Skip to content
Home » A Simple Guide to Sufism pdf download

A Simple Guide to Sufism pdf download

  • Book Title:
 A Simple Guide To Sufism
  • Book Author:
Farida Khanam
  • Total Pages
  • Book Views:


  • Click for the  
PDF Direct Download Link
  • Get HardCover  
Click for Hard Copy from Amazon

A Simple Guide to Sufism 

A Simple Guide to Sufism 

Book Contents

  • Sufism                                     
  • Origin and Historical Development of History                                                            
  • Gradual Evolution of Tasawwuf                      
  • Chishti Order-                                                 
  • Chishti Order-                                                 
  • Chishti Order-                                                 
  • Qadiri Order                                                      
  • Suhrawardi Order                                             
  • Naqshbandi Order-                                        
  • Naqshbandi Order-                                        
  • Naqshbandi Order-                                        
  • Firdausi Order                                                  
  • The Sufi Concept of Meditation

Suhrawardi Order

THE SUHRAWARDI ORDER was founded by Shaykh Abu al Najib Suhrawardi (1097 1168), the uncle and spiritual guide of Shaykh Shihabuddin Suhrawardi, a contemporary of Abdul Qadir Jilani, celebrated author of Awariful Maarif. order was established on the subcontinent by Shaykh Bahauddin at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Shaykh Bahauddin’s grandfather, Shaykh Kamaluddin Ali Shah, had migrated from Makkah to Khwarazm in Central Asia.

 His grandparents came to India and settled there permanently. Bahauddin, a grandson of Abdul Qadir Jilani (1077-1165), was born in 1182. His father died when he was only 12 years old.

He received his early education in the town. After memorizing the Quran, he went to Khurasan for further studies and spent several years there. He later left for Bukhara.

Here, he benefited from the society of renowned religious scholars and Sufi Shaykhs. Besides completing the course of traditional science from Bukhara, he went to Makkah to perform Hajj.

Then he went to Madinah where he stayed for five years, studing Hadith with a distinguished Muhaddith, Shaykh Kamaluddin Muhammad Yamani. He received a sanad a formal authorization from Shaykh Yamani to teach Hadith. From there, he went to Jerusalem to pay visits to the ancient prophets who are buried there.

 He subsequently visited Baghdad, where he joined the circle of disciples of Shaykh Shihabuddin Suhrawardi, who initiated him into his order and made him his Khalifa on his completion of the course of religious training.

Shaykh Bahauddin was already so receptive to spiritual teachings that he took a mere 17 days to grasp the entire course.

 He had Khilafat conferred upon him within such a short period that the other disciples felt jealous, for they had not been able to achieve this even after several years of training under the Shaykh.

When the Shaykh learnt of this complaint, he told them that Bahauddin brought dry wood which caught fire immediately, whereas they were like green wood which takes time to catch fire.

Shaykh Bahauddin was directed by his Shaykh to return to the subcontinent and settle in Multan to spread this message he had received from him.

There was a conflict between the Ulama and the Sufis, so Shaykh Bahauddin was also targeted by Maulana Qutbuddin Kashani.

But he could not place obstacles in his path since the Maulana (Kashani) was supported by Naseeruddin Qabacha.

He held the Maulana in great esteem, even building a madrasa for him where he used to deliver lectures.

 The Maulana had no faith in the Sufis so a conflict arose between the two leading personalities. The Maulana even wanted Shaykh Bahauddin to go to the madrasa for morning prayers.

Finally, the Shaykh surrendered, feeling that the Maulana could not do anything to check his popularity for Shaykh Bahauddin had a fine reputation as a scholar, and people attached great importance to his scholarship.

 Even people from far-off places like Iran and Khurasan came to him in large numbers. The Shaykh built a large Khanqah containing granaries.

Here eminent people, men of religion, scholars, wealthy merchants and intellectuals came to meet him. Meetings took place in which spiritual and theological problems were all discussed.

