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),

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Mawlana Khalid & Ghulam Ali Shah -Arthur Buehler - Victoria University, Wellington,NZ

Mawlânâ Khâlid And Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh[1]

Arthur F. Buehler
Victoria University, Wellington, NZ

Mawlânâ Khâlid found favor here by virtue of his states of being and spiritual power. His capacity was way beyond the rest of the aspirants – that such a precious jewel may be in our midst! It is certain that he has blessed his homeland and has benefited those who have been in his presence. Before meeting him I had not met anyone who had received such divine blessings. It is incumbent that everyone benefit from his help, sincerity, and love. Ahmad Sirhindî [d. 1624)] was the most blessed companion of Bâqî billâh [d. 1603)] and Ahmad Sirhindî had the good luck to have Âdam Banûrî [d. 1644] as his foremost disciple.[2] It was my good fortune that Mawlânâ Khâlid was among my companions. There has never been a person manifesting so much spiritual power (fayd) in spiritual companionship among the notables [like that of Mawlânâ Khâlid]. Praise God and then praise God again -- who will drive away the enmity of those who are jealous of Maulânâ Khâlid’s service.[3]

            Such is the high regard Mawlânâ Khâlid’s shaykh, Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh (d. 1824 in Delhi) had for his foremost disciple. The story of this auspicious relationship begins in 1805 when Diyâ’uddîn Khâlid al-Shahrazûrî, commonly known as Mawlânâ Khâlid (d. 1827 in Damascus) met a dervish while on pilgrimage. Mawlânâ Khâlid asked if he could be his disciple but the dervish informed him that his guide awaited him in India. Roughly four years later in Sulaymaniya, Iraq (another name for Shahrazur), Mawlânâ Khâlid met Mirzâ Rahîm Allâh Beg, one of Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s disciples commonly known as Muhammad Darwîsh al-‘Azîmâbâdî.[4] According to another source,[5] Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh sent Mirzâ ‘Abdurrahîm to Iran

[1] This article was originally published in The Journal of the History of Sufism 5 (2007): 199-213, as permission has been kindly granted from Maisonneuve, Paris, for inclusion in Sufi Illuminations.
[2] Note that Âdam Banûrî is said to have achieved annihilation of the heart in the same hour he got initiated. Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Sharh-i durr al-ma‘ârif: minhâj al-râghibayn illâ makûbât imâm al-muttaqîn imâm rabbânî mujaddid-i alf-i thânî, ed. Ayyûb Ganjî,  (Sanandaj, Iran: Intishârât-i Kurdistân, 1997), p. 138.
[3] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, ed. Muhammad Ra’ûf Ahmad Râfat Mujaddidî (Istanbul: Ihlâs Vakfı, 1989), p. 227. Cf. a parallel passage in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Malfûzât-i sharîfa, ed. Ghulâm Muhyîuddîn Qusûrî, Urdu trans. Iqbâl Ahmad Fârûqî (Lahore: Maktaba-yi Nabawiyya, 1978), p. 113.
[4] ‘Abdulmajîd Muhammad b. Muhammad al-Khânî, al-Hadâ’iq al-wardiyya fî ajillâ’al-sâdat al-naqshbandiyya, (Damascus: Dâr al-Bayrûtî, 1997), p. 658.
[5] Related to me by Shaykh Ma‘sûm Naqshbandî from Mahabbat, Iran, in Arizona, USA 30 December 2004.

and Iraq to bring three people back to Delhi. The first was Mullâ Nudshâhî who did not know what to do, so he consulted Hâfiz’s Dîvân. With the ensuing inauspicious message, Mirzâ ‘Abdurrahîm left alone the next day for Sayyid ‘Abdullâh Nâhirî’s village. However, the Sayyid was too old to travel so Mirzâ ‘Abdurrahîm set out toward Mawlânâ Khâlid’s abode. In both accounts, Mawlânâ Khâlid immediately left for Delhi after meeting Mirzâ ‘Abdurrahîm. After about a year he arrived in Delhi, meeting Qâdî Thanâ’ullâh Pânîpatî (d. 1810) between Lahore and Delhi right before the Qâdî passed away.[1] Mawlânâ Khâlid first denied the ideas of Ahmad Sirhindî, but after receiving divine effulgence from the Mujaddidî lineage, Mawlânâ Khâlid eagerly acquired a copy of Sirhindî’s Maktûbât translated into Arabic.[2] In his total of nine or ten months of discipleship in Delhi with Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh,[3] he reached “lesser intimacy with God” (walâyat-i sughrâ) after five months.[4] When he attained “greater intimacy with God” (walâyat-i kubrâ), Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh gave him unconditional permission to guide disciples in the Naqshbandî, Qâdirî, Chishtî, Suhrawardî, and Kubrawî lineges.[5] One source claims that permission came (in addition?) after Mawlânâ Khâlid had returned to Iraq when

