LET us suppose that the average Moslem could read English, and that we placed in his hands one of those admirable volumes published by the Society for Psychical Research. In order to sympathise with his feelings on such an occasion, we have only to imagine what our own would be if a scientific friend invited us to study a treatise setting forth the evidence in favour of telegraphy and recording well-attested instances of telegraphic communication. The Moslem would probably see in the telegraph some kind of spirit--an afreet or jinni. Telepathy and similar occult phenomena he takes for granted as self-evident facts. It would never occur to him to investigate them. There is something in the constitution of his mind that makes it impervious to the idea that the supernatural may be subject to law. He believes, because he cannot help believing, in the reality of an unseen world which 'lies about us,' not in our infancy alone, but always and every-


where; a world from which we are in no wise excluded, accessible and in some measure revealed to all, though free and open intercourse with it is a privilege enjoyed by few. Many are called but few chosen.

  "Spirits every night from the body's snare
  Thou freest, and makest the tablets clean.
  {By erasing all the sensuous impressions which form a veil between
    the soul and the world of reality.}
  Spirits are set free every night from this cage,
  Independent, neither ruled nor ruling.
  At night prisoners forget their prison,
  At night kings forget their power:
  No sorrow, no brooding over gain and loss,
  No thought of this person or that person.
  This is the state of the gnostic, even when he is awake;
  God hath said, 'Thou wouldst deem them awake while they slept.'
    {Kor. 18.17}
  He is asleep, day and night, to the affairs of the world,
  Like a pen in the controlling hand of the Lord."

The Sufis have always declared and believed themselves to be God's chosen people. The Koran refers in several places to His elect. According to the author of the Kitab al-Luma', this title belongs, firstly, to the prophets, elect in virtue of their sinlessness, their inspiration, and their apostolic mission; and secondly, to certain Moslems, elect in virtue of their sincere devotion and self-mortification and firm attachment to the


eternal realities: in a word, the saints. While the Sufis are the elect of the Moslem community, the saints are the elect of the Sufis.

The Mohammedan saint is commonly known as a wali (plural, awliya). This word is used in various senses derived from its root-meaning of 'nearness'; e.g. next of kin, patron, protector, friend. It is applied in the Koran to God as the protector of the Faithful, to angels or idols who are supposed to protect their worshippers, and to men who are regarded as being specially under divine protection. Mohammed twits the Jews with professing to be protégés of God (awliya lillah). Notwithstanding its somewhat equivocal associations, the term was taken over by the Sufis and became the ordinary designation of persons whose holiness brings them near to God, and who receive from Him, as tokens of His peculiar favour, miraculous gifts (karamat, «charísmata»); they are His friends, on whom "no fear shall come and they shall not grieve" {Kor. 10.63}; any injury done to them is an act of hostility against Him.

The inspiration of the Islamic saints, though verbally distinguished from that of the prophets and inferior in degree, is of the same kind. In consequence of their intimate relation to God, the veil shrouding the


supernatural, or, as a Moslem would say, the unseen world, from their perceptions is withdrawn at intervals, and in their fits of ecstasy they rise to the prophetic level. Neither deep learning in divinity, nor devotion to good works, nor asceticism, nor moral purity makes the Mohammedan a saint; he may have all or none of these things, but the only indispensable qualification is that ecstasy and rapture which is the outward sign of 'passing-away' from the phenomenal self. Anyone thus enraptured (majdhub) is a wali {Waliyyat, if the saint is a woman.}, and when such persons are recognised through their power of working miracles, they are venerated as saints not only after death but also during their lives. Often, however, they live and die in obscurity. Hujwiri tells us that amongst the saints "there are four thousand who are concealed and do not know one another and are not aware of the excellence of their state, being in all circumstances hidden from themselves and from mankind."

