from Vol. 1, No. 3
Tariqa & Haqiqa
by Seyedeh Sahar Kianfar
from Vol. 9, No. 2
by Titus Burckhardt
from Vol. 3, No. 2
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Seyedeh Sahar Kianfar
Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Adham, a ninth century
Sufi of Khorasan, was the Prince of Balkh who governed a large northeastern
province in Persia. He lived in a luxurious palace, and his soldiers
carried swords and shields made of pure gold. The biography of Ibrahim
Adham is one of the most interesting historical stories in
Besides meeting Sufi Sheikhs such as Imam Jaffar Sadegh (the
teacher of al-Jaber, who invented algebra), Habib ra'aee, and Abu
Hanifeh (the founder of the Hanaffi Sect in Islam), Ibrahim had
many notable experiences that contributed to his becoming a renowned
and dedicated Sufi. Many stories tell about warnings Ibrahim received
to change his way of living. One relates a significant experience
hat converted his life of luxury to a life devoted to God. The following
is a summary of this story:
One night, while he was sleeping in his palace in a room decorated
with silk, gold, and gemstones, Ibrahim heard footsteps on the roof.
He called for his guards and soldiers, but received no reply. He
then called to the man who was walking upon the roof, "Who
is there? What are you doing on the roof of my palace?"
am a friend looking for my camel!" the man responded.
fool! Ibrahim replied, "How do you expect to find a camel on
the top of a palace?"
action is as strange as yours. You think that I am crazy to search
for a lost camel on the top of a palace, and yet you consider yourself
sane when you search for divinity in the depth of your luxurious
here for Table of Contents.
realized that this was a sign, and understood that so long as he
prayed in his elaborate room, and remained deeply attached to these
luxuries, his hopes of finding Allah were as futile as searching
for a camel upon the palace's rooftops.
When he awoke the next morning, he found that
he was still upset about his experience of the night before. Nonetheless,
he went to the audience room of his palace and carried on with his
usual schedule. A poor man barged into the palace with such force
that the guards were afraid
throw him out. The man
Ibrahim abruptly, "Who
lives in this inn?"
Insulted, Ibrahim angrily retorted, "This is not an inn, this
is my palace." Seeming not to notice the remark, the man asked,
"Who lived in this house before you?" Ibrahm answered,
"My father." The man continued to question Ibrahim: "And
before him, and before him, and so forth?" Ibrahim replied,
"My father, and his father, and so forth for a few generations."
The man then asked, "Where are they now?" to which Ibrahim
answered, "They have all died." Then the man said, "So
is this not an inn, where one comes and goes, and leaves his place
for another to come and go? Why are you holding so tightly to something
that will not remain in your possession forever?" The man,
who was said to be Kezr (also spelled Keizr), the hidden prophet,
seemed to disappear after he made this statement.
knew that these were divine teachings, yet he still couldn't believe
that these signs were happening to him. So he sent for his horse
and decided to go hunting. As he approached an antelope, it began
to speak to him in a pleasant manner, saying "Wast thou created
for this, or wast thou commanded to do this?"
he searched for Allah, the stronger his devotion became.
He left his palace and life of luxury so that he could search for
his true God. His life story is very much like that of Buddha, who
also left the world of luxury for the realm of sprituality. Ibrahim
sought help from two distinguished Sufis, Imam Jaffar Sadegh and
Habib Ra'aee. . .
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