RANDOM THOUGHTS: Sultan Muhammad Khwarizmshah - BY: Dr. A.Q. Khan

Sultan Muhammad Khwarizmshah
Dr. A.Q. Khan


After the Holy Quran, Masnavi by Maulana Rumi is probably the most read book. Our culture is very rich and full of wise anecdotes in story form which contain invaluable advice on manners and morals. Here is one such story. It is a free rendering of the translation by Reynold A. Nicholson.

This is the story of Muhammad Khwarizmshah who conquered the city of Sabzawar. This city was known for being a refuge for the wicked and his troops fell to killing the foe. The inhabitants soon prostrated themselves before him saying: “Whatever you request by way of tribute or present, we will pay it at every fixed time”. He replied that he would not save their lives unless they brought Abu Bakr to him. “Unless you bring me from your city one whose name is Abu Bakr, O people who have forsaken righteousness, I will mow you down like corn and will accept neither tribute nor blandishments.” The people offered him many sacks of gold saying: “Do not demand an Abu Bakr from a city like this. How should there be an Abu Bakr in Sabzawar or a dry sod in the river?” Khwarizmshah ignored the gold and said: “O you infidels, unless you bring me an Abu Bakr as an offering, your entreaties are of no avail. I am not an innocent that I should be struck dumb by gold and silver. Unless you prostrate yourself in humble submission to God, you will not escape your punishment.” The inhabitants then dispatched emissaries to enquire where, in that corrupt place, an Abu Bakr could be found. After searching for three days and three nights they found an emaciated Abu Bakr. He was a traveler who, on account of sickness had remained in a corner of a ruin in utter exhaustion. When the emissaries saw him, they cried: “Arise! The Sultan has demanded your presence. You will be the one to save the city from slaughter.” He replied: “If I was able to walk, or any other means of travel, I would have gone on my way to my own destination a long time ago. Why then would I remain in this abode of my enemies? I would rather have pushed on to the city of my friends.” The emissaries brought out the corpse-bearers bier and lifted Abu Bakr onto it and planned to take him to Khwarizmshah so that he might see that which he had desired from them. In this parable, Sabzawar represents this world and mankind is good for nothing. Khwarizmshah represents God Almighty; he demands from these wicked people the one who is pure of heart. The Prophet has said: “God does not pay attention to your outward form; therefore seek out the owner of the perfect heart.” God says: “I see you as the owner of the heart, not as he who prostrates himself in prayer and the giver of charities alone.” Since you have deemed your own to be ‘the heart’, you have abandoned the search for ‘the Real Heart’. The owner of the Real Heart becomes a six-faced mirror through which God looks out on six directions. Whoever dwells in the world of six directions, God sees him as the owner of the Real Heart. God rejects or accepts – He is the lone authority. God lays His gift on the palm of his hand and dispenses it to those who are the objects of His mercy. His Bounty is unqualified and unconditional and perfect. O rich man, if you bring a hundred sacks of gold, God will say: “Win the heart of a saint and approach Me through him. If the saint is pleased with you, I am pleased; if he is averse to you, I am averse. I do not regard you, I regard that Real Heart; bring it to me as a gift.” The Real Heart is the originator of all creatures. Blessed is he who knows the difference between Real Heart and skin. The Sultan of hearts is waiting for that Real Heart, which is full of light and goodness. It is not possible to find such a Heart in Sabzawar. You will say: “O king! There is no better heart than this in Sabzawar” and God will answer: “Is this a graveyard that you should bring me a dead heart?” Go bring the Heart that is kingly upon which the security of Sabzawar’s existence is derived. There is a hereditary enmity between that Heart and the carnal nature of Sabzawar, for it is like a falcon while this world is the city of the crow. And if the worldling behaves with mildness, he is but seeking an advantage for himself by conciliating the owner of the Real Heart. He assents, not account of sincere feelings, but in order to curtail the long admonition. For this carrion-seeking crow has a hundred thousand tricks. If the saints accept his hypocrisy, he is saved. Seek the owner of the Real Heart if you are not soulless and become a congener of the Heart. But the one whose hypocrisy pleases you, he is only your saint, not the elect of God. Whoever lives in accordance with your disposition and nature seems to you to be a saint and a prophet. Go, renounce this carnal nature in order that the spiritual scent may become yours. Your brain has become corrupted by sensual indulgence and lost its ability to recognize spiritual scent.

Posted on Feb 13, 18 | 10:29 am