Some anecdotes relating to one of the foremost Sufi masters, Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya, indicate how it is possible to lead a life full of love even amidst all kinds of violations.
By Raziuddin Aquil
The Chishti Sufi master explicated that if someone puts thorns in one’s path and one does the same in retaliation, there will be thorns everywhere. The better thing to do is to ignore, forgive and forget. The adversary will eventually mend his ways; his heart will develop compassion, and bitterness will give way to either tolerance or respectful indifference.
This was one of the ways in which Sufis were able to win the hearts of many antagonists; the intransigent detractors needed stronger treatment, but generally Sufis recommended introspection.
The patron saint of Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin observed that the world was like a shadow; it chases you, but if you start pursuing it, it keeps running away from you. The Sufis, therefore, recommended distance from the world and Tark-e Duniya (renunciation). For Hazrat Nizamuddin, Tark-e Duniya did not mean one should wear a langota (loincloth) and go to live in a jungle to devote oneself in worship. A greater form of worship is to live in the world, avoiding trappings of power and prestige and devoting to the service of humankind. Service to humanity is, indeed, the best form of worship in Sufi practice, Tariqa. Sufis believed that since God has created everything, the best expression of love and devotion for Him is to live in the world, marvel at the beauty of God’s creation and serve it without expecting anything in return, except His mercy and approval at the end.
Gift a Needle, Not a Knife
Hazrat Nizamuddin has narrated that his spiritual master (pir), Baba Farid Ganj-i-Shakar, was once gifted a knife by an innocent disciple. Baba Farid said that a needle may be a better gift for a knife cuts, whereas needle sews. Stitching hearts and minds of people, uniting them in love for God is central to the Sufi mystical practices.
On The Virtue of Feeding:
Hazrat Nizamuddin has said guests visiting a home or hospice (khanqah or jama’at khana) must be offered food, or at least a glass of water if there is nothing else to serve immediately, else it would appear that the person had gone to a graveyard to visit the dead, where the dead person cannot serve the visitor. Therefore, the norm at Hazrat Nizamuddin’s hospice was: Salam, Ta’am, and Kalam. The visitor would enter saying Salam, would be seated and, straightaway would be offered food (Ta’am), and then the conversation (Kalam) would start. In all this, there would be no caste and creed distinctions, untouchability or ritual pollution. Feeding the hungry, a poor man or a stray dog, was particularly considered a meritorious act.
(Extracted, and with some modifications, from newageislam.com, where the full article can be accessed)