Sultan-ul-Awliya Hazrat Khwaja Sufi Muhammad Aslam (RA)
The master, he is the Imam of the sincere, the holder of the secrets of sainthood, cleanser of the souls, master of Shari’ah, master of Tariqah the Reviver of the 20th Century CE, the mirror of Truth and Wisdom. The jewel in the crown of the Awliya, the Imam and Sultan of the Awliya, the changer of fates and the reviver of the dead, he is the reviver of the soul. He is the crown and master of Tasawwuf, the leader of the men of guidance and the carrier of the Divine Light. The essence of the Naqshbandi Order. The embodiment of uniqueness.
He who brought the Light of all lights with him, distributing it by Divine Will and Prophetic Guidance, reviving the Ummah who migrated into the darkness being tainted with the terror of this world. Spreading his cloak upon humanity which has regaled in its blessings. Taking the servants of The Merciful into the Divine Presence. He who blossomed when planted on the plain of darkness of the Universe, the living fountain of Prophetic Actions, adorned with the Divine Language. The river of Mercy whose course came into the valley of darkness in which all who entered were consumed.
He is a Miracle of Allah and the Representative of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) walking on the Earth, which smiled when he was born and was honoured by his existence, extinguishing all despair. He was nurtured under the care of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). He possessed the seat of Qutub ul-Aqtab and his station was that of Ghawth and of the Great Viceroy.
He is a Qibla for the hearts of those who advance in the way leading towards Allah the Exalted. Qibla-Alam Hazoor Khawajah-e-Khawajaghan Hazrat Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam an-Naqshbandi al-Mujaddidi (May Allah have Mercy on him & May Allah be satisfied with him & May He allow us to benefit from his secrets and knowledge).
He was born in Shadpur Sharif, formerly known as Shah-pur Sharif, in Taaliyawala (‘District of the Trees’), Jhelum, Pakistan on the 19th Dhul-Hijjah 1352 H, a Wednesday, the 4th April 1934 CE. He opened his eyes into a very pious and upright household which held true to the teachings of the Inheritors of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). His father, Miah (a term of respect reserved for the learned amongst the people) Karam Daad (Allah be well pleased with him) was known in the community for his strict adherence to the Sunnah and commands of the Shari’ah. Within this pious household, the Shaykh received his first instructions within the religion, Deen. His father was known for his truthful and wise speech, unblemished character, and he was an individual upon whom the rays of steadfastness had shone. He was seen observing all the compulsory as well as the supererogatory obligations through which people came from everywhere to sit with him and seek his counsel. Speaking of his noble father, (Allah be well pleased with him), the secrets that were contained within him; he disclosed to his beloved son.
In respect of our Grand Spiritual Mother (Allah be well pleased with her), the mother of our Shaykh, it is related by those blessed to see her, her tongue remained moist in remembering the Divine, Exalted and Majestic is He, and praising his Beloved (Allah bless him and give him peace). Allah the Exalted had given her a special light as her face gleamed with that Divine Radiance seen in those who are Bought Near. She was often heard praising Allah the Exalted for giving her a son who raised all who came to him to the presence of the Eternal, Majestic is He. She remembered her son as ‘Hazrat Sahib’ and said of him “Why did you have to leave?” this meaning, as it is related, she possessed a love for her son that she could not bear to be separated from him.
As a youth, the Shaykh was given great consideration; importance was placed upon his activities because of the peculiar traits seen in his person at a very tender age. He never fought with his younger brothers, and never allowing his family to fall into worldly pursuits and familial arguments. It was seen, in his childhood, he possessed a very strong spiritual aura. The Shaykh related of his childhood,
“When I was a young child in my early years before I reached adulthood,
I was put into the habit of reading the Dawn prayer with extreme vigilance. My grandfather
(Allah be well pleased with him) gave me the duty to wake him for the Fajar (Dawn)
Prayer, a task that I relished. However, on one occasion I overslept, I found my
grandfather had woken and performed the ablution readying himself for the prayer.
He called me but I did not immediately answer, he found me only to his amazement
still in bed. I inquired of him ‘Have you prepared for the prayer?’
he replied ‘Yes!’ in amazement ‘It was you who awoke me, telling
me to ready myself for prayer and now you ask me such a question.’ The Shaykh,
praising Allah the Exalted continued, this is the special blessing of Allah Almighty
upon his righteous servants in allowing them to be in various places simultaneously.”
The Shaykh received his education from the regional Islamic Institutions where he gained both the secular and religious knowledge. From an early age, he displayed a very high level of intellect for which his teachers respected him, seeking to transmit to him knowledge from the advanced curriculum. Through his intuitiveness, the Shaykh sought to complete his secular knowledge graduating to Metric Level, college level by modern standards, but saw upon the completion of this to pursue such knowledge no further. He sought to pursue the various branches of Sacred Knowledge and underwent a very extensive private study in his youth to the wonderment of his elders and contemporaries. The Shaykh illustrated practically the importance of pursuing Sacred Knowledge and not discarding it as a trivial matter. There are volumes of sound narrations of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) illustrating the importance of pursuing knowledge and the rewards that are accumulated for doing so.
Chosen by the Messenger of Allah
It was at this time in his life, Allah the Exalted decided it was time His saint became known to the people of the world. In the year 1371 H/1953 CE, the light of Wilaya shone upon the Shaykh as he was shown the duties delegated to him. From this opening, he acquired the ever-increasing Prophetic glow that emanated from his presence. The Shaykh (Allah be well pleased with him) relates to us the event when The Truth, Transcendent is He, smiled upon him and opened the Path leading to His Beloved (Allah bless him and give him peace) and ultimately to Him, Majestic is He.
“I was in my 19th year and had returned home for the day. When I entered my room I busied myself in clearing up my things, whilst doing this the room suddenly was consumed by a very bright light. The luminosity of this light was such it enveloped the room with a blanket of white light the likes of which I had never encountered. I was struck with an urge to inquire as to the source of this radiance; upon turning towards my right side I beheld the Beauty of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). I realised how Sayyidunaa Abu Bakr (Allah be well pleased with him) felt when he proclaimed ‘I have seen none more handsome than you O Beloved of Allah.’ and how Hasaan bin Thabit and Imam Busairi (Allah be well pleased with them) made known the state of their hearts. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) asked of me ‘Would you do the work of the Deen for us?’ To which I replied dutifully ‘As you have asked I shall do, inshallah.’
The following night, I was inspired with a dream in which I was blessed with the visitation of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). He presented to me some unripe dates which he (Allah bless him and give him peace) had in his blessed hands and asked of me ‘Will you eat these?’ I responded ‘The Master has presented a gift to me and refusal is no option.’ I began to eat the dates, they had the most unique taste, and I happily ate all the dates that were presented to me. Upon finishing the dates my chest became illuminated with a very peculiar light, the light I felt penetrated my heart then my whole essence, it brought upon me states that I had never reached before. The extent of this penetration took me from the state of the Knowledge of Certainty (`ilm al-yaqin), to the Eye of Certainty (`ayn al-yaqin), and then to the Truth of Certainty (haqq al-yaqin). The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) raised me to the highest levels in the Path, placing me in the thresholds of the Rightful Champions of Truth, Maqam al-Siddiqiyya. To me it occurred I had reached the pinnacle and obtained the ultimate goal of those who have trodden the Path leading to Allah the Exalted. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) had blessed me in a manner of which a person of my standing is not worthy of.”
He reached the station of al-‘Arifu bi’llah (one who knows Allah the Exalted and His Attributes as much as possible). The Shaykh was instilled with al-haqiqa al-Muhammadiyya (the Muhammadan Reality), as we have seen all who sat in his associations were raised to the presence of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).
The Shaykh (May Allah perfume his final resting place) emphasised the need of not falling prey to what manifestations are shown to the seeker by way of dreams or visions, and the fault lies in being attached to them. At this juncture it is related that Grandshaykh Khawajah al-Hafiz Muhammad Abdul Kareem (May Allah have Mercy on him & May Allah be satisfied with him & May He allow us to benefit from his secrets and knowledge) stated “Dreams or visions are shown to the seeker according to his level and he should not get embroiled within them but see what his reality is, when in a waking state.”
