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THE STORY OF THE HERDSMAN AND NABI MOOSA (A.S.)

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During the time of Nabi Moosa (A.S.) there was a "majzoob" herdsman who filled with Divine Love, was busy grazing his sheep and goats in the mountainous pastures away from men. In the mountains he used to cry out distressed in his Love for Allah, praying thus:

"0 Allah, where will You meet me? If You should meet me, I will become your servant, mend Your clothes, comb Your hair and if ever You should become sick, I would console You. 0 Allah, if I should see Your home, I will bring milk and ghee to You by day and night. I will kiss Your hands and massage Your legs. When Your time for sleeping comes along, I will sweep clean Your sleeping place. 0 Allah, all my sheep are sacrificed for You. 0 Allah, whatever words I speak regarding my sheep and goats, I am actually uttering them in longing love for You. The sheep is just an alibi. "

So actually the herdsman, in the troubled state of his excessive love for Allah, was opening his heart as I have further mentioned in my urdu Mathnavi  (Hakim Akhtar).

"This is the story of a herdsman
In the time of Nabi Moosa (A.S.).
In a sincere search for his Lord,
While on the fringe of the desert plains
And while weeping sadly and distressed
With burning Divine Love from within.
One day the herdsman, while remembering his Beloved
Was crying in prayer before Him:
'0 Lord of both worlds,
How can I meet You and where?
Show me some sign of the meeting place
Where I can meet You, 0 King of the Universe.
My heart will not experience any quiet
For as long as I do not find your address.
Every Rose Garden is a thorn bush without You.
Life is a fire without You.
Without You, the beautiful voice of the nightingale,
Sounds like the cries of the crow in our ears.
This earth, sun and the moon,
This Rose Garden, this desert, land and sea
Are all no pleasures to me without You.
How can I live without You?
Should I meet you, 0 Lord,
I would press Your legs and hands every day.
I would give You bread to eat.
I would give You milk to drink every morning and evening.
I would give You milk of my goats to drink,
O Lord of all men. "

The herdsman was opening his heart to Allah with these words of love when suddenly Nabi Moosa (A.5.) happened to pass by that way and as he heard the words he said:

"0 Herdsman, do you think Allah stands in need of a servant? Does He have a head so that you can comb His hair? Does he become hungry so that you could give Him goat's milk to drink? Does He become sick so that you could sympathetically treat him? 0 Ignorant One! Allah is free of all faults and needs. Quickly, repent! Your words are words of blasphemy. Allah is utterly not in need of any of your services."

When the herdsman heard these words of Nabi Moosa (A.S.) he became ashamed of himself. In fear and sorrowful distress, he tore his clothes and started crying bitterly, fleeing towards the desert. Then Allah sent revelation to Nabi Moosa (A.S.):

"0 Moosa, why have you chased my bondsman from me?
I have sent you to join them to me, not remove them from me."

Mathnavi Akhtar:
Revelation came to Moosa (A.S.) from Allah,

"Why did you remove My bondsman from Me?
Proper etiquette is for those endowed with wisdom.
 But how can the sigh of the herdsman be with wisdom.
He whose clothes are torn through Divine Love, .
His clothes are not mended by truth.
Which way did My beloved flee?
Where has My mad lover gone?
Even though love has no reason and discretion,
And even though outwardly his words appeared uncouth,
But from inside his heart was clean.
Although outwardly he spoke words disrespectful,
But in meaning they were words of love and spirit.
With his words of one drunk with madness,
He was searching for the Court of Greatness. "

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LESSON

The lesson from this story is that, at the time of admonishing or advising someone, one should remember that the person you are admonishing could possibly be one who is accepted in Allah' s sight. Thus some persons may be truly sincere lovers of Allah and as such may be disrespectful and blasphemous. This may. be as a result of their overwhelming love and is in actual fact not disrespectful, although to outsiders that is how it may appear.

Maulana Rumi (R.A.) says:
"The conversation of the lover of God towards Him
Which comes out of the heart of love, is not void of respect."

Hence, at the time of admonishing and advising, one should be moderate. It should not be done with so much of harshness and in such a punishing manner that the person loses hope. However, in the case before us, Nabi Moosa (A.S.), because of being a courier of Shariat, it was necessary for him to show the herdsman where he had gone wrong. Allah's rebuke to Nabi Moosa (A.S.) was not for the purpose of forbidding him from showing the right path. It was more to show him the correct manner of giving advise. For this reason it would be wrong for ignorant Soofis to object against the teachings of the Ulama-e­Haq. Neither should they consider themselves above the Ulama. The Ulama have a very high position in Allah's sight.

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