Story of Halíma's asking help of the idols when she lost Mustafá (Mohammed)—on whom be peace—after he was weaned, and how the idols trembled and prostrated
themselves and bore witness to the grandeur of Mohammed's estate—may God bless and save him!
915. I will tell you the story of Halíma's mystic experience, that her tale may clear away your trouble.
When she parted Mustafá from (her) milk, she took him up on the palm of her hand as (tenderly
as though he were) sweet basil and roses,
Causing him to avoid every good or evil (hap), that she might commit that (spiritual) emperor to
(the care of) his grandsire.
Since she was bringing the (precious) trust in fear (for its safety), she went to the Ka‘ba and came into the Hatím.
From the air she heard a cry—“O Hatím, an exceedingly mighty Sun has shone upon you.
920. O Hatím, to-day there will suddenly come upon you a hundred thousand beams from the Sun of munificence.
O Hatím, to-day there will march into you with pomp a glorious King, whose harbinger is
O Hatím, to-day without doubt you wilt become anew the abode of exalted spirits.
The spirits of the holy will come to you from every quarter in troops and multitudes, drunken with desire.”
Halíma was bewildered by that voice: neither in front nor behind was any one (to be seen).
925. (All) the six directions were empty of (any visible) form, and this cry was continuous—
may the soul be a ransom for that cry!
She laid Mustafá on the earth, that she might search after the sweet sound.
Then she cast her eye to and fro, saying, “Where is that king that tells of mysteries?
For such a loud sound is arriving from left and right. O Lord, where is he that causes it to arrive?” When she did not see (any one), she became distraught and despairing: her body began to tremble like the willow-bough.
930. She came back towards that righteous child: she did not see Mustafá in his (former)
Bewilderment on bewilderment fell upon her heart: from grief her abode became very dark.
She ran to the dwellings (hard by) and raised an outcry, saying, “Who has carried off my single pearl?”
The Meccans said, “We have no knowledge: we knew not that a child was there.”
She shed so many tears and made (so) much lamentation that those others began to weep because of her (grief).
935. Beating her breast, she wept so well (mightily) that the stars were made to weep by her weeping.
Story of the old Arab who directed Halíma to seek help from the idols.
An old man with a staff approached her, saying, “Why, what has befallen you, O Halíma,
That you didst let such a fire (of grief) blaze (forth) from your heart and consume these bowels
(of the bystanders) with mourning?”
She replied, “I am Ahmad's (Mohammed's) trusted foster-mother, so I brought him (back) to hand him over to his grandsire.
When I arrived in the Hatím, voices were coming (down) and I was hearing (them) from the air.
940. When I heard from the air those melodious strains, because of that sound I laid down the infant there,
To see whose voice is (the origin of) this cry, for it is a very beautiful cry and very delightful. I saw no sign of any one around me: the cry was not ceasing for one moment.
When I returned (to my senses) from the bewilderments of my heart, I did not see the child there (where I had left him): alas for my heart!”
He (the old man) said, “O daughter, do not grieve, for I will show unto you a queen,
945. Who, if she wish, will tell what has happened to the child: she knows the dwelling-place of the child and his setting-out (on the way).”
Then Halíma said, “Oh, my soul be a ransom for you, O goodly and fair-spoken Shaykh!
Come, show me that queen of clairvoyance who has knowledge of what has happened to my child.”
He brought her to ‘Uzzá, saying, “This idol is greatly prized for information concerning the
Through her we have found thousands that were lost, when we hastened towards her in devotion.”
950. The old man prostrated himself before her (‘Uzzá) and said at once, “O Sovereign of the
Arabs, O sea of munificence!”
(Then) he said, “O ‘Uzzá, you have done many favours (to us), so that we have been delivered from snares.
On account of your favour the duty (of worshipping thee) has become obligatory to the Arabs, so
that the Arabs have submitted to you.
In hope of you this Halíma of (the tribe) Sa‘d has come into the shadow of your willow-bough, For an infant child of hers is lost: the name of that child is Mohammed.”
955. When he said “Mohammed,” all those idols immediately fell headlong and prostrate, Saying, “Begone, O old man! What is this search after that Mohammed by whom we are deposed?
By him we are overthrown and reduced to a collection of (broken) stones; by him we are made unsaleable and valueless.
Those phantoms which the followers of vain opinion used to see from us at times during the
Will disappear now that his royal court has arrived: the water is come and has torn up (annulled)
the ablution with sand.