The Shaykh continued:
“When I awoke from the dream, the eruption that occurred within my soul when the Prophetic rays penetrated my essence remained with me but grew stronger with every passing moment when I was gaining consciousness. I found the Station of Love had occurred within me as the Love for Allah the Exalted and His Beloved (Allah bless him and give him peace) had taken firm root. The love for any other thing did not remain, all I yearned for, was to be with my Lord, Majestic is He and to bask in the Rays of Mercy from the Presence of the Divine. At that moment I desired nothing more than to be with Him (Luminous is He) and to set my eyes upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). I found that I observed all the obligatory and supererogatory prayers with greater vigilance, I found a profound sense of peace when I prayed the Tahajjud (after-midnight) prayer. It became a daily routine for me to continuously send Salawaat (Durood, prayers) upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). The recitation of the Holy Quran al-Karim increased greatly within me as it is the supreme form Remembrance.
Through the blessings of Allah the Exalted, I felt within me a yearning to be close to His (Luminous is He) chosen people, the righteous Saints. I began to attend the Khanqahs (Spiritual Sanctuary) of many pious Saints of the past, feeling a lot of spiritual attraction towards them. I would present my greetings whilst praying at their resting places. I frequented the Khanqahs of Hazrat Miah Muhammad Baksh (Allah be well pleased with him), a great Sufi Saint and poet, who is known as the ‘Rumi of Kashmir’ and his magnum opus ‘Saif al-Mulook’ is read by every Muslim on the Sub-Continent and also world-wide. Within this great work he documented the knowledge given to him by Allah the Exalted touching upon all aspects of life. I attended at the Khanqah of Peer e Shah Ghazee (Allah be well pleased with him). He was a great Sufi Saint of the 13th Century H/19th Century CE; I had a great fondness of him and felt a strong spiritual connection. In attending his Khanqah, I received many hidden forms of knowledge and states that increased my love for him. I found my own grasp of Sufi poetry increased as he filled my heart with the special knowledge of explaining things to people by use of poetry so they ponder upon and benefit from it.”
The light of Tawfiq shined upon the Shaykh as he found himself increasing in his worship and remembrance of Allah, Transcendent is He. It is transmitted, he used to fast during the day and observed the night vigils with great steadfastness, spending majority of his time in seclusion pondering upon the Majesty of the Eternal. He saw within him the spiritual traits that have been transmitted through the Golden Chain by Sayyidunaa Shah Naqshband (Allah be well pleased with him), Muraqaba (Contemplation) Mushahada (Witnessing) Muhasaba (Reckoning). Contemplating upon the blessings of Allah the Exalted that He (Transcendent is He) has showered upon humanity, and pondering upon his own standing in the Divine Presence.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) had raised his righteous Saint to the state enabling him to spend every second in worship of Allah the Exalted. He was instilled with a very high level of self-discipline, speaking only when it was necessary for him to communicate with others. Acting upon the methods of the Masters of the Way (Allah be well pleased with them all), the Shaykh devised a timetable encompassing working for a living, studying the Sacred Knowledge, reading the Quran al-Karim, sending Salawaat upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and observing all the compulsory and optional prayers. He exercised control upon all his inclinations and executed all his duties according to the Prophetic practices. It is told that during this early period, the Shaykh observed his food intake for he knew, like those Brought Near, that the stomach is at the origin of corruption and blameworthy attributes. He strove to reduce the evil effects of the stomach, as the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said in a sound narration “The son of Adam (Upon him be peace) fills no vessel worse than his stomach” and “The devil runs within you through the blood, therefore straiten his paths with hunger.”
During this period in his life the Shaykh continued to be inspired directly by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) through the spiritual link, raising him from one station to another, as well as receiving close attention from Peer e Shah Ghazee (Allah be well pleased with him). In spite of this great showering of blessing and increased direct Prophetic nurturing, he yearned to be in the servitude of a Perfect Shaykh, Shaykh al-Kamil, and to receive direct physical instruction from the Ones Brought Near.*
*(The ‘Ones Brought Near’ (al-muqarrabun) are mentioned in the Holy Quran al-Karim [Surah al-Waqi’a 56: Verse 11, Surah al-Mutaffifeen 83: Verse 21]. They are the highest ranks of the pure-hearted, and thus are higher than ordinary good believers, the People of the Right Hand (ashab al-yameen))
On one particular occasion the Shaykh went to the Khanqah of Peer e Shah Ghazee, sitting at his tomb he made contact, rabita, with him, upon which he proceeded to tell him of his wish to become the student of a Perfect Shaykh and to seek initiation, bay’ah, into the Tariqah. Subsequently, that same evening Peer e Shah Ghazee appeared to the Shaykh in a dream, informing him of what he had longed to hear since the initial opening. “My son for you, the physical allegiance lies across the river.” (Referring to the famous river Jhelum) Upon hearing this from the venerable Shaykh (Allah be well pleased with him), he commenced his search for the Perfect Guide, Murshid al-Kamil.
Meeting Grandshaykh (May Allah perfume his final resting place)
A considerable amount of time had elapsed in searching for the Shaykh, until Allah the Exalted extinguished the growing sense of despair when he came upon a disciple, mureed, of Grandshaykh, master of Tasawwuf, Khawajah-e-Khawajaghan Hazrat Khawajah Sufi Nawab-ud-Deen an-Naqshbandi (May Allah have Mercy on him & May Allah be satisfied with him & May He allow us to benefit from his secrets and knowledge). Upon meeting this individual, he heard him speak of the great ocean of guidance, the unique exemplar in following the Sunnah, the pillar of Wilaya and Ma’rifah who resided in Moree Sharif in Gujarat, Pakistan. Upon hearing the name of Grandshaykh, he sensed great attraction towards him in his heart and wanted to meet and seek guidance from him (Allah be well pleased with them).
Some have spoken of what is narrated in the preceding paragraph as a chance meeting, but those who say such are not privy to the reality of how Allah the Exalted guides His saints along the Path leading to Him, Majestic is He. On 7th Rabi al-Awwal 1377 H, a Tuesday, the 1st October 1957 CE, the Shaykh travelled with his friend Raza Ahmad to Khanqah Moree Sharif to attend the gathering of Grandshaykh. There was a very large gathering of the seekers of The Truth, Majestic is He, who had travelled from all over the world to obtain guidance from Grandshaykh. In entering the gathering and maintaining the correct model behaviour he sat down towards the back, the attention of Grandshaykh was directed towards him, smiling and acknowledging the seeker who had entered the gathering. Grandshaykh (May Allah perfume his final place of rest) was relating the event that occurred four years prior:
“The person who has been blessed by The Truth (Majestic is He) in having the Uwaysi link and transmission with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) is also in need of a physical outwardly zahiri link. Such a person upon whom the Sun of Gnosis has dawned needs to take the physical outwardly initiation for his wayfaring sulook to be complete.”
Khawajah Shaykh as-Sufi Muhammad Aslam al-Uwaysi an-Naqshbandi (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) was blessed to have the Uwaysi transmission of spiritual knowledge. The Shuyukh of the Naqshbandiyya (Allah be well pleased with them all) explain thus; the spirits meet in the world called the world of spirits, alam al-arwaah which is beyond the material world, alam al-ajsaam. Whoever takes knowledge through this chain of spirituality from a deceased Master in the Naqshbandi Way, is called both Uwaysi and Naqshbandi. Grandshaykh was blessed with this illustrious connection as he was nurtured, personally, by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). This spiritual connection is as powerful and effective as the physical connection. Verily it is a sign of the Favour of Allah the Exalted on his servant, to authorise one of His saints to uplift that servant to the Divine Presence. Many saints have been under the guidance and training of Prophets and other saints that have lifted them up. They are known as the Shaykhs of the Two Wings, Dhul Janahain, meaning that both the physical and spiritual lineage are combined in them. These saints are only nine in number. Each one represents one of the nine spiritual points on the chest of the human being. Through these points, these saints can reach their followers at any time. Because they have the authority of these nine points, they consider all of humankind to be their followers, whether they are aware of their spiritual connection to them or not. Through these points, which are of ‘Uwaysi’ nature, they can reach and affect any human being, intercede for them, and inspire their hearts in order to direct them to the Divine Love, although they have never met physically.
