Naqshbandi (Persian: نقشبندی) or Naqshbandiyah (Arabic:
نقشبندية, translit. Naqshbandīyah) is a major Sunni
spiritual order of Sufism. It got its name from Baha-ud-Din Naqshband
Bukhari and traces its spiritual lineage to the Islamic prophet
Muhammad, through Abu Bakr, the first
Caliph and Muhammad's companion.
Naqshbandi masters trace their lineage through Ali, his
son-in-law and successor, in keeping with most other Sufis.
1 Spiritual lineage criteria
2 Spreading of the order
2.2 Syria and Palestine
2.3 Daghestan, Russia
3 Prominent sheikhs
3.1 Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari
3.2 Ahmad Sirhindi
4.1 Criteria of a sheikh
4.2 11 principal teachings
4.3 Types of concentration
4.4 Subtle substances
5 See also
8 External links
Spiritual lineage criteria
In Sufism, as in any serious Islamic discipline such as jurisprudence
(fiqh), Quranic recital (tajwid), and hadith, a disciple must have a
master or sheikh from whom to take the knowledge, one who has himself
taken it from a master, and so on, in a continuous chain of masters
back to Muhammad. According to Carl W. Ernst:
Within the Sufi tradition, the formation of the orders did not
immediately produce lineages of master and disciple. There are few
examples before the eleventh century of complete lineages going back
to the Prophet Muhammad. Yet the symbolic importance of these lineages
was immense: they provided a channel to divine authority through
master-disciple chains. It was through such chains of masters and
disciples that spiritual power and blessings were transmitted to both
general and special devotees.
This means that a Sufi master has met and taken the way from a master,
and that during his lifetime he has explicitly and verifiably invested
the disciple—whether in writing or in front of a number of
witnesses—as a fully authorized master (murshid ma’dhun) of the
spiritual path to succeeding generations of disciples.
Such spiritual transmission from an unbroken line of masters is one
criterion that distinguishes a true or 'connected' Sufi path (tariq
muttasila), from an inauthentic or "dissevered" path, (tariq
munqati‘a). The leader of a dissevered path may claim to be a Sufi
master on the basis of an authorization given by a master in private
or other unverifiable circumstance, or by a figure already passed from
this world, such as one of the righteous person or Muhammad, or in a
dream, or so on. These practices only "warm the heart" (yusta’nasu
biha) but none meets Sufism's condition that a Sufi master must have a
clear authorization connecting him with Muhammad, one that is verified
by others than himself. Without such publicly verifiable
authorizations, the Sufi path would be compromised by the whims of the
The chain of spiritual transmission is not tied to a country, family
or political appointment, but is a direct heart to heart transmission,
at or after the time of death or burial. It is also considered that
the appointed sheikhs will be in some communication with past sheikhs.
All are joined by their common spiritual allegiance to the master of
spiritual lineages, Muhammad.
Spreading of the order
Naqshbandi order owes many insights to
Yusuf Hamdani and Abdul
Khaliq Gajadwani in the 12th century, the latter of whom is regarded
as the organizer of the practices and is responsible for placing
stress upon the purely silent invocation. It was later associated
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari in the 14th century, hence the name
of the order. The name can be interpreted as "engraver (of the
heart)", "pattern maker", "reformer of patterns", "image maker", or
"related to the image maker". The way is sometimes referred to as "the
sublime sufi path" and "the way of the golden chain."
The path's name has changed over the years. Referring to Abu Bakr
as-Siddiq, it was originally called "as-Siddiqiyya"; between the time
of Bayazid al-Bistami and Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani "at-Tayfuriyya";
from the time of 'Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani to Shah Naqshband the
"Khwajagan" or "Hodja"; from the time of Shah Naqshband and on
Afterwards, a branch or sub-order name was added. From 'Ubeydullah
Ahrar to Imam Rabbani, the way was called "Naqshbandiyya-Ahrariyya";
from Imam Rabbani to Shamsuddin Mazhar "Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddadiyya";
from Shamsuddin Mazhar to Mawlana Khalid al-Baghdadi
"Naqshbandiyya-Mazhariyya"; from Mawlana Khalid onwards
"Naqshbandiyya-Khalidiyya" (Khalidi) and so on.
