JIHAD AL-NAFS [FIGHTING THE EGO]

HAKEEM TIRMIDHI (d. 320 H) ON JIHAD AL-NAFS [FIGHTING THE EGO]
Translated from his book ‘Aadaab al -muridin’ [Rules of Conduct for
the Seekers of God] Ed. Abdulfattah Abdullah Baraka, Cairo: Matba`at
as-sa`adat, 1976.

I. Concerning the Murid (seeker) and What Helps or Hurts Him in His
Journey to God Most High, and What His First Step Ought to Be

There are two types of murid:
Those that seek God’s Grace by worshipping Him, fulfilling His
commands and avoiding His prohibitions, then turning to perform as
many voluntary good works as they can, seeking through them salvation
from the fire and attainment of the rewards He has prepared for His
workers.
Others approach God in worship, fulfill His commands and avoid His
prohibitions, then turn to examine their inner self, and they find in
their hearts many diseases, such as love of the world (dunya), lust
for power, honor, and greatness, greed, the furnace of desires
(shahawat), the chatter of vain passions (hawa), ambition, envy, love
of praise and compliments–all of them worldly bonds blinding the
heart.

Such a heart can never find the way to God bearing those stains,
because in loving the world he parts with His Lord. He is in love
with something God has removed far from Himself and despised. To ask
for greatness is to compare oneself with God Most High; in the
furnace of desires one faces the greatest seductions; and in the
chatter of vain passions lies tyranny itself and aversion to the
rights of God the Lord of Might and Majesty. That heart is veiled
from wisdom and from the understanding of how God disposes His
affairs.

Such a person is a prisoner of his ego (asir an-nafs). He performs
obligations while attached to the world, he avoids prohibitions while
attached to the world, and he generally worships God at his own
convenience. This is a servant who must try to found upon sincerity
every matter, every action, and every moment, by working on his ego.

Whoso desires the reward of God the Lord of Might and Majesty, let
him keep to this battle, and let him be sincere in every matter in
order to purify his worship.

For whoever seeks God Most High, must take pains and ask for
sincerity in the secret of his heart until the door is opened for
him. When the door opens and the gift is given, at that time the cost
of his journey will be repaid in full. He will be strengthened and
continue on his way, and the further he goes the more his gift is
increased for him and he continues even further. This does not stop
until he reaches God through his heart (hatta yasil ilallah qalban).
At that time God appoints him according to his degree and he becomes
a Friend of God (waliyyullah). He has made his heart stand still in
the presence of God wherefore he received his ap- pointment. From
that point he proceeds to works with a heart strong with God’s
strength and rich with God’s wealth, with a faultless ego free from
sins and devils. He has parted ways with vain passions and the
pursuit of honor and he has purified himself.

We have dealt with these topics in two books:
The Training of the Ego (Riyadat an-nafs) and The Practice of the
Saints (Sirat al-awliya’), in which are found, with God’s permission,
cures for all who aspire to knowledge in this matter.

Published in: on December 30, 2006 at 7:12 pm  Comments (5)  

Dhikr – Remembrance of Allah


Pic by – Syed Salman Chishty ,Medina Sharif.

                                                                 Dhikr

The Arabic word for remembrance is dhikr. Remembrance is of several
types or levels. There is the remembrance of physical things, which
are in front of us, and there is the remembrance of one’s desires,
anxieties, and so on. Along the spiritual path, remembrance relates
to that whish is in one’s innate nature. It is the remembrance of
the Essence of Allah the Almighty, of the source of all
manifestation and attributes. That source is within everybody. On
the Sufi path, one is required to dis-remember everything else that
is discernible, everything that is other that Allah, in order to
return to the original remembrance, Allah.
So the original Remembrance of Allah is already in every heart,
whether one is aware of it or not. Through the guidance of a
spiritual master, the seeker is led beyond, to a level where there
is no remembrance of anything that is mentionable. Then that which
has been there, encompassing everything, is evidently experienced
and witnessed. The purpose of Sufi practices is to be spontaneously
aware of the absolute or central reality as well as remaining aware
of the physical and material limitations of the phenomenal world,
which surrounds us. One is an inner awareness beyond the senses and
the other is an outer awareness, which is based on the senses. So
the aim of a Sufi teacher is to give the appropriate practices to
his close follower and to watch over the results.
Generally speaking, about two hours are needed to obtain the
benefits of remembrance of Allah. During the first half-hour, the
mediator is primarily trying to quieten down his thoughts. In the
next half-hour, he begins to enter the meditative state. During
third half-hour, generally speaking, there are no thoughts or mental
visions and meditation is established. During the last half-hour,
real benefits begin to set in. Proper meditation begins when all
awareness fades away and simple non-descript being ness sets in.
Any awarness during remembrance of Allah is a hindrance to entry
into the realm of pure consciousness. Pure consciousness cannot be
talked about. It must be experienced. All what can be said is that
is state of being ness.
All mental processes are regarded as lower consciousness. All
physical, material, and causal aspects of life are in this category.
Abstract thoughts and emotions are regarded as subtler and therefore
higher. Within all human perceptions there are scales of
consciousness. There are scales in our consciousness of hearing,
seeing, understanding, and so on. So consciousness is along a
vertical scale. One can say the same thing about God’s attributes.
There are some attributes, which have to do with the physical
mechanism that governs matter, all of which is permeated by divine
order.
Physical consciousness relates to matter and mass, and is low on the
scale of consciousness because it is gross. Higher on the scale is
conscious of mind, such as feelings, emotions, and for example,
dislike of physical pain. Higher still is the intellectual
consciousness of moral values, a sense of justice and equality, and
so on.
The aim of a Sufi is to go higher than all the intellectual
consciousness. In the state of meditation, in the beginning, there
is the consciousness of the physical body. Then the body is
forgotten, but there is still the consciousness of ideas and
thoughts. Through the technique of single-pointed meditation, all
the ideas and thoughts are sublimated. Beyond that is the state of
pure or highest consciousness where is no consciousness of any
discernible thing. It is an indescribable simple awareness .Now this
is not even the end of the meditation exercise. Actually, it
signifies a new beginning. The end of all thoughts is the beginning
of another dimension.
A simile of process of meditation is that of sleep. When a person is
going to sleep, he starts by turning down the covers and climbing
into bed. He then prepares to relax and gradually becomes less
conscious of his thoughts until physical consciousness ends
altogether. The end of thought is the beginning of another form of
consciousness, which is called sleep. Sleep, like meditation, is
subjective and experiential. It has to occur and is not talked
about .The final stage in meditation is not describable for it is
related to the pure consciousness. Anything that is describable
belongs to the realm of the physical world. The fact that one talks
about an experience brings limitations to it. Once a person enters
the zone of higher consciousness, he is not conscious of anything
specific.
The beginning of higher consciousness is the end of all other
consciousness. Accordingly, description and talking about it also
ends. Is an incredibly wonderful state, vast and timeless and non-
dimensional. Bliss!

Published in: on December 30, 2006 at 7:10 pm  Comments (2)  

Chirag-e-Dehlawi – Hazrat Khawaja Nasiruddin Mahmood (RA)


Dargah – Chirag-e-Dehlawi Hazrat Khawaja Nasiruddin Mahmood (RA)

Chirag-e-Dehlawi

Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin Mahmood r.a., popularly known as “Chiragh Delhi” was the fifth spiritual successor of Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti of Ajmer r.a.  He was the Khalifa of Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya r.a. who, at the time of his death, told Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. that, “You shall have to stay in Delhi and suffer the persecution of the people,” while handing him over the “sacred relics”. (Tabbarukat-e-Mustafavi).

Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. renounced the world at the blooming age of 25 and began Mujahedas against his Nafs with the company of a dervish with whom he is reported to have roamed around the surrounding mountains and jungles of Avadh for 8 years. During this period, he always observed fasts and lived on herbs. He used to break his fast with the leaves of sambhuker (a kind of plant generally found in Avadh, Uttar Pradesh, India).

Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. came to Delhi at the age of 43 years and joined the circle of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s r.a. Murids [disciples]. One day while Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya r.a.was descending from his hujra [room] at the top of his Khanqah, he noticed that Sheikh Nasiruddin Mahmood Chiragh r.a. was standing in a despondent mood under the shade of a nearby tree. He sent for him through his attendant and took him in privacy to have a talk about his condition. After a brief self-introduction, Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. said: “Sir, I have come here to help the dervishes in putting on their shoes.” This one sentence was enough to confirm his humble character and keenness for a spiritual career and also to win the affection of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya r.a. who related his own story of devotion to his Pir-o-Murshid in the beginning of his career. He then became Murid at the hands of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya r.a. and devoted himself wholeheartedly to the service of his Pir-o-Murshid [shaikh].

Once Khwaja Mohammed Gazrooni, a Murid of Khwaja Ahauddin Zakaria r.a. of Multan was staying as a guest of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya r.a. at his Khanqah. One night Khwaja Gazrooni r.a.  awoke for Tahajjud [prayer before sunrise] and keeping his clothes in the Jamat Khana, went to perform Wudu [purification] but on his return he did not find his clothes where he left them and began to grumble loudly in a fit of anger. Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. was upset by his noisy temper and thought that it would disturb Hazrat Mehboob-e-Illahi’s r.a. ['Beloved of God' -- Hazrad Nizamuddin Auylia, r.a.] devotion at the late hour of night. In order to pacify the anger of the Khwaja, he at once took off his own clothes and gave them to him. The next morning, when this incident came to the knowledge of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auylia r.a., he presented Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. with a new “poshak” (dress) and prayed for his success.