Upon listening to Grandshaykh (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) mentioning this state, the Shaykh proceeded forward, placing his hand, sitting in front of him, into the hand of Grandshaykh and took initiation into the Most Distinguished Naqshbandi Sufi Order, Tariqah Rasooliyya Siddiqiyya Tayfuriyya Naqshbandiyya Mujaddidiyya. In entering the noblest Naqshbandi Tariqah, Grandshaykh gave to him the daily litany, wird, which is to be recited every morning before or after Fajar. In receiving the noble office, wazifa:
- 100 times Salawaat ul-Khidri,
- 300 times Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyoom,
- 100 times Salawaat ul-Khidri;
Grandshaykh informed him, upon reciting the wazifa, to blow upon the right hand and wipe it (fully) over the face and then over the heart (which is located in the left chest). He was struck with a heighten sense of admiration upon receiving this most sacred litany from Grandshaykh seeming so small in its recitation for an individual who spent all his time in complete devotion to Allah the Exalted i.e. reciting many litanies, awrad, and incantations, hizbs. The Shaykh pondered upon how such a litany will be of benefit to him in comparison to his extensive schedule of worship, ibadaat. A vision came to him that respective evening of which he relates:
Grandshaykh appeared to me that evening; I had never beheld such a Shaykh before. Light was pouring from his forehead like the rain of the Monsoon and gleaming like the midday sun, his smile had the likeness of a piercing arrow drawing my heart ever more close to him. I sensed the warmth of his spirituality enveloping me. His eyes shone with the mysteries of Ma’rifah. Grandshaykh focused his spiritual attention, tawajjuh, towards me and I found that my heart was transmitting the Dhikr of Allah Hu with every beat. The transmission starting from my heart spread all over my body until every atom was busy in proclaiming Allah Hu Allah Hu Allah Hu! I found to my amazement that in one tawajjuh of Grandshaykh my whole essence began to transmit this great Dhikr. This brought upon me a state that I had never experienced before and he caused an expansion in my soul as if he had renewed it by the permission of Allah the Exalted. Al’hamdu’lil’lah!
After this meeting in the spiritual realm, alam al-arwaah, I journeyed to Khanqah Moree Sharif to gaze once more upon Grandshaykh and to sample further the sense of happiness I felt in our meeting. Sitting in his presence, he told me ‘If you were to put all of your ibadaat that you have accomplished thus far my son, Muhammad Aslam, on one side of a scale and my spiritual attention nigah on the other. You will find my attention outweighing and overpowering all of it’”
Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) accompanied Grandshaykh never leaving his presence and serving him dutifully. Grandshaykh disclosed to his son the inner secrets of the Naqshbandiyya, as those who saw him testified that the Shaykh possessed complete control upon the principles transmitted by Sayyidunaa Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdwani and Sayyidunaa Shah Naqshband (Allah be well pleased with them). This was the meeting of the perfect Shaykh and the perfect student, in that he is a rightful inheritor of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). The elder students marvelled at the newcomer who was engulfed in the mystery of Grandshaykh (May Allah sanctify his noble secret), as an esteemed Shaykh and student of Grandshaykh relates: “Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) was a mystery to all who saw him, he had a very peculiar glow emanating from his presence which bought tranquillity to the heart. I have seen that he was a mirror image of Grandshaykh, his mannerisms, outlook; knowledge, insight and adherence to the Sunnah resembled completely the actions of Grandshaykh. I see there is no difference between him and our master (Allah be well pleased with him). When he appeared before our master, we all knew (referring to the students who were authorised to carry the Tariqah), Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam would inherit the inner secrets of Grandshaykh.” The bearers of Tariqah as transmitted from Grandshaykh, khulafah, were sent to all corners of the Globe to direct the path of people towards Allah the Exalted except Europe.
Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) expressed his ever-growing love for Grandshaykh (Allah be well pleased with him) in the following, well-known, verse of poetry:
“Through the light of you secret, house upon house has been illuminated;
Europe has been cleansed and raised, which is the darkness of this world”
The reality of this utterance being Grandshaykh allotted this secret to Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) and at his hand the inhabitants of Europe were raised from the darkness into the light. (Safeguarding people against the attacks of shaytan and raising them to the Presence of Allah the Exalted)
His Coming to Europe
Grandshaykh spoke to his close mureeds; “We have sent our disciples to all the lands of Earth; however I have not sent a representative towards the people of Europe. Towards that barren land I shall send one who is dear to me.” Upon the instructions of Shaykh al-Kamil Khawajah Sufi Nawab-ud-Deen an-Naqshbandi (Allah be well pleased with him) on 13th Jumada al-Awwal 1383 H, a Tuesday, 1st October 1963 CE at the age of 29, Qibla-Alam ‘The Guide for the World’ blessed Europe in arriving into London from Pakistan. The Truth, Majestic is He, sent His perfect saint into the abyss of this world, into which the Muslims who had migrated were consumed. Upon arriving into this country Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) saw people had fallen prey to the inclinations of the lower self, more appropriately referred to as the Inciting Soul, al-nafs ammara bi’l su (inciting to evil). This aforementioned soul seeks gratification in pursuing all its desires, and consorts with the Appetitive Soul or Vital Spirit rejoining the rank of animals and its praiseworthy attributes are changed into blameworthy ones. The social structure was in that period progressing in its level of depravity; drugs, pursuing the carnal desires, consumption of alcohol, and no respect for elders were controlling the course of lives. It has been transmitted on the authority of Sayyidunaa Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (Allah bless him and give him peace) “Allah the Exalted told the lower world, ‘Serve the one who serves Me and tire the one who serves you.’” The migrant Muslim community had fallen prey to such vices to their own detriment leading them further away from Allah the Exalted, the net result was Muslims were consumed in amounting wealth and luxuries. There was no proper infrastructure of Masaajids nor had any Ulama or Shuyukh of Tasawwuf travelled to this part of the world to maintain the sanctity of Islam.
Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) integrated himself into the local community and started work at a local carpentry factory where he encountered the inhabitants of this country. He found a large proportion of the Muslims who had migrated to England were situated within Greater London. Alongside earning a righteous living, the Shaykh commenced calling people towards Allah the Exalted and that which has been promised to the Muslims, by Allah the Exalted, who possess righteous conduct in the Quran al-Karim i.e. Endless Bliss. In this period of history, we saw from the hand of the Great Murshid, humanity benefiting as he stripped them of the vices of this world and led them onto the Straight Path, siraatal mustaqeem. Indeed it was seen in his person all the respective levels of Murshid. Through Divine inspiration he operated, in this period, on the level of Murshid at-Tabarruk (Murshid of Blessings) and Murshid at-Tazkiyya (Murshid of Purification) simultaneously. This spiritual practitioner set about the task of curing the spiritually sick who had become detached from their Lord, Mighty and Majestic is He, as he had inherited the secrets from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). He taught and put on people’s tongues the sweetness, talkin, of Dhikr, teaching them how to remember and call upon Allah the Exalted, and how to follow Allah’s orders. In addition, he guided them through the cleansing process called tazkiyat an-nafs. It is appropriate to mention the Hadith sharif where the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) described this struggle, al-jihad an-nafs, as the jihad al-akbar: “We returned from the jihad al-asghar to the jihad al-akbar.” The Companions (Allah be well pleased with them all) asked him, “What is the jihad al-akbar?” He replied, “The jihad al-nafs.”
Furthermore, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Whoever guarantees me whatever is between his two jaws and his two thighs, I will guarantee him paradise.” Desire is whatever comes and goes from the mouth and whatever proceeds from sexual desire, shahwat al-haraam. Jihad an-nafs brings control of such desires. The Shaykh controlled the desires of nafs, dunya, hawa and shaytan, by showing people practically how to follow the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).
However, in spite of the great benefit to the inhabitants of England, the Shaykh (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) relates:
“I felt unease within my heart and did not prefer living in this country. I attempted to carry on with my duties despite a feeling of uneasiness of being far from Grandshaykh. After a short period, I decided it was time for me to return to Pakistan to settle there permanently with my family. I started up, upon my arrival, a local business with the view of earning a lawful livelihood and serving the community. However, my high hopes of running a business were short-lived as I suffered a great loss and the business went into liquidation. Baffled by this sudden change in circumstance I presented my self before Grandshaykh. Upon meeting him, he admonished me ‘My son, Muhammad Aslam, your work, your business is in England and Europe not here in this country. This is the reason why your business venture failed and you suffered a big loss. We have been ordered to inform you my son, to go back to England and start your work, Allah the Exalted will make you successful.’
Upon the instructions of Grandshaykh Qutub al-Aqtab Khawajah Nawab-ud-Deen (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) I returned once more to England with my wife and young children. I was returning not to start a business venture but to act upon the commands of Grandshaykh in calling people to Allah the Exalted.”
