Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

“Having Good Opinion (Husn ad-Dhan) of God and His Creation”Dr.Umar Faruq Abdallah’s Friday Sermon at IMO

Dr.Umar Faruq  Abdallah’s Friday Sermon: “Having Good Opinion (Husn ad-Dhan) of God and His Creation” at International Muslim Organization (IMO),Toronto, Canada – Transcribed from Video  uploaded by SeekersHub,12/17/2011

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Abdullah ibn Masud (May God be pleased with him), a great companion of Prophet (May God honor him and grant him peace) and founder of one of the legal schools, said “By Him other than whom there is no god, no believing servant have been given anything better than having a good opinion of God, Great and Majestic is He, because all good is in God’s hand. Abu Hurairah (May God be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (May God honor him and grant him peace) said “Having a good opinion, having a good expectation about your Lord, Exalted be He is a part of good worship” (Abu Daud, Tirmidhi-Hasan Hadith). Jabir bin Abdullah (May God be pleased with him) transmitted in Muslim “I heard the Messenger of God Prophet (May God honor him and grant him peace) say three days before his death that “none of you die but that he has a good opinion of God, Great and Majestic be He”. Having good opinion of God, having good expectations from your Lord, anticipating good in the creation, having a good opinion of the believers, having good opinion of the people in the world in general, having a good opinion about the world and the ultimate destiny of things in it ,is one of the highest form of worship. We must believe always that the world and destiny are in good hands. That does not mean that we don’t oppose evil and it does not mean that we don’t realize that difficult situations are difficult situations. That we understand that every thing that happens in our lives as individuals or as communities is by the Will of God and it has wisdom behind it. The highest form of worship is having good opinion of your Creator. Having good opinion is a sign of a pure soul and of a sound heart. It professes true knowledge of God, His Perfection, His Wisdom, His Justice and it professes the understanding and acceptance, how God rules and directs the creation. Nothing happens without God’s Will whether we like it or not like it, whether it is good or not good, but that God willed it to be. He is our Lord and we have good opinion and good expectations of Him. It protects your heart, tongue and thoughts. It is one of the greatest cure we can have. It fosters harmony among us. We have good opinion of each other. It also is a sign of good end (Husn al Khatimah). Men and women who cultivate in their hearts, good opinion of God and they are content with God will have good end (Husn al Khatimah). It is a path leading to God’s forgiveness and mercy. On the authority of Abu Hurairah (May God be pleased with him) who said that the Prophet (May God honor him and grant him peace) said: God Almighty said, “I am Near the opinion ,My servant has for Me. I am near the expectation My servant has. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions to himself, I mention him to Myself. If he mentions Me in a gathering, I mention him in a gathering that is better than them. If he approaches me by hand’s span, I approach by span of forearm. If he approaches me by span of forearm I approach him by span of out stretched arms. If he comes to me walking, I come to him rushing.” Having a good opinion of God fills your whole being with happiness and hope. It radiates in you. Whatever is in your heart appears on your face. We should always be filled with eternal optimism even if situations are bad, even when the world is dark and future is forbidding. Husn ad-Dhan, Good opinion of God radiates from your skin. This is what we call Bashashah (cheerfulness and happiness) and it means that when you are so happy, one can see it on your face and you can see in your skin and of course to give good news which is Tabsheer ,is called that because when a person gives a good news, they light up and you can
