Shaykh Muhammad Tahir Abbasi Naqshbandi alias Sajjan Saeen

Shaykh of shaykhs, Leader of the Naqshbandi Silsilah, King of the Auliya, Hazrat Shaykh Muhammad Tāhir Abbāsī Bakhshī Naqshbandī Mujaddidī, alias Sajjan Sāeen, is the leading shaykh of the Naqshbandi Sufi order in Pakistan. He is an Islamic scholar, Sufi master, religious reformer, author, educator, and spiritual guide for millions of people throughout the world.

Birth and childhood

dargah Allahabad sharif

A grand mosque under construction at the noble dargah Allahabad, near Kandiaro in Sindh

He was born in 1963 in a village called Rahmatpur, near Larkana (now part of Larkana city), in the Sindh province of Pakistan. This noble village was the dargāh of the great Sufi saint of Sindh Hazrat Pīr Mithā, who revived the Sufism and the Naqshbandi tariqat in Sindh in the 20th century. When the news of his birth was brought to the holy presence of Hazrat Pir Mitha, he was highly pleased and uttered the Azān and Iqāmat in the ears of the new-born. Hazrat Pir Mitha himself proposed his name as Muhammad Tāhir which was happily accepted by his parents. His father, Hazrat Allah Bakhsh Abbasi Naqshbandi Mujaddidi was the chief khalifa of Pir Mitha and became the successor to his shaykh after his demise in 1964.

Once Hazrat Sajjan Saeen, then a little kid, was playing, that the noble wife of Hazrat Pir Mitha saw him and said, “one day he will become a lion of Islam”. The prophecy came true and today he is a leading shaykh and preacher of Islam. Continue reading

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Sayyid Adam Bannuri: a great wali in the Naqshbandi Order

Ḥaḍrat Sayyid Ādam Ḥusainī Bannūrī quddisa-sirruhū was one of the well known deputies of Imām Rabbānī Shaykh Aḥmad Fārūqī Sirhindī. His spiritual legacy still lives on in the form of many active branches of his Order spread across the world.

He first became a disciple of Ḥājī Khiḍr Afghān who was a deputy of Imān Rabbānī, and learned the dhikr from him. Later, by the permissionof Ḥājī Khiḍr, he entered the service of Imām Rabbānī and received tawwajuh and training in the Naqshbandi Order. Within months, he was granted deputyship and ordered to teach this noble Path to the new seekers.

He was known for his steadfastness on following the noble Sunnah and curbing the anti-Sunnah acts (Bidʿah). His generosity was unparalleled, and every poor and rich, young and old was offered equal free food at his place.

He had numerous followers and his spiritual order spread far and wide within his lifetime. According to Shaykh Badruddīn Sirhindī, he had approximately one hundred deputies and close to one hundred thousand disciples [2]. Later, he went for pilgrimage (Hajj) and visited the noble city of Madinah, where he was ordered by the Best of Creations, the Final Prophet ṣall-Allāhu ʿalaihi wa-sallam, to stay in that noble city. Thus he settled there, and died there on 13 Shawwāl 1054 AH and was buried very close to the tomb of Sayyidunā ʿUthmān al-Ghanī raḍiy-Allāhu ʿanhu, such that the shadow of the tomb would fall over his grave. [2]

A list of deputies of Sayyid Ādam Bannūrī follows.