After the demise of Hazrat Mehboob-e-Illahi r.a., the Jamat Khana of his Khanqah became the property of his sisters descendants and Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. shifted himself to the place of Chiragh Delhi where his Mazar Sharif [noble shrine] stands to this day.

Like his Pir-o-Murshid, Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a.had to contend with very hard times. Often, during the nights, he had no lights in the house. For several days his oven remained cold. When anybody came to see him, he used to wear his Pir’s Jubba to meet him, and after having gone he would change into his rough clothes. He says that he never liked to perform ablution by wearing his Pir’s Jubba but he liked to hide his poverty from the world by wearing it. During his good times, although he used to fast daily, he ordered delicious food to be prepared and served to his guests and Murids. He himself used to say, “Allah be praised! After all, Faqiri (life of a Sufi) is tremendous blessing. It’s beginning and end are both beautiful.”

The title of “Chiragh,” according to one version, was given to the Sheikh by his Pir-o-Murshid. Once there was a distinguished gathering of many leading Masha’ikhs at Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s r.a. Khanqah. Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. arrived a bit late and Hazrat Mehboob-e-Illahi r.a. asked him to sit down, but he replied: “Sir, my back would be towards this august assembly”- a posture which is considered impertinent in Islamic etiquette. Upon this Hazrat Mehboob-e-Illahi r.a.  said: “A Chiragh has no back” meaning that there is neither a face nor a back of a lamp, it sheds its light in all directions. From that day onwards, among his fellow Murids, the title of “Chiragh” became very popular.

Once a learned person came to Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. to become his Murid. At the time of initiation, the Saint warned him: “When an aspirant enters on the path of Tariqat, he must shorten his sleeves, keep his dress up and shave off his head. Shortening of sleeves means that he has cut off his hands so that he may not spread it before the world for help except Allah; keeping his dress up means that he has cut off his feet so that he may not go to any place that is bad and where there is a danger of misfortune; and shaving of the head means that he has cut of his head in the Oath of Divine Love so that nothing against the Shari’at [Islamic Law] would come from him.”

How great and wise were the teachings of one of he greatest Sufi Saints ever. Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. recommended all that came to him to observe punctuality of Namaz [Islamic Prayer] with congregation. He himself desired this rule very strictly since his younger days. He used to explain the benefits of Namaz by guiding instances from the Hadith [Traditions of the Prophet, s.a.w.s] and the Qur’an. He had extreme love for the Prophet  Muhammad, s.a.w.s.  and his philosophy of Islamic faith was based upon two paramount things, namely, obedience to whatever Allah and His Rasul [Messenger of Allah] s.a.w.s. has ordained and the avoidance of whatever was forbidden.

Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a., like many other Sufi dervishes before him, had to go through extreme sufferings from the ruler of the time. He was persecuted by Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq whom history will never forgive for his tyrannical rule over innocent humanity on the one hand and the capricious schemes that ruined Delhi and especially the 200 year old glorious work of the great Sufi Saints of India, on the other. Because of shortage of space we will not go in detail about the cruel Sultan’s whimsical schemes but so much should be said that the Sultan’s thirst for power interfered with the pious work of these Sufi dervishes. However, eventually he had to pay a severe penalty, like some of his short-sighted predecessors who had also persecuted Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya r.a.

Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin r.a. and another great Sufi dervish Hazrat Qutbuddin Munawwar r.a. had received their Khilafat on one and the same day with the instruction of Hazrat Nizamuddin r.a. that they  “should maintain mutual affection without any discrimination or superiority complex.” Here is a story of their overwhelming regard for each other when they met after a long time at Hansi. When Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin r.a. was retiring from that with Sultan Feroze Tughlaq, the Saint parted with the king’s party to go to Hansi to meet Hazrat Qutbuddin Munawwar r.a. (his Pir-bhai) whom he had not seen for a very long time. On hearing that Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin r.a. had come to Hansi, Hazrat Qutbuddin Munawwar r.a. ran out of his Khanqah bare-footed to meet him on the way and received him with the most affectionate embrace and overwhelmed by the recollection of the old happy days of their association of their beloved Pir, Hazrat Mehboob-e- Illahi r.a.. Both the dervishes could not resist their sorrowful tears on this occasion. A Sama mehfil [assembly of listening] was arranged and both of them had Wajd (ecstasy) and Sukr [spiritual intoxication] in a spiritual mood. After the mehfil [assembly] both the dervishes insisted upon each other to lead the Asr prayer out of each others elderly regard, eventually Hazrat Qutbuddin Munawar r.a. led the prayer because he was the host and within his right under the Islamic Shari’at.

Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin r.a. was very fond of cleanliness. His dress always appeared very tidy and neat. On both of his sides he used to keep a heavy gathering of flowers. One day Hazrat Nasiruddin Chiragh r.a., after his Zuhr [noon] prayers, was busy with his devotional contemplation when a Qalandar by the name of Turab suddenly entered and persistently attacked the innocent Saint with a knife so much so that blood began to flow down the floor. But curiously enough the murderous attack did not disturb the Saint at all in his highly engrossed devotion. When some of the Murids saw the blood coming out of the hujra, they rushed in and caught hold of the Qalandar. Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin r.a. strongly dissuaded them and asked his beloved disciples Abdul Muqtadir Sheikh Sadruddin Tabib and Sheikh Zainudin Ali not to harm the Qalandar. On the contrary, Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin r.a. addressed the Qalandar apologetically and said: “If inthe act of attacking me with your knife, you have felt any pain in your hands, please pardon me for the same.” The Saint further gave 20 tankas to the Qalandar and sent him away unharmed.

From the above incident we see the level of his forgiveness. It is on account of such rare generosity that Hazrat Nasiruddin Chiragh r.a. enjoys high esteem in the Sufi world. Among the dervishes of the Chishtiyya Order particularly, he is a unique symbol of forbearance and humility.

Three years after the murderous attack, Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin (radi Allahu anhu) passed away of a natural death on Friday the 18th Ramadan 757 A.H. [Sept. 14, 1356 C.E.] Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin r.a. willed that at the time of putting him in the grave, the Khirqa [Sufi cloak] of his Pir-o-Murshid, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya r.a. must be put upon his chest, the Asaa (staff) by his side, the rosary on the finger of Shahadat, the kasa (a special wooden bowl which the Faqirs usually carry with them to serve as the only utensil for food, water, etc.) under his head instead of the brick, and a pair of his Pir’s shoes under his arm. This was carried out. The passing away of Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. closed the first circle of a most glorious epoch of Sufism in India.

Published in: on December 30, 2006 at 7:09 pm  Comments (11)  

Mehboob-e-Elahi – Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya (RA)


Dargah Sharif – Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya (RA) ,Delhi

Pic by – Syed Salman Chishty

              

“In Allah’s garden you gather roses,
Being drunk with divine mysteries:
Hazrat Mehboob-e-Elahi — the beloved of Allah,
O, how I long for the attar of your company

Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia (d. 1325 A.D.) represents in many ways the pinnacle of the Chishti Order of the Sufis. Hazrat Baba Farid, his spiritual guide, said to him on appointing him as his successor: “Be like a big tree, so that Allah’s creation, the human beings in their vast multitudes, may find rest and solace under your shadow.” This partly explains why he admitted so many (according to some, including Barani, too many) men into the Chishti order as his disciples. Another reason has been clearly formulated in this way: “History, nonetheless, bears out the wisdom of his open-ended policy . . . To far-flung areas of Uttar Pradesh, Rajastan, Gujarat, Bihar, Bengal and the Deccan, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia sent able disciples well versed in the Chishti practices, yet sensitive to the needs of the local populace.”

With regard to the Sufi path, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia taught the following: “For a dervish, three things are necessary. They all begin with an ‘ain’ (an Arabic letter), i.e., Ishq (love), Aql (intelligence) and Ilm (knowledge). Let us discuss these three qualities one by one.

Sufism is, in its essence, the way of love. Love is considered to be a spiritual alchemy by means of which the baser qualities of a human being are transformed into higher ones. In this respect it suffices to say that Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia is known as Mehboob-e-Elahi, the beloved of Allah. Of course the spiritual status of a beloved is much higher than that of a lover.

‘Intelligence’ changed in the hands of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia into wisdom. His wisdom manifested itself in the shape of service to humanity. About him it has been said: “He was not a miracle-monger of the ordinary sort. He never flew in the air or walked on water with dry and motionless feet. His greatness was the greatness of a loving heart; his miracles were the miracles of a deeply sympathetic soul. He could read a man’s inner heart by a glance at his face and spoke the words that brought consolation to a tortured heart.”

About ‘knowledge’, the third faculty of a dervish, it can be said that Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia was one of the greatest scholars of his day. He wanted to become a Qazi, but gave it all up in his pursuit of inner knowledge. After becoming a Murid (spiritual disciple) of Hazrat Baba Farid, he lived in extremely poor circumstances. Seeing him, a former friend expressed great surprise as he remembered Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia as one who had begun a very promising career as a scholar. When Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia told all of this to Hazrat Baba Farid, his murshid (spiritual guide) suggested that he should recite the following couplet to his friend:

You are not my fellow traveller.
Tread your own path
May you be affluent.
And I downtrodden.
Then Hazrat Baba Farid ordered him to take a tray of food from the kitchen and carry it on his head to his friend. After doing so, he recited the verse. This deeply moved his friend.

