Saturday, 24 October 2009

Shaykh Ala' ad-Din al-Bukhari al-'Atstsar (q.s.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ


"Your image is constantly before my eyes,
Your remembrance always upon my lips;
The thought of you forever in my heart.
Where can You hide from me?"

Attributed to Shaykh Husayn ibn Manswur al-Hallaj (q.s.)

He is a star from among the perfect saints.  He was one of the scholars who acted on what they know.  He is known as the Fruit of the Tree of Divine Knowledge, the Life of Spiritual Knowledge, the Eraser of Darkness, the Guide of the noble and common people alike, the Fountain that Never Dries Up, the Best Guide to Enlightenment on the Path to the Lord.  He was first in removing the thorns of falsehood from the Path of Truth.  He stands in the Center of the Realm of the Poles, Aqthab, and he carries the burden of the spiritual caliphate.  He raised the souls of his brothers until the whole universe was calling him and remembering him.  The external and internal knowledge of religion flourished because of his truthfulness.

He left everything that he had inherited from his father to his two brothers and devoted himself to study in the schools of Bukhara.  He became accomplished in all arts, especially in the knowledge of Sufism and the Islamic sciences.  He proposed to the daughter of Shah Naqshband (q.s.), asking for her hand in marriage.  Shah Naqshband's (q.s.) answer came one day, after midnight, when awakening from his sleep in Qaswr al-'Arifan, he went quickly to the school in Bukhara where Shaykh ‘Ala ad-Din (q.s.) lived.  There he found everyone asleep except Shaykh ‘Ala ad-Din (q.s.), who was up reading the Holy Qur'an by the light of a tiny oil lamp.  He came up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder but Shaykh ‘Ala ad-Din (q.s.) did not respond.  He prodded him more but still he did not react.  Then, through his spiritual vision, Shah Naqshband (q.s.) perceived that Shaykh ‘Ala ad-Din was not present but was in the Divine Presence.  He then called him spiritually and Shaykh ‘Ala ad-Din (q.s.) immediately looked up and replied, "O my Shaykh."

Shah Naqshband (q.s.) said, "I have had a dream in which the Prophet (s.a.w.) accepted your proposal for my daughter.  For that reason I have come to you by myself, late at night, to inform you of the good news."

Shaykh ‘Ala ad-Din (q.s.) said, "O my Shaykh, I have nothing to spend on your daughter or myself, because I am very poor, having given all my inheritance to my brothers."

Shah Naqshband (q.s.) replied, "O my son, whatever Allah has Written for you on the Day of Promises will accrue to you.  So don't worry, Allah will Provide."

He said, "One day a shaykh asked me, 'How is your heart?'  I said, 'I don't know how my heart is.'  He said, 'I know my heart, and it is like the moon in the third night.'  I related this story to Shah Naqshband who said, 'He answered according to his heart.'  When he said this, he stepped on my foot and pressed on it.  Immediately I left myself and I saw that everything in this world and this universe was in my heart.  When I awoke from that state of unconsciousness, he was still standing on my foot, and he said, 'If the heart is like that, then no one can describe it.  What do you think now about the holy hadits: 'Neither My earth nor My Heavens can contain Me, but the heart of the Believer contains Me.'  This is one of the hidden secrets you must come to understand.'"

Then Shah Naqshband (q.s.) took full responsibility for him.  He raised him from one state to another and prepared him to appear in the Divine Presence and to ascend the lofty towers of spiritual knowledge and leave behind all kinds of ignorance in order to reach the state of Reality.  He became unique among the many followers of Shah Baha' ad-Din Naqshband (q.s.).  The Shaykh ordered him, during his lifetime, to enlighten some of the Shaykh's followers also.  Thus Shaykh Muhammad Farsa (q.s.) followed him as well.  Shaykh Muhammad Farsa (q.s.) wrote that he heard from Shaykh ‘Ala ad-Din (q.s.): "I was given a power by my shaykh, Shah Naqshband, such that if I were to focus on everyone in this universe, I would raise all of them to the state of perfection."

