Who is Bayazid Bistami?

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Bayazid Bistami-[777 – 848]

Abu Yazid Tayfur ibn Isa (may Allah have mercy on him) was born in Bistam[1] in the hijri year 161 (777AD). His father Isa was a very religious and righteous man. His mother was a righteous and chaste woman, with very good character, modesty, humbleness and a devout worshipper. She would pray much and her tender heart would tremble with fear of Allah. She would be ever content with the decree of Allah in the face of the changing conditions and surprises, both bitter and sweet and her every state was a struggle to gain the pleasure of Allah[2].

The extraordinary states of Bayazid began even before he was born. Whenever his mother would put something of doubtful origins in her mouth, the baby would start to kick and continue to do so until she removed the bite from her mouth[3].

It is said that Bayazid Bistami benefitted from Imam Ali Riza, the grandson of Ja’far as-Sadiq[4].

Bayazid Bistami was a true Lover of Allah, who had delved into the ocean of divine love. He would constantly keep his body in a state of struggle and his heart ever in a state of witnessing. He was familiar with the fine and profound meanings on the way of tasawwuf[5]. This is why he was given the titles of Sultan al-Arifin, Sayyid Arifan and Pir Bistam. In order to praise other awliya of later times people would use the term ‘The Bayazid of our century’ and this is enough to indicate his spiritual rank.

Some people have made certain accusations against him because they do not understand his words in regards to the science of tawheed and truth (haqiqah) and have even attributed many incorrect ideas to him. We should give no importance to these accusations[6].

His Pure Youth

Whilst Bayazid was still a child, he displayed signs that he would be a great Friend of Allah in the future. His every state and act was measured, his words were filled with wisdom, his look was profound and meaningful, and his face radiant.

When Shaqia al-Balkhi, one of the famous men of tasawwuf of that time, was setting out to go to hajj, he stopped over at Bistam and immediately noticed Bayazid playing amongst the other children near the mosque. As Shaqiq was giving his sermon in the mosque, the young child, Bayazid came and listened to him, with pure manners. This state of Bayazid did not skip the attention of Shaqiq and in a display of foresight he said:

“This child will be one of the brave men of spirituality in the future”[7].

Bayazid Bistami began to read the Qur’an at a very young age. When he came across the following verse:

‘You who are enwrapped in your clothing! Stay up at night (perform salat) except a little[8], he asked his father:

“Father dear, who is Allah addressing here?” His father replied:

“My dearest son, Allah is indicating the Messenger of Allah here. Later in the chapter Ta’ha, our Lord alleviated this ruling a little”.

As Bayazid continued to read he came across the verse:

‘Your Lord knows that you stay up nearly two-thirds of the night – or half of it, or a third of it – and a group of those with you. Allah determines the night and day’[9].

         He asked his father:

“Dear father. I hear a verse mentioning a group of people who wake up to worship at night”.

His father said:

“Yes, my dear they are the Companions of the Messenger of Allah”.

Bayazid then said:

“Dear father, what good can come from abandoning a practice of the Messenger of Allah and his Companions?”

From that day on his father began to spend his nights in worship. One night Bayazid awoke and said:

“Dear father, teach me how to pray so that I can pray with you”.

His father said:

“Go back to sleep, you are still young”. Bayazid gave the following response:

“Dear father, when the people spring out of their graves on the Day of Judgement to see their deeds and enter the Divine presence in groups,[10]  my Lord will say to me:

“O my slave! What deed did you do whilst in the world?” and I will say:

“O my Lord. I said to my father: “Teach me how to pray so that I can pray with you”. But my father said: “Go back to sleep, you are still young”.

His father then said:
“By Allah, I would not want you to say something like that”.

He then taught his son how to pray. From that time on, at a young age, Bayazid would awake at night, and perform the prayer”[11]

His mother had sent him to the maktab (religious school) and when he came across the verse, ‘‘Give thanks to Me and to your parents’, Bayazid asked his teacher to explain this verse.