The saints form an invisible hierarchy, on which the order of the world is thought to depend. Its supreme head is entitled the Qutb (Axis). He is the most eminent Sufi of his age, and presides over the meetings regularly held by this august parliament, whose members are not hampered in their attendance by the inconvenient fictions of


time and space, but come together from all parts of the earth in the twinkling of an eye, traversing seas and mountains and deserts as easily as common mortals step across a road. Below the Qutb stand various classes and grades of sanctity. Hujwiri enumerates them, in ascending series, as follows: three hundred Akhyar (Good), forty Abdal (Substitutes), seven Abrar (Pious), four Awtad (Supports), and three Nuqaba (Overseers).

"All these know one another and cannot act save by mutual consent. It is the task of the Awtad to go round the whole world every night, and if there should be any place on which their eyes have not fallen, next day some flaw will appear in that place, and they must then inform the Qutb in order that he may direct his attention to the weak spot and that by his blessing the imperfection may be remedied."

We are studying in this book the mystical life of the individual Moslem, and it is necessary to keep the subject within the narrowest bounds. Otherwise, I should have liked to dwell on the external and historical organisation of Sufism as a school for saints, and to describe the process of evolution through which the wali privately conversing with a small circle of friends became, first, a teacher and spiritual guide gathering


disciples around him during his lifetime, and finally the head of a perpetual religious order which bore his name. The earliest of these great fraternities date from the twelfth century. In addition to their own members--the so-called 'dervishes'--each order has a large number of lay brethren attached to it, so that their influence pervades all ranks of Moslem society. They are "independent and self-developing. There is rivalry between them; but no one rules over the other. In faith and practice each goes its own way, limited only by the universal conscience of Islam. Thus strange doctrines and grave moral defects easily develop unheeded, but freedom is saved." {D. B. Macdonald, The Religious Life and Attitude in Islam, p. 164.} Of course, the typical wali is incapable of founding an order, but Islam has produced no less frequently than Christendom men who combine intense spiritual illumination with creative energy and aptitude for affairs on a grand scale. The Mohammedan notion of the saint as a person possessed by God allows a very wide application of the term: in popular usage it extends from the greatest Sufi theosophists, like Jalaluddin Rumi and Ibn al-'Arabi, down to those who have gained sanctity only by losing sanity--victims of epilepsy and hysteria, half-witted idiots and harmless lunatics.


Both Qushayri {Author of a famous work designed to close the breach between Sufism and Islam. He died in 1074 A.D.} and Hujwiri discuss the question whether a saint can be conscious of his saintship, and answer it in the affirmative. Their opponents argue that consciousness of saintship involves assurance of salvation, which is impossible, since no one can know with certainty that he shall be among the saved on the Day of Judgment. In reply it was urged that God may miraculously assure the saint of his predestined salvation, while maintaining him in a state of spiritual soundness and preserving him from disobedience. The saint is not immaculate, as the prophets are, but the divine protection which he enjoys is a guarantee that he will not persevere in evil courses, though he may temporarily be led astray. According to the view generally held, saintship depends on faith, not on conduct, so that no sin except infidelity can cause it to be forfeited. This perilous theory, which opens the door to antinomianism, was mitigated by the emphasis laid on fulfilment of the religious law. The following anecdote of Bayazid al-Bistami shows the official attitude of all the leading Sufis who are cited as authorities in the Moslem text-books.

"I was told (he said) that a saint of God was living in such-and-such a town,

and I set out to visit him. When I entered the mosque, he came forth from his chamber and spat on the floor. I turned back without saluting him, saying to myself, 'A saint must keep the religious law in order that God may keep him in his spiritual state. Had this man been a saint, his respect for the law would have prevented him from spitting on the floor, or God would have saved him from marring the grace vouchsafed to him."

Many walis, however, regard the law as a curb that is indeed necessary so long as one remains in the disciplinary stage, but may be discarded by the saint. Such a person, they declare, stands on a higher plane than ordinary men, and is not to be condemned for actions which outwardly seem irreligious. While the older Sufis insist that a wali who breaks the law is thereby shown to be an impostor, the popular belief in the saints and the rapid growth of saint-worship tended to aggrandise the wali at the expense of the law, and to foster the conviction that a divinely gifted man can do no wrong, or at least that his actions must not be judged by appearances. The classical instance of this jus divinum vested in the friends of God is the story of Moses and Khadir, which is related in the Koran (18.64-80). Khadir or Khizr--the Koran does not mention him by name


--is a mysterious sage endowed with immortality, who is said to enter into conversation with wandering Sufis and impart to them his God-given knowledge. Moses desired to accompany him on a journey that he might profit by his teaching, and Khadir consented, only stipulating that Moses should ask no questions of him.

