The Mesnavi and The Acts of the Adepts, by Jelal-'d-din Rumi and Shemsu-'d-Din Ahmed, tr. by James W. Redhouse, , at sacred-texts.com
Seyyid Burhānu-’d-Dīn, Sirr-Dān, el Muhaqqiq, el Huseynī, of the posterity of Yā-Sīn (Muhammed). 1
(He is called Seyyid, the "Syud" of our East India authorities, for the reason that he was a descendant of the prophet, of whom Yā-Sīn is one of the titles, as it is also the name of the thirty-sixth chapter of the Qur’ān, at the head of which the two letters stand which form the name. Burhānu-’d-Dīn means The Proof of the Religion; Sirr-Dān signifies The Confidant, one who possesses a knowledge of a secret or secrets, a mystery or mysteries. Muhaqqiq is one who verifies, who probes the truth; and Huseynī indicates that the Seyyid was of the branch of Huseyn, the younger of the two sons of Fātima, Muhammed's only child that left posterity.)
Seyyid Burhānu-’d-Dīn was popularly known by the name of Sirr-Dān at Balkh, Bukhārā, (Alexandria Oxiana?), and Termīz. His discourse was continually running upon the subjects of spiritual and mental phenomena, of the mysteries of earth and of heaven.
When Bahā Veled quitted Balkh, the Seyyid went to Termīz, and there secluded himself as a hermit. After a while again he began to lecture in public on the significations of knowledge. Suddenly, one morning, that of Friday the 18th of Rebī‘u-’l-ākhir, a.h. 628 (February,
[paragraph continues] 1231 a.d.), he cried out most bitterly, in a flood of tears, "Alas! my master has passed away from this tabernacle of dust to the abode of sincerity!" His words and the date were noted down, and, on inquiry, after his arrival in Qonya, were found to correspond exactly with the moment of Bahā Veled's decease.
For forty days the disciples at Termīz mourned for the death of the great teacher. At the end of that period the Seyyid said: "The son of my master, his successor, Jelālu-’d-Dīn Muhammed, is left alone and is wishing to see me. I must go to the land of Rome and place myself at his service, delivering over to him the trust which my teacher confided to my safe-keeping."
When the Seyyid reached Qonya, Bahā Veled had been dead about a year, and Jelāl had gone to Larenda. The Seyyid applied himself for several months to devotional seclusion in one of the mosques of Qonya; after which he sent off a letter to Jelāl by the hands of two mendicants, saying: "Come and meet this stranger to thee at the resting-place of thy father, for Larenda is not a place of permanency for thee. From that hill (on which Bahā's mausoleum was built) a fire will shower down on the city of Qonya."
After reading this epistle Jelāl returned to Qonya with all possible despatch. There he went at once to visit the Seyyid, who came forth from the mosque to receive him. They embraced. They now entered into conversation on various subjects. So delighted was the Seyyid with the expositions set forth by Jelāl that he kissed the soles of his feet, and exclaimed: "A hundredfold hast thou surpassed thy father in all knowledge of the humanities; but thy father was versed also in the mysteries of mute reality and ecstasy. From this day forward my desire is that
thou shouldest also acquire that knowledge,—the knowledge possessed by the prophets and the saints, which is entitled The Science of Divine Intuition—the science spoken of by God (in Qur’ān xviii. 64): 'We have taught him a science from within us.' This knowledge did I acquire from my teacher; do thou receive it from me, so that thou mayest be the heir to thy father in spiritual matters as well as in things temporal. Thou wilt then be his second self."
Jelāl complied with all the Seyyid pressed upon him. He took the Seyyid to his college, and for nine years received instruction from him. Some accounts make it appear that Jelāl first became the Seyyid's disciple at this time; but others go to show that Bahā Veled gave Jelāl as a pupil to the Seyyid at Balkh, and that the Seyyid used now and then to carry Jelāl about on his shoulders, like as is practised by the nursing-tutors—lala—of children. (Compare chap. iii., Nos. 6 and 8.)
