Some trying moments in Hazrat’s life
It is immutable law of nature that every human endeavour to scale heights of eminence and distinction has to fight against tests, trials, and obstacles of various sorts, which are sometimes of the highest severity. As Hazrat advanced on the path of spiritual progress, and the fame of his scholarly and spiritual excellence started spreading far and wide, this law came inevitably into play. It took a variety of forms: envy, jealousy, spite, malice, and in some instances sheer enmity for no rhyme or reason. Some of the incidents that this led to are briefly described below:
i) A person who harboured feelings of deep jealousy and malice towards Hazrat tried a couple of times to take his life. He first sent a hired assassin for the purpose, who managed to hide under Hazrat’s bed while he was away for Isha (late evening) prayers in the mosque. As Hazrat returned and lay down on his bed, however, he was overcome by sheer awe and ran away.
ii) On another occasion, a man deputed again by the same person approached Hazrat with a sword in his hand while he was resting under a tree during daytime. Hazrat saw him as he was about to lift his hand to attack him, and asked him to go ahead and finish the job. The man was, however, so overcome by Hazrat’s personality that he threw away his sword, fell down on his knees and broke into tears.
iii) Another similar emissary came one day to Hazrat and offered poisoned food to him. Hazrat did suspect some foul play. He nevertheless took a few morsels in order not to disappoint the man. And also because he firmly believed that death cannot come before the divinely-
iv) In another instance, a Hindu Brahmin of Srinagar (Kashmir) was secretly hired to exercise sorcery against Hazrat. It caused Hazrat to become seriously ill for one full month. At the end of that period, Hazrat somehow came to know the real cause of the illness. From then onwards, he started recovering because of sheer faith that the magic of an infidel could not kill him under any circumstances. He was soon fully cured. The Kashmiri Brahmin responsible for the magic spell, on the other hand, died soon thereafter, reportedly because his unsuccessful magic spell recoiled on himself!
v) Hazrat Pir Fazl Din (R.A), maternal uncle of Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah’s father Hazrat Nazr Din Shah (R.A), was the head of the Golra Shrine at the time when Hazrat embarked upon his career of religious and spiritual guidance. Pir Fazl Din, who had not married and did not therefore have any direct issue, had designated Hazrat as his successor since he considered no one except him to deserve that honour. Lest the closer relatives of Pir Fazl Din deemed his designation instead of someone from among their own ranks as unfair, Hazrat was initially reluctant to wear the mantle of succession. Pir Fazl Din was, however, firm in his decision and over-
Throughout his later life, Hazrat’s treatment of all his relations (close or distant) remained completely equitable. All of them continued to receive financial assistance from the shrine account, and the education of their children was accorded equal attention by the madressah teaching staff. The result was that all members of family acquired Hazrat’s bai’at in course of time, signifying their full loyalty to him as undisputed head of the shrine. In rare instances of overt or learnt tension, the person concerned was treated with even greater consideration than usual.
vi) Besides other people, some respectable contemporary personalities in the spiritual field also thought it fit to join the ranks of Hazrat’s detractors. Some of them criticized Hazrat’s participation in scholarly debates as ‘mullaism’ and therefore unbecoming of a Sufi; some others misinterpreted his absorption in the remembrance of Allah as a sign of conceit and in difference. In course of time, however, all these misunderstandings and expressions of rivalry gave way, by the Grace of Allah, to a recognition of Hazrat’s true greatness and sincere devotion to him by his critics.
The aforesaid critics of Hazrat included Maulvi Muhammad Zakir Bagavi and Maulvi Abdullah of Garhi Afghanan, both of whom raised objections concerning some of the contents of Hazrat’s book “Shamsul Hidayah” which he had written in refutation of the Qadyani movement. The former accepted the clarifications provided by Hazrat on the points raised by him, and not only withdrew his objections but also joined the group of ulama who accompanied Hazrat to Lahore for his planned (but abortive) debate with Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The latter, however refused to be convinced by Hazrat’s replies.