The Story of a Herdsman and Nabi Moosa(Alaihis Salaam)
During the time of Nabi Moosa (Alaihis Salaam), there was a “majzoob” herdsman whose heart was filled with Divine Love. He, while grazing his sheep and goats in the mountainous pastures, used to cry out distressed in his Love for Allah Ta’ala, praying thus: “O Allah! Where will You meet me? If You should meet me, I will become Your servant, sew Your clothes, comb Your hair and if ever You should become sick, I would console You. O Allah! If I should see Your home, I will bring milk and butter to You by day and night. I will kiss Your hands and massage Your legs. When Your time for sleeping comes along, I will sweep clean Your sleeping place. O Allah! All my sheep are sacrificed for You. O Allah!Whatever words I speak regarding my sheep and goats, I am actually uttering them in longing love for You. The sheep are just an alibi. “The herdsman, in the troubled state of his excessive love for Allah Ta’ala, was opening his heart .
“This is the story of a herdsman
In the time of Nabi Moosa (Alaihis Salaam).
In a sincere search for his Lord,
While on the fringe of the desert plains
And while weeping sadly and distressed
With burning Divine Love from within.
One day the herdsman, while remembering his Beloved
Was crying in prayer before Him:
‘O Lord of both worlds,
How can I meet You and where?
Show me some sign of the meeting place
Where I can meet You, O king of the Universe.
My heart will not experience any quiet
For as long as I do not find your address.
Every Rose Garden is a thorn bush without You.
Life is a fire without You.
Without You, the beautiful voice of the nightingale,
Sounds like the cries of the crow in my ears.
This earth, sun and the moon,
This rose garden, this desert, land and sea
Are all no pleasures to me without You.
How can I live without You?
Should I meet you, O Lord,
I would press Your legs and hands every day.
I would give You bread to eat.
I would give You milk to drink every morning and evening.
I would give You milk of my goats to drink,
O Lord of all men. “
The herdsman was opening his heart to Allah Ta’ala with these words of love when suddenly Nabi Moosa (Alaihis Salaam) happened to pass by that way and as he heard the words he said:
“O Herdsman, do you think Allah Ta’ala stands in need of a servant? Does He have a head so that you can comb His hair? Does he become hungry so that you could give Him goat’s milk to drink? Does He become sick so that you could sympathetically treat him? O Ignorant One! Allah Ta’ala is free of all faults and needs. Quickly repent! Your words are words of blasphemy. Allah Ta’ala is utterly not in need of any of your services.”
When the herdsman heard these words of Nabi Moosa (Alaihis Salaam) he became ashamed of himself. In fear and sorrowful distress, he tore his clothes and started crying bitterly, fleeing towards the desert. Then Allah Ta’ala sent revelation to Nabi Moosa (Alaihis Salaam):
“O Moosa, why have you chased my bondsman from Me?I have sent you to join them to Me, not to turn them away from Me.”
Revelation came to Moosa (Alaihis Salaam) from Allah Ta’ala,
“Why did you seperate My bondsman from Me?
Such etiquettes are for the people of intellect.
Ah! Shepherd was not amoung the people of intellect.
He whose clothes are torn through Divine Love .
His clothes are not mended by truth.
Which way did My beloved flee?
Where has My mad lover gone?
Even though love has no reason and discretion,
But many a people of reasoning are its slave
And even though outwardly his words appeared uncouth,
But from inside his heart was clean.
Although outwardly he spoke words disrespectful,
But in meaning they were words of love and spirit.
The words of My mad lover O Moosa…
Court of My Greatness is searching for them. “
The lesson from this story is that, at the time of admonishing or advising someone, one should remember that the person you are admonishing could possibly be one who is accepted in the sight of Allah Ta’ala. Thus, some persons may be truly sincere lovers of Allah Ta’ala and as such may be
disrespectful and blasphemous. This maybe because of their overwhelming love and is in fact not disrespectful, although to outsiders it may appear so.
Maulana Rumi (Rahmatullah Alaihe) says:
“The conversation of the lover of God towards Him Which comes out of the heart of love, is not void of respect.”
Hence, at the time of admonishing and advising, one should be moderate. It should not be done with so much harshness and in such a punishing manner that the person loses hope. However, in the case before us, Nabi Moosa (Alaihis Salaam), because of being a courier of Shariat, it was necessary for him to show the herdsman where he had gone wrong. Allah
Ta’ala’s rebuke to Nabi Moosa (Alaihis Salaam) was not for the purpose of forbidding him from showing the right path. It was more to show him the correct manner of giving advice. For this reason, it would be wrong for ignorant Sufis to object against the teachings of the Ulama-e-Haq, neither should they consider themselves above the Ulama. The Ulama have a very high position in the sight of Allah Ta’ala.
Reference: Ma’aarif- e -Mathnawi