Location: Bangalore – Karnataka
In the first year of preaching in India, I was invited to a celebration of the birth of ḥaḍrat Shaikh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Gaylānī in the house of a late caliph. Those who invited me loved the Ṭarīqa but they had not taken the pledge, and they did not practice. They did not pay much attention to the Hereafter, restricting their worship to performing the Friday prayer. But I liked the house and felt happy there because it had traces of the Ṭarīqa, even though it had no traces of worship. Tracing the relics of the Shaikhs pleases me greatly. After I finished preaching, many people took the pledge. There were clerics, Imams, and people wearing green clothes, indicating that they had taken the pledge of a Ṭarīqa that goes back to ḥaḍrat Shaikh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Gaylānī.
After I finished preaching and giving the pledge, people asked me to read ḥaḍrat Shaikh al-Gaylānī’s famous poem “al-Khamriyya.” It looks like they liked my voice and my speaking style. There were three or four clerics present who spoke Arabic fluently.
While I was reading the poem, a brown man approached me. The lower half of his face from the middle of his nose to his chin looked very much like one of the dervishes of the Ṭarīqa. He had a thin beard, as if it had been carefully drawn. His moustache was carefully trimmed, as if it had been drawn in white. His teeth were white, and he looked over fifty years old. He was very handsome. He wore a jubbah and a turban whose green and black colours overlapped in a pyramid-like shape.
The man approached me and stretched out his hand before reaching me, indicating he wanted to shake hands with me. Many people come to visit me in India. I cannot stand up for everyone who comes to greet me, so I usually greet them while sitting. When people try to come to greet me while I am preaching, I signal to them to sit down and not interrupt me. At times, I ask someone to do this on my behalf. But when this man came close to greet me, I felt as if he obliged me to stand up for him. I stopped reading the poem and stood up. As soon as I shook hands with him, my hand became as small as the large bead of the beads, so his hand extended to my elbow. In other words, his hand became long enough to reach my elbow. I felt an unusual kind of fear, and I felt as if my body became a block of ice. My backbone felt like it had stiffened because of surprise or fear. This was the first time that I had experienced anything like this. My feet started to go numb. The man smiled and embraced me, putting both of his hands behind my back. He pulled me toward him twice, as if trying to fix my back. His breath smelt of amber. He then withdrew his hands and left.
While still standing, I turned to the caliph sitting next to me and asked him about the man. The bewildered caliph replied: “What man?” I told him that I was asking about the man that had just greeted me. I looked at the other people and realized that they had not noticed what had happened, as if it had happened to me in a dream. I asked again about why they thought I stood up, and the answer was that I suddenly stopped reading the poem and stood up. Concerned that they would ridicule me if I persisted with asking, I claimed that my eyes were dazzled and I sat down. But I could not speak after that, so I asked to leave, claiming to be tired. The preaching had finished and people had taken the pledge, so there was no harm in me leaving.
When I left, I was scared because of the feeling of awe that the man left on me as he approached me. I thought he was ḥaḍrat Shaikh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Gaylānī. When I was being driven back, I tried several times to contact the Shaikh’s servant. When I arrived at my house, then in Sudhama Nagar, the servant called me and asked what was behind my repeated calls. I told him I was scared. I then heard the Shaikh ask the servant about the caller. When the servant told him, the Shaikh asked him to listen to what I had to say. I then started telling the servant what happened while he conveyed it to the Shaikh. The Shaikh said:
This is Allah’s will. Tell him not to be afraid. His visitor was our master Khidhr. Congratulations, congratulations! Let’s continue talking tomorrow.
The following night, the servant called to let me know that the Shaikh said the following:
Many caliphs, dervishes, and Walīs wanted to see our master Khidhr but they did not. It is the spiritual power of the Shaikhs that enabled ʿImād to see him. Congratulations to him. Let him be cautious about himself.
The Shaikh has advised me not to pay much attention to such spiritual experiences, because they are not the foundations of the Ṭarīqa. Its foundations are piety, performing the dhikrs, and adhering to the commandments and prohibitions of Sharīʿa and the Ṭarīqa.
 Khidhr is a very high ranking Walī who has been alive for many centuries. He is believed to be the man whom Allah sent Prophet Moses to meet and learn from, and whom Allah described as: “A servant from among Our servants to whom We have given mercy from Us and whom We had taught a special knowledge from Us” (17/65).
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