  1. Sayyid Mīr ʿAlīmullāh (d. 1081 AH) [1]
  2. Shaykh Sulṭān [1]
  3. Ḥājī ʿAbdullāh Kohātī [1]
  4. Ḥājī Yār Muḥammad Pāīnī (near Kābul) [1]
  5. Shaykh Saʿdī Lāhorī [1]
  6. Ḥāfiẓ Saʿdullāh Wazīrābādī [1]
  7. Shaykh Ummīd Alī [1]
  8. Shaykh Nūr [1]
  9. Shaykh Fatiḥ Muḥammad [1]
  10. Shaykh ʿUthmān Shāhjahānpurī [1]
  11. Ḥājī Sharīf [1]
  12. Shaykh Bāyazīd [1]
  13. Khwāja Muḥammad Amīn Makkī [1]

Continue reading

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Muraqabah and tawajjuh

Murāqabah and tawajjuh [1]

In the pre-Mujaddidī Naqshbandī Order, tawajjuḥ (effacing) and murāqabah (controlling) were nearly used as identical terms. ʿAlā al-Dīn al-ʿAṭṭār told his student ʿAbdullāh Imām-ī Iṣfahānī, that tawajjuh is an issue of the heart and that everyone experiences different unveilings/manifestations (ẕuhūrāt) according to their abilities. Then he mentioned five methods of tawajjuh:

  1. The seeker reflects about Allah, Him watching the seeker at every moment, so the seeker avoids all bad deeds with his limbs and even all kinds of bad thoughts.
  2. The seeker reflects about Allah, Him knowing everything occurring to the seeker’s heart and so the seeker protects his heart from all evil thoughts and all that which is not Allah.
  3. The seeker reflects about himself and the world as non-existent and ponders about Allah as the one and only real existence,
  4. The seeker reflects about the existence of everything which is inside and outside the cosmos and that all existence coming forth in both realms is in reality the existence of Allah himself.
  5. He only sees the Essence of only the real existing and nothing else. [2]

Aḥmad Kāsānī describes tawajjuh as “that you do see God in every place existing and present and watching you.” [3]

Some of the Sufis mentioned how tawajjuh is done and said:

“Seekers ready their hearts for God’s manifestations and reflect about Him, that He is nearer to them then their own jugular veins. This then overcomes them and they resemble people falling into a sea, drowning in the sea, not being capable of thinking something else.” [4]

According to ʿUbaydullāh al-Aḥrār quddisa sirruhū, tawajjuh and murāqabah are both means for the Seeker to get ready for clothing himself with the character of God. So all those who already do have a naturally good character, are automatically ascribed to the dervishes. [5]

In Naqshbandī sources we find four different forms of Tawajjuh:

  1. Tawajjuh to God (with the heart),
  2. Tawajjuh to the heart
  3. The Murīd effacing (tawajjuh) his Shaykh,
  4. The Shaykh effacing (tawajjuh) his Murīd.

Continue reading

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Laṭāʾif [1]

Sahl b. ʿAbdullāh at-Ṭūstarī (d. 273/886 or 283/896), one of the first Ṣūfīs, relates that his maternal uncle taught him a litany while he was still a  young child and that, while continuing this litany, he felt in his heart and then in his ‘secret’ (sirr) delight [2]. This narration shows us that the dimensions of the soul [or the stages of consciousness (marāṭib al-ʾidrāk)] called ‘heart’ and ‘secret’ were known to the Ṣūfīs since ancient times and were known through spiritual experiences. Ḥakīm Tirmidhī (d. 320/932) discussed in his Bayān al-Farq bayna al-ṣadr wa al-qalb wa al-fuʾād wa al-lub the different dimensions of the soul and their attributes in detail. According to Tirmidhī,  ṣadr, qalb, fuʾād and lub are intertwine rings of a whole. Ṣadr is like the white of the eye, the qalb the colours of the eye, fuʾād the pupil and lub as the light of the eye. The outer ring, ṣadr, is Islam, the qalb is īmān, fuʾād is maʿrifah and lub is the source for the lights of Unicity (tawḥīd). The more these stages are deepened, the more the understanding and consciousness is gained. Ṣadr is the nafs al-ammarah, qalb the nafs al-mulhimah, fuʾād the nafs al-lawwāmah and the lub the nafs al-muṭmaʾinnah. [3]

