Ahmad al-Faruqi as-Sirhindi ق
If God causes one to approach Him,
He reveals Himself to him as the object of his desire, without his knowing,
As the fire of Moses, which he saw through the eye of his need,
And who is the Divinity which he did not recognize.
If thou understandeth my words
thou knowest that thou hast need of the apparent form:
If Moses had searched for something other than the fire
He would have seen Him in that, and not inversely.
– Ibn ‘Arabi, Fusus al-Hikam
He was the Pearl of the Crown of the Knowledgeable Saints. He was the Treasure of Those who Came Before and of Those who Came After. In him were combined all their favors and generosity. He was the Sinai of Divine Manifestation, the Furthermost Lote Tree of the Unique Knowledge, and the Fountain of the Hidden Prophetic Knowledge. He was the Genius of Scholars and he was the Sultan of the Earth, which smiled when he was born and was honored by his existence. He was the perfect Perfected Guide. He was the Caller to Allah’s presence, the One Qutb and the Unique Heavenly Imam. He was the Reviver of the Second Millennium, Sayyidina wa Mawlana (our Leader and Master) ash-Shaikh Ahmad al-Faruqi as-Sirhindi, ibn ash-Shaikh `Abdul Ahad son of Zainu-l-`Abidin son of `Abdul-hayy, son of Muhammad son of Habibullah, son of Rafi’uddin, son of Nur, son of Sulayman, son of Yusuf, son of `Abdullah, son of Ishaq, son of `Abdullah, son of Shu’ayb, son of Aad, son of Yusuf, son of Shihabuddin, known as Farq Shah al-Qabidi, son of Nairuddin, son of Mahmud, son of Sulayman, son of Mas`ud, son of `Abdullah al-Wa`i al-Asghari, son of `Abdullah al-Wa`i al-Akbar, son of `Abdu-l-Fattah, son of Ishaq, son of Ibrahim, son of Nair, son of Sayyidina `Abdullah (r), the son of Amir al-Mu’minin, the khalif of the Prophet , Sayyidina ‘Umar al-Faruq (r).
He was born on the day of `Ashura, the 10th of Muharram in the year 971 H., in the village of Sihar Nidbasin. In some translations it is called Sirhind in the city of Lahore, in India. He received his knowledge and education through his father and through many shaikhs in his time. He made progress in three tariqats: Suhrawardiyya, Qadiriyya, and Chistiyya. He was given permission to train followers in all three tariqats at the age of 17 years. He was busy in spreading the teachings of these tariqats and in guiding his followers, yet he felt that something was missing in himself and he was continuously searching for it. He felt an interest in the Naqshbandi Sufi Order, because he could see by means of the secrets of the other three tariqats that it was the best and highest. His spiritual progress eventually brought him to the presence of the Ghawth and Qutb of his time, ash-Shaikh Muhammad al-Baqi, who had been sent from Samarqand to India by the order of his shaikh, Muhammad al-Amkanaki. He took the Naqshbandi Order from the shaikh and stayed with him for two months and some days, until Sayyidina Muhammad al-Baqi opened to his heart the secret of this tariqat and gave him authorization to train his murids in the Order. He said about him, “He is the highest Qutb in this time.”
The Prophet predicted his advent in one of his hadith when he said, “There will be among my nation a man called Silah. By his intercession many people will be saved.” It was mentioned in the collection of Suyuti, Jam’ ul-Jawami’. What confirmed the truth of this hadith is what Imam Rabbani wrote about himself: “God has made me the Silah between the two Oceans.” Silah means “connection.” So he meant that God had made him a connection between the two oceans — the two knowledges, external and internal. Shaikh Mir Husamuddin said, “I saw the Prophet in one of my dreams standing on the minbar (pulpit) and praising Shaikh Ahmad as-Sirhindi. The Prophet was saying, ‘I am proud and happy with his presence among my Nation. God has made him a reviver of the religion.’”
Many saints predicted his advent. One of them was Shaikh Ahmad al-Jami` (q). He said:
After me will appear seventeen men of the People of God, all of whom are named Ahmad and the last one among them will be at the head of the millennium. He is going to be the highest of them and he is going to receive the state of Unveiling. He is going to revive this religion.
