Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Masnavi Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi(r.a), Professor Tahir ul Qadri

Shaykh As'ad Saeed as-Sagharji (Syria)and Professor Tahir ul Qadri

Excellent Introduction to Masnavi of Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi in English by Shaykh ul Islam Professor Tahir ul Qadri,Patron in Chief Minhaj ul Quran International recorded at al-Hidayah
The Mathnawi of Maulana Jalaluddin Roomi (r.a) 1/28
Video Lectures 1--28 What is 'Al-Hidayah'?
Al-Hidayah is a movement which aims to bring about spiritual and educational renewal of individuals through the means of the Qur'an and the Way (Sunnah) of the beloved Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Through this renewal, individuals will be able to achieve balance and moderation in their personalities in order to live purposeful and wholesome lives in their societies as well as fulfil their primordial trust with their Creator.
Central to this renewal process is not only establishing a solid link with the Creator but also a state of intense love and reverence for His beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
Too often the younger generation, especially in the West, is exposed to shallow religious rhetoric in the guise of Islamic teachings, and Al-Hidayah aims to rectify this by organising gatherings in the company of Islamic scholars who follow in the classical tradition of Islam.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Daniel Abdal Hayy Moore's Poetry at Mawlid un Nabi Conference 2005, Chandle AZ

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore Reading Poetry at NFIE Mawlid un Nabi Conference 2005,Chandler,AZ
Video Part 9

Born in 1940 in Oakland, California, his first book of poems, Dawn Visions, was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books, San Francisco, in 1964. In 1972 his second book, Burnt Heart, Ode to the War Dead, was also published by City Lights. He was the winner of the Ina Coolbrith Award for poetry and the James D. Phelan Award for the manuscript of poems in progress that became Dawn Visions. From 1966 to 1969, Mr. Moore wrote and directed ritual theatre for his Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company in Berkeley, California.
When he became a Muslim in 1970, he took the name Abd al-Hayy, and began traveling extensively in Europe and North Africa (Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote of this period: “Moore [became] a Sufi and, like Rimbaud, renounced written poetry.”). After ten years of not writing, however, Moore “renounced” his renunciation and published three books of poetry in Santa Barbara, California in the 1980's, The Desert is the Only Way Out, The Chronicles of Akhira, and Halley's Comet. He also organized poetry readings for the Santa Barbara Arts Festivals and wrote the libretto for a commissioned oratorio by American composer, Henry Brant, entitled Rainforest, which had its world premiere at the Arts Festival there on April 21, 1989.
In 1990 Mr. Moore moved with his family to Philadelphia, where he continues to write and read his work publicly. He has received commissions for two prose books with Running Press of that city, the best selling The Zen Rock Garden and a men’s movement anthology, Warrior Wisdom; his commissioned book for The Little Box of Zen was published in 2001 by Larry Teacher Books. Daniel Moore's poems (sometimes under the name Abd al-Hayy Moore) have appeared in such magazines as Zyzzva, the City Lights Review, and The Nation. He has read his poetry to 40,000 people at the United Nations in New York at a rally for the people of Bosnia during that war, and has participated in numerous conferences and conventions at universities (including Bryn Mawr, The University of Chicago and Duke University in 1998, the American University at Cairo, Egypt, in 1999, and the University of Arkansas in the year 2000). His book The Ramadan Sonnets, co-published by Kitab and City Lights Books, appeared in 1996, and his book of poems, The Blind Beekeeper, distributed by Syracuse University Press, in January of 2002. To date (2004), he has over 50 manuscripts of poetry which make up his present body of work.
In March of the year 2000, and October of 2001, Mr. Moore collaborated with the Lotus Music and Dance Studio of New York, performing the poetic narration he wrote for their multicultural dance performance of The New York Ramayana, and recently revived his own theatrical project in The Floating Lotus Magic Puppet Theater, presenting The Mystical Romance of Layla & Majnun with live-action and hand-puppets. He wrote the scenario and poetic narration and directed a collaboration between traditional Mohawk and modern dancers for The Eagle Dance: A Tribute to the Mohawk High Steel Workers, which was to be presented in New York on September 22, 2001, postponed for a performance on March 16, 2002 at the Aaron Davis Hall in Harlem. He has participated in The People’s Poetry Gathering of New York, narrating a cabaret version of The New York Ramayana at the Bowery Poetry Club and participating in a panel on The Poet in The World: Words in Community. He continues to give many public readings during the year, often accompanying himself on specially tuned zithers.

"Inner and Outer Aspects of Sunnah" Professor Arthur Buehler

"Inner and Outer Aspects of Sunnah" Professor Arthur Buehler,Lecture delivered at NFIE International Mawlid un Nabi conference,Chicago.(Video Part 2 starts with translation of Shaykh Masum's Keynote Address & then Dr.Buehler's Lecture)

Professor Arthur Buehler
PhD (Harvard University)Senior Lecturer ,Victoria University of Wellington,NZ
Art Buehler, a scholar of transregional sufi networks and the transmission of Islamic revivalist ideas, is senior editor of the Journal of the History of Sufism. He began his career teaching Arabic in Yemen for the British Council. After five years in the Arab world he entered the History of Religions Program at Harvard University specialising in South Asian Islam under the tutelage of the late Annemarie Schimmel. His subsequent two books are the result of four years of fieldwork in Indo-Pakistan.
Current Research Projects
The Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya sufi lineage
Ahmad Sirhindi (d. 1624 in Sirhind northern India) is the founder figure and renewer (mujaddid) of a transnational sufi lineage, the Naqshbandiyya, named after Baha’uddin Naqshband (d. 1389 near Bukhara, Uzbekistan), the patron saint of Uzbekistan. Presently Art is working on translating a book-length portion of Ahmad Sirhindi’s Collected Letters from the Persian and Arabic into English.
Sufi studies in general
Sufism does not always translate easily into the problematic category of “mysticism.” The focus in Art's research is on the mechanisms and directions occurring in the transformation of Sufi activities, whether spiritual or political, from pre-modern to modern societies, or from modern to post-modern societies.
Contemplative/transformative practices
Our knowledge of these practices runs something like this (as said by Baker roshi of San Francisco) – “Enlightenment is an accident and meditation just makes one accident prone.” Scholars should be able to do better than this.
Selected Publications
Sufi Heirs of the Prophet: The Indian Naqshbandiyya and the Rise of the Mediating Sufi Shaykh, Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1998 (with a Foreword by Annemarie Schimmel)- explores the sources of authority in Islamic societies, Naqshbandi contemplative practices in detail, and the historical transformation of the Naqshbandi sufi lineage in the modern period
Analytical Indexes for the Collected Letters of Ahmad Sirhindi [in Persian], Lahore: Iqbal Academy, 2001- enables scholars reading Persian to find connecting threads in the 536 letters of Sirhindi’s Collected Letters
"What is the Primary Social Responsibility of Sufis in the Modern World?" Paper given at the International Association of Sufism conference in Philadelphia, PA USA 20 May 2007.

Purification of the Heart:Shaykh Muhammad Masum Naqshbandi (r.a)

"Purification of the Heart" Keynote Address delivered at International Mawlid un Nabi Conference,Chicago. in Persian,Translation by Professor Arthur Buehler,University of Victoria,Wellington,NZ

Shaykh Muhammad Ma'sum Naqshbandi(rahmat Allah alayhi)-d.2007
Eminent Shaykh of the Naqshbandiya Tariqa and Islamic Scholar from Kurdistan. Shaykh Muhammad Masum (ra), grandson of renowned Shaykh 'Umar Ziauddin (ra), was the last of his Naqshbandi spiritual sublineage. He was born in Biyara, Iraq, and completed his Islamic theological study under the guidance of renowned scholars Upon completion of his studies, he was granted the permission to serve both as a guide and teacher in both the Qadiri and Naqshbandi Sufi lineages by his renowned uncle, Shaykh Ala'uddin Naqshbandi, the last of the great masters (khwajagan) mentioned in the Naqshbandi litany, Khatm-i khwajagan. In the 1940's Shaykh Muhammad Masum (ra) was granted an official teaching certificate in the Islamic religious sciences from the Iraqi Ministry of Awqaf.
Shaykh Muhammad Masum (ra) spent the major part of his life in the city of Mahabad, Iran, and left Iran at the time of the 1979 Iranian revolution. After going to Europe and Iraq, he eventually migrated to the United States in 1991. There he continued to inspire, educate, and inform people about the universal message of Islam to the end of his days as an esteemed spiritual guide. Shaykh Muhammad Masum (ra) was the spiritual guide of the Naqshbandiyya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) for several years. As a highly influential spiritual guide and Islamic scholar renowned for his depth of spiritual wisdom, Shaykh Muhammad Masum (ra) radiated a sincere, humble, and uncompromising piety like that of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This extraordinary, yet down-to-earth man transformed the lives of people meeting him for over six decades. He himself was the living example of the hadith saying, "The learned scholars of my community are the heirs of the prophets." Shaykh Muhammad Masum (ra), left this world one year ago, leaving his loved ones and followers with a vacant place that cannot be filled. He was an exceptional spiritual figure who faithfully trod the path of his forefathers, who in turn upheld the highest principles in the most difficult of circumstances. This is a legacy that has continued for over a thousand years and which has transformed the lives of many. In this present age there seem to be very few who can match the impeccable faith in God, undisputed moral virtue, and depth of spiritual wisdom that their exemplary forefathers have embodied. May Allah bless us with the knowledge and ability to follow the path with a faithful adherence to the Sunna of our beloved Prophet (pbuh). All praise is due to Allah alone. Peace and blessings be on our Prophet, Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), his family, and companions.
Shaykh Masum's Naqshbandi Lineage:
Shaykh Muhammad Masum Diyai Naqshbandi (d. 2007)
Shaykh Jamil Naqshbandi (d. 1931)
Umar Diya al-Din (d. 1901)
Muhammad Baha al-Din (d. 1873)
Uthman Siraj al-Din (d. 1868)
Mawlana Khalid (d. 1827)
Abdallah (Shah Ghulam Ali) al-Dihlawi (d. 1824)
Shams al-Din Habib Allah (Mirza Mazhar) Jan Janan (d. 1781)
al-Sayyid Nur Muhammad al-Badauni (d. 1723)
al-Sayyid Muhammad Sayf al-Din (d.1684)
Muhammad Masum (d.1668)
al-Imam al-Rabbani al-Shaykh Ahmad al-Faruqi ( d. 1624).

"Supersession and Intercession: Why Humanity Needs Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihi Wa Sallam)

KEYNOTE ADDRESS at NFIE International Milad-un-Nabi Confrence 1998 ,Chicago

"Supersession and Intercession: Why Humanity Needs Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihi Wa Sallam)." By Dr. Abd-al Hakim Murad (TJ Winter),

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad
Born Timothy J. Winter in 1960, Abdal Hakim studied at the prestigious Westminster School in London, UK and later at the University of Cambridge, where he graduated with first class honours in Arabic in 1983. He then lived in Cairo for three years, studying Islam under traditional teachers at Al-Azhar, one of the oldest universities in the world. He went on to reside for three years in Jeddah, where he administered a commercial translation office and maintained close contact with Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad and other ulama from Hadramaut, Yemen.
In 1989, Sheikh Abdal Hakim returned to England and spent two years at the University of London learning Turkish and Farsi. Since 1992 he has been a doctoral student at Oxford University, specializing in the religious life of the early Ottoman Empire. In 1996, he was appointed University Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge.
Sheikh Abdal Hakim is the translator of a number of works, including two volumes from Imam al-Ghazali Ihya Ulum al-Din. He gives durus and halaqas from time to time and taught the works of Imam al-Ghazali at the Winter 1995 Deen Intensive Program in New Haven, CT. He appears frequently on BBC Radio and writes occasionally for a number of publications including The Independent and Q-News International, Britain's premier Muslim Magazine.
He lives with his wife and children in Cambridge, UK.

Sufism (Tasawwuf) and Problems of the Modern World. Professor Sulayman S.Nyang

"Sufism (Tasawwuf) and Problems of the Modern World"
Lecture delivered at NFIE International Mawlid un Nabi Conference 1998,Chicago

Professor Sulayman S. Nyang,
Sulayman Nyang teaches at Howard University in Washington, D.C. where he serves as Professor of African Studies. From 1975 to 1978 he served as Deputy Ambassador and Head of Chancery of the Gambia Embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Following his diplomatic stint, he immigrated to the United States and returned to academic life at Howard University, where he later assumed the position of department chair from 1986 to 1993. He also serves as co-director of Muslims in the American Public Square, a research project funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Professor Nyang has served as consultant to several national and international agencies. He has served on the boards of the African Studies Association, the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies and the Association of Muslim Social Scientists. He is listed on the editorial boards of several national and international scholarly journals. He has lectured on college campuses in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Professor Nyang has written extensively on Islamic, African and Middle Eastern affairs. His latest book, Islam in America, is scheduled to appear this fall. His best known works are Islam, Christianity and African Identity (1984), A Line in the Sand: Saudi Arabia�s Role in the Gulf War (1995), co-authored with Evan Heindricks, and Religious Plurality in Africa, co-edited with Jacob Olupona. Professor Nyang has also contributed over a dozen chapters in books edited by colleagues writing on Islamic, African and Middle Eastern subjects. His numerous scholarly pieces have appeared in African, American, European and Asian journals.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Prophet of Islam as "The Living Quran".saws. Professor Vincent Cornell

Prophet of Islam as "The Living Quran" saws

Video Part 1

Video Part 2

Video Part 3

Video Part 4

Video Part 5

Video Part 6

Lecture delivered at NFIE International Mawlid un Nabi Conference Chicago
Vincent Cornell is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1989. Professor Cornell has taught at Northwestern University (2 years), the University of Georgia (1 year), Duke University (9 years), and most recently the University of Arkansas, where for the past six years he served as Professor of History and Director of the King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies. He has lived and worked in Morocco for nearly six years, and has spent considerable time both teaching and doing research in Egypt, Tunisia, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Professor Cornell's pre-modern interests cover the entire spectrum of Islamic thought from Sufism to philosophy and Islamic law. He has published three books: The Book of the Glory of the Black Race: al-Jahiz’s Kitab Fakhr as-Sudan 'ala al-Bidan (Waddington, New York: The Phyllis Preston Collection, 1981) , a translation of a short treatise on the virtues of the blacks over the whites by the premier Arabic literary figure of the ninth century C. E.; The Way of Abu Madyan: Doctrinal and Poetic Works of Abu Madyan Shu'ayb ibn al-Husayn al-Ansari(ca. 509/1115-16— 594/1198) (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1996), the first detailed study of a highly influential Sufi of the western Islamic mystical tradition; and Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism (Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1998), the first study of Muslim sainthood utilizing the methodology of the sociology of sainthood, and the first detailed historical study of the Moroccan Sufi tradition.
Professor Cornell has also published a number of journal articles and book chapters, including most recently "Ibn Battuta's Opportunism: the Networks and Loyalties of a Medieval Muslim Scholar," in Miriam Cooke and Bruce B. Lawrence, Editors, Muslim Networks from Hajj to Hip Hop (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2005); "Practical Sufism: An Akbarian Foundation for a Liberal Theology of Difference," in Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society (Vol. 36, 2004); and "Listening to God through the Qur'an," in Michael Ipgrave, Editor, Scriptures in Dialogue: Christians and Muslims Studying the Bible and the Qur'an Together (London: Church House Publishing [Archbishop's Council, Church of England], 2004). He is currently working on Voices of Islam, a five volume set which he is editing for Praeger Press due out in 1996, as well as a book length monograph of the North African Sufi Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili, a work on Hermetic philosophy in Islamic Spain, and a history of Islamic moral philosophy.

Islam and the New Millennium:Abdal Hakim Murad

Islam and the New Millennium© Abdal-Hakim Murad
Video Part 1 (NFIE International Mawlid un Nabi Conference,Chicago)
Video Part 2
Video Part 3
Video Part 4
Video Part 5
Video Part 6

