Who is Imam Rabbani Ahmad Faruqi Sirhind?

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Who is Dervish Imam Rabbani Ahmad Faruqi Sirhind? What kind of person Imam Rabbani Ahmad Faruqi Sirhind? When did Imam Rabbani Ahmad Faruqi Sirhindlive?

Imam Rabbani Ahmad Faruqi Sirhindi [1564 – 1624]

Imam Rabbani (may Allah have mercy on him) was born in the month of Shawwal in the hijri year 971 in the town of Sirhindī in India. Since his lineage goes back to the caliph Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), he is known by the title Faruqi.

His father was Abdulahad Efendi and he was a shaykh who was given licence in the Chishtiyya and Qadiri tariqahs, and who had perfected the inner and outer sciences. He was a very virtuous man of knowledge and wisdom.

Ahmad Sirhindi began his studies by memorising the Holy Qur’an. He became a hafiz of the Qur’an in a very short time. He learned most of the sciences from his honourable father and some from the great scholars of that time. A short time later he went to Siyalkut, which was a great centre of learning. He studied both the rational (mathematics, literature, logic etc.) and transmitted sciences (tafsir, kalam, hadith, and fiqh) from various scholars. He placed great importance on the sciences of tafsir, hadith, and fiqh in particular. When he was seventeen he returned to his father having progressed greatly in the outer sciences and he began to teach. During this time he also received his ijazah from Qadi Behlul Bedahshani to teach tafsir and hadith[1].

When he was eighteen or twenty he wrote Isbat al-Nubuwwa, in response to the heedless scholars of the palace who were supporters of the philosophers and who saw them as almost being superior to the prophets. He proved the importance and necessity of prophethood using rational and transmitted proofs. He also wrote other works during this time.

A short time later he aligned himself with his father and frequented his talks. He focused all of his efforts on the training of tasawwuf. He did not leave his father and go elsewhere in order to refrain from lacking in his service to him.

His father Abdulahad Efendi passed away in the hijri year 1007 (1599 AD). A short time before he passed away he gave the successorship (khilafa) to his son Imam Rabbani Ahmad Faruqi (may Allah have mercy on him).

After the death of his father, Imam Rabbani set out from Sirhind to go for the Hajj in the hijri year 1008, in the month of Rabi al-akhir. He was 37 years old. When he arrived in Delhi, he visited Baqi Billah on the advice of his friend. After remaining in his company for a time he became his disciple[2].

Imam Rabbani stayed with Baqi Billah for approximately two and half to three months. After the the time for the Hajj passed, he returned to his hometown. He communicated with his shaykh through letters, informing him of his spiritual state. A short time later he visited his master once more. During this visit he was given khilafah, or ijazah (licence) to guide others.  He stayed with his teacher for approximately two months and then returned to his hometown where he began to guide the people there using the methods of the Naqshibandiyya. At this period he considered himself as being spiritually deficient and considered retreating from the people, but he continued to guide them upon the insistence of his disciples[3].

On his third visit to his shaykh, his shaykh greeted him on the way and paid him many compliments and referred the training of most of his disciples to him[4].

Even though Imam Rabbani had reached a very high station and was extremely virtuous, he treated his teacher with such respect and courtesy that more could not be possible. One time, his teacher sent one of his students to call him to him. When he heard that his teacher had called him, Imam Rabbani’s colour changed and he began to shiver like some poor wretch in fear. His teacher also showed him great respect and love[5].

After the death of Baqi Billah, Imam Rabbani continued to guide the people in Sirhind and he also wrote letters to his disciples in faraway lands and to rulers of other lands. In his letters that he sent to his disciples he would deal with the fine details of tasawwuf, whereas in the letters he wrote to state rulers he would touch on general matters such as Islamic rulings and devotion to the denomination of the ahl al sunnah wa al jama’.

Every year in the month of Jami al-akhir, Imam Rabbani would go and visit the blessed tomb of his master who died in that month and then return to Sirhind[6].

His Relationship with The Sultans

Originally Akbar Shah, the Moghul sultan of India (Baburlu) was a man of pure faith and religion. He did not know how to read or write. He had remained ignorant and uneducated as a result of the political situation and the resulting migrations. This is the reason why, with time, he deviated and became influenced by the ‘scholars’ around him, who were only interested in personal benefit. These ‘scholars’ tried to gain favour with the sultans and the rulers, making themselves appear good to them, and making all sorts of compromises in order to cause many doubts and reservations about Islam.  By bringing to mind matters of controversy they made the wealthy deviate from the true path[7].

As a result, Akbar Shah lost his religious grounding and appointed non-Muslims to important places in the government. He also took some Hindu women into his harem. Under the encouragement of those close to him, he invented a new religion called Din-i Ilahi, under the guise of uniting Islam and Hinduism.

Mosques were torn down in some areas and Hindu temples built in their place. Akbar Shah began to order people to prostrate to him out of respect. This was not a problem for Hindus, but for the sincere Muslims it was a big problem.

Certain worldly-minded, self-seeking and heedless scholars who wished to gain favour with the Sultan issued fatwas saying that it was permissible to prostrate to the sultan for the purpose of greeting, and not with the intention of worship.

Imam Rabbani went to the capital Agra (Akbarabad) and met with certain men close to the Sultan saying:

“The Sultan has rebelled against Allah, Most High, and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). Tell him that his kingdom and power will be destroyed. Let him repent and follow the path of Allah and His Messenger”.

Some of the state men in high positions paid great respect to Imam Rabbani. They tried very hard to guide the Sultan to the straight path, but Akbar Shah was trapped in the convulsions of his own created religion and did not pay any attention to any advice. At this time the astrologers of Akbar Shah informed him that his kingdom and power would soon be destroyed. Extremely distressed by this, the Sultan saw a terrifying dream. Upon this dream he proclaimed in a decree:

“Those who wish may embrace Islam and those who wish may embrace Din-i Ilahi. There will be no force nor compulsion”.

He then had some tents set up on the occasion of a festival. Those who believed in Din-i Ilahi set up nice tents and filled them with food. However, the Muslim tents showed signs of poverty. Imam Rabbani went together with those devoted to him, and settled in the Muslim tents. He took some dirt in his hand and tossed it towards the tents belonging to the members of the Din-i Ilahi. At that a violent wind broke out. Whilst Akbar Shah and his followers went through a very difficult time, the Muslims suffered no problems. After this clear divine warning, some statesmen and commanders became disciples of Imam Rabbani[8].

In 1605, Akbar Shah died and his son Jahangir assumed the throne. Imam Rabbani was very pleased at this since Jahangir was a man devoted to Islam.

Imam Rabbani sent many of his khalifas to various regions in the land in order to guide and preach to the people there. For instance he sent Mir Muhammad Numan to Dekken, having given him his khilafah to guide others. Hundreds of people would gather at his lodge to make dhikr of Allah, delving into contemplation and studying. He gave khilafah to Shaykh Bediuddin Saharanpuri and then sent him first to his hometown and then from there to Agra. In this way, many statesmen joined his circle of guidance and thousands of members of the army repented in his presence.

Imam Rabbani also sent seventy people under the leadership of Mawlana Muhammad Qasim to Turkestan. He sent forty people under Mawlana Ferruh Hussain to Arabia, Yemen, Syria and Anatolia. He sent ten perfected people to Kashgar, under Mawlana Muhammad Sadqi and thirty people under Shaykh Ahmad Barki towards Turkestan, Badahshan and Khorasan. These people enjoyed great success wherever they went and a great mass of people benefitted from them[9].

