|Note: Majalis-e-Khamsa is the
account of five debates between scholars of Mughal Emperor Akbar's court
and Hazrat Shaikh Mustafa Gujrati. These debates took place in the
presence of Akbar himself. The debates have been translated into English
by Hz Syed Ziaullah.
Given below is an extract from the book which is the introduction of
Hazrat Shaikh Mustafa Gujrati.
In the name of Allah,
Most Gracious, Most Merciful
HAZRAT SHAIKH MUSTAFA GUJRATI
Mian Shaikh Mustafa Gujrati, the author of this book, was born in Naharwala (now
the city of Patan) in Gujarat in 932 AH (1527 AD). He was the scion of a Bohra
family and the son of Mian Shaikh Abdur Rashid, an eminent scholar and the
author of Naqliat Mian Abdur Rashid, an authentic record on the traditions of
Imam Syed Muhammad Mahdi al-Mau'ood of Jaunpur (Uttar Pradesh in India). He
received his early education at the feet of his illustrious father. When he
reached the age of discretion, he took the vows of discipleship at the hands of
Bandagi Mian Pir Muhammad, a murshid (guide) of great spiritual achievements.
Then he took the oath of fealty in the service of Hazrat Shihabul Haq and
Bandagi Mian Syed Mahmood Syedanji Khatim-ul-Murshideen. Hazrat Syedanji saw
signs of great spiritual accomplishments in Shaikh Mustafa and permitted him to
set up his own Daira and start preaching. Hazrat Shaikh set up his Dairas at
many places. Innumerable people received the blessings of Allah as his
Shaikh was called to the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar and was incarcerated for
two years. During this period, a debate on the Mahdavi faith and beliefs went on
for eighteen months. He made a record of the debates as the process went on. Due
to the passage of time, these records have perished. Of them, the record of only
five sittings have been retrieved. The original is in Persian. It had been
translated into Urdu by Hazrat Syed Dilawar alias Goray Mian of Begum Bazar,
Hyderabad Deccan. This Urdu translation is being repeatedly published for over
half a century.
Malik Sulaiman author of Tarikh-e-Sulaimani writes: Pleased by the speeches and
arguments of Mian Shaikh Mustafa Gujrati in the court during the debates on
Mahdavi beliefs, Emperor Akbar wanted to grant some jagirs to him. But the
Shaikh used to reply that the celebrated personalities of the Mahdavi sect
refused to accept worldly wealth from kings. He said that they considered such
grants, fixed periodical and other sources of income as haram (prohibited). When
the ulema of the court saw that they were unable to defeat the Shaikh in debate,
they conspired to find an excuse which would cause his continued imprisonment.
They insisted on the Emperor not releasing
him unless he accepted a jagir, which he had termed as haram (prohibited). The
ulema did their worst to torment the Shaikh. Finding no other way, they again
conspired to ask the Shaikh what he thought of the Emperor who had not accepted
Syed Muhammad of Jaunpur as Imam Mahdi al-Mau'ood. When they repeatedly insisted
on an answer Shaikh Mustafa finally said : "I call a person, who accepts Syed
Muhammad as Mahdi al-Mau'ood as a momin (faithful). I call a person, who refutes
Mahdi, as a kafir (infidel). I call Akbar akfar (worse infidel), if he refutes
Mahdi." On hearing this, the ulema were angry, but couldnot say or do anything
without the permission of the Emperor.
Continuing the narrative,
Tarikh-e-Sulaimani says that the Emperor called the Shaikh for a private
audience late one night and asked for an explanation for the disrespect. The
Shaikh replied that Prophet Muhammad and Imam Mahdi, standing on his right and
left, asked him to reply boldly that one who refuted Mahdi was akfar. "I got the
courage to tell the truth after this," he added. The emperor believed him and
permitted him to go where he pleased. "But, please, accept the jagir," he
pleaded. Finally, the jagir was granted in the name of the Shaikh's son, Shaikh
After his release from captivity, the Shaikh came to Bayana (in Rajasthan) and
set up his Daira there. He died the same year, 984 AH (1578 AD) at the age of
A collection of
his letters to his contemporaries had been compiled by him and was recently
published with its Urdu translation. The letters reveal his profound devotion to
Allah and ways and means to do penance to reach spiritual heights and finally
realise the Ultimate Truth.
(From Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh and prefaces to the translation of two books,
Majalis-e-Khamsa by Hazrat Syed Dilawar, and, Makateeb by Hazrat Syed Khuda
Bakhsh Rushdi, respectively.)
I was taken in shackles to the court where
the Mughal Emperor Akbar, Emirs and some Ulema (religious scholars) were already
I said : Assalaam Alaikum
They suitably replied. They sat in a circle and made me sit in the middle.
First, the Emperor asked my name.
I said : Mustafa.
The Emir of Surat Fort (in Gujarat), who was present in the court said he had
never seen so unclean a Mustafa in the world.
The Emperor was irratated at this and said : Shame on you. He is an elderly
person and one should talk to him respectfully.
Turning to me, the Emperor said : We know you are a respected elderly person and
a guide. Veilded women, emirs and the king of Gujarat wait at your door-step.
Your benediction and paskhurda (what remains after eating and drinking) is
respectfully taken to Agra, Gaur (in Bengal) and Surat (in Gujarat). Reference
to you is very often made in our court. At the instance of the Ulema and as the
need arised, you have been brought here in shackles. What do you think of us?
In reply, I said : Somebody asked a
murshid (spiritual guide) to define faqiri (the life-style of a faqir). The
murshid said it was like sifted and moistened dust; it did neither soil the back
of the foot, nor case pain to the sole. I belong to the religion of of
ahl-e-batin (saintly heart) and my heart is untainted and pure. I am happy about
Emperor then said : The ulema and mashayakh (religious guides) are very hostile
to you. They have petitioned to us many times that great trouble had occurred in
Gujarat. The son of a Shaikh had adopted the religion of innovators (bid'atis)
and invites all people to his cult. Poladis, Afghans and many others, including
some ulema, had also joined it. Hence, it is the duty of the Emperoro to
suppress this trouble. It is because of the efforts of the ulema that you have
fallen into this predicament. How far is your heart afflicted by this?
In reply, I recited a Persian couplet
which means that I am not afflicted by what others do, because, whatever is done
to me, is done by my Friend (Allah).
After this the discussion veered round to
Mahdait. The Emperor asked: What do you say? Mahdi al-Mau'ood is yet to come? Or
that he has come and gone?
I said : Mahdi al-Mau'ood has come and
broke out among the courtiers. They started abusing and making acrimonious
remarks. Some of them menacingly came towards me.
They said : Killing this man will bring
great rewards (from Allah).
Kalan Khan, one of the courtiers, said : I
will kill him with my own hands. If the Emperor becomes angry, he will be angry
at us. We will respond. We will tell him that this man deserved to be killed,
according to Shariat. And, therefore, we killed him.
The Emperor said : Silence. We ask him for
his arguments. Let us see what he has to say. We should enquire into his
beliefs. After the enquiry, we will take suitable action.
Silence prevailed at this point.
Turning to me, the Emperor said : Describe
in detail how you accepted and reposed faith (iman) in Imam Mahdi and how did
you know that Syed Muhammed, who migrated from Jaunpur, claimed to be Mahdi al-Mau’ood
in Gujarat and was laid to rest in Farah (in Afghanistan) was in fact Mahdi al-Mau’ood?
