Khawaja Baha'uddin Naqshband
He is the Master of this Tariqat and the Shaikh of the Golden Chain and the Best of those who carried this lineage from the Khwajagan.
He was born in the month of Muharram, in 717 H./1317 CE, in the village of Qasr al-'Arifan near Bukhara. Allah granted him miraculous powers in his childhood. He had been taught about the secret of this tariqat by his first teacher, Sayyid Muhammad Baba As-Samasi (q). Then he was given the secret and the mastery of the Order by his shaikh, Sayyid Amir al-Kulal (q). He was also Uwaysi in his connection to the Prophet, as he was raised in the spiritual presence of Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q), who preceded him by 200 years.
Shah Naqshband (q) was eighteen years of age when he was sent by his grandfather to the village of Samas to serve the Shaikh of the Tariqat, Muhamad Baba as-Samasi (q), who had asked for him. From the beginning of his companionship with the Shaikh, he perceived within himself countless blessings and the urge for great sincerity and devotion. Of his youth he relates:
"I would arise early, three hours before Fajr prayer, take ablution, and after making Sunnah prayers, I would go into prostration, supplicating God with the following prayer: "O my Lord, give me the power to carry the difficulties and the pain of Your Love." Then I would pray Fajr with the Shaikh. On his way out one day he looked at me and said, as if he had been with me when I made that supplication, "O my son, you have to change the method of your supplication. Instead say, 'O Allah, grant your pleasure to this weak servant.' God doesn't like His servants to be in difficulties. Although God in His Wisdom might give some difficulties to His servants to test them, the servant must not ask to be in difficulties. This would not be respectful to your Lord.'
"When Shaikh Muhammad Baba as-Samasi died, my grandfather took me to Bukhara and I married there. I lived in Qasr al-'Arifan, which was God's special care to me because I was near to Sayyid Amir Kulal. I stayed in his service, and he told me that Shaikh Muhammad Baba as-Samasi had told him a long time before that, 'I will not be happy with you if you will not take good care of him.' One day, I was sitting with a friend in seclusion, and the Heavens opened and a grand vision came to me and I heard a voice saying, 'Is it not enough for you to leave everyone and to come to Our Presence Alone?' This voice reduced me to a state of trembling, causing me to run away from that house. I ran to a river where I threw myself. I washed my clothes and prayed two rakats in a way that I had never prayed before, feeling as if I was praying in the Divine Presence. Everything was opened to my heart in a state of Unveiling (kashf). The entire universe disappeared and I was not aware of anything other than praying in His Presence.
"I had been asked, in the beginning of my state of Attraction, 'Why are you going to enter on this Path?' I answered, 'In order that whatever I say and whatever I want will happen.' I was answered, 'That will not be. Whatever We say and whatever We want is what will happen.' And I said, 'I cannot do that. I must be permitted to say and to do whatever I like, or I don't want this Way.' Then I received the answer, 'No, it is whatever We want to be said and whatever We want to be done that must be said and done.' And I said again, 'Whatever I say and whatever I do is what must be.' Then I was left alone for fifteen days, until I was overwhelmed with a tremendous depression. Then I heard a voice, 'O Baha'uddin, whatever you want, We will grant.' I was overjoyed. I said, 'I want to be given a Path (tariqat) that will lead anyone who travels on it straight to the Divine Presence.' And I experienced a great vision and heard a voice saying, 'You are granted what you have asked.'"
"As soon as Abdul Khaliq finished, his khalif told me, 'In order to be assured of the certainty of this vision, he is sending you a sign. Tomorrow go and visit Mawlana Shamsuddin al-Ambikuti, who will be judging between two people. Tell him that the Turk is right and the Saqqa is wrong. Say to him, 'You are trying to help the Saqqa, but you are mistaken. Correct yourself and help the Turk.' If the Saqqa denies what you say, and the judge continues in helping the Saqqa, tell him, 'I have two proofs. The first requires you to tell the Saqqa, 'O Saqqa, you are thirsty.' He will know what that thirst means. As for the second proof, you must tell the Saqqa, 'You have slept in adultery with a woman and she became pregnant, and you have had the baby she was carrying aborted, and you buried the baby under the grapevines.' On your way to Mawlana Shamsuddin, take with you three dry raisins and pass by your shaikh, Sayyid Amir al-Kulal. On your way to him you will find a shaikh who will give you a loaf of bread. Take the bread and don't speak with him. Continue until you meet a caravan. A wrestler will approach you. Advise and reproach him. He is going to repent and become one of your followers. Wear your qalansuwa (hat) and take the cloak of 'Azizan to Sayyid Amir Kulal.'