Upon my arrival to England once again, a vision came to me and I was blessed with the visitation of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). He inquired of me ‘You are very happy and ecstatic.’ I replied ‘The source of my happiness is because I have prepared for you, my liege, a very beautiful place for you to rest your feet.’ I saw accompanying the Mercy to the Universe was another enlightened individual who remarked ‘Sarvar e Kaeenat (Allah bless him and give him peace) is pleased as he has placed you in England as his viceroy, his representative.’ In hearing this, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said ‘Yes of course, and without doubt, to remember the Divine, Majestic is He, in this country and to make others remember Him is a work of very high merit.’”
Following this vision, the Shaykh relates:
“When I was waking from the vision, I found my heart was illuminated with a great sense of happiness. Of course, what else should have been my state at that moment if not a great sense of adulation? Al’hamdu’lil’lah Murshid al-Kamil sent me to this country for the propagation of Islam, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) showered upon me his special attention and affection. This attention and the prayers of Grandshaykh have enabled me, by the leave of Allah the Exalted, to arrive at this station.”
Spreading the Light of Guidance
Stemming from this opening, we saw that the tide of darkness changed as the climate of guidance was now taking control. The Shaykh was blessed with the station of Mujtahid Mutlaq* in Shari’ah and Haqiqah as it said of those occupying this rank “… are given the full trust of Allah the Exalted.”
*(Among religious scholars, those who are capable of understanding how Religious actions are to be done after comparing them are called Mujtahid, those who follow him have to perform it in accordance with his deduction or choice (ijtihad). A Mujtahid is either absolute (mutluq) or belonging to a Madhhab (muqayyad))
For further clarification of the lofty station occupied by the Shaykh, we refer to the often-cited Hadith sharif “al-‘ulamaau warathatul al-anbiya.” However, what is the meaning of this? Referring to the learned opinion of Imam ar-Rabbani Sayyidunaa Ahmad al-Faruqi as-Sarhandi (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) “The knowledge of the Anbiya is of two kinds: knowledge of laws and knowledge of secrets. The scholar cannot be called an inheritor if he does not inherit both branches of knowledge. If he takes only one knowledge he is incomplete. Thus the real inheritors are the ones who take the knowledge of the Laws and the knowledge of the Secrets, and only the saints have truly received and protected this inheritance.” Now we know this, know that the Shuyukh of Tariqah are the inheritors of the Prophets (Upon them be peace) as they possess knowledge of both ilm ash-Shari’ah (law) and ilm al-Haqiqah (spirituality). One has to understand the virtue of the knowledge of the Awliya, Allah the Exalted raised some people above others “ootul ilma darajat”, the rank of knowledge being the highest. As Imam al-Azam Imam Abu Hanifah (Allah be well pleased with him) stated “If the kings knew the pleasure we are witnessing, they would have fought with swords to get it!” Only if the knowledge is about Allah the Exalted then it is of importance as all other knowledge belongs to this world, or instance fiqh, hadith etc. as it something people can boast about. Understand that he (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) was raised above others for he possessed knowledge of Allah the Exalted. >
Wherever Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) travelled throughout the country, people sought allegiance with him and at his hand received guidance. People were attracted towards him because of the immense spiritual attraction emanating from him as Allah the Exalted opened everything to His obedient and true servant. The initial period starting from 1384 H/1964 CE, the Shaykh began to usher people towards Allah the Exalted, spreading the Sacred Knowledge and the Knowledge of Light. Whilst he was resident in London, he established the Friday Congregational Prayer where he worked, due to the very high turnout of worshippers from all over London, his employers allocated a very large space exclusively for prayer. Of this time, the Shaykh relates:
“During the time I was living in London, I worked in a factory owned by a Jewish man. On one particular occasion, the owner of the factory called me to his office, asking me ‘Aslam since you have started working for us our business and profits have increased. We are getting more orders now as compared to a year ago. Please tell me what it is you are doing that has bought our enterprises so much success?’ I replied ‘When I work I am praising Allah the Exalted, furthermore, I ensure all the work I do is to the best of my abilities. It is due to this that you have been so successful.’ Upon hearing my response, he asked me ‘Whatever you need please ask me and I shall have it made available to you.’
Al’hamdu’lil’lah through this we were able to get the facilities we needed for the Muslim community. We were able to hold the main functions of the community within the hall that was reserved specifically for our use.”
Through the Favour of Allah the Exalted, the Great Khawajah (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) established commencing in the capital, the Circle of the Remembrance of Allah the Exalted, ‘Majlis/Mehfil e Dhikr’. Encompassing the recitation of Khatam ul Khawajaghan an-Naqshbandiyya Aliyya; followed by reciting the Shajarah Naqshbandiyya Mujaddidiyya Aslamiyya (invoking Allah the Exalted to forgive and lift us for the sake of His Beloved (Allah bless him and give him peace) and His saints within our Golden Chain. (Allah be well pleased with them all)) After the Shajarah, was the recitation of ‘Allah Hu’ followed by sending benedictions (Durood/Salawaat) on the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). This was preceded by the recitation of the Supreme Dhikr, La’i’laha il’lAllah. We shall mention a few Ahadith to illustrate our need for such gatherings and the bearing it has had on the course of the lives of the inhabitants of not only this country but worldwide. Such an illustration is appropriate for one to comprehend the bestowing of the Favour of Allah the Exalted through the hand of His saints.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “I and the Prophets before me have said nothing superior to La’i’laha il’lAllah.” Moreover “La’i’laha il’lAllah is the best of invocations and the best of deeds. The people who most benefit from my intercession are those who utter it with sincerity. No servant utters it, and then dies still upholding it, but that he shall enter the Garden; even were he to commit adultery and theft, even were he to commit adultery and theft, even were he to commit adultery and theft.” He (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Rejuvenate your Iman” the Companions (Allah be well pleased with them all), asked, “Ya Rasoolallah, how can we rejuvenate our Iman?” He answered, “Recite with regularity La’i’laha il’lAllah.”
Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) travelled all over the country establishing the gatherings of Dhikr not only within the Masjids but more importantly in the houses of people, and spreading the light of spirituality. For he was reminded of the following utterance of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) “Do not make your houses into graveyards.” The surface-level understanding being within a graveyard, one finds nothing but death and grief. People were faced with many worldly problems which emanated from the instability wtihin their homes. He turned these graveyards into the Meadows of Paradise because of the following:
The Beloved of Allah the Exalted (Allah bless him and give him peace) said in a sound narration “When you pass by the meadows of the Garden (gatherings of Paradise), graze.” He was asked, “What are the meadows of the Garden?” he replied “The circles of remembrance (‘Majlis/Mehfil e Dhikr’).” The Shaykhs travels took him to all the major cities and towns of the United Kingdom, spanning from Bristol to Glasgow. Passing through these places, he set up many spiritual centres and left many students who carried on the work.
He ignited within the hearts of the Muslims, as well as non-Muslims, the undying Love for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). He established in Blackburn and all over the United Kingdom, a grand Milad un Nabi celebration encompassing a great procession and a grand gathering. Thousands attended this event, many received guidance at his hand in attending such gatherings. Understand that the sign of true love is the constant remembrance of the beloved, in imitating him, adopting his way and in holding a celebration in his honour. The Shaykh made the object of affection of humanity not this world but the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and Allah the Exalted. In a sound narration, a man came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and asked, “When will the Last Hour come, O Messenger of Allah?” “What have you prepared for it?” he asked. He replied, “I have not prepared a lot of prayer or fasting or charity for it, but I love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “You will be raised with the ones you love.”
The noble Shaykh was a pillar of the highest level of scholarship, whose job it was to guide and take people to Allah the Exalted; a man whose knowledge was about Allah and of Him, Majestic is He, a man reflecting the Divine Mercy. He (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) instilled within people the true understanding of ilm at-Tawheed (Oneness of Allah the Exalted), removing from their hearts all other loves and filling it with the love of Him (Luminous is He). This knowledge is of various levels: firstly, blind following, one is a Muslim because his parents are Muslims; Imam Sanusi (Allah be well pleased with him) said this is an invalid approach. Secondly, a person is a believer due to textual proofs; beyond this, an individual is a believer because of his total conviction which no one can change. To illustrate this, a person is sitting in a closed room; someone comes to tell him that the sun is shining outside, if he is trustworthy then that person will believe him. The highest level is you open the door, go outside and look at the sun. When does the daylight need a proof? This is the case of al-Arifeen, scholars of theology engage in research into the proofs of the existence of Allah the Exalted whilst the great Awliya witness Him (Majestic is He). One of the learned Shuyukh said “If you see the sun in the midday by your own eyes, then you do not need any proof.” This is why the Shaykh was different from others as he had witnessed Allah the Exalted and it was his duty to usher people to the presence of the Truth, (Transcendent is He), as the great Khawajah (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) had experienced “wahdatu shuhood” in that he saw no one except Allah the Exalted in the universe.