The commentary his teacher made deeply affected him. He left his pen and book and, after asking permission, ran home and threw himself into the arms of his mother.  He was crying and pleading:

“Please dearest mother”. His mother was shocked and asked him:

“What is the matter son?”

Bayazid replied:

“Nothing is the matter but today I heard a verse from the Qur’an in which Allah, Most High, wants me to serve both you and Him. I was deeply moved. How can I serve in two homes? Will I have the strength for this? What if I lack in my service?”

Dearest mother, pray to Allah that I can spend all of my time serving you or consecrate me to Him so that I can worship Him always”.

His mother was very pleased with this state of her son and said:

“My son, I have consecrated you to Allah and give up my own rights upon you”[12].

One day when one hadith scholar saw the young Bayazid, he was pleased with his state and wanted to test his intelligence and understanding so he asked him:

“Beautiful child! Do you know how to pray properly?”

Bayazid replied:

“Yes, I know as much as Allah wills”

He was asked:

“How?”

Bayazid replied:

“I enter his presence with the understanding that “Here I am o my Lord, to bring about Your command, then I pronounce the takbir, “Allahu Akbar”; I then recite slowly and carefully from the Qur’an in accordance with its rules and rulings; I bow down in reverence; then prostrate in humility; then I give my farewells by giving the salam”.

That man was in awe and said:

“O intelligent child! Why do you allow people to come and pat you on the head when you have such a deep understanding?”

That man assumed that the people’s compliments and recognition would cause Bayazid to become arrogant and he did not think that he should allow the possibility for this to happen.

However, the young Bayazid gave the following reply full of wisdom:

“In reality, they are not patting me on the head they are rubbing the beauty that Allah, Most High, has adorned me with. How can I prevent them from touching something which is not mine?”[13]

Just as in this example, this is one of the manners of the true servant that the heart needs to attain, that is, to see all beauty as coming from Allah and never attribute it to one’s own self.

His Devotion to The Sunnah

The path to advance in the way to Allah is only through obedience to His rulings, to abide by the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), and to follow with great care and meticulousness, the model state, character and behaviour of the Friends of Allah. Moreover, just like all true Friends, Bayazid Bistami strived in great enthusiasm to apply the Sunnah in his life. He did not compromise it in the least.

One day, he set out with his students to see a man who was famous amongst the people for being a wali of Allah. As that man left his house and went to the mosque, he spat in the direction of the Ka’bah. Bayazid was very affected by the raw and lax state of that man and he returned home without even greeting him. He said to his students:

“This man is not even trustworthy in the matter of abiding by the manners that the Messenger of Allah taught us. How can he then be trustworthy in the matter of the mysteries of Allah?”[14]

The following words of Bayazid Bistami are sufficient to demonstrate just how dedicated he was to the Sunnah:

“I thought of asking Allah, Most High, to free me from the needs of eating and drinking and having a wife, but then I said to myself:

“How can it be permissible for me to ask for such a thing from Allah Most High? The Messenger of Allah never asked for such a thing” and then I gave up this idea”[15].

Bayazid would measure his every state against the state of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). The prophet was for him a complete criterion of action. One of his important pieces of advice was as follows:

“Whoever claims to be a true Sufi and then abandons recitation of the Qur’an and a life of asceticism, does not continue with the congregation, does not participate in the funeral prayer, and does not visit the ill, know that he is a patent innovator”[16].

One day Bayazid Bistami was walking along the road and a youth was following him by stepping in his every step. The shaykh had a fur coat on him. The youth said:

“O my master, can you give us a piece of your fur so that I can benefit from your blessings and your prosperity”. The Master gave him the following reply:

“Even if you wear the skin of Bayazid, not just the fur, you will not benefit from it without performing the deeds that he does”[17].