"So they both went on, till they embarked in a boat and he (Khadir) staved it in. 'What!' cried Moses, 'hast thou staved it in that thou mayst drown its crew? Verily, a strange thing hast thou done.' "He said, 'Did not I tell thee that thou couldst no way have patience with me?' "Then they went on until they met a youth, and he slew him. Said Moses, 'Hast thou slain him who is free from guilt of blood? Surely now thou hast wrought an unheard-of thing!'"

After Moses had broken his promise of silence for the third time, Khadir resolved to leave him.

"But first," he said, "I will tell thee the meaning of that with which thou couldst not have patience. As to the boat, it belonged to poor men, toilers on the sea, and I was minded to damage it, for in their rear was a king who seized on every boat by force. And

as to the youth, his parents were believers, and I feared lest he should trouble them by error and unbelief."

The Sufis are fond of quoting this unimpeachable testimony that the wali is above human criticism, and that his hand, as Jalaluddin asserts, is even as the hand of God. Most Moslems admit the claim to be valid in so far as they shrink from applying conventional standards of morality to holy men. I have explained its metaphysical justification in an earlier chapter.

A miracle performed by a saint is termed karamat, i.e. a 'favour' which God bestows upon him, whereas a miracle performed by a prophet is called mu'jizat, i.e. an act which cannot be imitated by any one. The distinction originated in controversy, and was used to answer those who held the miraculous powers of the saints to be a grave encroachment on the prerogative of the Prophet. Sufi apologists, while confessing that both kinds of miracle are substantially the same, take pains to differentiate the characteristics of each; they declare, moreover, that the saints are the Prophet's witnesses, and that all their miracles (like 'a drop trickling from a full skin of honey') are in reality derived from him. This is the orthodox view and is supported by those Mohammedan mystics who acknowledge the Law as well


as the Truth, though in some cases it may have amounted to little more than a pious opinion. We have often noticed the difficulty in which the Sufis find themselves when they try to make a logical compromise with Islam. But the word 'logic' is very misleading in this connexion. The beginning of wisdom, for European students of Oriental religion, lies in the discovery that incongruous beliefs--I mean, of course, beliefs which our minds cannot harmonise--dwell peacefully together in the Oriental brain; that their owner is quite unconscious of their incongruity; and that, as a rule, he is absolutely sincere. Contradictions which seem glaring to us do not trouble him at all.

The thaumaturgic element in ancient Sufism was not so important as it afterwards became in the fully developed saint-worship associated with the Dervish Orders. "A saint would be none the less a saint," says Qushayri, "if no miracles were wrought by him in this world." In early Mohammedan Vitæ Sanctorum it is not uncommon to meet with sayings to the effect that miraculous powers are comparatively of small account. It was finely said by Sahl ibn 'Abdallah that the greatest miracle is the substitution of a good quality for a bad one; and the Kitab al-Luma' gives many examples of holy men who disliked miracles and regarded them as a temptation.


"During my novitiate," said Bayazid, "God used to bring before me wonders and miracles, but I paid no heed to them; and when He saw that I did so, He gave me the means of attaining to knowledge of Himself." Junayd observed that reliance on miracles is one of the 'veils' which hinder the elect from penetrating to the inmost shrine of the Truth. This was too high doctrine for the great mass of Moslems, and in the end the vulgar idea of saintship triumphed over the mystical and theosophical conception. All such warnings and scruples were swept aside by the same irresistible instinct which rendered vain the solemn asseverations of Mohammed that there was nothing supernatural about him, and which transformed the human Prophet of history into an omnipotent hierophant and magician. The popular demand for miracles far exceeded the supply, but where the walis failed, a vivid and credulous imagination came to their rescue and represented them, not as they were, but as they ought to be. Year by year the Legend of the Saints grew more glorious and wonderful as it continued to draw fresh tribute from the unfathomable ocean of Oriental romance. The pretensions made by the walis, or on their behalf, steadily increased, and the stories told of them were ever becoming more fantastic and extravagant. I will devote


the remainder of this chapter to a sketch of the wali as he appears in the vast medieval literature on the subject.