Inspiring the Youth
He finally settled in year circa 1400 H/1980 CE in Blackburn which is a fitting allegory to explain the state of affairs before he began to usher people to Allah the Exalted. In this city he established Khanqah Naqshbandiyya Mujaddidiyya Aslamiyya, a centre for spreading the Sacred Knowledge of Shari’ah and Haqiqah. The youth of the United Kingdom were particularly attracted to the Shaykh as it was made known to him they are the future of the Nation of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). Surely, the future of this sweet-musked Nation was falling prey to the attractions of this world and parents faced difficulties in nurturing them into upright members of society.
We have related the vision which appeared to the Shaykh upon his return to England, Grandshaykh admonishing him in delaying calling people towards Allah the Exalted. The Truth, Majestic is He, opened to Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) five elements of Irshad: Allah the Exalted’s care (inayatullah); the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him and give him peace) care, vision and support (inayat an-nabi); the preceding Guides’ care and vision (inayatan minal-murshideen al-idham). Furthermore, the care of Grandshaykh (inayat al-murshid), care and vision received from the two angels on the right and left shoulders (inayat Kiramun Katabeen). This level of Irshad is for the one who occupies the highest level of Murshid known as Murshid at-Tarbiyya. Understand the rank of those who Allah the Exalted blesses, as He, Majestic is He, is forever wanting to increase their nearness to Him. Narrating the opening of Shaykh al-Imam Abu Nasr Bishr bin al-Harith al-Hafi (Allah be well pleased with him). He came upon a piece of paper, returning home from drinking, on which was written the Name of Allah the Exalted. It had been trodden underfoot in the road. He picked it up; bought perfume with a dirham he had with him, perfumed it and put it high up in a crack in the wall. Then, as if he were asleep, he had a vision. It seemed someone was saying to him, “O Bishr! You have made My name fragrant; I will make your name fragrant in this world and the next.”
In addition, what distinguished him further from others (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) was his ‘Haal’ Spiritual State, to teach with words is very easy but to teach by states, this is not within a person’s control. A learned Shaykh commenting, “You can train to be a public speaker, but you cannot train to transmit your Haal to other people, this is in the Hands of Allah the Exalted.” For this very reason, Ibn Ata’illah (Allah be well pleased with him) says, “Do not be in the company of those whose states do not elevate you or their words do not benefit you or lead you to the Lord, Mighty and Majestic is He.” The Shaykh was from those whose face, silence and presence would teach you books and volumes of Knowledge and his state of heart would change you by him looking at you only once!
Those who entered into the Most Distinguished Naqshbandi Sufi Order at his hand were blessed the very same evening with the visitation of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) in their dreams. This baffled many people, as people steeped in sin were blessed with the Prophetic countenance by putting their hand into the Shaykh’s. He was granted power to clean the bad characteristics that are found in every person. One who is open to the level of Murshid at-Tasfiyya performs such a feat. With the initial meeting, and with a single sight, Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) erased those bad traits and presented the students to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). He was often referred to as ‘The Changer of Fates’ by those who saw him and were honoured to take secrets from him, but the reality was; Allah’s righteous saint was only interested in Him (Luminous is He). “ilahi anta maqsoodi wa rida’ ka matlubi” (“O Allah, You are my Goal and Your Good Pleasure is my purpose.”)
The Shaykh’s spiritual gaze was not reserved to the sinful Muslims, but people of other faiths such as Jews, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and atheists. These groups also received guidance at his hands and the Light of Islam. High-ranking priests received this Sacred Light from the Shaykh when they came to inquire about this fountain of guidance. It is related on one such occasion, a priest came to inquire of the Shaykh what he had accomplished in spreading the word of Allah the Exalted. He proceeded to tell the Shaykh “You should read our Bible, by reading it you will find satisfaction and will be successful in everything you do.” He asked the priest “How long have you been propagating Christianity?” who replied, “I have been preaching for 23 years.” The Khawajah inquired of him “Within these 23 years, how many people have converted to Christianity?” the priest responding “None.” The Noble Shaykh told him “Through the Blessings of Allah the Exalted and the favour of His Beloved (Allah bless him and give him peace), many thousands of Christians have converted to Islam in attending our associations.” During the course of their meeting, a new Muslim student of the Shaykh, Professor Hassan Jilani, a former Christian priest, phoned the Shaykh. The Shaykh put the priest on the line to Professor Hassan Jilani. The priest began to inform the student about Christianity and was unrelenting in his approach. The Shaykh in addressing the priest said “I shall take you to the presence of Sayyidunaa Isa (Upon him be peace), and you can ask him who is on the correct path. Furthermore, can you inform me of any verse of the Bible and give me an assurance, if I recited it I would find peace.” The priest responding, “I cannot give such an assurance.” The Shaykh enlightened the priest “If you were to recite the Noble Quran you will find peace and satisfaction!” Asked about the wisdom of this, he explained, “This is the reality, for if you remember Allah the Exalted with sincerity your heart will obtain peace.”
Many scholars were astounded in seeing the sincere mureeds of the Shaykh, and commending them highly for being upright in following the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). The reality of this highly commendable feat being; the Shaykh (Allah be well pleased with him) was sent as the personal representative of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) to this barren land. Those who frequented his associations felt an immediate attraction towards him and sought initiation into the Noble Naqshbandi Order.
His Travelling the World
During his illustrious life the Shaykh (Allah be well pleased with him) made the sacred Hajj and the Umrah pilgrimage every year, spanning from 1391 H/1972 CE, performing the sacred journey by road on various occasions.
One such journey will be related, in the year 1403 H/1983 CE; the Shaykh performed the sacred journey of Hajj by road accompanied by his khulafah and mureeds. Their journey took them through central Europe, passing through Turkey, Syria, Jordan and finally entering the Haramain ash-Sharifain. During this journey which spanned five weeks of travel people flocked to have a glimpse of Allah’s perfect saint and to receive guidance. Thousands entered the Tariqah on his hand and many accepted Islam. Wherever he went crowds of people welcomed him, many people rushing to have him stay as their guest. In Turkey, he passed through Istanbul, Konya and Ankara. He was honoured in Konya as people were awestruck in beholding the rays of guidance that engulfed them. The official members of the Awqaf in Konya opened up, for the noble Shaykh, the private quarters of the mausoleum of Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi (Allah be well pleased with him). Whilst in Ankara he visited with his disciples the shrine of Hazrat Hajji Bayram Veli (Allah be well pleased with him), the servants of the Sufi saint opened up the sacred place of seclusion ‘chilla-ga’ for him, as this place is only open on the sacred nights and occasions. He performed Fatihah and prayed for the Muslims of Turkey, who flocked to receive guidance at his hand.
Journeying through Syria, the Shaykh (Allah be well pleased with him) spent a few days in Damascus, performing his prayers at the Grand Umayyad Masjid. Upon their arrival into Damascus, he entered the Masjid with his mureeds to perform the prayer, finishing from prayer the convoy sat there contemplating on Allah the Exalted and to rest themselves until the next prayer. Sitting in the Masjid was a group of youthful Muslims who in appearance resembled the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). They had beautifully kept beards, long hair, dressed in white, wearing a traditional Pakistani style waistcoat and having placed over their laps a white shawl. Their refined conduct reminded one of the refined conduct of the Companions (Allah be well pleased with them all) when sat in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). People began to gather around them like a thirsty flock that comes upon water, wondering from whence these beautiful visitors came and where they were headed. The Grand Mufti of Damascus, as it related to us, the Imam of the Grand Masjid, the great Wali, Shaykh Sayyid Ibrahim al-Yaqubi al-Hassani (Allah be well pleased with him) approached the guests of his Noble City Madinah tul Awliya.
