The Naqshbandī Order has been one of the most vibrant Sufi orders in Syria until today. There have been several prominent Naqshbandī Sufi masters in Syria.
The earliest encounter of the Naqshbandī Sufi masters and Syria is probably the visit of Mawlānā ʻAbd ar-Raḥmān Jāmī quddisa-sirruhū (817-898 AH) to Syria. Mawlānā Jāmī is one of the most renowned Sufis of the Naqshbandī Order and a prominent poet of Persian language. He is author of several books on Sufism, jurisprudence and poetry. He visited Syria on his way back from performing Ḥajj, but stayed only a short while. The Sultan of the caliphate wanted to see him and had sent his envoys after Mawlānā Jāmī, who however did not want to see the Sultan and therefore left Syria after a short visit.
About the same time period, a khalīfa of Khwāja ʻUbaydullāh Aḥrār quddisa-sirruhū named Mawlānāzāda Utrārī settled in Damascus after returning from Ḥajj.
Another prominent master who visited Damascus for Shaykh Aḥmad Ṣādiq Tāshkandī. In the year 991 AH, he went on the Ḥajj pilgrimage, and visited many cities and areas on his return, including Damascus. There, he attended a grand Mawlid ceremony in the Ummayad masjid, attended by many local scholars and shaykhs. Shaykh Ahmad Sādiq was a khalīfa of Makhdūm-i Aʻzam Shaykh Ahmad Kāsānī.
Shaykh Sayyid Murād Bukhārī, a deputy of Khwāja Muhammad Maʻsūm Fārūqī Sirhindī quddisa-sirruhū, established the Naqshbandi Order in Damascus where he stayed for many years. He first entered Damascus in 1080 AH (1670). He later moved on to Istanbul where he died in 1132 AH (1720).
One of the earliest Naqshbandī masters originally from Syria was Shaykh ʿAbd al-Ghanī Nābulusī Naqshbandī Aḥrārī (d.1143 AH), who is still well known in the scholarly world as one of the greatest scholars of Syria. He was a non-Mujaddidi master and received the Naqshbandī Path from a khalīfa of Shaykh Tāj ad-Dīn Uthmānī Sambhalī (d.1051 AH) who was a khalīfa of Khwāja Muhmmad Bāqī Billāh Dahlawī (971-1012 AH). He is buried in Damascus.
Another very prominent Sufi master of the Naqshbandī Path in Syria was Mawlānā Khālid Baghdādī Kurdī ʿUthmānī (d.1242 AH), who spread this noble Path in not only Syria but in Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and many other places. His branch of the Naqshbandī order is called Khālidī Naqshbandī. He is buried in a suburb of Damascus.
Naqshbandī Khālidī tarīqah
Mawlānā Khālid left a number of khalīfas in Damascus, including the great Hanafi jurist Shaykh Ibn-ʻĀbidīn Hanafī (d.1252 AH), author of several large volumes in Islamic jurisprudence. Mawlānā Khālid’s successor in Damascus was his khalīfa Shaykh Ismāʻīl Anārānī, who died just after 3 weeks in the same plague. He was succeeded by another khalīfa of Mawlānā Khālid, Shaykh Khās Muhammad Shīrwānī.
From Mawlānā Khālid, a chain of Sufi masters issued that continued establishing and spreading this noble spiritual path in Syria. These include:
- Shaykh ʿĪsā Kurdī Shāfiʻī Naqshbandī Khālidī (1831-1912), buried in the tomb of Mawlānā Khālid in Damascus. الشيخ عيسى الكردي
- Shaykh Muhammad Amīn Kurdī Naqshbandī Khālidī (1852-1926), buried in the tomb of Mawlānā Khālid in Damascus.
- Shaykh Muhammad Amīn Kuftāro Naqshbandī Khālidī (1875-1938)
- Shaykh Ahmad Kuftāro Naqshbandī Khālidī (1915-2004), the grand Mufti of Syria
- Shaykh Dr. Ramadān Dīb Dimashqī Naqshbandī Khālidī (born 1920), the present shaykh
In the North-Eastern Syria (close to Diyarbakir in Turkey), there is the great family of Khaznawī (Turkish: Haznavi) Sufi masters. The first and foremost of them was Shaykh Ahmad al-Khaznawī Naqshbandī Khālidī (d.1949), buried in a town called Til Maʿrūf. His blessed shrine was recently attacked and destroyed by the Wahhabi terrorists of ISIL.