One day, someone told a story of a certain saint who expired while slowly repeating the name of Allah. The eyes of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia, who was listening to this story, filled with tears and he recited this quatrain: I come running to the end of Your street,
Tears are washing and washing my cheek.
Union with You — what else can I seek?
My soul I surrender as Your name I repeat.
1. Early Years
After leaving their homeland the city of Bokhara, the paternal grandfather of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia — Khwaja Ali — and the maternal grandfather of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia — Khwaja Arab — along with their family, came to India. At first they lived in Lahore, but later they took up their residence in Badayun (East of Delhi). Khwaja Arab married his daughter Bibi Zulaitaikha to Khwaja Ali’s son Khwaja Ahmad.

The birth of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia took place on the last Wednesday of the month of Safar, i.e., the 27th of Safar 636 A.H. (1238 A.D.) Up to this day, his birthday celebration takes place. His shrine is bathed and the water thereof is distributed among the visitors.

Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia’s father expired when Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia was five years old. His mother brought him to a school where he learned to recite the holy Qur’an. In a short time he mastered the seven ways of recitation of the holy Qur’an. Then he studied Arabic grammar, Ahadith (traditions of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him), commentary of the Qur’an and logic. At the age of twelve, he received the “turban of excellence.” He was so sharp-witted, wise and understanding that he was given the title “Debater, capable of defeating the congregation.” He became distinguished in the science of Tafsir (commentary on the Qur’an), in the knowledge of Ahadith, in Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence), mathematics and astronomy. Khwaja Shamsul Malik was among his most learned teachers. He received a testimony of knowledge of Ahadith from Maulana Kamaluddin. [2]

Although in that period, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia used to sit among the ulama (the scholars of Islam), he was more interested in the inner life. He often used to say: “In the days of youth, I used to live in the company of the ulama, but in my heart the thought used to come that I should go away from their company and turn my face to the Divine Teacher.” [3]

II. Baba Farid
One day a certain Qawwal (Sufi musician), with the name of Abu Bakr, came from Multan (Pakistan) to Hazrat Nizamuddin’s teacher. The teacher asked for information about the Sufi Sheikhs of Multan. Abu Bakr answered thus: “I have lived in the company of Hazrat Sheikh Bahauddin Zakaria of Multan and I have sung mystical couplets for him. In his Khanqah (Sufi monastery) the worship of Allah is very devoted, so much so that even the girls who knead the flour, while doing so, are occupied with the Zikr (remembrance of Allah). From there I went to Ajodhan (the present Pak Pattan in Pakistan). There I got the privilege of meeting Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Gang-e-Shakar,” That sovereign of love of God has conquered the world and the light of his moon has illuminated that area.”

“When I heard these words of praise in regard to Baba Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar,” Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia says, I developed a sudden and intense love for him and I began to repeat his name after every Namaz (prayer).”

The Qawwal had started his concert with this line: “The living serpent of love has bitten my heart.” But then Abu Bakr could not recollect the second line. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia helped him to do so, and seeing this, the Qawwal became very attentive towards him. From that day, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia became very much attached to Baba Farid.

III. Coming to Delhi
“When my eighteenth year began,” Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia tells, “I travelled from Badayun to Delhi.” Musamma Ayuz accompanied him in this journey. Ayuz was a staunch believer in the spiritual greatness of Baba Farid. Whenever he saw the slightest danger because of robbers or wild beasts, he would cry out: “O, Pir! Come! I need your protection.” “I asked him the name of that Pir and Ayuz said: “It is the one who has caught your heart and got you enamoured,” meaning Baba Farid. Thus from that day my faith in the Sheikh increased.”

“When in Delhi, I stayed by chance near Hazrat Baba Fariduddin’s brother and caliph Hazrat Sheikh Najibuddin Mutawakkil. My mother and sister were also with me. We rented a house in the neighbourhood of the great Sheikh, whose company was very valuable to me. In his presence, the qualities of Baba Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar used to be described. On hearing them, I felt the desire of kissing his feet. For approximately three years I stayed in Delhi.” [4]

IV. Meeting Baba Farid
One day Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia said to Sheikh Najibuddin Mutawakkil that he should pray to God, so that he (Nizamuddin) might become a Qazi. Then he would be able to spread justice among the creatures of God. The Sheikh remained silent. When Hazrat Nizamuddin repeated his question, he answered thus: “God forbid that you be a Qazi; be something else!”

In those days, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia used to spend the nights at the Jama Masjid. One morning, the muezzin (the one who calls to the prayer) recited the following verse from the minaret: “Has not the time come
For the faithful
That their hearts should bend
For the remembrance of Allah” [Qur'an 57:16]
Hearing this, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia’s condition changed. It was as if he received spiritual illumination from every direction. And, without any food, he left Delhi in order to present himself to Baba Farid. At the age of twenty, on Wednesday the 11th of Rajab 655 A.H. (1257 A.D.), he reached Ajodhan. Coming before Hazrat Baba Farid, he unsuccessfully tried to summon up courage to tell in detail how eager he was to see him. He could not do so, because of awe. Baba Farid then said: “Every newcomer is nervous.” Thereafter Baba Farid recited this verse: “O, the fire of separation of Thee,
Has made the hearts like roasted meat;
The flood of the fondness of Thee,
Has made the lives morose.”
Then Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia was honoured to be accepted as the mureed (spiritual disciple) of Baba Farid. Then Baba Sahib remarked: “O, Nizamuddin! I wanted to entrust the domain of Delhi to someone else. When you were on the way I heard a voice to the effect that I should wait as Nizamuddin is coming. He is fit for this domain. It should be entrusted to him. So stay in our company so that after completing your inner training, we will appoint you as our caliph and as the Wali-e-Hindustan (the saint of India).”

Hazrat Nizamuddin lived in the company of his Pir-o-murshid (spiritual guide) for seven months and a few days. In this short period, he became deserving of the khilafat of the great mystic Baba Farid. On the second of Rabi’ul Awwal 656 A.H. (1258 A.D.), Baba Farid bestowed khilafat and wilayat to Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia by giving him the special turban, which came to Baba Sahib from Chisht (Afghanistan). After coming to Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia ascended the throne of khilafat-e-piran-e-Chisht[5], i.e., he became a caliph of the Chishti Sheikhs. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia came ten times to Ajodhan: three times in the life of Baba Farid and seven times after his death [6].

After residing in Delhi for a few days, he disdained the crowds of people and desired to withdraw himself to the desert. He then received a Divine inspiration that his place of residence should be Ghiyaspur, a small village outside the city of Delhi. First he had raised a temporary shed with a straw roof for himself and all his companions. After some time, a better place was constructed for him by one of his disciples, Ziauddin Wakil Mulk. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia lived here for more than sixty years and never changed his place of residence. The khanaqah is still there and is visited by many people up to this day.

V. Death
After an illness of about four months he expired in 725 A.H. (1324 A.D.) and realized seclusion (i.e., was buried) in Ghiyaspur. The locality is named after him today.

VI. Nature
After passing the spiritual status of ghousiat and farwaniyat, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia reached the status of Mehboob (beloved). His personality was the container of divine secrets and his intentions were in harmony with those of Allah. He spread a very fine fragrance. Qazi Hamiduddin Kashani also became fragrant with this scent and unsuccessfully tried to wash it way. He narrated the incident to Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia, who explained it thus: “Qazi, this fragrance is of the love of Allah, which He gives to His lovers.”

In the early period of his life he experienced great poverty. Although in Sultan Ghyasuddin Balban’s time one could buy melons for very little money, the greater part of the season would pass without Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia eating a single slice. One day a pious woman brought some barley flour and presented it to him. He asked Sheikh Kamaluddin Yaqub to boil it in a cauldron. At that moment a faqir with a patched frock arrived and with a loud voice said: “O, Nizamuddin! bring whatever is present.” Then Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia gave all the food to him. The faqir ate it all and then broke the cauldron. Hereafter he said: “O, Nizamuddin! You have received the bounties of the invisible world from Baba Farid and the bowl of visible poverty I have broken. Now you have become the sultan of both the visible and invisible world.” From that day on, countless gifts started coming and free food was distributed to hundreds of visitors every day.

Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia was very generous as can be seen in the following narration, which can be found in Jami’s “Nafhatul Uns.” A merchant of Multan lost all his possessions to a band of thieves. He told Sheikh Sadruddin, the son of the famous Suhrawardy saint (Shaikh Bahauddin Zakaria of Multan), that he intended to go to Delhi and asked for a letter of recommendation to Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia. Then he was told by the great saint that he would receive all the gifts that would be given from the morning to the chasht (forenoon) prayers. About 12,000 golden and silver coins were received. All these were given to the merchant.

Every day large numbers of gifts used to be received, but they were distributed before the evening. More than three thousand needy people used to live on the langar (tree feeding).