The number of people gathered around Imam Rabbani grew day by day. His congregation had become so numerous that it became very difficult for the nobles and rulers to visit him due to the great crowds. Sultan Jahangir became very vexed by this attention and called Imam Rabbani to him in the capital of Agra in the year 1619. He called him to account about certain ideas about Sufi life found in one of his letters. He was convinced by Imam Rabbani’s reasonable explanation but some of those close to him said:

“This shaykh did not make the prostration of greeting to you and he has many disciples in the army. In time, he may cause unrest with his crowds of disciples and bring harm to your kingdom. The shaykh has so many disciples in the army that he could even make a claim to be the sultan”.

The viziers and servants of the Sultan at that time were mainly from deviant branches of Islam. They harboured an intense anger towards Imam Rabbani because he had written some letters and a separate treatise which criticised some of the schools which lay outside of the sharia. It was they who were provoking the Sultan[10].

As a result Jahangir imprisoned Imam Rabbani, who was at the age of 55, in the Govaliyar fortress. He seized his books, his garden, his well and his house and moved his family to another place. Imam Rabbani stayed in prison for one year and whilst there, he taught the people about Islam and guided them. Some of them even became Muslim[11]. Due to the hardships he suffered for the sake of Allah, he was brought to even higher spiritual ranks[12].

A year later Jahangir regretted what he had done and let Imam Rabbani go free on the condition that he remain in the barracks[13].

Jahangir then requested that Imam Rabbani become his advisor on matters of religion. After discussing the matter for a period Imam Rabbani realised that Jahangir was sincere and he accepted his offer under the following conditions:

1) The prostration of greeting to the Sultan was to be lifted,

2) All of the mosques that were torn down and destroyed were to be rebuilt,

3) The commands forbidding the slaughtering of cows were to be annulled,

4) The judges, muftis and rulers were to be careful about their Islamic rulings,

5) The jizya tax would be reinstated,

6) All innovations (bid’a) were to be lifted and Islamic rulings instated in their place,

7) Those who had been imprisoned on account of their religiousness were to be set free.

As we can see Imam Rabbani had no personal demands or requests for himself. His sole aim was to repair the damage done by previous rulers and prevent the hardships from previous times from resurfacing[14].

Imam Rabbani realised that being close to the Sultan was a good opportunity for him to encourage him in the principles of Islam. He attended the assemblies of the Sultan and spoke about religious matters. Those in attendance listened to him with great attention[15].

Having kept silent during the first period of his rule, when the mosques were being destroyed and criticised for this by Imam Rabbani, Jahangir finally became so dedicated to Islam that as a result of the blessings of these talks, he had those mosques rebuilt and even was able to slaughter a cow.

Imam Rabbani stayed with Sultan Jahangir for four years. During this time he continued to write letters to his friends. In 1033 he was completely set free and he then returned to Sirhind together with his sons who had come to visit him. He spent the last year of his life in his hometown.

Compliance with The Sharia Above all Else

In great pain Imam Rabbani witnessed many innovations and false practices establish themselves in the lives of the Muslims. He struggled and strived to bring back into practice Allah’s rulings. In his talks, his letters and his works he frequently made mention of this matter:

“There are three parts to the sharia: ‘ilm (creed and law), amal (deeds) and ikhlas (tasawwuf). The sharia cannot become a reality until all of these are practiced. When the sharia is put into practice the pleasure of Allah, which is above all worldly and otherworldly happiness, will have been attained.

The Holy Qur’an states: ‘And Allah’s good pleasure is even greater’ (Tawbah, 9:72). The sharia guarantees all worldly and otherworldly happiness. There is no other purpose or goal needed beyond the sharia. Tariqa and haqiqa which are the focus of the Sufis, are the servants of the sharia. These complete the third part of the sharia, which is ikhlas. In that case, the purpose of attaining these is to complete the sharia, otherwise there is no other end beyond the sharia.

The spiritual states, inspirations, spiritual knowledge and marifah revealed to Sufis during their sayr u suluq are not their primary aim. On the contrary they are like the imaginings and fantasies given to the disciples of the tariqa for the purpose of using them to train them. One should surpass all of these and reach the station of rida (contentment with Allah) which is the peak of the stations of the suluq and jazba. The aim of passing through the stations of the tariqah and reality (haqiqah) is nothing more than undergoing training of ikhlas, which is necessary to reach the station of rida[16].

Knowledge is essential for the human being. However this knowledge should lead the servant to taqwa that is fear of Allah and to marifatullah. The Holy Qur’an states:

 ‘…Only those of His slaves with knowledge have fear of Allah’ (Fatir, 35:28).

A person should act upon their knowledge and their actions should be done with ikhlas (sincerity). Actions are only accepted if they are done with ikhlas. Zunnun-i Misri has said:

All people are dead, except for those with knowledge. All people with knowledge are asleep except for those who act upon their knowledge. And those who act upon their knowledge are at risk of being deceived, except for those who are sincere. And the sincere face great danger in this world at every instant…”[17]

In short, ‘ilm, amal, and ikhlas complete each other.

Imam Rabbani would relate the following words of Shah Bahauddin Naqshiband (may Allah have mercy on them both) in order to illustrate that tasawwuf and the sharia are no different from each other:

“The aim of sayr u suluq is to transform knowledge that is known in summary into that which is known in detail and to know that which is known by proof to that which is known by personal experience”[18].

According to this then tariqa is to reach the reality of the sharia’, otherwise it is not something different from these[19]. The batin (inner aspect) completes the zahir (outer) and perfects it[20]. This is why kashf that is in opposition to the outer aspect of the sharia’ and to the consensus of the scholars of the ahl ul Sunnah are not accepted[21].

Imam Rabbani said:

“Spiritual states are bound by the sharia; the sharia is not bound by these states. The sharia is sound and definite, and its correctness is supported by revelation. Spiritual states on the other hand are conjective and they depend on kashf and inspiration”[22].

“It is more virtuous to pray one of the ritual obligatory prayers in congregation than to pass through thousands of difficult Sufi struggles. Also dhikr and tafakkur which are done in accordance with the principles of the sharia are also very virtuous and important”[23].

“My dear spiritual children! We must always spend our time in remembrance of Almighty Allah. All of our affairs that are carried out in accordance with the sharia, even shopping, are accepted as dhikr. In that case, let us abide by the rulings of the sharia in all of our states and actions so that they can all be considered dhikr. For dhikr eliminates heedlessness. Whenever all of our acts are in accordance with the commands and prohibitions of Islam then we will have not been heedless of the Master of those commands and prohibitions and we will be in a state of constant dhikr[24].

“O my brother! There is no problem as long as one is not lax in two matters: the first one is to follow the path of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), that is, the sharia, and the second is to harbour ihklas and muhabbah for your shaykh who guided you. As long as these two are present then there can be no harm even if darkness falls all around you. However –Allah forbid – if there is any deficiency in either of these two matters, then there is loss upon loss, even if the person is in a state of constant dhikr and muraqaba.

For his state of dhikr is istidraj and his end affair is bad. One should plead to Allah with all his heart and ask for perseverance and uprightness in both of these matters. For these are the essence of the matter and the primary capital in order to attain salvation”[25].

Imam Rabbani also said with regards to advising one to incline towards tasawwuf after learning the sciences of the sharia:

“After attaining the two wings of itiqad (belief) and amal (deeds) the people of taqwa are required to enter the Sufi path, by the grace and favour of Allah. The aim of entering upon this path is not to add anything to these two aims, nor is it to reach anything that is beyond them. Such matters are expectations, which are far from the true purpose, and which lead to slips. The true aim of entering tasawwuf is to gain yaqin (certainty) and itmi’nan (contentment), which prevent one’s beliefs from being shaken by doubts and hesitations…Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an:

‘Know that only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace’ (Ra’d, 14:28).

Another aim of entering upon tasawwuf is to be able to perform righteous deeds easily and comfortably and to destroy the laziness, stubbornness and resistance which arise from the nafs’ul ammara (evil-commanding soul).

