During the Caliphate of Hazrat Umar (RA.) there was a man with a melodious voice who used to playa harp. The beauty of his voice was such that it greatly affected men, women and children. Whenever he used to pass by singing on his way from the jungle, even the birds and animals used to gather to listen to him.
Gradually, as he grew older and his voice through old age became less attractive, those who used to rave over his voice began ignoring him. Now, wherever he went, no one would even ask about him. Thus his fame and popularity vanished and he began to experience the solitude of being unknown, and as a result started feeling pangs of starvation and hunger.
Noticing this selfish disinterest amongst the people, one day when he was very sad, he said to himself: “0 Allah, when I had a beautiful voice, people used to flock around me like butterflies and they entertained me from all sides. Now I have been ignored as I have become old and my voice is no longer beautiful. These selfish people are even fleeing from my shadow. How sorry I am that I had attached my heart to such unfaithful people! How full of deceit was not this contact with them! If only I had turned to Thee, if only I had remained busy day and night with Thy remembrance, and if only I had fixed my hopes on Thee, then I would not have seen the disappointment of this day”.
Pir Changi’s (R.A.) heart became very sorrowful and tears started flowing from his eyes. Suddenly at that moment from the unseen, the force of Jazb pulled his heart towards Allah.
“When on the earth there fell my tears, In the heavens rose the star of my bondage. “
Pir Changi (RA.) uttered one long cry, turned his back to the people and like a madman went towards the graveyard in Madina Shareef. There he took refuge in a cave of an ancient grave wherein he sat down, and weeping bitterly he prayed:
“O Allah, today I am Thy guest, because people have discarded me. There is for me no other place of refuge except with Thee. There is now no one except Thee to purchase my voice. Acquaintances have left me and old age has overtaken me. Now I have no other refuge except with Thee. O Allah, I turn to Thee with great hopes. Do not send me back disappointed. ”
I (i.e. Hakim Akhtar) have explained this in the following words in my Mathnavi:
“Pir Changi prayed earnestly: “O Allah, People were like moths around me when my voice was good. Now there is jeering for my voice And useless is this art of harp and instruments. Now Thy help to me is most necessary. My musical art has become useless.”
My story is a lesson for all.
Even though Pir Changi is of bad character, But Thy Majesty is indeed Great.
Except for Thy door there is no other refuge. Leaving you, where else shall I go?
After trying all other plans of mine, Now only to Thee do I turn my sight.”
Pir Changi (R.A.) remained in the ancient cave, remaining busy with his cries to Allah while tears continued to stream from him until the Mercy of Allah got into action. In this way Hazrat Umar was informed by means of ilhaam (inspiration):
“O Umar there is one servant of Mine who, because of his melodious voice, used to be very well loved and popular among men. Now, because of old age, the beauty of his voice has disappeared and all the people have discarded him and this fall from grace and popularity has become the cause of his repentance and his turning towards Me. Now My Infinite Mercy has purchased his soul.
Even though he may have been a sinner and negligent, I accept his cries
For in My sight there is no other refuge for My bondsman, save in Me.
O Umar take some wealth from the Baitul Maal, go to the graveyard and give My Salaam to this troubled bondsman of Mine. Give the money to him and inform him that as from today Allah has made him ‘near’ to Him and that He has granted him a special favour. Now there is no need for him to be sad and grieved. a Umar tell this bondsman of Mine that from now onwards Allah has, from the unseen, arranged for his daily sustenance” .
“To the Throne has reached your cries and weeping.
Your Buyer has been your Lord Most High.
In your veins flow the blood of your liver,
In your cries lies the pains of your liver.
Your weeping in sorrow has been accepted,
Be not sad and dejected over poverty.
Through Allah’s attraction to you, you have become special to Him, Throwaway your harp and musical instruments.”
Hazrat Umar, on receiving this message through ilham
(inspiration), became restless. He took some money from the
Baitul Maal and proceeded towards the graveyard in Madina Shareef. When he arrived there he saw an old man lying asleep in an ancient grave with a harp next to him, and with the sign of tears on his face and beard. He immediately realised that through those tears he must have reached this rank.
Maulana Rumi (R.A.) says:
“The harp-playing saint attained a special rank.
Blessed! a holder of mysterious secret, Blessed!”
The same theme is expressed by the author of “Gulzaare Ibraheem”
“The wife of Nabi Loot was an unbeliever
While the wife of Firaun was a believer.
He brought forth from a temple of idols, a Siddeeq
And in the Kaaba was born a Zindeeq (Abu Jahl).
The son of Azar (i.e. Ibrahim (A.S.)) was the friend of Allah
And Kan’aan, son of Noah, was gone astray.”
The Khalifa, Hazrat Umar, respectfully remained standing in front of the grave for Pir Changi (RA.) to wake up, so that he could give him the glad tidings of Salaam from Allah. While standing there Hazrat Umar sneezed and Pir Changi (RA.) opened his eyes. On seeing the Ameerul Mumineen he became filled with fear, so much so that he began trembling. He feared that Sayedina Umarwould punish him, because of the musical instrument that was lying next to him. During that time it was well known that Hazrat Umar used to beat up with his stick the wrong-doers, for committing wrongs. However, when Hazrat Vmar saw Pir Changi (RA.) was trembling in fear, he said to him: “Fear not, I have come to you to bring to you glad tidings from your Lord.”
“Why should the stick of Farouq fall on him,
Him who cries before the Lord?
Allah has inspired unto me
And informed me of your name
And He has showed to me your high rank
So that I can come to you at your place
And He has told me to inform you:
‘I have chosen you, 0 fortunate one’
And he has ordered me to take from the Treasury
Some money to hand to you. ”
When Hazrat Umar had informed Pir Changi (RA.) of Allah’s special gifts and favours to him, Pir Changi (RA.) was filled with gratitude and sorrow.
Maulana Rumi (RA.) says:
“When Pir Changi (R.A.) had heard of Allah’s bounty and gifts from the mouth of Sayedina Umar, He began trembling in gratitude and sorrow. And began to bite his own hands in anger.
Thinking of his erstwhile negligence he cried: ‘0 Allah, without likeness; seeing Your mercy and bounty, I am filled with shame at Your favour.’
He cried and in anger threw the harp down, breaking it into pieces And said to it: ‘You have deprived me of Allah’s Love, And have led me astray from the path of truth. For seventy years you drank my blood, And for that time have I sinned and been unmindful. Till I have now become an old man, And through you my face has been black in Allah’s sight.”
Sayeduna Umar observed all this and it affected him so deeply that tears came to his eyes. He said:
“0 Man, this crying and weeping of yours is a sign of your intelligence. Your life is enlightened through your nearness to Allah. Verily the tears of sinners are very valuable in the sight of Allah.”
“Allah equates the tears of sorrow and grief from the eyes of a sinner With the blood emanating from a martyr.”
Through the company of Hazrat Umar and his blessings, Pir Changi (RA.) became an eminent Shaikh of Tariqat and entered the ranks of the Awliyaa Allah (saints of Allah).
This story teaches us that a person should never lose hope in Allah over his misfortunes. One should at all times have hope in Allah. The story also teaches us that all other connections, except connections with Allah, are temporary and transitory. No faithfulness remain in these conditions. Only Allah is at all times prepared to accept His bohdsmen. However, the Love and contact which is solely for Allah’s sake, is also included in the Love for Allah.