Bismillah ar Rehman ir Rahim
A New Year Message: for 2013.
As is my custom, following that of Zahur Mian, I try to write a short piece by way of a sort of New Year
Card at this time. Because it is usually just after my visit to Konya I frequently find myself in some
way reflecting the Love that radiates from Mevlana Rumi. When you immerse yourself in an
atmosphere of Divine love it is impossible it will not be reflected in your thoughts and feelings
towards and about others.
But before talking about the Konya Festival, I have to reflect on the year gone by – the first since
retirement. A busier and more productive year it would be difficult to imagine. First we completed
publication of ‘The Qur’anic Parables’ – Zahurmian’s commentary on this aspect the holy book. Then
there was trip to Ajmer Sharif in February, to pay respects to Khawaja Saheb and, gratefully, to
receive his blessings; and then to visit the shrines of the saints of the Gudri Shahi order and to
attend the School Annual Peace function. The School is run by Hazrat Inaam Hasan the current
Sajjadanashin of the Gudri Shahi order, and it provides cheap education to children from all classes
creeds and communities without prejudice. It teaches the universal principles that are inherent in the
teaching of Khawaja Saheb; a humanism that irradiates love for all and hatred for none. It was a
short but memorable visit.
Then I spent some time in Delhi visiting the shrines of many of the great saints there such as Hazrat
Qutub Saheb and Hazrat Nizamuddin and many others. I also passed some days with Farhana’s
lovely family in Rampur – a peaceful town in Utter Pradesh.
Then there was the Urs of Zahur Mian in April which was celebrated in Southampton with friends and
murids – followed by a ten day celebration of Khawaja Sahebs Urs. Thanks to his blessings we
enjoyed the only ten days of beautiful sunshine that the whole of the year produced in England.
There was a lovely visit to London for Farhana and myself to visit the mother of Faiz, Joyce
Ferguson,, who is now very elderly and needs full care in a home. She did not remember us I think,
but we talked with Faiz and caught up with news about many other friends. We also visited Tehrim,
Ijlal’s lovely daughter who has a beautiful but very handicapped son. I cannot easily describe my
admiration for the continuous and selfless way Tehrim and her husband shoulder the responsibility
for this 24 hour care – it reduced me to tears. This one of the deeper meanings of love and
humanism in practice – I know Zahurmian and Ijlal would have shared my feelings. We visited Hasan
Bhai also and talked about the Hajj which we were thinking of doing.
Then there was the Hajj itself with its preparation and the period afterwards of celebration with many
visitors coming with congratulations.
Someone asked me to write about the Hajj but it is something so unlike anything else. It is not easy
to put it into words. It is physically quite hard – particularly because of the vast press of humanity
that is there at that time. Inwardly there is an indescribable concentration of spiritual power felt there.
It is a physical journey but to the centre of the heart.
If you think of a turning wheel the circumference turns slowly compared to the centre. The Hajj
seemed to me to be like being very close to the centre where everything is spiritually intensified. At
the time the hardships of circling the Kaaba amidst the press of people distracts one superficially but
the inner power cannot be missed. I think it often the case that it is more during the period after
return that the blessings become felt. Many people find that for days or weeks they cannot close
their eyes without finding themselves back amongst the throng of people around the Kaaba or in
Mina or Muzalifar.
In Medina the sheer sweetness and light from the holy Prophet (pbuh) is pure ‘ease after hardship’.
My advice to anyone though would be to try hard to find a really good organisation to travel with.
It was a short time after this that I found myself once again in the warm embrace of loving Konya and
in the Chamber of Presence of the spiritual Sultan of Turkey, Mevlana Rumi, the bestower of spiritual
gifts on the fortunate visitors and the solace for those in hardship. In such an atmosphere it is hard
not to feel the overflowing of love for the people you meet. This year there were particularly potent
personal moments. We were happy to welcome two new murids from Iran and to see Sephida again
and Maida who joined the order previously.
Meeting Ali Baba at his home and making the visits to the various shrines round Konya was
memorable. The physical landscape of Mevlana’s shrine has changed immensely. There is now a
great open area in front, which has been specially designed to show the shrine to its best advantage
– though I confess to some nostalgia for the loving memories of past years associated with its former
Amongst all this there was poetry – and more poetry and yet more. The muse would often not let me
sleep, insisting I write something down. It was a blessing no doubt. There are many examples on the
And now for the New Year. Let us take the good from the past year and put down the baggage of the
negative aspects – we do not need to carry this with us – let us carry the best of the past year
forward, and leave the rest. In time it is true we may be able to see the hidden purpose behind both
aspects but for now let the negative aspects stay behind whilst we renew our determination to make
the very best of our short time on this earth, not in seeking our own happiness but in finding it
through the happiness we bring to others.
Bemoaning what might have been, or what seemed bad to us, is to continue to carry an unnecessary
burden. Every new day is another opportunity to start afresh towards the goal of better living;
towards the conquest of self and selfishness by Love and altruism.
Avoid the poor company of cynicism, doubt and worldly sophistication and keep the good company
of simplicity, hope and faith – making Love our intimate companion; and trust that there is a purpose
for us and for our lives, whether we can see it or not. For sure, there is, there is. For sure there is.
As Dickens has Tiny Tim say in A Christmas Carol – ‘God bless us, every one’.
May the New Year be kind to you, and if sorrow and pain come your way may you find the hidden Joy
in it, and if hardship comes your way – may it soon make way for Ease.
To finish, the Muse I think, would like me to quote a poem that came to me in Konya this year:
Mevlana’s medicine is making us whole,
Destroying love of the world in the soul.
That is the poison the Ney* supplies;
For when such an unhealthy love dies,
Then the True Beloved it once concealed,
In His great Beauty becomes revealed.
Thus the poison may become the cure,
And all things be seen as holy and pure.
Ney – Turkish reed pipe associated with the remembrance of our source, God. See the full poem on the website under Konya. The Ney
is described as ’ a poison and a cure’.