Whoever is not thankful for gracesruns the risk of losing them;and whoever is thankful,fetters them with their own cords.(Ibn Ata'illah, Kitab al-Hikam)
'Islam and the New Millennium' - rather a grandiose subject for an essay, and one which, for Muslims, requires at least two caveats before we can even begin.
Firstly, the New Millennium - the Year 2000 - is not our millennium. Regrettably, most Muslim countries nowadays use the Christian calendar devised by Pope Gregory the Great, and not a few are planning celebrations of some kind. Many confused and secularised people in Muslim countries are already expressing a good deal of excitement: in Turkey, there is even a weekly magazine called Iki Bin'e Dogru(Straight to 2000). This semi-hysteria should be of little interest to us: as Muslims we have our own calendar. The year 2000 will in fact begin during the year 1420 of the Hijra. So why notice the occasion at all? Isn't this just another example of annoying and irrelevant Western influence?
This point becomes still sharper when we remember that according to most modern scholars, Jesus (a.s.) was in fact born in the year 4 B.C. Thus 1996, not 2000, marked the second millennium of his advent. The celebrations in two years time will in fact mark an entirely meaningless date: a postmodern festival indeed.
The second, more imponderable reservation, concerns our ability to speak reliably about the future at all. In this paper I propose to speculate about the directions which Islam may take following the great and much-hyped anniversary. But the theological question is a sharp one: can we do this in a halal way? The future is in the ghayb, the Unseen; it is known only to Allah. And it may well be that the human race will not reach the year 2000 at all. Allah is quite capable of winding the whole show up before then. The hadith of Jibril describes how the angel came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) asking when the Day of Judgement would come, and he only replied, 'The one questioned knows no more of it than the questioner.' But as the Holy Qur'an puts it, 'the very heavens are bursting with it.' It may well be tomorrow.
Apocalyptic expectations are not new in Islamic history: they appeared, for instance, in connection with the Islamic millennium. Imam al-Suyuti, the greatest scholar of medieval Egypt, was concerned about the nervous expectations many Muslims had about the year 1000 of the hijra. Would it herald the end of the world, as many thought?
Imam al-Suyuti allayed these fears by examining all the hadith he could find about the lifetime of this Umma. He wrote a short book which he called al-Kashf an mujawazat hadhihi al-umma al-Alf ('Proof that this Umma will survive the millenium'). He concluded that there was no evidence that the first millenium of Islam would end human history. But rather soberingly for our generation, he speculates that the hadiths at his disposal indicate that the signs which will usher in the return of Isa (a.s.), and the Antichrist (al-Masih al-Dajjal), are most likely to appear in the fifteenth Islamic century; in other words, our own.
But all these speculations were submissive to the Imam's deep Islamic awareness that knowledge of the future is with Allah; and only Prophets can prophesy.
What I shall be doing in the pages that follow, then, is not forecast, but extrapolate. Allah ta'ala is capable of changing the course of history utterly, through some natural disaster, or a series of disastrous wars. He can even end history for good. If that happens in the next three years, then my forecasts will be worthless. All I am doing is, in a sense, to talk about the present, inasmuch as present trends, uninterrupted by catastrophe, seem set to continue in the coming few years and decades.
Why is it useful to reflect on these trends? Because I think we all recognise that the Muslims have responded badly and largely unsuccessfully to the challenges of the twentieth century; in fact, of the last three centuries. Faced with the triumph of the West, we have not been able to work out which changes are inevitable, and which can be resisted.
For instance, in the early nineteenth century the Ottoman empire lost a series of disastrous wars against Russia. The main reason was the superior discipline and equipment maintained by modern European armies. But the ulema, and the janissary troops, resisted any change. They believed that battles were won by faith, and that firearms and parade grounds diminished the virtue of futuwwa, the chivalric, almost Samurai-like code of the individual Muslim warrior. To shoot at an enemy from a distance rather than look him in the eye and fight with a sword was seen as a form of cowardice. Hence the Ottoman army continued to sustain defeat after defeat at the hands of its better-equipped Christian enemies.
Another case in point was the controversy over printing. Until the eighteenth century a majority of ulema believed that printing was haram. A text, particularly one dealing with religion, was something numinous and holy, to be created slowly and lovingly through the traditional calligraphic and bookbinding crafts. A ready availability of identical books, the scholars thought, would cheapen Islamic learning, and also make students lazy about committing ideas and texts to memory. Further, it was thought that the process of stamping and pressing pages was disrespectful to texts which might contain the name of the Source of all being.
It took a Hungarian convert to Islam, Ibrahim Muteferrika, to change all this. Muteferrika obtained the Ottoman Caliph's permission to print secular and scientific books, and in 1720 he opened Islam's first printing press in Istanbul. Muteferrika was a sincere convert, describing his background and religious beliefs in a book which he called Risale-yi Islamiyye. He was also very concerned with the technical and administrative backwardness of the Ottoman empire. Hence he wrote a book entitled Usul al-Hikam fi Nizam al-Umam, and published it himself in 1731. In this book he describes the governments and military systems prevailing in Europe, and told the Ottoman elite that independent Muslim states could only survive if they borrowed not only military technology, but also selectively from European styles of administration and scientific knowledge.
Ibrahim Muteferrika's warnings about the rise of European civilisation were slowly heeded, and the Ottoman state set about the controversial business of modernizing itself, while attempting to preserve what was essential to its Islamic identity.
Muteferrika's story reminds us that unless Muslims are conscious of the global trends of their age, they will continue to be losers. My own experience of Muslims has suggested that we are endlessly fascinated by short-term political issues, but are largely ignorant of the larger tendencies of which these issues are simply the passing manifestations.
This ignorance can sometimes be astonishing. How many leaders in the Islamic world are really familiar with the ideas which underpin modernity? I have met some leaders of activist factions, and have been consistently shocked by their lack of knowledge. How many can even name the principal intellectual systems of our time? Structuralism, post-modernism, realism, analytic philosophy, critical theory, and all the rest are closed books to them. Instead they burble on about the 'International Zionist Masonic Conspiracy', or 'Baha'ism', or the 'New Crusader Invasion', or similar phantasms. If we want to understand why so many Islamic movements fail, we should perhaps begin by acknowledging that their leaders simply do not have the intellectual grasp of the modern world which is the precondition for successfully overcoming the obstacles to Islamic governance. A Muslim activist who does not understand the ideologies of modernism can hardly hope to overcome them.
A no less lamentable ignorance prevails when it comes to non-ideological trends in the late twentieth century, and which are likely to prevail in the new millennium. And hence I make no apologies for discussing them in this paper. Like Ibrahim Mutefarrika three centuries ago, I am concerned to alert Muslims to the realities which are taking shape around them, and which are moulding a world in which their traditional discourse will have no application whatsoever. It is suicidal to assume that we will be insulated from these realities. Increasingly, we live in one world, thanks to a mono-culturising process which is accelerating all the time. There is a mosque in Belfast now, and there is also a branch of MacDonalds in Mecca. We may be confident in our faith and assumptions, but what of many of our young people? What happens to the young Muslim student at an American university? He learns about post-modernism and post-structuralism, and that these are the ideologies of profound influence in the modern West. He asks the Islamic activist leaders how to disprove them, and of course they cannot. So he grows confused, and his confidence in Islam as a timeless truth is shaken. Under such conditions, only the less intelligent will remain Muslim: a filtering process which is already painfully evident in some activist circles.
It is, therefore, an obligation, a farida, to understand the processes which are under way around us.
To summarise the leading trends of our age is beyond the ambitions of this short paper. I will focus, therefore, on just a few representative issues, not because I can deal with them fully, but simply to suggest the nature of the challenges for which the Umma should prepare over the next few decades. These three issues are: demography, religious change, and the environment.
Let me deal with the demographic issue first, because in a sense it is the most inexorable. Population trends are easily extrapolated, and the statistics are abundant for the past hundred years at least. Projections are reliable unless catastrophe supervenes: epidemics, for instance, or destructive wars. I will assume that neither of these things will assume sufficient proportions to affect the general picture.
Here are some figures taken from D. Barrett's World Christian Encyclopedia, published by Oxford University Press in 1982. I will set them out in text rather than tabular form, in case the format does not survive Web downloading.
In 1900, 26.9% of the world's population was Western Christian, while Islam accounted for 12.4%. In 1980 the figures were 30% and 16.5% respectively. The projection for 2000 is 29.9% and 19.2%. Percentages for other religions are fairly static, and since 1970 the total of atheists has, surprisingly perhaps, experienced a slow decline.
These figures are of considerable significance. Over the course of this century, the absolute proportion of Muslims in the world has jumped by a quite staggering amount. This has come about partly through conversion, but more significantly through natural increase. And the demographic bulge in the modern Muslim world means that this growth will continue. Here, for instance, is the forecast of Samuel Huntington in his new and resolutely Islamophobic book The Clash of Civilizations (pp.65-6):
"The percentage of Christians in the world peaked at about 30 percent in the 1980s, leveled off, is now declining, and will probably approximate about 25% of the world's population by 2025. As a result of their extremely high rates of population growth, the proportion of Muslims in the world will continue to increase dramatically, amounting to 20 percent of the world's population about the turn of the century, surpassing the number of Christians some years later, and probably accounting for about 30 percent of the world's population by 2025." It is not hard to see why this is happening. America and Europe have increasingly aging populations. In fact, one of the greatest social arguments of the new millennium will concern the proper means of disposing of the elderly. Medical advances ensure an average lifetime in the high seventies. However active lifetimes have not grown so fast. At the turn of the century, a Westerner could expect to spend an average of the last two years of life as an invalid. Today, the figure is seven years. As Ivan Illich has shown, medicine prolongs life, but does not prolong mobility nearly as well. These ageing populations with their healthcare costs are an increasing socio-economic burden. The UK Department of Health recently announced that a new prescription drug for Alzheimer's Disease is available on the National Health Service - but its cost means that it is only available to a selected minority of patients.
In the West's population is top-heavy, that of Islam is the opposite. Today, more than half the population of Algeria, for example, is under the age of twenty, and the situation is comparable elsewhere. These young populations will reproduce, and perpetuate the percentage increase of Muslims well into the next millennium.
Hence, to take an example, in the Maghrib between 1965 and 1990, the population rose from 29.8 million to 59 million. During the same period, the number of Egyptians increased from 29.4 million to 52.4 million. In Central Asia, between 1970 and 1993, populations grew at annual rates of 2.9 percent in Tajikistan, 2.6 percent in Uzbekistan, 2.5 percent in Turkmenistan, and 1.9 percent in Kyrgyzia. In the 1970s, the demographic balance in the Soviet Union shifted drastically, with Muslims increasing by 24 percent while Russians increased by only 6.5 percent. Almost certainly this is one reason why the Russian empire collapsed: Moscow had to detach its Muslim areas before their numbers encouraged them to dominate the system. Even in Russia itself, Muslims (Tatars, Bashkirs, and Chuvash, as well as immigrants) are very visible, accounting for over 10 percent of the populations of both Moscow and St Petersburg.
This reminds us that the increase in the Muslim heartlands will have a significant impact in Muslim minority areas as well. In some countries, such as Tanzania and Macedonia, the Muslims will become a majority within twenty years. Largely through immigration, the Muslim population of the United States grew sixfold between 1972 and 1990. And even in countries where immigration has been suppressed, the growth continues. Last year, seven percent of babies born in European Union countries were Muslims. In Brussels, the figure was a staggering 57 percent. Islam is already the second religion of almost every European state - the only exceptions being those European countries such as Azerbaijan and Albania where it is the majority religion. If current trends continue, then an overall ten percent of European nationals will be Muslim by the year 2020.
What is the significance of this global change? Does it in fact entail anything at all? After all, there is a famous hadith narrated by Abu Daud on the authority of Thawban, which says that the day will come when the Muslims will be numerous, but will be like froth and flotsam (ghutha') carried along by a flash-flood.
It is true that sheer weight of numbers counts for much less today than it did, say, a couple of hundred years ago, when military victories depended as much on numbers as on technology. Napoleon could say that 'God is on the side of the larger battalions' - but nowadays, when huge numbers of soldiers can be eliminated by push-button weapons, this is no longer the case; a fact demonstrated by Saddam Hussein's hopeless and absurd defiance during the recent conflict over Gulf oil supplies.
The rapid increase in Muslim numbers does, however, have important entailments. But for this, the UN would not have chosen Cairo, the world's largest Muslim city, as the site of its 1994 Population Conference. There is still some safety in numbers. But more significant than mere numbers is the psycho-dynamic of population profiles. Aging populations become introspective and flaccid. Young populations are more likely to be energetic, and encourage national political assertiveness.
The new millennium will dawn over a Muslim world with disproportionately young populations. Moreover, these populations will be increasingly urban. And such situations historically have always bred instability, turmoil, and reform. One explanation for the Protestant reformation in Europe is based on the preponderance of young people in urban sixteenth-century Germany, the result of new agricultural and political arrangements. The growth of fascism in Central Europe in the 1930s is also attributed in part to the growth in the number of young people. And in Islamic history, one thinks of the example of the Jelali rebellions in the sixteenth and seventh century: once the great Ottoman conquests had ceased, the young men who would have been occupied in the army found themselves at a loose end, and launched a variety of sectarian or social protest movements that devastated large areas of Anatolia.
The Islamic revival over the past few years has faithfully reflected this trend. One of the first Muslim countries to reach a peak proportion of youth was Iran, in the late 1970s (around 22% of the population), and the revolution occurred in 1979. In other countries the peak was reached rather later: in Algeria this proportion was reached in 1989, just when the FIS was winning its greatest support.
Following the millennium, this youth bulge will continue in many Muslim societies. The number of people in their early twenties will increase in Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and several other countries. As compared to 1990, in the year 2010 entrants to the jobs market will increase by about 50% in most Arab lands. The unemployment problem, already acute, will become intolerable.
This rapid growth is likely to render some states difficult to govern. The bunker regimes in Cairo and Algiers are already confronting rebellions which have clear demographic as well as moral and religious dimensions. So the first probable image we have of the next millenium is: in the West, aging and static populations, with stable, introspective political cultures; and in the Islamic world, a population explosion, and established regimes everywhere under siege by radicals.
The next consideration has to be: will the bunker regimes survive? This is harder to comment upon, although many political scientists with an interest in the Islamic world have tried. Before the modern period, peasant revolts stood a good chance of success, because manpower could carry the day against the ruler's army. Today, however, advances in technology have made it possible for military regimes to survive indefinitely in the face of massive popular discontent. Spend enough money, and you can defeat even the most ingenious infiltrator or the most populous revolt. This technology is becoming cheaper, and is often supplied on a subsidised basis to the West's favoured clients in the Third World. Similarly, techniques of interrogation and torture are becoming far more refined, and have proved an effective weapon against underground movements in a variety of places.
Let me give you an example. Last year's Amnesty International report explains that in January 1995, the US government licenced the export to Saudi Arabia of a range of security equipment including the so-called 'taser' guns. 'These guns shoot darts into a victim over a distance of up to five metres before a 40-50,000 volt shock is administered. These weapons are prohibited in many countries, including the UK.
Another example, also documented by Amnesty, is the export in 1990 of a complete torture chamber by a UK company, which was installed in the police special branch headquarters in Dubai. This is known in the Emirates as the 'House of Fun'. The Amnesty report describes it as 'a specially constructed cell fitted with a terrifyingly loud sound system, a white-noise generator and synchronized strobe lights designed to pulse at a frequency that would cause severe distress.'
These are just two examples of the increasing sophistication of torture equipment now being supplied to the bunker regimes. One could add to this list the improving techniques of telecommunications surveillance.
But what about the Internet? Isn't the Internet the ultimate freedom machine, allowing the pervasion of all types of dissent, from anywhere in the world, to anywhere in the world?
At the moment the Internet is only available in a few Muslim countries. Already there are indications that monitoring of the phone lines which carry the signals is in progress. The centralizing nature of the Internet is in fact tailormade for intrusive regimes. A fairly straightforward programme on a mainframe computer logged on to the telephone net can inform the security forces instantaneously if a forbidden site is being accessed. Once that is established, investigation and arrest are a matter of course.
I believe that as technology improves, including ever more massive surveillance systems, it seems quite likely that the regimes will be able to suppress any amount of dissent, on one condition - that it does not spread to the armed forces. The Shah fell because his army turned against him, not because of the protests on the streets. But in Algeria the revolution has been suppressed, largely because the radicals think they can overwhelm a modern state without support from the armed forces.
The societies governed in this way are now experiencing severe traumas and cultural distortions. They are sometimes called 'pressure-cooker cultures'. The consequences for the human soul of being subjected to this kind of pressure are quite alarming, and already in the Muslim world we see manifestations of extreme behaviour which only a decade ago would have been unthinkable.
This is not the context for providing full details of the problem of 'extremism', or what traditional Islam would call ghuluww. But it is clearly a growing feature of our religious landscape, and I will have to deal with it in passing. In early Islam the movement known as Kharijism fought against the khalifa Ali for the sake of a utopian and purist vision of Muslim society. Today, tragically, the Khawarij are with us once more. I have in mind incidents such as the 1994 shooting in Omdurman, when Wahhabi activists opened fire on Friday worshippers in the Ansar al-Sunna mosque, killing fourteen. Ironically, the mosque was itself Salafi, but followed a form of Wahhabism that the activists did not consider sufficiently extreme.
In Algeria, too, throat-slittings and massacres of villagers, and fighting between rival groups, have transformed large areas of the country into a smoking ruin.
We sometimes like to dismiss these movements as marginal irrelevancies. However, the signs are that until the conditions which have bred them are removed, they will continue to grow. The mainstream Islamic movements are seen to have failed to achieve power, and desperate young people are turning to more radical alternatives. It is fairly clear that a growing polarisation of Muslim society, and of the Muslim conscience, will be a hallmark of the coming century.
What is the defining symptom of Kharijism? In a word, takfir. That is, declaring other Muslims to be beyond the pale, and hence worthy of death. This tendency was attacked vigorously by the ulema of high classical Islam. For instance, Imam al-Ghazali, in his book Faysal al-Tafriqa bayn al-Islam wa'l-Zandaqa explained that it is extremely difficult to declare anyone outside Islam for as long as they say La ilaha illa'Llah, Muhammadun rasulu'Llah. And today, Sunni schoolchildren in many countries still memorise creeds such as the Jawharat al-Tawhid of Imam al-Laqqani, which include lines like:
idh ja'izun ghufranu ghayri'l-kufri fa-la nukaffir mu'minan bi'l-wizri since forgiving what is not unbelief is possible, as we do not declare an unbeliever any believer on account of a sin.
wa-man yamut wa-lam yatub min dhanbihi fa-amruhu mufawwadun li-rabbihi Whoever dies and has not repented of his sin, his matter is turned over to his Lord. The legitimation of differences in fiqh was rooted in the understanding of ijtihad. And differences in spiritualities were justified by the Sufis in terms of the idea that al-turuq ila'Llah bi'adadi anfas al-khala'iq ('there are as many paths to God as there are human breaths'). As Ibn al-Banna', the great Sufi poet of Saragossa expressed it, ibaraatuna shatta wa-husnuka wahidun, wa-kullun ila dhak al-jamali yushiru ('our expressions differ, but Your beauty is one, and all are pointing towards that Beauty').
Diversity has always been a characteristic of Islamic cultures. It was only medieval Christian cultures which strove to suppress it. However, there is a growing tendency nowadays among Muslims to favour totalitarian forms of Islam. 'Everyone who disagrees with me is a sinner, cries the young activist, 'and is going to hell'.
This mentality recalls the Kharijite takfir, but to understand why it is growing in the modern umma, we have to understand not just the formal history, but the psychohistory of our situation. Religious movements are the expression not just of doctrines and scriptures, but also of the hopes and fears of human collectivities. In times of confidence, theologies tend to be broad and eirenic. But when the community of believers feels itself threatened, exclusivism is the frequent result. And never has the Umma felt more threatened than today.
Even in the UK, the takfir phenomenon is growing steadily. There are factions in our inner cities which believe that they are the only ones going to Heaven. 99% of people who call themselves Muslims are, in this distasteful insult to Allah's moral coherence, not Muslims at all.
We can understand this psychic state more easily when we recognise that it exists universally. Not just in Islam, but in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism, there is a conspicuous tendency towards factional excluvisism. In Christianity, one has to look no further than the Branch Davidians of David Koresh, 89 of whom died when their ranch in Texas was stormed by US troops three years ago. The Davidians believed that they were the sole true Christians - everyone else would burn in Hell.
In Japan, even the usually peaceful religion of Buddhism has been re-formed by this tendency. In early 1995, the Aum Shinrikyo sect released Sarin nerve gas onto the Tokyo underground system, killing eleven people and sending 5,500 to hospital. Their guru, Shoko Asahara, had for ten years been preaching the need to overthrow the corrupt order in Japan, and transform the country into the true Shambala. As he said, 'Our sphere shall extend throughout the nation, and foster the development of thousands of right-believing people.' In his book From Destruction to Emptiness he explains that only those who believe in authentic, pristine Buddism as taught by Aum can expect to survive the corruption and destruction of the world. Non-Aum Buddhists are not true Buddhists at all.
On the basis of this kind of takfir, he and his 12,000 followers bought a factory complex on the slopes of Mount Fuji, where they successfully manufactured nerve gas and the botulism virus. The sinners of Japan's un-Buddhist culture would be the first to suffer, they thought, but they also laid extensive plans for terrorist actions in North America. It is claimed that had the sect been allowed to operate for another six months, tens of thousands of people might have died from the sect's attacks in the United States, which was seen as the great non-Buddhist source of evil darkening the world.
It is important to note the close parallels between Aum Shinryo-kyo and the modern takfir groups in the Middle East. The diagnosis is the same: the pure religion has been ignored or distorted by an elite, and the process has been masterminded by Americans. Hence the need to retreat and disown society - the idea of Takfir wa'l-Hijra that informed Shukri Mustafa's group in late 1970s Egypt. In secretive inner circles, the saved elect gather to plan military-style actions against the system. They are indifferent to the sufferings of civilians - for they are apostates and deserve death anyway. Such attacks will prefigure, in some rather vague and optimistic fashion, the coming to power of the true believers, and the suppression of all other interpretations of religion.
This idea of takfir wa'l-hijra is thus, in structural terms, a global phenomenon. Its members are usually educated, almost always having science rather than arts backgrounds. Technology is not disowned, but sedulously cultivated. Bomb-making becomes a disciplined form of worship.
I believe that this tendency, which has been fostered rather than eliminated by the repressiveness of the regimes, will grow in relative significance as we traverse the end of the century. It will continue to besmirch the name of Islam, by shooting tourists, or blowing up minor targets in pinprick attacks that strengthen rather than weaken the regimes. It will divide the Islamic movement, perhaps fatally. And it will provide the regimes with an excuse further to repress and marginalise religion in society.
The threat of neo-Khariji heresy is thus a real one. It will exist, however, against the backdrop of an even more worrying transformation. It is time now to look at the last of our three themes: the apparently disconnected subject of the degradation of the natural environment, one of the great neglected Islamic issues of our time - arguably even the most important of all.
There are a whole cluster of questions here. Clearly, as we leave the second millennium, the planet is in abjectly poor physical shape as compared to the year 1000. Materialism, enabled by Reformation notions of the world as fallen, and by protestant capitalistic ethics, has presided over the gang rape of Mother Earth. Everywhere the face of the planet is scarred. Megatons of tons of toxic waste are now circulating in the oceans, or hovering in the stratosphere. Hormone and plastics pollution has resulted in a 50% drop in male fertility in the UK. Every day, another 12 important species become extinct. Every form of life apart from our own, and perhaps domestic animals, has been decimated by the holocaust of modernity. The BSE disaster is a hint of what may be in store: Government analysts have confirmed that as many as 30,000 British people may contract Creuzfeld-Jakob disease as a result of eating contaminated beef. As technology advances, similar scientific blunders may well wipe out large sections of the human race.
But the most urgent and undeniable environmental issue which we carry with us into the new millennium is that of global warming. For a hundred years we have been pumping greenhouse gases into the skies, and are now beginning to realise that a price has to be paid. We need to focus close attention on this issue, not least because it will affect the Islamic countries far more radically than the West. Worryingly few people in the Muslim world seem interested in the question; and it is hence urgently necessary that we remind ourselves of the seriousness of the situation.
For years government scientists mocked the idea of global warming. But the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 revealed to an anxious world that the scientific facts were now so clear as to brook no argument. The world is heating up. The industrial gases in the atmosphere are turning our planet into a greenhouse, reflecting heat back in rather than allowing it to be dissipated into space.
Here in England, global warming is noticed even by the ordinary citizen. Temperature records go back over three hundred years, but the 10 hottest years have all occurred since 1945, and three of the five hottest (1989, 1990 and 1995), have been in the past decade. Water supply is equally erratic. January of 1997 was the driest for 200 years. Storms at sea have become so bad that the North Sea oil industry is now laying pipelines because the seas are too rough for tankers.
What are the exact figures? Surprisingly, they seem tiny. The rise in average temperature between 1990 and 2050 will be 1.5 degrees Centigrade, which appears negligible. But the temperature rise which 4000 years ago ended the last ice age was only 2 degrees Centigrade. Research has proved that the polar ice caps are already beginning to melt, which is why the sea level is now creeping up by five millimetres a year. In places like the North Norfolk coast the EU is spending millions of pounds on new concrete defences to keep the sea out. How long even the most elaborate defences can be maintained is not clear.
However, for the West, the bad news is mixed with good. Rising temperatures would probably be welcomed by most people. It will, in thirty years, be possible to grow oranges in some parts of southern England. Already, the types of seeds bought by farmers reflect the awareness that summers are warmer, and winters are dryer. But no great catastrophe seems to threaten.
What is the situation, however, in the Muslim world? At the Rio summit, many Islamic countries showed themselves indifferent in the issue. In fact, the countries which campaigned most strongly against environmental controls were often Muslim: the Gulf states, Brunei, Kazakhstan and others. The reason was that their economies depend on oil. Cut back emissions on Western roads, or switch electricity generating to sustainable sources like tidal or wind power, and those countries lose out.
There is still inadequate awareness in Muslim circles of the great climatic calamity that is looming in the next millennium. But just consider some precursors of the catastrophe that have already come about. In the Sahel countries of Africa - Chad, Mali and Niger, which have over 90% Muslim populations, rainfall is declining by ten percent every decade. The huge Sahara Desert is becoming ever huger, as it overwhelms marginal pasture and arable land on its southern fringes. The disastrous drought which recently afflicted the Sudan ended with catastrophic floods.
Any climatic map will show that agriculture in many Muslim countries is a marginal business. In Algeria, a further 15% decline in rainfall will eliminate most of the remaining farmland, sending further waves of migrants into the cities. A similar situation prevails in Morocco, where the worst drought in living memory ended only in 1995. The Yemen has suffered from the change in monsoon patterns in the Indian Ocean - another consequence of global warming. In Bangladesh the problem is not a shortage of water - it is too much of it. Floods are now normal every three or four years, largely because of deforestation in the Himalayas which limits soil retention of water.
Dr Norman Myers of Oxford University predicts that by 2050 'the rise in sea level and changes in agriculture will create 150m refugees. This includes 15m from Bangladesh, and 14m from Egypt.'
However, this figure does not include migrants generated by secondary consequences of climatic change. These huge waves of humanity will destabilise governments and produce wars. The modern nation-state does not facilitate migration: Bangladeshis before 1948 could move to other parts of India, but with Partition, they are stuck within their own borders. Epidemics, also, are likely to be widespread. Some island nations, such as the Maldives or the Comoros, will disappear completely beneath the waves, and their populations will have to be accommodated elsewhere.
Again, I repeat that these forecasts are not doomsday scenarios. Those are much worse. I merely cite the predictions of mainstream science, as set forth in European Union and UK Department of the Environment reports. It is true that measures are beginning to be taken to limit greenhouse gas emission. But even if no more gases were to be released into the skies at all, temperatures would continue to rise for at least a hundred years, because of the gases already circulating in the atmosphere.
Let me close with some reflections on the above three themes.
Are these developments on balance cause for optimism, or for disquiet? Well, we know that the Blessed Prophet (s) liked optimism. He also taught tawakkul - reliance upon Allah's good providence. However, he also taught that tying up our camels is a form of relying on Allah. So how should Muslims consider their options over the next few decades?
There are a number of issues here. Perhaps the most important is the cultivation of an informed leadership. I mentioned earlier that most Muslim leaders cannot provide the intellectual guidance needed to help intelligent young people deal with the challenges of today. Ask the average Muslim activist how to prove a post-modernist wrong, and he will not be able to help you very much. Our heads are buried in the ground. However, it is not only intellectual trends which we ignore. The environment, too, is an impending catastrophe which has not grabbed our attention at all. Perhaps our activists will still be choking out their rival rhetoric on the correct way to hold the hands during the Prayer, while they breath in the last mouthful of oxygen available in their countries. They seem wholly oblivious to the problem.
All this has to change. In my travels in the Islamic world, I found tremendous enthusiasm for Islam among young people, and a no less tremendous disappointment with the leadership. The traditional ulema have the courtesy and moderation which we need, but lack a certain dynamism; the radical faction leaders have fallen into the egotistic trap of exclusivism and takfir; while the mainstream revivalist leaders, frankly, are often irrelevant. Both ponderous and slightly insecure, trapped by an 'ideological' vision of Islam, they do not understand the complexity of today's world - and our brighter young people see this soon enough.
Institutions, therefore, urgently need to be established, to train young men and women both in traditional Shari'a disciplines, and in the cultural and intellectual language of today's world. Something like this has been done in the past: one thinks of the Nizamiyya madrasa in Baghdad where Ghazali taught, which encouraged knowledge not only of fiqh, but of philosophical theology in the Greek tradition. We need a new Ghazali today: a moderate, spiritually minded genius who can understand secular thought and refute it, not merely rant and rave about it.
The creation of a relevant leadership is thus the first priority. The second has to be the evolution of styles of da'wa that can operate despite the frankly improbable task of toppling the bunker regimes. The FIS declared war on the Algerian state, and has achieved nothing apart from turning much of the country into a battleground. Unless the military can be suborned, there is no chance of victory in such situations. Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and the rest are similar cases.
An alternative da'wa strategy already exists in a sense. In many of these countries, particularly in Egypt, the mainstream Ikhwan Muslimin operate a largescale welfare system, which serves to remind the masses of the superior ethical status of indigenous Islamic values. That model deserves to be expanded. But there is another option, which does not compete with it, but augments it. That is the model of da'wa activity to the West.
New Muslims like myself are grateful to Allah for the ni'ma of Islam - but we cannot say that we are grateful to the Umma. Islam is in its theology and its historical practice a missionary faith - one of the great missionary faiths, along with Christianity and Buddhism. And yet while Christianity and Buddhism are today brilliantly organised for conversion, Islam has no such operation, at least to my knowledge. Ballighu anni wa-law aya ('Convey my message, even though a single verse') is a Prophetic commandment that binds us all. It is a fard ayn, and a fard kifaya - and we are disobeying it on both counts.
Ten years ago a book appeared in France called D'Une foi l'autre, les conversions a l'Islam en Occident. The authors, both career journalists, carried out extensive interviews with new Muslims in Europe and America. Their conclusions are clear. Almost all educated converts to Islam come in through the door of Islamic spirituality. In the middle ages, the Sufi tariqas were the only effective engine of Islamisation in Muslim minority areas like Central Asia, India, black Africa and Java; and that pattern is maintained today.
Why should this be the case? Well, any new Muslim can tell you the answer. Westerners are in the first instance seeking not a moral path, or a political ideology, or a sense of special identity - these being the three commodities on offer among the established Islamic movements. They lack one thing, and they know it - the spiritual life. Thus, handing the average educated Westerner a book by Sayyid Qutb, for instance, or Mawdudi, is likely to have no effect, and may even provoke a revulsion. But hand him or her a collection of Islamic spiritual poetry, and the reaction will be immediately more positive. It is an extraordinary fact that the best-selling religious poet in modern America is our very own Jalal al-Din Rumi. Despite the immeasurably different time and place of his origin, he outsells every Christian religious poet.
Those who puzzle over the da'wa issue in the West generally refuse to take this on board. All too often they follow limited, ideological versions of Islam that are relevant only to their own cultural situation, and have no relevance to the problems of educated modern Westerners. We need to overcome this. We need to capitalise on the modern Western love of Islamic spirituality - and also of Islamic art and crafts. By doing so, we can reap a rich harvest, in sha' Allah. If the West is like a fortress, then we can approach it from its strongest place, by provoking it politically and militarily, as the absurd Saddam Hussein did; in which case we will bring yet more humiliation and destruction upon our people. Or we can find those areas of its defences which have become tumbledown and weak. Those are, essentially, areas of spirituality and aesthetics. Millions of young Westerners are dissatisfied both with the materialism of their world, and with the doctrines of Christianity, and are seeking refuge in New Age groups and cults. Those people should be natural recruits for Islam - and yet we ignore them.
Similarly, and for the same constituency, we need to emphasise Islam's vibrant theological response to the problem of conservation. The Qur'an is the richest of all the world's scriptures in its emphasis on the beauty of nature as a theophany - a mazhar - of the Divine names.
As a Western Muslim, who understands what moves and influences Westerners, I feel that by stressing these two issues, Islam is well-placed not merely to flourish, but to dominate the religious scene of the next century. Only Allah truly knows the future. But it seems to me that we are at a crossroads, of which the millennium is a useful, if accidental symbol. It will either be the watershed which marks the final collapse of Islam as an intellectually and spiritually rich tradition at ease with itself, as increasingly it presides over an overpopulated and undernourished zone of chaos. Or it will take stock, abandon the dead end of meaningless extremism, and begin to play its natural world role as a moral and spiritual exemplar.
As we look around ourselves today at the chaos and disintegration of the Umma, we may ask whether such a possibility is credible. But we are living through times when the future is genuinely negotiable in an almost unprecedented way. Ideologies which formerly obstructed or persecuted Islam, like extreme Christianity, nationalism and Communism, are withering. Ernest Gellner, the Cambridge anthropologist has described Islam as 'the last religion' - the last in the sense of truly believing its scriptural narratives to be normative.
If we have the confidence to believe that what we have inherited or chosen is indeed absolute truth, then optimism would seem quite reasonable. And I am optimistic. If Islam and the Muslims can keep their nerve, and not follow the secularising course mapped out for them by their rivals, or travel the blind alley of extremism, then they will indeed dominate the world, as once they did. And, we may I think quite reasonably hope, they will once again affirm without the ambiguity of worldly failure, the timeless and challenging words, wa kalimatuLlahi hiya al-ulya - 'and the word of God is supreme'.
This essay is based on a lecture given at the Belfast Central Mosque in March 1997.