[1] Ibid., 660. The text has Mawlawî Thanâ’ullâh al-Naqshbandî.
[2] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, p. 88. Which translation he used is uncertain. One manuscript in Arabic translation used to be in the Awqâf Library in Baghdad, Ta‘rîb al-maktûbât al-sûfiyya, trans. Yûnus Naqshbandî. There is another translation by Muhammad Murâd Shâmî (d. 1132). See Iqbâl Mujaddidî, in the foreword to Muhammad Sa‘îd Ahmad Mujaddidî, Al-bayyinât: sharh-i maktûbât, vol. 1 (Gujranwala, Pakistan: Tanzîm al-Islâm Publications, 2002), pp. 58-61. The Maktûbât was completely translated into Arabic in the latter part of the nineteenth century (ca. 1898 in Mecca) by Muhammad Murâd al-Manzâwî/al-Qazânî, Makûbât: al-durar al-maknûnât al-nafîsa, 2 vols. (Istanbul: Maktabat al-Mahmûdiyya, n.d.).
[3] ‘Abdulghanî Mujaddidî, “Halât-i Hadrat Shâh Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî,” Urdu trans., Muhammad Iqbâl Mujaddidî, Appendix One in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Maqâmât-i Mazharî, Urdu trans., Muhammad Iqbâl Mujaddidî (Lahore: Urdu Science Board, 1983), p. 615, has him staying nine months and in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, p. 88, GHULÂM ‘ALÎ SHÂH says that he stayed ten months.
[4] Ibrâhîm Fasîh al-Baghdâdî, Al-majd al-tâlid fî manâqib Shaykh Khâlid, on page 7 in a section after page 248 in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa. Literally it says he reached “maqâm al-hudûr wa’l-mushâhida.
[5] Ibid. and Muhammad Amîn al-Kurdî, Al-mawâhib al-saniyya fî ajillâ’al-sâdat al-naqshbandiyya (Damascus: Dâr al-hirâ’, 1996), pp. 229-232.

Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh received a spiritual indication from the Naqshbandî shaykhs to bestow complete and unconditional permission to teach the aforementioned five lineages in addition to permission to transmit hadith, Qur’ân exegesis, Sufism, and litanies (ahzâb wa-awrâd).[1] While Mawlânâ Khâlid was in Delhi, it seems as if Shâh Walîullâh’s son, Shâh ‘Abdul‘azîz Muhaddith (d. 1823 in Delhi) was the only other religious figure with whom he studied. Mawlânâ Khâlid received permission from him to recite the hadiths from the six canonical Sunni hadith collections.[2] The following is the teaching certificate given to Mawlânâ Khâlid by his shaykh:

         After thanking God and blessing the Prophet, this poor one, ‘Abdullâh Naqshbandî
         Mujaddidî, may he be forgiven, needs to explain that one of the perfected ulama
         and a gem of those searching for the truth of certainty, Master Khâlid, (may God
         Almighty bless him) has completed the Naqshbandî path. Having come to this poor
         one from Kurdistan, he spent ten months in seclusion (khalwat). Renouncing the
         water of death, he completed the exercises perfectly after exerting great effort.
         Thank God, Blessed and Almighty, that through Divine favor and the mediation of
notable shaykhs (may God Almighty bless them all), he progressed step by step along the   path. He attained presence of heart (hudûr), mindfulness of God (yâd dasht), purifying the subtle centers of the world of command, annihilation in God and remaining in His presence (fanâ’ wa-baqâ’), and experiences beyond the limitations of the ego (bîkhûdîhâ). He realized the lights of wayfaring in the subtle centers of the material world [the nafs and qâlab] in addition to the states and qualities experienced when all the subtle centers are consolidated when wayfaring on the path of the Presence of the Renewer [Ahmad Sirhindî] – may God bless him. His inner self has been enlightened and has transformed from being perfect in the path to being perfection bestowing. I have given him teaching permission to
educate seekers. I also allow him to convey the teachings of the Qâdirî, Chishtî, Suhrawardî, and Kubrawî lineages – may God bless them – because this is
         customary in this path  [the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya]. His hand is my hand.
         He is the sincere deputy and descendant of my shaykhs. His agreement is my
         agreement and whoever opposes him opposes me.[3] May he continuously recollect
God (dhikr), affirm the unity of God, be attentive to the higher worlds (murâqabât), follow the Prophetic sunnat, avoid innovations, and be patient while trusting in God to provide by being satisfied in resigning himself to His will. May he also be involved in teaching all seekers, including beginners, the disciplines of Qur’ân exegesis, Hadith, and Sufism using

[1] Ibrâhîm Fasîh al-Baghdâdî, Al-majd al-tâlid, pp. 7-8 and al-Khânî, al-Hadâ’iq al-wardiyya, pp. 665-667.
[2] Ibid.
[3] The text is missing a couple of words (ridâ-yi îshân) that reflect obvious parallels.

the means provided by God Almighty. May you have enduring success![1]
Mawlânâ Khâlid left India in 1812, returning to Sulaymaniya before establishing a sufi lodge in Baghdad. A year later in 1813 one hundred notable ulama received permission to teach.[2] In the ensuing years he ended up initiating five hundred ulama out of one hundred thousand initiates.[3] “Hundreds of thousands have calmed their hearts and subtle centers from the spiritual energy of Maulana Khalid. Al-Qazâqî related that they had resolved the past innovations such that thousands have benefited from [Mawlânâ Khâlid’s] presence of heart and attraction to God.”[4] Mawlânâ Khâlid sent two people, Sayyid Ahmad, a descendant of ‘Abdulqâdir al-Jîlânî, and Sayyid Ismâ‘îl Madanî, to Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh.[5] Overall, the consensus, both of Mawlânâ Khâlid’s shaykh, Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh, and modern scholars, is that the newly organized lineage, the Khâlidiyya, expanded very rapidly while Mawlânâ Khâlid was alive. Butrus Abu-Manneh mentions how Mawlânâ Khâlid consciously expanded the lineage by pioneering forty-day retreats and enforcing a concentration on his image (râbita). These were both effective and intensive training measures because he could not count on keeping aspirants for a long time given his own political and economic uncertainties.[6] By the time Mawlânâ Khâlid died in 1827,