The aim of entering upon the path of the Sufis is not to be a witness to certain scenes and visions pertaining to the world of the unseen. All of these are nothing; they are mere play and vain matters. What defects are there in the manifest world that a person would want to leave these and desire to see the world of the unseen by practicing abstention and struggling? Both of these worlds are worlds created by Almighty Allah and are proofs of His existence”[26].

“After having adorned our outer aspect appropriately and in accordance with the sharia’ we should then turn our efforts towards our inner aspect, in order to prevent our deeds from becoming tainted with heedlessness. To bring our outer world into accordance with the rulings of the sharia is extremely difficult without the support of our inner world.

The duty of the scholars is to give their fatwas (legal rulings). The duties of the ahl ul Allah (the people of Allah) however are righteous deeds. Giving importance to one’s inner world requires giving importance to one’s outer world. One who preoccupies himself with his inner world while neglecting his outer is an unbeliever. The inner states that he may acquire are all istidraj. The best measure of demonstrating the soundness of our inner state is ordered according to our outer world. This is the path of uprightness”[27].

In short the inner (batin) and the outer (zahir) are two elements that complete each other. If one is absent the other is always deficient.

Ahl al Sunnah wa Al Jam’ah

Deviant ideas and false movements were widespread during the time of Imam Rabbani (may Allah have mercy on him). The creed, worship and behaviour of many of the Muslims had been subverted. Extremely saddened by this, Imam Rabbani struggled with all his might to reteach the path of the ahl al sunnah wa al Jam’ah. With the letters that he wrote, he repeatedly encouraged the people to the creed of the ahl al sunnah and explained it in great detail, without tiring, being fatigued or giving up. He guided people to learn the details of fiqh from the books of fiqh.

According to him, when talking to his murid, a murshid should warn him that he should not give importance to any kashf or dreams which are even slightly contrary to the Holy Qur’an or to the hadith. He also advised them to correct their belief and bring it into accordance with the belief of the ahl al sunnah, to learn the rulings of fiqh which are necessary for them to know, and to act upon them[28].

Imam Rabbani would also read various books to his disciples, which were about the religious sciences, and he would persistently remind his representatives in distant lands to read these also. Some of those books are as follows:

From the books of tafsir he recommended Baydawi, from the books on hadith Bukhari and Mishkat al-Masabih, from fiqh, Pazdawi and Hidaya, and from creed Sharh al-Mawakif and Hashiya-i Adudi, and from tasawwuf Awarif al-Maarif[29].

Even though Imam Rabbani was able to memorise the legal rulings and knew them very well and was completely competent in the methods of fiqh, whenever a matter arose, he would seek out the trustworthy books, out of his meticulousness, and would always have them by his side. He would act in accordance with the view that was supported by a fatwa and in accordance with the preferences of the great scholars of fiqh[30].

He wrote in one of his letters:

“This is the advice that I have always given to my friends and that I will continue to do so until the end of my life: After correcting one’s belief in the direction of the knowledge that is to be found in the books of theology of the ahl al sunnah wa al Jam’ah and after shunning what needs to be shunned and doing what is required in accordance with the rulings of fiqh in the matters of the obligatory, the necessary, the sunnah, mandub, lawful, forbidden, disliked and doubtful, one should free one’s heart from occupying itself with anything other than Allah, Most High…”[31].

His sensitivity in following the Sunnah of the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)

In all acts, be they big or small, Imam Rabbani would always act in accordance with the Sunnah and advised everyone to do the same. One time he said:

“What share do our struggles have in our success? Whatever we have is by the grace of Allah. But if we must show a reason, then I can say that the reason for all of the favours we have been shown is our devotion to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and our following his blessed path, the master of all the human beings who ever lived and who are yet to come. I attribute all of my success to this. If a person has only been given a little or has not been given something entirely, the sole reason for this is that he has been lax in following the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him).

One time I heedlessly entered the restroom with my right foot (Due to my failure to act upon the Sunnah) I was deprived of many spiritual states that day[32].

Another day Imam Rabbani said to one of his students:

“Bring a few carnations from our garden”. That student went and brought six carnations. When Imam Rabbani saw this he said sadly:

“Our students still do not pay attention to the hadith: “Allah is one (an odd number) and He loves the odd number” (Bukhari, Dawat, 68). Whereas to take care in this matter is mustahab[33]. What do people think of the mustahab? The mustahab is that which is loved by Almighty Allah. If the entire world and the hereafter is given in return for an act loved by Allah Most High, this amounts to nothing. We abide by the mustahab to such a degree that when we wash our face we bring the water to the right side first. It is also mustahab to begin a task with the right”[34].

Imam Rabbani wrote in one of his letters:

“Virtue is dependent on following the noble Sunnah of the Prophet while merit is dependent on living according to the sharia that he (peace and blessings be upon him) brought. For instance, to have a nap at noon with the intention of following the Sunnah is much better than many acts of supererogatory worship which are not in accordance with the Sunnah.

Giving a small amount of zakat in order to abide by Allah’s command is a much greater merit than spending mountains of gold according to one’s desire”[35].

One of his students asked Imam Rabbani for permission to write down his daily prayers, awrad and supererogatory acts of worship so as to imitate them. Imam Rabbani said:

“Those deeds which are worthy of following are the deeds of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). Learn them from the books of hadith”.

His student persisted:

“Master, your deeds are already in accordance with the deeds of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him)”. Imam Rabbani then said:

“In that case write them down. But be very careful.  Only write down those which are in accordance with the sunnah in word and act and do not write down those which are not like that”[36] (Kishmi, Barakat, p. 427-428).

His Worship

Just as Imam Rabbani placed great importance on worship, he also advised his students to worship frequently and he would say:

“Even though the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was the Beloved of Allah and he had reached the highest of stations, he still performed so much worship that his feet would swell (from standing). Those friends of Allah who followed him in the best way also did the same… However much a person obeys Allah and worships Him that is how much he will advance”[37].

Imam Rabbani would also say that the supererogatory acts of worship were also a treasure and he would say about the tahajjud prayer in particular:

“Give great importance to your tahajjud prayer. Those who wish to take their share from the Maqam-i Mahmud, the station of intercession, should never neglect the tahajjud prayer”. He then read the following verse from the Holy Qur’an:

‘And stay awake for prayer during part of the night as a supererogatory action for yourself. It may well be that your Lord will raise you to a Praiseworthy Station’ (Isra, 17:79)[38].

 

Imam Rabbani would awake in the middle of the night mostly and sometimes after two thirds of the night had passed, in summer and winter, in times of war and in times of peace. He would recite the prayers that were part of the Sunnah practice at that time and he would take great care to take his ablution in accordance with its required etiquette. He did not like for other people to pour the water when he took his ablution. He would use the water very sparingly and take care to perform his ablution whilst in the direction of the qibla. When washing his feet however he would turn either to the north or to the south. He would use the siwak toothbrush after every ablution. He would wash each of his limbs with extreme care and wipe his hands and limbs so that there was no chance of water dripping from them. He would do this as a precaution if he was not sure whether the water used for ablution was clean or not. While taking his ablution he would say the prayers identified in the hadith.

After taking his ablution he would read the prayer for tahajjud and begin to perform salat. He would perform his tahajjud prayer in a state of complete presence and by reciting long chapters from the Holy Qur’an. In the beginning he would recite chapter Yasin over and over again. But towards the end of his life he would occupy himself with completing an entire reading of the Qur’an. After completing his tahajjud prayer he would begin inspecting himself and contemplating in a state of reverence and awe. He would sleep for a brief period before the time for the dawn prayer came and then would wake before the dawn rose and perform the dawn prayer.