Another to predict his advent was Mawlana Khwaja al-Amkanaki (q). He said to his khalif, “A man from India is going to appear. He will be the Imam of his century. He will be trained by you, so hurry to meet him, because the people of God are awaiting his arrival.” Muhammad al-Baqi (q) said, “That is why I moved from Bukhara to India.” When they met he told him, “You are the one whose appearance the shaikh Muhammad Khwaja al-Amkanaki predicted. When I saw you I knew you were the Qutb of your time. When I entered the region of Sirhind in India, I found a lamp which was so big and so bright that its light reached up to the heavens. Everyone took from that lamp’s light. You are that lamp.”
It is said that the shaikh of his father, Shaikh `Abdul Ahad, who was a shaikh of the Qadiri Order, had been given a jubba (cloak) from his shaikh which had been passed down from the Ghawth al-`Azham, Sayyidina `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q). Sayyidina `Abdul Qadir had said about it to his successors:
Keep it for that one who is going to appear at the end of the first millennium. His name is Ahmad. He is going to revive this religion. I have dressed him with all my secrets. He combines in himself both the internal and external knowledge.
The Seeking of the Kings and the Kings of Seeking
Sayyidina Ahmad al-Faruqi said,
“Let it be known to you that the Heavenly Guardians attracted me because They wanted me to be attracted, and They facilitated for me the passage through time and space (at-tayy) in the different states of the seeker. I found that God is the Essence of all matter, as it had been said by the People of Sufism. Then I found God in all matter without incarnation (hulul). Then I found God together with all matter. Then I saw Him ahead of everything and then I saw Him following everything. Finally I reached a state where I saw Him and I saw nothing else. This is what is meant by the term, Witnessing the Oneness, which is also the state of Annihilation (fana’). That is the first step in Sainthood, and the highest state in the Beginning of the Way. This vision appears first on the horizons, then secondly in the Self. Then I have been lifted to the station of Subsistence (baqa’) which is the second step in Sainthood.
“This is a station which many saints did not speak about because they did not reach it. All of them speak about the Station of Annihilation, but following that state is Subsistence. In that state I found all creation another time, but I found that the essence of all these creations is Allah, and Allah’s Essence is the Essence of Myself. Then I found Allah in everything, but in reality in myself. I was raised to a higher state, to find Allah with everything, but in reality He was with myself. Then I was lifted to see Him preceding everything, but in reality He was preceding myself. Then I was lifted to a state where He was following everything, but in reality He was following myself. Then I saw Him in everything, but in reality He was in myself. Then I saw everything and I didn’t see God. And this is the end of the Stations by which They had brought me back to the beginning. In sum, they lifted me to the Station of Annihilation, then to the station of Existence, then they brought me back to be with people, in the Station of the common people. This is the highest state in guiding people to the Presence of God. It is the perfect state of guidance, because it matches the understanding of human beings.”
He said, “I accompanied today one who has reached the End of Ends, the Qutub of all Creatures, the Perfect Man, Shaikh Muhammad al-Baqi. Through him I received incredible blessings, and by his blessing I was granted a power of attraction that allowed me to reach every human being that Allah had created. I was honored to attain a station that combines the state of the Ending with the state of the Beginning. I achieved all the states of Seeking and I reached the Ending, which is the meaning of ‘Reaching the name of ar-Rabb’ (the Sustainer), by the support of the Lion of God, Asadullah, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, May God ennoble his face. I was raised up to the state of the Throne, which is the Reality of the Truth of Muhammad, by the support (madad) of Shaikh Shah Baha’uddin Naqshband. Then I was lifted even higher, to the state of Beauty, which is the state of the Truth of the Muhammadan Qutbs, by the support of the Prophetic Holy Spirit.
“I was supported by Shaikh Ala`addin al-Attar, from whom I received the states of the Greatest Spiritual Poles (al-qutubiyyati-l-‘uzma) from the Presence of Muhammad . Then Allah’s Heavenly Care attracted me and I ascended to a State that is beyond that of the Qutubs, the Special Original State. Here the support of al-Ghawth al-`Azham, `Abdul Qadir Jilani (q) pushed me up to the State of the Origin of Origins. Then I was ordered to come back down, and as I was descending I passed by all 39 tariqats other than the Naqshbandiyya and the Qadiriyya. I looked at the states of their shaikhs and they greeted me and saluted me and they threw on me all their treasures and all their private knowledge, which unveiled to me realities which had never been unveiled to any person in my time.