One time, the scholars of Bukhara had a disagreement concerning the possibility of seeing Allah (s.w.t.) in this world.  Some of them denied the possibility and some of them affirmed it.  All of them were followers of Shaykh ‘Ala ad-Din.  They came to him and said, "We need you to judge on this matter."

He replied, "Those of you who have denied the possibility of seeing Allah in this life, stay with me three days, keeping ablution at all times and remaining silent."  He kept them in his presence for three days, directing his spiritual power on them, until they all beheld a very powerful state, causing them to faint.  When they regained consciousness, they came to him crying out, "We believe and we confirm that it is true!" and kissed his feet.  They told him, "We accept what you said, that it is possible to see Allah in this life."  They devoted themselves to him, never leaving him and making it their custom to kiss the threshold of his door.  They composed the following verse:

Out of blindness they asked,
"How can we reach the Divine?"
Put in their hands the candles of purity.
They will know that the possibility
Of seeing is not impossible.

Shaykh ‘Ala ad-Din (q.s.) was very dear and special to Shah Naqshband (q.s.), just as Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) had been dear to the heart of his father, Prophet Ya’qub (a.s.).

From the Light of His Sayings

He said, "The intention of seclusion is to leave the earthly connection and to direct the self to the Heavenly Truth."

"It is said that the seeker in external knowledge must hold tight to the Rope of Allah, and the seeker in internal knowledge must hold tight to Allah."

"When Shah Naqshband got new clothes he would give them to someone else to wear.  After they were used, he would borrow them back."

Levels of Annihilation

"When Allah Makes you forget both worldly power and the Heavenly Kingdom, this is Absolute Annihilation.  And if He Makes you forget Absolute Annihilation, it is the Essence of Absolute Annihilation."

Proper Conduct

"You have to be at the level of the people around you and to hide your state from them, because the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, 'I have been ordered to speak with people according to what their hearts can contain.'"

"Beware of hurting the hearts of Sufis.  If you want their company, you must first learn how to behave in their presence.  Otherwise you are going to harm yourself, because their way is a very delicate way.  It is said, 'There is no place in our Way for the one who doesn't have good manners.'"

"If you think you are behaving well then you are wrong, because seeing your own behaviour as good is itself a form of pride."

On Visiting Graves

"The benefit of visiting the graves of your shuyukh depends on the knowledge you have of them."

"To be near the graves of pious people has a good influence, although to direct yourself to their souls is better and carries with it a higher spiritual influence.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, 'Send prayers for me wherever you are.'  This indicates that you can reach the Prophet (s.a.w.) wherever you are, and it applies to His saints as well, because they take their power from the Prophet (s.a.w.)."

"The adab, or proper way, of visiting graves is to direct yourself to Allah and to make these souls your means to Allah Almighty and Exalted, humbling yourself to His Creation.  You humble yourself externally to them and internally to Allah.  To bow before human beings is not allowed unless you look on them as appearances of Allah.  Then that humbleness will be not directed to them, but it will be directed to the One Who is appearing in them, and that is Allah."

The Best Dzikr

"The way of contemplation and meditation is higher and more perfect than the way of dzikr by laa ilaha il Allah.  The seeker, through contemplation and meditation, can reach the internal knowledge and will be able to enter the Heavenly Kingdom.  He will be authorised to look at Allah's Creation and he will know what is passing in their hearts, even the slightest gossip or whispering.  He will be authorised to enlighten their hearts with the light from the essence of the essence of the state of Oneness."

Protecting the Heart

"Silence is the best state, except under three conditions: you must not keep silent in the face of bad gossip attacking your heart; you must not keep silent in directing your heart to the remembrance of Allah; and you must not keep silent when the vision inside your heart orders you to speak."

"To protect your heart from evil thoughts is very difficult, and I protected my heart for twenty years without letting in a single whisper."

"The best deed in this Way is to punish the whispering and gossip in the heart."

"I was unhappy with some of my followers, because they do not try to keep the state of vision that appears to them."

Love of the Shaykh

"If the heart of the murid is full of the love of the shaykh, this love replacing all other loves of the heart, then the heart will be able to receive the transmission of the Heavenly Knowledge, which has no beginning and no end."

"The murid has to tell all his states to his shaykh, and he has to believe that he will never reach his goal except through the satisfaction and love of his shaykh.  He must seek that satisfaction and he must know that all doors are blocked, internal and external, except the one door, which is his shaykh.  He has to sacrifice himself for the sake of his shaykh.  Even if he has the highest knowledge and the highest mujahadah, he must leave all that and feel as though he has nothing in front of his shaykh.  The seeker must give the shaykh authority in all his affairs, religious and worldly, in such a way that he has no will before the will of his shaykh.  The duty of the shaykh is to look at the daily activities of the murid and to advise and correct him in his living and his religion, to help him find the best way to reach his reality."

"To visit saints, is a sunnah wajiba, a duty on every seeker, at least every day, or every other day, while keeping the limits and respect between you and your shaykh.  If the distance is great between you and your shaykh, visit him at least every one or two months.  Don't rely only on your connection with their heart, lest you become disconnected."

"I guarantee to anyone who seeks this Way, that if he imitates the shaykh with sincerity he will eventually find its reality.  Shah Naqshband ordered me to imitate him and whatever I did in imitation of him immediately brought its results."

However, he also warned, "The masters of our Way cannot be known except in the Station of Colors and Changes (Maqam at-Talwin).  Whoever imitates their behaviour in that station will succeed.  Whoever imitates their behavior in their station of perfection, however, will be corrupted.  He will be safe from corruption only if his master has mercy on him and reveals to him the Reality of that station."

What he means, and Allah knows best, is that the seeker cannot reach perfection until he has been Perfected.  The Station of Color and Changes is the one in which the seeker struggles hard by fasting, by worshipping, by seclusion, and by maintaining steadfastness in his love and respect for his master from one difficulty to another.  Imitating his master in this manner will bring him success, because his master excels in all these efforts.  However, if he imitates the master when the latter is in his state of Perfection, he will be in danger, just as if he tried to fly without first growing wings.  It is necessary for the seeker to climb the mountain first before he enjoys the view at the top.

To climb the mountain, the seeker must journey from the lower world to the Divine Presence.  He must travel from the ego's world of sensual reality to the soul's consciousness of the Divine Reality.  To make progress on this journey, the seeker must bring into his heart the picture of his shaykh, taswawwur, as it is the most powerful means of detaching oneself from the hold of the senses.  The shaykh becomes, in his heart, the mirror of the Absolute Essence.  If he is successful, the state of self-effacement, ghayba or absence from the world of the senses, appears in him.  To the degree that this state increases in him, his attachment to the world of the senses will weaken and disappear, and the station of the Absolute Void of Unsensing Other-than-Allah will dawn on him.

The highest degree of this station is annihilation, fana'.  Thus Shah Naqshband (s.a.w.) counselled his muridun, "When that state of Self-Effacement comes on me, leave me alone and give yourself to that state and accept its rights on us."

Of this journey, Shaykh ‘Ala ad-Din (s.a.w.) said to his muridun, "The shortest path to our goal, which is Allah, Almighty and Exalted, is for Allah to Lift the veil from the Essence of the Face of His Oneness that appears in all Creation.  He does this with the State of Erasure and Annihilation in His Absolute Oneness, until His Majestic Essence Dawns upon and Eliminates consciousness of anything other than Him.  This is the end of the Journey of Seeking Allah and the beginning of another Journey.

At the end of the Journey of Seeking and the State of Attraction comes the State of Self-Effacement and Annihilation.  This is the goal of all mankind as Allah Mentioned in the Qur'an: 'I did not create Jinn and Mankind except to worship me.'  Worship here means Perfect Knowledge."

On the 2nd of the month of Rajab, 802 AH, Shaykh Ala’ ad-Din (q.s.) said, "I am going to leave you to go to the other life and no one can stop me."  He passed away on the 20th of Rajab, 802 AH.  He was buried in the city of Jaganyan, one of the suburbs of Bukhara.  He passed his secret to one of his many khulafah, Shaykh Ya’qub ash-Sharkhi (q.s.).


7 comments:

  1. I have spent much of yesterday & today on the phone because FedEx could not tell me where a very important piece of satellite communications equipment was - stuck at Customs because some idiot got the declaration wrong.

