RANDOM THOUGHTS: Maulana Rumi and Hazrat Isa (AS) - BY: Dr. A.Q. Khan

Maulana Rumi and Hazrat Isa (AS)
Dr. A.Q. Khan


The 25th of December has just passed. Christians celebrate it as Christmas, the birth of Hazrat Isra (AS) while Pakistanis in general celebrate it as the birthdays of our benefactor, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and of our Prime Minister, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. Hazrat Isa (AS) is a very important prophet and he has been mentioned 93 times in the Quran. Maulana Rumi has dealt extensively with Hazrat Isa (AS) in his Masnavi Rumi.

The descriptions of Hazrat Isa as a prophet, a messiah, and Allah’s address to Hazrat Mariam and putting His spirit in Miriam has been described in Sura Nisa, Ayat 171 as: “O people of the book! Commit no excesses in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but truth. Christ Jesus, the son of Mary was no more than an apostle of Allah and His word, which He bestowed on Mary, a Spirit proceeding from Him. So believe in Allah and His apostles. Say not Trinity, desist. It will be better for you. For Allah is one Allah. Glory to him.”

In his Masnavi, Maulana Rumi has quoted the birth of Hazrat Isa (AS) in Surah Mariam, Ayat 16-26: (O Muhammad) recite in the book the account of Mary, when she withdrew from her people to a place towards the east, and drew a curtain, screening herself from people, whereupon We sent to her Our spirit and he appeared to her as a well-shaped man. Mary exclaimed: ‘I surely take refuge from you with the most compassionate Lord, if you are at all God-fearing.’ He said: ‘I am just a message bearer of your Lord; I have come to grant you a most pure boy.’ Mary said: ‘How can a boy be born to me when no man has even touched me, nor have I ever been unchaste.’ The angel said: ‘Thus shall it be. Your Lord says: “It is easy for Me and We shall do so in order to make him a sign (living miracle) for mankind and a mercy from Us. This has been decreed.”’ Then she conceived him and withdrew with him to a far off place. Then the birth pangs drove her to the trunk of a date tree and she said: “Oh, would that I had died before this and had been all forgotten.” Thereupon the angel below her cried out: “Grieve not, for your Lord has caused a stream of water to flow beneath you. Shake the trunk of the date tree towards yourself and fresh and ripe dates shall fall upon you. So eat and drink and cool your eyes, and if you see any person, say to him: ‘Verily, I have vowed a fast to the most compassionate Lord and so I shall not speak to any one today.”

Rumi has also described the meeting of Hazrat Gibrael with Mary in his own words in which he addresses the public directly and says: “Before you lose everything, follow Mary, discard the worldly things and say: ‘I come under the protection of Allah’” (Masnavi III, 3700). Later he mentions Mary’s actual speech, saying that the only place to safeguard from worldly transient attractions is the protection of Allah. Rumi goes on to say that, conceived by the spirit of God, Hazrat Isa (AS) was granted the power of giving life and healing the sick through his breath. Still in the cradle as a baby, Hazrat Isa (AS) announces: “Behold! I bring you a sign from Allah. I will make for you out of clay the likeness of a bird by Allah’s leave, a living bird by Allah’s leave. I shall heal the blind and the leper and raise the dead.” (Surah Anam, Ayat 49)

The Quran (Divine Edict) clearly states that the life-giving breath of Hazrat Isa (AS) emanates from Allah. Rumi also believes in this. He says that, like Hazrat Isa (AS), the image goes into the heart and assumes a new shape of spirit (Divan 1847). He also discussed two important episodes, viz. the Spread Table (or food from heaven) and Hazrat Isa’s donkey. In Surah Almaida, Ayat 112 – 114, the Almighty says that Hazrat Isa’s disciples asked him if Allah could send a table spread with food from heaven so that they might eat of it and satisfy their hearts. Hazrat Isa (AS) asked Allah, saying: “O Lord, send down to us a table spread with delicacies from heaven, that it may be a feast for us, for the first of us and the last of us, and a sign from You. Give us sustenance, for you are the Best of Sustainers.” And the Almighty sent down an abundance of delicacies. Rumi goes on to say that if you fast, wait for the benevolence from Allah for it is better than boiled cabbage. As far as Hazrat Isa’s donkey is concerned, I could not find any mention of it in the Quran. Rumi mentions it in Masnavi (MII 1850-1853, 1855-1860). The moral of the story is that we should respect and pay attention to Hazrat Isa (AS) and not to his donkey.

Shaikh Saadi has mentioned Hazrat Isa’s donkey in a verse: Khare Isa agar bah Makkah rawad; Chun bah Ayad hinoz khar bashad (the donkey went to Makkah with Hazrat Isa numerous times, but each time he came back as the same donkey).

There remain many episodes and events that have been widely mentioned in the Quran and Sahi Bukhari, but have not been touched upon by Rumi in his Masnavi.

Posted on Dec 27, 16 | 4:05 am