The Shaykh took an interest in political matters, so he invited Sultan Shamshuddin Iltutmish to conquer Multan and add it to the Delhi Sultanate.

The Qazi of Multan also joined the Shaykh in this invitation. Both letters fell into the hands of Qabacha. He had the Qazi executed and summoned the Shaykh to his palace.

The Shaykh very boldly went to him and sat beside him. Then Qabacha gave him the letter and asked him for an explanation.

The Shaykh replied that he had written that letter as he had been divinely inspired and said that Qabacha could take any action, although he had no independent authority to do so.

Qabacha was perplexed. Then he ordered food for the Shaykh. Qabacha had ordered for the food for he know that the Shaykh would refuse to have it, for he did not eat anywhere except in his Khanqah.

But the Shaykh did eat the food and thus Qabacha’s anger subsided.

After Iltutmish succeeded in annexing Multan and Sindh in 1228, relations improved, and he gave Shaykh Bahauddin Zakariya the title of Shaykhul Islam.

This was a title conferred on religious dignitaries as an honour. They were also given stipends and lands.

They were not obliged to go to the court regularly but they were held to various commitments by the ruler. The Shaykh received additional finance for his Khanqah, but he did not take an active interest in political matters.

In April-May 1247, the Mongol, Sul Nuyin besieged the Multan fort, and his services were engaged to negotiate peace. Shaykh Bahauddin had good relations with the Chishti Sufis like Khawaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki and Baba Farid.

Shaykh Bahauddin laid great stress on performing namaz and said that all blessings were the result of performing obligatory prayers.

To him, omitting to say obligatory prayers was akin to spiritual death. Zikr and supererogatory prayers were assigned a secondary place in his Sufi discipline.

He himself did not keep continuous fasts and had normal food. Sometimes, he also indulged in sama like the Chishti Sufis. Shaykh Shahabuddin felt that meditation and contemplation meant freeing the heart from everything except thoughts of God.

One’s heart and mind should be pre-occupied with constant recitation of zikr. He died on 21st Dec. 1262.

He was the most popular Sufi in and around Multan, and because he did not stay away from political issues, the rulers and nobles also turned to him for his blessings and prayers.

 Moreover, because he was famous for his piety and God- fearing life, he was able to negotiate successfully with the Mongol invaders.

One important feature of his religious order was that he was not against possessing wealth earned by lawful means.

After his needs, the needs of his family and the Khanqah, what was left out of the money was used for humanitarian purposes, so that the public benefited.

He was criticized for his views on the possession of wealth and property and for his close association with Muslim rulers.

But, to him, it was not against Islamic teachings to have wealth earned by honest means. Property and wealth was not declared unlawful by Islam in the Shariah.

To him what was condemnable was to neglect the higher spiritual and moral values because of involvement in worldly affairs. So long as material things could be kept far from one’s heart, there was no harm in possessing them.

Another point was that these worldly resources had to be spent on righteous purposes. Shaykh Bahauddin was criticised for his relations with the rulers.

 But he had good relations only with good rulers. Sultan Iltutmish was an honest and capable monarch, so the Shayk supported him.

 And when the Mongols raided the country, he felt it was his duty to extend his full support to establishing the newly formed Delhi.

Mongol raids had become a threat to the peace of even such important cities as Multan and Lahore. Shaykh Bahauddin negotiated sincerely with the Mongol invaders.

He worked very hard and in about half a century, the Suhrawardi order was established on the subcontinent and it became one of the leading Sufi orders.

By dint of his great struggle, he managed to train a number of Khalifahs who could ramify his mission after him.

Sayyed Nuruddin Mubarak Ghaznavi was an important Khalifa of Shaykh Shahabuddin. The details of his early life are not well known.

 But when he came to Delhi, he had already earned a reputation and that is why he was appointed Shaykhul Islam by Iltutmish.