“Then on my descent I met Khidr , and he adorned me with the Heavenly Knowledge (‘ilmu-l-ladunni) before I reached the state of the Qutubs.”
“Abu Dawud said in an authentic hadith that the Prophet said, ‘Allah will send at the beginning of every century someone by whom the religion will be revived,’ but there is a difference between the Reviver of the Century and the Reviver of the Millennium. It is like the difference between one hundred and one thousand.”
“In a vision, the Prophet gave me good tidings: ‘You are going to be a spiritual inheritor and Allah is going to give you the authority to intercede on behalf of hundreds of thousands on the Day of Judgment.’ He bestowed on me with his holy hand the authority to guide people, and he said to me, ‘Never before have I given that authority to guide people.’”
“The knowledge that is emerging from me is coming from the state of Sainthood, but I am receiving it from the Light of the Prophet Muhammad . Saints are unable to bring forth such knowledge, because it is beyond the knowledge of saints. It is the Knowledge of the Essence of this Religion and the Essence of the Knowledge of Allah’s Essence and Attributes. No one before has spoken about it and Allah has granted me to be the one to revive the religion in its second millennium.”
“Allah unveiled to me the Secrets of the Unique Oneness and He poured into my heart all kinds of Spiritual Knowledge and its refinement. He unveiled to me the Secrets of the ayats of Qur’an so that I found beneath every letter of the Qur’an an ocean of knowledge all pointing to the High Essence of Allah Almighty and Exalted. If I were to reveal one word of the meaning of it they would cut off my head, as they did to Hallaj and to Ibn ‘Arabi. This is the meaning of the hadith of the Prophet , in Bukhari, narrated by Abu Huraira (r), “The Prophet poured into my heart two kinds of knowledge, one of which I have revealed and another which if I were to reveal they would cut my throat.”
“Allah, Almighty and Exalted, has shown me all the names of those who are entering our Tariqat, from the day of Sayyidina Abu Bakr (r) to the Day of Judgment, both men and women, and all of them are going to enter Paradise, with the intercession of the shaikhs of the Tariqat.”
“Al-Mahdi will be one of the followers of this Tariqat.”
“One day I was in association with my followers doing dhikr and it came to my heart that I had done something wrong. Then Allah opened to my eyes, ‘I have forgiven anyone who sits with you and anyone asking intercession by means of you.’”
“Allah has created me from the residue of His Prophet .”
“The Ka’ba was always coming and making tawaf (circumambulation) around me.”
“Allah Almighty and Exalted said to me, ‘Anyone for whom you pray janaza (funeral prayer) will be forgiven, and if anyone mixes earth from your grave with the earth of their grave, they will be forgiven.’”
“Allah said, ‘I have given you special gifts and perfections which no one will receive other than you until the time of the Mahdi.’”
“Allah gave me an incredible power of guidance. Even if I direct my guidance to a dead tree, it will become green.”
One great shaikh wrote to him asking, “The states that you reached and you are speaking about, did the Sahaba receive them, and if they did, did they receive them at one time or did they receive them at separate times?” He answered, “I cannot give you an answer unless you come into my presence.” When the shaikh came, he immediately unveiled to him his spiritual reality and cleaned the darkness of his heart until the shaikh fell prostrate at his feet and said, “I believe, I believe! I see now that these states were all revealed to the Sahaba simply by looking at the Messenger .”
One time in the month of fasting, Ramadan, he was invited by ten of his murids to break fast with them. He accepted the invitation of each of them. When it came time to break the fast, he was present at each of their houses, breaking the fast, and they saw him in each of their houses at the same time.
One time he looked at the sky and it was raining. He said, “O rain stop until such and such hour.” It stopped until the exact time he had said, after which it started raining again.
One time the King ordered that a man be executed. That man came to Shaikh Amad and said, “Please write a stay of execution for me.” He wrote to the Sultan, “Don’t execute this man.” The Sultan was afraid of Sayyidina Ahmad al-Faruqi and pardoned the man.
One time a murid made intention to visit Shaikh Ahmad al-Faruqi (q). On his way he was invited to be the guest of a man who disliked the shaikh. The murid, however, didn’t know this. After dinner, the host began reviling the shaikh. As he went to sleep that night, in his heart he was saying, “O Allah, I came to visit the shaikh, not to hear someone curse the shaikh. Forgive me.” Then he slept and when he awoke he found that the man had died. He went quickly to the shaikh and began to tell him the story. Sayyidina Ahmad al-Faruqi raised his hand and said, “Stop! There is no need to tell me what happened. I am the one who caused it.”