"One time I followed Mawlana 'Arif ad-Dik Karrani for seven years. Then I followed Mawlana Kuthum Shaikh for many years. One night I slept in the presence of my shaikh and I saw the Shaikh al-Hakim 'Attar, who was one of the famous shaikhs of the Turks, telling something to a dervish named Khalil Ghirani. When I awoke the picture of that dervish stayed in my mind. I had a pious grandmother to whom I mentioned the dream. She told me, 'O my son, you are also going to follow many Turkish shaikhs.' So I looked in my travels for Turkish shaikhs and I never forgot the picture of that one dervish. Then one day in my own country of Bukhara, I saw a dervish, and I recognized him as the one in my dream. I asked him his name and he told me, 'I am Kahlil Ghirani.' I had to leave him, but I felt terrible to do so. At Maghrib time someone knocked at my door. I answered and a stranger told me, 'Darwish Khalil Ghirani is waiting for you.' I was so surprised. How had that person found me? I took a gift and went with him. When I reached his presence I began to tell him the dream. He said, 'No need to tell me that dream, I know it already.' This moved my heart to be more attached to him. In his company new unseen knowledge was opened to my heart. He was always looking after me, praising me, and lifting me up. The people of Transoxiana put him as a king over them. I continued to keep his company, even in his time of Sultanate, and my heart grew in love for him more and more and his heart lifted me ever higher in knowledge. He taught me how to be in the service of the shaikh. I stayed in his company six years. In his presence and in my seclusion I kept my connection with him."
"In the beginning of my Travel on this Way, I met a lover of Allah and he told me, 'it seems as if you are from Us.' I told him, 'I hope you are from Us and I hope to be a friend to you.' One time he asked me, 'how do you treat your self?' I said to him, 'If I find something I thank Allah and if not I am patient.' He smiled and said, 'This is easy. The way for you is to burden your ego and to test it. If it loses food for one week, you must be able to keep it from disobeying you.' I was very happy with his answer and I asked his support. He ordered me to help the needy and to serve the weak and to motivate the heart of the brokenhearted. He rdered me to keep humbleness and humility and tolerance. I kept his orders and I spent many days of my life in that manner. Then he ordered me to take care of animals, to cure their sicknesses, to clean their wounds, and to assist them in finding their provision. I kept on that way until I reached the state that if I saw an animal in the street, I would stop and make way for it."
"Then he ordered me to look after the dogs of this Association with Truthfulness and Humility, and to ask them for support. He told me, 'Because of your service to one of them you will reach great happiness.' I took that order in the hope that I would find one dog and through service to him I would find that happiness. One day I was in the association of one of them and I felt a great state of happiness overcome me. I began crying in front of him until he fell on his back and raised his forepaws to the skies. I heard a very sad voice emanating from him and so I raised my hands in supplication and began to say 'amin' in support of him until he became silent. What then opened for me was a vision which brought me to a state in which I felt that I was part of every human being and part of every creation on this earth."
He said,"In Our Way there are three categories of conduct (adab):
1. Good conduct with Allah Almighty and Exalted, requires that the murid be externally and internally perfect in his worship, keeping away from all that is forbidden and keeping all that has been ordered and leaving all that is other than God.
2. Good conduct with the Prophet Muhammad requires the murid to fly in the state of in kuntum tuhibbun Allah fa-t-tabicunee ('If you want to love Allah then follow me') [3:31]. He has to follow all the states of the Prophet. He must know that the Prophet is the bridge between God and His creation and that everything in this universe is under his high orders.
3. Good conduct with shaikhs is a requirement for every seeker. The shaikhs are the causes and the means for following in the footsteps of the Prophet . It is a duty for the seeker, in their presence or their absence, to keep the orders of the shaikh."
Shah Naqshband said, "One time one of my followers greeted me. I didn't respond to him, though it is a requirement of the Sunnah to respond if someone greets you. This made my follower upset. I sent someone after him to apologize, saying to him, 'At that time, when you greeted me, my mind, my heart, my spirit, my body, my soul were completely lost in the Divine Presence, listening to what Allah was saying to me. This made me so engrossed in the Speech of God that I was unable to respond to anyone."
