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dence of my own. I was being judged yet could not say anything to defend myself. The world became cold and undesirable for me and I left to meet my destiny. After leaving the palace, Ibrahim found the man who had come to the palace in the middle of the desert tending a large herd of sheep. The man, it turned out, was a shepherd. Ibrahim asked if he could exchange his golden scepter and silk robe for the shepherd’s wooden staff and woolen robe. The shepherd agreed, and Ibrahim remained in the desert for twelve years. As he traveled, Ibrahim Adham met many important Sufi masters such as Imam Jaffar Sadegh, the teacher of al-Jaber who invented Algebra, Habbib Raee, a student of both Uways-e-Gharan and Salman Farsi, and Abu Hanifeh, founder of the Hanaffi sect of Islam. These experiences contributed to his becoming a well-known Sufi.

According to Ghorshiri, in his book Ghosheirieh Thesis, one day someone saw Ibrahim Adham in the desert and asked him if he knew of a place to live. Ibrahim pointed to the cemetery. The man became angry with Ibrahim and struck him on his head. Later when he reached his caravan, he told his fellow travelers about the encounter. When the travelers told the man that he had struck a king, the man felt ashamed and returned to Ibrahim to apologize. The man found Ibrahim praying to God, asking God to bless the man who had struck him. When the man told Ibrahim that he was surprised that Ibrahim was praying for him, Ibrahim replied that he was thankful that in hitting him the man had brought him closer to God and was asking the same for him. In another time, Ibrahim was traveling by ship when a great hurricane began to shake the boat in the middle of the ocean, and it was about to sink. The captain lost hope, but someone realized that Ibrahim was among the passengers. The man called upon the Divine: “Oh, Allah, how can You drown us when ‘Your Book: Ibrahim’ is among us?” Suddenly, the passengers heard a voice say, “No such accident will occur,” and to their amazement, the hurricane ceased.

Ibrahim once related another story to his students of a lesson on service he received from a conversation with a servant he once hired:

Once I hired a servant. “What should I call you?” I asked. The slave replied, “Whatever you like.” I asked him what kind of food he liked to eat, and he answered, “Whatever you feed me.” I asked what kind of clothing he wanted. He said, “Whatever you provide me with.” “What kind of service do you provide?” He said, “Any service you ask to be completed.” Becoming impatient, I asked, “Is there anything you wish me to give you?” He replied, “A servant has no desire. He listens to the command of his master.” I shivered at his reply. I told myself, “Learn from this servant.” I then asked myself, “Have I ever served Allah as this slave has served me?” I let the servant go and learned a valuable lesson.

Later in his life, someone gave Ibrahim Adham some money. Ibrahim said, “I will accept the money only on the condition that you are not poor but rich.” “Of course I am rich,” said the man. “I have five thousand gold coins.” “Do you wish to have ten thousand coins?” asked Ibrahim. “Yes, of course,” said the man. “Then you are not rich but poor since you are still in need of more,” said Ibrahim to the man, refusing his money. After his years of traveling, Ibrahim Adham settled in Mecca among many friends and followers. It is said that one day he took all of his books and writings and threw them into the ocean saying: Abstract truth is not learned through empty words. Truth must be understood and is not found in books. When the time of his death came near, Ibrahim disappeared. No one knew where he went, where he died, or where he was buried. One day, people from two cities in Iraq heard a voice saying, “The trust of the earth has passed away.” Later, people realized the voice was speaking of the passing of Ibrahim Adham. Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


Sufism: an inquiry - Vol16.2  

A journal for people of the heart.

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