He was called Mir-e-Dehli (Lord of Delhi) by the people. According to Ziauddin Barni, he often visited the Sultan and he did not hesitate to criticize non-Islamic court customs.

He believed that Islam could be protected only when its principles were followed by the rulers, and that a ruler who followed these principles would be raised with prophets and saints on the Day of Judgement.

The rulers, he felt, should follow the Islamic customs and see that the commands of the Shariah were observed. Sins, debauchery and adultery should not be tolerated. Offenders should be ruthlessly punished.

The pious should be entrusted with the duty to enforce the Shariah and the officers appointed to carry out this task should be well-versed in both the Shariah and the Tariqa. He was against philosophers.

He felt that their teachings should be prohibited in Islamic territories. He believed that justice should be rigorously dispensed and that tyrants should be overthrown. He seems to have been an extremist who could not tolerate anything but orthodox Islam.

He even went to the extent of saying that those rulers who did not follow these four principles risked damnation in the Hereafter, and that the prayer and fasting alone was not going to benefit them. A disciple of Shaykh Shahabuddin Suhrawardi, he performed Hajj 12 times.

He was in Delhi during the reign of Sultan Iltutmish, during which he was offered the post of Sadrus Sudur, which he accepted. But after two years, he resigned and devoted the rest of his life to spiritual exercises. A less well-known Khalifa was Shaykh Ziauddin Rumi.

It was he who initiated Sultan Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah Khalji as a disciple and Khalifah.

Qazi Hamiduddin Nagauri was the most famous Khalifah of Shaykh Shahabuddin Suhrawardi. His father was Ataullah Mahmood and his first name was Muhammad. The family migrated from Bukhara to Delhi at some point before 1200.

Shaykh Hamid was appointed the Qazi of Nagaur and served in this position for 3 years.

He did not find this service satisfying to his inner nature.

So he left Delhi for Baghdad. It was here that he met Shaykh Shihabuddin Suhrawardi and became his disciple. It was here that he also met Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, who later became a renowned Sufi of the Chishti order. Hamididdin and Qutbuddin became friends. Under the influence of Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, Hamiduddin started taking an interest in sama.

When he came to Delhi, he met with stiff opposition from the Ulama on the issue of sama. But Hamiduddin’s intelligence, coupled with his knowledge of the Islamic sciences, left the Ulama speechless.

They could do him no harm. After some time, Qazi Hamiddin left for Madinah, where he stayed for some time then he went to Madinah where he stayed longer, for a period of about three years. From Madinah, he went to a number of towns, meeting different Sufis on the way.

Then he reached Delhi. By this time, Khwaja Qubuddin Bakhtiar had already come to Delhi.

Qazi Hamiduddin was a writer.

He has a number of works to his credit. Lawaih (Flashes of Light) was a very important Sufi textbook, which is no longer available. Even Baba Farid used to teach these books to his disciples.

 Qazi Hamiduddin explains the relationship between the lover and the beloved, saying that they appear to be two separate identities, but in fact they are identical.

What a Sufi has to do is annihilate his ego. The more he succeeded in annihilating, the better would he be able to achieve his goal. He goes on to say that love is the source of everything that exists. That both the lover and beloved mirror each other.

In short, the essence of all existent beings is God. Tawah al Shumus describes in detail God’s names.

 To him God’s greatest name is Huwa or He and he says that Huwa or He indicates His eternal nature—holy and free from decline and fall, and then he explains Huwa by quoting from the Quran

(Chapter 112, entitled Al-Ahad (The Unity). Those letters of the Qazi addressed to Baba Farid have been preserved by him.

Shaykh Bahauddin disapproved of the Sufis seeking guidance from a number of different peers. He wanted them to surrender to one rather than many. He attached great importance to supererogatory prayers and zikr.

He did not fast continuously. He died in 1262 in Multan. His tomb became a centre of pilgrimage.

