40 Sayings Of A Modern Sufi Master

Wisdom of Tasawwuf in Modern Times

Asif Naqshbandi-Translator

Selection of wise sayings by a Naqshbandi Sufi Shaykh from Pakistan.

Here is a compendium of forty (40) wise sayings of one of the greatest Sufi saints of the 19th/20th centuries, Hazrat Pir Sayyid Jamaat Ali Shah Sahib quds-sirruhu (c.1840 -1951) of Alipur Sharif, Sialkot, Pakistan. The Shaykh was one of the great saints of the Punjab and a sayyid also from both maternal and paternal sides of his family. His ancestors, all sufi masters themselves, hailed from Shiraz in Iran and cameto the Subcontinent when one of them accompanied Emperor Humayoun back to Delhi after his exile in Iran where Humayoun had originally met him.

The Shaykh's ancestors honoured the court of Humayoun with their presence but when Akbar began to deviate from the religion of Islam and announced his Din i Ilaahi they left the imperial court in protest. Akbar was loathe to see such saintly persons go but they were adamant and so he granted them a piece of land in Alipur area as a parting honour. Here the Shaykh's ancestors settled in the subcontinent and their descendants have remained there ever since.

Hazrat Jamaat Ali Shah sahib was renowned for his saintliness even as a young child and after completing his religious studies (he was an expert in all of the branches of fiqh but especially in the sciences of hadith) he went throughout the width and breadth of the subcontinent working tirelessly for Islam and the Muslims. He laid the foundation stones--and funded-- hundreds of mosques throughout the Subcontinent from Peshawar to Hyderabad, Deccan. He was a leading personality in all of the major movements of that time such as the Khilafat movement and he was especially active against the Arya Samaj movement and helped to save the iman of countless Muslims with his tireless efforts. He also was one of the key defenders of the Ahle Sunnah faith against the rise of Qadianism and also was an opponent of the reform movements like that of the Wahabis.

He had a wonderful, awe-inspiring personality and was gentle and loving towards all, yet was afraid of no one when it came to defending the religion of Allah's Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam; this is demonstrated by his leadership of the Muslims during the Shahid Ganj Mosque incident where the Shaykh led the opposition to the plans of the British rulers in Lahore as well as his refusal to pray behind the official Wahaabi Imams in the Haramain appointed by King Saud and his refusal to visit the King when he was ordered to do so to explain: "I am a faqeer, he is a king" was his famous reply. In the end it was Saud who relented and allowed the Shaykh to pray by himself! He received medals from the Sultan of Ottoman Turkey for his services to Islam and for his amazing generosity in helping the people of Madina during a drought there for which he received the title "Abu'l Arab".

However, apart from his vast learning, it was as a Sufi shaykh that the saint was loved by the populace and it is estimated that he had over 1 million murids [disciples] from Afghanistan to the southern tip of India; he received the khirqa [cloak] from his Shaykh very soon after taking bayah [pledge of spiritual allegaince] and was thus the representative of his Shaykh early on. He was authorized to accept murids into many Sufi Orders but it was as a Naqshbandi Master that he is famous for, carrying the great secret of this Order. He transformed the lives of countless people and sinners repented at his hands by the thousand and many others themselves reached the highest levels of spiritual development by his attention. His karaamaat [miracles] are too many to recount and there are many eye-witnesses to them.

He was extremely generous and magnanimous towards all, especially the poor, and he would not eat alone and the poor had been invited to share his table with him. Though possessing great family wealth the Shaykh spent it all on Islam and the poor, himself living frugally in the manner of the great Naqshbandi Sufis of the past.

He was a big supporter of the Pakistan movement and amongst his admirers was one Muhammad Iqbal, the poet. Also, he wrote many letters to Quaid e Azam offering advice and support and he was instrumental in getting the populace to vote for the Muslim League: he issued a fatwa saying that he would not read the janaazah prayer of anyone of his mureeds who did not vote for Pakistan. He sent a tasbih and prayer mat to the Quaid too and asked him to pray regularly.

As a Sufi he occupied the status of a Perfect Master and he was loved by all and sundry. It is for his love of the Holy Prophet of Allah alayhi salaat o salaam that he is especially famous for (like Mawlana Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi alayhirahmat, his younger contemporary with whom he had a great friendship and admired). He passed onto his Creator in 1951 but until the very end he stuck passionately to the commands of the Shar'iah, never missing a prayer and often he would pray all night long. Inna lillaha wa inna ilaayhi raaj'iun.

I was fortunate enough to be initiated into this great Sufi family by the great grandson of Hazrat Sayyid Jamaat Ali Shah, my Shaykh Hazrat Sayyid Munawwar Hussain Shah Jamaati sahib a few years ago. I am translating the biography of the Shaykh into English and insha Allah I shall be succesful in this task.

