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He was instrumental in reforming hundreds and thousands of Muslims.
Bashir Ahmad Dar

 

Among the most venerated Sufis of Kashmir, Shiekh Hamza Makhdoom occupies a conspicuous position. In fact Sheikh Hamza is regarded next to Sheikh Nuruddin Rishi only, who is considered as the leader of the spiritual domain in the state. If Sheikh Nuruddin is revered as Shiekh ul Alam, Shiekh Hamza is remembered as Mehboob ul Alam. Whereas the former is known as Alamdar i Kashmir, the latter is called as Sultan ul Arifeen. The locals as well as the foreigners have regarded these two Sufis as the leading spiritual leaders of the state. It may be of interest to note here that it was most probably the reason that prompted the Afghan governor, Atta Muhammad Khan to mint the coins in the name of these two sons of soil.

Baba Daud Khaki mentions an anecdote in Dasturul Salikeen narrated by his Murshid that Allah had been gracious enough to bestow two attributes to him in the very infant stage – one was that whenever a saint or a virtuous person would visit their house, he would cling to him leaving aside all childish affairs. Second one was that he would never lie. Once, while going to Madrassa, he, on the way, observing children engaged in play joined them. This resulted him in bunking off school for the day. On his return he was quizzed by his father about his engagements and though fully knowing the consequences of replying the truth, the child informed the father of his actual engagement (play). The father beat the son (Sheikh Hamza) to pulp so much so that he got bed ridden.  It was during this illness that he made up his mind to go for schooling at Srinagar. After schooling and spiritual initiation he was destined to become the leading Sufi of the state. The Sufi came to be known as Mehboobul Alam, Sutanul Arifeen  Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom(R.A)

Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom was originally a follower of Kubrawi tradition. He, in his early childhood learnt at the feet of his father. Later on, on his migration to Srinagar, he was tutored by Shaikh Fathaullh, the son of Shaikh Isamil Kubrawi who had established Daru Shifa near Kohi Maraan. Akhund Mulla Lutufullah was also one of his teachers. Then he moved to the Khanqah of Shams Chak. He learnt the Quran, fiqh, Hadith, allied science, Suifstic traditions and was also conversant with some works of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamdani. He got initiation to the Suharwardi Silsilah at the hands of Sayyid Jallaud Din (1308-84) of Uchh, popularly known as Makhdum Jahaniyan-i-Jahan Gasht.

Right from his childhood up to attaining the status of a Sufi, he was all through virtuous, and dedicated his life to the cause of Islam. He was instrumental in reforming hundreds and thousands of Muslims. He offered the nectar of Maurfat to all those who thronged his spiritual abode. It was at his hands that a number of his disciples were raised to the prominence in the Sufistic circles.  These include the illustrious Sufis Sheikh Daud Khaki, Mir Hyder Tulmuli, Khawaj Hasan Qari, Khawaja Ishaq Qari, Mulla Ahmad Chagli, Moulana Jami, Feroz Ganai, Mohammad Ali Raina, Baba Hardi Rishi, Mir Mohammad Afzal, Bayezid Shumnagi, Shaikh Roopa Rishi.

He toured the nook and corner of the valley and being a son of the soil succeeded in establishing intimate contact with the people. He insisted on the Sunnah being adhered to and the myths and legends to be discarded. The construction of mosques at a number of places particularly where the people dreaded ghosts and had ascribed myths may be regarded as a part of his campaign in furthering the cause of Islam. Hundreds of poor, destitute and hungry were fed in the Langar (hospice) established by the saint at Kohi Maran. It was Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom(R.A) who served as a meeting ground for the Rishis and Suharwardi saints.  His influence extended to the Rishi movement as he enrolled some Rishis like Baba Hardi Rishi and Roopa Rishi as his disciple. By paying a visit to the tomb of Shaikh Nur ud Din Rishi (R.A) he extended the influence of the Rishis even to the Suhawardi circles. It proved to be the reason that his disciples have preserved, with veneration, in their hagiographies the activities of the Rishis. According to a contemporary account, Tazkirtul Murshideen by Miram Bazaz, a lesser known disciple of Shaikh Hamza, on his visit to Hardi Rishi (R.A), Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom asked the former to taste food with him. Baba Hardi Rishi (R.A) refused to taste the meat. He is said to have cited the exhortation of Khizr(A.S), Christ(A.S), Moses (A.S), Idris(A.S) and Illyas(A.S) who are said to have been spiritually present on the occasion. Bab Hardi Rishi (R.A) informed the host about the spiritual experience as the reason why he was hesitant to taste meat. Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom(R.A) replied that it was the command of the Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W) that he should share non-vegetarian food with him . In order to dispel the Rishi’s doubt, Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom invoked the help of the Prophet Mohammad(SAW) whose spiritual presence finally caused the Rishi to share the non-vegetarian meal with Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom(R.A), though it was only once in his life to do so. Likewise Khawja Hassan Qari, the illustrious disciple of Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom, narrates an anecdote of Shaikh Hamza thrashing a dervish with a stick who was indulging in Charus, to believe Qari leading to his ‘annihilation’. May be the account is riddled with supernatural events, however the patent objective reality is that it signifies that Shiakh Hamza Makhdoom was very particular about following the Shariah.

The Sheikh breathed his last in 984 Hijra (1585 A.D.). Sultan Ali Shah Chak, the ruler of Kashmir is said to have attended his funeral prayer while it was led by Sheikh Tahir Rafiqi and it included contemporary scholars and Sufis like Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi. As per the instructions of the saint he was laid to rest at Kohi Maran, the centre of spiritual emancipation established by him. Nearly fifteen years after his departure from the worldly abode, Akbar, the Mughal king, built a shrine there which was reconstructed during the Afghan rule by Atta Mohammad Khan around 1821 A.D. As a mark of respect and reverence, Atta Mohammad Khan stuck the coins bearing the names of Sheikh Nur Ud Din Rishi and Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom. This is probably the unique instance in the history of world when the coins have been stuck bearing the names of saints. This is also indicative of the reverence and the popularity the saints commanded among the people and also of the rulers.

