Daily practices in the Naqshbandi Path

A seeker who follows the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi Sufi Path, should try best to follow the following daily practices regularly. These practices are additional, the first and foremost are the practices that are necessary in the Sharia, including five times prayer, sawm, zakāt and ḥajj. Without the necessary practices, these additional practices will not yield any benefits.

1. Reciting the Holy Qurān: recommended is one juz (para) daily, or at least half juz.

2. Reciting Kalima Ṭayyiba two hundred times daily with low voice (such that only the people sitting close can hear it). The body or head should not move during the recitation. The seeker should focus on the meaning of the words.

لَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللهُ

lāā ilāha illallāhu

after completion of 99, the complete kalima should be recited the hundredth time:

لَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَسَلَّمَ

lāā ilāha illallāhu muḥammadur-rasūlullāhi ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wasallam

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Virtues of reciting the golden chain of the masters of Naqshbandi Path

Following passage is taken from the biography of Shaykh Ḥāfiẓ Abd al-Karīm Naqshbandī Mujaddidī (d.1355H / 1936) qaddas-Allāhu sirrahū of Rāwalpindī, Pakistan, who is author of the well known Sufi book “Hidāyat ul-Insān Ilā Sabīl il-Irfān” (Urdu). The biography is written by Qāḍī Ālimuddīn Naqshbandī (d.1942), who was his deputy and is well-known for the first-ever complete translation of Maktūbāt Sharīf in Urdu. I have tried best to convey the original meanings, yet my translation ability is only marginal.

Shajra Sharīf (golden chain) of the venerable Khwājgān, may Allah have mercy on them

His excellency the venerable master (Ḥāfiẓ Abd al-Karīm Naqshbandī), may Allah’s mercy be on him, had the perpetual practice of reciting the noble golden chain [Shajara] of the exalted Naqshbandī-Mujaddidī dynasty, and he would ask someone with good voice from his friends to recite it. He would never postpone it. Rather, he would often emphasize to his friends that they recite the golden chain at least once (everyday). So that they get blessed and benefited from the rewards and favors granted from the court of the venerable Master of the Firsts and the Lasts, may Allah’s blessings be upon him, through the stages of intermediation of the eminent masters (of this path).

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Amir al-Muminin Imam Hasan ibn Ali (49, Madinah)

Commander of the Faithful Imām Ḥasan Mujtabā ʿalaihi as-salām was the elder grandson of the Prophet ṣall-Allāhu ʿalaihi wa-sallam from his youngest daughter Sayyida Fāṭima ʿalayhā as-salām, and son of Imām ʿAlī Murtaḍā ʿalayhi as-salām.

He was born on 15 Ramaḍān in the year 3 after Hijrah. On the seventh day of his birth, the Prophet slaughtered two rams and gave away his hair-weight of silver as charity. He was named Ḥasan by his venerated grandfather, and his titles include Abū-Muḥammad, Sayyid and Zakī among others.

He is the second Imām in the Golden Chain of the twelve Imāms of Ahl al-Bayt, first being his father. He is among the five noble Ahl al-Kisāʾ (people of the cloak). He is the fifth in the righteous caliphs of Islam. After his abdication, the caliphate turned into monarchy. This was predicted by the Prophet ṣall-Allāhu ʿalaihi wa-sallam, who said: “Caliphate in my Ummah will be for thirty years, after which, there will be monarchy” (Tirmidhī). This duration was to end in Rabīʿ al-Awwal 41 AH whereas Imām ʿAlī was martyred in Ramadān 40 AH, after whom Imām Ḥasan remained caliph for about six months. He abdicated the caliphate in favour of Amīr Muʿāwiya raḍiy-Allāhu ʿanhu, who ruled in the style of kings [Ḥujjat-Allāh al-Bāligha].

According to sound narrations, he had high resemblance with his noble grandfather from head to chest. The companion Anas ibn Mālik raḍiy-Allāhu ʿanhu said:

“None of them resembled the Messenger of Allāh more than Ḥasan ibn ʿAlī.” [Tirmidhī]

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Imam Musa Kazim (186, Iraq)

Imām Mūsā Kāẓim ʿalaihi as-salām was the seventh Imām in the Golden Chain of twelve Imams. His epithet was Abu’l-Ḥasan and Abū-Ibrāhīm, and title was Kāẓim. He was the son and successor of Imām Jaʿfar Ṣādiq. He was born at a place called Abwāh located between Makkah and Madīnah, on 9 Ṣafar 128 AH [Shawāhid an-Nubuwwah].

Many of his miracles are reported by Mawlānā ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān Jāmī in Shawāhid an-Nubuwwah.

He had twenty three sons; his progeny continues from ten of them. [Bārā Imām]

Following Ṣūfī masters are from his progeny (excluding those from the progeny of Imām ʿAlī Riḍā):

  1. Founder of the Rifāʿī Ṣūfī Order, Sayyid Aḥmad Kabīr Rifāʿī, from Ibrāhīm ibn Mūsā Kāẓim

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Imam Ali Rida (203, Iran)

Imām ʿAlī Riḍā ʿalaihi as-salām was the eighth Imām in the Golden Chain of twelve Imams. His epithet was Abu’l-Ḥasan and title was Riḍā. He was the son and successor of Imām Mūsā Kāẓim. He was born in Madīnah on Thursday 11 Rabīʿ al-Awwal 153 AH (15 March 770) [Shawāhid an-Nubuwwah].

He was one of the top scholars of Hadīth, and many scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah have narrated Ḥadīths from him. Ḥāfiẓ Ibn-Ḥajar ʿAsqalānī has mentioned the names of the narrators of Ḥadīth who have heard directly from him [Bārā Imām].