Tawhid & Risala, Dr.Arthur Buehler

Tawhid and Risala: Two inseparable aspects in Submitting to Allah
Professor Arthur Buehler,University of Victoria,Wellington,NZ
(Presented at NFIE Mawlid un Nabi Conference 1998,Chicago)

We seek refuge in Allah the one and only sustainer. We seek refuge in Allah from ourselves from our anger our hastiness, selfishness, pettiness our differences . We seek refuge in Allah from our desires, from our self-righteousness, from anything other than God, and we say b-ism-Allah ar-rahman ar-rahim in the name of God who is mercy compassion and love. The love within all love the one who is seeing in everything that sees; one who is knowing in everything knows; the only life living in everything alive, One who is love beyond all limitation.
Yet every cell in our body says I. Every thought centers on a self-centered script. Paraphrasing a prophetic hadith, No one can call him or herself a muslim unless one is concerned with the needs of others like they were one’s own needs. When one exits the program that is centered on self one not only gets closer to God but to the rest of creation. The boundary between you and me, I and God, dissolves in the Oneness of Allah, the declaration of which is often called tawhid. What separates us from God also separates us from other human beings.
Let’s see how the Kalima or shahada [La ilaha ila Allah wa Muhammadun rasulullah] relates to this. There is a deliberate tension in the first part of the shahada: La ilaha and ila Allah:
La Ilaha – our ideas even true ideas, personalities or identities, experiences, even spiritual experiences, all are not God. Everything I am saying and you are thinking, this room, is not God. The Ila Allah – love, compassion and patience, are a few of His attributes. People say Allahu akbar as if he is a Power beyond all other powers. In a sense this is true, yet He is the only power, He is the only cause, genderless, endless, beyond all qualification. He has given these attributes as gifts for people to follow the way but is beyond all this.
The process of moving from la ilaha to ila Allah, in a sense, is the process of submitting what is not-God to God. This is how one becomes closer to God, becoming a muslim. In God’s divine mercy we are permitted as a creature of His to know Him as infinite love to the extent that we become that love. Samnun, a tenth-century sufi living in Baghdad, exclaimed: "A thing can be explained only by something that is subtler than itself. There is nothing subtler than love – by what, then shall love be explained?
So how do we become close to God? If we take a step toward Allah He comes to us at least ten steps for every step we take toward Him. How do we take one of these steps ? Muhammad [S]is the model for how to take those steps. Following his model is following the prophetic sunna. We have come here today to honor the last in the long line of human prophets [S]. He is the model that shows us how to differentiate and transform ourselves, to move from the la ilaha and to realize the ila Allah. One can eliminate the veils between the ego and God. This can be done! Muhammad is the example, as all the other prophets and their heirs, so we can know that each person can be perfected. The la ilaha, the multiplicity of the universe, is the school we attend so that we can come to experience the oneness of Reality, ila Allah. Muhammad [S] is our teacher and guide in this school. The totality of the negation, the affirmation and the means between the negation and affirmation is beautifully expressed in the shahada: La ilaha ila Allah wa-Muhammad rasul Allah. Thus the school, the goal, and the teacher.
But Muhammad [S] is not in a human body to easily guide us, although some are fortunate enough to have his disembodied guidance in dreams. There are prophetic hadith but which one of these thousands of sayings and examples applies to our situation? The ego and the intellect are very sly. Most of us need to rely on an heir of the Prophet, a pious individual, often called a sufi or a pious religious scholar who is qualified to monitor the manifold ego games that people play. These individuals have gone on an inner mystical journey analogous to the Prophetic ascension. Abu Yazid al-Bistami complained, "`O God, with my egoism there is no way to You nor is there [any way] I can escape from egoism. What should I do?' God replied, `O Abu Yazid your deliverance from your ego [will result from] following My beloved [Muhammad]. Anoint your eyes with the dust of his feet and follow him continually.'. . . Sufis call this Bayazid's ascension (mi`raj), meaning [his] proximity [to God]. The ascension of prophets manifests outwardly with the [physical] body while that of the friends of God manifests as an inward journey of the spirit. The bodies of the prophets resemble the hearts of God's protégés in their purity and nearness [to God]."
From a sufi point of view, a believer without a personal guide runs the risk of never progressing past the stage of belief (iman) to become a muslim, i.e., a person who has submitted his or her ego to God. The situation is similar to Iblis who, believing himself to be superior to a being of clay, refused to bow down to Adam (Q. 38:71-85). This would be equivalent to accepting the first half of the Muslim profession of faith, "There is no god but God," without also fully accepting the second half, "and Muhammad Is His messenger." Identifying only with the transcendental aspect of Islam, as Iblis did, makes one susceptible to the danger of pride. The human capacity for self-deception is such that people could easily think they were good Muslims on the basis of their love for an invisible, distant, and impersonal God and their fulfillment of ritual obligations. It is precisely this tendency, "Iblisian Tawhid," of deviating from the teaching of the prophets, that eventually requires new prophets or heirs of the prophets to remind people of the "original" message.
The function of the spiritual master is to bring divine trials to those who have not submitted their egos to God. Abu Yazid, in the example above, was advised to follow the Prophetic path to escape from egoism. The personal authority of a shaykh, who himself follows the sunna, will continually utilize the skillful means at his disposal to challenge, entrap, and ultimately transform the egos of his disciples. It is easy to be complacent and proud while worshiping a Transcendent God, or even venerating the Prophet. But there is nowhere to hide under the piercing gaze of a sufi pir. People who proudly believe they are really exemplary Muslims, on the basis of memorization of the Qur'an, hadith, and other knowledge obtained from books, and who reject any need for personal guidance would, from a sufi perspective, be considered under the influence of Iblisian Tawhid. Through the master's example and guidance one learns how to tame the ego (nafs) and experience what it means to worship God in an unassuming fashion. These heirs of the Prophet have arrived at their stations by following the Prophetic example and have achieved perfection in this endeavor to the extent that they have annihilated their egos by loving the Prophet in the depths of their hearts.
Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (d. 672/1273), whose compendium of mystical poetry in the Mathnawi-yi ma`nawi has been called "the Qur'an in Persian," continually emphasizes the need for submitting one's ego to an heir of the Prophet. Underlining the functional equivalence of the Prophet and the friend of God, he writes: "God made prophets intermediaries in order that envious feelings arise through anxiety [of the ego]. Since no one was shamed by God, no one was envious of God. [However] the person whom he considered like himself would be [the object of his] envy -- [precisely] for that reason. When the greatness of the Prophet became established, from [his] acceptance [by the Muslim community] no one became envious of him. Thus in every time a friend of God (wali) exists to [act as] a continual test until the Day of Judgment." Since God sent the Prophet to guide humanity personally, sufis believe there will always be heirs of the Prophet to guide succeeding generations.
May the love of Muhammad resonate in our hearts and the peace that comes from that resonate in our hearts. May our intelligence understand the miracle of God and we may treat other’s life as our own life. May the divine Wisdom fill us with love. May we live like true human beings so that we may be examples of what human beings can achieve. All praises are due to Allah alone. May all the pure intentions expressed today be magnified and fulfilled in the name of the Prophet Muhammad(saws).
Kalma Shahadah Video Lecture Part 1
Kalma Shahdah Video Lecture Part2

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Qadiriyya,Chishtiya,Soharwardiya & Naqshbandiya in Bangladesh

Tomb Hazrat Shah Jalal

The advent of Sufism in Bengal may be dated to the mid-eleventh century with the arrival of Muslim and Sufi preachers. For the next six centuries, learned Sufis and saints continued to arrive in Bengal from Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Central Asia and north India. Among the prominent Sufis who came to Bengal during the 11th-12th centuries are Shah Sultan Balkhi (Bogra), Shah Sultan Rumi (Mymensingh), Shah Niamatullah Butshikon (Dhaka), Shah Makhdum Ruposh (Rajshahi), Shaikh Fariduddin Shakkarganj (Faridpur) and Makhdum Shah Daulah Shahid (Pabna). Baba Adam Shahid was another Sufi saint who came to Bengal in the 12th century.
According to tradition, Hazrat Shah Sultan Rumi arrived in Madanpur in the Netrakona district along with his spiritual guide, Syed Shah Surkhul Antia. Wanting to test the Muslim saint, the king of the region invited him and offered him some food that had been poisoned. Sultan Rumi ate the food without suffering any ill effects. The king was amazed at this miracle and accepted Islam along with the members of his court. The king presented the saint with some land as a token of his devotion and respect. Later on, several people of the area were converted to Islam. Shah Sultan Rumi died probably in 475 Hijri (1075 AD).
Every Sufi preacher was not so lucky. When Baba Adam Shahid arrived in Vikramapura near Dhaka in 1119 AD, Vallalasena, the king of Vikramapura, ordered his troops to attack the saint. In the ensuing fight Baba Adam Shahid was killed. The king, along with the members of his family, died shortly afterwards, tradition ascribing the deaths to the king's ill treatment of the Sufi saint.
The spread of Islam was accelerated in Bengal after the victory of Bakhtiyar Khalji in 1203 AD. Many Sufis accompanied the conquerors and devoted themselves to spreading the message of Islam and Sufism. Among those who played a significant role in this regard were Shah Jalal Tabrizi, Ismail Khan Ghazi and Shaikh Alaul Haq in Gaur Pandua, Shah Jalal Yameni in Sylhet, Khan Jahan Ali in Khulna, Jafar Khan in Hughli Pandua, Shah Daula in Bagha, in the district of Rajshahi, Shaikh Sharfuddin Abu Tawama in Sonargaon, Badruddin Shah Madar in Chittagong and Shah Fariduddin in Faridpur.
The Sufi scholar, Shaikh Sharfuddin Abu Tawama was born in Bokhara (c 610 AH/ 1210 AD), then a centre of learning. Around 1260 AD, Abu Tawama arrived in Delhi, drawing the attention of the people by his knowledge and spiritual power. Giasuddin Balban (1265-87), the Sultan of Delhi, felt threatened by Abu Tawama's popularity and requested him to go to Sonargoan to preach Islam. Abu Tawama acceded to the king's request. He arrived in Sonargaon in 1278 and set up his khanqah there. He was interested not just in preaching Islam, but also in disseminating knowledge. For this reason he established a madrasah, which attracted students from home and abroad. Abu Tawama played a pioneering role in imparting Islamic knowledge through Bangla.
Shaikh Jalaluddin Tabrizi was born in Tabriz in Persia (c 560 AH /1159 AD). He visited many Arab countries before arriving in India. He visited Multan and met two renowned Sufis, Shaikh Bahauddin Zakariya and Khawja Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki (R). He then travelled to Pandua and settled down there. Impressed by Shaikh Jalaluddin's humanitarian activities and miraculous power, King Laksmanasena and gave him some land and permission to build a mosque. Shaikh Jalaluddin set up a khanqah which later turned into a centre of Islamic learning.
According to some accounts, Hazrat Shah Jalal Al-Mujarrad (R) was probably born in Yemen (c 671 AH/1271 AD), though some historians suggest that he was born in Turkey. He achieved kamaliyat (spiritual perfection) after thirty years of study and meditation. At the advice of his spiritual guide, he left Yemen with 750 kamel-awliya-e-kirams (Sufi saints). When he arrived in Bengal his companions had been reduced to 360. Gaur Govinda, a tyrannical king reputed to have magical powers, was the ruler of Sylhet at the time. Shamsuddin, the Sultan of Gaur, sought help from Hazrat Shah Jalal (R) to subdue Gaur Govinda. Shah Jalal reached Sylhet along with his disciples and defeated Gaur Govinda. He then set up his khanqah in Sylhet and settled. People of different castes and religions used to come to see him. Shah Jalal (R) was a lifelong bachelor; hence he was called Mujarrad. In 1345 AD, Ibn Batuta came to Bengal and met Hazrat Shah Jalal (R), whom he described as being tall and thin. Hazrat Shah Jalal (R) died in 746 AH (1347 AD) and is buried in Sylhet. Many people visit his mazar every day. Hazrat Shah Jalal's (R) followers and disciples were scattered in different parts of the country and helped to spread Islam and disseminate the philosophy of Sufism. His disciples Haji Daria, Shaikh Ali Yemeni, and Shah Paran settled in Sylhet, Shah Malek Yemeni in Dhaka, Syed Ahmad Kolla Shahid in Comilla and Syed Nasiruddin in the region of Pargana Taraf.
The Sufis taught tawhid or monotheism, that is, the oneness of Allah, the Holy Quran and the Hadith. Before the advent of the Sufis, most of the inhabitants of Bengal were Hindus and Buddhists. Sufis were able to convert large numbers of people to Islam by preaching the essence of Islam and Sufism: love, brotherhood and equality. Many of these Sufi preachers became renowned as saints. Their tombs are still respected as holy places, with people from all walks of life visiting and praying for earthly prosperity and spiritual salvation.
Sufi Saints are believed to possess miraculous powers, and there are several legends about the miracles they performed. Shah Makhdum Ruposh, who arrived in Rampur Boalia in Rajshahi in 1184 AD, is said to have crossed the river wearing a pair of wooden sandals (kharam). The conversion of several people to Islam is ascribed to this miracle. He is also said to have crossed the river on the back of a fish. Shah Makhdum is believed to have died around 1190 AD. Another story relates to Hazrat Shah Jalal (R) who is said to have crossed the river into Sylhet along with his disciples on a jainamaz (prayer rug). Reaching the opposite bank, he ordered the azan to be sounded, at which the magnificent palace of Gaur Govinda shattered. A legend ascribed to Hazrat Shah Paran relates how a piece of dead wood miraculously produced six different trees, which are still giving shade to his tomb.
Sufism not only helped the spread of Islam in Bengal, but it also influenced the indigenous religions. The ideal of Sufism, attaining the love of God through love of His creation, has greatly influenced the devotional doctrines of Vaisnavism as well as the mysticism of the Bauls. At times Sufism in Bengal has been transformed into a folk religion with many of the Sufis being regarded as saints or folk deities. During a maritime journey, for example-specially if a storm arises- sailors pray to Pir Badar, repeating his name, 'Badar Badar'. The names of different Sufi saints are inscribed on the bodies of buses, trucks, launches, and steamers to ensure safe journeys.
Sufism has also influenced the literary and cultural life of the land. Innumerable songs and stories, for example, have been written on the miraculous stories of the Sufi saints. Murshidi and marfati songs, gazir gan, the poem of Gazi Kalu-Champavati, the songs of Madar Pir, Sona Pir etc are based on the lives of these Sufis or developed from the Sufi ideals of their teaching. [ANM Raisuddin]
Bibliography TW Arnold, The Preaching of Islam, Lahore, 1956; Golam Saqlayin, Purba Pakistaner Sufi Sadhok, Dacca, 1961; RA Nicholson, 'Mystics of Islam', in Sidney Spenser ed, Mysticism in World Religions, Harmondsworth, 1963; ME Haq, A History of Sufism in Bengal, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dacca, 1975.

Qadiriyya in South Africa

Soofie Mosque Ladysmith South Africa

The Qadriyyah order has been wide spread on the African continent. A section of the Qadriyyah operated at the Cape for a number of generations. During the latter half of the 20th century many internationally respected shaykhs came to South Africa. Amongst these were Maulana Abdul-Alim Siddiqi al-Qadri who came in 1935 and 1952 respectively, Hazrat Pir Zainul Abidin who visted in 1961, 1973 and 1983, Maulana Ibrahmi Khustar al-Qadr who lectured in 1968, Maulana Fazlur-Rahman Ansari who delivered lectures during 1970 and 1972 respectively, and Shaykh Sharif Umar al-Qadri of the Comoros came during the early 1980s. Each and every one of these individuals in one way or the other contributed to the spirituality in South Africa. In fact, Maulana Ansari delivered a series of inspiring lectures that have been edited and published and broadcast on the local Muslim Radio 786 station. The Qadri tariqah has remained very vigilant although it only seemed to have blossomed during the last three decades. The reason for this was that it was under a steadfast leader; he was a local artisan who was very much attracted to the sufi practices and cultivated these amongst his family and friends. He was Mr. Abdurahman Da Costa. The Cape branch is however not the same as found in Kwa-Zulu Natal and represented by the Imam Ahmed Raza Academy ; and since this is the case, concentration will only be on the group as it is at present in the Cape. It must also be pointed out that the order has members who are located in other towns and cities beyond the Western Cape province; here mention must be made of the cities of Kimberly and Mafeking respectively. A very interesting overview has been given in an unpublished manuscript by Da Costa’s son, ‘Adil during the early part of 2003; ‘Adil is at present one of the leading exponents of this traiqah. The Qadriyyah tariqah at the Cape is currently under the leadership of Imam Farid Manie.
The Imam Ahmed Raza Academy was established in 1983 and has since grown rapidly. It considers itself to be the largest ‘Ahle Sunnah organization in South Africa;’ it protects and promotes the cause of the Ahli Sunni wa Jama’ah. The foundation of the academy was laid by Shaykh Abdul-Hadi Al-Qaderi Barakaati in 1986 with the purpose of uplifting the Muslim community academically and spiritually. The members of this academy follow the path of the Qadriyyah silsila.
The Academy has listed a number of objectives amongst which are: the propagate and promote the teachings of the Ahl Sunni wa al-Jama’ah; to promote the celebration of the maulud of the prophet and the urs of the awliya; to adopt ways to improve the quality of life of Muslims locally and abroad; to serve as a centre of learning and produce memorizers of the Quran; to formulate and implement a simplified syllabus; to initiate schemes for Muslims; and offer guidance to the Muslims.The academy consists of a variety of departments such as the Fatwa, Welfare and Educational Departments. The latter sees to the preparation and printing of textbooks, and the housing of the Mustapha Raza lending and an audio-visual library. The Welfare department extends its services to the community and the Fatwa department responds community queries regarding dietary laws and other related concerns.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Qadiriyya in Gambia

Central mosque in Banjul, Gambia.

Sunni Muslims constitute more than 90 percent of the population of the Gambia. The vast majority are Malkite Sufis, of which the main orders represented are Tijaniyah, Qadiriyah, Muridiyah, and Sufi orders pray together at common mosques. A small percentage of Muslims, predominantly immigrants from South Asia, do not ascribe to any traditional Islamic school of thought.
Qadriyya Association for the Revival of the Sunnah in The Gambia
Lecture given in The Gambia on December 27th, 2008 by Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Chairman of the Board & Scholar-in-Residence at the Nawawi Foundation. The title is “Reflections on Surat Al-Quraysh - Loving the Companions and the House of the Prophet (PBUH) and the Sunnah of Bringing Muslim Hearts Together”.

Qadiriyya in Tanzania


The largest brotherhood in Tanzania is Qadiriyya which is divided into many independent branches. The origin of this order is connected to the Somali sheikh Uways bin Muhammed who, having been invited by the sultan, arrived in Zanzibar in the 1880's. Shehu Awesu, as sheikh Uways is called in Swahili, payed several lengthy visits to Zanzibar and initiated many disciples into his order, who afterwards spread the order to the mainland as far as the Congo area.
One of the most renowned khalifs of the Uwaysiyya branch of Qadiriyya was sheikh Zahur bin Muhammed who lived in Tabora between 1894 and 1908 where he laid the foundation stone to the brotherhood by teaching newly converted Moslems the typical Sufi "chanting" feature which in Swahili is called dhikiri (Ar. dhikr = recitation). His successors then officially established the brotherhood in Tabora and started initiating new disciples. Further east in Bagamoyo north of Daressalaam, the Qadiriyya branch, which today is probably the biggest, started its activities in 1905. Under the leadership of khalif Yahya bin Abdallah, of slave origin and generally known as sheikh Ramiya, this brotherhood expanded in the area around Bagamoyo and Tanga and further north. In the west sheikh Ramiya's influence was felt as far as Ujiji at Lake Tanganyika.

