Hadrat Shibli (May the mercy of Allah be upon him) was a renowned elder whose life was filled with fascinating events. Before becoming the great Hadrat Shibli, he was the governor of Nahawand District, and went to the king’s palace one day when the king summoned all his governors.
The king presented all of them with beautiful robes due to a joyous occasion and requested them all to wear the same the following day to an assembly.
All the governors gathered the following day for an assembly and discussion. When the discussion was at its height, with everyone deeply involved, a governor tried to overcome an incredible urge to sneeze and finally sneezed loudly four to five times when he could control it no longer.
Although such things are beyond one’s control, everyone looked at him because the discussion had been disturbed. As he did not have a handkerchief, this governor wiped his nose with a corner of his robe, something that the king saw him do. Seeing the precious robe he had given as a gift used in this disrespectful fashion, the king became so angry that the governor was ordered out of the palace in disgrace for failing to honor his king. Silence now fell over the gathering and thereafter, the king concluded the gathering and everyone went home.
Soon after this event, a palace guard announced that the Governor of Nahawand sought an audience with the king and he was allowed in. The governor began by saying, “My king, I just want to know if my fellow governor’s sneeze was within or beyond his control?” The king became irate and said, “I sense the stench of argument in your question. Do not dare to raise such a question again!”
The Governor of Nahawand was not deterred and continued, “Did you have to punish and humiliate him in such a manner by throwing him out of your palace or could a lesser punishment suffice?” The king grew angrier and said, “I urge you to desist or face a similar punishment.” The Governor finally said, “I have understood one thing today, my king. Today, you totally humiliated a person in front of others and threw him out of your palace because he failed to honor the robe that you had given him. Allah u has also adorned man with the honorable garb of humanity and if he fails to honor this and fulfill its rights, then he too will be thrown out of Allah’s u Court on the Day of Judgment!”
Saying this, he threw off the robe given by the king and left the palace. He then came into the service of Hadrat Junaid al-Baghdadi (May the mercy of Allah be upon him) and became the great Hadrat Shibli who is renowned today as one of the elders of Islam. Hadrat Shibli was especially blessed with the love of Allah u because of the great sacrifice he had made by turning his back on a governorship.
Hadrat Shibli used to carry sweets in his pockets and upon hearing anyone call out the Name of Allah he would put some sweets in that person’s mouth. When asked why he would do this, one day he answered, “If I hear the Name of Allah and don’t fill that mouth with sweet then what else should I do?” Hadrat Shibli would often be lost in his deep love for Allah u.
The Mercy of Allah
Allah has a special relationship with those closest to Him. Allah once said to Hadrat Shibli, “Shibli, should I reveal your faults to the world so that no one alive will even look at you?” Hadrat Shibli immediately replied, “O Allah! Shall I reveal Your true mercy to all so that there remains no one in the world to bow to You?”
Hadrat Shibli was then inspired with this reply from Allah : “Shibli, I will keep your secret if you keep Mine.”
Company of Auliyaa excerpted from The Sermons by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmed DB
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