He stayed in a forest for 40 years, fleeing from people. He subsisted on the leaves of trees and whatever he could find in the forest. He loved poverty and starvation. He would break fast only after three days. When he ate food, it was only saltless vegetables.
Once a faqeer came and informed Hadhrat with great humility that he had seven daughters, but no means of support whatsoever. He sought Hadhrat’s advice regarding the marriage of his daughters. Hadhrat said that he would arrange some plan the following day. On the way back, the faqeer met a kaafir who initiated a conversation. The faqeer mentioned his meeting with Hadhrat Shaikh and what had transpired. The kaafir commented that since the Shaikh himself was a faqeer, he would not be able to arrange anything. The kaafir added: “Tell him that if he works for me for seven years, I will give him seven thousand dinars.”
The Faqeer reported this offer to Hadhrat Shaikh Shareef who and he accepted. He went with the faqeer to the kaafir. He prevailed on the kaafir to give the seven thousand dinars to the faqeer in lieu of the service which the Shaikh had agreed on. When the king heard of this incident, he immediately sent a gift of seven thousand dinars to Hadhrat Shaikh. But, the Shaikh distributed the king’s gift among the fuqara and said that his contract with the kaafir stipulated employment, not monetary compensation. When the kaafir saw this steadfast, independent and honourable attitude of Hadhrat, he was astonished and he immediately released him from the contract. Hadhrat made the following dua for the kaafir:
“You have set me free from your prison. May Allah set you free from Jahannum.”
This statement exercised a profound influence on the heart of the kaafir who, there and then, accepted Islam. He stayed in the service of Hadhrat Shaikh pursuing the knowledge of Sulook.
Once a follower presented a gift. However, Hadhrat Shaikh refused, saying that he had no need of it. Pointing towards the forest (where they were at the time), Hadhrat said: “This forest is full of it (i.e. gold which was presented as a gift).”
When the man looked, he saw a stream of gold flowing.
It is said that whoever ate any food left over by Hadhrat, would become a Majzْb.
Crying was dominant in him. He would often let out a scream and cry, then lapse into unconsciousness. Once when someone asked him to explain his abundance of crying, he said:
“I am unable to contain myself when I think of the aayat:
‘I have not created jinn and man (for any purpose) except that they worship Me.’
While I have been created for Allah’s ibaadat, I am occupied with others.”
His demise was on either the 3rd or 10th Rajab 612 Hijri at the age of 120 years. According to some, his grave is in Qunooh. Others say, in Zandanah. It is also said that he is buried in Shaam. His well-known Khalifah is Uthman Harْni who will now be discussed.