“what would you like?…” No answer came from the student.
again the shaykh asked “what would you like?” after a short while, shedding tears of love, the student got up from his seat and going to the feet of the shaykh he answered, “o syidi (my master) i want nothing, other than you. i want no one and nothing OTHER THAN YOU. if i have your love then i will have the love of the mashaykhs, if i have their love then i will have the love of all the pious people who are living and have died, if i have their love then i will have the love of all the companions of the prophet (salla’huali’wa’salam), if i have their love then i will have the love of the of all the angels, if i have their love then i will have the love of the beloved (salla’huali’hi’wa’salam), and if i have his love then i will have the automatic love of the lord of all the worlds”. Shedding tears, the student continued, “this is why i do not want anything o syidi, please forgive me for not answering the first time as i was finding it had to keep my emotions at bay. i have your blessed teachings, which is the food by which i am alive.”
hearing this, the shaykh got up as he did so, the student simultaneously got up as well. the shaykh gave him a hug as a father does to a child, and the rest is history”.
The spiritually charged response which the student gave the teacher on answering “what would you like?” still caused the air to reverberate around the gatherings of the Shaykh. People who were present during that gathering in 2001 had the impression this episode of love and loyalty to one’s Shaykh will be told and retold in the future gatherings of the spiritual people. Many who harbored resentment against the student feared this from happening. Back when the gathering of the Shaykh was small and only a handful of people attended. A few only gave serious thought of how far and wide the story of the love of ones Shaykh would reach.
Since the last 10 years and the events of that gathering, not much transpired from the event. Say only that the incident between the student and the Shaykh became a worldwide moral lesson for those in the gathering of the spiritual people. Teachers from many turuqs (paths of the spiritual elevations) sought lessons and morals from this narrative and taught students what loyalty to the Shaykh meant, whilst mentioning the principles behind “the love of one’s Shaykh”.
Now 10 years after the incident, the student deliberately went behind the scenes years so to speak of performing any further dazzling array of love. The ones who held any resentment against him soon dissolved away over the last 10 years. Many initial haters who spread the propaganda against the student out of pure jealousy had either left the gatherings of the Shaykh or simply moved on. Whether due the instructions of the Shaykh or otherwise was a matter to be seen in the future. For now however, the student became an unknown person in the gathering of the Shaykh. The new seekers on the path had no knowledge that the famous story which they often related to themselves of how they wanted to be like the student of the Shaykh. Was in fact close proximity to them and actually hearing their conversations. With completely being oblivious to the student and who he was, in many occasions the new seekers would talk to him about the incident and try to see if he knew anything extra they hadn’t already known. It was the humbleness of the student who did not even for once, give the impression that the now very famous story of the student from the story “the love of one’s Shaykh” was in front of their very eyes!
It just so happened to be that after the last fajr salah of itikhaf when the Shaykh and the students had finished reciting the masnoon duas of the prophet (sallahualihiwaslam). A selected few from the kidmat team (facilitatirs of itikaf) were called into the office of the Shaykh.
With anticipation running high and the mood amongst the brothers being one of somber and remorse, they entered the room of the Shaykh. In all the minds of the students (with whom happen to the Shaykh’s favorite student) were the thought of, they were in trouble for their inability to facilitate the mutakifeen (those sitting itikhaf) properly. One by one, they all entered the room and sat quietly. Not a word was spoken and not a sigh of relief heard. The sounds of chatting and eating, drinking and chewing of the mutakifeen could be heard from the previous room. It was a sharp difference to the room they were in, compared to the room of the other students. A pin drop silence settled across the room of the Shaykh.
After a long while the Shaykh then opened his mouth to speak. It took some of the students by surprise when the first words were spoken by the Shaykh as most of them save only one, had their eyes down and were sitting so still a bird could nest on top of their heads. The only one who was continually looking at the Shaykh was Muhammad azeez ahmad. The student who, although unknowingly, set the standard for loyalty to the Shaykh for furture generations to come. As the Shaykh began to speak more and more, it soon became clear that they were not in for a telling off. But rather the Shaykh had brought them in to inform them of a new message he had received via one of the visionary brothers and sisters (the ones who had regular visons of the unseen world) of some good news. As the Shaykh related the news, only one thought was going through the mind of Muhammad azeez ahmad. This was the thought of how selfless the Shaykh was. He found it hard to listen to what the Shaykh was saying, as he was becoming more and more drenched in the love of his Shaykh. As he sat there in one corner of the shaykhs office, he realized how lucky he was to have found his Shaykh. How by the mercy of Allah (swt) he was made to stay strong on the straight path, only because of his Shaykh’s inspiring talks and practical advices. Without noticing few tears began to tickle his eyes, Muhammad azeez ahmad quenched the understanding of how his shaykh was the means by which he now understood the true essence of the world. How deceptive it was. How many people had fallen for it, only to find the dust and the dryness of the earth in their face, nothing more. He realized how the Shaykh had managed to teach him on how to love allah and his messenger (saw) only. That our lives should be ‘Allah – centric’ and not ‘dunya-centric’, where our lives revolved around allah and his messenger (saw) and not the dunya.
As his mind began to think and delve into these matters more continuosly, like a gentle stream of water running down a mountain edge. Muhammad azeez ahmad realised more tears were beginning to trickle out. He found it difficult to maintain his normal state. However due to the teachings of the Shaykh on controlling ones state, on how to be the master of our states and not the states being our master. He managed to hold back the tears from spilling and causing a scene in front of others.
