Khidr الخضر

“I am the Sheikh with the divine nature, and I am the guardian of the world of human nature.”
— Jîlî on Khidr

Watercolor, pen, metal leaf on Cotman paper 300gsm. 50x50 cm.

Date3 August 2011

Al-Khidr (الخضر) is a mythical figure of Islam understood in Sufism as the archetype of direct revelation, or, in other words, the personification of humanity’s direct access to divine Truth. His place of dwelling, “where the two seas meet”, is where divine nature meets human nature. He is “the green one”, the color of realizing God. As a hidden initiator, Khidr has a lunar quality that led to my use of silver rather than gold for the highlights.

At the place where the two seas meet, Moses met Khidr, one whom Allâh had given knowledge of Himself. Moses asked Khidr, “May I follow you so that you may guide me by that which you have been taught?”
“You will not be able to bear with me,” Khidr replied. “For how can you bear with that which is beyond your knowledge?”
Moses said, “If Allâh wills you will find me patient; I shall not disobey you in anything.”
Khidr said, “If you want to follow me, you must not ask any questions about anything, until I myself speak to you about it.”
The two set out. They embarked on a ship and immediately Khidr bored a hole in the bottom of the ship.
“What a strange thing you have done!” exclaimed Moses. “Have you bored a hole in order to drown the ship’s passengers?”
“Did I not tell you,” he replied, “that you would not bear with me?”
“Pardon my forgetfulness,” said Moses. “Do not be angry with me because of this.”
They continued on their journey until they met a young man. Moses’ companion killed this young man, and Moses said: “You have killed an innocent man who has done nothing wrong. You have committed a wicked crime.”
“Did I not tell you,” Khidr replied, “that you would not bear with me?”
Moses said: “If I ever question you again, abandon me; for then I would have deserved it.”
They journeyed on until they came to a certain city. They asked the people for some food, but these people would not receive them as guests. Finding a wall on the point of falling down, Moses’ companion repaired it. Moses said to his companion, “If you had wanted, you could have asked payment for your work.”
“The time has now come when we must separate,” said Khidr. “But first I will explain to you the meaning of those acts which you could not bear to watch with patience.
“The ship belonged to some poor fishermen. I damaged it because if it had gone to sea it would have been captured by a king who was seizing every boat by force.
“The young man was a criminal, who would have committed many crimes that would have brought sorrow to many people, including his parents.
“As for the wall, it belonged to two orphaned boys in the city whose father was an honest man. Beneath the wall their treasure is buried. Allâh decreed in his mercy that they should dig out this treasure when they grew to manhood. What I did was not by my own will.
“That is the meaning of my acts which you could not bear to watch with patience.”

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