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About Naqshbandiyya

Here you can lear about the beginnings of our tariqa and how we became what we are today.


The Imam of the Tariqat

Shah Baha'uddin Naqshband    ' Q'

In this constellation, we come finally to Muhammad Bahauddan Uways al-Bukhari, known as Shah Naqshband, the Imam of the Naqshbandi Tariqat without peer. He was born in the year 1317 C.E. in the village of Qasr al-carifan, near Bukhara. After he mastered the sharicah sciences at the tender age of 18, he kept company with the Shaikh Muhammad Baba as-Samasi, who was an authority in hadith in Central Asia. After the latter's death, he followed Shaikh Amir Kulal who continued and perfected his training in the external and the internal knowledge.

The students of Shaikh Amir Kulal used to make dhikr aloud when sitting together in association, and silent dhikr when alone. Shah Naqshband, however, although he never criticized nor objected to the loud dhikr, preferred the silent dhikr. Concerning this he says, "There are two methods of dhikr; one is silent and one is loud. I chose the silent one because it is stronger and therefore more preferable." The silent dhikr thus became the distinguishing feature of the Naqshbandiyya among other tariqats.

Shah Naqshband performed  Hajj (Pilgrimage) three times, after which he resided in Merv and Bukhara. Towards the end of his life he went back to settle in his native city of Qasr al-cArifan. His teachings became quoted everywhere and his name was on every tongue. Visitors from far and wide came to see him and to seek his advice. They received teaching in his school and mosque, a complex which at one time accommodated more than five thousand people. This school is the largest Islamic center of learning in Central Asia and still exists in our day. It was recently renovated and reopened after surviving seventy years of Communist rule.

Shah Naqshband's teachings changed the hearts of seekers from darkness to light. He continued to teach his students the knowledge of the Oneness of God in which his precedessors had specialized, emphasizing the realization of the state of ihsan (excellence) for his followers according to the hadith of the Prophet (s), "Ihsan is to worship God as if you see Him."

When Shah Naqshband died 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).

Succeeding shaikhs of the Naqshbandi Tariqat wrote many biographies of Shah Naqshband. Among them are Mascud al-Bukhari and Sharif al-Jarjani, who composed the Awrad Baha'uddan which describes him and his life's works including his fatawa (legal decisions). Shaikh Muhammad Parsa, who died in Madina in 822 H. (1419 C.E.) wrote Risala Qudsiyya in which he talks of Shah Naqshband's life, his virtues, and his teachings.

Shah Naqshband's literary legacy included many books. Among them are Awrad an-Naqshbandiyyah, the Devotions of Shah Naqshband. Another book is Tanbih al-Ghafilin. A third book is Maslakul Anwar. A fourth is Hadiyyatu-s-Salikan wa Tuhfat at-Talibin. He left many noble expressions praising the Prophet (s) and he wrote many legal rulings. One of his opinions was that all the different acts and kinds of worship, whether obligatory or voluntary, were permitted for the seeker in order to reach reality. Prayer, fasting, zakat (paying the poor-tax), mujahadat (striving) and zuhd (self-denial) were emphasized as ways to reach Allah Almighty.

Shah Naqshband built his school on the renewal of the teachings of the Islamic religion. He insisted on the necessity of keeping the Qur'an and the teachings of the Sunnah. When they asked him, "What are the requirements of one who follows your way?" he said, "To follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (s)." He continued saying: "Our way is a rare one. It keeps the cUrwat ul-Wuthqa, the Unbreakable Bond, and it asks nothing else of its followers but to take hold of the Pure Sunnah of the Prophet (s) and follow the way of the Sahaba (Companions of the Prophet (s)) in their ijtihad (efforts for Allah).

"The Naqshbandi School is the easiest and simplest way for the student to understand tawhid. It urges its followers to seek a state of complete worship of Allah both publicly and privately by keeping the complete code of conduct of the Prophetic Sunnah. It encourages people to keep to the strictest modes of worship (cazima) and to abandon exemptions (rukhsa). It is also free from all innovations and deviations. It does not demand of its followers perpetual hunger or wakefulness. That is how the Naqshbandiyya has managed to remain free from the excesses of the ignorant and the charlatans (mushacwazan). In sum we say that our way is the mother of all tariqats and the guardian of all spiritual trusts. It is the safest, wisest, and clearest way. It is the purest drinking-station, the most distilled essence. The Naqshbandiyya is innocent from any attack because it keeps the sunnah of the beloved Prophet (s)."