[1] Hasan Shukri, Menâkib-i shems el-shumûs (Istanbul: n.p., 1302), pp. 141-144. The translation between the Persian original and the Ottoman translation takes certain liberties. For example, bi-sar amad ‘ulamâ’ in the second line above, roughly translated into English as “the perfected one of the ulama,” is translated as “the Pole of the circle of guidance” (qutb-i dâ’irat el-irshâd), giving Mawlânâ Khâlid the technical status of the “Pole of Guidance.” Note that the word “râbita” has been added as a spiritual method in the Ottoman translation but does not occur in the original. The translator has added it between the words “dhikr” and “murâqabât”. Professor Abu Manneh graciously provided me with a photocopy of this reference.
[2] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Sharh-i durr al-ma‘ârif, p. 152
[3] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, p. 50.
[4] Ibid., p. 228
[5] Ibid., p. 25
[6] Butrus Abu-Manneh, “Khalwa and Râbita in the Khâlidî Suborder” in Marc Gaborieau, Alexandre Popovic, and Thierry Zarcone, eds., Naqshbandîs (Istanbul/Paris: Éditions Isis), pp. 291-293.

after being exiled to Damascus, the Khâlidiyya had become a thriving lineage quite different from its Mujaddidî counterpart in Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s sufi lodge in Delhi.
The rest of this article will detail Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh, his sufi perspectives, and the milieu where Mawlânâ Khâlid received his teachings. Although the uniqueness of the Khâlidiyya is beyond the scope of this article, my goal in writing this article is for the reader to better appreciate various transformations and continuities between the Indian Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya and the Ottoman Naqshbandiyya-Khâlidiyya.
Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh: A Biography
         Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s father, Shâh ‘Abdullatîf, was a descendant of ‘Alî b. Abî Tâlib and a disciple of Shâh Nâsiruddîn Qâdirî Dihlwî who initiated him into the Qâdirî, Chishtî, and Shattârî lineages. The family lived in Batala, Panjab, near Delhi and also had an affiliation with Shâh Fâdluddîn Qâdirî Batâlawî.[1] Ghulâm ‘Alî was born in Batala in 1156/1743.[2] His father wanted to call him ‘Alî; his mother wanted to name him ‘Abdulqâdir, and his uncle wanted to call him ‘Abdullâh.[3] In his own writings Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh often wrote “Faqîr ‘Abdullâh known as Ghulâm ‘Alî.” Generally in the Indian Subcontinent he is known as Shâh Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî. When he was 18 his father wanted him to get initiated by his own guide, Shâh Nâsiruddîn Qâdirî Dihlwî but when Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh arrived in Delhi, he discovered that on that exact day Nâsiruddîn had died.[4]
            From the ages of eighteen to twenty two he was involved in formal religious studies. Some of his teachers were: Diyâ’ullâh and ‘Abdul‘adil, successors to the great-great grandson of

[1] Muhammad Ra’ûf Ahmad Râfat Mujaddidî, Jawâhir-i ‘Alawiyya (Urdu trans.) (Lahore: Nawal Kashûr Kîn Printing Works, 1914), pp. 139-140.
[2] See Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Maqâmât-i Mazharî, p. 217, fn 564, where Iqbâl Mujaddidî discusses the conflicting birthdates given for Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh. Fusfeld concurs in his “The Shaping of Sufi Leadership in Delhi: The Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya, 1750-1920,” Ph.D dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1981, p. 193 fn 2.
[3] Ra’ûf Ahmad Râfat Mujaddidî, Jawâhir-i ‘Alawiyya, p. 140.
[4] Ibid.

Muhammad Ma‘sûm, Muhammad Zubayr Sirhindî Mujaddidî (d. 1740 Sirhind), Mîr Dard (d. 1785), Fakhruddîn Chishtî (d. 1784), Shah Nânû Majdhûb, and Ghulâm Sâdât Chishtî.[1] After studying Sahîh al-Bukhârî with Shâh Walî Allâh’s son, ‘Abdul‘azîz, [2] Mirzâ Jân-i Jânân (assas. 1781) initiated Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh at the age of twenty two. He continued studying hadith and Qur’ân exegesis for the next sixteen years with his sufi guide.[3] This was an atypical initiation in that Mirzâ Jân-i Jânân initiated Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh into the Qâdiriyya but gave his new disciple the exercises of the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya.[4] Later, Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh explained that his shaykh had done this because most of his (Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s) ancestors were connected with Qâdiriyya and one can be initiated into any sufi lineage and still use Mujaddidi methods.[5] After fifteen years Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh received unconditional permission to teach (ijâzat-i mutlaq). The next year his mentor died and Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh became his chief successor (sajjâda nishîn). Na‘îmullâh Barâ’ichî (d. 1803) contested this succession to some extent by requesting Qâdî Thanâ’ullâh Pânîpatî to succeed Mirzâ Jân-i Jânân.[6]
            Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh built the sufi lodge at the site of his pir’s tomb in the area still known as