He would perform the Sunnah of the dawn prayer at home and then repeat the following glorification: “Subhanallahi ve bihamdihi subhanallahi al azim” “سُبْحَانَ اللّٰهِ وَبِحَمْدِه۪ سُبْحَانَ اللّٰهِ العَظِيمِ”. After performing the dawn prayer with the congregation he would then spend the morning in the masjid with his friends, completing his awrad and then performing four rakats of the ‘ishraq prayer by reciting long chapters and giving salams after two rakats. He would also occupy himself with reading the prayers and glorifications that were required to be read at that time.

He would then go home and ask about his wife and children and tell them what needed to be done. He would then retreat to his room and read the Holy Qur’an. After that he would call his students and ask about them. He would advise them to keep their aims high, to follow the Sunnah, to continue with dhikr and muraqaba, to conceal their spiritual state and read the books of fiqh.

Many of his talks would pass in silence. He would strongly shun backbiting and seeking out the faults and defects of the Muslims.

Out of their respect for him and due to his stateliness and grandeur, those close to him would never talk about others in his presence. He would take extreme care to conceal his spiritual states. He would perform the duha prayer in his room with eight rakats and then would eat with his family. If one of his sons or one of the servants was not present he would put their share aside.

While eating he was more occupied with feeding others and asking about them. Sometimes he would appear to be eating and it would become apparent that he did not need to eat but rather he was merely trying to follow the Sunnah practice in this matter.

After lunch he would take a noon nap (qaylula), in accordance with the Sunnah and after the noon prayer he would listen to a juz of the Qur’an from a hafiz. If there was a lesson to be given to his students he would do so. He would perform the late afternoon prayer (‘asr) in the first moments and he would never abandon the Sunnah of this prayer. After the ‘asr prayer he would spend the time in silence and in muraqaba with his students.

He would perform the evening prayer (maghrib) immediately and then do the following silent dhikr without rising after performing the fard: “La ilaha illallah wahdahu la shariqa lah”  “لاَ إِلٰهَ إِلَّا اللّٰهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ”. After performing the Sunnah of the evening prayer he would then perform the awwabin prayer.

During the witr prayer of ‘isha he would generally recite the chapter A’la in the first rakat, then Kafirun in the second rakat, and then Ikhlas in the third. Sometimes he would perform the witr prayer immediately after ‘isha and sometimes after the tahajjud prayer.

He would abide by all of the Sunnah practices, the mandub, and general etiquette (adab) whilst performing salat and after taking his ablution and entering a masjid he would take care to perform two rakats.

He would immediately rest after ‘isha and read the prayers recommended to be read before sleeping. He would make much dhikr and invoke blessings upon the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). He would do this in particular on Fridays and on Mondays and its nights. He would also persistently advise those who were in his service and those who kept by his side to continue their practice of frequent dhikr and to take care in their muraqaba.

Those who listened to him recite from the Holy Qur’an would be able to understand its mysteries and wisdom. When reciting verses related to fear, awe or amazement, he would recite these in the prayer or outside of the prayer in accordance with those emotions. It was as if the meanings of those verses became apparent in his voice and in his blessed face.

Even while he was on a journey, or mounted on his animal he would continually recite from the Holy Qur’an.

Imam Rabbani (may Allah have mercy on him) would take great care in the month of Ramadan, and would complete at least three full readings of the Holy Qur’an from beginning to end. As proscribed by the hadith, he would break his fast immediately after sundown and delay the beginning of his fast, suhur, before the predawn. He would go into itiqaf (retreat) during the last ten days of Ramadan.

He was very sensitive in the matter of zakat. Whenever a gift arrived from somewhere, he would not wait for a year to pass but would immediately calculate the value of such gifts and pay the zakat. When giving zakat he would first of all give it to those who were striving to guide and reform others, to widows and to his close relatives who were in need.

He would visit the ill and the graves and read the sunnah prayers there. He would accept any invitation given to him and would only refrain from participating in gatherings where sins were being committed.

Imam Rabbani was always in a state of praise and repentance. He would be grateful for even the smallest of bounties. If he was occupied with performing a good deed when there was the opportunity to do something better, he would seek forgiveness for this.

When struck with a calamity he would say: “This is due to our bad state and our deeds”

He would look upon that trial as being like soap to clean away the dirt, and he would show contentment for it and submit to it, saying that it was a means for spiritual growth[39].

Even though he was always performing good deeds and he lived a life of bountiful worship, he still saw himself as defective. He would explain this to his students as follows:

’Ujub (loving yourself and your deeds) burns away good deeds like fire burns wood. ‘Ujub arises when one sees the deeds that one does as being pleasing to one’s eye. In order to be freed from this, we need to think of our own hidden faults and defects and see our good deeds as lacking. In fact, a person should be ashamed to have their deeds and good acts heard of by others…”[40]

His Praise-Worthy Character

Beautiful character, tender nature, grace, compassion and kindness towards Allah’s creatures, and contentment with whatever Allah has decreed – these and many other virtues had reached their peak in the heart of Imam Rabbani (may Allah have mercy on him)

Oppressive rulers did great wrong to him, his family and those close to him. However, never was there any complaint heard coming from him. He was in a constant state of contentment and he also advised those close to him to be patient.

He behaved with great courtesy to people.

Whenever someone came to see him he would stand up out of respect and sit him at the head of the assembly and speak pleasing words in accordance with his state. He would always be the first to greet others. He would not rise for those who were not Muslim – be they high-standing rulers or men of great position and rank. Imam Rabbani was extremely vigilant about other people’s rights. Whenever he heard news of the death of someone he would immediately invoke Allah’s mercy and recite the verse

“…We belong to Allah and to Him we will return (Baqara, 2:156). He would participate in the funeral prayer, pray and recite from Qur’an, sending the reward for it to the soul of the deceased.

He would wear his best clothes on the Friday and the Eid prayers. Whenever he received a new item of clothing he would first allow his servant or a member of his family to wear it.

He usually had approximately 50-60 people, and even 100 people, around him. His assemblies were always filled with scholars (ulama), gnostics (arifun), guides (murshidun), memorisers of the Qur’an (hafiz) and high ranking people. He would feed them all from his own kitchen[41].

He was extremely respectful towards the symbols of the religion. One time he saw one of the hafiz recite the Qur’an whilst sitting on a cushion that was thinner than the cushion he himself was sitting on. He immediately threw aside his own cushion and sat in a position lower than that of the hafiz[42].

Imam Rabbani was extremely humble. The style that he used in his letters and works shows his great humility. He would always speak of himself as ‘poor’ and as a ‘dervish’[43].

He wrote the following in some of his letters:

“Whenever I do something good I immediately see my faults and censure myself. I accuse my nafs, and am not at ease until I consider the angel on my right side to have not written down this good deed. When the book on my right shoulder is completely empty, I believe that the angels who write in it are waiting in vain. Now how can I deserve the pleasure of Almighty Allah while in this state? I know that everyone else in this universe is better than me in many respects. I am the worst of them all”[44].

“…This poor wretch wishes to present himself forth in order to support Islam and struggles in this way, the best that he can. In accordance with the rule “Whoever takes their position in the ranks of a believer becomes one of them[45], it is hoped that this poor and weak slave will be admitted to that group.

My state is like that of the old woman who went to the market with a ball of wool in her hand in order to buy Yusuf with it”[46].

In his letters Imam Rabbani would ask his students to pray for him that he reach Allah as a believer. In one of his letters that he sent to his son, he writes:

“Be kind to children and encourage them to recite the Qur’an. Please those who have a right over us in our name. Help us by praying for the soundness of our faith”[47].