see on them, just as when people are sad, they are broken hearted, their face is pale, they don’t show the same light, same luster. Bashasha and Tabsheer are two beautiful qualities of our beloved Prophet (May God honor him and grant him peace). He was always filled with Bashashah (happiness). He not only gave good news but he radiated good news. His whole being radiated that and his face was filled with radiance and luster as the Hadith tells us “The Messenger of God (May God honor him and grant him peace) will meet people with joyous face even when these people were his enemies, he will meet them in a beautiful way”. Imams Bukhari and Muslim transmitted “When the Prophet (May God honor him and grant him peace) was filled with joy and when he was happy, his face lit up as if it were pieces of full moon.” It radiated that happiness that was in him and this is the way we always should strive to be. We have every reason to be thankful, we have every reason to be happy and we have every reason to be bearers of good news and embody that in us. When Prophet (May God honor him and grant him peace) came to Khadija (May God be pleased with her) at the beginning of his prophecy when Gabriel came to him in the cave. This is one of the great example of Husn ad Dhan at work. Prophet (May God honor him and grant him peace) came to Khadija (May God be pleased with her) and told her to wrap him up in a blanket and she wrapped him in a blanket until shock is gone, then he turns to Khadija (May God be pleased with her), the mother of believers: “O’ Khadija! What has happened to me and he told her what has happened. He said:” I fear for myself”. This shows truthfulness, humility and beauty of our Prophet (May God honor him and grant him peace). Then Khadija turns to him and she answers him with best of good opinion (Husn ad Dhan). This is a classical example of Husn ad Dhan. She is not terrified, she is strong, she is like a mountain. She turns to him with Husn ad Dhan (good opinion), Bashara (good news) and Bashasha (happiness) and her whole being radiates with joy that message has come to him and she says: “No! No! God will never bring harm to you, be happy, receive the good news with happiness. By God, God will never dishonor you in the least. This is Husn ad Dhan. By God you join the kinship, you speak only the truth, you provide to those who cannot take care of themselves, you receive the guest with hospitality and you help people when misfortune occurs to them.” The great scholar Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (May God have mercy on him) notes how Khadija (May God be pleased with her) shows her support by pointing to his good character. This shows Khadija’s brilliance, strength and her understanding that God does not betray or forsake the people of good character. May God give us all, good character. This is a classic and perfect example of having a good opinion (Husn ad Dhan). In Arabic the word Dhan is one of those amazing word that could mean different things. Basic meaning of Dhan is to have a strong opinion, to have opinion that borders on knowledge, that is informed opinion. But also Dhan can become certain knowledge because often Dhan grows as you study the matter more and think about it more until you know this is truth. But as Ibn Hajar points out Dhan is based on Istidlal (inferring from a thing another thing),on studying things, contemplating on things, looking at things and it is inference based on facts. This exactly what Khadija (May God be pleased with her) does, so she knows the Prophet (May God honor him and grant him peace), she knows his greatness and she believes in God and she believes in him (May God honor him and grant him peace) .She reassures him: “look at you ,you have these excellent qualities, God will never forsake you. This is a good news that this great thing has happened to you.”

