Saturday, December 31, 2005

Qualification of a Master, Need of Living Guide, Bay'at, Uways Qarani, Taking Syaikh

Qualifications of a Master


The master must have four qualifications:
· He must be a scholar in all the obligations of the religion;
· He must be a Knower (carif);
· He must be an expert in the way of purifying the Self;
· He must be authorised by his shaikh to give guidance.

1. Being a Scholar in the Obligations of the Religion

The master must be a scholar in all religious obligations, such as the conditions of prayers, the conditions of fasting and the conditions of zakat (obligatory charity). He must be knowledgeable in the Jurisprudence of Islam and all necessary matters of Islamic Shari'ah. He must be a scholar in the Science of Tawhid (Oneness) according to the Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama'at, and all the and all the other conditions of faith (iman).

2. Being a Knower

To be a Knower means the master or murshid must have the knowledge of the conditions of the state of Ihsan, as mentioned by the Prophet (s) in the hadith, "Worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, and if you are not seeing Him, know that He is seeing you." A Knower must bear witness in his heart that Allah is the Unique One in His Essence, and in His Attributes, and in His Actions. He must know about His Attributes through Vision and Taste, by experiencing self-effacement in the Divine Presence.

3. Being Sanctified

The Master must have already purified or sanctified himself as a seeker under a master of his own. He will have come to know the different stages of the ego, its illnesses and its defects. The Master must be fully aware of all the methods Satan uses to enter the heart. He must know all the ways to sanctify others and the methods to heal his followers in order to raise them up to reach the State of Perfection.

If a seeker comes to the shaikh with perfect sincerity and truthfulness, asking to be initiated in the order, the shaikh must not hurry to initiate him, until he knows that he will remain trustworthy when he reaches the Goal. He must look at his capability. If his capability corresponds to the capability of the Close Ones (muqarrabin), then he will show him the way, as it is the way of the Trustworthy.

That way is built on killing one's own will, and connecting and submitting oneself to the will of one's shaikh. One must do as the Prophet (s) said, "Die before you die!" He must leave his natural will, which causes him to move according to his mind, and leave all his affairs to the will of his shaikh. The shaikh will lift him up through a path filled with difficulties, train him through worship, and guide him to a state of complete Self-
Effacement. Only this will elevate him to the Divine Presence.

That is why Khwaja Ubaidullah al-Ahrar said: "Who is the shaikh? The shaikh is the one who can know, through the vision that Allah has granted him, the capability of his murid. From the day he meets him to the day of his death, he will know which state the murid will attain, and in which way he will taste, and in which way he will reach the Divine Presence. If the shaikh cannot summon that knowledge, it is forbidden (haram) for him to give the seeker initiation."

He continued, "The shaikh must avoid the wealth of his murid. If the murid wishes to help the shaikh it is his choice. The states of guidance are above all states, and the master must not ask except from the Divine Presence." "It is said that one time a murid of Junaid came to him and wanted to give him all his money. Junaid refused and said, 'No.' When that same murid reached the State of Perfection and was lifted up to the Divine Presence, he came to Junaid and again wanted to give all his money to him. At that time he said, 'Yes. Now, I accept, because when you give now, you will not regret later.'

"That is why we don't like our murids to give all their money to the shaikh. When they haven't reached the state of perfection, they might regret later and be in doubt, and they will be harmed. But when the murid reaches that state he will give sincerely and will never regret it later. The evidence of this is that Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina 'Umar came to the Prophet (s) and from the first Sayyidina Abu Bakr gave all his money. The Prophet (s) asked, 'What have you left for your family?' He replied, 'I have left them Allah and his Prophet (s).' When the murid reaches the state of real generosity and real perfection, then the shaikh may accept what he gives. If he has not reached that state his gift must not be accepted."

The shaikh must not order any of his followers to do something he himself cannot do or would not do. He must know all the obligatory and forbidden actions according to the Shari'ah. Similary, he must know all the States of spirituality, and must have tasted all Tastes, so that he is an example, and when he speaks he speaks with real knowledge.
An example of this is a lady who came to a perfect shaikh one time with her son, saying, "My son is always asking for sweets. Please pray for him to leave that desire, as I don't always have sweets to give him." He said, "Be patient for three days and then bring him back to me." After three days she brought him back and the shaikh told him, "O my son, don't eat candies, because it is harmful for your stomach."

From that day the child never ate sweets again. Some time later someone asked the shaikh, "Why did you wait three days to give the child that advice?" The shaikh replied, "When the lady came to me, she asked me to prevent her child from eating sweets. I couldn't do that for him because I myself was under that temptation of eating sweets. So I stopped eating sweets for three days. When I had stopped, I was able to make a du'a for him, and that du'a was acceptable."

Qushayri relates in his Letter that allaj was once asked to talk about poverty. He said, "Wait a minute." He entered his house, went out somewhere and came back. Then he sat and spoke, saying poverty consists of this and this and that. One murid asked him, "O my shaikh, why didn't you speak like this from the beginning?" He said, "When I was asked, I had one dirham in my house. I couldn't speak about poverty while I still had something. So I went took that dirham, went and spent it in Allah's way, and then I could speak on poverty."

4. Having His Master's Authorization

The Shaikh must have authorization from his Master for training and uplifting his followers and showing the Way of this Path. That ijaza (permission) must reach him through the chain of the grandshaikhs from one to another, all the way back to the Prophet (s). As the wise person will not go to a doctor who has no license in healing, so the seeker in this way must find a perfect guide who has received the license, the ijaza, from his shaikh. Imam Muslim said, "This great knowledge [the knowledge of the self] is by itself the religion. So you have to know from whom you take your religion." In the book of Hafiz ibn Ali Kanz al-cUmmal," the following hadith is found. The Prophet (s) said, "O Umar, your din is your flesh and blood. Look at those from whom you take your din; take it from those who are on the right path and don't take from those who deviated." A knower said, "Knowledge is a spirit which is blown into the hearts, not philosophy or pretty tales to be written. So be very careful from whom you take it."

5. The Signs of Mastery

The main indication of mastery is that when you sit with a master you feel a breeze of faith, spiritual pleasure. He doesn't speak except for Allah. He is always advising the good. You will benefit from being in his company as you benefit from his words. You will benefit when you are far from him as you benefit when you are near him. You must see among his murids the picture of faith, sincerity, humbleness and taqwa (God-consciousness), and you must remember, when you are mixing with them, the highest state of love and truth and deference to others. You must see that his followers represent all different kinds of people in the community. That is how the Companions of the Prophet were.


Importance of Taking a Shaikh
Mawlana Syaikh Nazim Adil al Haqqani


Allah said in the Holy Qur'an, "Fear God and accompany Trustworthy people" [9:119]. Allah's Word is for all time, for every era and for every century. It is an ongoing order, from which we understand the importance of keeping company with the Trustworthy. Allah orders all human beings to accompany them, because by keeping their company one will see how they live their lives, how they deal with people, how they address their companions, how they eat, how they sleep, how they worship. By accompanying them, one will learn all their good manners, and their ways of life.

Another way too understand this verse, is that one should accompany a trustworthy person, because to be trustworthy is very rare and not many people achieve it. Everyone, however, can find a trustworthy person and accompany him, in order to be guided. Following a Trustworthy One is essential to our spiritual path. Such a one is needed to lead us and guide us and to be a beacon for us on that way. In the Naqshbandi Order, the living presence of a connected shaikh is essential. Through his physical and spiritual linkage to the Prophet (s) he establishes the murid's connection. The murid's obligation is to maintain his connection to his shaikh, to hold tightly to the hand of the one within his reach. The shaikh maintains the further connection to the previous shaikhs and to the Prophet (s).

From what has been said above, and in the biographies of the Masters, the importance of accompanying a True Master has been clearly demonstrated. It provides the seeker with the opportunity to learn the essentials of ethics and good conduct, to discover the hidden defects of his heart, and to be lifted to the states of perfection. There are two requisites for entering upon such an endeavor: when the seeker feels the need to seek in this way he must purify his intention and ask his Lord to connect him to a Truthful One; and he must look in his own country for someone who will point him in the direction of the Perfect Master.


