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Naqshbandi (an-Naqshbandiyyah, Nakşibendi, Naksibendi, Naksbandi) is one of the major Sufi spiritual orders (tariqa) of Sunni Islam. The Naqshbandi order is the only Sufi way that traces its direct spiritual lineage and chain (silsilah) to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, through Abu Bakr, the first caliph and Muhammad's companion. This lineage also indirectly connects to Ali, Muhammad's cousin, son-in-law and the Fourth Caliph, via Jafar as-Sadiq. In contrast, most other Sufi paths trace their lineage through Ali.
The transmission of spiritual lineage or chain is considered to be directly from one Sheikh to another, at or after the time of death or burial. It is not tied to a country, family or political appointment, but is a direct heart to heart transmission. It is also considered that the appointed Sheikh will be in some communication with past Sheikhs. At any one time, there will of course be many other Sheikhs, who will all naturally owe their bay'ah "spiritual allegiance" to the current master of the silsilah.
The Naqshbandi order owes many insights to Abu Ya'qub Yusuf al-Hamadani and Abd al-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani, the latter of whom is regarded as the organizer of the practices and is responsible for placing stress upon the purely silent dhikr. It was later associated with Muhammad Baha ad-din an-Naqshabandi, hence the name of the order. The name can be interpreted as "engraver (of the heart)", "pattern maker", "reformer of patterns", "image maker", or "related to the image maker". The way is sometimes referred to as "the sublime tariqa" and "the way of the golden chain."
The path's name has changed over the years. Referring to Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, it was originally called "as-Siddiqiyya"; between the time of Bayazid al-Bistami and Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani "at-Tayfuriyya"; from the time of 'Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani to Shah Naqshband the "Khwajagan" or "Hodja"; from the time of Shah Naqshband and on "an-Naqshbandiyya".
Afterwards, a branch or sub-order name was added. From 'Ubeydullah Ahrar to Imam Rabbani, the way was called "Naqshbandiyya-Ahrariyya"; from Imam Rabbani to Shamsuddin Mazhar "Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddadiyya"; from Shamsuddin Mazhar to Mawlana Khalid al-Baghdadi "Naqshbandiyya-Mazhariyya"; from Mawlana Khalid onwards "Naqshbandiyya-Khalidiyya" and so on. For example, the way connected to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim today is referred to as "Naqshbandi-Haqqani."
Criteria of a Sufi Naqshbandi Sheikh 
The following would always apply to genuine Sufi Naqshbandi teachers or Sheikhs:
- They comply with Sharia
- They must be an Aalim. There can be no Tasawwuf without Ilm.
- They regularly acknowledge the silsilah to which they give allegiance.
- They openly and regularly defer to the current leader of the silsilah.
- Bay'ah is given to the leader of the silsilah, not the local teacher or Sheikh.
- They accept interaction with other murids of the order.
- They do not accept Ijazah from dead persons, or in dreams, or through special spiritual experience (rawhani). There are exceptions to this rule according to the Uwaisi concept of transmission where someone who lived before can train and transmit knowledge to someone who came later.
- They only accept written Ijazah in the presence of witnesses.
Spiritual Lineage of the Tariqa 
In Sufism, as in any serious Islamic discipline such as jurisprudence fiqh, Quranic recital tajwid, and hadith, a disciple must have a master or ‘sheikh’ from whom to take the knowledge, one who has himself taken it from a master, and so on, in a continuous chain of masters back to Muhammad. In Sufi tradition, this means not only that the present sheikh has met and taken the way from a master, but that the master during his lifetime has explicitly and verifiably invested the disciple — whether in writing or in front of a number of witnesses — to teach the spiritual path as a fully authorized master (murshid ma’dhun) to succeeding generations of disciples.
Such transmission silsila from an unbroken line of masters is one criterion that distinguishes a true or ‘connected’ Sufi path (tariqa muttasila), from an inauthentic or ‘dissevered’ path, (tariqa munqati‘a). The leader of a dissevered path may claim to be a sheikh on the basis of an authorization given by a master in private or other unverifiable circumstance, or by a figure already passed from this world, such as one of the righteous person or Muhammad, or in a dream, or so on. These practices only “warm the heart” (yusta’nasu biha) but none meets Sufism’s condition that a sheikh must have a clear authorization connecting him with Muhammad, one that is verified by others than himself. Many lies are told by people, and without publicly verifiable authorizations, the tariqa would be compromised by them.
11 principal teachings 
The first eight were formulated by Ghujdawani, and the last three were added by Baha ad- din.
