Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s Method of Guidance
In Ain-ul-Faqr Sultan Bahoo gave a reference of a Hadith:
اَلشَّیْخُ فِیْ قَوْمِہٖ کَنَبِیٍّ فِیْ اُمَّتِہ ۔
Meaning: A spiritual guide amidst his disciples is similar to a Prophet among his nation.
It means that the perfect and accomplished spiritual guide trains his disciples in the same manner as the sacred Companions were trained by the Holy Prophet.
It is another saying of the Holy Prophet:
Meaning: The last era of my umma shall receive guidance just like you are receiving it from me. (Muslim)
Method of Guidance of the Holy Prophet
What was the method of guidance of the Holy Prophet? Did he engage the sacred Companions in daily rounds of recitals? We can find its answer in the following verse of Quran:
ھُوَ الَّذِیْ بَعَثَ فِی الْاُمِّیّٖنَ رَسُوْلاً مِّنْھُمْ یَتْلُوْا عَلَیْھِمْ اٰیٰتِہٖ وَ یُزَکِّیْھِمْ وَ یُعَلِّمُھُمْ الْکِتَابَ وَ الْحِکْمَۃَ
Meaning: “It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses. And (Messenger) purifies them (with his perfect spiritual sight) and teaches them the Book and wisdom (the inspired knowledge)”. (62:2)
This verse proves that the Holy Prophet first used to educate his sacred Companions about the Quran. Then with his perfect spiritual sight, he purified their souls. So that the sanctified souls become capable of absorbing the Divine light of Quran. Purification of the inciting innerself (nafs), automatically cleanses the soul and reflects the sight of Reality clearly upon its mirror. This Divine sight is so tranquilizing that it makes his inward restless to want more. In fact, this restlessness is basically the beginning of Divine love for Allah. And only the sacred company of beloveds of Allah ignite this spark of love.
Different states of our Faith
Hanzala ibn Abi Amir recounts an encounter where Abu Bakr Siddiq approached him and inquired about his well-being. Abu Bakr asked, “Hanzala, how are you?” To this, he responded, “Hanzala has started to feel like a hypocrite.” Perplexed, Abu Bakr inquired, “What do you mean?” Hanzala then elaborated, “When we are in the compaany of Prophet Mohammad, he speaks of the rewards of heaven and the punishments of hell. It’s as if we are witnessing these scenes firsthand. Our faith is so strong at that moment that our thoughts are solely focused on Allah. It’s as though he has instilled a profound love for Allah in our hearts. However, once we leave the company of the Prophet, our attention wavers. Our thoughts drift towards our homes, families, and material possessions. During those times, the state of our hearts is not the same as it is when we are with the Prophet.” Upon hearing this, Abu Bakr acknowledged that he experienced similar sentiments.
How to Achieve the Perfect Faith?
Abu Bakr and Hanzala visited the Holy Prophet. During their meeting, Hanzala expressed, “O Prophet of Allah! Hanzala feels like a hypocrite.” Curious, the Holy Prophet asked, “Why do you say that?” Hanzala explained, “O Messenger of Allah! When I am in your company, my heart is in a different state. However, once I return to my daily tasks, that deep faith diminishes.” In response, the Holy Prophet said, “I swear by Allah, who has authority over my life. If your inner state remains constant, regardless of whether you’re with me or not, then the angels will greet you and bestow blessings on you. They will do so whether you’re resting or traveling. However, O Hanzala! This state is a rare blessing. It manifests upon you only when you are in my company or within my sight.”
Prophet’s Spiritual Attention Sanctified the Inward of the Companions
The beneficence of the all-powerful spiritual sight and company of the Holy Prophet eradicated the faults in the sacred Companions. Not only that but also it made them the reflection of his perfect personality. Once Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said to Umar ibn Khattab,
“None of you can have perfect faith unless you love me more than your own life, wealth and children”. (Muslim-44)
Upon hearing this, Umar replied, “Your Highness! I do not find such sentiment in my inward.” The Messenger gently placed his hand on Umar Farooq’s shoulder and inquired, “And now?” Umar Farooq within a fraction of second replied, “O Prophet! Now I feel that your presence holds more dearness to me than any other thing in the entire universe.” Indeed, this is how spiritual attention sanctifies the innerself and esoterically elevates the levels.
Who can sanctify our filthy souls after Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)?
After Holy Prophet, the Tabi’un (contemporaries of the Companions) achieved sanctification of soul from the company of the sacred Companions. Subsequently, the generation after them called Tabi al-Tabi’un got purgation from Tabi’un. This chain of spiritual beneficence continues uninterrupted to date. Now, their spiritual successors sanctify the souls of the seekers of Allah in the same manner.