[1] ‘Abdulghanî Mujaddidî, “Halât-i Hadrat Shâh Ghulâm ‘Alî, p. 571.
[2] ‘Abdulhayy al-Husnâ, Nuzhat al-khawâtir, vol. 7, p. 365.
[3] Ra’ûf Ahmad Râfat Mujaddidî, Jawâhir-i ‘Alawiyya, p. 141.
[4] ‘Abdulghanî Mujaddidî, “Halât-i Hadrat Shâh Ghulâm ‘Alî, p. 572.
[5] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Sharh-i durr al-ma‘ârif, p. 126. In Ghulâm ‘Alî’s words, “Four rivers flow in the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya. Two flow from the Naqshbandiyya, one from Qâdiriyya, and one half each from the Chishtiyya and Suhrawardiyya. Ibid. Cf. ibid., p. 236. In his letters, (Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, p. 91) Ghulâm ‘Alî notes how he had a special love for the Chishtiyya. Note also that Mujaddidî methods have been successfully used to instruct Hindus. See R.K. Gupta, Yogis in Silence: The Great Sufi Masters (Delhi: B.R. Publishing Corporation, 2001 and Thomas Dahnhardt, Change and Continuity in Indian Sufism: A Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi Branch in the Hindu Environment (Delhi: D.K. Printworld, 2002). One Hindu lineage began with Mahâtmâ Srî Saksenâ Mahârâj (d. 1931 Fatehgarh), the disciple of Fadl Ahmad Khân Râ’îpûrî (d. 1907 Raipur). Irina Tweedie [author of Daughter of Fire (Rockport, MA : Element Books, 1993)] studied with Srî Radha Mohan Lal Jî (d. 1966 Kanpur), the disciple of ‘Abdulghanî Khân (1867-1953) whose shaykh was Fadl Ahmad Khân Râ’îpûrî.
[6] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Maqâmât-i Mazharî, p. 159. There is a document in the late Khalîq Ahmad Nizâmî’s library that alludes to animosities between Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh and Na‘îmullâh mentioned by Fusfeld, “The Shaping of Sufi Leadership in Delhi,” p. 153.

Chitli Qabr. The tomb of Mirzâ Jân-i Jânân provided a basis for his authority and Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh was quite aware of this situation.[1] There were about two hundred permanent residents in the sufi lodge and   on Fridays and special occasions perhaps there would be twice this many.[2] The sources portray Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh as a particularly pious Muslim. Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khân, a frequent visitor at the lodge, notes,[3]

         It is a fact that there was no other shaikh having so much love of God. . . . He did
         not deviate a hair’s point from the laws of the shari‘at. . . He avoided to take [sic]
         doubtful things as gifts. He became extremely angry on one [sic] who did not
         strictly adhere to the shar‘ and sunna and did not allow him to come to him.[4]

            Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh probably was chosen over Na‘îmullâh because of his ability to support the hundreds of people living and passing through the sufi lodge. This was done in a very different manner than simply “fund raising.” The sources note the scrupulous manner in which Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh accepted donations for the support of the sufi lodge.  Contributions had to be irregular (eliminating the possibility of waqf funds), unsolicited, and from individuals who had acquired their wealth or goods in a lawful manner.[5] Each time money was presented, he would first calculate the amount to give to the poor (zakât) and then divide the rest among the residents

[1] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Sharh-i durr al-ma‘ârif, p. 91 where Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh reminds travelers visiting Chitli Qabr from Samarqand that he is not worthy of such attention and that they really are coming to experience the presence of MJJ.
[2] In ‘Abdulghanî Mujaddidî, “Halât-i Hadrat Shâh Ghulâm ‘Alî, p. 573, it is noted that there were two hundred living permanently in the sufi lodge. This number is confirmed in Ra’ûf Ahmad Râfat Mujaddidî, Jawâhir-i ‘Alawiyya, p. 141. Ahmad Khân stated that there were five hundred disciples who permanently lived there and Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh looked after their needs. Ahmad Khan, Âthâr al-sanâdîd, p. 465, cited in Muhammad Umar, Islam in Northern India During the Eighteenth Century (Delhi:  Munshiram Manoharlal, 1993), p. 87. Five hundred is probably an exaggeration.
[3] This paragraph is based upon ‘Abdulghanî Mujaddidî, “Halât-i Hadrat Shâh Ghulâm ‘Alî, pp. 573-575.
[4] Ahmad Khan, Âthâr al-sanâdîd, p. 467, translated and cited in Muhammad Umar, Islam in Northern India, p. 148 fn 361.
[5] Ra’ûf Ahmad Râfat Mujaddidî, Jawâhir-i ‘Alawiyya, pp. 144-146. He recounts the event which triggered the flow of unsolicited donations (futûh) in ibid., pp. 141-142. If a person of questionable character donated food, it would be distributed among the poor in the neighborhood.

f the sufi lodge, including himself.[1]
         Evidently Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh was in the habit of praying the supererogatory prayers at night (tahajjud) after which he engaged in meditation and Qu’rân recitation. After the morning prayer he directed the group contemplative practice (murâqabât) until the ishrâq prayer (a supererogatory prayer performed after the sun rises).[2] Until lunch he met with disciples in smaller groups and then gave tafsîr (Qur’ân exegesis) and hadith lessons to a larger audience. He would eat lunch and take a siesta, after which he would study Jâmî’s Nafahât al-uns or Abû Najîb Suhrawardî’s Âdab al-murîdîn and  teach tafsir and hadith again. After the afternoon prayer he would teach from sufi “classics” such as Ahmad Sirhindî’s Maktûbât, Shihâbuddîn Suhrawardî’s ‘Awârif al-Ma‘ârif, or al-Qushayrî’s al-Risâla al-Qushayriyya.[3] Then he led the khatim-i khwâjagân litany in a large circle until the sunset prayer, after which he met with special disciples.[4] Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh requested before his death that for his funeral he wanted the relics of the Prophet housed in the Grand Mosque of Delhi brought to him. His funeral prayer was said in the mosque while the relics were passed over his corpse.[5]
            Abû Sa‘îd (d. 1835), a descendant of Ahmad Sirhindî, succeeded Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh as sajjâda nishîn at Chitli Qabr.[6] There was no ambiguity like there had been a generation earlier.

