Khanqah: A place to drink from the goblet of Divine love with the hands of a spiritual guide
What if someone tells you that they want to become a surgeon. Simple! But what if they also tell you that they will learn themselves by reading at a library. They do not need an institute and they will definitely practice without supervision. Now that will baffle you. Many surprise the Sufis and Dervishes when they say they follow Islamic Sufism without a spiritual guide and do not wish to visit a khanqah either.
For those unfamiliar with both the terms, here is a quick definition:
A spiritual guide is the head of a Sufi order, and he guides on the path of spiritual realms and universe within a disciple. He also helps one overcome the tricks of the shrewd Satan.
Khanqah is a Sufi lodge where the above is accomplished through spiritual endeavours. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s Khanqahs are free to join. When they say no fee, it means that there are no strings attached. Science, art, sport or trade require a teacher and a place to master them through assignments, tests and practices. Similarly, one learns and practices Islamic Sufism at a khanqah.
1. What are the criteria to enrol at a Khanqah:
One walks in with sincerity of intentions and complete their spiritual training under the supervision of the spiritual guide. When they complete their spiritual journey, they not only know the ins and outs of Sufism but can also ‘transform’ others who wish to attain closeness to Allah.
2. What services are exactly performed at a Khanqah:
Khanqah is an inspiring place to be at, if you are interested in mysticism because initially, you want to talk about how boring your job is and how much you miss home, but gradually you will start enjoying the company of other Sufis and Dervishes who talk about mysteries and esoteric secrets. You will want to learn what they know and how they know it.
If one is living at a khanqah, then he should not deem others as his servants rather help in chores. It could be as simple as mopping the floor or cooking a meal. These tasks could get tech-savvy nowadays, at a khanqah, such as running social media accounts to share Sufi material, creating spiritual videos for others or even translating books or blogs about what you learned so far. All these chores, tasks or duties are to humble a person as a spiritual guide always gives one the task opposite to the self (nafs) to fight with it esoterically and perform it with utmost sincerity. That does not mean it is the opposite of the skill set one possesses.
According to Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen, every disciple has this skill like a gem hidden inside and many a time his professional field is opposite to it and many a time not. It is now the spiritual guide's task to polish that gem and make it shine with all its potential and glory.
Furthermore, we all are equal in khanqah. No one is superior but the spiritual guide who after manifold devotions has achieved piety – closeness to Allah and his beloved Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). He is the sun – the light and warmth around whom we planets revolve. His purpose has become to bestow the treasure Allah has given him to as many people as possible.
3. Modern Khanqahs
Khanqahs nowadays are different because with progress in time the activities of khanqahs do change.
If you see laptops at a khanqah, will that be cringe-worthy or awe-inspiring? And what if your spiritual master has a cell phone through which he keeps in touch with foreign or distant disciples? Moreover, what if there are cameras to click and record every moment of a spiritual guide for far- flung disciples that is uploaded on different social media platforms?
4. Goblet of Divine Love
If one is not mad in love then why claim to be a Divine lover! An ecstatic is not the one who tears away his clothes and does not abide by sharia. Rather, lover is the one whose thoughts and feelings have come to a single point through Sufi contemplation of Ism al-Azam. Hence, his thoughts do not wander rather explore.
He does not simply breathe but with each breath, the soul calls Hoo (ھُو), Hoo (ھُو), Hoo (ھُو). That is dhikr (invocation). It is not developed through a habit. Divine lovers have found at Khanqah Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen that even when they wake up in the middle of the night, their souls are reciting Hoo
(ھُو). This is an advanced stage.
Many try to learn this type of contemplation and invocation on their own without a spiritual guide. In the history of Sufism that has led one nowhere. Those Sufis who can see people’s inwards, much like how one can see through water, are those whose names are recorded in the chronicles of time. They all had pledged sincerely to spiritual guides in return for the alchemy of Allah’s recognition, closeness, union, vision and gnosis.
My spiritual guide, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen quotes in his book Sufism-The Soul of Islam:
No one has ever attained Sainthood or could attain gnosis and vision of Allah without the spiritual training of a perfect spiritual guide. Al-Ghazali became renowned after he left teaching religious lessons to experience mystical states under the spiritual guidance of Shaikh Fadl ibn Mohammad al- Farmadi. Rumi became legendary after coming in servitude of his spiritual teacher Shams of Tabriz. Iqbal became a famous Sufi poet after he received spiritual beneficence from Rumi. Briefly said no one has ever reached Allah in the history of Faqr and Sufism without a spiritual guide.
5. Come! doors are open.
Visit Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Khanqah to learn about modern practices of Islamic Sufism.
I will quote a few of the rules to practice.
- Recite the Quran and think over each verse.
- The People of the Cloak are like Noah’s ark and sacred Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) are like stars. Therefore, love for them is part of faith and is helpful in the path of Sufism. Those who do not love the People of the Cloak (Ahl al-Bayt) or have grudge against them are schismatic (kharijite).
Similarly, those who do not love the Companions or have a spite against them are dissenters (rafidi).
- People should love everyone around them and not hate anyone due to sin. Instead, they should hate the sin and not the person.
- Control anger because anger is a weapon of Satan. Anger produces dispute and quarrel and the quarrelsome person is intolerable. Thus, control anger in such situations.
There are many others. This is just a glimpse. Khanqah Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen is a Sufi lodge where rules are made for discipline.
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen visits khanqah and disciples benefit from his spiritual company. He even gives invocation (dhikr) without allegiance (bayah) but the last stage of invocation is given after bayah – the allegiance.
6. Nature of Man is changed:
- When allegiance (bayah) is pledged to Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen and one sits in his celestial company for spiritual blessings.
- Invocation and contemplation of Ism al-Azam are performed.
- Endeavours are made to please Allah. What are these endeavours (tasks)?
Tasks in Khanqah Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen are very simple. They are meant to please Allah. But how? Simply by spreading the message of peace via modern means and presenting the true picture of tolerant Islam that has been long distorted. We at Khanqah Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen come from different backgrounds and learn from one another modern means and assist one other.
A few of the departments of Khanqah Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen are:
- Website Wing (there are 18 websites)
- Social Media Wing (Message of Sufism is present on FB, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Quora, Tumblr, Reddit etc)
- Publication department (Sultan-ul-Faqr Publications) has published more than 100 books on Sufism that have been translated in various languages
- Sultan-ul-Faqr Digital Productions upload videos on YouTube, Dailymotion etc. as well as YouTube shorts, TikTok, Likee and Snack Videos.
There are many other departments like food and lodges, treasury etc.
7. Online pledge (bayah)
Those who can not travel have the opportunity of online bayah. Once the form is filled, that one wishes to take bayah, representatives call that person and answer all their queries to heart satisfaction only then actual bayah is performed. Ism al-Azam is mailed to that country. Books are available for purchase at:
Just in case if you are wondering what the name of our organization is, then it is Tehreek Dawat-e- Faqr which translates into:
Tehreek= movement (of)
Though Faqr’s literal meaning is poverty but that is dictionary meaning. Instead in Sufi circles, it means the path of Sufism that takes to Allah and his beloved Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
Our activities are transparent and we keep disciples updated. If you wish to join click on: