Sharafuddin ad-Daghestani ق
I have no power save to knock at Thy door,
And if I be turned away, at what door shall I knock?
In full abandon I put my trust in Thee,
Stretching out my hands to Thee, a pleading beggar
-Imam Shafi`i, Munajat
He was a Perfect Knower in the Divine Presence. He was the Key to the most inaccessible Divine Knowledge. He was a True Scholar, decorated with the Lights of the Divine Attributes. He was supported by True Faith. He was a Warrior in the way of Allah, Sublime and Exalted. He was the Voice for the Divine Presence in his time. He was the Shaykh of Shaykhs in Islamic knowledge. He was the Authority for the most specialized, the most precise and the most difficult matters in every area of knowledge.
He was an Ocean of Knowledge, a Whirlwind of Spirituality, a Waterfall of Revelations, a Volcano of Divine Love, a Whirlpool of Attraction, a Rainbow of Divine Attributes. He was overflowing with knowledge like the Nile when it floods. He was the Carrier of the Secret of Sul an adh-Dhikr, which no one had carried before his time. He was the Master of Wisdom of the beginning of the 20th century and its Reviver. He was a genius in the Science of Islamic Law, a mujtahid in the knowledge of Jurisprudence, and a narrator of hadith, the Narrations of the Prophet . Hundreds of scholars used to attend his lectures. He was the mufti of his time. He was also one of the finest calligraphers to copy the Qur’an.
He was the advisor to Sultan Abdul Hamid. He held the position of Shaykh ul-Islam, the highest religious authority in the Ottoman Empire. He was respected even by the government of the new Turkish regime at the time of Ataturk. Shaykh Sharafuddin (q) and his deputy, Shaykh `Abdullah (q), were the only two Shaykhs in the entire secular Turkish Republic established by Ataturk, allowed to wear their turbans. Others were imprisoned for wearing the headcovering of the Prophet . Practicing Islam in its outward forms was utterly banned.
Shaykh Sharafuddin used to reach a state of Vision in which he would be dressed with the Manifestation of Divine Majesty (Tajalli-l-Jalal); at that time, no one could look into his eyes. If anyone did he would faint or be powerfully attracted to him. For that reason, when he entered that state, he would cover his eyes with a veil (burqa‘).
He was light-skinned. His eyes were blue and his beard was black. In his old age, his beard was very white, like cotton.
He was born with open eyes and an open heart. He was a Knower whose face shone like a diamond and whose heart was transparent like a crystal. Sufism was his house, his nest, his heart. Islam was his body, his faith, his belief. Reality (haqiqat) was his path, his way and his destiny. The Divine Presence was his cave, his refuge. Spirituality was his vessel. He was the Tongue of his people, the people of Daghestan.
He was born in Kikunu, in the District of Ganep, in the state of Timurhansuru, in Daghestan, on the 3rd of Dhul-Qi’da, a Wednesday, 1292 H./December 1st, 1875 CE. Shaykh Muhammad al-Madani (q) was his uncle and father-in-law. He gave him the power of the six orders long before his own death, and he bequeathed to him all his disciples while he was still living. Shaykh Muhammad al-Madani (q) used to accept the opinion of Sayyidina Sharafuddin (q) in all matters.
He was born in a very difficult time; a time in which religion was banned and spirituality had all but disappeared. Nonetheless, his mother says, “While I was giving birth he was speaking, reciting la ilaha illallah, and everytime I nursed him he used to say Allah, Allah.” He was so famous for this miracle during his infancy, that every woman in his district used to come to see him reciting Allah, Allah while nursing. The index finger of his right hand was always extended in the position of the affirmation of the Divine Unity. From his childhood, he could hear the trees making dhikr, the stones doing dhikr, the animals doing dhikr, the birds doing dhikr, the mountains doing dhikr.
He was raised very well by his parents, and he was under the constant supervision of his uncle. His was always accepted. He was always in seclusion.
He started attending Sayyidina Abu Ahmad as-Sughuri’s associations when he was six or seven years of age. He was very intelligent and he was immediately able to grasp the Sufi teachings that Abu Ahmad as-Sughuri was delivering from the Divine Presence.
