Word For Peace
The 9th century Sufi mystic—Dhu’l Nun or Zun Nun Misri (“the Egyptian”), whom Osho recalled as “one of the greatest mystics ever on the earth”, was an Egyptian Islamic philosopher and a widely-travelled seeker (Salik) who pursued his own course in search of the ultimate truth.
Misri undertook long and arduous journeys in constant search of the essence of his life, and in quest for the universal truths. At the end of his life, he left behind gems of spiritual intellect for people of all faith traditions. Roaming around various sacred places—from Cathedrals, Temples, Synagogues to Mosques—Misri closely observed and discovered different unravelled facets of the Universe.
Once, when Misri attained the spiritual level and intellect that he desired, he devoted all his life to Uloom-e-Batini (the inner sciences of mysticism). Eventually, he acquired the revered saintly position among the highest-ranking Sufi saints of early Islamic period—such as Junayd Baghdadi, Bayazid Bastami and Mansoor Hallaj.
Significantly, Junaid Baghdadi (R.A) embodied “sobriety” (Rasanah) in Sufism. Mansur Hallaj epitomised “divine intoxication” (Jzb). And Dhu’l Nun Misri excelled in his divine acceptance (Qabuliyat); all achieved these mystical stations at the end of their spiritual voyages and journeys.
Ibn al-Arabi— Andalusia’s famous mystic, poet-philosopher and proponent of Wahdatul Wajud—recalls Misri in these valuable words in his book, al-Kawkab al-durrī: fī manāqib Dhī-l Nūn al-Misrī (The Brilliant Star: On the Spiritual Virtues of Dhu’l Nun Misri): “The most substantial of his spiritual graces is the good news of his divine acceptance when he said ‘I clung to His door until He received me.’”
This divine acceptance was bestowed upon Misri after a miraculous event in his life. He learnt that there was a young mystic in a certain place and he prepared to travel to him. On reaching, he found the mystic hanging upside down on a tree, saying repeatedly to himself: “I will not relieve you of this pain, until you help me obey my Lord, and I will keep you hanging like this until you die of hunger.” This pathetic scene made Misri cry out of compassion for the young mystic. “Who is this,” the mystic asked, “who is showing compassion for the one whose shame is little and whose shortcomings are many?” Misri went over to the mystic, greeted him and asked: “Why are you paining your body?” The mystic replied: “I am paining my bodily desires (Nafs), and not my body, because it does not let me obey my Lord. It, rather, wants me to engage with people and things other than the Divine”. The young mystic continued: “All shortcomings and sins emanate from coming into touch with others than the Divine, and therefore, I choose not to meet people and I consider it a grave sin for me.”
The young mystic, then, asked him to meet a person who, he believed, was a greater saint with more virtues and divine blessings. That second mystic guided him to a third mystic calling him greater saint and more God-conscious. Thus, all the three saints considered themselves lower in status and inferior in the sight of God.
The abundance of God-consciousness exhibited by all the three mystics led Misri to think deeply about his own state of affairs and the Divine Existence. Thereafter, he had an inner spark within him to lead more meaningful life full of God-consciousness and with bigger responsibilities towards all the creatures of the world. Consequently, Misri received the glad tiding of his divine acceptance.