Shaykh Abdullah al-Fa’iz ad-Daghestani ق
May Allah Sanctify His Noble Secret
You are something inseparable in the heart.
My eyelids never close
but that You are between them and my eyes.
Your love is part of me like the soul’s internal speech.
I cannot breathe except You are in my breath
and I find You coursing through each of my senses.
The Red Sulfur among the saints, the Crystal Lamp of this Universe and its Foundation, he was supported by Steadfast Faith. A Knower of the Hidden Meanings of the Holy Qur’an, he was the Key to Its Secret, enlightened with the Pure Essence of the Truth. He had enormous experience in the Way of his predecessors. Sufism was his blood, the Prophet Muhammad was his heart, and the Divine Presence was his soul. He was the Luminary of Knowledge for human beings in his time, Owner of the Perfect Characteristics and Controller of his Active Self. He was the Ocean of Wisdom for all human beings to sail upon and reach their appointed shore unscathed.
The earth shone with a brilliant new light when he was born. People ran to his door to find through him the happiness of this life and the Hereafter. He was an Ocean of Instruction whose waves crashed roaring on His Divine Shore. He left the erudite perplexed with his superior knowledge and he was the greatest of all ascetics one had seen or read about. He gave selflessly from his Spirit to quench the thirst of the spiritual and the physical worlds. He was a galaxy by himself, garlanded with suns and stars of varied size and color, bringing a different light to each individual. He wore the Crown of God’s Divine Love, and from him people sipped the longed-for honey of Divine Secrets. He never left a person without reaching and raising him with his spiritual breath. The darkness of ignorance disappeared in the illumination of his knowledge.
He was nursed from the breast of the Station of the Ghawth, whose throne he ascended later in life. He was a Reviver of Religion in his time. His reputation for wise counsel and guidance spread over the earth. Kings stood at his door. Scholars sought his disclosures. In his time no one was left who did not receive nourishment from his spirituality. By means of his Light, darkness disappeared and the Secrets of Blessings shone from the people. He was the Perfect Saint and the Pillar of the Knowers.
He was born in Daghestan in the year 1309 H./1891 AD. to a family of doctors. His father was a general practitioner and his brother was surgeon general in the Russian Army. He was raised and trained by his uncle, Shaykh Sharafuddin ad-Daghestani (q), the master of the Naqshbandi Order at that time, who took special care of him from his early life.
During Shaykh Sharafuddin’s sister’s pregnancy, he told her:
The son you are carrying has no veils on his heart. He will be able to see events that have passed or that are coming. He is one of those who can read the Unseen Knowledge from the Preserved Tablets (lawh al-mahfuth) directly. He is going to be Sultan al-Awliya’ in his time. He is going to be called, among the saints, ‘Naqeeb al-Ummah’, the Leader of the Nation of Muhammad. He is going to perfect the ability of being with God and being at the same time with people. He will inherit the secret from the Prophet which he referred to when he said, “I have one face looking at the Creator and I have one face looking at Creation,” and “I have one hour with the Creator and I have one hour with the creation. When you give birth to him call him `Abdullah, because he will be carrying the secret of Servanthood. He will spread the Tariqat back to the Arab countries, and through him, his successor will spread the Tariqat in Western countries and in the Far East. You must be careful with him. I am asking that when he reaches the age of seven you give him to me to raise and to be under my guardianship.
On the 12th of Rabi`ul Awwal, a Thursday, his mother Amina gave birth to her son, whom she named `Abdullah. When she gave birth to him at around midnight, no one was with her. His father was busy and his brother was away. She said that when she was delivering him she saw a vision, in which two ladies came to her. One was Rabi`a al-`Adawiyya and the other was Asiya (Pharaoh’s wife, who believed in Moses). They helped her in giving birth. After a while the vision disappeared and she saw a baby come forth. At that moment her husband arrived and helped her deliver her son.
His parents never heard him cry. In his childhood, at the age of one year, they often saw him with his head on the floor in prostration. His mother, family, and neighbors were astonished at this. He spoke at the age of seven months and was able to make himself understood clearly. He was unlike other children in other respects as well. He would often be seen moving his head from right to left while voicing the Divine Name. At the age of three he used to tell visitors about their future. He would know their name without being familiar with them or being told. He surprised the people of his country. People used to come to visit his parents’ home in order to see this remarkable child and to hear him speak.
By the age of seven he was reciting Qur’an. He used to sit with his uncle, Shaykh Sharafuddin, and answer the questions people put to him. His answers were always very clear on matters of the Shari`ah, though he had never studied jurisprudence. He would recite the supporting evidences from the Qur’an and Prophetic Narrations without ever having studied the science of Prophetic Narrations. This caused people to be more and more attracted to him.
His father’s house was always full of visitors coming to ask him about their problems and difficulties and daily affairs. He would answer them and predict their outcomes. He became so famous at the age of seven, that if anyone in his village wanted to marry, they would first go to him and ask if the marriage was destined to succeed. More than that, they would ask if the marriage was according to the Will of Allah as mentioned in the Preserved Tablets.
The scholars of his time verified his decisions and accepted his jurisdiction. Knowers in his time were so fascinated with his knowledge, though he was only seven years of age, that they would come from afar to hear the spiritual knowledge that flowed from him like a fountain. His uncle asked him how he was able to speak so effortlessly and endlessly. He answered, “O my uncle, it comes to me as words written right in front of me from the Divine Presence. I only have to look and read what is written.”
He used to discuss subjects of deep knowledge that had never been spoken of before. At the age of seven, he said to the spiritual masters of wisdom of his time, “If I speak what has been put into my heart of Divine Knowledge, even saints will cut my throat.”
He was extremely meticulous in keeping the prescriptions of the Shari`ah. He was the first to appear for Salat (prayer) in the mosque five times a day. He was the first to be present for Dhikr. He was the first to be present in the meetings of scholars. He was the first to be present in the spiritual gatherings.
He acquired fame for healing sick people by recitation of Surat al-Fatiha. Many people were brought to him with different kinds of sicknesses and he would read Surat al-Fatiha and blow on them and they would be healed. He had a tremendous power for healing even people who were far away. People would come to him and ask for help for parents, or a wife, or someone else who was sick and unable come to him. He would read one Fatiha and send it for them, and they would be instantly cured, from any distance. Healing was one specialty from among his endless specialties.
He said about himself:
I am a descendant of Sayyidina Miqdad ibn al-Aswad (r), whom the Prophet used to appoint as his deputy whenever he left Madinah on an expedition. I inherited, like my uncle, the five marks of the Blessed Hand of the Prophet which he had placed on the back of my blessed grandfather, Miqdad ibn al-Aswad (r). From that birthmark shines a special light.
At that time, Daghestan was under the severe oppression and tyranny of the Russian occupying armies. His uncle, who was the spiritual head of the village, and his father, who was a well-known doctor, decided to emigrate from Daghestan to Turkey. After reaching this decision, they asked Shaykh `Abdullah to make spiritual consultation on the appropriateness of migrating at that time. Grandshaykh `Abdullah described the event:
That night I prayed `Isha’, then I renewed my ablution and I prayed two rak`ats. Then I sat in meditation, connecting myself through my Shaykh, my uncle, to the Prophet . I saw the Prophet coming to me with 124,000 Sahaba (Companions) saying to me, ‘O my son, I am releasing all my powers and those of my 124,000 Companions from my heart. Tell your uncle and the caretakers of the village to migrate immediately to Turkey.
Then I saw the Prophet hugging me and I saw myself disappearing in him. As soon as I disappeared in him I saw myself ascending from the Dome of the Rock, the Bait ul-Maqdis, from which the Prophet ascended in the Night Journey. I saw myself astride the same Buraq which carried the Prophet and I saw myself carried up in a true vision, to the Station of Two Bow-lengths, where I could see the Prophet but not myself.
I felt myself to be a part of the entirety of the Prophet . Through that Ascension I received the Realities that the Prophet poured into my heart from what he had received on the Night of Ascension. All these different kinds of knowledges came to my heart in words of light, which began as green and changed to purple, and the understandings were poured into my heart in a quantity which is immeasurable.
I heard a voice coming from the Divine Presence saying, “Approach, O my servant, to My Presence.” As I approached through the Prophet , everything disappeared, even the spiritual reality of the Prophet disappeared. Nothing existed except Allah, Almighty and Exalted.
Then I heard a voice from all His Lights and Attributes that were shining in His Presence, ‘O my servant, now come to the State of Existence within this Light.’ I felt myself come into existence through the Prophet salla , after having been annihhilated, appearing and existing in the Divine Presence, decorated with the Ninety-Nine Attributes. Then I saw myself inside the Prophet salla , appearing inside every creation that was existing by Allah’s Power. That took us to a state in which we were able to realize that there are universes other than this universe, that there are endless Creations of Allah, High and Sublime. Then I felt my uncle shaking my shoulder, saying, ‘O my son, it is time for Fajr prayer.
I prayed Fajr behind him and more than 300 people from the village prayed in congregation with us. After Fajr my uncle stood and said, ‘We asked my nephew to make istikhara (spiritual consultation).’ Everyone was eagerly waiting to hear what I had seen. My uncle immediately said, ‘He was brought to the presence of the Prophet by my power. The Prophet gave everyone permission to move to Turkey. Then he took him through states up to the state of ‘the Distance of two Bowlengths.’ Then he took him to a station such that he opened to him a vision of knowledge that has never been opened to any saint before, including myself. His Ascension was a means of instruction for past and present saints, and a Key to open a Gigantic Ocean of Knowledge and Wisdom.
I said to myself, ‘My uncle was with me in that vision, and it was with his power that I received that vision.’
Everyone in the village began to prepare for the emigration. We moved from Daghestan to Turkey on a trip that was full of difficulties caused both by the Russian soldiers and by highwaymen who killed without the slightest provocation.
Near the border with Turkey, we were travelling through a forest which was known to be filled with Russian soldiers. It was Fajr time. My uncle said, ‘We will pray Fajr and then we will cross the forest.’ We prayed Fajr and began moving. Then Shaykh Sharafuddin said to everyone, ‘Stop!’ He asked for a cup of water. Someone handed him a cup of water and he read on it from Chapter Ya Sin (ayat 9): ‘And We have set a barrier in front of them and a barrier behind them, and We have enshrouded them in veils so that they cannot see.’ Then he read Fallahu khairul hafidhan wa Huwa arhamur-Rahimeen – Allah is the best protector, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.
As he was reading these verses, everyone felt something come to their hearts, and I saw all the emigrants trembling. Allah gave me a vision at that moment so that I could see that we were surrounded by the Russian Army on every side. I saw that they were shooting at anything that moved, even a bird. Then I saw that we were passing by and that we were safe. We were crossing the forest and they heard no sound of our footsteps or our animals, until we arrived safely at the other side of the border.
The vision ended as Shaykh Sharafuddin finished reading. He cast the water ahead of us and he said, ‘Move now! But don’t look behind.’ As we moved on, we could see the Russian soldiers on every side, yet it was as if we were invisible. We moved for 20 miles through that forest. It took us from morning until after `Isha prayers. We did not stop except to pray and we were invisible to everyone. We heard the Russian army shooting at people, birds, animals, and anything that moved. But we passed undetected and unscathed. We were the only people who were safe. We exited the forest and crossed over into Turkey.
We travelled first to Bursa, where Shaykh Sharafuddin established his home for one year. After that he moved to a place called Rashadiyya, where he established a village for Daghestani emigrants. It was located thirty miles from Yalova, which is on the Marmara Coast, around fifty miles from Bursa and about 60 miles from Adapazar. There he built the only mosque in that village, and next to it he built his own house. Everyone busied themselves with building their houses. My father and mother built a house adjacent to the house of Shaykh Sharafuddin.