At the age of seven years he told his mother, “Give me the newborn calf of that ox when it is born.” She said, “If it is female I will keep it, and if it is male I will give it to you.” He said, “Don’t bother yourself my mother, because that ox is going to give birth to a male.” She said “How do you know that?” He said, “I can see what is in her womb.” An hour later, the ox gave birth to a male calf. He took the baby ox and sold it and bought a male and a female sheep intending to bring them to Shaykh Abu Ahmad as-Sughuri as a gift. On his way to the Shaykh, the two sheep escaped from him. He continued on to his Shaykh’s home, and sat next to him, feeling sadness in his heart because he had lost the sheep. The Shaykh asked him, “What is the matter?” He said, “I had two sheep I was bringing for you, but they escaped.” A short time later a shepherd appeared and said, “I found these two sheep among my lambs.” They were the two sheep that had escaped from him.
When he was young, he used to go with his friends to collect wood. He didn’t cut the wood from the trees like his friends, but would only collect dry wood from the ground. This made his father was very upset with him. He went to Shaykh Abu Ahmad as-Sughuri (q) and complained that the boy was only collecting dry and useless wood. Shaykh Abu Ahmad as-Sughuri told him, “Why don’t you ask him why he does that?” The young Sharafuddin said, “How can I cut the green tree when it is making dhikr of la ilaha illallah? I prefer to collect the dead branches, not to burn the branches that are making dhikr.”
He left Daghestan as a result of the incessant incursions of the Russian military against the villages of his district. He moved with his family and his sister’s family to Turkey. They walked overland for a period of five months throughout the depths of the winter season. They would walk during the night and hide during the day. They went first to Bursa, and then they moved to Yalova on the Marmara sea, about 150 km. from Istanbul. There he established himself with his family and relatives in the village of Rashadiya, where his uncle had settled a couple of years earlier and carried the Naqshbandi Order from Daghestan to Turkey.
In Daghestan he had been trained under Shaykh Abu Ahmad as-Sughuri (q), who gave him the Naqshbandi order when he was very young. In Rashadiya, Turkey, he was trained further by Sayyidina Muhammad al-Madani (q), his uncle and future father-in-law, whom he helped in establishing a madrasah and building the village’s first mosques and khaniqah. His uncle welcomed all immigrants escaping from the tyranny of the imperialist and ruthless Russian rule. In addition, many students were coming to his uncle’s school from all parts of Turkey. They were quickly building new homes in Rashadiya and the surrounding area between Bursa and Yalova.
In addition to the Naqshbandiya, his uncle connected him to the five other orders he was carrying: Qadiri, Rufa`i, Shadhili, Chishti and Khalwati. He became a Master in all six of these orders at the age of 27 years.
He became highly respected in Rashadiya, especially after he was married the daughter of Shaykh Muhammad al-Madani. He was known as a person of miraculous powers among his people, and stories of his wonders began to spread throughout Turkey. In addition, he was so renowned for his knowledge of the externals of religion that many great scholars came to hear him discourse.
He had undergone several seclusions while in Daghestan, the longest for three years. In the mountains of Rashadiya he undertook seclusions of up to six months at the order of Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Madani. He was always in a state of seclusion in the crowd.
One day during a six-month seclusion, as he was standing about to go into prostration, he found a large snake in his place of prostration, poised to bite him. He said to himself, “I am not fearing anyone but Allah,” and he placed his head down directly on the head of that snake. Immediately the snake disappeared.
During that seclusion, many states of Divine Love appeared in him. As soon as he emerged from the seclusion, his Shaykh withdrew from guiding people and gave all the responsibility of directing and guiding people to Shaykh Sharafuddin. Shaykh Abu Muhammad (q) used to sit in the association of his son-in-law as his disciple. He was the first Shaykh to become a disciple of his disciple. Out of obedience to his Sheikh’s insistence that he sit in the highest chair, Shaykh Sharafuddin (q) would then be the one to dispense the teaching of the Golden Chain even in his Shaykh’s presence.
Shaykh Sharafuddin (q) was supported spiritually by the power of Sayyidina Shaykh Jamaluddin al-Ghumuqi al-Husayni (q) and Sayyidina Shaykh Abu Ahmad as-Sughuri (q), his Shaykh in Daghestan. He attained the state of Pure Love for God. In that state he felt as though his body was on fire with the Love of the Divine Presence, and he would run out from his seclusion, take off all his clothes, and dive into the ice cold water of the river during the winter. Whenever he did that all the villagers could hear the sound of steam coming from the river, like the sound of hot iron being quenched in water. There are still very old disciples of Shaykh Sharafuddin alive today, in 1994, who remember hearing the sound of the water hissing and steaming from hundreds of yards away.