 Let us take one more example of Husn ad Dhan. This is a beautiful example of Husn ad Dhan and this is about death of second caliph Umar ibn Khattab (May God be pleased with him). Umar was a great human being who ever lived and who will, other than Prophets and messengers, do justice as Umar did. Umar (May God be pleased with him) was person so humble that he never saw himself like that. He feared God and used to say that if everyone goes to garden except one person, I will be that person and no one will go to fire except one person and I will be that person. So Umar was stabbed by an assassin and was in great pain, companions (sahabah) got around him and they loved him. They knew his death will bring great problems. They are praying and showing great mercy and then Imam Ali (May God be pleased with him) pushes through the crowd saying: “Ya Umar! God have mercy on you, Ya Umar! God have mercy on you, Ya Umar! God have mercy on you” Umar is married to his daughter and then he gets close to Umar and says these words to Umar so that he can hear it clearly, so Umar will be filled with joy, filled with Bashara and Bashasha. Again perfect example of Husn ad Dhan because he did Istidlal, because he has inference based on what he knows about Umar. He knows how great this man is and he says, this is in Bukhari and Muslim and absolutely authentic “You have not left behind you a person whose deeds I like to imitate and meet God with more than I like your deeds. By Allah! I always thought Allah would keep you with your two companions, for often I used to hear the Prophet saying” I went, me, Abu Bakr and Umar; I came in, me, Abu Bakr and Umar; I came out, me Abu Bakr and Umar”, then he said you will be with blessed Prophet (May God honor him and grant him peace) and Abu Bakr (May God be pleased with him) and you deserve that status. May God purify our hearts and deeds. Let us live and die with a good opinion of God and His creation, not to be shaken and be strong. May God fill our hearts with joy based on knowledge and practice that radiates from our skin, from our faces and all around us. Amin

Thursday, December 15, 2016

In the Praise of the Most Praised (saws)Poem written on 11 Rabi'l-Awwal By the Maqam of his beloved Grandson, al-Husayn,- in Cairo, Egypt-Walid Lounès Bouzerar

Poem written on 11 Rabi'l-Awwal
By the Maqam of his beloved grandson al-Husayn, peace and blessings be upon him and his sanctified family, in Cairo, Egypt.
By God's Will, all of creation is subjected to himﷺ
All is holy, all is loved that is connected to himﷺ
Possessor of beauty, protected from sinﷺ
Countless salutations be sent unto him
Shimmering, glimmering, lovers do drink
A light emanating, for which lovers do sing
Endless the blessings these waters do bring
Countless salutations be sent unto him
Till the Day of Reckoning to his cloak do we clingﷺ
A gaze of compassion that mends every wingﷺ
A heart free from passion, with love from the Kingﷺ
Countless salutations be sent unto him
His words are unchallenged, his actions are guidanceﷺ
Wisdom like gold in the sea of his silenceﷺ
No mind and no heart can fathom his highnessﷺ
Countless salutations be sent unto him
The master of physical and spiritual scienceﷺ
An endless ocean of indivisible kindnessﷺ
With shyness, but a lion in the face of the tyrantsﷺ
Countless salutations be sent unto him
The grandfather of Hassan and Husaynﷺ
Who transforms to resilience tribulation and painﷺ
By the lights of these names we beseech once again
Countless salutations be sent unto him
All ambiguities made simple and plain
In his shimmering presence, Prophecy reignsﷺ
By Your Attributes, Lord, and Your Beautiful Names,
Countless salutations be sent unto him

