How Mujahida of the nafs was made in the past

This incident has been written by Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanvi Ra in Arwa e Salasa, and has  been beautifully narrated by Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi in udu.

Shaykh Zakariyya Kandhlawi Ra has also written of  this incident in  "The Inseparability Of Shari'a & Tariqa".

The stormy of Shāh Abu Sa‘id Gangohī is well known and I have narrated it in many of my booklets. In summary, the story is that he went to Shāh Nizam al-Din Balkhi. When Shāh Nizam al-Din learned that his mentor’s grandson is about to arrive, he set out to receive him from one of the stations. Shāh Nizam al-Din showed him the utmost respect and returned with him to Balkh. He sat him on an elevated place and himself sat in the servants area. When Shāh Abu Sa‘id asked permission to leave, Shāh Nizam al- Din placed a gift of gold coins at his feet. Then Abu Sa‘id said, “Shaikh, I do not need these worldly things nor have I come here for this purpose. I want the [spiritual] wealth which you came and took from us.” No sooner had said this that Shāh Nizim al-Din completely changed his attitude. He said harshly, “Go to the barn and prepare food for the hunting dogs.”
Thus, he was placed in charge of watching over the hunting dogs, and washing them, bathing them, and keeping them clean. Sometimes he was told to blow into the fires [to warm the water for the bathrooms] and at other times to accompany his mentor on his hunting trips, holding the leashes of the hunting dogs while the Shaikh rode his horse. One of the servants was instructed, “Give the servant who lives in the barn two pieces
of barley bread twice a day from the house.” Now whenever Shāh Abu Sa‘id came in the presence of Shāh Nizam al-Din, he would not look up at Shāh Abu Sa‘id. He told Shāh Abu Sa‘id to sit far from him and refused to acknowledge his presence when he came in.
Once the Shaikh ordered the cleaning lady to purposely drop some garbage over him and note his reaction. When she passed by and purposely slipped some garbage over him he grew red with anger and said, “I would have showed you if we were in Gangoh.” The cleaning lady informed the Shaikh of Shāh Abu Sa‘id’s response. The Shaikh said, “There is still some odor of arrogance in him.” Two months later, the Shaikh ordered the cleaning lady to do the same again. This time he [Shāh Abu Sa‘id] only glared at her then quietly lowered his head. When the cleaning lady came and told the Shaikh, “Today, he did not say a thing. He glared at me and then lowered his head.” The Shaikh said, “There is still some odor left.” After a few months, he ordered the cleaning lady to “Throw a whole basket of cow dung on him until he is covered in it from head to toe.” But now Shāh Abu Sa‘id was spiritually purified. When she came and threw the whole basket over him, he stood up concerned and said humbly, “The poor woman hit me accidentally and fell. Tell me, are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere?” He then scooped up all the cow dung with his hands saying, “Here let me put this back in for you,” and carefully put it back in the basket. The cleaning lady narrated the whole incident and said in astonishment, “Today, instead of getting angry, Shāh sahib pitied me and scooped up all the dung and put it in the basket.” The Shaikh said, “Now he is rectified.” 
Later that day, Shāh Nizam al-Din sent a servant to Shāh Abu Sa‘id, “Today we will go hunting, prepare the dogs for the trip.” In the evening, the Shaikh rode out into the jungle with his servants. Fragile and sickly, Shāh Abu Sa‘id was guiding the well-fed hunting dogs by their leashes. He tied the leashes to his waist and tried to hold them back but fell and was dragged on the jungle floor. Branches, thorns, and rocks bruised and cut his body, but not a sound came from his mouth. When the other servants pulled in the dogs and raised him to his feet he was trembling from fear that, “The Shaikh will be angry with me,” and will say “You didn’t follow my orders! Why didn’t you control the dogs?” But the Shaikh was only testing him and this he had done. That night Shāh Nizam al-Din saw his spiritual mentor Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qudds [Shah Abu Sa‘id’s grandfather] in his dream. He [Shāh ‘Abd many exertions as you put my children through.” Early the next morning Shāh Nizam al-Din called Shah Abu Sa‘id from the barn and hugged him. He then said, “I brought with me the bountiful blessings of the Chistiyya family from India, and you are now taking it back. May Allah u bless you, you may now go home.” Thus, he granted Shah Abu Sa‘id successor ship and sent him back to India. This story is summarized, the original being much longer. Many famous stories of spiritual exertions of this kind are found in the books of history, but our physical strength has given away and we do not have the faith of our predecessors. Therefore, the spiritual masters after Shaikh Thānwī have become very lenient in this matter.

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