Shaykh Sharafuddin was a spiritual inheritor of the Prophet . Through that spiritual connection, he reached the state of perfection. He was a descendant of the family of Miqdad ibn al-Aswad (r), one of the greatest of the Companions of the Prophet , who was left to represent him whenever the Prophet would travel from Madina. He reported 42 Prophetic narrations, among which is:
God’s Messenger said: “On the day of resurrection the sun will come near created beings till it is about a mile from them, and mankind will sweat according to what they have done, the sweat reaching the ankles of some, the knees of others, the waists of others, while some will have their mouths covered by the sweat,” and God’s Messenger pointed his hand at his mouth.” (Muslim related it.)
Shaykh Sharafuddin (q) had the Mark of the Hand of the Prophet on his back. This birthmark he inherited from his ancestor Miqdad ibn al-Aswad, in the place where the Prophet had put his hand on his back and made a for him and his descendants. That mark on the back of Sayiddina Shaykh Sharafuddin was always giving out light, just as his face used to shine. He received a secret from the Prophet : the ability to see behind him as clearly as he could see in front of him.
His uncle, Shaykh Muhammad al-Madani, bestowed on him the Khilafat (successorship) of the order, and leadership of his village. He enlarged the village to take more emigrants, expanded the roads, and brought water into the city. He used to welcome every emigrant coming from Russia, offering them whatever they needed in the way of food and shelter and asking nothing in return. As a result, the Daghestani people found a new home in place of the home they had left to the Russians, and they found happiness and peace in the new land. The emigrants were especially happy to be in the company of a living Shaykh carrying on the Teaching which had flourished in Daghestan, as it had flourished in Central Asia hundreds of years before. With him in their village, blessed by his presence with the divine bounty pouring from his blessed person, they found the love and happiness which they had lost under tyranny of Russian soldiers.
From His Sayings
On Sultan adh-Dhikr (Dhikr of the Heart)
He said, concerning the Station of the Dhikr of the Heart:
“Whoever enters that Station will experience and reach the Essence of Allah’s Name. It is the Sultan of all Names, because It encompasses all Their meanings and to it all Attributes return. It is like the word for all these Attributes and that is why it is called, Ism al-Jalala, the most Majestic Name, for He is the Highest and He is the Glorified and He is the Greatest.”
“It is impossible through the understanding of the mind to harvest the fruit of these secrets. The human body cannot encompass the Realities of the Meaning of God. It is impossible for human bodies to reach the Hidden Kingdom of the Unique One. For the People of the Essence, there is only wonder and astonishment; once they enter these Stations of Hidden Knowledge, they are lost, wandering. What then about the People of Attributes, those people who are of such high quality that there appears on every one of them an Attribute of Allah, dressing and decorating them? Yet they cannot be decorated by the Essence of the Name which encompasses all of the Names, except by entering into the Hidden Secrets of all ninety-nine Attributes. At that time they will be allowed to reach a state of Unveiling of the Light of the Name Encompassing all Names and Attributes, the name Allah.”
“If the seeker continues doing Dhikr with the Most Glorified Name Allah, he will begin to walk in the stages of that Dhikr, of which there are seven. Every seeker that continues in doing Dhikr of Allah silently, from 5,000 to 48,000 times a day, will reach a state of perfection in which he becomes impeccable in the Dhikr. At that time he will find his heart reciting the name Allah, Allah without any need to move the tongue. He will build up his internal power by burning up all the filth within, because the Fire of the Dhikr leaves no impurity behind. Nothing will be left, except jewels shining with the power of that spirituality.
“As the dhikr enters and strengthens in his heart, he will ascend until he reaches the state in which he perceives the dhikr of everything in creation. He will hear everything reciting Dhikr with him in the manner that Allah destined for it. He hears each of Allah’s creations, its own tone and melody distinct from any other. His hearing of one does not affect his hearing of another, but he hears them all simultaneously and distinctly and he is able to differentiate between each different kind of dhikr.”