The Need for a Living Guide
Mawlana Syaikh Nazim Adil


If one is separated from his shaikh by death or other circumstances, it becomes necessary to find a living guide, who can complete the work of the first master. The path itself is not the Goal, but the means to reach the Goal. Holding onto the attachment to a master who is no longer present, usually represents an unrealistic expectation and a false hope. It may also be a manifestation of pride. Although they had already pledged themselves to the Prophet (s), the Companions had to take initiation with Sayyidina Abu Bakr (r) after the passing of the Prophet (s), and as they renewed their pledge to the successive khalifs, Sayyidina 'Umar, Sayyidina 'Uthman and Sayyidina 'Ali, so too does a sincere seeker need to put his hand into the hand of a living shaikh, and renew his initiation, in order to complete his journey to the Divine Presence.


Taking Initiation (Bay'ah)
Mawlana Syaikh Nazim Adil al Haqqani


The seeker must follow a perfect Master able to guide him to the way of Allah, Almighty and Exalted, and to illuminate for him that way until he reaches the State of Annihilation. The seeker must give his oath and his promise to his guide, to learn from him how to leave his bad manners and to lift himself to better conduct in order to reach the Perfect Knowledge of Spirituality.

The meaning of initiation and its conditions have been mentioned in the Holy Qur'an, in the Sunnah of the Prophet and in the life of the Companions.

1. In verse 10 of Surat al-Fath, "Verily those who swear allegiance to thee indeed swear allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands. So whoever breaks his oath, breaks it to his own loss; and whoever fulfills the covenant that he has made with Allah, He will surely give him a great reward." [48:10]

2. In verse 91 of Surat an-Nahl, "And fulfill the Covenant of Allah when you have made it; and break not your oaths after making them firm, while you have made Allah your surety. Certainly, Allah knows what you do." [16:91]

3. In verse 34 of Surat al-Isra', "and fulfill the covenant, for the covenant shall be questioned about." [17:34]. We see the Qur'an encouraging the people to give their oath and to keep their oath to the Prophet (s), who leads them to the presence of Allah, Almighty and Exalted. That initiation was done in the time of the Prophet (s) and after the time of the Prophet (s).

According to the Sunnah of the Prophet (s), the oath was taken from men, as a group, or as individuals; from women, as a group or as individuals, and even from children. Bukhari and Muslim narrate that cUbada ibn as-Samit said, "The Prophet (s) said, 'Give me your pledge and oath not to associate anything with Allah, not to steal, not to commit adultery, not to kill your children, not to backbite, not to fall into sin; and who keeps his promise, then his reward is from Allah, Almighty and Exalted.' And then we gave our pledge to the Prophet (s) and our oath."

The Prophet (s) used to give initiation (bay'ah) to all people and urged them to take it. Bukhari and Muslim narrated in their books that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said, "When we pledged to the Prophet (s) to listen and obey, the Prophet (s) used to say, 'To the limit that you can carry.'"

Initiation of Women

The Prophet (s) gave baya'h to women many many times. It is narrated by Imam A mad in the Musnad that Salma bint Qays said, "I came to the Prophet (s) with many people from the Ansar, and we gave him our bay'ah, our pledge that we would not associate anyone with Allah, we would not steal, we would not commit adultery, we would not kill our children, we would not backbite and we would not disobey. We gave him our bay`ah and we went."
Initiation of Children. The Prophet (s), according to the books of Nisa'i and Tirmidhi gave initiation to Umayymah bint Ruqiyyah. It was narrated by Tabarani that 'Izza bint Khayyil took initiation from the Prophet (s) when they were not yet seven. It was also narrated by Tabarani in in an authentic hadith that the Prophet (s) gave baycah to al-H asan, al-H ussain, cAbdullah ibn cAbbas and cAbdullah ibn Jacfar when they were 7 years of age.

The Companions of the Prophet (s) gave baycah to the khalifs of the Prophet (s) after his passing. It is narrated through the books of Sirah of the Sahhaba that the Sahaba gave bay'ah to Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, to cUmar ibn al-Khattab, to cUthman ibn cAffan, to cAli, to Mucawiya, and to all the khalifs who came later, as they had given it to the Prophet (s).
The Prophet (s) said in a hadith related by Abu Dawud and Ahmad, "Whoever imitates a group of people will be of them." So the inheritors of the Masters of the Sufi orders, especially the Naqshbandi Sufi Order, inherited the initiation in every century.

As it was an obligation in the time of the Prophet, and in the time of the Sahaba and in the time of the Tabicin and Tabic at-Tabicin, and in the times of the Umayyads, Abbasids, Seljukids, and Ottomans, so it is also an obligation to give our baycah to a perfect guide, who guides us to the Way of Allah, Almighty and Exalted. And who is a better guide than the Sufi Masters who are inheritors of the Prophet (s) and inheritors of the Divine Presence?

The scholar Abul asan cAli Nadwi wrote in his book Rijal al-Fikr wa-d-Dacwah , page 253, "Abdul Qadir Jilani, the Ghawth of the Sufi Orders, Shaikh Muhiyideen ibn cArabi, and all the Masters of the Naqshbandi Golden Chain, opened the door of initiation as wide as possible, for every individual who has good and true belief, to find something that will be of value to him spiritually, and for everyone to renew his baycah with Allah, Almighty and Exalted. These Sufi Masters of the Naqshbandi Golden Chain and all Sufi orders lifted their followers to a station of Truthfulness, to feel the responsibility of their initiation and to renew their faith."

Thus we see that it is an important factor in every Sufi Order for one to take baycah with the shaikh, in order to sanctify oneself and to be lifted up to the Divine Presence. These guides are the revivers in every century, to connect our hearts with the heart of the Prophet (s), who in his turn connects our heart to the Divine Presence. These guides are the beacon of the light of the Prophet (s) and the light of the Divine Presence and they are the true examples for all nations to follow.


Shaikh Abdullah ad-Daghestani's Vision of Uwais al-Qarani (r)
Mawlana Syaikh Nazim Adil al Haqqani


Our grandshaikh 'Abdullah ad-Daghestani said: "After Shaikh Sharafuddin passed, and I was awaiting an opening to emigrate from Turkey, I was in a seclusion in the mosque next to the tomb of my shaikh, praying one night before Fajr. It was a cold and snowy night. I could feel the coldness in my bones. I could hear the quiet falling of the snow on the trees and the howling of wolves in the woods. I heard a voice calling my name, 'Abdullah Effendi.' I looked around but saw no one. Then I heard the voice again calling out, 'Abdullah!' I looked again, but again could not see anyone.

I knew it was the voice of my shaikh. The warmth of that voice energized me, and I ran outside, without even putting on my shoes or my woolen cloak. I saw my shaikh in a brilliant vision, standing on the hill. He called to me and said, 'Abdullah Effendi, come.' I did not even think to put shoes on; I walked on the snow and could feel warmth from the Divine Love emanating from his spirit. As I reached him he said, 'My son, tonight I have been ordered to take you to the presence of Sayyidina Uwais al-Qarani (r) by the order of the Prophet (s).'"

"Then he said, 'My son, take my hand.' I was very happy to take the hand of my shaikh, and as soon as I took his hand I found myself in the association of saints, in the presence of the Prophet (s), and Sayyidina Uwais al-Qarani (r) was sitting there. We entered, and found there were two places left for us to sit. We gave our respect and took our places."
"Then Sayyidina 'Ali (r) stood up and said, 'For the first time we are revealing this secret to the association of saints. Only now have we received the permission from the Prophet for that secret to appear.'"

"I saw present in the gathering the 7,007 Naqshbandi saints, together with the 313 Naqshbandi saints who are on the footsteps of the 313 great messengers, and the grandshaikhs of the Golden Chain. Sayyidina 'Ali said, addressing the association, and especially me, 'When the Prophet (s) was passing away, he called Sayyidina 'Umar and me to his presence and he said, 'After I die, you take the clothes I am wearing when I pass away, as a trust from me to Uwais al-Qarani. You will find Uwais al-Qarani in such and such a place.''"

"Sayyidina 'Ali said, 'While the Prophet (s) lay dying he was sweating a great amount. After he had passed we took those sweat-soaked clothes as a trust. We went as the Prophet (s) had directed us and looked for Uwais al-Qarani. We asked about him but no one knew of him. Then Sayyidina 'Umar said, 'O Ali, we haven't found him and no one here knows of him. We might as well go back.' I said, 'O Umar, that is impossible. If the Prophet (s) said he is here, we must find him. Perhaps he is known by a different name.' Then we began asking, 'Do you know someone who is a shepherd? He takes care of his mother and never leaves her.' Some people said, 'Yes. But his name is not Uwais al-Qarani, his name is 'Abdullah.' Then they showed us where he lived.'"