“Respected guests where have you journeyed from?” A mureed of the Shaykh replied, “We have journeyed from England and are on our way to perform the scared Hajj.” Amazed to see such a pure and magnificent convoy, the great Sayyid inquired, “Who is your Ameer?” a mureed pointing towards the Shaykh (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) “He is our Ameer and Murshid. This journey we are making is under his guidance and care.” Addressing Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) “O Shaykh, why are you not wearing your Jubba and Imamah (Dastaar)? I have had difficulties in distinguishing the master from the students.” he replied, “We are in a state of travel and I thought it appropriate not to wear it during travel.” The Shaykh was advised, “It is very important you adorn yourself so you are known and people will be able to benefit from you. I understand you are travellers but I must strongly urge you, O Shaykh, to take care in this matter, this is a matter of the Ummah of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). You are our guests; we want you to stay with us a little longer. On Jumu’ah I expect you to be seated in the front row.” On Friday, Shaykh Ibrahim (Allah be well pleased with him) addressed the people of Damascus:
“O people of Damascus, you are indeed fortunate for you live in the city blessed by the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). The Forty Abdals are constantly present amongst you, the city which is a final place of rest for many Prophets (Upon them be peace), Companions and great Saints (Allah be well pleased with them all). You are living in the city which is a fountain of Islam but you are heedless of this great Blessing and Favour of Allah the Exalted. Sitting amongst you today are those who have come from England, a spring of decadence, gaze at them and see how they have adhered to the Sunnah! Such a noble convoy headed by an esteemed man of Allah the Exalted; we are indeed truly honoured to have him present with us today so we can benefit from him. I want you, O people; to pass your hand over your faces and then turn to observe those who have come from England, we are lacking in the Sunnah! It is a shame that we have spent so much time pursuing the world and have been negligent pursuing that which will bring us the ultimate happiness.
Do we deserve such a Favour? Comparing our state with those who long to be in such a city, our heads should be steeped down in contemplation of the current path we are treading. Seek company of the calibre of the Ameer of this convoy and you too shall receive guidance. For he is an upright exemplar in following the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), a pillar of Ma’rifah and a mirror of mercy. Indeed it is pleasing to welcome such beautiful and radiant people who are the present and future of this sweet-musked Nation.”
The people of Damascus honoured the Shaykh (May Allah sanctify his noble secret), flocking to meet him and receive guidance from him. The Ulama in their special gatherings entertained the Shaykh and his followers; many in this sacred city took initiation at his hand into the Naqshbandi Sufi Order.
During his visits to Haramain ash-Sharifain, the people of Makkah al-Mukarramah and Madinah al-Munawwarah flocked to the Shaykh and rejoiced when he was amongst them. He was inspired, from these two Cities he will spread the light of spiritually to all the corners of the globe, the light carried to America, Australia, Canada, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and various parts of the Far East and Africa. Hundreds of thousands received guidance at his hand coming from all over the world. Many Ulama, Mufti’s, government officials and Shuyukh of Tariqah who had very large followings took initiation on his hand and received full authority (Khilafat) to carry the Tariqah to others. Narrating one such occasion, the successor of a great Wali of India, Sayyidunaa Muhammad Hussaini Chisti (Allah be well pleased with him), Sayyid Murtaza Ali Shah al-Hussaini Chisti an-Naqshbandi Aslami who had thousands of followers took initiation with the Shaykh. Relating another event, a Shaykh of the Chisti Tariqah descending from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) accompanied the Shaykh on Hajj in 1415 H/1995 CE pleaded with him in Madinah al-Munawwarah to pray he be honoured with the visitation of the Prophet (Upon whom be peace). Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) responded, “Why have you asked me, a person who is very sinful to make this prayer. You are in the presence of your maternal Grandfather so ask him directly and you shall receive what you desire.” he was very persistent, so the Shaykh prayed for him. The following morning at the time of Tahajjud he came running to the Shaykh “O Shaykh, Allah have Mercy on you! I was blessed with the visitation last night after you made the prayer for me.”
The Shaykh distributed the light in his native land, as he passed through many cities, towns and villages, the people flocked to be with him and to receive guidance. One such journey will be recounted from circa 1415 H/1416 H/ 1995 CE/1996 CE. During his tour through Pakistan, the Shaykh visited the Khanqah, known as Daata Darbar, of a very great Wali Sayyidunaa Imam Ali al-Hujwiri, who is also known as Daata Ganj Baksh, (Allah be well pleased with him) in Lahore. The Shaykh (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) arrived at the Khanqah, accompanied by his mureeds and khulafah, in time for Salat ul-Fajar. After the prayer, a pious dervish from the Khanqah announced the arrival of the Shaykh and informed him. “I have been told today is your day, whoever requests you to pray for him, your prayer will be answered. We are honoured in receiving you today, O noble and learned Shaykh.” The Shaykh was escorted to the shrine of the great Wali, thousands upon thousands flocked to meet him and request he pray for them. Many people took initiation at his hand. The basket of roses usually showered over the grave of the Wali were on that day, showered over Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) and his disciples. The servants at the Khanqah presented to the Great Khawajah (Allah be well pleased with him) with a special shawl from the shrine. In addition, they requested of him “Please pray for the Nation of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and for all the Muslims who are facing persecution.” He raised his hands and prayed for the sweet-musked Nation of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).
;He established a Grand Khanqah an-Naqshbandiyya in Jhelum, where he was born, known as Shadpur Sharif. This complex encompassed a Jamia Masjid, a centre for learning the Sacred Knowledge and a lavish and beautiful garden planted by his own hand. Work commenced in 1410 H/1990 CE, people flocked from all over the Indian Sub-Continent to marvel at this fountain of Spirituality. Upon the instructions of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) the Shaykh also laid the foundations for his final resting place within the vicinity of the Khanqah. Those who have visited Shadpur Sharif testify they felt the same sense of peace here as felt in Madinah al-Munawwarah in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). Shadpur Sharif has now been extended under the auspices of Khawajah Riaz Ahmad an-Naqshbandi Aslami (May Allah sanctify his noble secret). The Shaykh related of Shadpur Sharif:
“When Grandshaykh had ordered me to return to England, I felt an unbearable sense of separation upon leaving him. I was inspired with a vision; I saw the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and Grandshaykh leading a procession to Shadpur Sharif. The Khawajaghan an-Naqshbandiyya (Masters of Wisdom) were present within the procession which concluded with a Majlis which was held on the roof of my house (now Shadpur Sharif).
Grandshaykh asked the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) three times ‘Pray that my son is successful in Europe which is the epicentre of filth and degradation.’ The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied ‘Indeed, he will be!’ All that I have done in calling people to Allah the Exalted has been not of my own volition, I have acted upon the instructions of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and Grandshaykh.”
From His Miracles (karamaat)
People tend to speak about saints possessing the ability to bring about supernatural events known as karamaat not miracles mujiza, the former performed by a Saint and the latter by a Prophet. It has been witnessed Allah the Exalted at the hand Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) caused many karamaat to appear. On this point, the Shaykh stated:
“To bring a dead person back to life is a work which is of little significance to a perfect dervish nor is this to be regarded as from the karamaat. Reviving a dead heart is the greatest karamaat! (Restoring a heart into a state of awareness so that it becomes aware once again of Allah the Exalted)”
It was seen the Shaykh practically revived hundreds of thousands of hearts wherever he set foot. The Muslims who had come to Europe to pursue a wealthy and comfortable lifestyle became neglectful of the state of their hearts. The reality of the Shaykh’s approach was, he first purified the heart of people by the Dhikr of The Truth, Mighty and Majestic is He, then he expanded the breast of people by sending benedictions on the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). Once the heart was cleansed by the Dhikr, and the breast expanded by the praising of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), he then filled it with the Sacred Knowledge. The outcome of the Shaykh’s method resulted in, all who sat with him and had received guidance at his hand acted upon what they knew, had heard or read, or had seen by studying the Shaykh.
A leading Shaykh and master of Scared Knowledge questioned a student of the Shaykh “By what method of teaching have you achieved this praiseworthy state we see in you?” to which he replied “I have been studying and reading my Shaykh.” The Ulama marvelled at his murideen and their strict adherence to the Shari’ah and in fulfilling all of the obligatory religious duties, found within them were the praiseworthy traits as documented by the Awliya. Now we know this, one is able to comprehend the approach of the Khawajaghan, the Masters of Wisdom. He was a phenomenon of Irshad. He stressed on the combination of al-shari’ah and al-haqiqah in a time when people where taking from Tasawwuf its name rather then its content. For knowledge is dry, if the only the mind is nourished and not the spirit this leads to ignorance, we can see this today people are studying courses like how to argue better. When the minds are blocked the hearts have to be opened, the Shaykh (May Allah perfume his final place of rest) worked on the hearts of people.