“As the seeker passes through that state, increasing evermore in Dhikr, he will see that everyone that Allah created is reciting the same Dhikr as himself. At that time he will realize he has reached the Perfect Unique Oneness. Everything is making the same dhikr and using the same word. Any kind of differences will be erased from his vision, and he will see everyone with him at the same level with the same Dhikr. This is the State of Unification of Everyone in the One. Here he will completely root out all forms of hidden Shirk and all creation will appear as One in the One. This is the first of seven steps on his journey.”
“From the state of Unification he will travel to the State of the Essence of Unification, in which everyone who was Existing will be Annihilated, and the Oneness of Allah Alone will appear.”
“Then he will travel to the Primordial State of Perfect Simplicity, where he will be able to appear in any image.”
“From there he will travel to the State of the Keys of the Secrets, known as the State of Names, in which the archetypes of the creations are made to appear from the Unseen into the world of manifestation. This will make him swim in the orbit of Names and Attributes and he will know all its Hidden Knowledge.”
“Then he will travel to the State of the Hidden of the Hidden, the Essence of all that is Hidden. He will know all that is Hidden through the Unique Oneness of the Essence. He will see all its powers and all its forms.”
“From there he travels to the State of the Perfect Realities of the Essence of the Names and Actions. He will appear in them all, in their atoms and in their totality. He will be dressed with the Most Glorified Name and he will be glorified by being crowned with the state of Greatness.”
“Then he travels to the State of Allah’s Descent (munazala) from His Glorified State to the States of the Worldly Heaven. He arrives at that State, nearest the Worldly Station, beyond which the Reciter of the Dhikr has no state to reach through his recitation. Dawn comes to his inner self and the Sun of Perfection appears through himself and in his body, as it has appeared through dhikr, in his heart and in his spirit. As a result, when the Sun of Perfection appears in his body and his limbs, he will be in the state mentioned in the Prophetic Narration, “Allah will be the Ears with which he hears, the Eyes with which he sees, the Tongue with which he talks, the Hand with which he grasps, the Feet with which he walks.” Then he will find himself and declare to himself, ‘I am helpless and abjectly weak.’ Because at that time he understands the Divine Power.”
Whenever he was consulted if he said, “Do whatever you like,” that person would never succeed. But when he said, “Do this and do that,” then that person would succeed.
It was said about him that he never liked to mention anything which had passed. He never accepted any backbiting and would banish the backbiter from his gatherings.
It was reported that whenever people sat in his association, love for the world would disappear from their hearts.
He used to say, “Never sit without doing recitation or dhikr, because death is following you.”
He said, “The happiest moment for a human being is when he dies, because when he dies his sins die with him.”
He said, “Every seeker who doesn’t accustom and train himself to fast during the day and wake for worship at night and serve his brothers, will achieve no good in this Way.”
Shah Naqshband’s Disclosure Concerning Shaykh Sharafuddin
His successor, our grandShaykh, Shaykh `Abdullah ad-Daghestani (q), related the following during one of his gatherings:
“One time, during one of my seclusions, Shaykh Sharafuddin came to me and spoke to me about the greatness and specialties of Shah Naqshband. He praised him and told how Shah Naqshband would intercede on the Day of Judgement. He said, ‘If anyone should look at Shah Naqshband’s eyes, he would see them rotating, the white on the black and the black on the white. He aimed to save his spiritual power for the Day of Judgement and not to use it in this life.
“‘On the Day of Judgement he will send light from his right eye to go out and circle back to his left eye, encircling in the process a vast number of people at the Gathering. Whoever is embraced by that light will be saved from Hell and will enter Paradise. He will fill four Paradises with that Intercession.’
“As he was describing that great event I experienced a powerful vision, in which I was witnessing the Judgement Day and seeing Shah Naqshband sending out the light of his vision, saving the people. As I was observing that vision, I felt a great love for Shah Naqshband, and I ran to him and kissed his hands. Then that vision finished and my Shaykh left. I continued my seclusion of that day by doing Dhikr and reading Qur’an and praying. At night, after I had prayed ‘Isha, a state of Self-Effacement came over me which put me in a state of vision. I saw Shah Naqshband enter the room. He said to me, ‘My son, come with me.’ Then my spirit left my body and I saw my body motionless below me. I accompanied Shah Naqshband.
