Standing Next to My Moula’s Qabr

Last night I was blessed. A young bhaisaheb gestured towards me as I stood in Raudat Tahera to assist with ushering the throngs of Mumineen who had spent hours queuing just so that they could do ziyarat. I walked towards the qabr mubarak and stood next to the qadam mubarak of Moulana Mohammed Burhanuddin RA. I stood there, one hand on the qabr and with the other, ushering one by one the Mumineen who passed.

Where was I? What providence had smiled upon me that I had ended up here? On what hallowed ground was I standing? Beneath the tombstone and the mound of earth, lay my Moula and the Moula of hundreds and thousands. This was that sanctified spot which my Maula had chosen for his final resting place. Herein lay that Moula who sought salvation and freedom for those imprisoned in the mortal coils of their being; the Moula who released us from our earthly existence to roam liberally in the ether above. This was where the sun, for whose shaan a billion stars shone, had set for the last time.

As all these thoughts swirled in my head, the ground seem to sway beneath me and my legs felt as if they would give way any moment. How could I – an insignificant, unworthy, undeserving mortal – remain in such a sacred place? I steadied myself by the one thing which had been my rock in my life – I clung to the qabr mubarak firmly, as I braced myself against the torrent of emotions that swept over me.

Although one would imagine that having standing for more than a few seconds near the qabr mubarak was an immense privilege, it was no easy task. Who was I to usher these devoted Mumineen, their faces awash with tears, who had travelled from far and wide to pay their final respects? It was my duty, but the words “Chalo bhai….” just remained stuck in my throat. I did not have the heart to say it, for who was I to bar these orphaned children in embracing their departed father?

As each one came, I would place my hand on their shoulders, silently urging them on. As I did, their broken sobs of anguish surfaced like tremors as my palm made contact and the shakes struck me to my very core. I could feel the deep deep despair that ebbed from every fibre of their souls and my heart just sank. Their cries were wordless, but they spoke volumes of the immutable love and mohabbat for their Aqa.

As the minute hand struck 1am, the line of Mumineen never seemed to get shorter. Young and old alike from all wakes of life, were united in the loss of their Moula. They ceased to be anything that distinguished one from another – so profound was their gham. I could see the telltale signs of a weary journey on their soiled sleeves and sunken eyes. I could pick out those who had spent their entire savings just so that they could do ziyarat of their Moula. They would say, “Saab, hamne rehwa do……hame ghana door si aaya che”, and I would have to turn away, lest they saw the tears fall from my eyes. I saw in them that same yearning, that same determination against unconquerable odds that set apart that ‘ajooza’ bairo, who sacrificed everything just so she could the ziyarat of Imam Husain. Was it surprising that centuries later, that journey would be emulated by the ghulaamo of Imam Husain’s true aashiq?

As the men passed by, every few moments a child, sometimes aged nine or ten but sometimes a much younger one would appear, one who could barely reach the qabr, yet his eyes would be glistening with tears. As they reached out with their tiny hands to take a petal or two from the top, they would fall short by a few inches. Instinctively, I would take some flowers and hand them over to them, wanting to kiss the foreheads of these children who were born from the very duas of Moula. They had been nourished and nurtured by the love of their Moula and his nazaraat. They had come tonight, knowing that this Bawasaheb, had not forsaken them, but continued to provide them sustenance. For that reason, every petal was more precious than manna from heaven.

The longer I stood there, I began to see the same faces appearing again. It reminded me of when every time Moula would pass, his Mumineen, especially the younger ones would keep returning for deedar, their thirst for a nazar insatiable and unquenchable. That thirst remained and those few moments with their foreheads on Moula’s qabr, at his feet, would never be enough. They would keep on coming till their last breath.

They came in their droves, unfettered and unhampered by whatever lay in their paths. For what? Just a brief moment at their Moula’s side. My chest heaved as I was dutifully forced to urge them on, for behind them many more were waiting. But I realised that herein lay a Moula with whom just a single moment would sustain them for their entire lives and beyond. What he wanted to give, transcended the confines of time and space and there was nothing to stop him from transforming the destiny of each mumin that came.

If ever anyone doubted what Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA meant to his flock of Mumineen, I have just one suggestion; stand near this qabr, in the saya of Raudat Tahera for just a moment. And you will see.

Written by Adnan Sh Shabbir

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