– See more at: http://www.greaterkashmir.com/mobi/news/opinion/sultan-ul-arifeen-symbolising-spiritual-heights/203778.html#sthash.z1iFZosw.dpuf

 

Khatlan and Kashmir: Sharing Pilgrim Tourism, Trade and Culture
File Photo

UNESCO has decided to celebrate the year 2015 as the 700th birth anniversary of Mir Syed Ali Hamadani (R.A). In this connection Seminars, conferences and symposia are being held in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Tajikistan has taken the lead in this regard and recently a scientific symposium on the theme “Mir Syed Ali Hamdani: A Scientist and Thinker” was held at Dushanbe (Tajikistan) from September 5-6, 2015 to commemorate the unparallel contributions of this great scientist, thinker, philosopher, religious leader and a Sufi saint.

The symposium was attended by the scholars from India, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, France, America and other Central Asian Republics. I also had the privilege to attend this mega event. The second day of the symposium was held at Kulab (Khatlan). For me, it was an emotional moment as I got an opportunity to visit the mausoleum of Amir Kabir situated right in Kulab again after 2007 when I first visited the shrine to pay my homage to this great saint philosopher.
Khatlan has its own history. It has its glorious past, rich cultural heritage. It is famous for its handicrafts. In the past, it was denoted as a group of   districts of Transoxiana (Mawara-un-Nahr– Beyond the River). There are historical relations between Khatlan and Kashmir. At present, Khatlan is a province of Tajikistan. Its capital is Auratipa, famous for its handicrafts; especially dying of cloths, same as what is reflected in the pictures of yore of the dying centers around Zainakadal, Srinagar.
Kulab, which is mentioned in the history as Khatlan, is at present a district of Khatlan province and is 240 Kms away from Dushanbeh, west of Tajikistan. Kulab is a city center of the district. The meaning   of the   word Kulab is (kul = stream; Aab = water), therefore a river and a source of water. Both words i.e kul and Aab is familiar with Kashmiri diction and are frequently used by Kashmiris. It is out of context to deliberate upon the geographical landscape of Kulab and Khatlan. However, it is worth mentioning here that in the 8th century Kulab emerged as a destination of a socio-religious, cultural, mystical, literary and scientific center of excellence. Mir Syed Ali Hamadani (R.A) constructed a Khanqah here, where thousands of Sufi saints, Ulema and Mashiakhs would quench their mystical and scientific thirst. The Alishaian was a respectable, noble and ruling family of Kulab. Khawja Ishauqe Khatlani was a prominent member of this ruling clan. Today, this clan of Alishian is known as Dehhai Langar in the district of Momin abad. When Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.A) migrated from Hamadan to Khatlan, he took shelter in the family of Alishian. Later on Khawaja Ishauqe Khatlani shunned the worldly desires and did pay his allegiance to Hazrat Amir Kabir to pave the ways of spirituality under his holy guidance. He not only became the renowned disciple of Hazrat Shahi Hamdan (R.A) but married her daughter to him. In the absence of Ali Thani, Mir Syed Ali Hamadani (R.A), Khawaja managed the affairs of the Khanqah and disciples of Hazrat Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.A).
The Kashmiri people have strong desires, feelings, passion, faith, and a special relationship and connection with Kulab, because their benefactor along with his family members is buried there. The mausoleum of Hazrat Shahi Hamdan (R.A) is situated on the right side of a big highway, which passes through the main city. The tomb is located in the center of a garden, which is spread over 3-4 acres of land. The garden has been designed as a recreation cum amusement park. It is full of flowers and different fruit trees. The main gate and the tomb have been built with pink glazed bricks. The three small dooms are covered with gold foils. On the right hand side of the main gate is a museum, where some old Mss., paintings, photos are on display. All the structures are designed by the Iranians. The tomb is of a three vertical shape building having three small rooms just at a distance of 50 feet from the main entrance. On the roof of the main gate the caption “Aaram Ghah-e-Mir Syed Ali Hamdani” (The resting place of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani) is written in bold letters.
The Tajik people have also strong sense of attachment, love and affection with this great personality. They have declared him as a national hero as the picture of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.A) is printed on their currency notes. The Tajiks call him as Amir Jan (The Lovable Leader / Guide).
The Khatlan has remained a place of attraction for Kashmiris. There are very old relations between the two regions. These relations were fostered after Mir Hamdani stayed in this region for considerable amount of time after the Amir  and his son Mir Mohammad Hamdani, along with a huge galaxy of learned Say’yeds, Ulema, Mashaikh, Hakims and artisans arrived in Kashmir around 14th century A.D. This laid a strong foundation of a new era of submission of the entire populace to a new faith, Islam, which was coupled with Iranian cultural, intellectual and artistic genius; transforming the socio-religious, linguistic, economic and political scenario of Kashmir into a new form and identity. Persian language became the only means for the propagation of Islam not only the for religious preachers and Ulema but gradually Persian became the means of correspondence, communication and the language of research and scholarship so much so that it not only remained official language for 700 years but produced a large number of poets, prose writers, Ulema and scholars  in different fields of knowledge and science. Mir Syed Ali Hamdani not only made the people of Kashmir well versed with the Islamic-Iranian culture, but also paved a way to give boost to their economy. He introduced arts and crafts that were prevailing in Iran and Central Asia. This is how Allama Iqbal has expressed this reality while paying glorious tributes to Hazrat Shahi Hamdani (R.A). He says:
