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Shaykh Bishr al-Hafi (q.s.)

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Shaykh Bishr al-Hafi (q.s.) saw a piece of paper lying in the mud at the side of road.  His eye fell on the Divine Name written in one of the sentences.  He lifted the paper, cleaned it, bought some scent, perfumed it, and placed it in a cavity of the wall of his house.  That night he heard a Voice say to him, “O Bishr, you have made My Name fragrant in this world and now I will Make your name fragrant in your world and in Mine also.”
Shaykh Bishr ibn Harits (q.s.) is better known as “Bishr al-Hafi”, “Bishr the Barefoot.”  He was a wali born near Merv, in 767 CE.  He was converted from a life of iniquity and studied hadits under Shaykh al-Fudhayl ibn Iyadh (q.s.), himself a great wali who had repented from banditry. Shaykh Bishr (q.s.) then devoted his life to Allah (s.w.t.) and became famous as one of the greatest saints in the area.
Shaykh Bishr (q.s.) settled at Baghdad.  The story of his conversion was narrated by Shaykh Farid ad-Din Aththar (q.s…

To be Aware That Death Approaches

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from a swuhbah from Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.) on the 09th October 2010.
Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) advises us to put aside some time daily to attend the swuhbah as it contains news of our akhirah.  Just as we spend time daily keeping abreast of worldly news, we must also make time for the news of the hereafter.
Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) tackled the issue of narrow-minded Wahhabi scholars who were constantly on the lookout for, what they viewed as transgressions in religion.  For example, at funerals, they would forbid crying, the reading of the talqin and the placing of any sort of tombstone on the grave.  They liked to control people and impose their literal and shallow interpretation of Qur’an and the ahadits on people.
The Wahhabis want graves to remain unmarked, unnoticed and unvisited.  Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said death was the best reminder for the ummah.  They should not desecrate and demolish graves when they ser…

Shaykh Najm ad-Din al-Kubra (q.s.) & the 10 Principles of the Kubrawiyyah

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Shaykh Abu al-Jannab Ahmad ibn ‘Umar (q.s.), better known as Shaykh Najm ad-Din al-Kubra, was a 13th century Persian Sufi from Khwarizm.  Shaykh Najm ad-Din al-Kubra (q.s.) was known as the ‘Pillar of the Age’ and one of the greatest Sufis of all time.  He is the founder of the Kubrawiyyah Sufi Order which was influential in the Ilkhanid and Timurid dynasties.  His methodology is considered exemplary of a golden age of Sufi metaphysics.  It was related to the Illuminism of Shaykh Shahab ad-Din Suhrawardi (q.s.) the founder of Suhrawardi Order.  His close associates included Shaykh Sa’adi ash-Shiraz (q.s.) as well as Shaykh Shams at-Tabrizi (q.s.).
Born in 540 AH / 1145 CE, Shaykh Najm ad-Din (q.s.) began his career as a scholar of ahadits and kalam.  His interest in Sufism began in Egypt where he became a murid of Shaykh Ruzbihan al-Baqli ash-Shirazi (q.s.), who was an initiate of the Uwaysi Order.  After years of study, he abandoned his exploration…

When Madina Wept

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Bilal ibn Rabah (r.a.) moved to Damascus upon the demise of Rasulullah (s.a.w.).  He dreamed of the Prophet (s.a.w.) who asked him, “Why did you run away from me, O Bilal?”
Bilal (r.a.) quickly returned to Madina.  He went to visit the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) maqam, crying.  On his way back, he met Abu Bakr (r.a.) who said to him, “O Bilal, I wish you would perform adzan as before.”
Bilal (r.a.) replied, “No, I cannot bring myself to do it since the passing of the Prophet.”
Bilal (r.a.) continued walking and met ‘Umar (r.a.).  He, too, asked Bilal (r.a.) to perform the adzan.  Bilal (r.a.) replied, “I cannot. I'm afraid I will not be able to say the Prophet's name.”
Bilal (r.a.) walked away until he met Hasan ibn ‘Ali, the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) grandson who also made the same request.  To him, Bilal (r.a.) said, “I cannot say no to you.  I fear I will not get shafa’at from the Prophet (s.a.w.) should I turn you down.”
Without much delay, Bilal (r.a.) fi…

A Lesson on Not Jumping to Conclusions

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is from al-Ashbah wa an-Nazha’ir by Imam ibn Najim (r.a.).  The lesson here is about not jumping to conclusions and thinking the best of people.
Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) was told by a man in the presence of his students, “I do not hope for Paradise.  I do not fear Hell.  I do not fear Allah (s.w.t.).  I have eaten the dead.  I have prayed without recitation, bowing or prostration.  I testify to that which I do not see and I love tribulation.”
Imam Abu Hanifah’s (r.a.) students were unanimous in their opinion: “This man has a problem.”
Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) said, “This man hopes in Allah (s.w.t.), not in Paradise.  He fears Allah (s.w.t.), not the Fire.  He does not fear oppression from Allah (s.w.t.) in his punishment.  He has eaten fish and grasshoppers.  He prays the funeral prayer.  He testifies to the Oneness of Allah.  He detests death and this is truth and he loves wealth and children; they are tribulation.”
The man arose and kisse…

The Reality behind Forms

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
It is related that the Sufi Master, Imam Abu al-Qasim Junayd al-Baghdadi (q.s.), once went for a walk outside of Baghdad, his disciples following him.  The Shaykh (q.s.) then asked them how Bahlul was.  They answered, “He is a crazy person, what do you need from him?”
“Bring me to him because I have a need for him,” he said.
The students searched for Bahlul, whose reputation was that of a mad mystic, and found him in the desert.  They took Imam Junayd (q.s.) to him.  When Imam Junayd (q.s.) went near Bahlul, he saw Bahlul lying in a state of agitation, with a brick under his head for a pillow.
Imam Junayd (q.s.) greeted him with the salutation of peace.
Bahlul replied thus, and then asked, “Who are you?”
“I am Junayd al-Baghdadi.”
Bahlul asked, “Are you Abu al-Qasim?”
“Yes.” replied Imam Junayd (q.s.).
“Are you the same Shaykh al-Baghdadi who gives people spiritual instructions?”
“Yes.”
Then Bahlul asked, “Do you even know how to eat?”
“Yes!” answered Imam Ju…

Prisoners of Misfortune

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is from Mawlana Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi's (q.s.) Divan-e Shams.  It was translated by the esteemed Dr. Alan Godlass.
“In the path of Your Love, We are prisoners of misfortunes. Poor lovers, we are unlike anyone You have seen. Throw Your Glance this way, For we are strangers in this town. Be Generous with us, For we are beggars in this town. No piety to sit in solitude of prayer. No joy to run around the tavern. Neither temperate nor drunkards. Not here nor there. Who are we, where from? Like Hallaj; we are not afraid of death; We are crazy lovers of God. If our fear was the fear of misfortune, What should we fear now? When we are in the midst of misfortune? We have a secret with You, No soul can ever share, Even if we lose our heads. Our lips are sealed; We do not worry about hell, Nor care about heaven. Unveil Yourself for we are eager to see Your Face O Shams, have pity, Take us in, For we are Branded by the Mark of God.”