"'We went to that place and we saw in the distance a man sitting with his back to us. We approached. When we came near, without turning around, he said, 'O 'Ali, O 'Umar, give me my trust.' Immediately we handed him the robe of the Prophet (s). He stood up, kissed the robe, put it on his head, then put it to his heart and said, 'I accept, I accept, I accept.''" "'We wondered why he was kissing the robe and saying these words, because he had never seen the Prophet (s) in all his life. But we were hesistant to ask.'"
"'Then he turned to Sayyidina 'Umar and said to him, 'Ya 'Umar, how many times have you seen the Prophet (s)?' 'Umar was astonished at this question. He said, 'That is a strange question. I spent my whole life in the company of the Prophet.' Sayyidina Uwais said, 'I am asking for a reason. How many times did you actually see him?' Sayyidina 'Umar said, 'How do you mean? I was with him all the time!' Sayyidina Uwais al-Qarani said, 'Describe him to me.' Sayyidina 'Umar began to describe the Prophet, his eyes, his features, his appearance. Then Sayyidina Uwais said, 'Ya 'Umar, this description is known to everyone, including those who disbelieved in him.'"

"'Then he looked at me and said, 'Ya 'Ali, how many times did you see the Prophet (s)?' I knew what he meant, and I said, 'Ya Uwais, in my life I only saw the Prophet (s) one time.' Sayyidina 'Umar was looking at me in amazement. I said, 'I saw him one time. The Prophet (s) called me and told me, 'Look at me from my navel and above.) I looked and I saw that the Prophet (s) from his navel up filled the universes and the Seven Heavens. From his neck and up, I was unable to see, but it was above the Sidratul Muntaha (Furthermost Limit). Then he told me, 'Look from my navel and down.' I looked and I saw all these universes, all these worlds, stars and planets had disappeared and all that I saw was the Prophet (s), from his waist to his knees filling up that entire space. And from his knees down to his feet I was unable to see. Then he (s) said, (Look at all of me, from top to bottom.) I looked at him, and the Sidratul Muntaha and all these universes disappeared, and all I saw was Muhammad (s), everywhere. At that time I knew that Muhammad (s) is the Heart of the Divine Presence (al-Haqiqat al-Muhammadiyya).'"

"'Then Sayyidina Uwais looked at me and said, 'You really saw the Prophet (s) one time. And that is why he (s) said about you, 'I am the City of Knowledge and 'Ali is its Door.' Allah has also given this Divine Knowledge to Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, as the Prophet (s) mentioned, 'Whatever Allah poured into my heart, I poured into the heart of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq).'"'In this state of wonderment, Sayyidina 'Umar asked Sayyidina Uwais, 'What is the significance of that robe we brought to you?' He said, 'O 'Umar, that is one of the biggest secrets, which will not be revealed to people until the Last Days of his Nation. While the Prophet (s) was passing away, he was asking for intercession for his Nation.'"
"'Then he said, 'His Nation includes all human beings. And that is why Allah said, 'Say [O Prophet]: O mankind! I am a Messenger to you all from Allah, to Whom belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth.' [7: 158]. The Prophet asked for intercession and Allah gave permission. He was interceding for every individual that Allah created.

As he was asking he was sweating, and each drop of sweat represented one human being. He took on the burdens of each person. Until he was satisfied that Allah had forgiven everyone, then he left this world. And the symbols of that forgiveness are the drops of sweat which soaked this robe.'" "'This robe was given to me because the Prophet (s) wanted to tell me, 'O Uwais, I am passing to you the Divine Knowledge to clean the Nation after they make sins. You must pass that power to your successors, from me to you and from you to them.''" "And Sayyidina 'Ali said that Sayyidina Uwais al-Qarani said, 'I didn't see the Prophet (s) physically, but in every moment, of every day, I was with him during his life. I received from him every matter of importance for his Nation. I am going to transmit this secret to the many successors and inheritors among Allah's saints.

Without a physical connection but through a spiritual connection, they will receive the secret of the cleansing power and revive it in every century, until the Day of Judgment.'"
"Then Sayyidina 'Ali said to the association of saints, but directing his speech to me, 'What is passed to you and to many saints before you is from that Uwaisi power. This is the first time that secret has been revealed, by permission of the Prophet (s).'"
"Then my shaikh said to me, 'O my son, now you can go back to your seclusion.' As soon as he said that, I found myself entering the mosque and feeling the cold again." From time to time, saints experience such inspirations and visions through the spiritual power of their exalted predecessors.


Testimony of the Scholars of External Knowledge in Support of the Precedence of the Scholars of Internal Knowledge
Mawlana Syaikh Hisham Kabbani


Imam Abu Hanifa (81-150 H./700-767 CE)

Imam Abu Hanifa (r) (85 H.-150 H) said, "If it were not for two years, I would have perished. For two years I accompanied Sayyidina Jacfar as-Sadiq and I acquired the spiritual knowledge that made me a knower in the Way."
The book Ad-Durr al-Mukhtar, vol 1. p. 43, mentions that Ibn cAbidin said, "Abi Ali Dakkak, one of the sufi saints, received his path from Abul Qassim an-Nasarabadi, who received it from ash-Shibli, who received it from Sariyy as-Saqati who received it from Macruf al-Karkhi, who received it from Dawud at-Ta'i, who received the knowledge, both the external and the internal, from the Imam Abu Hanifa (r), who was supporting the Sufi Spiritual Path." The Imam said before he died: lawla sanatan lahalaka Nucman, "Were it not for a certain two years, Nucman [i.e. myself] would have perished." There were the last two years of his life, when he began accompanying Jacfar as-Sadiq (q).

Imam Malik (94-179 H./716-795 CE)

Imam Malik (r) said, "Whoever studies jurisprudence (fiqh) and didn't study Sufism (tasawwuf) will be corrupted; and whoever studied tasawwuf and didn't study jurisprudence will become a heretic; and whoever combined both will be reach the Truth." This saying is mentioned and explained in the book of the scholar 'Ali al-Adawi with the explanation of Imam Abil-Hassan, a scholar of jurisprudence, vol. 2, p. 195.

Imam Shafi'i (150-205 H./767-820 CE)

Imam Shafici said, "I accompanied the Sufi people and I received from them three knowledges:
1. They taught me how to speak
2. They taught me how to treat people with leniency and a soft heart.
3. They guided me in the ways of Sufism."

This is mentioned in the books, Kashf al-Khafa and Muzid al-Albas, by Imam 'Ajluni, vol. 1, p. 341.

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (164-241 H./780-855 CE)

Imam Ahmad (r) said, advising his son, "O my son, you have to sit with the People of Sufism, because they are like a fountain of knowledge and they keep the Remembrance of Allah in their hearts. They are the ascetics and they have the most spiritual power." This is explained in the book Tanwir al-Qulub, p. 405, by Shaikh Amin al-Kurdi.
Imam Ahmad said about the Sufis, as mentioned in the book Ghiza al-Albab, vol. 1, p. 120, "I don't know any people better than them."

Imam al-Muhasibi (d. 243 H./857 CE)

Imam al-Muhasibi reported that the Prophet (s) said, "My Nation is going to split into 73 divisions and only one of them will be the Group of Salvation." And Allah knows best that the Group is the people of Tasawwuf. He went deeply into the explanation of that subject, in the book Kitab al-Wasiya p. 27-32.

Imam al-Qushayri (d. 465 H./1072 CE)

Imam al-Qushayri said about Sufism, "Allah made this group the best of His saints and He honored them above all of His Servants after His Messengers and Prophets, and He made their hearts the secrets of His Divine Presence and He chose them from among the Nation to receive His Lights. They are the means of humanity. He cleaned them from all connnections to this world, and He lifted them to the highest states of vision. And He unveiled to them the Realities of His Unique Oneness. He made them to observe His Will operating in them. He made them to shine in His Existence and to appear as Lights of His Lights." [ar-Risalat al-Qushayriyya, p. 2]

Imam Ghazali (450-505 H./1058-1111 CE)

Imam Ghazali, Hujjat ul-Islam, the Proof of Islam, said about Sufism, "I knew to be true that the Sufis are the seekers in Allah's Way, and that their conduct is the best conduct, and their way is the best way, and their manners are the most sanctified. They have cleaned their hearts from other than Allah and they have made them as pathways for rivers to run receiving knowledge of the Divine Presence." [al-Munqidh min ad-Dalal, p. 131].