The Incapacity of The Mind and The Need for Prophethood

According to Imam Rabbani (may Allah have mercy on him), the intelligence and inspiration are incapable of properly comprehending Allah’s Essence and His attributes, or of reaching certainty of knowledge, and knowing reality completely or attaining knowledge that is beyond the capacity of human perception.

The results and knowledge put forth by the intelligence and by inspiration can never be free of the dangers of doubt, hesitation, error, deficiency or making a mistake.

In that case, correctly comprehending the meaning of life and the universe and knowing Allah, Most High, in accordance with true reality is only possible through the means of the prophets who have been blessed with revelation, which is the source of absolute truth. Just as the capacity and power of understanding of the mind is beyond senses such as seeing and hearing, so the capacity and competence of the prophets is beyond the intelligence. Only the prophets can show us the best way to know Him and obey His divine commands, and how to revere and worship Him.

The philosophers who consider the intelligence to be infinitely powerful in comprehending reality and who judge everything by it have reached a state of ridicule in the matter of knowing Allah. Just as there is no such thing as pure and unbiased intelligence, so too we cannot speak of pure inspiration which is free from the misguidance of the desires of the nafs and outside effects.

In fact, this resembles the imaginary roc bird, present in the imagination but absent in reality. The followers of the ishraqi movement, which claimed that reality was born within a person, and certain people who purified only their nafs through certain acts of abstention were both subject to the traps of whisperings, doubts and ignorance.

It is impossible for the mind to be uncontaminated, without fault and taint, for the mind is affected by opinions and thoughts, and other factors. It can never be free of weaknesses such as greed, anger and desire; nor from faults such as forgetfulness, absence of mind and error. Many of the rulings that it has reached are tainted by these outer hues and appear confused. This is why the intelligence is not a source that is free of error. On the contrary, it is inadequate.

In contrast, the angel who brought revelation to the prophets is free from all of these faults and is not influenced by any negative factors. This is why the only unerring and perfect source is that of prophethood. It is also not possible for true purification of the nafs to occur without prophethood[48].

Ibn Khaldun, the great Islamic scholar, historian and sociologist, writes on this matter:

“The mind is a sturdy scale. However you cannot measure matters related to Allah and the hereafter, the reality of the prophets, and truths which are beyond the mind with it. This is a vain pursuit and resembles the one who wishes to weigh mountains using the scales of a jeweller thinking that these scales are very sensitive”.

We cannot say anything about the robustness of the scale but it has its limits. In the same way the intelligence has its limits in the matter of ‘knowing, finding and comprehending’ and we cannot take any further steps with it”[49].

Philosophy and other similar methods claim that they can find the truth through their own efforts and without the teachings and guidance of the prophets. However, these truths cannot be learned without these vehicles; these extraordinary men whom Allah bestowed with prophethood. They are the greatest favour of Allah for all of mankind. Human beings can never attain even an atom’s amount of that magnificent knowledge given to us in regards to Allah’s Essence and His attributes by the prophets, using the philosophical ideas of thousands of years, or by researching, examining, witnessing and cleansing their nafs.

“…And that is how Allah has favoured us and all mankind, but most do not give thanks’ (Yusuf, 12:38)[50].

The Greatness of The Kalima-i Tawheed

When describing the elevated nature of the statement of tawheed: “La ilaha illallah Muhammadun Rasulullah” لَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللّٰهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللّٰهِ” Imam Rabbani (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“There is nothing more beneficial in quelling the wrath of Allah, Most High, than ‘La ilaha illallah’ (There is no god but Allah). If these words are able to alleviate the wrath that would otherwise lead one to hellfire, then it will alleviate other wraths even quicker. For other kinds of wrath are lighter than those that lead to hellfire. How can it fail to alleviate it when the servant repeats this phrase, turning his face from everything other than Allah, rejecting all of them; such that Almighty Allah has becomes the qibla of his heart. The reason for the wrath anyway is that the servant inclines to all sorts of directions to which he has become addicted to; since these are eliminated by this statement the wrath will die down as well.

We can give a metaphorical example of this. If a person becomes annoyed and then angry with one of his servants, and then the servant uses his intelligence and leaving aside all other affairs, he turns towards his master with his entire being, feelings of compassion and kindness would naturally arise in the master towards his servant and his anger would die down.

I see that the phrase لَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللّٰهُ ‘La ilaha illallah’ is the key to the ninety nine parts out of one hundred of Allah’s mercy that is said to be reserved for the hereafter. I know that there is nothing more effective than this phrase in destroying the darkness of unbelief and clearing up the residue of shirk

The world and everything in it is worth nothing in contrast to the virtue found in this phrase. It is not even like a drop in regard to the entire ocean. However, the value and greatness of this beautiful phrase is in accordance with the spiritual state of the one who speaks it. Its greatness increases in proportion to how elevated the state of the one who utters it…

There is no other wish or desire in this world that is equal to a person retreating into a corner and occupying himself with this blessed dhikr. Unfortunately it is not always easy to have one’s hopes fulfilled. Sometimes the state of heedlessness prevents this and one is required to mix with the people”[51].

Another time Imam Rabbani explained the meaning of this phrase as follows:

“The purpose of the dhikr of لَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللّٰهُ» is to eliminate all false gods, be they outside or inside. Those that are outside, like Lat and Uzza are the false gods of the unbelievers. Those inside are the desires of the nafs. Almighty Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: ‘Have you seen him who takes his whims and desires to be his god…’ (Jathiyya, 45:23).

Eliminating the outer gods is sufficient for someone to become a believer. This is enough according to the sharia’. However, in order to eliminate the inner false gods, one needs to undergo purification (tazkiya) of one’s evil-commanding soul (nafs al-ammara). Consequently, this is the aim and result of entering upon the path of the Sufis. One needs to destroy both kinds of false gods in order to attain true belief. The reality of faith is dependent on eliminating these inner gods[52].

Imam Rabbani (may Allah have mercy on him) would constantly advise his children to perform dhikr. In one of his letters that he wrote to his son Muhammad Masum he says:

“This is the time for dhikr. Put all of the desires of your nafs into the word ‘La’ so that you can uproot them and leave no other desire or aim behind…Be content with His decree!”

When you come to the part of the phrase that is ‘Illa Allah’ let nothing other than the Being of Allah enter your heart; this Being which is beyond everything known and imagined and which is a complete unknown for us. Houses, palaces, fountains, gardens, books and other things enter a person’s mind easily. Do these things not take up your time?”[53].

Another of the pieces of advice that Imam Rabbani gives about being in a constant state of dhikr is as follows:

“Let the one who wishes to enter upon this path, correct his belief and bring it into accordance with the opinion of the people of truth, learn the rulings of fiqh and act in accordance with them, and then spend the rest of one’s time in remembrance of Allah. However, this must be learned from a perfected and perfecting shaykh, for one who is lacking cannot guide another to perfection…

They must be occupied with dhikr, while in a state of ablution or not, while standing and sitting. They should never abandon dhikr whilst walking and sitting, while eating or sleeping[54].

“We all know that this world is the world of striving and is not a place of idleness and rest. Put all your efforts into striving. Leave aside idleness and enjoyment. Occupy your tongue with the dhikr of “La ilaha illa Allah” to such a degree that no other word exits your mouth unless absolutely necessary. Dhikr should be done with the tongue and secretly with the heart…Leave laziness and laxity to your enemy. We should perform righteous deeds, strive for this and strive even more…”[55].

“Know this, that your happiness and salvation, and the happiness and salvation of all of mankind is dependent on dhikr of Allah. One should pass all of one’s time to the best one can, in remembering Allah. Even a moment of heedlessness is unacceptable”[56].

