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Early Life

Khwaja Usman Harooni was born in Haroon, which is in Iran. According to some, he was born in 526 AH (1131 AD) and according to others, he was born in 510 AH (1116 AD). He is also known by his nicknames as Abu Noor and Abu Mansur.

When he was rather young, he came in touch with an absorbed mystic (majzub) by the name of Chirk. This association with Chirk brought about a significant transformation in his life. As a result, the material world lost its charm for him and he decided to embrace a higher moral and spiritual life.

Khwaja Usman Harooni went to meet Hazrat Haji Sharif Zindani, a renowned mystic and saint of the Chishti Order, with a request to be enrolled as his spiritual disciple. Khwaja Haji Sharif Zindani found him to be a fit person and accepted the request, by placing a four-edged cap upon the head of Khwaja Usman Harooni.

He then told him that the four-edged cap implied the following four things:
First is the renunciation of this world;
Second is the renunciation of the world hereafter;
Third is the renunciation of the desires of the self;
Fourth is the renunciation of everything other than God.

Khwaja Usman Harooni spent over thirty years in the company of his spiritual guide. During this period, he was engaged in ascetic practices and prayers. As time passed, he gained many spiritual accomplishments. He was then asked by his spiritual guide to move on and spread the Gospel of Truth.

Travels

Khwaja Usman Harooni undertook many tours and travels to preach the Gospel of Truth. In the process, he visited many countries and cities. Among them are prominent Bukhara, Baghdad, Falooja, Damascus, Mecca and Madina. During the course of his travels, he performed the Hajj, or the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. In almost all cities, he enjoyed the company of renowned sufis and accomplished dervishes. And while on way to Oosh, he met Sheikh Bahauddin of Oosh. And when he reached Badakshan, he met a saintly man who was one of the attendants of Hazrat Junayd of Baghdad.

He reached Baghdad once again, and there he stayed for a while. During all the travels, he was accompanied by his close and dear spiritual disciple, Khwaja Moin-ud-din Hasan Chishti, who carried his tiffin basket.

After a while, Hazrat Usman Harroni visited India, during the rule of Sultan Altamish.

Death

Khwaja Usman Harooni breathed his last on 5th of Shawaal in the year 617 AH (1220 AD). His blessings are still invoked by thousands of people belonging to every strata of society and every school of thought. While his tomb lies in Mecca, there is also a symbol of his strength and source of his blessings at the Usmani Chilla at Ajmer.

Message and teachings

According to Khwaja Usman Harooni, a great man is one who is endowed with virtues like contentment, sincerity, self-abnegation, self-sacrifice and above all, spirit of renunciation. He said that the ego in a man was an enemy, as it did not allow him to think rationally, act wisely and live happily. He emphasised that unless a man loves human beings, it is impossible for him to love God. His advice was simple and his message was as simple and that was "Live". To exist is one thing but to LIVE another. To exist means to merely breathe, but to live means to keep the welfare of fellow beings uppermost in priority. To live a good life requires a serious effort on one's own part. No exterior agency, legislation or act can make the man a moral being. Inner discovery is very important.

To help his disciples live a better life, Khwaja Usman Harooni gave discourses at times to guide them towards a better path. Of his many teachings, prominent are:

  • Once the Friend becomes your friend, the whole universe becomes yours. Then it is necessary that you should become unmindful of everything else except the Friend, should ever be with Him and should follow Him faithfully.
  • According to him, the faithful is one who keeps three things dear to his heart: mendicancy, illness and death.
  • It is best to not weep or wail in times of difficulty. In fact, according to the witness of Hazrat Abdullah Ansari, Holy Prophet Mohammed has laid down that the one who weeps and wails in times of trouble and tribulation invites the curse of God upon himself.
  • The one who feeds the hungry is dear to God. God fulfills a thousand wants and frees such a person from hell-fire.
  • He who gives food to a dervish becomes free from all sins.

Poetry

Khwaja Usman Harooni was also an accomplished poet. His poetic nickname is 'Usman'. A transliteration of one of his important works is produced hereunder. The poetic translation of the work is by Dr. Zahurul Hassan Sharib.

Namee danam key akhir chun dam e deedar mi raqsam
Magar nazam baeen zoqey key peshey yar mi raqsam
Biya jana tamasha kun key dar ambohey ja bazan
Basad saman e ruswaee sarey bazar mi raqsam

Khusha rindi key pama lash kunam sad parsaee raa
Zahey taqwa key maan ba jubba o dastar mi raqsam

Tuwan qatil key az behrey tamashan khun e man rezee
Manan bismil key zerey khanjar ey khun khar mi raqsam

Manam Usman e Harooni wa yar e shaikh e mansooram
Malamat mee kunad khalqey waman bardar mi raqsam

I do not know why at last to have a longing look I dance,
But I feel proud of the fondness that before the Friend I dance.
Thou strikest the musical instrument and lo ! everytime I dance,
In whatever way Thou causest me to dance, o Friend, I dance.

Come O Beloved ! see the spectacle that in the crowd of the intrepid and daring,
With a hundred ignomies in the heart of the market I dance.

Blessed is recklessness that I trample underfoot the very many acts of virtue,
Hail to piety that with the robe and the turban I dance.

I am Usman e Harooni and a friend of Sheikh Mansur,
They revile and rebuke and upon the gallows I dance.