Imam Nawawi (620-676 H./1223-1278 CE)

Imam Nawawi said, in his Letters, al-Maqasid, "The specifications of the Way of the Sufis are five:
1. To keep the Presence of Allah in your heart in public and in private;
2. To follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) by actions and speech;
3. To keep away from dependence on people;
4. To be happy with what Allah gives you, even if it is little;
5. To always refer your matters to Allah, Almighty and Exalted." [Maqasid at-Tawhid,p. 20]

Imam Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi (544-606 H./1149-1209 CE)

Imam Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi said, "The way the Sufis seek Knowledge is to disconnect themselves from this worldly life, and keep themselves constantly busy in their mind and in their heart, with Dhikrullah, during all their actions and behaviors." [Ictiqadat Firaq al-Muslimin, p. 72, 73]

Ibn Khaldun (733-808 H./1332-1406 CE)

Ibn Khaldun said, "The way of the Sufis is the way of the Salaf, the Scholars among the Sahahba, Tabicin, and Tabic at-Tabicin. Its origin is to worship Allah and to leave the ornaments of this world and its pleasures." [Muqaddimat ibn Khaldun, p. 328]

Tajuddin as-Subki

Tajuddin as-Subki (r) mentioned in his book Mucid an-Nacim, p. 190, under the chapter entitled Sufism, "May Allah praise them and greet them and may Allah make us to be with them in Paradise. Too many things have been said about them and too many ignorant people have said things which have no relation to them. And the truth is that they have left dunya and are busy with worship." He said, "They are the People of Allah, whose duca and prayers Allah accepts, and by means of whom Allah supports human beings."

Jalaluddan as-Suyuti

He said in his book Ta'yad al-Haqiqat al-cAliyya, p. 57, "Sufism in itself is the best and most honorable knowledge. It explains how to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) and to leave innovation."

Ibn Taymiyya (661-728 H./1263-1328 CE)

In Majmaca Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya, published by Dar ar-Rahmat, Cairo, Vol, 11, page 497, Book of Tasawwuf, Ibn Taymiyya says: "You have to know that the rightly-guided shaikhs must be taken as guides and examples in the Dan, as they are following in the footsteps of the Prophets and Messengers. The Way (tariqat) of those shaikhs is to call people to Allah's Divine Presence and obedience to the Prophet." Ibn Taymiyya says on page 499 of the same volume: "The shaikhs whom we need to take as guides are our examples and we have to follow them. As when on the Hajj (the pilgrimage), one needs a guide (dalil) to reach the Kacba, these shaikhs are our guide (dalil) to Allah and our Prophet (s)."

Among the shuyukh he mentioned are: Ibrahim ibn Adham, Macruf al-Karkhi, Hasan al-Basri, Rabia al-Adawiyya, Junaid ibn Muhammad, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Shaikh Ahmad ar-Rafa'i, and Shaikh Bayazid al- Bistami. Ibn Taymiyya quotes from Bayazid al-Bistami on page 510, Volume 10: "...the great Sufi shaikh, Bayazid al-Bistami, and the famous story of when he saw God in a vision (kashf) and said to Him: 'O Allah what is the way to You?' And Allah responded, 'Leave yourself and come to Me.'" Ibn Taymiyya continues quoting Bayazid al-Bistami, "I shed my self as a snake sheds its skin."

Implicit in this quotation is an indication of the need for zuhd (self-denial or abstention from the worldly life), as that was the path followed by Bayazid al-Bistami.
So we see from the above quotes, that Ibn Taymiyya was accepting many shaikhs by quoting them and urging people to follow guides to show the way to obey God and to obey the Prophet (s).

What Ibn Taymiyya Says About the Term Tasawwuf

"The crucible itself tells you, when you are strained, Whether you are gold or gold-plated copper." Sanai. Following is what Ibn Taymiyya said about the definition of Tasawwuf, from Volume 11, At-Tasawwuf, of Majmuca Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya al-Kubra, Dar ar-Rahmah, Cairo:
"Alhamdulillah, the use of the word tasawwuf has been thoroughly discussed. This is a term that was given to those who were dealing with that branch of knowledge (tazkiyat an-nafs and Ihsan)."

"Tasawwuf is the science of realities and states of experience. The Sufi is that one who purifies himself from everything which distracts him from the remembrance of Allah and who is so filled with knowledge of the heart and knowledge of the mind that the value of gold and stones will be equal to him. Tasawwuf safeguards the precious meanings and leaves behind the call to fame and vanity to reach the state of Truthfulness. The best of humans after the prophets are the Siddiqin, as Allah mentioned them in Surat An-Nisa', 69: "All who obey Allah and the Messenger are in the company of those on whom is the grace of Allah: the prophets, the sincere lovers of truth (siddiqin), the martyrs and the righteous; Ah! what a beautiful fellowship.'"

He continues about the Sufis, "They are striving to be obedient to Allah... So from them you will find the Foremost in Nearness by virtue of their striving. And some of them are from the People of the Right hand..."

The Sufi Cloak (khirqa)

Before proceeding to Imam Ibn Qayyim, it may be useful to say something about the wearing of the Sufi cloak. In the view of the Trustworthy, there are three categories of shaikh:
1. The Shaikh of the Cloak
2. The Shaikh of the Dhikr
3. The Shaikh of Guidance

The first two categories (The Shaikh of the Cloak and The Shaikh of the Dhikr) are really deputies of a shaikh, representing the reality of the shaikh or the tariqat through the intermediary of either the cloak or the dhikr. The Shaikh of the Cloak (Khirqah) depends on the power of the cloak to act on the murid. The murid takes his support from the cloak, which a fully realized Shaikh of Guidance has imbued with his blessings.

The murid of the Shaikh of Dhikr is supported by the dhikr, not directly by the shaikh. In these two cases, the shaikh becomes the symbol, because the real support of the murid is the cloak or the dhikr. The highest of the three categories is the Shaikh of Guidance. He is the one who supports the murid without any intermediary, directly from himself to the murid. He is the real shaikh because, without any means, he supports and directs the murid directly through his heart. That is why Sayyidina Ahmad al-Faruqi said, "In our tariqat the shaikh guides the murid directly, unlike other tariqats which use the cloak and other means to lift up their murids."

In the Naqshbandi Tariqat only one shaikh, the Shaikh of Guidance, is therefore accepted as possessing real authority. When that shaikh passes away, the murids must renew their initiation with his successor, to whom he has transmitted all his secrets and his inheritance from the Prophet (s) and all his predecessors in the Golden Chain.

Imam Ibn Qayyim (d. 751 H./1350 CE)

Imam Ibn Qayyim stated that, "We can witness the greatness of the people of tasawwuf in the eyes of the Salaf by what has been mentioned by Sufyan ath-Thawri (d. 161 H./777 CE). One of the greatest imams in the 2nd century and one of the foremost mujtahids, he said: "If not for Abu Hisham as-Sufi (d. 115 H./733 CE) I would never have perceived the action of the subtlest forms of hypocrisy (riya') in the self." (Manazil as-Sa'ireen)
Ibn Qayyim continues: "Among the best of people is the Sufi learned in fiqh."

Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (1115-1201 H./1703-1787 CE)

Following is a quotation from Muhammad Man ar Nucmani's book (p. 85), Ad-Dia'at al-Mukaththafa Didd ash-Shaikh Muhammad ibn cAbdul Wahhab: "Shaikh cAbdullah, the son of shaikh Muhammad ibn cAbdul Wahhab, said about Tasawwuf: "My father and I don't deny or criticize the Science of Sufism, but on the contrary we support it because it cleans the external and the internal of the hidden sins which are related to the heart and the outward form. Even though the individual might externally be on the right way, internally he might be on the wrong way; and for its correction tasawwuf is necessary."

In the fifth volume of the collection of letters by Muhammad ibn cAbdul Wahhab entitled ar-Rasa'il ash-Shakhsiyya, page 11, and again on pages 12, 61, and 64, he states: "I never accused of unbelief Ibn cArabi or Ibn al-Farid for their Sufi interpretations."