In the Praise of the Most Praised (saws) - 14 Rabi'l-Awwal Aswan, Egypt- Lounès Bouzerar

Bouzerar hashtag on Twitter
14 Rabi'l-Awwal
Aswan, Egypt
O my heart, do not dream except
That you first place yourself at the bottom of our grave
For as long as you are conscious of my imminent death
Than I worry not where you wander off to with your dreaming
And as long as you remember that our breaths are numbered
Then I trust you will not transgress the rights of Reality
O my heart, the grave is a lonely place
There are no colors there just pitch black darkness
O my heart, there are no friends there
Nor are there beautiful sounds nor beautiful sights
Nor are there beautiful scents nor beautiful tastes
Except for the one the Lord Most High has showered Mercy upon
O my heart how would you like to have a friend there
How would you like for Muhammadﷺ to visit you
My trembling heart there is nothing in your way but your heedlessness
My dreaming heart there is nothing between you and Muhammadﷺ
Except whims and desires and the passing fancies of this lower world
If you can transcend that, then may your companion be Muhammadﷺ
By the Will and Grace of the Lord Most High
And may this most beautiful companion's fragrance permeate youﷺ
O my heart, may Muhammad's beautiful face dazzle youﷺ
May his velvety touch throw you into an ecstatic blissﷺ
May his piercing black eyes take you spinning to the Throne of Godﷺ
May Muhammad's black locks wrap around you like a safety blanketﷺ
May his melodious voice enrapture you till the seventh Heavenﷺ
O my beloved heart, so you see, the path is easy
Enter the grave before you are made to enter it
From the clay we came, to the clay we shall return
And as for our dreams, O heart, wrap them in selflessness
And place them in the hands of the Master of the first and last
Muhammad the Truthful One, Carrier of the Divine Trust
May the blessings of God and His peace be upon him
- Walid Lounès Bouzerar

In Praise of the Beloved Prophet (saws) : Written on the road from Madinat ul-Munawwara back to Makkah.Walid Lounès Bouzerar

Bouzerar hashtag on Twitter
Written on the road from Madinat ul-Munawwara back to Makkah.
Caught in His Netﷺ
Lamenting sighs
Of lovers departing
The City of Light
Piercing my heart
My body craving
Proximity to the Dweller
Beneath that Green Domeﷺ
No my heart is too weak
And this Light has engulfed itﷺ
And these steps away
From its home is just
Barely less than torture
I am a simple man
With simple words
And a simple love
But I am caught in the net
Of Muhammad the Beloved of Godﷺ
Nothing pains my heart quite like
Stepping away from your golden gatesﷺ
O Muhammadﷺ have Mercy on me
And you are for it
Be with me then in spirit
O God you know my state
And my weakness is made plain
So O God make swift my return
And for every sincere lover
Whose heart burns as mine
Fragile but Unrelenting
Wind this flame O lover
For your life is in this burning
O Allah send your peace and blessings
Upon this Light my heart weeps for
Upon this Beloved my tears seep for
Upon Muhammad
O Muhammadﷺ
Take us by the hand
Now and forever
And may this burning love
Live on for Eternity
- Walid Lounès Bouzerar

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Naqshbandis in Turkey: Shaykh Osman Nuri Topbas