He was succeeded by his son, Shaykh Sadruddin Arif. He was Shaykh Bahauddin’s disciple and son-in-law.

His fame spread from Syria to Turkey through his disciples. Shaykh Sadruddin Arif had a number of distinguished disciples like the poet Amir Husain Husaini.

Shaykh Sadruddin Arif’s son and successor, Shaykh Ruknuddin Abul Fath, earned great renown. This was during the reign of Sultan Alauddin Khalji (1296- 1316) He continued to spread the spiritual message of his mentor during the reign of Sultan Mohd bin Tughlaq as well.

Shaykh Ruknuddin was a great admirer of Shaykh Nizamuddin Awliya. His fame spread far and wide.

Although his works are not available, certain of the conversations he had with other Sufis have been recorded by other authors. These show that he did not discourage the possession of wealth.

For he felt that as well as mystical enlightenment, wealth and scholarship were essential for the spiritual realization of the Sufis. Although the Chishtis did not agree with him on the issue of possessing wealth, they still had good relations with one another.

However, not all of the Suharwardi Sufis believed in the possession of wealth. A number of them led ascetic lives like that of Shaykh Usman Sayyah, a disciple of Shaykh Ruknuddin, who lived in Punjab. He went to perform Hajj pilgrimage without even carrying with him a water pot.

Amiruddin of Nagaur’s family had migrated from Bukhara to Delhi. He completed his education in Delhi and was appointed the Qazi of Nagaur.

He could not continue in service for more than three years, for it did not appeal to his heightened spiritual sensitivity, so he left for Baghdad where he became a disciple of Shaykh Shahabuddin. He travelled extensively, over almost all of western Asia, as the Sufis used to do.

And then he came to Delhi. He was a close friend of Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki and he participated in many sama sessions with him.

 The ulama opposed him on this issue. But because of his intelligence, logical explanations and his knowledge of the Islamic sciences, the ulama failed to defeat him.

One of the most important disciples of Shaykh Shahabuddin Suhrawardi was Shaykh Jalaluddin Tabrezi.

He established himself in Bengal where he was responsible for spreading Islam. He built his Khanqah at Deva Mahal in northern Bengal. Large numbers of Hindus and Buddhists converted to Islam under his influence.

His disciples were possessed of a missionary zeal and in Bengal, where the lower classes were being persecuted by the zamindars, they converted to Islam to find the equality and human brotherhood they had been denied for centuries.

But the Chishtis did not believe in mass-scale conversions.

Their efforts were chiefly directed at those who had already accepted Islam in order to turn them into practicing Muslims.

Mahdum Jahanian, Syed Jalaluddin Bukhari grandson of Shaykh Bahauddin Zakariya’s disciple. Sultan Mohd bin Tughlaq made him the head of the Khanqah of Sehwan. Sultan Mohammad bin Tughlaq controlled the appointments of the heads of the Sufi Khanqah to keep them under his influence.

Makhdum Jahanian also went to perform his Hajj and then he traveled to different parts of the Muslim world. Finally he settled down in Uchch during the reign of Sultan Feroz Tughlaq from clest cheff. Makhdum Jahanian would often come to Delhi.

He criticized Indian Muslims for having borrowed religious customs and ceremonies from their Hindu compatriots.

Being a great humanist, he even encouraged the Sufis to visit rulers and government officials in order to secure their help for needy people.

His son succeeded him and came to be known by the title of Qutb-e-Alam. Qutb- e-Alam and his disciples worked in Gujarat with great zeal and fervour. Under their leadership, the Suhrawardi order spread in Gujarat.

The Shaykh and his disciple, Shaykh Jamali, spread the Suhrawardi order in Delhi. Jamali died in 1536. He travelled extensively to spread his mission.

 He started his travels with the pilgrimage to Makkah and then, travelling to different places, he came to Herat where he met the celebrate Persian poet, Jami. He discussed various topics with him. Jamali was a poet, the author of several Persian masnavi (long narrative poems), in which he dealt with the subject of mystical states.

