A very handsome saintly person who was initially very greedy for wealth and government position ruled as a king over some part of Arabia. He was a good poet of a very sensitive temperament, involved in sensual love. When Divine love took possession of his heart, he lost all interest in the affairs of the state and gave up sensual love.
The author of Qasida-e-Burda says:
"When at night the thoughts of my beloved enters my mind, Then for the entire night sleep flies away and all pleasures turn to sorrow."
Finally he arose at night, wrapped a shawl around him, covered his face and left his Sultanate. At that time Divine Love had taken possession of his heart and the hustle and bustle of government, was proving to be a blockage in the remembrance of the Beloved. The moment had arrived when his patience ran out. He uttered a cry and like a mad person, set forth towards the desert. The sincere cry from this true lover released him from the chains of governing. When one initially enters upon this path, the first stages are caused by one becoming attracted to the path.
Maulana Rumi (R.A.) says:
"Create the bounty of madness in your heart (of His love)
Not by intelligence alone will you reach to the truth."
(For if the mind is not enlightened by revelation,
It is better to remain an ignorant one.)
A special quality of this Love is that one desires to sit down in solitude, remembering his Beloved, which brings great ecstasy. For this reason the silence of the desert is so well-sought after' by these true lovers. Rasulullah used to say: "Before I was endowed with Prophethood, solitude was made beloved to me." Hence he withdrew himself from all men and looked for the solitude in the Cave of Hira, where for several days on end he spent the time meditating and remembering Allah.
Similar was the case of this King. He vacated the throne of his Sultanate and in the middle of the night proceeded towards the desert.
"When Divine Love had its effect,
It made rest and comfort disagreeable.
When he experienced the ecstasy of love,
He removed the crown from his head.
He exchanged the Royal Throne for a life of poverty.
Well done, 0 True Lover, well done!
Ask about the ecstasy of love from him,
Whose heart has been injured by love." (Akhtar)
How can ordinary beings understand this love and ecstasy? How can they know the pleasure of solitude and the delights of the howling winds in the desert? Ask those true servants of Allah Taala, whose lives have become independent of the pleasures of this temporary world and are enjoying the closeness of Allah Taala in solitude. The pleasure of this solitude is such, that thousands of gatherings may be sacrificed for it. It is such a meeting of the true beloved that it transforms the solitude of the lover into full spring bloom.
Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Saheb says:
"If You are not with, then I feel distressed even in a rose garden
If You are with then I enjoy the taste of a rose garden even in a desert"
In fact from the silence of the desert he gets the message from his friend.
"I have forgotten all the stories of the Rose garden the silence of the desert has given me a message"
The King commenced traveling over mountains and rivers, over deserts and plains until he was outside the boundaries of his Sultanate and reached Tabook. He threw a veil over his face so that people would not recognise him: In Tabook he suffered starvation and hunger for several days. At last, being reduced to weakness, he went to work with some labourers, who were making bricks. He worked with the veil over his face but from time to time the veil was lifted by the wind and the other labourers became aware of his noble facial features. In the end the word spread among the labourers that this veiled one is an ambassador of some country, or perhaps the King of a country. The word spread even further in the land until it also reached the King of Tabook.
The king of Tabook became worried that an ambassador or a King of another country had joined the labourers to spy on his Kingdom and launch an attack after acquiring the secrets of the state. He thought that it would be best to personally investigate the matter. Hence the King of Tabook made preparation to travel and soon entered the ranks of the labourers, with whom the veiled King was busy making bricks. The King ordered all the other labourers to move away and then personally removed the veil from the face of the handsome and noble-faced one. The King then addressed the veiled one:
"O Handsome One, tell me the truth. Who are you? Your enlightened face informs me that you are the King of some country, but why this poverty? It seems that you have sacrificed your comfort and royalty, for this want and poverty. 0 Man of courage, may my Sultanate of Tabook and all Sultanates be sacrificed for your courage. Quickly tell me your secret! If you would be my guest, I would indeed consider it my good fortune. I would derive endless pleasure through the nearness of your company".
In this manner the King of Tabook spoke to the veiled King who was poorly dressed and appealed to him to relate his true story. But in spite of the pleasant conversation, the veiled one, instead of revealing his secret, spoke to the King about Divine love, in such a manner, that the heart of the King of Tabook also became filled with this Divine Love. He too decided to leave his Sultanate and to remain in the company of the veiled one.
Then during the night both of them started walking towards another Kingdom in order that the subjects may not worry them and so that the two of them could in solitude remember Allah. They walked for a long way until they entered another Kingdom.