[1] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Malfûzât-i sharîfa, pp. 161-162.
[2] The Mujaddidî contemplations are discussed in Arthur Buehler, Sufi Heirs of the Prophet: The Indian Naqshbandiyya and the Rise of the Mediating Shaykh (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1998).
[3] Other sufi books mentioned in his discourses and letters are: Ghazzalî’s Ihyâ’ ‘ulûm al-dîn and Abû Bakr Muhammad al-Kalâbâdhî’s Ta‘arruf li-madhhab ahl al-tasawwuf; see Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, pp., 22, 26. Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh emphasized the discipline of formal sufi knowledge, second in importance only to tafsîr and hadith. Ibid., p. 99.
[4] Fritz Meier discusses this litany in his Zwei Abhandlungen über die Naqshbandiyya (Istanbul: Franz  Steiner, 1994).
[5] ‘Abdulghanî Mujaddidî, “Halât-i Hadrat Shâh Ghulâm ‘Alî,  p. 597.
[6] Before arriving at Chitli Qabr in 1810 he was a frustrated sajjâda nishîn at Shâh Dargâhî’s sufi lodge. He received his unconditional permission to teach in 1815. Mawlânâ Khâlid benefited from his tawajjuh before he receiving this permission. Abû Sa‘îd, Hidâyat al-tâlibîn, ed. and Urdu trans., Ghulâm Mustafâ Khân (Karachi: Educational Press, 1965), pp. 74, 132-134.

Abû Sa‘îd was in Lucknow when an urgent letter arrived from Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh urging him to leave his affairs there to his son, Ahmad Sa‘îd, and return to Chitli Qabr as soon as possible. The letter states that the spirit of Ahmad Sirhindî had advised him (Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh) in this matter. Abû Sa‘îd was to oversee an established institution and the success of this enterprise was dependent upon a consensus of religious notables, including disciples of Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh: Ahmad Yâr, Ibrâhîm Beg, Mîr Khurd, Mawlwî ‘Azîm, Mawlawî Shêr Muhammad and the notable hadith teacher and son of Shâh Walî’ullâh, ‘Abdul‘azîz. [1]

Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh and the Political Situation in Delhi

            During the late eighteenth century, political turmoil in the Delhi area – a series of violent struggles to control the weak Mughal emperor -- ended in 1803 when the British took military control over the region after defeating the Marathas. For the next twenty-five years the British attempted to administer and control Delhi in the name of the Mughal emperor. This was an experiment for the British to govern an area using traditional and Islamic law instead of the enforcing the ordinances of the East India Company applied in the rest of British-controlled India. In 1807 the British resident, Seton, met with Shâh ‘Abdul‘azîz, a major religious leader in Delhi, son of Shâh Walî’ullâh and hadith teacher of both Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh and Mawlânâ Khâlid, attempted to use his political position to assist ‘Abdul‘azîz.[2]
            In this new political milieu, Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh was still a spiritual leader for Rohilkhand Pathans, but they no longer had any potential for political clout as they once had as an influential faction in the Mughal political structure. Even though sufi shaykhs like Mirzâ Jân-i Jânân  and

[1] Ibid., pp. 126-130.
[2] Although ‘Abdul‘azîz replied that he had few wants, Seton found ways to assist his family indirectly. See Warren Fusfeld, “The Shaping of Sufi Leadership in Delhi,” pp. 27-28. The population of Delhi was approximately 35% to 40% Muslim at that time. Ibid., p. 35 fn 1.

Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh avoided the company of the wealthy and powerful, it was precisely this independence that gave them the opportunity to improve the Muslim community by giving advice to the rulers. Although the British closed this avenue to Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh in 1803, he managed to continue leading his community and teaching those who came to him.

As Shâh ‘Âlam II, the nominal Mughal ruler, came under the “protection” of the British in 1803, Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh was quite hostile to the British – disagreeing with Shâh ‘Abdul‘azîz’s fatwa permitting Muslims to enter the service of the British. Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh severely disagreed with Shâh ‘Abdul‘azîz over the permissibility of ‘Abdul‘azîz’s nephew, Mawlawî ‘Abdulhayy, working for the British as a mufti. Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh thought that he should live a life of poverty, teaching students for God’s sake, and engage in meditation.[1]

            Another time, sometime between 1811 and 1819, Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh was invited to recite the fâtiha at a celebration for Nawwâb Nizâmuddîn, a Delhi police chief (kôtwâl). When Charles Metcalfe, the Resident of Delhi, arrived everyone stood up to honor him except Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh. The apocryphal account has Metcalfe trying to kiss Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s feet [!], Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh supposedly became angry and drove him away because of the smell of liquor on his breath. When Metcalfe returned home, he remarked to one of his servants that there was only one Muslim in all of India – Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh.[2] As Fusfeld aptly remarks, “Metcalfe’s identity as a Christian and as a representative of the British government is in no way raised as an issue. The treatment that he received was no different from that which would be directed toward any

[1] Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi, Shâh ‘Abd al-‘Azîz: Puritanism, Sectarian Polemics and Jihad (Lucknow: Prem Printing Press, 1982), p. 239.
[2] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Malfûzât-i sharîfa, pp. 83-84;127-128.

corrupt member of the ruling elite.”[1]
         In another anecdote involving the British, Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh was not feeling well and requested some cold water. A glass was produced but someone remarked that it was not very cold. A person who worked for the English remarked that there were ice machines in England. Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh was not impressed, saying that one could make water ice cold by directing the last part of nafi wa-ithbât, i.e., illâ Allâh, two hundred times onto the water. Hasan Chishtî Mawdûdî then made Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s water ice cold in this fashion.[2]
            There were occasions when Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh apparently took direct action. In a letter to the ruler of Delhi, Muhammad Akbar Shâh Thânî, Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh explained that he had sent a Sayyid visiting from Medina to look at the relics housed in the Great Mosque of Delhi only to be embarrassed when this Sayyid returned complaining about pictures of holy persons put among the relics of the Prophet. Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh informed the ruler about this – and they were removed.[3]
            Sometimes he counseled those in power. In a letter to a judge, Shamshîr Khân, using a pun on his name (shamshîr means sword), Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh counsels him: “ I have often seen that the blade makes two from one. The sword of love brings two people together. The sword of God cuts the ego with the sword of love so that unity results.”[4] When Shamshîr Khân Bahâdur, the Nawwâb of Bundilkand, came into Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s presence wearing an English hat, Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh angrily reproached him. The Nawwâb left in a huff but later returned to