Khita ra Aan shah darya Aasteen
Dad Ilm- u- sant- u- tahzeeb- u- deen
 Afreed  Aan mard Iran-i –Sagir
ba hunar hai gareeb- u- dilpazeer
(That generous king gave knowledge, trade and religion to the region  (Kashmir),
That man gave birth to little Iran,
with the pleasant and agreeable arts and crafts)
Moreover, Ali Sani Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.A) gave an everlasting gift to people of Kashmir in the shape of Awradi Fatheia, the divine allegiance and faith. In short the people of Kashmir are indebted to the offerings and contributions of this kindled spirit. Therefore all Kashmiris in different forms and capacities pay their homage to this great Sufi saint and religious leader who led them from darkness to light. The letters of Hazrat Amir Kabir are an ample proof for his advice to the then rulers of Kashmir; impressing upon them to be kind and generous to their subjects.
To express their inner emotions and feelings, the people of Kashmir during his lifetime visited Kulab. In the beginning, when Islam made its way into Kashmir, Shiekh Suliman Kashmiri and his son Shiekh Ahmad Khuskhawn are among those fortunate people who travelled to Kulab in order to seek guidance from Hazrat Amir Kabir. Shiekh Bahaud-Din Ganjbaksh and Shiekh Suliman Kashmiri are among the disciples of Shah Qasim Khatlnai. Both Sufi saints visited Kulab to get the spiritual education from him. They paid glorious tributes to Hazrat-i- Shah Hamdan (R.A). A renowned Sufi saint, religious leader, poet, prose writer, theologian, philosopher, commentator and ambassador of 10-11th century, Shiekh Yaqoob Sarfi Kashmiri (d. 1003 A.H/1594 A. D) had a great faith towards Shah Hamadan. He was himself among his devotees and has accepted him as his spiritual guide. Maulana Shiekh Yaqoob Sarfi in great regard to Hazrat- I- Amir Kabir confessed himself as a poor and humble servant and by heart and soul kept himself for his service as his gatekeeper. In respect of Salari Ajam, Shiekh Yaqoob Sarfi expressed his gratitude in his writings. During his vast and extensive tour of Iran and Central Asia, Shiekh Yaqoob Sarfi paid homage from the entire nation towards the’ Maimar Taqdeeri Umm’ (the builder of the destiny of nation ) at Kulab.  He himself says:
“Musharaf shud Aanja Faqir Haqir
ba t auf-i- Mazar-i- Amir Kabir
Mazar-i- Pur Anwar syed Ali
ki hastum ba jan Bandai Aan wali.”
(This humble servant became honoured,
 with the circumambulation of the grave of Amir Kabir.
The resting place of Syed Ali is full of lights,
as I am the servant with heart and mind of that saint)
An unmatched disciple of Shiekh Yaqoob Sarfi, Mir Mohammad Roshan spent some years as a Mujavir at the Mazar of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.A) and was enlightened by his pure soul. It seems that some Kashmiris while travelling to Khorasan might have visited the Mazar of Hazrat Amir Kabir at Kulab. Late Prof. Shamsud-Din Ahmad during his visit to USSR paid his obeisance at the Mazar. He has written in detail about the resting place of Hazrat Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.A) in his book entitled “Shah- I- Hamdan: life and works”. In 1995, with the endeavors of the head of Shah Hamdan Educational and Cultural Trust, Syed Shabir Hamdani, along with a delegation of eight members, visited Kulab and paid their homage at the Mazar. One of the team members namely Ghulam Ali Bakhshi published a booklet as a travelogue highlighting the different aspects of the Mazar of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.A). Moreover, the owner of the valley’s leading and reputed travel agency “Al Hayat Hajj & Omrah travel services”, Wali Waheed arranged a tour package and a five member team visited Kulab in August, 2005.
It is worthwhile to note that the chain of pilgrims, which started in 8th century /14th century, is still in progress and shall continue in future. The government of Tajikistan, by bringing Kulab on the map of pilgrim tourism, has taken a lead in this context. The Government of J&K and Indian government both are well aware of the importance of pilgrim tourism to foster bonds of friendship and revival of these very old relations. Both the governments can take up the matter with Tajik government so that the pilgrims of both the regions freely travel to the pilgrim destination revered by both the people. It will give a boost to tourism sector as well. On the occasion of Two Day International Conferences held by Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, the then ambassador of Tajikistan to India, Mr Said Beigh during his meeting with the Governor of the state N.N Vohra had put forth a suggestion of direct flights between Srinagar and Dushanbe. During his visits to the valley, he also held parleys with the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries for revival of historic trade relations.
It is the need of hour that the Ministry of culture, J&K government should take a lead and take into confidence the Govt. of India to give impetus in promoting the pilgrimage tourism, culture and trade relations by facilitating visits of the business communities of both the countries. We can also take into consideration the mutual cultural affinities and undertake joint research projects to promote cultural relations and research on scientific and literary works. The Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir, Srinagar and Academy of Sciences, Tajikistan could be the co-partners in this endeavor. The Centre of Central Asian Studies and Tajik Academy of Science had in the past created history by publishing jointly the map of Al-khawarazmi. Let us start making joint efforts to prepare a catalogue of the manuscripts about the great personality Hazrat-e-Shah-e- Hamdan.