The Moslem saint does not say that he has wrought a miracle; he says, "a miracle was granted or manifested to me." According to one view, he may be fully conscious at the time, but many Sufis hold that such 'manifestation' cannot take place except in ecstasy, when the saint is entirely under divine control. His own personality is then in abeyance, and those who interfere with him oppose the Almighty Power which speaks with his lips and smites with his hand. Jalaluddin (who uses incidentally the rather double-edged analogy of a man possessed by a peri {One of the spirits called collectively Jinn.}) relates the following anecdote concerning Bayazid of Bistam, a celebrated Persian saint who several times declared in ecstatic frenzy that he was no other than God.

After coming to himself on one of these occasions and learning what blasphemous language he had uttered, Bayazid ordered his disciples to stab him with their knives if he should offend again. Let me quote the sequel, from Mr. Whinfield's abridged translation of the Masnavi (p. 196):

  "The torrent of madness bore away his reason
  And he spoke more impiously than before:
  'Within my vesture is naught but God,


  Whether you seek Him on earth or in heaven.'
  His disciples all became mad with horror,
  And struck with their knives at his holy body.
  Each one who aimed at the body of the Sheykh--
  His stroke was reversed and wounded the striker.
  No stroke took effect on that man of spiritual gifts,
  But the disciples were wounded and drowned in blood."

Here is the poet's conclusion:

  "Ah! you who smite with your sword him beside himself,
  You smite yourself therewith. Beware!
  For he that is beside himself is annihilated and safe;
  Yea, he dwells in security for ever.
  His form is vanished, he is a mere mirror;
  Nothing is seen in him but the reflexion of another.
  If you spit at it, you spit at your own face,
  And if you hit that mirror, you hit yourself.
  If you see an ugly face in it, 'tis your own,
  And if you see a Jesus there, you are its mother Mary.
  He is neither this nor that--he is void of form;
  'Tis your own form which is reflected back to you."

The life of Abu 'l-Hasan Khurqani, another Persian Sufi who died in 1033 A.D., gives us a complete picture of the Oriental pantheist, and exhibits the mingled arrogance and sublimity of the character as clearly as could be desired. Since the original text covers fifty pages, I can translate only a small portion of it here.

"Once the Sheykh said, 'This night a great many persons (he mentioned the exact number) have been wounded by brigands in such-and-such a desert.'

On making inquiry, they found that his statement was perfectly true. Strange to relate, on the same night his son's head was cut off and laid upon the threshold of his house, yet he knew nothing of it. His wife, who disbelieved in him, cried, 'What think you of a man who can tell things which happen many leagues away, but does not know that his own son's head has been cut off and is lying at his very door?' 'Yes,' the Sheykh answered, 'when I saw that, the veil had been lifted, but when my son was killed, it had been let down again.'" "One day Abu 'l-Hasan Khurqani clenched his fist and extended the little finger and said, 'Here is the qibla {The qibla is the point to which Moslems turn their faces when praying, i.e. the Ka'ba.}, if any one desires to become a Sufi.' These words were reported to the Grand Sheykh, who, deeming the co-existence of two qiblas an insult to the divine Unity, exclaimed, 'Since a second qibla has appeared, I will cancel the former one.' After that, no pilgrims were able to reach Mecca. Some perished on the way, others fell into the hands of robbers, or were prevented by various causes from accomplishing their journey. Next year a certain dervish said to the Grand