- Remembrance (Yad kard): Always orally and mentally repeating the dhikr.
- Restraint (Baz gasht): Engaging in the heart repetition of the phrase "Al-kalimat at-tayyiba."
- Watchfulness (Nigah dasht): Being conscientious over wandering thoughts while repeating the phrase "Al-kalimat at-tayyiba."
- Recollection (Yad dasht): Concentration upon the Divine presence in a condition of dhawq, foretaste, intuitive anticipation or perceptiveness, not using external aids.
- Awareness while breathing (Hosh dar dam): Controlling one's breathing by not exhaling or inhaling in the forgetfullness of the Divine.
- Journeying in one's homeland (Safar dar watan): An internal journey that moves the person from having blameworthy to praiseworthy properties. This is also referred to as the vision or revelation of the hidden side of the shahada.
- Watching one's step (Nazar bar qadam): Do not be distracted from purpose of the ultimate journey.
- Solitude in a crowd (Khalwat dar anjuman): Although journey is outwardly in this world, it is inwardly with God.
- Temporal pause (Wuquf-I zamani): Keeping account of how one spends his or her time. If time is spent rightfully give thanks and time is spent incorrectly ask for forgiveness.
- Numerical pause (Wuquf-I adadi): Checking that the heart-dhikr has been repeated the requisite number of times, taking into account one's wandering thoughts.
- Heart pause (Wuquf-I qalbi): Forming a mental picture of one's heart with the name of God engraved to emphasize that the heart has no consciousness or goal other than God.
Types of concentration 
Muraqaba is known as spiritual communion. In this practice one tries to unveil the mystery of life by losing oneself in it. One imagines his heartbeats calling out the name of the almighty. Its highly believed and is true that our heart calls out for Allah with every beat. But its our hearts which are draped by sins and so the heartbeat is heard as dhak dhak and not Allah Allah. Muraqaba is done by sitting in a lonely place with eyes closed and maintaining a calm position. Imagining your exterior eyes closed, and interior eyes opened. ( zahiri aankhen band krke batini aankhain kholiye) And imagine your heart calling out for Allah, try to hear the word 'Allah' in each and every heartbeat.
Tawajjuh is a formation from wajh (face) and means confrontation. It is employed in relation to the act of facing the qibla during ritual prayer. The direction of the qibla is the murshid who is the gateway to God. Often the sheikh is made the qibla. The worshipper cleanses his clouded heart so that is pure enough that his God may be reflected in it.
Subtle substances 
The 7 substances of ‘Ala al-Dawla were employed by the Kubrawi school of Sufism. They were used to aid in meditation and dhikr. The substances were linked to a part of the body, a prophet, and a color. The Naqshbandi school created a scheme employing 6 of those substances and linking them to certain subtle energy centers on the body. The qalb (heart) is located two fingers below the left breast and its color is red. The ruh (spirit) is located two fingers below the right breast and its color is white. The nafs (soul) is beneath the navel and its color is yellow. The sirr (conscience) is at the center of the breast with the color green. The khafi (mystery) is above the eyebrow with the color blue. The akhafa (arcanum) is at the top of the brain and its color is black.
Spreading of the Order 
Europe, North America, South America, Middle East, Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia 
The Naqshabandi Haqanni Sufi order is the most flourishing Naqshabandi order counting millions of followers. The leader of this order is Sultan ul-Awliya Moulana Sheikh Nazim al Qubrusi, who lives in Northern Cyprus at present. This is undoubtedly the most active of all Naqshbandi orders with followers in every corner of the World. There are Murids (followers) in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and almost all of Europe, United States of America, Middle East, in Africa, in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, in Latin America, etc. According to some estimates this Sufi Order has over Sixty Million Mureeds. In almost every country in the world there are centres of this Sufi Order. This order also has the largest Internet Presence. See http://sheiknazim.ws, http://naqshbandi.org, which are two of hundreds of sites of this order. There are also live transmissions made by Sultan ul Awliya Moulana Sheikh Nazim, the world leader of the most distinguished Naqshabandi Tariqa, which is broadcast all over the world by both http://Sufilive.com and http://www.saltanat.org.
Ma Laichi brought the Naqshbandi order to China, creating the Khufiyya Hua Si Sufi menhuan. Ma Mingxin, also brought the Naqshbandi order, creating the Jahriyya menhuan. These two menhuan were rivals, and fought against each other. These Menhuan played major roles in the Dungan revolt, and Dungan Revolt (1895).
