Hazrat Shaykh Abul Qasim Gurgani
Hazrat Shaykh Abul-Qāsim bin Ali bin Abdullāh Gurgāni (380-450 AH), may Allah sanctify his soul, was a glorious Sufi master and gnostic of the secrets of Almighty. He is one of the grand shaykhs of Naqshbandi Sufi tariqah as well as some other Sufi orders.
He was born in Gorgan (situated in northern Iran) in 380 AH. He received the spiritual secrets from the master of Sufis Khwājā Abul Hasan Kharaqānī (352-425 AH), and with few intermediaries from Imām Junaid al-Baghdādī (218-298 AH).
He was one of the shaykhs of Sayyid Alī Hujwerī (Dātā Ganj Bakhsh) of Lahore, who has mentioned him in his book Kashf al-Mahjūb, the first ever Persian treatise on Sufism. He mentions him as a Qutb, the highest rank among the living saints at any time. He introduces this great master in the following words:
In his time he was unique and incomparable. His beginning (Ibtidā) was very excellent and strong, and his journeys were performed with punctilious observance (of the sacred law). At that time the hearts of all initiates (ahl-i dargāh) were turned towards him, and all seekers (tālibān) had a firm belief in him. He possessed a marvellous power of revealing the inward experiences of novices (kashf-i wāqi’a-i murīdīn), and he was learned in various branches of knowledge.
At one place in the book, he writes:
Now I, who am ‘Ali b. ‘Usmān al-Jullābī, asked the Grand Shaykh, Abu ‘l-Qāsim Gurgānī at Tūs, saying: “What is the least thing necessary for a dervish in order that he may become worthy of poverty?” He replied: “A dervish must not have less than three things: first, he must know how to sew on a patch rightly; second, he must know how to listen rightly; third, he must know how to set hist foot on the ground rightly”.
Then he explains the wisdom of these golden words as:
A right patch is one that is stitched for poverty, not for show; if it is stitched for poverty, it is right, even though it be stitched wrong. And a right word is one that is heard esoterically (ba-hāl), not wilfully (ba-munyat), and is applied earnestly, not frivolously, and is apprehended by life, not by reason. And a right foot is one that is put on the ground with true rapture, not playfully and formally.”
In the chapter titled Rules of Companionship, Sayyid Ali Hujweri writes:
I asked the Grand Shaykh Abu al-Qāsim Gurgāni what obligations were involved in companionship. He replied: “It involves this, that you should not seek your own interest; all the evils of companionship arise from selfishness. Solitude is better for a selfish man. He who neglects his own interests and looks after the interests of his companion hits the mark in companionship.”
One of his karāmāt (miraculous powers) is also narrated by Sayyid Alī Hujwerī in the following narrative:
One day I was seated in the Shaykh’s presence and was recounting to him my experiences and visions, in order that he might test them, for he had unrivalled skill in this. He was listening kindly to what I said. The vanity and enthusiasm of youth made me eager to relate those matters, and the thought occurred to me that perhaps the Shaykh, in his novitiate, did not enjoy such experiences, or he would not show so much humility towards me and be so anxious to inquire concerning my spiritual state. The Shaykh perceived what I was thinking. “My dear friend,” he said, “you must know that my humility is not on account of you or your experiences, but is shown towards Him who brings experiences to pass. They are not peculiar to yourself, but common to all seekers of God.” On hearing him say this I was utterly taken aback. He saw my confusion and said: “O my son, Man has no further relation to this Path except that, when he is attached to it, he imagines that he has found it, and when he is deposed from it he clothes his imagination in words. Hence both his negation and his affirmation, both his non-existence and existence, are imagination. Man never escapes from the prison of imagination. It behoves him to stand like a slave at the door and put away from himself every relation (nisbat) except that of manhood and obedience.” Afterwards I had much spiritual conversation with him, but if I were to enter upon the task of setting forth his extraordinary powers my purpose would be defeated.
Shaykh Gurgani authored a book named “Fusūl al-Tarīqah wa Fusūl al-Haqīqah”. In that, he says:
The virtue of compliance with the brothers in a matter that is not a sin, is not less than voluntary fasting. And among the manners of fasting is that the fasting person should not consider any value for his fast. [Anees at-Talibeen]
Shaykh Sharaf al-Dīn Yahyā Manerī reports in his letter 23 in the Hundred Letters, that once Shaykh Abū Alī Fārmadī asked his master about a dream he had had: “You spoke to me in such and such a fashion in the dream: why, O Shaykh?” Shaykh Abul Qāsim Gurgānī turned his face away and said: “If there were no room for ‘why’ in your heart, then it would not have found its way to your lips!”
He passed away on 23rd Safar 450 AH (19 or 20 April 1058 CE). The author of Shadharat al-Dhahab mentions his demise to be in Rabi al-Awwal 469 AH. His shrine is located in a small village, three kilometers south of Torbat Ḥeydarīyeh in Iran. [latitude: 35.23435, longitude: 59.19795]
Among his students and disciples are the following:
Sayyid Alī bin Usmān Hujwerī Lāhorī, popularly known as Dātā Ganj Bakhsh
Abū Alī al-Fārmadī
Khwājā Alī Hallāj
Abūbakr Abdullāh Tūsī
His spiritual successor was his son-in-law Khwājā Abū Alī al-Fārmadī, who was also known to Sayyid Alī Hujwerī, who has mentioned him in his book as:
All his disciples are ornaments of the society in which they move. Please God, he will have an excellent successor, whose authority the whole body of Sufis will recognize, namely, Abū Alī al-Fadl b. Muhammad al-Fārmadī (may God lengthen his days), who has not omitted to fulfil his duty towards his master, and has turned his back on all (worldly) things, and through the blessings of that (renunciation) has been made by God the spiritual mouthpiece (zabān-i hāl) of that venerable Shaykh.