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Faith Practice Piety:An Excerpt from the Maktubat-i Imam-i Rabbani

Original: The Great Mujaddid Ahmad Sirhindi Translation and Annotation: Irshad Alam

Published by:Aklima Akter Su Peace Mission 4A Gulshan Avenue Gulshan 2 Dhaka 1212 Bangladesh web: www.supeace.org www.meetup.com/Berkeley-Su-Center email: www.supeace.org/feedback 2010 Irshad Alam. All rights reserved. ISBN: 984-70239-0000-6

ReviewsSu Irshad Alam has produced an interesting and challenging translation of a part of the Maktubat-i Imam-i Rabbani. In coming to grips with the difculties of his version, the reader may gain access to some of the meanings of Imam-i Rabbani. Prof. Hamid Algar, Professor of Islamic Studies and Persian, University of California at Berkeley I congratulate you for this successful translation from the Maktubat. Su Shaykh Prof. Dr. Muhammad Masood Ahmed, Editor of 12-volume encyclopedia (Urdu) and author of three books and numerous articles on Imam Rabbani I found the passages which I checked translated accurately. Prof. Yohanan Friedmann Author of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi: An Outline of His Thought and a Study of His Image in the Eyes of Posterity, Professor, Institute of Asian and African Studies, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel the translation is quite good and judicious Prof. Sajjad H. Rizvi Lecturer in Islamic Studies, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, United Kingdom

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marvelous Prof. Alan Abdul-Haqq Godlas, Professor of Religion, University of Georgia Irshad Alams scholarly translation of Sirhindis epistle and his commentary on it is a valuable source for any serious student of susm. But it is of special value for any follower of the Naqshbandi tariqa, as it outlines some of the fundamental qualities of this path, and the esoteric science by which the Naqshbandi masters guide their disciples. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Naqshbandi sheikh and author, www.goldensu.org Su Irshad Alam has produced a remarkable, fascinating and challenging translation of a part of the Maktubati Imam-i Rabbani. In translating from Persian to English Su Irshad Alam has overcome the difculties of this great task and has enabled the reader to gain approach to some of the meanings of Imam-i Rabbani. Su Irshad Alam needs to be commended for his meticulous and painstaking translation that produced this book. This book gives insights into the original work done by the Great Mujaddid Ahmad Sirhindi. This book is concise and up to the point covering a lot of material that is unknown to ordinary Muslims, as well as scholars. Prof. Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph.D., Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc., www.ir.org This is a long awaited important work in the history of Susm which should be of interest to disciples of the Mujaddid as well as others. Laleh Bakhtiar, Ph. D. Author, Translator and Editor of numerous Su and Islamic books, Kazi Publications Inc., www.kazi.org

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AcknowledgementsIn the beginning, I acknowledge the great debt that I have to my su shaykh. It is he who taught me the inner meanings and interpretations of the Maktubat-i Imam-i Rabbani. To su shaykh Shah Muti Aftabi, who has been a great teacher to me, although I never met him in person. I learned the text of the Maktubat by studying the Persian original side by side with his amazingly accurate Bengali translation. To all my teachers in the Arabic and Persian languages Dr. John Hayes, Sonia Shiri, Noha Radwan, Mavash Hariri and others. To Dr. Giv Nassiri for reading most of this manuscript of this book and diligently comparing with the original Persian and writing an introduction. To Prof. Hamid Algar, Su Shaykh Prof. Muhammad Masood Ahmed, Prof. Yohanan Friedmann, Prof. Sajjad H. Rizvi for verifying a few random parts of this book and writing reviews. To Dr. Nazeer Ahmed, Rashid Patch, Grandmaster James Harkins, Nasr Ullah, Sheikh Nur al-Jerrahi for giving me encouragement. To Valerie Turner for editing and Sukomal Modak and his brothers Satyajit and Souren for typesetting the book in LaTex. And to my parents, for funding almost all the expenses behind this book. And to Russell Bates, Semnani Foundation, and others for making grants that paid for a part. May they all be drenched by the energy and blessings emanating from the Mujaddid.

Irshad Alam

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Dedication

I am dedicating this book to my parents who have nurtured me with love and care. Abba! Amma! I love you!

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Message from My Su ShaykhIm delighted to hear of the publication of the book Faith Practice Piety that contains annotated translations from the Maktubat-i Imam-i Rabbani. Irshad has been diligently learning the Maktubat and the su path of the Mujaddidi-Naqshbandi tariqa under my guidance for the last twenty years. I have also granted Irshad a permission or ijaza to teach this tariqa as my deputy. May Allah grant him success in transmitting both the verbal message and the spiritual transmission of this exalted tariqa. Amin!

