Letter 58 of volume I from the Maktūbāt of Imām Rabbānī

On the description that the Path we are up to traverse is in all seven steps, that opposed to the mashā’ikh (shaikhs) of other orders, the Naqshbandi mashā’ikh have begun the journey from the command-world [Ālam-i Amr], that the Path of these divines is the Path of the worthy Sahābā , and in related matters, has written to Sayyid Mahmood, the abode of lordship.

Your esteemed letter has reached. As it conveyed a keen desire to hear the sayings of this Eminent Group, a few sentences, therefore, are put down as a matter of answer to the enquired, and encouragement to the aspired. My master! This Path that we are up to traverse is altogether seven steps after the number of human subtleties. Two steps are in the creation-world [Ālam-i khalq] being related to the body and the carnal-soul [nafs], and five steps are in the command-world [Ālam-i Amr] being related to Qalb (the heart), Rūh (the soul), Sirr (the secret), Khafī (the hidden), and Akhfā (the hiddenmost). At each of these steps, ten thousand veils have to be torn apart, be those veils luminous or dark: “Verity, unto Allah are seventy thousand veils of light and darkness.” [Mishkāt] At the first step placed in the command-world, the Act-theophanies appear, at the second, the Attributive-theophanies, and at the third, the Essential-theophanies begin, and thereafter it is according to the degree-difference of these subtleties, as is not hidden from the travellers of this Path. At each step of the seven steps, one becomes farther from one’s self and closer to Allah, so that utmost nearness is attained with the completion of these steps. It is at this stage that they (the travellers of the Path) are honoured with vanishing [fanā] and abiding [baqā] and attain to the degree of especial sainthood. Contrary to the mashā’ikh of other Orders, the mashā’ikh of the exalted Naqshbandiyah Method have chosen to begin this journey in the command-world and cover the creation-world in the course of that journey. For this reason, the Naqshbandiyah Path is the shortest of all Paths, and surely the end of others is registered in the beginning of theirs.

Assess my bloom by the verdure of my garden

The Path of these divines is exactly the Path of the Companions (Sahābā), may Allah be pleased with them.These Grandees (Sahābā) would attain to such excellences by way of registration of the end into the beginning in the very first sitting with the Prophet peace be upon him, which the perfect saints of the Ummah would attain to at the end stages. It is for this reason that Wahshī, the murderer of Hazrat Hamzah (may Allah be pleased with him) ranks higher than Uwais Qarnī, the highest ranking Tābi’ī. Abdullāh bin Mubārak (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) was asked which one is superior, Amir Mu’āviyah or Umar bin Abdul Azīz? He replied: “The dust that entered into the nostrils of the horse of Mu’āviyah in the company of the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) [during jihād] is many times better than Umar bin Abdul Azīz.” It is worth pondering over where would the end-degree of the people that have the end degree of others registered into their beginning-degree be, and how could that be comprehended by others: “And none knoweth the forces of Thy Lord save Him.” [Q-74:31]

Taunts of the incompetents at the divines of this group
God forbid if I utter a word of complaint or rebuke

All the lions of the world are in circle in this chain
The cunning of the poor fox would in no way be in gain

May Allah give us and you the love of these unique people. The paper though is short, but unique cognitions and valuable facts have been recorded on it, it is anticipated that you would hold these dear, and be peace.

[Translation by Sheykh Muhammad Wajihuddin]

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