Bismillahi r-Rahmani r-Rahim
The ways of Real Faith, the ways that our Holy Prophet Hazrat Sayyidina wa Nabiyyina Muhammad Mustafaa (Sallallaahu Aleihi wa Sallam) showed us through Hazrat Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq (Razi Allah Ta’ala Anhu) and Hazrat Sayyidina Ali (Razi Allah Ta’ala Anhu) and which were passed down through the Companions (Sahaaba) of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Aleihi wa Sallam) and the Awliya Allah (Saints) to us are known as the Way of the Tareeqats. While Shariah teaches us worship, Tareeqat teaches us the way to keep Adab (good manners) with our Lord and to attain to His Divine Presence.
There are two kinds of Iman, faith. One is real and the other is imitative. The real brings light to the heart of a person, until then he is only imitating faith. The signs of real faith are three. The first is the ability to listen to the tasbeeh ( Zikr – paying praise and respects to their Lord) of all creatures. According to Quran there is nothing in existence that does not do tasbeeh (glorify the Lord), not even inanimate objects. The second is Allah’s opening of his heart to the fountain of wisdom, giving knowledge of all things in existence, their position and their purpose. Thirdly, there are no more veils between him and Barzakh, the heavenly worlds. He may meet anyone – any Prophet or Saint from Barzakh without hindrance. Until these three signs appear, know that you are veiled and not open to the light of Iman. Tareeqats are preparing Mureeds (followers) for real faith. The meaning of Mureed is one who is asking for real faith.
The Prophet (Sallallaahu Aleihi wa Sallam) said to keep religion in this time is more difficult than keeping burning coal in one’s hand. We must be patient in the face of adversity. Allah gives to those who are enduring disliked trials, endless reward. This is the way of real faith, like the way of Prophets and Awliya, to endure the badness of people.
There are many veils between us and our heavenly positions. The training that a Mureed undergoes at the hands of his Sheikh is to prepare him for the Divine Presence. As the Mureed passes each trial, veils are removed by his Sheikh until finally all veils are removed and the Mureed is in the Divine Presence.
Only someone who has attained to the Divine Presence and has been authorized by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Aleihi wa Sallam) has the knowledge to remove these veils. Therefore, in Order for one to attain to the Divine Presence, one must give allegiance to the Sheikh of a Tareeqat by taking Bayath (Connection or Oath of Allegiance) from him and follow his teachings. When a Mureed obeys his Sheikh’s every command, in doing so he would be passing all the trials given to him and thereby achieving a position of trust with his Sheikh. When the Sheikh finds the Mureed trustworthy, he rends the veils between the Mureed and the Divine Presence. When each veil is removed the Mureed is treated to a new experience where new horizons of knowledge are made available to him. With the removal of each veil also comes Certainty yakeen). The Mureed’s faith becomes established in this manner and continues to do so until he completely submits to the will of Allah Almighty.
All Tareeqats are ways to the Divine Presence. The Sheikh of a Tareeqat is able to communicate with his Sheikh who is able to communicate with his Sheikh and so on till the end of the chain where the first Sheikh of the Tareeqat is in communication with the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Aleihi wa Sallam). The Sheikh is also directly in communication with the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Aleihi wa Sallam). In addition to this, in attaining the Divine Presence the Sheikh was given higher and secret knowledge. By this method the Sheikh has perfect guidance in everything. We are in darkness and in need of lights, the light of Prophethood to inform us what is ahead generally, and the light of Sainthood to guide us to our personal destinations.
Our destination is Heaven. We can’t see it unless by a distinguished Order from Allah and His Prophet (Sallallaahu Aleihi wa Sallam). Reality is a precious thing, not given to many. In this time, for a real connection to the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Aleihi wa Sallam), the only way open is through the Naqshbandiya Tareeqat. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Aleihi wa Sallam) said of the last times that, the only gate open would be the gate of Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq (Razi Allah Ta’ala Anhu) which is the origin of the Naqshabandi Tariqat.
During the Hijra (migration) of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Aleihi wa Sallam) he was accompanied by Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (Razi Allah Ta’ala Anhu) to Medina, they took refuge in the cave of “Thaur” from their antagonists. While in the cave, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (Razi Allah Ta’ala Anhu) in utmost fear for the plight of Islam, said to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Aleihi wa Sallam) “our enemies are so many and we are only two”. The Holy Prophet (Sal) replied “No, we are three”. He meant that apart from the two of them there was also Allah Most High. At which instant was heard a myriad of voices saying “Allahu Allahu Allahu Haqq” which is the Oath of Allegiance to the Naqshbandi Tareeat. This was the birth of the Naqshbandi Tareeqat.
At this moment Abu Bakr as Siddiq (Razi Allah Ta’ala Anhu) summoned the spirits of all those who were chosen on the Day of Promises to be the 7007 Imams of the Naqshbandi Tareeqat into the cave. They in turn summoned the souls of all those who were chosen to be their Mureeds on the Day of Promises into the cave. The myriad of voices in the cave belonged to the souls of all future followers of the Naqshbandi Tareeqat and who were with Allah Most High at that instant. Only those who were present in the cave of “Thaur” on that day would be destined to become followers of the most distinguished Naqshbandi Tareeqat from that time till “Qiyaamat”.