Undoubtedly, the Prophethood of Allah’s Messenger will last till the Day of Judgement. Therefore, till then his spiritual successors as the scholars of truth, Mystics and Saints will be present in every age. Certainly, all these sacred personalities inherit knowledge, morals, piety, faith and spiritual powers from the Holy Prophet.
Al-Ghawth al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani said:
♦ Now the Holy Prophet is not physically present for you to follow. Therefore, follow the sacred men (i.e. perfect spiritual guides) who are his perfect followers and have always obeyed him steadfastly. Indeed, it is as if you followed the Holy Prophet and seeing them is like seeing the Holy Prophet. (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani, Section-14)
♦ The perfect Saint (spiritual guide) possesses the Sainthood of the Holy Prophet which is the spiritual part of his Prophethood. And the Holy Prophet himself grant it to that Saint as a Trust. (Sirr al-Asrar, Section 5)
Sanctification of Soul by the Perfect Spiritual Guide
Whoever sits in the company of the perfect and accomplished Saints with sincerity and pure intentions witnesses the illumination of their soul. This experience extends beyond mere enlightenment, as the accomplished Saint bestows blessings upon both the seeker’s physical and spiritual being. In fact, the Holy Prophet himself imparts his Divine light to the Saint, who subsequently infuses it into the seeker’s soul. Numerous instances stand as evidence of this phenomenon.
For instance, when the spiritual gaze of al-Ghawth al-Azam fell upon a group of bandits, each member of the group sought repentance, eventually ascending to the ranks of Sainthood. Similarly, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal comprehended the true essence only upon entering the court of Bishr al-Hafi. Abu Hanifa’s transformation from a scholar to a Saint occurred when he chose to accompany Bahlool (Wahab Ibn Amr). To put it succinctly, no one departs from the company of Saints without receiving valuable blessings. As said in a Hadith:
Meaning: They are the people by virtue of whom their associates will not remain unfortunate. (Muslim)
In today’s materialistic era, individuals lack the time for intensive mystical endeavors. The capacity to engage in daily recitals for liberation from sensual cravings is limited. It must be acknowledged that excessive pursuit of such practices can inadvertently bolster and sully the innerself (an-nafs) of humans. Consequently, rather than cleansing the soul, these efforts can foster a sense of arrogance. Then what is the best way to get rid of such filth and sanctify the soul?
Per Sultan Bahoo the best and easiest way to sanctify the soul is the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat.
Where to Achieve Ism-e-Allah Zaat?
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman is the Sarwari Qadri spiritual guide. Among all, he is the first one to grant the king of invocations Hoo ( ھُو ) Ism-e-Allah Zaat. Additionally, he grants this greatest name of Allah to all the seekers on the first day of oath of allegiance. He grants the invocation, contemplation and mashq murqoom-e-wajudia (practice of inscribing Allah’s name on body) of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. It then becomes easy for his disciple or the seeker of Allah to reach the exaltation of Faqr.
ذکر تصور اسم اللہ دا، سلطان العاشقین کولوں جیہڑا پائے
ھُو دے تصور وچ رہے ہمیشہ، ذاتی اسم او کمائے
مشقِ مرقوم وجودیہ دے نال‘ اپنے تن نوں او پاک کرائے
سلطان نجیب صادقاں عاشقاں نوں اللہ دے نال ملائے
Explanation: Those who are granted the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat by Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen remain engrossed in Hoo ( ھُو ). This is because they reach the Divine Essence. They purify their selves by doing mashq murqoom-e-wajudia (inscribing Allah’s name on body) of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. Indeed, Sultan Najib takes the sincere Divine Lovers and seekers of Allah to His proximity.
How to reach the destination of Faqr?
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman is practically the exegesis of these words of Sultan Bahoo:
♦ Their (the perfect spiritual guide’s) sight is the absolute Divine light of Oneness and the alchemy of honour. On whosoever he casts the reflection of their hidden Reality, his whole being transforms into the absolute Divine light. Moreover, they do not need to engage their disciples in the struggle of apparent daily recitals and mystic exercises. (Risala Roohi Sharif)
This is also the reality that only such a seeker reaches the highest levels of Faqr who truly seeks recognition of Allah Almighty. He wants nothing but His vision and eternal presence in the Mohammadan Assembly. Spiritual guide does not bless hypocrites and deceitful people. Also, seekers of the world and seekers of paradise (whose endeavours are for paradise) remain deprived of the aforementioned.
