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Shah Bahaudin Naqshband (R.A)


Shah Bahaudin Naqshband (R.A)

Shah Bahaudin Naqshband needs no introductions, the great Imam of the Naqshbandi Tariqa is well known and respected all over the world.
However, very little literature is available about this great and unique personality, especially in the English language. This is a humble effort to bring some teachings of the great master to light and encourage aspirants of the sufi path to meditate and benefit from these teachings. May Allah inspire someone to write even bigger and better literature about our great master Shah Bahaudin Naqshband. Ameen.

Praying for rain
It is recounted among the wise that there was once a great drought at Qasr al-Arifin , and the people went to the Master Bahaudin Naqshband, asking him to pray, to ask God for rain.
He led them through the streets until he came to a place where a woman sat, nursing a small baby in her arms.
'I beg of you to feed that infant said the Master.
'I, know when to feed the child, 'said the woman, 'as I am his mother. Why do you concern yourself with things which are disposed of in a manner whereof you know nothing'?'
Bahaudin had the woman's words written down and read out to the crowd.

There was once a King, who visited the Shah Bahaudin Naqshband and sat observing his assembly.
Afterwards, when they were eating, the King said:
'Teacher of the Age! Your disciples, when you are in session, are ranged in semicircles, and in an orderly manner very similar to that of my own Court. Is there any significance in this?'
Bahaudin answered:
'King of the World! How are your own courtiers stationed? Tell me, and I shall describe the ordering of the ranks of the seekers.
'The first arc said the King, 'is composed of those who are of special favour with me, so that they are nearest. The second array comprises the most important and powerful people in the realm, and the ambassadors. The outer rank is for all the less ones.'
'In that case, 'said the Shah, 'Our marshalling of the people is far from the intention expressed by you. Those nearest to me are the deaf, so they shall hear. The middle group is composed of the ignorant, so that they may pay attention to the Teaching. Farthest away are the Enlightened, for whom proximity of this kind is unimportant.'

Scent and Reality
The Master Bahaudin was sitting one evening after dinner, surrounded by a large number of new comers, old and young, all eager to learn.
A silence fell, and the Master asked for a question.
Someone said:
'What is the greatest difficulty in the learning and teaching of the Way?'
The Master answered:
'People go by superficialities. They are attracted by preaching, by rumour and report, and by that which went, but they do not, once arrived at the proximity of the bloom, demand merely more and more scent. They adjust to the nectar, which they have to collect. This is the equivalent of the reality of wisdom, of which the report and imagining are as it were the scent.
'so the number of "real bees" among humanity is very small whereas almost all bees are bees, in being able to collect nectar, almost all human beings in the sense being attuned to perceive what they' were created for.'
Then the Master said:
'Let those who came here, to Qasr al-Arifin; because of reading stand up.'
Many stood.
'Let those, 'he continued, 'who came to us because of hearing about us also stand up.'
Many more stood.
'Those who are still seated; he continued, 'are those who came because they perceived our presences and authenticity in another, subtle, manner.
'Those who are standing, old and young, includes many who only demand more and more of their feelings to be stirred, who desire excitement or calm. Before they can learn what they cannot experience elsewhere, they must require knowledge and not services of attraction.'
He then said:
'There are those who are attracted to a teacher because of his repute, and who accordingly travel to see him, to seek even more of the same sensation. When he dies, they visit his grave, again for similar reason.
'Unless their aspirations are transformed, as if by alchemy, they will not find truth.
'And,' he said, 'there are those who visit a teacher not because they have heard of him as a great living mentor; not because they wish to see his tomb, but because they recognise his inmost Reality. One day everyone will possess this faculty.'

'But meanwhile the work which will be done eventually through the generations has to be performed in one and the same individual. To become a Moses you will have to transcend your Pharaoh. The man who is attracted by repute must become, as it were, another man. He must become a man who stays in proximity to wisdom because he has sensed its inmost Reality.
'This is the purpose of this Work before he can learn this, he is a mere dervish. A dervish desires, a Sufi perceives.'