He added Three Principles to Sheikh Abdul Khaliq's (q) Eight:
9. Awareness of Time ("wuquf zamani")
It means to watch one's composure and check one's tendency to heedlessness. The seeker must know how much time he has spent in moving towards spiritual maturity and must recognize at what place he has arrived in his journey towards the Divine Presence.
The seeker must make progress with all his efforts. He must spend all his time making his one and only goal the arrival at the station of Divine love and Divine Presence. He must become aware that in all his efforts and in all his actions Allah witnesses the smallest detail.
The seeker must make an account of his actions and his intentions every day and every night and analyze his actions each hour, each second, and each moment. If they are good, he thanks God for it. If they are bad, he must repent and ask Allah's forgiveness.
Ya'qub al-Charki said that his shaikh, Ala'uddin al-Attar said, "In the state of depression you must recite istighfar (asking forgiveness) excessively, and in the state of elation, praise of Allah excessively." And he said, "To take into consideration these two states, contraction and expansion, is the meaning of wuquf zamani."
Shah Naqshband (q) explained that state by saying, "You have to be aware of yourself. If you were following the sharica then you have to thank Allah, or else you must ask forgiveness."
What is important for the seeker in this state is to keep secure the smallest period period of time. He has to stand guard on his self and judge if he was in the Presence of Allah or if he was in the presence of his ego, at every moment of his life.
Shah Naqshband (q) said, "You have to evaluate how you spend every moment: with Presence or in Negligence."
10. Awareness of Numbers ("wuquf `adadi")
This means that the seeker who is reciting dhikr must observe the exact number of repetitions entailing the silent dhikr of the heart. To keep an account of the dhikr is not for the sake of the account itself, but is for the sake of securing the heart from bad thoughts and to cause it to concentrate more in the effort to achieve the repetition prescribed by the shaikh as quickly as possible.
The pillar of dhikr through counting is to bring the heart into the presence of the One who is mentioned in that dhikr and to keep counting, one by one, in order to bring one's attention to the realization that everyone is in need of that One whose Signs are appearing in every creation.
Shah Naqshband (q) said, "Observance of the numbers in dhikr is the first step in the state of acquiring Heavenly Knowledge (ilm ul-ladunni)." This means that counting leads one to recognize that only One is necessary for life. All mathematical equations are in need of the number One. All creation is in need of the only One.
11. Awareness of the Heart ("wuquf qalbi")
This means to direct the heart of the seeker towards the Divine Presence, where he will not see other than his Beloved One. It means to experience His Manifestation in all states. Ubaidullah al-Ahrar said, "The state of Awareness of the Heart is the state of being present in the Divine Presenece in such a way that you cannot look to anyone other than Him."
One of the scholar of Bukhara asked him, "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 Allah Almighty and Exalted inside your prayer and outside your prayer, in every ablution and in every moment of your life."
Immediately, after he recited this verse, it came to my heart that he was referring to the connection between belief (iman) and islam. He looked at me and laughed and said, 'Did you not hear what Hallaj said? "I rejected the religion of God, and rejection is obligatory on me even though that is hideous to Muslims." O Shaikh Salah, what came to your heart -- that the connection is with belief and islam -- is not the important point. What is important is Real Faith, and Real Faith for the People of the Truth is to make the heart deny anything and everything other than God. That is what made Hallaj say, "I denied your religion and denial is obligatory on me, although that is hideous to Muslims." His heart wanted nothing except Allah."
"Hallaj, of course, was not denying his faith in Islam, but was emphasizing the attachment of his heart to God Alone. If Hallaj was not accepting anything except Allah, how could one say that he was actually denying the religion of God? His testimony of the reality of his Witnessing encompassed and made as child's-play the ordinary witnessing of the common Muslim."
Shaikh Salah continued, saying, Shah Naqshband said, "The people of God do not admire what they are doing; they act only out of the love of God."
Shah Naqshband said,"Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya said, 'O Allah I didn't worship seeking the reward of Your Paradise nor fearing your punishment, but I am worshipping You for Your Love alone.' If your worship is for saving yourself or for gaining some reward for yourself, it is a hidden shirk, because you have associated something with Allah, either the reward or the punishment. This is what Hallaj meant."
"The people of laws and external knowledge hold fast to their deeds and on that basis they establish the concept of reward and punishment. If they are good, they find good and if they are bad they find bad; what benefits the servant is his deeds and what harms him is his deeds. To the People of the Way, this is the hidden Shirk, because one is associating something with Allah. Although it is an obligation to do (good deeds), yet the heart must not be attached to those deeds. They should only be done for His sake and for His love, without expectation of anything in return."