Some of the Masters of the Kubrawī Order gave detailed information about the dimensions of the soul (also called: the stages of the nafs or the acts of the heart) and the lights, which are manifesting themselves. Najm al-Dīn Dāyā (d. 654/1256) said about these lights: “On the stage of nafs al-lawwamah blue light is manifested, because the light of the soul or the dhikr is mixed with the darkness of the nafs. Through the brightness of the rūḥ and the darkness of the nafs blue light becomes manifest. When the darkness of the carnal self is lessened and the light of the soul strengthened, red light becomes manifest. When the soul overcomes, yellow light becomes manifest. When the darkness of the carnal self vanishes completely, white light becomes manifest. Intermixed with the purity of the heart it becomes green. When the heart reaches totally purity, a light like the sun starts to shine.” [4]

ʿAlā al-Dawla Simnānī (d. 736/1336) talked about seven Laṭāʾif and their lights, like laṭīfah al-kālabī, laṭīfah al-nafs, laṭīfah al-qalb, laṭīfah al-sirrī, laṭīfah al-rūḥī, laṭīfah al-khāfī, and laṭīfah al-ḥaqqī. [5] He also discussed that there are several forms of dhikr, like the dhikr of the sirr, the rūḥ and the ḫāfī and that one can feel the dhikr of it and that the other gives more delight and pleasure then the one before. [6]

In the literature of pre-Mujaddidi Naqshibandis the topic of Laṭāʾif seems not to be of great importance. So it is Aḥmad Sirhindī (d. 1034/1624) who is the first to introduce a systematic approach to the Laṭāʾif in this Ṭarīqah, and one of the Successors of Sirhindī, Mīr Muḥammad Nuʿmān (d. 1060/1650 ?) adds to the system of his Shaykh a certain location for every Laṭīfah in the body of man[7]  and the way of making dhikr with these certain areas and with focus on them has become the first step in the Mujaddidī way of spiritual education and its important element. In the Pre-Mujaddidī Naqshibandi literature we can’t find a systematic approach to the Laṭāʾif, but we see discussions about them based on spiritual experiences and upon the books of the Kubrawī Shaykhs, which were mentioned before. Continue reading

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Makhdum Adam Thattvi Sindhi Naqshbandi Mujaddidi

Ḥaḍrat Shaikh Makhdūm Ādam Thattvī Sindhī Naqshbandī Mujaddidī qaddas-Allāhu sirrahū (may Allah sanctify his secret) was the first Sufi master of the Naqshbandī order who spread this sacred order in Sindh. Before him, there had been a few Naqshbandī Sufi masters but the Qādrī and Suhrawardī orders were the most widespread and followed Sufi orders in Sindh.

The word Makhdūm is an honorific used for Islamic scholars in pre-colonial Sindh. Makhdūm Ādam was a dignified scholar, lived in Thatta (Sindh) and had an ancestry going back to the first caliph of Islam Sayyidinā ’Abū Bakr aṣ-Ṣiddīq raḍiy-Allāhu ‘anhu. His family lineage is as follows:

Makhdūm Ādam son of Makhdūm ‘Abd al-’Aḥad son of ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān son of ‘Abd al-Bāqī son of Muḥammad son of ’Aḥmad son of Ādam son of ‘Abd al-Hādī son of Muḥsin son of ‘Alī son of Muḥammad son of ‘Abd al-Khāliq son of Muḥammad son of ‘Abd al-Hādī.

Makhdūm Ādam was a great scholar and used to teach in Thattā. He heard that the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Ālamgīr used to honor the Islamic scholars and was hiring their services. So he traveled to Delhi to meet with the emperor, intending that he may also get a good living there.

During the journey, he traveled via Sirhind, where he met the great Naqshbandī master Ḥaḍrat Imām Muḥammad Ma‘ṣūm Fārūqī (1007-1079 AH) quddisa-sirruhū, who was impressed by his scholarly excellence and requested him to stay there and teach his sons. He accepted this offer and started teaching the noble sons of this great Sufi master. This was in approximately the year 1070 AH, while Aurangzeb was crowned in the year 1069 AH.