(more…)

Remembering the great saint – Nund Reshi (RA)

Srinagar: As the Valley today observed the Urs of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani (RA),  popularly known as Nund Reshi, with a special focus on his teachings and the path of peace and harmony, some attention must also go to preservation of relics and sites associated with the Kashmir’s Patron Saint.

No doubt people of the Valley still hold the relics and sites of this Saint in high esteem and reverence, but the kind of institutional care and preservation it deserves is clearly missing.

During his journeys through Valley’s hill and dale, Sheikh Noor-ud-Din (RA) visited several places. But many of the sites associated with the Saint have neither been documented nor are properly maintained.

This wonderful heritage needs to be documented and developed for promotion of the pilgrimage tourism.

The famous sites where the Saint is believed to have spent time in meditation, and which have been neglected include Gufabal-Qaimoh, Tismur  Pattan, Darigam, Hunchapora, Sheek Rani, Akhal, and Rupwan.

Even though the monumental remains of that period still exist at several of these places, but due to human vandalism and official apathy, the relics and sites associated with this Saint have been deteriorating.

Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani (RA), is learnt to have first meditated in an underground cave at Gufabal-Qaimoh in the southern district of Kashmir. He is said to have been 20 when he took refuge in this cave and spent 12 years inside the cave in meditation.

He also planted an Elm tree near the cave. The tree and cave are still found at the site, and people usually visit this site, during Urs days and pray there.

After living in this cave, he said to have searched for more silent and calm places which he could found in dense forests of Pir Panchal and reached Tismur in the same district of Kulgam. Here he spent one more year in meditation.

A miniature stone mortar and pestle are seen outside the Sufi shrine of Tismur and it is believed that the Saint used them in preparing of his food which exclusively consisted of ‘Yopalhak’ and ‘Qaslin-hand’ – wild forest herbs.

Kheejogepora is another important site associated with the Saint. There is a spring attributed to the Saint here and many traditions are related with this spring.

Mukhtamul site is also associated with this Saint. It is near Vecharnag in Srinagar (near Soura). Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani (RA) is said to have spent about six months here on a stone slab in meditation.

It is here that Saint is said to have encountered Yavanmachi, a beautiful dancer who come to the Saint to turn him away from meditation. But it is said that the encounter with Saint transformed her completely and she gave up her life of sex and sleaze and became a pious woman.

Similarly, there are other few Reshi sites which have been forgotten altogether.

Today when while Kashmir is commemorating the Saint’s annual Urs, it is time that both people and the authorities also wake up to the need of preserving the sites, monuments and relics associated with this 14th century Saint and pledge to document and preserve his oral and built heritage. IMG_20151011_084922

Awrade Fat’hea Virtues

Posted: October 2, 2015 by kashmirsufis in Uncategorized

Awrade Fatiha Virtues in urdu

auradi fatiyah eik roohani tohfah

The friends of Allah are created to remove
difficulties (Dafi’ al-Balaa’)
(1) ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radiyallahu ta’ala ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah
sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said:“Indeed Allah relieves difficulties for 100 neighbours due to a pious Muslim living near them”.[al-Mu’ajjam al-Kabir, Tabrani; Mu’alim, Baghawi]
(2) Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said: “If it were not for those servants of Allah who offer Salah and milk drinking children and four-legged grass eaters, then surely Allah would punish you and it would be a strong punishment”.[Sunan Bayhaqi; Tabrani]
(3) Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas radiyallahu ta’ala ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah
sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said:“It is only due to your elders that you are given help and sustenance”.[Bukhari]
(4) ‘Ubada radiyallahu ta’ala ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alaihi
wasallam said: “There are 30 Abdal in my ummah. It is only due to them that the world
continues. It is only due to them that rainfall occurs for you and it is only due
to them that you receive help”.[al-Kabir, Tabrani]
(5) ‘Ali al-Murtada radiyallahu ta’ala ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu
‘alaihi wasallam said: “There are 40 Abdal in Sham (Syria). When one dies, Allah replaces him with another. It is only because of them that rain falls and only due to them that
enemies are defeated. It is because of them that punishment is waived from
the people of Sham”.[Ahmad]
(6) ‘Awf ibn Malik radiyallahu ta’ala ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu
‘alaihi wasallam said: “The Abdal are in Sham. It is due to their barakah that people get help and it is only due to them that sustenance is provided”.[al-Kabir, Tabrani]
(7) Anas bin Malik radiyallahu ta’ala ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu
‘alaihi wasallam said: “The world will never cease to have at least 40 awliya (saints) who will be
similar to Sayyiduna Ibrahim Khalil Allah ‘alaihis salam. It will be due to them that you will get rainfall and due to them that you shall receive help”.[al-Awsat, Tabran]
(8) Abu Huraira radiyallahu ta’ala ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alaihi
wasallam said:“Thirty people who will be similar to Ibrahim ‘alaihis salam will always
remain on the Earth. It is thanks to them that your pleas will be heard and due
to their barakah that rainfall will happen”.[ibn Hibban fi Tarikh]
(9) ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiyallahu ta’ala ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah
sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said:“There shall always be 40 men in my ummah whose hearts will be similar to the heart of Ibrahim ‘alaihis salam. Allah will remove difficulties from the
people due to them. Their title will be Abdal”.[Abu Nu’aym fi Hulya]
(10) Anas radiyallahu ta’ala ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said: “When Allah wishes to do good with a person, He uses the person to remove
difficulties from the people”.[Shu’b al-Iman, Bayhaqi]
(11) ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radiyallahu ta’ala ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah
sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said: “There are some people of Allah whom Allah selects so that they may remove difficulties from the creation. People in a bad state will come to them for their
needs. Such people are free from the punishment of Allah”.[al-Kabir, Tabrani]
(12) Anas radiyallahu ta’ala ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alaihi
wasallam said: “When Allah wishes to do good with a person, He makes the person towards
whom people turn for their needs”.[Musnad al-Firdaus]
(13) ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiyallahu ta’ala ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah
sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said: “There are 300 friends of Allah in the creation whose hearts are like that of Prophet Adam ‘alaihis salam. There are 40 whose hearts are similar to the
heart of Musa ‘alaihis salam and 7 whose hearts are similar to the heart of Ibrahim ‘alaihis salam. There are 5 whose hearts are like that of Jibra’il and 3 whose hearts are like that of Mika’il and one whose heart is like the heart of Israfil. When he (whose heart is like Israfil) dies, then one of the three whose heart is like Mika’il replaces him and one of the five (whose hearts are like
Jibra’il) replaces him. One of the seven replaces one of the five, one of the forty replaces one of the seven and one of the three-hundred replaces one of the forty and a normal Muslim replaces one of the three-hundred. It is due to these 356awliya that creation are given life and killed, due to them rain falls, vegetation grows and difficulties are removed”.[Abu Nu’aym fi Hulya; ibn Asakir]
These sayings from the scholars demonstrate that the powers which Allah bestows upon
his Awliya are not restricted to this world but continue after their demise because when
Their sainthood is intact, its effects will be.