    In any case, I was on the phone so often, I felt as if I was dating the girls over there & I memorized the FedEx theme song.

    Despite the fact this was a major screw-up on their part costing my company thousands of dollars & threatening to hold back several million in cargo because the ship could not move, when I called the people at FedEx, they were so nice, you simply did not have the heart to scold them. Their customer service was excellent (too bad, their operational side needed a lot of work).

    My point being, what would it take for Darul Arqam to have this level of customer service? In terms of phone etiquette, promptness of reply, follow-up?

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  2. "Alas, today we take the label ‘Muslim’ for granted. Labels commonly used, or are attached to us, but without any real understanding on our part as to what it really means. When we say we are Muslims, we are in fact asserting a claim. But are we fully cognizant of this claim? What is being Muslim all about? Is it a heritage, which our forefathers have left to us, just as being Malay is? And we may even ask, “what is Malay?” Such self-searching questions are indeed an important start. Too much confusion has arisen nowadays in the use of these labels, without any real attempt at educating the masses regarding its true definitions, meanings and import. Not many are concern as to whether the common understanding of these terms amongst people are correct or have they become blurred and corrupted. Who is there to clarify and correct? Has the ambiguity (if any) been clarified? In the absence of this effort, the media can easily manipulate and create stereotypes leading to Islamaphobia. What is even worst is that there are hybrids of terminology that are being coined by people nowadays and it only compounded the confusion. Any superficial responses to this only reflect our own superficiality. Being apologetic sometimes lead many Muslims into agreeing to the ‘strawman’ which non-Muslim tried to use against Islam. Example there are some who advocate that Muslim should follow “Moderate Islam” as though there can be many versions or forms of Islam in the various shades of extremity! The term, which the community of Muslims is recognised by the Qur’an is already defined as “balance and moderate” (ummatan wasotan[14]) as clearly stated in al-Baqarah: 2:143. This clearly shows that Islam, as a religion, is one advocating justice, balance and moderation; in essence Islam is a moderate religion. To agree to the additional usage of the adjective ‘moderate’ to the word ‘Islam’ is denying this obvious inherent characteristic of Islam. The implication of wanting us to agree to this new label (i.e. Moderate Islam) is that with our acceptance of it, now they can demonise Islam and they (secularist) are clamouring for Muslims not to be too religious, but practice their religion ‘moderately’! But actually, if Islam is already a moderate religion, to be extremely religious is rather good and should be welcomed i.e. ultimately that Muslim is becoming extremely moderate!"

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  3. Assalamu'Alaikum Ustadz,

    Insha'Allah, I'll be at your place with the rest this Sunday. In any case, I hope you read the post on Da'wah in Darul Arqam

    Wassalam

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  4. Assalamualaikum wr wb
    There are a few issues here that needs to be sorted. But if it is about organisational effectiveness, there is a checklist on the net that can be used to see if a. customer service is up to mark b. service excellence can be enhanced c. organisational effectiveness can be improved.
    The other areas I dare not ponder on. I think Ustaz did hit the nail on the head when he talked about the worldview of the immediate people who are around converts.
    Wallahu'alam
    Wassalam
    Faizal Abdollah

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  5. Wa'Alaikumus Salaam Faizal,

    DArul Arqam hired Ernst & Young to do the consultansy. As far as I'm concerned (We're business consultants too), it was a colossal waste of SGD30,000 (AR/Final Accounts).

    What they need to change is the mindset first. Maybe these people should go back home & try telling thier family they're going to change their religion to get a feel of it.

    Wassalam

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  6. *Nodding profusely-in-silence* to paras 5 and 7 and beyond... :)

    Those memories are still etched in my brain, for God knows what reasons it might be.

    I still remember that there was one time i ran into a difficult issue at home and the only place i could think was darul; but all i could do for myself was to leave a voice message and go home with a dreaded feeling of not knowing what to do.

    Back then, the catalyst of my conversion couldn't do much because he was too busy to be bothered with my personal affairs.

    Alhamdulillah

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  7. Assalamu'Alaikum,

    Thank you for validating my point.

    Wassalam

    ReplyDelete

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