Qadiriyya & Naqshbandiyya in Kyrgyzstan

Mosque at Naryn, Kyrgyzstan

The Kyrgyz are Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi school of law, but the degree to which the north and south adhere to religious practices must be considered when understanding the role of Islam in Kyrgyzstan. The distinction is often made between the religious practices of Islam and the everyday cultural practices of Islam. Islamic mosques and madrassah were built by the sixteenth century in the southern regions of Kyrgyzstan. One of the most important holy places for Muslims in Kyrgyzstan is the Throne of Suleyman in the southern city of Osh. It is sometimes referred to by Soviet Muslims as the "second Mecca." By contrast, Islam infiltrated northern Kyrgyzstan in a slower, less encompassing manner. Many ancient indigenous beliefs and practices, including shamanism and totemism, coexisted syncretically with Islam. This split between the northern and southern Kyrgyz in their religious adherence to Muslim practices can still be seen today. Likewise, the Sufi order of Islam has been one of the most active Muslim groups in Kyrgyzstan for over a century.
The four Sufi tariqas (paths to God, or Sufi brotherhoods) that brought Islam to the Kyrgyz and remain in Kyrgyzstan are: the Naqshbandiya, which is Bukharan and very popular and powerful; the Qadiriya, an ancient tariqa; the Yasawiya, a south Kazakhstan tariqa; and the Kubrawiya, a Khorezm tariqa. In addition, there are two newer indigenous orders that sprang from the Yasawiya. The earlier of the two is the Order of Lachi, which formed in the late nineteenth century. It opposed the older orders and was oppressed by them in return. As a result of this enmity, the Lachi initially supported the Bolsheviks but later came to oppose them. The Lachi went underground, and the Soviets could not find them again until the 1950s. Several villages in the Osh Oblast are composed entirely of Lachi members. Another indigenous Sufi order is the Order of the Hairy Ishans, which formed in the 1920s and was intensely anti-Soviet. As a result of its opposition, the Soviets attacked them in 1935-1936 and again in 1952-1953, killing some of their leaders. The Hairy Ishan order, unlike other Sufi orders, allows women to participate in the zikr (prayers) and to form their own female-only subgroups. On the whole, however, under the Soviets the practice of Sufism became highly secretive, even to the point that the silent zikr has replaced the zikr said aloud.
Under the Soviets, religious activity and belief were strongly discouraged, although not eradicated. The Soviets printed anti-Islamic books for Kyrgyz consumption (sixty-nine titles between 1948 and 1975) and gave antireligious lectures (45,000 in Kirghizia in 1975 alone). Antireligious propaganda was seen or heard in the opera, the ballet, the theater, and over the radio. The Soviets also formed motor clubs, whose task it was to bring antireligious propaganda to isolated regions. Reforms in the 1980s made open religious observance possible for the first time in many decades. A significant number of Kyrgyz observe Muslim practices in their everyday lives but not in a religious sense. Kyrgyz women do not wear veils, nor do they avoid men to whom they are not related.

Qadiriyya & Naqshbandiyya in Tajikistan

Certain roles were really played in Tajikistan by Sufi brotherhoods. The Naqshbandi branch of Sufism has always been very popular in our country. But in some parts of the country the Qadiri order is also very important. Today prominent religious figures such as Ishani Turajan, Ishani Abdulhaliljon, Ishani Nuriddin and others are followers of Qadiriya. The followers of Naqshbandi are Domullo Mukhammadi, Domullo Hikmatullo, Makhsumi Ismoil and others. Since the Sufi movements had fewer conflicts with the policy, they could survive even the Soviet repression. Of course during a certain period of time, they were also suppressed and their representatives were sent to Siberia. For instance, in the 1940s, all members of Turajanzoda family were sent to Siberia. Part of them died there and the others returned only after Stalin's death. Sufi orders had the biggest authority among the population especially since people didn't have any respect for the formal, state-laced clericals. Sufi for them personified true Islam.If we look at the Southern part of the Republic, it is all divided into spheres of influence of various Sufi families. I produced a map of the zones of influence of various Sufi families in the Republic. It is interesting, because we understand Sufis not only in the traditional way with all their paraphernalia. We lost a lot with regard to Sufism, theological and philosophical Sufism is very weak in Tajikistan, but practical and ritual parts of it were preserved, especially the moral side of Sufism.During the Soviet times they managed to preserve Islam. All modern Islamic leaders like Nouri and Turajansoda admit that Sufis really kept this historical legacy alive and passed it to the hands of the contemporary leaders. They really played a key role and even today they have a very big influence. (From Islam in Tajikistan by Abdullo Hakim Rahnamo, who has completed his education in engineering, political studies, and theology, is a professor at Tajikistan National University)

Qadiriyya in Iraq

Al Sheikh Al Seyed Afeefuddin Al Gaylani
The 19th direct descendant of Sultan Ul-Auliya (King of Saints) Kuthub-Ul-Aktab Al Ghouzul-Ul-A'zam Al Sheikh Al Sayed MUHIYIDEEN ABDUL QADIR AL GAYLANI AL HASSANI WAL HUSSEINI (Qaddasalaahu Siraahu Al Azeed). And the 33rd direct descendant of SAYIDINAH RASSULULLAH (Salah Allahu Alaihi Wasallam).
Sayidinah Sl Sheikh Abdul Qadir Al Gaylani (Q.S.A) is the most renowned Islamic Scholar and the founder and leader of the Al Tariqah Al Qadriyah school of Islamic thought and teaching which publish the Islamic guidance called Al Tasawuf that, in English, is called Suffism.
The Gaylani family (Sheikh Afeefuddin's family) is the most well known family in the Islamic world and in Iraq it is the head of Ahlul Bayt - descendants of Rasulullah (S.A.A.W.) that are called Ni'qabatul Asharaf.
His Holiness is one of the current leaers of Tariqatul Qadriyah and specializes in Fiqh and Shariah Laws and Tasawuf. One of his great teachers is the current Mufti Of Iraq, Maulana Al Sheikh Abdul Karim Al Mudarris (they call him Abdul Karim Bayarah). Sheikh Afeefuddin Al Gaylani has been certified as an Islamic Scholar by Al Sheikh Abdul Karim Al Mudarris - with the credentials of Al Ijazzah Al Elmiyah which is the most important certification for an Islamic Scholar and teacher. Al Sheikh Afeefuddin Al Gaylani has studied with many other Islamic scholars as well
Al Sheikh Afeefuddin Al Gaylani was born in Baghdad in 1972 and studied his Academy (primary, secondary, and college) in Baghdad also. At college, Al Sheikh specialized in Shariah Sciences. He was the Imam and Khatib in several Mosques in Baghdad including the Mosque of Al Sheikh Abdul Qadir Al Gaylani. He was also a frequent guest lecturer in Iraq and other countries.
There are many murid's (students) throughout the world who seek knowledge of Al Tariqatul Qadriyah from Al Sheikh Afeefuddin Al Gaylani including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Iraq, Singapore, Malaysia, etc. These students frequently travel great distances and endure much difficulty just to be able to increase their knowledge in this spiritual path to Allah (S.W.T.) the Almighty and to taste their iman, their prayers, their Haj... and their selves.
Wa'solah'Allahu ala Sayidinnah Muhammad wa ala alaihi wa sohbihi wa saleem taslimah
Maulidur Rasul: Bedok Stadium, Singapore ,2008
Concluding Doa by Moulana Syeikh Afeef Uddin Al-Jailani

Qadiriyya in Algeria

Abd a-Qadir Mosque,Algeria

Abd al-Qadir al-Jazairi

( Mascara,Algeria1808- Damascus,Syria1883) Emir, religious and military resistance fighter against the French occupation of Algeria.Abd al-Qadir was a Qadiriya shaykh, and being named identical to the founder of the order, he is often referred to as Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza'iri, meaning "the Algerian".Abd al-Qadir stands out as one of the most significant national heros of Algeria, and is often considered the founder of the Algerian state, not only because of his political actions, but also because his schemes for education brought consciousness of independence to the people of Algeria.Abd al-Qadir was known as a strong and autocratic leader, but he was also pragamatic and used European officials in fields where his own subjects lacked the needed experience.He established juridical equality between tribes, a bureaucratic system, and equal taxes for all subjects. He also assmbled a regular army that counted 2,000 troops, but which was strengthened by locals in times of war.His territory extended over large parts of northern Algeria, from the Moroccan border, and three quarters of present Algeria to the east, meeting the French controlled zone in the north, and the Sahara desert in the south.Much of his success rested upon his personality — contemporary accounts describe him as physically impressive and very charismatic. The same accounts present him as a devout and honest Muslim. Abd al-Qadir was also revered with much respect from the French, especially after his surrender of 1847.
Biography1808 September 6: Born in the village of Guetna, near Mascara in Algeria, as son of the local chief and religious leader.1832 November: Abd al-Qadir succeeds his father as religious, political and military leader for a smaller region near Mascara. From this position he continued his fathers politics of conducting several smaller attacks on the French forces that were present in the region.1834: By the Desmichels Treaty which secured an official French annexation of most of northern Algeria, Abd al-Qadir got control over the area around Oran. From this position he started to expand his control into larger parts of the region.1837: Abd al-Qadir signs a treaty, known as Treaty of Tafna, with the French, which both increased his territories (the interior of Oran) and his political strength.1839: As French troops expand into new territory, Abd al-Qadir considers the Treaty of Tafna broken. From this point of, he starts to perform attacks on French strongholds and settlements.1840: With the start of the French actions intended to take over all of Algeria, Abd al-Qadir moves his resistance into performing small attacks on the French, and he aims at staying away from all big actions that could possibly bring devastation to his troops.1841: Abd al-Qadir loses his control over Oran to the French.1842: He loses his control overTlemcen, and he flees to Morocco, where he seeks protection under the sultan.1846: He moves back to Algeria, and establishes himself in southern Algeria for a short period.— Facing new challenges from the French, Abd al-Qadir returns to Morocco, but doesn't anymore get the protection and financial support he needs from the sultan.1847: Abd al-Qadir returns to Algeria, and turns himself over to the French military leaders. He was promised free transport to the Levant, but this promise was broken, and instead he was brought to France as a prisoner, but mildly and respectfully treated.1852: Finally, Abd al-Qadir has his promise carried out, and can move to Bursa, and later to Damascus, where his remaining years were supported by the French.1883 May 26: Abd al-Qadir dies in Damascus.
The Spiritual Writings of Amir ʿAbd al-Kader by Michel Chodkiewicz; Amir ʿAbd al-Kader
Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 118, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1998), pp. 300-302

Qadiriyya,Naqshbandiyya & Chishtiyya in Afganistan

Masjid e Jami Herat

Sufism has considerable influence in Afghanistan, in both rural and urban settings, especially among the middle classes of larger villages, town and cities.
Three Sufi orders are prominent: the Naqshbandiya founded in Bokhara, the Qadiriya founded in Baghdad, and the Chishtiya located at Chisht-i-Sharif east of Herat. Among the Naqshbandi, Ahmad al Faruqi Kabuli, born north of Kabul, acquired renown for his teachings in India during the reign of the Moghul Emperor Akbar in the sixteenth century.
Sometime during the nineteenth century members of this family moved back to Kabul where they established a madrassa and a khanaqah in Shor Bazar which became a center of religious and political influence. Many Afghan Naqshbandis are linked with the Mujaddedi family. Sibghatullah Mujaddedi, leader of the mujahidin Jabha-i Nejat-i Melli party, became the head of this order when his predecessor, along with 79 male members of the family, were executed in Kabul by the Taraki-Amin government in January 1979. He served for two months as the first acting president of the Islamic State of Afghanistan established in April 1992.
Hazrat Naqib Sahib, father of Sayyid Ahmad Gailani Effendi, the present pir of the Qadiriya, established the family seat in Afghanistan on the outskirts of Jalalabad during the 1920s. Pir Ahmad Gailani is the leader of the mujahidin Mahaz-i Melli Islami party. The leadership of both the Naqshbandiya and Qadiriya orders derive from heredity rather than religious scholarship.
The Chishtiya order was founded by Mawdid al-Chishti who was born in the twelfth century and later taught in India. The Chishtiya brotherhood, concentrated in the Hari Rud valley around Obe, Karukh and Chihst-i-Sharif, is very strong locally and maintains madrasas with fine libraries. Traditionally the Chishtiya have kept aloof from politics, although they were effectively active during the resistance within their own organizations and in their own areas.
Herat and its environs has the largest number and greatest diversity of Sufi branches, many of which are connected with local tombs of pir (ziarat). Other Sufi groups are found all across the north, with important centers in Maimana, Faryab Province, and in Kunduz. The brotherhoods in Kabul and around Mazar-i-Sharif are mostly associated with the Naqshbandiya.
The Qadiriya are found mainly among the eastern Pushtun of Wardak, Paktya and Ningrahar, including many Ghilzai nomadic groups. Other smaller groups are settled in Kandahar and in Shindand, Farah Province. The Chishtiya are centered in the Hari Rud Valley. There are no formal Sufi orders among the Shia in the central Hazarajat, although some of the concepts are associated with Sayyids, descendants of the Prophet Mohammad, who are especially venerated among the Shia.
Afghanistan is unique in that there is little hostility between the ulama and the Sufi orders. Numbers of Sufi leaders are considered as ulama, and many ulama closely associate with Sufi brotherhoods. The general populace accords Sufis respect for their learning and for possessing karamat, the psychic spiritual power conferred upon them by God that enables pirs to perform acts of generosity and bestow blessings (barakat). Sufism therefore is an effective popular force.
In addition, since Sufi leaders distance themselves from the mundane, they are at times turned to as more disinterested mediators in tribal disputes in preference to mullahs who are reputed to escalate minor secular issues into volatile confrontations couched in Islamic rhetoric.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Qadiriyya in Sudan

Sufi sheikhs, sheikhas, and saints of the Sudan.
By: Cifuentes, FrederiquePublication
The Sudan contains a multitude of Sufi movements, with diverse origins and characteristics. Some groups were formed as far back as the fifteenth century by Sufi masters originating in Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt. The Sudan's social structures (numbering more than 600 ethnic groups) have given their own character to each movement. This project is based on photographic research carried out mainly in Khartoum and its surrounding regions, Jazira State and Sennar State covering Sufi movements from inside the Burhaniya, Qadiriyya, Sammaniyya, Mighaniyya, Khatmiyya, and Tijaniya religious communities. For many devotees, Muslim identity in the Sudan consists of an active or hereditary membership to a Sufi movement, which venerates its founder and his successors, called sheikhs. The sheikh is a teacher and the community is under his or her guidance. Sufism is structured into spiritual organizations, tariqas ('spiritual paths') which have scattered over the Muslim world to spread the teaching of the spiritual master. Every tariqa has its hierarchy of saints, its mausoleums, spiritual centers, and particular devotional practices. The sheikhs of the Sudan play an essential role in their religious communities. They advise and listen, bless, reassure, and give direction to the followers who consult them. They have a spiritual power, known as madad or baraka, which their followers hope to receive upon contact with them. They are considered to be providers of miracles, and this is the reason for their status as saints. After their deaths, sheikhs are venerated by the people at their mausoleums. These tombs are a characteristic feature of the religious landscape of the region. There are a great number of these Sudanese saints, both men and women. Their tombs, which are known as maqam, are the sites of pilgrimage for the annual celebration of their births (mulid), or at the festival of Holiya to commemorate their deaths. The Holiya is the great annual gathering of disciples at the place of origin of the tariqa, where they assemble around their leader, the present sheikh. Here disciples can deepen their relationships to their masters, and this is a fundamental part of their spiritual development.
The Khalwa of Omdawanban
[The khalwa at Omdawanban was founded in 1867 by Sheikh Al Obeid Wad Badr, a holy man of the Qadiriyya order who established the school after he had had a vision. The descendants of Sheikh Wad Badr believe that he possessed miraculous powers. The school is one of the most well known in Sudan thanks to its succession of famous sheikhs and the quality of its teaching.
This religious institution is the size of a small village and today welcomes more than 1250 students from Sudan, Chad, Cameroon, and Nigeria. It takes from three to six years to acquire a perfect knowledge of the Quran and to master written Arabic. The majority of Sudanese children go to state school, but some parents choose this type of education due to religious convictions. Their religious instruction will continue after they leave Omdawanban.
Today the school is directed and financed by Sheikh El Taib, the great-great-grandson of the founder. He continues the tradition of providing free education to his pupils. He himself initiates each pupil by presentation of the wooden "slate" (loah), used for writing the lesson, and a blessing, the Fatiha. The children learn to write Arabic for the first time on this wooden tablet using a tube of sugar cane filled with an ink made of charcoal or soot. Islamic institutions in Sudan comprise a well-structured social organization. The sheikh is master of the premises by virtue of inheritance or spiritual qualities. He is the guarantor and he charges his khalifs with the instruction of his teachings. The syllabus is organized around memorization of the Quran and recitations known as tawjid, together with the art of pronunciation and intonation, apprenticeship in canon law, and the Hadith (a collection of the traditions of the Prophet Muhammed). When, after many years of study, the student returns to his village he will be respected because he has learned to read and recite the holy book of Islam. In his turn, he will be able to teach the local children in the most far-flung regions of the country.

Qadiriyya in Senegal

Grand Mosque,Touba,Senegal

Shaykh Amadou Bamba is known for establishing the Mouride brotherhood though he was a devout adherent of the Qadiriyya tariqa. He was born in the village of Mbacke in 1850 and was the son of a Qadiriyya marabout. While he mainly spent his life dedicated to Qur'anic study, the French colonial government feared that his popularity could be used to wage war against them. Because of this, he was forced into exile to Gabon in 1893 and Mauritania in 1903. But the exiles worked to the French disadvantage as legends spread about his miraculous survival of torture and starvation. It wasn't until 1910 that the French realized that Bamba was not plotting war against them and they eventually let him return to his expanded community. In 1918, he won the French Legion of Honor for enlisting his followers in the First World War and the French allowed him to establish his community in Touba. He died in 1927.Senegalese musician and pop sensation Youssou N'Dour wrote two songs in dedication to the shaykh and some of the lyrics are here. As N'Dour was exploring his Senegalese Islamic roots, he completed an album entitled Egypt. It's a series of songs dedicated to his homeland and the hold that Sufism still has in many West African nations.
Shukran BambaPraise God--I thank you,
LordYou who brought me to Shaykh Amadou Bamba
Had this man not shown up in Mbacke
Islam would have sunk with shame into oblivion
Since religious people were being
killed or deported by the colonialists
Their goal was to weaken Islam
Shaykh Amadou Bamba saw to it that they failed.....Thank you so much.
Thank you, Madou Bamba
Through him I discovered God and His Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam)
he taught me to surrender to God
I followed him for all the very reasons we
call him the "Prophet's devotee" (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam)
An empty calabash does not attract a goat
And empty words do not lead men
For a long time I drank deeply
from the well of Bamba's writings
never finding deviation from the ways of the Man (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam)
Bamba the Poet
Indeed, Modou Bamba should amaze any writer
Modou Bamba should astound any poet
Go around the Arab, the White and the Black countries,
and I swear you will find no match for Madou Bamba
Bamba astounds me
He started with the Koran
And wrote a book from each of its letters
No one has ever written as much as he
did he ever sleep, then?

Qadiriyya in Morroco,Sidi Ahmed Kostasas

Sidi Shaykh al-Buzidi leads the Hadra

Part 1: Influx of Qadiria into Morocco by Sidi Ahmed Kostasas published in Al Mureed Newsletter Issue 2, Fall 2000

The Qadiria Order in Morocco is one of the oldest sufic traditions in North Africa and the Middle East. The First Qadiris we meet in the History of Sufism in Morocco are the decendents of Sidi Ibrahim, Sheikh Abdulqadir Aljilani's second son after Sidi Abdurrazak. This branch of the Qadiria had lived in Andalusia in Spain before they ran away from Grenada to Fes, where they were welcomed by their mureeds and many of the scholars and decendents of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).The second wave of Qadiris arrived in Morocco around the end of the 17th century. These were the descendents of Sidi Abdurazaq, the eldest son of Mawlan Abdulqadir Aljilani. They settled in the borders between the Ottoman and Sherifien Empires, then moved into Morocco as the Ottomans became more and more aggressive. The Beni Znaten Tribes around Oujda gathered around the Qadiria shrine at times of peace and war. As was the custom, the shrine functioned simultaneously as the Mosque, the court, and the social center for the poor, the handicapped, the homeless, and the orphaned. In times of peace, the Sheikh is a teacher and spiritual master, and his mureeds or disciples receive spiritual as well as worldly education. During wars, Sheikhs are preoccupied trying to “put out the fire of war” amongst the fighting parties.

Part 2: A Story, "Shiek Hajj Mukhtar and the Robbers"shared by Sheikh Hamza, retold by Sidi Ahmed Kostasas published in Al Mureed Newsletter Issue 3, Spring 2001

In the modern history of the Qadiria in North Africa, two main figures stand out as both Sufi Masters and leaders of Moroccan resistance against the French invaders: Sheikh Mukhtar Alkbir and his grandson Sidi Mukhtar Butshish. Sheikh Mukhtar Alkbir was a very close friend of Sheikh Amir Abdulkader of Algeria, known for his work on the Bezels of Wisdom of Ibn Arabi, entitled “The Attitudes”. Sidi Mukhtar Butshish, a twentieth century Saint whose sanctity the French themselves recognized after his capture in 1907.One of the well-known stories recently told by Sheikh Hamza about Sheikh Hajj Mukhtar is when he moved from the main shrine in the mountains down to the Trifa Valley. He built his new shrine in the forest and three robbers, very familiar with the forest, noticed the new building, as well as the Sheikh's horse and cow grazing.They agreed to take the cow, but before they left (as they were really hungry) they decided to go and ask for something to eat. One of the robbers remained hiding with cow while the other two headed toward the shrine. The Sheikh was there, as if waiting for them. He welcomed them and served them some food and inquired about their health and their families, and went back to his dhiker. The guests, after enjoying their meal, thanked the old man and were about to leave when he politely asked them to wait, disappearing inside the shrine only to come out with a loaf of bread, some butter, and some almonds. “Take this meal to your friend in the forest,” offered the Sheikh.The robbers looked at each other, amazed. They furtively thanked the man for his hospitality and hurried out of the shrine toward the forest. They told their friend the story, left the cow in peace and went on their way.Three months later, Sidi Mukhtar sent one of his mureeds to fetch this famous robber called Alhiresh and asked that he stop “harassing” people and become a sufi. Alhiresh's reply was, “I'm a poor man, and I live on 'this'. That's my only means of living.”Sidi Mukhtar answered, “Come and serve Allah and I will guarantee your living for the rest of your life.”“But I killed a lot of people!”“Follow the Path of the Beloved and be amongst them and refrain from anything else, and you'll see how Merciful He is.”The man's heart softened with Sidi Mukhtar's words and he joined the Sufi circle for the rest of his life. He died at the age of seventy-five, a beautiful, loving old Sufi Sheikh.

