THE NAQSHBANDIYAS AND THE QADIRIYYAS
NAQSHBANDIYYAS: People of the Silent Dhikr
“The lights of some people precede their dhikr, while the dhikr of some people precede their lights. There is the one who does (loud) dhikr so that his heart be illumined; and there is the one whose heart has been illumined and he does (silent) dhikr.”
-Ibn cAta’Allah.( (d. 1309), the third sheikh of the Shadhili Sufi order)
They brought their caravans to the sanctuary through the hidden path. The Naqshabandi’s believed that their spiritual journey began where other’s ended. The centre of their beliefs was the silent dhikr and breath control. They also emphasised saubat – the intimate conversation between the master and the disciple. This spiritual bonding gave rise to various ‘paranormal phenomenon’ such as telepathy and faith healing. They believed in spiritual education and the purification of the heart. It was a sober and rather orthodox silsila which disapproved music and sama .
The founder of this silsila was Bahauddin Naqshband (d.1390) from Central Asia, who was a descendent of the great Imam Yusuf Hamadhani (d. 1140). Hamadhani was in turn spiritually affiliated to Abu-l-Hasan Ali al-Kharaqani (d. 1034) – an illiterate but distinguished mystic and an uwaysi (a Sufi who has been initiated not by a living master but the powerful spirit of a departed Sufi). Kharaqani was initiated into tassawuf by the spirit of Bayezid Bistami (d.874) who himself was a legendary Sufi from north west Iran.
One of Hamadhani’s eminent khalifa, Abdul – Khaliq Ghijduwani (d.1220) is best known for the eight founding principles that are still followed by all Naqshabandiyya schools. His set of teachings are known as tariqa-yi Khawajagan (the way of the teachers; singular Khoja) and are interpreted as follows (the literal translation of the Persian words are given in brackets):
1. hush dar dam (awareness in breath): One must safeguard his/her breath from mindlessness while breathing in and breathing out, thereby keeping her heart always in the Divine Presence. Every breath which is inhaled and exhaled with Presence is alive and connected with the Divine Presence. Every breath inhaled and exhaled with mindlessness is dead, disconnected from the Divine Presence.
2. nazar bar qadam(to watch every step): This implies watching over one’s steps and actions. The gaze precedes the step and the step follows the gaze. The Ascension to the higher state is first by the Vision, followed by the Step. One needs to understand the Sufi path in its myriad forms before one can actually comprehend and follow this principle.
3. safar dar watan (to journey towards one’s homeland): This refers to the internal mystical journey wherein the seeker travels from the world of desire to the world of Divine.
4. khalwat dar anjuman (solitude in the crowd): To be untouched by the vagaries of this world. To be steady in ones contemplation of the divine, to live in this world but not to be moved by it.
5. yad kard(to recollect): To remember, to recollect all the time the Divine name and one’s ultimate destination.
6. baz gard(to return,): To surrender, to return to God i.e. to submit to the will of God.
7. nigah dasht (to be aware of one’s sight):To be aware of one’s thoughts and emotions, to restrain the thoughts that take you away from God. To safeguard one’s heart from unholy inclinations.
8. yad dasht (to remember, recall): To return again and again to that state of mind which dwells in God. To keep one’s heart in Allah’s Divine Presence continuously. This allows one to realize and manifest the Light of the Unique Essence
‘Although Adam had not got wings,
Yet he has reached a place that was not destined even for angels’
– Mir Dard
This silsila gained influence over the business class and royalty of Central Asia and as a result grew highly politicized. Under the leadership of Khwaja Ahrar (d.1490), an influential Naqshabandi saint, this silsila dominated the entire Central Asian region and even the Mongols, Timurs and Uzbegss came under its sway. Like the early Suhrawardis, the Khwaja believed that in order to serve the world they needed to exercise political power.
Dargah of Mazhar Janjanan at Delhi
The Naqshabandi silsila was founded in India by Khwaja Baqi billah(d.1785). His disciple Ahmad Faruqi Sirhindi (d. 1624) played an important role in Indian political and religious life. In India, most prominent Naqshabandi saints, such as Khwaja Mir Dard (d.1785), Shah Waliullah(d.1762), who was also initiated into the Qadiriyya silsila, and Mazhar Janjanan(d. 1782), were based in Delhi and besides politics made major contribution to Sufi poetry and theology in Urdu .
Dargah of Khawaja Baqi Billah at Delhi. Courtesy: Mayank Austen Soofi
Looming large over other Naqshabandi saints of the Indian subcontinent is Khawaja Mir Dard who was one of the four pillars of Urdu poetic tradition and is acknowledged as the greatest mystical poet of Urdu language.
‘Alas O ignorant one:
at the day of death this will be proved:
A dream was what we saw, what we heard, a tale’
– Mir Dard
QADIRIYYAS: The Miracle performers
Ucch Sharif at Multan. Courtesy:Gilbert (NFIE)
The most popular Qadri saints in India are Bulle Shah (d.1768) and Sultan Bahu (d. 1691) in the north, and Hazrat Shahul Hameed Qadir Wali of Nagore in the south. Several karaamaat (miracles) are attributed to the founder as well as the early saints of this silsila. This silsila was established by Abdul Qadir Jilani (d. 1166) from Baghdad. He is known as the master of the Jinn. His influence extended from Turkey, to Baghdad and across West Africa to the Indian subcontinent. There are Sindhi songs describing his glory and ancient trees named after him. It is believed that one of his descendents – Muhammad Ghaus (d. 1517) established this order in the Indian subcontinent. He along with the first missionaries of this silsila settled in Ucch, north east of Multan (Punjab-Pakistan) in the late fifteenth century. From here this silsila spread to the rest of the Indian subcontinent, and even as far as Indonesia and Malaysia. Eminent Sufis of this silsial were Mian Mir (d. 1635) whose ancestors came from Siwistan in Sindh, his sister Bibi Jamal (d.1647 ), Mir’s disciple Molla Shah Badakshi (d. 1661), who was a scholar and writer of Sufi literature. Molla Shah initiated the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh(d.1659) and his elder sister Jahanara (d.1681) into this silsila.
Hazrat Shahul Hameed Qadir Wali’s dargah at Nagore in Tamil Nadu
Abdul-Haqq Dihlawi (d.1642) was among the influential Qadiriyya saints of Delhi. According to him the Qadiri principle of perfect life in the world was to follow the sharia laws and the jurists teachings and then the Sufi path. However the mystical aspect into this silsila was introduced by Mian Mir .