Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Another Disciple of Shams

"[Alaa' ad-Dawla as-Simnaani] also corresponded with Salah ad-din Hasan al-Bulghari, born in Nakhjiwan in 603/1206-7, who was captured in a raid at the age of seven and taken to Bulghar. After approximately thirty years he returned to Iran and settled in Kirman, and over time came to be known as a mystical shaykh who had received his khirqa from Shams ad-din at-Tabrizi (d. 645/1247). He apparently maintained contacts with the Ilkhanid court and journeyed to Tabriz in Jumada I 698/February 1299, immediately preceding a raid on Kirman by a group of bandits. He died in Tabriz later that year [44]. Simnani appears to have considered Bulghari a teacher and referred to him in their correspondences as "my father" (pidaram); Bulghari in turn called Simnani his son (farzand). [45]

44. Khwafi, Fasih Ahmad b. Jalal ad-din Muhammad. Mujmal-i fasihi. 4 vols. Edited by Muhammad Farrukh. Mashhad: Kitabfurushi-yi bastan, 1960. 2:282, 287, 343, 379-80.

55. Ibn al-Karbala'i-yi Tabrizi, Husayn. Rawdaat al-janaan wa jannaat al-janaan. Edited by Ja'far Sultan al-Qurra'i. Majmu'a-yi matun-i farsi, no. 20. Edited by E. Yarshater. Tehran: Bungah-i tarjuma wa nashr-i kitab, 1965. 1:151, 146.

[Source: Elias, Jamal J. The Throne Carrier of God: The Life and Thought of Ala' ad-dawla as-Simnani. Pg 45]

It's amazing how great the students of Shams are. We know about the greatness of Rumi, but al-Bulghari was also a teacher of the great Alauddawla as-Simnani!

Shams seems to have come only for perfecting those who are already great Sufi masters, not the normal travellers on the path:

"I haven't come to do with the common people in this world - I haven't come for them. I've put my finger on the pulse of those who guide the world to the Real." (Me & Rumi)

Friday, May 05, 2006


Why do so many Sufis keep saying that Iblis was once an angel, Azazil.. and not just any angel, the most honored of all angels, who loved God more than any other angel, and worshipped Him more than any other... And this is not only limited to the Sufis who defend Iblis, like Hallaj.. even those who think of Iblis completely negatively still repeat this story.

And when We said unto the angels: Fall prostrate before Adam, and they fell prostrate, all save Iblis. He was of the jinn, and he rebelled against his Lord's command... (Qur'an 18:50) **

So some say that he was at first an angel and then became one of the jinn but that is impossible for Iblis said that he was created from fire, which means that he was always jinn.

He said: "What prevented thee from prostrating when I commanded thee?" He said: "I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay." (Qur'an 7:12)

As for angels, they are made of light:

"Allah created the angels from light, created the jinn from the pure flame of fire, and Adam from that which was described to you." (Sahih Muslim).


** The verse says that the command was made to the angels, but Iblis is mentioned as having rejected God's command. This is a feature in Arabic grammar called "Taghleeb", where a minority is not mentioned because it is included with the majority, even if they are different. So because Angels were the majority and Iblis (and maybe other jinn) were the minority, they need not be included directly in the verse when it refers to them. It is for the sake of brevity.

Another thing: Angels cannot disobey God's commands whereas Jinns can, and therefore Iblis must have been a jinn.

Waking Vision of the Prophet

The Meccan scholar, Abu 'l-Baqa' al-'Ajimi said: "This tariqa (tariqa Muhammadiyya) is founded on an inner submergence accompanied by a visible manifestation when you see the Prophet, may God bless and grant him peace, himself. This is the outcome when you try to follow him in your words and deeds, when you busy your tongue with saying the tasliya ["May God bless and grant him peace"] and repeating it at every moment in public and private until the glorification of the Prophet, namely the tasliya, overwhelms your heart and permeates your deepest self, so that you quiver when you hear him mentioned and the vision of him takes hold of your heart and you see his form before your inner eye. Then God will bestow upon you His clemency, outwardly and inwardly. Thereafter, you will see a vision of the Prophet in many of your dreams while asleep as a first step; secondly you will see him unexpectedly while dozing off. Finally, you will see him awake."