Lawful Provision

Imam Rabbani says:

“My advice to you is that you are careful about the food that you eat. It is not right for a person to eat whatever they find without considering where it came from, and whether it is halal or haram. The human being has not been left carefree to do whatever he wants. He has a Lord who has commanded certain things and forbidden others. He has made clear the things which please Him and those which do not through the prophets who are a mercy to the worlds. The one who chases after desires which are contrary to His pleasure, and who does as he pleases in His kingdom, will be deprived of eternal happiness…”[57].

“One should perform the five daily prayers in congregation and distinguish between what is halal and what is haram…One should not turn back and look at the fleeting pleasures and the bounties that will fade away…”[58].

The Importance of Suhbah

Imam Rabbani *may Allah have mercy on him) would frequently remind people that ‘suhbah’ was an extremely important principle of the Naqshibandi path, saying:

“On this path, the principle way of (spiritually) is benefitting oneself and others is suhbah. Words and letters do not suffice. (One needs to be present with their heart)”[59].

Imam Rabbani relates the following words of Khwaja Ahrar (may Allah have mercy on them both):

“We were once together with the dervishes. We were discussing the topic which prayers should be made during the time of the Friday prayer since they are guaranteed to be accepted. The following question was asked: “If one is able to locate this time, what should one pray for from Allah, Most High?” Everyone said something. When it was my turn I said:

“At that time one should ask for the suhbah of the masters of jam’iyya’[60] for this contains all of happiness”[61].

In one of his letters Imam Rabbani spoke of the importance of suhbah as follows:

“Opportunities (of the life of this world) are limited. In that case, one should spend this opportunity on the most important tasks. This is to be in the company of the righteous people whose hearts are ever with Allah.

Whatever it may be, do not equate anything with this suhbah (companionship with the Masters). Do you not see that the Blessed Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) were elevated above all others, with the exception of the prophets, due to their companionship with the Messenger of Allah. Those who were not Companions, be they Uways al Qarani or Umar ibn Abdulaziz, are all below the Companions. Whereas these righteous people had attained the highest of degrees and, with the sole exception of not having been in the company of the Prophet, they had reached the peaks of perfection…

If Uways al Qarani knew the superiority of this companionship, nothing would have prevented him from this and he would not have preferred anything over it”[62].

Making Use of One’s Opportunities

Imam Rabbani perceived the short life of this world to be a great opportunity and advised his students to make use of it in the best way. In one of his letters, he writes:

“My dear children! Opportunity is like a treasure. One should avoid spending even an instant of one’s life in vain pursuits. In contrast, one should spend one’s entire life in the direction that will lead to Allah, Most High’s pleasure. One should perform the five daily prayers in congregation and in compliance with its rules and etiquette.

One should never neglect the tahajjud prayer and make use of the opportunity to seek forgiveness during the predawn hours. One should not be deceived by napping and not allow oneself to be caught up by momentary pleasures. We should remember death often and always be anxious about and fearful of the hereafter.

In short we should turn our face away from this world to the hereafter. Our relationship with the world should be only that which is absolutely necessary and we should spend the rest of our time working for our hereafter. In conclusion, we can say the following: we need to free our hearts from being a slave to everything other than Allah, and adorn our outer in accordance with the rulings of the sharia. This is the essence of the matter, and the rest is futile”[63].

In another letter he writes:

“In accordance with the rule “What you cannot achieve completely you should not completely abandon. We should spend our short life following the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), to the best of our ability. Being freed from the punishment of the hereafter and finding eternal happiness is dependent on following him”[64].

“The best time to perform good deeds is undoubtedly in one’s youth. The intelligent person takes opportunity of this time and does not waste it. For one thing, one does not know whether one will reach old age. Even if one does, it will be difficult to properly perform good deeds due to the weakness and frailty of old age. But in one’s youth one can attain the state of giving one’s heart to Allah much more easily…The time is the time of taking this opportunity and it is a time of power and rule over one’s abilities. In that case, what excuse do we have for leaving aside today’s task for tomorrow and being deceived by the thought that “I will do it later”. Which excuse can legitimise this neglect?” [65]

“My dear brother! The time is the time for work and not the time for talk. One should devote one’s heart to Allah, both inwardly and outwardly. One should not look to any other than Allah without His permission. This is the essence of the matter and the rest is futile” [66].

“My dear friend! The time that we can spend in good deeds is passing by. Every moment we are losing time from our lives, and the moment of our death, determined by Allah, is approaching. If we do not wake up today, what will be left for us tomorrow is loss and regret.

In these numbered days let us take extreme care in performing good deeds in accordance with the sharia so that we can have some hope of salvation. This is the time for deeds, not the time for rest. Rest is the fruit of performing good deeds. Our deeds are yet in front of us. To rest when it is time to work is to lose one’s harvest and dry it up”[67].

Abandoning the Nafs

Abandoning the ego and the nafs is the first condition in spiritual growth. Without doing this one cannot be subject to divine love. Imam Rabbani (may Allah have mercy on him) expresses this reality as following:

“The heart cannot love two things at the same time. When the heart devotes itself to one thing there is no room left to love anything else. When a person has many desires and their love is divided up between their wealth, their children, leadership, praise, and being superior to others, then what they really love is only one thing, their own selves. Their love for these things is in fact an expression of their love for their nafs. A person loves these things not for what they are but for their own nafs. When love for their nafs is eliminated, then love for these other things also disappears. This is why it has been said: “The veil between a servant and his Lord is not the world, but rather the person’s own nafs”, since the sole aim and desire of a person is his nafs. So the necessary result of this is that the veil becomes the person’s nafs. When a person cannot totally free themselves of their desires, then love for their Lord cannot take its place in their heart”[68].

As Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“Closeness to Allah is achieved neither by rising up to the sky nor by descending down. Closeness to Allah is only achieved by being freed of the bond to one’s own nafs[69].

In order to be freed from love for fleeting creatures and turn towards divine love, Imam Rabbani would give the following advice to his spiritual children:

“Do not be content with anything other than what Allah is content with and do not desire them. Since these will all end when we leave this world, let us abandon them now. Let us not exaggerate them. The friends of Allah abandon them of their own will”[70].

Some of His Advice

“One should give the zakat (for both wealth and animals) that one is required to give properly and use this as a means for removing love of wealth from our hearts. We should not put the desires of our nafs above all else in the matter of delicious foods and beautiful clothes. We should eat and drink only so much as is necessary to give us strength to perform our worship. When we wear our nice clothes, our intention should be to abide by the command in the following verse:

‘…Wear fine clothing in every mosque…’ (A’raf, 7:31). Our intention should not be to show off to others for our religion has forbidden such things. If we cannot make this our intention then we need to force ourselves and pray to Allah that He make us achieve the reality of this intention”[71].

“When we sit and stand; in short, in all of our acts our goal should be seeking the pleasure of Allah and acting in accordance with the sharia’. The rulings of the sharia’ should be our standard in every state. We should be with Allah, Most High, both inwardly and outwardly. For instance, when we want to go to sleep, which is itself a state of total heedlessness, then we should bear the intention of resting in order to carry out our worship of tomorrow in a better way and with more energy. When we sleep with this intention, then our sleep becomes an act of worship in itself. There is a hadith that states that “the sleep of the scholar is an act of worship”[72] [73].

“My child! The essence of the matter is to shun what is beyond the permissible and suffice with only what is necessary. Furthermore, we should use those permissible things with the intention of gaining enough strength and wakefulness of the heart in order to carry out our duty of servanthood to Allah[74].

“We should not spend our time on games and amusement…We should not waste our lives in vain pursuits. Beware of inclining towards music whose pleasure will drag you to a great deception. Music (that stimulates the nafs) is like honey mixed with poison.

Shun backbiting and gossip. Those who commit such ugly acts face the promise of a weighty threat. It is also extremely important to shun lying and slander. These two disgraceful acts are forbidden in all religions. Those who have committed them are subject to severe warnings.