“We travelled through space and time, not by the power of looking and reaching the place looked at, but by using a power in which we would think about a place and we would reach it. For three nights and four days non-stop, we continued this mode of travel.
“It was my custom in my seclusion, when I wanted my daily food and drink, to knock on the floor of my room. Hearing the knocking from downstairs, my wife would bring me my provision. The first day she didn’t hear any knocking. The second day she again didn’t hear any knocking. Finally she became so worried she opened the door and found me lying there without movement. She went to Shaykh Sharafuddin and said, ‘Come and see your son. He looks like he has died.’ He said to her, ‘He isn’t dead. Go back, and don’t tell anyone. He will return.’
“After three days and four nights of travelling with that tremendous power, Shah Naqshband stopped. He said, ‘Do you know who that is appearing on the horizon?’ Of course, I knew, but out of respect for the Master I said, ‘O my Master, you know best.’ Then as the person approached and came closer he said, ‘Now do you recognize that person?’ I said, again out of respect, ‘You know better, O my Shaykh,’ even though I saw it was my Shaykh. He said, ‘That is your Shaykh, Shaykh Sharafuddin.
“‘Do you know who that creature is behind him?’ pointing to a huge creature bigger than the highest mountain on this earth, which he was pulling with a rope. Out of respect I said again, ‘You know best, O my Shaykh.’ He said, ‘That is Satan, and your Shaykh is authorized as no other person was authorized before him. As every saint is authorized in a specialty, so is your Shaykh authorized. His specialty is that in every day and every night, on behalf of every person who has committed sins because of Satan’s influence, your Shaykh is authorized to clean those people of all their sins, to cast these sins back on Satan, and to present all those people to the Prophet clean. Then with his spiritual power, he is elevating their hearts, preparing them for salvation, to be within the circle of light which I will spread on the Judgment Day. I will fill four paradises by this means. This means is the specialty of Shaykh Sharafuddin. In addition, those who have been left out of these four Paradises will enter in Shaykh Sharafuddin’s Intercession, by permission of the Prophet who has been given this power by Allah Almighty. This is the tremendous authority Shaykh Sharafuddin has been given. As he is chaining the neck of Satan, he is limiting the influence of sins on this earth.’
“Then he said, ‘O my son, you are cultivating the love that is in your heart. Just like the waterwheel that irrigates one field but cannot irrigate two fields, the love that you are growing for your Shaykh must be for your Shaykh. If you split it between two Shaykhs it may be inadequate, just like the waterwheel that is not able to adequately irrigate two fields. Don’t give your heart freedom to go here and there. That love of yours will reach me through the Golden Chain and will continue to the Prophet . Don’t split it in half between the two of us. What your Shaykh is doing for the Nation of Muhammad, for Human Beings, no one saint has ever been authorized to do before him.’
“Then Shah Naqshband brought me back, again travelling in that powerful manner, for four days and three nights. I came back to my body again. I felt my soul entering my body and I was watching it enter my body piece by piece, and cell by cell, understanding through that vision the duty of every cell. Then the vision ceased and I knocked for my wife to bring food and tea to give my body energy. That was Shah Naqshband’s disclosure concerning my Shaykh, Shaykh Sharafuddin.”
One of Shaykh Sharafuddin’s disciples, who is 120 years of age and lives in Bursa, Eskici Ali Usta, reported,
“My Shaykh was a wondrous Shaykh. Once when I was a young man, I was in Istanbul, and I had just taken initiation in the order from Shaykh Sharafuddin. I met one of my friends from Daghestan but he was stubborn and didn’t believe in Sufism. I thought that I would speak to him and soften his heart and tell him of my Shaykh’s miraculous powers. Instead, he was able to convince me and change my beliefs. I put my beads on the wall and stopped making dhikr. Almost immediately, I was overcome by my desires and twice I committed major sins.
“After one week, I went to Sirkici and I saw the Shaykh on the way. He was also walking in that district, on his way to Rashadiya. When I saw him coming from one side, I ran to the other side to try to avoid him. When I hid myself on the other road, I felt a hand on my back and the Shaykh addressing me, ‘Where are you going, O Ali?’ I returned with him and on the way I was thinking, ‘I cannot hide myself from the Shaykh anymore and the Shaykh cannot bring me back anymore.”