His struggle against his nafs

In a metaphorical summary of the stages of his spiritual life, Bayazid stated the following:

“For twelve years I was the forger of my nafs. I placed it in the bellows of asceticism and burned it with the fire of struggle. I put it in the loom of censure and struck it with the hammer of reproach and humility. Then I acted as a mirror to my nafs for five years. That is, I watched over it. I polished this mirror with all manner of worship and obedience. Then I looked at it with the eye of taking heed for a year and I saw that within my spirit was a great addiction to pride and trusting in my worship, and being satisfied with my deeds. I struggled for five more years in order to be rid of this calamity, and finally I reached the stage of perfect faith and I was reunited with the spiritual pleasure of Islam”[18].

Another saying of Bayazid is as follows:

“I have treated and cured all illnesses but I have never seen such a difficult thing to treat as my nafs. Whereas there was nothing more simple and more worthless than my nafs”[19].

“I invited my nafs to a journey to the Divine but it resisted and caused problems. I then eliminated all of its worldly desires and then directed it towards the presence of Almighty Allah”[20].

In short, in order to reach Allah, one needs to put aside the desires of the nafs and scale the steep cliff of egoism. In order for the believer to protect himself from spiritual misfortunes such as pride, arrogance, greed, and anger, which are manifestations of the ego and the nafs, is depended on him perceiving that he is in essence ‘nothing and non-existent’. It is then very easy for those who have reached this state of the heart, to silence the rebellious wailing of the nafs in the face of pain and struggle and concentrate on the wisdom in these trials.

One day when Bayazid was walking in the street some ash fell on him by mistake. He was sullied all over but did not show the slightest sign of anger. On the contrary he thanked Allah and wiped his face. Having observed the wisdom in this event he said:

“In reality I am deserving of the fire but out of the grace of Allah, He poured ashes over me rather than fire, thus spiritually cautioning me. So what is there to be sad or angry about?”[21].

His fear of Allah and his life of taqwa

When Bayazid performed dhikr of Allah he did so in a state of ecstasy and rapture. His bones could be heard creaking when he prayed. This state was a result of his awe of Allah and the devotion he felt to the divine commands[22].

Even when he was alone he would sit on his knees in the knowledge that he was always in the presence of Allah Most High[23]. He would say:

“For thirty years as I have prayed, I have felt like a wretched man who has not managed to properly annihilate the desires of his nafs[24].

One day a person came to him and said:

“Teach me something that will be a means for my salvation” Bayazid said to him:

“Keep these two sentences in mind; these will be sufficient knowledge for you:

1) Allah Most High is closer to you than your jugular vein and He sees and knows everything (In that case, know that you are constantly under the watch of a divine camera).

2) Allah Most High has no need of your deeds (On the contrary, try to perform righteous deeds being aware that you are in need of Him)”[25].

One day Bayazid was going to the mosque. It was raining and the roads were muddy. His foot slipped and he grabbed on to a wall in order not to fall. He dirtied the wall in the process. Then he thought to himself:

“There is still some time before the adhan is called. I should first go to the owner of this wall and ask him to forgive me (for dirtying it)”.

He went and found the owner of the wall. The man was a Zoroastrian. He explained what happened and asked him to forgive him. The Zoroastrian asked him in surprise:

“Does your religion command you to be so careful and cautious?” Bayazid said “Yes” and the man said:

“In that case I too believe in Allah and His Messenger, Muhammad Mustafa”.

As a result of the blessings of this beautiful act of Bayazid, all of the people in that household became Muslim[26].

Bayazid would never lean against any wall that was not from the masjid or a tekke. He would say:

“Allah, Most High, will take each atom to account. To (lean against that wall and harm it) is a right that will be taken into consideration, since each atom will be taken to account”[27].

No one ever saw Bayazid not in a state of fasting except on the days of eid. He returned to Allah while in this state. There are many other similar examples that are transmitted about his virtues[28].

His Life of Zuhd

According to Bayazid the zahid was not one who did not possess any wealth or property. Rather the true zahid was the one who did not attribute his wealth and property to himself, living in awareness that in reality he was not the possessor of anything and who did not enslave his heart to fleeting objects[29].