The Naqshbandi Order originated in the Heart of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Aleihi wa Sallam), and its authority was passed down through Abu Bakr (Razi Allah Ta’ala Anhu) from one Master to the next in an unbroken chain of succession reaching into our time. To the heart of Abu Bakr (Razi Allah Ta’ala Anhu), the first Khalifa, the Prophet passed on the full inner truth of his teachings. Since Abu Bakr Razi Allah Ta’ala Anhu, among all the Prophet’s (Sallallaahu Aleihi wa Sallam) companions, was the only one to receive the full inner truth from the Prophet’s heart, the Naqshbandi Order inherits the fullest and finest of these Prophetic teachings. For as the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Aleihi wa Sallam), in a well-known tradition, said: “Everything that has been poured into my heart I have poured into the heart of Abu Bakr”. Abu Bakr (Razi Allah Ta’ala Anhu) was called “Siddeeq” or “The Completely Veracious One”.
The station of “Siddeeq” is the highest of all stations after the Station of Prophethood. Whoever receives his spiritual education through the teachings of the Naqshbandi Order may hope to reach, finally, to the Station of “Siddeeq”, the Station of Absolute Truthfulness. In every religion this Station of “Siddeeq” is the utmost horizon of devotion to the Truth, particularly in Islam.
We thank Allah Almighty for His leading us toward that level, towards a brightness that is like the most shinning planet in the sky, Venus,among the other stars and planets. We are yet beginners seeking to reach that level and we pray that our Lord will not look at our shortcomings but grant us His Divine Help so that we may reach that distant goal.
Therefore, the Tareeqat-an-Naqshbandiyya, (as it is passed down through Abu Bakr As- Siddeeq Razi Allah Ta’ala Anhu), activates the souls of the Mureeds to whatever extent the Mureed can bring his desires to accord with the desires of his Sheikh. The first step though, is to start on the lowest level, using the way of the four Imams. If you do not come down to the lowest level you can’t reach higher levels.
Mowlana Sheikh Nazim says, “I am someone who has been authorized as guidance on that perfect way of the distinguished Naqshbandi Order. The Naqshbandi Tareeqat is like a sky covering the whole world. No-one can escape out of it because it includes all the ways, it is perfect and it is the shortest”.
“I have been ordered to make clear to you, that anytime when anyone is losing control over themselves and is in a difficult position, they can be in contact with my heart immediately, if they just think about me, they will make a relation with me immediately. They just need to remember me, and that will make me look at him or her. That connection will make a power run through you quickly and you will be protected from falling into a dangerous situation. It is not my spiritual power, but I am in connection with a chain that is connected to our Lord through Saints. I am the last part of the chain which reaches you. It is like a plug which you can connect with electricity.”
The ‘Naqsh’ is a tattoo or an impression. If we haven’t been patient enough to have this tattoo made, what about the “Naqsh” on the heart? The ‘Naqsh’ of the heart is “Allah”. Whoever wants that “Naqsh” on his heart will come to the Naqshbandi Way. It is the highest way in our religion. Once that tattoo is made, man will be always with his Lord. At that time his mortal personality will be effaced and he will be a representative of his Lord among Mankind. He will leave his ego behind and become a pure, purified, “private” servant of his Lord. No more personality, his heart is stamped, “Allah.”
The Seal of Prophets, Muhammad, (Peace be upon him) taught his companions, above all else association, by taking them as his companions, by entering them into association with him. Accordingly, the Inheritors of the Prophet, the Naqshbandi Masters, stress the importance of “Sohbet”, association with the Sheikh, as the essential pillar in the training of seekers.
Hazrat Shah Bahaauddeen Naqshband Qaddas Allahu Sirruhul Azeez, the illustrious Imam of the line of Masters that we follow, the Imam after whom the Path is named and without whom there would be no Naqshbandi Tareeqat, always used to repeat in his assemblies: “Our Way is Sohbet, association, and all good things result from congregating”.
He furthermore stated that if anyone attended an assembly of this way even for five or ten minutes, he would derive such immense spiritual benefit from that brief encounter so as to outweigh the benefits that would be gained by seven years of supererogatory worship.
Another important point to understand is that whenever any group of our brothers or sisters meet for the sake of Allah Almighty, unanimously joining their hearts with the Masters of this way, that meeting will attain to the level of an association with the kind of beneficial effects just described. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the only beneficial meeting is the one where the Sheikh is physically in attendance. When our brothers or sisters meet, one of them must be the channel for inspiration to come from the Sheikh, one must speak and the others listen; one must take from the Sheikh and the others, through him from the Sheikh.
The Naqshbandi Way is the Sufi Path adhering most closely to the practices of the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, his family and companions), and association in this manner was his way, and the way of his companions, as he always appointed a leader to preside in his absence.
Credits: Shaikh Muhammed Ishtiyaque, Khalifa of Sultan ul-Awliya Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Al-Haqqani An-Naqshibandi (Qs)