Some of the Chinese Muslim Generals of the Ma Clique belonged to Naqshbandi Sufi menhuan. Prominent Generals included Ma Zhan'ao and Ma Anliang of the Khufiyya Naqshbandi menhuan. Ma Shaowu, and Ma Yuanzhang were other prominent leaders from the Jahriyya Naqshbandi menhuan.
Today you may find many Murids of the Naqshbandi- Haqqani order in China.
During the middle of the 19th century Egypt was inhabited and controlled by Naqshbandis. A major Naqshbandi takiya was constructed in 1851 by Abbas I, who did this as a favor to Naqshbandi sheikh Ahmad Ashiq. Ahmad Ashiq headed the takiya till his death in 1883. Ahmad Ashiq's was a practicer of the Diya'iyya branch of the Khalidiyya. In 1876 sheikh Juda Ibrahim amended the original Diya’iyya, which became known as al-Judiyya, and gained a following in al-Sharqiyya province in the eastern Nile Delta.
During the last two decades of the 19th century two other versions of Naqshbandiyya spread in Egypt. One of these was introduced by a Sudanese, alSharif Isma'il al-Sinnari. Al-Sinnari had been initiated into the Khalidiyya and Mujaddidiyya by various sheikhs during his time in Mecca and Medina. Initially, he tried to obtain a following in Cairo but was not able to, therefore he resorted going to Sudan. It is from there that the order spread into Upper Egypt from 1870 onward under Musa Mu’awwad, who was al-Sinnari's successor. Muhaamad al-Laythi, son of al-Sinnari, was the successor after Mu’awwad's death.
The Judiyya and the Khalidiyya branches spread in the last decades of the 19th century and continued to grow and are still active today. Khalidiyya of Muhammad Amin al-Kurdi is headed by his son Najm a-Din. The Judiyya split into three main branches:one led by the founder's son Isa, another led by Iliwa Atiyya in Cairo, and another led by Judah Muhammad Abu’l-Yazid al-Hahdi in Tanta.
Unfortunately, none of the early takiyas survived far into the 20th century. The longest living group of takiya based Naqshbandis lived in the takiya of sheikh Ahmad Ashiq, which closed in 1954. This is when all the takiyas in Egypt were closed and the awqaf supporting these establishments were taken over by the Ministry of Awqaf. The buildings were either assigned a different function or demolished as part of urban renovation programs.
Syria and Palestine 
The Naqshbandiyya was introduced into Syria at the end of the 17th century by Murad Ali al-Bukhari, who was initiated in India. Later, he established himself in Damascus, but traveled throughout Arabia. His branch became known as the Muradiyya. After his death in 1720, his descendents formed the Muradi family of scholars and sheikhs who continued to head the Muradiyya. In 1820 and onward, Khalid Shahrazuri rose as the prominent Naqshbandi leader in the Ottoman world. After the death of Khalid in 1827, his takiya became known as the Khalidiyya, which continued to spread for at least two decades. Later a strife between Khalid's khalifas led to disruption of the takiya, causing it to divide.
The only Naqshbandi branch to have survived till recently is the one based in the zawiya al-Uzbakiyya in Jerusalem. The number of members of this branch increased at the end of the 19th century. When political leader Musa Bukhar died in 1973, the pre-Mujaddidi line of the Naqshbandiyya in Greater Syria came to an end. In Syria and Lebanon, the leaders of every active Naqshbandiyya group has a silsila going back to sheikh Khalid of the Khalidiyya. The Khalidiyya is a Naqshbandi order found in Syria and Lebanon having continued from the days of Khalid. This branch has also retained the original Naqshbandiyya way. The Farmadiyya branch, which practices silent and vocal dhikr, is another still present in Lebanon and is named after Ali-Farmadi.
We shall speak about the Great Grandsheikh Abdullah Dagestani,(Haqqani-Naqshbandi order) and quote a small passage from his Biography written by Sheikh Hisham Kabbani :-
"Sheikh Abdullah moved to Homs, where he visited the mosque and tomb of the Companion of the Prophet , Khalid ibn al-Walid. He stayed briefly in Homs. He moved to Damascus, in the Midan District, near the tomb of Sa`d ad-Din Jibawi, a saint from the family of the Prophet . There he established the first zawiya for the branch of the Naqshbandi Order which had gone to Daghestan. With him the Golden Chain of the Naqshbandi Order which had gone from Damascus to India, Baghdad, and Daghestan, now returned to Damascus.
His two daughters were married, Rabiha had four children, three girls and one boy. Madiha was married to Shaykh Tawfiq al-Hibri, one of the great Islamic scholars of Lebanon.