960. Get you far off, O old man! Do not kindle mischief! Hark, do not burn us with (the fire of) Ahmad's (Mohammed's) jealousy!
Get you far off, for God's sake, O old man, lest you (too) be burnt by the fire of Fore- ordainment.
What squeezing of the dragon's tail is this? Dost you know at all what the announcement (of
Mohammed's advent) is (in its effects)?
At this news the heart of sea and mine will surge; at this news the seven heavens will tremble.” When the old man heard these words from the stones (idols), the ancient old man let his staff
drop (from his hand);
965. Then, from tremor and fear and dread caused by that proclamation (of the idols), the old man was striking his teeth together.
Even as a naked man in winter, he was shuddering and saying, “O destruction!”
When she (Halíma) saw the old man in such a state (of terror), in consequence of that marvel the woman lost (the power of) deliberation.
She said, “O old man, though I am in affliction (on account of the loss of Mohammed), I am in manifold bewilderment (not knowing whether I should grieve or rejoice).
At one moment the wind is making a speech to me, at another moment the stones are schooling me.
970. The wind addresses me with articulate words, the stones and mountains give me intelligence of (the real nature of) things.
Once (before) they of the Invisible carried off my child—they of the Invisible, the green-winged
ones of Heaven.
Of whom shall I complain? To whom shall I tell this plaint? I am become crazy and in a hundred minds.
His (God's) jealousy has closed my lips (so that I am unable) to unfold (the tale of) the mystery: I say (only) this much, that my child is lost.
If I should say anything else now, the people would bind me in chains as though I were mad.”
975. The old man said to her, “O Halíma, rejoice; bow down in thanksgiving and do not rend your face.
Do not grieve: he will not become lost to thee; nay, but the (whole) world will become lost in
Before and behind (him) there are always hundreds of thousands of keepers and guardians
(watching over him) in jealous emulation.
Didst not you see how those idols with all their arts fell headlong at the name of your child?
This is a marvellous epoch on the face of the earth: I have grown old, and I have not seen aught of this kind.”
980. Since (even) the stones (idols) bewailed this (prophetic) mission, think what (tribulation)
it will set over (bring down upon) sinners!
The stone is guiltless in respect of being an object of worship, (but) you are not under compulsion in worshipping it.
That one that was under compulsion has become so afraid: consider (then) what (terrible) things
will be fastened upon the guilty!
How ‘Abdu ’l-Muttalib, the grandfather of Mustafá (Mohammed), got news of Halíma's having lost Mohammed, on whom be peace, and searched for him round the city and made lamentation at the door of the Ka‘ba and besought God and found him (Mohammed), on whom be peace.
When the grandfather of Mustafá got the news of Halíma and her outcry in public
And of such loud screams and shrieks that the echo of them was reaching to (the distance of) a mile,
985. ‘Abdu ’l-Muttalib at once knew what was the matter: he beat his hands on his breast and wept.
In his grief he came ardently to the door of the Ka‘ba, saying, “O You that knowest the secret of night and the mystery of day,
I see not any accomplishment in myself, that one like me should be Thy confidant. I see not any merit in myself, that I should be accepted of this auspicious door,
Or that my (bowed) head and my prostration (in prayer) should have any worth, or that because of my tears any fortune should smile (upon me);
990. But in the countenance of that unique Pearl (Mohammed) I have beheld the signs of Thy grace, O Bounteous One;
For he doth not resemble us, though he is of us: we all are (as) the copper, while Ahmad
(Mohammed) is the Elixir.
The wondrous things that I have seen in him I have not seen in friend or enemy.
None, (even) with a hundred years' endeavour, would (be able to) indicate that which Thy bounty has bestowed on him in childhood.
Since I saw with (intuitive) certainty Thy favours towards him, (I know that) he is a pearl of Thy sea.
995. Him I bring (forward) to plead with Thee: tell me his plight, O You who knowest (every)
From within the Ka‘ba came at once a cry, “Even now he will show his face unto you.
He is blessed by Us with two hundred felicities, he is guarded by Us with two hundred troops of angels.
We make his outward (appearance) celebrated in the world; We make his inward (reality) to be
hidden from all.
The water and clay was (like) gold of the mine: We are the goldsmith; for We carve it now into an anklet, now into a seal.
1000. Now We make it the shoulder-belt for a sword, now the chain on the neck of a lion.
Now We fashion from it the ball (on the top) of a throne, now the diadem on the heads (of them)
that seek empire.
