Thursday, February 4, 2010


Shrine dedicated to Khwaja Khizr near Bukkur Fort - 1838.  (checkkout the story)

   Arabic and Turkish plaque at al-Khizr Santuary in  Samandag in Turkey

 The Rock where Moses and al-Khizr are said to have met.

From Layman's Desk -continued:

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficient, Most Merciful.

Khizr (a.s.) has been empowered by Allah with Divine Knowledge and this is proved beyond any doubt from Chapter Surah Kahaf of the Glorious Qur’an . He performs the Friday congretional prayers in Makkah Mukarrama, Madinah Munawwara, al-Quds and the Mount of Olives simultaneously. Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih (860-940 c.e.) a Moorish writer while discussing about the Traces of Prophets in Jerusalem mentions about the prayer-rug of al-Khizr. Khizr (a.s.) is reported to have told one of the saints said that he performed his obligatory prayers as follows:

Fajar Salah in Makkah, and he remains in the Hateem of the Ka’ba near Rukh-Shaami until sunrise; Zuh’r Salah in Madinah, As’r Salah in Baytul Muqaddas, Maghrib Salah in Mount Sinai, ‘Isha Salah at the walls of Isikandar.

Khizr (a.s.) appears in all times and climes on this physical earth as a human being sometimes to give company to Prophets and saints and sometimes even to the ordinary people in times of crises or the hour of need. It is said that he can change his shape at will, and travel faster than the speed of light. He symbolizes the depth and purity of water and can walk on water and work many wonders. Khizr (a.s.) is unanimously taken as the Guide not only to Moses but also to many saints and Awliya-Allah. In their spiritual quest, the Sufis generally cherish his saintly appearance since it becomes easier for them to make progress in their paths by the will of Allah.

Though it is important to have a Pir or Shaykh for guidance on the spiritual path so that the chain of succession (i.e. the Silsila) finally reaches Muhammad Mustafa (salla Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) it sometimes happen that those who walk the mystical path without being initiated by a living Shaykh (such as in the Owaisi Tariqa), Khizr (a.s.) becomes the hidden initiator and guide. For example, Hazarat Faqih Ali Makhdoom Shah Baba of Mahim, Mumbai (1372-1431) famed as Qutub-e-Konkan was also the one who followed ilm-e-Khizri and worked many marvels. Sometimes it is also advised by gnostics that in the absence of a Shaykh, it would be sufficient to follow the Kashful Mahjub of Hazarat Ali bin Usman al-Hajweri (Data Ganj-e-Baksh) as a guide.
Nizamuddin Auliya ( r) said: "... one who does not have a shaykh, may study the Kashful Mahjub, [not only will he receive guidance but eventually] through the blessing that God has kept in this book, one will find one's shaykh."

When we look to the Sufi literature, we find numerous stories where Khizr (a.s.) met with the Awliyal-Allah in different epochs of time. In this connection, the name of Ibrahim bin Adham comes readily to the fore. He was the ruler of the kingdom of Balkh. His conversion to Sufism is very well known. Khizr (a.s.) was instrumental in this conversion by the will of Allah. Once Ibrahim was sitting on his throne at the time of General Audience when the commoners could have their say before the ruler. The ministers were standing at their respective places, with the slaves drawn up in serried ranks. Khizr (a.s.) dressed up as a man with awful bearing advanced up to the king while the courtiers stood tongue-tied. The king asked the stranger what was it that he was looking for. The stranger said the he had just arrived at the caravanserai. The king was annoyed that his palace looked as a caravanserai to the new-arrival. “This is my palace and not any resting place for the caravan,” thundered the king.
The stranger asked: “Who was the owner of the palace before you?”
“My father,” replied the king.
“And before him?”
“My grandfather.”
“And before him?”
“The father of so and so.”
“Then is this not a caravanserai which one enters and another leaves?” Saying so the man disappeared.

There are other variations of the story. In short, this was followed by visions of the day and hearing of the voices by the night, establishing sure faith in him so that Ibrahim bin Adham of Balkh gave up his kingdom. Discarding the worldly garments, he donned the robe of poverty. He rose to great eminence and inherited the spiritual world. Thus a temporal ruler became a spiritual emperor at the hands of Hazrat Khwaja Khizr (a.s.).

