Najmuddīn-e Kubrā (Persian: نجمالدین کبری) was a
13th-century Khwarezmian Sufi from
Khwarezm and the founder of the
Kubrawiya, influential in the
Ilkhanate and Timurid dynasty. His
method, exemplary of a "golden age" of Sufi metaphysics, was related
Shahab al-Din Yahya ibn Habash Suhrawardi
Shahab al-Din Yahya ibn Habash Suhrawardi as
well as to Rumi's Shams Tabrizi. Kubra was born in 540/1145 and
died in 618/1221.
2 His Work
3 The Kubrawiyah Order
4 His disciples
5 Pan-religious similarities
6 See also
Kubrawiyya and Sufi metaphysics
Born in 540/1145 in Konye-Urgench,
Najmuddin Kubra began his career as
a scholar of hadith and kalam. His interest in
Sufism began in Egypt
where he became a murid of Ruzbihan Baqli, who was an initiate of the
Uwaisi. After years of study, he abandoned his exploration of the
religious sciences and devoted himself entirely to the Sufi way of
Sufi sheikh Zia al-Din-'Ammar Bitlisi was Kubra's teacher, who tried
to present Sufi thought in a new way to provide contemplation and
influence for the reader. After receiving his khirka, Kubra gained
a large following of gnostics and writers on Sufism.
Because his followers were predominantly Sufi writers and gnostics,
Kubra was given the title "manufacturer of saints" (in Persian: vali
tarash) and his order was named the Kubrawiya.
Kubra's main body of works concerns the analysis of the visionary
experience. He wrote numerous important works discussing the visionary
experience, including a Sufi commentary on the
Quran that he was
unable to complete due to his death in 618/1221. Kubra died during the
Mongol invasion and genocide after refusing to leave his city, where
he fought in hand-to-hand combat against the Mongols.
Overall, Kubra is remembered as a pioneer of the Sufi tradition and
explanation of spiritual visionary experiences. Kubra's work spread
throughout the Middle East and Central Asia where it flourished for
many years, until it gradually was taken over by other similar more
popular ideologies and Sufi leaders.
Part of a series on
Oneness of God
Day of Resurrection
Profession of faith
Texts and laws
Sunnah (Hadith, Sirah)
Spread of Islam
Culture and society
Criticism of Islam
Islam and other religions
In addition to his work centering on the Sufi commentary of the
Qu'ran, Kubra wrote other important treatises including:
Fawa'ih al-djamal wa-fawatih al-djalal
Risalat al-kha'if al-ha'im min lawmat al-la'im
His works discuss the analysis of dreams and visions, such as the
"significance of dreams and visions, the degrees of luminous epiphany
that are manifested to the mystic, the different classes of concept
and image that engage his attention, and the nature and interrelations
of man's 'subtle centres.'" The interpretation and understanding of
dreams was important because
Muhammad had developed the Islamic faith
based on dreams and visions, so the Qu'ran was seen as a visionary
Kubrawiya order were avid practitioners of seeking the
meaning of visions through ritual performances and meditation. Kubra,
being the manufacturer of saints, led him to analyze popular dream
episodes from Muslim hagiographical works, and his disciples would
follow in his analysis of these well known and important works.
The Kubrawiyah Order
Kubrawiya was Kubra's Sufi order, focusing on explaining the
visionary experience. The influence of the
Kubrawiya can be seen on
the Islamic world as a whole because of its relationship to the strong
influence of Shi'ism in Iran. The
Kubrawiya was not largely popular
until after Kubra's death in the 13th century. The
great development outside of Central Asia, but its influence and
presence only lasted till the 15th/16th century, when it was
overshadowed by the Naqshbandiya (another, more attractive Sufi group)
during the Ottoman Empire, though a nominal following continued on.
Before this occurred, the order split after the leadership of
Isḥāḳ al-Khuttalānī (d. 1423) into the Nurbakshiyya and the
Dhahabiyya. The former were eventually persecuted under the Safavids
in the later 16th century, whereas the latter survives presently with
Shiraz as its centre.
The Kubrawiya's influence in Central Asia established many political,
social, and economic activities there, but the Naqshbandiyah developed
these ideas to their fullest potential. The Kubrawiya's main teaching
was a "well-developed mystical psychology based on the analysis of the
visionary experience." They focused on explaining the spiritual
visionary experiences that Sufis underwent in everyday life. Their
largest concern was the total focus on the zikr as a means of allowing
for the perception of spiritual visions.