When I reached the age of thirteen, Turkey was under the attack of the British, French and Greek armies. The Turkish Army was conscripting everyone, even the children. They wanted me to go join the Army, but my uncle, who had a good relationship with the Sultan Abdul Hamid, refused to send me. My father died and my mother was alone so I had to work to support my mother. When I reached fifteen years of age, Sayyidina Shaykh Sharafuddin told me, ‘Now, my son, you are mature and an adult, and you have to marry.’ I married at the very young age of fifteen years and lived with my mother and my wife.
His First Seclusion and Spiritual Training
Shaykh Sharafuddin raised and trained Shaykh `Abdullah with intensive spiritual discipline and long hours of dhikr. After six months he was ordered to enter seclusion for five years. He said:
I was a newlywed of only six months when my Shaykh ordered me to enter seclusion for five years. My mother was so unhappy she went to complain to my Shaykh, her brother, about it. My wife was also unhappy, but my heart never complained. On the contrary, my heart was completely happy to enter the seclusion I desired so intensely.
I entered the seclusion, though my mother was crying and saying, ‘I have no one except you. Your brother is still in Russia and your father has passed on.’ I felt pity for my mother, but I knew it was an order of my Shaykh and that it was coming directly from the Prophet . I entered that seclusion with orders to take six showers every day with cold water, and to keep all my obligations and daily devotional practices (wird/dhikr). In addition, I was ordered to read at least seven, and up to fifteen, sections of Qur’an and to repeat the Holy Name of Allah 148,000 times and prayers on the Prophet 24,000 times daily.
There were many other practices as well, all to be performed in a focused and meditative state. I was in a cave, deep in a large forest, high on a snow-covered mountain. One person was assigned to serve me with seven olives and two ounces of bread every day. I entered that seclusion when I was fifteen and a half years old, and I was quite fat. When I emerged from that seclusion at twenty-two years of age, I was very thin, weighing only 100 pounds.
What was unveiled to me of experiences and visions cannot be expressed in words. When I entered the seclusion I said to my ego, ‘O my ego, even if I am going to die, I am not going to leave this seclusion. You must know that. Do not try to change my mind or to cheat me.”
There was a hole in the cave, and when he entered the seclusion he stopped up the hole with a piece of cloth.
I slept very little in that seclusion. I never felt any need to sleep, because I had such strong heavenly support. One time I had a vision of the Prophet in seclusion in the Cave of Hira. For forty days I sat behind him and he never slept but continued in that state.
As I was making dhikr one night after midnight, a huge storm raged on the mountain. I could hear that storm felling trees, pouring rain and finally snow. It was very cold and nothing made me warm except the heat of my Dhikr. A heavy wind blew the cloth out of the hole. I was freezing and snow blew in around me. I was so cold that I couldn’t move my fingers to count the repetitions of my Dhikr. My heart almost stopped. Then it occurred to me to close the hole again. As soon as that thought came to me, I saw the vision of my Shaykh shouting, ‘O my son! Are you busy with yourself or are you busy with the One who Created you? If you die from the cold it is better for you than allowing your heart one moment of heedlessness.’ That vision gave me warmth in my heart and determination to restart the Dhikr immediately. As I continued the Dhikr more wind came, and with it more snow. I struggled with myself, finally telling myself, ‘Let me die, even so I am continuing my dhikr.’ As soon as I said that, the wind stopped and the snow stopped. Then a tree fell, and covered that hole in the cave.
In that state I reached a place in the Station of the Awareness of Numbers (wuquf `adadi) of 777,777 repetitions of the Divine Name. I was going to 777,778 when I heard the Divine Presence addressing me, ‘O my servant! You have reached the Secret of Wuquf `Adadi tonight and have gained the key for that station. Enter into our presence in the State of the One who Speaks with Allah (Kalimullah), the state of Sayyidina Musa (as) when he spoke directly with God. I saw that I was speaking with the Divine Presence and I received answers to questions that saints had never been able to reach before. I took the opportunity to ask Allah, ‘O Allah, what is Your Greatest Name?’ And I heard, ‘O my servant, you will be given that later.’ Then that vision disappeared and it was time for Fajr prayer.
Before each prayer, I was obliged to take a cold shower. There was, of course, no running water, so I had to use melted snow for showering. As I was about to stand up to wash for prayer, I found that facing me was the head of a snake, which had encircled me completely. Its head was poised so that any movement out of fear would cause him to strike me. I didn’t give that snake any importance. I knew if I felt any fear, it would attack. So in my mind I made it to be nonexistent. I could not take a shower with the snake wrapped around me, but the Shaykh’s order had to be followed. So I poured the water over my clothes and over the snake. For forty days that snake remained wrapped around me. When I was praying, it would move its head to allow for my prostrations. For forty days, that snake kept watch, looking for any mistake or fear, to attack me. This test from my Shaykh, to see if I had fear of any but Allah, finally ended and that snake began to unwind itself from around me. It sat for a while in front of me. Then it disappeared.”
He spent five years in that particular seclusion, which ended at the age of 22. When he emerged he was eligible for military conscription. This time he went into the army.
I saw my mother for only one or two weeks. Then they took me to the battle known as Safar Barlik in the Dardanelles. One day there was an attack from the enemy and about 100 of us were left behind to defend a frontier. I was an excellent marksman, able to hit a thread from a great distance. We were unable to defend our position and were under fierce attack. I felt a bullet strike my heart and I fell to the ground mortally wounded.
As I lay dying, I saw the Prophet coming to me. He said, ‘O my son, you were destined to die here, but we still need you on this earth in both your spiritual and physical form. I am coming to you to show you how a person dies and how the Angel of Death takes the soul.’ He presented me with a vision in which I saw my soul leaving my body, cell by cell, beginning from the toes. As the life was withdrawing, I could see how many cells are in my body, and the function of every cell, and the cure for every sickness of each cell. I heard the dhikr of every cell.
