Who is Sayyid Taha al-Haqqari?

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Who is sayyid taha al haqqari? What kind of person sayyid taha al haqqari? When did sayyid taha al haqqari live?

Sayyid Taha al-Haqqari [v. 1853]

Sayyid Taha al-Haqqari was from the lineage of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and a grandson of Sayyid Abdulqadir Gilani (may Allah have mercy on them both). His father is Sayyid Molla Ahmad ibn Salih Gilani Efendi. He is known by such elevated titles as Shihabuddin (the shining light of the religion), Imaduddin (the pillar of the religion), Qutbu al-Irshad wa al Madar (the pole of guidance) and Sayyid Buzurgh (the Great Sayyid).

He began his studies memorising the Qur’an at a young age. He studied outer sciences such as tafsir and hadith with the great scholars of Sulaymaniye, Kirkuk, Iraq, Arbil and Baghdad. He also studied the science and literature of the day.

His uncle Sayyid Abdullah Shamdini was the colleague of Khalid Baghdadi. They were like brothers. On the one hand they were learning the outer sciences and at the same time they were looking for a perfected guide to teach them the practices of the sciences of the heart. This is why when Khalid Baghdadi (may Allah have mercy on him) returned from India Sayyid Abdullah immediately went to visit him.

When he saw the knowledge and perfection obtained by Mawlana Khalid, his love and admiration for him increased even more and he immediately affiliated himself with him. He became one of his leading disciples.  A little while later he was given permission to train other disciples.

One day Sayyid Abdullah mentioned the extraordinary capacity of his brother’s son Sayyid Taha al Haqqari to Khalid Baghdadi. Mawlana Khalid told him to bring him on his next visit.

Mawlana Khalid took great care in the training and development of Sayyid Taha. In a short time Taha al-Haqqari gained an elevated character and spiritual state.  A short time later he was given successorship.

When Khalid Baghdadi sent Taha al-Haqqari to Berdesur with the responsibility of guiding the people there, he sent him off with a great crowd. As he mounted his horse he took hold of the stirrups and when Taha al-Haqqari tried to prevent him from doing so, his teacher said:

“I wish to hold your stirrups out of my love for the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and his blessed family. Please do not stop me from doing so”.

After walking for a short time together like this with Mawlana Khalid holding the reins, they stopped. He handed over the reins to Taha al-Haqqari and said:

“From now on the reins are in your hands. You have progressed and passed many stages on the spiritual path. May Almighty Allah be your helper, and the himmah of our great men be your refuge”.

When his father passed away a short time later, Taha al-Haqqari went to the town of Nahri where his uncle had been guiding the people and continued his efforts. For forty two years he taught knowledge and wisdom and dispersed blessings to the community of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) there.

Many people near and far came like moths to gather around this source of light and guidance. His service extended from the Caucasus to Iraq, from Syria to Egypt, from Iran to Anatolia and the Balkans. In fact, in the year 1853 when the war between the Ottomans and the Russians broke out, the great Sufi mujahid Shaykh Shamil from Daghistan and Taha al-Haqqari and his brother Shaykh Salih motivated the people of Haqqari and Azerbaijan to fight against the Russian army.

In addition Sayyid Taha went out to help an Ottoman unit fighting against the Russian army with a large army of volunteer soldiers[1].

His Virtues

Taha al-Haqqari would mostly perform the tahajjud prayer in his home and sometimes in his own masjid. He would always pray the kushluk prayer in the mosque. He would do the rounds of the madrasas every day checking the education received by his students and solving any difficult issues of the teachers.

The town of Nahri was like an ant mound and would fill up and overflow with righteous people and students. There was not a moment day or night when that blessed place was not filled with dhikr, tafakkur, ibadah nor was there a single moment spent in disobedience. Food would be served to the poor and visitors to the lodge. The Naqshi dhikr known as the hatm-i khwajagan, would be completed after the asr prayer and then they would read from Imam Rabbani’s Maktubat. They would eat before the evening, and they gave great importance to reviving maghrib and ‘isha with dhikr, contemplation, and worship.