The Firdausi Kubrawi order was popularized in Bihar and Bengal region
of India by
Makhdoom Sharfuddin Ahmed Yahya Maneri
Makhdoom Sharfuddin Ahmed Yahya Maneri Hashmi who is
buried in Biharsharif. The branch Firdausia's linage from Najmuddin
Kubra is through his disciple
Saif ed-Din al-Boharsi
Saif ed-Din al-Boharsi through Sheikh
Badruddin Samarqandi through
Sheikh Ruknuddin Firdausi through Sheikh
Najeeduddin Firdausi of Mehrauli, Delhi, who was Makhdoom Sheikh
Sharafuddin Ahmad Yahya Maneri Hashmi's peer.
Among his twelve students one can mention Najmeddin Razi, Sayfeddin
Bakhezri, Majd al-Dīn Baghdādī, Ali ibn lala ghznavi and
Baha'uddin Walad, father of Jalaluddin Rumi. However, one of his most
well-known and influential disciples though was Sa'd al-Din Hamuwayi.
Kubra informed Hamuwayi to leave the city in which they resided with
the impending Mongol invasion on the horizon. However, Hamuwayi stayed
with Kubra and received his ijaza from him, which shows his favorable
reputation with the Sufi Master, as not only a student, but as a
friend. Hamuwayi wrote over thirty important manuscripts and other
works concerning the work of Kubra, and the influence of the
Today, the practices of the
Kubrawiyya are similar to certain Tibetan
Sufi yoga rituals, which allow the practitioners to focus on prayer,
fasting, seclusion, and entry into visionary states. The focus on
visionary states allows the practice of yoga to be attributed to the
influence of the Kubrawiyah. The concentration attributed to yoga is a
way to connect to the divine in a spiritual way, and Kubra himself
said "the mystical traveller will similarly sense the generation of
lights from the whole of his body and the veil will possibly be
withdrawn from the entire selfhood, so that with all of the body you
will see the All!" The physical action of yoga will help one to
see the All (God) through dreams, visions, and experiences. In a
modern attempt to explain the connection of the divine through yoga,
they attribute another quote of Kubra saying "The light that is
derived from God's lights and witnessed by the heart serves to make
God known to the heart: He makes Himself known by means of
Himself." These two groups show similar spiritual experiences such
as total isolation which invokes a connection with the divine seen in
accounts by both parties. Overall, the connection between these
two groups can largely be attributed to the spread of the Kubrawiyah's
ideologies in the 15th century, and Tibetan yoga practices attest to
the widespread nature of the Kubrawiyah, and therefore the teachings
of Kubra himself.
List of Persian scientists and scholars
^ Henry Corbin, "History of Islamic Philosophy" and "En Islam
^ See Algar, Hamid, the Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd Edition, Brill
^ Badeen, Edward (1989). Auszuge aus "Ammar al-Bidlisis Bahgat
at-ta'ifa und Sawm al-qalb. Basel.
^ a b c d e Algar, Hamid (2011). Kubra, Shaykh Abu 'l-Djannab Ahmad b.
'Umar Nadjm al-Din. Brill Online.
^ Green, Nile (November 2003). "The Religious and Cultural Roles of
Dreams and Visions in Islam". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 13
(3): 287–313. doi:10.1017/s1356186303003110.
^ Algar, Hamid (Winter–Spring 1974). "Some Observations on Religion
in Safavid Persia". Iranian Studies. 7 (1/2): 287–293.
doi:10.1080/00210867408701467. JSTOR 4310165.
^ Algar, H. "Kubra". Encyclopaedia of Islam. Retrieved
^ a b DeWeese, Devin (1988). "The Eclipse of the Kubraviya in Central
Asia". Iranian Studies. 21 (1/2): 45–83.
doi:10.1080/00210868808701709. JSTOR 4310594.
^ Elias, Jamal J. (1994). "The Sufi Lords of Bahrahab: Sa'd al-Din and
Sadr al-Din Hamuwayi". Iranian Studies. 27 (1/4): 53–75.
doi:10.1080/00210869408701820. JSTOR 4310886.
^ a b c Mayer, Toby (April–July 2010). "Yogic-Sufi Homologies: The
Case of the "Six Principles" Yoga of Naropa and the Kubrawiyya". The
Muslim World. 100: 268–286. doi:10.1111/j.1478-1913.2010.01320.x.
Retrieved 31 March 2011.
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