Ibn Abidin

The great scholar, Ibn cAbidin in his book Rasa'il Ibn cAbidin (p. 172-173) states: "The Seekers in this Way don't hear except from the Divine Presence and they don't love any but Him. If they remember Him they cry. If they thank Him they are happy. If they find Him they are awake. If they see Him they will be relaxed. If they walk in His Divine Presence, they melt. They are drunk with His Blessings. May Allah bless them."

Shaikh Muhammad Abduh (1265-1323 H./1849-1905 CE)

He stated, "Tasawwuf appeared in the first century of Islam and it received a tremendous honor. It cleansed the self and straightened the conduct and gave knowledge to people from the Wisdom and Secrets of the Divine Presence." [quoted from Majallat al-Muslim, 6th ed., 1378 H, p. 24].

Shaikh Rashad Rida

He said, "Sufism was a unique pillar from the pillars of the religion. Its purpose was to cleanse the self and to take account of one's daily behavior and to raise the people to a high station of spirituality." [Majallat al-Manar, 1st year, p. 726].

Maulana Abul Hasan Ali an-Nadwi

Maulana Abul Hasan Ali an-Nadwi is a member of the Islamic-Arabic Society of India and Muslim countries. He said in his book, Muslims in India, written some years ago, p. 140-146, "These Sufis initiate people in Oneness and sincerity in following the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) and in repentence from their sins and in avoidance of every disobedience to Allah, Almighty and Exalted. Their guides encourage them to move in the way of perfect Love of Allah."

"In Calcutta, India, everyday more than 1000 people are taking initiation into Sufism."
"Thanks to the influence of Sufi people, thousands and hundreds of thousands in India found their Lord and reached a state of Perfection through the Islamic religion."

Abul Ala Mawdudi

He said in his book Mabadi' al-Islam (p. 17), "Sufism is a reality whose signs are the love of Allah and the love of the Prophet (s), where one absents oneself for their sake, and one is annihilated from anything other than them. It instructs how to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet (s)."

"Tasawwuf searched for sincerity of heart, purity of intention, and trustworthiness of obedience in all of an individual's actions." "Shari'ah and Sufism: what is the similitude of the two? They are like the body and the soul. The body is the external shari'ah knowledge and the spirit is the internal knowledge."

In sum, Sufism, in the present as in the past, is the effective means for spreading the reality of Islam, extending the knowledge and understanding of spirituality, and fostering happiness and peace. With it man can find himself and, in so doing, find his Lord. With it man can improve, transform, and elevate himself, and find salvation from the ignorance of this world and its misguided pursuit of some materialistic fantasy. And Allah knows best what he intends for his servants.


The Superiority of Service
Mawlana Syaikh Nazim Adil al Haqqani


Shah Naqshband's benevolence in private and public marked his way. He said,
"One time I went to the school of Qutb ad-Din as-Sadr in Samar. I found there four people with very high fevers. I began to serve them, cleaning their clothes and feeding them, until I too became infected with the same fever. This didn't stop me from serving them. The fever in me increased and increased until I felt that I was going to die. I made an oath to myself, 'Let me die, but let these four people be served.' I continued to serve them. The next day I found myself completely cured, while they were still sick."

He said, "To help and serve people, in the understanding of this Way, is better than Dhikr and meditation. Some people think that to do the supererogatory Sunnas is better than serving and helping those in need. It is our view, however, that to take care of people and to help them and to show them love is better than anything else." In this regard, Shah Naqshband (q) used to say, "We love to serve, not to be served. When we serve, Allah is happy with us, and this brings more attraction to the Divine Presence and Allah opens that state more for us. However, to be served, brings pride and weakness to the heart and causes us to recede from the Divine Presence."

Shaikh cUbaidullah (q) said, "I didn't take this tariqat from books, but I pursued this tariqat by service to people." "Everyone enters through a different door; I entered this Spiritual Order through the door of service." He was extremely strict in keeping the adab (right conduct) of both external and internal behavior, in his seclusion and among the people. Abu Sacad al-Awbahi said, "I accompanied him 35 years and was with him continuously.

In all that time I never saw him remove the skin or the seeds of fruit from his mouth, so as not to open his mouth with food inside. When he was sleepy he would never yawn. I never saw him spit. I never saw him do something which would disgust people. I never even saw him sitting cross-legged. He sat only on his knees in perfect good conduct


Seclusion
Mawlana Syaikh Hisham Kabbani


Seclusion [khalwat] is better than isolation [cuzlat] . It is a kind of isolation, that can only be prescribed by the shaikh. Its shortest time limit is 40 days, as mentioned in the Holy Qur'an about Sayiddina Musa (s), "And remember We appointed forty nights for Moses" (Surah al-Baqarah, 51). Muslim narrated that the Prophet (s) made seclusion in the cave of ara for one complete month. Its aim is to clean the heart of connection to this world of material pleasures, and to bring it to a state of remembrance of Allah, Almighty and Exalted. In it countless visions occur, and it elevates the murid to a state of knowing the self, and from there to a state of knowing Allah.

Seclusion requires the seeker to disconnect himself from people and to disengage himself from all material interactions for a set period of time. His heart must be engaged only in God's Remembrance, and his mind relaxed from daily concerns. All this must take place under the guidance of a gnostic shaikh, to teach us if we forget, and to remind us if we are heedless, and to throw out of the heart all gossip and whispers of the ego.
The shaikh orders the murid to seclude himself in a room where he will be served every day only with what is necessary for survival. Then he will teach his tongue the way of reciting Dhikr, until he will be engaged with that recitation.

The shaikh will support his murid in opening the Vision of the Divine Presence in the heart (surat al-mushahada fil-qalb). Whatever happens to the murid during the seclusion, he must tell his shaikh, and he must conceal it from anyone other than the shaikh.
Seclusion is not an innovation but is an order of Allah, Almighty and Exalted, in his Holy Book and in the example of the Prophet (s). The Prophet (s) used to make seclusion in the cave of Hira in the mountains of Makkah, remembering Allah, Almighty and Exalted. It is indicated in the Qur'an, in Surat al-Muzzamil, (73, 8): "So remember the name of thy Lord, and devote thyself to Him with full devotion."

Allama Abu Sacad in his commentary on the explanation of the Qur'an by Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi, volume 8, p. 338, says, "The meaning of this verse is to keep secluding yourself from anyone other than Allah, Almighty and Exalted, remembering Him day and night, by tasbih, tahmid and tahlil, and to disconnect yourself, by all the power you have, and approach Him through the meditative stations such that you will not see anyone except Him, and be away from connections to other than Him through that meditation."

Meditation here rests on seclusion. The proof for this in the Qur'an can be found in the story of Maryam (s), the mother of Jesus (s): "So her Lord accepted her with a gracious acceptance, and caused her to grow an excellent growth, and made Zakariyya (s) her guardian. Whenever Zakariya visited her in her seclusion he found with her provision. He said, 'O Maryam, whence hast thou this?' She replied, 'It is from Allah. Surely, Allah gives to whomsoever He pleases without measure.'" (Ali Imran, 37)

Allah said in the Qur'an, in Surat al-Kahf (ayat 16), mentioning the story of the companions of the cave, they were ordered, "Betake yourself to the Cave: your Lord will shower His mercies on you and dispose of your affair towards comfort and ease."
Similary, seclusion has a proof in the sunnah. Bukhari reports that Ayesha said, "The Prophet loved to make seclusion. And he was secluding himself in the Cave of Hira."
Imam Nawawi, explained the hadith of Ayesha, "To be alone with the one you love is the real seclusion. It is the way of the pious and it is the way of knowers."

He said, in his explanation of Sahih Muslim, "The Prophet (s) said, 'Seclusion was made to be loved by him,' because with it the heart will be empty of all this materialistic life, and it will be in peace. It helps to deepen the meditation on Allah's Divine Presence, and with it his attachments to dunya will decrease, and with it his reverence will increase."
Imam Zuhri said, "I wonder at people, that they have left seclusion. The Prophet (s) was doing some things and then leaving them, yet he never left seclusion until he died."
Abi Jamra said in explanation of this hadith, "The Prophet, when he secluded himself and left people behind and disconnectd himself from this world, received revelation from Jibril in the Cave of Hira. Anyone who will imitate the Prophet in doing seclusion, under the order of his shaikh, will be lifted to the state of sainthood.

"The proof of seclusion is that the Prophet (s), through his seclusion in the Cave of Hira, was lifted up to the state in which he received revelation. During his seclusions the first fruit was true dreams, and from that state he was elevated to the state in which he received revelation, to the state where he could receive revelation from the angel Jibril. Then he was lifted up more and more until he reached, during the Night of Ascension, the Divine Presence, to the station of two bows' length or nearer."

