Checked & Annotated
Abu Hibban & Abu Khuzaimah Ansaari
An Overview of the Naqshbandi Tariqah (Methodology)
1. This Tariqah (methodology) is a Sufi group. It’s distinction to other groups is because of it’s specific secret chants and tasks. Compared to other well known groups they don’t dance or clap hands.
(T.N. Just as those who perform Qawali do these things. However in the Indian subcontinent the Naqshbandis dance, clap and do everything the Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) forbade from. Maybe the Naqshbandis in Sham didn’t do this and Shaikh didn’t have knowledge of them doing it in the Indian subcontinent.)
2. Doing Dhikr in groups, giving each other pebbles to use for praying and putting them inside water to soak then drinking that water and thinking it can cure, along with being fanatical organisers of khatam telling murids to engage in this, were all refuted and rejected by the great companion Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (RadiAllahu Anhu) at that time when he entered a Masjid and saw a group of people having pebbles in their hands. They were telling each other to say, “Recite a certain tasbih in this way on the pebbles” So he warned (reprimanded and admonished) them by saying, “What am I seeing you all do?” they said, “O Abu Abdurahman! We are reciting La Ilaha Illalah, Allahu Akbar and Subhan Allah in accordance to the amount of pebbles there are” Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud replied, “O Ummah of Muhammad (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) (Look at) How fast you are going towards destruction! You are doomed (and ruined by doing these actions)! The companions of your Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) are still present in a large number and the shroud of the Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) hasn’t (worn out) degraded away. His kitchen utensils are still present and haven’t broken. How about you count your sins. I stand in surety that Allah will not allow your virtues to go to waste if you do this instead. I swear by the One who has my life in His hand, it can never be possible that your methodology is better than the methodology of the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). O Wrongdoers! Are you about to open up the doors of misguidance (by doing these type of actions)?”. (Hasan, Narrated by ad-Darimi and Tabarani)
It is logically reasonable that either these people were more guided than the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) because they were given the strength to perform an action that he (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) didn’t know about or these people are clearly and utterly misguided. From the two mentioned answers the first point is completely wrong because there is no one more virtuous than Allah’s Messenger (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) and only the other point remains, which is accurate since those people have fallen victims to misguidance.
3. Rabt Sharif: This means that during Dhikr you should put the image of your Shaikh in your mind with the firm binding belief that your guide (master, leader, Shaikh) is looking at you and that he is fully monitoring and watching you. This is why during their (the Naqshbandis) Dhikr you will see them fainting (and becoming overwhelmed). In addition they shout and scream strange, horrible and confusing sounds.
According to them this is the level of ‘Ihsan’ whereby the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, “Al-Ihsan implies that you worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, and although you don’t see Him, without a shadow of a doubt He is seeing you” (Narrated by Muslim, Book of Faith, Chapter: What is Islam? Explaining its characteristics.)
The Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) is teaching us here clearly that we should worship Allah as though we are seeing Him and even though we don’t see Him, He definitely sees us
(T.N. meaning to know that He is observing every single action you are doing and knows exactly how you are doing it with all the minute details. This allows us to completely focus on the worship since when a person does an action and is mentally aware and reminded of the fact that Allah is present and assessing them you will take extra care and effort to do it correctly and right first time with full devoted determination in order to impress and receive full acceptance and acknowledgement of the action)
The level and position of righteousness (in this action of doing Ihsan according to the hadith mentioned above) is only for Allah the Most Great. Whilst they have given this to their Shaikh. This is the same type of Shirk that Allah has forbidden. Allah says,
“(O people of faith) Only worship Allah and don’t associate any partners with Him (in any type of worship)” Surah an-Nisa 4, ayah 36
Dhikr is a type of worship only for Allah it is not allowed for someone else to be part of it. We are not allowed to make anyone a partner with Allah in worship. It doesn’t matter what type of suprior position they have whether they are Angels, Messengers (Alayhimusalam) and scholars etc. or mawlanas of a lower rank and lower importance. It is a based on a fact that the Shadhili Tariqah also imagine the Shaikh (in their mind) during Dhikr. This imagining of the Shaikh in one’s mind is also present in other Sufi Tariqahs. These will be explained and described further on (in this book) insha Allah.
