Hazrat Abu Ali Farmadhi
He is called the Knower of the Merciful and the Custodian of Divine Love. He was a scholar of the Shafi'i school of jurisprudence and a unique `arif (endowed with spiritual knowledge). He was deeply involved in both the School of the Salaf (scholars of the First and Second Centuries) and that of the Khalaf (later scholars), but he made his mark in the Science of Tasawwuf. From it he extracted some of the heavenly knowledge which is mentioned in Qur'an in reference to al-Khidr : "and We have taught him from our Heavenly Knowledge" [18:65].
Sparks of the light of jihad an-nafs (self-struggle) were opened to his heart. He was known everywhere in his time, until he became a very famous shaykh in Islamic Divine Law and theology. The most famous shaykh of his time, as-Simnani, said about him, "He was the Tongue of Khurasan and its shaykh and the master in lifting up and raising the station of his followers. His associations were like gardens full of flowers, in which knowledge flowed from his heart and took the hearts of his listeners into a state of joy and happiness." Among his teachers was al-Qushayri, the celebrated Sufi Master, and al-Ghazali al-Kabir who said about him, "He was the shaykh of his time and he had a unique way of reminding people. No one surpassed him in his eloquence, delicacy, ethics, good manners, morality, nor his ways of approaching people." The son of the latter, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, nicknamed Hujjat ul-Islam - the Proof of Islam, took much from Farmadi in his Ihya `Ulum ad-Din.
One time he said, "I entered behind my teacher, al-Qushayri, to the public bath, and from the well I took for him a bucket of water which I had filled from the well myself. When my teacher came he said, 'Who brought the water in the bucket?' I kept quiet, as I felt I had committed some disrespect. He asked a second time, 'Who brought the water?' I continued to keep quiet. He asked a third time, 'Who filled that bucket with water?' I finally said, 'I did, my teacher.' He said, 'O My son, what I received in seventy years, I passed to you with one bucket of water.' That meant that the heavenly and divine knowledge which he had struggled for seventy years to acquire he passed to my heart through one glance."
On behavior towards one's master he said:
"If you are true in your love of your shaykh, you have to keep respect with him."
On spiritual vision he said:
"For the `arif (Knower) a time will come wherein the light of knowledge will reach him and his eyes will see the incredible Unseen."
"Whoever pretends he can hear, yet cannot hear the glorification of birds, trees and the wind, is a liar."
"The hearts of the people of Truth are open, and their hearing is open."
"Allah gives happiness to His servants when they see His Saints." This is because the Prophet said, "Whoever sees the face of a knower of God, sees me," and also, "Whoever sees me, has seen Reality." Sufi Masters have named the practice of concentrating on the face of the sheikh (tasawwur), and it is done to the end of fulfilling that state.
"Whoever looks after the actions of people will lose his way."
"Who prefers the company of the rich over the company of the poor, Allah will send him the death of the heart."
Imam Ghazali reports, "I heard that Abul Hasan al-Farmadhi said, 'the Ninety-nine Attributes of Allah will become attributes and descriptions of the seeker in the way of Allah.'"
He died in 447 H. and he was buried in the village Farmadh, a suburb of the city of Tus. He passed on the Secrets of the Golden Chain to Abu Ya`qub Yusuf ibn Ayyub ibn Yusuf ibn al-Husayn al-Hamadani (q).