Who is Osman Nuri Topbas?
Osman Nuri Topbas was born in 1942 in Erenkoy, Istanbul, Turkey to Musa Topbas and Fatma Feride Hanim, H. Fahri Kigılı’s daughter.
He went to Erenkoy Zihni Pasha Primary School and, in 1953, Istanbul Imam Hatip High School, one of the leading secondary educational institutions with highly respected teachers such as M. Celaleddin Okten, Mahir İz, and Nureddin Topchu. During his years of primary schooling, he also received special instruction in the Qur’an.
At Istanbul Iman Hatip, he studied under the supervision of  M.Zekai Konrapa, Yaman Dede (Abdulkadir Ketsheoglu), Ahmet Davutoglu, Mahmud Bayram, and Ali Rıza Sagman. Both Osman and his uncle Abidin Topbash graduated from this educational institution in 1960.
He also became acquainted with famous poet and thinker Necip Fazıl. He joined the latter’s circle of friends, attended his speeches, followed his magazine Büyük Doğu, and became an ardent supporter of his ideas, both materially and spiritually.
After graduation, Topbas engaged in trade and industry but he never severed himself from learning and philanthropy. He was an active member of İlim Yayma Cemiyeti (Society for the Promulgation of Knowledge). His business site operated like a charitable organization and foundation; it was a centre for giving scholarships to students and assistance to the poor. He was also in charge of his family’s philanthropic services. He continued his charitable activities under the auspices of the Aziz Mahmud Hudayi Foundation, following its establishment. He was pioneer not only in its founding but also in spreading its services to students from neighboring countries.
Topbas began to write in the early 1990s as a result of his interest in history, literature, the religious sciences and in poetry. Among his Works translated to English:
  1. Tears of the Heart
  2. The Prophet of Mercy Muhammad: Scenes From His Life
  3. Islam Spirit and Form
  4. The Prophet Muhammad Mustafa the Elect I-II
  5. Sufism: A Path Towards the Internalization of Faith
  6.  From the Apex of Islamic Civilization: Endowment, Charity, and Service in Islam
  7. The Secret in the Love for God
  8.  Last Breath
  9.  From the Garden of Mathnawi: The Story of the Reed
  10. A Peaceful Home: Paradise on Earth
  11. The Exemplar Beyond Compare: Muhammad Mustafa.
  12.  Civilization of Virtues I-II
  13. Hajj Mabrur and Umrah: The Accepted Pilgrimage Performed in a Spiritual Climate
  14. Such a Mercy He Was: Moral Legacy of Prophet Muhammad
  15.  Ikhlas and Taqwa: Sincerity and Piety
  16. From the Garden of the Heart: From the Exemplary Manners of the Friends of Allah
  17. 101 Steps in Education
  18.  The Society of the Age of Bliss
  19. Contemplation in Islam
Topbas’s books have been translated into many languages. He has shared his vision also through educational seminars, speaking at conferences and chairing panels in many different countries, all of which he continues within his understanding of service to humanity.
He is married and he is the father of four children.

Shaykh Muhammad `Uthmān Sirāj al-Dīn al-Naqshbandi Khalidi Uthmani RA (1896_1997)
Shaykh Muhammad `Uthmān Sirāj al-Dīn al-Naqshbandī(1314-1417=1896-1997)
Muhammad `Uthmān Sirāj al-Dīn ibn Shaykh Muhammad `Alā al-Dīn al-Husaynī was the Shaykh of the Naqshbandī and Qadirī Sufi Orders.
He was born in the village of Bayāra in the Halabja region of Iraq in 1896(1314).
He was raised into a home with an environment of `ilm, piety and `ibāda. His father had taken special care in training him with both the outward and inner branches of `ilm more so after he had observed the boys zeal and readiness and after some karāmāt were witnessed. He was known for his exemplary behaviour and conduct with the `ulama and the awliyā. From a young age he was inclined to the pristine teachings of Islam and he loved the recitation of the Qurān.
He studied Tajwīd under the renowned Egyptian QārīShaykh Mustafā Ismā`īl. In addition he studied the art of public speaking  and learnt the essentials with regard to leading a congregation in Salāt. He studied the various Islamic Sciences in the way the `ulama did. In addition he had also studied the various Arabic Sciences and Persian at the Bayāra and Durūd Schools.
After his father’s demise in 1953 (1373) he took over his duties and engaged in advising and guiding the people. He was very familiar with Prophetic and Herbal Medicine and thus treated many people. He was familiar with the herbal names in Kurdish, Arabic, Persian and Latin.
He remained in Bayāra until 1958 when he travelled to Iran where he found an environment and an atmosphere more conducive to the Islamic teachings and advising people in matters of Islam. Here many `ulama gathered around him.
He established a school that accommodated 450 students who all studied the Islamic sciences at his expense. Under his supervision more than 100 such schools were established in the region and during his stay in the area more than one million Muslims had attached themselves to him. These people adhered to the recitation of the Qurān and the litanies of the Naqshbandī Order.
After the revolution of 1979 he returned to Bayāra but after the war between Iraq and Iran had erupted he moved to Baghdad. In 1988(1409) he moved to Turkey where he settled in the village of Jamshet in Istanbul where he remained until his demise in 1997(21 Ramadān 1417). He is buried in the Naqshbandī Zāwiya in Istanbul.
He was known for his adherence to the Qurān and the Sunna and his compassion and service to all Muslims. Sometimes as many as three hundred people would visit him and every one would leave with some gift be it some honey, fruit or something else. He assisted the poor and destitute and regarded himself as a servant of the poor.
His nephew mentioned that in 1989 he was blessed with a daughter and after one month she developed a growth at the back of her neck. This growth increased and the doctors were certain that she would require an operation once she is about two years old and able to bear the anaesthetic. The father was concerned when this continued to increase in size and he went to his uncle, Shaykh `Uthmān Sirāj al-Dīn to request him to supplicate to Allah for the young girl. The Shaykh advised him to change her name and he mentioned some of the negative effects associated with the name. the name was changed to Māriya al-Baghdādiyya and gradually within five days it disappeared.
Some of the books authored by him are:
  • Tafsīr Sūra Wa al-Tīn
  • Sirāj al-Qulūb
  • Risāla al-Shihāb al-Thāqib
  • Al-`Itiqād al-Rasīn wal-Yaqīn billah
Hajj Gibril Haddad