As my soul was passing away I experienced what a person feels when he dies. I was brought to see the different states of death: painful states of death, easy states of death and the most blissful states of death. The Prophet told me, ‘You are from those who pass in a blissful state of death.’ I was enjoying that passing so much because I was going back to my Origin, which made me comprehend the secret of the Qur’anic ayat, “To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return” [2:156].
That vision continued until I experienced my soul departing on the last breath. I saw the Angel of Death come and heard the questions he would ask. All the kinds of visions that appear to the dying I experienced, yet I was alive during that experience and this enabled me to understand the secret of that state.
Then I saw in that vision my soul looking down on my body, and the Prophet was telling me, ‘Come with me!’ I accompanied the Prophet , and he took me to a vision of the Seven Heavens. I saw everything he wished me to see in the Seven Heavens, and then he raised me to the State of Maqam as-Sidq (the Station of Truthfulness), where I met all the Prophets, all the saints (Siddiqeen), all the martyrs, and all the righteous (Saliheen).
“Then he said, ‘O my son, now I am going to take you to see the tortures of Hell.’ There I saw everything that the Prophet had mentioned in the hadeeth about the tortures and punishments of that place. I said, ‘O Prophet, you who were sent as a Mercy for Human Beings, is there not any way for these people to be saved?’ He replied to me, ‘Yes, my son, with my intercession they can be saved. I am showing you the fate of those people if I did not have the power to intercede for them.’
“Then the Prophet said, ‘O my son, now I will return you to earth and to your body.’ As soon as the Prophet said that, I looked down and saw my body, looking somewhat swollen. I looked at that and said, ‘O Prophet of God, it is better to be here with you. I don’t want to go back. I am happy with you in the Divine Presence. Look at that dunya, I have already been there and now I have left. Why must I go back? Look, my body is swollen.’
“He said, ‘O my son, you must go back. That is your duty.’ By the order of the Prophet I went back to my body, even though I did not want to. As I entered my body I saw the bullet in my heart had been encased in flesh and the bleeding had stopped. As I smoothly entered into my body the vision ended. When it ended I saw the medics on the field of battle looking for the survivors among the dead. Then one of them said, ‘That one is alive, that one is alive.’ I had no power to speak or to move, and I realized that it had been seven days that my body had been lying there.”
“They took me and treated me, until I recovered and my health was restored. Then they sent me back to my uncle. As soon as I reached him he told me, ‘O my son, did you enjoy your visit?’ I didn’t say ‘yes’ and I didn’t say ‘no’, as I wanted to know if he meant the visit to the army or the visit in the company of the Prophet . Then he asked me again, ‘O my son did you enjoy your visit with the Prophet ?’ Then I realized that he knew everything. So I ran to him and kissed his hand and I told him, ‘O my Shaykh I went with the Prophet and I must admit that I didn’t want to come back. But he told me that is my duty.”
Shaykh `Abdullah (q) continued his life under the watchful eyes of his uncle, Shaykh Sharafuddin (q), and he advanced ever higher in spiritual knowledge. One day Shaykh Sharafuddin was sitting in a gathering of 300 scholars, both religious and spiritual, and they were there to discuss matters of importance to their spiritual life. They were sitting on a hill near his mosque.
Shaykh `Abdullah came up the hill towards the gathering. Some of the scholars said to Shaykh Sharafuddin, “We are astonished at the great importance you give to that child.” The Shaykh replied:
Look at him. He is coming to see me. If a little child of seven were to come to him and say, ‘Your Shaykh is sending you a message that you must go to Makkah,’ even if I hadn’t sent that child, `Abdullah would immediately accept and do what that child says. This is because he relates everything to me and he knows that whatever comes to him comes from me, regardless of the means. He knows that if it comes from me, the order is from the Prophet , because my heart is connected to his heart, and that its origin is from Allah. Now if that were to happen, without going back to his wife or his mother to say good-bye, nor to pack any provisions, he would immediately direct his steps toward Makkah. That is why I give him such importance; and also because I know what kind of station he is in.
The State that he is now in, no one before him, including myself, has ever been able to enter or to see. He has reached a state higher than my state and higher than my masters in this Tariqat. As the tariqat continues from one master to another it moves upward. As the secret is passed from one Shaykh to another, the rank will be increased by the addition of the successor’s secret to the secret that he receives. At the same time, the rank of the Prophet is always increasing, in every moment, and as he is raised ever higher, so too are the saints of his Nation. That is the meaning of the verse, “And above every possessor of knowledge there is One All-knowing.”
Grandshaykh `Abdullah (q) used to serve in his master’s khaniqah. Everyday hundreds of visitors arrived to visit the Shaykh, most of them coming from Daghestan. Among the many visitors to the Shaykh was the Russian teacher George Gurdjieff. Having recently arrived in Turkey, after a long and arduous and the knowledge of these Nine Points was opened to you through it. The vision was by the blessings of the verse: ’Peace! a Word (of salutation) from a Lord Most Merciful’
Each of the Nine Points is represented by one of nine Saints who are at the Highest Level in the Divine Presence. They are the keys to the untold powers within man, but there is no permission to use these keys. This is a secret that in general will not be opened until the Last Days when the Mahdi (as) appears and Jesus (as) returns.This meeting of ours has been blessed. Keep it as a secret in your heart and don’t speak of it in this life. `Abd an-Nur, for that is your name with us, you are free to stay or go as your responsibilities allow. You are always welcome with us. You have attained safety in the Divine Presence. May Allah bless you and strengthen you in your work.
His States and Discourses After His Second Seclusion
At 30 years of age, Shaykh Abdullah was ordered to enter a second long seclusion for five years. During that seclusion, many visions and states were granted to him, which it would be impossible to describe within the span of this book. After he completed this second seclusion, the power of his spiritual attraction increased. He became so renowned that even during his Shaykh’s lifetime, people used to come from everywhere to learn from him.
