The Republic of Rumi: A Novel of Reality
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The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality

Chapter 46


By Khurram Ali Shafique

At the meeting of two waters where a dead fish became alive and swam away, Moses met a servant of God who had received mercy and knowledge from the Divine Presence. He permitted Moses to accompany him on the condition that no questions were to be asked. Still, Moses could not help raising objections on three occasions: his companion bore a hole in the boat in which they were traveling and which belonged to some poor people; he killed an innocent child; and in an inhospitable town where they had received no food or kindness they saw a wall that was on the point of falling down. He set it up straight.

On the third objection from Moses, the companion said to him, “This is the parting between me and you. Now I shall tell you the interpretation of those things over which you were unable to hold patience.” The boatswains were headed towards the territory of a king who confiscated good boats. Moses’ companion saved their boat by making it unsuitable for the king. The child belonged to parents who were people of Faith but the child was going to grieve them by obstinate rebellion and sin. He was killed so that in exchange the parents should receive from God a better son. Beneath the wall that was about to fall was hidden the legacy for two orphans, and God wanted it to remain secure until the children attained their age of full strength. “I did it not of my own accord,” added the companion.

This incident is narrated in ‘The Cave’, or Surah Kahf, the eighteenth chapter of the Quran. It may be noticed that Moses growing up in the palace of the Pharaoh was not unlike a boat headed towards an unjust king: Moses may have ended up in the Pharaoh’s service if God had not caused him to accidentally kill a man in Egypt, just like the Servant of God killing a child. The message of Moses was a legacy of Abraham but his historical role was rather like setting up straight a falling wall so that it may remain intact when humanity comes of age in the times of Jesus and the last Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The Servant of God is not named in the Quran but has subsequently become known as Khizr. Legends have accumulated around him, including one about the discovery of the Water of Life. In other stories, he guides travelers lost on the way. Now he appears in the Garden.


The river is calm at night when Khizr appears before Iqbal and says, “The Destiny of the World stands unveiled before those who can see with the heart.”

Iqbal asks him questions about roaming around in the wilderness, life, imperialism, socialism and the Muslim world.


  • How could the present appearance of Khizr be related to your search for Joseph?

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The legendary guide Khizr appears before the Poet.
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