Muhammed bin Ali al-Tirmidhi used to associate with Khizr (a.s.). According to his disciple, Abu Bakr Warraq, Khizr (a.s.) used to visit his Shaykh every Sunday when they used to converse with each other. Once his Shaykh asked Abu Bakr Warraq to thrown some of his writings into the River Oxus. Abu Bakr Warraq did not have the heart to do so. Therefore, he placed them in his own house and came back to his teacher and told him that he had thrown the writings into the river. “What did you see?” asked the Shaykh. “Nothing,” replied the disciple. He was thus found out. They Shaykh told him to carry out his instructions. Perplexed, Abu Bakr Warraq came home, collected the writings, and threw them into the Oxus. He was amazed to see that the water of the river parted and a chest appeared on its surface, with the lids open. As soon as the writings fell into the chest, the lids closed and the chest disappeared under the water. He went back to his teacher and described exactly what had happened. “Now you’ve thrown them into the river,” said the teacher. He also cleared up the mystery saying that he had composed a work on theology and mysticism which could hardly be comprehended by the intellect. “My brother Khizr desired it of me and Allah bade the water bring it to him.”

During his early life, the famous Awliya-Allah of Mayhana, Abu Sa’id Fazlullah ibn Abi’l Khayr, (967-1049 c.e.) used to wander alone in the desert and mountainous places, engaged in self-mortification and rigorous devotion to Allah. In this condition, he was sometimes seen in the company of an old man in white raiments. Many years later, he told those who questioned him about the old man, that he was Khizr (a.s.) and that Allah put in Khizr’s heart to accept him as a disciple. This shows that it is not necessary that Hazrat Khidr’s (a.s.) dress be always green.

Ibrahim al-Khawwas was a reputed disciple of Yusuf ibn al-Hussain. Once he heard a voice telling him that his Pir was rejected and that he should convey the message to him. He was so shaken that even if a mountain was flung at his head he would have found it easier to bear that than telling what he had been asked to convey. Since he did not convey the message, he heard the menacing voice for two more nights. On the third night, the voice threatened to annihilate him. Finally, he went to the Masjid where he saw his Pir seated inside the prayer-niche. Before he could convey the message, the Shaykh asked him to recite a verse in Arabic which he did. Delighted, the Shaykh rose up and remained on his feet for a long time, with tears of blood streaming down from his eyes. Then he turned to Ibrahim saying: “The voice of Divine Presence speaks truly, that I’m of the rejected. A man, who is so enraptured by a verse from a poem while the Qur’an makes no impression on him, is surely to be rejected.” Ibrahim’s belief in his Pir was shaken but for the timely advice of Khizr (a.s.) that Yusuf al-Hussain had a received a blow from Allah. But his place is in the topmost heights of Heaven….One should aspire for a love like his and for a status which he has attained.

In a direct contrast to Prophet Musa (a.s.) who sought the company of Khizr (a.s.), Ibrahim Khawwas (d.904 c.e.) did not desire the company of al-Khizr who begged of him to associate with him and accompany him – which he refused. This was because he feared he would become dependant on him rather than Allah, and his trust in Allah would be impaired by consorting with Khizr (a.s.) resulting in his failure to perform “Farz” and replacing it thus with a work of “Nawaafil” and this could also result in vitiating of his “Tawakkal” or reliance on Allah. This he did not want. In the same manner, once he beheld al-Khizr in the desert in the form of a flying bird. He lowered his head so that his God-reliance may not become void. Immediately he approached him and said, “If you had even looked at me, I would not have swooped on you.” However, the saint did not greet him, fearing that his trust in Allah should be impaired. Once Ibrahim Khawwas suffered thirst while travelling. Since the thirst was acute, he fell down unconscious. In that state he felt coolness of the water on his face. He regained his senses and lo and behold! He saw a very handsome man on a horseback. He gave him some water to drink and bade him to straddle behind him on the horseback. Ibrahim Khawwas accepted his offer and they travelled together for sometime. They had gone a short distance when his benefactor turned to him and asked him what was that place they had arrived at. “This is Madinah Munawwarah,” said the saint. The handsome man told him to get down from the horse. He also told him: “When you reach the Holy Grave of Rasoolullah (s) say to him that your brother Khizr sends his choicest salaam and greetings. This incident proves that Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) comes to the help of needy and thirsty travelers even in the remotest of the areas on the earth.