Qadiriyya in Kudistan

Mosque in Irabil

The Qadiriyya and the lineages
of Qadiri shaykhs in Kurdistan
Martin van Bruinessen
The observer of the Qadiriyya in Kurdistan is struck by two traits that clearly distinguish it from the only other order that presently has numerous Kurdish adherents, the Naqshbandiyya, as well as from the branches of the Qadiriyya elsewhere that have been studied thus far. The first is the fact that the order is, at least in southern and eastern Kurdistan,virtually monopolised by two (formerly by four) large families of hereditary shaykhs, who also control considerable economic resources, the Barzinjis and the Talabanis. Whereas the Naqshbandiyya-Khalidiyya rapidly spread across all of Kurdistan in the 19th century due to the practice of appointing locally influential `ulama as khalîfa, the networks of the Qadiri shaykhs (especially the Barzinjis)remained family networks, with branches of the family established in different places acting as he chief spiritual authorities and with few or no outsiders in positions of importance. The second striking aspect of Kurdish Qadiri practices is the use of percussion instruments accompanying the recitation of mystical poetry as well as the dhikr, the ecstatic nature of the dhikr, and (especially with the Barzinji branches) the practice of cutting oneself with sharp objects (tîghbâzî), licking red-hot iron, eating glass and poison, in which some of the participants in the Qadiri majlis engage. The latter practices are commonly associated with the Rifa`iyya, not with the Qadiriyya. The Kurdish Qadiriyya majlis appears to represent a local synthesis of devotional and mystical exercises.
The Barzinji shaykhs
The two families of shaykhs that have dominated the Qadiriyya in southern and eastern
Kurdistan for the past century and a half are the Barzinji, with their major centres in the the city of Sulaymaniyya and a number of villages in the districts around it, and the Talabani, with their central takiya in Kirkuk. Previously, two large and influential families of sayyids in central Kurdistan, based in Nehri in Shemdinan and in Arvas near Moks respectively, were also affiliated with the Qadiriyya but the leading shaykhs of both adopted the Naqshbandiyya-Khalidiyya in the 19th century and appear to have completely given up their Qadiri affiliations.The Barzinji are the most influential and powerful family of `ulama and shaykhs in Kurdistan. They trace their origins to a certain Sayyid `Isa who in the mid-15th century came, together with his brother Musa, from Hamadan and settled in Kurdistan at a spot named Barzinja, where they established a mosque. Family chronicles make `Isa and Musa the sons of `Ali Hamadani and brothers of Sayyid Muhammad Nurbakhsh, who, according to the same chronicles, personally spread the Nurbakhshiyya in Kurdistan; Sayyid `Isa himself is also sometimes named `Isa Nurbakhsh.4 This suggests that at least at one stage the family was affiliated with the Nurbakhshiyya order. `Ali Hamadani (d. 786/1385) was a well-known mystic affiliated with the Kubrawiyya, who established himself in Kashmir; Muhammad Nurbakhsh (d. 869/1465) was a second-generation disciple of `Ali Hamadani, who declared himself the mahdi and for whom the Nurbakhshiyya, a distinct branch of the Kubrawiyya, is named. The presence of the Nurbakhshiyya in 15th-century Kurdistan is also attested by other sources.The same two brothers Sayyid `Isa and Sayyid Musa also occur in the founding myth of the syncretistic Ahl-i Haqq religion. Sultan Sahak, the divine incarnation who established the first Ahl-i Haqq community at Pirdiwar, was the son of Sayyid `Isa. Several of the sayyid families (khânadân) who constitute the hereditary religious leaders of the Ahl-i Haqq claim to be the descendants of Sultan Sahak's sons (and therefore distant relatives of the Barzinji).The sources contradict each other as to the date since when the Barzinji family has been affiliated with the Qadiriyya; some sources tend to project this further back into the past than is warranted. The present branches of the Barzinji family all descend from a certain Baba Rasul (d. 1056/1646), who is in the ninth generation after Sayyid `Isa.7 As the family tradition (in Tawakkuli's summary) has it, Baba Rasul received an ijâza to teach besides the Nurbakhshiyya a second tarîqa, the `Alawiyya branch of the Khalwatiyya, which he also handed down to his descendants. Baba Rasul had numerous sons, who settled in different villages in the Shahrazur region, establishing their own lodges. One of Baba Rasul's sons, Muhammad (1040-1103/1630-1691), travelled widely,
studying in Baghdad, Mardin, Aleppo, Cairo and finally settling in Medina, where he became the Shafi`i mufti. He acquired a certain fame for the vehement critique of Ahmad Sirhindi that he wrote in 1682, in response to an istifta from Indian `ulama and at the request of his teacher Ibrahim al-Kurani. His descendants remained an influential family in Medina, that frequently occupied the position of mufti.One of Baba Rasul's grandsons, Muhammad Nodehî (named after the village of Nodê in the Qalacholan district where he established himself), acquired such a reputation as a mystic that came to be known as "[al-] kibrît al-ahmar", Red Sulphur — after the elixir to which Ibn `Arabi's metaphysical mysticism refers as a symbol for the transformation of the human soul.One source (Mudarris' biographical dictionary) claims that Muhammad already taught the Qadiriyya; according to another (Tawakkuli), it was his son Isma`il who made this into the family's distinctive tarîqa. The first member of the Barzinji family who adopted the order with which the family was later primarily associated, the Qadiriyya, was Muhammad Nodehi's son, Isma`il Wulyani (also known as Isma`il Qazanqaya). Isma`il had first been initiated by his father into the Nurbakhshiyya and the Khalwatiyya-`Alawiyya and then travelled to Baghdad for further study. It was there that he received his initiation into the Qadiriyya, at the hands of a certain Shaykh Ahmad Ahsâ'î.10 The available sources give no date for this event, but but since Isma`il is said to have died in 1158/1745,11 his adoption of the Qadiriyya probably took place in the early 18th century. The silsila of present-day Kurdish Qadiris are of little help in elucidating the Barzinji's first Qadiri affiliation. Those that I have come across are curiously incomplete, or rather, consist of three distinct parts, the lowest part a proper spiritual genealogy of the present head of one of the branches, with Isma`il Wulyani at its apex, the middle part a clearly non-genealogical listing of recognised spiritual ancestors including `Abd al-Qadir, and the top part some (often abreviated) variant of the standard silsila connecting `Abd al-Qadir with the Prophet. Compare this with the silsila of the Kasnazan (or Kripchina) branch, as read out in the invocations following the dhikr in the takya of that branch in Mahabad.In the latter silsila there is not even the pretense of a lineal connection between the persons preceding Ahmad al-Ahsa'i. The names of Hasan, Husayn, Hamza and `Abbas suggest pro-Shi`i sympathies, that of Muhammad al-Bukhari (who can not be identified unambiguously
but by whom probably Muhammad Baha'uddin Naqshband is meant) a conciliation with the
Naqshbandiyya. `Abd al-Karim "the Second", with whom the silsila ends, was in the late 1960s and early 1970s perhaps the most influential of the Qadiri shaykhs in Iraqi Kurdistan, at least among the peasant masses. One wonders whether the Barzinji of Kurdistan maintained contact with their relatives in Medina. (A son of Muhammad b. Baba Rasul, Ibrahim, is reported to have returned to Kurdistan and settled in the village of Bardazard.) Muhammad b. Baba Rasul, the founder of that branch, had initiations in a number of orders, among which — though not prominently — the Qadiriyya.His great-grandson, Ja`far b. Hasan b. `Abd al-Karim b. Muhammad (1690- 1764), who was a contemporary of Isma`il Wulyani, appears to have had a more exclusive affiliation with the Qadiriyya. He achieved fame as the author of one of the most popular hagiographies of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir, Lujjayn al-dânî fî manâqib `Abd al-Qâdir al-Jîlânî.Thus far, however, I have not found any indication that the Medina branch of the family exercised an influence on their relatives in Kurdistan, and in spite of its poor documentation, we must take the family tradition of Isma`il Wulyani's initiation into the Qadiriyya as the most authoritative one. Upon his return to Kurdistan, Isma`il settled in the village of Qazanqaya, which then gained renown as a centre of learning and attracted numerous visitors from all over Kurdistan. Isma`il appointed four khalîfa, including his own brother `Ali Qosa of Dolpamû and his son Riza of Dêlîzhî.15 Soon the other branches of the family,centred around takiya in the villages of Sargelû, Gilazarda, Nodê, Dolpamû, Kasnazan, Kripchîna, Qadir Karam and others, also were affiliated with the Qadiriyya. The next member of the family to acquire great renown as a scholar and mystic as well as political influence was Ma`ruf of Nodê (1166-1252/1753-1836), the chief khalîfa of his grand uncle `Ali Qosa. He had great influence at the court of the (Kurdish) Baban dynasty in Sulaymaniyya and was the author of numerous books on doctrine and devotions. He also made a contribution to Kurdish philology in the form of a versified Arabic-Kurdish dictionary written for his son Ahmad. It was in Shaykh Ma`ruf's days that Mawlana Khalid returned from India and began teaching the Naqshbandiyya in Sulaymaniyya, to which the Baban ruler initially responded very favourably. A fierce rivalry between the two shaykhs ensued, in which Shaykh Ma`ruf gained the upper hand, forcing Khalid to leave the town for Baghdad. In his days the relations with the other major family of Qadiri shaykhs in southern Kurdistan, the Talabanis, were cordial. `Abd al-Rahman Khalis, who was to become the greatest of the Talabani shaykhs, studied with Shaykh Ma`ruf and was close friends with the latter's son, Kak Ahmad.Ma`ruf's chief khalîfa was his son, Kak Ahmad (d. 1305/1887-8), who gained a great reputation as a miracle-worker and reputedly won the favours of the Ottoman sultan `Abd al- Hamid II.18 In spite of the rivalry between his father and Mawlana Khalid, Kak Ahmad established good relations with Khalid's chief khalîfa in the region, Shaykh `Uthman Sirajuddin of Tawêla, and exchanged tarîqa with him. Shaykh `Uthman's descendants have since then taught a combination of both orders but have not allowed the ecstatic dhikr and the tîghbâzî of the other Qadiris.19 A more distant relative, Ahmad-i Sardar of the Sargelû branch, had in fact become a khalîfa of Mawlana Khalid himself. His descendants, while formally remaining Naqshbandis, became known for the extremely heterodox practices in which their followers, presently known as the Haqqa sect, engaged. Kak Ahmad was succeeded at Sulaymaniyya by his son Muhammad Pichkol, "the Small". Muhammad's son and successor, Sa`id (not to be confused with Baba Sa`id Barzinji, mentioned below) was also the naqîb al-ashrâf of Sulaymaniyya. He was killed in Mosul in 1906 under circumstances not yet fully elucidated. The mantle of naqîb passed to his brother Ma`ruf; as leader of the order he was succeeded by his sons Qadir and Mahmud.Another khalîfa of Kak Ahmad was Baba Sa`id Barzinji, of whom I have not found out whether he also was a son or a more distant relative. Baba Sa`id settled in the village near Sawuj Bulaq (Mahabad, Iran) that is presently called Ghawthabad. He gained a large personal following there (Lehmann-Haupt, who met him in 1898, speaks of 8,000 murîd, missionary sources mention his large armed retinue) as well as a reputation for saintliness that gave his village its name. The shaikh entertained friendly relations with the American missionaries in nearby Urmia, whom he gave free access to all the Muslim villages that he controlled, and he even had himself baptised a Christian though he remained outwardly a Muslim and went on teaching and leading the tarîqa.21 When during the World War Ottoman troops briefly occupied the region (in the winter of 1915-16), they hanged the shaykh as a renegade. These events have neither diminished his reputation as a saint nor the influence of his family; his descendants have continued leading the tarîqa from Ghawthabad.The most famous member of the Barzinji family in recent times was Kak Ahmad's greatgrandson Shaykh Mahmud, who in the wake of the First World War led a number of uprisings and in 1922 declared himself "King of Kurdistan".With him, we have definitely entered the realm of Kurdish politics and left that of mysticism. Contemporaries and posterity either praise him as a Kurdish patriot or condemn him as a feudal oppressor. His son and successor Latif has the distinction of being the target of a communist uprising in 1947-8.25 Shaykh Latif later allegedly prevented the loss of his large estates by joining the Iraqi Communist Party before it got the power to carry out land reforms after 1958. Another Barzinji shaykh in the Sulaymaniyya district, `Abd al-Karim of Kasnazan, had in the early 1950s a large following precisely among the poor peasants, and as the anthropologist Barth observed during his fieldwork there, there were suspicions that the tarîqa was being used as a vehicle of socioeconomic disaffection.The various branches of the family have their own central takya that continue the tarîqa independently of each other, and most of the branches have a number of dependent takya at other places, constituting overlapping networks. Thus we find in Mahabad one Qadiriyya takya affiliated with the Kripchîna branch and another that depends on Ghawthabad. Sanandaj has many takya, most of them affiliated with different branches of the Barzinji family, but others affiliated with the other major Qadiri family, the Talabanis.
The Talabani shaykhs
As in the case of the Barzinjis, the origin of the Talabanis' affiliation with the Qadiriyya remains somewhat obscure because the Indian shaykh to whom they owe it cannot be identified. Unlike the Barzinjis, the Talabanis make no claim to descent from the Prophet. The first shaykh of this family was a certain Mulla Mahmud (d. 1215/1800-1), who hailed from Bukan in Iranian Kurdistan and had come to present Iraqi Kurdistan to study. He married a daughter of the chieftain of the powerful Zangana tribe (which probably added to the prestige he had already gained through his studies) and settled in the village of Qerkh,in the Chamchamal district of Kirkuk. Mulla Mahmud was initiated into the Qadiriyya by an Indian shaykh, Ahmad al-Hindi al-Lahuri, who was a long-time resident of Surdash in southern Kurdistan. On one of his annual visits to the shrine of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir in Baghdad, Shaykh Ahmad Lahuri spent some time in Qerkh as Mulla Mahmud's guest. On the return journey, Shaykh Ahmad spent another period at Qerkh and made Mulla Mahmud his khalîfa.This Indian shaykh, Ahmad Lahuri, to whom the family owes its first affiliation with the Qadiriyya, is not a well-known person, but the family's silsila, although abbreviated, gives at least an indication of the branch of the Qadiriyya with which he was affiliated. Mulla Mahmud established a daughter takya in the city of Kirkuk but continued to reside in Kherkh and to lead the rituals in his takya there. His son and successor, Shaykh Ahmad, established a new takya and built a village at a spot opposite Qerkh named Talaban. It is from this village that the family has taken its name. Shaykh Ahmad and his seven sons are considered as the founders of the Talabani family. The most famous of the Talabani shaykhs was Ahmad's son, `Abd al-Rahman Khalis (d. 1275/1858-9). Though he presumably received his first instruction in the Qadiriyya from his father, he studied for a considerable time with Shaykh Ma`ruf-i Nodê in Sulaymaniyya, who took such a liking to him that he wanted to adopt him as his son. It was `Abd al-Rahman who later took up residence in Kirkuk and made of the takya there the centre of this branch of the Qadiriyya, which it has since remained. Branch takya were established in several other towns by his brothers. Shaykh `Abd al-Rahman introduced some innovations in the recitations of the Qadiriyya, including the use of percussion instruments accompanying dhikr and poetry, and he is for that reason considered as the founder of a distinct branch of the Qadiriyya, the Khalisiyya. The takya at Kirkuk has a reputation for the beauty of the vocal and instrumental music performed there. Unlike the Barzinji branch of the Qadiriyya, however, the Talabani branch does not allow tîghbâzî and similar practices. Shaykh `Abd al-Rahman appears to have been considered as the leading Qadiri shaykh of his day, as is indicated by the respect that was shown him during his annual visits to the shrine of `Abd al-Qadir by the sajjâda-nishîn, who was the nominal head of the order.Shaykh `Abd al-Rahman gained a reputation as a poet, who composed poems in Persian,Ottoman Turkish and Gorani. After his death, a collection of his poetry was published in Istanbul. He also made a Turkish translation of Shattanawfi's biography of `Abd al-Qadir,Bahjat al-asrâr. His fame spread to Anatolia and Istanbul, and the Khalisiyya branch of the order followed. One khalîfa, Mor `Ali Baba, was despatched to Sivas at the special request of the governor and notables of that province. Mor `Ali,later renamed Nur `Ali,lies buried in the
Khalisiyya takya that he had built in the city. Other khalîfa of Shaykh `Abd al-Rahman settled in Istanbul and elsewhere in Anatolia. According to one of his descendants, the shaykh had literally dozens of khalîfa, each with his own takya: in various parts of Kurdistan (Arbil, the Badinan and Khoshnaw districts, Zahaw, Juwanru, Hawraman, Mariwan, Sanandaj, Bukan,Sa'uj Bulaq [Mahabad], and Urfa) and as far as Samarkand, Medina, Tanta in Egypt and Syria.Sultan `Abd al-Majid, having heard many favourable reports about Shaykh `Abd al-Rahman,showed his appreciation by building a mosque for him.In Kirkuk, Shaykh `Abd al-Rahman was succeeded by his son `Ali (d. 1330/1912), and in the next generations too, succession was from father to son: through Muhammad `Ali (d. 1352/1933-4), Muhammad Jamil (d. 1381/1961-2) and `Ali (d. 1990) to the present incumbent, Yusuf.38 As the number of murîd kept growing — Shaykh `Ali is said to have had 50,000 disciples39 — the takya in Kirkuk was rebuilt several times. Other branches of the family remained in charge of secondary takya (such as that at Koy Sanjaq). The best known of Shaykh `Abd al-Rahman's khalîfa was a Kurd from Arbil who settled in Tanta' in Egypt and who wrote a book that is read as far away as in Indonesia. `Abd al-Qadir b. Muhyiddin al-Arbili(d. 1315/1897)is the author(or rather, the translator from Persian into Arabic) of the widely read hagiography Tafrîh al-khâtir fî manâqib shaykh `Abd al-Qâdir. He was a Naqshbandi and a Khalwati as well as a Qadiri.Shaykh `Abd al-Rahman's second son, Shaykh Riza Talabani, acquired great fame as a poet in Sorani Kurdish. A part of his poetry was devotional, with a few references to the Qadiriyya, but he also wrote in other registers, and some of his poetry was hardly of the kind one would expect from a mystic. He used his art as a weapon against his family's enemies and is the author of probably the most scurrilous poems ever written in Kurdish. There was no shortage of targets for his attacks; with its rapidly expanding control of land and people, the family had acquired quite a few enemies in his time. In the late 19th century, the Talabanis' relations with the Barzinjis (especially the branch of that family settled at Qadir Qaram in Kirkuk province) became strained and developed into a rivalry that gradually assumed a violent character. The available sources do not explain the reasons of this growing antagonism but one assumes that some of the increase in the Talabanis' political and economic fortunes was at the expense of the Barzinjis. In 1886, government authorities made several unsuccessful efforts to intervene in the conflicts then setting the Talabanis and the Barzinjis of the Kirkuk district against each other. In 1887, a member of the Talabani family, `Abd al-Samad, was killed by Shaykh Husayn Barzinji of Qadir Karam. Some months later, a brother of the victim, Shaykh Hamid, killed Shaykh Husayn in revenge. Peace between the feuding families was finally restored through the intervention of Shaykh `Ali Talabani (the head of the Talabani family and cousin of the killed `Abd al-Samad) and two leading Barzinji shaykhs, Sa`id Hafid of Sulaymaniyya and Hasan of Qara Chwar (the elder brother of Husayn of Qadir Karam). Both the Barzinji and the Talabani family originally owed their influence to the religious charisma of their leading members (which in the case of the Barzinjis was further enhanced by their status as sayyids), but as they acquired their own armed retinues and dependent peasantries — both families brought considerable areas of land under their direct control — they developed into a sort of tribal-feudal formations, that took part in tribal conflicts. Late Ottoman and British sources often list them among the tribes.43 In the 20th century, members of both families became influential in Iraqi politics. Hasan Talabani, a grandson of the poet Riza, was a minister in the cabinet of Qasim (1959-1963). Mukarram Talabani was a prominent member of the Iraqi Communist Party and at one time a cabinet minister; Jalal Talabani (whose father Husamuddin was a shaykh of the Koy Sanjaq branch of the family) became one of the leading Kurdish nationalist leaders.
The sayyid lineages of Nehri and Arvas and the Qadiriyya
Central Kurdistan was home to two other great families of sayyids that have produced numerous `ulama and sufi shaykhs, and whose influence equalled that of the Barzinjis. The sayyids of Nehri claim descent from `Abd al-Qadir Jilani through his son `Abd al-`Aziz and were until the early 19th century affiliated with the Qadiriyya. Briefly after Mawlana Khalid's return from India to Sulaymaniyya, the head of the Nehri family, Sayyid Taha, joined him there and became his khalîfa; since then the leading members of the family have only taught the Naqshbandiyya- Khalidiyya.The other family of sayyids was established at Arvas, a village in the vicinity of Moks (new name: Bahçesaray, in the mountains south of Lake Van). They claim descent from a certain Sayyid Qasim al-Baghdadi, who fled Baghdad when it was sacked by Hulagu (1258) and settled with his family and dependants in the mountains of Kurdistan. His father, as the family tradition has it, was the qutb of the Qadiriyya and was known by the name of Qutb Muhammad.The present Arvasi sayyids all descend from `Abd al-Rahman Arvasi, who flourished in the first half of the 19th century. Sultan Mahmud II is said to have highly respected and honoured him,and his contemporaries called him "the qutb of Arvas"; even Sayyid Taha of Nehri reportedly referred to him by this title. He led two medrese and two (Qadiri) khânaqâh,in Arvas itself and in Khoshab. Of his sons, `Abd al-Hamid acquired a great reputation as a master of the Qadiriyya.Two of `Abd al-Rahman's grandsons, Sibghatullah b. Lutfullah and Fahim b. `Abd al-Hamid, took the Naqshbandiyya from Sayyid Taha and became highly influential teachers in their own right. Both collected ijâza from numerous teachers. Fahim (d. 1333/1895) was a khalîfa of no less than five orders: Naqshbandiyya, Qadiriyya, Chishtiyya, Kubrawiyya and
Suhrawardiyya. In practice, however, he mostly taught the Naqshbandiyya. The same is true of his cousin Sibghatullah (d. 1287/1870), who settled further west in Khizan and became known as "the ghawth". His spiritual descendants constitute one of the most influential Naqshbandi networks in present Turkey and Syria. Since Fahim and Sibghatullah, the family's affiliation with the Qadiriyya has been nominal at best.
Other Qadiris in Kurdistan
a. present Iraq
Shaykh Nuruddin Brifkani (1205-1268/1791-1851) and his descendants, based in the Amadiyya district (Badinan, in present Iraqi Kurdistan). Shaykh Nuruddin is presently primarily remembered as a poet (writing in the Badinani Kurdish dialect) but he was also a learned `âlim and a sufi. He acquired an ijâza to teach the Qadiriyya from Shaykh Mahmud b. `Abd al-Jalil al-Khufri in Mosul. Returning to Kurdistan, he spread the Qadiriyya especially among the nomads of Badinan and Arbil. He appointed numerous khalîfa in central and northern Kurdistan, among others Muhammad Nuri al-Mawsili, `Ali Gelî Rûmanî, `Abd al- Hamid Khan Atrushi, `Abd al-Rahman Ansarî al-Jaziri (of Cizre), `Abd al-Bari Çarçaxî Wanî (of Van) and Shaykh Abdurrahman Takhi (of Takh near Hizan in Bitlis).46 Shaykh Shaykh Nuruddin was succeeded by his brother `Abdullah (d. 1305/1887-8), who established a takya in Duhok, and who in turn was succeeded by his son Nur Muhammad.
b. present Turkey
Both Bitlis and the village of Tillo (presently Aydınlar, near Siirt) were long known as centres of the Qadiriyya. Tillo has long had a unique reputation as a major centre of religious and secular learning, where sufism flourished side by side with astronomy and the natural sciences. The most famous of the shaykhs of Tillo was Isma`il Faqirullah, who died in 1147/1735 at the age of over eighty. He reputedly was the greatest scholar to have flourished in this part of the Ottoman Empire, although none of his writings ever was as widely read as his student Ibrahim Haqqi's encyclopaedic Ma`rifetname. Faqirullah is said to have been a Qadiri as well as a Naqshbandi. According to his disciple Ibrahim Haqqi, Faqirullah was of Arab descent; the first of his ancestors to settle in Tillo was a certain Molla `Ali, who had been the re'is of the `ulama of Cizre before leaving that city in 910/1504-5.49 The `ulama of Bitlis, which had even longer been a centre of learning and mysticism, maintained close relations with the shaykhs of Tillo (whom they appear to have considered as superior). Sems-i Bitlisi (Mahmud b. `Abd al-Ghafur), born into a Bitlis family that claimed descent from (`Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani's spiritual ancestor) `Ali Hakkari in 1127/1715, studied first with a local khalîfa of the then murshid in Tillo, `Abd al-Wahhab al-Hamzawi, then with `Abd al-Wahhab himself and finally in Baghdad with Shaykh Ahmad-i Sharif, `Abd al- Wahhab's own master, from whom he received an ijâza to teach the Qadiriyya and, on a second visit to Baghdad, a Naqshbandi ijâza as well. Returning to Bitlis he taught both turuq and appointed khalîfa for both. He died in 1202/1787, leaving his chief khalîfa Mahmud `Uryani or `Uryan Baba (no relative) as his postnishîn. `Uryan Baba was succeeded, upon his death in 1822, by Sems-i Bitlisi's only grandson, `Abd al-Hamid, and since then the position has been held within the family.
c. present Syria
Following the ban of sufi orders in Turkey in 1925, many Kurdish shaykhs moved across the border into Syria, resulting in a relatively high density of sufis in the Kurdish-inhabited northeast corner of that country. In the 1930s and 1940s, Qadiri shaykhs were especially influential in the town of `Amuda, where allegedly some 90 percent of the population were affiliated with one or another of the numerous shaykhs living there, most of the Qadiris. In the following decades, the Qadiri shaykhs lost some influence to the Naqshbandiyya (notably to Shaykh Ahmad Khiznawi, who had then recently arrived from Turkey, and who soon became the leading religious authority in all of north-eastern Syria)and more to secular community
leaders, when the first French-educated professionals and intellectuals replaced the last Ottoman-educated generation. When I visited `Amuda in 1976, there were only one Naqshbandi and two Qadiri shaykhs actually teaching, and they had relatively small numbers of murîd. I interviewed one of the latter, Shaykh Sayyid `Ubayd, who told me that he was affiliated with the Kasnazan branch of the Barzinjis. His father, from whom he had received the tarîqa, had come to `Amuda from present Turkey. Although affiliated with a Kurdish branch of the Qadiriyya,Shaykh `Ubayd did not consider himself as a Kurd but as an Arab (because of his sayyid status),and his murîd included Arabs as well as Kurds, most of them urban lower middle class (shopkeepers, civil servants, etc.). Besides this Kurdish branch of the Qadiriyya, I was told of another branch, led by Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir `Isa in Aleppo, that had some followers in the region.
The Qadiriyya is still present throughout Kurdistan, but its influence has considerably decreased, not only as a result of gradual secularisation (and an official ban in Turkey) but also due to the spectacular successes of Mawlana Khalid and his successors in drawing numerous former Qadiri adepts into the orbit of the Naqshbandiyya. Mawlana Khalid, the great reformer and revitaliser of the Naqshbandiyya, was born in southern Kurdistan around 1780 and grew up in his native Qaradagh and in Sulaymaniyya. Among his early teachers were two members of the Barzinji family, and his first sufi affiliation was also with the Qadiriyya, into which he received initiations from the Damascene Shaykh Mustafa al-Kurdi and Shaykh `Abdullah of Nehri. He found his real mission in India, where Shaykh `Abdullah Dihlawi initiated him into the Naqshbandiyya, made him his khalîfa and sent him back to Iraq to spread this order in the Ottoman Empire. Upon his return to Kurdistan in 1811, he initiated some of his own teachers into the Naqshbandiyya and appointed all in all dozens of khalîfa. These included the Qadiri shaykhs `Abdullah of Nehri and Ahmad-i Serdar Barzinji, whose descendants were to maintain their affiliation with the Naqshbandiyya. The expansion of the Naqshbandiyya, at least in part at the expense of the Qadiriyya, continued under Mawlana Khalid's khalîfa, who drew more
disciples away from the older order — and even shaykhs, such as the Arvasi sayyids.