Following are some of his discourses:
I do not speak to you about any Station (Maqam), Manifestation (Tajalli), or Rank (Rutbah) without my having already entered that station or position and experienced that Manifestation. I am not like many others, I do not speak separating my sight from my heart, enumerating the Stations (Maqamat) for you without my knowing their Reality (haqiqah). No! First of all I followed that path and saw what it was. I learned those Realities and Secrets which may be found along it, and I worked my way along it until I obtained the Knowledge of Certainty (`ilm al-yaqin), the Eye of Certainty (`ayn al-yaqin), and the Truth of Certainty (haqq al-yaqin). Only then do I speak to you, giving you a tiny taste of what I have tasted, until I am able to make you reach that station without tiring you and without difficulties.
Latifat al-khafa, the Hidden Station, is under Sayyidina ‘Isa . Because of his relationship with Hidden Knowledge, he represents spiritual understanding.
Latifat al-akhfa, the Most Hidden Station, is under the Reality of Sayyidina Muhammad , because he was granted a station high above that of all other Prophets and messengers. He was the one who was raised up, in the Night of Ascension, to the Divine Presence. This is represented by the Kalima (Sacred Phrase), because there is no la ilaha illallah without Muhammadun Rasalullah.
The lights of these stations have been shown to me. The light of the Heart is a yellow hue; the light of the Secret is red; the light of the Secret of the Secret is white; the light of the Hidden Station is green; and the light of the Most Hidden Station is black.
These Five Stations are the center of the Nine Points, which represent the locus of Revelation and Inspiration of the Divine Presence in the heart of the human being. These Nine Points are located on the chest of each person and they represent nine different hidden states in every human being. Every state is connected to a saint, who has the authority to control that point.
If the seeker in the Naqshbandi Way is able to unveil and to make spiritual contact with the authorized master controlling these points, he may be given knowledge of and power to use these nine points.
The conditions related to opening these nine points can only be alluded to obliquely. The first station involves the power of imprisoning the ego. The key to the second state is Dhikr with la ilaha illallah. The third state consists in witnessing the engraving of Allah’s name on the heart (naqsh). The fourth state relates to the meaning of that engraving on the heart. The fifth state is to imprint the engraving with your dhikr. In the sixth state the heart is made to stop pumping at will and to start pumping at will. The seventh state is to be aware of the number of times one stops the heart from pumping and the number of times one restores the pumping of the heart.
In the eighth state one mentions the phrase Muhammadun Rasulullah in every cessation of the heart and every restoration of its pumping. The ninth stage is to return to your Cave, as Allah mentioned in Surat al-Kahf, “When ye turn away from them and the things they worship other than Allah, betake yourself to the Cave: your Lord will shower His mercies on you…” [18:16].
The Cave is the Divine Presence. Here one utters the cherished prayer of the Prophet : ‘O God, You are my destination and Your Pleasure is what I seek.’ The heart, as it cycles between the cessation and restoration of its pumping, is existing at the level of the Essence of the Divine Presence. Because that Divine Essence is the source of all created being, that heart will be at one with every minutest creation in this universe. The heart which has reached the secrets of the nine points will be able to see everything, hear everything, know everything, taste everything, sense everything, ‘Until He will be the ears with which he hears, the eyes with which he sees, the tongue with which he speaks, the hand with which he grasps, and the feet with which he walks. He will be Lordly, he only need say to a thing Be! and it will be.
Shaykh Sharafuddin’s Will
In the last days of Shaykh Sharafuddin’s life, he wrote his will and gave it to Shaykh Abdullah. He predicted at that time
After I die, an opportunity will come for you to leave Turkey. When that opportunity comes you must take it, because your duty does not lie here but outside Turkey.
Shaykh Abdullah (q) had two daughters from his wife Halima, the eldest was named Rabi`a and the younger Madiha. Nine of his children have not survived. After his Shaykh passed away, a delegation came to him from King Faruq of Egypt to convey the condolences of the King, as Shaykh Sharafuddin (q) had many followers in Egypt. One of the princes who came with the delegation saw his daughter Madiha. He immediately felt attracted to her and asked to marry her.
Shaykh Abdullah realized that this was the opportunity to leave Turkey that his Shaykh had foretold. He immediately accepted the proposal, and with his daughter’s compliance the marriage quickly took place. Soon after that he received an invitation from his daughter’s new husband to come to Egypt.
He stayed some time in Aleppo, where people were honored to have him. Scholars came to sit and listen to him, and they were fascinated with his speeches and his knowledge. They called him the Reviver of the Religion.
From there he moved to oms, where he visited the mosque and tomb of the Companion of the Prophet , Khalid ibn al-Walid (r). He stayed briefly in oms. He moved to Damascus, in the Midan District, near the tomb of Sa`d ad-Din Jibawi, a saint from the family of the Prophet . There he established the first zawiya for the branch of the Naqshbandi Order which had gone to Daghestan. With him the Golden Chain of the Naqshbandi Order which had gone from Damascus to India, Baghdad, and Daghestan, now returned to Damascus.
His two daughters were married, Rabiha had four children, three girls and one boy. Madiha was married to Shaykh Tawfiq al-Hibri, one of the great Islamic scholars of Lebanon.
Soon people began to crowd into his zawiya. They arrived there from all over the city: Sufis, government people, businessmen, and common people. Murids were coming every day to sit at the door of his khaniqah. Daily they served food to hundreds, many of whom also slept there.
Then he received a spiritual order to move to the Mountain of Qasyun. It is the highest point in Damascus, from whose vantage the entire city can be viewed. With the help of his two senior murids, Shaykh Muhammad Nazim `Adil and Shaykh Husayn `Ali, he built a house. This house and the mosque next to it still stand, and the mosque is the site of his maqam (tomb). He saw in a vision, while he was building the mosque, that the Prophet , with Shah Naqshband and Sayyidina Ahmad al-Faruqi, came and put posts to mark the shape and location of the walls of the mosque. As soon as the vision ended, the markers were visible, and everyone present saw them. At that mosque, over the years, hundreds of thousands of visitors were received: for healing, for prayers, for training, for all kinds of external and internal knowledge.
