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June 2002 Feature
Sheikh Abul Hassan Kharaghani
(Eleventh Century, Persia)

Sheikh Abul Hassan Kharaghani was among the well-known and well-respected Sufis, a sun in the eternal heavens of the soul, a pole of his time, a king to the spiritual travelers, the owner of the secrets of the inner path. It is said that Bayazid Bastami used to travel to Dehistan cemetery, once a year, and paid homage to those buried. Whenever he passed Kharaghan, he would stop and take a deep breath, saying: I smell a fragrance of a spiritual traveler, his name is Ali, his title is Abul Hassan, and he has a family, he is engaged in gardening and harvesting crops. (Abul Hassan Kharaghani was born over one hundred years after Bayazid Bastami).

It is narrated that for over twelve years Abul Hassan performed jamaat prayers in Kharaghan, then would go to Bastam, pray and meditate on Bayazid’s grave, and the next morning come back to Kharaghan to lead people in prayers. (When in Bastam, he prayed that Allah gave from what He had given to Bayazid. It is that said when at the grave of Bayazid, he would cove his head, never had his back towards Bayazid’s grave. Until one day he heard Bayazi’s voice saying: Abul Hassan, it is time for you to lead. I have seen your light when I passed by Kharaghan one hundred thirty years ago. I knew that you were a chosen servant of Allah. So seek the help of that light and find what you need to discover. Translator’s note.)

Abul Hassan had a garden, anytime he harvest, he earned a great deal of wealth, and he prayed: Oh, Allah, the wealth of the world will not take me way from worshipping you.

One day a group of people came to Abul Hassan and asked him to pray for them as they were travelling and the road was dangerous. He said: when you face a danger call my name. People did not like his answer and left. On their way they were attacked by highway robbers, and the only one saved from the hands of thieves was a man who called upon Abul Hassan. Thieves robbed everyone except that one person. When the danger was gone and people were at ease again, they asked the man what happened to him as no one could see him or his belongings. He said he called upon Abul Hassan. When they came back to Kharaghan they went to Abul Hassan and told him the story, asked him to clarify. Abul Hassan said: When you remembered God in that danger, you really did not call for Allah in truth, you called Him out of habit or custom. But Abul Hassan calls upon Allah in truth. When you call upon me, I will call upon Allah for you, in truth.

In one of his night praying he heard a divine voce saying: Do you want me to tell the world what I know of you so they stone you to death? Abul Hassan said: Oh, God, do you want me to tell people how merciful and generous You are so no one prays for You any longer? No! He heard. It’s better to keep our secrets.
Abul Hassan said: There were two brothers, one was steadfast in worshipping Allah, and the other one serving their mother. One night the second brother asked the first one to take his place and be attentive to their mother’s need so he would have a chance to pray to God. He accepted. That night he saw in a vision that Allah said: Your brother is forgiven, and you are forgiven because of him. He said: I pray for You day and night, and my brother is only taking care of our mother, how come I am forgiven because of him? I do not need your worshipping, but your mother needs your attention and service, and your brother is the one who takes care of that service, the voice said.

Abul Hassan prayed: Oh, Allah, do not send the angel of death to come and take my life. My life is not his but Yours, so I will not give away what is Your, You take what is Yours.

He said: Those who are looking for God are not looking for anything else.

He said: I do have any murid and followers, as I am not serving my ego, Allah is enough for me.

Being content with Allah’s destiny is greater than one thousand good deeds that are not accepted by Him.

You cannot quench the thirst of the one who is thirsty for the Divine knowledge.

There are many that walk on the earth yet they are dead; and there many who are buried in the heart of dust but are alive.

Those who are in love find God, and those who find God will forget themselves.

When the time of his passing came close he asked people to bury him thirty meters deeper than normal and said: It is not respectful that my body is buried equal or higher than Bayazid’s body.

There are many stories and words of wisdom related to him. A few are as follows:

Someone came to Sheikh Abul Hassan Kharaghani and asked the Sheikh to give him permission to wear a Kherqab. The Sheikh said: I have a puzzle. If you solve the puzzle, I will give you permission to wear a Kherqah. The man agreed. If a man wears women’s clothing, will he become a woman, asked the Sheikh? The man said: No! If a woman wears men’s clothing, will she become a man? The man said: Of course not. Sheikh Abul Hassan Kharaghani said: Then if you are not a man for this path, even if you wear the robe of a darvishi, you, too, will not become what you are not.

Someone came to him and asked: Oh,dear Sheikh, give me an advice so I will become able to invite people to Allah. The Sheikh said: Be cautious that you do not invite people to yourself, pretending that you are inviting them to Allah. The man said: How is it possible to invite people to myself? The Sheikh said: There is a sign: When you become angry and envious if someone else also invites people to Allah, it is then that you should know that you have been inviting people to yourself, not Allah. (Translator’s note.)

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