4. The severe scream and loud calling out that they do during the dhikr of the Shaikh or when they ask help (in those things that only Allah can provide help with) from other than Allah just like from the Ahlul Bayt or from one of Allah’s pious people is rejected. Rather this is from the shirk which has been prohibited. Screaming and calling out loudly during the dhikr of Allah is an action which goes against the pleasure and custom of Allah because it negates the saying of Allah:
“In reality the (true) believers are those whose hearts become shocked (scared, shaken, their minds come back to reality because they become aware of Allah’s punishment and reward) (because of having the taqwa of Allah) when Allah is mentioned (in front of them)” Surah al-Anfal 8 ayah 2
In the same way this also goes against the saying of the Messenger of Allah (Salllahi Alayhi Wa Sallam) as he (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, “…O people, show mercy to yourselves (i.e. don’t raise your voices) for you are not calling One who is deaf or absent. Verily, you are calling One who is All-Hearing (and) Near to you and is with you.” (Agreed upon)
(T.N. The scholars of hadith clearly understood this the correct way. An example is how Imam an Nawawi has put this hadith under the chapter heading in Sahih Muslim as Chapter: It Is Recommend To Lower One’s Voice When Saying Remembrance (Dhikr), Except In The Cases Where It Is Commanded To Raise The Voice Such As The Talbiyah Etc. (in the book of The Book Pertaining to the Remembrance of Allah, Supplication, Repentance and Seeking Forgiveness)
Screaming, shouting, observing khushu (humbleness, submissiveness, concentration, focus, humility) and crying whilst remembering the awliya of Allah is completely against the pleasure of Allah because this is what the mushriks became happy with (in their hearts) that Allah mentioned in the Quran:
“(And O Messenger (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam)) And when Allah is mentioned alone (without any partners or associates being in His dominion) then those people who don’t believe in the hereafter, their hearts shrink with hatred (and they become irritated when the Tawhid of Allah is mentioned i.e. they don’t even want to hear it because their kufr and arrogance prevents them) and when someone else is mentioned (in the acts of worship) instead of Allah (their hearts become open and) they become happy (because their hearts reject the truth and then they become quick to accept falsehood)” Surah az-Zumar 39 ayah 45
5. Exaggeration of the Shaikh is from the Naqshbandi Tariqah: For e.g. the firm belief of the murids (followers) that their Shaikh can cure the sick whilst Allah has mentioned the saying of Ibrahim (Alayhisalam) in the noble Quran,
“And when I become ill then it is only He (Allah the One and only) who cures me” Surah ash-Shu’ara 26 ayah 80
In addition to this the story of the believing (Muslim) boy who used to make Dua for those who were ill and Allah used to cure them. Once when the King’s advisor said to him, “If you cure me then I will give you wealth” So that believing boy replied to him by saying, “Allah is the only One who cures I don’t cure anyone. If you believe in Allah I will make Dua for you then He will cure you” (Narrated by Muslim, Book of Zuhd and Softening of Hearts , Chapter: The Story Of The People Of The Ditch And The Magician, The Monk And The Boy)
6. In their opinion saying only the word “Allah” is Dhikr. They repeat it thousands of times for e.g. Allah…Allah…Allah…whilst this is not established from the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) and neither from the companions, tabi’in or the mujtahid Imams rather this is a bid’ah from tasawuf and the expression is deficient because the word “Allah” is the beginning word and there is no information after it. If someone says the name “Umar” repeatedly then we will say, “What do you want from Umar?” and if he doesn’t mention his request from Umar and continues to repeat “Umar…Umar…” we will say he has lost his mind and is mental since this poor helpless person doesn’t know what he is saying (or what he wants).
You can bring the following saying of Allah as proof against the single (word, phrase) dhikr to refute the Sufis by mentioning that if a person says (a part of the ayah in the Quran Surah al-An’am ayah 91),
“Say Allah…Say Allah…Say Allah…”
what can you understand from only saying that phrase if the full information and words (from the ayah) before it haven’t been said? So instead if he was to say (and read the full ayah):
“And they did not regard Allah with the respect (honour, reverence) that is due to Him when they said, ‘Allah has not sent down anything (i.e. revelation, guidance, a book) to any human.’(So) Say (O Messenger (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) (in refutation and reminder to them that), ‘Who had sent down the Book that was brought by Musa (Alayhisalam) as a light and guidance for the people, which you make into separate parchments (pages, i.e. a book) that you display (parts of it), while you conceal (and hide) much of it, and [by means of which] you were taught what you did not know, [neither] you nor your fathers?’ Say (O Messenger (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) that of course), ‘Allah! (is the one who revealed it before to a human so why can’t he do it again? Without a shadow of a doubt He can)’
Then you will understand what he is saying properly.