For some time, he remained unimpressed with the exceedingly larger numbers of people and scholars who came to Imām Ma‘ṣūm to seek the spiritual path. After all, he was himself a highly learned scholar with vast knowledge of Islamic sciences. One day, while sitting together, he asked the great master to explain a verse of the Holy Qur’ān (verses 52:1-4). The Imām started explaining to him the spiritual secrets associated with these verses, and simultaneously started filling his heart with spiritual blessings. When he was bestowed with this opening of the heart to the higher spiritual realities, he immediately begged the master to accept him as a disciple and take him to the alleviated spiritual realities.

He stayed under the spiritual training of Imām Muḥammad Ma‘ṣūm for seven years, busying himself in nothing other than dhikr and meditation. He would not even read letters received from his family back in Thattā, fearing that they might affect his steadfastness and disturb his spiritual progress. Continue reading

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A unique chain of authority in the Mujaddidi order

The Mujaddidi order is the most widespread branch of the Naqshbandi order, and perhaps the only living branch. It was started by the great Mujaddid Imām Rabbānī Hadhrat Shaykh Aḥmad Sirhindī Fārūqī (971-1034 AH) raḍiy-Allahu ‘anhu (may Allah be pleased with him).

Almost all branches of the Mujaddidi order alive today have their connection to the great Mujaddid through his son and successor Hadhrat Khwāja Muḥammad Ma‘ṣūm Sirhindī. The only other branch of the Mujaddidi order started from a great deputy of Imām Rabbānī, Hadhrat Shaykh ’Ādam Bannūrī, that is usually called Naqshbandī Aḥsanī order.

Following is a unique and rare branch of the Mujaddidī order that does not connect to either of the above two exalted masters. Rather, it started from another deputy of Imām Rabbānī, Haḍrat Shāh Husain raḥmat-Allāhi ‘alaihi.

  1. Imām Rabbānī, Mujaddid Alf-i Thānī, Shaykh Aḥmad Fārūqī Sirhindī
  2. Haḍrat Shaykh Sayyid Shāh Husain
  3. Haḍrat Shaykh ‘Abd al-Bāsiṭ
  4. Haḍrat Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir
  5. Haḍrat Shaykh Sayyid Maḥmūd
  6. Haḍrat Shaykh ‘Abd-Allāh ’Imām
  7. Haḍrat Shaykh ‘Ināyat-Allāh Shāh
  8. Haḍrat Shaykh Ḥāfiẓ ’Aḥmad
  9. Haḍrat Shaykh ‘Abd aṣ-Ṣubūr
  10. Haḍrat Shaykh Gul Muḥammad
  11. Haḍrat Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ghafūr
  12. Haḍrat Shaykh ‘Abd al-Majīd
  13. Haḍrat Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azīz
  14. Haḍrat Shaykh Muḥammad Malūk
  15. Haḍrat Shaykh Niẓām ad-Dīn Kiyānī (Kashmīr)
  16. Haḍrat Shaykh Muḥammad Qāsim (1845-1943), founder of the khāniqāh at Mohrā, near Islamabad, Pakistan

Shaykh Muḥammad Qāsim was one of the well known Sufi masters and left behind a large number of followers including many deputies who spread and carried on his order, and many branches of this order are alive today and spreading the Naqshbandī Path in the world.

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Mawlana Ghulam Muhiy-ad-Din Qusoori: Life and writings

Hadhrat Mawlānā Khwāja Ghulām Muhiy-ad-Din Qusoori Siddiqi Naqshbandi Mujaddidi qaddas-Allāhu sirrahu was one of the chief deputies of the great Indian Naqshbandi master Shāh Ghulām Ali Dihlawi quddisa-sirruhu.