"All these stations were the fruit of his seclusion in the Cave of Hira. We see from this, that if we follow the footsteps of the Prophet (s), we will be lifted from one state to another, until we reach the high states of sainthood, and we will find ourselves in the Divine Presence."

Shaikh 'Abul Qadir said, "From the cave of Hira, where the Prophet (s) used to make seclusion, the light emanated, the dawn shone forth, and sunrise came. The first sparks of the luminescence of Islamic Sufism were struck. Never did the Prophet (s) leave his seclusion, even when he left the cave of Hira. All his life he was making seclusion, in the last ten days of Ramadan every year."

Imam Qastallani, in explaining this hadith, in his book "Rashad us-Sari" vol. 1, p. 62, "Seclusion will put the heart in peace and open in it fountains of wisdom, because it will disconnect the murid from the materialistic life and enable him to remember Allah, Almighty and Exalted. In his seclusion he must also isolate himself and seclude himself from himself, to see only Allah, Almighty and Exalted. At that time only will he receive Unseen Knowledge, and his heart will be a foundation for it."

Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said, in explaining the hadith of 'Ayesha, "The seclusion is emptying the heart of everything except Allah." [Fath al-Bari, v.1, p. 18]

Abul Hasan ash-Shadili said, "There are ten benefits from seclusion:
1. Safety from all misconduct of the tongue, because there is no one to talk to in
seclusion
2. Safety from all misconduct of the eyes, because there is no one to see from human
beings
3. Safety of the heart from all kinds of show, and other like illnesses
4. It will lift you to the state of asceticism
5. It will save you from accompanying evil people
6. It will give you free time to do dhikr
7. It will give you the sweet taste of worship, and prayers and supplication to the Divine
Presence
8. It will give satisfaction and peace to the heart
9. It will keep your ego from falling into bad manners
10.It will give you the time to meditate and make account of yourself, and to make your
goal the Divine Presence.

That is what the Prophet mentioned in his hadith, narrated by Bukhari, in the book of Riqaq. Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet said (s), "There are seven who will be kept under Allah's Shadow, on the Day when there is no shadow other than Allah's Shadow... One of them is a man who makes dhikr in seclusion, and the tears are coming from his eyes."

Explanation of Seclusion by Shaikh 'Abdullah ad-Daghestani

Once a famous French orientalist came to grandshaikh Abdullah Daghestani in Damascus and said, "O my master, I am coming to you after studying the Psalms, the Torah the Bible and the Holy Qur'an. I have studied all kinds of philosophy, all the religions, and many other systems of knowledge. But still, I feel nothing in my heart. I feel no satisfaction. On the contrary, it is as if I were standing on the edge of a cliff and were about to fall. I have become so shaky that I am going from one center to another, seeking what is real. Where can I reach that reality and gain satisfaction in my heart? Where can I find my Lord?"

"I have been everywhere. I have asked famous philosophers, orientalists, people whom I considered saints. I have read everything I could. Yet, when I have asked any scholar a question, I felt as if they were giving me an answer I already knew. They were not giving me anything new. I am confused." "I heard your name and I have finally come to you. After you I am not going anywhere. Will you give me an answer to my question? Whatever you say I will follow and believe. But if you do not give me an answer, I shall remain as I am, confused and uncertain for the rest of my life."

Grandshaikh said, "My son, if you take the seed of an apple or any fruit and leave it there dry, for hundreds of years, it will remain dry. But if you take that seed and put it in a field and plant it, then come back after one month, you will find that a green sprout has come out. If you dig and try to find that seed you will not find it anymore, it has vanished, replaced by something new. If you continue to water that plant it will become a tree and that tree will give fruit. But where is the original seed? It has disappeared. There is no original seed anymore. The seed has become a large tree now, with fruit coming forth, giving people fruit to eat."

"Similarly, if you take an egg and put it under a chicken for 21 days, after exactly twenty-one days that egg disappears and a new chick comes. Something new comes into being. If you look under the chicken you will no longer find the egg there. The egg has vanished. It was the twenty-one days under that chicken that turned it into a new generation."
"Something similar happens with human beings when they are in their mother's womb for about nine months and ten days. Inside that womb they are without any connection to anything outside, alone. Yet after those nine months and ten days of loneliness there will come forth a new generation, a new creation.

My son, in everyone of these three examples there was something that went into seclusion. The seed cut itself off from the material world above the ground and went into seclusion for several weeks, then a new plant emerged. The egg went into seclusion under its mother, with no connection to the material life outside its shell and came out a new generation. The sperm went into seclusion in the egg within the mother's womb for nine months, without connection to the external world of their materialistic life, but after the seclusion it emerged a new generation."

"My son, if you do not enter into seclusion, then never say to yourself, as the seed says to itself, 'I want to cut myself off from the materialistic life of this world and vanish from it for the love of God and for the benefit of other human beings.' For the seed begets fruit. If you do not experience a retreat like this, if you don't cut yourself from the materialistic life, forsake your ego and complete sacrifice and vanish into nothingness to exist only in God, never will you find your ultimate reality, your true self. Never will you be like that tree that gives fruit for people to eat. If you will not be like that egg and sever yourself from materialism, retreating into the shell of seclusion and existing only in the presence of your Lord, meditating, concentrating on Him, worshipping Him in your heart, keeping His Presence always in your heart, never will you find that satisfaction and happiness you seek."

"Why must you imitate that sperm that enters into seclusion for nine months? The mother's womb consists of three layers. This was mentioned 1400 years ago in the Holy Qur'an in Surat az-Zumar, 6;, at a time when no microscopes existed. The Prophet (s) also said, 'The womb of a mother is composed of darknesses, i.e. of layers.' You must enter into this loneliness, severing your bond to everything external, cutting yourself off from the material things of this world, to be alone with your Lord, and thus make connection to your ultimate reality, by fitting that image you wear here to its original in the Divine Presence."

"Never will you know satisfaction, no matter how many books you read, for when you read, you only hear the books. The knowledge they contain is only hearsay knowledge, and not real. Yet in seclusion, you not only hear but you feel. You will not only see, but you will smell. It is then that the eyes of the heart open. My son if you don't enter into seclusion, your heart will never feel the contentment you have been so long seeking."
Immediately the scholar said, "You have given me an answer to my question and a solution to my problem that I have never yet received from anyone. My heart is open. Show me the way." Grandshaikh gave him permission to enter into seclusion in a designated place, cutting himself off from everything. He entered that place an ordinary man, but after one year he left it a saint."


The Raison d'être of Sufism and the Rise of the Naqshbandi Order
Mawlana Syaikh Hisham Kabbani


From its advent, religion was beset with enemies from within and without, who tried to destroy its very foundations and pillars: sometimes through outright atheism but more often through free- thought and corruption. In general, spiritual-minded people today no longer have advisors and teachers who possess the caliber to counsel them and to train them in the teachings of the prophets and saints. Unfortunately, they do not find guides capable of leading them in the teachings of Islam on that high road of morality and ethics that constitute religion's essential character.

On the contrary, today we see cases of would-be scholars (ulema) who are not only unscholarly, but are also ignorant and sometimes even corrupt. Indeed, in many places, they have gotten the upper hand and now prominently occupy seats of religious authority. Sunk in lives of pleasure and good living, they play at the role of guiding and advising and preaching to the Muslim community but in reality they have cast aside the simple lifestyle and regimen of self-denial practiced by the Prophet (s), his Companions (r) and those of the generation immediately succeeding them.

Confronted with this situation, how can we not ask: In which direction is our Umma (Community) headed?

It is true that timely measures could have been taken by communities to prepare good and wise scholars whose unstained lives would have allowed them to function as models and to undertake the mission of reminding the Nation of the Prophet (s) of the message brought forth in the Qur'an and the Sunnah (Way of life of the Prophet (s)). Then, our condition would have been improved and we would have been rewarded and lifted to those stations that Allah ordained for us both in this life and in the Hereafter.

The situation was not always as I have described it. On the contrary, it used to be that this sacred mission, this great service of calling the Umma to remembrance of its proper heritage framed by the Qur'an and set out in the Prophet's Sunnah, was performed by devoted and sincere scholars of spirituality. These individuals, in time, came to be known by the name of safa, a word derived from the Arabic safa'a which means "to purify," because of the assiduousness with which they applied themselves to holding firmly to the Sunnah and employing it to purify their character from all defects in behavior and morality.

