So long as you have not contemplated the Creator,
you belong to created beings;
but when you have contemplated Him,
created beings belong to you.
Ibn `Ata’Allah, Hikam
Shaykh Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr as-Siddiq descended from Abu Bakr as-Siddiq on his father’s side and from Ali ibn Abi Talib on his mother’s side. He was born on a Thursday, in the holy month of Ramadan.
It is narrated that he said, “My grandfather, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, was alone with the Prophet in the Cave of Thawr during migration from Makkah to Madinah, and the Prophet said to him: ‘You have been with me all your life and you have carried all sorts of difficulties. And now I want to make a supplication to invoke God’s favor on you.’ Abu Bakr then said, ‘O Prophet of God, you are the secret of my soul and the secret of my heart. You know better what I need.’”
The Prophet raised his hands and said, “O God, as long as my Divine Law proceeds to Judgment Day may God grant that among your descendants are those who carry it and those who inherit its inner secrets, and grant that among your descendants are those who are on the Straight Path and those who guide to it.”
The first answer to that supplication and the first one to receive that blessing was Sayyidina Qasim . In his time he was known in Madina as Abu Muhammad. People came to listen to his guidance, his lectures (suhba) and his disclosures of the hidden meanings of the Quran. Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr as-Siddiq was one of the seven most famous jurists in Madinah, being the most knowledgeable among them. It was through these seven great Imams that the Traditions, early jurisprudence, and Quranic commentaries were disseminated to the people.
He met some of the Successors of the Companions, including Salim ibn Abd Allah ibn Umar .
He was a pious imam and was very knowledgeable in the narration of the Traditions. Abu Zannad said, “I never saw anyone better than him in following the Sunnah of the Prophet . In our time no one is considered perfect until he is perfect in following the Sunnah of the Prophet , and Qasim is one of the perfected men.”
Abdur-Rahman ibn Abi Zannad said that his father said, “I did not see anyone who knew the Sunnah better than al-Qasim.”
Abu Nuaym said of him in his book Hilyat al-Awliya: “He was able to extract the deepest juristic rulings and he was supreme in manners and ethics.”
Imam Malik narrated that Umar ibn Abd ul-Aziz , considered the fifth rightly-guided caliph, said, “If it were in my hands, I would have made al-Qasim the caliph in my time.”
Sufyan said, “Some people came to al-Qasim with charity which he distributed. After he distributed it, he went to pray. While he was praying, the people began to speak negatively about him. His son said to them, ‘You are speaking behind the back of a man who distributed your charity and did not take one dirham from it for himself.’ Quickly his father scolded him saying, ‘Do not speak, but keep quiet.’” He wanted to teach his son not to defend him, as his only desire was to please God. He had no concern for the opinion of people.
Yahya ibn Sayyid said, “We never found, in our time in Madinah, anyone better than al-Qasim.” Ayyub as-Saqityani said, “I have not seen anyone better than Imam Qasim. He left 100,000 dinars behind for the poor when he passed away, and it was all from his lawful earnings.”
One of His Miracles
Grandshaykh Sharafuddin and his successor, Grandshaykh Abd Allah ad-Daghestani (the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth shaykhs in the Naqshbandi Golden Chain, respectively) narrated the following story:
The year in which Abu Muhammad Qasim was to leave this world, on the third of Ramadan he went on pilgrimage. When he arrived to al-Qudayd, where pilgrims usually stop, God opened to his vision to behold the angels descending from heaven and ascending in countless numbers. They would come down, visit the place, and then go back up. As he saw these angels carrying the blessings that God was sending down with them, it was as if that light and concentrated power was being poured into his heart directly, filling it with sincerity and God-consciousness.
As soon as this vision occurred, he fell asleep. In a dream he saw Abu Bakr as-Siddiq coming to him. He said, “O my grandfather, who are these heavenly beings that are descending and ascending and who have filled my heart with God-consciousness?”
Abu Bakr as-Siddiq answered, “Those angels you see ascending and descending, God has assigned for your grave. They are constantly visiting it. They are obtaining blessings from where your body is going to be buried in the earth. To reverence you, God ordered them to come down and to ask blessings for you. O my grandson, don’t be heedless about your death; it is coming soon and you are going to be raised to the Divine Presence and leave this world.”