Many times he was ordered by the Prophet to go into more seclusions. These seclusions varied in length from 40 days to one year. He went into over twenty seclusions during his lifetime. Some of these seclusions were made in Damascus, some in Jordan, some in Baghdad, at the tomb of Sayyidina `Abdul Qadir Jilani, and many were in Madinah. With each seclusion, his spiritual power and rank were amplified.
One time he sent a message to Sharif `Abdullah, who was the King of Jordan and one of his murids, via Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q), telling him, “Don’t go and pray in congregation, especially on a Friday, because I had a vision that you will be killed.” That message was given to Sharif `Abdullah, but he did not heed the warning. The next week he was killed as he left the Friday congregational prayers.
Years later a cousin of ours was caught by accident in gunfire in Beirut. He was taken for emergency surgery. We went to visit our Grandshaykh, terrified for his condition. As soon as we walked in and before we could speak he said to us,
Go back! It was written that he would die, but with my prayers he will live. The operation he is going through will succeeed.” When we returned, our cousin was in a coma and they were taking him to surgery. We informed his mother of what Grandshaykh had said to give her hope. The next day our cousin regained consciousness.
He said :
I saw Grandshaykh coming to me and doing surgery on me; and that is what saved me.
Shaykh Abdullah (q) often talked about foreordained things (qada’). He said,
It is known that there are two types of destiny. The first kind of destiny is termed qada’an mucallaq, which means Suspended or Mutable Destiny. It is written on the lawh al-mahfudh (the Preserved Tablet). This will vary according to will and behavior, cause and effect. All saints can change this kind of destiny for their murids, in order to train them and to influence their destiny by changing their actions and behavior. The authority to change the Mutable Destiny is given to the Shaykhs for their murids because they are connected to each other by Divine Will.
The second type of destiny is contained in Umm al-Kitab, the Mother of the Book, as mentioned in the ayat: yamhullahu ma yasha’u wa yuthbit, wa cindahu Umm ul-kitab [13:39] (“Allah blots out or confirms what He pleases: with Him is the Mother of the Book”), and is called qada’an mubram, which means Fixed Destiny. Saints never interfere in that Fixed Destiny, which is in the Hand of the Creator.
Allah gave the authority to change the Fixed Destiny only to the Nine Saints who are at the highest level in the Divine Presence, by permission from the Prophet who is first to take that power from Allah. They control the Nine Points of human consciousness related to the different stages of the Ascent of an Individual on his path to the Divine Presence. Allah gave these Nine Saints, whose number has not changed from the time of the Prophet until today, the power to use Sultan adh-dhikr, the Greatest Remembrance.
Everyone knows that Dhikr is primarily the repetition of la ilaha illallah, and that is what is practiced by all tariqats, including the Naqshbandiyya. But the Sultan adh-dhikr is a completely different type of Dhikr.
Allah said, Inna nahnu nazzalna-dh-dhikra wa inna lahu la-hafidhun [15:9], “We have revealed the Dhikr, and we are the One to protect that Dhikr in you.” The Dhikr mentioned here is the Holy Qur’an. The Dhikr of these nine saints, besides la ilaha illallah, is the Secret of the Holy Qur’an. They recite the Qur’an, not as we recite it reading from beginning to end, but they recite it with all its secrets and inner realities. Because Allah said, wa la ratbin wa la yabisin illa fa kitabin mubeen [6:59] “Nor is there anything fresh or dry but is inscribed in a clear Record.” None of God’s creations in all the created universes has not been mentioned already, with all its secrets, in the Clear Book, the Qur’an.
The saint reciting the Qur’an in Sultan adh-Dhikr is therefore reciting it with all the secrets of every creation, from beginning to end. Allah gave every letter of the Qur’an, according to the Nine Highest Masters of the Naqshbandi Order [this was the first time the Shaykh ever mentioned this secret], twelve thousand knowledges. The Qur’an contains around 600,000 letters, so for every letter, these saints are able to take 12,000 knowledges!
Each of these nine saints differs from the other in his level as well. We may see that one of them, for example, was able to recite the Holy Qur’an by the power of Sultan adh-Dhikr, which is to grasp 12,000 meanings on every letter, only once in his life. Another was able to recite it three times in his life. The third was able to do it nine times in his life. Another was able to recite it 99 times in his life.
This secret differed from one saint to another. Shah Naqshband (q) was able to do it 999 times in his life. Our Master Ahmad al-Faraqi was able to recite it 9,999 times in his life. Shaykh Sharafuddin was able to recite it 19,999 times.
A Meeting With John Bennett
Among the many visitors and seekers at the door of Grandshaykh was the Englishman, John G. Bennett. In several of his books he recounts his meetings with Shaykh Abdullah. Following is part of his accounts compiled from Concerning Subud and Witness.
Shaykh Abdullah is a true saint in whom one feels an immediate complete trust.
He elaborates in more detail about their meeting in Witness:
The Shaykh was waiting for me on the roof of his house. It was high up above the city, commanding a superb panorama… I felt at ease from the start, and very soon I experienced a great happiness that seemed to fill the place. I knew that I was in the presence of a really good man.
After the usual salutations, and compliments of the excellence of my Turkish, he astonished me by saying: ‘Why did you not bring the lady sister who is with you? I have a message for her as well as you.’ It seemed unlikely that anyone could have told him about Elizabeth. We had walked straight to his house, and the Dadji, my guide, had left me at the door without speaking to anyone. I replied that as he was a Muslim, I did not think he would wish to speak with a woman. He said very simply: ‘Why not? Rules and customs are for the protection of the foolish; they do not concern me. Next time you pass through Damascus, will you bring her to me?’ I promised to do so if the opportunity came.