The Schools of Purification (tazkiya)

We know for example, that in the first century after the Hijra, renunciation of the world (zuhd) grew as a reaction against worldliness in the society. Derived in principle from the order of Allah to His Righteous Apostle to purify people [Qur'an 2:129, 2:151, 3:164, 9:103, 62:2], the practitioners of this way clove firmly to the Prophetic way of life as it was reflected in the lives of his Companions and their Successors, in the ways they employed to purify their hearts and character from bad manners and to inculcate in their own selves and in those around them the manners and upright moral stature of the Best of Mankind, the Prophet Muhammad (s).

Through slow evolution, this regimen ended up as a school of practical thought and moral action endowed with its own structure of rule and principle. This became the basis used by Sufi scholars to direct people on the Right Path. As a result, the world soon witnessed the development of a variety of schools of purification of the ego (tazkiyat an-nafs). Sufi thought, as it spread everywhere, served as a dynamic force behind the growth and fabric of Islamic education.

This tremendous advance occurred from the first century after the Hijra to the seventh, in parallel with the following developments:

· Development of the bases of fiqh (Law and Jurisprudence), through the Imams (r).
· Development of the bases of caqidah (System of Belief) through al-Ashcari and others;
· Development of the science of hadith (Sayings of the Prophet (s)), resulting in the six
authentic collections and innumerable others;
· Development of the arts of nahu and balagha (Speaking and Writing Arabic).

Tariqat or "path" is a term derived from the hadith of the Prophet (s) ordering his followers to follow his sunna and the sunna of his successors. The meaning of sunna is "path," "way," which is also the meaning of taraqat referred to in the Qur'anic verse, "Had they kept straight on the path (tariqat), We would have made them drink of a most limpid water" [72:16]. Tariqat thus came to be a term applied to groups of individuals belonging to the school of thought pursued by a particular scholar or "shaikh," as such a person was often called.

Though these shaikhs applied different methods in training their followers, the core of each one's program was identical. The situation was not unlike what we find in faculties of medicine and law today. The approach in different faculties may be different, but the body of law, the state of art in medicine remains essentially the same everywhere. When students graduate from these faculties, each student bears the stamp of its character. Yet, none are considered less a lawyer or doctor because their respective affiliations differ.

In a similar way, the student product of a particular shaikh will bear the stamp of that shaikh's teaching and character. Consequently, the names given to various schools of Sufi thought differ according to the names and the perspectives of their founders. This variation manifests itself in a more concrete fashion, in the different supererogatory devotions, known as awrad, ahzab or adhkar, used as the practical methodology of spiritual formation. Such differences, however, have nothing to do with the religious principle. In basic principle, the Sufi schools are essentially the same.

The Sufi regimen under which individuals undertook the path to Allah, was a finely-honed itinerary which charted the course of inward and outward progress in religious faith and practice (din). Following the tradition of the Companions of the Prophet (s) who used to frequent his company named Ahl as-suffa ("the People of the Bench"), the practitioners of this regimen lived a communal life. Their dwelling-places were the mosque-schools (zawaya), border forts (ribat), and guest-houses (khaniqah) where they gathered together on specific occasions dedicated to the traditional festivals of the Islamic calendar (cid). They also gathered on a regular basis in associations for the conveying of knowledge (suhba), assemblies to invoke the names of Allah and recite the adhkar (plural of dhikr, "remembrance") inherited from the Prophetic Tradition, and circles of study in Islamic law. Yet another reason for their gathering was to hear inspired preaching and moral exhortations (wicaz ).

The shaikhs exhorted their students to actively respond to Allah and His Messenger (s), to cleanse their hearts and purify their souls from the lower desires prompted by the ego and to reform erroneous beliefs. All this was accomplished by cleaving to the Prophetic Sunnah. The methods of remembering Allah which they instilled in their students were the very same methods passed down from the Prophet (s). In this way, they propagated upright behavior both through word and deed, while they encouraged the believers to devote themselves to Allah Almighty with their whole hearts. The aim of their endeavor then was nothing less than obtaining Allah's satisfaction and inspiring love for His Prophet (s). In short, what they aimed for was a state where God would be pleased with them even as they were pleased with God.

These shaikhs therefore were the radiant beacons that dispelled darkness from a believer's path as well as the solid cornerstones upon which the Ummah could build the foundations of an ideal society. The ideal here was the spirit of sacrifice and selflessness that characterized their every effort. These values, in time, imbued the entire social fabric of Islam. The guesthouses, for example, were more often than not found in neighborhoods of the poor and economically disadvantaged. Needless to say, for this reason they became remedies for many social ills.

As a result of such teaching and training we find that many students of Sufi shaikhs graduated from their course of studies fully empowered to carry other people's burdens, even as they strove to illumine the way of Truth. Furthermore, through their training and self-discipline they had developed the manifest and decisive will to do so. Genuine scholars and teachers of tariqat leave no stone unturned in conducting their jihad, a word which means both the physical struggle against unbelief and the spiritual struggle against the unseen allurements that trap the soul.

History books are filled with the names of Sufi mujahidin (People Who Struggle) and shuhada (Martyrs) that have devoted their lives to confronting the enemies of the faith and calling mankind to the divine Presence of Allah, as well as calling back those who had deviated form the true path and the Sunnah of the Prophet (s). They accomplished this with wisdom and they were effective. Their names and stories are too numerous to list in the span of a single book, even if it had hundreds of volumes.

It suffices to say that the lives of these Sufi Shaikhs are overwhelming evidence that Sufism, far from encouraging escapism and quietism that impedes social progress, upheld the highest values of social consciousness as well as religious inquiry and science. In fact, they provide adequate testimony to an unremitting jihad and struggle against social injustice and social inaction that took place over the centuries.


The 'Uwaysi' Transmission of Spiritual Knowledge
Mawlana Syaikh Nazim Adil al Haqqani


Sayyidina Shah Bahaudin Naqshband al-Uwaysi al-Bukhari received the silent dhikr from the spiritual presence (ruhaniyya) of Khwaja Abdul Khaliq Ghujdawani. He did not meet with him physically because there were five shaikhs between them in the Golden Chain. Similarly Sayyidina Abul Hasan al-Kharaqani took spiritual guidance and initiation in the Naqshbandi Order from the spiritual presence of Bayazid Bistami.

In this form of spiritual transmission, the spirits meet in the world called calam al-arwah (the world of spirits) which is beyond calam al-ajsam (the material plane). Whoever takes knowledge through spirituality from a deceased Master in the Naqshbandi Way, is called both Uwaisi and Naqshbandi. That spiritual connection is as powerful and effective as the physical connection.

The sign of the Favor of Allah Almighty and Exalted on his servant is to authorize one of His saints to uplift that servant to the Divine Presence. That is why many saints who came in previous times were guides for those who came after through this spiritual (Uwaysi) connection. It is known that many saints have been under the guidance and training of prophets and other saints that lifted them up.

As we mentioned, Sayyidina Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdwani was raised up by Sayyidina al-Khidr (s), Sayyidina Uways al-Qarani, and the spiritual Presences of Sayyidina cAli and Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq. Then Sayyidina Abdul Khaliq raised Shah Naqshband, who also received guidance from Sayyidina Uways al-Qarani, Sayyidina cAli, Sayyidina Abu Bakr, and the Prophet (s). Sayyidina Jacfar as-Sadiq raised up Sayyidina Bayazid al-Bistami. Sayyidina Bayazid al-Bistami raised up Sayyidina Abul Hasan al-Kharaqani. Sayyidina Ubaidullah al-Ahrar was raised up by the spiritual connection to Sayyidina Isa (s) and to Shah Naqshband. It is known that Sayyidina Ahmad al-Far'uqi, in addition to the spiritual power he was receiving from Shah Naqshband, was also receiving spiritual support and power from Sayyidina 'Ali (r). Sayyidina Shaikh Sharafuddin ad-Daghestani was raised through spirituality by Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r) and by Sayiddina Muhammad (s).