Shortly before his death, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia called Khadim Iqbal and said: “Whatever cash is present, bring it so that I may distribute it to the deserving.” Iqbal replied: “Whatever gifts come, they are spent on the same day. But there are a few thousand tons of grain in our storeroom.” Bring it out and distribute it to the deserving,” said Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia.

Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia had great love of sama (Sufi music). His friends, disciples and students used to perform such Qawwali (music) in his presence, that even animals used to stop and listen to it [7]. One day he was out for a walk, when he saw a person who was pulling water out of a well and was saying in a loud voice to his companions: “Remain outside today, brother!” Hazrat Nizamuddin, after hearing this, started weeping, and his khuddam (servants) repeated that line until they reached home again.

Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia remained a bachelor all his life. Once his kamarband (a rope used to fasten a pair of trousers) got away from his hand. Baba Farid then said: “Tighten the kamarband properly.” Hazrat Nizamuddin asked: “How should I do it? Baba Sahib answered: “Tighten it in such a way that except the houris of heaven, nobody is capable of opening it.” Hearing that Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia put his head on the floor and did not marry . [8]

VII. Writing and sayings
Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia collected the discourses of his Pir-o-murshid in a book called “Rahat-ul-Qulodo.”

Some of the sayings of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia: 1. The wilayat (domain) of gnosis and faith can suffer decay. The wilayat of compassion can not. 2. The love of Awlia (saints) is stronger than their reason. 3. The lock of spiritual perfection has very many keys. All those keys are to be possessed. If one does not open it, others can. 4. He who has knowledge, reason, and love, is deserving to become a caliph of the Sufi sheikhs. 5. So long as is possible, give relief to your heart, because the heart of a good Muslim is the palace of the manifestations of Allah. VIII. Miracles
Once Sultan Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah asked Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia to come to him on the last day of every month. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia responded: “It is against the tradition of my sheikhs. I will never go to meet the king.” His friends advised him to turn for help to his Sheikh Baba Farid, so that the problem would be solved. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia refused to do so, saying: “The tasks of religion alone are many. I feel ashamed to give pain to the Sheikh for a worldly affair.” He then said: “The king will not be victorious over me for I have had a certain dream. I saw that an animal with horns was attacking me. Upon it coming closer, I took hold of its horns and threw the animal on the earth in such a way that it was killed.” That day, after the noon prayers, he declined to visit the king. When two hours of the day remained, he was asked again to visit the king. He gave no reply. But it so happened that upon that very night, the king was murdered by a certain Khusru Khan.
[9]

Another Sultan by the name of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, wanted Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia to leave Ghiyaspur before the Sultan’s visit to Delhi. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia, was saddened by this and remarked: “Delhi is still far away.” Then just before the arrival of the king in Delhi, the palace of Tughlaqabad fell upon him and he was killed.[10]

Sultan Alauddin had the fear in his heart that Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia wished to rule the kingdom himself and that he was only waiting for the proper time and chance to overthrow him. As a test, he sent some complicated matters related to state affairs to Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia and asked for its solution. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia reacted thus: “What have the dervishes, seated on rugs, to do with the affairs of kings seated on thrones? It is better that the time of the dervish is not wasted and conscience of the faqura is not put to test.” When the king respectfully invited Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia to visit him, the latter answered thus: “The affections of a dervish should be seen as a bird to which distress is caused by the hawk of kingly shows. It is better and enough to keep acquaintance through greetings.”

Khwaja Hasan, who had lived in the company of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia when he was much younger, along with all his friends, was involved in the drinking of wine. One day, near the mausoleum of Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Khaki, they met again. Khwaja Hasan then recited this verse: “For years we have been in each others’ company,
But your company did me no good.
Your piety could not correct my sinful life.
My sinful life is therefore stronger than your piety.”
After hearing this verse, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia simply said: “There are different effects of company on different men.” At once, Khwaja Hasan fell down at the feet of Hazrat Nizamuddin and along with his friends became a murid (spiritual disciple) of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia.

Hazrat Sheikh Nasiruddin of Oudh related that he used to receive worldly knowledge from Qazi Muhiddin Kashani. He suddenly became ill and no hope of life remained. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia visited Sheikh Naseeruddin when he was unconscious. Then Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia rubbed his hand over his face. Immediately Sheikh Naseeruddin regained consciousness and put his head on the feet of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia.

One day a murid of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia prepared a feast for his Sheikh. Qawwals were also called and food was prepared. But when the same (music) started, thousands of people joined in. The host became worried because of the shortage of food. Feeling this, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia said to his khadim (servant): “Wash the hands of the people and let ten people sit at one place. Start giving the food after saying ‘Bismillah‘ (In the Name of Allah).” It so happened that everyone had enough food and there was a great deal of food left over. [11]

It is narrated that a certain Shamsuddin was a very rich man and had no faith in the spirituality of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia. Instead he used to speak ill of him in his absence. One day, he was drinking wine with his friends and suddenly he saw Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia appear in front of him, who made a prohibiting sign with his finger. Shamsuddin then threw the wine in the water and started towards the house of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia after performing the ritual ablutions. Seeing him, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia said: “Whoever is blessed by Allah, he abstains from sins like this.” Hearing this, Shamsuddin became very astonished and with complete faith became his murid. He distributed all his money to the dervishes and in a short time became a Wali (saint) himself.

IX. A story
One day Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia was listening to Qawwali and in ecstasy, waving his handkerchief, said: “We regret, we have not become equal to the washermans’ son even.” At that moment no one dared to ask what he meant, but some days afterwards he was asked about it by Hazrat Amir Khusru. The explanation of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia was like this: “The son of the washerman of the king, without seeing the princess, was in love with her. He used to wash her clothes with utmost care, and even mended and improved them by various means. Without seeing her, he used to moan and weep in the memory of her beauty. His parents became very worried. To speak about it is a problem and not to speak about it is a problem. We are washers and she is a princess. How can the dust of the earth be compared with the sky?

So they tricked him in order to try and change their son’s ideas. One day his mother came to him with a grief-stricken face. He asked what was the matter with her. Then she explained “Today was the soyam (the third day after the death) of the princess whose clothes you used to wash. The boy three times asked: “Has she died?” — and then with a shriek died.

On the fourth day, the washerwoman brought the clothes back to the princess. She asked: “Who has washed these clothes today? They do not look as clean as they used to be. Their neatness used to look as if love has been involved.” Hearing this, the washerwoman became sad and started weeping. On being forced by the princess, she explained everything. The princess then wished to visit his grave. At once, when she was there, the grave cracked and the princess said: “It cracked at places. Ah! Whose grave is this? Probably a restless heart is buried in it.” Then the princess fell down and expired. [12]

X. Poetry
The following is a translation of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia’s famous poem in honour of the Prophet:
O breeze! turn towards Medina (and) from this well-wisher recite the Salaam.
Turn round the king of the prophets (and) with the utmost humility recite the Salaam.
Sometimes pass the gate of mercy (and) with the gate of Gabriel rule the forehead.
Salaam to the prophet of God (and) sometimes recite Salaam at the gate of peace.
Put with all respect the head of faith on the dust there.
Be one with the sweet melody of David and be acquainted with the cry of anguish.
In the assembly of the prophets recite verses from the humble being ‘Nizam’.


Notes:
1. Astrabadi, Mohammed Qasim Hindu Shah: “Tarikh-e-Farishta.”
2. Sijzi, Amir Hasan: “Fawwai ‘du’l-Fu’ad.”
3. Khrd, Amier: “Siyaru ‘l-Auliya.”
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. Bulaq, Mohammed: “Roza-e-Aqtab.”
7. Ibid.
8. Same as note 1.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid.
12. Translated from the “Tazkara-e-Ghousiya.”

Published in: on December 30, 2006 at 7:08 pm  Comments (3)  

Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar (r.a)

Urs celebration at the Shrine of Baba Farid (ra) ,Pak Pattan ,Pakistan .

Baba Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar, r.a
Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar r.a. was born on the 29th Sha’ban in 569 A.H. [April 4, 1179 C.E.] in Khotwal, a village near Lahore [Pakistan]. He was a direct descendant of Hazrat Umar Farooq r.a., the second Caliph of Islam.

It is narrated that a miracle occurred before his birth proving his Saintship. One day, during the pregnancy of his mother, she wanted to pluck some plums from her neighbour’s tree without his permission, but the child in her womb (Hazrat Baba Farid) created a severe pain in her stomach that forced her to abandon the idea of plucking. After a few years after Hazrat Baba Farid’s r.a. birth, his mother lovingly expressed: “My dear son, during your confinement I never ate anything which was unlawful. Hazrat Baba Farid r.a., however, smiled and said, But, my dear mother, you wanted to pluck some plums from our neighbour’s tree without his permission when I had created a severe pain in your stomach which saved you from this unlawful act.”

After he had completed his early religious education at the age of 7 in Khotwal, his mother sent him for higher education to Multan. Here he stayed in a masjid [mosque] where he learnt the Holy Qur’an by heart and studied Hadith, Fiqh, Philosophy and Logic under the tutorship of Maulana Minhajuddin.