We have great affections towards this earth, because it lies in the posture of acquiescence. Now We produce from it a (spiritual) king like this; now We make it frenzied (with love) in the
presence of the king:
On account of him hundreds of thousands of lovers and loved ones are in lamentation and outcry and search.
1005. This is Our work, to the confusion of that one who has no spiritual inclination towards
We confer this eminence on the earth for the same reason that We place a portion of food before the destitute,
Because the earth has the external form of dunness, while inwardly it has the qualities of luminosity.
Its outward (appearance) has come to be at war with its inward (reality): its inward is like a jewel and its outward like a (common) stone.
Its outward says, ‘We are this, and no more’; its inward says, ‘Look well before and behind!’
1010. Its outward is denying (and says) that the inward is naught; its inward says, ‘We will show (thee the truth): wait (and see)!’
Its outward and its inward are in strife: necessarily they are drawing (Divine) aid from this patient endurance.
We make the forms (of existence) from this sour-faced earth: We make manifest its hidden laughter,
For (though) outwardly the earth is (all) sorrow and tears, within it there are hundreds of thousands of laughters.
We are the Revealer of the mystery, and Our work is just this, that We bring forth these hidden
things from concealment.
1015. Although the thief is mute in denial (of his theft), the magistrate brings it to light by torture.
These (diverse) earths have stolen (Our) favours, so that through affliction We may bring them to confess.
Many is the wondrous child that it (the earth) has had, but Ahmad (Mohammed) has surpassed
Earth and Heaven laugh and rejoice, saying, ‘From us two (who are) joined in wedlock such a king is born!’
Heaven is bursting for joy of him; earth is become like the lily on account of his purity.
1020. Since your outward and your inward, O fair earth, are at war and (engaged) in struggling
(with each other)—
Whoso is at war with himself for God's sake, to the end that his (inward) reality may become the opponent of (mere) scent and colour,
(If) his darkness is in combat with his light, the sun of his spirit will never set.
Whoso shall strive in tribulation for Our sake, Heaven will put its back under (will support) his feet.”
Your outward (form) is wailing because of the darkness; your inward (spirit) is (like) roses within roses.
1025. It (your outward form) is purposely like Súfís (who are) sour-faced (sad and mournful)
in order that they may not mix with every one that quenches the (inner) light.
Like the hedgehog, the sour-faced knowers (of God) have hidden their (spiritual) pleasures in rough prickles (of austerity).
The orchard is hidden, (while) around the orchard those thorns are plainly seen, saying, “O
thievish foe, keep far from this gate!”
O hedgehog, you have made the prickles your guardian and, like a Súfí, have buried your head in your bosom,
That none of these rose-cheeked thorn-natured ones may encounter (become acquainted with) a
farthing (the least part) of your pleasure.
1030. “Though your infant (Mohammed) is childish, verily both the worlds are his parasites
We make a (whole) world living through him; We make Heaven a slave in his service.”
‘Abdu ’l-Muttalib said, “Where is he now? O You that knowest the secret (of all things), point out the right way!”
How ‘Abdu ’l-Muttalib asked for a clue to the place where Mohammed was—peace be upon him!—saying, “Where shall I find him?” and how he was answered from within the Ka‘ba and obtained the clue.
A voice reached him from within the Ka‘ba. It said, “O seeker, that righteous child
Is in such and such a wadi beneath yonder tree.” Then the good-fortuned old man at once set out.
1035. At his stirrup (were) the princes of Quraysh, for his (Mohammed's)grandfather was one of the notables of Quraysh.
All his (Mohammed's) ancestors (reaching back) to the loins of Adam (were) lords in feast and
fray and the carnage of battle.
This lineage is (applicable) only to his husk (body), which is strained pure (in descent) from mighty emperors.
His kernel, in sooth, is remote from lineage, and unsoiled (by contamination with mankind): none is its congener from the Fish to Arcturus.
None seeks (to know) the birth and (coming into) existence of the Light of God: what need of warp and woof has God's robe of honour?
1040. The meanest robe of honour that He bestows in recompense (for good works) excels the embroidered raiment of the sun.
The rest of the story of (the Divine) Mercy’s calling Bilqis.
“Arise, O Bilqis! Come and behold the Kingdom! Gather pearls on the shore of God’s Sea!
Thy sisters are dwelling in the glorious Heaven: why do you behave like a sultan on account of
(possessing) a carcase?
Dost you know at all what noble gifts that Sultan (God) gave to your sisters?
How didst you jubilantly take drummers (into your service), proclaiming, ‘I am quuen and mistress of the bath-stove’?”