The way or school connected to the late Shaykh Sultan ul-Awliya
Sheikh Nazim, who lived in Northern Cyprus, is undoubtedly the
most active of all
Naqshbandi orders with followers in almost every
corner of the World. It is referred to as the "Naqshbandi-Haqqani"
way. According to some estimates there are over sixty million
disciples, and centres in almost every country of the world. It also
had the largest internet presence. There are disciples in almost all
of Europe including the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, and in
the United States of America, the Middle East, Africa, India, China,
Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, etc. It is most active
in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. As well as being the
most prevalent Sufi Order in the west. The Prince of Malaysia, Raja
Ashman Shah was a disciples of this order.
Aurangzeb was a member of the
Naqshbandi Sufi order.
The Naqshbandiyya order became an influential factor in Indo-Muslim
life and for two centuries it was the principal spiritual order in
India. Baqi Billah Berang (No. 24 in the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Golden
Chain) is credited for bringing the order to India during the end of
the 16th century. He was born in Kabul and brought up and educated in
Kabul and Samarqand, where he came in contact with the Naqshbandiyya
order through Khawaja Amkangi. When he came to India, he tried to
spread his knowledge about the order, but died three years later.
Among his disciples were
Ahmad Sirhindi (No. 25 in the
Naqshbandi-Haqqani Golden Chain) and
Sheikh Abdul Haq of Delhi. After
his death, his student,
Sheikh Ahmad primarily took over.
was born in 1561 and his father Makhdum Abdul Ahad was from a high
Sufi order. He completed his religious and secular studies at the age
of 17. Later he became known as Mujaddad-i-Alf-i-Thani. It was through
him that the order gained popularity within a short period of time.
Sheikh Ahmad broke away from earlier mystic traditions and propounded
his theory of the unity of the phenomenal world. In particular, he
spoke out against innovations introduced by Sufis. For instance, he
opposed Emperor Akbar's views on Hindu and Muslim marriages. He
stated, "Muslims should follow their religion, and non-Muslims their
ways, as the Qur'an enjoins 'for you yours and for me my religion'".
Also he did not believe in keeping the state and ruler separate and
worked hard to change the outlook of the ruling class. After his
death, his work was continued by his sons and descendants.
In the 18th century Shah
Wali Allah played an important role in the
religious sciences, particularly the hadith and translated the Qur'an
into Persian. He also looked at a fresh interpretation of Islamic
teachings in the light of the new issues. Furthermore, he played a
significant role in the political developments of the period.
During the 19th century two Naqshbandiyya saints made significant
contributions to the chain (silsila) by restating some of its basic
Syria and Palestine
The Naqshbandiyya was introduced into Syria at the end of the 17th
century by Murad
Ali al-Bukhari, who was initiated in India. Later, he
established himself in Damascus, but traveled throughout Arabia. His
branch became known as the Muradiyya. After his death in 1720, his
descendents formed the Muradi family of scholars and sheikhs who
continued to head the Muradiyya. In 1820 and onward, Khalid Shahrazuri
rose as the prominent
Naqshbandi leader in the Ottoman world. After
the death of Khalid in 1827, his order became known as the Khalidiyya,
which continued to spread for at least two decades. In Syria and
Lebanon, the leaders of every active Naqshbandiyya group acknowledged
its spiritual lineage, which had retained the original Naqshbandiyya
way. Later a strife between Khalid's khalifas led to disruption of the
order, causing it to divide.
When political leader Musa Bukhar died in 1973, the pre-Mujaddidi line
of the Naqshbandiyya in Greater Syria came to an end. One of the only
branches to have survived till recently is the one based in the
khanqah al-Uzbakiyya in Jerusalem. The number of its members had
increased at the end of the 19th century. The Farmadiyya branch, which
practices silent and vocal invocation, is still present in Lebanon and
is named after Ali-Farmadi.