Sheykh, 'What sense is there in keeping the folk away from the House of God?' Thereupon the Grand Sheykh made a sign, and the road became open once more. The dervish asked, 'Whose fault is it that all these people have perished?' The Grand Sheykh replied, 'When elephants jostle each other, who cares if a few wretched birds are crushed to death?'" "Some persons who were setting forth on a journey begged Khurqani to teach them a prayer that would keep them safe from the perils of the road. He said, 'If any misfortune should befall you, mention my name.' This answer was not agreeable to them; they set off, however, and while travelling were attacked by brigands. One of the party mentioned the saint's name and immediately became invisible, to the great astonishment of the brigands, who could not find either his camel or his bales of merchandise; the others lost all their clothes and goods. On returning home, they asked the Sheykh to explain the mystery. 'We all invoked God,' they said, 'and without success; but the one man who invoked you vanished from before the eyes of the robbers.' 'You invoke God formally,' said the Sheykh, 'whereas

I invoke Him really. Hence, if you invoke me and I then invoke God on your behalf, your prayers are granted; but it is useless for you to invoke God formally and by rote.'" "One night, while he was praying, he heard a voice cry, 'Ha! Abu 'l-Hasan! Dost thou wish Me to tell the people what I know of thee, that they may stone thee to death?' 'O Lord God,' he replied, 'dost Thou wish me to tell the people what I know of Thy mercy and what I perceive of Thy grace, that none of them may ever again bow to Thee in prayer?' The voice answered, 'Keep thy secret, and I will keep Mine.'" "He said, 'O God, do not send to me the Angel of Death, for I will not give up my soul to him. How should I restore it to him, from whom I did not receive it? I received my soul from Thee, and I will not give it up to any one but Thee.'" "He said, 'After I shall have passed away, the Angel of Death will come to one of my descendants and set about taking his soul, and will deal hardly with him. Then will I raise my hands from the tomb and shed the grace of God upon his lips.'" "He said, 'If I bade the empyrean

move, it would obey, and if I told the sun to stop, it would cease from rolling on its course.'" "He said, 'I am not a devotee nor an ascetic nor a theologian nor a Sufi. O God, Thou art One, and through Thy Oneness I am One.'" "He said, 'The skull of my head is the empyrean, and my feet are under the earth, and my two hands are East and West.'" "He said, 'If any one does not believe that I shall stand up at the Resurrection and that he shall not enter Paradise until I lead him forward, let him not come here to salute me.'" "He said, 'Since God brought me forth from myself, Paradise is in quest of me and Hell is in fear of me; and if Paradise and Hell were to pass by this place where I am, both would become annihilated in me, together with all the people whom they contain.'" "He said, 'I was lying on my back, asleep. From a corner of the Throne of God something trickled into my mouth, and I felt a sweetness in my inward being.'" "He said, 'If a few drops of that which is under the skin of a saint should come forth between his lips,

all the creatures of heaven and earth would fall into panic.'" "He said, 'Through prayer the saints are able to stop the fish from swimming in the sea and to make the earth tremble, so that people think it is an earthquake.'" "He said, 'If the love of God in the hearts of His friends were made manifest, it would fill the world with flood and fire.'" "He said, 'He that lives with God hath seen all things visible, and heard all things audible, and done all that is to be done, and known all that is to be known.'" "He said, 'All things are contained in me, but there is no room for myself in me.'" "He said, 'Miracles are only the first of the thousand stages of the Way to God.'" "He said, 'Do not seek until thou art sought, for when thou findest that which thou seekest, it will resemble thee.'" "He said, 'Thou must daily die a thousand deaths and come to life again, that thou mayst win the life immortal.'" "He said, 'When thou givest to God thy nothingness, He gives to thee His All.'"