A believer, who possesses wealth as a result of lawful earnings, is an acceptable servant in the sight of Allah. Such servants always say: “Property and wealth is Allah’s, we all belong to Him and we are only trustees”.

With this awareness they give out in the way of Allah of everything that they possess. Their hearts are not caught up by the deceiving toys of this fleeting world and they protect their hearts from becoming vaults of worldly fortune.

The following words nicely summarise the attitude of Bayazid to this world:

“What worth has the world that we need to talk of abstaining from it!?[30]

“This world is deception upon deception for the people who love it. The hereafter is joy upon joy for the people who love it. Love of Allah is bliss from light, and light upon light”[31].

Bayazid lists the characteristics of those who prefer this world and those who prefer the hereafter:

For the one who prefers this world over the next:

– His ignorance is more than his knowledge,

– His heedlessness is more than his remembrance of Allah,

– His sins are more than his good deeds.

For the righteous person who prefers the hereafter over this world:

– His silence is greater than his speech,

– His poverty is greater than his wealth (that is, his contentment is greater than his greed),

– His anxiety about his last breath is greater than his happiness. Love reigns in his heart. He finds mystery in the station of closeness. His nafs is devoted to service. His heart is upon the direction of taqwa and seeking Allah’s pleasure. His spirit finds peace in suhbah[32].

Bayazid said that he reached true asceticism in three stages: “In the first stage, I became a zahid and removed from my heart, love of the world and everything in it. In the second stage, I removed from my heart love of the hereafter and everything in it, and then in the third stage, I removed from my heart love for everything other than Allah”[33].

He also said:

“When I went for my first pilgrimage, I only saw the Ka’bah. When I went a second time I saw the Ka’bah and the Lord of the Ka’bah. On my third visit I only saw the Lord of the Ka’bah”[34].

Bayazid stated the importance of eating little in order to protect the heart from love of this world and in order to mature spiritually. He said:

“Hunger is like a cloud. When a person eats little, his heart begins to pour down the rains of wisdom”[35].

His attitude towards creation through the Eyes of His Creator

Bayazid Bistami, the sultan of gnostics, said that showing disrespect towards one’s brothers in religion, and belittling them causes great harm to one’s spiritual life[36]. He said:

“A person who looks at people as if they were common, that is who belittles and disdains them will end up hating them. But one who looks at them through the eyes of the Creator will have mercy on them”[37].

One time a man came to Bayazid Bistami and asked him:

“With what did you reach this rank?” He gave the following reply:

“Forget this claim of position, however, Almighty Allah bestowed upon me these eight traits:

 1) I see myself behind others and the people in front of me (humility).

2) Due to my compassion for His creatures I am content to burn in Hell in their place (endless compassion).

3) My constant aim in life is to ease the heart of a believer (Selflessness, altruism and preferring one’s brother in religion over oneself).

4) I never save anything from today for tomorrow (charity, generosity, reliance upon Allah).

5) I desire the mercy of Allah, Most High, not for myself but for others (the ultimate manifestation in the servant of the attribute of al-Rahman (the Most Merciful).

6) I strive with all my might to please the believers and rid them of the sorrow in their hearts (to be with the lonely, the abandoned and the grieving).

7) Due to my compassion I am always the first to greet a believer I meet (greeting with peace (salam), praying for one’s brother in religion, wishing good for them, pleasing them and being a means to love).

8) I came to the following decision: If on the Day of Judgement, Allah, Most High, gives me the right to intercede for others, then I will intercede for those who caused me pain and harm, and then those who were good to me[38].

Hallaj-i Mansur also prayed for those who stoned him as follows:

“O my Lord, they do not know the truth, forgive them before you forgive me”.

Bayazid Bistami’s compassion and mercy towards the creation on behalf of their Creator was so broad and deep that he saw their pain as his own. One time he saw a donkey which had been beaten badly. It was lying in a pool of blood. Bayazid was so affected that blood began to seep out from his own body[39].

This state is undoubtedly the peak in looking at the creation through the merciful ‘eyes’ of the Creator.