Qadiriyya & Naqshbandiya in North Caucasus,Russia

By: Mairbek Vatchagaev
The Sufi interpretation of Islam has been practiced in Chechnya since the end of the 18th century. The Sufism of the Naqshbandi tariqa (or brotherhood) was the first to make its way to Chechnya (by Sheikh Mansur, Imam Avko, Imam Tashu-Hadji and many others). In the 1850s, at the time of military defeats for the Imamate of Shamil, the Qadiri tariqa was introduced to Chechen society, which at the beginning advocated spiritual resistance but by no means physical confrontation. This brotherhood was represented by Sheikh Kunta-Hadji Kishiev.
The uniqueness of Sufism in Chechnya lies in the transformation and development of the two tariqas since the 19th century. The Naqshbandiyya, known in the Caucasus as a base of support for those who resisted Russian aggression in the 18th and 19th centuries, abandoned that view and adopted a stance of peaceful coexistence with the official authorities. At the same time, the Qadiri tariqa, which had come to Chechnya promoting nonviolent resistance to Russian colonization in the 19th century, has now become the main force of Sufi opposition to the authorities.
Throughout the history of Sufism in Chechnya, the Sufi brotherhoods preserved structures bearing a resemblance to the military organizations of Chechen murids (disciples), individual followers of a Sufi leader or sheikh. Each village was divided into blocks, the leaders of which had to coordinate their actions with the heads of other blocks. They, in turn, were united in groups of one hundred. Thus, the blocks – villages – districts were led by a turkh (leader), and there was a leader of the Republic (most often a descendant of a Sufi sheikh), who coordinated the actions of the whole brotherhood.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the members of the Sufi brotherhoods encountered for the first time active propaganda by members of the Islamic Party of Renaissance, who encouraged Chechens to reject Sufism and follow a radical interpretation of Islam, pejoratively referred to as Salafism or Wahhabism. Adam Deniev (who later, having realized the absence of prospects for this ideology in Chechnya, realigned with the Sufis), Islam Halimov and Isa Umarov (Movlady Udugov's brother), were the first to try to impugn the foundations of Sufism as incompatible with the dogmas of Islam as a whole. But their activity came to naught due to the flat refusal by the majority of Chechens to recognize their ideology. The activity of these "reformers" was viewed as hostile and alien to Chechens: it was considered anti-Islamic, as Sufism meant Islam to Chechens.
Time has demonstrated that the Sufis were not prepared for such intrusions; that the murids unconditionally believed everything that the sheikhs told them. This is a paradox, as the murids managed to survive and strengthen their ranks due to their own counter-propaganda against the communist regime. Perhaps, that was the result of Islam's seclusion within the boundaries of Chechnya and Dagestan, its isolation from the world Islamic centers, and from the higher education centers of the Qadiriyya and Naqshbandiyya, all of which undoubtedly affected the nature of Sufism in Chechnya.
Speaking about the relative sizes of the Sufi brotherhoods of Naqshbandiyya and Qadiriyya, some mistakenly define the latter of comprising a great majority of the Chechen population. Unlike the Qadiris, the Naqshbandis practice their ways covertly, which limits the participation by those who are not members of the brotherhoods. Most likely, however, the ratio of participation between the two is 1 to 1.
The Qadiri tariqa, which never concealed its attitude toward the communist authorities, became a base of support for Djokhar Dudaev, who once was a member of the Naqshbandi tariqa, but later decided that he would find a reliable ally in the Qadiris. But choosing a tariqa as an ally is not enough; the most difficult task is to avoid a division in society. The Chechen authorities failed to achieve that: choosing the Qadiri tariqa created a counterbalance through which the Naqshbandis took the side of the opposition and assumed a stance of non-recognition of the new authorities led by Djokhar Dudaev. Among those who joined the opposition were the descendants of Deni Arsanov, whereas the descendants of Dokku Shaptukaev and Sheikh Solsa-Hadji Yandarov, most of whom live in the plains around Grozny, ignored the government of Djokhar Dudaev without openly condemning it. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that not all the Naqshbandis were in opposition to Dudaev: the members of the brotherhood of Imam Tashu-Hadji and Ghazy-Hadji Zandaksky (who live in the eastern part of Chechnya on the border with Dagestan) supported the new authorities and gave all military aid possible.
During the first Russian military campaign in Chechnya (1994 – 1996), Chechen military units were formed according to membership within a particular tariqa group (wird) – Kunt-Hadji, Ali Mitaev, Ghazi-Hadji Zandaksky, Tashu-Hadji Sayasanovsky and so on. That reflected the mood of people and was natural for that time. But it was also during that time (in 1995) that militarized detachments were formed under the leadership of an ethnic Chechen from Jordan, Sheikh Fathi, which presented themselves as representatives of pure Islam. Later they were known as jamaats (see April 6, 2005 issue of Chechnya Weekly).
After the war, from 1996 to 1998, Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov changed his position toward Sufism several times. Having come to power as a representative of Sufism, he immediately came to terms with the radicals, thereby trying to neutralize them as a possible opposition. Representatives of the so-called radical wing were appointed to a number of important posts in the government at the insistence of Islam Halimov. For example, Islam Halimov headed the Interior Ministry, which he renamed the Ministry of Sharia Security; Abdul-Wahab Hussainov was appointed Minister of Education; and Movlady Udugov was made Foreign Minister.
However, the military clash in the summer of 1998 in the town of Gudermes between Sufi adherents and the radicals brought Aslan Maskhadov back to the side of the Sufis. But Maskhadov, a follower of the Naqshbandi tariqa (the brotherhood of Usman-Hadji), repeated the same mistake made by Dudaev, who had counted on the Qadiris as allies. Unlike Dudaev however, Maskhadov's policy of conciliation between Sufis brought about an incredible outpouring of enthusiasm among the followers of Sufism in Chechnya.
Sufis probably make up 90 to 95 percent of the population of Chechnya, but those numbers should not lead one to underestimate the threat posed by the radicals. Radicals, even though they represent a minority of 2-3 percent, are an active minority advancing their own interests not only in Chechnya, but also throughout the whole North Caucasus region. They have rigid discipline and large financial capabilities, but most importantly they know what they want: power.
The majority of the followers of Sufism are made up of various disunited, competing brotherhoods that do not recognize each other and have no political ambitions. Their weakness also on theological issues may add to the shift of a part of the electorate from them to the radicals.
The Sufi element is poorly represented in the current military campaign; at least it is impossible to define them visually as it was in the first war (1994 – 1996). That speaks not so much to their weakness as to the fact that the Chechen Sufis are not prepared to react quickly to changes in the situation in Chechnya. Information sources advocating the interests of the radicals depict the situation in Chechnya as if only the jamaats are fighting there. This is at odds with the reality on the ground in Chechnya. However, the defeat of Sufi brotherhoods in the information war is evident as never before.
The Russians, for their part, are trying to drive a wedge between the resistance movement and Sufism by saying that all those who fight against them with weapons in their hands are radicals. It goes without saying, however, that any attempt to force an opinion on the Chechens from above is doomed to fail. Mistrust of the authorities, and of everything that has to do with Russia, is so strong in Chechnya that the opposing side has no need to take counter measures. There is a new young generation of Chechen Sufis, who received Sufi education in Syria and Turkey, and there is a new ideology – or, more accurately, the rebirth of a forgotten ideology of resistance to Russia – which makes Sufism in Chechnya more vibrant and pure than it was ten years ago.

The policy of terror unleashed by Russia in Chechnya today works against the Russians the same way it did in the past against the communist authorities. Chechens are "retreating" into their inner selves. Sufis have again left the streets. Islam has again returned to Chechnya; it contains a mystery that is inaccessible to those who are not in the Sufi brotherhoods. Russia's actions in Chechnya have failed to understand and recognize the force of Sufism, an indication that the Russians may have difficulty taming or suppressing the new generation of separatist fighters. (THE ROLE OF SUFISM IN THE CHECHEN RESISTANCEPublication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 16April 28, 2005 12:00 AM Age: 4 yrsCategory: North Caucasus Weekly)

Qadiriyya & Naqshbandiyya in China


Qadiriyya & Naqshbandiyya in China
(Notes From The Wandering Journal of Abu Zuhri Shin (Dated somewhere circa 2001)
300 years ago. A young Chinese murid/disciple whom destined to be a great sufi shaykh was told by Nashqabandi teacher Khawja Afaq in 1672, after receiving the initial training in Middle East and Central Asia was told : “ I am not to be your (complete/perfect) Teacher (yu er fei shi ), my Ancient Teaching is not to be passed to you, your real Shaykh has already crossed the Eastern Sea and arrived in Eastern land (of China). You must therefore return home quickly, and you will become a famous (sufi) Teacher in the land (later)”. This student was famously known as Master Qi Jingyi ( Shaykh Hilal-addin) or Qi Doazhu. He was buried in Linxia’s great tomb which became an active center of Qadiriyya Sufism in china. He had preached Islam in the province of Guandong, Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou and Ningxia before his death in 1674. Another record traced that Qi Jingyi had studied in the Prophet Illuminated City of Madina under the renown mystic Shaykh Ibrahim al-Kurani of the Shattariyya-Qadiriyya Tariqa, the same teacher of the Sumatra ulama Abdul Rauf Fansuri ( author of Umdatul Muhtajin). The main Qadiri teaching are : “ Those who know their self, clearly will know Allah” (man arafa nafsahu, fa qad arafa Rabbahu) and “ The Awliya-saints help us to know-correct ourselves first before knowing Allah (perfectly in worship and devotion)”. One of the Menhuan (tariqa centre) Gate in north east china was inscribed with a sufic proverb which declare : “ Believe in True God ( Zhen Zhu) and transform your self, and believe in the Prophet-Rasul (Sheng Ren), then awaken people of the world” There are three stages of sufic teaching are known in Chinese expressions as -Sharia / Chang Dao -Tariqa / Zhong Dao - Haqiqah / Zhen Cheng / Zhi Dao Sufism did not make a substantial impact in China until the 17th century, during the second tide of islam entrance in china. Like sufic centers everywhere, many of the sufi movement in china develop socio-economic and religious institutions built around the madrasa set up by early sufi saintly leaders. This centers known as ‘Menhuan ( The Gate/Pathway). Joseph Flectcher ‘s cogent observation is worth citing : “ many sufi reforms spread throughout china during the decades of Qing Dynasty. Increased travels and communication between muslims both east and west, generated revival and exposition to new teaching. There are now 4 main menhuan/tariqa exist in china : the Tariqa of Qadiriyya (traced back to shaykh Abdal Qadir al-Jilani), Jahriyya and Khufiyya (from Shaykh Bahauddin Nashqabandi) and Kubrawiyya ( from Shaykh Najmuddin al-Kubrawi of Persia). Interesting enough, the sufic text/poems of Mathnawi of Maulana Rumi are still recited/chanted in Ningxia province until today”. According to another sufic saying – ‘True Tao/Way are unceasing (Ti tao wu she ) which means that authentic sufic paths will always exist and sustained by the power, decree and overflowing of Allah’s immense knowledge, secrets and lights deposited through His Awliya/Friends. The Khufiyya menhuan preferred silent zikr remembrance of God. It is more suited to the hostile opposition from the Chinese governments which sought to assimilate them. Shaykh Ma Laichi was the founder of Nasqabandi in china. From 1728-1733, Ma Laichi wentton hajj to Mecca, then passing to Yemen and Bukhara where he studied with several sufi masters. He emphasised on a more active participation in society beside infusion of knowledge, zikr and reverence of past saints. The Nashqabandi Jahriyya was another important sufic order in china founded by Shaykh Ma Mingxin a dynamic leader. His teaching was thought to be novel, heterodox and subject to many conflicts in north west china. He preached the vocal-loud zikr (jahri). Many of his murids stated that : “ The root of our Way is from Arabia, the branches and leaves are in China” This remind us of the Prophetic Hadith : ‘ Seek knowledge even unto China’. After extensive search, Fletcher discovered that Ma Mingxin spiritual lineage was connected to a Nasqhbandi sufi named shaykh Abu Duha Halik from Yemen. This sufic silsila contained in the documnents found by a missionary FW Martin Taylor who was based in Jinxi, Ningxia. After him, there are other sufi shaykhs such as Ma Hualong, Ma Jinxi and Ma Yuanzhang, active until the late 1920s. Gellner suggested that , “ Sufism provide a theory, terminology and technique of leadership for the Chinese muslims for future survival”.

Qadiriyya in Nigeria


Sheikh Nasir Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Kabara, a noted Islamic scholar and philosopher was born in 1912 in Guringawa village outside Kano, Nigeria. His grandparents came from Kabara, a town under Timbuktu kingdom. His third generation grandfather — also from Kabara in Timbuktu — Mallam Omar, also known as Mallam Kabara was the only one from the lineage to settle in Adakawa in Kano city, before moving on to what is now known as Kabara ward, named after him. He was an accomplished Sufi in Timbuktu before departing for Kano.
The first thing Mallam Kabara did on settling in Kabara ward was to establish a school in 1787, of a sort commonly referred as (Zaure) School where the outer entrance hall of his house was converted into an Islamic school. This school possibly among the oldest recorded schools in Kano is now part of the Darul Qadiriyya household of Sheikh Nasir Kabara.
The sheikh was extremely enthusiastic in his search for knowledge. His first encounter with advanced Islamic learning system — long after he had graduated from the normal Allo (Qur’an read from wooden slates) schooling system, emerging extremely fluent in Arabic language, Islamic jurisprudence and Linguistics — was with Bad’ul Amli and Murshida, both treatises on Tauhidi; the unity of God. Next followed a voracious apepite for other books and soon he had completed his studies of Ahlari, Iziyya and Risala: all books necessary for a proper understanding of Islam. Because in Islam there is no concept of copyright, soon after the sheikh was himself typesetting the Risala and Ishiriniya (book of poetry in praise of the Prophet) and selling them.
His learning process was essentially self-motivated; with of course appropriate encouragement from his main teacher: Mallam Natsugune. Consequently, the youthful sheikh was a voracious searcher of Islamic knowledge, being far ahead of his contemporaries — indeed he was actually preaching to his classmates his advanced understanding of the meaning of the Qur’an; thus sowing the early seeds of his entry into Tafsir at such tender age.
In Kano of that era — 1920s — there were five advanced schools; essentially what can be considered pre-university schools now — where the sheikh used to go, on his own, to further his knowledge. These schools had extensive reference libraries containing collections obtained from various North African scholastic centers. All form the central core of sheikh Nasiru’s thirst for further knowledge.
Even at that age, his acquisition of knowledge was more than rote learning; he questioned what he did not understand from his teacher; thus being extremely revolutionary in his understanding of Islamic knowledge. The traditional perception of the relationship between the pupil and the master in the Islamic schooling system rarely gives room for interactive acquisition of the knowledge. sheikh Nasir did not accept such didactic relationship, and consequently, with diffidence and respect, always requests for further elaboration of what he did not understand of what he learnt from his teachers — who themselves were only too willing to oblige the young scholar. This was not surprising, even in the “archaic” 1930s Kano, considering the fact that some of his other teachers were graduates of the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the oldest university in Africa. Thus Sheikh Nasir Kabara combined two intellectual traditions: his Timbuktu ancestry when Timbuktu itself was a citadel of learning in the Sudan; and his contact with visiting scholars and professors from Al-Azhar in the 1930s in Kano.
Among the local residents in Kano who joined the Qadiriyya at this time (1937) was a young lad, Shaikh Muhammad Nasir Kabara, who was destined to bring great changes in the tariqa and not only to introduce the celebration of the birthday of Shaikh Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, a festival which was not practiced by the North Africans, but also to carry the use of bandiri to every corner of Hausa land.At the age of seventeen, Shaikh Muhammad Nasir was really too young to be accepted as a member of the Qadiriyya but, as his grandfather, Mallam Nakabara — an extremely well learned Mallam — wished him to enter the order, Shaikh Sa’ad had a little choice but to give him the wazifa. Although a youth, sheikh Nasir was not only well read in classical Arabic literature and sciences but he was also conversant with the learning of Sufism and the works of the leading sufi scholars of the time.When the Amir of Kano Abdullahi Bayero went on the hajj Sheikh Nasir sent a letter through Wali Sulaiman to the Khalifa of the Qadiriyya, Shaykh Abu al-Hassan as-Samman, the grandson of the founder of the Sammaniyya, asking him to give him an ijaza to become muqaddam of his own zawiya. The Shaykh was astonished to hear of such a highly learned youth and he sent a jubba and cap to shaykh Nasir together with a letter of appointment as a muqaddam. Although shaykh Nasir did not immediately separate himself from the community in Alfindiki, as Shaikh Sa’ad was still alive, his actions were regarded as innovations by the Arabs. In 1949 shaykh Nasir made the Hajj and met the new Khalifa, Shaikh Hashim and Shaikh Muhammad of Mauritania. On his return journey, he visited the Sudan, where he met with Sayyidi Shaikh Muhammad al-Fatih bin. Shaikh Qaribullah, grand Shaikh of the Sudanese Sammaniyya, and collect the Ijaza of As-Sammaniyyal-Qaribiyya secondly. He also visited other Arab countries where he learnt many things concerning the hadra and bandiri organization. By 1950 Sheikh Nasir was in many ways far more versatile and eclectic than his teachers; and having successfully made Sufism acceptable to wider audience, he was thus able to make Qadiriyya penetrate into every part of the country.
Thus since about 1958 Sheikh Nasir Kabara has been con¬sidered the leader of all branches of Qadiriyya in Kano. The lines of authority within the leadership structure, however, may be viewed in terms of both the individuals whose authority extends over several branches and the particular patterns within each branch.
Sheikh Nasir Kabara received his original authority in Kuntiyya and Ahl al Dar from Ibrahim Na tsugune, who was the dominant figure linking nineteenth¬ and twentieth century Qadiriyya in Kano. Ibrahim (ca. 1867 1941) was Fulani and his grandfather was originally from Katsina. He learned a wide range of subjects from his father: law, theology, literature, logic, and grammar. He learned astrology from Mahmud Kabara; law (the Mukhtasar) from the babban mallami, Abdurrahman al Suyudi; and sufism (especially Qadiriyya) from his father and from Ibrahim of Zaria, who had come to Kano. By the age of thirty, he had become a legal adviser to Emir Aliyu. He was offered the position of alkali (judge) but refused on the conviction that mallams should not be involved in government. He did not travel outside Kano and continued his position as legal adviser under emirs Abbas, Usman, and Abdullahi Bayero. He was also the personal mallarn of Emir Usman. Ibrahim did not write books, although he did possess his own written commentaries on the Mukhtasar. His home in Kabara ward was a center of higher learning in Hausa land. One section of his compound was set aside for studies of theology and mysticism, and another section was set aside for studying law. He was not an ardent proponent of solitude (khalwa). Although there were other leaders of tradi¬tional Qadiriyya in Kano during this period, Ibrahim’s authority was rein¬forced by his personal qualities of piety and knowledge and by his effectiveness as a teacher of mallams. He was not succeeded in this authority by his son but by his student Sheikh Nasiru Kabara, who exhibited these same qualities.
Sheikh Nasir Kabara”was “given” to Ibrahim na Kabara as a child and grew up in his household. As a Fulani, shaykh Nasiru has had access to the Traditional Qadiriyya mallams in Kano. Through his abilities as a scholar and teacher, he became the likely heir to Ibrahim na Kabara.”
During the period from 1935 to 1955, shaykh Nasiru was successful in establishing direct contact with the primary sources of Qadiriyya authority in Khartoum, Timbuktu, and Baghdad; and thus he became increasingly independent of Traditional Qadiriyya lines of authority. His trip to Baghdad in 1953 was a turning point in his career. It established his authority directly within the international headquarters of Qadiriyya; while in Baghdad he studied classical and modern aspects of Qadiriyya, and subsequently he introduced or in¬terpreted much of this material for a Nigerian audience; his sole traveling companion to Baghdad was the wealthy merchant, Sanusi Dantata. As a result of the trip, shaykh Nasir secured the financial support for his campaign to re¬form Qadiriyya and extend it to a mass level.
Upon his return from Baghdad, sheikh opened his own Qadiriyya mosque and declined to attend the mosque of Muhammad Sidi. By 1956 most of the leadership and laity had aligned with Shaikh. and a rapprochement was reached with Muhammad Sidi. During this period Nasir traveled throughout northern Nigeria opening mosques and appointing muqaddams. He also nurtured his contacts in the Arab world, returning twice to Baghdad and visiting Khartoum, Cairo, Beirut, Damascus, Tehran, and Amman. In 1958 he was appointed headmaster of Shahuci judicial School and Library in Kano. In 1961 he opened his own Islamiyya Senior Primary School in Gwale ward and has continued teaching advanced subjects in his own home.
In 1949 sheikh was appointed to the emir’s Council of Advisers by Abdullahi Bayero. When Muhammad Sanusi became emir in 1954, however,Shaykh was replaced on the council by Reformed Tijani mallams. During the reign of Sanusi, shaykh served as a legal consultant to the Northern Muslim Court of Appeal and continued as one of the two tafsir readers in the palace (q.v.). With the appointment of Ado Bayero as emir in 1963, shaykh Nasiru again became an adviser to the emir. Since 1963 he has been a member of the Kaduna Council of Mallams and has been on numerous local and regional committees, ranging from the Kano Native Authority Committee on Prostitution to the Northern Nigerian Special Committee on Education in Kano Province.
Despite his involvement as a government mallam, Sheikh Nasiru Kabara has main¬tained a base of authority independent of the administrative structures in Kano and northern Nigeria. He has been largely responsible for making Qadiriyya acceptable to the common man, both Fulani and Hausa, and has been an im¬portant intermediary between the Fulani ruling class and the Hausa com¬moner. He has translated the theology and mysticism of Qadiriyya into the Hausa idiom.
In addition to the functions of initiation, training, and intermediation, the Qadiriyya leadership in Kano has responsibility for financing and organizing the various activities of the brotherhood and for communicating with all segments of the brotherhood, local and national. In the transformation of the brotherhood from an elite to a mass organization, a major leadership function has been the inspiration and adminis¬tration of ritual.
Most of the Reformed Qadiriyya members do wuridi in groups led by an imam. The exact nature of the wuridi varies with the subgroup within Qadiriyya. The total time expended in each group would be about thirty minutes per day. Some Qadiriyya (Salamiyya) imams also lead bandiri sessions about twice a week in the evenings. During these group prayer sessions the leader follower nexus is strongly reinforced, partly by the traditional relationship of an imam to those who “pray behind.”
Reformed Qadiriyya has placed a special emphasis on group celebration of the founder’s birthday (Mauludin shaykh Abdulkadir). This ceremony is specifically identified with Reformed Qadiriyya and was initiated in Kano by Sheikh Nasir Kabara in about 1959. It serves as a yearly meeting for brotherhood leaders and members from throughout northern Nigeria. Delegations from each of the major northern cities congregate in Kano for a full day of prayers and activities. The central feature of the day is a group procession, arranged by area delegations, from the home of Sheikh Nasiru Kabara in the Jarkasa area of Kabara ward to the Kano Qadiriyya burial ground west of Kano City, where prayers are said over the graves of Kano Qadiriyya saints. The procession also serves as the only time in the year when men, women, and children all participate in the same worship service. The order of procession indicates roughly the hierarchy of authority within the Qadiriyya elite; there is an inner core of muqaddams who accompany Sheikh Nasiru Kabara during this period.
From the patterns of authority and community within Qadiriyya in Kano several points may be summarized:
(1) Association with Qadiriyya in the nineteenth century was limited to Fulani mallams and administrators (who derived their authority from the leaders of the Fulani Jihad) and to North African Arabs (who did not integrate themselves religiously into the Kano Milieu).(2) With the establishment of colonial rule, elements in the Kano Arab community reaffirmed their own spiritual links with North African sources of spiritual authority.(3) Members of the Hausa mallam class began to associate with this renewed form of North African Qadiriyya and were recruited into leadership positions within one generation. (4) Part of the success of Qadiriyya in the Hausa sector was due to an emphasis on group worship and the focusing of activities within local mosques. (5) The “legitimate” successor to the leadership of traditional Fulani Qadiriyya in Kano (Sheikh Nasiru Kabara) affiliated with independent lines of Qadiriyya authority as a reinforcement of his “inherited” authority and sought to consolidate the Arab, Hausa, and Fulani sections of Qadiriyya. (6) This was accomplished partly by extending Qadiriyya from an elite base to a mass base. In this process, the support of wealthy Hausa merchants was essential. On the mass level, Reformed Qadiriyya was also a redaction of emerging Kano nationalism which demanded that religious au¬thority be shifted from Sokoto and North Africa to Kano itself. (7) Because of the mass base of Reformed Qadiriyya, it was no longer possible for the Qadiriyya elite to identify completely with the Kano ruling class. Thus, while brotherhood leaders might act as advisers to the ruling class, they have usually guarded their status as nongovernment mallams. (8) Perhaps as a consequence of the shift from an elite to a mass base, the brotherhood leadership became in¬volved in two relatively new functions: the interpretation of doctrine for local use and the inspiration, through ritual and ceremony, of group and mass worship.
Doctrines of Authority and Community in Reformed QadiriyyaWhereas Traditional Qadiriyya in Kano relied heavily on the nineteenth¬ century Jihad writings as the major sources of Qadiriyya doctrine the leaders of Reformed Qadiriyya have themselves been prolific writers. Like the Fulani Jihad writers, the contemporary Qadiriyya writers are concerned to relate classical Islamic thought to local circumstances. In the interim period between the Jihad writings and the contemporary writings, there was “a dearth of Qadiriyya literature in Kano. None of the major leaders during this period, ¬Ibrahim na Kabara, Ali Musa, Saad b. Ahmad, Sharif Garba, Sidi Muhammad, and Muhammad Sidi wrote on Qadiriyya. The Reformed Qadiriyya move¬ment, associated with Sheikh Nasiru Kabara and Ahmad b. Ali, has not only pro¬duced its own literature but has revived an interest in the Jihad classics,” has introduced works on Qadiriyya from the Arab world,” and has inspired local Hausa “praise poets” “ to express themselves on brotherhood matters. Sheikh Nasir Kabara has written about 200 works in all.
The amount of systematic theology in the writings of Sheikh Nasir Kabara has been minimal; his primary purpose seems to be to relate the history and ele¬ments of the brotherhood in terms understandable to contemporary Kano society and to stimulate an identification with the saints of the brotherhood. The writings of Ahmad b. Ali cover many of these same topics. There is no specific praise of the Shaziliyya way, as distinct from Qadiriyya, and much of the literature contains poems that are sung at worship gatherings. Another Reformed Qadiriyya leader in Kano, Adamu na Ma’aji seems mainly concerned with chains of authority and conditions of initiation.”
The writings of brotherhood leaders such as Sheikh Nasiru Kabara and Ahmad b. Ali espouse the community and authority of Qadiriyya on two major grounds: affiliational (primarily on the basis of direct personal experience) and communal (primarily on the basis of loyalty to the nineteenth century Jihad tradition). Within the category of affiliational appeal, there have been five areas of doctrinal exposition: the origins and spread of Qadiriyya, the elements and requirements of Qadiriyya, the benefits and blessings for those who follow Qadiriyya, personal praise of the Qadiriyya saints, and general preaching.
With regard to the spread of Qadiriyy, Sheikh Nasiru Kabara describes in Al¬nafahat the Qadiriyya shaykhs in history and the distribution of Qadiriyya among the continents of the world.” In Naf’ al ‘ibad, he discusses the Qadiriyya caliphate throughout history. In Ithaf al khald’iq he presents the genealogy of the founder, shaykh‘Abd al Qadir, and a considerable amount of biographical data. He also mentions some of the successors of shaykh ‘Abd al Qadir in the contemporary world.
With regard to the requirements of Qadiriyya, Sheikh Nasir Kabara elaborates in Al nafahat the details and the nature of the brotherhood ceremonies.” In the Naf’ al ibad he describes the Qadiriyya daily voluntary prayers.” In the Ithaf al khala’iq he discusses the necessities and voluntary aspects of ablution, washing, tayammum (symbolic washing with dust), prayer, prostration, giving of alms, fasting, pilgrimage, and other Islamic rituals for those who follow Qadiriyya.