It would be an almost endless task to enumerate and exemplify the different classes of miracles which are related in the lives of the Mohammedan saints--for instance, walking on water, flying in the air (with or without a passenger), rain-making, appearing in various places at the same time, healing by the breath, bringing the dead to life, knowledge and prediction of future events, thought-reading, telekinesis, paralysing or beheading an obnoxious person by a word or gesture, conversing with animals or plants, turning earth into gold or precious stones, producing food and drink, etc. To the Moslem, who has no sense of natural law, all these 'violations of custom,' as he calls them, seem equally credible. We, on the other hand, feel ourselves obliged to distinguish phenomena which we regard as irrational and impossible from those for which we can find some sort of 'natural' explanation. Modern theories of psychical influence, faith-healing, telepathy, veridical hallucination, hypnotic suggestion and the like, have thrown open to us a wide avenue of approach to this dark continent in the Eastern mind. I will not, however, pursue the subject far at present, full of interest as it is. In the higher Sufi teaching the miraculous powers of the saints play a more or less insignificant part, and the excessive importance which they assume in the organ-


ised mysticism of the Dervish Orders is one of the clearest marks of its degeneracy.

The following passage, which I have slightly modified, gives a fair summary of the hypnotic process through which a dervish attains to union with God:

"The disciple must, mystically, always bear his Murshid (spiritual director) in mind, and become mentally absorbed in him through a constant meditation and contemplation of him. The teacher must be his shield against all evil thoughts. The spirit of the teacher follows him in all his efforts, and accompanies him wherever he may be, quite as a guardian spirit. To such a degree is this carried that he sees the master in all men and in all things, just as a willing subject is under the influence of the magnetiser. This condition is called 'self-annihilation' in the Murshid or Sheykh. The latter finds, in his own visionary dreams, the degree which the disciple has reached, and whether or not his spirit has become bound to his own. "At this stage the Sheykh passes him over to the spiritual influence of the long-deceased Pir or original founder of the Order, and he sees the latter only by the spiritual aid of the Sheykh. This is called 'self-annihilation' in the Pir. He

now becomes so much a part of the Pir as to possess all his spiritual powers. "The third grade leads him, also through the spiritual aid of the Sheykh, up to the Prophet himself, whom he now sees in all things. This state is called 'self-annihilation' in the Prophet. "The fourth degree leads him even to God. He becomes united with the Deity and sees Him in all things." {J. P. Brown, The Dervishes, or Oriental Spiritualism (1868), p. 298.}

An excellent concrete illustration of the process here described will be found in the well-known case of Tawakkul Beg, who passed through all these experiences under the control of Molla-Shah. His account is too long to quote in full; moreover, it has recently been translated by Professor D. B. Macdonald in his Religious Life and Attitude in Islam (pp. 197 ff.). I copy from this version one paragraph describing the first of the four stages mentioned above.

"Thereupon he made me sit before him, my senses being as though intoxicated, and ordered me to reproduce my own image within myself; and, after having bandaged my eyes, he asked me to concentrate all my mental faculties on my heart. I obeyed, and in an instant, by the divine favour and by the spiritual assistance of the Sheykh, my

heart opened. I saw, then, that there was something like an overturned cup within me. This having been set upright, a sensation of unbounded happiness filled my being. I said to the master, 'This cell where I am seated before you--I see a faithful reproduction of it within me, and it appears to me as though another Tawakkul Beg were seated before another Molla-Shah.' He replied, 'Very good! the first apparition which appears to thee is the image of the master.' He then ordered me to uncover my eyes; and I saw him, with the physical organ of vision, seated before me. He then made me bind my eyes again, and I perceived him with my spiritual sight, seated similarly before me. Full of astonishment, I cried out, 'O Master! whether I look with my physical organs or with my spiritual sight, always it is you that I see!'"

Here is a case of autohypnotism, witnessed and recorded by the poet Jami:

"Mawlana Sa'duddin of Kashghar, after a little concentration of thought (tawajjuh), used to exhibit signs of unconsciousness. Anyone ignorant of this circumstance would have fancied that he was falling asleep. When I first entered into companionship with him,

I happened one day to be seated before him in the congregational mosque. According to his custom, he fell into a trance. I supposed that he was going to sleep, and I said to him, 'If you desire to rest for a short time, you will not seem to me to be far off.' He smiled and said, 'Apparently you do not believe that this is something different from sleep.'"