He was from the descendants of the first caliph of Islam Sayyidinā Abu Bakr as-Siddiq radiy-Allāhu anhu. His ancestors moved from Sindh to Qusoor city in Punjab, Pakistan. His father Shaykh Ghulām Mustafā and grandfather Shaykh Ghulām Murtadā were qualified scholars and masters of the Qādri Sufi order. He was born around 1202H/1787.

His father passed away when he was just one year old. He was brought up by his uncle Shaykh Muhammad Qusoori, who taught him the Islamic sciences and trained him in the Qādri method. His uncle also taught him the Sufi book Maktubāt Imām Rabbāni (letters of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi). After graduating and learning the Sufi Path, he was authorized in the Qādri order and was made a successor of his uncle.

He soon gathered many disciples and taught them the Sufi Path of the Qādri order. But his heart was inclined towards the Path of the Mujaddidi order, and he wished to receive it from a qualified master. However, until his uncle and shaykh was alive, he did not go to another shaykh. When his shaykh passed away, he took allegiance with the greatest Naqshbandi master of the time, Hadhrat Shāh Ghulām Ali Dihlawi Mujaddidi.

Shāh Ghulām Ali was highly pleased to get a talented disciple like him. He considered Mawlānā Qusoori as his fifth deputy, as he had stated four of his deputies to be the most qualified, including Shāh Abu Sa’id Mujaddidi, Shāh Ahmad Sa’id Mujaddidi, Shāh Rauf Ahmad Mujaddidi, and Mawlānā Bashārat-Allāh Bihrāichi.

During his stay in Delhi, Mawlānā Qusoori also met with the great Indian scholar Shāh Abd al-Aziz Dihlawi, and received Sanads of famous books of Hadith from him. These included Shahih al-Bukhāri, Sahih al-Muslim, Al-Mishkāt, and Hisn Hiseen.

After the demise of Shāh Ghulām Ali Dihlawi in 1240H, Mawlānā Qusoori preached and taught the Mujaddidi Path in the far and wide of Punjab and became the most prominent Sufi master of his time in Punjab. His khāniqāh in Qusoor became a seat of Sufi learning and thousands came to him to seek the true love and nearness of their Lord. He had many deputies who established their own khāniqāhs in various places. Continue reading

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Shah Rauf Ahmad Rafat Mujaddidi Naqshbandi

Hadhrat Shāh Ra’ūf Ahmad Ra’fat Mujaddidī Naqshbandī quddas-Allāhu sirrahū was a descendant of Imām Rabbānī and a great Naqshbandī Sufi master in the thirteenth century AH.

His family chain is as follows:

  1. Shāh Ra’ūf Ahmad Mujaddidī, son of
  2. Shāh Shu’ūr Ahmad Mujaddidī, son of
  3. Shāh Muhammad Ashraf Mujaddidī, son of
  4. Shaykh Raziy ad-Dīn Mujaddidī, son of
  5. Shaykh Zain al-Abidīn Mujaddidī, son of
  6. Shaykh Muhammad Yahyā Fārūqī Mujaddidī, son of
  7. Imām Rabbānī Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindī Fārūqī Naqshbandī raziy-Allahu anhu.

This chain connects with the second caliph of Islam Sayyidunā Umar al-Fārūq radiy-Allāhu anhū.

Shāh Ra’ūf Ahmad was born on 14 Muharram 1201 AH (6 November 1786) in Mustafā-Abād alias Rāmpur, India.

After graduating from studies, he entered the service of a great walī and shaykh Hadhrat Shāh Dargāhī (d. 1226 AH), along with his maternal cousin Hadhrat Shāh Abū Sa’īd Mujaddidī (d. 1250 AH). He was trained by the shaykh in the Sufi Path and awarded deputyship and authorized in multiple orders.

After the demise of his first shaykh, he became disciple of Hadhrat Shāh Ghulām Alī Dihlawī Naqshbandī Mujaddidī, and was re-trained in the Sufi Path and reached the exalted spiritual stations of the Mujaddidī Order. He received deputyship from Shāh Ghulām Alī, and then established a new khāniqāh in Bhopal, India.