Whilst on his travels somewhere, Bayazid Bistami stopped under a tree to eat something. He then continued on his way. After travelling for a good time, he saw an ant in his bag and said:

“I have separated this creature of Allah from his home” and he returned to where he was and put the ant back[40].

Another time Bayazid was travelling with his students through a narrow passage when a dog appeared before them. That sultan of gnostics moved back and gave the dog room to pass through. One of his students said to himself:

“How strange a state of Bayazid that he gives way to a dog when Allah, Most High, has ennobled the human being (has made him superior and worthy of respect)”.

Bayazid realised what he was thinking and explained:

“Such a thing occurred to my heart that it was as if the dog said to me with its tongue of disposition: “What was my fault that they clothed me with the fur of a dog before time. What did you do to deserve to wear the honourable robe of ‘The Sultan of Gnostics’? What is the mystery in this?” That is why I allowed him to pass”[41].

In short, a believer should contemplate whenever they see any creature of Allah, saying: “I could have been in their place and they could have been in mine”. Thus their gratitude to Almighty Allah or His amazing grace, goodness and bounties should increase. The Holy Qur’an states:

And He has made everything in the heavens and everything on the earth subservient to you. It is all from Him. There are certainly Signs in that for people who reflect” (Jathiyya, 45:13).

What befalls the slave is to be in a state of praise (hamd), gratitude (shukr) and remembrance of Allah (dhikr) until one’s last breath.

The Real Karamah Is Istiqama

Even though many marvels (karamat) were narrated about him, Bayazid Bistami (may Allah have mercy on him) gave great importance to istiqama (uprightness and integrity) and would say:

“Do not be immediately deceived by one who has been given much karamat and who may even sit before you cross-legged and float in the air. Look to whether they abide by the divine commandments and prohibitions, preserve the divine limits and follow properly the rulings of the sharia”[42].

The extraordinary phenomena displayed by people who do not abide by the divine rulings are not karamat, but rather istidraj[43].

One day someone said to Bayazid Bistami:

“They say that you walk on water”.

He replied:

“A stick also walks on water”.

“They say that you fly in the air”.

“Birds also fly in the air”.

“They say that you go to the Ka’bah in one night”.

“A jinn or a devil can also go from India to Damavand in one night”.

“In that case then what is the affair of the people of the heart?”

 “To devote their hearts to none other than Allah, Most High”[44].

In reality, the most important thing in the life of a servant is not to be able to work wonders but to reach Allah. This is why the true friends of Allah did not give any importance to physical karamat and did not approve of focusing on but rather concentrated all of their efforts on maintaining their integrity and uprightness, which is the real karamah.

It is said that Bayazid Bistami once said:

“One day I was going to pass over to the other side of the Tigris. The two banks of the river came together to allow me to pass. I immediately collected myself and said to the Tigris:

“I swear by Allah that I will not be deceived by this. Boatmen take people across the river for half a coin (But you are now asking from me all of my good deeds that I have prepared for thirty years for the Day of Judgement. In that case I will not waste thirty years of my life for half a coin. What I need is the al-Karim (the Generous One), not karamah[45].

Marifatullah (Knowledge of Allah)

One time Bayazid Bistami was asked:

“What is the sign of a gnostic?” He replied:

“That he does not give pause to his remembrance of Allah[46], that he does not tire of giving Him His rights and that he does not become familiar with any other than Him”[47].

Another time he said:

“Happy is the one who has only worry (he is in a constant state of remembrance of the one and only Allah). His heart is not preoccupied with the vain things his eyes see and his ears hear. Whoever attains the mystery of marifatullah will turn his face away from everything that distracts him from Allah”[48].

According to him the gnostic is with Allah even while he is sleeping, and is constantly striving to gain His pleasure. He does not occupy himself with other than Allah (masiwa) and does not seek any other than Allah[49].