Sayyid Taha was a perfected guide, with dignity, majesty and great compassion. However, from time to time he would joke around with his students.

Taha al-Haqqari would not neglect any of his students and would look after each and every one of them. He would immediately try to help one of them if they had a problem.

He placed great importance on visiting relatives and would meet the needs of the needy. He would not meet with ignorant statesmen upon the advice of his teacher but would write to them in order to obtain the needs of some of the poorer Muslims.

His love for the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and for his blessed Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) was great. There is a mountain in the east of Shamdinli close to the border of Iraq. During the time of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), the Companions came here for conquest and some of them were martyred at this mountain. From that time on this mountain has been known as Mount Shahidan (Mountain of the Martyrs). Sayyid Taha would visit Mount Shahidan twice a year and honour the spirits of the Companions there.

Sayyid Taha would rush to serve the people anyway they needed. One time he decided to build a mill in the south of the town of Nehri. He personally prepared the plan and project himself, and together with his students, carried stones on his back at every stage of its formation. After working for days, the mill was finally complete. It was made so fine and with such order that when wheat was placed in the receptacle it would immediately begin to work by itself and stop when there was no more wheat left in the receptacle. Those who saw this were in amazement of Sayyid Taha’s intelligence and genius.

Correspondence with his teacher

One time Khalid Baghdadi wrote the following to Sayyid Taha (may Allah have mercy on them both):

“In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful…

May the peace and mercy of our generous and bounteous Lord be upon you! May my Lord give you a share of His wisdom and favour you with His grace. He is the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful.

I was honoured to receive your letter. I prayed to my Lord to answer your prayers. I hope Almighty Allah favours us, accepts my prayer and bestows upon us what we wish. I expect that you will do the same, due to your elevated compassion.

All of my friends here desire your help for their salvation. In particular, Sayyid Abdulqadir Barzanji and Hajja Musa request that you pray for the soundness of their faith. You are indeed a person of compassion and favour.

I too request from you and from our faqih brother Abdulqadir, to pray that Allah give me, this poor, forlorn, guilty and sorrowful brother of yours, success in following His true path. Pray that Almighty Allah make us occupy ourselves with seeking His pleasure, that He distance our hearts from everything other than Him, and that he does not deprive us of the bounties of Paradise, those that no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard of and no one has ever imagined or thought of on account of the worthless and petty benefits of this world”[2].

Mawlana Khalid writes in one of his letters:

“My dear Sayyid Taha! Be under the safety of Allah, Most High. Shun with intensity the calamity of fame. The fact that you have a great number of students may bring about a state of pride. This state is a great tribulation. May Allah, Most High, protect you from this calamity. Amen”

Know that to incline towards oppressive rulers is fatal poison that dries up the spirit. You must distance yourself from them, and from using a sweet and compromising tongue or from acts that will bring you in their favour but also humiliate you. By the will of Allah you will not be with these oppressive rulers. Do not accept their invitation even if they invite you. The response to be given to such an invitation is as follows:

“We are dervishes. Our concern is to minimise our connection with the world, and also pray for the Muslim ruler who serves our religion. We do not know the required etiquette suitable for the ceremonies of the Sultans so please excuse us”.

My dear Sayyid Taha! Comply with these matters that I speak of and pass on my greetings of peace to Molla Mustafa Esnevi. What I have written is also applicable to him. We must distance ourselves from places of sedition and mischief and settle ourselves where we can serve the religion. Please do not hide anything from us for such an act could lead to spiritual ruin.

The weakest of servants Khalid Naqshibandi Mujaddidi”[3].