He was a literary person and wrote multiple books and treatises. He collected the letters of his master Shāh Ghulām Alī, which have been published and translated under the name Makātīb-i Sharīfa. His writings include:

  • Arkān al-Islām (Urdu). A book of Hanafī Fiqh, published from Kanpur, India.
  • Tafsīr Raūfī (Urdu). A concise and complete Tafsir of the Holy Qur’ān. Written from 1239 to 1248 AH. First published 1305H/1887 from Mumbai. A reprint was published recently. Available online on
  • Jawāhir-i Alawiya, biography of his shaykh Shāh Ghulām Alī Dihlawī.
  • Durr al-Ma’ārif (Farsi). Speeches of Shāh Ghulām Alī Dihlawī. Published and translated in Urdu and Turkish. Urdu
  • Makātib-i Sharifa (Farsi). Letters of Shāh Ghulām Alī Dihlawī. First published in 1334/1916 from Madrās (Chinnai), India. Farsi, Urdu translation
  • Maktūbāt Shāh Raūf Ahmad (Farsi). His letters published from Mujtabai Press, Lucknow in 1324H/1906 (124 pages).
  • Many other short treatises, available as manuscripts in various libraries.

His date of demise is not agreed upon. His student Abd al-Ghaffūr Nassākh mentioned 1248 AH as his year of demise, and Abul Hasan Nadvī mentioned it to be 1266 AH.


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Mawlana Qitar Kasighari Naqshbandi Mujaddidi (d.1300 AH)

Hadhrat Mawlānā Shaykh Mullā Qitār Kasīgharī Naqshbandī Mujaddidī quddisa sirruhū (may his secret be sanctified) was a great scholar and a master of the Naqshbandī Mujaddidī order.

Name in Arabic: حضرۃ الشيخ العلامة ملا قطار الفقيه الكسيغري ال‏أفغاني النقشبندي المجددي الحنفي قدس سره

Initially, he swore allegiance in the Chishtī order to the great Sufi saint Hadhrat Khwāja Muhammad Sulaimān Taunsavī quddisa sirruhū (1184-1267 AH). He remained in the service of his master for a few years. Once, he saw in a dream the great shaykh Hadhrat Hajī Dost Muhammad Qandahārī quddisa sirruhū, and saw that a great light is emerging from the chest of Shaykh Qandahārī, and people from many places are lighting their candles from that light. While in the dream, he also lighted his candle from that light, as guided by his grandfather.

After seeing this beautiful dream, he came to the service of Hadhrat Hajī Dost Muhammad Qandahārī Naqshbandī (1216-1284 AH) and became his disciple. Shaykh Qandahārī was a deputy of Hadhrat Shāh Ahmad Sa’īd Mujaddidī (1217-1277 AH), who was a deputy of Hadhrat Shāh Ghulām Alī Dihlawī (1156-1240 AH). After completing the Spiritual Path, his shaykh awarded him deputyship and ordered him to teach the Path to the seekers. Thus, he engaged himself in training the spiritual seekers and benefited thousands of people from the Afghan and Punjab areas.

When his master Shaykh Qandahārī passed away in 1284 AH, he associated himself with his master’s chief deputy Hadhrat Shaykh Muhammad Usmān Dāmānī (1244-1314 AH) and received spiritual blessings for many years.

He was originally from Kasī-Ghar (or Kesai Ghar), Pashto name for the Sulaiman Mountains (Koh-e-Sulaimān), which lie in northern Baluchistan and southeastern Afghanistan.

He traveled for Hajj pilgrimage at least twice in his life. In the first journey, the Turks living in the Haramain were attracted to him for his connection to the same Sufi order as that of Mawlānā Khālid Baghdādī (1193-1242 AH), the famous saint who propagated this order in Iraq and Turkey.