Soon people began to crowd into his zawiya. They arrived there from all over the city: Sufis, government people, businessmen, and common people. Murids were coming every day to sit at the door of his khaniqah. Daily they served food to hundreds, many of whom also slept there.
Then he received a spiritual order to move to the Mountain of Qasyun. It is the highest point in Damascus, from whose vantage the entire city can be viewed. With the help of his two senior murids, Shaykh Muhammad Nazim `Adil and Shaykh Husayn `Ali, he built a house. This house and the mosque next to it still stand, and the mosque is the site of his maqam (tomb). He saw in a vision, while he was building the mosque, that the Prophet , with Shah Naqshband and Sayyidina Ahmad al-Faruqi, came and put posts to mark the shape and location of the walls of the mosque. As soon as the vision ended, the markers were visible, and everyone present saw them. At that mosque, over the years, hundreds of thousands of visitors were received: for healing, for prayers, for training, for all kinds of external and internal knowledge."
It was in Damascus, Syria, that Grandsheikh Abdullah Dagestani, preached from, and also died. His blessed tomb is to be found in Damascus. It is estimated that a massive crowd of about 400,000 people attended his funeral ( see Sheikh Hisham kabbani's book on the Forty Grandsheikhs of the Naqshbandi Tariqa.) The Naqshbandi- Haqqani branch to which Sheikh Abdullah belongs is today lead by his successor Sultan ul awliya Moulana Sheikh Nazim and is very active in Syria.
Azerbaijan and Dagestan, Russia 
Naqshbandi silsilah beginning from Muhammad is passed in chain till Ismail Kurdumeri (who is No31 in chain). After Ismail Kurdumeri the chain has split in two as he had two Ma'zuns, i.e. Muhammad Salih Shirwani (No32) and Khas Muhammad Shirwani. From Khas Muhammad Shirwani the chain goes to Muhammad Yaraghi ad-Daghestani, from him to Jamaluddin Kumuki ad-Daghestani, who had three Ma'zuns, i.e. Mamadibir ar-Rochi ad-Daghestani, Imam Shamil ad-Daghestani (both had no Ma'zun), and `Abdurrahman as-Sughuri ad-Daghestani. According to Shuaib Afandi Bagini ad-Daghestani, `Abdurrahman as-Sughuri had two ma'zuns, i.e. Muhammad Haji `Obodi ad-Daghestani and Ilyas Tsudakhari ad-Daghestani (d1312 AH). Both had no ma'zuns, and thus the split chain coming from Khas Muhammad Shirwani has ended here. However, there were and still are many people including Sharafuddin ad-Daghestani, Abdullah Fa'iz ad-Daghestani and others claiming that they somehow received Naqshbandi permission in their dream, or by special spiritual experience (rawhani) etc. All these claims and questionable permissions are not recognized and rejected in Daghestan, as permission cannot be given by individuals who themselves had no permission, in dreams or by rawhani or without witnesses. There are strict requirements as to who gives the permission, how it is given and received. The chain from Muhammad Salih Shirwani (No32) on the other hand, is continuous and goes all the way to Mahmud Afandi, Hasan Hilmi Afandi and the rest of the Daghestani Ma'zuns.
South Asia 
The Naqshbandiyya order became an influential factor in Indo-Muslim life and for two centuries it was the principal spiritual order in India. Baqi Billah Berang (No 24 in the Naqshbandi Golden Chain) is credited for bringing the order to India. He was born in Kabul and brought up and educated in Kabul and Samarqand, where he came in contact with the Naqshbandiyya order through Hazrat Khawaja Amkangi. When he came to India,he tried to spread his knowledge about the order during the end of the 16th century, but died three years later.
Among his disciples were Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi (No 25 in the Naqshbandi Golden Chain) and Sheikh Abdul Haq of Dihli. After his death, his student, Sheikh Ahmad primarily took over. Sheikh Ahmad was born in 1561 and his father Makhdum Abdul Ahad was from a high sufi order. He completed his religious and secular studies at the age of 17. Later he became known as Mujaddad-i-Alf-i-Thani. It was through him that the order gained popularity within a short period of time.
Sheikh Ahmad broke away from earlier mystic traditions and propounded his theory of the unity of the phenomenal world. In particular, he spoke out against innovations introduced by sufis. For instance, he opposed Emperor Akbar's views on Hindu and Muslim marriages. He stated, "Muslims should follow their religion, and non-Muslims their ways, as the Qur'an enjoins 'for you yours and for me my religion'". Also he did not believe in keeping the state and ruler separate and worked hard to change the outlook of the ruling class. After his death, his work was continued by his sons and descendants.