Muhammad Mamunur Rashid Kompong Sam, Cambodia

About My Su ShaykhMy su guide Muhammad Mamunur Rashid is a living saint who is a teacher of the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi su tariqa and the Grandshaykh or head of its Pure Mujaddidi branch. Originally from Bangladesh, he has relocated to Cambodia following divine inspiration. He is now absorbed in his mission to spread Universal Su Islam to Indo-China, China, Europe and the rest of the world.

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CONTENTS

Reviews Acknowledgments Dedication Message from My Su Shaykh About My Su Shaykh Contents . . . . . 1

i iii iv v v 1 7 7 11 14 15 15 17 17 18 20 20 22 22 24 271

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PREFACES Verication of the Translation . . . . . . Foreword by the Translator . . . . . . . Conrming the Accuracy: . . . . . Suggestions on the Annotations: . . A Note on Technical Terms and Translation LIFE OF THE MUJADDID Birth and Family . . . . . . . . . Prophecies on the Mujaddid. . . . . First Stage in Education . . . . . . Life in Agra . . . . . . . . . . . Return to Sirhind . . . . . . . . . Initial Su Training . . . . . . . . Khwaja Baqibillahs Mission to India . The Meeting with Khwaja Baqibillah .

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CONTENTS

The Exalted Ranks of the Great Mujaddid The Birth of the Mujaddidi tariqa . . . The Parting from This World . . . . . Writings . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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29 32 39 40

I 3 Preamble: Ode to Khwaja Baqibillah Su Technical Terms . . . . . . . . Insertion of the End in the Beginning . . Monist Ontologies . . . . . . . . . Reviewing the Monist Ontologies . . . Naqshbandi Science is Sublime . . . .

43 45 47 51 56 57 61

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II 4 The Creed FaithThe Sunni Creed . . . . . . . . Existence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Review of Basic Concepts in Ontology . Uniqueness . . . . . . . . . . . . . Knowledge: The ChronoEpistemology . . Speech and Time . . . . . . . . . . . The Act and Time . . . . . . . . . . Incomparability . . . . . . . . . . . Similarity is Merely Allegorical . . . . . Allegorical Verses may Not Be Interpreted . Rejection of Unicationism . . . . . . . Changelessness . . . . . . . . . . . Self-Sufcientness . . . . . . . . . . Perfection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Maturudi School . . . . . . . . . Eternalness and Beginninglessness . . . .

67 69 69 70 74 77 79 95 99 103 107 109 111 113 115 117 122 123

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All-Powerfulness and the philosophers . . . Taqlid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ibn Arabi and Wahdat-i Wujud . . . . . . Bringing-into-Existence . . . . . . . . . Worldly Occasions and Their Effectivities . . God Desires and Creates Both Good and Evil. Eternal Bliss and Damnation . . . . . . . The Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dispatch of the Prophets is Mercy . . . . . Intellects and Revelation . . . . . . . . . Prescriptions of the Sharia Are Blessings . . Revelation is True . . . . . . . . . . . Punishment in the Grave . . . . . . . . . God May Judge or He May Forgive . . . . The Day of Resurrection . . . . . . . . . The Reckoning, the Scale, the Bridge . . . . Paradise and Hell Are Eternal . . . . . . . Angels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Ulama is More Correct . . . . . . . Faith and Holding Enmity . . . . . . . . Shias Wrongly Defame the Companions. . . Gods Personal Enmity with Faithlessness . The Faithless Will Not Receive Mercy . . . All the Faithful Will Be Saved. . . . . . . Increase or Decrease of Faith . . . . . . . The Greatness of Imam Abu Hanifa . . . . Miracles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Well-instructed Caliphs: Superiorities . . . . The Companions: Their Disputes . . . . .

124 132 135 139 139 145 150 154 157 160 166 169 170 171 172 174 175 179 181 183 184 187 187 190 197 201 206 207 215

III 5 Practice Practice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

219 221 221

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CONTENTS

Ablution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Comments: The Purpose of Susm . . . . .

222 222 226

IV 6 Piety: The Purpose of the Tariqa The Purpose of Susm . . . . . . . Naqshbandi tariqa Clings to the Sunna Loud Zikr . . . . . . . . . . . . Songs, Dances, Ecstasies, Raptures . . Singing: Advice to his Pirs Sons . . Mawluds . . . . . . . . . . . . Inventing New Practices in the tariqa .

231 233 233 236 237 241 248 249 251

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V 7 Rules of the Tariqa Mujaddid Learns the Naqshbandi Tariqa . . Naqshbandi Tariqa Is the Best . . . . . . How to Do Naqshbandi Zikr . . . . . . Loud Zikr Is Forbidden . . . . . . . . Loud Zikr Violates the Sunna . . .