Naqshbandis in Turkey- Professor Caner K. Dagli - Roanoke College

The Naqshbandiyyah in Turkey-Caner K. Dagli-Roanoke College

Text of talk presented at “Islam in Turkey Today,” a symposium sponsored by The Middle East Institute at Columbia University, the Turkish Cultural Center, and the Institute of Turkish Studies, November 2- 3, 2007, Columbia University, New York.

The Naqshbandiyyah are one of the largest and most widespread of the Sufi orders in the world. These orders are the institutional form of the spiritual and mystical tradition within Islam. Before addressing the Naqshbandiyyah as a 20
 th century movement in Turkey, it worth spending some time dwelling on the history of the Naqshbandiyyah and the place of Sufism in general in Islam and in Turkey. Like all Sufi orders, the Naqshbandiyyah derive their spiritual authority from a chain of initiation and guidance, a silsilah , which reaches back to the Prophet.The order takes its name from Baha al-Din Naqshband, who lived during the 14th century mostly in and around Bukhara and Transoxania.
The general practices and character of the order were already fairly well established by then by the previous generations of Khwajagan or simply “masters” of the preceding centuries. Among the bases for the order were the
kalimat-i qudsiyyah , or holy sayings, which are the foundational principles for the Naqshbandiyyah. Originally composed in Persian, they still form the basis for many of the books written by Naqshbandi masters about the spiritual path. One of the spiritual descendants of Baha al-Din travelled to India during the rule of Akbar and took as his disciple Ahmed Sirhindi, also referred to as Imam-i Rabbani and Mujaddid-i alf-i thani. Sirhindi was well known for this critique of the doctrine of wahdatal-wujud or “oneness of being”, which he rejected in favor of
wahdat al-shuhud “oneness of perception”, as well as for his political activism. His written works and his life are second only to Baha al-Din Naqshand in the overall history of the order. The Mujaddidiyyah, as the branch begun by Sirhindi came to be known, spread to the Arab lands and beyond. In the early 1800’s a certain Khalid Bahgdadi from Kurdistan, after a spiritual encounter in Mecca, travelled to India where he became initiated into the Mujaddadi branch. He spent the latter part of his life in Baghdad and Syria, but his spiritual influence spread far and wide in the Ottoman lands, among Arabs, Kurds, within Anatolia, and as far as the Balkans. But the Khalidi branch was not the first to reach Istanbul. In the late 17th century a disciple of Sirhindi’s son Muhammad Ma‘sum, Murad al-Bukhari, came to Istanbul and was apparently well received by the  seyh ul-islam and the upper classes of the city. Early in the 18th century a man named Ahmad Joryani, also known as Yekdest, travelled to India to be initiated by Sirhindi’s son Muhammad Ma‘sum. From his spiritual chain came the figure of Mehmet Emin b. Ismail (nicknamed Brusali). Mehmet Emin, as a scholar and commentator on the Mesnevi of Rumi and a clerk for the grand vizier at that time (1757-1763), put him close to the government and literary circles. The revolt against Sultan Selim III resulted in the persecution and execution of many of Mehmed Emin’s followers, but the Mujaddidiyyah continued their following and influence among the learned and beauracratic classes in Istanbul. Indeed, it seemed to be a guiding principle of the order, going back as far as Sirhindi, to be a positive religious influence upon rulers and upon the ruling classes, unlike some other Sufi orders which might emphasize detachment and separation from society and worldly power. Moreover, it tended to draw its ranks from the elite members of society. Shaykh Khalid wrote to one of his disciples, “Do not initiate into the order except distinguished ulama.” Khalid himself would quote a saying of Sirhindi, “The virtuousness of kings is the virtuousness of the subjects. Their corruption is the corruption of all the subjects.” Thus the Naqshbandi social program had a distinguishing feature of recognizing the role of the ruler in the moral and spiritual life of society, and of taking active steps in reforming the ruler as well as those over whom he ruled. Following the outbreak of the Greek Revolution in 1821 the Naqshbandis were affected by an unfolding drama involving the Bektashis, the Janissaries, and religious elite, and the Sultan. In 1826 Sultan Mehmet II abolished the Janissaries corps and outlawed the Bektashi order. This was framed as a move by the state and the religious establishment— “din ve devlet”—to cleanse the society of those who were endangering orthodox Islam. The Janissaries and Bektashis were accused of defying the ulama and weakening society’s link to Islam. The move by the Sultan had strong support among the beauracratic and clerical classes. There was a movement during this period towards there-establishment of Islamic orthodoxy and a spiritual renewal of society which was seen as having grown too lax and attached to material enjoyments. Indeed, another important feature of the Naqshbandi tariqah was a scrupulous observance of the shariah and a concern with reviving and living in accordance with the sunna of the Prophet Muhammad, and so the character of the order fit well with the larger pious trend. It appears that the fate of the Naqshbandis during this period, and their relationship with the Sultan, was mixed. Indeed, they would have favored the removal of anti-Islamic elements and a general renewal of the sunnah and Islamic practice, but there was the question of the degree to which the exaltation of the shariah placed a check on the power of the sultan. The orthodox sentiments of the upper classes helped the sultan to rid himself of the Janissaries and the Bektashis, but he would not have favored the expansion of a kind of republican ( juhmur tarzinda) Islamic government. The Khalidi’s were actively kept in check despite their following, and after the death of Shaykh Khalid they came to depend and be sustained by government support and patronage. They remained influential in Istanbul and other places, but not to the same degree of independence as during the time of Shaykh Khalid. ***The Naqshbandis naturally were opposed in principle to the tanzimat reforms of the middle part of the 