The Four Types
It is related that Shah Bahaudin Naqshband was asked about the various kinds of people pursuing higher knowledge.
He said: 'I shall tell you by means of an allegory not to be taken as literally true, but reflecting the condition of the human being.
Then he told this story:
It is recorded in the traditions of the Lovers of truth, that when the souls were created, before the bodies, they were asked what they wanted as a means of travelling in the world.
There were four parties among them. The first desired to travel on foot, as the safest method. The second desired horses for this would mean less work for them. The third wished to travel on the wind, to overcome limitations. The fourth chose light, by which they could understand as well as move.
These four groups still exist, and all people still abide by one of these characteristics. Those who are the pedestrians are limited in space and speed. They are the imitators. The horsemen are those who rely on books, and are thus driven by, the third category are blown all over the place as if by the wind, and the fourth are Sufis.
In terms of studies, the first group attach themselves to lower and exciting cults; the second too zealously propagated ideas; the third to systems of their own choosing or devising, taking something here and something else there; the fourth are Sufis.
We can judge the ability of the people by the choice which they have made of travelling. The first group are interested in what they think are techniques; the second in exciting thoughts and reports; the third in one thing after another - and the fourth recognise the true Sufic reality.

The Fires of Today ...
It is related that Shah Bahaudin Naqshband said:
'I was invited to speak at an assembly of the educated and the ignorant. There arrived a very large collection of people, attentive and interested, but as I looked and felt, I did not at that time see a single "human being".
'I said to the people whom I had taken with me, in order to demonstrate the limitations of action upon the unsuitable:
"A well is not filled by means of dew, and a leaf will not be found after being deluged with the contents of a well."
'I started by saying:
"Sufis are a disgrace. They have a disgrace. They have secret teachings which many Sufis attain is due to the exercise of forbidden powers, now tell me, do you want to be a Sufi?"
'Almost all of those present shook their heads. 'Then I continued:
"Such were the words spoken by the ignorant, foolish and block headed Governor of Kufa, of whom you all know much. As you are aware, he was a bigot, a murderer and an enemy of humanity. It is a small wonder that he felt the need to represent the Sufis in that manner.
"Now all of us here know that the Sufis are the elect of humankind.
'Who among you dares to call himself a Sufi?"
'At these words, everyone rose.
'Thus does pomposity stem from vanity, which is a manifestation of the Commanding Self (nafs i ammara).
'The fires of today are the ashes of tomorrow.'

The Law of Reverse Effect
A man once visited Al-Shah Bahaudin Naqshband, saying that he wanted directions on how to behave, on how to live his life, what to do and what not to do.
The Master called some of his disciples to dinner and asked the man to put his questions again.
When this had been done, Sheikh Bahaudin said:
'You should try to live an easy life, supporting yourself stealing, and bringing part of the money to me. You should neglect prayer and tidiness of appearance and should always get the upper hand over other people. In short, lack of principle and cunning should see you trough.'
As the Master spoke, the applicant was becoming more and more uneasy; as soon as he had finished, he ran from the door.
Some weeks later, Bahaudin asked whether there was news of his would-be disciple. 'Yes', they told him, 'he is living an exemplary life, in Samarkand. He also tells everyone that you are not a pious person, and tried to wean him from the Right Path.'
Bahaudin laughed. 'If I had told him to live a good life, 'he said, 'he would not have obeyed, because all the injunctions so to have been dinned into him from babyhood. In reality he hankered for something more strange, and when I assailed his inward self with an account of a strange way of life, he realised that he would feel better as a compliant and virtuous man.'
'But' asked his disciple, 'what of his blackening your name an adviser in sin?'
'Those who believe evil, partake in evil,' said the Master. 'And I am sure that the scholars of Samarkand are not such people.'

A Lesson for Moses
According to Abu-Talib Makki, Moses related tales of how he learnt to widen his understanding, from narrow assumptions correct perspective.
Moses was ill, and he was offered various remedies to treat the sickness. But he refused, saying that God would help him instead.
But God, it is related, commanded Moses to use medicine saying:
'By refusing to accept the mission of the medicine, you have called into question the wisdom of him who endowed the remedies with their virtue!'
It is for this reason that there is a saying, 'Trust in God and tie your camel'. If you were expected to do nothing, why is there such a thing as a camel-hobble?
Hadrat Bahaudin Naqshband of Bokhara has said, in this connection:
'If a withering leaf says by its appearance that it needs water and because you have the power to provide it you also have the duty to do so, these "words" of the leaf are the manifestation of command of the creator of the leaf, and are addressed to you. If you insist upon a personal command from the Originator, ask why' means of communication has been placed before you. Is it there for you to neglect?'