We are presenting to the general public, by order of our Sheikh, Sheikh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani, fortieth in that Golden Chain of the Naqshbandi Masters, an all-too-brief book filled with the light of these Pure Masters, their aphorisms, their teachings, their way of life, and their examplary saintliness. We hope that it will bring the reader a taste of the lives of these Shaikhs, who light our way to the knowledge of Reality and Truth, to the Love of the Beloved Prophet (s), and to the ultimate goal of all, which is to reach the Divine Presence of our Creator.

"My work is to weep at night in remembering my Beloved;
my sleep is to remain absorbed in thoughts of my Beloved."
"In vain do eyes stay awake if not to behold You.
In vain do tears flow for another than You."
"The lovers die at every moment,
for their dying is not of one kind.
The lover has received two hundred spirits
from the Spirit of Guidance,
and he sacrifices them all at every instant.
For every spirit he receives ten in return

--read the Qur'an: Ten the like of it [6:160]."


The Titles of the Naqshbandi Golden Chain

The designation of the Naqshbandi Golden Chain has changed from century to century. From the time of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r) to the time of Bayazid al-Bistami (r) it was called as-Siddiqiyya. From the time of Bayazid to the time of Sayyidina Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani it was called at-Tayfuriyya. From the time of Sayyidina 'Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawan to the time of Shah Naqshband it was called the Khwajaganiyya. From the time of Shah Naqshband through the time of Sayyidina Ubaidullah al-Ahrar and Sayyidina Ahmad Faruqi, it was called Naqshbandiyya.

Naqshbandiyya means to "tie the Naqsh very well." The Naqsh is the perfect engraving of Allah's Name in the heart of the murid. From the time of Sayyidina Ahmad al-Faruqi to the time of Shaikh Khalid al-Baghdadi it was called Naqshbandi-Mujaddidiyya. From the time of Sayyidina Khalid al-Baghdadi until the time of Sayiddina Shaikh Ismail Shirwani it was called the Naqshbandiyya-Khalidiyya. From the time of Sayyidina Isma'il Shirwani until the time of Sayyidina Shaikh 'Abdullah ad-Daghestani, it was called Naqshbandi-Daghestaniyya. And today it is known by the name Naqshbandiyya-Haqqaniyya.



The most distinguished Naqshbandi Way is a school of thought and practice that stood in the vanguard of those groups which disseminated truth and fought against evil and injustice, especially in Central Asia and India in the past, in China and the Soviet Union in modern times, and in Europe and North America today. Naqshbandi shaykhs who took up political, social, educational and spiritual roles in their communities, acting according to the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet

The most distinguished Naqshbandi Order is the way of the Companions of the Prophet and those who follow them. This Way consists of continuous worship in every action, both external and internal, with complete and perfect discipline according to the Sunnah of the Prophet It consists in maintaining the highest level of conduct and leaving absolutely all innovations and all free interpretations in public customs and private behavior. It consists in keeping awareness of the Presence of God, Almighty and Exalted, on the way to self-effacement and complete experience of the Divine Presence. It is the Way of complete reflection of the highest degree of perfection. It is the Way of sanctifying the self by means of the most difficult struggle, the struggle against the self. It begins where the other orders end, in the attraction of complete Divine Love, which was granted to the first friend of the Prophet, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq().


The Haqqani Foundation

The mission of the Haqqani Foundation in America is to spread the Sufi teachings of the brotherhood of mankind and the Unity of belief in God that is present in all religions and spiritual paths. Its efforts are directed at bringing the diverse spectrum of religions and spiritual paths into harmony and concord, in recognition of mankind's responsibility as caretaker of this fragile planet and of one another.

The directorship of the Haqqani Foundation is a position assigned by the grandshaykh of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Sufi Order, Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani. He has appointed his representative (calipha), Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, a Sufi shaykh who has been authorized and given permission to guide followers to the Love of God and to their spiritual stations. Shaykh Kabbani's arduous religious and spiritual training has endowed him with the qualities necessary for a guide on the Path. Of especial relevance to the many Westerners with whom he meets, advises and teaches on a daily basis, is his lengthy education in Western institutions, his excellent command of English, French, Turkish and Arabic, and his deep knowledge of psychology and spiritual discipline.