علم کا معنی ہے جاننا ۔ یقین کا معنی ہے کسی ایک نقطہ پر جم جانا مکمل یکسوئی کے ساتھ ۔ اس (علم ) کی مثال یوں ہے کہ ایک گھڑا ہے ، دور پڑا ہے ۔ فقط یہ علم ہے کہ اس میں پانی ہے ۔ اس کو آنکھوں سے پاس جا کر نہیں دیکھا ۔ فقط علم کی حد تک ہے ۔ اس میں کوئی اور چیز ہو سکتی ہے ۔تو فقط جاننے کی حد تک معلوم ہونا ، یہ علم الیقین ہے کہ اس میں پانی ہے ۔اور جب نزدیک جا کراس کو آنکھوں سے دیکھ لیا کہ اس میں پانی ہے تو یہ عین الیقین بن گیا۔لیکن مکمل بات اب بھی نہیں کہ دیگر مائعات پانی سے مماثلت رکھتی ہیں کہ وہ پانی کی طرح ہوتی ہیں۔ مگر دیکھنے سے یہ پتہ چلا کہ کوئی مائع ہے اور پانی بھی ہو سکتا ہے ۔ لیکن جب اس کو چکھ لیا ، پھر مکمل یقین ہو گیا کہ یہ واقعتا پانی ہے ۔ اسے حق الیقین کہتے ہیں کہ یقین تو پہلے بھی تھا ، جاننے کی حد تک ۔ دیکھ کر بھی مکمل نہ ہوا ۔ مگر جب اس کو چکھ لیا ، ذائقہ محسوس ہو گیا ، جاننے کا حق ادا ہوا تو حق الیقین بن گیا ۔
جب مرشد کے متعلق طالب کے ذہن میں خیال پیدا ہوتا ہے تو یہ علم الیقین ہوا ۔ بارگاہِ مرشد میں حاضری سے عین الیقین ملتا ہے اور مطابقت کر کے اس کی محبت میں فنا ہو جاتا ہے تو جس کی محبت میں فنا ہو جائے تو اس ذات میں گم ہو کر اس کا مزہ چکھ لیتا ہے تو یہ حق الیقین ہوا ۔
اسی طرح احادیث اور سیرۃ الرسول سے آپ کے متعلق علم الیقین حاصل ہوتا ہے اور پھر توجۂ شیخ سے زیارت النبی ہوتی ہے تو عین الیقین بن جاتا ہے ۔ عین الیقین اُس پر بنتا ہے جو پڑھا اور دیکھا ہو ۔ پھر مثلِ سابق جیسا کہ پہلے وہ فنا فی الشیخ ہوا تھا ، اسی طرح وہ فنا فی الرسول ؐہو جاتا ہے اور پھر اس ذاتِ عالی کا فیضِ خاص اسے نصیب ہوتا ہے تو اس فیض کا مزہ چکھتا ہے تو اسے حق الیقین حاصل ہو جاتا ہے ۔ یعنی پڑھا ، دیکھا اور فیض نصیب ہوا ، وہ بھی ٹھیک ۔
اللہ کے متعلق جیسا کہ رسول نے فرمایا ، سن کر علم کی حد تک یقین ہوتا ہے ۔پھر جب طالب پہلی دونوں منازل طے کر کے مرشد و رسول میں فنا ہوجاتا ہے تو اس کو دیدارِ تعالیٰ بھی نصیب ہوتا ہے ۔ یہ عین الیقین بن جاتا ہے اور پھر جب فنا فی اللہ ہوتا ہے ، اپنی ذات کو ختم کر دیتا ہے اور اس کی ذات کا وجود اس پر وارد ہو جاتا ہے ، غالب ہو جاتا ہے تو اس طرح وہ اس کی محبت کا مزہ چکھتا ہے ، تو اس طرح اس کو حق الیقین نصیب ہوتا ہے اور وہ بقا کی منزل پا کر سب سے اعلیٰ منزل پر فائز ہو جاتا ہے ۔

Pledging allegiance, also known as taking bayah or bayt, is a tradition from the times of Beloved Messenger of Allah.
Once such example of this is when the Noble Companions pledged oath to him under the tree. In this incident, each Companion placed their hand in the hand of the Beloved Prophet, and affirmed their faith in the oneness of Allah (tawheed).

This incident is reported in the Holy Qur’an, which states, “Certainly Allah was pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you, [O Muhammad], under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquillity upon them and rewarded them with an imminent conquest.” [Qur’an 48:18]
Importance of Bayah to a Shaykh

The Beloved Messenger of Allah said, “Whoever dies and did not take an oath of allegiance (to a Muslim leader) has died a death of jahiliyah (ignorance).” [Bukhari, Muslim]

The meaning of taking bayah is to pledge spiritual allegiance & surrender yourself to the supervision of a Murshid/Pir/Shaykh,or spiritual teacher/leader. He leads you to Allah by guiding you through the path of Shar’iah and the teachings of our Beloved Prophet. The Murshid is he who takes others under his guardianship so that he may help them with their deen, often strengthening their hearts with zikr and good counsel.

Taking bayah also acts as a powerful guard against arrogance and pride, as a mureed (a spiritual disciple, follower, a seeker who follows the Murshid as his guide on the path of Tasawwuf) must hold complete adab (respect) and humility where his Murshid is concerned. This orders the nafs towards discipline; it is made to recognise its own worth, reflecting upon the pure state of those close to Allah, realising that true honour is in piety only, and understanding that it has no right to be proud. The nafs also learns to obtain knowledge and guidance from one who is greater in faith, causing it to humble itself. This is the way of the Salaf, who would sit at the feet of their Murshid to correct their own characters (akhlaaq) and achieve purity.

