Abu Bakr Mohammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Ja’far al- Kattani radi allahu anhu, a native of Baghdad, belonged to the circle of al-Jonaid radi allahu anhu. He proceeded to Mecca on the pilgrimage, and took up residence there until his death in 322 (934).
One day a luminous elder majestically wrapped in a cloak entered by the Gate of the Banu Shaiba and went up to Kattani radi allahu anhu, who was standing with head bowed.
“Why,” he asked after the exchange of greetings, “do you not go to the Station of Abraham Alayhi Sallam? A great teacher has come and is relating noble traditions. Come and listen to him.”
“On whose authority is he relating, sir?” Kattani radi allahu anhu asked.
“On the authority of Abd Allah ibn Ma’mar radi allahu anhu, from Zohri, from Abu Horaira radi allahu anhu, from the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam,” the elder replied.
“Master, you have produced a long chain of authorities,” Kattani radi allahu anhu remarked. “Whatever they are reporting there by authoritative chain of transmission, we are hearing here without any chain.”
“From whom are you hearing?” asked the elder.
“My heart reported to me direct from my Lord . . .” said Kattani radi allahu anhu.
“Do you have any proof of your assertion?” demanded the elder.
“My proof,” replied Kattani radi allahu anhu, “is that my heart is telling me that you are Khezr Alayhi sallam.”
“Till then,” Khezr Alayhi Sallam remarked, “I had always thought that there was no friend of ALLAH Azzawajal whom I did not know. That was until I saw Abu Bakr-e Kattani radi allahu anhu. I did not know him, but he knew me. Then I realized that ALLAH Azzawajal has friends who know me but whom I do not know.”
(Memorial of the Saints)
by Farid al-Din Attar