A leading scholar asked the Shaykh (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) in Madinah al-Munawwarah after taking initiation at his hand “O Shaykh, have you written any books in your lifetime that have chronicled the knowledge given to you by Allah the Exalted. I am asking because this Nation of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) would benefit greatly from your writings.” He replied “I have written walking and talking books in the form of my mureeds, study them and you will find for instance the chapter on how to perform wudu. Observe how they sit and you will find the chapter of what is refined conduct.” The reality is; it is not about knowledge but ‘it is about knowledge and practice and about following the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).’ He instilled into the hearts of the people their duty in upholding the Shari’ah, leading by example and practically acting upon the Commands of the Shari’ah
For barakah we relate the saying of Sayyidunaa Khawajah Bayazid al-Bistami (Allah be well pleased with him) who said:
“Even if you see a man who has been granted such power to work miracles that he rises into the air, do not let him deceive you. Wait until you find out his attitudes toward the command of good and the prohibition of evil, the preservation of the limits set by Allah the Exalted, and the performance of his duties of the Shari’ah.”
About His Character
The Shaykh possessed a character which is difficult for one to describe, it is more appropriate to refer to Imam al-Qushayri’s Risalah (Allah be well pleased with him) and how he classified the characteristics of the Ones Brought Near. Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (Allah be well pleased with him) possessed a very caring and gentle heart, never uttering a word in anger nor to embarrass another. People who sat in his association had difficulty in comprehending his silence yet in spite of this, he changed the course of humanity. Many spiritually challenged people attempted to undermine him but where overcome by looking at him and thus where guided at his hand. He understood when the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said “Let him who believes in Allah the Exalted and the Last Day either speak good or keep silent.” For when he spoke, he uttered pearls of wisdom which became embedded in the hearts of people. We saw in him the following Hadith Sharif: A man came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, direct me to an act which, if I do it, [will cause] Allah to love me and people to love me.” He answered, “Renounce the world and Allah will love you, and renounce what people possess and people will love you.” The Shaykh used to say, “Live in this world but do not fall in love with it!”
He bore testimony to when it was commanded: “Say “If you love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”. In explaining this Verse, he possessed nafs al-kamila (the perfect soul), known also as nafs al-muhabba and nafs al-muhammadiyya and his station was al-baqa ba’d al fana, remaining with Allah the Exalted after perishing from his self, controlling all his desires, whims and temptations. He saw nothing except Allah the Exalted although he walked the face of the Earth, for him the Sun was always shining. Invested in him was the station of the Greater Vicegerency, al-Khalifa al-Kubra, this is the investiture of the Hadith Qudsi “When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks.” This truly describes his station. This was due to his obligatory and supererogatory practices and by the help of Allah the Exalted. Beware of misunderstanding this and believing that Allah the Exalted either penetrates into anything or is penetrated by anything.
It is related, a seeker of the Truth, Transcendent is He; asked the Shaykh in a gathering “I want to obtain nearness to Allah the Exalted, how can I achieve this?” Sitting next to the Shaykh was a learned scholar and the Shaykh inquired of him “The young seeker has asked an excellent question. What should he do?” The scholar answering, “He has asked a very important question. However, seeing as he is still young he should study the main branches of Sacred Knowledge for several years. He should study extensively the Quran al-Karim then maybe when he is older he may start to seek the nearness he speaks of.” The Shaykh responding “You have given a very extensive task for him to complete, what if he dies before he has completed it? He has asked for nearness to Allah the Exalted today. Inform him of a shortcut.” The scholar was dumbfounded “O Shaykh, it is you who can inform him of what he should do.”
The Shaykh (Allah be well pleased with him) enlightening the association “He should seek the company of those who have achieved the nearness of Allah the Exalted. Once he has found them, he should keep their company and inshallah he will achieve nearness to Allah the Exalted.” The seeker petitioned “O Shaykh when I look at you I am reminded of Allah the Exalted. Please accept me as your mureed.” The Shaykh gave him initiation for he knew ‘The distance between a person and Allah the Exalted is himself! All it takes is one step and you walk.’ On this point we refer to Ibn Mashish (Allah be well pleased with him) who stated, “He who tells you, go to business is cheating on you. He who tells you, to stay up the whole night in qiyaam and exhaust yourself in fasting, praying all day and night, is making you tired, after a while you will stop. He who tells you, go to Allah the Exalted and here is the way is giving you all the comforts.” Qibla-Alam (Allah be well pleased with him) ushered people to Allah the Exalted, not tiring them nor cheating on them but taking them by the hand and leading them all the way until they reached Him, Majestic is He.
Whenever anyone called upon him, he would appear to them either in a waking state or in a dream, guiding his mureeds and seekers of Allah the Exalted. This is true today as it was when he was present on this Earth. He was present with all the saints that have passed away from this physical world, as well as those who are living in this world. They were connected with him at all times, feeding him their secrets, as he was Allah’s perfect saint.
About His Mastery
He safeguarded his breath from heedlessness, inhaling and exhaling, thereby keeping his heart always in the Divine Presence (Conscious Breathing “Hosh dar dam”). His heartbeat was to the tune of the Dhikr ‘Allah Hu’ to such an extent that many saw his heart and body pulsating rhythmically (all of the hairs on his body and his limbs moved). His spiritual aura engulfed his whole body as he had a luminous Prophetic glow circulating around his person. Sayyidunaa Shah Naqshband (Allah be well pleased with him) said, “This Order is built on breath. So it is a must for everyone to safeguard his breath in the time of his inhalation and exhalation and further, to safeguard his breath in the interval between the inhalation and exhalation.” He never let his gaze wonder, but kept his eyes firmly lowered, illustrating his high state looking nowhere except towards his Lord, Majestic is He (Watch Your Step “Nazar bar qadam”). He completed the Journey Homeward (“safar dar watan”) internal as well as external arriving in the Divine Presence. He returned to take others on that journey to the Lord, Majestic is He.
He was simultaneously with Allah the Exalted and the people (Solitude in the Crowd “khalwat dar anjuman”), for he spoke when it was necessary. The following was seen in him, in the words of Sayyidunaa al-Kharraz (Allah be well pleased with him): “Perfection is not in exhibitions of miraculous powers, but perfection is to sit among people, sell and buy, marry and have children; and yet never leave the presence of Allah even for one moment.” It was observed he made the Supreme Dhikr an infinite number of times in every breath, never living Him (All Praise due to Him), (Essential Remembrance “yad kard”). As it has been mentioned he saw none except Allah the Exalted, therefore Returning (“baz gasht”) to Allah the Exalted. The meaning of the phrase “baz gasht” is the return to Allah the Almighty by showing complete surrender and submission to His Will, and complete humbleness in giving Him all due praise.
The Shaykh (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) safeguarded his heart from bad thoughts and protected it from low inclinations, (Attentiveness “nigah dasht”). For whoever accomplishes these two goals will know his heart, and whoever knows his heart will know his Lord, Majestic is He. In a sound narration from the Prince of Believers Sayyidinnah Ali (May Allah ennoble his countenance), “Whoever knows himself knows His Lord.” Shaykh Sayyidunaa Abu Bakr al-Qattani (Allah be well pleased with him) said “I was the guard at the door of my heart for 40 years, and I never opened it for anyone except Allah the Exalted, until my heart did not know anyone except Allah, Almighty and Exalted.” For the heart of Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) was occupied solely by the Truth, Luminous is He. Contained within his heart was the Light of the Unique Essence (anwar adh-dhat al-Ahadiyya) of Allah the Exalted, as he kept his heart in Allah the Exalted’s Divine Presence continuously, leading him to embrace the Reality which is the Oneness of Allah, 'Azza wa Jall, (Recollection “yada dasht”).
The venerable Shaykh assessed every passing moment, utilising every second in the remembrance of Allah the Exalted, (Awareness of Time “wuquf zamani”). Sayyidunaa Shah Naqshband (Allah be well pleased with him) stating on this point, “You have to evaluate how you spend every moment: with Presence or in Negligence.” Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) was very strict in observing the number of repetitions when making Silent or Loud Dhikr, ensuring that the heart remained in constant remembrance of Allah the Exalted, (Awareness of Numbers “wuquf adadi”). For he understood when Sayyidunaa Shah Naqshband (Allah be well pleased with him) said “Observance of the numbers in Dhikr is the first step in the state of acquiring Heavenly Knowledge (ilm ul-ladunni).” His heart was directed towards the Divine Presence for he (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) saw none except Him, Majestic is He, experiencing His Manifestation in all states, (Awareness of the Heart “wuquf qalbi”). The reality of Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) was, he made others like him!