“We continued until we met someone named Huseyyin Effendi. The Shaykh told me, ‘When you first came to me I looked at you, and I saw bad character in you. Everyone has good character mixed with bad chararacter. When you took initiation all the bad actions you had done previously I changed into good actions. Except two, sexual desire and anger. Last week we removed from you those two bad characters, desire and anger.’ When he mentioned these two things, I knew he had been sitting with me seeing my sexual desire and my anger, and I began to cry and cry and cry. As I was crying, Shaykh Sharafuddin began speaking with that person Huseyyin in a language that I had never heard before, even though I was from Daghestan and I know all the languages of my area. Later I found out that Shaykh Sharafuddin was speaking in syriac, a very rare language.
“After two hours of crying, he said, ‘Enough crying! Allah has forgiven you and the Prophet has forgiven you.’ I said, ‘O my Shaykh, have you really forgiven me? Has the Prophet forgiven me? Has Allah forgiven me? Have the open-eyed Shaykhs really forgiven me? I thought I was doing something all by myself, but now I have found that all of you are seeing me.’ He said, ‘O my son, we are servants at the door of the Prophet and the door of Allah. Whatever we ask of them, they accept as we are in their presence and we are One.’ I said, ‘As a good gesture from my side, since I have been forgiven, what is the proper way to give thanks to Allah and to honor you and the Prophet ? By celebrating mawlid (Prophet ‘s Birthday), or donating a lamb, or some other charity?’ He said, ‘What we want from you is only this: that you keep constant in the dhikr of the Naqshbandi Order.’ This is what happened to me with Shaykh Sharafuddin.”
One of Eskici Ali Usta’s friends who had migrated with him from Daghestan had received a letter, while still in Daghestan, from Shaykh Sharafuddin saying, “Leave Daghestan. There is no longer any spirituality there. It is no longer under Divine Protection because there is too much tyranny. Come here to Turkey and to Rashadiya.” That man had taken the letter of Shaykh Sharafuddin and put it aside, ignoring it and thinking, “How can I leave all my property and all that I have here?” Soon the Russians conquered his town and took everything from him. Then he remembered the leter that the Shaykh had sent. He finally managed to escape to Turkey and to Rashadiya. He had lost his family and his property as a result of his delay.
One time Shaykh Sharafuddin came to Istanbul and was staying at the Hotel Massarat. He was asked by a person named Shaykh Zia, “How are you going to die?” He said, “Is that an important question to you, how I am going to die?” He said, “It came to my heart to ask that question.” He said, “I will die when we have an invasion from Armenia, and there will be a great deal of oppression at that time.” Then Shaykh Zia that night made ablution and prayed two rakcats and asked Allah, “O Allah, take away that difficulty from us, the invasion of the Armenians, and spare our beloved Shaykh.” The next day Shaykh Sharafuddin (q) said to him, “O Shaykh Zia, what have you been doing all night, praying? Your prayer has been accepted. That difficulty has been taken from me but you will suffer instead of me and die as a martyr.” Eight years after that incident in the hotel, the Armenians and Greeks entered Rashadiya. Zia Effendi was shot dead, and the prediction of Shaykh Sharafuddin came to pass.
Yusuf Effendi, a man who in 1994 is about 100 years of age, tells the following story:
“One time Shaykh Sharafuddin was jailed in Eskisehir, and I was his guard. In that jail was another great personality, the famous Shaykh, Sa`id Nursi. Shaykh Sharafuddin was jailed along with his khalif, Shaykh `Abdullah, and other disciples, and Said Nursi was jailed along with his disciples. When Said Nursi became aware of Shaykh Sharafuddin’s imprisonment in the same prison, he sent his disciples to ask him if he needed anything and offered their help. Shaykh Sharafuddin replied, ‘Thank you, but we have nothing and we are in need of nothing.’”
“The disciples of Sacid Nursi kept coming to Shaykh Sharafuddin, asking him if he needed anything. He would always reply in the negative. One day Shaykh Sharafuddin told the disciples of Sacid Nursi to ask their Shaykh, ‘Why are we here?’ The disciples of Sacid Nursi went and asked him. He answered, ‘We are here to reach the station of Sayyidina Yasuf , the Station of Silent Choice.’ After he asked that question and Shaykh Sa`id Nursi gave his reply, that was the end of the discussion.”