Concealing the faults of people, covering up their sins, and forgiving people’s mistakes are signs of great spiritual ranks”[75].

“Know this; the heart is the neighbour of Almighty Allah. There is nothing closer to His Holy Essence than the heart. In that case, whether someone is a believer or a rebel, avoid harming his heart. This is because a neighbour is protected even if he is a rebel. Please avoid this, for after unbelief (kufur) there is no greater sin than harming the heart which leads to offending Allah. The heart is the closest of all created things that can draw nearer to Almighty Allah”[76].

His Death

A few months before his death, Imam Rabbani (may Allah have mercy on him) began to suffer from shortness of breath. During his last days he said to his children:

“My dearest children! I have no bond nor ties left with this world. The eternal world now dominates my thoughts. I see that the day of my journey is near”.

He then cut off all relations with the outside world and chose to be alone. He did not leave the house except to perform the five daily prayers and to attend the jumu’a prayer. He spent all of his time in dhikr, istighfar, and the affairs of the zahir and the batin. This state of his was an embodiment of the verse: ‘Remember the Name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him completely’ (Muzzammil, 73:8).

He would often weep out of his desire to be reunited with Allah and the following words were constantly heard from him:

“اَللّٰهُمَّ الرَّفِيقَ الأَعْلَى: “O Allah! I wish to join the ranks of the greatest friends”. During this time, he passed a few days in good health. The saddened hearts around him were soothed a little. However he said:

“I do not feel the spiritual pleasure I received during my illness, during my days of health”.

He gave away much in charity during those days. When a close friend saw all of this he asked:

“Is all of this in order to remove the calamity?” Imam Rabbani replied:

“No, indeed. On the contrary it is due to my enthusiasm for the reunion”.

One day his children saw him crying. When they asked him the reason, he replied:

“I am weeping out of happiness at being reunited with Allah”.

His sons asked:

“It is not in your habit but lately you have been depriving us of your company. What is the reason for this?”

“Allah, Most High, is more beloved to me than you”.

During his last days he continually spoke of the infinite bounties and countless favours of his Lord. He donated all of his clothes to the needy. His temperature then began to rise once more due to the cold weather. Just as the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) had recovered for a short time during his final illness, the same happened to Imam Rabbani and then he lost his health once more. He thus practised the Sunnah even at his last breath.

Even during those days when he had lost all strength, he did not abandon praying in congregation. He was constantly occupied with prayer and dhikr and did not take a break from muraqaba. He was not heedless of the commands and principles of the sharia and tariqa for an instant. He continued to pray the tahajjud prayer until his final night.

He advised those around him of devotion to the Sunnah, of shunning innovation, and of continuing dhikr and muraqaba and said:

“The master of this sharia, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Religion is nasiha (advice)” and never for an instant did he leave off striving for the good of his community and reforming them. One should follow completely the respected books of religion and act according to them. When it comes to preparing me for my burial make sure you act according to the Sunnah practices. Do not abandon even one!”

To his wife he made the following request:

“My journey to the hereafter will be before you. Take care of your own burial concerns from your own mihr (dowry)”. One of the most lawful of properties is the mihr of a woman.

He would remain in a state of ablution in order to be sure of dying in that state. When he was placed down on his bed he would place his right hand under his right cheek, in accordance with the Sunnah, and busy himself with dhikr. When his sons saw him begin to breathe rapidly, they asked:

“How are you?” He replied:

“I am fine”. After that he did not speak any word other than the Most Majestic Word – Allah. He passed away a short time later.

The day was the 28th day of the month of Safar in 1034 (10th December, 1624). He was 63 years old.

When his blessed body was brought to be washed the people saw that Imam Rabbani’s (may Allah have mercy on him) hands were bound together as if in prayer. They untied his hands however, after washing him they saw that his hands came back together in the same position. After they had shrouded him they saw that his hands were still bound. His children said:

“Since this is what the Imam desires, let us leave them be”.

People around him were weeping while the Imam’s blessed face was lit up with an indescribable smile. The following beautiful description of a poet described his state:

The day your mother gave birth to you and brought you into this world

You were weeping; while the whole word was smiling

Now live such a life that you will laugh when you die;

While the world around you sheds tears behind you

His washing and shrouding were done in complete accordance with the Sunnah and he was buried in the town of Sirhind in India where he was born[77].

Imam Rabbani (may Allah have mercy on him) was a true Friend of Allah who did not merely guide the people of his own time, but rather a great multitude of people centuries after him, whose names are known throughout the world. He still continues to guide them to this day, with his works.

Words of Wisdom

  • Following the prophets raises a person to the highest of ranks; following the asfiya, those whose hearts are pure, allows one to reach great ranks. Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) followed the prophet in everything and attained happiness due to his confirming of the prophet and became the head of the siddiq (the loyal ones). The cursed Abu Jahl wasted his potential by following his own desires in the cesspool of and became the head of those damned[78]”.
  • “The knowledge of scholars who indulge in this world may benefit the people but it will not benefit themselves. Even though the strength of the religion is raised upon their shoulders, this will not be taken into account. The strengthening of this religion may occur through the oppressor and the sinner…But if the scholars do not indulge in this world and rid themselves of love of position, leadership, wealth and superiority over others, then they can become the scholars of the hereafter and the heirs of the prophets. Moreover they are the best of creation”[79].
  • “This world is the field of the hereafter. Woe to those who do not plant in that field and abandon such fertile land, wasting their seeds of good deeds! Know that abandoning such land and wasting it occurs either by not planting anything there or by planting rotten and decayed seeds (That is, a person faces eternal loss by either wasting their lives away, or spending their lives satisfying the desires of their nafs).

Everyone knows that the loss of the second kind is greater than that of the first”[80].

  • One should not be lax in carrying out the praiseworthy acts. These acts are those that Allah loves and is pleased with. A person should know that there is an act in a corner of the earth that Allah, Most High, loves and is pleased with and he should know it to be a treasure if he is able to carry it out. This situation is like that of a person who purchases precious stones with a few pieces of a broken pot”[81].
  • “Know that a verse or chapter that was sent down following a particular event will benefit a person who reads it following a similar event. For instance, reading a verse about purification of the nafs, has a great effect in purifying the nafs of its evil traits. The others verses are similar in their effects”[82].
  • “In my opinion the reason for the superiority of a person is that they lead the way in supporting the religion, and sacrificing their wealth and their lives in teaching its rulings. Since the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was above all else in these matters, he is an unparalleled example for the believers. In the same way, those who lead the way in supporting the religion and teaching it have been examples for those who come after”[83].

(Almighty Allah has taught his servants to read the following prayer):

‘Our Lord, give us joy in our wives and children and make us a good example for those who have taqwa…’(Furqan, 25:74)

That is, it is not enough to have taqwa. One needs to strive to become a leader in taqwa).

