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(Masnavi Book 3: 58) How the Prophet ﷺ saved a caravan of Arabs from death in the Desert







Story of the Prophet's, on whom be peace, coming to the aid of a caravan of Arabs who had been brought to sore straits by thirst and lack of water and had set their minds on death: (both) the camels and the people (of the caravan) had let their tongues drop out (of their mouths from exhaustion).

3130. In that wadi (was) a company of Arabs: their water-skins had become dry from lack of rain:
A caravan amidst the desert in sore distress—they had rehearsed their own death.
Suddenly he who succours both worlds, Mustafá (Mohammed), appeared on the way, for help's sake.
He saw there an exceeding great caravan on the scalding sand and (engaged in) a hard and terrible journey;
The tongues of their camels hanging out, the people strown everywhere on the sand.

3135. He took pity and said, Hark, go at once, some of your comrades, and run to yonder sandhills,
For a negro on camelback will (presently) bring a water-skin, (which) he is conveying with all
speed to his master.
Bring to me that negro camel-driver along with the camel by force, if need be.” Those seekers approached the sandhills: after a short while they saw it was even so:
A negro slave was going with a camel, the water-skin filled with water, like one bearing a gift.

3140. Then they said to him, “The Pride of mankind, the Best of created beings, invites thee
(to come) in this direction.”
He said, I do not know him: who is he? He (the spokesman) said, He is that moon-faced sweet-natured one.”

They described to him the diverse qualities which exist (in the Prophet): he said, Belike he is that poet (wizard)
Who subdued a multitude by magic: I will not come half a span towards him.”
Dragging him along, they brought him thither: he raised an outcry in revilement and heat (of anger).

3145. When they dragged him before that venerable one, he (the Prophet) said, Drink ye the water and carry it away withal.”
He satisfied the thirst of them all from that water-skin: the camels and every person drank of
that water.
From his (the negro's) water-skin he filled large and small water-skins: from jealousy of him the clouds in the sky were distraught.
Has any one seen (such a wonder as) this, that the burning glow of so many Hells (of thirst)
should be cooled by a single water-skin?
Has any one seen (such a wonder as) this, that all these water-skins were filled from a single water-skin without trouble?

3150. The water-skin itself was a veil, and (in reality) at his (the Prophet's) command the waves of (Divine) bounty were coming (to them) from the Sea of origin.
“Water by boiling is converted into air, and that air by cold is turned into water.”
Nay, (it is not so); without cause and beyond these maxims of (natural) philosophy the (Divine)
act of bringing into existence produced the water from non-existence.
Inasmuch as you have observed (secondary) causes from your childhood, through ignorance you have stuck to the (secondary) cause.
(Being occupied) with causes you are forgetful of the Causer: hence you are inclining towards
these veils.

3155. When (all secondary) causes are gone, you will beat your head and cry many a time, “O
our Lord! O our Lord!
The Lord will say, Betake yourself to the (secondary) cause! How have you remembered My work? Oh, wonderful!
He (the believer in secondary causes) says, “Henceforth I will behold you entirely: I will not look
towards the cause and that deception (by which I was led astray).”
He (God) will reply to him, “Thy case is (described in the text), (If) they were sent back (to the world), they would surely return (to what they were forbidden to do), O you who art weak in your repentance and covenant;
But I will not regard that, I will show mercy: My mercy is abounding, I will be intent on mercy.

3160. I will not regard your bad promise, I from loving kindness will bestow the gift at this
(very) moment, since you art calling unto Me.
The (people of the) caravan were amazed at his (the Prophet's) deed. (They cried), “O Muhammad, O you that have the nature of the Sea, what is this?
You have made a small water-skin a veil (a means of disguise): you have drowned (abundantly
satisfied the thirst of) both Arabs and Kurds.”

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