[1] Fusfeld, “The Shaping of Sufi Leadership in Delhi,” p. 166. Fusfeld confuses the famous Chishtî Nizâmuddîn Awliyâ’ (d. 1325) in his account with the kôtwâl Nizâmuddîn, who was held in high esteem by the Shâh ‘Alâm II and who had been appointed governor of Delhi in 1789 by the Maratha chief Sindhia.
[2] Ibid., p. 111.
[3] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, p. 66.
[4] Ibid., pp. 57-58.

become a disciple of Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh.[1]
         As the preceding examples indicate, Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh maintained connections with the wealthy and powerful while scrupulously maintaining independence from them. Often he was placed in a delicate situation because certain worldly individuals, with whom he would not ordinarily associate, were descendants of spiritually great people and therefore worthy of respect on that basis. So when Nawwâb Muhammad Mîr Khân, the descendant of ‘Abdulqâdir Jîlânî and the grandson of Bâqîbillâh, came into his presence Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh offered him some sweets and then gave him permission to leave. However, the Nawwâb did not go. Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh then summoned a servant to get the deeds to the house and give them to the Nawwâb so Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh could politely leave. The Nawwâb promptly left.[2] Such behavior of a sufi shaykh underlined the importance of continually providing an exemplary example to others – an example based on the sunna of Muhammad. In terms of leadership a sufi shaykh could exert his influence on the basis of his moral superiority.  

Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh: Sufi Perspectives and Contemplative Methods

            Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh clearly taught within the framework of Sirhindî’s Mujaddidî practices which begin by repeating “Allâh” in each subtle center in sequence (dhikr-i ism-i dhât), then practicing the breath-retention exercise of nafî wa-ithbât, and finally practicing the twenty-six contemplations (murâqabât).[3] In Îdâh al-tarîqa these are treated as two of three different paths

[1] ‘Abdulghanî Mujaddidî, “Halât-i Hadrat Shâh Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî,” p. 576. Also note a letter written to the Nawwâb in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, p. 216.
[2] ‘Abdulghanî Mujaddidî, “Halât-i Hadrat Shâh Ghulâm ‘Alî, pp. 572-573. Nawwâb Muhammad Mîr Khân was the son of the kôtwâl, Nizâmuddîn, mentioned above.
[3] These are discussed in Buehler, Sufi Heirs, pp. 98-146. Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh conceives of the same path in fifteen circles in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, pp. 206-209 or sixteen circles in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Sharh-i durr al-ma‘ârif, pp. 64-70. Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s redefinition of the Mujaddidî contemplations, discussed in Sufi Heirs, p. 247, will be further discussed below.

of realizing sound servanthood (sihhat-i ‘ubûdiyat). The first path begins with achieving continual recollection of God (dhikr) in the seven subtle centers, starting with the heart and ending with the physical body (qâlab). Then one can begin with the manipulation of lâ ilâh illâ Allâh (There is no god but God) while observing six conditions, including holding of the breath and counting how many times one repeats this phrase. The second path, that of contemplations (murâqabât), involves an extraordinary focusing on God. In the contemplations one is attracted to God in the closest manner; it is the fruit of a diligent practice of dhikr and nafî wa-ithbât. The third path is supposedly the easiest – it involves bonding of the heart with the shaykh in sincerity and love (râbita). More people arrive at the goal with this method than the previous two.[1] Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh describes this practice as concentrating on the shaykh when he is physically visible during spiritual conversation (suhbat). In the shaykh’s absence, the aspirant is to preserve a picture of him in one’s heart.[2] The spiritual energy focused on an aspirant in this process can greatly accelerate his progress. Instead of taking ten years to traverse the stations, the tawajjuh of his shaykh enabled Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh to do it in ten days.[3]
            Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh contextualizes the Naqshbandî-Mujaddidî path by comparing it with those of other lineages. Chishtîs have a proclivity for warming up the heart while Qâdirîs develop the connection to belovedness (mahbûbiyat). Naqshbandîs emphasize presence of the heart, attractions to God, tranquility, and attainments of the soul (subtle center of the nafs). In another context Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh says the Naqshbandî path consists of four principles: 1)

[1] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Îdâh al-tarîqa, ed. Ghulâm Rasûl Azhar (Doncaster, England: S. M. Chaudry, 1983), pp. 26-30. This is a bilingual edition (Persian original and Urdu translation) and is letter ninety in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, pp. 134-163.

absence of stray thoughts,[1] 2) continual presence of heart, 3) being attracted to God, and 4) receiving spontaneous thoughts/realizations from God (wâridât).[2] Mujaddidîs, after developing a connection to the heart, have to be able to attain similar connections with the other subtle centers in the world of command, i.e., spirit, mystery, arcane, and super-arcane, and the subtle centers of the material world, i.e., soul and physical frame.[3]
            It clearly appears from the extant discourses and letters of Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh that he was an active shaykh directing his disciples according to established Naqshbandî-Mujaddidî methods.[4] Part of his educational role was to translate earlier sufi concepts, e.g., ihsân, wilâyat/walâyat, and ‘ilm-i yaqîn/‘ayn-i yaqîn/haqq-i yaqîn into a contemporary Naqshbandî understanding.[5] Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh also clearly outlined the hierarchical differences in spiritual realization. For example, conditional permission to teach (ijâzat-i muqayyad) involves presence of heart and presence of the nafs subtle center (the soul, not the ego),[6] while annihilation of the nafs subtle center was necessary to achieve greater intimacy with God (walâyat-i kubrâ) and receive unconditional