19th century, geared as they were towards modernizing the empire along Western models. So when Sultan Abd al-Hamid later moved to reassert the Islamic dimensions of his role as Sultan, he had the support of the Naqshbandis. During this period the most important Nasqbandi figure was Shaykh Ziyaeddin Gümüshanevi, who fought in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878, along with other Naqshbandi shaykhs.It is not surprising that by and large the Naqshbandis did not support the Young Turk revolution, although there were some exceptions to this. As a rule, the Naqshbandis were active in the First World War and the Turkish War of Independence, though they could not have reasonably foreseen the establishment of a political order which would eventually outlaw them. Indeed, by fighting on behalf of the state they were following the command of Shaykh Khalid to “pray for the survival of the exalted Ottoman state upon which depends Islam and for its victory over the enemies of religion.” Gümüshanevi commanded his disciples in terms of protecting the vatan’ din and devlet’. During the war against the occupying allied forces, Naqshbandis often protected high ranking officials in their tekkes. The most significant example of this is the protection of Ismet Inonu, close associate of Mustafa Kemal and later the second president of the Republic, in the Özbekler tekke in Uskudar. During that time the Naqshibandis played an important role in the mobilization of the populace against the occupiers. At this time figures such as Mustafa Kemal were still framing their activities in terms of protecting and upholding Islam and the Caliphate. Indeed there were several Naqshbandi shaykhs in the first Grand National Assembly, such as Servet Efendi (d.1962) and Hasan Fevzi Efendi (d. 1924). From the Naqshabandi point of view the situation took a turn for the worse with the radical secularizing and Westernizing reforms which followed in the wake of the War of Independence. The abolition of the caliphate and other measures taken to remove the Islamic character of the state led to several rebellions in the 1920’s and 1930’s, the most famous of which was the Shaykh Said rebellion of 1925. Many of the rebellions against the secularizing reforms were carried out by Naqshbandi groups, who saw the changes as destroying the role of religion. The Republican regime, for its part, framed the rebellions as conflicts between the forces of darkness and enlightenment. The State reacted to these rebellions by outlawing Sufi orders and clamping down on their organizing power. Sufi lodges were shut down or occupied for other purposes, such as being turned into “people’s houses” with a new secular nationalistic mandate. The period from the Shaykh Said rebellion until the 1950’s was perhaps the most difficult for Sufi orders, and for religion in general, in Turkey. As a general rule, the Naqshbandis were able to weather the storm of persecution better than other orders. Part of this stemmed from the principle, going back to Baha al-din and continued through Sirhindi and Khalid, of khalvat dar anjuman, or seclusion within society. The practice of khalwah meaning “seclusion” is a universal Sufi exercise of spending long periods of time completely alone in remembrance and meditation, often contrasted with  jalwah , meaning to be out in the open, that is, together with other people. The doctrine of “seclusion within society”, together with the emphasis of Naqshbandis upon silent rather than vocal dhikr , and their emphasis on normative sunni law and theology, made it easier for them to continue their practice and association without attracting special attention. A Naqshbandi could more easily hide in plain sight, since he would have fewer distinctive practices such as the vocal hadras and  semas of other orders such as the Helvati-Jerrahi and the Mevlevis. Thus, during the 1950’s, when the environment became more relaxed, the Naqshbandis were still a viable intellectual and spiritual presence in Turkey. ***In Istanbul the most influential branch of the Naqshbandiyyah is known as the Gumushanevi branch, which became centered in the Iskenderpasa mosque and became known as the Iskenderpasa Cemaati. Other important branches include the Erenköycemaati, the Ismail Aga group led by Mahmut Ustaosmanoglu, and the Menzil Cemaat of Adiyaman. Other groups such as the Sulemancilar are also Naqshbandi, but there are differences between them and the groups I just mentioned. For example, they stress a traditional, memorization based education unlike the study circles of the Naqshbandis and Nur movement. One of their noteworthy successes has been to create a vast dormitory system in Turkey, and they have considerable presence among the expatriate Turks in German.
The most significant example of this is the protection of Ismet Inonu, close associate of Mustafa Kemal and later the second president of the Republic, in the Özbekler tekke in Uskudar. During that time the Naqshibandis played an important role in the mobilization of the populace against the occupiers. At this time figures such as Mustafa Kemal were still framing their activities in terms of protecting and upholding Islam and the Caliphate. Indeed, there were several Naqshbandi shaykhs in the first Grand National Assembly, such as Servet Efendi (d.1962) and Hasan Fevzi Efendi (d. 1924). From the Naqshabandi point of view the situation took a turn for the worse with the radical secularizing and Westernizing reforms which followed in the wake of the War of Independence. The abolition of the caliphate and other measures taken to remove the Islamic character of the state led to several rebellions in the 1920’s and 1930’s, the most famous of which was the Shaykh Said rebellion of 1925. Many of the rebellions against the secularizing reforms were carried out by Naqshbandi groups, who saw the changes as destroying the role of religion. The Republican regime, for its part, framed the rebellions as conflicts between the forces of darkness and enlightenment. The State reacted to these rebellions by outlawing Sufi orders and clamping down on their organizing power. Sufi lodges were shut down or occupied for other purposes, such as being turned into “people’s houses” with a new secular mandate. The period from the Shaykh Said rebellion until the 1950's was 