We shall speak about the Great Grandsheikh Abdullah Fa'izi
ad-Daghestani (d. 1973), and quote a small passage from his Biography
Sheikh Hisham Kabbani:
Sheikh Abdullah moved to Homs, where he visited the mosque and tomb of
the Companion of the Prophet, Khalid ibn al-Walid. He stayed briefly
in Homs. He moved to Damascus, in the Midan District, near the tomb of
Sa`d ad-Din Jibawi, a saint from the family of the Prophet. There he
established the first zawiya for the branch of the
which had gone to Daghestan. With him the Golden Chain of the
Naqshbandi Order which had gone from Damascus to India, Baghdad, and
Daghestan, now returned to Damascus.
His two daughters were married, Rabiha had four children, three girls
and one boy. Madiha was married to Shaykh Tawfiq al-Hibri, one of the
great Islamic scholars of Lebanon.
Soon people began to crowd into his zawiya. They arrived there from
all over the city: Sufis, government people, businessmen, and common
people. Murids were coming every day to sit at the door of his
khanqah. Daily they served food to hundreds, many of whom also slept
Then he received a spiritual order to move to the Mountain of Qasyun.
It is the highest point in Damascus, from whose vantage the entire
city can be viewed. With the help of his two senior murids, Shaykh
Muhammad Nazim 'Adil and Shaykh Husayn 'Ali, he built a house. This
house and the mosque next to it still stand, and the mosque is the
site of his maqam (shrine). He saw in a vision, while he was building
the mosque, that the Prophet, with Shah Naqshband and Sayyidina Ahmad
al-Faruqi, came and put posts to mark the shape and location of the
walls of the mosque. As soon as the vision ended, the markers were
visible, and everyone present saw them. At that mosque, over the
years, hundreds of thousands of visitors were received: for healing,
for prayers, for training, for all kinds of external and internal
It was in Damascus, Syria, that Grandsheikh Abdullah Fa'izi
ad-Daghestani, preached from, and also died. His blessed tomb is to be
found in Damascus. It is estimated that a massive crowd of about
400,000 people attended his funeral (see
Sheikh Hisham Kabbani's book
on the Forty Grandsheikhs of the
Naqshbandi Sufi path ). Lately the
Naqshbandi Haqqani Sufi Order
Naqshbandi Haqqani Sufi Order was led by his successor Nazim
Al-Haqqani and might still be very active in Syria.
Naqshbandi silsilah beginning from
Muhammad is passed in chain till
Ismail Kurdumeri (who is No. 31 in the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Golden
Chain). After Ismail Kurdumeri the chain has split in two as he had
two Ma'zuns, i.e.
Muhammad Salih Shirwani (No. 32) and Khas Muhammad
Shirwani. From Khas
Muhammad Shirwani the chain goes to Muhammad
Yaraghi ad-Daghestani (in Daghestan), and from him to Jamaluddin
al-Ghumuqi ad-Daghestani, who had three Ma'zuns, i.e. Mamadibir
ar-Rochi ad-Daghestani, Imam Shamil ad-Daghestani (both had no
Ma'zun), and `Abdurrahman Abu Ahmad as-Sughuri ad-Daghestani.[citation
needed] According to Shuaib Afandi Bagini ad-Daghestani, 'Abdurrahman
as-Sughuri had two ma'zuns, i.e.
Muhammad Haji 'Obodi ad-Daghestani
and Ilyas Tsudakhari ad-Daghestani (d. 1312 AH). Both had no ma'zuns,
and thus the split chain coming from Khas
Muhammad Shirwani has ended
here.. There are strict requirements as to who gives
the permission, how it is given and received. The chain from Muhammad
Salih Shirwani (No32) on the other hand, is continuous and goes all
the way to Mahmud Afandi, Hasan Hilmi Afandi and the rest of the
Daghestani Ma'zuns. The
Naqshbandi Haqqani Sufi Order
Naqshbandi Haqqani Sufi Order has roots in
Muhammad al-Madani, the successor of Abu Ahmad
as-Sughuri and his successor
Abdullah Fa'izi ad-Daghestani
Abdullah Fa'izi ad-Daghestani and his
successor and Grandshaykh of the order Nazim al-Haqqani.