Bayazid Bistami would take every opportunity to state that the path to Allah was long, bumpy, and filled with ups and downs and that it was not easy to reach Him. Those who believed that they had reached Him were only at the beginning. About himself he would say: “Even after leaving behind many endless stations, I still saw that I was only at the beginning and not yet reached reality”[50].

His Love of Allah (Muhabbatullah)

Bayazid Bistami had delved into the ocean of divine love and was a great Lover of Allah.  One time Yahya ibn Muadh wrote him a letter which said:

“There is a man here who drank a cup from the ocean of muhabbatullah and was never again thirsty”.

Bayazid replied:

“I am amazed at the weakness of your state. There is a man here who, even though he has swallowed all of the oceans of the universe, he still cries out: “O water, is there any more?”[51]

There are some who are able to quench their thirst on the path of marifatullah with one glass of water. Then there are some who drink oceans of water and are yet thirsty. This state presents the true spiritual state of the servant.

One day Bayazid Bistami said:

“Everyone flees from being taken to account while I wish that Allah, Most High, takes me to account”. He was asked why and he replied:

“It may be that while Almighty Allah is taking me to account He will address me saying: “O my servant” and I will reply: “Labbayk, (here I am at your service) o my Lord”. For Him to address me as ‘O My servant” is more pleasing to me than the world and everything in it. Then He can do with me as He wishes”[52].

Bayazid Bistami would describe the state of those who love Allah as follows:

“Almighty Allah has certain special servants who if He were to deprive them only a little of witnessing His Beauty in Paradise, they would implore him to save them from this deprivation just as those in Hell beg to be saved from punishment”[53].

He once made the following supplication to Almighty Allah:

“O Allah! I am not surprised by my love for You for I am a lowly servant. But rather I am amazed by Your love for me as Your servant. This is because You are a Supreme Lord and yet You still love a lowly person like me”[54]. `

Bayazid Bistami expressed his love and awe of Allah as follows:

“I have a habit that I have continued now for thirty years: whenever I wish to remember Allah I wash my mouth and my tongue well in order to honour my dhikr of Him”[55].

The following event indicates the value and virtue in the sight of Allah of the reverence shown for dhikrullah.

One time the great saint Ibrahim ibn Adham washed the soiled and foul-smelling mouth of a drunkard. When he was asked why he did this he said:

“It would have been great disrespect to leave the tongue and the mouth which were created to remember the Name of Allah, in a soiled state…”

When the drunk sobered up he was told:

“The ascetic from Khorasan, Ibrahim ibn Adham, washed your mouth…” Extremely embarrassed, the drunkard’s heart was suddenly revived and he said:

“In that case I have repented…”

Later in his dream Ibrahim ibn Adham was addressed by Allah as follows:

“You cleaned his mouth for Me. Now I have cleansed his heart for you…”

Ten things

Bayazid Bistami once said:

The following ten things are the duty of every believer: 

1) Performing the obligatory acts and striving to do the supererogatory.

2) Fleeing from the forbidden and the doubtful.

3) Being humble for the sake of Allah.

4) To help one’s fellow believers and not to be a burden on them. Rather one should lighten their load.

5) To behave with uprightness towards everyone, good or bad and to give counsel (To display the beautiful character of Islam).

6) To seek forgiveness from Allah for oneself and for the entire community of Muhammad

7) To seek Allah’s pleasure in every matter (To pray to Allah that He reconcile our intentions and our deeds with His own pleasure).

8) To abandon anger, arrogance and overstepping one’s limits.

9) To leave argumentation and crudeness and become a kind and refined believer.

10) To advise oneself  ‘Be prepared for death’.

The following ten things are like a fortress to protect the believer:

1) To protect one’s eyes (On the Day of Judgement, every good that the eye observed and every evil that it observed will be put forth plainly. Almighty Allah says:

‘…when they reach it, their hearing, sight and skin will testify against them concerning what they did’ (Fussilat, 41:20).

2) To habituate one’s tongue to remembrance of Allah.