How did you find out that the place of birth of Mahdi al-Mau’ood was Jaunpur,
the place of the announcement of his claim to be Mahdi al-Mau’ood was in Gujarat
and his place of burial was Farah? There is a Hadith (Prophet Muhammad’s
tradition) about the places of birth, claim and death of Mahdi. Ulema from Arab
and Ajam (non-Arab lands) and the imams of Makkah and Madina are all convinced
of the mischief and falsehood of the claim. You are learned, wise, and a
spiritual guide. In spite of all this, how did you accept the claim and now
invite the people of these beliefs. You should tell us all about your
acceptance, the whole of your story.
I said : My ancestors belonged to the Sufi
order and were mashayakheen (religious patriarchs) of tariqat (religious
observances). It is generally accepted that in the religion of mystics, the
refusal to accept the word of a vali (saint) is prohibited; it is worse than a
killer poison. Many from among the ahl-e-zahir (worldly people) did not accept
the word of the saints and lost their iman (faith) and divine knowledge. They
went astray in the wilderness of spiritual destructions. All this is clearly
written in the books of Khwaja Junaid Baghdadi, Imam Muhammad al-Ghazali and
Shaikh Shihabuddin Suhrawardi. Be that as it may, we knew for sure by tawatur
(continuity of the narrations) that Hazrat Syed Muhammad had claimed in
congregations of ulema and mashayakheen that he was Mahdi, he stood by his claim
to his last breath and the signs of his sainthood (vilayat) manifested
themselves all over the world. The manifestations of his grace became well known
every where. So much so, that illiterates became fully acquainted with the
nuances of Shariat (Islamic Code of Law) and recognition of Allah through his
(Imam Mahdi’s) companionship to a degree that their knowledge and competence are
beyond description. Their commendable attributes and illustrious actions. Like
tawakkul (trust in Allah), truth, obeisance, gentleness, politeness and other
virtues reached excellence. This again is beyond description. Each one among his
followers became a spiritual guide in his own right. Thousands of followers
flocked around such spiritual guides. They renounced worldliness and became the
seekers of Allah within the limits of tariqat and Shariat and realised the
Ultimate Reality. On the basis of the religion of Sufis, we accepted the Imam as
Mahdi al-Mau’ood and knelt at his door-step. We abstained from wordy duels and
discussions which is the usual practice among the ulema-e-zahir (experts in
worldly knowledge). Mashyakheen of tariqat have written in their books : "O the
traveler of the path of the (Ultimate) Truth : Be careful ; keep yourself away
from rejecting the aulia Allah (saints) so that you do not destroy the fruit of
your Faith (Iman). And, look at the word of Allah that Prophet Moses who was
endowed with the glory of Prophethood told Prophet Khizr, in view of the
compulsions of the Laws of Torah, that ‘Truly, a strange thing hast thou done’
(XVIII : 71), and then how in utter humility and modesty Prophet Moses said :
‘Rebuke me not for forgetting, nor grieve me by raising difficulties in my
case.’ (XVIII : 73). But the light of the Prophethood of Moses is required so
that we could identify the nur (light) of the sainthood, that is Imam Mahdi al-Mau’ood.
What do the ignorant and worldly pirs know? In short, the beliefs of
Mashayakheen of Tariqat are manifest. But let not the ulema of your court think
that the proof of the Mahdiat of Syed Muhammad of Jaunpur is confirmed to what I
have just said. No. We know that what we have just said is not the final
argument for the ulema of Shariat. But, since you had asked me to describe from
the beginning to the end, my story in detail, I said all that I have just said.
We now come to the scientific argument that when Imam Mahdi al-Mau’ood was
accepted on the basis of what has been described above, that is, the beliefs of
the Mashaykheen of Tarqat, the ulema-e-zahir disputed our acceptance of the Imam
and started a debate on the subject. They asserted that our beliefs were wrong
and that we were faithless. They went to the extent of issuing fatwas (religious
edicts) ordering us to be externed or killed. They got some Mahadavis killed
just for saying that Mahdi had come and gone. We were astonished. We were
intrigued whether our beliefs were wrong under the Quran and Hadith-e-mutawatir
(continuity in narration of Hadiths) and the consensus of the Ummah (followers
of Islam), and if so, it was our duty to repent and return to the truth. But if
our beliefs are correct according to the Quran, the Hadith and consensus of the
Ummah, we need not bother about the opposition, reproach and torture by the
opponents of Imam Mahdi. For Allah says : "Whoso works righteousness benefits
his own soul; whoever works evil, it is against his own soul:" (XLI : 46).
Hence, it is not necessary for us to repudiate Hazrat Syed Muhammad Mahdi al-Mau’ood
on the basis of what the Ulema-e-zahir say. (To take two instances :) The
sayings of the Jamaat Asaba (the group of paternal relations) about their
younger brother (Joseph) : "They said : ‘Truly Joseph and his brother are loved
more by our father than we; but we are a goodly body! Really our father is
obviously wandering (in his mind)! Slay ye Joseph…..’" (XII : 8). And the
sayings of the group of angels about Adam: "… They said : ‘Wilt thou place
therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood….’ (II : 30). We do
not give credence to the words of the brothers of Joseph and the group of
angels. The ulema-e-zahir of our times do not command more dignity or excellence
than them. How can we reject the claim of Imam Mahdi on the basis of the blind
following of these ulema? To find out the truth we studied the books of our
predecessors. We found references to Imam Mahdi in the books of Hadith
(traditions of Prophet Muhammad). We found that no Hadith-e-mutawatir (a number
of traditions giving continuity to prove an event) had been reported in respect
of Imam Mahdi as Mutawatir-ul-ma’ani (continuity in meaning). However, no
mujtahid (religious director) or mufassir (commentator of Quran) has said
anything definite about the signs of Imam Mahdi, because the ahadith
(traditions) are obviously ahaad (single traditions without corroboration); such
traditions give only the benefit of assumption and assumptions cannot be relied
upon in matters of beliefs. Besides, there are obvious contradictions. Some
traditions say that Mahdi and Jesus will come at the same time, while others say
that they will come at different times. Similarly, some traditions say that
Dajjal (Anti-Christ) will come during the time of Imam Mahdi while others say
that he would come after the appearance of the Imam. Again, there is
contradiction in various traditions about the places of birth, claim and death,
and dates of appearance of Imam Mahdi. Hence, the ulema of the past hesitated
and deliberated about the matter because of their immense intellectual honesty.
They finally left it to Allah. They agreed on the point that Imam Mahdi was
Aadil (just and righteous). He will be among the descendants of Fatima, daughter
of Prophet Muhammad. He will appear when Allah wished to help His religion. In
short, contradictory statements in the traditions give rise to doubts. Ulema in
the Emperors court and of Naharwala town tried their best to disprove the
possibility and create doubts about Imam Mahdi but they failed. They came to the
conclusion that the appearance of Syed Muhammad as Imam Mahdi was possible and
that those who reposed trust in him were not liable to be derided. They said
that the Mahdavis should not invite others to their religion and beliefs on the
basis of the possibility because the possibility alone was not a final argument.
In short, a study of the books of traditions showed that it did not become
necessary to find fault with and deride a follower of Imam Mahdi. It was not
just, they said, to attribute kufr (infidelity), zalalat (deviation from the
right path) and bid’at (innovation) to the followers of Imam Mahdi. To issue a
fatwa (religious edict) to behead them was unjust tyranny. May Allah bless him
who does justice.
The Court ulema argued that it appeared from the speech of Shaikh Mustafa that,
according to the ulema of the past, it was proved that Mahdi called Mahdi al-Mau’ood
was not proved to be Imam Mahdi. Hence, the Shaikh deserved to be blamed (as
wrong) by his own confession.