We sat for a long time in silence, watching the ancient city. When he began to speak, I found it hard to come out of the deep reverie into which I had fallen. He was saying: ‘I was expecting someone today, but I did not know it would be you. A few nights ago an angel came to my room and told me that you would come to visit me and I was to give you three messages. You have asked God for guidance about your wife. She is in God’s keeping. You have tried to help her, but this was wrong. You disturb the work that God is doing in her soul. There is no cause for anxiety about her, but it is useless for you to try to understand. The second message concerns your house. You have asked God for guidance as to whether you should go your way or follow others. You must trust yourself. You will be persecuted by the Armenians, but you must not be afraid. You have to attract many people to you and you must not hesitate even if other people are angry.
He fell silent again. I was astonished at the two messages, for it was true that I had prayed for guidance on just those two questions…
The most important message is the last. You must know that there is great wickedness in the world. People have given themselves over to the worship of material things, and they have lost the will and the power to worship God. God has always sent Messengers to show the way out of such situations, and He has again done so in our present age. A Messenger is already on earth, and his identity known to many. Before long he will come to the West. Men have been chosen to prepare the way for him… It was shown to me that you are one of those chosen to prepare the way… The Messenger will come to your country and even to your house…
You should never cease to worship God, only you must not show it. Outwardly you must behave as others do. God has appointed two angels to take care of you. One will guide and direct you so that you will no longer make mistakes as before. The other will perform the religious duties that you cannot do for yourself.
I advise you frequently to repeat in your heart the words, La ilahe il Allah, which means surrender to God alone.’ When I said that this was the Muslim profession of faith, he replied that it is as much Christian as Muslim, for the foundation of all religion is that man should not follow his own will, but the will of God…
His Passing From This Life
We observed many wondrous events with our Grandshaykh. His life was full of beneficent activity. He was always smiling, and never angry. He had no income, yet the food was always abundant in his house. How was he supported, was the question in the mind of everyone. People would show up unannounced until they sometimes numbered 200, but they would find food prepared and ready for them. We always used to wonder, “Where did that rice and bread and meat come from?”
I rarely saw him sleep at night. During the day he was always receiving people, and at night he was always sitting in his special room, reading Qur’an, reading Dala’il al-Khayrat, doing his personal dhikr or reading praises on the Prophet. He used to pray after midnight until the dawn. He helped the needy as much as he was able and he sheltered many homeless in his mosque. He served humanity. The tongue is helpless to describe his good manners and good characteristics.
Until one day came in 1973, when he said :
The Prophetis calling me. I have to go and see him. He told me, ‘You cannot come to me until you have an operation on your eye,’” referring to the shortsightedness in his left eye. He was hinting to us that he was going to pass on but we were not able to accept that hint. He was alive in us and alive in all those who knew him, even the cats that were always around him.
After he went for the eye surgery, he stopped eating. We begged him to eat, but he refused saying, ‘I am in complete seclusion, because the Prophetis calling me.’ He would only accept dry bread softened by soaking in water, once a day. He said, ‘I don’t want to live any longer, I want to go to join my Prophetand to be with him. He is calling me, Allah is calling me.’ This was like a thunderbolt for us, but still we could not believe it. Then he wrote his will and said, ‘Next Sunday I am going to pass on.’ It was the September 30th, 1973 CE, the 4th of Ramadan, 1393 H. Everyone was surprised and fearful awaiting that day to see if it would happen.
It was ten o’clock on the Sunday that he had predicted and we were sitting in his room. He said to me :
Feel my pulse.
I felt his pulse and it was over 150. Then he said :
my son, these are the last seconds of my life. I don’t want anyone here. Everyone must leave and go to the big meeting room.
There were only ten of us inside the room. At that moment two doctors arrived: one was my brother and the other a friend. Both were surgeons. Grandshaykh did not allow anyone other than family in the room.
We heard his daughter cry out, “My father has died, my father has died.” We all ran into the room and we saw that Grandshaykh was not moving. Quickly my brother took his pulse and his blood pressure, but they were not detectable. He ran hysterically to the car to get a syringe with medicine, returning minutes later. He re-entered in the same manner, wanting to inject the Shaykh in his heart to try to restart its pumping. The other doctor said, “What are you doing? The Shaykh has been dead for over seven minutes. Stop your foolishness.” But he wouldn’t stop and insisted on going ahead with the injection.
Then Grandshaykh opened his eyes, put his hand up and said in Turkish :
which means, “Stop!”
Everyone was shocked. They had never heard the dead speak before. I will never forget this in all my life. All those present, professors and doctors, will never forget either. After that my brother put his instruments away. We stood there in shock, not knowing what to say. Was he dead or not? Was he simply veiling himself to return shortly? That is the secret Allah gave to His Lovers and Saints who travel in His Kingdom, in His Love, in His Secrets. It was an unforgettable day.
The news of his passing was like a tremendous tornado, whirling through Damascus, Aleppo, Jordan, Beirut. People came from everywhere to him for one last look. We washed him, and from his holy body came a very beautiful smell. We prepared him for the funeral prayers and for burial the next day. All the scholars of Damascus attended his funeral. Four hundred thousand people came to his janaza prayers. People were lined up from his house to the Mosque of Ibn `Arabi, where his body lay in state.
When we returned to his home after the janaza prayer we saw the coffin gliding over the heads of people without any help from anyone, moving to his mosque for its burial. It had taken us three hours to walk back from the Mosque of Muhyiddin Ibn `Arabi to Grandshaykh’s mosque, a trip which normally takes twenty minutes because of the huge crowd in the streets.
Everyone was crying. They did not want the Shaykh to be buried. No one could believe it and no one could accept it. It was enough to make us remember the state of the Sahaba when Sayyidina Muhammad passed away. We understood why Sayyidina `Umar (r), Sayyidina `Uthman (r) and Sayyidina `Ali (r) were not accepting that the Prophethad passed away. We underwent that same state, even wondering how Sayyidina Abu Bakr (r) could not have felt the same.
