Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail Ibn Ayaz (رضی اللہ)
Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail Ibn Ayaz (رضی اللہ).
Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail Ibn Ayaz (رضی اللہ) began his career somewhat ignominiously as a highwayman, playing the prosperous trade route between Bavard and Merv. As the chief of a group of bandits, he would wear the woolen garb of a Dervaish and tie a tasbih around his neck, while dividing the spoils of his gang amongst themselves. He was the epitome of the chivalrous highwayman; women in the caravan he would leave with dignity and belongings intact, he would never steal from one of small means, and he always left the merchants with some portion of their goods. Once a rich caravan was headed for the region, and its leader decided to hide a bad of gold with Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail (رضی اللہ) who looked for all in the world to be a holy man.
"I entrusted you with my money," he told the highwayman. "If we do get robbed, at least I will have something to fall back on." The caravan proceeded and sure enough was waylaid by robbers. The merchant then returned to the tent of Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail (رضی اللہ), only to see him casually dividing up the spoils! However, his astonishment redoubled when the highwayman told him to claim his gold, which was where he left it. "Ah!” exclaimed Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail's (رضی اللہ) peers, "We did not find one gold dirham in the caravan, and there you go and return ten thousand to him!"
"He had a good opinion of me", Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail (رضی اللہ) replied, "I have always had a good opinion of Allah (جل جلاله), that he will cause me to repent my ways one day." And such proved to be the case, for Allah accepts sincere prayers, even the prayers of a sinner. That day came, when, approaching a caravan, he heard a man reciting the following verse from the Holy Quran, "Has the time not come for the healers of those who believe to be humbled in the remembrance of God?"
Those words pierced him like an arrow, and he fell to the ground in tears of repentance. Immediately he discarded his evil ways and, by means of absolution, he sought out every single one of his victims, repaying each one with what he had taken from them. He then went to the court of the sultan, confessing his crimes and begging that judgment be meted out to him.
However, the sultan, seeing upon him the marks of righteousness, refused to punish him. Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail (رضی اللہ) then took his family and departed for the holy lands, working as a water bearer to earn a living. He settled for a while in Koofah, where he spent time in the company of Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa (رضی اللہ) hearing the tremendous reputation of Hazrat Khuwaja Imam Hasan Basri (رضی اللہ), he traveled to Basra hoping to become his murid. However, when he arrived, he found that the Imam had already returned to his way so he took Bait with his Khalifa, Hazrat Khuwaja Imam Abdul Wahid (رضی اللہ).
The gates of oratory were opened to him, and he began to preach in a manner that soon the entire Islamic world knew of him. One of his most famous pupils was Hazrat Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (رضی اللہ).
Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail (رضی اللہ) became the greatest disciple of his murshid and also acquired Khilafat from Hazrat Abu Ayaz ibn Mansur (رضی اللہ) whose silsilah reaches Syedina Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique (رضی اللہ). Thus, through Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail (رضی اللہ) the chain of the Chishtiah order arises from both the great Sahaba Imams of Tasawwuf, Prince of faithful Syedina Hazrat Imam Ali (عليه السلام) and Syedina Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique (رضی اللہ).
Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail (رضی اللہ) was one of the greatest of the early Sufis, who in that formative period of Islam were distinguished, not by specialized action or formal designation, but by the loftiness of their characters and their closeness to Allah (جل جلاله).
It was about one of Hazrat Khwaja Fuzail's (رضی اللہ) Khalifa, Hazrat Bashr al-Hafi (رضی اللہ), that Imam Ahmed Hanbal (رضی اللہ) said, “I know fiqh, tafsir, logic, Hadith and linguistics better than him, but he knows my Lord better than I.
"What was true for the pupil was even More true for the master. The Sufis were held in awe by all around them, through virtue of their tremendous piety, even though their peers were the greatest Imams of religion. It was said of Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifah (رضی اللہ), "How could he possibly have lapsed into error or impiety, with a companion like Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail (رضی اللہ) to guide and correct him?
Many stories are told of his extreme discipline. He used to perform the continuous fast that became a hallmark of the zahidin (ascetics), eating only after several days. He also used to perform up to 500 nawafil salah in a day and night. One of the titles afforded to Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail (رضی اللہ) and his contemporaries was 'al-Bakkaa'in (the Weepers) for they used to spend nights awake weeping out of fear of displeasing Allah. Such was his adherence to the Sunnah that, when he once forgetfully washed his arm twice instead of three times in wuduh.
Huzoor Nabi Kareem (ﷺ) himself appeared to remind him of his lapse. He achieved wide repute also as an authority on hadith and in the biographical dictionaries he is noted as narrator of the highest reliability and trustworthiness.
Once the Caliph Haroon al-Rasheed came to him for advice, his words left the emperor beside himself with sorrow. Haroon declared, "It is Fuzail (رضی اللہ) (not I) which is a king among men. His boldness is extreme, and the very world is contemptible in his eyes."
1. Hazrat Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (رضی اللہ) heard Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail Ayaz (رضی اللہ) say: “Whoever pursues leadership will be disgraced. Remain insignificant, and do not live as though you are a great man.”
2. He who acquires masifah billah (true knowledge of Allah) without love will be destroyed by pride. He who acquires fear of Allah without love, terror and despondency will stop him attaining closeness to his Lord.
3. More surprising than seeing a person crying in paradise is the sight of a person laughing on earth.
4. One day Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail Ibn Ayaz (رضی اللہ) was standing at Arafat, witnessing all the thousands of ilgrims weeping and calling upon God for mercy.
5. “SubhanAllah!” he exclaimed. “If all these thousands went to one man and asked him together for a single penny, do you think he would refuse?" “No” came the response. "Well, it is easier for Almighty Allah to forgive them all, than for that man to give them a penny. Surely he is most bountiful."
Hazrat Khuwaja Abu Fuzail Ibn Ayaz (رضی اللہ) attained unity with the Beloved in 187 AH in Makkah whilst listening to the recitation of Surah al-Qariah, he gave a fearful cry and died. Hazrat Abdullah bin Mubarak (رضی اللہ) reported that, at the moment of his death, a cry was heard from heaven and silence settled over the earth. He is buried in Janaat al-Maala, near the resting place of Mohtarma Bibi Syeda Khatija al-Kubra (عليه السلام). The most famous of his Khulfa were Hazrat Khuwaja Bashar Hafi (رضی اللہ) and Hazrat Khuwaja Ibrahim Ibn Adham (رضی اللہ).