- Muhammad bin Ali al-Sanusi[1]

Among the graces with which God honoured [Shaykh Ahmad Tijani] was the waking vision of the Prophet, continuously and ever, so that it was never absent from him for the twinkling of an eye. And (another grace was) his questioning of the Prophet on everything and asking his counsel in small things and great, and undergoing training at his hands. [2]

He [the devotee] confines himself to this dhikr [i.e the tasliya] and is patient until [the Prophet] appears to him. I never met anyone at this rank except an old blacksmith in Ishbiliyya who was known as "God, bless Muhammad" (Allaahumma, salli 'alaa Muhammad). He was not known by any other name...He doesn't talk to anyone except out of necessity. If anyone comes asking him to make something for him from iron, he asks as pay only that the customer bless Muhammad. No man, boy, or woman came to him without blessing Muhammad until he left....Whatever is revealed to the one who does this dhikr is true and immune from error, for nothing comes to him except through the Messenger..

- Ibn Arabi[3]

By God, my brothers, I did not believe that a learned man could deny the vision of the Prophet (God bless him and give him peace) in the waking state, until the day I met some learned men in the Qarawiyyin Mosque and had a conversation with them on this matter. They said to me: "How ever is it possible to see the Prophet when one is awake, since he has been dead for over 1,200 years? It is only possible to see him in a dream, since he himself said: 'He who sees me, that is to say in a dream, sees me in reality, for the Devil cannot imitate me,'" I answered: "Of necessity, he can be seen in waking state only by one whose mind- or let us say, whose thoughts- have transported him from this corporeal world into the world of Spirits; there will he see the Prophet without the slightest doubt; there he will see all his friends." They were silent and said not a word when I added: "Indeed he can be seen in the world of Spirits," But after a while they said to me, "Explain how this is so." I answered: "Tell me yourselves where the world of Spirits is in relation to the world of bodies." They did not know what to reply. And then I said: "There where the world of bodies is, there also is the world of Spirits; there where the world of corruption is, there also is the world of purity; there where is the world of the kingdom (mulk), there also is the world of kingship (malakut); in the very place where the lower worlds are, there are to be found the higher worlds and the totality of worlds. It has been said that there exist ten thousand worlds, each one like this world, (as recounted in the Hilyatul Awliya (Adornment of the Saints)) and all these are contained in man, without his being conscious of it. Only he whom God sanctifies by absorbing his qualities into His own, his attributes into His own, is conscious of this. Now, God sanctifies many of his servants and does not cease from sanctifying them until their end."
- Shaykh ad-Darqawi[4]

Whoever sees the Lord of being [i.e the Prophet] in a dream can do so in two ways. In the first way the dream is in no need of interpretation because the person sees the Prophet in the same state he appeared in the world and as the Prophet’s Companions beheld him. Should this vision occur to someone who is illuminated …then what he sees is the pure and noble dhat of the Prophet. [Dhat is here used to mean a human being as he can be perceived by the senses, man as a unit compounded of body, soul and spirit.] If the person is not illuminated, he can experience this as well but that is a rare situation. Usually what is seen is the image of his dhat (surat dhatihi), not his dhat itself ('ayn dhatihi), since the dhat of the Prophet can take on various forms and then be seen in numerous places, whether in a dream or in a waking state. This is because the dhat of the Prophet possesses light which emanates from it and fills the entire world. There is no place where the noble light of the Prophet does not exist. The dhat of the Prophet appears in this light the way the form of the face appears in a mirror. Thus, the light of the Prophet is similar to a mirror which fills the entire world, and what is represented in it is the dhat. That is why one person can see the Prophet in the east and another person see him in the west, one sees him in the south and another in the north. And innumerable people see him in other places— all at the same time. Each person really sees the Prophet before him because the light of the Prophet, in which his dhat is represented, is with each person. If an illuminated person (al-maftuh 'alayhi) beholds the image (sura) of the Prophet before him, he then follows it with his spiritual deeper sight (baseera) and penetrates through the light of the image to the dhat of the Prophet himself.