  • “The purpose of man’s creation is to carry out his duty of servanthood to Allah. Whoever has been bestowed with love and ardour at the beginning of the path or in the middle, the aim of this is to cut the connection with all other than Allah. Otherwise the actual aim is not the love and ardour. On the contrary, these are means for attaining the station of servanthood. It is only when the traveller is freed of the slavery and servanthood to all other than Allah that He can be a true servant of Allah. The highest degree of sainthood is the degree of ‘ubudiyah, that is, servanthood. There is no other degree higher than this”[84].
  • “The aim in the creation of the human being is to carry out one’s worship as has been commanded. The aim in performing this worship is to attain ‘yaqin’ (certainty) which is the reality of faith” [85].
  • “There is no deception in love. Because the lover is now infatuated with his beloved and can do nothing in opposition to Him and can never incline to those who are in opposition to Him. He can compromise nothing at the expense of his Beloved”[86].
  • “May Allah, Most High, save me and you from empty words and deeds done without knowledge for the sake of the Master of Humanity, the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) that Allah sent to all races, black and white. Amen!”[87]

[1]. Kishmi, Barakat-i Ahmadiyya, p. 128; Badraddin Sirhindi, Hazarat al Quds, II, 31-32.[2]. Kishmi, ibid, p. 138-140; Badraddin Sirhindi, ibid. II, 34.[3]. Imam Rabbani, Maktubat, I, 726, no: 234; II, 319, no: 290.[4]. Badraddin Sirhindi, ibid, II, 37-38.[5]. Kishmi, Barakat, p. 144, 148-152.[6]. Kishmi, Barakat, p. 144.[7]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, III, 30, no: 67. Imam Rabbani said about such scholars:“The people of Islam should feel it a duty upon themselves to help their Muslim sultan. They are required to guide the sultan to elevate the sharia’ and strengthen the religion. Their support for the sultan can be either in word or action. The most urgent support is in their words. Furthemore, the best of these is to explain in the most suitable manner the declarations of the sharia and the principles of aqida in accordance with the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the consensus of the community. In this way they can prevent certain deviated and innovating people who try to block the way and ruin the situation. Such help is particular to the ahl al sunnah who have the hereafter in mind. To be with scholars whose sole efforts are running after the world and lowly benefits is a fatal poison. Their mischief spreads to others. Whatever calamities befell us in the past are all from their evil. These are the ones who caused the prior sultan to deviate from the true path. It was not enough that they caused the sultan to deviate but these evil scholars are at the head of the 72 sects that are said to be deviant. There are no other people other than evil scholars whose deviancy passes on to others. Today, many ignorant people who claim to be Sufis are like these evil scholars. Their false ideas influence others” (Imam Rabbani, Maktubat, I, 243, no: 47)[8]. Mujaddidi, Rawzat al Qayyumiyya, I, 221-227; Muhammad Halm Sharkpuri, Imam Rabbani (trans. Ali Genceli), Konya 1978, p. 29-33.[9]. Abu al Hasan an Nadwi, Imam Rabbani, p. 156.[10]. Badahshi, Manaqibu al Hazarat, vr. 39a-40b.[11]. Badahshi, ibid, vr. 41a; Muhammad Murad Kazani, Tarjumat al Ahwali al Imam Rabbani, Mu‘arrabu al Maktubat (ad-Durar al Maknunati an Nafisa), Mecca 1317 kenarında, I, 58-59; Necdet Tosun, Imam Rabbani Ahmad Sirhindi, Istanbul 2005, p. 29[12]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, III, 180, no: 5; III, 182, no: 6.[13]. Badahshi, ibid, vr. 41a-41b[14]. Halil Ibrahim Shimsek, Mujaddids in Ottoman times, Istanbul 2004, p. 66-67.[15]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, III, 318, no: 43.[16]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 206, no: 36.[17]. Bayhaqi, Shuabu al Iman, V, 345.[18]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 346, no: 84.[19]. Imam Rabbani, Ma‘arif i Ladunniyya, p. 71, 25. kısım.[20]. Imam Rabbani, Maktubat, I, 219, no: 41.[21]. Imam Rabbani, Mukashafat-i Ayniyya, p. 29.[22]. Kishmi, ibid p. 197-212; Abu al Hasan an Nadwi, ibid, p. 182-188.[23]. Imam Rabbani, Maktubat, II, 105, no: 260.[24]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, II, 540, no: 25.[25]. Imam Rabbani, ibid,II, 551, no: 30.[26]. Imam Rabbani, ibid,II, 174, no: 266.[27]. Imam Rabbani, ibid,III, 87-88, no: 87.[28]. Imam Rabbani, Mabda wa Ma’ad, p. 36, 10th part.[29]. Badraddin Sirhindi, ibid, II, 89.[30]. Abu al Hasan an Nadwi, ibid, p. 182.[31]. Imam Rabbani, Maktubat, II, 235, no: 278.[32]. Kishmi, Barakat, p. 197.[33]In Islamic law mustahab refers to an act which is recommended or commendable (Translator’s note)[34]. Kishmi, Barakat, p. 198; Abu al Hasan an Nadwi, ibid, p. 180-181.[35]. Imam Rabbani, ibid,I, 418, no: 114.[36]. The one who received this permission, Muhammad Salih Kulabi wrote a book called Hidaya al Talibin or Hadiyyat al Talibin. See Bayazid State Library. nr. 3823, vr. 1a-17a.[37]. Kishmi, Barakat, p. 201.[38]. Kishmi, Barakat, p. 291.[39]. Kishmi, Barakat, p. 217.[40]. Kishmi, Barakat, p. 217.[41]. Abu al Hasan an Nadwi, ibid, p. 187-188.[42]. Kishmi, Barakat, p. 199.[43]. Imam Rabbani, Maktubat, II, 120, no: 261.[44]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 118, no: 11.[45]. Ibn Mubaraq, Kitabu al Zuhd, I, 12; Zeyla’i, Nasbu al Raya, IV, 346; Ajluni, Kashfu al Khafa, II, 374.[46]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 244, no: 47.[47]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, III, 169, no: 2.[48]. See Imam Rabbani, ibid, II, 150, no: 266; III, 239-242, no: 23; Abu al Hasan an Nadwi, ibid, p. 203-204, 227.[49]. Ibn Khaldun, Muqaddima, p. 473.[50]. Abu al Hasan an Nadwi, ibid, p. 211-212.[51]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, II, 591-594, no: 37.[52]. Maarif-i Ladunniyya, p. 69, 24. Bölüm.[53]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, III, 169, no: 2.[54]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, III, 454, no: 84.[55]. Imam Rabbani, Mukashafat-i Ghaybiyya, 29. kısım.[56]. Imam Rabbani, Maktubat, I, 569, no: 190.[57]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, III, 44, no: 69.[58]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 467, no: 143.[59]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, III, 396, no: 69.[60]. Jam’iyya: This is a state in  which the traveller puts all his efforts and aspirations into turning to Allah and abandons everything other than Him (masiwa) and occupies himself solely with Allah. In other words, it is spiritual focus, feeling oneself in the presence of Allah, and being with Him which arise in the heart[61]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, III, 398, no: 70.[62]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 428, no: 120.[63]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, II, 552, no: 31.[64]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 298, no: 70.[65]. Imam Rabbani, ibid,, 307, no: 73.[66]. Imam Rabbani, Mukashafat-i Ghaybiyya, 20. kısım.[67]. Imam Rabbani, Maktubat, III, 91, no: 89.[68]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 163-164, no: 24.[69]. Mawlana, Mathnawi, c. 3, bayt: 4514.[70]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, III, 170, no: 2.[71]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 298, no: 70.[72]. See Dahlawi, al Firdaws, nr. 6731.[73]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, III, 224, no: 17[74]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 306, no: 73.[75]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, III, 292, no: 34.[76]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, III, 326, no: 45.[77]. See Kishmi, Barakat, p. 300-315; Abu al Hasan an Nadwi, ibid, p. 174-179; Badraddin Sirhindi, Wisal-i Ahmadi ([pub. Gulam Mustafa Han), Karachi, 1388/1968, p. 6, 12, 26.[78]. Imam Rabbani, Mabda wa Ma’ad, 51th part.[79]. Imam Rabbani, Maktubat, I, 197-199, no: 33.[80]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 159, no: 23.[81]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, II, 172, no: 266.[82]. Imam Rabbani, Mukashafat-i Ghaybiyya, 11. kısım.[83]. Imam Rabbani, Maktubat, III, 141, no: 99.[84]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 180, no: 30.[85]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 369, no: 97.[86]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 514, no: 165.[87]. Imam Rabbani, ibid, I, 159, no: 23.

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

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