Abo ‘l-Qasem al-Jonaid ibn Mohammad al- Khazzaz al-Nehawandi radi allahu anhu, son of a glass-merchant and nephew of Sari al-Saqati radi allahu anhu, close associate of al-Mohasebi radi allahu anhu, was the greatest exponent of the ‘sober’ school of Sufism and elaborated a theosophical doctrine which determined the whole course of orthodox mysticism in Islam. He expounded his theories in his teachings, and in a series of letters written to various contemporaries which have survived. The head of a large and influential school, he died in Baghdad in 298 (910).
Jonaid radi allahu anhu preaches
When Jonaid radi allahu anhu’s tongue was loosened to utter great words, Sari-e Saqati radi allahu anhu urged him that it was his duty to preach in public. Jonaid radi allahu anhu was hesitant, not desiring to do so.
“While the master is there, it is not seemly for the disciple to preach,” he demurred.
Then one night Jonaid radi allahu anhu saw the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam in a dream.
“Preach,” the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam said.
Next morning he arose to go and report to Sari radi allahu anhu, but he found Sari radi allahu anhu standing at the door.
“Hitherto,” Sari radi allahu anhu told him, “you were inhibited, waiting for others to tell you to preach. Now you must speak, because your words have been made the means of a whole world’s salvation. You would not speak when the disciples asked you to. You did not speak when the shaikhs of Baghdad interceded with you. You did not speak at my urging. Now that the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam has commanded you, you must speak.”
“ALLAH Azzawajal forgive me,” Jonaid radi allahu anhu replied. “How did you know that I saw the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam in a dream?”
“I saw ALLAH Azzawajal in a dream,” Sari radi allahu anhu explained. “ALLAH Azzawajal said,
‘I have sent the Messenger Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam to tell Jonaid radi allahu anhu to preach from the pulpit.’ “
“I will preach then,” consented Jonaid radi allahu anhu. “Only on one condition, that it be to no more than forty persons.”
One day Jonaid radi allahu anhu was preaching, and forty persons were present. Of these eighteen expired, and twentytwo fell to the ground unconscious. They were lifted up and carried to their homes.
Another day Jonaid was preaching in the cathedral. In the congregation there was a Christian lad, but no one knew that he was a Christian. He approached Jonaid radi allahu anhu and said, “According to the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam’s saying, ‘Beware of the insight of the believer, for he sees by the light of ALLAH Azzawajal.’ “
“The pronouncement is,” replied Jonaid radi allahu anhu, “that you should become a Muslim and cut your Christian girdle, for this is the time of Muslimdom.”
The boy immediately became a Muslim.
After Jonaid radi allahu anhu had preached a number of times, the people cried out against him. He gave up preaching, and retired to his room. For all that he was urged to resume, he would not do so.
“I am content,” he replied. ‘I cannot contrive my own destruction.”
Some time later he mounted the pulpit and began to preach without any prompting.
“What was the inner wisdom in this?” he was asked.
“I came upon a Tradition,” he replied, “according to which the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam said, ‘In the last days the spokesman of the people will be he that is the worst of them. He will preach to them.’ I know that I am the worst of the people. I am preaching because of what the Prophet Salla allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam said, so that I may not oppose his words.”
(Memorial of the Saints)
by Farid al-Din Attar