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Principles of the Naqshbandi Path
There are a few principles of the high-esteemed linkage of Naqshbandia around which it revolves and without acting on them, no relation can be established with this linkage. A few of these effective and noted principles are as follows:

1- هوش دردم
2- نظر برقدم
3- سفر در وطن
4- خلوت درانجمن
5- ياد كرد
6- بازگشت
7- نگہداشت
8- یادداشت

The above eight principles are narrated from Khwaja Hazrat Abdul Khaliq Ghajdwani (RA) and the next three that are given below are added by Khwaja Hazrat Shah Naqshband Bukhari.

9- وقوف زمانی
10- وقوف عددی
11- وقوف قلبی

Thus the total number of the Naqshband principles is eleven (11).

Explanation of the principles:
1- هوش دردم : It means that the seeker should remain vigilant and alert about his every breath whether it is consumed in the remembrance of Allah or in negligence and should try that not a moment is spent in negligence. It is therefore required that he keeps pondering every minute unless the ever-lasting presence in dhikr is achieved. If on considering, it is known that one has been negligent he should make Istighfar (repentance) and make firm resolution of never doing so again.

Perceive every moment, every breath as a blessing and get together with the breath. Beware of every inhalation, not a gasp should be drawn uselessly. Hazrat Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshband said that this linkage depends entirely on the gulp of air. Breath, coming in or going out, should not be wasted in negligence. Every inhalation should be in full presence of heart.

What was the way of Shah Naqshband (RA) himself and how did he protect his breath? Hazrat Maulana Abdul Rahman Jami answers this question in Tohfatul Israr as follows:
He took few breaths without the presence and pondering
Did not draw his glance ahead of the feet
And quickened his journey
His feet did not stop and he gained the Lord’s proximity

2- نظر برقدم: It means that while walking, the seeker should keep his eyes fixed on or around the feet. He should not look around without need and while sitting, he should look towards the front and not here and there, nor should he pay any attention to what other people around him are saying. It is possible that by moving his eyes here and there his glance falls at some non-confidante or he listens to some unreasonable talk and his attention is drawn towards it instead of the real purpose which is a great loss.

It is ordered that at the time of praying while standing eyes should be directed towards the place of prostration, in the bending position towards the back of the feet, while prostrating towards the tip of the nose and in the sitting position they should be directed towards the lap. This is ordered so as to ensure that the heart of the one who is praying is focused and his thoughts are not scattered.

A beneficial narration: Hazrat Rabee’ bin Khasim would always keep his head bent down such that the people around him began thinking that he is blind. Hazrat Masood (RA) who had been going to his house for nearly twenty years, used to say that if the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) had seen Rabee’ he (PBUH) would have been very happy. Similar stories about many other pious people are also narrated saying that they did not look up towards the sky for forty years.

Like other acts of the Sufiya-e-Karam, this one is also supported by the Quran. Allah Almighty says:

قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ
Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks.(Surah Al-noor 30)

While walking the glance should be directed towards the feet as it is the tradition of the Prophet (PBUH) And there is a lot of wisdom in it other than this too. Which the seeker shall see clearly. Hazrat Pir Fazal Ali Qureshi Miskinpuri used to say that the eyes should always remain focused at the feet of the Prophet PBUH that is to say the tradition and orders of the Prophet PBUH should always be kept in mind and all the actions, habits and character should be in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet PBUH. This is the distinguishing identification of the linkage of Naqshbandia.

3- سفر در وطن : This refers to the inner and spiritual journey and it means that while sitting at home the seeker gets rid of the bad human qualities like envy, arrogance, enmity and the love for wealth and prestige and adopts angelic qualities like patience, gratitude, contentment on the decisions of the Lord, pious deeds and sincerity in all of them. This will help drive away the love for anyone other than Almighty Allah and will make easy the spiritual progress. If at any time one feels the love for anyone else, while considering it a loss for himself he should negate it saying ‘La’ and approve the love for the Lord by saying ‘Illallah’; once again be focused on the Creator and Lord (SWT) and enjoy the love of the Lord while sitting at home. Just as Maulana Abdul Rahman Jami says:

The mirror does not travel towards the reflection

For acceptance of reflection is due to its own purity and light It is common observation that for giving off a reflection the mirror does not go towards the thing to reflect it. If the mirror is clean, any object that comes before it will appear in it. Similarly, if the mirror of the heart is pure from all impurities of imaginations of existence, sitting at home, the real light of the real Lord will be revealed upon him and his heart will become the interpretation of the hadith that the heart of the believer is a home of the Lord. Hazrat Sohna Saeen (RA) used to say that whoever gave place to human desires and wealth in his heart becomes just the example of this saying that “the leader of the loved ones is very modest.” Therefore in such a heart there can be no place for the Supreme Lord and it cannot gain the blessing of becoming the home of the Lord. Although it is possible in this condition that the heart is involved in the dhikr and there is no love for the mundane, he has wealth and riches but there is no love for them in his heart. Advantage: It is to be remembered that if one has love for the Prophets, the Auliya or any other person or thing for the sake of Allah’s approval, it will not be counted as love for anyone other than Allah. Rather, their love and company is a means of spiritual progress and the proximity to Allah. Therefore, a commentator of the Quran Allama Saawi (RA) writes under the verse 35 of Surah Ma’ida: The intermediary which brings Allah’s closeness is love for the Prophets and the Auliya, alms and charity, visits to the saints, plenty of Dua (invocations), good behavior towards the relations and abundance in dhikr etc., all of these are the intermediaries. The purpose is to hold steadfast to the things which bring about Allah’s proximity and the things which bring a distance, stay away from them.

4- خلوت درانجمن : It means that the heart of the seeker should always be absorbed in the remembrance. Regardless of whether he is talking or silent, or eating or drinking but his heart should not be negligent towards the dhikr even for a second. The elders of the religion say that “Sufi is the one who keeps interaction with people apparently but from the inside he is completely separated from the creation.”

Hazrat Khwaja Naqshband states that the verse رِجَالٌ لَّا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ points to this particular condition. This verse has been revealed about the companions of the Prophet SAW and their habit of making dhikr and being directed towards Allah has been described and those who come after them are encouraged to do the same.

Another sheikh of the linkage Hazrat Azizan Ali Ramitni (RA) says in one of his verses that:
Be aware of your inside and unaware of the outside Because this is a quality found in few. It is narrated that someone asked Shah-e-Naqshband what the foundation of this linkage lay in. He replied that is the outer self with the creation and the inside with the Creator is the foundation of our linkage.

Hazrat Sohna Sa’een used to advise while insisting on the remembrance of Allah at heart that the hands should be busy in the work and the heart bent towards the beloved i.e. Almighty Allah. Furthermore, he used to say that while earning honest wages even if it goes on for twenty-four hours of the day, keep your hands busy in the work be it trading, farming, service or labour, but this thought should always be kept in mind that one’s heart is making Allah’s dhikr and calling out his name.

My body is in the market But my inside is with my beloved that is Allah Almighty

5- ياد كرد : It means that the seeker should remain absorbed in the dhikr in just the way his mentor has taught him to; be it in the heart, with the tongue, in affirmation or in decline. No laziness or negligence is to be shown here. Go on making dhikr with whole-heartedness and affection until the presence in front of the Lord is achieved.

Keep remembering; keep remembering as long as the soul is in the body. The purity of the heart can only be gained by Allah’s dhikr. The holy verse وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ And remember Allah much, that you may be successful, (it explicitly states that success depends entirely on the dhikr of Allah.