In his second journey for Hajj, some Turkish people invited him to visit Istanbul. After completing the Hajj rituals, he visited Istanbul along with his family, and lived there for about four months, after which he returned to the holy Hijāz and then back to his hometown.

Among his miracles is the one reported by his nephew Hājī Ghulām Nabī, who says that one day my uncle went out to a nearby hill and mediated there alone. After a while, I went to see him and I saw that many wild animals and birds are sitting with him, and he is patting over their backs gently. When I reached there, they all ran away. My uncle asked me not to tell this miracle to anyone during his lifetime.

He had dignified spiritual and moral qualities. One day, a guest arrived and he had nothing at home to present to his guest. He loaned one rupee from someone and bought a sheep that he slaughtered and presented the food to his guest. After some days, the lender came to retrieve his money, while he still did not have any cash. In return, he gave him a large amount of wheat grain that was stored in his home.

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A letter on preparing for death: by Imam Ghazali

This is an English translation of a treatise called Risalah Sharh as-Sadr written by the great Imam Hujjat al-Islam Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali (d. 505 AH). Although published as a book, it was actually a letter written to someone.

Translated by Shazia Ahmad

Introduction by the Translator

I came across Risalat Sharh as-Sadr at the Dar as-Salaam Bookstore in Cairo a few months ago. It was a tiny booklet hidden away on a corner shelf, tucked in-between much larger volumes, as if it was patiently waiting to be discovered. It drew my attention because it was a small work written by the esteemed Imam Al-Ghazali, rahimahullah (may Allah have mercy on him), author of the magisterial Ihya Ulum ad-Din (Revival of the Religious Sciences), spiritual master and scholar, and the individual who has been historically credited with merging the outward and inner sciences of Islamic law.

Due to its brevity I assumed that the booklet was an excerpt taken from one of Imam Al-Ghazali’s more substantial works. With further study, however, I came to see that it was in fact an independent text, and was actually a short letter of advice and wisdom on preparing for death. The letter was written in a concise and almost simplistic style, though the message imparted was one of great spiritual depths. I found it very appealing, and thought almost immediately that it would be a beautiful work to translate.

I have attempted to do so in the following pages, and I hope that the author’s wisdom and eloquence has penetrated through the transformation from Arabic to English. I ask Allah Most High to accept this effort from me, and I seek His forgiveness for any mistakes I may have made in writing it.

The phrase sharh as-sadr is a common Arabic expression used to refer to a spiritual expansion of the heart or chest that gives rise to inner enlightenment, tranquility, and relief from anxiety and worry. It is a phrase that is used in a number of places in the Quran. When going to face the Pharoah and convey to him the message of Islam, the noble prophet Musa (alayhis salaam) prayed to Allah, “My Lord, expand for me my chest, ease my task for me, and remove the impediment from my speech so that they may understand what I say.” (Taha, v. 25-28) In reminding the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) of the great blessings He had bestowed upon him, Allah says, “Have we not expanded for you your chest?” (Al-Inshirah, v.1) Imam As-Sabouni says in explanation of this verse:

“His (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) chest was expanded with true guidance, faith, and the light of the Quran. Ibn Kathir states that [the phrase sharh as-sadr means] ‘We have filled your chest with light and made it expansive and unconfined.’ And just as Allah has made the Prophet’s (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) chest expansive, He has made His Shar’ (Law) generous, tolerant, easy, and without difficulty or narrowness.” (Safwat at-Tafaseer, pp. 553-554).

Imam Al-Ghazali entitled his letter Sharh as-Sadr because properly preparing for death is a means of attaining that spiritual expansion, illumination, and comfort. May Allah make us among those who experience that state, and who ready and beautify themselves properly for the journey to His Divine Presence, Ameen.


May 2008

Cairo, Egypt Continue reading

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Six letters of Shaykh Abd al-Qadir Jilani in English

Following are six of the letters of the greatest Islamic saint Sayyidinā Shaykh Abd al-Qādir Jīlānī Baghdādī quddisa sirruhū.