“This exchange made me very perplexed and I began to ponder deeply. Then I asked the Shaykh, ‘What is the secret of your being here?’ Finally, at my insistence, Shaykh Sharafuddin replied, ‘I was sent here to carry the secrets of many people, these people who have been jailed without cause. I am supporting these people. Allah sent me here, because you are all gathered here, and it is difficult to gather you. I am here to say farewell to you, because soon we are leaving this world. We are going to deliver to you your secrets. For us there is no jail, we are always in the Divine Presence and we are never affected by a jail. All of you, after a while, are going to leave but you will meet again, when an important person is going to pass away and you will all meet together then.’ The disciples of Sa`id Nursi heard this, as well as the other prisoners and the jailers who were all listening intently.”
After about three months he was released from the jail. He told Shaykh `Abdullah, “I am going to pass away soon, because I spent too much of my power extracting the secrets of Surat al-An`am.” He wrote his will for him, assigning Shaykh `Abdullah to be his successor on the Throne of Guidance.
Three days before he died he called Sultan ul-Awliya Mawlana Shaykh `Abdullah al-Faiz ad-Daghestani (q) and some of his other disciples, and he said, “For three months I have been diving into the Ocean of Surat al-An`am to bring out from one of its verses the names of all the saints of the Naqshbandi Order, whose number is 7007. Al amdulillah, I was able to obtain their names with all their titles and I have recorded them in my private notebook, which I am giving to my successor, Shaykh `Abdullah. It contains the names of all the different groups of saints who are going to be present in the time of Mahdi .”
The next day he called his khalif, Shaykh `Abdullah ad-Daghestani and he said, “O my son this is my will. I am going to die after two days. On the order of the Prophet Muhammad(s), I am assigning you as my successor in the Naqshbandi order, together with the five other orders that I have received from my uncle. All the secrets that were given to me and all the powers that were dressed on me from my predecessors in the Naqshbandi order and the other five orders, I am dressing on you. All the disciples to whom you give initiation in the Naqshbandi Order, are also going to be initiated in the other five orders and to receive their secrets as well. Soon there will be an opening for you to leave Turkey and to move to Damascus (Sham ash-Sharif) [which at that time was very difficult to reach due to intense fighting].”
Shaykh `Abdullah said, “He gave me that will and I tried to hide it as I wished to hide myself.”
He died on the 27th of Jumada al-Awwal, a Sunday, 1355 H./1936 CE in Rashadiya. He was buried in the cemetery in Rashadiya, on the top of a hill. Until today his mosque and zawiya are still open, and many people go there to visit and obtain his blessings and barakah. The same beads that Shaykh Sharafuddin used to conduct the Khatm-i-Khwajagan (Dhikr of the Masters) are still there, hanging on the wall.
Our grandshaykh, Shaykh `Abdullah (q), the khalif and successor of Sayiddina Shaykh Sharafuddin (q), said, “When the news of his death was known, everyone came to his house to receive his blessings and his barakah. Even Ataturk, the president of the new Republic of Turkey sent a delegation out of respect. We washed his body. When we laid him down to wash him, he moved his hands towards his thigh to cup the water that poured off him when we washed him, for all his disciples to come and drink from the water of that ritual cleaning. When every disciple had passed to drink, he moved his hand back to its original place. That was a miracle from his ocean of miracles, and that happened after his death.”
“When we buried him the next day, more than three hundred thousand people came to his funeral and the city could not accommodate that crowd of people. They came from Yalova, Bursa and Istanbul. It was an enormous crowd and a huge mass of sobbing people. Men were crying, women wailed and children were crying as well. May Allah Almighty raise up his saints in every century.”
One of his disciples, Yusuf Effendi said, “It is true that we never found ourselves in the same place with all of his disciples — there were too many — but at the time of his death, all the cities of Bursa, Adapazar, Yalova, Istanbul, Eskisehir, Orhanghazi, Izmir, heard about his passing and all of the citizens of these town gathered to recite his funeral prayer.”
Shaykh Sharafuddin (q) has written many books, but they were all lost during the Balkan War. Nevertheless, many manuscripts remain with his family containing the secrets of the Naqshbandi order. The disciples go to them to read these books.