Hazrat Shah Naqshband says that: the purpose of dhikr is that the heart attains an everlasting presence before Allah with the qualities of love and respect. This is because the dhikr is the name of driving away negligence. Hazrat Khwaja Alauddin Ataar (RA) says that:

O son keep remembering Allah all the time. If you know His justice and righteousness

6- بازگشت : Repentance. It means that after making the dhikr for some time, the seeker should make following invocations to Lord after remembering Allah for some time:
Lord, my purpose is the earning of You and Your pleasure Grant me Your love and cognition The seeker should repeat these words in his heart over and over with humility so that no pride overtakes the feeling of satisfaction and contentment that has been created neither does the person takes this thing as his sole purpose rather he should keep striving for love and proximity of the lord. Maulana Room (RA) says that:

Brother, this is an endless hospice. Do not remain stationary at any place you reach, go ahead for more

Shah Waliullah (RA) narrates from his father that in echo is a big condition in the dhikr. It is not right for the seeker to part with it. Whatever we have achieved has been possible only because of this.

7- نگہداشت : It means that the seeker should drive away all his imaginations and negative thoughts and should always be on guard against any such negative thoughts or dangers should any of them come inside his heart and then it becomes difficult to take them out. When the coming of external fears and dangers will end, the seeker will have a unidirectional approach and satisfaction or in other words he will have a lot of contentment and light-heartedness and he will attain the status of Fanaa-e-Qalb, that is to say, the heart becomes free from the worldly bounds. But if such thoughts continue or our not weakened, the seeker should become very absorbed in the dhikr and think about his mentor. If God wills, freedom from straying thoughts will be gained.

Hazrat Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshband Bukhari states that the seeker should put an end to the fears and negative thoughts in the beginning. Otherwise when they become visible, the inner self will be inclined towards it and when they strengthen in the self, it becomes very difficult to remove them. After the achieving of this technique, the seeker not only stays away from thoughts about others but sometimes even he becomes unaware of his soul. Thus it is known about Khwaja Hazrat Pir Mitha (RA) that he used to be so much absorbed in the preaching and giving out advices that he felt no requirements of the body like thirst, hunger or weather conditions like cold or hot. During this same time, his only food throughout the day used to be a little amount of the flour bread. Still he had so much passion for the preaching of the religion that the lecture started at the Fajr time would go on for so long as one or two in the afternoon. Sometimes he would return after saying the Zuhr prayer.

8- یادداشت : After continuous struggle for protection, the heart of the seeker naturally and automatically turns to Allah Almighty and this verse وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ, applies to it. This is called Memory and after getting expertise in this method the heart of the seeker becomes so absorbed in the remembrance of Allah that no wandering and useless thoughts cross his mind.

9- وقوف زمانی : It means that the seeker should keep checking himself and examine every moment if the previous time has been spent in the remembrance of Allah, he should thank Allah for it and if it has not been that way, he should ask Allah for forgiveness and resolve firmly not to do that again and should never step out of the boundaries of the Shari’ah. The verse وَلْتَنظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ points out to this particular matter. This thing is also ascertained by the pious caliph Hazrat Umar (RA) when he said,

“Do your accounting yourself before you are accounted and weigh yourself before being weighed. Be prepared for the greater reckoning that is the Day of Judgment where you shall be accounted and your deeds will be weighed.”

10- وقوف عددی : Making dhikr, be it in the approval or denial, in odd numbers is called the discernment of numbers. It means that in a single breath, from three to twenty-one, one should pause at any odd number. One should begin with small numbers like three or five and then this number should gradually be increased. “Allah is of odd number i.e. one and likes odd number.” According to this hadith, the odd numbers have preference over the even ones. Care for numbers is taken so that the thoughts never wander. Supposedly, if its effects are not seen even up to number twenty-one, the seeker should begin the dhikr from the scratch.

11- وقوف قلبی : This means that the seeker should always pay attention to his heart which is present two fingers below the left udder. Hazrat Khwaja Ubaidullah Ahrar states that discernment of the heart is such a presence and awareness of the heart before the Almighty because of which the heart requires nothing other than the Almighty.

Hazrat Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshband has not made compulsory the consideration of odd number and the exhaustion of the breath but he has made the discernment of the heart compulsory during dhikr. This is because of the fact that without the comprehension of the heart, it is difficult to drive away negligence and every deed done with negligence is ineffective. Maulana Roomi (RA) states that:

There are praises for Allah on your tongue and cows and donkeys in your heart What effect will these praises have?