This does not mean that that Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) is always eager to meet the saints. He may even sometimes avoid company as it happened in the case of Hazrat Tirmidhi about whom we have related before. However, one day a maidservant had washed the baby’s clothes, filling a basin with baby’s excreta. In the meantime, the Shaykh was proceeding to the Masjid in all his fineries consisting of spotless turban and clean clothes. The girl, enraged by some trifling matter emptied the entire basin over the Shaykh’s head. Hazrat Tirmidhi swallowed his anger, saying nothing. Immediately, he rediscovered Hazrat Khizr (a.s.).

Maulana Zakariya al-Kandhalawi relates in his Fazail-Amaal that Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) was once asked by one of the Abdal (pr.abdaal -plural of Badal) whether he had met anyone among the saints higher than himself in rank. Confirming that among the saints of Allah there are some who are so exalted in rank that he cannot recognize them, Hazrat Khizr stated that once he was in the Masjidun Nabwi when he saw Shayk Abdur Razzaq (reh.) narrating prophetic traditions to his students. At that time, he also saw a young man sitting aside with his face buried in the knees which he had raised up to chest. He went up to him and asked him why he was not listening to the words of Rasulullah from Abdur Razzaq. Without changing his position, the youth answered that he was listening to the Hadith directly from the Razzaq (i.e. God the Sustainer), meaning thereby that why should he listen to the Hadith from the slave of Razzaq, i.e. Abdur Razzaq. When Hazrat Khizr asked the young man to identify him, he lifted up his head and said: “You are Khizr”. This is just an example cited to show that among the Ummah of the Holy Prophet (s) there are also unknown saints whose ranks are unknown even to Hazrat Khizr (a.s.). It may be observed here that existence of Abdal are proven through numerous prophetic traditions narrated by the Sahabas including Hazarat ‘Umar and Hazarat ‘Ali ®, and in fact many of ‘Ulema and Muhadditheen among the Khalafs have been regarded as Abdal or Awtaad.

We noted before that al-Sakhawi has in his biography of Imam Nawawi, where he calls him “Qutb al-Awliya al-Kiram among other titles, has mentioned that "It is well-known that al-Nawawi used to meet with al-Khizr and converse with him among many other unveilings (mukâshafât)."

It is said that the title of Shaykh al-Akbar or the Greatest Shaykh, was given by Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) to Shaykh Muhyuddin Ibn ‘Arabi (1165-1240 c.e.). It was he who guided Jafar son of Yahya of Lisbon, in seeking the greatest teacher of the Age. The man in Green Robe also told him that he should seek him in the West instead of in the East and it was wrong of him to seek him so early in point of time. Jafar continued his search but it took him nearly 30 years after he had met the young boy who had now grown up to be the Greatest Shaykh at Aleppo. The Shaykh al-Akbar has recounted his second meeting with Khizr (a.s.) thus: ‘On another occasion I was in a boat in the port of Tunis. I had a pain in my stomach but the people were sleeping so I went to the side of the boat and looked out over the sea. Suddenly I saw by the light of the moon, which was full that night, someone coming towards me on the surface of the water. Finally he came up to me and stood with me. First he stood on one leg and raised the other and I could see this leg was not wet. Then he did the same with other leg. After talking to me for a while, he bid me farewell and went off, making for a lighthouse on the top of a hill over two miles distant from us. This distance he covered in two or three steps. I could hear him praising God on the lighthouse…. When I returned to the town a man met me who asked me how my night with Khidr on the boat had been, what he said to me and what I said to him.’

Imam Jalaludin As-Sayuti who belonged to the Shadhili Tariqa was also a prolific writer as is universally known. He was the one who had written a spirited defence of Ibn ‘Arabi that he was a Wali (saint) by saying that his writings are to be read only by those who understand the terminologies used in the writings of Ibn ‘Arabi. As-Sayuti was of such a high standing scholar which can gauged from his own saying: There is not in our time, on the face of the earth, from East to West, anyone more knowledgeable than myself in hadith and the Arabic language, save al-Khizr, the Qutub-e-Awliya, or some other Wali – none of whom I include into my statement – and Allah knows best. In other words, it is not just the Sufis who acknowledge al-Khizr but also the ‘Ulema of a very high standing, though the fact remains that such ‘Ulema themselves fall into the category of the Sufis.

