May 9th, 2014
It was only late in the night when I came to know that Raza Rumi was attacked—By whom and why? I do not know. I just know that because of the consequence of that unprovoked attacked, Raza was compelled to leave Pakistan and settle in some neutral land where his safety and security is, at least, not at risk. Well, so much has been written about the unfortunate circumstances and plight of the security of journalists in Pakistan and so much has been said already too. I may save myself from taking a dip in this vast sea. Here I want to expound on who was Raza Rumi.
A Teacher? A Sufi Master? A Friend? I have no words to express my grief over these unfortunate and saddening times. Long gone are those days when Shams of Tabraiz wandered from Balakh to Constantinople to find Rumi to quench his spiritual thirst. I was one of few lucky who have known Raza, not for long, as a spiritual soul looking to find the eternal and absolute truth. It was one cozy evening of the summer of 2012 when I contacted Raza over twitter. I was attracted towards his objectivity, impartiality and integrity over many matters and problems engulfing this country.
We met over coffee and had discussion over composition of Alif Laila wa Laila and great work of Syed Ali bin Usman Al-Hajveri called Kashaf ul Mahjoob. We were able to look beyond the stark and muddy puddle of strict theology and canonical pipe that obstruct the view and spats mind with black blot that makes us totally useless and we try to impose ideas and interdict free thought. He made me indite what was in my heart and to undress my thoughts so that world should know that truth is beautiful when it is naked! Oh how can I grieve more? I don’t grieve and I don’t mourn over his departure from Pakistan. I mourn for my people who let go such gem.
A fortunate, by the men of ancient times in dreams long sought
Has been vouchsafed to modern men; without the efforts caught
It is us who are at loss. It is us who should sulk over this mighty loss. Yet, his departure is a respite to many whose minds are closed and souls confined to dark chambers of thoughtlessness where free thought is nipped before even sprouting from the seed of brain. Yet light will shine. Perhaps this allegory explains what I want to say. During pitch-black night in a room which has walls painted black and floors covered with dark black marble, an insolent soul, a rebellious soul who stood up to the injustice lights a small flame. What happens? It conquers the darkness and defeats it. So did Raza. Thus a little light in the realm of shadows made her dwellers so scared that they set out to take toll over his life. But as Rumi puts it:
Whole Sea a fish will never drown;
A poor man’s day seems all one frown
What boot from counsel to a fool
Waste not your words; your wrath let cool
So Raza was let go away. But not far. Yes, it is us who are at a loss. A tumult is heard in this world full of noises. A cry so clear yet muted. It was heard only by those who can look ahead; have the courage to see the things outside the narrow canonical pipe In light of love.
Though I know I may not be able to meet you, Raza, for long time but I am always ready to embark on the spiritual journey or old and new. Yes, your work, Delhi by Heart, is a treatise of love and a guidebook of Calculus of Spirituality. Whenever I will miss you, I will take a leap of faith and find myself in streets of Shahjahanabad in search of some lost Sufi saint. Whenever I need guidance from you, I will scroll through the pages of Darashikoh’s works. I will find you in streets of Old Lahore. I will see your traces in tomb of Madhu Lal Hussain. Oh yes, Shamas of Tabraiz who on one of his spiritual journeys preached to your ancestors and converted them into folds of Islam. What did Shamas of Tabraiz know that in these troubled times, people are no more converted to Islam with love but personal wishes of people have become their god, their Islam, their holy scripture. Yet, I miss you! God bless you!
But I know so many of us won’t understand. Hardened are their hearts. In words of Rumi, “It would be easier to convert seventy Bishops to Islam, than to clear away mind of that teacher the stains of hate, and so set him on the right road,” [Adepts of Rumi II: p 53]