Al-Khidr and the early Shadhili Masters

11 Jan

Abul Abbas al-Mursi (d. 685 A.H) said, “Al-Khadir, peace be upon him, came to me once and introduced himself to me, and I acquired from him the knowledge of the souls of the believers, are they tortured or in bliss, so now even if a thousand scholars argue with me about that, and say that he is dead, I would not go back to believing what they say.”

He also said, “As for Al-Khadir, peace be upon him, he is alive. And I have shaken his hand with this palm, and he told me that everyone who says the following every morning, will become one of the Abdaal”:

اللهم اغفر لأمة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، اللهم أصلح أمة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، اللهم تجاوز عن أمة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، اللهم اجعلنا من أمة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم

Some students asked al-Mursi’s master Al-Shadhili about this and he said, “Abul Abbas has said the truth.” (7)

Al-Khidr and Al-Dabbagh

When sayyidi Abd al-Aziz al-Dabbagh became determined to reach pure servanthood to Allah, he began looking for everyone that people pointed to and referred to as a shaykh, and considered him to be a wali of Allah, and would make that person his shaykh and recite his litanies (awrad), but eventually he would feel his chest became constricted and that he was not progressing, so he would leave it and look for another one, and the same thing would happen again., and this went on for 22 years. During that time, he would stay every Friday night at the tomb of sidi Ali bin Hirzihim to read the Burda of al-Busiri with others. One night, after finishing it, he found a man sitting under the lote-tree near the tomb’s door, and that man spoke to him, revealing to him that he knew what Al-Dabbagh was thinking about, so he knew that he was one of theawliya aarifeen. So Al-Dabbagh asked him to give him a wird, but that man would keep ignoring him until he heard al-Dabbagh ask for it with such determination that he knew he would not ignore what he told him. Then he said to al-Dabbagh: I will not give you the wird until you give me an oath by Allah that you do not leave it, and al-Dabbagh did so. So that man said, Repeat every day seven thousand times:

اللهم يا رب بجاه سيدنا محمد بن عبد الله صلى الله عليه وسلم اجمع بيني وبين سيدنا محمد بن عبد الله في الدنيا قبل الآخرة

Then the man who takes care of the tomb came, and the man said to him: take care of this man for me, so the caretaker said, “I will consider him my master, master.” On the day that caretaker died, right before his soul left his body, he said to al-Dabbagh: “Do you know who that man who taught you the dhikr at the lote-tree is? He is sayyidna al-Khidr, peace be upon him.” So for four years, Al-Dabbagh repeated that du’a seven thousand times a day, until he received the spiritual opening (fath) (8).

When al-Dabbagh became a great shaykh, and the Qutb of his time, his student the scholar Al-Lamati asked him questions about al-Khidr. The Qur’an tells us that Al-Khidr knew some things from the world of the unseen (like the future, etc), that the Prophet Moses, alayhi assalam, did not know. Because of this, many scholars argued that Al-Khidr must be a prophet, for if he were just a righteous servant and wali of Allah, he could not have known more than a prophet about these things. Sayyidi Al-Dabbagh replied,

Generally, the (spiritually) great are strong in witnessing Al-Haqq, Most Transcendent, and weak in witnessing the creation, whereas the (spiritually) small are strong in witnessing the creation and weak in witnessing al-Haqq, Most Transcendent. And this is what happened in the story between sayyidna al-Khidr and sayyidna Musa- upon our Prophet and upon them be peace and blessings- in what was related to us by Allah Most High in his great Book, from the story of the ship, the young man, and the wall. For knowledge of these things was hidden from sayyidna Musa alayhi assalam because he was (absorbed) in the witnessing of that which is stronger than that, and that is Al-Haqq, Most Transcendent, and therefore Moses’s ignorance of these matters is utmost (spiritual) perfection.

His analogy, in relation to al-Khidr, is like two servants for a king. As for one of them, the king has chosen him for himself, and made him sit with him, having nothing to do but standing in front of the king, looking at his face, and if the king left he left with him, and if the king entered he entered with him, and if he ate he ate with him and if he drank he drank with him, and if he spoke he spoke with him. While the other servant has been appointed by the king to run the affairs of his subjects, so he goes out to them and does with them as the king commands, and speaks to them about their affairs and how to improve their state, and he might be away from the king for a long time in order to do these things. There is no doubt, then, that the first servant is closer to the king and more knowledgeable of his secrets from the second, even though, if he were asked about any of the affairs of the king’s subjects, he would not know about them as much as the second servant, especially if the subjects lived far away from the city of the king. And thus was the state of Moses with Allah Most High, for he is like the first servant, and sayyidna Al-Khidr is like the second servant, for sayyidna Musa is greater than him, without question, because he is the Messenger of Allah, and his kaleem (the one with whom he spoke) and his chosen one….

[Al-Khidr] is not a prophet, but a servant that Allah has ennobled by giving him knowledge of Himself…and there is nothing in his knowledge of the preceding matters that Moses did not know about, which necessitates that a non-prophet be more knowledgeable than a prophet, for what we have said earlier, that Moses- peace be upon him- was pre-occupied from these things with witnessing of Al-Haqq, which is something unparalleled, and therefore there is nothing that necessitates belief in (al-Khidr’s) prophethood.


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