طالب بن کے عاجزی نال‘ سلطان العاشقین کول جیہڑا آ جاوے
سوہنے مرشد دا لڑ پھڑ کے‘ ازلی نصیبہ فقر او پا جاوے
جیہڑا تینوں بھل جاوے‘ شیطان مردود نوں او بھا جاوے
سلطان محمد نجیب الرحمن روپ اللہ دا اے‘ جو جانے فقرِ محمدی ؐ پا جاوے
Explanation: Those who seek Faqr with humility, under the leadership and guidance of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen surely reach their destination in Faqr. However, those who negate him entangle in the web of the cursed Satan. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman is the manifestation of the Divine Essence and all His attributes. The seeker who recognizes him accomplishes Faqr of the Holy Prophet.
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen is a Strict Follower of Sharia
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman rigorously adheres to sharia (Islamic law, also spelled sha’riah), leading his followers towards its principles while also guiding them to engage in the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. Additionally, he directs his disciples to maintain consistent prayers, observe fasting, recite the Islamic creed, and send blessings upon the Holy Prophet (Durood).
Historically, the Holy Prophet commenced his guidance to the esteemed Companions from the premises of al-Arqam, marking the inception of the first Islamic school or khanqah. He imparted to them the knowledge of the Quran and wisdom, guiding them through various trials and entrusting them with diverse responsibilities. Following their traversal of spiritual and physical challenges, the Holy Prophet illuminated the sacred Companions with spiritual enlightenment. Instead of the conventional forty days of secluded worship and repetitive recitals, his spiritual attention was instrumental in purifying their souls. In a parallel manner, in alignment with Prophet Mohammad’s example, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen offers guidance and instruction to his disciples.
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman has established khanqah, which is based on the concept of al-Suffah. This spiritual sanctuary welcomes individuals globally to connect with him, seeking his blessings and grace. Within this space, certain devotees engage in practical tasks such as upkeeping khanqah, cooking and serving food for disciples, composing books etc. Those seekers who, due to their family and business obligations, are unable to partake in physical duties contribute financially. This is their Jihad bil maal (endeavour with wealth). As Allah says in the Holy Quran,
“Never will you attain the good (reward) until you spend (in the way of Allah) from that which you love” (3:92).
Service in the Way of Allah
The seekers can contribute to any department of the organization created by Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman. These contributions are entirely aimed at being spent in the cause of Allah. Beyond the aforementioned responsibilities, educated seekers of Allah are entrusted with specific roles. Some are engaged in social media or write articles centered on spirituality and mysticism. Others translate works of spiritual guides from the Sarwari Qadri order, spanning Arabic, Persian, Punjabi, Urdu, and English. This serves as a means to disseminate the knowledge and understanding of Allah’s gnosis, and it stands as a form of striving in the path of Allah through pen.
Physically, these seekers of Allah perform these tasks while spiritually immersing themselves in the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. During their physical and spiritual endeavours, they experience a purification of their inner selves through the spiritual insight of their esteemed spiritual guide, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen. This purification is palpable to them, evident in the transformative shifts within themselves. Undoubtedly, the blessed company and spiritual guidance of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen liberates them from the snares of the material world, egoistic inclinations, and negative influences. Consequently, these seekers are guided onto the path leading towards Allah.
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s Guidance in the Way of Allah
When a seeker experiences the Divine manifestations of Ism-e-Allah Zaat, various inquiries naturally arise within them, inducing a sense of restlessness. However, these questions can facilitate a profound gnosis of Allah if the seeker concentrates on them. Conversely, neglecting them can transform these very questions into obstacles on their spiritual path. As an accomplished spiritual guide, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen possesses a keen awareness of his disciple’s spiritual states. Consequently, he addresses these questions in simple words in light of Quran, Hadith, and the teachings of revered Saints.
Remarkably, his succinct yet comprehensive responses are tailored to each seeker’s individual spiritual stage. Seekers frequently discover that the answers to their unspoken queries are provided when Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen addresses the inquiries of others. Moreover, he imparts the wisdom of Faqr to seekers through his books and the monthly magazine named Sultan-ul-Faqr. At times, a seeker might struggle to grasp a pivotal point during discussions or while reading these materials. In such instances, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen instills the understanding directly into their consciousness through inspiration and inner communication. He also establishes mechanisms that guide the seeker towards aligning their actions with the will of Allah.
When the seeker strengthens in the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen grants him Ism-e-Mohammad. It is the invocation of the sacred name of Prophet Mohammad. This takes the seeker from eye of certainty (ayn al-yaqin) to the final level of truth of certainty gained through experience (Haq al-yaqin). Thus, these lead to pleasant effects on the spiritual self of the seeker. Eventually, it becomes easy for him to understand and act on the intricate points of Faqr and gnosis of Allah. He becomes from seeker to desired, from Muslim to faithful (Momin) and from Allah’s lover to His beloved.
