From the Twenty-Second—page 487-488

in Irshad: Wisdom of a Sufi Master, by Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak Al-Jerrahi, trans. Muhtar Holland. An Ashki Book of Amity House, Warwick: 1988.






The Last Wishes of the Lovely Daughter of Shaqīq of Balkh


Shaqīq of Balkh had a daughter, the loveliest lady in all the land.  She was not only beautiful, but at the same time pious, devout and righteous.  Her noble name was Amīna.  She said to her father one day:

“Why did you give me the name Amīna?  It is the name for one who is safe [amīn] from the three fears, but I am not safe from any of the three.  Every soul must taste death.  Be it bitter or sweet, death will come to me too.  I wonder if I can be safe from the agony of death, as my name implies?  Secondly, Satan is our manifest foe.  I wonder whether I can escape and be safe from his mischief?  Thirdly, I dread my final breath.  Shall I pass from this world with faith, or without it?  Unless I am sure of passing on with faith, how can I deserve the name Amīna?  Besides, even the Prophets used to plead: ‘O Lord, let me die a Muslim.  Join me with the righteous.’  If the sinless Prophets made such a supplication, how can I be safe from a bad end?”

Her father could give her no answer.  In a little while the lady fell sick.  Shaqīq of Balkh came to his daughter’s side and asked: “Where has your laughter gone, my child?  You have youth and beauty.  Good times await you, so why be so downcast?”  The lady Amīna replied with a sigh: “My dear Daddy, seeing the things I see, it is time for me to weep, not to laugh.  How can I laugh, when the fires of Hell are blazing beneath me?  The Gardens of Paradise are above me in their splendor, but shall I be admitted there?  The Angel of Death stands at the ready, awaiting the order to take my soul.  How can I relax, how can I laugh?”

Her venerable father moved the hard pillow from under her head, meaning to replace it with a softer one, but the lady Amīna protested: “Daddy!  Why do I need a soft pillow?  Won’t they soon be laying my head on a brick much harder than this pillow?”

Her death was at hand.  She called her father close to her and made three last requests: “dearest Daddy,” she said, “when I am dead, please tie my hands on my breast.  Sinners adopt this posture in contrition for their offenses.  I have failed to perform my human duties fully and faultlessly, so let my hands be over my breast.  Have compassion for my youthfulness and pardon my shortcomings toward you.  It may well be that I have not succeeded, due to my childishness and youth, in treating you as a father deserves.  Wind me in the shroud, but leave my face uncovered in the grave and pray for me.  A father’s prayer for his child is like a Prophet’s prayer for his community.  O my dear father, if it is not too difficult an imposition for you, I have four more requests to make: Whenever you see crowds of people, think of the wolves gathering in packs around my grave, preparing to devour my corpse.  Whenever you look at a book, let the black lines on the white pages remind you of the whiteness of my face and the blackness of my eyes.  When the dark of night sets in, remember the darkness of my tomb.”

After these words, she said nothing more but: lā ilāha illā-llāh; Muhammadun rasūlu-llāh, then passed from this world.  The mercy of Allāh be upon her.