• Sayyidina Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, the Leader of the Saints, explains, “Arrogance, hypocrisy, egoism, are all arrows of Shaytan aimed at your hearts. One should formulate a strategy to defend oneself from this attack.
The correct strategies are explained and demonstrated by the Mashaa`ikh (Teachers). You should heed to their commands and act on them. They will guide you on the path of Allah since they have already travelled on this path. Ask their advice on matters relating to the nafs (lower self), cravings and other weaknesses, because they have also suffered their consequences and are well aware of the dangers and harms of evil desires. They have battled these over a long period of time and can confront, control and defeat them.” [Al-Fath-ur-Rabbani, pg. 150]

Additionally, spending time in the presence of the righteous will cause one to benefit greatly in character and mannerisms. This influence has a powerfully positive effect on a person’s heart and mind, causing them to adopt traits pleasing to Allah.

• Imam Ghazali states in his Ihya Uluum al-Din, “Keep company with those who have firm faith, hear from them the learning of sure faith, follow them always, so that your faith may become firm as their faith became firm.”

The Messenger of Allah said, as an analogy for good/bad company, “The likeness of a righteous friend and an evil friend, is the likeness of a (musk) perfume seller and a blacksmith. As for the perfume seller, he may either bestow something on you, or you may purchase something from him, or you may benefit from his sweet smell…” [Bukhari, Muslim]

The above narration clarifies the importance of righteous company, which can benefit a person in more ways than one – there are numerous other Ahadith about the merits of being with the righteous. Also, the Holy Qur’an states:
“And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance.” [Qur’an 18:28]

Regarding the presence, then, of a Murshid, one who is a scholar of religion and devout in his duties towards Almighty Allah, one should bear in mind the following Hadith of the Noble Messenger, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him:
“The best of you are those who, when they are seen, God is remembered.” [Ibn Majah]
This highlights the necessity of being in the company of one’s Murshid who, if he is a true teacher, will have this effect on those who meet him.

• Imam Muhyuddin ibn Arabi states in his book, Kitab Kunh ma la Budda minhu lil-Murid or What the Seeker Needs, “Look for a perfect teacher who will lead you on the Straight Path.”

• Imam al-Shafi said, “I accompanied the Sufiya (plural of Sufi) and I received from them three kinds of knowledge, 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 Tasawwuf.” [Tanwir Al-Qulub, page 405]

• Imam Ahmad advising his son said, “O my son, you must sit with the Sufiya, because they are like a fountain of knowledge. They recite the remembrance of Allah in their hearts. They are ascetics and they have the most spiritual power.” [Ghiza Al-Albab, Vol 1, page 120]

• Imam Abu Hanifa said, emphasizing the importance of sitting at the feet of a spiritual guide and teacher, “If it were not for two years, I would have perished. For two years, I accompanied Imam Jafar al-Sadiq and I acquired the spiritual knowledge that made me a knower in the Way (i.e. Tasawwuf).” [Ad-Durr Al-Mukhthar, Vol. 1, page 43]

It has been agreed upon for centuries that one cannot travel the path of Tasawwuf, or the essential spiritual branch of Islamic belief, without guidance from a spiritual teacher. This knowledge cannot be taught in books, it must be acquired through the guidance of a teacher or Murshid.

• Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi states in his Masnavi, “Butter cannot be acquired without milk, as recognition of Allah (ilm-e-baatin)cannot be obtained without a spiritual guide or Murshid.” And he further states, “Whoever travels without a guide needs two hundred years for a two day journey.”

About him, there is a story regarding the importance of a Murshid.
He, Mawlana Rumi, was not only a poet but also a great jurist, theologian and scholar of the highest accord. One day, as he taught his students in the open courtyard of the Masjid, a poorly dressed dervish stood by and watched. He observed how the Mawlana referred to many handwritten books and texts as he taught, so he enquired as to what they contained. Mawlana Rumi replied, “O Sufi! This contains knowledge which is beyond your understanding, so you continue to read your tasbeeh (rosary).” The dervish was in fact the great Shamsuddin Tabrez, who would soon be his spiritual guide and teacher.
When Mawlana Rumi’s attention had gone back to teaching, Khwaja Shamsuddin Tabrez threw all the Mawlana’s books into the nearby pond. The students who noticed this rushed to him and began to beat him. A distraught Mawlana Rumi complained of how his valuable knowledge had all been lost.
“Tell your pupils to leave me alone and I will give back your books,” replied Khwaja Shamsuddin. Mawlana Rumi, thinking that this would be impossible, asked his students to leave the dervish alone. Then he watched in amazement as Khwaja Shamsuddin recited ‘Bismillah,’ retrieved the books out of the water and returned them to him intact. He asked him as to how he had done this, to which Khwaja Shamsuddin replied, “This knowledge is beyond your understanding so you continue to teach your pupils.”
The Mawlana then realised his mistake, asked for forgiveness and submitted himself to the presence of this great Sufi dervish. Eventually, time spent at the feet of Khwaja Shamsuddin transformed him from a scholar of religious texts, into a truly devout lover of God.

In Mawlana Rumi’s own words:
“Sad kitaboh, sad waraq, dar nar kun
Aur jaan-o-dil rah, janibeh, dil daar kun.”
Meaning: “Throw all your books into the fire,
And turn with heart & soul towards the pure-hearted (the Awliya).”

Hafiz al-Shirazi affirms this advice saying, “Do not take a step on the path of Love without a guide. I have tried it one hundred times and failed.”

• If one is lucky enough to reach the presence of a Wali or Friend of Allah (read article about Wilayah), bear in mind the words of Khwaja Shah Baha’uddin Naqshband who said, “There is no friend of Allah on this earth who is not under the special Gaze of Allah. When you sit in the company of the friend of Allah, the fayz (spiritual blessing) that you receive is in fact a reflection of that special gaze.”
The power of this fayz has been known to truly transform personalities, causing even the harshest of criminals and sinners to turn whole-heartedly to Allah in repentance and devotion.

