In 1982 Dr Zahurul Hassan Sharib visited Europe for the first time - indeed it was the first
occasion he had travelled beyond the borders of the Indian sub-continent. Much time
was spent in England. On the occasion of his departing from London, to return to Ajmer
(via Delhi), there was a gathering of his disciples and well-wishers at a house near
Wembley, in West London. He was asked to make a spontaneous speech to mark the
occasion. This was recorded on tape. Here is a transcription of that tape. I have not
altered or left anything out. Where one or two points seem to demand it have added
words in brackets that seem implied but not actually used. There is one sentence that
required several additional words to make it read properly - I have included the exact
literal transcript as a footnote. (JMZ)
A Farewell Message by Zahurmian
I have been asked by Jamil to say a few words by the way of farewell message, or it may constitute my
advice, or it may be a reflection of thoughts and feelings. What I did. What I saw. Where I did go and
what I have to tell when I return to India.
Today I am speaking from the house of Ijlal Hussein Siddiqi, who is a very devoted person and who
often visits me in Ajmer.
Yesterday I came here, and today I have been visiting Hampton Court. There I had the occasion of
seeing a big house with all the paraphernalia of royalty. The elaborate garden system, the blossoming
flowers, the (?) so blossoming and so beautiful, and (a) very spacious greenhouse. It was, just to say,
to be close to nature. But in our life it is not enough and sufficient to be close to nature. It is also
necessary that we should be close to the people and we should have very good cordial and loving
contact with the people who we meet.
During this time Faiz has been with me like a shadow. Wherever I did go he was with me. So much so
that during this period, over one month, perhaps he could not take full rest. He was ever vigilant and
careful to see that I had every type of comfort and mental peace.
Jamil, when he was in London, he took me to the various places, notably the British Museum, as he
himself is a great artist and knows the - (?) of art. At some places he explained to me the intricacies of
the piece of art.
I think that when I go to Ajmer, what kind of question will the people ask me? And it is a fair question,
which is very much predominant in my mind. Perhaps they will ask, how did you find the life in the
west? My reply will be forthright, straight, and simple.
The life is a little fast but orderly. Life is a little self-centred but equally socialistic. Life is, so to say, gay
and jolly, and not desperate. People try to derive the zest of life, and they want to do whatever they can
for themselves and their country. This is an important factor in the evolution of a nation. For a group, for
a community, or in any country it can be an asset for the people, and also for those who are under-
developed, or handicapped, or distressed, or in any way, so to say, not on a full scale to work with
In London I visited very many places, notably the Whitehall, which was a seat of power for the whole
empire. I visited Westminster Abbey which is a very famous place, and the Big Ben which is a symbol
of English unity, and which is also a symbol of English punctuality - for which the people are so very
famous. India being an agricultural country - we lose too much of our time in idle chatter and frivolous
talk. We have no sense of punctuality. Here I found the people are very punctual, rather punctual to the
minute. And when they save time, this means they save energy. This also means that they save labour,
and this also means that they have some ideal before them. To have an ideal is itself a great thing for
Inaam who came with me was at times complaining of being tired. He is just a young man, but I am as
compared to him an old man. I will not call my son an old man because I have still mental zest and
vigour and I always told him that - why are you so tired? I did not feel tired because I have enthusiasm
for life and I want to learn things.
Travelling, to me, is like going to a school. As a young student learns so many things in school, so I
tried to learn many things here. But it is rather a sad thing that I have got a very poor observation. For
one who wants to travel the wide world - he should have a good observation. It is said of Charles
Dickens, who was a famous novelist living in London, that he had a photographic mind. Once he will
see a thing or he will enter a room he could describe everything and give the minutest detail. But I
haven't got that type of mind, but I feel satisfied that I have got a good memory. A good memory and
observation do not go together. Observation may be temporary, but memory is lasting.
I feel happy to be here. It happened one day that I found myself in London, of which I have been hearing
so much, reading so much, talking so much, and of which I have come to know that it was the seat of
power of the whole empire - in which the sun never set. But every empire or every kingdom, or every
individual, every group or every community - or every height, must suffer some loss, someday. To
reach the pinnacle of glory means ultimate decay - so is the case with our morals. Morals have come
down, rather to say we have business-like morals.
We are not living in an ideal world. People treat the world as a very ideal, but it is a very wrong thing.
We are not living in an ideal world. Our world sees so many contrasts. There is always a clash of
interest. When out interest clashes with the interest of others we always complain of that man. We say
that man is a bad man. But when our interest is in conformity with the other man we say he is a good
man. This means we judge a man by our own interest. If our interest fits in well then he is a good man.
If it collides or clashes then it is a bad man. This means we still have left within us a lot of selfishness
and a lot of egoism.
