Oh Attaar, How will you die?
An arrogant perfume seller called Fariduddin, who was also known as Attaar, used to run a business in Neshapur. You could think of it as a boutique perfumery in modern terms.
One day he scoffs at a fakir, who is begging for alms, and tells him to go away. The fakir asks, “O Attaar, such arrogance. Do you know how you will die?” Fariduddin laughs and says, “Exactly the way you will die”. The fakir says, “Like this”. The fakir lies down, covers himself with a ragged cloth and dies at that very moment.
It was at this moment, that the birds that travelled to the mountain of Qaaf in search of truth were born from Attaar’s being. After this incident, Fariduddin was a completely changed man. He shut down his business and began his journey.
Aik itr farosh, matmool aur mutakabir Fariduddin naam ka shakhs jo Attaar kehlata tha, Neshapur mein kaarobaar kerta tha. Aaj ke zamanon ka fashion house, aik perfumery chalata tha. Aik fakir jo dast-e-sawaal daraaz kerta tha usay baar baar dhatkarta hai toh wo fakir kehta hai keh “Ai Attaar itna takabbur… Tu maray ga kaisay?” Fariduddin uska tamaskhur uraatay hue kehta hai, “Jaisay tu maray ga”. Fakir kehta hai, “Aisay”. Wo zameen per lait ker apna kharqa orhta hai aur mar jaata hai. Us lamhay Fairduddin ke badan mein se un parindon ne janam liya jo sach ki talaash mein sargardaan Qaaf ke pahaar tak safar kerte hain, Fariduddin ki haiyat bhi sarasar badal gayi. Us ne kaarobaar tamaam kiya aur qadam qadam per junoon ikhtiyaar kiya
Every now and then, you come across a paragraph or a sentence that leaves you shocked. I just finished reading Mantiqultair, Jadeed by Mustansar Hussain Tarar. It is brilliantly written but that’s not what I am here to talk about. It is this phrase that hasn’t left me ever since I read it, “itna takabbur, tu maray ga kaisa?” – “such arrogance. do you know how you will die?”
Often we are arrogant and egotistical about things that are perhaps of no consequence in the grand scheme of things. To be grateful for something, to even be proud of it in a positive healthy manner is different. But arrogance is a virus that hollows you out, destroys you from within. And one of the side effects of arrogance is this illusion of immortality that we create for ourselves whether that’s through hoarding wealth, fame, land, or by working on one’s “legacy” in the hope to be remembered forever.
Perhaps I am missing the point of this incident. However, that phrase simply isn’t leaving me. If one were to become aware of how one will die, would that change us? If we were to know how and when we will die, what would we do differently? What would we stop and what new journey would we begin?
Read more from Mantiq ul Tair, Jadeed below