• Sayyidina Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani said, “The heart is the plantation for the Aakhira (hereafter). Sow the seeds of Imaan in your heart. Irrigate, fertilise and mature it with regular good deeds. If there is kindness and energy in the heart, it will be fertile and an abundant harvest will result. Should the heart be harsh and contemptuous, the soul becomes infertile, barren and no crop will be able to grow.
Learn this art of farming by its farmers/experts, the Awliya Allah. Do not think your opinion to be sufficient. Our Prophet says, ‘Seek help in every field from an expert in that field.’” [Al-Fathur Rabbani, pg. 202]

Criteria of a True Murshid

A true Murshid is one whose own faith is sound enough for him to guide others to the Path. His status as a Murshid must be initiated by orders from his own spiritual guide, who may receive these instructions from preceding saints with the permission of the Beloved Messenger of Allah.
This spiritual chain is known as a Tareeqa (see next heading for details).

Firstly, true Murshid must be a Sunni Muslim who strictly follows the beliefs and creed of the Ahle Sunnah wal Jamaah, the only true path of Islam. He adheres to the ways of the Beloved Messenger, and is guided by the Noble Companions and theSalaf who follow after them. This is absolutely crucial, and without this, he is a danger to the Imaan of those who follow him and a cause for serious corruption in faith.
• Imam Malik said, “Whoever studies jurisprudence (fiqh) and does not study Tasawwuf will be corrupted. Whoever studiesTasawwuf and does not study jurisprudence will become a heretic. Whoever combines both will reach the truth.”[Kashf Al-Khafa Wa Muzid Al-Abas, Vol. 1, page 341]

Secondly, he must be a knowledgeable scholar or Aalim, with a broad understanding in matters of Deen so that he is able to differentiate between forbidden (haram), acceptable (halal) and everything in between. He will be able to give sound judgements and guide the actions of his followers according to the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Thirdly, he must display the noble characteristics and etiquettes taught by the Beloved Messenger, and this indicates the purity of his heart. A great Murshid is one who teaches by practical example as well as through his words and advice. He is respected by all due to his character and he instills love for the Sunnah within the hearts of those who follow him.

Fourthly, his spiritual lineage (Shejra) must be that of a true Tareeqa, or spiritual chain; it must be connected, starting from our Master the Beloved Messenger of Allah, to Noble Companions, to Salaf and Awliya after them. Spiritual wisdom, teachings and guidance are passed down from the top in this manner, so one cannot gain any fayz or virtue without these connections.

Additionally, Imam Muhyuddin ibn Arabi teaches that one should not expect a Murshid to perform miracles. This is not a requirement of a spiritual guide or even of a Wali. This is something which many are blessed with by Allah, but is an aspect they wish to conceal due to their humility and noble state.
• Imam ibn Arabi states, “People think that a Shaykh should show miracles and manifest illumination. The requirement of a teacher however, is only that he should possess all that the disciple needs.”

• Regarding this, Mawlana Rumi narrates the following story in his Masnavi:
Seeing a man who was tilling the earth, a fool who was unable to control himself cried out, “Why are you ruining this soil?”
“Fool,” said the man, “leave me alone. Try to recognize the difference between tending the soil and wasting it. How will this soil become a rose garden until it is disturbed and overturned?”

This indicates the importance of the Shaykh who acts as the tiller, testing the mureed by overturning their heart and nourishing their inner soil. This is done to benefit the mureed so that their full inner potential is realized and as a result, they are elevated in spiritual rank and station.

Tareeqa – Spiritual Chain

The word tareeqa literally means ‘way’ or ‘path’. It terms of Tasawwuf, it refers to the path of spiritual guidance and blessing issued down from the Beloved Messenger, passed along from one righteous personality to another. Silsila is another term used for tareeqa.
As madhabs are the paths for adhering to the Shar’iah, sotareeqas are the paths for adhering to Tasawwuf. They are all correct, as they all lead back to the ultimate source of guidance, our Beloved Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. The saints in every tareeqa are connected to his eminent presence and blessings.

• Imam Ahmad Raza Khan says, “By just having a link with a spiritual order (Silsila) is itself a great fortune and blessing.”

The main tareeqas are Naqshbandi, Qadri, Chishti and Soharwardi. There are also other smaller tareeqas but these are the major ones. Each tareeqa has branches; like a tree, where the roots are one but the branches are many. This is due to how each tareeqa is connected and taught through different saints and their Darbars (sanctuaries, or centres).
The Naqshbandi tareeqa is distinguished in that it is the only one which connects from the Beloved Messenger of Allah to Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddique onwards, whereas all the others connect from the Beloved Messenger of Allah to Sayyidina Ali onwards.

• Mawlana Jami is reported to have said, “The Naqshbandiya lead an extraordinary caravan, for they take their students to the Haram (sanctuary) via a secret, hidden route.”

The Shejra is a chart which shows clearly how the tareeqa has progressed; which Companions and saints it has been passed down from. It clarifies the spiritual connection and authenticity of the guidance a mureed is blessed with through their tareeqa.

There are many virtues associated with reciting one’s Shejra. It encourages the remembrance of the Messenger of Allah, and the Saaliheen (the righteous). This is a method which strengthens hearts and rejuvenates one’s faith.
It also acts as a form of Isaal-e-Sawaab, or virtue for the deceased, which is a means to receive their guidance and fayz. It also brings a mureed closer to the Awliya, so that they are able to receive the blessings and assistance of these saints in times of hardship, as well as during moments of ease.

Duties and Respect towards One’s Murshid

First and foremost, it is crucial for the mureed to have utmost love, respect and trust towards his Murshid. A seeker cannot gain even a grain of wisdom or blessing unless he has complete adab (respect) for his spiritual guide.
Notice the respect and honour the Noble Companions had for the Beloved Messenger of Allah. They had such deep love and respect for him that they would honour everything associated with him – his belongings, his mannerisms, places he visited etc. They would never raise their voice above his, they would never turn their backs towards him or even look at his blessed face except by glancing, due to their respect for him.
A mureed’s respect for his/her Murshid should be in accordance to the Companion’s level of reverence for the Beloved Messenger – he was their guide to Allah, as one’s Murshid is a guide to the Beloved Messenger.