All the government officials and scholars were at the mosque waiting to bury him. A message was delivered to the imam from out of the blue saying, “Do not bury Grandshaykh until Shaykh Nazim arrives.” No one could believe it as there had been no way to contact Shaykh Nazim, who was in Cyprus. There was no phone, no fax machine, and even a telegram would have taken two days. No one accepted that the message was real. But for the love of our Shaykh, we were happy to postpone his burial and insisted to wait until Shaykh Nazim arrived.
It was Ramadan, everyone was fasting. The scholars and the crowd grew restless. People said they wanted to go. We told them they were free to go if they wanted, but that we must wait. After some time most of the people left, and only the most sincere followers of the Shaykh remained. Shortly before Maghrib prayer time, Shaykh Nazim was seen climbing the stairs. How he arrived so quickly no one knows. It remains a mystery to this day.
Shaykh Nazim brought Grandshaykh’s body back into the mosque and prayed janaza over him again. Then he ordered us all to go break our fast. He buried him with his own hands. When he lifted the shroud from his face, we smelled the sweet perfume of sandalwood, amber and musk the like of which we had never smelled before. Then Shaykh Nazim asked us to go out. Only my brother and I stayed, watching from the window to see what was happening inside.
He stood at the head of the grave, as if in prayer. Then in the blink of an eye, Shaykh Nazim disappeared. This event added an extraordinary surprise to our previous surprises. There were no words to express our feelings. Fifteen minutes passed, and suddenly we saw Shaykh Nazim appear in the same place from which he had disappeared. Then we ran to the door as he came out. He said, “What! Still here? You didn’t break your fast? Never mind, my company is better!” We went down to break our fast with him. Shaykh Nazim returned that night to Beirut, and took a plane back to Cyprus.
Grandshaykh Abdullah ad-Daghestani (q), Naqeeb al-Ummah, may Allah bless his soul, predicted many events, some of which have come to pass and some of which we still await.
In 1966 :
Next year there will be a war between the Israelis and the Arabs. The Arabs will be defeated. There will be a big war within one month between the Israelis and Arabs.
This came to pass. On the third of October, three days after his passing, the Arabs and Israel entered another war.
One time Grandshaykh’s daughter, Madiha, was considering buying a house with her husband in Beirut and Grandshaykh said, “No.” She insisted, but still he said, “No.” She continued to insist but he was adamant and said :
Beirut is going to be full of bloodshed. Every house is going to be affected by that bloodshed and no one will escape its touch.
He mentioned this in 1972, and it began to happen in 1975. He told us before he passed away, “I see you in Tripoli, in the north of Lebanon.” This was his way of suggesting that we move away Beirut.
On a related matter he said :
When John Bennett met me and confirmed his shahada, he asked what he could do. I told him to keep his shahada secret. Thereby he was able to bring many people in his homeland of England to take shahada, and to interest them in spirituality.
I see England entering Islam.
He predicted that a royal family in Europe is going to support Islam, because in their bloodline is the blood of Arabs. “This will draw them into spirituality and arouse in them an interest in many faiths, and draw them towards the Divine Presence.
China is under the authority of a great saint, who will be one of the greatest saints in the time of Mahdi and Jesus . His name is Abdur Ra’uf al-Yamani. Through his influence China will sign an agreement with the West not to use its nuclear weapons. China will split into many different small countries. There will be problems in the Far East, in the Korean Peninsula, and a great power would intervene to stop that conflict.
A non-Arab Middle Eastern country will attack the Persian Gulf area, which will put the whole world into fear that the source of petroleum will be cut off.
He said :
Cairo is going to sink underwater.
Later the Russians built the Aswan Dam; it contains an enormous amount of water and has recently been found to contain loose underpinnings which are eroding.
Cyprus will sink underwater, and Mount Olympus, near Bursa, will erupt. Under it are two elements, gas and fire, which have until now been kept separate, and saints have always prayed that these elements would not combine. From its explosion, hundreds of thousands of people will be wounded and become homeless.
There will be a war in the Gulf Area where a huge fire will arise and involve the rest of the world.
Germany and England will lead the whole of Europe. In Germany there is a saint, assigned by Mahdi (as) and Jesus(as), who is to raise and train the people in spirituality. That saint is hidden, but he is among them.
There will be a big change in the approach of Arabs to politics, and one powerful regime is going to change to a better way of government.
Before he passed away, in a private meeting with some of his closest murids, he said :
There will be peace, and America will be the one leading the talks for peace, which will end the war between the Arabs and Israel. This is going to happen. The sign of it is the collapse of Communism and the splitting of the Russian Empire into many parts. There will be no power in this world, except for America. Most Arab governments will turn to the Americans. The conflict will completely quiet down, and Arabs and Israelis will live in peace. Slowly every conflict on the earth will be put to an end, and everywhere there will be peace. America will lead that. Everyone will be happy and no one will expect war to ever occur again.
Suddenly, in the midst of peace, an attack will be made on Turkey from a neighboring country and a war will start, followed by an invasion of Turkey by a close neighboring country. This will threaten the U.S. bases in Turkey and will cause a greater battle to ensue. This will result in a great disaster on earth and a horrible war. During the course of the war, Mahdi (as) will come forth and Jesus (as) will return. His purpose will be to bring spirituality, peace and justice and to overcome tyranny, fear and terror. Love and happiness and peace will fill this earth, with the power of Mahdi (as) and Jesus (as), by the Will of Allah Almighty.
The Secret of the Golden Chain was passed to the Sun of Suns, the Leader of Those Brought Near, the Discoverer of Secrets, Shaykh Muhammad Nazim `Adil al-Qubrusi ar-Rabbani an-Naqshbandi al-Haqqani (q).