He said,"Spiritual Knowledge is like water, it takes the color and shape of the cup. Allah's Knowledge is so great, that however much we take, it is like a drop of a huge ocean. It like a vast garden, however much we have cut it is as if we had cut but one flower."
Shah Naqshband was, may Allah sanctify his soul, in the highest states of the denial of desire for this world. He followed the way of piety, especially in the act of eating. He took all kinds of precautions in regard to his food. He would only eat from the barley he had grown himself. He would harvest it, grind it, make the dough, knead it and bake it himself. All the scholars and seekers of his time made their way to his house, in order to eat from his table and to partake the blessings of his food.
He reached such a perfection of austerity that in winter, he only put old and worn carpets on the floor of his house, which gave no protection from the bitter cold. In summer he put very thin woven mats on the ground. He loved the poor and the needy. He urged his followers to earn money through lawful means, that is, by the sweat of their brows. He urged them to spend that money on the poor. He cooked for the poor and invited them to his table. He served them with his own holy hands and urged them to remain always in the Presence of Allah, Almighty and Exalted. If anyone of them put a bite of food in his mouth in a heedless way, he would inform them, through his state of vision, what they had done and urge them to keep remembrance of Allah while eating.
He taught that,
"One of the most important doors to the Presence of Allah is to eat with Awareness. The food gives the body strength, and to eat with consciousness gives the body purity."
One time he was invited to a city by the name of Ghaziat where one of his followers had prepared a dinner for him. When they sat for dinner he didn't eat. His host was surprised. Shah Naqshband said, "O my son, I am wondering how you prepared this food. From the time you kneaded the dough and cooked it, until you served it, you were in a state of anger. The food is mixed with that anger. If we eat that food, shaytan will find a way to enter through it and to spread his evil throughout our bodies."
One time he was invited to the city of Herat by its king, King Hussain. King Hussain was very happy at the visit of Shah Naqshband and threw a great feast for him. He invited all his ministers, the shaikhs of his kingdom and all his noblemen. He said, "Eat from this food. It is pure food, which I made from the pure earnings which I inherited from my father." Everyone ate except Shah Naqshband, prompting the Shaikh ul-Islam of that time, Qutb ad-din, to ask, "O our Shaikh, why are you not eating?" Shah Naqshband said, "I have a judge to whom I go for counsel. I asked him and that judge told me, 'O my son, about this food there are two possibilities. If this food is not halal (lawful) and you do not eat, when you are questioned you may say I came to the table of the king but I did not eat. Then you are safe because you did not eat. But if you eat and you are asked, then what are you going to say? Then you are not safe.' At that time, Qutb ad-Din was so overcome by these words that he began to shake. He had to ask the King's permission to stop eating. Then the King was very confused and asked, "What shall we do with all this food?" Shah Naqshband said, "If there is any doubt about the purity of the food it is better to send it to the poor. Their need will make it halal for them. If as you say, it is halal, then there is more blessing in giving it as charity to those who need than in feasting those who do not."
He used to fast most of his days. If a guest came to him and he had something to offer him, he would sit with him, break his fast and eat. He told his followers that the Companions of the Prophet used to do the same. Shaikh Abul Hasan al-Kharqani (q) said in his book, The Principles of the Way and the Principles of Reaching Reality, "Keep harmony with friends, but not in sinning. This means that if you were fasting and someone came to you as a friend, you must sit with him and eat with him in order to keep proper company with him. One of the principles of fasting, or of any worship, is to conceal what one is doing. If one reveals it, for example by saying to the guest, 'I am fasting,' then pride may enter and ruin the fast. This is the reason behind the principle."
One day he was given a cooked fish as a gift. There were in his presence many poor people, among them a very pious boy who was fasting. Shah Naqshband gave the fish to the poor and told them, "Sit and eat," and he told the boy who was fasting, "Sit and eat." The boy refused. He told him again, "Break your fast and eat," but he refused. He asked him, "What if I give you one of my days of Ramadan? Will you sit and eat?" Again he refused. He told him, "What if I give you my whole Ramadan?" Still he refused. He said, "Bayazid al-Bistami was once burdened with a person similar to you." After that the boy was seen running after the worldly life, never fasting and never worshipping.
