By Jamiatul Ulama Gauteng
Maulana Rumi (رحمه الله) states: “It is a well-known fact that the fox is noted for its cowardice.” However, the fox that has a lion as a support behind its back saying to him: “Fear not, my hand is upon your back”, in spite of lacking courage, becomes very brave indeed. His newfound bravery is of such a nature that he will not hesitate to attack a leopard. He now has the support of a lion at his side, he will show no fear for a leopard. Similarly, is the case of the chosen servants of Allah Ta’ala. In spite of their apparent weakness and distressed position, they show no fear in the face of a multitude of evil forces. These saintly ones do experience some natural fear of physical hurt or injury, but at heart, they have no fear of anyone besides Allah Ta’ala.
A Sufi says:
“O people! Look not upon my weakly countenance for I have legs of iron. Do you know that within my heart I am connected to the King of Kings.”
In this regard, Maulana Rumi (رحمه الله) tells the story of Hazrat Jaafar (رضي الله عنه)
Once Hazrat Jaafar (رضي الله عنه) attacked a fortress all by himself. His attack was so fierce that it seemed that the fortress would soon become a prey to the hoofs of his horse. The inmates of the fortress were so struck by awe that they closed the gates of the fortress and no one dared to come out to engage in battle with him. The king discussed with his Wazir as to what line of action to adopt. The Wazir advised him thus: “The best line of action is to cancel all plans of making war against the man. It is best to take your shroud and your sword, go to him and lay down your weapons”. The king replied: “But this man is all alone. How is it that you give me such advice?”
The Wazir informed him: “Do not underestimate his being one man only. Open your eyes and look at the fortress and see how it trembles like quicksilver. Look at the inmates of the fortress, and see how their heads are bent downwards like sheep. Even though the man is alone, the heart that he has in his bosom is not like the hearts of ordinary men. Look at his courage. In the face of a vast multitude of opponents, he challenges them into battle with a naked sword in his hand and in a confident and victorious manner, calls them to fight. It seems that all the battle forces of the East and West are with him. One man alone, but he appears like hundreds of thousands. Do you not see that whichever soldiers are sent out to fight him are soon seen lying under the hoofs of his horse? After seeing the valour of this solitary man, O King, I have realized that the multitude of soldiers, which are with you, will not be able to do anything against him. Do not rely upon numbers. The main thing is the unity of the heart and this is actually what is so striking about the heart of this man. In this respect, he has been endowed endlessly with it. This is a gift from Allah Ta’ala, which is attained through the acquisition of contact with Him and through rigorous spiritual exercises. This connection you will not be able to attain while you are in this state of Kufr. Hence, it is best for you to throw down your weapons in defeat before the courageous believer and to open the gates of the fortress, because your numerous soldiers are of no use.”
Then Maulana Rumi (رحمه الله) gives examples in which the majority becomes useless in front of minority:
Millions of stars are shining and produce light, but at the rising of the sun, their light becomes non-existent.
If a thousand mice were to attack a weak and sickly cat, it would appear that they would be victorious in their endeavour. A few of them can grab him by the neck. One or two of them can then take his eyes out. One or two of them can tear off his ears with their teeth. One or two of them can make an opening at his side, enter and begin chewing the internal organs. It would appear to be a reasonable plan. However, experience proves otherwise. As soon as the weak and sickly cat utters one “meow” the whole multitude of mice become awestruck and one by one, they flee to safety. The moment they hear the “meow” they become convinced of being vanquished and visualizing the actions of the cat’s teeth and paws makes them flee. The main reason for this is the difference between the hearts in the breast of the mice and the heart in the breast of the cat. The unity of the heart in the cat and the courage lying in it, is not found in the mice. Hence, the mice becoming confounded and defeated in the presence of the cat, is proof thereof that the cat possesses unity of heart and courage. Otherwise, it would appear that if a large number of mice should attack the cat, it will be impossible for the cat to escape. Hence, we conclude that even if the number of mice were a hundred thousand, still, seeing a weak and sickly cat will cause all of them to run away. This proves that numbers mean nothing. The main thing is unity of the heart and courage.
Sheep and goats may be numerous in number but in the face of the knife of the butcher, that number is of no consequence.
Sleep comes along and causes many thoughts and imaginations to vanish.
The lion in the forest courageously attacks a multitude of animals with horns and he alone gets the upper hand over them. Furthermore, whichever animal he chooses from among them, he eats.
Lesson: Allah Ta’ala, the King of kings, is the One who grants this unity of heart and such courage. This unity of the heart is of two kinds. One is natural, or common possessed by the Non Believers, polytheists, and even animals. The other form is that which is granted by Allah Ta’ala and comes about through the blessings of close contact with Allah Ta’ala. This is what the Sufis term as “Nisbat”, for which one has to strive.
It is a great favor from Allah Ta’ala to have contact with Him. And there is only one way of attaining this contact and that is by following the Shari’at.