HAJI SIDDIQUE PHALKE
HAJI SIDDIQUE PHALKE
Once, Haji Siddique Phalke, a pilgrim from Mecca, came to Shirdi to see Sai Baba. But Sai Baba did not allow him to do so. But the Muslim pilgrim would sit in the courtyard of the Mosque and wait for Sai Baba's permission. In this way, he passed nine months but failed to get even a glimpse of Sai Baba. Gradually, he became so disappointed that he began to remember whether he had done any blunder to offend Sai Baba. In the end, some people suggested that he should take Shama's help to seek the sweet pleasure of Sai Baba's company.
Shama, one of the main devotees of Sai Baba, listened to his tale of woe. He assured him that his yearning desire to meet Sai Baba would be communicated and asked him to wait a little longer. Shama's assurance produced a ray of hope in the pilgrim's heart.
One day, Shama got an opportunity to talk to Sai Baba. He asked him as to why he did not allow the aged Muslim pilgrim to have a glimpse of his face. He implored him to bless the pilgrim.
Sai Baba said, "Shama, what shall I do when Allah does not want the pilgrim's entry in the mosque ? Anyhow, I am ready to meet him somewhere else. Shama went to ask the Muslim pilgrim (Haji) if he would like to see Sai out of the mosque. The pilgrim agreed to this. Then, Sai Baba wanted to know if the pilgrim could give Rs 40,000/- for Sai. The Muslim pilgrim also agreed to that condition.
After that, Sai Baba accompanied Shama to contact the Haaji or the Muslim pilgrim. He exhorted him saying, "Siddique ! you have wasted time in reading the Holy Quran and offering the prayers according to the Muslim law, as you have done so very sincerely. The 'Namaz' or the prayer according to the Muslim law is not meant for the sinners. Even after your holy pilgrimage to Mecca, you are still indifferent to the human values of love, compassion and tolerance. You had money but could not feed the hungry people. Now, you are ready to give me, Rs 40,0001-."
Both Shama and the Haaji were stunned to hear Sai Baba's scolding. Anyhow, the Haaji gathered courage and asked Sai Baba how he could be cruel when he had been reading the Quran and offering the Islamic prayers five times a day. Moreover, he had staunch faith in Allah.
Sai Baba said to him, "Siddique ! the reading of the Quran does not make a person real Muslim unless he acts according to the teachings of the Quran. Had you acted upon the sermons of the Quran, you would not have left your palanquin-bearers hungry and you would not have scolded the wretched lady who had begged something from you to feed herself and her hungry child." Sai Baba's scolding reminded the Haaji of the day when he gave nothing to eat to his palanquin-bearers who were carrying him to Shirdi. He also remembered the incident when he had badly scolded the miserable lady who was begging alms to feed her hungry child.
When the Haaji remembered his misdeeds, he was deeply ashamed. He fell at Sai Baba's feet and began to apologize most humbly.
"Repent for your misdeeds and thereafter you can enter my court," saying so, Sai Baba left away.
Next day, a huge community feast was organized at Shirdi. All the poor people, residing in Shirdi's vicinity were invited and fed for seven days. Added to this, medicines and dresses were also distributed, free of cost. The Haaji met all the expenditure and he distributed his entire accumulated wealth away among the poor people. In this way, he was absolved of all his sins.
On the concluding day of the community feast, Sai Baba sent a basket of mangoes along with a message to the Haaji. The message was - "Siddique, today you have become a true Muslim. Whatever virtuous splendour you earned through your holy pilgrimage to Mecca, will be equalled with the community feast hosted by you. By God's grace, you are now treading on the right path of truth, love, compassion and tolerance. The doors of the Dwarakamai Mosque shall remain open for the true devotees of Allah. I invite you to visit the Mosque."
Siddique's joy knew no bounds to receive Sai Baba's invitation. He rushed towards the Dwarakamai Mosque. Sai Baba was standing there to give him a warm welcome. Sai embraced him and allowed him to live in the mosque.