Pays Attention on Seeker’s Inward
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen brings about transformation in the thoughts and beliefs of his disciples, prioritizing a shift in their perspectives rather than altering their external appearances or lifestyles. His aim is to redirect their attention from worldly matters to Allah Almighty. He focuses on illuminating their spiritual essence before considering any physical changes. This approach is rooted in the understanding that while the soul can attain a connection with Allah, the physical self cannot. He crafts the spiritual character of his followers to become worthy of standing in the presence of Allah and among the assembly of the Prophet Mohammad. This transformation is made possible primarily through the grace of Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman’s sacred guidance. It’s his spiritual benevolence that enables seekers to achieve this elevated state.
Meeting Seeker of Allah
To meet and benefit the disciples with his esteemed company, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen initially established khanqah Sarwari Qadri in Education town, Lahore. Subsequently, since 10th Muharram 1442 AH (30th August 2020) he established khanqah Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen and Zahra Mosque, catering to both men and women at Rangeelpur Sharif, Lahore. Here, he meets his disciples every Saturday and Sunday, offering his guidance and spiritual benevolence. One of his disciples beautifully described these esteemed meetings with Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen in the following piece of Punjabi couplet:
Explanation: Khanqah Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen is the sacred place where the disciples of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen immerse themselves in the radiant Divine theophanies. Within these sanctified walls, they bask in the brilliance of his presence each Saturday and Sunday, allowing these ethereal manifestations to illuminate their very souls. For those who seek the path of Ism-e-Allah Zaat, this is a place of profound significance, as Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen generously imparts the gnosis of Allah. In this sacred space, earnest seekers of Allah witness the formidable fortifications of their inner selves crumble under the spiritual gaze of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen. It’s within these walls that the concealed wisdom of Faqr unfurls its enigmatic secrets, rewarding those who offer their homes and all they possess in the pursuit of Allah’s way. O Nasir! Profoundly fortunate are those who are enveloped by the sacred companionship of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen. For he effortlessly guides seekers towards the cherished attainment of the gnosis of Allah.
At Khanqah Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen he listens to their problems and guides his disciples accordingly on both material and spiritual matters. He actively oversees and directs the ongoing projects of his organization, ‘Tehreek Dawat-e-Faqr’. Moreover, here on Sundays in the presence of his wife, he meets with female seekers of Allah and guides them on intricate spiritual matters and prays for them. These sessions also involve discussions with women contributing to the organization through roles such as books translation, social media management and writing spiritual articles to propagate Faqr, etc.
Moreover, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen travels to other cities for those seekers who live outside of Lahore and cannot visit him regularly. He also gives time and beneficence to the seekers who live abroad via phone. Hence, none of his seekers either living in far flung areas or within vicinity are kept from his beneficence.
The arrangements made by the disciples living in other cities and their hospitality upon his arrival is their trial. Indeed, for that Allah blesses them accordingly.
Al-Ghawth al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani has said:
- When my seeker is sincere, he is in my sleeve (i.e., under my protection). While, when he does not remain sincere then I am in his sleeve.
It means that he stops him from sins. The Mohammadan Assembly attributed Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman as Shabeeh al-Ghawth al-Azam (meaning living portrait i.e., reflection of al-Ghawth al-Azam). Undoubtedly, like a shady tree, he provides shelter and protection to his disciples from all evils. Also, he is an affectionate father, exemplary friend and a great teacher for his disciples. He forgives their mistakes and shortcomings as he is the most generous. Not just that, he also veils their faults and forgives them even on dreadful mistakes. Provided that disciple repents sincerely and remains true to it.
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s method of guidance is affectionate to an extent that every seeker feels that he cares for him the most. He also does not differentiate among them on the basis of wealth, education and status in society. As such material things do not matter to him. Like the rule of Allah and His Messenger, for him exaltation comes with piety (taqwa). Similar to the sun he equally radiates his beneficence among his disciples. It is the land of inward which receives beneficence and becomes fertile according to its competence.
Humble Nature of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen
Allah has blessed Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen with such an exalted status that one cannot estimate it. Despite this he presents himself as a simple man. He also trains his seekers such that humbleness becomes their distinctive trait. As Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen says:
“Humbleness is the biggest weapon against Satan.”
Whenever anyone asks him for Faqr, sincerely, he blesses him with this treasure without making him cross hardships or endeavours. He does this notwithstanding the fact that he belongs to which religion class or sect. However, pledging allegiance is obligatory for it.
عنایت تو دیکھو میرے کامل مرشد کی یارو
کہ جس نے مجھے پل بھر میں لاھوتی بنا دیا
Explanation: The blessings of my spiritual guide are marvelous. He took my soul to our original homeland within the blink of an eye. Here the original homeland refers to the realm of absolute Unity (alam al-LaHoot) where souls achieve their purpose.