Monday, 26 January 2009
Shah Baha' ad-Din an-Naqshband (q.s.)
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Shah Baha’ ad-Din an-Naqshband (q.s.) is the 17th Shaykh of the Golden Chain of the Naqshbandi Haqqani Thariqa’. He is acclaimed as the greatest of those who have kept the Secret of the Golden Chain and it is from him that the Naqshbandi get their name. Shah Baha’ ad-Din an-Naqshband (q.s.) was born on the 14th Muharram on 717 AH / 1317 CE. He was born in Qaswr al-’Arifan, near Bukhara, Central Asia. He learned about the Path from Shaykh Muhammad Baba as-Samasi (q.s.) and later from Sayyid Amir al-Kulal (q.s.), whom he succeeded. He also learnt through uwaysi from the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) presence and one of the stars of the firmament of the Naqshbandi.
There is a story from the Qadiri thariqa’ of Shah an-Naqshband (q.s.). It is said that 150 years after the death of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.), people asked Shah an-Naqshband (q.s.), “Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir said, ‘My foot is on the shoulders of all the saints’, what do you think about this?”
Shah an-Naqshband (q.s.) replied, “May Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir’s foot be upon my eyes and my vision.”
One day, Shah an-Naqshband (q.s.) was traveling in the desert when he met Khidhr (a.s.), who transported him to the spiritual presence of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.). This was before he had earned the title, “an-Naqshband”. Shah an-Naqshband (q.s.) said, “O one who holds hands in the universe, hold my hand so they will be your holder of hands.”
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.) put his hand on Shaykh an-Naqshband’s (q.s.) heart and said, “O the holder of the adornment of the worlds, hold my adornment so that they can call you ‘Naqshband’.” “Naqshband” means “the one who adorns”.
And then Shah Baha’ ad-Din an-Naqshband (q.s.) recited the following poem, which is inscribed on both the tombs of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.) and Shah Baha’ ad-Din an-Naqshband (q.s.):
“The King of this world and the hereafter is Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir
The head of the children of Adam is Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir.
Sun, Moon, heavens, the Throne and the Pen,
They all get their light from the heart of ‘Abd al-Qadir.”
Shah an-Naqshband (q.s.) was eighteen years of age when he was sent by his grandfather to the village of Samas to serve the shaykh of the thariqa’, Shaykh Muhammad Baba as-Samasi (q.s.), who had asked for him.
Of his youth he relates, “I would arise early, three hours before fajr prayer, take ablution, and after performing sunnah prayers, I would go into prostration, supplicating Allah 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 shaykh.
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.’ Allah does not like His servants to be in difficulties. Although Allah 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.’”
He also said, “When Shaykh Muhammad Baba as-Samasi died, my grandfather took me to Bukhara and I married there. I lived in Qaswr al-‘Arifan, which was Allah’s Special Care to me because I was near to Sayyid Amir Kulal. I stayed in his service, and he told me that Shaykh 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.’”
With regards his Path, he said. “I had been Asked, in the beginning of my state of attraction, ‘Why are you entering 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 do not 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’ ad-Din, whatever you want, We will Grant.’
I was overjoyed. I said, ‘I want to be Given a thariqa' that will lead anyone who travels on it straight to the Divine Presence.’
I experienced a great vision and heard a voice saying, ‘You are Granted what you have asked.’”
On the Naqshbandi Way, Shah an-Naqshband (q.s.) said, “Our Way is very rare and very precious. It is the Firm Handhold, the way of keeping firm and steadfast in the footsteps of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and of his companions. They Brought me to this Way from the Door of Favours, because at its beginning and at its end, I witnessed nothing but the Favours of Allah. In this Way, great doors of Heavenly Knowledge will be opened up to the seeker who follows in the footsteps of the Prophet (s.a.w.).”
Of all the thariqa’, the Naqshbandi Haqqani is the easiest to take initiation. Our shaykh, Shah Baha’ ad-Din an-Naqshband (q.s.) said that he will take the worst of us and make us the best. And that is why the spiritual exercises of the Naqshbandi tend to be heavier.
Shaykh ‘Ali Damman (q.s.), one of the servants of the shaykh, said, “The shaykh ordered me to dig his grave. When I finished, it came to my heart, ‘Who is going to be his successor?’
He raised his head from the pillow and said to me, ‘O my son, do not forget what I said to you when we were on our way to the Hijaz. Whoever wants to follow me must follow Shaykh Muhammad Farsa and Shaykh ‘Ala ad-Din ‘Aththar.’”
In his last days, he stayed in his room. People made pilgrimage to see him and he gave them advice. When he entered his final illness he locked himself up in his room. Wave after wave of his followers began to visit him and he gave to each of them the advice they needed. At one point, he ordered them to read Surah YaSin. Then when they had finished the surah, he raised his hands to Allah (s.w.t.). He then raised his right finger to say the shahadah. As soon as he finished, his soul returned to Allah (s.w.t.).
He passed away a Monday night, the 3rd of Rabi’ al-Awwal, 791 AH / 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 awqaf. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhab ash-Sha’rani (q.s.), the quthb of his time said, “When the shaykh 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 do not look to anything other than Him. I do not need you but I need my Lord.’”
Shah Baha’ ad-Din an- Naqshband (q.s.) left behind many successors, the most honourable amongst whom were Shaykh Muhammad ibn Muhammad ‘Ala ad-Din al-Khwarizmi al-Bukhari al-‘Aththar (q.s.) and Shaykh Muhammad ibn Muhammad bin Mahmud al-Hafizhi (q.s.), known as Muhammad Farsa, the author of Risalah al-Qudsiyyah. It is to the first that Shah Baha’ ad-Din an-Naqshband (q.s.) passed on the secret of the Golden Chain.