Husāmu-’d-Dīn told us that Jelāl had informed him of the following occurrence:—
The Seyyid once arrived at a certain city in Khurāsān named Sāmānek. The chief people went forth to meet him and show him honour, all excepting the Sheykhu-’l-Islām of the place (the local vice-chancellor). Nevertheless the Seyyid went to pay his respects to the legal functionary. The latter went barefoot to the door of the house to meet the Seyyid, whose hand he kissed, and to whom he offered excuses for his seeming lack of courtesy.
In reply, the Seyyid said to him: "I am come to inform you that, on the 10th day of next month, Ramazān, you will have occasion to go forth to a hot-bath. On your way thither you will be assassinated by the emissaries of the Old Man of the Mountain. This I communicate to thee, that thou mayest set thy affairs in order, and repent thee of thy sins."
The Sheykhu-’l-Islām fell at the Seyyid's feet, wailing; but the latter remarked: "This is of no avail. Events are in God's hands, and He has so ordered it. Still, as thou showest so much contrition, I may add, for thy consolation, that thou wilt die in the faith, and shalt not be cut off from the divine mercy and grace."
And so it happened as thus predicted. The assassins took his life on the very day foretold by the Seyyid.
(The stronghold, Alamūt, of the Old Man of the Mountain, was stormed by forces sent against it by Helagū, grandson of Jengīz, in about the year a.h. 654 (a.d. 1256). The last prince of the dynasty was sent to China, and there put to death by the emperor; and thus these detestable scourges of humanity were at length suppressed.)
After a certain time the Seyyid asked permission of Jelāl to go for a while to Qaysariyya (Cæsarea), but Jelāl could not spare him. So he remained at Qonya still.
Somewhat later a party of friends took the Seyyid out for a ride among the vineyards. The thought occurred to him that, without saying anything to anybody, he might now easily abscond and get away to Qaysariyya. Scarcely had he conceived this vagabond idea than his beast reared with him, threw him, and broke his leg. His friends raised him, set him again on his horse, and conducted him to a neighbouring country-house to which Jelāl had also come.
On seeing Jelāl the Seyyid exclaimed to him, "Is this the proper way to reward your teacher—to break his leg?" Jelāl at once ordered the Seyyid's boot to be removed, and saw that his foot and toes were crushed. He now passed his hands along the injured limb and blew on it. The limb was at once restored whole. Jelāl now granted permission, and the Seyyid forthwith proceeded to Qaysariyya.
When the time was come that the Seyyid should die, he told his servant to prepare for him an ewer of warm water, and to go. The water was made ready, placed in the Seyyid's room, and the servant went forth. The Seyyid called after him: "Go and proclaim that the stranger Seyyid has departed to the other world." He then bolted the door, that none should enter to him.
The servant, however, had his curiosity excited by those words, and went back to the door, to listen and to see what might happen. Through a chink he saw his master perform an ablution, arrange his dress, lie down on his couch, and cry out: "All ye angels, saints, and heavens, who have at any time intrusted to me a secret, come to me now and receive back your charges. Ye are here all present."
He then recited the following hymn:—
These were the Seyyid's last words, ere he yielded up his spirit. The servant carried the news to the Seyyid's friends, who gathered together, carried him forth, and buried him.
A mausoleum was raised over his grave by a rich and powerful disciple. The departed saint would not allow a cupola to stand. Twice the dome was shaken down by earthquakes, and in a dream the Seyyid himself forbade its third edification.
After the usual forty days of mourning, a letter was sent to Jelāl, who at once journeyed from Qonya to Qaysariyya, and prayed at the tomb of his deceased teacher, returning home again afterwards.
13:1 The two letters Yā and Sīn heading the thirty-sixth chapter of the Qur’ān are said to stand for the words, Yā insān, O man! as Mohammed is there addressed.