The First Spiritual Inheritors of the Prophet

Historically speaking, the Naqshbandi tariqat can be traced back to the first of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r), who succeeds the Prophet (s) in his knowledge and in his role of guiding the Muslim community. Allah said in the Holy Qur'an "He was the second of two in the cave, and he said to his friend: 'do not be sad, for God is with us'" [9:40]. Of him the Prophet (s) said, "If I had taken to myself a beloved friend, I would have taken Abu Bakr as my beloved friend; but he is my brother and my companion."

What distinguishes the Naqshbandi school from other Sufi orders was the fact that it took its foundations and principles from the teachings and example of six bright stars in the firmament of the Prophet (s). These great figures were: Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, Salman al-Farisi, Jacfar as-Sadiq, Bayazid Tayfur al-Bistami, cAbdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani, and Muhammad Baha'uddin Uwaysi al-Bukhari, known as Shah Naqshband--the eponymous Imam of the tariqat.

Behind the word "Naqshband" stand two ideas: naqsh which means "engraving" and suggests engraving the name of Allah in the heart, and band which means "bond" and indicates the link between the individual and his Creator. This means that the Naqshbandi follower has to practice his prayers and obligations according to the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) and to keep the presence and love of Allah alive in his heart through a personal experience of the link between himself and his Lord.

Besides Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, who are these stars in the firmament of the Prophet (s)? One of them was Salman al-Farisi (r). His origin was Isfahan in Persia and he was the one who advised the Muslims to dig a trench in the battle of Ahzab. After the Muslims seized al-Mada'in, the capital city of Persia, he was made Prince and governor of that city and remained there until his death.

Another star was Jacfar as-Sadiq. A descendant of the Prophet (s) on his father's side and of Abu Bakr (r) on his mother's, he rejected all positions of honor in favor of retreat and spiritual learning and practice. He was called "The Inheritor of the Prophetic Station (Maqam an-Nubuwwa) and the Inheritor of the Truthful Station (Maqam as-Siddiqiyya). 

The oldest recorded occurrence of the term safa was in reference to his student, Jabir ibn  ayyan, in the middle of the second Hijri century. He was a mufassir al-Qur'an or master in exegesis, a scholar of  hadith, and one of the greatest mujtahids (qualified to give legal decisions) in Madinah. His Tafsir is partially preserved in Sulami's  haqa'iq at-tafsir. Layth ibn Sacd, one of the most reliable transmitters of prophetic traditions, witnessed Jacfar's miraculous powers as the latter was able to ask for anything, and God would grant it to him on the spot.

Another star was Bayazid Tayfur al-Bistami whose grandfather was a Zoroastrian. Bayazid made a detailed study of the statutes of Islamic law (sharica) and practiced a strict regimen of self-denial. All his life he was assiduous in the practice of his religious obligations. He urged his students (murids) to put their efforts in the hands of God and he encouraged them to accept a sincere and pure doctrine of tawhid, knowledge of the Oneness of God. This doctrine, he said, imposes five obligations on the sincere:

  1. To keep obligations according to the Qur'an and Sunnah;
  2. To always speak the truth;
  3. To keep the heart free from hatred;
  4. To avoid forbidden food (haram);
  5. To shun innovation (bid`a).

Bayazid said that the ultimate goal of the Sufis is to know God in this world, to reach His Divine Presence, and to see Him in the Hereafter. To that effect he added: "There are special servants of Allah who, if Allah veiled them from His vision in Paradise, would have implored Him to bring them out of Paradise as the inhabitants of the Fire implore Him to escape from Hell."

Yet another star in the firmament of the Prophet (s), was cAbdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani, who was born in the village of Ghujdawan, near Bukhara in present-day Uzbekistan. He was raised and buried there. He studied Qur'an and the Islamic sciences of both external and internal knowledge until he reached a high station of purity. He then traveled to Damascus where he established a school from which many students graduated and went on to become masters of fiqh and hadith as well as spirituality in their time, both in the regions of Central Asia and in the Middle East.

`Abdul Khaliq continued the work of his predecessors by formulating the dhikr (remembrance of God) passed down from the Prophet (s) according to the Sunnah. In his letters he set down the code of conduct (adab) that the students of the Naqshbandiyya were expected to follow.



Naqshbandi-Haqqani Dergah* 813 W. Windsor * Chicago * IL * 60640

Mevlana Seyh Hisham - Imam Senad ef. Agic