I replied : It is necessary that Mahdi’s imamat (leadership) was bound to be
similar to the imamat of the Prophets and not that of the worldly kings because
all Prophets were imams and their leadership was not dependent and contingent
upon their having possessions of kingdoms and wealth. In respect of Prophets,
Allah says : "And We appointed, from among them, leaders, giving guidance under
Our command, so long as they persevered with patience…." (XXXII : 24). A few
hundred prophets suffered certain poverty and were martyred by their detractors.
Where did they have a country in possession, a large army and immense riches? On
the basis of this meaning, it is proved that Syed Muhammad was Mahdi and under
the Quranic injunction, "giving guidance under Our command," invited the people
to Allah. In short, it is proved from a study of the books of Hadith that Syed
Muhammad was an imam (leader).
The ulema quoted the Hadith in which
Prophet Muhammad had said that Mahdi would fill the earth (al-arz) with justice
and fairplay, as it was filled with oppression and tyranny. They asked me
whether I considered it to be correct or contrived (mauzu).
I said : We consider it to be correct.
The Emperor asked : How does it reconcile
with your stand?
I replied : Allah had said in respect of Shu’aib (identified with Juthro,
According to Pickthal) : "Do no mischief on the earth, after it had been set in
order…." (VII : 56). In this Verse, the word al-arz (the earth) means the land
of Madyan because Shu’aib appeared on the land of Madyan as Allah says : "To the
Madyan people we sent Shu’aib, one of their own brethren :" (VII : 85). The
consensus of the commentators of Quran is that there were in all 400,000 mounted
soldiers in Madyan but none other than the two daughters of Shu’aib accepted him
as Prophet and obeyed him. In spite of this, Allah says "Do no mischief on the
earth of Madyan, O followers of Shu’aib after it had been set in order." The
point to be considered here, is that nobody in Madyan had reposed faith in
Shu’aib and abstained from mischief : yet, Allah says : "After it had been set
right" What does it mean? Hence, it is obvious that here "setting right" means
Shu’aib’s call to the people to set right or invitation towards good. Whether
somebody obeys him or not is immaterial. In accordance with the commandment of
Allah. it can be said that Shu’aib invited the people of the land of Madyan to
set it in order. Some of the commentators have said that Shu’aib did good deeds
and invited others to do good deeds. In this sense of Shu’aib inviting the
people of the earth (al-arz) to set it in order, Imam Mahdi also invited the
people of the earth (al-arz) to justice. Many people reposed faith in Imam
Mahdi, obeyed him and sacrificed their life and property for him and made
themselves the target of reproach.
At this point, the ulema said : Your
argument on this count is not correct because all your trouble is confined to
the town to Patan (in Gujarat). It is not known in any other town or country.
Hence, your argument that Mahdi had filled the whole world with justice as had
been done by Shu’aib in the town of Madyan is wrong. By your own admission, you
have made yourself blameworthy.
I replied : There is contradiction in your
contentious. Just now you were saying that during the reign of Salim Shah, when
Shaikh Ala’i was produced for beheading, he refused to retract from his faith in
Imam Mahdi, while some of his followers had reneged, that somebody asked why he
did not renege while his followers did, he had said that as the leader, he had
to act according to the highest principles while the followers could adopt
easygoing ways. In short, you know that nobody was known to be as strict in
piety, discipline and devotion as Shaikh Ala’i. He had made the doorstep of Imam
Mahdi his object of veneration and sacrificed his life at that doorstep. This
news spread all over the world that a devout aalim (scholar), strict follower of
the Shariat and a leader of tariqat had given the information that Imam Mahdi
had come and gone, and that he had fought kings, emirs, ulema and mashayakhs
with convincing arguments. There is hardly a person in Arabia or elsewhere who
can say that he had not heard of this news. Besides, you were just now saying
that the ulema of this city had sent their complaints to the ulema of Makkah and
that they (the ulema of Makkah) had issued a fatwa to kill the group of Mahdavis.
It is thirty years since this fatwa reached Gujarat. The ulema of Arabia know
that a large group of Mahdavis exists on this earth and this had astounded the
ulema of the non-Arab lands (Ajm). A large number of people follow the group of
Mahdavis, that is, it believes that Imam Mahdi has come and gone. The news had
spread both to Makkah and Madina; may Allah protect these cities. But then again
you say you had heard that somebody had claimed to be Mahdi in Patan town and
that you had not heard anything more than that. In another breath, you say that
the misfortune of your waywardness had reached Gaur (in Bengal) and East, where
there are thousand of people who follow our claim that Imam Mahdi had come and
gone and fallen into this waywardness (gumrahi). You also say that our
waywardness had reached Badakhshan where our friends killed a Badakhshani.
People of Shiraz had fallen into perversity in following our ways. Mullah
Alauddin has come from Shiraz and joined our company. There is a group of
Mahdavis in Hirat, Farah and Qandhar. Furthermore, Shaikh Abdunnabi, who is the
president of (the ulema of ) the Emperor’s court, and Qazi Yaqub, who is the
Malik-ul-Quzat (chief justice), have both said in this very court before the
ulema that Emperor Akbar had come all the way to Gujarat to put down the Mahdavi
menace; otherwise, an ordinary servant of his was enough to conquer Gujarat
because the Gujarat army was not strong enough to warrant the invasion by the
Emperor, while I am as insignificant as a straw among the group of Mahdavis. But
to put me down, the mighty Emperor Akbar had to come himself to Gujarat. In
spite of all this evidence how can you in fairness say that the news of Imam
Mahdi’s claim was confined to a town like Patan and that you had not heard about
it from anywhere else. In fact, the whole world is agog with the news that a big
group of Mahdavis had spread and invites the people to give up innovations,
strictly follow Prophet Muhammad and Quran, observe the commands of Shariat and
abstain from what had been prohibited therein; that in prayers and
supplications, it adopts the highest standards. Piety, truth, renunciation,
honesty, secludedness, acceptance of the life of poverty with resignation and
philanthropy are the cornerstones of the Mahdavi faith and practice. Day and
night the group sings the paeans that Imam Mahdi had come and gone. Therefore,
the ulema should not falsely say that the news of Imam Mahdi was confined to the
town of Patan only.
At this stage, the Emperor said : There is no way other than to say : ‘Unto you
your religion, and unto me my religion.’ (CIX :6). Because, it is impossible to
defeat you in argument. But why is it that the commentators of Quran have
decreed this Verse as repealed?
I said : Some of the commentators have
treated the Verse as not repealed.
The Emperor asked : Which of the Commentators?
I replied : Qazi Baizavi, for instance.
The ulema of the court told the Emperor :
There is no need to discuss this matter. Shaikh Mahdavi's word does not deserve
to be taken into consideration. He is the mischief-monger of our era. We are the
people of learning who sit with the king. When we listen to the Shaikh with
attention, we sometimes feel that the Shaikh is probably right. His word casts
influence on our minds. Such a mischief-monger should not be allowed to go free.
The fatwa of the ulema of Makkah is enough as the final argument for us, because
they are the best in the world and their fatwa would not be wrong. Under their
fatwa, the Shaikh should be beheaded.
The Emperor asked me : Had you been to
I said : No.
The Emperor asked : Had the ulema of Makkah come to Gujarat?
Again I said : No.
