When the brothers of Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام threw him into the well and told their father Sayyiduna Ya’qoob علیہ السلام that a wolf has eaten him, Sayyiduna Ya’qoob علیہ السلام suffered profound sorrow and grief. He علیہ السلام wept for many days, and due to his weeping excessively, his eyesight became weak. After years, when the brothers of Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام went to Egypt for the second time during the days of famine in order to gather rations, they recognized Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام and asked for forgiveness remorsefully. Whilst forgiving, Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام said, ‘Today there is no rebuke against you. May Allah forgive you. He is the Most Merciful.’ When Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام enquired about his father Sayyiduna Ya’qoob علیہ السلام , then the brothers told him that due to prolonged weeping out of your grief, he has become frail, and his eyesight has also become very weak. Upon hearing the state of his father from his brothers, Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام was very much grieved. He علیہ السلام then said to his brothers:
Take along this shirt of mine, and put it on my father’s face, his vision will be restored; and bring your entire family to me.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 13, Surah Yusuf, verse 93)
The brothers of Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام took that shirt and left for Kin’aan from Egypt. Yahuda, one of the brothers of Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام , said, ‘I will take this shirt to Sayyiduna Ya’qoob (علیہ السلام ) as I was the one who took the blood-stained shirt of Sayyiduna Yusuf (علیہ السلام ) to Sayyiduna Ya’qoob (علیہ السلام ) after throwing him into the well. And I grieved him by saying that a wolf has eaten Sayyiduna Yusuf (علیہ السلام ). So because I was responsible for his grief, therefore today, I will give the shirt to him and make him happy with the good news that Sayyiduna Yusuf (علیہ السلام ) is still alive.’ Therefore, Yahuda took the shirt and ran bareheaded and barefoot for eighty furlongs. For the journey, he had seven breads as food, but due to his happiness and enthusiasm to reach his destination quickly, he could not even eat them. Completing his journey as quickly as he could, he reached the court of his esteemed father.
The moment Yahuda left Egypt for Kin’aan with the shirt, Sayyiduna Ya’qoob علیہ السلام smelt the fragrance of Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام in Kin’aan and said to his grandchildren:
Said, ‘Indeed I sense the fragrance of Yusuf, if you do not call me disorientated.’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 13, Surah Yusuf, verse 94)
His grandchildren replied, ‘By Allah ( ), you are still in your old state of longing. Where is Yusuf and where is his fragrance? But, when Yahuda reached Kin’aan with the shirt, and the moment he put the shirt on the face of Sayyiduna Ya’qoob علیہ السلام , the eyesight of Sayyiduna Ya’qoob علیہ السلام restored right away. Allah has said in the Holy Quran:
Then when the bearer of glad tidings came, he laid that shirt on the face of Ya’qoob, he therefore immediately regained his eyesight; he said, ‘Did I not tell you? I know those glories of Allah which you do not know!’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 13, Surah Yusuf, verse 96)
As soon as Yahuda left Egypt for Kin’aan with the shirt of Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام , Sayyiduna Ya’qoob علیہ السلام smelt the fragrance of Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام whilst being in Kin’aan! In this connection, Shaykh Sa’di علیہ الرحمۃ has quoted an inspiring parable which is very fascinating and eloquent.
Someone asked Sayyiduna Ya’qoob علیہ السلام , who had lost his son:
O grand and wise elder!
You smelt the fragrance of Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام from the far and distanced land of Egypt, but when Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام was confined in a well in the land of Kin’aan and was in the close proximity to you, why did you not feel his fragrance? What is the reason behind this?
Sayyiduna Ya’qoob علیہ السلام replied:
ﮔﮭﮯ ﺑﺮ ﭘﺸﺖ ﭘﺎﺋﮯ ﺧﻮد ﻧﻪ ﺑﯿﻨﻢ ﯽ ﻧﺸﯿﻨﻢٰ اﻋﻠﻃﺎرمِ ﮔﮭﮯ ﺑﺮ
The state of we, the friends of Allah is like a lightning thunderbolt that appears and disappears instantly. Sometimes Allah blesses us with His Divine light and we sit on the skies, and the whole universe is displayed in front of us. And sometimes we go in an extreme state of enthralling contemplation and are drowned in the depths of His Being and Attributes to such an extent that we become unaware of everything else except Allah . Such a state overcomes us that we can’t even see our feet.
This is the reason that from Egypt, I smelt the fragrance of the shirt of Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام because at that time, I was in the state of Kashf (spiritual intuition). But I could not feel the fragrance of Sayyiduna Yusuf علیہ السلام from the well of Kin’aan because at that time, I was in the state of extreme meditation and my state was as if:
Mayn kis ki loon khabar, mujhay apni khabar nahin
Whom shall I take care of whilst I am unaware of even myself
Moral: There are two main lessons for us in this event:
- There are many hidden blessings and virtues associated with the clothes and belongings of the chosen people of Allah. Therefore, preserving the clothes and other souvenirs of the holy saints (‘ ./ as a sacred thing, seeking blessings and bounties by virtue of them, as well as using these as a Wasilah (intermediary) to Allah is a proven tradition for harvesting the blessings and for acceptance of supplications.
- The spiritual condition of the beloveds of Allah does not always remain the same. Sometimes, by virtue of Divine light in their souls, they enter in such a state that, they start observing each and every particle of the universe. And sometimes, they are engrossed in the Divine light of Allah to such an extent that they are drowned in the meditation of the light and lose their attention away from the entire universe. At that time, they are in such a state that they can’t see anything. And it happens to such a great extent that they even forget their own names.
These two states of Sufism i.e. Kashfi (intuition) and Istaghraqi (meditation) are beyond the understanding of the common people. Only those people who have spiritual affiliations and the Islamic scholars or those who have experienced such things can understand. It is true:ﻣﮯ ﻧﻪ ﺷﻨﺎﺳﯽ ﺑﺨﺪا ﺗﺎ ﻧﻪ ﭼﺸﯽﻟﺬتِFor such spiritual excellence, in addition to Zikr (remembrance of Allah ) and meditation, revival of heart by spiritual inspiration invoked by perfect Shaykh is necessary. The king of Sufism, Maulana Roomi علیہ الرحمۃ has pointed towards this aspect as:
روﺋﮯ دل را ﺟﺎﻧﺐ دﻟﺪار ﮐُﻦ ﺻﺪ ﮐﺘﺎب و ﺻﺪورق درﻧﺎر ﮐُﻦAnd another mystic has mentioned that:از ﮐﻨﺰ و ﮬﺪاﯾﻪ ﻧﻪ ﺗﻮاں ﯾﺎﻓﺖ ﺧﺪارا ﺳﯽ ﭘﺎرۂ دل ﺧﻮاں ﮐﻪ ﮐﺘﺎﺑﮯ ﺑﻪ ازﯾﮟ ﻧﯿﺴﺖ
It means that only reading ‘Kanz-ud-Daqaaiq’ and ‘Hidayah’ is not sufficient to seek Allah , in addition read the chapter of heart because there is no book better than this. But in this age of materialism, the flag-bearers of Sufism have badly harmed and deformed the noble concept of Sufism. Such people are fulfilling their worldly desires in guise of sainthood. They pose that one can only become a Shaykh by wearing multi-coloured and torn clothes and carrying rosary and staff.
Haqiqat khurafaat mayn kho gayi
Yeh Ummat riwayaat mayn kho gayi
Truth is lost in uselessness
This Ummah is lost in false traditions