• Khwaja Shah Baha’uddin Naqshband said, “Good conduct with the Shaykhs is a requirement for every seeker. The Shaykhs are the causes and the means for following in the footsteps of the Prophet.”

It is also extremely important that the mureed adheres to the advice and instructions of the Murshid, without fail or hesitation. Of course, any advice given which is blatantly and without even a shadow of a doubt, in contradiction of the Shari’ah, must be opposed – but a true Murshid will never advise in such a manner.
In the case of a true Murshid, a mureed must understand that even when the advice of their Murshid appears suspicious, these doubts should not be entertained. Often, it is due to the lack of the mureed’s understanding and faith that they are unable to comprehend the wisdom behind the Murshid’s words. Therefore, they should endure with patience knowing that eventually, their doubts will be removed and the truth will be brought to light. The true Murshid has answers which a seeker can only obtain through complete trust.

• Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti said, “Whoever has attained anything achieved it through service (khidmat). It is compulsory upon the mureed not to go against the commands of the Murshid even to the size of an atom.”

There is an incident reported about Imam Junayd al-Baghdadi, who came to the River Tigris and saying “Ya Allah”, began to walk across it as if it was solid ground. One of his followers witnessed this, so the Imam advised him to say “Ya Junayd” and he too would be able to cross. The follower did so, and repeating “Ya Junayd”, he walked across the water – until Shaytan entered his mind. He thought, “The Imam himself is repeating the Name of Allah, whilst he tells me to repeat ‘Ya Junayd’. Surely, this is shirk! Will I not repeat the Name of Allah too?”
So he disregarded the words of his Murshid Imam Junayd, and began to say “Ya Allah”. Immediately, he plunged into the depths of the water beneath him and began to drown. Imam Junayd rescued him and he told him what had happened. The Imam replied, “You have not yet understood or attained the status of Junayd and yet you tried to comprehend the Reality of Allah!”

• Sayyidina Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, “You should heed to the commands of the Shaykhs and act on them. They will guide you on the path of Allah since they have already travelled on this path.”[Al-Fathur Rabbani, pg. 150]

Therefore, the mureed must ensure that they are consistent in reciting the awrad (or wird, wazaa’if, or daily zikr) prescribed to them by their spiritual guide. This is of utmost importance; the Murshid is a healer or physician who recommends the appropriate antidote necessary for the seeker. He knows the seeker’s state better than the seeker themselves, so trust in his knowledge and remember that he receives guidance from the saints and the Beloved Messenger of Allah.

• Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti said, “Whatever zikr the Murshid has instructed should be read accordingly so that the mureed may attain some spiritual perfection; what the Murshid commands is for the benefit of the mureeds.”

A seeker should also show complete loyalty and allegiance towards their Murshid. They should honour the belief that their Murshid is the best guide for them, the most beneficial for them, and that none else can surpass this rank. This loyalty is a part of the respect shown towards one’s Murshid, as it proves the level of trust and belief a seeker has, not just in the Murshid, but also the tareeqa they follow.

Those who are looking for a Murshid to guide them should remember that if a seeker is truly sincere, Allah will guide them to a true Murshid who will elevate and strengthen their spiritual state. InshaAllah, they will be successful if they act upon the words of the Qur’an, “And seek help through patience and prayer…” [Qur’an 2:45]

The Status of Fana fi-Shaykh

The status of fana fi-Shaykh (annihilation in one’s Shaykh or Murshid) is a truly dignified one, and is the first stage of spiritual elevation. It indicates the mureed’s pure nature and firm faith, and shows that they are ready for further enlightenment from Allah and the Beloved Messenger.
The second stage of spiritual elevation is Fana fi-Rasul, and the third & final stage is Fana-fillah which is the utmost level of spirituality.

Attaining the status of fana fi-Shaykh requires the seeker to become one with the will of their Murshid – to the extent that they no longer harbour desires of their own, as all their feelings are harmonized with that of their spiritual guide. It is a truly honourable status where the love for the Murshid becomes so intense that his pleasure is the seeker’s own pleasure, and his displeasure is also the seeker’s displeasure. In this manner, the seeker receives and reflects the fayz of their Murshid in a much more powerful form.

Khwaja Sirri as-Saqti said about the love and devotion between Murshid and mureed, that it cannot be authentic unless one says to the other, “I am you, and you are I.” This indicates the complete absorption of a mureed’s heart, which submits itself completely to the one it loves i.e. the Murshid, who is its master, the one who nurtures it and guides it to Allah and the Beloved Messenger.

• About fana fi-Shaykh, Imam Ahmad Raza Khan says, “One must feel that his Shaykh is present with him at all times, and his heart is under the heart of his Shaykh. While in this state, the spiritual beams of the Beloved Messenger of Allah are beaming onto the heart of his Shaykh which is then reflecting onto the Mureed. If this concentration is correctly perfected and maintained for a period of time, the Mureed will clearly visualize the image of his Shaykh upon whatever object he looks at. This condition intensifies so much that the image of the Shaykh will not part from him even whilst in Salah. The Mureed will find this image wherever he goes.”[al-Malfuz al-Sharif]

This state is perfected when the mureed becomes so absorbed in the tasawwur (observation) of their Murshid that his every move impacts their own actions. Eventually, the Murshid also controls the movements of the mureed and at this stage, the mureed becomes completely annihilated (fana), merging into existence of their spiritual guide. This is a divine reality.

Tasawwur-e-Shaykh, or visualizing one’s Shaykh is an important part of being a mureed. It is also a form of muraqaba prescribed through many tareeqas due to the benefits it has upon the heart of a seeker. (Read: Muraqaba – Divine Meditation)

May Allah’s eternal peace and blessings of the highest degree be upon our Master Muhammad (S.A.W), upon his Family and his Companions.

peace and blessings be upon him