First "In-The-Room" Story
“The Exaltedness Of Our Life”

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Written by: Shaikh Muhaiyaddeen (Louie Beutler) 
on January 12, 2000
Wisdom PointYou Will Only Find God 
Within The Exaltedness Of Your Own Life


Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim. In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate. Al-salam 'alaykum. May all the peace, the beneficence, and the blessings of God be upon all of us.

My love you (anbu), my dearest brothers and sisters - Shaikh Muhaiyaddeen 
(Louie Beutler).

One day a brother came to see Bawa from New York City.  He was young, around 20, and he immediately declared to Bawa that he had accepted Bawa as his Shaikh.  But Bawa discourage his declaration saying,

          "You shouldn't accept a woman as your wife until you have checked her out.
            Before you decide to take her on as your wife you should first investigate her
            and learn a little about her.  You shouldn't be hasty.  For example, can she
            cook?  Does she have a nice disposition?  Are her relatives friendly toward
            you?  And so on.  It is the same in selecting a Teacher, a Shaikh, you
            should first check him out, before you accept him.  Don't be hasty."

Then after the brother was there for about a week, on Friday, Bawa opened up his room to all of the people who had gathered there and after we had settled in, Bawa asked if we had any questions.

Immediately this brother said that he had a question, and when Bawa asked what it was, the boy said,

          "Who was the exalted son of Abraham?  Isaac or Ishmael?"

Bawa then gave us all a beautiful discourse about the first son of Abraham which was Ishmael, and how God had called for the sacrifice of Ishmael by Abraham.

When Bawa was done he asked us if there were any other questions, and the same boy put up his hand, and Bawa asked him what his question was, and the boy asked Bawa the exact same question,

          "Who was the exalted son of Abraham?  Isaac or Ishmael?"

Everyone was surprised but for some reason I immediately know why.  The boy was Jewish and the answer that he was raised on, to that question, was Isaac, not Ishmael.  Abraham had two sons, and in the Jewish tradition they believe that Isaac was the son that God called to be sacrificed, while in the Islamic tradition, and as Bawa had verified, it was the first son, Ishmael, that God actually called to be sacrificed.

So, Bawa's answer to that question was not in accordance with the answer that he received being raised as a Jew. And more profoundly, for him to accept the answer that Bawa had given him required that he put down his whole life, his life as a Jew, and accept Bawa as his life.  And in truth this is what each of us, in our own way, is asked to do, to put down our own life as we know it, and accept the life and teaching of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen as our life and teaching.  But this is not easy for any of us to do.  And in this context, the boy asking the same question twice is certainly understandable.

What happened next I only personally saw Bawa do twice, but over the years I have begun to realize that what Bawa did next was how he did everything, through his relationship with God.

When the boy asked Bawa the same exact question a second time, Bawa escaped.  He told the boy that he had told him what he know about his question and that the boy had to decide for himself what to do with the answer that Bawa had given him, and then Bawa turned away from the boy, and asked if there were any other questions.  But then everything changed.  It was as if Bawa had done what he could do for the boy and had then handed the responsibility for the boy to God, and then turned to try and help other children.

But then God intervened, and Bawa took on an entirely different persona.  His face changed to that of a 16 year old youth, and became radiant, and he immediately turned back to the boy with such love and compassion, and said to the boy,

          "My son, if you think about it, if Isaac was exalted, then he benefited from
           his exaltedness, and if Ishmael was exalted, then he benefited from his
           exaltedness, and if I am exalted, then I will benefit from that.  The question
           that you should have asked is, "Am I exalted?", because you will only find
           God within the exaltedness of your own life."

Al-hamdu lillah - all praise and praising belong to God alone.
Allahu Akbar - only God is great.
Al-salam 'alaykum wa-rahmat Allah wa-barakatuhu kulluh -
May all the peace, the beneficence, and the blessings of God be upon you.

My love you (anbu) - Shaikh Muhaiyaddeen (Louie Beutler).

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