In another letter he wrote:

“May Allah, Most High, honour the beloved of my heart, Sayyid Taha, with reaching the states of fana and baqa! I received your letter stating your devotion to me with the bond of love and sincerity. We are extremely pleased at the news of your serving the elevated Naqshiband path and you completing a reading of the Holy Qur’an in a beautiful way. On the condition of sincerity, the reward for those who worship Allah, who follow the Sunnah of the prophet because you were a means for them, and whatever act they do, will be written in your book of deeds. The following hadith is clear evidence for this:

“For the one who initiates a ‘good practice or custom, there is a reward. And the reward of those who follow him is also given to him without their reward being decreased in any way…”  (Muslim Zakat, 69).

May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah, Most High, be upon you”.

From the weakest of servants Khalid  Naqshiband”[4].

Whenever an important matter arose Taha Haqqari would write to his teacher Khalid Baghdadi and he would reply. Students would also travel back and forth between them and so they were always in contact.

Taha Haqqari also guided his murids and khalifas through his letters.

In one of his letters he writes:

“…Love for the dervishes is capital for the happiness of this world and the hereafter. One must preserve these two things:

  1. Following the Owner of the Sharia, the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him),
  2. Love and sincerity towards the teacher that one follows.

When these two conditions are met; whatever is given is a bounty and whatever is not given is not a source of sorrow, it will be given eventually. Allah forbid, if these two conditions are lacking but the spiritual state and pleasures received continues then one should know that these states are deception and istidraj and one should see them as leading to ruin.

This is the straight path. Almighty Allah is the one who gives success in all affairs. With peace and prayer from the weakest of servants Sayyid Taha al-Khalidi-an Naqshibandi”[5].

Taha Haqqari (may Allah have mercy on him) passed away in the hijri year 1269 (1853AD) in Nehri near the town of Shamdinli, in Haqqari. His tomb is there. The charming little town of Nehri, which had a population of 16000 during the Ottoman period, is now known as Baglar.

Words of Wisdom

  • “The benefit of those who embark upon this elevated path, will reach their mothers and their fathers and their ancestors”[6].
  • “Do not bury your deeds in the ground. A person who is satisfied with himself is like one who nullifies his deeds by burying them in the grave. There is nothing other than ‘ujb (being proud of oneself) which ruins one’s deeds”[7].
  • “Flee from those who reject the friends of Allah and from the people of innovation as you would flee from a lion. The heart of the one who eats the food of the denier will be dead towards dhikr for forty days. If these deniers had been present at the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) they would not have believed in him”[8].
  • “The one who has sincerity and love and performs an act in accordance with the sharia is undoubtedly a friend of Allah even though he may not have performed any wonders. As for the one who does not have sincerity, love for Allah, or any righteous deeds, even if he does perform some wonders, then know that this is not a wonder but deception (istidraj). May Allah protect us all from falling to this state”[9].
  • Sayyid Taha gave the following explanation about this hadith:

“A rakat of prayer performed after brushing with the siwak stick is better than 70 rakats without having brushed” (Ahmad, VI, 272).

“The word ‘siwak’ used in the hadith has the meanings of brushing with the siwak stick but also has another meaning which is ‘no one but you’. In this case we can understand the following meaning from this hadith:

“One rakat of the prayer of the one who abandons himself and all worldly things in order to turn towards his Lord and feel himself in His presence is better than 70 rakats prayed in heedlessness”[10].

[1]. Salih Ucan, The holy words of the Naqshibandi Shaykhs, p. 69, Huzur Yayınevi, İstanbul 1983.

[2]. As‘ad Sahib, Bughyat al Wajid, p. 265-266, no: 97.

[3]. Heyet, Encyclopaedia of Awliya, XI, 411.

[4]. Heyet, Encyclopaedia of Awliya, XI, 412.

[5]. Too see a copy of this hand-written letter refer to AbdurrahmanMemish, Khalid Baghdadi, p, 388

[6]. See Salih Ucan, ibid, p. 163, 108, 118, 121, 231, 257.

[7]. See Salih Ucan, ibid, p 156.

[8]. See Salih Ucan, ibid, p 44.

[9]. See Salih Ucan, ibid, p. 300.

[10]. Prof. Dr. Hasan Kamil Yılmaz, The Golden Chain, p. 202.

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

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