As a taster, here is a sample of 40 sayings of the Shaykh (malfuzat) which I have translated. Each one is an ocean of wisdom and may Allah help us to benefit from them and to act on the advice. Ameen.

Forty Utterances [Malfuzat] of The Most Venerable Shaykh, Amir-E-Millat Hadrat Sayyid Jamaat Ali Shah Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi [May Allah sanctify his mighty secret!]

(Translated by Asif Jehangir Naqshbandi Jamaati)

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

He (May Allah be pleased with him) said:

1. If the name of Allah is uttered even once with the tongue, it is the dhikr (remembrance) of the tongue; if Allah is remembered once with the heart, then that is equal to thirty five million utterances (dhikr) of the tongue. Such is the dhikr of the heart. There are 35 million blood vessels in the body, and all are connected to the heart. If Allah’s name is uttered even once (with the heart) then all the vessels utter it too.

2. In a river, a boat travels on the water and the greater the amount of water, the more at ease the boat will be. However if that very water enters the boat, it will capsize. The heart is as the boat and the sorrows and heartaches of the world are the water; everyone’s boat has sunk except that of the people of Allah—those who do dhikr—which always stays afloat.

3. Allah [May He be Exalted!] has created Hell for the enemies of the Holy Messenger [sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam] and Paradise for those who are his lovers. Those people who worry about whether they will go to Heaven or Hell after death, should ask themselves whether they are lovers of His Excellency (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) or amongst his enemies.

4. "Kullu jadeedin lazeezun"; you may like every new thing of this world but in your Faith [Deen] you must stick with the same, ancient, Islam as that of your Predecessors.

5. If a man has bad (sinful) actions [‘amal] so be it, but Allah forbid that his Belief [‘aqeedah] is bad. In a hadith it is written that run from a leper as you would from a lion; those with bad Belief are lepers of the heart—protect yourself from them, in fact do not even sit where they have sat.

6. Constant contemplation [fikr] about prayer [salat; namaz] is given the name prayer i.e. a person is busy doing some work but his heart is always thinking about the (next) prayer so that sometimes he asks about the time, sometimes he looks at his watch, at other times he looks at the (position of) the sun, to make sure that he doesn’t miss the (correct) prayer time. Until such templation is achieved, the prayer is just a ritual and a habit which is being performed. May Allah Almighty grant us such contemplation!

7. If a farmer uses a plough all his life but does not plant the seeds, can his crops grow? Of course not! Using the plough is fasting [sawm], prayer [salat], pilgrimage [Hajj] and sowing the seeds is charity [zakat]. If one does not give zakat, all his praying, fasting and making the pilgrimage is in vain.

8. If two tasks need to be performed, one for the Faith [Deen], the other for the world [dunya], then perform the one for the Deen first. Through it’s blessing [baraka’] the worldly task will also be achieved.

9. Every supplication [dua’] has two wings: lawful earnings, and a truthful tongue. Whoever earns through lawful [halal] means and speaks the truth, his supplication will definitely be accepted.

10. Whoever asks from you in fact does you a favour, for he asks you for a paisa [a hundredth of a rupee or like a penny in US currency] and Allah rewards you for (giving) it seven-hundred fold.

11. Saying, ‘La ilaha il Allah’ (there is no god but Allah) makes one a muwwahid (monotheist), not a Believer (mu’min). So when will you become a Believer? When you say ‘La ilaha il Allahu Muhammadur Rasul Allah’ (there is no god but Allah (and) Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah). For us the greatest blessing (ni’mat) is that of Iman (Faith).Even Satan recites ‘La ilaha il Allah’, but why is he still known as the Accursed? He (even) says, ‘Inni akhafullaha Rabbal aalamin’ (Verily, I have fear of Allah, the Lord of the Worlds).

All the different groups in the world are believers in the Oneness of God [tawhid], whether they be bhangis, choorhay-chamaar, Christians, or some other group, but why are they accursed (mala’un)? Because they only say, ’There is no god but Allah’ but omit ‘Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’.

12. When the blessed name of the Chief of Both the Worlds (Muhammad), sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, comes on one’s tongue, all one’s lifetime of blasphemy [kufr], polytheism [shirk], and all one’s sins are erased.

13. In this day and age it is common to hear that do not praise His Excellency Muhammad), sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, beyond his limit. But only one who knows a limit can go beyond it. If someone does not know the limit, how will he exceed it? Apart from Allah Almighty no one knows the limits of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam); reading his noble kalimah once is enough to wipe out a lifetime’s sins! This much we do know about his limits:

Muhammad Mustafa, O Kaif, is praised by Allah Forget about Man: no one can truly praise him!

Muhammad is the Divine Secret, his secrets who knows?

In shar’iah he is a man, in reality [haqiqah] God knows!

