Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shaykh Bahauddin Naqshband


"When asked to detail all the links in his initiatic chain (silsila), Khwaja Baha al-Din Naqshband, founder of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order replied: "Nobody ever went anywhere by means of a chain."
From: JAMI, Baharistan

O son, we have been mentioning a number of mashaikh and now it is timely that we honor in our own little way the Grand Shaykh of the Naqshbandi Tariqah.

Shaykh Muhammad Bahauddin Shah Naqshband (1317 - 1389 CE) was actually the 17th in the lineage but his name remained to flourish the tariqah whose earlier notable gurus included, Abd al-Khaliq al-Ghudjawani (11th on the silsilah), Arif ar-Riwakri (12th) and Sayyid Amir Kulal (16th).

No doubt, it is difficult to post anything that could do justice to this honorable saint given the limited resources because Shah Naqshband had forbade recordings of his deeds and sayings. What we could afford is make brief quotations from the only extensive biography available on him written by none other than Shaykh Hisham Kabbani al-Haqqani in 'Classical Islam and the Naqshbandi Sufi Tradition'. May with his barakah, all the mureeds in the tariqah are able to cling tightly onto the chain of Naqshbandi and love one another in a close-knit fellowship, as he had intended:

طريقتنا الصحبة والخير في الجمعية
Tariqatuna as-suhbah wa 'l-khayru fi 'l- jam`iyyah
"Our way is fellowship, and the goodness is in the gathering."

Sheikh Bahauddin Naqshbandi was asked on the meaning of Prophet s.a.w narration, 'Part of faith to remove what is harmful from the Way?' He replied saying, 'What he meant by "harmful" is the ego, and what he meant by "the Way" is the Way Of God as He said to Bayazid al-Bistami, "Leave your ego and come to Us."

"What is meant by travelling the path?" He said, "The details in spiritual knowledge." They asked him, "What are the details in spiritual knowledge?" He said: The one who knows and accepts what he knows will be raised from the state of evidence and proof to the state of vision...Whoever asks to be in the way of God has asked for the way of affliction. It was narrated by the Prophet, "Whoever loves me, I will burden him". One person came to the Prophet and said "O Prophet I love you" and the Prophet said, "Then prepare yourself to be poor."

It is reported by his successor, Alauddin al-Attar, that when Sheikh Naqshband got new clothes he would give them to someone else to wear, and after they were used would borrow them back. He recited the verses: 'Everyone desires the good. But no one has attained ascension, except by loving the One who created the good.'

He was asked, "Why are the seekers called the poor?" He said, Because they are poor, but they do not need to supplicate. Just as Prophet Abraham a.s. when he was thrown into the fire and Gabriel a.s. came and asked him, 'Do you need any help?' He replied, 'I have no need to ask. He is well aware of my state.' Poverty is a sign of annihilation and the erasure of the attributes of existence.

He once asked, 'Who is the poor one?' No one answered him. he said, 'The poor one is the one whose inside is always in struggle and whose external is always at peace."

One of the scholars of Bukhara asked Shah Naqshband, "How can a worshipper reach the Divine Presence in his prayer?" He replied: "By eating from the hard-earned sweat of your brow and by remembering God inside your prescribed prayer and outside your prescribed prayer, in every ablution and in every moment of your life."

Shaikh Salah, his servant, reported: "Shah Naqshband said one time to his followers, 'Any connection of your heart with other than Allah is the greatest veil for the seeker,' after which he recited this verse of poetry:
The connection with other than God is the strongest veil, and to be done with it, is the Opening of Attainment.

"The people of God do not admire what they are doing;
they act only out of the love of God."
- Sultan al-Arifeen, the King of the Gnostics
Muhammad Bahauddin Shah Naqshband
May Allah sanctify his secrets
Read full write-up on Shaykh Bahauddin Naqshbandi here.
Photo of Shaykh Bahauddin Naqshbandi tomb taken from NFIE.

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