Maulana Rumi (R.A.) says that Divine Love was not responsible for this abandonment of wealth, splendour and power of government, once only. It has happened so many times that a person is prepared to sacrifice wealth and splendour for the sake of Divine Love. None the less, the veiled one who had abandoned his Kingdom must have enjoyed great ecstasy in his love of Allah Taala that he also influenced the King of Tabook to cast aside his Kingdom and to adopt a saintly ascetic life, Forsaking all worldly comforts and becoming filled with Divine love.
"0 Love-sick one, what did you blow into my heart
That it is a river of blazing fire passing through my heart. ".
Khwaja Saheb Majzoob (RA.) had written a couplet about his Murshid Hakeemul-Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwy (RA.) in which he speaks of this blazing fire of love:
"The heart whose "Ah's" have burnt numerous hearts,
How much of blazing fire is hidden therein?"
Just as fire spreads from one house to another, so does Divine Love spread from one heart to another. Hazrat Rumi (RA.) says that from one heart to another there are secret ways. He goes on to explain this phenomenon of the heart to heart influence with a beautiful example. He says:
"Understand the secret unseen ways of heart to heart contact like this:
When two lamps are being lit
The lamps will remain separate
But their light will become intermixed. "
In other words, if the lamps are lit, it is impossible to say which light belongs to which lamp. Similarly the bodies of Mumineen are different, but when they sit together in a gathering the enlightenment (anwaar) from their hearts become as one in the atmosphere of the gathering place.
This is one of the reasons why the courier of this Shariat, the Holy Prophet Muhammad gave the advise to the Muslims to have mutual consultation over matters of importance. Among the other points of wisdom in mutual consultation is that when
ten Muslims gather for consultation, then it is like ten lamps burning together in one place and their light being so much stronger than one light, hence in the light of this increased light of Imaan and Yaqeen, the truth is uncovered.
Maulana Rumi (RA.) says:
"Consult with the assembly of righteous,
For the Prophet 1ft was also ordered to do that.
The minds of men are like lighted lamps,
The light of twenty lamps surely gives more light than one."
Maulana Rumi '(RA.) further says:
"This is also the reason why Rasulullah prohibited monasticism, because by casting aside the world and going to settle alone in a cave in the mountains, the idea of mutual rectification and consultation is lost." He says: "Thus the Prophet prohibited monasticism and living in solitude in' the mountains, so that no one may be deprived of the benefit of mutual contact and blessings acquired through the company of Saintly ones. "
Allah has placed such healing powers in the sights of some of the saintly ones, that by their mere casting of a glance, an evildoer is transformed into a righteous one, and mischievous ones become doers of good.
Judge Akbar Ilahabadi puts it this way:
"Neither from books nor from preaching nor from gold, Deen comes alive through the glances of the Saintly ones. "
Here an objection may be raised, that the story being told here refers to a King who had cast aside his Kingdom and the whole world. Is not this also a case of the prohibited monasticism? The answer to this question is this: For the King to discard his throne, to choose a life of poverty and join the poor labourers is not monasticism. Monasticism means to absolutely avoid all contact with society. The king did not abandon the world, he changed his lifestyle, from that of ~ royal one to that of an ordinary one..
Maulana Rumi (RA.) continues with the story saying that the veiled King must have told the King of Tabook many things regarding Divine Love for him to immediately experience contact with Allah. The King of Tabook said:
"May Allah reward you well for opening my eyes,
And for having joined me to the true Beloved".
He also told the veiled King:
"Take me with you. Your heart is like the fountain head of the fire of love.
I beg of you, fill my heart also with true Divine Love.
Casting aside your Kingdom, joining the ranks of ordinary labourers,
Making bricks, dressed in garments of poor ones,
Is a clear proof that you have surely seen within yourself
Another Kingdom, which includes the whole world within itself."
Maulana Rumi (R.A.) says that, apart from these two Kings, there were many others who discarded their Kingdoms for the sake of Divine Love. When the Divine Love struck them they became victims thereof. It is said that to be killed by Allah's Divine Love once only, is better than to live a thousand lives and for the bondage that comes about after attaining such Love, is worth sacrificing even a thousand Kingdoms. When one is struck by such Love, then the body becomes neglected as a result of the strenuous spiritual exercises but when the great bounty of Nisbat (contact with Allah) becomes uncovered, one is bound to exclaim: "Love has reduced my life by half
But in return I have never-ending nearness to Him"