A Khanaqah (prayer house) of
Naqshbandi in Saqqez's bazaar- Iran.
During the middle of the 19th century Egypt was inhabited and
controlled by Naqshbandis. A major
Naqshbandi khanqah was constructed
in 1851 by Abbas I, who did this as a favor to
Naqshbandi sheikh Ahmad
Ashiq. Ahmad Ashiq headed the order till his death in 1883. Ahmad
Ashiq's was a practicer of the Diya'iyya branch of the Khalidiyya. In
1876 sheikh Juda Ibrahim amended the original Diya’iyya, which
became known as al-Judiyya, and gained a following in al-Sharqiyya
province in the eastern Nile Delta.
During the last two decades of the 19th century two other versions of
Naqshbandiyya spread in Egypt. One of these was introduced by a
Sudanese, alSharif Isma'il al-Sinnari. Al-Sinnari had been initiated
Khalidiyya and Mujaddidiyya by various sheikhs during his
time in Mecca and Medina. Initially, he tried to obtain a following in
Cairo but was not able to, therefore he resorted going to Sudan. It is
from there that the order spread into Upper Egypt from 1870 onward
under Musa Mu’awwad, who was al-Sinnari's successor. Muhaamad
al-Laythi, son of al-Sinnari, was the successor after Mu’awwad's
The Judiyya and the
Khalidiyya branches spread in the last decades of
the 19th century and continued to grow and are still active today.
Muhammad Amin al-Kurdi is headed by his son Najm a-Din.
The Judiyya split into three main branches:one led by the founder's
son Isa, another led by Iliwa Atiyya in Cairo, and another led by
Muhammad Abu’l-Yazid al-Hahdi in Tanta.
Unfortunately, none of the early orders survived far into the 20th
century. The longest living group of khanqah based Naqshbandis lived
in the khanqah of sheikh Ahmad Ashiq, which closed in 1954. This is
when all the khanqahs in Egypt were closed and the awqaf supporting
these establishments were taken over by the Ministry of Awqaf. The
buildings were either assigned a different function or demolished as
part of urban renovation programs.
Ma Laichi's mausoleum (Hua Si Gongbei) in Linxia City, is the earliest
and most important
Naqshbandi monument in China.
Ma Laichi brought the
Naqshbandi (نقشبندية) 納克什班迪
order to China, creating the
Khufiyya (خفيه) 虎夫耶 Hua Si Sufi
华寺; ("Multicolored Mosque") menhuan. Ma Mingxin, also brought the
Naqshbandi order, creating the
Jahriyya (جهرية) 哲赫林耶
menhuan. These two menhuan were rivals, and fought against each other
which led to the 1781
Jahriyya Rebellion, Dungan revolt, and Dungan
Some Chinese Muslim Generals of the
Ma Clique belonged to Naqshbandi
Sufi menhuan including
Ma Zhan'ao and
Ma Anliang of the Khufiyya
Naqshbandi menhuan. Ma Shaowu, and
Ma Yuanzhang were other prominent
leaders from the
Many disciples of the
Naqshbandi Haqqani Sufi Order
Naqshbandi Haqqani Sufi Order remain in China
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari (1318–1389) was the founder of the
Naqshbandi Order. He was born in the village of Qasr-i-Hinduvan
Shaykh Ahmad al-Farūqī al-Sirhindī (1564–1624) was considered a
Mujaddid and a leading
Sheikh from India. He was from an
ashraf family claiming descent from caliph Umar, he received most of
his early education from his father, Shaykh 'Abd al-Ahad and memorised
the Qur'an. He was trained in all Sufi orders by the age of 17 and was
given permission to initiate and train followers in the Naqshbandi
Sheikh Ahmad made revolutionary changes to the Mughal empire. He
persuaded Jahangir to disallow drinking alcohol and destruction of
pubs and clubs. He made the Emperor revert the rule of exemption of
sacrificing cows. Instead, religious conferences and meetings for
spiritual development (known as halqas) were held throughout the
Aside from this,
Sheikh Ahmad wrote several letters to his murideen
(pupils) and khulafa in Persian and Arabic. These letters are a
marvelous collection of spiritual knowledge and religious information.