“I was authorized to give Tariqat in three tariqats: Naqshbandi, Suhrawardi and Chistiyya.”
He was so famous that the scholars of external knowledge in his time became jealous of him. They went to the king and told him, “He is saying things that are not accepted in the religion.” They pushed the King until he put him in jail. He stayed in jail for three years. His son, Shaikh Sayyid, said, “He was under very intense security in jail. Guards surrounded his room on every side. Yet every Friday he would be seen in the big mosque. No matter how much security he was under, he would disappear from prison and appear in the mosque.” From this they knew they could not put him behind bars and therefore they released him.
He wrote many books, one of the most famous of which is the Maktubat.
In it he said:
It must be known that Allah has placed us under His Obligations and His Prohibitions. Allah said, ‘Whatever the Prophet gave you, take it, and whatever he prohibited you, leave it.’ [59:7] If we are going to be sincere in this, we have to attain to Annihilation and the love of the Essence. Without these we cannot reach this degree of obedience. Thus we are under another obligation, which is to seek the Way of Sufism, because this Way will lead us to the state of Annihilation and the love of the Essence. Each Order differs from the other in its states of perfection; so too does each Order keep the Sunnah of the Prophet and have its own definition of what that entails. Every order has its own way of keeping the Sunnah of the Prophet . Our Order, through its shaikhs, requires us to keep all the commands of the Prophet and to leave all the things he prohibited. Our shaikhs don’t follow the easy ways (rukhas) but insist on keeping the difficult ways. In all their seeking they keep in mind the verse of Qur’an, ‘Men whom neither business nor trade will divert from the Remembrance of Allah’ [24:37].
In the journey leading to the unveiling of the Divine Realities, the seeker moves through various stages of knowledge of and proximity to His Lord:
– “Moving to Allah is a vertical movement from the lower stations to the higher stations; until the movement surpasses time and space and all the states dissolve into what is called the Necessary Knowledge (`ilm ul-wajib) of Allah. This is also called Annihilation (fana’).
– “Moving in Allah is the stage in which the seeker moves from the station of Names and Attributes to a state which neither word nor sign can describe. This is the State of Existence in Allah called Baqa.
– “Moving from Allah is the stage in which the seeker returns from the heavenly world to the world of cause and effect, descending from the highest station of knowledge to the lowest. Here he forgets Allah by Allah, and he knows Allah with Allah, and he returns from Allah to Allah. This is called the State of the Farthest and the Nearest.
– “Moving in things is a movement within creation. This involves knowing intimately all elements and states in this world after having vanished in Annihilation. Here the seeker can achieve the State of Guidance, which is the state of the prophets and the people following the footsteps of the Prophet . It brings the Divine Knowledge into the world of creation in order to establish Guidance.
“The entire process is like threading a needle. The thread seeks the eye of the needle, passes through and then proceeds down to where it began. There the two ends meet, form a knot and secure the entire thread. They form a whole, thread, eye and needle, and any material they catch is sewn into the fabric of the unity.”
“It must be known to everyone that the Naqshbandi shaikhs chose to guide their murids first through the movement from Allah, travelling from the higher states to the lower. For this reason they maintain the common veils over the spiritual vision of the murid, removing the veil of ordinary consciousness only at the final step. All other tariqats begin with the movement to Allah, moving from the lowest states to the highest, and removing the common veils first.”
“It is mentioned in the Hadith of the Prophet , ‘Scholars are the inheritors of the prophets.’ The knowledge of prophets is of two kinds: knowledge of laws and knowledge of secrets. The scholar cannot be called an inheritor if he does not inherit both knowledges. If he takes only one knowledge he is incomplete. Thus the real inheritors are the ones who take the knowledge of the laws and the knowledge of the secrets, and only the saints have truly received and protected this inheritance.”
He left behind him many more books. He died on the 17th of Safar 1034 H. at the age of 63. He was buried in the village of Sirhind. He was a shaikh in the fourtariqats: Naqshbandi, Qadiri, Chisti and Suhrawardi. He preferred the Naqshbandi, because he said, “It is the Mother of all tariqats.”
He passed the secret of the revered Golden Chain to Shaykh Muhammad Masum.