stories and anecdotes - especially those relating to or told by Hz.
Zahurmian. Some can be found in various books but others may never have
been published before. The division in to sections is arbitrary.
The first story however was told me by Hazrat Nuri Baba of Konya, it had such a beneficial effect that I believe
Zahurmian will not object to me beginning with it. The occasion of the telling of this was a visit to Nuri Baba's
home, just near to Mehram, in Konya. It was translated for me by some friends. It speaks of the relationship
between master and disciple.
There was a donkey who went into a sea of salt. The donkey was eaten by the salt which
destroyed him, eating his bones and flesh. Whilst there was even one hair of the donkey
remaining it could still be called 'donkey' but when even the last hair of the donkey had
been eaten by the salt there was no more donkey - only salt.
Here is a small example of something Zahurmian said that may have been intended to put
displays of piety into perspective.
The occasion was when a number of disciples sitting in somebody's house and had been
treated to a video show of a film about Moses as this appeared to be an appropriately
religious theme. Zahurmian appeared to watch with some interest correcting points where
it differed from the Qur'anic version, and then at the end turned quietly to a disciple and
said - 'I like very much the films of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - very good dancing'.
Here is a story I was told about Nawob Saheb, Zahurmian's guide. This is something which actually happened.
Nawob Saheb came under criticism by some religious persons for sometimes taking
people to the local cinema (in the days before television and videos). When one person
made this particular criticism to him Nawob Saheb invited that person to go with him to a
Film. On return that person professed himself nonplussed - though he had gone to see an
ordinary film he had found that it appeared to him that he was watching nothing but the
conversations of saints.
This is an original story - so I do not think you will find it in any books. The first occasion on which it was told was
by a disciple sitting with Zahurmian and some other disciples. Zahurmian appeared to approve of it.
There were two fishes swimming in the water, they came across a delicious looking bait
attached to a large spiky hook on the end of a fishing line, the bait was just the kind of
thing they liked best. They paused. The question is what should they do? Should they take
the bait or swim on?
What would be your advice? If you would like to offer your answers, and reasons for it, why
not e-mail it to me. email@example.com I will tell you the answer given.
Here is an example of something which illustrates how Zahurmian used a simple story from his own experience
to achieve a powerful effect.
One very cold winter evening Zahurmian was very ill and forced to remain in bed. A
disciple sat beside him as he lay, apparently asleep, on the bed in the family room. The
disciple sat in a wicker chair, wrapped in a shawl to keep warm. The family members
Nothing was said for a very long time, but in Zahurmian’s company many wonderful things
appeared in the heart and consciousness of the murid. One could say they travelled
together inwardly across the vast spaces of the heart – listening and talking only within.
After several hours the disciple became mentally tired from the concentration involved
and was ready to go to his bed. Suddenly Zahurmian sat bolt upright in bed. To all intents
and purposes he had appeared as if asleep until then. He described to the English murid
how, as a boy, there was an Englishman who taught him at school. That teacher had
encouraged him always 'to go the extra mile'. Zahurmian smiled and gave a characteristic
snort. He promptly returned to his former supine position.
The disciple understood from this that more mental effort was required from him and
remained with his guide for some time longer. The inner travels with his guide continued
within the disciple’s heart.
When, eventually, the exhausted disciple did take his leave of him to retire - though hardly
any words other than those quoted had passed between them - Zahurmian looked at his
disciple with that familiar penetrating look he had. He smiled and said to the disciple,
"Well we had a good time didn't we!"
Here is a an actual event that I think reminds those of us who begin to think highly of our own sacrifices or
The 'Urs (death anniversary) of Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti had just formally
concluded with the recitation of the Qur'an, cleaning of the tomb, and a short qwaali
(music) session in the main Mehfil Khana. Those attending from the Sufi order had
enjoyed moments of spiritual elevation mixed with hard formal discipline that actually
underlie such events.
I cannot say for sure but perhaps some self-satisfaction with having passed six nights in
the hot and demanding conditions had crept in. Or it may have been for some other
reason that Khawaja Saheb showed us a fitting lesson.
As we made our way back to Sharib House we went round a different route from normal
in order to attempt to miss at least some of the vast throng of people who made it difficult
to make any progress, even in a sizeable group as we were. This route took us across a
marbled area - it was midday and very hot - the marble burnt almost instantly into the feet,
(hot beaches are nothing by comparison), and it took every ounce of self discipline to
maintain any attempt at composure as we walked across that furnace. However as we
did so I became aware of the fact that all around us on that burning marble the villagers,
the poor, and the country people who visit in their hundred thousands every year - were
lying on the marble resting or sleeping with nothing more than the thinnest of cotton sheets
In an instant the real devotion that Khawaja Saheb inspires from the unsophisticated
people, the real hardship they undergo to be there at that time burnt into our brain even
more than the heat of the marble burnt into our feet.
What can we say of a soul that inspires that so may hundreds of years after his apparent
death. We can only say one thing - he is no other than Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti.
We hope to publish more such stories and quotations in the future. If you have a story - perhaps
just something said by Zahurmian which had a particularly beneficial effect - why not send it for
These pages are humbly and respectfully dedicated
to the master story teller of all time,
Hazrat Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi
in the profound hope his blessings will give them substance and
The reading of the great Masnavi was, after the Holy Book itself,
one of the great loves of Hz. Zahurul Hasan Sharib
Sufi Stories 1