3) To take one’s nafs to account (To abide by the instruction “Take yourself to account before you are taken to account” and to measure one’s every act against the standard of the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

4) To act with knowledge, to do what one does knowingly and to receive one’s share of marifatullah.

5) To preserve one’s adab (Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi once said: “My reason asked my heart: “What is faith?” and my heart whispered into the ear of my reason, saying: “Faith is pure adab”.

6) To distance the body from unnecessary worldly affairs.

7) To retreat from time to time and ponder on and delve into the Divine splendour and manifestations of His power.

8) To engage in the struggle against the nafs.

9) To increase one’s worship and striving in the way of Allah.

10) To follow at all times and in all places the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah…[56]

His Death

Bayazid Bistami (may Allah have mercy on him) passed away in the year 234 after the hijrah, which corresponds to the year 848 AD. At his last breath he was in a state of remembrance of Allah just as he was during his entire life.

He then said:

“O my Lord! I made dhikr of You in a state of heedlessness and now my life is leaving me. My worship and my obedience were also in a state of weakness and heedlessness. I do not know when I will reach the state of ‘hudur’[57]

He then passed away in a state of dhikr and hudur[58].

He has a simple and modest tomb in the town of Bistam in Iran and other makams in various places.

Some of his words of wisdom

  • The Sufi is the one who holds the Holy Qur’an in his right hand and the Sunnah in his left; one of his eyes is turned towards Paradise, the other towards Hell; he enters the state of ihram by wrapping the world around his lower body and the hereafter around the top part and from between them he cries out: “Labbayk Allahumma labbayk/ Here I am at Your service o Allah. I have submitted myself to Your command and I am ready” and runs to his Lord”[59].
  • One time when he was asked: “What is the path to Allah like? How do I reach it?”

Bayazid Bistami replied: “You can reach it only when you annihilate your ego”[60].

  • “The people nearest to Allah are those who tolerate the pain brought on by others, who fulfil their needs with compassion and who are the best in character”[61].
  • “La ilaha illallah” is the key to Paradise. However it is a fact that a key with no teeth will not open the door. The teeth of this key are then:

1) A tongue that has been cleansed of lying, accusations, gossip and vain words.

2) A heart that has been purified of deceit and wiles and the dismalness of sins. 

3) A stomach that has been cleansed of forbidden and doubtful things.

4) Righteous deeds that have been freed of the desires of the nafs (such as pride, conceit and ostentation) and innovations (bid’a)[62].

  • “Much dhikr is dhikr that is not great in number but that which is done in wariness of heedlessness and in a state of being present”[63].
  • “Love the Friends of Allah, make your love for them obvious, and make yourself beloved to them so that they will love you. Allah, Most High, looks at the heart of His awliya seventy times every day and night. It might be that He sees your name in the heart of His wali and He then loves you and forgives you your sin”[64].
  • “Tasawwuf is to cleanse oneself of one’s carnal desires, to submit one’s heart to Almighty Allah, to adorn oneself with beautiful character, and to always be in the direction of earning Allah’s pleasure”[65].
  • “They took my heart to the heavens where it travelled around the entire realm. I asked my heart: “What did you bring back from there?” It replied: “Love and contentment for it was there that I observed that these were in demand”[66].