From His Sayings
For barakah we shall relate a few sayings attributed to him (Allah be well pleased with him).
“The highest ranking karamaat is in following and implementing the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).”
We relate an incident to illustrate the above-mentioned saying. A scholar of the local Jamia Masjid attended the Khanqah after Salat al-Jumu’ah. He asked the scholar “Today in your sermon you narrated a sound Hadith ‘Before going to sleep, the one who recites the final three Surahs of the Quran al-Karim then blows on both his hands passing them all over his body. That person will be safe from the attacks of shaytan.’ We know this was the regular actions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), my dear scholar have you acted upon this?” The scholar replied in the negative, the Shaykh inspiring him said, “If you had implemented this before you mentioned it in your sermon it would have influenced the people. The difference between a Sufi and a public speaker is, that the latter acquires knowledge so he can tell others of it. Whilst the former, the Sufi, acquires knowledge in order to act upon it and to increase his station.”
“To bring a dead person back to life is a work which is of little significance to a perfect dervish nor is this to be regarded as karamaat. Reviving a dead heart is the greatest karamaat! (Restoring a heart into a state of awareness so that it becomes aware once again of Allah the Exalted)”
“Tasawwuf is in essence following the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), adopting his Sunnah and possessing good character.”
“Do not yearn nor seek the dunya, the lower world, but yearn for the Maker, Majestic is He, of this world. Once you have found Him then everything is yours.”
“Refined conduct adab (model behaviour) is the first step in Tariqah. Whoever has reached a station in the Path has obtained it through refined conduct.”
“Do not place importance on your tribe, thinking that through the worldly social ranking of your tribe you will attain a praiseworthy station. The one who performs righteous deeds and abstains from evil inclinations has no need to seek the cover of his tribes’ social standing. Sayyidunaa Bilal from the Righteous Companions, Sayyidi Imam Bayazid, Sayyidi Imam al-Junaid, the Imams of the Madhhabs, the many Kamileen of al-Hind (Allah be well pleased with them all); who were they, what was their standing? These pious people possessed the Love ishq of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and in following his way they were successful.”
“The one who adorns the robes of a Dervish and uses it to earn a living is in reality destroying his life. His final reckoning will not be pleasant.”
“Always inform others of that, which you are acting upon yourself.”
On the point of receiving praise from people and accorded long titles, he said:
“A Sufi is never in need of lofty titles. Why? The ones who are alive in the Love of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) they can be likened to gold. For wherever gold is, it is still gold and when you attach a price to it, it has its own price and value for nothing can be compared to it in likeness. Even if you compared it to the tasbih of a Sufi or the crown of a king, it is still viewed as gold and people pay the price that is attached to it.”
His Passing from this World
We observed many wondrous events during the reign of Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret). His life was dedicated to serving the community. He would never scold anyone nor humiliate them. He would serve his guest with his own hands never feeling belittled as; this was the way of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). He would go to the market to purchase food or any other amenities needed for the Khanqah, and he also used public transport in the early years to attend gatherings, never waiting for someone to escort him. His life was a mystery in his display of humility, taqwa, zuhd, tawakkul and istiqama. His movements were acts of goodness, and his every breath was an act of worship. When people saw him they were reminded of Allah the Exalted. His joy and delight was in people turning towards Allah the Exalted; his sorrow and anger was in seeing people turn away from Him, Majestic is He. He loved seekers of Truth more than he loved his own children. He would recite poetry of Mawlana Rumi, Mawlana Jami, Miah Muhammad Baksh, Allama Iqbal and others (Allah be well pleased with them all) when explaining a certain point.
As he advanced in age, he was full of pains, weak in his body and movements but those who saw him, were amazed at his excellent control of his health. As time progressed he became more absorbed in the Divine Beauty, he would exhaust himself for the sake of his mureeds. Telling his mureeds who inquired of him as to what they should recite, “Only recite Dhikr for a short length of time before you sleep.” The reality was that he carried the burdens of humanity, and through him many progressed to Allah the Exalted; because for him The Truth, Majestic is He, was his hope and goal. As it is related when Sayyidunaa Khawajah Bayazid al-Bistami (Allah be well pleased with him) reached Allah the Exalted he said, “O my Lord, open for me Your door. This is my hope, my yearning. Open for me Your door.” And he heard a voice: “O Bayazid. My door cannot be opened until you become a servant to My servants, mazballatan lil‘ibad for other creation ‑ a place for carrying the burdens of people. Then I will open for you My door.” The Shaykh carried the burden of others like Bayazid (Allah be well pleased with him) and raised them gradually in to the Divine Presence.
His desire was that of the Real, Luminous is He, and his pleas were immediately answered. The strain of carrying the burdens took their toll and he was admitted to hospital due to his ill health. On 25th Dhul-Hijjah 1419 H, a Monday, the 12th April 1999 CE, humanity suffered a great calamity, the loss of mercy and guidance, as Allah the Exalted called His saint Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) back to Him. The news of his passing shocked his murideen and the world, as they had difficulty in believing the departure of the Cardinal Pole. At the time of his passing Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) had a smile on his face. His face gleamed like the midday sun and his body was engulfed with the Prophetic glow, which was seen emanating from his person when he was present on this world. To those who were honoured to have seen him after his passing, testify he (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) seemed as he was resting peacefully. The reality of this mystery in explained by the following Verse of the Quran al-Karim; “In the case of those who say, “Our Lord is Allah”, and, further, stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend on them (from time to time): “Fear ye not!” (they suggest), “Nor grieve! but receive the Glad Tidings of the Garden (of Bliss), the which ye were promised!” [Surah Fussilat 41: Verse 30]. Understand this was state of the noble Shaykh on his departure from this world, as he proclaimed, “My Lord is Allah the Exalted” in his illustrious life and made others testify to this esteemed declaration. For him (Allah be well pleased with him) there was no grief nor fear but happiness as he was returning to Allah the Exalted. This happiness was seen on his passing by the radiant smile on his most beautiful face.
His funeral was performed in Blackburn on Wednesday, 27th Dhul-Hijjah H/14th April 1999 CE, attended by thousands including all the leading scholars and all of his followers. At the funeral, his khulafah crowned his successor who would take his place in the seat of guidance. The Amaanah (Trust) of the Shaykh (May Allah perfume his final place of rest) was passed onto Khawajah Riaz Ahmad an-Naqshbandi who lead the funeral prayer. His body was flown to Pakistan; hundreds of thousands flocked to the airport to catch a glimpse of his coffin and accompanied it as it was transported to Shadpur Sharif, where his funeral was performed. He was laid to rest inside the mausoleum in the grave, he had dug in his illustrious life on the commands of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). Hundreds of thousands journeyed from all over the world to pay their respects to Allah’s perfect saint. Coming from his grave was a very sweet and heavenly scent which engulfed the whole city and province for forty days, as people who journeyed to pay their respects where guided to Shadpur Sharif by the scent before entering the province or the city.
Shaykh ‘Ali Ajhuri (Allah be well pleased with him), a prominent Maliki scholar, said, “The wali, when he is alive, is like a sword in its sheath. After his death, his influence becomes stronger like that of a sword out of its sheath.” We observed at his hand the Tariqah was made known to the inhabitants of the West and many seekers of The Truth, Majestic is He, continue receive guidance from him.
A student of Khawajah Sufi Muhammad Aslam (May Allah sanctify his noble secret) journeyed to Umrah after his death, thousands in Makkah al-Mukarramah and Madinah al-Munawwarah asked him about the Shaykh. When they were informed of his departure, the cities where in mourning at this loss. It is related, those who visited him in his last illness, found him overwhelmed with happiness. To illustrate the reality of this we refer to Sayyidi Makhul al-Shami (Allah be well pleased with him) and his final days. When people came to visit him in his illness they found him laughing. They asked about this. “Why should I not laugh,” he told them, “when I am about to leave everything I feared, about to approach to all I have hoped and dreamed off.” For him was happiness as was the conditioned of Sayyidunaa Bilal (Allah be well pleased with him) upon his death for he was making preparations to reunite with his Lord, Luminous is He