Symbols of the world's religions




Dr. Abdel Ghani

In April, 1903, Babajan sailed from Bombay on the S. S. Hyderi on her second pilgrimage to Mecca. Although every second Babajan was absorbed in her blissful state, aboard the ship she acted quite normal. She would openly converse with the other passengers, reciting couplets from the Persian poets Hafiz and Rumi and expound in simple terms about the deep mysteries of the Absolute. All were attracted to the old woman, now well over one hundred years old, including the crew with whom she spoke in English.

One unusual incident occurred during this voyage. It started raining heavily and terrible storm arose. All were terrified and people panicked, convinced the ship would sink. Babajan appeared on the deck unmindful of the danger. In an unusually loud voice, she shouted to one of the passengers named Nooma Pankhawala, "Wrap a kerchief around your throat to form a bag and approach every passenger — including the children and Europeans — and collect one paisa from each. Then have them beseech God with this prayer, saying, 'Oh God! Save our ship from this storm! On reaching Medina, in the name of your Beloved Prophet, we will offer food to the poor!'

Immediately, the man, Nooma, collected one paisa from each person and all fervently repeated what Babajan had commanded. Gradually the storm subsided and miraculously they escaped what appeared to be certain death.

Among the passengers aboard the S. S. Hyderi were Noor Mohammed Kasam Mitha, Nooma Pankhawala, Seth Saleh Mohammed, Hyder Ibrahim Sayani, and his mother and brother. Hyder Ibrahim Sayani was a professor at Deccan College in Poona, and this story was narrated by him.

Upon arriving in Mecca, word of the miraculous rescue spread and a great multitude gathered to be personally blessed by Babajan. Perfect Masters seldom perform miracles. They do so only when they have to shower their grace on large section of humanity. Babajan showered her grace on all the passengers on board S. S. Hyderi and all those who gathered at Mecca and Medina.

At the Kaaba, Babajan assumed the role of an ordinary pilgrim, performing prayers five times a day at the shrine, but after a few days she journeyed north to Medina. There in the name of Mohammed, the Prophet of the All-Merciful, she distributed grain to the poor.


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