The Two Types of Rabithah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

According to Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.), Rabithah is the connection the murid has with the murshid.  It says in the Qur'an:

O ye who believe!  Persevere in patience and constancy: vie in such perseverance; strengthen each other; and fear Allah; that ye may prosper. (Surah Ali ‘Imran:200)

By definition, rabithah is when the murid looks, by means of the inner eye of the heart with unqualified love and longing, to the spiritual presence of his shaykh.

We are to love all Muslims, especially the pious.  By keeping a good connection to a pious person we make ourselves better.  We are commanded to love Rasulullah (s.a.w.) and if we love him, we will be raised with the ones we love on the Day of Judgement.  Loving Rasulullah (s.a.w.) is a means to following his sunnah becoming good people, and ultimately loving Allah (s.w.t.).  Loving the shaykh is a means of acquiring good habits and purifying oneself, as well as loving Rasulullah (s.a.w.) and ultimately, Allah (s.w.t.).

The swahabah were in love with Rasulullah (s.a.w.) as well as with the pious such as Abu Bakr asw-Swiddiq (r.a.) and ‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.).  Loving someone makes us follow their way and is an effective means for bettering oneself  Our Prophet (s.a.w.) said, "A man is in the religion of his friend" therefore to be friends and love pious people especially the shuyukh.  This will ultimately cause you to be helped in religion insha’Allah.

There are Two Types of Rabithah

1)         In the Presence of the Shaykh: Turning to the Shaykh with love, submission to his commands, being consumed in him until his own attributes become annihilated in the attributes of the Shaykh.

2)         In the Absence of the Shaykh: Imagining the Shaykh and directing yourself towards the spiritual presence and to maintain directing yourself towards it until you experience annihilation in the presence of the Shaykh or the effects of spiritual attraction.

After achieving either one of these two states, the murid's own personality, self, and characteristics become effaced in the fana’ fi ash-shaykh, at which time he will witness the Shaykh's perfection.  After that, the spiritual reality of the shaykh will train him until it delivers him to the presence of the Prophet (s.a.w.), when he becomes among the perfected ones who have arrived at the second stage.  Rabithah brings the murid closer to the shaykh, such as that even if one is in the east and the other is in the west, by means of that connection the shaykh and the murid are close.

Rabithah is the shortest way to reach ma`arifah, for after achieving it, the murid is not in need of anything else.  Through it, the stations of fana’ and hudur are rapidly ascended and the haqa'iq are granted.  Rabithah is the foundation of all attainment because all practices are in need of rabithah to manifest their specialties, especially in the most distinguished Naqshbandi tradition.  Because all practices are in need of the support derived from rabithah, their benefit depends on the strength and intensity of rabithah.  That is why the Naqshbandi way is called the Way of Rabithah.

Rabithah is a type of love, therefore without great love towards the shaykh, one cannot achieve rabithah.  Similarly, the spiritual outpourings are dependent upon the strength of the connection.  The one who has connection with the shaykh, has the possibility of being trained and is also able to reach openings while whoever has no connection is deprived.  For this the Naqshbandi masters say, “The one who does not have rabithah is unable to receive these openings, even if he has accompanied Khidhr (a.s.).”

A salik in this most distinguished Path, advances by rabithah and love for the shaykh he follows.  Such a shaykh trod this Path steadfastly and was dyed (insabagha) with all kinds of Perfections through the strength of Divine Attraction, jidzbah.  The gaze of his shaykh cures the diseases of the heart and his concentration, tawajjuh lifts away spiritual defects.  The owner of these perfections is the imam of the period and the khalifah of that time.  Thus our connection is love and our relationship, nisba is mirroring regardless of being near or far.

The murid gets advancement in this Path by the connection of love for the shaykh, hour by hour, and gets enlightened through the reflection of his lights.  In this pattern, knowledge of the process is not a precondition for the giving or receiving of benefit.  Eventually, the murid becomes aware that the connection goes beyond his shaykh to the shaykh of his shaykh and so forth until it reaches the Prophet (s.a.w.) and beyond that, even beyond the Farthest Lote Tree to the Divine Presence.


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