His works, Siyar al Arifin, a biography of the Gnostics has much information regarding the Chishtis and Suhrawardis in the 14th Century.

The Suhrawardi center was established in Kashmir as well.

Shaykh Abdul Haq was a disciple of Shaykh Sadruddin. According to Shaykh Sadruddin, the Sufis should not concentrate on anything other than God.

They should not even set heaven as their goal, for that would amount to a distraction from their constant remembrance of God.

He said that no breath should be exhaled or inhaled without zikr. For zikr was a divine light which alone could remove all darkness. Shaykh Sadruddin died in 1286.

Shaykh Bahauddin Zakariyya had a number of famous disciples. One was Hasan Afghan. The Shaykh was proud of him. He would often say that if God asked him what he had brought with him, he would present Hasan as a gift. Once Hasan Afghan went to a mosque to perform his namaz behind the Imam.

When the namaz was over, Hasan went up to the Imam and said to him: “You began the namaz and I followed you.

 In your thoughts you travelled from here to Delhi, did some shopping and then went to Khurasan and Multan and then back to the mosque. What sort of namaz is this?”

Another famous disciple of Shaykh Bahauddin Zakariyya was Shaykh

Fakhruddin Ibrahim. He was known as Iraqi.

This was his sobriquet. He had memorized the entire Quran and was able to recite it in a very melodious voice. He had also established a madrasa in Hamadan.

Shaykh Bahauddin was so satisfied with Iraqi’s spiritual attainments that he presented him with his own Khirqa to wear and later gave him his daughter in marriage. Shaykh Bahauddin appointed him his Khalifa. But the jealousy of other disciples did not let him live in peace, so he left for Multan in 1263.

Iraqi then travelled to Makkah to perform Hajj, and later went on to Asia Minor. It is recorded that he also attended lectures delivered by Shaykh Sadruddin on Fusus al Hikam by Ibn Arabi. He also composed the treatise titled the Lama’at (Flashes of Light).

It is an attempt to explain Ibn Arabi’s mystic philosophy in beautiful Persian prose.

His Khanqah was built by Moinuddin Parwana at Tuqat in Asia Minor. It became an important centre for Sufi musical gatherings. After Parwana’s death, the Shaykh left for Egypt.

Here, the Sultan became Iraqi’s disciple. From Egypt, he migrated to Syria. He was given a warm welcome in Damascus by both the Ulama and the Sufis. Iraqi died in November 1289 and was buried near the tomb of Ibn Arabi.

Shaykh Sadruddin Arif, Bahauddin Zakariyya’s son, had a scholar disciple, Amir Husain. He came to Delhi during the reign of Iltutmiah. One of Amir Husain’s works is Nuzhatul Arwah (Delight of Souls).

Amin Husain was born at Ghizr, a village in Ghur. He was properly educated. Then after receiving his education, he went to Multan and became Shaykh Sadruddin’s disciple. He stayed in Multan for many years, then he went to Herat. By this time, he had become very popular.

He wrote a number of works on Sufism. Nuzhatul Arwah describes the spiritual faith of pilgrimage.

It was written in mixed prose and verse. It became very popular as a Sufi text. It deals with knowledge, truth (maarifah), Sufism in general and the stages of the path of the salik.

He very passionately describes divine love. He believes that love is known only to true lovers. And that it is love which differentiates between a believer and an unbeliever.

 He believed that to lead an ascetic life what was required was complete obliteration of all thoughts relating to anything other than God, whether material or immaterial in nature.

Amir Husain took great interest in sama. He said that the ulama and the Sufis were the leaders of the community, because of their knowledge of the Shariah and Tariqa and that it was owing to their efforts that people received guidance.

To read more about the A Simple Guide To Sufism book Click the download button below to get it for free


Report broken link
Support this Website

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *