We continue with Hazrat Inayat Khan’s telling of the old story of the two lovers, begun here some days ago.
When no remedy [for Majnun’s love for Leila] had been left untried, the parents of Majnun resolved to seek the refuge of the Kaaba as their last resort.
They took Majnun on the pilgrimage to Mecca. When they drew near to the Kaaba, a great crowd gathered to see them. The parents, each in turn, went and prayed to God saying “O Lord, Thu art most merciful and compassionate. Grant Thy favour to our only son, that the heart of Majnun may be released from the pain of the love of Leila.”
Everybody there listened to this intently, and wonderingly awaited what Majnun had to say. Majnun was told by his parents, “Child, go and pray that the love of Leila may be taken away from your heart.”
Majnun replied, “Shall I meet my Leila if I pray?”
They, with the greatest disappointment, said, “Pray, child whatever you like to pray.”
He went, and said, “I want my Leila,” and everybody present said, “Amen.”
The world echoes to the lover’s call.
When the parents had sought in every way to cure Majnun of his craze for Leila, in the end they thought the best way was to approach the parents of Leila, for this was the last hope of saving Majnun’s life. They sent a message to Leila’s parents, who were of a different faith, saying, “We have done all we can to take away from Majnun the thought of Leila, but so far we have not succeeded, nor is there any hope left to us except one. That is your consent to their marriage.”
In answer they said, “Although it exposes us to the scorn of our people, still Leila seems never to forget the thought of Majnun for one single moment; and since we have taken her away from school, she pines away every day. Therefore, we would not mind giving Leila in marriage to Majnun, if only we were convinced that he is sane.”
On hearing this the parents of Majnun were much pleased, and advised Majnun to behave sensibly, so that Leila’s parents might have no cause to suspect him of being out of his mind.
Majnun agreed to do everything his parents desired, if he could only meet his Leila. They went, according to the custom of the East, in procession to the house of the bride, where a special seat was made for the bridegroom, who was covered with garlands of flowers.
But, as they say in the East, the gods are against lovers. So destiny did not grant these perfect lovers the happiness of being together.
The dog that used to accompany Leila to school happened to come into the room where they were sitting. As soon as Majnun’s eyes fell on this dog his emotions broke out. He could not sit in the high seat and look at the dog. He ran to the dog and kissed its paws and put all the garlands of flowers on the neck of the dog. There was no sign of reverence or worship that Majnun did not show to this dog.
The dust of the beloved’s dwelling is the earth of Kaaba to the lover.
This conduct plainly proved him insane. As love’s language is gibberish to the loveless, so the actions of Majnun were held by those present to be mere folly. They were all greatly disappointed, and Majnun was taken back home. And Leila’s parents refused their consent to the marriage.
To be continued…