During the 19th century two Naqshbandiyya saints made significant contributions to the silsila by restating some of its basic ideological postures. Shah Wali Allah played an important role in the religious sciences, particularly the hadith and translated the Qur'an into Persian. He also looked at a fresh interpretation of Islamic teachings in the light of the new issues. Furthermore, he played a significant role in the political developments of the period.
Today, in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Brunei etc., there are found many murids who follow the Haqqani-Naqshbandiya Sufi order. The King of Brunei and the Prince of Malaysia, Raja Asman are murids who follow this order. This order is extremely active in the countries mentioned.
Prediction about the Worldwide Spreading of the Naqshabandi Order 
Grandshaykh Abdullah Dagestani's Predictions - Quoted in his book about the Biographies of the Forty Grandsheikhs of the Naqshbandi Tariqa ( "The Naqshbandi Sufi Way History and Guidebook of the Saints of the Golden Chain") by Sheikh Hisham Kabbani:-
Grandshaykh Abdullah, before he died said in his will, "By the Order of the Prophet (s), I have trained and lifted up my successor, Nazim Effendi, and put him through many seclusions and trained him in severe training and I am assigning him to be my successor. I am seeing that in the future he will spread this Order through East and West. Allah will make all kinds of people, rich and poor, scholars and politicians, come to him, learn from him and take the Naqshbandi Order, at the end of the 20th Century and the beginning of the 21st Century. It will spread all over the world, such that not one continent will be devoid of its sweet scent."
"I see him establishing and founding huge headquarters in London through which he will spread this tariqat to Europe, the Far East, and America. He will spread sincerity, love, piety, harmony, and happiness among people, and all shall leave behind ugliness, terrorism, and politics. He will spread the knowledge of peace within the heart, the knowledge of peace within communities, the knowledge of peace between nations, in order that wars and struggles will be taken away from this world and peace will become the dominating factor. I am seeing young people running to him from everywhere, asking for his barakah and blessings. He will show them the way to keep their obligations in the Islamic tradition, to be moderate, to live in peace with everyone of every religion, to leave hatred and enmity. Religion is for Allah and Allah is the judge of His servants."
See also 
- Anna Zelkina, "Quest for God and Freedom: Sufi Responses to the Russian Advance in the North Caucasus", NYU Press (1 October 2000) . pg 77, excerpt from note 11: "There are some Naqshbandi branches which trace their silsila through Ali ibn Abi Taleb, see Algar, 1972, pp. 191-3; al-Khani, 1308. pg 6
- Kugle, Scott Alan (2007). Sufis & saints' bodies: Mysticism, Corporeality and Sacred Power in Islam. University of North Carolina Press. p. 143. ISBN 0-8078-5789-0. See Google book search.
- Kabbani, Muhammad Hisham (2004). Classical Islam and the Naqshbandi Sufi Tradition. Islamic Supreme Council of America. p. 557. ISBN 1-930409-23-0.
- Trimingham, J. Spencer. "The Chief Tariqa Lines." The Sufi Orders in Islam,. Oxford: Clarendon, 1971. Print
- Selçuk Eraydın, Tasavvuf ve Tarikatlar, p. 434
- Ernst, Carl W. "Names of God, Meditation, and Mystical Experience." The Shambhala Guide to Sufism. Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala, 1997. 107. Print.
- Jong, Frederick De. Sufi Orders in Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Egypt and the Middle East: Collected Studies. Istanbul: Isis, 2000. Print.
- Sharafudin Daghestani meeting with Scholars in Istanbul
- Tariqas in Dagestan
- Haq, Muhammad M. Some Aspects of the Principle Sufi Orders in India. Bangladesh: Islamic Foundation, 1985. Print.
- Algar, Hamid; Algar, Hamid; Nizami, K.A. "Naḳshbandiyya." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2010. Brill Online. Augustana. 15 April 2010 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_COM-0843>
- Algar, Hamid (1998). Sufism: Principles and Practice. Islamic Publications International. ISBN 1-889999-02-4.
- Bennett, John G. (1995). The Masters of Wisdom. Bennett Books. ISBN 1-881408-01-9.
- Clayer, Nathalie, Muslim Brotherhood Networks, European History Online, Mainz: Institute of European History, 2011, retrieved: 23 May 2011.
- Itzchak Weismann (2007). The Naqshbandiyya: Orthodoxy and Activism in a Worldwide Sufi Tradition. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-32243-X.
- Sheikh Hisham Kabbani (1995). The Naqshbandi Sufi Way History and Guidebook of the Saints of the Golden Chain. [kaza publications inc].
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