The Emperor said : What kind of a people are they! Without coming to Gujarat and
without enquiring or issuing a warning, they have issued a fatwa to behead the
Mahdavis on the issue of Imam Mahdi’s appearance and death, on the basis of what
their (the Mahdavis’) enemies had to say. This is not the work of Allah-fearing
The ulema of
the court said : O Emperor, compared to the ulema of Makkah, we are illiterate.
It does not lie in our mouth to criticise or contradict their word. We have to
follow their word and act accordingly.
Addressing one of the ulema, the son of a
mullah, the Emperor said : Tell us about the story of your father who had lived
in Makkah for a long time and was famous as a teacher and a leader. But then the
ulema of Makkah issued a fatwa charging your father of being a rafzi (heretic),
an enemy of religion and, therefore, liable to be beheaded. What do you say now?
Was the fatwa of the ulema of Makkah correct and was your father liable to be
beheaded? Or, was it that the ulema of Makkah were jealous of the good name of
your father and falsely issued the fatwa against you father?
The son of the mullah said : If the Emperor himself shames the ulema in front of
the Mahdavi innovators, who will come to the help of the ulema of the religion?
The Emperor said : Yours in an
unreasonable argument in a learned discussion. Your reply should be based on
scientific argument and knowledge of religion. Now, you follow your father and
believe that your father was among the Ahl-e-Sunnat-o-Jamaat. You do not
consider your father to be a rafzi (heretic). In this sense, the ulema of Makkah
could be jealous of your father. When the ulema of Makkah could be jealous of
your father, what argument do you have to believe that they are not jealous of
the group of Mahdavis. You answer my question.
The son of the mullah kept quiet.
Feeling defeated, the
ulema changed their tactics. They quoted Prophet Muhammad as saying that Truth (Haq)
always surmounted falsehood (batil), and argued : The group of Mahdavis,
wherever it was, lived in poverty and disgrace. We always dominate them. Had
they been on the right path, why should their condition be so bad? Please ask
this question of the Shaikh.
The Emperor said : It is not necessary to ask this question of the Shaikh. I can
tell you the answer that is in the Shaikh’s mind.
The ulema asked : What is it?
The Emperor said : The truth triumphs over
falsehood as the Shaikh triumphs over us. See, We are fifty or sixty people here
trying to corner the Shaikh by our questions. The Shaikh, despite his poverty,
shackles, being away from his father or brother and relatives and friends, sits
in our court as if he is our master. He is answering each and every one of our
questions with dignity, aplomb and steadfastness. This is the triumph of the
Truth over falsehood.
The ulema said : This argument is beside the point. Triumph, as it manifests
itself from outside, is needed.
The Emperor said : Your argument is
unreasonable because when two hundred mounted Mughal soldiers seen ten Firangi
(European) soldiers, they run like sheep which see a wolf. According to your
arguments, the Firangis were on the right path. You should not indulge in
Then turning to me the Emperor said : From the contents of Hadith, you have
proved the possibility and probability. In other words, it is possible and
probable that your claim of Imam Mahdi having come and gone may be correct. This
shows that because of this belief, you are not liable to be beheaded or externed.
Had you been steadfast in this belief and not invited other people to accept you
belief, it would not have landed you in trouble. The arguments of possibility
and probability should not have been used to raise a hue and cry and deceive
people that Imam Mahdi would no more come, that all the ulema were misled. All
this is sheer waywardness. You have fallen into this predicament by your pride
and ignorance. You should now repent and say that your pir (spiritual guide) was
a perfect saint of the highest order (vali-e-kamil). He had claimed on his own
to be Mahdi. According to Hadith, it is possible and probable that his claim
could be true and you are in his (spiritual) order. It is not justifiable for
you to reject the word of your pir, which is possible and probable in Shariat.
If, by chance, a Mahdi were to come as is being claimed by experts in Hadith,
you will accept him and you will think that you pir had erred in interpreting
the revelation or intuition. If, on the contrary, no Mahdi were to come in
future, it will be obvious that the real Mahdi al-Mau’ood is the person, who has
come and gone. Either you say this, or you give a final argument (to prove that
Syed Muhammad of Jaunpur is the real Mahdi).
I replied : Since you had asked me a relate the whole story of my acceptance of
Syed Muhammad as the Mahdi al-Mau’ood from the beginning to the end, I presented
the arguments of the Sufi saints and experts in Hadith. Otherwise, I know that
the Ahadith-e-Ahad (Solitary uncorroborated traditions of Prophet Muhammad)
cancel each other under the principle that when two ahadith contradict each
other, they cannot be relied upon in arguments. But these arguments in this
sitting have proved that even if we (the Mahdavis) have intentionally committed
a mistake, we are not liable to be beheaded or externed. How can we be
considered liable to be beheaded and externed when it is obvious that we are on
the right path.
Therefore, whoever says
that Mahdavis are liable to be beheaded and externed and considers that this
order is correct and permitted (jayaz), is himself liable to be inflicted with
the same punishment. Now, I present the final argument, by the grace of Allah,
The emperor said : Go ahead.
I said : Ulema of the past
have laid down in the books of beliefs some conditions of character and conduct
to prove the prophethood of a human being. These conditions have been described
in detail. They have arrived at a conclusion by consensus that a person who
possess certain qualities, attributes and character, will never be a false
pretender. All these qualities can be seen in Sharah-e- Aqaid, Tawale’,
Sharah-e-Muaqif, Tafseer-e-Mudarik, Ahya-Ul-Uloom and other books of beliefs.
The characteristics and attributes, which have been laid down as a condition for
a prophet, we found in Syed Mohammed of Jaunpur who claimed to be Mahdi. Hence,
according to the standards, laid down by the ulema of the past and jurists of
the subsequent era, we came to know that truly and certainly Syed Muhammad was
the Mahdi al-Mau’ood and there as no doubt about it. Prophet Muhammad has said
with reference to Mahdi that he would follow in my footsteps and would not err.
This saying of the Prophet has come true in respect of Syed Muhammad of Jaunpur.
In other words, the character, conduct and behaviour of Prophet Muhammad was
flawlessly followed by Syed Muhammad of Jaunpur. Hence it was realistically
known that he alone, and none else, was Mahdi al-Mau’ood. And the probability
shown by Hadith finally became a certainty. For, all that was laid down by the
ulema of the past was in conformity with the character and conduct of Imam
The emperor said : You
have not seen Syed Muhammad : how did you come to know that the character,
conduct and behaviour, laid down by the ulema of the past, were present in him ?
I Said : We investigated the character of Imam Syed Muhammad as the Ulema of the
past had investigated through their research in the books of beliefs the
character of Prophet Muhammad and came to the conclusion that this person alone
was Mahdi al-Mou’ood.
The Emperor said : From your arguments it
appears that the person who bears this character is to be accepted. Suppose in
future, some person is born, has all the qualities in him and claims to be Imam
Mahdi, what will you say about him?
I Said : No such person
will be born and will never claim to be Mahdi al-Mou’ood.
The emperor said : To suppose that the impossible will occur is not impossible.
Hence, suppose that somebody is born and makes the claim, what will you say
I replied : Suppose somebody with the character of prophet Muhammad is born and
claims that he is the Prophet, what will be your and our reaction? Whatever can
be said in that event, will also be said in respect of Imam Mahdi. But such an
event will never come to happen. The seal of the Prophets has come and gone and
the Seal of the Sainthood (vilayat) too has come and gone.
At this point, the trend of the discussion
changed and questions not related to the discussion of Mahdavi beliefs began to
be asked. Some of them were : Can an underage (unadult) person be called a
companion of the Prophet? What is your opinion about a person who says Hazrat
Ali (the fourth Caliph of Islam) was superior (afzal) and more respected that
Hazrat Au Bakr (the first Caliph of Islam)? What is your belief in respect of
the quarrel between Hazrat Ali ad Hazrat Mua’wiah? What do you say about cursing
Yazid? What are the conditions for a Mujtahid (religious director), according to
you? These and similar other questions were asked and replied according to my
light. The emperor and the ulema did not controvert my replies. They appeared to
be happy about them.
Since these questions and their replies were not related to the subject under
discussion and to be brief, they have been omitted. This sitting had started at
dusk and went on till midnight. When the sitting was over, I was handed over to
the jailor incharge.
I was again taken in shackles to the
Emperor’s court where, besides the Emperor and ulema, some emirs, who were not
present in the earlier sitting, were already occupying their seats. I was made
to sit in the centre and all others sat around me in a circle.
To the ulema, the Emperor said : This is Shaikh Mustafa Mahdavi. You may ask him
whatever you want.
The ulema told me : You are an elderly person and a leader. You possess
abilities that people like us can benefit from. On the basis of which argument,
do you call Syed Muhammad of Jaunpur as Mahdi al-Mau’ood? Why do you subscribe
to beliefs which are against the ahadith (traditions of Prophet Muhammed)? There
are signs for Mahdi in the ahadith.
I Replied : There is great contradiction
in ahadith describing the signs of Imam Mahdi. It is impossible to identify him
on the basis of ahadith. All that can be said on the basis of the ahadith is
that Imam Mahdi has come and gone or will come.
The ulema said : Alas ! It
does not lie in your mouth to say such unreasonable things because there cannot
be any contradiction among the ahadith of Prophet Muhammad.
To the Emperor, I said : Please listen to me attentively. We say that
contradiction does occur among the ahadith, while these ulema say that there is
no contradiction among them. We will concede that we are wrong in our claim
about Mahdi, if these ulema prove, according to the rules of the science of
ahadith, that there can be no contradiction among them.
The Emperor told the Ulema
: At the beginning of the discussion itself, you are saying a very unreasonable
thing. I would be a rafzi (heretic) if there is no contradiction among the
ahadith. Today itself, I was reading a book of ahadith. I came across two
ahadith about the appearance of Dajjal (Anti-Christ). They contradicted each
other. It is obvious that the ahadith about Imam Mahdi too would not be without
The ulema did not reply.
Instead, they asked me another question.
The ulema said : According to a tradition,
Prophet Muhammad said in respect of Mahdi that those living on earth and in
heavens, would be friendly to Mahdi. In another tradition, it is said that those
living on earth and in heavens will be contented, satisfied and happy with Imam
Mahdi. How is it that the people of the city are hostile to your Imam and his
followers, and keep them at a distance ?
I replied : Look at what Allah has to say. Allah had commanded that people
should be benevolent to those who troubled and tormented Prophet Muhammad. Allah
says "Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better :
then will he between whom and thee was hatred becomes as it were thy friend and
intimate". (XLI : 34). In other words O Muhammad Mustafa, have a good word to
those who are hostile to you, treat them with a better morality and remove their
evil with your good; for instance, be patient against their anger, be forbearing
against their ignorance. Pardon their evils, be benevolent against their
miserliness and so on. It consequence, your enemy will become your friend as if
he is your close relative. If you follow this regime, your difficulties will
come to an end. Now, think it over. Prophet Muhammad followed the commandment
with utmost devotion. But did all those, who were hostile to him, become his
friends? Did they eschew their hostility? It is obvious that the hostility of
the opponents had reached its zenith. Hence, the Verse should be understood to
mean the negligence, ignorance, hostility, malice and belligerence of the kafirs
(infidels), so that the meaning of the Verse reflects the situation in favour of
Prophet Muhammad because the malicious people are prominent here. With respect
to these hostile elements, Allah says : "Even if they see all the signs, they
will not believe in them". (VII : 146). Similarly, except the ulema-e-zahir
(worldly ulema) and their followers, ask anybody. They will all say that they
had not seen anybody except the group of Mahdavis who had pleasantness,
elegance, courage, uprightness, affection, honesty, brotherhood, bravery,
generosity, trust in Allah, surrender to the will of Allah and such good
character and conduct. As the Quranic Verse came true in case of Prophet
Muhammad, the Hadith has come true in respect of Imam Mahdi and his followers.
Further, prophet Muhammad has said : Verily, when Allah makes one of His
servants His friend, He calls Gabriel and tells him that He makes so and so His
friend. He asks Gabriel to be friendly to him. Gabriel becomes friendly to him
and then announces in Heavens that Allah has made so and so His friend and all
others should make him their friend. Hence, all in Heavens make him their
friend. He also becomes popular among the people on earth. From this, Hadith, it
becomes obvious that all prophets and saints, whether they are from the sabiqoon
(eminent virtuous people of the past) or as-hab al-yameen (people of paradise),
are popular among the inhabitants of the earth and the Heavens. All this inspite
of Allah’s saying. "..And, in defiance of right, slay the Prophets, and slay
those who teach just dealing with mankind, …?" (III : 21), and the Hadith,
"Verily the prophets and saints were subjected to most difficult trials and
tribulations. " Both the Quaranic Verse and the Hadith manifest that trials and
tribulations were inflicted on Prophets and saints. It should, therefore, be
noted how the saints were subjected to difficulties and how people slandered
them. And then Allah tells Prophet Muhammad : "Patiently persevere, as did all
apostles of inflexible purpose; …" (XLVI: 35). Besides, Prophet Muhammad is
quoted as saying that his (grandsons) Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain are the
leaders of the young men of paradise. But they were subjected to trials and
tribulations at Karbala (now in Iraq), so soon after the demise or Prophet
Muhammad, by the descendants of his companions. Now you should know that the
Hadith, "he becomes popular among the inhabitants of the earth", applies to all
prophets and saints. Similarly, the Hadith, "all the inhabitants of the earth
and the Heavens make him their friend", applies to Imam Mahadi and his
then said : The Hadith should not be interpreted (taveel). The world of Hadith
should be believed as it was. One should abstain from violating this rule.
I replied : The religion of Imam Abu
Hanifa is based on taveel (interpretation), so much so, that the ulema of Shafei
school of Fiqh call them as-hab-ur-rai (opinionated ulema) and their own ulema
as the as-hab-al-hadith (ulema of Hadith). Prophet Muhammad has said that the
actions are related to the intentions. Besides, Prophet Muhammad has also said
everyone gets what he intends to achieve. Further, he said wazu (ablution) will
not be valid unless there is nee’at (intention) for it. Imam Shafei bases his
beliefs on the word of the Hadith, while Imam Abu Hanifa on taveel
(interpretation). This is no secret to those who know the differences of opinion
among the mujtahids (religious directors).
The ulema said : We accept all that you have said. But if you go in for taveel,
the taveel should satisfy us.