The incident to which Shah Naqshband (q) was referring occurred one day when Shaikh Abu Turab an-Naqshabi (q) visited Bayazid al-Bistami (q). His servant offered him food. Abu Turab said to the servant, "Come and sit with me and eat." The servant said, "No. I am fasting." He said, "Eat, and Allah will give you the reward of fasting for one year." He refused. He said, "Come and eat, I will pray to Allah that he give you the reward of two years of fasting." Then Hadrat Bayazid said, "Leave him. He has been dropped from Allah's care." Later his life degenerated and he became a thief.
Shah Naqshband's state is beyond description and the extent of his knowledge cannot be described. One of the greatest miracles was his very existence. He often hid his actions in order not to display miraculous power. Many of his miracles, however, were recorded.
Shah Naqshband, may Allah bless his soul, said,
"One day I went out with Muhammad Zahid (q) to the desert. He was a truthful murid and we had a pickaxe with which we were digging. As we were working with the pick we were discussing such deep states of knowledge that we threw aside the pick and entered deeper into spiritual knowledge. We were going deeper and deeper until the conversation led us to the nature of Worship. He asked me, 'O my shaikh, to what limit does worship reach?' I said, 'Worship reaches such perfection that the worshipper can say to someone 'die,' and that person will die.' Without thinking I pointed at Muhammad Zahid. Immediately he fell down dead. He was in the state of death from sunrise until the midday. It was very hot. I was very anxious because his body was deteriorating from the excessive heat. I pulled him under the shade of a tree and I sat there contemplating the matter. As I was contemplating, an inspiration came to my heart from the Divine Presence telling me to say to him, 'Ya Muhammad, Be Alive!' I said it to him three times. In response, his soul slowly began to enter his body, and life slowly began to return to him. He gradually returned to his original state. I went to my shaikh and told him what had happened. He said, 'O my son, Allah gave you a secret that he has given to no one else.'"
"One time the king of Transoxiana, Sultan Abdullah Kazgan, came to Bukhara. He decided to go hunting around Bukhara and many people accompanied him. Shah Baha'uddan Naqshband (q) was in a nearby village. When the people went out hunting, Shah Naqshband went to the top of a hill and sat there. While sitting there, it came to his heart that Allah gave much honor to saints. Because of that honor, all kings of this world should bow to them. That thought hadn't yet passed from his heart before a horseman with a crown on his head, like a king, came into his presence and dismounted from his horse. With great humility he greeted Shah Naqshband and stood in his presence in the most polite manner. He bowed to the shaikh but the shaikh did not look at him. He kept him standing one hour. Finally, Shah Naqshband looked up and said, 'What are you doing here?' He said, 'I am the king, Sultan Kazgan. I was out hunting, and I smelled a very beautiful smell. I followed it here and I found you sitting in the midst of a powerful light.' His very thought, 'All kings of this world should bow to the saints,' had instantly become reality. That is how Allah honors the thoughts of his saints.
Shah Naqshband interfered, because he knew that whatever chain he gave they would say it was incorrect. He inspired Muhammad Parsa to direct a question to Shaikh Husamuddin and say to him, "You are the Shaikh ul-Islam and the mufti. From what you have learned of external knowledge and sharica and the knowledge of hadith, what do you say about such and such narrator?" Shaikh Husamuddin said, "We accept that person and we base much of our knowledge of hadith on his narrations, and his book is accepted by us, and his lineage is one that all scholars accept, and there is no argument on that matter." Muhammad Parsa said, "The book of that person that you are accepting is in your house in your library, between such and such books. It contains 500 pages and its color is such and such, and the cover looks like such and such, and the hadith you rejected is written by that person on page such and such."
He died on a Monday night, the 3rd of Rabi'ul-Awwal, 791 H. (1388 CE). He was buried in his garden as he requested. The succeeding kings of Bukhara took care of his school and mosque, expanding them and increasing their religious endowments (awqaf).
Abdul Wahhab ash-Sha'arani, the qutb (Spiritual Pole) of his time said, "When the shaikh was buried in his grave, a window to Paradise was opened for him, making his grave a paradise from Heaven. Two beautiful spiritual beings entered his presence and greeted him and said to him, 'From the time that Allah created us until now, we have waited for this moment to serve you.' He said to these two spiritual beings, 'I don't look to anything other than Him. I don't need you but I need my Lord.'
Shah Naqshband (q) left behind many successors, the most honorable among whom were Shaikh Muhammad bin Muhammad Alauddin al-Khwarazmi al-Bukhari al-Attar and Shaikh Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Mahmoud al-Hafizi, known as Muhammad Parsa, the author of Risala Qudsiyya. It is to the first that Shah Naqshband passed on the secret of the Golden Chain