When Came the Title?
Jafar the son of Yahya of Lisbon determined to find the Sufi 'Teacher of
the Age', and he travelled to Mecca as a young man to seek him. There he
met a mysterious stranger, a man in a green robe, who said to him before
any word had been spoken:
'You seek the Greatest Sheikh, Teacher of the Age. But you seek him in the East, when he is in the West. And there is another thing which is incorrect in your seeking.'
He sent Jafar back to Andalusia, to find the man he named-Mohiudin, son on El-Arabi, of the tribe of Hatim-Tai. 'He is the Greatest Sheikh.'
Telling nobody why he sought him, Jafar found the Tai family in Murcia and inquired for their son. He found that he had actually been in Lisbon when Jafar set off on his travels. Finally he traced him to Seville.
'There,' said a cleric, 'is Mohiudin.' He pointed to a mere schoolboy, carrying a book on the Traditions, who was at that moment hurrying from a lecture-hall.
Jafar was confused, but stopped the boy and said:
'Who is the Greatest Teacher?'
'I need time to answer that question', said the other.
'Art thou the only Mohiudin, son of El-Arabi, of the Tribe of Tai? asked Jafar.
'I am he.'
'Then I have no need of thee.'
Thirty years later in Aleppo, he found himself entering the lecture-hall of the Greatest Sheikh, Mohiudin ibn El-Arabi, of the tribe of Tai. Mohiudin saw him as he entered, and spoke:
'Now that I am ready to answer the question you put to me, there is no need to put it at all. Thirty years ago, Jafar, thou hadst no need of me. Hat thou still no need of me? The Green One spoke of something wrong in thy seeking. It was time and place.'
Jafar son of Yahya became one of the foremost disciples of El-Arabi.
The Vision at Mosul