The following anecdote presents greater difficulties:

"Mawlana Nizamuddin Khamush relates that one day his master, 'Ala'uddin 'Attar, started to visit the tomb of the celebrated saint Mohammed ibn 'Ali Hakim, at Tirmidh. 'I did not accompany him,' said Nizamuddin, 'but stayed at home, and by concentrating my mind (tawajjuh) I succeeded in bringing the spirituality of the saint before me, so that when the master arrived at the tomb he found it empty. He must have known the cause, for on his return he set to work in order to bring me under his control. I, too, concentrated my mind, but I found myself like a dove and the master like a hawk flying in chase of me. Wherever I turned, he was always close behind. At last, despairing of escape, I took refuge with the spirituality of the

Prophet (on whom be peace) and became effaced in its infinite radiance. The master could not exercise any further control. He fell ill in consequence of his chagrin, and no one except myself knew the reason.'"

'Ala'uddin's son, Khwaja Hasan 'Attar, possessed such powers of 'control' that he could at will throw any one into the state of trance and cause them to experience the 'passing-away' (fana) to which some mystics attain only on rare occasions and after prolonged self-mortification. It is related that the disciples and visitors who were admitted to the honour of kissing his hand always fell unconscious to the ground.

Certain saints are believed to have the power of assuming whatever shape they please. One of the most famous was Abd 'Abdallah of Mosul, better known by the name of Qadib al-Ban. One day the Cadi of Mosul, who regarded him as a detestable heretic, saw him in a street of the town, approaching from the opposite direction. He resolved to seize him and lay a charge against him before the governor, in order that he might be punished. All at once he perceived that Qadib al-Ban had taken the form of a Kurd; and as the saint advanced towards him, his appearance changed again, this time into an Arab of the desert. Finally, on coming still nearer, he assumed the guise


and dress of a doctor of theology, and cried, "O Cadi! which Qadib al-Ban will you hale before the governor and punish?" The Cadi repented of his hostility and became one of the saint's disciples.

In conclusion, let me give two alleged instances of 'the obedience of inanimate objects,' i.e. telekinesis:

"Whilst Dhu 'l-Nun was conversing on this topic with some friends, he said, 'Here is a sofa. It will move round the room, if I tell it to do so.' No sooner had he uttered the word 'move' than the sofa made a circuit of the room and returned to its place. One of the spectators, a young man, burst into tears and gave up the ghost. They laid him on that sofa and washed him for burial." "Avicenna paid a visit to Abu 'l-Hasan Khurqani and immediately plunged into a long and abstruse discussion. After a time the saint, who was an illiterate person, felt tired, so he got up and said, 'Excuse me; I must go and mend the garden wall'; and off he went, taking a hatchet with him. As soon as he had climbed on to the top of the wall, the hatchet dropped from his hand. Avicenna ran to pick it up, but before he reached it the hatchet rose of itself and came back

into the saint's hand. Avicenna lost all his self-command, and the enthusiastic belief in Sufism which then took possession of him continued until, at a later period of his life, he abandoned mysticism for philosophy."

I am well aware that in this chapter scanty justice has been done to a great subject. The historian of Sufism must acknowledge, however deeply he may deplore, the fundamental position occupied by the doctrine of saintship and the tremendous influence which it has exerted in its practical results--grovelling submission to the authority of an ecstatic class of men, dependence on their favour, pilgrimage to their shrines, adoration of their relics, devotion of every mental and spiritual faculty to their service. It may be dangerous to worship God by one's own inner light, but it is far more deadly to seek Him by the inner light of another. Vicarious holiness has no compensations. This truth is expressed by the mystical writers in many an eloquent passage, but I will content myself with quoting a few lines from the life of 'Ala'uddin 'Attar, the same saint who, as we have seen, vainly tried to hypnotise his pupil in revenge for a disrespectful trick which the latter had played on him. His biographer relates that he said, "It is more right and worthy to


dwell beside God than to dwell beside God's creatures," and that the following verse was often on his blessed tongue:

  "How long will you worship at the tombs of holy men?
  Busy yourself with the works of holy men, and you are saved!"

    ("tu ta kay gur-i mardan-ra parasti
    bi-gird-i kar-i mardan gard u rasti.")

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