During his studies, Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Baktiar Kaki r.a.   of Delhi visited Multan where Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. became his Murid (disciple) in the Chishtiyya Silsila. Upon the instructions of his Pir-o-Murshid, he undertook a tour of Islamic countries, for about 18 years from 593 A.H. to 611 A.H. [1196 C.E. to 1214 C.E.] he travelled to Ghazni, Baghdad Sharif, Jerusalem, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Mecca and Medina meeting many great saints and Sufis. After the demise of Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin r.a. the mantle of spiritual leadership in the Chishtiyya Silsila fell on the shoulders of Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. when Khwaja Qutbuddin r.a.nominated him to be his Khalifa or spiritual successor.

It is narrated that when Hazrat Baba Farid r.a.visited Medina Sharif he was spiritually commanded by the Holy Prophet s.a.w.s. to visit Baghdad Sharif and meet Hazrat Abdul Wahab, son of Hazrat Ghaus-al-Azam Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani r.a. He was to receive some sacred relics from him. Accordingly, when he reached Baghdad Sharif, he received a box from Hazrat Abdul Wahab r.a. which contained the following holy relics: Two flag-poles which were used by the Holy Prophet s.a.w.s. in some of the battles fought by him; one wooden bowl in which the Prophet s.a.w.s. used to eat from; one pair of scissors and one turban which was used by the holy Prophet s.a.w.s.

Because of political upheavals in Delhi, he was obliged to shift the centre of the Chishtiyya mission from Delhi to Ajodhan now known as “Pak Patan”. The Khanqah of Baba Farid r.a., with his patronage, became a great university of “moral and spiritual training.” Thousands of aspirants, scholars, dervishes and Sufis reaped benefit from this spiritual university. Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. reached the pinnacle of spiritual glory through extremely hard Mujahidas (spiritual striving) to gain mastery over the Nafs.


Chilla of Baba Farid in Dargah Ajmer Sharif ,India .

Once Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin r.a. ordered Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. to perform the “Chilla-e-Maakoos” for 40 days. This chilla was seldom undertaken by Sufis and was one of the most difficult tests of Hazrat Khwaja Baba Farid’s r.a. faith and courage. It was to be performed in a well by hanging himself in a reverse or headlong position with his feet tied up by a rope to a sturdy branch of a treetop.

Once, due to utter weakness, Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. helped himself to walk with the aid of a staff. But after a few steps, the colour of his face suddenly became purple, as if he was under heavy punishment. He threw away the staff. When Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin r.a., who was escorting him, enquired the reason for this, Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. replied, I wanted to take help of the staff, but Allah’s Displeasure frowned upon me for depending on other’s help instead of His. I, therefore, threw away the staff and felt highly ashamed of this weakness in my faith in Rabb, the Almighty.”

It is also narrated that once a trader was taking a caravan of camels laden with sugar from Multan to Delhi. When he was passing through Ajodhan (now Pakistan), Hazrat Baba Fariduddin r.a.  enquired casually as to what he was carrying on his camels. The trader sarcastically replied, It is salt. Hazrat Baba Fariduddin r.a. also affirmed, “Yes, it may be salt.” When the trader reached Delhi, he was awfully perturbed to find that all his bags of sugar had turned to salt. He immediately returned to Ajodhan and apologized before Hazrat Baba Farid r.a.. Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. said: If it is sugar then it shall be sugar.” The trader returned to Delhi and was pleased to find that the salt had turned back to sugar by the Grace of Almighty Allah. This is how Hazrat Baba Sahib r.a. received the title of “Ganj-e- Shakar.”

One of the devotees of Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. named Mohammed Nishapuri lived in Gujerat and was going to Delhi with three other companions. On their way through the jungle, robbers encountered them. Mohammed Nishapuri and his companions had no wepons to defend themselves. In such a helpless state, Mohammed Nishapuri remembered his Pir, Hazrat Baba Farid r.a., and also offered prayers seeking Allah’s help in their predicament. Surpassingly, the robbers threw away their weapons and offered an apology to the party and went away.

One day some poor people came from Arabia to see Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. and said that they were strangers to the land and that all their money was spent before the end of the journey. Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. gave them some dried dates which were lying in front of him at the moment and said, Take them and go. Your journey shall be completed by the Grace of Allah.” Apparently, these persons were very disappointed with such a “cheap gift”. After leaving the Khanqah, they wanted to throw away the dates, but just as they were about to do so, to their amazement, the dates turned into gold. Regretting their thoughts, these people left happily uttering their heartfelt gratitude and prayers for Hazrat Baba Farid r.a.

He fasted throughout his life and maintained his nightly prayers and devotions. Fear of Allah always dominated him. He was a staunch devotee of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s. and dedicated his entire life to the veneration of the beloved Prophet’s s.a.w.s. immortal glory. At the mention of the Holy Prophet’s s.a.w.s. character he would often weep out of his love and devotion. Hazrat Baba Farid r.a.  avoided kings, government officials and the rich. He also warned his Khalifas, devotees and Murids to avoid their company. He was a living picture of humility. Whatever he received was spent in the name of Allah and his chest overwhelmed with mercy and forgiveness. Many miracles are attributed to him during his lifetime and after his passing away.

On the 5th of Muharram, during the Isha prayer [evening prayer] ] while in the act of Sajdah, [prostration during prayer] he uttered “Ya Hayo Ya Qayum” [O Self-Subsisting, O Eternal -- two names of God] and with these words on his lips his soul disappeared into the eternal bliss of his beloved Allah. Immediately a “Nida” or Divine Voice declared: “Dost ba Dost Pewast” – Friend has merged into the unity of “Friend” (Allah).

An old woman that was one of the devotees of the Saint presented a piece of cloth for the kaffan [shroud] of Hazrat Baba Farid r.a.. She implored: I have not spun even a single thread of this cloth without having Wudu [purification]. I had prepared it for my own coffin but if it is accepted for the kaffan of this great Saint, I feel confident, Allah would be pleased with to pardon my sins and grant me salvation.  Hazrat Baba Farid’s r.a. son accepted this cloth as the Kaffan.

His Mazar Sharif [noble shrine] is in Pak Patan, Pakistan. Hazrat Sabir Pak, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya and Hazrat Jamaluddin Hansi rehmatulla alaihim [may Allah have mercy upon them]   are among his favourite Murids and Khalifas. It is generally recognized that he had three wives and many children. Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. was indeed one of the most brilliant stars of the Chishtiyya Silsila and is held in high esteem by one and all.

Published in: on December 30, 2006 at 7:06 pm  Comments (20)  

Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, r.a

Shrine of Qutub Saheb ,Delhi ,India

Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, r.a

Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki r.a.   was born in 569 A.H. [1173 C.E.] in a town called “Aush” or Awash in Mawar-un-Nahar (Transoxania). Khwaja Qutbuddin’s r.a. original name was “Bakhtiyar” but his title was Qutbuddin“. The name Kaki” to his name was attributed to him by virtue of a miracle that emanated from him at a later stage of his life in Delhi. He also belonged to the direct lineage of the Holy Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s., descending from Hazrat Imam Hussain r.a.. Hazrat Khwaja Bakhtiyar Khaki r.a. was one and half years old when his father passed away. His mother arranged for him very good education and training.

When Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. went to Isfahan, 40 days before his demise, he took oath of allegiance at his hands and received the Khilafat and Khirqah (Sufi cloak) from him. Thus, he was the first spiritual successor of Hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. Thereafter, his spiritual master asked him to go to India and stay there. 

When Khwaja Qutbuddin r.a. intended to kiss the feet of his Pir-o-Murshid and seek his permission to depart, Hazrat Khwaja Sahib understood it and asked him to be nearer, and when Khwaja Bakhtiyar r.a. stepped up and fell at his Pir’s feet, Khwaja Mu’inuddin r.a. raised him up and embraced him affectionately. A Fateha was then recited and Khwaja Mu’inuddin r.a. advised his Murid: Never turn your face from the right path of Sufism and Truth. Prove yourself to be a brave man in this Divine Mission.”  When he again fell at the feet of Khwaja Mu’inuddin r.a. overwhelmed with love and grief at this tragic hour of parting, he was again raised and embraced affectionately by his Pir-o-Murshid. Following this order, he went to Delhi and stayed there. It was the period of Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish.

Hardly twenty days had passed when news was brought by a messenger that Hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaaz r.a. disappeared into the eternal Divine bliss of the Almighty Allah.

Hazrat Khwaja Bakhtiyar Kaki r.a. used to offer 95 Rakats of Salah [sections of prayer] during the 24 hours of day and night, along with 3000 Durud Sharifs [a part of prayer] every night upon the soul of the Holy Prophet s.a.w.s. During the first 3 nights of his first marriage, he could not maintain the Durud Sharif. The Holy Prophet s.a.w.s. sent a visionary message to a pious person named Rais Ahmed, asking Hazrat Bakhtiyar Kaki r.a. the reasons for his not reciting the Durud Sharif. Hazrat Bakhtiyar Kaki r.a. divorced his wife forthwith as a mark of repentance and thereafter broke off all worldly ties and devoted his full time to the devotion of Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet s.a.w.s.

It is narrated that in the early stages of his life, Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin r.a. would take a nap, but in the last part of his life he kept awake all the time. He had also committed the Quran to memory and used to recite and finish it twice daily. Whenever anything came to his Khanqah, he quickly distributed these to the poor and needy. If there were nothing, he would request his attendants and mureeds to distribute plain water as a humble token of his hospitality.