Qadiriyya in Mauritania

The Qadiriya is the largest and most highly organized brotherhood in Mauritania. Founded in Mesopotamia in the twelfth century by Abd al Kader al Jilani, it spread to Africa in the fifteenth century. Like all brotherhoods, the Qadiriya includes some emotional mystical elements, but it also stresses learning and Islamic education as the way to find God. All members of the Qadiriya are directed to follow the precepts of humility, generosity, and respect for their neighbors regardless of religious beliefs or social standing.
The Qadiriya brotherhood has had two main branches in Mauritania, the Sidiya and the Fadeliya. Although the Sidiya has been most influential in the vicinity of Trarza--where the family and followers of the brotherhood's founder, Shaykh Sidiya Baba, were centered--it has also been important in Brakna, Tagant, and Adrar. The Fadeliya, founded in the early nineteenth century by Mohammad Fadel, has been centered in Oualâta and Atar.

Qadiriyya in Somalia

Shaykh Masum Naqshbandi (r.a) with Qadri Shaykh from Somalia
at NFIE Int.Mawlid un Nabi Conference.UIC.Chicago.Illinois,USA

The Qadiriyah, the oldest order in Islam, was founded in Baghdad by Abdul Qadir al-Jilani in 1166 and introduced to Harar in Ethopia in the fifteenth century. During the eighteenth century, it was spread among the Oromo and Somalis of Ethiopia, often under the leadership of Somali shaykhs. Its earliest known advocate in northern Somalia was Shaykh Abd ar Rahman az Zeilawi, who died in 1883. At that time, Qadiriyah adherents were merchants in the ports and elsewhere. In a separate development, the Qadiriyah order also spread into the southern Somali port cities of Baraawe and Mogadishu at an uncertain date. In 1819 Shaykh Ibrahim Hassan Jebro acquired land on the Jubba River and established a religious center in the form of a farming community, the first Somali jamaa.
Outstanding figures of the Qadiriyah in Somalia included Shaykh Awes Mahammad Baraawi (d. 1909), who spread the teaching of the order in the southern interior. He wrote much devotional poetry in Arabic and attempted to translate traditional hymns from Arabic into Somali, working out his own phonetic system. Another was Shaykh Abdirrahman Abdullah of Mogadishu, who stressed deep mysticism. Because of his reputation for sanctity, his tomb at Mogadishu became a pilgrimage center for the Shebelle valley and his writings continued to be circulated by his followers in the early 1990s.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

History of Qadiriyya and Naqshbandiyya Orders in Indonesia

History of Qadiriyya and Naqshbandiyya Orders in Indonesia
History of Qadiriyya and Naqshbandiyya Orders in Indonesia

By Sri Mulyati
PhD Candidate, McGill University, Montreal
The world’s two largest sufi orders, namely the Qadiriyya and Naqshbandiyya, are both prominently followed in Indonesia. It is not known exactly how the Qadiriyya came to Indonesia. Syed Naguib al-Attas states that Hamza Fansuri of Barus, North Sumatra was a Qadiri and, being a man of repute, he gathered about him a large circle of disciples. The earliest known Indonesian reference to Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, is found in the poems of Fansuri himself, who lived in Acheh in the second half of the 16th century. In addition, Fansuri’s prose works mention notable sufi shaykhs Abu Yazid Bistami, Junayd al-Baghdadi, Mansur al-Hallaj, Jalaluddin Rumi, Ibn `Arabi, Jami, `Attar and several others.
The first Indonesian author who expressly claims to have been initiated into the Qadiriyya is the famous Shaykh Yusuf Makassar (1626-1699). His Qadiriyya teacher, Muhammad Jilani ibn Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Hamid, was an immigrant from Gujarat and the paternal uncle of Nur al-Din al-Raniri. In Yemen, Shaykh Yusuf learned the Naqshbandiyya doctrine from a famous Arab shaykh, Muhammad `Abd al-Baqi. The other Achehnese sufi, `Abd al-Ra’uf al-Sinkili, who studied in Madina in the mid 17th century under the Sufi masters Ahmad al-Qushashi and Ibrahim al-Kurani, also lists them as a line of Qadiriyya teachers.
Lombard informs us of the rise of the Naqshbandiyya order in the Indonesian Archipelago, pointing to L.W.C. van den Berg’s statement that he had come across Naqshbandiyya activity in Acheh and in Bogor (West Java), where he had witnessed the Naqshbandiyya dhikr being performed. He then goes to describe the coming of the Naqshbandiyya to the region of Medan, where a community was founded at Langkat. The author further states that Shaykh `Abd al-Wahhab Rokan al-Khalidi al-Naqshbandi introduced the Naqshbandiyya to Riau. After spending two years in the Malay Archipelago engaging in trade, he went to Makkah and studied under Shaykh Sulayman al-Zuhdi. In 1854 he received his certificate and came back to Riau where he finally built a Naqshbandi village called Bab al-Salam, “The Door of Peace”.
The merits and benefits of dhikr in Pesantren Suryalaya can be determined by the large numbers of those who have been cured.In the nineteenth century the Tariqat Naqshbandiyya had a branch in Makkah, where, according to Trimingham, one Naqshbandiyya shaykh from Minangkabau (West Sumatra) was initiated in 1845. From Makkah the Tariqat Naqshbandiyya was spread to other countries including Indonesia through the pilgrims every year. Both tariqats were well established as they were born in the 7th and 8th centuries Hijra (12th/13th centuries CE).
Formation of Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya Sufi orders play an important role in Indonesian Muslim society, particularly the Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya (single tariqat with both titles). The significance of this order lies in its Indonesian character. Not only was its founder the locally-born Shaykh Ahmad Khatib Sambas, but the order itself was involved in the struggle against the Dutch and continued being active as a socio-religious movement and an educational institution after independence. A survey of the Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya’s history therefore pertains closely to the development of Indonesian society in this century.
This tariqat is uniquely Indonesian, not only for the reasons cited above, but owing also to some of its practices which are particularly in tune with the beliefs and cultural needs of the people of Indonesia. Further, Shaykh Sambas did not teach the two tariqats separately but in a combined fashion.
Illustrious Founder of the Order Born in Sambas, West Kalimantan, Khatib Sambas settled in Makkah in the early nineteenth century, where he remained until his death in 1875. Among his teachers were Shaykh Daud ibn `Abd Allah al-Fatani, a great Islamic scholar who had also lived in Makkah, Shaykh Muhammad Arshad al-Banjari, and Shaykh `Abd al-Samad al-Palimbani. According to Naquib al-Attas, Khatib Sambas was a Shaykh of Qadiriyya and Naqshbandiyya. Hurgronje mentions as well that he was one of Nawawi al-Banteni’s teachers, excelling in every branch of Islamic knowledge. Zamakhsyari Dhofier has shown the significant role of Shaykh Sambas in the intellectual genealogy of Java’s leading shaykhs and instrumental in the dissemination of Islam throughout Indonesia and the Malay world in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Key to this effort was Shaykh Sambas’ work Fath al-‘Arifin (Victory of the Gnostics), which became one of the most significant works on sufi practice in the Malay world, elaborating on initiation (bay`a), remembrance of Allah (dhikr), meditation (muraqaba) and lineage (silsila) of the Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya.
Disciples of the Illustrious Shaykh
Primarily natives of Java and Madura, disciples of the Shaykh passed on his teachings upon their return from Makkah. It has been said that Shaykh Sambas, in addition to developing Indonesia’s most influential ’ulama, also trained leading ‘ulama in fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and tafsir (Qur’anic commentary), such as Shaykh `Abd al-Karim Banten, his successor. Known as “Sultan of Shaykhs”, Abd al-Karim encouraged the uprising against the Dutch in 1888 and then left Banten for Makkah to succeed Shaykh Khatib Sambas.
A majority of European writers are radically mistaken in asserting that Indonesian ‘ulama were generally hostile to Sufi orders.The importance of Shaykh Sambas as a scholar must be stressed here as a majority of European writers are radically mistaken in asserting that the `ulama were generally hostile to the Sufi orders. Among the leading disciples of Shaykh Sambas one can point to scholars such as Shaykh Tolhah from Cirebon (West Java) and Shaykh Ahmad Hasbullah ibn Muhammad from Madura (East Java), both of whom had lived in Makkah.
The Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya attracted numerous Indonesian disciples, especially in Madura, Banten and Cirebon, and by the end of the 19th century had become the most popular. Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya has spread throughout Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, and Darussalam.
After Shaykh Ahmad Khatib SambasBy 1970, there were four important Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya centers located in Java: Rejoso (Jombang) under Shaykh Romly Tamim; Mranggen (close to Semarang) under Shaykh Muslikh; Suryalaya (Tasikmalaya) with Shaykh Ahmad Sahib al Wafa’ Taj al-`Arifin (Abah Anom) as its head; and Pagentongan (Bogor), under Shaykh Thohir Falak. Rejoso represents the line of Ahmad Hasbullah, Suryalaya the line of Shaykh Tolhah and the others that of Shaykh `Abd al-Karim Banten and his khalifas. In some cases teachings of the tariqat have, over time, been imparted through speeches in mosques and during informal gatherings in the houses of various individuals. So it is not surprising that during that period discourses were not meticulously recorded. However, under Abah Anom, the teachings have been outlined in a book entitled Miftah al-Sudur, “The Key of Hearts”. The book’s objective is to convey the theory and practice of Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya to achieve tranquility in worldly life and victory in the hereafter. Other of his contemporary works include ‘Uqud al-Juman, Al-Akhlaq al-Karimah and Ibadah sebagai Metoda Pembinaan Korban Penyalahgunaan Narkotika dan Kenakalan Remaja (Worship as a Method of Rehabilitation in Narcotics Abuse and Juvenile Delinquency).
The Tariqat’s Role in Social Reform
Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil has stated that next to terrorism, the second biggest problem of mankind particularly for youth is drugs (The Muslim Magazine, Spring 1999). This social problem is not confined to Western countries but has unfortunately affected youth throughout the world. Although the number of drug addicts in Asian countries is not as great as it is in the West, the problem was serious enough for Abah Anom to establish the “Pondok Inabah”, a drug rehab center that employs the healing aspects of dhikr.
Abah Anom’s methodology was developed as a result of his belief in the practical experience of Sufi masters and in his belief that dhikr Allah contains enlightenment, special characteristics and secrets which can cure the hearts of Muslim believers. This belief is based on God’s saying: “Remember me, I will remember you,” meaning “When you remember Me, the curtain of heedlessness will be removed from you, and you will then become the one remembered and the one given help.” The merits and benefits of dhikr in Pesantren Suryalaya can be determined by the large numbers of those who have been cured.The Tariqat remains active as a socio-religious movement and aneducational institution.A scientific study of Abah Anom’s methodology was made by Dr. Emo Kastomo in 1989. Over eight years, his evaluation included a random selection of 5925 patients from 10 Pondok Inabah rehab centers. Of these, he found 5426 were cured, 212 were still experiencing the healing process, and 7 patients had died.
The Tariqat’s Role in Politics
The first of the three Indonesian uprisings involving the followers of Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Nashbandiyya saw the involvement of many shaykhs and hajjis in the Banten revolt of July 1888. It is reported that while Shaykh `Abd al-Karim Banten did not seem to be interested in political activities, his khalifah, Hajji Marzuki was much more reformist-minded and predominantly anti-Dutch. Although the tariqat was not a leading player in the revolt, the Dutch were worried about its influence, and many of them believed that the Sufi orders in general, and particularly Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya, was a secret organization whose objective was the overthrow of colonial power.
The second revolt was fomented by the Sasak tribe, followers of Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya Shaykh Guru Bangkol. The Dutch therefore considered the tariqat as an important factor in the overall rebellion. Although the Dutch advisor Snouck Hurgronje counseled that it was an exaggeration to believe that the tariqats were a political threat to the Dutch, his opinion was not embraced until Sarekat Islam, a well-established political organization, appeared in 1911.Presently in Java, the three largest branches of the Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya—Rejoso, Mranggen and Suryalaya—each uphold different policies in terms of political affiliation, with some more actively aligned with the ruling political party of Indonesia.
Present State of Indonesian TariqatsIn 1957, the “Jam`iyya Ahl Thoriqoh Mu`tabaroh” was established by Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s current ruling party. Its objective is to unify all sanctioned tariqas and to preserve the silsila (chain of authority) that originated with Prophet Muhammad (s). The Jam`iyya preserves teachings of tasawwuf from 45 sanctioned tariqas

Qadiriyya in India

Uch Sharif

Qadiriyya in India
Dr. Dilaver Gürer - Abdülkadir Geylani: Hayati, Eserleri, Görüsleri
(Abdul Qadir Jilani: Life, Work, Views)
There are different opinions about who brought the Qadiriyya Sufi Order first to the Indian subcontinent, but it seems to be sure that the Qadiri Tariqat was spread in India two centuries after the death of its founder. Muhammad Enam ul-Haq claims in his work, "A History of Sufism in Bengal, Dhaka 1975", that the Qadiriyya was brought to India first by the Sufi Abdulkarim al-Jili in the year 789/1388. It is certain that Al-Jili came to India in these years and stayed there for some years. Muzammil Haq does not completely agree with this. He says that Al-Jili might have been in India at this time but that the sources do not give any information about his attempts to find new members or to propagate the teachings ol the Qadiri Tariqat in India.
In other investigations Shah Nimetullah Wali (731-834/1331-1431) and his children are mentioned to be the first inviters to Qadiriyya in India. According to the traditions, Shah Nimetullah (born in Syria) made after the death of his Pir Abdullah Al-Yafii, travels to North Iran, Samerkand, Herat and Yazd. He then stayed in the Persian town Mahan (district of Kirman) and became after short time the mystic leader of the region and founded the first Shia tariqat, the Nimetullahiyya. Later the Nimetullahiyya was spread in Dakkan as a result of the friendship between Nimetullah Wali and Sultan Shabaddin Ahmad I. (825-839/1422-1436). But it seems to be problematic to consider this Tariqat as an affiliate of Qadiriyya.
Arnold emphasizes the role of the humble and gentle Muslim inviters (missioners) in spreading Islam among the Indian people. He says: "The most important of these inviters was the grandson of the famous saint Abdul Qadir Jilani, Seyyid Yusuf ad-din. Seyyid Yusuf got in his dream the order to leave Bagdad and to go to India in order to invite the Indian people to Islam. Thereupon he immigrates to Sind in 824/1422 and after an effort of 10 years he reaches to invite more then 700 families out of the caste of Lohana to convert to Islam."
But its not sure if Seyyid Yusuf did these efforts in the name of Qadiriyya. It seems to be possible that there was a certain tariqat (Qadiriyya) idea in his work.
In the second part of the 9th/15th century a Qadiri dergah was founded in Ush(Uch) near by Multan. The founder was Shaikh Bendegi Muhammad Gavs(Ghous) (Muhammad bin Shah Emir b. Ali b. Mesud b. Ahmad b. Sayfaddin b. Abdalwehhab al-Jilani, 903/1517) a grandson of Abdul Qadir Jilani. Shaikh Muhammad Gavs (Ghous)came to Multan/Ush in 877/1482 together with his family and group of murids. They settle in this area where the Suhrawardiyya is active too.
According to Shaikh Abdulhaq ad-Dehlawi (1052/1642) there was at this time a big need for a spiritual leader in Multan. Because of this the Shaikh and his murids were welcomed by the Amir of Multan and the people of Ush. (Uch)
Seyyid Muhammad Gavs(Ghous) is the first one to establish the Qadiri tariqat in India and the later generations strengthened it and carried it to the other parts of the country.
After the death of Muhammad Gavs(Ghous), his son and Khalifah Abdulqadir Sani (940/1533) takes his place. For his great efforts for the tariqat he got the title Sani (the second Abdulqadir).
He went on inviting people to tariqat and reached the conversion of a large Hindu group to Islam and to strengthen the belief of the weak Muslims. So the Qadiriyya was spread in Sind, Panchup (Punjab) and Kashmir.
[Courtesy: Translated from Turkish into English by B. Yurek - Cologne, Germany]

Qadiriyya Sufi Way (Tariqah)

Qadiriyya Tariqah
The earliest Sufi Order was founded by Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him) who died 1166 C.E. in Baghdad, Iraq. The Sufis of the Qadiriyah Order laid great stress on the purification of the self. According to this philosophy, purification of the mirror of the heart from rust of the carnal, animal and satanic qualities is the essential part of one's spiritual journey. The Sufis maintained that the human soul came from the world of command and is capable of reflecting the Divine Light, but due to impurities of the self, it does not do so.
If a mirror becomes rusty it cannot reflect any form placed before it, but when the rust is removed, it begins to reflect clearly. Thus if the mirror of the heart is clean, the beauty of the Beloved (Allah) reflects in it and one can see this in the personality of the seeker, inwardly and outwardly.
The Qadiriyah School of Mysticism is based entirely upon the principles of Shariah. In this School, the disciple (murid) accepts Shaikh Sayyiduna Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him) as his Grand Shaikh, testifying that the ahd (bayt, i.e. swearing allegaince by the hand) he is taking is the ahd of Almighty Allah and His Apostle (Allah bless him and give him peace) and that the hand of the Sufi Shaikh is that of Shaikh Sayyiduna Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him), and is expected to subordinate his will to his Spiritual Guide (Pir-i-Murshid).
Hazrat Ghaus-e-Azam (may Allah be well pleased with him) is a 'Najeeb-ut-Tarfayn' Sayyid, that is, his father traces his lineage to Imam Hasan (may Allah be well pleaded with him) and his mother traces he lineage to Imam Husayn (may Allah be well pleaded with him).
The venerable Muhyiddin Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, may his soul be sanctified, is al-ghawth al-azam [the manifestaion of Allah's attribute 'the All-Powerful'], who hears the cry for help and saves the ones in need, and al-qutb al-azam - the pole, the center, the summit of spiritual evolution, the spiritual ruler of the world, the source of wisdom, container of all knowledge, the example of faith in Islam; a true inheritor of the perfection of the Prophet Mustafa; a perfect man; and the founder of the Qadiriyah, the mystical order that has spread far and wide and preserved the true meaning of Islamic Sufism throughout these centuries until our time.
Even the famous 18th century theologian Shah Wali Allah [d.1762] of Delhi, whose primary Sufi affiliation is the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidiyya, praises and respects Abdul Qadir Jilani to such a great extent and declares that the most complete Sufi [in terms of having a connection to the Prophet] is Hazrat Shaikh Sayyiduna Shah Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be well pleased with him). Therefore it is said that the spiritual power (tasarruf) at his blessed tomb is as if he were alive.
Shah Wali Allah further comments that the Qadiriya is near the Uwaisiyya [Uwaysi] and other paths involving disembodied spirits. There is nothing to compare to the Qadiriya when one learns from an embodied Pir with a connection and access to the spiritual energy of disembodied Pir’s benefiting the aspirant. The deceased Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani is among the highest angels (al-mala al-ala) and he leaves an impression existence, which is felt, throughout the entire world. It is this, from the aspect of the soul (ruh) that one acquires in his spiritual path. Sayyiduna Abdul Qadir has a divine connection, meaning that he is desired by Almighty Allah (murad) and absolutely loved by Almighty Allah [Invincible and Exalted is He]…. making him one of the perfected souls and one of the highest angels. This is why Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam [Ghawth-i Azam] is praised to such a high degree. Islam tell us that after death the soul lives in the Alam-i-Arwah [the soul world] which is also known as the Barzakh or the buffer-zone lying between this world and the next.
Clearly the Indo-Muslim elite, both Qadiri and non-Qadiri accorded a very high status to Shaikh Sayyiduna Shah Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be well pleased with him) from the 15th century.