Later these were collected and preserved in book form by Dr. Ghulam
Mustafa Khan, and translated to Urdu by Syed Zawar Hussain Shah. This
book is known as Maktoobat, and, as Ghulam Mustafa says, is the best
and most knowledgeable book after Quran and
Hadith and are applicable
for all problems to rise within 1000 years. For this purpose, Sheikh
Ahmad is known as
Mujaddid Alif Sani.
Sheikh Ahmad's three sons died in a plague, all religious and
spiritually well developed. These included
Muhammad Sadiq, Muhammad
Muhammad Isa, his favorite son being
Muhammad Sadiq, the
eldest. His death caused
Sheikh Ahmad immense sorrow, but he says that
bearing this pain of loss gave him so many divine rewards that he'd
have been not given them for any other deed.
Criteria of a sheikh
The Golden Chain of the Sufi
Naqshbandi Order, containing the names of
the 40 respected Sufi Grand Masters of the Order.
The following would always apply to genuine Sufi
They comply with the law.
They must be knowers. There can be no
Sufism without knowledge.
Spiritual allegiance is openly and regularly given to the leader of
the order, not the local teacher or sheikh.
They accept interaction with other disciples of the order.
They do not accept personal certification of dead persons, or in
dreams, or through special spiritual experience (rawhani). There are
exceptions to this rule according to the uwaisi concept of
transmission where someone who lived before can train and transmit
knowledge to someone who came later.
They only accept written personal certification in the presence of
11 principal teachings
Known as the Eleven
Naqshbandi principles, the first eight were
formulated by Abdul Khaliq Gajadwani, and the last three were added by
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari.
Remembrance (Yad kard – Persian: یاد کرد): Always orally and
mentally repeating the dhikr.
Restraint (Baz gasht – Persian: بازگشت ): Engaging in the
heart repetition of the al-kalimat at-tayyiba phrase – "La-ilaha
il-allah muhammadur rasul-allah".
Watchfulness (Nigah dasht – Persian: نگاه داشت): Being
conscientious over wandering thoughts while repeating Al-kalimat
Recollection (Yad dasht – Persian: ياد داشت): Concentration
upon the Divine presence in a condition of dhawq, foretaste, intuitive
anticipation or perceptiveness, not using external aids.
Awareness while breathing (Hosh dar dam – Persian: هوش در
دم): Controlling one's breathing by not exhaling or inhaling in the
forgetfulness of the Divine.
Journeying in one's homeland (Safar dar vatan - Persian سفر در
وطن): An internal journey that moves the person from having
blameworthy to praiseworthy properties. This is also referred to as
the vision or revelation of the hidden side of the shahada.
Watching one's step (Nazar bar qadam): Do not be distracted from
purpose of the ultimate journey.
Solitude in a crowd (Khalwat dar anjuman): Although journey is
outwardly in this world, it is inwardly with God.
Temporal pause (Wuquf-I zamani): Keeping account of how one spends his
or her time. If time is spent rightfully give thanks and time is spent
incorrectly ask for forgiveness.
Numerical pause (Wuquf-I adadi): Checking that the dhikr has been
repeated in odd numbers.
Heart pause (Wuquf-I qalbi): Forming a mental picture of one's heart
with the name of God engraved to emphasize that the heart has no
consciousness or goal other than God.
Types of concentration
Muraqaba is known as spiritual communion. In this practice one tries
to unveil the mystery of life by losing oneself in it. One imagines
his heartbeats calling out the name of the almighty. It is highly
believed that it is true that our heart calls out for Allah with every
beat. But it is our hearts which are draped by sins and so the
heartbeat is heard as dhak dhak and not Allah Allah.