I replied : It is not necessary for me to
satisfy you. We have satisfied ourselves and our followers by the rules of the
religious commandments and Islamic theology. For, a perfect man like Imam Abu
Hanifa, despite his immense capabilities and the goodness and superiority in
faith, could not satisfy Imam Shafei and the differences between the two imams
persisted. I am not superior to Imam Abu Hanifa and you are not superior to Imam
Shafei in comprehension and justice. How can the difference of opinion between
us be removed? Allah says : "Already has our word been passed before (this to
Our servants sent (by us). That they would certainly be assisted, and that our
forces, they surely must conquer. (XXXVII : 171, 172, 713). Allah further says :
"Allah has decreed; it is I and my apostles who must prevail’: for Allah is one,
full of strength, able to enforce his will". (LVIII : 21). Allah further says
"Ye Must gain mastery if ye are true in Faith". (III : 139). Allah says : "..
and it was due from us to aid those who believed" (XXX:47). There are many other
similar verses in Quran. Now will you argue on the basis of the manifest wording
of the verses or would you explain them in a manner applicable to the condition
of the prophets and the faithful? The prophets did not attain outward or
manifest dominance over the people hostile to them. They were actually beheaded
by their opponents. What do you say about the sorcerers of Fir’aun (Pharoh) and
As-hab-e-akhood and such others; whether they were dominant or not? If you rely
on the outward meaning of the words, you are bound to come to the conclusion
that they were not dominant. To infer this meaning is tantamount to blaming the
momineen (believers). But the reality of these momins is proved by convincing
arguments. Therefore, we are bound to interpret the Quranic Verses and hadith in
a way conducive to the realities of the prophets and their followers so that we
are not thrown out of our religion. Allah knows better.
I was brought to the Emperor’s court in
shackles. Abdunnabi Danishmand who was the head of the ulema of the durbar told
the Emperor : O Emperor, please do justice. These Mahdavis are few. How can one
accept their argument? The majority of the people say that Mahdi al-Mau’ood will
come while these few Mahdavis say that Mahdi al-Mau’ood has come and gone. Then,
O Emperor, please ask what Shaikh Mustafa has to say.
I asked : Has the Emperor heard the
conversion of Prophet Joseph and his brothers or not?
Abdunnabi said : I have heard it many times
The emperor said : Please say. I have not heard it from you.
I said : O Emperor, Ten brothers were the
children of one mother. Joseph and Bin yamin were from the other mother.
Joseph’s brothers, out of jealousy, said that Joseph should be killed, thrown at
a place where there was no human being or thrown into a dry well. However, they
told their father they would take Joseph out to play with. They took him and
threw him into the well of Kin’an. They came a second time and sold him to a
trader. Joseph’s brothers were many but Joseph was alone. But who was a liar
Emperor said : All brothers of Joseph were sinners and Liars.
I said : Joseph’s brothers were many. How could they be sinners and liars?
The Emperor said : You are turning it on us.
I said : I related the story of Joseph to
you because number of mullahs and shaikhs is great and they say that Imam Mahdi
will come. I am alone and my brothers are few and we say that Imam Mahdi has
come and gone. Who are the liars? O Emperor, please do justice.
Again the Emperor conceded that Joseph was right.
I said : If that is so, we Mahdavis, who
say that Imam Mahdi has come and gone, are on the right path, because we are
few. Allah says : "…Among them are some who have faith and most of them are
perverted transgressors". (III : 110). At every point of time, every prophet has
been opposed by a majority and only a few people reposed faith in them.
Similarly, at the time of Imam Mahdi also, many people opposed and refused to
accept him and only a few people accepted him. Hence, it is proved by convincing
argument that Imam Mahdi had come and gone. Besides, O Emperor, before creating
Adam, Allah told all the angels, 'Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: I will
create a vicegerent on earth.' They said: 'Wilt Thou place therein one who will
make mischief therein and shed blood?' --- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises
and glorify Thy Holy (name)?' He said: I know what ye know not.' And he taught
Adam the nature of all things; then placed them before the Angels and said
:"Tell me the nature of these if ye are right". They said :’Glory to Thee : of
Knowledge we have none, save what Thou has taught us : In truth it is Thou who
are perfect in knowledge and wisdom". (II : 30-32). Two thousand years before
the birth of Adam, Allah had told the angels that he intended to create Adam,
who would be his vice regent on earth. The angels said O Allah, will you create
a person on earth who will shed blood and cause destruction while we sing
praises of your purity? Allah said : What We know, you do not know. And when
Adam was created, He was instructed in the nature of all things. He informed him
of their names and explained all creation. Then, all the things were set before
the angels. He asked them to tell the names of all things that were created, if
they (the angels) were truthful. The angels were momins (faithful). They
repented and said they knew what He had taught them. They said : Verily, He knew
everything and He alone issued commandments to the Creation. The point to be
noted here is that the angels were all in the Heavens, they had been created out
of light (noor). Inspite of this, they were jealous of Adam. Why should not the
people who are sinful and are madly wedded to worldly desires, not be jealous of
Imam Mahdi, his followers and the seekers of Allah? When the angels repented and
reposed Faith in the commandments of Allah, in humility, they were accepted by
Allah. Similarly, those people, who refute Imam Mahdi, listen to the arguments
in proof of Imam Mahdi. Those who are blessed with iman (Faith), repent with
modesty and humility and accept Imam Mahdi. They thus become the loved of Allah.
Satan has sinned. He refused to prostrate before Adam and said : ‘I am better
than Adam’. He does not repent now. Similarly, the person, who is not blessed
with iman (Faith), does not repent. He too is proud. He does not accept Imam
Mahdi. He is therefore, kafir (infidel). Allah said : "If they do fail to judge
by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than)
Unbelievers". (V:47). Prophet Muhammad has said "Whoever disbelieved Mahdi,
verily, he is Kafir (infidel)". This Hadith has been reported in Tabaqat Al-Fuqaha.
O Emperor, please do justice. Allah Says : "O David ; we did indeed make thee a
vice regent on earth ; so judge thou between men in truth (and justice) …"
(XXXVIII : 26). And Prophet Muhammad said :May Allah bless him who does justice
and curse of Allah be on him who does not do justice".
After listening to this,
the Emperor said : O Shaikh Mustafa, May Allah bless you and may He shower his
bounties on you.
Turning to the Ulema, the
Emperor said : You also present some arguments in reply to the Shaikh’s
However, none said
(Shaikh Mustafa writes) : Allah says : ‘Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood
perished ; for Falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish. (XVII : 81).
Prophet Muhammad has said ; Truth will dominate; it will never be dominated.
Hence, it is proved that Imam Mahdi has come and gone.
A few hundred ulema and Shaikhs had gathered in the Emperor’s court for the
debate in which by the grace of Allah they were defeated.
The ulema asked : How many years have
passed since Imam Mahdi came and went away?
I replied : Imam Mahdi came in 905 AH after the migration of Prophet Muhammad
from Makkah to Madina) and claimed to be Mahdi al-Mau’ood in the tenth century
AH. Thus he supported the religion of Prophet Muhammad. We (Mahdavis) followed
him. Historians have by consensus quoted the Hadith that, according to Abu
Huraira, Prophet Muhammad had said that Allah would send at the head of every
century a person who will revive the religion for this ummah. Historians have
also arrived at the consensus that at the head of the tenth century AH, none
other than Imam Mahdi will appear. After this, I recited a Persian couplet,
which means : Sun has arisen in the skies, what is the use if a blind eye does
not see it? The sun is on the head and my shield is in my hand. If the ant does
not pick up the grains of sugar, tell it not to pick; and if a blind person does
not see, tell him not to see.