-Shaykh Abd al-Aziz al-Dabbagh [5]

Shaykh Ahmad al-Zawaawi (d.1517) once said to me: "We recite the tasliya on behalf of the Prophet so often that he then sits with us while we are in a waking state (hattaa yaseera yujaalisunaa yaqzatan) and we keep company with him like the sahaaba did (nashabuhu). Then we question him about matters of our religion and about hadiths which are held to be weak in the opinion of our religious scholars. Subsequently we base our behaviour on his words."

- Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha'rani [6]

In terms of meeting with and learning from the Prophet after his death, each of the three shaykhs [Ahmad ibn Idris, Abd al-Wahhab al-Tazi, and Abd al-Aziz al-Dabbagh] had this occur to them, both while asleep and while awake. Even more, in the later part of their lives, each of the shaykhs relied only on him and had recourse to none except him, [salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam]. [7]

وقد نازل هذه الأسرار وجرى على طريقتها وسلكها ولاحت له شوارق هذه الأنوار وأخذ بأزمة الخلافة المحمدية وملكها جماعة من أساطين العلماء وجهابذة من سلاطين صلحاء الحكماء منهم الشيخ نور الدين الشوني والشيخ أحمد الزواوي والشيخ علي الخواص والشيخ محمد المنزلاوي وغيرهم فكانوا يشتغلون بالصلاة على النبي (ص) حتى صاروا يأخذون عنه ويسترشدون منه ويستضيئون بأنوار مشكاته في متابعته وسكونه وحركاته وتشرفوا برؤيته يقظة وصار يربيهم بلا واسطة (ص) قال أبو البقاء المكي بعد نقل ما مر وممن أدركته بحمد الله من أهل هذا المشهد شيخنا الإمام الأوحد سيدنا أحمد الدجاني فإنه أخبرني أنه قرأ القرآن على النبي (ص) مناماً ويقظة وكان مزيد متابعته للسنة في جميع حركاته فيما نعلم يدل على صدق لهجته وخوارق بواهر كراماته تشهد بوضوح محجته وقد شرفني برواية القرآن عنه بهذا السند بعد أن قرأت عليه من أوله وسمعت منه من سورة الرحمن وأجازني بسائره وبغيره إجازة عامة رضي الله عنه.


See also: The Fath of Abd al-Aziz ad-Dabbagh (a translation from the Ibriz)
1. The Enigmatic Saint, Ahmad Ibn Idris and the Idrisi Tradition – R.S. O'Fahey via Red Sulphur
2. And Muhammad is His Messenger, pg 226.
3. al-Futuhaat al-Makkiyya, 4:184. Taken from Valeria J. Hoffman, "Annihilation in the Messenger of God: The Development of a Sufi Practice".
4. Letters of a Sufi Master: The Shaykh ad-Darqawi, pg 40-41.
5. al-Ibrız min kalam sayyidı al-ghawth Abd al-Azız. Taken from Ibriziana (pdf document), pg 10-11.
6. Lawaqih al-anwar al-qudsiyya fi bayan al-'uhud al-muhammadiyya, Cairo 1321, 116. Taken from The Exoteric Ahmad ibn Idris, pg 17.
7. Voll, John. "Two biographies of Ahmad ibn Idris al-Fasi (1760-1837)". International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 6, No. 4 (1973), 642.
8.محمد بن علي السنوسي.السلسبيل المعين في الطرائق الأربعين.
وأبو البقاء المكي هو: العلامة المحدث العارف بالله أبي البقاء حسن بن علي العجيمي الحنفي المكي المتوفي سنة 1113هـ