To be selfish is to be narrow-minded. To be narrow-minded means to be prejudiced. To be prejudiced
means to have mental jaundice. Those people who have mental jaundice - they live in a cycle - they are
always attached to their…..or to say their own self. But self-worship is also idol worship. People say
that idol worship is a bad thing, but let us see also whether we also worship our own self. What is the
difference between idol worship and self-worship? In Sufi-ism it is said that self-worship is worse than
idol worship. (What is required is)* the elimination of self…… or rather the elimination of desires
(which) will go to make the self a powerful institution within man, (and which) is an ignoble
We should learn in life to be attached and detached. They are two words which apparently are very
contradictory. Some may say that how is it that one can be attached and detached at the same time.
By this I mean that we should try to be attached to the things that are true, good and beautiful. At the
same time we should try to be detached from the things which are ugly, ignoble, and at the same time
very disastrous. This is a technique in life.
Another technique in life is we should have the power of discrimination. It is said eloquence is born of
knowledge and it is also said that ambition makes a man terrible. Those people who are very
ambitious they are dangerous people. Ambition is never used in a good sense. So I will advise you to
have your ideals high, to aim your aims lofty, to lead a simple modest life, and only try to achieve those
things which are within your means. If you devote all your energy to worldly acquisitions like power, like
prestige, like influence, like wealth and so many other things. This means you are putting too much
burden upon your own self.
Sometimes it so happens that our heart's desires become our heart's disease. So it is not wise that
you should have a heart disease through another source. I mean your overwhelming desires, which
may ever lead you to turmoil, to confusion, to agitation, and which may deprive you of the peace of
mind which is itself the highest thing ever to be achieved.
Before I leave London I will like to place on record ………..(long pause, temporarily overcome with
strong feelings) …..my deepest love for all those who have shown me utmost concern and showered
their love upon me…..(another lengthy pause for the same reason…). Here when I am at Ijlal Hussain's
home I find that he is so very solicitous and very well concerned about me. When I see Jamil he is
always at my disposal. When I went to Southampton he took me to so many good places, and every
time asked me if I wanted anything. When I see Faiz his whole house is at my disposal. And it is good
that today Badruddin has also come. Today we met him in Southampton...er..in Hampton Court. We
were searching (for) him and the search was quite rewarding.
I am so much fascinated, not by London life, but by the care shown me by Ijlal, by Faiz, by Jamil that
sometime I was tempted to prolong my stay, but leaving London, which is itself a beauty, I want to go
back to Ajmer, which is my duty.
I bid you all my regretful farewell and I hope, and I trust, and I believe…..(pause for emotional
reasons…) I hope, and I trust, and I believe, that God will meet……..(pause…)... not only we will meet
again in this world, but I am sure we will meet again in the world hereafter too.
Tomorrow I leave - time has passed so soon. It is said that the moments of happiness pass soon
where the moments of grief are prolonged. And here I have no worry, no care, no fear, and no tear. I
was always a happy man, calm, and composed, and collected, and sometime reading some good
paper, sometimes gloating over the pages of some book.
When I went to Holland, Siraj and his wife Gulnar, they went to the utmost limit, and I cannot forget the
hospitality of all those people including Gulnar and Siraj, Faiz, Jamil, and Ijlal. And when I go back I will
say that the world is not still empty of those big ideals, which are enshrined in Sufi morality - the ideals
of a composite culture, and those ideals of service above self. Let me hope and let me believe that
Sufism will one day spread in the west. Because what I find is that the modern man is torn between
two conflicting ideals, one is love of Mammon and the other is love of God. But it is also true that Truth
always prevails. Love of God is more powerful, more magnetic, and it is a vital force, and I am sure it
will draw people to itself, and Sufism will some day win the crown of glory, as it has done in the east -
so in the west.
With these words I take your leave, and hope again and reaffirm my faith that, God willing, you will
meet me soon. So (with) my regrets now I go, and I go tomorrow - in the meanwhile I give you all my
love, my regards, my sincere regards and my token of affection, which I hope will ever remind you of
me. Also I want to point out one thing - don't think that I am going alone, or with Inaam. I am going with
so much affection, and you will be always near to me, ever in my mind, because physical proximity has
no meaning; but whoever is with you mentally, he is always with you. You will be always in my mind and
sometime, whenever I think of you, I will find you where you are. So bid you farewell.
Original tape recording by Faiz Ahmed Ferguson (1982),
Transcription by Jamiluddin Morris Zahuri (Southampton, 2000)
* The actual transcript reads:- 'Elimination of self, or rather the elimination of desires will go to make the self a powerful institution
within man, is an ignoble phenomenon.'
Published by The Zahuri Sufi Web Site 2000