[1]. Bistam is a town established in Iran, between Tahran and Mashhad, İran’da, in the hills north of Sahrud Shahri which is 410 km from Tahran.[2]. Saglaqhi, an Nur, p. 63.[3]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 171; Hani al-Hadaiq, p. 324.[4]. Najmaddin ibn Muhammad, Hulasatu al Mawahib, p. 109; Kawthari, Irghamu al Marid, p. 31.[5]. Attar, Tadhkira p. 171.[6]. Hani al-Hadaiq, p. 311-312.[7]. Sahlaqhi, ibid p. 123.[8]. Muzzammil, 1-2.[9]. Muzzammil, 20.[10]. See Zilzal, 6.[11]. Safiri, al Majalisu al Wa’ziyya, II, 293.[12]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 172.[13]. Sahlaghi, ibid, p. 99.[14]. Qushayri, Risala, p. 57, 416-417.[15]. Qushayri, ibid, p. 57; Munawi, Fayzu al Qadir, VI, 108.[16]. Bayhaqi, Shuab, III, 305; Ibn Jawzii, Talbisu Iblis, p. 151.[17]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 191.[18]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 174; Sahlaghi, ibid, p. 97.[19]. Abu Nuaym, Hilya, X, 36.[20]. Abu Nuaym, Hilya, X, 36.[21]. Sadi, Bostan, Tahran 1368, p. 183.[22]. Jami, Nafahat, p. 183.[23]. Hani al-Hadaiq, p. 325.[24]. Qushayri, ibid p. 58.[25]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 191.[26]. Sahlaghi, ibid, p. 93-94; Hani al-Hadaiq, p. 334.[27]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 176.[28]. Serraj Luma’, p. 385.[29]. See Abu Talib Makki, Qutu al Qulub, I, 447.[30]. Abbas, Abu Yazid, p. 90.[31]. Sahlaghi, ibid, p. 124; Hani al-Hadaiq, p. 322.[32]. Abbas, Abu Yazid, p. 86; Sahlaghi, ibid, p. 125.[33]. Qushayri, ibid, p. 58.[34]. Hujwiri, Kashfu al Mahjub, p. 319.[35]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 198; Hani al-Hadaiq, p. 319.[36]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 194; Hani al-Hadaiq, p. 331.[37]. Sahlaghi, ibid p. 109.[38]. Sahlaghi, ibid, p. 88-89; Abbas, Abu Yazid, p. 97.[39]. Ali ibn Husayin Safi, Rashahat Aynu Hayat, p. 487.[40]. See Qushayri, ibid, p. 229; Sadi, Bostan, p. 78.[41]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 179.[42]. Bayhaqi, Shuab, III, 304; Qushayri, ibid, p. 58.[43] İstidraj are extraordinary powers that cause a sinners’ deception by themselves hence resulting in complete failure in the hereafter (Translator’s note).[44]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 201; Sarraj, p. 316; Abbas, Abu Yazid, p. 98.[45]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 186.[46]. In the chapter Al’i Imran, Allah Most High states that the state of dhikr in which the believers remember Allah whilst standing, sitting and lying down, that is in every state, is the desired thing.[47]. Bayhaqi, Shuab, II, 187.[48]. Sahlaghi, ibid, p. 170; Abbas, Abu Yazid, p. 73.[49]. Qushayri, ibid, p. 481.[50]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 193.[51]. Qushayri, ibid p. 179, 491; Imam Sharani, at-Tabakatu al Qubra, I, 65.[52]. Ibn Mulaqqin, Tabakatu al Awliya, Cairo 1415, p. 399-400; Hani al Hadaiq, p. 320.[53]. Abu Nuaym, Hilya, X, 34; Qushayri, ibid, p. 499.[54]. Abu Nuaym, Hilya, X, 34.[55]. Abu Nuaym, Hilya, X, 35.[56]. Sahlaghi, ibid, p. 133-134.[57]. Hudur: This is a spiritually wakeful state in which one is aware of oneself being in the presence of Allah, when the heart is completely aware and conscious of being together with Allah. The aim of dhikr is to arrive at this state. That is, the expression ‘hudur’ does not mean ‘comfort or ease’ but is rather the state of being with Allah by attaining the reality of dhikr.[58]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 208; Jami, Nafahat, p. 183.[59]. Sahlaghi, ibid, 124; Abbas, Abu Yazid, p. 71.[60]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 199.[61]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 199.[62]. Hani al Hadaiq, p. 320.[63]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 198.[64]. Abbas, Abu Yazid, p. 70; Sahlaghi, ibid, p. 99, 115.[65]. Sahlaghi, ibid. p. 138.[66]. Attar, Tadhkira, p. 202.

Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş,The Golden Chain of Transmission Masters of the Naqshinandi Way, Erkam Publications

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