[Source: The Indo-Pak Qadiriyya, Prof. Authur Buehler (Harvard University) from the 'Journal of the History of Sufism', Special Issue, the Qadiriyya Order]

Friday, April 3, 2009

Importance of a good shaykh by Shaykh Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi Allahu anhu

Importance of a good shaykh by Shaykh Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi Allahu anhu
Al Ghawth al-Adham Shaykh Sayyad Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi 'Allahu anhu said: You must work hard to ensure that your hearts are not locked out of the door of His nearness. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must seek the company of a Shaykh who is learned in the law [hukm] and knowledge ['ilm] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and who will show you the way toward Him. Without seeing the successful [muflih], one cannot succeed. If a person does not seek the company of scholars who put their knowledge into practice ['ulama 'ummal], he is a chicken from an egg abandoned by the rooster and the mother hen.
Seek the fellowship of those who enjoy fellowship with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). What each of you should do, when the night has grown dark and people have gone to bed and their voices are silent, is get up, take an ablution [yatawadda'], perform two cycles of ritual prayer [yusalli rak'atain] and say: "O my Lord, guide me to one of Your righteous servants near to You, so that he may guide me toward You and make me familiar with Your path." The instrument [sabab] is necessary. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) was quite capable of guiding [His servants] to Him without the Prophets [anbiya']. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must awaken from your heedless folly. As the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has said: If someone relies entirely on his own subjective judgement, he will go astray. Try to find someone who will be a mirror for the face of your religion [din], just as you look in the mirror to check the appearance of your outer face, your turban and your hair. Be sensible! What is this crazy foolishness? You say, "I don't need anyone to teach me," and yet the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has said: The believer is the believer's mirror [al-mu'minu mir'atu 'l-mu'min].
When the believer's faith is sound, he comes to be a mirror for all creatures. They behold their religious faces [wujuh adyanihim] reflected in the mirror of his speech, every time they see him and get close to him. What is this craziness? Not a moment goes by without your begging Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) to provide you with more than you already have to eat, to drink, and to wear, with more sexual opportunities and more income. These are not things that could increase or decrease, even if you were to be joined in your plea by every supplicant whose prayers are answered [da 'in mujab].
Supplication [da 'wa] will neither increase one's sustenance by so much as an atom, nor reduce it by an atom. This is a foregone conclusion [mafrugh minhu]. You must devote your attention to doing what you have been commanded to do, and to avoiding what you have been forbidden to do. You should not worry about that which is bound to come your way, because He guarantees that it will come to you. Allotted shares [aqsam] arrive at their appointed times, whether they be sweet or bitter, whether you like them or dislike them.
The people [of the Way] attain to a condition in which they no longer have any prayer of supplication [du'a] or request [su'al] to make. They do not beg [in their prayers] to gain advantages, nor to get rid of disadvantages. Their supplication comes to be a matter concerning their hearts, sometimes for their own sake and sometimes for the sake of all creatures, so they utter the prayer of supplication without conscious premeditation [fi ghaiba
'O '' Allah, endow us with good behaviour in Your company under all circumstances!
When the believer's faith is sound], fasting [sawm], prayer [salat], remembrance [dhikr] and all acts of obedience [ta 'at] become second nature to him, mingled with his flesh and blood. Then he receives protection from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) under all circumstances. The restraint of the law [hukm] does not desert him, not for an instant, while he is on this course. The law comes to be like the vessel in which he sits, as he travels over the ocean of the power [qudra] of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). He goes on traveling over it until he arrives at the shore of the hereafter, at the shore of the ocean of grace and the hand of nearness. Thus he is sometimes in the company of creatures and at certain times in the company of the Creator. His work and toil are with creatures, while his relaxation is with the Creator.
From Shaykh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, "The Sublime Revelation (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)," translated by Muhtar Holland (Al-Baz Publishing, Houston, 1992), p. 426-8.

Qasaaid on Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani(r.a)

The Qasaaid on Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani
In a short article like this, it is not possible to give any detailed appreciation of all the poetry in honour of� Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani, Rady Allahu ‘Anhu. It suffices to give a sprinkling of a few verses from some of the mashaayikh in various languages beginning with Arabic.
In a qasida raaiyya of 33 verses which rhyme in the letter “raa”, Imam ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad, Rady Allahu ‘Anhu, praises Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted; invokes the blessings of Allah on the beloved holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, on his family and companions; and then eulogizes on Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani in 11 verses, four of which are:
Wa bi sibtihim wa hafidihim wa salilihimAsh-Shaykh Muhyiddin-i ‘Abdul Qadiri
Al-Jiliyyi’l mash-huri fardu zamanihiShaykh u’sh shuyukhi bi-batinin wa bi-zahiri
Ghawth u’l bilaadi wa Ghaythuha wa Mughithuha‘An idhn Sayyidi-hi’l Maliki’l QahiriTawdush-shari’a wa’t tariqa wa’l hudaaBahru’l Haqiqa’l Khadmi’z zakhiri
(Ad-Durr u’l Manzum li-Dhawi’l ‘Uqul wa’l Fuhum, p. 240)

For the sake of his (The Prophet’s) grandson, his descendant,The Reviver of the faith, Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir
The famous Jilani, unmatched in his time
The master of the spiritual masters, hidden as well as manifest
The helper of the country and its refreshing rain and succour
With the permission of his Lord, Allah, who is The King, The Supreme
A towering peak of sacred law, the spiritual path and guidance
A vast overflowing ocean of spiritual realities
Next we come to Shaykh ‘Afif ud-din al-Yafi’i al-Yamani Rahmatullahi ‘alayh who overflows in superlative praise of the Shaykh in his book entitled Ta’rikh (History). He has perhaps identified his main quality as the ‘abid (worshipper) of Allah, that is why he begins with the word ‘abduka (Your servant, O Allah).
‘abduka fawqa’l ma’ali rutbatanwa lahu’l mahasinu wa’l fakhar al-afkharu
wa lahu’l haqaiqu wa’t taraiqu fi’l madawa lahu’l ma’arifu ka’l kawakibi tazharu
wa lahu’l fadailu wa’l makarimu wa’n nidawa lahu’l manaqibu fi’l mahafili tunsharu
wa lahu’t taqaddumu wa’l ma’ali fi’l ‘alaawa lahu’l maratibu fi’n nihayati takthuru
ghawthu’l waraa gaithu’n nada nuru’l hudabadr u’d duja shams u’d duha bal anwaru
qata’al ‘uluma ma’al ‘uquli fa-asbahatatwaruha min dunihi tatahayyaru
ma fee ‘ulahu maqalatun li-mukhalifinfa-masailu’l ijma’i feehi tusattaru

Your servant is above the highest heights in rankand his are all the virtues and the finest glory
The realities and the paths are his to the fullest extentand the intimate forms of knowledge shine for him like stars
His are all the merits, the graces and the calland in his gatherings, his marvels are renowned
Preeminence is his and the high points in nobilityand many are his degrees in ultimate achievement
The helper of mankind, the rain of generosity, the light of guidancethe full moon of the night, the sun of the fore-noon – nay, even brighter
He traversed all the sciences with the faculties of reasonso their mountain peaks are in confusion far below him
No one can bring an argument, disputing his high standingfor consensus of opinion on the matter has duly been recorded
(Transliteration and translation by Shaykh Muhtar Holland, in Qalaid al-Jawahir, p. 552).

Let us conclude the recitation of the poetry in Arabic with a very popular chorus of an anonymous Qasida in the Diwan of Tariqatu’l Qadiriyya.
Bi Rasulillahi wa’l JilanWa Rijaalin min Bani Adnan
Salaku fee Manhaj i’r RahmanBi Rasulillahi wa’l Jilan.
For the sake of the Holy Prophet and Shaykh Jilani
And those in the tribe of Adnan
They have treaded the Path of the Merciful Lord
For the sake of the Holy Prophet and Shaykh Jilani.(O Allah hear our prayers)
Next, let us savour the following four lines in the Indonesian language from Shaykh Hamzah Fansuri, Rahmatullahi ‘alayh, as given by Prof. Sayyid Muhammad Naquib al-‘Attas in Some Aspects of Sufism as Understood and Practiced Among the Malays, p. 22.
Hamzah nin asalnya Fansuri
Mendapat wujud ditanah Shahar Nawi
Beroleh Khilafat ilmu yang ali
Daripada Abdul Qadir Sayyid Jilani
I Hamzah who am of Fansur a son
At Shahar Nawi my being have won
The knowledge sublime I acquired from one
Called Abdul Qadir Sayyid of Jilan.
This is the opening couplet of a Turkish poem on the internet web-site Tarikat-i Aliyye-i Rifaiyye.
Medhi mumkin olmadi Sultan Abdulkadir’in
Gun gibi bak asikar burhani Abdulkadir’in
It is impossible to adequately praise Shaykh ‘Abdul QadirAs clear as daylight is the Proof of Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir
Now we come to the translation of the abyaat (couples) of Sultan u’l ‘Arifin Sultan Bahu, Rahmatullahi ‘alayh in Champay Dhee Bootee (The Jasmine Plant, p. 33), a classic in kalaamu’l ma'rifa in the Punjabi language.
Taalib Ghawthu’l A'zam waalay
Shaalaa kadhay na howan paandhay hu
Jendhay andhar ‘ishq dhee rattee
Rayn sadha kur landhay hu
Jenun shawq dha howay
Lay khushyaan nit aandhay hu
Dhono jahan naseeb tunhandhay Bahu
Jehray zaati alam kamaandhay hu
Followers of the Gawthul A'zam:Would God, they are never ill!
Those who have one grain of loving,Ever are in pang and chill.
Lured by chances of a meetingHopeful in their joyous drill
Lucky in both worlds are Bahu!Lovers who gain Allah's Will.
(Translation by Maqbool Elahi, The Abyat of Sultan Bahu, p 103)
There is so much manqabat on the Ghawth al-A’zam that it is not possible to do justice to it all. But perhaps we can get the blessings of the opening quatrain of this “Salaam” (Salutations) on him by an anonymous poet.
Abu Salih kay ghar may woh Ghawth-e-zamaan
Laa-aye tashrif woh hadiye ins-o-jaan
Warith-e anbiyaa shaahe kawno makaan
Jaane iman awr nur-e jaan-e-jahaan
Ghawth-e A’zam ki hurmat pay lakhon salaam
Qutb-e-‘alam ki nusrat pay lakhon salaam
In the house of Abu Salih arrived
The Spiritual Helper of the age, the guide for humans and jinns
The inheritor of the Prophets, the prince of the planets
The life of faith and the light of the soul of existence
A million salutations in honour of the greatest saint
A million salutations to the help of the spiritual pillar of the world.
It is fitting to conclude this section with an appreciation of at least some of the manqabat of A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan, Rahmatullahi ‘alayh on the Ghawth a’l A’zam. Some of these manqabat are so popular that they are recited in all the majalis (spiritual gatherings). The opening verses of one of these manqabat are:
Tu hay wo Ghawth kay har Ghawth hay shayda teraa
Tu hay wo Ghayth kay har Ghayth hay pyasa teraa
You are the spiritual helper for whom every spiritual helper melts in admirationYou are the refreshing rain for whom every rain-shower thirsts
Finally, let us benefit from the Salaams of Imam Ahmad Raza Khan. He composed Salaams on the Holy Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam in which after profuse salutations on the Holy Prophet, he also sent salaams on the Ahl u’l Bayt and the Sahaba, Rady Allahu ‘Anhum, as well as on the Imams of madh-hab, the awliya Allah and the salihin (the pious), Rahmatullahi ‘alayhim ajma'een.
Consider just two verses from A'la Hadrat on the Ghawth al A'zam to appreciate his love for the Shaykh.
Ghawth al A'zam Imam ut tuqaa wan-nuqaa
Jalwa-aye Shaanay Qudrat pay lakhon salaam
Jis ke minbar banay gardanay awliya
Us qadam ki karamat pay lakhon salaam(Hadaaiq-i-Bakhshish, p 149)
Ghawth al A'zam Imam of the saints and the pious
A million salutations on him who was pure by nature
The one for whom the necks of saints became a pulpit
A million salutations on the miracle of his feet
Tazkiratu’l awliya (the zikr of the friends of Allah) is truly unending. May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala forgive us and give us the hidaya (guidance) to live Islam according to the Qur'an and the lifestyle of the beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam as explained and exemplified by Ghawth al A'zam Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani, Rady Allahu ‘Anhu, Aameen Yaa Rabbal ‘Aalamin.
Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu Yaa QayyumYaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu Yaa Qayyum

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani Complex Baghdad

Named in honor of saint Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani (1077-1166), the shrine complex is one of the most important sanctuaries in Baghdad. It lies in the eastern part of the city in al-Rusafah neighborhood.
The first structure erected on the site was a Hanbali madrasa, built by Abu Said al-Mubarak bin Ali al-Muharrami in 1145. Al-Jaylani developed the madrasa into a takiyya of the Qadiriyya order and was buried there upon his death. In 1534, Ottoman sultan Suleyman I (the Magnificent) built a complex around the shrine, consisting of a tomb, mosque, madrasa and soup kitchens. The complex was renovated in 1638, 1709, 1865 and 1903 under the Ottomans and restored by the Iraqi Waqfs Directorate in 1970-76 and 1982-84.
Aligned with qibla along the southwest-northeast axis, the roughly rectangular complex is centered on a mosque-tomb structure set into its south corner. Built in 1534, the mosque-tomb is enveloped by an enclosed double-portico or ambulatory on three sides. The remaining L-shaped courtyard is enveloped by madrasa cells preceded by porticoes. Two gateways, located among the southeast and northwest cells, lead into the shrine courtyard. A larger walled courtyard adjoins the qibla (southwest) wall of the complex, accessed with a doorway from the shrine courtyard.
The courtyard facade of the mosque-tomb is composed of pointed arches separated by a jutting pilaster. A band of inscription runs above the arches on three sides. Inside, the ambulatory domes are supported by tall columns with capitals decorated with geometric motifs. Four recently restored mihrabs are carved into the mihrab wall of the ambulatory aisles on either side of the mosque.
The single-domed mosque is entered primarily from a portal centered on its northwest wall. Two side entrances from the ambulatory are located along its northeast wall. A single dome, supported on squinches covers the interior. The qibla wall houses the mihrab with its simple inscriptive frame while the remaining walls are animated with central niches flanked by slim columns carrying acanthus scrolls capitals. Above the mihrab, two windows admit light into the space. On the right side of the mihrab a few steps lead up to the Ottoman minbar.
The tomb, which adjoins the southeast wall of the prayer hall, is accessible from ambulatories to its southeast and northwest, as well as from the mosque. It consists of three domed rooms; the largest dome is set over the central burial chamber, carried on muqarnas squinches. It holds the saint's wooden sarcophagus and is decorated by a marble dado and mirrors on the interior. A band of inscription envelops the interior of the dome. Three other tombs -- belonging to Jaylani's sons Abduljabbar, Abd al-Rahman and Abd al-Wahab, are located among the madrasa cells to the right of the southeast gateway.
A fenced platform in the shrine courtyard serves as an outdoor prayer space during the summer. A Saljuk-period minaret rises at the southern corner of the narrow, rectangular platform; it is tied over to the southeast gateway with an archway. It has an octagonal base, a cylindrical shaft with two balconies, and a small dome. Muqarnas carvings adorn the corbels of the upper balcony. A clocktower, erected in 1899, occupies the opposite corner of the prayer platform in the courtyard. A second, smaller minaret was added during the Ottoman period to the northwest gateway; its cylindrical body is topped by a green-tiled conical crown.
Strika, V. and Khalil J. 1987. The Islamic Architecture of Baghdad. Naploi: Instituto Universitario Orientale, Napoli, 39-42.
Uluçam, Abdüsselam. 1989. Irak'taki Türk Mimari Eserleri. Ankara: Kültür Bakanligi, 31-36.

Shaykh Abdul Qadit Jilani & Tasawwuf (Sufism)

It is a tradition among the mashaayikh (spiritual masters) to explain about matters pertaining to the religion of Islam in both prose and poetry. For example, when Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu ‘Anh was asked to explain the meaning of the word faqir (poor, needy before Allah), he said that the word faqir is formed with four letters, “faa”, “qaaf “, “yaa”, and “raa”, as cited in Qalaid al Jawahir (Necklaces of Gems). Then he explained the significance of each of these letters in four verses to convey the meaning and the essence of the word faqir.

faa-u’l faqiri fanaa-u-hu fee Dhaatihi
wa faraaghu-hu min na’tihi wa sifaatih
wa’l qaafu quwwatu qalbihi bi-Habibihi
wa qiyaamuhu Lillahi fee Mardaatih
wa’l yaayu yarju bihi wa yakhaafuhu
wa yaqumu bi’t taqwa bi-haqqi tuqaatih
wa’r raa’u riqqatu qalbihi wa safaauhu
wa ruju’uhu ‘an shahawaatih

The letter faa in the word faqir stands for his annihilation for the sake of Allah and getting rid of his own description and attributesThe qaaf stands for the strength of his heart that is with his Beloved Allahand his standing up for the sake of Allah is purely for His Good PleasureThe yaa stands for his hope in Him and his reverential awe of Himand he performs his duty as true devotion demandsThe raa stands for the softness of his heart and its purityand its return to Allah from its carnal desires.Allahu Akbar!We notice that when he talks about the letter “faa”, the Shaykh uses two words that begin with the letter “faa”. These are fanaa and faraagh. Similarly, when he comes to the letter “qaaf”, he uses three words – quwwah, qalb and qiyaam – that begin with the letter “qaaf” . The words associated with the letter “yaa” are yarju, yakhaafu and yaqumu while those that go with the letter “raa” are riqqah and ruju’. Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu ‘Anhu was for sure not only a master of the religion of Islam but a master of the Arabic language as well.Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu Yaa QayyumYaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu Yaa Qayyum

Tasawwuf (Sufism)is an acronym made up of the four consonant letters: t, s, w, and f.

t stands for tawbah, repentancess
s stands for safa, purity, peace and joy
w stands for wilayah, the sanctity of the lovers and friends of Allah
f stands for fana, the annihilation of self into the nothingness.

from 'The Secret of Secrets' by Hadhrat Abdul Qadir Jilani (raa)translated by Sheikh Tosun Bayrak al Jerrahi al Halveti
Shariah and Tariqah
Shaykh Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani said:
Anyone who does not follow the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), taking his Law [shari`a] in one hand and the Book that was revealed to him in the other hand, and who does not attain to by his path [tariq] to Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), will perish and perish, will go astray and go astray. They are two guides to the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). The Qur'an is your guide to the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), and the Sunna is your guide to the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace).
O Allah, cause a separation between us and our lower selves [nufus], and:
Give us in this world good, and good in the hereafter, and guard us against the torment of the fire. [Qur'an 2:201] From Shaykh Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani, "The Sublime Revelation" [Al-Fath ar-Rabbani], translated by Muhtar Holland (Published by Al-Baz Publishing, Houston, Texas, 1992). The quote is from the end of the twenty-fifth discourse, p. 182.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sufi Tariqa of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (r.a)

The Sufi Tariqa of Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani
Muslims follow Tariqa (spiritual path leading to Allah Ta’ala) based on Shari’a (sacred Muslim law). In matters of Shari’a (sacred Muslim law), Mahbub Sub-hani Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu ‘Anhu was an authority in the Hanbali madhhab (school of sacred Muslim law) as well as the Shafi’i madhhab, and a chief exponent of the Ahl u’s-Sunnah wa’l Jama'ah (the people who follow the lifestyle of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and of his blessed Companions).
The way to draw nearer to Allah Ta'ala is through the fulfilment of obligatory religious duties, additional voluntary prayers day and night, through constant remembrance (zikr) of Allah, unceasing salawaat (invocations of blessings) on the Holy Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam, Sunnah fasting, charity, zuhd (abstinence) and juhd (exertion in the way of Allah Ta'ala) as exemplified by the Holy Prophet Muhammad himself. This then is the tariqa (spiritual path leading to Allah Ta'ala) which is rooted in shari’a (sacred Muslim Law).
Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani learned about the mysteries of tariqa and imbibed spiritual culture (tasawwuf) at the hands of Shaykh Hammad ibn Muslim al-Dabbas, Rahmatullahi ‘alayh. Traditionally, when someone is initiated into a tariqa, he is given a khirqa (sufi robe). Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani was bestowed the khirqa by Shaykh Qadi Abi Sa’id al-Makhzumi, Rahmatullahi ‘alayh, (referred to as Al-Mukharrimi or Al-Makhrimi in some texts).
A Shaykh (spiritual master), musk-scented in shari’a, tariqa and haqiqi ma'rifa (knowledge of spiritual realities), is able to ascertain the spiritual level of a murid (spiritual seeker/disciple) and can assign additional awraad and azkaar (regular voluntary invocations) to be performed to attain spiritual progress. Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani went on to become the epitome of such spiritual masters.
The tariqa followed by Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu ‘Anhu came to be called after him as the Qadiriyya tariqa and it came to be universally accepted as a divinely-guided path to spiritual progress through zikr (remembrance) of Allah to cleanse one's heart of all evil, to lead a virtuous life, to attain the love of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam, the love of the Ahl u’l Bayt (the Prophet's blessed Household), the love of his Sahaba (Companions) and the love of the awliya Allah (friends of Allah); and to follow the shari’a (sacred Muslim law) according to the teachings of any one of the four Imams of madhhab, that is Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi’i, Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah Ta'ala be pleased with them all.
Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu Yaa QayyumYaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu Yaa Qayyum