Musharaff: Death of my Father

The following is taken from the memoir, Pages in the Life of a Sufi by Musharaff Moulamia Khan, the youngest brother of Hazrat Inayat Khan.  Here he tells of some events surrounding the passing of his father, Rahmat Khan. The excerpt has been edited for length.

My father died when I was about thirteen years of age, and one may see how the inner life can be mystically linked with the outer. About one year before his death my father had dreamt about Hazrat Ali, the cousin of the Prophet Mohammed, who was carried to his funeral on the back of a camel, and he had shown himself to my father, saying, “This is the way for everyone to go.”  And then he disappeared from the vision of my father. Next morning my father woke up, and when he met his nephew Moulwi Mehr Bakhsh, he told him this dream, and he said to him, “It seems to me that my time is approaching to leave this earthly plane.”

When Rahmat Khan became ill it was his wish not to disturb his eldest son Inayat Khan, who was travelling about on the work of his musical career; but in his heart he was longing very much to have Inayat Khan near to him as the two other sons, who were living with him in Baroda.  Here we can see how true the saying is that thoughts have wings. The father’s yearning for his eldest son was a power in itself, it had a dynamic effect upon his son who was living in Calcutta; Inayat Khan saw in a dream that his father was ill and longing for him.  As Inayat Khan’s life had been devoted to the inner culture, the spiritual path, this enabled him to understand his dream clearly and without any doubt.  In the morning, he at once sent a telegram to his brother Maheboob Khan, asking “How is Father, please tell me at once.”  Maheboob Khan answered that their father was ill.  On hearing this Inayat Khan at once decided to leave Calcutta for Baroda, where he arrived after two or three days journey.  He arrived home at midnight, which gave us all a great surprise, and we were filled with excitement and affection and love.

On hearing of his arrival, the father with his loving heart full, exclaimed, “Where is he?” and forgetting his own illness and feeble condition in bed he rose up.  When his son entered he went at once at the feet of his father, who immediately lifted him, and both embraced each other standing for a long time. Then they both sat down on the floor and Inayat Khan called me at once to come and sit on his lap, and he kissed me and showed me his love.  As you know the oriental race is very emotional and most affectionate.

The great joy of having his beloved son Inayat Khan beside him made my father forget his illness; and the next day through his joy he went out and ordered at the confectioner’s an Indian sweet for the whole family, even for the neighbours, in order to celebrate the joy of the arrival at home of his loving son. The family could not understand how it was possible that one who was so ill could attend to this; but it was the power of his love–this made him overcome his illness. This shows that God is Love and in love there is every power. Therefore the Sufi’s teaching is based on the cultivation of the heart and the path of love.

Later, during the time of Rahmat Khan’s final illness, Inayat Khan and Maheboob Khan were on a journey, but I was there in his service, though I was very young. aged about thirteen.  Before the moment of his soul’s leaving this mortal body I was present, caressing his shoulders and back, but he suddenly asked me to go from him.  I was most astonished.  When, three days after the passing of Rahmat Khan, Inayat Khan came back to Baroda, I told him all that had happened while I was nursing my father and how he suddenly told me to go away from his side.  Because I could not understand why he spoke to me in such a way, it gave a sorrow in my heart.  But my elder brother explained this to me so beautifully, and this consoled me greatly and gave me a feeling of comfort. He told me that father wanted me to go away from his side because he did not wish to have any attachment before his sight while his soul was departing; he wished at that time to have only the thought of God and to offer his prayer. For this reason he asked me to do so. And the second reason was that I was too young, that I should not have too unhappy an impression at that age.

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