Abul Abbas al-Mursi (d.1286 c.e.) also said that Khizr (a.s.) is alive and that he has shaken his hand with his palm and taught him the supplication which if recited every morning would make the recite one of the Abdal. He even acquired from him the knowledge of the souls of the believers whether they are in the state of torture or bliss. According to him, even if a thousand scholars argued with him that khizr (a.s.) was dead, he would not believe them. When asked by the students, his master, Abu’l Hasan ash-Shadhili stated that Abul Abbas had spoken the truth.

For 22 years Shaykh Abd al-Aziz ad-Dabbagh would stay at the tomb of Ali bin Hirzihim every Friday night to read the Burda Shareef of al-Busiri with other. One night after he had finished reading, he found a man sitting near the tomb’s door, under the lote-tree. Soon he realized that the stranger was one of the Awliya Aarifeen since he knew everything about what he was thinking. That man kept ignoring him even after ad-Dabbagh made repeated request for a ‘Wird’ from him. In short, that man did give him a ‘wird’ to be recited seven thousand times every day on the oath that he would not give up reciting it. Then the caretaker of the tomb came there and the man told him to take care of ad-Dabbagh for him. The caretaker addressed that man as Master, saying I’ll consider him my master. The day the caretaker died and right before his soul left his body he revealed to ad-Dabbagh that the man who had taught him the zikr was Sayyidna al-Khizr (a.s.). Ad-Dabbagh continued to recite the wird for four years until he received the spiritual opening (fath). Eventually he became a great shaykh and Qutb (Pole) of his time.

Shah Husain was a Delhi merchant. Once he was traveling down the Indus river with his pretty daughter on their way to Makka. The ruler of Alor, Dalurai, called him to hand over his daughter to him. According to the folklore, Dulurai required every new bride to spend a night with him. It is said that in her anxiety to avoid this encounter, the girl prayed through the Wasila of Khwaja Khizr (a.s.) for deliverance. Khwaja Khizr diverted the course of the Indus towards Rohri so that the father and the daughter were brought to safety. The shrine in the sketch appeared to have been built around 925 c.e. (A.H.341) in gratitude by Shah Husain. The view was identified by Jackson as “Hajee Ka Tau” an island just above the fort of Bukkur on the Indus.

The Sufi literature with regard to Khizr (a.s.) is vast. There are hundreds of stories, anecdotes, happenings that relate to us about him. All of them cannot be related in this short article. I would like to wind up with an anecdote I read in Fazail Amaal:

One of the saints had been walking for three days in the desert without any food or conveyance on the way to Makkah. On the fourth day, with the harsh desert all around him and with no shade in sight and being without any food or water, the saint sat down facing the Qibla. Death seemed imminent. He fell into a swoon and dreamt that a man came to him with an outstretched hand and beckoned him to take hold of his hand. The saint stretched out his hand. The newcomer took his hand into his and shook it. Then he spoke, giving him the glad tidings that he would perform the Haj and also visit the Holy grave of Rasulullah (salla Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) safely and soundly. The saint asked him: “Who are you?” He replied: “I am Khizr.” The saint asked him to pray for him. Thereupon Hazarat Khizr (a.s.) told him that whenever he was in any trouble, he should recite the following supplication so that all his troubls would depart:

Translated, it means:

O Thou who art Most Gracious to His creatures,
O Thou who Knows the condition of His creatures,
O Thou who art Aware of his creatures,
Be Gracious to us, O the Most Gracious, the All-Knowing, the Aware.

Having taught him this supplication, Khizr (a.s.) disappeared saying: “This is a present to you and a medicine that will always suffice and be of benefit.”

Sure enough, all the troubles of the saint disappeared and he performed the Haj and also visited the Rasulullah Sallam’s grave in Madinah Munawwara and then the grave of Ibrahim (a.s.). Whenverhe met with any distress or difficulties, he used to recite the said Dua’ taught him by Hazarat Khizr (alay hissalaam) and he was most grateful to Allah.

By the way, I once asked a Sufi in Saudi Arabi about the above supplication. I was astonished to find that within a minute he just wrote it down for me in a clear legible Arabic.



  1. Salaam ya nasir it would be more nuicer if posted in arabic

    Will you please send me in arabic "MoonOverMedina@gmail.com

  2. Wa alaykum salaam Sister,

    Unfortunately, I don't know any Arabic. I write articles only in English. Please excuse me for not complying with your request sister.

    I hope you'll appreciate my difficulty.