 the most difficult for Sufi orders, and for religion in general, in Turkey. With the passing of Abdulaziz Bekkine in 1952 Mehmed Zahid Kotku became the head of the Iskenderpasa branch. His influence and standing was evident both in life and in his death: The Turkish cabinet passed a special order for him to be buried next to the Sulaymaniye mosque, and this was actually carried out during the 1980 military intervention. This is in quite marked contrast with the arrests, imprisonment, and harrassment generally suffered by other Naqshbandi shaykhs at various times during the late Ottoman and Republican period. Kotku was not merely a spiritual figure, but exerted an immense influence over politics. He did not do this directly, but in his function as spiritual teacher and mentor to some of the most important political actors in the last several decades of Turkish history. Among those who were his disciples or who were closely associated with the Iskenderpasa group are Turgut Ozal, Korkut Ozal, Necmetting Erbakan, Abdullah Gul, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kotku modifed the old Sufi saying bir lokma, bir hirka (one morsel, one cloak) by adding bir Mazda, that is, one Mazda car. Rather than emphasize a life of pious withdrawl from society, Kotku encouraged his followers to succeed in business, not only as a means to subsist, but as a means for Muslims to become stronger and self-sufficient and exercise more control over their own destiny. In 1970 Kotku was important in the formation of the National Order Party. After they were disbanded in the coup of 1971 and Erbakan fled to Switzerland until 1972, a similar group formed the National Salvation Party which was similarly banned in the1980 coup. Afterwards, the same groups came together to form the Welfare Party. After the coup, in 1983, , another disciple of Kotku, Turgut Ozal, formed the Anavatan (Mother Land) Partisi and became prime minister, and later president. Ozal did not hide his Naqshbandi affiliations, nor did his brother Korkut Ozal. It should be recalled that the greatest danger seen by the military during the 1980 coup was not Islamists but communists. In fact, the state took steps to strengthen and popularize the place of Islam in society as a counterweight to what they perceived as the dangerous ascendancy of leftist thinking. Ozal’s policies tended strongly towards privatization and the free market. It was largely due to the changes enacted during this period that Turkey witnessed the ascendancy of a new Anatolian middle class of business men and entrepreneurs who had previously been shut out of the centralized state-industrial complex. It enabled those with a traditional Islamic leaning and association to enter into the business sector, including Naqshbandis and the Nur movement. *** Now, even though figures such as Erbakan, Gul, and Erdogan have Naqshbandi roots, one should not overstate the direct influence of the spiritual order upon political decisions. The spiritual and philosophical world view of these political leaders was undoubtedly shaped by their Sufi roots, but history has shown that in the realm of economics these followers of Sufism have done what makes good economic sense, and in the realm of politics have tried to obey the rules of that arena. That is to say, the importance of the Naqshbandis lies in its ability to create social, cultural, and economic networks and to produce intellectuals, businessmen, and politicians who will work for the cause of strengthening the moral and spiritual condition of society through religion. They are indeed religiously and socially motivated, but that does not mean they are centrally directed. ***I would like to conclude with some remarks about Sufism. Though as an organization and social network the Naqshbandiyyah are the most important Sufi group in Turkey, intellectually and philosophically there are many currents which should also be kept in mind. The poetry of Rumi and the metaphysical teachings of the school of Ibn Arabi should not go unmentioned in a discussion of the role of Sufism in Turkey or the Ottoman Empire. To this day Rumi is a kind of patron saint of Turkey, known to all as Mevlana. Less popularly known are Ibn Arabi and his school, but their influence upon Turkish Sufism was and continues to be considerable. Recall that the first mudarris or university chancellor of the Ottomans was Dawud al-Qaysari, a major commentator and author in the school of Ibn Arabi. Also major figures such Molla Fenari, the 15th century jurist who was the first Ottoman seyhulislam, were Sufis of ibn Arabi’s school. Most of the important actors in the Islamic movements of the 20th century in Turkey are traceable to the Naqshbandi order in particular and to Sufism in general. A major influence in Fethullah Gulen’s early life was Mehmed Lutfi or Alvarli Efe, a local Naqashabandi shaykh. Said Nursi himself, a major influence upon Gulen and many others in Turkey was himself a Naqshbandi, even though in both Gulen’s and Nursi’s case their teachings and influence were not propagated through extending the Naqshbandi silsilah. That is to say, even though Nursi was Naqshi (I do not know if Gulen was in fact initiated by Lutfi, though it seems likely) these figures are not Sufi masters in the strict sense. The writings and teachings of Nursi and Gulen are heavily Sufi in their spirit and often terminology, but they are not transmitted to their followers the way a Sufi master passes on teachings to his murid. Not every spiritually-based group is a tariqah (regardless of how denatured that word has become in modern Turkish), an important difference between the Naqshbandis and the Nur movement. One important effect of the strength of Sufism in Turkey has been to temper the nature of Islamic activism. One high level member of the Jordanian government once joked to me, lamenting about his fundamentalist problems, that the Turks shouldn’t complain, they have the best Islamists. In much of the Arab world and the subcontinent Sufism was perceived by the modernizing Muslims and by religious fundamentalists and being part of the problem facing Muslim societies. Though the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt had early connections with Sufism (Hassan al-Banna in particular) with the influence of Sayyid Qutb and the eventual takeover of the intellectual apparatus of the Salafi movement in general by Wahhabism, Sufism has come under suspicion and is relatively weak in the Arab world politically and economically. Even though many major religious figures are Sufi themselves, it is very rare for them to broadcast this openly. In the subcontinent, Mawdudi and similar modernizers were critical of Sufis, and the Salafi-Wahhabi movement is now very powerful there as well. The emphasis upon tradition, and the continuity implied in a Sufi order’s very structure, helps to maintain most Sufis’ connection with traditional mainstream Islam. A movement based upon the ethical, spiritual, and philosophical teachings of Sufism cannot easily fall into the mold of the modern utopian rebellion characteristic of some Arab and South Asian (not to mention Iranian) Islamic movements. The contrast between the harsh, sharp legalism and uninspired spiritual writings of many Arab and South Asian Islamists on the one hand, and the writings of Islamic intellectuals in Turkey on the other, is quite striking. As the main repository of spirituality within Islam, Sufism has been instrumental in protecting Turkey’s Islamic movements from many of the psychological and political excesses of their counterparts in other countries, and the Naqshbandiyyah have been an important part of this