Imām Ibn-Mājah narrates a Ḥadīth in his well-known Sunan Ibn Mājah: Continue reading

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Imam Muhammad Taqi (220, Iraq)

Imām Muḥammad Taqī al-Jawwād ʿalaihi as-salām was the ninth Imām in the Golden Chain of twelve Imams. His epithet was Abū-Jaʿfar and titles were Taqī and Jawwād. He was the son and successor of Imām ʿAlī Riḍā. He was born in Madīnah in 195 AH [Bārā Imām].

His noble father passed away when he was only nine years old. Yet he inherited all the qualifies and excellences of his father. He was the heir to his forefathers’ knowledge and sainthood.

Mawlānā Jāmī Naqshbandī writes that one day, when Imām Jawwād was only 12 years old, he was standing in a square with other children who were playing. The caliph Māmūn ar-Rashīd passed from there and was going for hunting. All children left the square and took to the corners to let the caliph pass, but the Imām stood firm at his place. The caliph was surprised by this, and asked him why he had not left his place as other children had done. He replied: O Commander of the Faithful! The street is not so narrow that I shall leave it to let you pass, neither have I done a crime that I run away out of fear; and I hope that you do not punish anyone without an offence. Continue reading

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Imam Ali Hadi (254, Iraq)

Imām ʿAlī Hādī ʿalaihi as-salām was the tenth Imām in the Golden Chain. His epithet was Abu’l-Ḥasan, and his titles include Hādī, Naqī and ʿAskarī. He was the son and successor of Imām Muḥammad Taqī.

He was born in Madīnah on 13 Rajab 214 AH (829). [Shawāhid an-Nubuwwah]

Ibn-Ḥajr Makkī writes that he was the successor to his father in knowledge and generosity [Aṣ-Ṣawāʿiq al-Muḥriqah].

One day, he attended a marriage ceremony. There was a young person who had no manners and was laughing and making fun. The Imām said to him: Why are you laughing so bluntly? Have you forgotten the remembrance of Allāh? You should know that you will be from the people of grave in three days time. The youngster was overwhelmed and stopped making jokes. However, after the meal, he fell ill and died the third day. Continue reading

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Imam Hasan Askari (260 AH, Iraq)

Imām Ḥasan ibn ʿAlī ʿAskarī ʿalaihi as-salām was the eleventh Imām in the Golden Chain. He was the son and successor of Imām ʿAlī Hādī. His first name was Ḥasan and his epithet was Abū-Muḥammad. His titles include Zakī and al-Khālis. He inherited the title ʿAskarī from his father who was also called ʿAskarī. He was born in 231 or 232 AH in Madīnah.

His miracles are numerous. Mawlānā Jāmī writes that once a father and a son wished that they would sit in the path of the Imām, and if the Imām grants the father 500 dirhams and the son 300 dirhams, it would suffice all their problems. They had never seen the Imām before, so when the Imām came, they did not recognize him. The Imām gave 500 dirhams to the father and 300 dirhams to the son [Shawāhid an-Nubuwwah]. Continue reading

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Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan Askari (Madinah)

The twelfth Imām in the Golden Chain was Imām Muḥammad ibn Ḥasan ʿalaihi as-salām, son and successor of Imām Ḥasan ʿAskarī. His epithet was Abu’l-Qāsim. He was born in the month of Shaʾbān 255 or 256 AH in Sāmarrā, Iraq. He was about five years old when his father passed away.

There is a difference of opinion in the scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah whether he was the twelfth Imām in the Golden Chain, or whether the promised Mahdī will be the twelfth Imām. The great Naqshbandī master and author Mawlānā ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān Jāmī calls him the twelfth Imām [Shawāhid an-Nubuwwah]. He is also called Imām Muḥammad al-Mahdī, although he is different than the promised Mahdī (see below).

A person came to visit his father Imām Ḥasan ʿAskarī and asked him: O son of the Prophet! Who will be the Imām and successor after you? The Imām went inside his home and brought a child on his shoulders, who was about three years old and shining like a full moon. He said to the visitor: If you were not from the distinguished servants of Allāh, I would not have shown you my child. His name is the name of the Messenger of Allāh ṣall-Allāhu ʿalaihi wa-sallam (i.e., Muḥammad). Continue reading

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Mulla Abdullah Ilahi Ahrari (896H, Greece)

The venerable master Khwāja Mullā ʿAbdullāh Ilāhī Aḥrārī qaddas-Allāhu sirrahū (may Allah sanctify his secret) was a celebrated master of the Naqshbandī Ṣūfī Path, an illustrious saint, a distinguished Gnostic, and was a distinguished deputy of Khwāja ʿUbaydu’llāh Aḥrār raḍiyAllāhu ʿanhu (Allah be pleased with him).

He was born in a town called Simav, in the Kütahya province of modern Turkey. He acquired his exoteric learning at the Zeyrek madrasa in Instanbul. After completing his education, he traveled to Khurāsān and Transoxania in search of a perfect Ṣūfī master. After passing through Herat (Afghanistan), he arrived at Samarqand where he met the celebrated master Khwāja ʿUbayu’llāh Aḥrār, who initiated him in the Naqshbandī Path and trained him in the spiritual path. He also spent about one year at the tomb of the founder of the Naqshbandī order Khwāja Bahāʾ ad-Dīn Naqshband in Bukhārā and received spiritual guidance from this master of saints (by Uwaysī method). It is however not certain whether he did this after meeting his shaykh or before.

After acquiring the perfections and excellences of this blessed Path, he was made a deputy by Khwāja Aḥrār who sent him back to Turkey to spread the order there.

He first settled in his home place Simav, where numerous seekers encircled him and he soon earned a renown in being a qualified and exceptional Ṣūfī master. Continue reading

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