In His Name, glory be to Him.
There is nothing that does not glorify Him with praise.
Imam Rabbani, inspired leader and great murshid of the Nakshbandi way, says in his Letters: “I would prefer to make a single matter of faith known in plain terms than attain thousands of spiritual pleasures and ecstasies, and work miracles.”
He also says: “The final station in all kinds of the spiritual journeying is to attain the full perception of the truths of faith.”
Three kinds of sainthood
Again, he says: “There are three kinds of sainthood. The first is the kind known to everybody, which is the minor one. The second is of medium degree. The third and greatest one is the major sainthood, which can be attained through direct succession to the Prophetic message, paving the way to the truth without entering the ‘intermediate realm’ of spiritual orders.”
He also says: “A person can progress in the Nakshbandi way by having a firm belief in the pillars of faith and performing the religious duties. Neglect of or deficiency in either makes this way impossible to follow.”
This means that the Nakshbandi way encompasses three kinds of mission.
- The first and greatest consists in directly serving the truths of belief without any mediating influences. Imam Rabbani entered into such service especially in the closing years of his life.
- The second is to try one’s hardest to perform and promote the obligatory religious duties and the Sunna of the Prophet, upon him be peace and the blessings of God, by following a spiritual order.
- The third kind of the Nakshbandi mission is that one follows the way in order to be purified of the spiritual diseases.
The first of these missions is obligatory, the second necessary, and the third is supererogatory.
That being so, if men of such rank as ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, Shah Nakshband and Imam Rabbani, may God be pleased with them all, were living in this age when the fundamentals of belief have been shaken in minds and hearts and people go astray under the influence of materialistic and positivistic trends, they would certainly be exerting themselves in preaching and defending the truths of belief and the fundamentals of the Islamic creed, since one cannot otherwise attain eternal happiness. Any neglect in them will result in eternal torment. It is impossible for one to go to Paradise without belief but there are many who deserve Paradise without following an order. Following an order has the same use and importance for man as any fruits do whereas the truths of faith are the food essential to one’s spiritual life. One cannot live without ‘bread’ while it is possible to subsist without fruit.
I just remembered the dictum about the principles of the Nakshbandi way:
In the way of the Nakshbandi, it is necessary to renounce four things:
- the world,
- the Hereafter,
- ‘becoming,’ or claiming that one has “become” a saintly one,
- and the idea of ‘renunciation,’ that is, recalling that one has renounced what he has renounced..
Remembering that brought another dictum to mind: In the pure Qur’anic way of serving belief and the Qur’an, depending on one's perception of his nothingness, four things are necessary:
- perception and admission of one’s absolute poverty vis-à-vis the Divine riches,
- of absolute helplessness vis-à-vis the Divine power,
- and absolute gratitude to God,
- and absolute enthusiasm in His way.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.