Sheikh Nur Bux has written in his book entitled“Silsila tuz’zah”: “Bakhtiyar Aushi was a great devotee, mystic and friend of Allah. In private and public he was indulged in the remembrance of Allah. He was habituated to eat little, sleep little and speak little. He was a towering personality in the world of mysticism.”

He had no parallel in abandoning the world and suffering poverty and hunger. He kept himself engrossed in the remembrance of Allah. Whenever someone came to him he would come back to his senses after a while and was then able to talk with him. After a very brief exchange he would show his inability to continue any longer and slipped into the same state of absorption once again.

Once Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin r.a. was coming back with his relatives and disciples after offering Eid Salah [Eid prayers] that he, all on a sudden, halted at a place in silence. After a while his relatives submitted: “Today is the Eid day. Many people would be awaiting his arrival.”   Having heard this Hazrat Khwaja r.a. came out of his lost state and uttered, From this piece of land I have the smell of the perfect men.”

Thereafter, he came home and after the meal was over, he asked the people to call the owner of the land to him. When the owner came to him, he purchased that piece of land from him. Later, Hazrat Bakhtiyar r.a. was buried in the same soil.

Death also came to him in an unusual manner. It is stated that once in an assembly of Sama [religious music] he happened to hear a verse of Hazrat Ahmad Jam with the meaning: Those who are killed with the dagger of surrender and pleasure get a new life from the Unseen.”

Hazrat Khwaja Bakhtiyar Kaki r.a. was so much absorbed in and inspired with this verse that from that day on he kept on reciting it in a state of unconsciousness and gave his life in the same state. He remained in this state of Wajd for 3 consecutive days and expired on the 4th day. He passed away on the 14th of Rabi-ul-Awwal 633 A.H. On account of his extraordinary death, Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kak ir.a. is known as “Shahid-e-Mohabbat” or Martyr of Allah’s Love.

The Mazaar Sharif [noble tomb] of Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhityar Kaki r.a. lies near Qutb Minar at old Delhi, India.

He also enjoys the following titles in the Sufi world: Qutub-ul-Aqtaab, Malik-ul-Mashaa’ikh, Rais-us-Saalikin, Siraj-ul-Auliya, etc.

Published in: on December 30, 2006 at 7:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Love towards all ,Malice towards none – Khawaja Gharib Nawaz (RA)


Dargah Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty (RA) ,Ajmer Sharif ,India

Pic by – Syed Salman Chishty

Historical Sketch
It is a well known historical fact that in spreading the ethical and spiritual values of Islam, major and effective contributions have been made by the walis (saints) of Allah. It was their humanism, disposition and piety which won over the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people. They contacted the masses directly. They served and loved them. They lived with them and inspired them in the realisation of Eternal Truth. The proof of this is more than evident from the history of the growth of Islam in India. Although India was penetrated in the first century of Hijra, the noble task of inspiring the people to its tenets and values was accomplished by Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, r.a. popularly known as Khwaja Sahib and Khwaja Gharib Nawaz. He did it all through his own great moral power, glorious and appealing character, with love and dedication to mankind, without any worldly resources of wealth, power, force or support. Khwaja Sahib was a scholar of great repute. He interpreted the true Islamic message of love for mankind and through that, love for the Almighty Creator. He preached the Qur’anic philosophy of unity of religion and worked out its potentialities for the whole of humanity. He was the greatest mystic of his time. He laid the foundation of the liberal Chishtia order of Sufis in India, and inspired millions of souls to be his followers, and thus served the masses of the Indian sub-continent.

Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti (r.a.)
Birth: Early life and Education
Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, r.a. was born in Seistan (East Persia) also known as Sajistan, around 533 Hijri (1138-39 A.D.) in a well respected family. His father, Khwaja Ghayasuddin, r.a. and mother, Syeda Bibi Ummalwara (alias Bibi Mahe-Noor), were the descendants of Hazrat Ali, r.a. through his sons Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain. Khwaja Sahib lost both his father and mother at an early age of sixteen years. He inherited an orchard and millstone which were his means of livelihood. One day when Khwaja Sahib was working in his orchard, a pious dervish and majzoob, Ebrahim Qandoozi, came and took his seat under the shade of a tree. When Khwaja Sahib saw him, he brought a bunch of grapes and presented it to his guest. The visitor ate the grapes and was delighted. He then took something out of his bag, chewed it, then offered it to his young host. Khwaja Sahib ate it without any hesitation, and at once the light of wisdom and knowledge dawned upon the young Khwaja. Immediately he disposed of all of his worldly belongings and distributed the money amongst the poor. Having thus broken all the ties with worldly affairs, he set off for Samarkand and Bokhara then the great centres of learning for religious education and knowledge.

Spiritual Guidance
When Khwaja Sahib had acquired the best knowledge and wisdom of the time, he travelled widely in search of a Pir (spiritual guide) who could provide him with the best spiritual guidance. He came to know of Hazrat Khwaja Usman Harooni , r.a, who was the greatest scholar and unrivalled spiritual guide of that period. In the very first meeting, Khwaja Sahib completely submitted himself to his Murshid and remained in the company of this great divine spiritual leader, for twenty years and served him devotedly, passing through the various stages of spiritual life. Thus the great Murshid trained and elevated Khwaja Sahib to the highest spiritual attainments.

Hajj and the Prophet’s (s.a.w.s) Command
As the great Khwaja Sahib became accomplished and perfect in every respect, the divine tutor honoured him with the robe and took him to Hajj. Both then proceeded to Mecca and performed the Hajj, and then went to Medina and stayed there for some time, to receive blessings from the prophet of Islam (s.a.w.s.) One night, while in a trance, he was ordered by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.): “O Muinuddin! you are a prop of our faith. Proceed to India and show the Path of Truth to the people there.” In compliance with the above spiritual command, Khwaja Sahib left Medina for India. He continued his journey, passing through Isfahan, Bokhara, Herat, Lahore and Delhi meeting several prominent Sufis of the period. He arrived at the barren and desolate land of Rajputana which is now known as Rajasthan. On his way to India, he enrolled large numbers of people into his fold and blessed thousands of others with spiritual power.

Khwaja Sahib at Ajmer, India
Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, r.a., arrived in Ajmer at the age of 52 years around 587 A.H. (1190 A.D.), on his divine mission, unique in the annals of Islam. His only armour for the success of his great mission was the greatest “invisible power” that pervades and sustains the whole universe. At that time, Ajmer was ruled by Prithvi Raj Chauhan, the famous Rajput king. In his court, he had a large number of powerful magicians with Ajai Pal as their leader. Khwaja Sahib stayed on a hill close to Ana Sagar lake now known as the Chillah Khwaja Sahib.

When the news spread that a very pious Dervish had come to Ajmer, people began to flock to him in increasing numbers. Whoever came to him, received the kindest treatment and blessings. People were so much inspired by his divine teachings and simplicity that they began to embrace Islam. Many became his disciples. Even Ajai pal submitted himself to the divine powers of Khwaja Sahib, gave up all his magic and became his disciple. Meanwhile, Shahabuddin Ghori again attacked India, in 1192 A.D., and in the famous battle of Tarain, defeated Prithvi Raj. When Shahabuddin Ghori came to know of the presence of Khwaja Sahib at Ajmer, he personally came to see him at his place, and enjoyed the grace of his meeting. Khwaja Sahib continued his noble magnificent mission, showing the Path of Truth to the people. He also sent his disciples and successors to the different part of the country who also served the people and preached the tenets of Islam. A few of his prominent successors are:

1. Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Khaki, r.a. (Delhi. ob. 1236)
2. Hazrat Shaikh Fariduddin Ganj-e-shakar
, r.a., (Pak Pattan ob. 1265)
3. Hazrat Shaikh Nizamuddin Awlia (Delhi, ob. 1325)
4. Hazrat Shaikh Nasiruddin Chiragh Delhi (Delhi, ob. 1356)

Khwaja Sahib Breathes His Last
After achieving the objectives of his mission and complying with the command given to him by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), his noble soul left the mortal body on the 6th of Rajab 633 A.H. (March 16, 1236) at the age of 97. He was buried in the same cell which was the centre for his divine activities, throughout his stay at Ajmer. Today his tomb is popularly known as The Dargah Sharif (holy tomb). People of all walks of life and faith from all over the world, irrespective of their caste, creed and belief, visit this great shrine to offer the flowers of their esteem and devotion. The rich and the poor stand side by side to pay homage and respect to this divine soul.

Mission and Teaching of Khwaja Sahib
The life and mission of Khwaja Sahib have been of an exceptional character as compared with any other saints in India. His simple teaching penetrated even the stoniest of hearts, his affectionate look silenced his fiercest of enemies. His matchless piety and blessings knew no distinction and his “Spiritual Power”, amazed and defied his bitterest adversaries who came in order to harm him, but were inspired instead to embrace Islam and become his devotees for the rest of their lives. He brought the message of Universal Love and Peace. He chose the way of non-compulsion in the true spirit of the Holy Qur’an, which says:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error; whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.” [Qur'an 2:256]Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, r.a. followed this dictum strictly throughout his mission. It is because of this that he became popularly known as Gharib Nawaz, which means ‘the one who shows kindness to the poor’. This was later reinforced by succeeding Chishti Sufis, who became religious pioneers in national integration in the country. They fulfilled the objectives of bringing together the various castes, communities and races, elevating humanity from the swamp of materialistic concerns, which is leading mankind to destruction even today. The teachings of Khwaja Sahib have been recorded in several books on mysticism. The essence of his teachings are:

The true friend of Allah is one who has these three qualities:
1. A friend of God must have affection like the sun. When the sun rises, it is beneficial to all. All persons derive heat and light from it irrespective of whether they are Muslim, Christian, Seik,
Hindu, etc.
2. A friend of God must be generous like an ocean or a river. We all get water from the river or sea to quench our thirst. No discrimination is made whether we are good or bad or whether we are a relation or a stranger.
3. A friend of God is one who has the quality of hospitality like the earth. We are raised and cradled in its lap, and it is always spread below our feet.

