falls on impurities like dung it dries the solid part and converts it to fuel, which light the furnace. . Another portion (i.e. the liquid part of the dung) sinks into the earth providing fertliser from which plants and fragrant flowers grow. The heat of the sun warms the earth and makes it absorb the liquid impurities. 0 Allah, impurities too are not deprived of Your bounty, what will be Your generosity towards the righteous servants and Lovers of Thee. You will grant such bounties which neither the eyes have seen, nor ears have heard nor has it passed through the minds of men as is said in a Hadith:

"I have prepared for my righteous servants what no eye has seen,
no ear has heard nor has passed through the minds of men. "
Thereafter Moulana says: When someone is inspired with. knowledge from the unseen, it is a sure sign
that from Allah's side there is a special glance of generosity and grace upon him. Moulana describes it in
this way:

"When on the banks of a river 'you notice greenery,
Then from far off you can be certain that there is water in this place."
Allah says: "The faces of my Messenger's companions are covered
With a veneer of Noor from their hearts
And this Noor is an indication of much Ibaadah and IstigJaar."

He then, in another couplet, mentions another example viz.
That the greenery of the meadows denote the fact that rain has fallen in that place.
"If by night rain fell while you were asleep and unaware of it having fallen, .
Then in the morning if you see the garden luxuriant and fresh,
You should understand that last night rain fell. Every beautiful garden's freshness
Is an indication of rain having fallen. "

The story continues:
The mouse told the frog: "Brother, I am a creature living on dry land and you are living in the water. I am unable to enter the water, but you are able to come to the dry land. But how will you be able to know inside the water that I have a desire to meet you?" For quite a time they discussed the problem and consulted each other. Finally, the mouse put forward a suggestion that one end of a piece of string the frog should tie to its leg and the other end to the foot of the mouse. Thus when the mouse had a desire to meet the frog he will pull the string. In the water the frog will feel the pulling of the string and thus come to the bank of the river. In this way they will be able to meet each other.

The frog considered the mouse's suggestion to be a bad one and said to himself: "This evil minded one
wishes to tie me up." ''It is no surprise if a blind one falls into a well,
Surprising when a seeing one falls into it."

In spite of disliking the mouse's suggestion, the' frog found
an inclination within himself to accede to the request. When a person's desire overpowers his reason, it
becomes the beginning of that persons downfall.

Moulana then proceeded to relate the story of the destruction of the frog. The two of them, by pulling the string, were able to enjoy the ecstasy of meeting each other repeatedly. Then one day the result of this bad company became a reality. A vulture came along and carried the mouse off in its claw. As the vulture flew off with the mouse, he also lifted the frog out of the water where up to now he was safe and comfortable, because the other end was tied to the frogs leg. What happened to the mouse also happened to the frog. The vulture killed both of them and ate them up. If the frog had remained in the water and not formed a friendship with the evil mouse, then nothing would have happened to him and he would have remained, safe.


In this story Moulana has drawn our attention to the harm of bad company. It is a good story with a powerful moral lesson. In the story we see the soul, the self and the Shaytaan. The "Nafs-e-Ammaarah" is the evil mouse. The soul is the frog which lives in the water of Allah's nearness, which is its proper place. The vulture represents the Shaytaan or devil.

The Nafs - (Self) in order to satisfy its desires tries to engage the soul in evil doings and endeavours to tie it with a string. Where the soul obeys the desires of the Self and makes contact with the Self, then Shaytaan will pull it along wherever it wishes. In this way the soul is also humiliated because of its contact with the 'Self'. Hence, when the Shaytaan will go to hell, the Nafs (Self) which was in its claws will also go to hell accompanied by the soul as well, which had befriended the self in evil.

May Allah grant us the ability to learn a lesson from this story and may He grant us protection against the Self and the Shaytaan in the following manner:

(a) No matter what pleasure from sins the Self places in front of us, do not even turn your attention to those sins. Consider the Nafs as a very big enemy. It is an even bigger enemy than Iblees.

(b) When the whisperings of Shaytaan come to you, continue to recite 'Laa Howla Walaa Qoowata Illa Billaah'. Live in the shadow and company of a Saintly Sheikh and derive benefit from his knowledge and instructions. Remember that Shaytaan's control only comes when our soul makes a mutual agreement with the 'Nafs'. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance for us to oppose the accursed 'Nafs' with the aim of avoiding the mischief of Shaytaan. The one who will conquer his 'Self' will Insha-Allah conquer the Shaytaan. The conquest of the ‘Self' is not an easy task. Unless one forms a close contact with a saintly spiritual guide. Close contact here means ~ relationship of love and respect, choosing the guide in accordance with one's temperament.

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