After this I told the
Emperor : Allah says in Quran : ….. And get two witnesses, out of your own men
…." (II : 282). In other words, Allah has asked to call two men from among our
men as witnesses. Allah has not asked for the evidence of eunuchs. Prophet
Muhammad has said that the seeker of worldliness is a eunuch, the seeker of life
in the hereafter is a woman and the seeker of Allah is the man. Further, Prophet
Muhammad has also said : Fasting is obligatory for the person who has seen the
crescent moon (of Ramzan) and if others accept his evidence, fasting is
obligatory on them also. Similarly, we have seen the arguments of Quran and
Hadith and listened to the evidence of Allah and his prophet, and therefore, it
is obligatory on us to accept Imam Mahdi. It is for this reason that we have
accepted and say that Imam Mahdi has come and gone. And on my saying so, many
people have accepted the Imam. And if somebody does not accept, divine vengeance
for refusal falls on his head. In other words, his abode will be in Hell. O
Emperor, I have presented evidence from Quran, Prophet Muhammad and reliable
books. Please now ask your ulema also to present evidence from Quran, Hadith and
reliable books and put forth their arguments to show, when Imam Mahdi, according
to them, has to come.
The Emperor told the ulema
: Shaikh Mustafa has argued his case and you have listened to him. Now, you can
go ahead with your arguments.
Nobody said anything.
I told the Emperor : You may listen to one more argument. In Quran, Allah says
about people who read Quran but do not act according to it : "The similitude of
those who were charged with the (obligation of the) Mosaic Law (Torah), but who
subsequently failed in those (obligations) is that of a donkey which carries
huge tomes (but understand is them not). (LXII : 5). In other words, people, who
read Quran but do not act according to it, are like the donkey which is loaded
with stones or wood on its back. Prophet Muhammad has said : The scholar, who
does not act according to his knowledge, is like a donkey".
(Here Shaikh Mustafa quotes a Hindi doha,
which, in translation, reads:)
O half wit, you are loaded with the burden of a donkey.
You are led by your ear and you are asked to walk silently.
(Again, he quotes a Persian couplet, which in translation, reads :)
That you see around and (believe that) they are men.
They, in fact, are donkeys and bullocks without tails.
(Shaikh Mustafa quotes Shaikh Mohiuddin in Arabi as saying)
All praise be to Allah who had created donkeys in the shape of men.
(Then Shaikh Mustafa quotes a stanza of Persian Poetry which, in translation,
O ignorant scholar, how much would you learn,
I know the knowledge of inner (Truth) and you do not,
The hair of your head have greyed in learning the grammar and syntax.
But you have not acquired a single letter of the divine knowledge.
(Another couplet, he quoted, reads in translation)
you have put a number of books on the back of a donkey.
But you cannot say that it is the scholar of the inner divine knowledge.
(After quoting these lines of poetry, Shaikh Mustafa continues his address and
Allah says: "They are like cattle- nay more misguided;…" (VII: 179). So they do
what Allah has created them for. They praise Allah. But some people do not
remember Allah and worship Him. They would, therefore, always burn in Hell.
Dogs, pigs, donkeys and other quadrupeds will not be tormented in Hell. But
people, who oppose Allah and his Prophet and die in a state of opposition will
always burn in Hell. Therefore they are worse than the animals. Allah says: "Ye
people of the book! Why do ye cloth truth with falsehood, and conceal the Truth,
while ye have knowledge?" (III:71). That is, the knowledge of Prophet Muhammad
being the true apostle of Allah. Similarly, Imam Mahdi’s attributes are obvious.
Why do they conceal it?. But what can one, who is blind, see?
Prophet Muhammad has said
that the fly which sits on filth is better than the ulema and fuqaha (Islamic
jurists) who go to the doorsteps of kings , or in other words, who go to kings
seeking (pleasures of) worldliness. Hence, how can the people, who possess such
attributes, accept Imam Mahdi? But people, who seek the Truth and who are just
and who have forsaken the profane world, will surely accept Imam Mahdi and have
actually accepted him. Allah says: "Those who reject (Truth), among the people
of the Book and among the polytheists, were not going to depart (from their
ways) until there should come to them Clear Evidence. (XCVIII:1) In other words,
they believed that Prophet Muhammad would come but when he actually came with
Clear Evidence, (they refuted him). Allah says: "Nor did the people of the book
make schisms, until after there came to them clear evidence. (XCVIII:4)
Similarly, the ulema and shaikhs have arrived at a consensus that Imam Mahdi
will come in 905 AH. When Imam Mahdi Actually came, the ulema and shaikhs made
schisms except for a few who were just and seekers of Allah. They accepted Imam
Mahdi and the rest refuted him. They said : This is not the Mahdi that was
promised (Mau’ood). This extract is from the book, Tafseer- e- Taveel by Abdur
I said : O Emperor, I say that I will write a letter to you, and please ask your
ulema and shaikhs to write a similar letter that the person or persons, who
argue without the support if Quran and Hadith, should be made to blacken their
faces, ride a donkey and go round the bazaars of the town , while people should
be allowed to stone them.
I wrote the letter and handed it over, to
the Emperor, while he ulema and shaikhs did not. The Emperor asked the ulema and
shaikhs to explain their reluctance to write the letter.
One of the ulema, who was an elderly person, said: We are not as well versed in
Quran and Hadith as Shaikh Mustafa is. He studies the Quran and Hadith day in
and day out.
The Emperor said : You have studied so much but you cannot argue on the basis of
Quran and Hadith. Quran and Hadith are the basic things. Why did you not become
well versed in Quran and Hadith?
The Emperor was angry with Abdunnabi Danishmand and said: Bring donkeys. Blacken
the faces of these ulema and shaikhs, make them ride the donkeys. Then take them
round the town.
All the courtiers rose and started begging off the emperor to forgive them. When
the emperor ordered blackening of their faces and making them ride the donkeys,
it was as good as their being disgraced. At this point the scholar who was
arguing was expelled from the court. The meeting ended thus.
The ulema asked the Emperor to tell Shaikh
Mustafa that Prophet Muhammad had said: "The world is like a stinking and
decaying cadaver and its seekers are curs. Stinking cadavers have a smell. Then
worldliness too must have a smell. How does it smell?
The Emperor told me :What is this? What is your answer?
I said: People who could smell the stink
of worldliness and the seekers of Allah have renounced the world because to them
the smell of the world is dirtier than that of a stinking cadaver. Insensate
people do not understand because when dogs go to eat stinking cadavers, their
sense of smell becomes blunted, and therefore, they relish eating decaying
cadavers. Similar is the case of the seekers of worldliness. They do not smell
the stink of worldliness; they seek the world and they enjoy eating with an open
heart and are happy. It is narrated that Prophet Muhammad was going with his
companions and saw the decaying and stinking parts of the body of a rat. The
stink was strong enough to make all of them cover their noses with cloth. To his
companions, Prophet Muhammad said: Friends, Is there anybody among you who could
buy this? The companions said: Nobody will accept it. The Prophet asked: Will
anybody take it free of cost? The companions said: It is of no use. What can we
do with it? The Prophet then said: There are worms in this decaying body of the
rat. They eat rot and become fat. He dies when he is taken out of this
worldliness. He is like the worm which is accustomed to the stink of the
cadaver. Similarly, the person who lives and loves the worldliness, does not
feel the smell of the rot, because his mind is accustomed to that smell and has
become fat. When he is retrieved from worldliness, he dies. In other words, such
people relish and enjoy the wealth and love of worldliness. And what wealth (mata)?