Muraqaba is done
by sitting in a lonely place with eyes closed and maintaining a calm
position, imagining your exterior eyes closed, interior eyes opened,
(zahiri aankhen band krke batini aankhain kholiye) your heart calling
out for Allah, and trying to hear the word 'Allah' in each and every
Tawajjuh is derived from wajh (face) and means confrontation. It is
used in relation to the act of facing the point of adoration during
ritual prayer. Knowing the direction of adoration is incumbent on the
Sufi master who is the gateway to God. To the uninformed the sheikh is
often made the point of adoration. The goal is that the worshipper
cleanses his clouded heart so that it is pure enough that God may be
reflected in it.
The seven substances of ‘Ala al-Dawla were used by the Kubrawi
school of Sufism, while others used six known as the Lataif-e-sitta,
to aid in meditation and invocation. They were linked to a part of the
body, a prophet, and a color. The
Naqshbandi school linked them to the
following subtle energy centers of the body. The qalb (heart) is
located two fingers below the left breast and its color is red. The
ruh (spirit) is located two fingers below the right breast and its
color is white. The nafs (soul) is beneath the navel and its color is
yellow. The sirr (conscience) is at the center of the breast with the
color green. The khafi (mystery) is above the eyebrow with the color
blue. The akhfa (arcanum) is at the top of the brain and its color is
According to Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi, humans consist of ten Lata'if or
components of creation. Five of them pertain to Alam-e-Amr (the divine
world) and the remaining five pertain to Alam-e-Khalq (Created world).
The five lata'if of Alam-e-Amr are Qalb, Ruh, Sirr, Khafi and Akhfa.
The five lata'if of Alam-e-Khalq are Nafs, Soil (solid), Water
(liquid), Air (gas) and Fire (energy). The last four
(corresponding to earth, water, air and fire) are collectively called
lataif qalbia, referring to the physical human body (qalib), also
referred to as Sultan al-Azkar in many sufi orders.
Some Naqshbandis correlate them as follows:
Two fingers below the left breast
Lust (Sexual and other desires)
Two fingers below the right breast
Prophet Nuh and Prophet Ibrahim
Two fingers beside left breast towards center
Two fingers beside right breast towards center
Jealousy and scrimping
Exactly between breasts at the center of chest
Arrogance and proudness
Forehead-Below the starting of hair
Center of top of head
Akhundzada Saif-ur-Rahman Mubarak
Muhammad Akram Awan
Dungan Revolt (1895–96)
Muhammad Channan Shah Nuri
Naqshbandi Golden Chain
Naqshbandi-Haqqani Golden Chain
Naqshbandi Hussaini Golden Chain
Naqshbandi Tahiri Golden Chain
Sayyid Mir Jan
Sufism in India
^ Anna Zelkina, "Quest for God and Freedom: Sufi Responses to the
Russian Advance in the North Caucasus", NYU Press (1 October 2000) .
pg 77, excerpt from note 11: "There are some
Naqshbandi branches which
trace their silsila through
Ali ibn Abi Taleb see Algar, 1972, pp.
191-3; al-Khani, 1308. pg 6
^ Kugle, Scott Alan (2007). Sufis & saints' bodies: Mysticism,
Corporeality and Sacred Power in Islam. University of North Carolina
Press. p. 143. ISBN 0-8078-5789-0.
Muhammad Hisham (2004). Classical
Islam and the Naqshbandi
Sufi Tradition. Islamic Supreme Council of America. p. 557.
^ Carl W. Ernst, Bruce B. Lawrence, Sufi Martyrs of Love: The Chishti
Order in South Asia and Beyond, Palgrave Macmillan, 2002, p. 22,
ISBN 1403960275, 9781403960276
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^ Selçuk Eraydın, Tasavvuf ve Tarikatlar, p. 434
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Muhammad M. Some Aspects of the Principle Sufi Orders in
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^ Tariqas in Dagestan This reference actually contradicts, rather than
supports, this entire paragraph
^ Kees Versteegh; Mushira Eid (2005). Encyclopedia of Arabic Language
and Linguistics: A-Ed. Brill. pp. 380–.
^ Bahauddin, Naqshband. "The Imam of the Tariqat Shah Baha'uddin
^ Ernst, Carl W. "Names of God, Meditation, and Mystical Experience."
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Media related to
Naqshbandi order at Wikim