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Moses and Khizr | Esoteric Narrative of Tasawwuf

Moses and Khidr1.
Gar zi Sirri Marifat Agah Shawi,
Lufz bu Guzari Sua Manna Shawi.

If you would be acquainted with gnosis,
Drop the letter and behold the spirit.

- Mathnawi, Rumi

Direction exposition of spiritual theme is avoided in the holy scriptures of most religions. The glare of the sun is too strong and blinding to the watery eye. If one wishes to have a view even of its penumbra, one must use coloured glasses. Direct facts are misleading and confusing to the ordinary man; esoteric writers and speakers have all along clothed realities in many-hued garbs, so that those who have eyes to see may see.

Sri Krishna has not laid his truths in their simple nakedness, Jesus Christ has spoke in parables; he, even said, that pearls should not be thrown before swines. Common people, not realizing the drift of argument, go astray; it requires a certain amount of leavening in one's temperament to grasp facts .. leavening implies fermentation of feelings to the proper degree, in addition to training of the intellect.

We are dealing with the Esoteric side of Islam ... If Islam is denuded of Esotericism, it become a mere skeleton of formalities which people of a rationalistic turn of mind would accept only as formalities. Unless this skeleton is clothed with flesh and vivified, the real beauty of Islam can not be appreciated.

In Quran, the Final Testament the story of the Messenger Moses and the mysterious green man Khizr is a central subject of much esoteric concentration. It is a much loved episode by the mystics of Islam because it encapsulate many layers of hidden meanings and also is a proof of haqiqat and testament for the need of guide to learn esoteric dimensions (hidden meanings beyond just the apparent).

Here is a summary of the story. Moses asked God whether there was any one man more knowing than himself; and he was directed to go to Khizr. Khizr is believed to have drunk of the water of life and had become immortal. He is the immortal guide of souls.

Moses and Khidr, Khizr, Green ManMoses with his servant Joshhua proceeded to the place where two seas met. When they arrived at the place, they forgot the fish which they brought for their dinner and the fish took its way freely to the sea. When Moses called for dinner, Joshua told him what had happened. They returned to the place from which the fish had jumped into the sea. Here Moses met Khizr and requested to be allowed to follow him "that thou mayest teach me part of that which thou hast been taught". Khizr answered, "Verily thou couldst not bear with me: for how couldst thou patiently suffer thsoe things, the knowledge thereof thou dost not comprehend." Moses replied, "Thou shalt find me patient if God please." (Quran continues, Surah Kahf)

Then there happened three incidents and in every one of them Khizr acted contrary to common sense or apparent normality. He made hole in a boat of a poor men to render it imperfect, he slew a young man and he repaired a ruined wall of a old house apparently without asking any profit in exchange. In all the cases Moses could not comprehend the outer meaning and every time he challenged Khizr using his intellect. On the third occasion Khizr said, enough and explained to Moses the inner reality of the three incidents. He concluded saying, "and I did not what thou hast seen, of mine own will, but by God's direction. This is the interpretation of that which thou couldst not bear with patience."

The Esosteric narrative of the meeting between Moses and Khizr follows.

Khizr met Moses at the junction of two seas: Love and Humanity - the unmanifest and manifest of Nirguna and Sarguna or exotericism and esotericism. The Quran says, "We have issued two seas that never mingle with one another; there is a partition between them that is irremovable." (Surah Rahman 19, 20)

David too refers to this partition, "Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy water sprouts; all thy waves and billows are gone over me." (Psalms 42:7)

When one is on this cataract, one requires a boat and a boatman to tide over it. Moses met the boatman in person of Khizr and the boat was the boat of spiritual training. When the boat reaches the other sides of the river, there lives a King who confiscates all good boats. To save his ship, Khizr, the spiritual guide springs a leak in it. This is the hole of Love in the bottom of humanity. Satan is unable to confiscate it, a leaky boat is of no good to him. In such a boat Humanity passes over to Spirituality.

Khizr and Moses, the guru and disciple landed on the other side of the river, in the country over which the tyrant ruled. Khizr took hold of a youth, ie. desire (craving in Buddhist term) and slew him outright. This youth was Nafs (desire-body).

In the second state of the journey one has to kill his desire body; unless desires are killed, there can be no progress, this demon in the shape of a youth will be shadowing our steps.

The two then leaves this country and enter another country - a country inhabited by plunderers no doubt - and in a state of ruin. Here Khizr and Mosese have to satisfy their creature comforts, but no body would give them a crumb of bread. Khizr, however, sets about repairing a wall in imminent danger of falling. Under the shadow of this wall, two precious treasures lie buried - Treasure of Prophetship and Saintship, the two orphans referred to. In this country of plunderers, the wall of shariat (divine laws) is protecting these two treasures. Under the protection of ceremonial institutions, the peace of the country was maintained. If the wall of shariat collapsed, the two treasures would have falled into unworthy hands. Here shariat protects spiritual treasure (haqiqat).

- Adopted from Khan Sahib Khaja Khan's STUDIES IN TASAWWUF
published by Idarah-i Adabiyat-i Delli, India

# Further on Khidr
. Khidr: The History of a Ubiquitous Master by Shawkat M. Toorawa
via Sufi Magazine
. al-Khidr
. Moses and Al-Khidr: Model of Resolution
. Story of Moses and Khidr
. Moses and the Teacher
. Moses in the Quran and Islamic exegesis by Brannon M. Wheeler
. Green Man


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Technology of the Heart: Moses and Khizr | Esoteric Narrative of Tasawwuf
Moses and Khizr | Esoteric Narrative of Tasawwuf
Technology of the Heart
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