These are translated from an Arabic translation into English by Muhtar Holland and are freely available on the Al-Baz Publishing website as an excerpt of the full translation of Fifteen Letters.

Shaykh Abd al-Qādir Jīlānī’s seventeen letters, written in Persian, have been collected and published many times. However, the Arabic translator had access to only fifteen of them, so he called them Khamsah Ashara Maktūban (Fifteen Letters). Muhtar Holland has kindly translated these for the benefit of English readers, for which we must be grateful to him.

Now follow the six selected letters, numbered 1, 5, 6, 9, 13, and 14.

The First Letter

Concerning the initial stage of the attraction exerted by the Truth [jadhbāt al-Haqq], and the final stage thereof.

My dear friend!

When the lightning bolts of direct perception [shuhūd] come flashing forth from the cloud-bank of the grace of:

Allah guides to His Light  whomever He will. (24:35)
yahdi ‘llāhu li-nūri-hī man yashā’.

–and the fragrant scents of attainment waft on the wind that blows from the gracious favor of:

He singles out for His mercy  whomever He will. (3:74)
yakhtassu bi-rahmati-hī man yashā’.

–the sweet-smelling plants of intimate friendship will blossom in the meadows of our hearts, and the nightingales of longing will sing in the gardens of our spirits, with the tremulous tones of:

Oh, how I grieve for Joseph! (12:84)
yā asafā ‘alā Yūsuf.

The fires of yearning will smolder intensely in the stoves of our innermost beings, and the wings of the birds of our thoughts will shed their feathers, from flying too far in the vastness of sublime exaltation.

The stallions of our minds will lose their way in the deserts of intuitive knowledge, the foundations of our intellectual principles will quake from the shock of awe, and the ships of our firm intentions will lose their bearings in the depths of the oceans of:

They did not assign to Allah  the attributes that are due to Him. (6:91)
wa mā qadaru ‘llāha haqqa qadri-hi.

So it sailed with them in the  midst of mountain-like waves. (11:42)
wa hiya tajri bi-him fi  mawjin ka-‘l-jibal.

–and at the moment when the waves collide in the ocean of the ardor of:

He loves them and they love  Him. (5:54)
yuhibbu-hum wa yuhibbuna-hu.

–each and every one will exclaim, in the spiritual tongue that needs no ordinary words [lisan al-hal]:

My Lord, bring me to land in  a blessed harbor, for You are the Best of harborers! (23:29)
Rabbi anzil-ni munzalan  mubarakan wa Anta Khairu ‘l-munzilin.

So then they will receive, as a foreordained gift, the gracious favor of:

As for those to whom the  [reward] most fair has already gone forth from Us…. (21:101)
inna ‘lladhina sabaqat la-hum min-na ‘l-husna….

–and it will bring them ashore on [Mount] Judi, a trustworthy landing site [maq'ad sidq].

It will introduce them to the sessions of the delirious ecstatics of the Day of:

“Am I not…?”  (7:172)

It will spread for them the table-mat of the bounty of:

To those who do good belongs  the finest–and an extra reward! (10:26)
li’lladhina ahsanu ‘l-husna

–and it will pass to them the cups of attainment, filled from the jugs of nearness, by the hands of the cupbearers of:

And their Lord will quench  their thirst with a pure drink. (76:21)
wa saqa-hum Rabbu-hum sharaban tahura.

They will thus be honored with the everlasting estate and the endlessly enduring fortune of:

And when you see, there you  will see a state of bliss and a great domain. (76:20)
wa idha ra’aita thamma ra’aita na’iman wa mulkan kabira.

The Fifth Letter

Concerning the significance of the immediate presence [ma'iyya] of Allah (Exalted is He), and the fact that His knowledge (Exalted is He) embraces all things.

My dear friend!

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