The noblest of characters is possessed by one who is:
1. Bountiful in poverty.
2. Content in hunger.
3. Cheerful in grief.
4. Friendly in hostility.

The surest way to ward off the eternal punishment of hell is:
1. To feed the hungry.
2. To redress the aggrieved.
3. To help the distressed.

Sacred Sayings of Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, r.a.
1. Without performing Namaz (prayer), none can approach Allah (God), because Namaz is the climax (mi’raj) in the process of such an approach for the pious.

2. If all the rules of Namaz were not followed properly, it is struck back on the face of him who offers such a Namaz.

3. The heart of a lover (True lover of Allah) constantly burns with the fire of love, so much so that whatever intrudes upon its sanctity is burnt to ashes.

4. A sin committed does not harm an individual so much as looking down upon one’s own fellow human beings.

5. Of all the worship that pleases Almighty Allah, the most is the granting of relief to the humble and the oppressed.

6. Performance of charity is the key of attaining the estate of a philanthropist.

7. The one who does not perform devotion of Allah is engaged in the career of earning a sinful living.

8. There are four cardinal virtues of the individual self: (i) refraining from begging in the state of penury; (ii) showing the attitude of being well-fed when feeling hungry; (iii) maintaining a cheerfulness in the time of sorrow; and (iv) befriending the enemy.

9. That man is a true devotee of Almighty Allah, who resigns with pleasure to the misfortune that comes from his beloved (Almighty Allah).

10. The path of Love of God is such a path that whosoever steps into it, loses himself.

11. For a follower of the path of Truth, it is worse than sin to disdain or look down upon anyone.

12. Those who are true Lovers of God give away both of the worlds for the sake of their Beloved and even then feel that they have done nothing worthy.

13. Perfection in faith is evident by three things: (i) Fear, (ii) Hope, and (iii) Love

Published in: on December 30, 2006 at 7:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

The blessed Khawaja “Gharib Nawaz” (The Patron of the Poor)

Pic by Photographer No. 1 (Firoze Shakir)

                                   “Love towards all ,Malice towards none”                                                     

                                    The blessed Khawaja “Gharib Nawaz”

Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. popularly known as Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (The Patron of the Poor) was the founder of the Chishtiyyah Order of Sufis in India. He is one of the most outstanding figures in the history of Islamic Mysticism.

The Chishtiyyah Silsila is one of the most popular and influential mystic orders in Islam. It derives its name from Chisht, a village near Herat, where the real founder of the Order, Khwaja Abu Ishaq r.a. of Syria, settled. Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. brought the Silsila to India at the close of the 11th century A.D. and established its centre in Ajmer, whence the order spread far and wide in India and became a force in the spiritual life of the Muslims.

Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. was born in 536 A.H./1141 A.D. in Sajistan (Persia) and was the direct descendent of a noble family coming down from a direct lineage of the holy Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s. He was a Hassani and a Hussaini Syed ['Syed' means one's ancestry can be traced back to the Prophet Muhammad, p.b.u.h. himself and in this case through both Hadrat Hassan, r.a. and Hadrat Hussain, r.a., who were the sons of Hadrat Ali, r.a.]. He was brought up in Khorasan and received his early education at home from his father, Hazrat Syed Ghayasuddin, r.a. At the age of 9, he committed the Holy Qur’an to memory.

After the demise of his father, he inherited a grinding stone and a garden, which formed a source of his livelihood. From an early age he loved the company of saints, mystics and dervishes. The persistent sacks and destruction of Khorasan (including Sajistan) by the hordes of Ghuzz tribe of the barbarous Tartars proved to be a turning point of his life at the early age of 14. Fired by overwhelming human passion, he was divinely inspired to renounce the world at this early age.

Distributing all his worldly belongings to the poor, he went to Bukhara and Samarqand to join the famous Nizamia Universities there for his theological education. He brilliantly completed his academic courses in 5 years.

In order to quench his spiritual thirst, he left Iraq for Arabia and on his return from there he undertook a journey to a place called Harwan (a.k.a. Haroon). He became the Murid of Hazrat Khwaja Usman Harooni r.a., a great Sufi mystic of his time. Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. remained in the company of his Pir-o-Murshid and travelled with him carrying his Murshid’s belongings on his head. They travelled to Mecca, Medina, Iraq, Syria, Samarqand, Afghanistan, etc. meeting many great saints.

While they were in Mecca, Hazrat Khwaja Usman Harooni r.a. took Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. to the Holy Ka’bah and made Du’a [supplications] for him and a voice was heard declaring: “We have accepted Mu’inuddin as one of our beloved devotees.” In Medina Sharif, [Sharif = noble] while in the Darbar of Sayyidina Rasulullah   s.a.w.s   Hazrat Khwaja Usman Harooni r.a. instructed Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. to offer his homage and salutations respectfully. In doing so, a voice was heard saying, “Wa alaikumus salaam ya qutbul mashaa’ikh-e-bahr-o-bar (Peace be upon you also, O Head of the Pious of the earth and the sea).” On hearing this his Pir-o-Murshid said to him, “Now indeed you have reached perfection.”

After full 20 years hard training in Islamic mysticism under this great Pir-o-Murshid, Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin r.a. was bestowed with Khilafat in the Chishtiyyah Silsila. His Murshid, [Shaikh] after advising him, handed over his Asa Mubarak (Sacred Staff), wooden sandals and Musallah to Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin (radi Allahu anhu) saying that those Tabbarukaats have come down from Sayyidina Rasulullah s.a.w.s. in succession.

In 583 A.H. [1187 C.E.] when he was absorbed in prayer at the Holy Ka’bah, he heard a voice saying, “O Mu’inuddin! We are greatly pleased with you. You have been given salvation. Ask for anything that you may like.” He submitted respectfully, O Allah, give salvation to the followers and disciples of Mu’inuddin. A reply was heard, “O Mu’inuddin, you are accepted by Us. I will give salvation to your followers and disciples and also to those who may enter your fold till the Day of Qiyamat.”

After performing the Hajj, he was once again divinely inspired from Medina Sharif to go to Ajmer (India) to preach Islam: “O Mu’inuddin, you are the helper of my religion. I entrust to you the country of Hindustan (India). Proceed to Ajmer and spread the gospel of truth.” Not knowing where Ajmer was situated, the Holy Prophet s.a.w.s came in Hazrat Khwaja Sahib’s r.a. dream and showed him where the city of Ajmer was situated.

On his way to Ajmer and passing through Afghanistan, Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti’s r.a. spiritual impact converted the notorious and cruel Yadgar Muhammad into one of Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin’s r.a. devoted Murids. Yadgar Muhammad did not previously recognize and respect the first three Caliphs of Islam; neither had he any respect for Sufis nor for any holy saints. Now, after meeting Hazrat Khwaja Sahib r.a., Yadgar Muhammad repented and distributed his wealth to the poor and needy, divorced his many wives, freed all his slaves and renounced the world. He stayed and travelled with his Murshid.

Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. proceeded to Delhi via Fort Shadman, Multan, Lahore and Samana. At Lahore, he stayed for 40 days that the Mazaar Sharif of Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh (Hazrat Ali Hujwiri r.a.) In Delhi, Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin r.a. started delivering his sermons and discourses in a soft language dipped in honey attracting thousands of Hindus and Muslims. But he had set his sight on Ajmer, which had been away from the light of learning and guidance. He wanted the city of Ajmer to be the centre of learning, teaching and spiritual activities.

Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. reached Ajmer with about 40 followers in the year 587 A.H. Here he received fierce opposition from the ruler of Ajmer, Raja Pritvi Raj. He did nothing to antagonize the Hindu ruler. His mission was simply that of love and learning, purity and guidance. In a short time, the entire area was filled with the truth of unity of Allah. Men and women in thousands took the oath of allegiance on his hands.

But this large-scale conversion to Islam displeased the Hindu ruler and he started putting the Muslims to hardships. Pritvi Raj sent Ajai Pal and Sadhu Ram, who were magicians, to destroy Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. with black magic, but they failed at every turn. Both Ajai Pal and Sadhu Ram were so much impressed by Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. that they accepted Islam and became his devoted Murids.

A great Muslim army general, Shahabuddin Ghouri, who was in Khorasan, saw Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. in a dream who instructed the general, “It has been ordained by Allah that you shall be the ruler of India. Direct your attention soon and arrest Pritvi Raj and punish him.” Acting upon this instruction, Shahabuddin Ghouri came to India to face the army of Pritvi Raj. The Muslim general and the small band of Muslim army, encountering fierce opposition, eventually defeated the Hindu army and went to Ajmer to pay homage to Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. and become his Murid.

Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. was the embodiment of plain living and high thinking. His noble disposition, his marvellous self-control, his renunciation, self abnegation, selfless service, his patience, his love, fortitude and courage earned him the respect from his admirers and devotees. He passed his days in Almighty Allah’s remembrance. He was free from avarice and greed. He had no lust for power, no wish for name and fame, and no desire for wealth. He sought only the pleasure of Allah and His Rasul s.a.w.s. [Messenger]. He was deeply loved by his Pir-o-Murshid, who used to say, “Our Mu’inuddin is a beloved of Allah and I feel proud of the fact that he is my disciple. He followed the Holy Prophet s.a.w.s. very faithfully in his daily life. The fear of Allah forever dominated hismind.”Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki r.a. says that he never saw a beggar or any needy leaving his door without taking something . Hence one of his popular titles was “Gharib Nawaz” (Patron of the Poor).

Although Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. did not know the language of Hindustan because he spoke Persian, he converted about nine and a half million into the folds of Islam. Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. did not conquer India with his sword but with love. The Sama mehfils [assemblies of religious music] of his proved as a cementing force for the spread of Islam and brought the people together.

Shaikh Mu’inuddin Ibn Arabi, Hazrat Fariduddin Attar, Hazrat Shams-e-Tabriz and Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi rahmatula alaihim were all contemporaries of Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a.

On the 14th of Jamad-us Thani 627 A.H., Khwaja Sahib r.a. bestowed the Khilafat upon Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki r.a.

On Monday, 6th Rajab in 627 A.H. [April 29, 1230 C.E..], after the night prayers, Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. went into his room and did not allow anyone to enter. When the door remained closed at the time of Morning Prayer, his devotees opened the door and found that Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti r.a. passed away. On his blessed forehead was written: “He was the beloved of Allah, and he died in the Love of Allah.”

Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti’s r.a. Mazaar Sharif [noble tomb] is in Ajmer Sharif and thousands of people assemble there every day to pay respects to the greatest saint of the Chishtiyya Silsila.

Published in: on December 30, 2006 at 7:03 pm  Comments (16)  

Shaykh Habib Noh -“The Saint of Singapore”


The Waliullah: Habib Noh

Not much is known about the early life of this famous 19th century saint except that he came from the northern Malaysian state of Kedah and lived for a while in Penang an island off the coast of Kedah. He was a direct descendant of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). He was an Arab from Hadramaut, the area of southern Arabia that is now known as Yemen.

He made his appearance in Singapore after the island became a British colony in 1819. He came into prominence because being a majdhub he did things that are out of the ordinary. He loved children who liked to accompany him everywhere he went. He would enter a shop, take out all the money from the cash drawer and throw it to the waiting children. Those shopkeepers who were aware of his holy state did not make any attempt to stop him and were rewarded by Allah with prosperity in their business thereafter.

Such activities however, were frowned upon by the British colonial masters who tried to put him in jail a number of times. However, after doing this many times, they finally gave up and left him alone. The reason? Each time he was arrested, and put in jail, he mysteriously disappeared from his cell and was seen outside walking free. This is one of the signs of awliya, their service to God has set them free from man.

People in those days flocked to see him and sought the blessings of his sincere invocation. Since those were the days of sailing ships, traveling by ship was often hazardous and it took a few months to sail from Singapore to Jeddah, Arabia. Muslims planning to sail back to Indonesia, India and Arabia made it their practice to come and ask him to pray for their safe journey.
Stories on Habib Noh often revolve around his miracles–especially his incredible ability to appear in a number of places at the same time. He had been seen in Mecca when it was known that he has not left Singapore. He has been known to say farewell to travellers leaving Singapore with the words ‘I will be there when you arrive’. When the traveller reached his destination months later, Habib Noh would be there to welcome him at the harbour.

Once a prominent Singapore businessman was about to set sail before lunch-time on a certain day. He received word that Habib Noh wanted to have lunch with him in his house that very day. Because of his love for this great wali, he did not depart on the ship that day but stayed behind to have lunch with Habib Noh.He did not know at that time that Habib Noh–who was also known for his gift of knowing about events to come and his state of unveiling (kashf)–had come to lunch with a purpose. That was to prevent him from sailing on a ship that was doomed to be shipwrecked near Penang a few days later, going down with most of its passengers.

A gentleman by the name of Tok Mat, who owned a horse carriage, used to take Habib Noh on rides in his carriage. One night Tok Mat was returning home alone in his carriage felt quite frightened, as Singapore, one-hundred years ago, was not a safe place as it is now. Robbers and bandits were everywhere, waiting to take unwitting travelers by surprise. Tok Mat felt fearful and wished Habib Noh was there to protect him. He turned around and was shocked to see Habib Noh sitting in his carriage and smiling at him.

Numerous stories like these are still talked about till this very day in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia and even in far away India and Yemen, among people who accept the miracles of awliya as commonplace. Speak to the present caretaker of the Habib Noh shrine, 51 year old Hassan Al-Khatib, and he will share with you his rich repertoire of stories on the life of Habib Noh. He will also tell you of unsuccessful attempts by local Wahabis and their Saudi friends to stop people from visiting this maqam.

Habib Noh died peacefully on Friday 14 Rabi`ul Awal 1283 Hijra (1866 CE ) and was buried on the hill at his own prior request. As with the martyrs and great saints, his spirit lives on and many miracles are still happening to those who have strong certainty and ask Allah for help with the baraka of this Saint of Singapore

Published in: on December 30, 2006 at 7:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Blessed Burdah (The Poem of The Cloak): Of the Noble Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad Bin said al-Busiri – Translated by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

The Blessed Burdah

Celestial Lights in Praise of The Best of Creation

Known as

The Poem of The Cloak

Of the

Noble Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad Bin said al-Busiri

Translated by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

I have neglected the path of the one who brought black nights
To life by praying, until even his feet swelled with distress.

To quell his hunger he tightened his midriff
By strapping stones to his soft sides and strong ribs.

Lofty mountains, to entice him, draped themselves in gold,
But he showed them a towering soul, perfectly content, without desire.

The extremity of his needs only confirmed his freedom from desire-
Need never overshadows Virtue that is firmly rooted.

How could the need of such a man be answered by the world,
When without him this world would never have come into being!

Muhammad, lord of both worlds, lord of both species,
Lord of both assemblages – Arabs and all others.

Our prophet, commander of right, forbidder of wrong –
No soul kept his word more justly, whether “Yes” or “No”.

He is the beloved whose intercession is hoped for
As arms against a host of relentless calamities.

He called on God. Whoever clings to him
Clings to a rope that will neither unravel nor break.

His form and character surpassed even the previous prophets,
And none have approached him in knowledge or nobility.

They all seek from the Messenger of God
Cupfuls from his ocean or sips from his unceasing rain.

They all stand before him according to their limits,
As if dots on his knowledge or diacritical marks on his wisdom.

He is the one whose meaning and form were perfected,
And then the Originator of souls chose him as the beloved.

Incomparable, his beauty has no peer –
The essence of beauty itself is in his nature.

Leave aside what the Christians have claimed for their prophet –
Then praise him as you like, but do so wisely.

Ascribe to his essence what you wish of honour,
Attribute to his exalted status what you will of greatness!

Truly, the Messenger of God’s bounty
Cannot be overstated by two lips and a tongue.

If a miracle could equal his stature in magnitude,
The mere mention of his name would revive decaying bones.

Concerned for our welfare, he did not confuse us with maters
We could not fathom, so we neither wandered nor wavered.

Human beings cannot grasp his meaning –
Even those at his side could not keep up with him.

He is like the sun, small to the eye when seen from afar,
But when glimpsed close up, it dazzles and overwhelms.

How can slumberous souls in this world grasp his reality
Distracted as they are by the strength of their dreams?

The extent of what we know of him is this: He is a man,
And yet, without exception, he is the best of God’s creation.

All of the signs brought by the noble prophets before him
Came to them through his light alone.

He is the bounteous sun and they her orbiting planets –
She reveals their lights for humanity in the darkness of night –

Until finally his light dawned on the horizon,
And his radiant guidance suffused the world and brought life to countless civilisation.

What excellence lies in the birth of a prophet adorned with such character!
Beauty itself shines forth from his smiling face!

Exquisite as a lily, illustrious as a full moon,
Magnanimous as the ocean, persistent as time.

Due to his majesty, even when aanity in the darkness of night –

Until finally his light dawned on the horizon,
And his radiant guidance suffused the world and brought life to countless civilisation.

What excellence lies in the birth of a prophet adorned with such character!
Beauty itself shines forth from his smiling face!

Exquisite as a lily, illustrious as a full moon,
Magnanimous as the ocean, persistent as time.

Due to his majesty, even when alone,
He seemed surrounded by military might and cohorts of courtiers.

It is as if precious pearls, locked in their shells,
Poured from the treasury of his sweet mouth and smile.

As if, face to face with the sun,
Minds were forced to blink at the mere sight of him.

No perfume is as sweet as the ground that holds his bones –
What Paradise awaits the one who breathes its scent or brushes lips against its soil!

(Note: These are the few stanzas from a long poem of the Cloak,

 QASEEDAH BURDAH SHARIF)

Published in: on December 30, 2006 at 7:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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