However, Just as he thought his state was under control he managed to only slightly hear the words from his Shaykh saying that his days were numbered and soon he may be called back to Allah. This was the tipping point, as Muhammad azeez ahmad heard this more tears now began to fight their way out of his eyes and spill on his face causing a small stream of following tears to trickle down the cheeks of his face. Luckily for him, no one noticed his emotional state as most of them were maintaining their eyes lowered and stitting still although some sobs could be heard from the students in the room now.
As a token of appreciation of their efforts, the Shaykh then took out a itr (fragrance) box and offered it to the brothers. This was a special fragrance box, as it had spiritual blessings accompanied with it. The Shaykh then called out one of the students present in the room and asked him to open the box. After trying to open it with all his strength the student failed. As he was trying to give the itr box back, the Shaykh said give it to others to try. One by one they all tried only except one. That of course was Muhammad azeez ahmad. Having had no luck they (the students) returned the itr back to the Shaykh and the previous state of compete silence regained the room. Now in a more remorseful and peneterating words the Shaykh said “this may be because of our sins that none of us could open it. I do not even consider myself worthy of such a blessing given to us by the mashaykh. Go to the next room and sincerely seek forgiveness from one another and do tawbah to allah that he forgive our sins and mistakes”.
With this being the final words of the wise and eloquent Shaykh,. The students one by one left the room. As they entered the next room, all sat down immediately thereafter and began to think of their own mistakes and seek forgiveness from Allah. Muhammad azeez ahmad only could think of one thing, what he heard. His state was becoming more and more difficult for him to control. His love for his Shaykh was reaching a tipping point that could see no boundararies. He could only think of what he had heard of his Shaykh and the limited time he had on earth. As he sat there behind a wooden barrier erected in the room for the mutakifeen, he could not stop himself from thinking how he could live life after his Shaykh. How he could not even eat, sleep, drink or interact with others after such a devastating event, Should it occur in his life. After an hour or so of silent crying and sobbing Muhammad azeez ahmad along with the other students were called back into the room of the shaykh. Again the students one by one tried to open the fragrance box. No one could open the itr box, the same result happened again. This time however, some who remembered asked Muhammad azeez ahmad to open the box. He refused and did not reply. Throughout his mind only one thought was running and blocking out other thoughts and sound. This was the love for his shyakh and all he does for him and the precious time he has with him. He became deft to the requests of others whilst only being alive and sharp to his Shaykh and his words. When all this was happening, his Shaykh was observing this very closely. After a while of trying to persuade him., they (other students) returned the box back to the Shaykh. The Shaykh took this back and then asked his favourite student to open it. At first there was no movement from him. He sat there as though a realistic looking statue of Muhammad azeez ahmad was placed there. The Shaykh understanding the emotional storm he was going though asked him again. “would you like to try, Muhammad azeez ahmad”. This time a small movement occurred. Muhammad azeez ahmad slowly got up from his sitting postion at the corner of the room and approached the Shaykh, whilst his tears was blurring his vision. As he approached the Shaykh he reached out and instead of taking the itr box to open it. He hugged his Shaykh holding him tightly, and then he could no longer hold his tears and emotions in check, he let out an almighty cry.
Saying “o sayyidi I do not want to open the box. You are enough for me. I say as the companions said, even if you were to lead us into the sea, not one of us would stay behind but would follow you into it. Please do not leave us. You have given me so much and now I cannot bare you leaving us. Please do not leave us”. With these words he could not contain himself and his emotional state further engulfed him in tears and sobbing. The Shaykh reassuringly replied. It is upto Allah when things happen, dua is the weapon of a believer and with dua a destiny can change. As syyidina umar (ra) said”.
When he heard these words from his beloved, Muhammad azeez ahmad then just to fulfill the command of the Shaykh halfheartedly tried to open the box and it opened. As soon as this happened Muhammad azeez ahmad sought permission from the teacher and left the room. The Shaykh in return understood his situation he was going through and give him permission to do so.
Now, all the eyes, hearts and minds were focused on what just occured. What happened in front of the other students’ eyes, they could not believe. All of them tried so hard to open the box, with all their strengths and attempts but it did not open….
The underlaying reason the box would not open at first was to teach the students a lesson. It was by the spritual power of the shaykh that the box was intentionally, jammed closed. The shaykh wanted to teach that no matter what the shaykh gave them wether it be the ability to see visions, dreams, or gave them worldly gifts. They should not lose their real focus, which is only to listen, obey and love the shaykh. As becoming fana-fil-shaykh (extinct in the love of the shaykh) is the first stage to reaching the stages of Fana-fil-llah (the love of Allah). It was a test to see who would yeild to the real answer of the test. Of whom all had failed except the one and only true student of his. Muhammad Azeez Ahmad.
The pages of history were turned again. This time the students of the shaykh understood what made him stand apart from them and why he had “the love of one’s shaykh”. They realsied why it was incumbant to have such overpowering love for your shyakh. Since this amount of love then gets transferred to the prophet (sallahualihiwasalam). Which ultimately then makes a person Fana-fil-Nabi (Become extinct in the love of the messenger (sallahualihiwasalam)