Sayyidina Shaikh Abdullah Daghestani was under the spiritual guidance of Sayyidina Uwais al-Qarani (r), of Sayyidina 'Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani, and of Sayyidina Shah Naqshband and sayyidina cAli. Shaikh Nazim received, in addition to the guidance received by Shaikh Abdullah and Shaikh Sharafuddin, additional guidance from Sayyidina Jalaluddin Rumi and sayyidina cAbdulqadir al-Gilani, who were his grandfathers on his father's and his mother's side.

These are the shaikhs of the Naqshbandi Order mentioned by Shaikh 'Abdullah ad-Daghestani, who have, in addition to their physical connection, received the Uwaisi connection. They are known as the Shaikhs of the Two Wings (Dhul Jana ain), meaning that both the physical lineage and the spiritual lineage are combined in them. These saints are only nine in number. Each one represents one of the nine spiritual points on the chest of the human being. Through these points these saints can reach their followers at any time. Because they have the authority of these nine points, they consider all of humankind to be their followers, whether they are aware of their spiritual connection to them or not. Through these points, which are of 'Uwaysi' nature, they can reach and affect any human being, intercede for them, and inspire their hearts in order to direct them to the Divine Love, although they have never met physically.


Shaikh Abdullah ad-Daghestani's Vision of Uwais al-Qarani (r)
Mawlana Syaikh Nazim Adil al Haqqani


Our grandshaikh 'Abdullah ad-Daghestani said, "After Shaikh Sharafuddin passed, and I was awaiting an opening to emigrate from Turkey, I was in a seclusion in the mosque next to the tomb of my shaikh, praying one night before Fajr. It was a cold and snowy night. I could feel the coldness in my bones. I could hear the quiet falling of the snow on the trees and the howling of wolves in the woods. I heard a voice calling my name, 'Abdullah Effendi.' I looked around but saw no one. Then I heard the voice again calling out, 'Abdullah!' I looked again, but again could not see anyone.

I knew it was the voice of my shaikh. The warmth of that voice energized me, and I ran outside, without even putting on my shoes or my woolen cloak. I saw my shaikh in a brilliant vision, standing on the hill. He called to me and said, 'Abdullah Effendi, come.' I did not even think to put shoes on; I walked on the snow and could feel warmth from the Divine Love emanating from his spirit. As I reached him he said, 'My son, tonight I have been ordered to take you to the presence of Sayyidina Uwais al-Qarani (r) by the order of the Prophet (s).'"

"Then he said, 'My son, take my hand.' I was very happy to take the hand of my shaikh, and as soon as I took his hand I found myself in the association of saints, in the presence of the Prophet (s), and Sayyidina Uwais al-Qarani (r) was sitting there. We entered, and found there were two places left for us to sit. We gave our respect and took our places."
"Then Sayyidina 'Ali (r) stood up and said, 'For the first time we are revealing this secret to the association of saints. Only now have we received the permission from the Prophet for that secret to appear.'"

"I saw present in the gathering the 7,007 Naqshbandi saints, together with the 313 Naqshbandi saints who are on the footsteps of the 313 great messengers, and the grandshaikhs of the Golden Chain. Sayyidina 'Ali said, addressing the association, and especially me, 'When the Prophet (s) was passing away, he called Sayyidina 'Umar and me to his presence and he said, 'After I die, you take the clothes I am wearing when I pass away, as a trust from me to Uwais al-Qarani. You will find Uwais al-Qarani in such and such a place.''"

"Sayyidina 'Ali said, 'While the Prophet (s) lay dying he was sweating a great amount. After he had passed we took those sweat-soaked clothes as a trust. We went as the Prophet (s) had directed us and looked for Uwais al-Qarani. We asked about him but no one knew of him. Then Sayyidina 'Umar said, 'O Ali, we haven't found him and no one here knows of him. We might as well go back.' I said, 'O Umar, that is impossible. If the Prophet (s) said he is here, we must find him. Perhaps he is known by a different name.' Then we began asking, 'Do you know someone who is a shepherd? He takes care of his mother and never leaves her.' Some people said, 'Yes. But his name is not Uwais al-Qarani, his name is 'Abdullah.' Then they showed us where he lived.'"

"'We went to that place and we saw in the distance a man sitting with his back to us. We approached. When we came near, without turning around, he said, 'O 'Ali, O 'Umar, give me my trust.' Immediately we handed him the robe of the Prophet (s). He stood up, kissed the robe, put it on his head, then put it to his heart and said, 'I accept, I accept, I accept.''" "'We wondered why he was kissing the robe and saying these words, because he had never seen the Prophet (s) in all his life. But we were hesistant to ask.'"
"'Then he turned to Sayyidina 'Umar and said to him, 'Ya 'Umar, how many times have you seen the Prophet (s)?' 'Umar was astonished at this question. He said, 'That is a strange question. I spent my whole life in the company of the Prophet.'

Sayyidina Uwais said, 'I am asking for a reason. How many times did you actually see him?' Sayyidina 'Umar said, 'How do you mean? I was with him all the time!' Sayyidina Uwais al-Qarani said, 'Describe him to me.' Sayyidina 'Umar began to describe the Prophet, his eyes, his features, his appearance. Then Sayyidina Uwais said, 'Ya 'Umar, this description is known to everyone, including those who disbelieved in him.'"

"'Then he looked at me and said, 'Ya 'Ali, how many times did you see the Prophet (s)?' I knew what he meant, and I said, 'Ya Uwais, in my life I only saw the Prophet (s) one time.' Sayyidina 'Umar was looking at me in amazement. I said, 'I saw him one time. The Prophet (s) called me and told me, 'Look at me from my navel and above.) I looked and I saw that the Prophet (s) from his navel up filled the universes and the Seven Heavens. From his neck and up, I was unable to see, but it was above the Sidratul Muntaha (Furthermost Limit). Then he told me, 'Look from my navel and down.' I looked and I saw all these universes, all these worlds, stars and planets had disappeared and all that I saw was the Prophet (s), from his waist to his knees filling up that entire space.

And from his knees down to his feet I was unable to see. Then he (s) said, (Look at all of me, from top to bottom.) I looked at him, and the Sidratul Muntaha and all these universes disappeared, and all I saw was Muhammad (s), everywhere. At that time I knew that Muhammad (s) is the Heart of the Divine Presence (al-Haqiqat al-Muhammadiyya).'"

"'Then Sayyidina Uwais looked at me and said, 'You really saw the Prophet (s) one time. And that is why he (s) said about you, 'I am the City of Knowledge and 'Ali is its Door.' Allah has also given this Divine Knowledge to Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, as the Prophet (s) mentioned, 'Whatever Allah poured into my heart, I poured into the heart of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq).' "'In this state of wonderment, Sayyidina 'Umar asked Sayyidina Uwais, 'What is the significance of that robe we brought to you?' He said, 'O 'Umar, that is one of the biggest secrets, which will not be revealed to people until the Last Days of his Nation.

While the Prophet (s) was passing away, he was asking for intercession for his Nation.'"
"'Then he said, 'His Nation includes all human beings. And that is why Allah said, 'Say [O Prophet]: O mankind! I am a Messenger to you all from Allah, to Whom belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth.' [7: 158]. The Prophet asked for intercession and Allah gave permission. He was interceding for every individual that Allah created. As he was asking he was sweating, and each drop of sweat represented one human being. He took on the burdens of each person. Until he was satisfied that Allah had forgiven everyone, then he left this world. And the symbols of that forgiveness are the drops of sweat which soaked this robe.'"

"'This robe was given to me because the Prophet (s) wanted to tell me, 'O Uwais, I am passing to you the Divine Knowledge to clean the Nation after they make sins. You must pass that power to your successors, from me to you and from you to them.''"
"And Sayyidina 'Ali said that Sayyidina Uwais al-Qarani said, 'I didn't see the Prophet (s) physically, but in every moment, of every day, I was with him during his life. I received from him every matter of importance for his Nation. I am going to transmit this secret to the many successors and inheritors among Allah's saints. Without a physical connection but through a spiritual connection, they will receive the secret of the cleansing power and revive it in every century, until the Day of Judgment.'"

"Then Sayyidina 'Ali said to the association of saints, but directing his speech to me, 'What is passed to you and to many saints before you is from that Uwaisi power. This is the first time that secret has been revealed, by permission of the Prophet (s).'"
"Then my shaikh said to me, 'O my son, now you can go back to your seclusion.' As soon as he said that, I found myself entering the mosque and feeling the cold again." From time to time, saints experience such inspirations and visions through the spiritual power of their exalted predecessors.

Wa min Allah at Tawfiq

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