The Naqshbandi Sufi Order: more information.

The “School of Sufi Teaching” website has the following summary of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order:

The Naqshbandi Sufi Order stems from the Silsilah Khwajagan, which originally developed in Turkestan. The best-known shaykhs of the Khwajagan were Khwajah Ahmed Yasawi (died about 1167 CE), a native of Sayram in Kazakhstan, and Khwajah Abdul al-Khaliq Ghujdawani of Bukhara (died 1179 CE). The latter was responsible for coining certain terms with technical and spiritual meanings which are still in active use within the Naqshbandi tariqah to this day. He also made the teachings of the order accessible and relevant to the people of his era.

The Naqshbandi tariqah takes its name from Khwaja Baha’uddin Naqshband Bukhari (died 1389 CE), a very prominent Sufi shaykh who continued the tradition of making the spiritual teachings and practices of Sufism more applicable to the changing times in which he lived. Khwaja Baha’uddin Naqshband was the student, and later the khalifa (successor) of Emir Kulal. However, he also received instruction from the ruhaniya (spiritual being) of Khwajah Abdul Khaliq Ghujdawani, who gave Baha’uddin Naqshband the practice of silent dhikr.

The Naqshbandi tariqah is notable in being the only Sufi tariqah which traces its lineage to Prophet Muhammad through Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, the first caliph. All other Sufi tariqahs trace their lineage through Ali ibn Abu Talib, who became the fourth caliph of Islam.

Main entrance, Shrine of Bahaudin Naqshband
Shrine of Bahaudin Naqshband

The website of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order in the USA has the following information:

The Naqshbandiyya Nazimiyya Sufi Order was established by Shaykh Hisham Kabbani based on the teachings of the 40th imam of the Naqshbandi Golden Chain, Shaykh Nazim Adil al-Haqqani. The mission of the Naqshbandiyya Nazimiyya Sufi Order is to spread the Sufi teachings of the brotherhood of mankind and the unity of belief in God that is present in all religions and spiritual paths. Its efforts are directed at bringing the diverse spectrum of religions and spiritual paths into harmony and concord, in recognition of mankind’s responsibility as caretaker of this fragile planet and of one another.

The most distinguished Naqshbandi Order is the way of the Companions of the Prophet and those who follow them. This way consists of continuous worship in every action, both external and internal, with complete and perfect discipline according to the sunnah of the Prophet. It consists in maintaining the highest level of conduct and leaving absolutely all innovations and all free interpretations in public customs and private behaviour. It consists in keeping awareness of the Presence of God, Almighty and Exalted, on the way to self-effacement and complete experience of the Divine Presence. It is the way of complete reflection of the highest degree of perfection. It is the way of sanctifying the self by means of the most difficult struggle, the struggle against the self. It begins where the other orders end, in the attraction of complete Divine Love, which was granted to the first friend of the Prophet, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq.

The Naqshbandi Sufi Order places itself firmly in accord with iman, the fundamental articles of faith subscribed to by mainstream Sunni Muslims, and everyone who commits without doubt to the shahadah (there is one God called Allah and Muhammad is his messenger) is deemed to be a Muslim.

Shrine of Bahaudin Naqshband
Shrine of Bahaudin Naqshband

Another website contains the following information:

The Naqshbandi Sufi Order, which traces its lineage back to Ali, Abu Bakr and other central figures in early Islam, derives its name from that of a 14th century Central Asian mystic named Baha al-Din al-Naqshbandi. Born in 1317 in the village of Qasr al-Arifan near Bukhara, al-Naqshbandi experienced profound visionary revelations in his youth, became a brilliant Islamic scholar before the age of twenty, made the haj to Makkah three times and became a greatly venerated holy man during his life. Visitors from across Central Asia came to Bukhara to see the sage, seek his advice and receive teachings in the school he had established. Following his death in 1389, Sheikh Baha al-Din al-Naqshbandi was buried adjacent to his school, directly upon the site of an ancient pagan temple.

Historical records from the medieval era indicate that al-Naqshbandi was revered as a saint and a protector of craftsmen and artists, and that pilgrimage to his grave was considered an adequate substitution for the haj to Makkah. Successive kings of Bukhara expanded the school and mosques surrounding al-Naqshbandi’s grave and over the centuries the complex became the largest centre of Islamic learning in Central Asia. During the Soviet period, the mosque was turned into a “museum of atheism” and pilgrims were forbidden to visit. In 1989 the shrine was reopened and the entire complex, with two mosques and a 16th century khanaka (a domed hall where the Sufis lived and studied), has been carefully restored. Lovely shaded gardens surround the shrine and the entire site radiates a palpable feeling of religious devotion and peaceful relaxation. Dressed in colourful traditional clothes and speaking a variety of languages, pilgrims from distant parts of Central Asia flock to the saint’s grave throughout the year.

The Naqshbandi Sufi Order is one of the oldest living traditional Sufi orders. The early members of the order rejected outward shows of religious expression and concentrated upon the inner spiritual life while engaged in the affairs of the world. With followers throughout Central Asia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, the Naqshbandi Sufis, as both merchants and mystics, played a major role in the introduction of Islam across Asia. Believing that piety is better expressed by social activity than retreat from the world, the Naqshbandi masters often became actively involved in politics. By the 15th century they had become the dominant Sufi order in much of Central Asia and actively influenced politics from China and India to the Middle East. Today the Naqshbandi Sufi Order is the foremost Sufi order in the world and is experiencing an unprecedented period of growth, not only in its traditional heartlands of Central Asia, Turkey, the Middle East and South Asia, but in nations of the Western world, particularly the United States and Great Britain.

Shrine of Bahaudin Naqshband
Cemetery, Shrine of Bahaudin Naqshband

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