It is worse than used sanitary towels. The world is worse than them but it
appears to be good to its seekers. So saying one’s prayers daily, listening to
the explanations of Quran and acting according to the Holy took tark-e-dunya
(renunciation), piety, trust in Allah and to accept Syed Muhammad, who is the
seal of the Muhammadan Sainthood (Vilayat -e- Muhammadi), as Mahdi al-Mau’ood do
not appeal them till their last breath. Another incident is narrated that a
scavenger chanced to come into the locality of perfumers. The smell of the
perfumes went to his head. It appeared to aim as intolerably bad. He lost
consciousness and fell to the ground. The people of the locality wondered what
had happened to him. Incidentally, Shaikh Fariduddin Attar happened to pass that
way. He asked what kind of a person was he. They said he was a scavenger. Shaikh
Attar asked somebody to bring some fresh excrement. It was brought, The Shaikh
asked him to place some of it near the nose of the scavenger. An hour later, the
scavenger regained consciousness. He rose and cleaned his face and nose with a
cloth. He was happy. Reaching home, he related the incident to his wife and
other members of his family. He promised that he would never again go to the
locality of the perfumers. Similar is the case of the person who seeks the
world. The seeker of the world does not like saying his daily prayers, listening
to the commentary of Quran, piety, trust in Allah, renunciation, love for Allah,
spending his wealth and sacrificing his life for Allah do not appeal to him
because all these things are like perfume. Allah says : "And whose word can be
truer than Allah’s ? (IV : 87)
To the others (seekers of worldliness) this word will not appeal. In fact, this
makes them lose consciousness and, like the scavenger, they regain their
consciousness when they smell the stink of worldliness. Prophet Muhammad has
said that the world was the place for the descendants of Adam to defecate. The
smell of the worldliness was worse than the stink of the decaying cadaver. To
the seekers of the (Ultimate) Truth, the smell of worldliness is a stink.
Therefore, they renounced it. They sought Allah. They won the divine robe of
honour as Men. Allah says : "By men whom neither traffic nor merchandise can
divert from the remembrance of Allah…." (XXIV : 37). In other words, they are
men or the seekers of Allah and trade does not make them neglect the remembrance
of Allah. The minds of the seekers of worldliness are accustomed to the stink.
If one of them goes to his house and tells his family members about renunciation
or explanation of Quran, the members of the house become angry and scold him
like the members of the scavenger’s family on his going to the locality of the
perfumers. They say they earn worldly wealth. All this talk of renunciation and
other things does not please them.
One day, I was brought to the court of
Emperor Akbar and the ulema started the debate on Mahdism. All the ulema said
their zuhr (afternoon) prayers in congregation but I said my prayers separately
and did not join their assembly. The prayers over, all came to the court.
Abdunnabi told the Emperor: please ask Shaikh Mustafa why he calls Muslims as
I said: O Emperor, please ask Abdunnabi whom have I called kafir, or am calling
kafir. Also, please ask Abdunnabi to produce some evidence to prove his
The Mullah Said: If you do not call us kafirs, why did you not say your prayers
in our leadership (imamat).
I asked the Emperor: Which religious order
do you belong to and who is your murshid (spiritual guide)?
With great respect, both his hands touching his ear lobes and a bowed head, the
Emperor said: I am the disciple of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti (of Ajmer).
I said: Suppose somebody were to say that
Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti had deviated from the religion or that he had
gone astray and had misled other people, what would be your reaction? What would
said : I would call such a person a kafir and will kill him with my own hands.
I said : My murshid is Imam Syed Muhammad Mahdi al-Mau’ood. When somebody were
to say that Imam Mahdi and his followers are apostates and are misleading the
people, how can I say my prayers under the leadership of such a person? Besides,
I do not call anybody kafir. But I recite the Hadith, in which Prophet Muhammad
has said : "Whoever refused to accept Imam Mahdi, verily he is a kafir." This
Hadith is reported in the book, Tabqat al-Fuqaha. I only recite this hadith. I
do not call anybody kafir on my own.
Then I told the Emperor : Please ask the
mullahs : What is the punishment under the Shariat for falsely slandering
The mullahs did not reply.
I said : Allah says in Quran that people
who falsely slander, should be punished with eighty stripes. The Mullahs have
become liable to this punishment. Allah says : "And those who launch a charge
against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their
allegations), flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever
after : For such men are wicked transgressors…… (XXIV : 4).
The Emperor said : O mullahs and shaikhs, you have falsely slandered Shaikh
Mustafa and, therefore, you are liable to Quranic hadd (punishment).
I said : O Emperor, prophet Muhammad has
said : May Allah bless him who has done justice and curse him who does
Emperor then asked me : O Shaikh Mustafa, these mullahs and shaikhs are devout
persons and guide the people in religious affairs. But you did not say your
prayers under their leadership. Why?
I said : Prophet Muhammad has said that the seeker of the world is impotent, the
seeker of the Hereafter is a woman and the seeker of Allah alone is a man. Allah
says : "By men whom neither traffic nor merchandise can divert from the
Remembrance of Allah, nor form regular Prayers…." (XXIV : 37). In other words,
these people had renounced the world and kept themselves busy in nothing other
than regular prayers and remembrance of Allah. They listen to the explanation of
Quran and they act according to it. These are the men. All others are impotent.
O Emperor, please do justice. Ask Abdunnabi and all other ulema to produce one
commandment from the books of Hadith and Fiqh asking a man to say his prayers
under the leadership of impotents. Many books are eloquent about the prohibition
of an impotent person from leading a group of men in prayers. Therefore, I did
not say my prayers in the congregation led by an impotents.
The Emperor laughed and said : O Shaikh
Mustafa, you have spoken the truth.
To the ulema, he said : Shaikh Mustafa did not say his prayers under your
leadership because you are impotents and to say one’s prayers under the
leadership of a eunuch is not allowed. Now, come, answer him. And produce an
argument based on Quran and Hadith and reliable books to prove that saying one’s
prayers under the leadership of eunuchs is permissible.
Nobody gave a reply and appeared to be defeated.
The Emperor Said : O Shaikh Mustafa, you
have given a fitting reply. May Allah bless you.
Then, I told the Emperor : I have recalled another narration. I will tell you if
you feel like listening. There was a eunuch sitting among a group of God-fearing
devout men. These men of God were talking about Allah, Prophet Muhammad and
Makkah. One of them said he had been to Makkah. Great rewards from Allah await
those who go to Makkah. He had been the wonders of the oceans and forests. This
created a desire in the mind of the eunuch to go to Makkah. He went to his
house, took some food for the journey and started his sojourn to Makkah. He had
hardly gone a couple of leagues when his legs and loins began to ache. He saw a
tree on the way and tried to reach it. He found reaching it very difficulty.
With a great effort, he somehow reached the tree and started lamenting like a
woman and fell down. He saw an approaching man at a distance. When he came near,
the eunuch asked him how far Makkah was. The newcomer asked how long he had been
travelling. The eunuch said he had started from his house the same day and
intended to go to Makkah. His house was about a couple of leagues from the
place. The traveller said : O Eunuch, return home because when you see the ocean
you would die of fear." The traveller went away. The eunuch felt scared of what
the traveller had said. He returned home. His relatives scolded him for
undertaking the journey. They said going to Makkah was the task for men.
After narrating the story, I told the
Emperor : As Prophet Muhammad has said the seekers of Allah alone were men and
the seekers of the world were eunuchs. Hence, they do not follow the Prophet,
they do not renounce the world. They go to the kings and emirs and seek pensions
and other worldly possessions. For this they indulge in flattery and sycophancy.
They cannot repose trust in Allah and they cannot become pious. The seekers of
the world were like the eunuch who returned from his intended journey to Makkah.
The Emperor was happy to listen to the
narration and the arguments. He said : May Allah bless you and may He Shower his
bounties on you, O Shaikh Mustafa. Then, he ordered the ulema to put forth their
arguments in reply to me. They did not reply. They did not have the strength to