Qasim immediately opened his eyes and saw his grandfather in front of him. He said, “I just saw you in the dream.” Abu Bakr as-Siddiq replied, “Yes, I was ordered to meet you.” “That means I am going to leave this world,” answered Qasim . “Yes, you are going to leave the world and accompany us to the hereafter,” said our master Abu Bakr as-Siddiq .
“What kind of deed do you advise me to do in the last moments I am on earth?” asked Qasim of his grandfather. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq answered, “O my son, keep your tongue moistened with dhikrullah and keep your heart ready and present with dhikrullah. That is the best you can ever achieve in this world.”
Then Abu Bakr disappeared and Qasim began dhikr on his tongue and in his heart. He continued to Makkah and witnessed the standing at Mount Arafat (which occurs each year on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah). In that year many saints, both men and women, were spiritually present at Arafat, and Qasim bin Muhammad bin Abu Bakr as-Siddiq met with them.
As they were standing, they all heard the Plain of Arafat and its mountain crying mournfully. They asked Mount Arafat, “Why are you crying this way?” and Mount Arafat replied, “I and all the angels are crying, because today this earth is going to lose one of its pillars.”
They asked, “Who is that pillar that the earth is about to lose?” Mount Arafat replied, “Abu Muhammad Qasim is going to leave this world, and the world will no longer be honored with his steps, and I will no longer see him on my plain, where all pilgrims come, and I will miss him. That is why I am crying in this way. Not only from myself, but his grandfather Muhammad, and his grandfather Abu Bakr, and his grandfather Ali, and the whole world is crying. They say the death of a scholar is the death of the world.”
At that moment the Prophet and Abu Bakr as-Siddiq were spiritually present on Arafat, where they were crying. Prophet said, “With the death of Qasim great corruption will appear on earth, for he was one of the pillars able to prevent it.”
Previously, that mournful crying of Mount Arafat only occurred when the Prophet passed away from this world, then when Abu Bakr passed, then when Salman passed, and when Qasim passed. One of the saints, Rabia al-Adawiyya, met Qasim in the spiritual assembly of saints and he said, “Every dry thing and living thing, I heard them crying. Why, Oh Rabia, did this happen? I never experienced such crying in my life. Do you know its cause?” She replied, “O Abu Muhammad, I also was not able to discern the nature of that crying, so you must ask your grandfather, Abu Bakr.”
Abu Bakr appeared spiritually to them, saying, “That crying from every point on this earth is because you are leaving this worldly life, as I informed you on your pilgrimage.” Then Qasim raised his hands and prayed to God, “Since I am passing away from this life now, forgive whoever stood with me on Mount Arafat.” Then they heard a voice saying, “For your sake, God has forgiven whoever stood with you on Mount Arafat on this Hajj.” At that moment God revealed to Qasim’s heart unlimited Gnostic knowledge.
Then he departed from Mount Arafat and said, “O Mount Arafat, don’t forget me on Judgment Day. All saints and all prophets stood here and so I ask you not to forget me on Judgment Day.” That huge mountain replied, “O Qasim,” in a loud voice which everyone could hear, “Don’t forget me on the Judgment Day. Don’t forget me. Let me be part of the intercession of the Prophet.”
At that moment Qasim left Mount Arafat and arrived at Makkah al-Mukarrama, at the Ka‘aba. There he heard crying coming from God’s House that kept increasing as he approached, and everyone heard it. That was the voice of the Ka‘aba, crying for the passing of Qasim from this world. And it was coming like a flood, a flood of tears pouring forth from the Ka‘aba, flooding the entire area with water.
God’s House said, “O Qasim! I am going to miss you and I am not going to see you again in this world.” Then the Ka‘aba made 500 circumambulations around Qasim out of respect for him. Whenever a saint visits the Ka‘aba it responds to that saint’s greetings saying, “Wa `alayka as-salam ya wali-Allah,” “and upon you be peace, O friend of God.”
Then Qasim said farewell to the Hajar al-Aswad (Black Stone), then to Jannat al-Mualla, the cemetery in which Khadijat al-Kubra , first wife of the Prophet , is buried, and then to all of Makkah. He then left and went to al-Qudayd, a place between Makkah and Madinah, on the 9th of Muharram, where he passed on to the next life. The year was 108 (or 109) AH/726 CE, and he was seventy years old. He passed the secret of the Naqshbandi Golden Chain to his successor, his grandson, Imam Jafar as-Sadiq .