14. In , ‘Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’, there is laudation [na’at] of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam; those who do not like the Prophet’s laudation [na’at], should also refrain from saying, "Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."

15. The earth does not eat the bodies of the Prophets, neither does it touch them. The Prophets pray [perform namaz] in their graves.

Use analogy [qiyas] then, and think what the state of The Prophet will be like (in his grave).

16. The Messenger of Allah, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said that whoever sends salutations upon me I will answer his salutations.

17. His Excellency (Muhammad), sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said that whoever sends blessings [durud-i-sharif] upon me with love, I hear it with my own ears.

18. The Holy Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam ,after veiling himself from this world, is, without doubt, alive and still upon his Prophethood (in his blessed grave) and is pleased by the worship and good deeds of his Community [ummah] and saddened by the sins and disobedience.

19. A loose, unbridled, camel never reaches it’s destination and wherever it goes it is beaten and hit. A camel in a line (of camels) however, no matter how thin and weak it is, definitely will reach it’s destination.

20. The body has been given to use, and not to nourish and make fat: You must awake, so awaken now, whilst beneath the heavens’ shadow. You shall have until Judgement Day to sleep --beneath the earth’s shadow!

21. By putting one’s head on the dust (in prostration), a man becomes purified: What right do we have to put our feet on the ground, when, in prostration, we’ve never put our head on the ground?

22. Do not stay in the company of people with incorrect beliefs [aqidah], in fact do not even sit where they have sat.

23. Wherever the water touches during wudu’[ritual washing], that place will not burn in the hellfire.

24. If after mendicancy [faqr], the faqir becomes a dog of the world [dunya] again; The fool after being purified, has become embroiled in filth again!

25. In the verse of Surah Fatiha, ‘Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom You have favoured’, there is proof of taqlid and its necessity.

26. "Fatta bi ‘u millata Ibrahima hanifa’n". There have been 124, 000 prophets but this command, "Therefore follow the religion of Ibrahim who was separate from every falsehood" proves that it is obligatory [fard] to do taqlid of an Imam.

27. Everybody’s grave will be dark but the grave of those who pray the tahajjud prayer will be full of light. The reading of the Ayat ul Kursi (Verse of the Throne) after each prayer (namaz /salat), and the Sura (beginning with)Tabarakulladhi each night will definitely result in there being no punishment in the grave.

28. Just as it is obligatory [fard] to send blessings [durud] upon the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) during the prayer [salat], likewise it is also obligatory to send blessings [durud] upon his Family [� l], otherwise the prayer will not be (valid).

29. Nothing is had before it has been destined [qismat] and before it’s appointed time [waqt].

30. Allah Ta’aala has created the heart [dil /qalb] for his remembrance [dhikr], and has not created it for worries.

31. When people from previous nations sinned, there faces used to metamorphose but His Excellency, the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), declared, "Allah the Pure will not change the faces of those who believe in me."

32. The Day of Judgement [qiyamat] will come when from amongst Allah’s servants, no one remains to pronounces Allah’s name.

33. Respect the great men of religion [buzurg], if they become angry (with you) then there is no hope for salvation. To insult one is to insult them all. If a chicken lays a rotten egg, then even if that one egg is placed beneath a thousand other chickens, a chick will never emerge from that egg.

34. Read the Word of Allah (Qur’an) only for Allah. Reading it for worldly reasons [dunya], is like giving rubies in exchange for a few worthless pennies; it is another matter if, after reading for Allah, Allah Himself gives you worldly benefits for the sake of your reading (for Him).

35. He who has no shame [ghairat] has no faith [iman].

36. To accept an invitation (to dine) [dawah] is Sunnah. His Excellency the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said that even if someone makes you an invitation which is at a distance of three miles away, and invites you for something simple, you should still attend.

37. At the time of entering Madina Sharif , you must pay full attention to its etiquette [adab]. At the very least, one’s facial appearance should be that of a Muslim: the latest fashions, and hairstyles, etc. should be avoided.

38. If one wishes to give anything in the way of Allah, one should do so in one’s own lifetime. After we die, neither our wife nor our children will give anything in our name; in fact, it will be difficult even for them to come to read the Fatihah at our graves!

39. If there are ten people doing dhikr and one person who is abstaining [ghafil], the remembrancers [dhakir] will make the abstainer radiant too [nurani].Staying [suhbat] with company wherein Allah’s dhikr is performed will bring contentment.

40. It is said that after death the dead person does not receive spiritual reward [thawab]. The situation is this, that the soul does not die; when the soul does not die, why then will it receive no reward?!

Asif Naqshbandi is a biomedical engineer. He was initiated into the Naqshbandi Order a few years back and in his spare time helps to translate the works of great Muslims of the Subcontinent into English.

Courtesy: chowk.com



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