[1] This intense concentration on God is called wuqûf-i qalbî and involves holding the breath, asking forgiveness one hundred times, repeating the fâtiha one hundred times, and then holding the picture of the guide in front of the heart. Then one can do dhikr. Ibid., p. 31.
[2] Ra’ûf Ahmad Râfat Mujaddidî, Jawâhir-i ‘Alawiyya, p. 149. See the following footnote concerning presence of heart.
[3] Ibid, pp. 33 and 84. Note that presence of the heart (hudûr) is of two kinds: hudûr-i dhikr where the subtle centers are active (path one) and hudûr ma‘ Allâh where the remembrance of God is integrated with an attraction and intimate awareness of God and awareness (path two). See Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Sharh-i durr al-ma‘ârif, p. 46.
[4] The methodological presuppositions and examples for such a statement are outlined in Buehler, Sufi Heirs, pp. xviii-xix and 224-230.
[5] Thus, ihsân is defined as a station of being continually attracted to God and having presence of heart (see fn. 38 above) in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, p. 12. Wilâyat is  the expression of the shaykh exhibiting spiritual power (tawajjuh) as walâyat indicates closeness to or intimacy with God in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Sharh-i durr al-ma‘ârif, p. 75.  Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh goes into a detailed, technical discussion of tawajjuh in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, p. 25. A discussion of ‘ilm-i yaqîn/‘ayn-i yaqîn/haqq-i yaqîn is found in ibid., p. 67.
[6] Ibid., p. 218. Although the Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s ijâzat nâmâ to Muhyîuddîn Qusûrî (d. 1854) does not say it specifically in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Malfûzât-i sharîfa, pp. 52-53, when compared to Mawlânâ Khâlid’s permission to teach and Abû Sa‘îd’s two permissions to teach in Abû Sa‘id, Hidâyat al-tayyibîn, pp. 80-84; 132-134, Qusûrî’s permission would clearly be more conditional (even more conditional than Abû Sa‘îd’s first teaching permission).[2] Ibid., p. 191
[3] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Sharh-i durr al-ma‘ârif, p. 234.

permission to teach (ijâzat-i mutlaq).[1] Many other qualifications are involved in addition to these. Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh remarks how a shaykh must consider disciples’ continual presence of God in the heart, tranquility, experiences of many states, good deeds, and awareness of their effects before giving permission to teach.[2]
            For Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh the ontological divide, whether between conditional and unconditional teaching permission or between existential unity (wahdat al-wujûd) and testimonial unity (wahdat al-shuhûd), is between development of the heart subtle center (and the other subtle centers of the world of command, i.e., ruh, sirr, khafî, akfâ) and the nafs subtle center (and the other subtle center of the material world, the qâlab). As Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh explains it, the concept of existential unity did not exist at the time of the Companions. There was no concept of Sufism before the second century of Islam either. Then came the idea of “greater striving” (jihâd-i akbar) involving recollection exercises, obedience to the shaykh, purification of the subtle centers of the heart and the nafs, and overpowering love. This latter development, according to Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh, was entirely associated with the heart subtle center. The other subtle centers in the world of command have their own separate experiences. Spirit (rûh), for example, is the experience of negating the attributes of self; wayfaring in the mystery (sirr) is the annihilation of one’s personal essence in God’s essence; wayfaring in the arcane (khafî) is differentiating God from all other manifestations; and wayfaring in the super arcane (akfâ) is differentiating the creation from the Creator. It is only when wayfaring in the soul that one experiences testimonial unity (tawhîd-i shuhûdî). For Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh, this is

[1] Ibid., p. 143. It is unlikely that Mawlânâ Khâlid was Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s only student who received unconditional permission to teach. The designation given by Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh to Mawlânâ Khâlid, “khalîfa tâmmah mutlaqa” – a successor who has completely unconditional permission to teach – most likely honors Mawlânâ Khâlid in a special way than others with unconditional teaching permission. Cf. Butrus Abu-Manneh, Studies on Islam and the Ottoman Empire in the 19th Century (1826-1876) (Istanbul: Isis Press, 2001), p. 16. See also the above discussion of Abû Sa‘îd, who was honored in other ways.
[2] Ibid.,  p. 71

wayfaring in the world of creation – real servanthood where the servant is the servant and Reality is Reality.[1] This latter wayfaring goes beyond “esoteric interpretations based on imagination” (an obvious reference to Ibn al-‘Arabî). Instead it follows the outward dictates of the religious texts like Muslims living in the first century of Islam.[2] Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh unambiguously states that Shâh Walîullâh (d. 1762) was mistaken in trying to reconcile existential unity and testimonial unity on the basis of semantic difference. Like Ahmad Sirhindî and other Mujaddidîs before him, Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh clearly perceives the experience of existential unity to be a lesser stage of attainment than the experience of testimonial unity.[3]

Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh and Ahmad Sirhindî      

According to Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh, for any person intimate with God in the second millennium, i.e., one thousand lunar years after 622 C.E., the way is not open without the intercession of Ahmad Sirhindî.[4] In another passage, ‘Abdulqâdir Jîlânî tells Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh that Ahmad Sirhindî is ‘Abdulqâdir Jîlânî’s foremost deputy and before Ahmad Sirhindî no one had reached intimacy with God without ‘Abdulqâdir Jîlânî’s mediation. Now in the second millennium, the mediation of both Ahmad Sirhindî and ‘Abdulqâdir Jîlânî is necessary.[5] Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh declares that Ahmad Sirhindî’s spirit comes to his sufi lodge and everyone feels it.[6] Indeed, he receives such blessings and spiritual energy from the grave of Ahmad

[1] Ibid., pp. 76-77, cf. pp. 37, 79, 144.
[2] Ibid., pp. 46-47, 68.
[3] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Sharh-i durr al-ma‘ârif, p. 221.
[4] Ibid. Two other prominent intercessors that Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh mentions are ‘Abdulqâdir Jîlânî and Bahâ’uddîn Naqshband. Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, p. 171. Cf. ibid., p. 23.
[5] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Sharh-i durr al-ma‘ârif, p. 245. Cf. ibid., pp. 224, 226.
[6] Ibid., p.141. Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh also relates a vision in which he was with both his father and Ahmad Sirhindî. Ibid., p. 162.

Sirhindî that he cannot explain the experiences in words.[1] Ahmad Sirhindî is the “viceregent of God and deputy of the Prophet” for Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh.[2]
         Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh constantly refers to Ahmad Sirhindî, who pioneered a new kind of Sufism with a set of distinctive discoveries. These include: 1) his revealing the secrets of the heart (qalb) subtle center, 2) the secrets associated with training the ego (nafs), 3) the three stages of perfection (those of prophethood, messengerhood, and the great prophets), 4) the three degrees of closeness to God (walâyat-i sughrâ, walâyat-i kubrâ, walâyat-i ‘ulyâ), and 5) realizing new stations and realities associated with the subtle centers.[3] In Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s estimation, Sirhindî has initiated a major renewal of Sufism – giving humanity an effective methodology that enables thousands of ulama and others to reach the goal.[4]
         Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh regularly taught from Sirhindî’s Maktûbât and received divine effulgence from them, like a disciple would receive from his or her spiritual guide. He refers to passages in the Maktûbât as one would refer to Qur’ânic verses (Maktûbât-i qudsî âyât”),[5] stating,

          Glory to God who revealed such holy and ineffable [words] of His Truth – His
         words are beyond human comprehension. In truth the Maktûbât are equal to divine
         inspirations [here there is ilhâm not wahy]. . . . What can I say? The description of
         this lofty gentleman [is difficult to express]. He is not a messenger but he has a

[1] Ibid., p. 91.
[2] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, p. 90.
[3] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Sharh-i durr al-ma‘ârif, p. 233. One example of a “secret of the heart” is, “Love and attraction to God [interpreted as such in the station of the heart] are also like the experience of the most glorious Truth [in the station of the heart]. The difference, however, is that love and attraction to God are related to realizing annihilation in God (fanâ’ fi’llâh), which happens after the end of wayfaring to God (sayr iâ Allâh).” Ahmad Sirhindî, Maktûbât-i Imâm-i Rabbânî, ed., Nûr Ahmad, 3 vols. (Karachi: Educational Press, 1972) 1.287:56 (volume number. letter number: page number).
[4] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, pp. 12-13, 83. Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Sharh-i durr al-ma‘ârif, p. 141. Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh states straightforwardly that the ulama like the Naqshbandi path more than any other. Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Malfûzât-i sharîfa, p. 102.
[5] Ibid., pp. 135, 181.


         Perhaps Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh made such a point of supporting Ahmad Sirhindî and of according him such a high status because of the apparently intense amount of criticism directed toward Ahmad Sirhindî’s ideas.
Mawlânâ Khâlid, Mawlawî Hirâtî, and Mawlawî Qamaruddîn Peshâwarî initially denied the teachings of Ahmad Sirhindî until they came, sat in front of me, and received the divine effulgence (fayd) of the Mujaddidiyya lineage. Then they became initiated in the Mujaddidiyya. This effulgence can be obtained through books and living shaykhs but not through deceased shaykhs.[2]

It appears as if the criticisms of ‘Abdulhaqq Muhaddith Dihlawî (d. 1642) toward certain passages in Sirhindî’s letters were still very prevalent two hundred years later in Delhi. As a result, Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh felt obligated in his letters to defend Ahmad Sirhindî against ‘Abdulhaqq.[3] Already in Sirhindî’s time there was a controversy of the divine realities being closer to God than the prophetic realities in the sequence of contemplations. In terms of the literature it appears that Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh was the first to exercise a “sufi ijtihâd,” placing the prophetic realities higher than divine realities.[4]  

[1] Ibid., p. 135
[2] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, p. 228. The dismissal of deceased shaykhs in this way contradicts Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s own experience (above) and the crucial role deceased shaykhs have played in the Naqshbandî lineage. It appears that the open nature of this letter (to the scholars, notables, and leaders of Rûm) and his addressing issues of Ahmad Sirhindî’s Medinan opponent, Muhammad ‘Abdurrasûl Barzanjî (d. 1692) both provide a context for this unusual dismissal. Barzanjî’s anti-Sirhindî stance is discussed in Yohanan Friedmann, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindî: An Outline of His Thought and a Study of His Image in the Eyes of Posterity (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 7-8; 97-101. Note the reputation Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh had for a powerful projection of spiritual power (tawajjuh), which he often reminded people. See Fusfeld, “Sufi Leadership,” p. 188.
[3] These criticisms include allegations of Sirhindî saying that ‘Abdulqâdir Jîlânî ascended higher than any other friend of God but his descent into the everyday world (nuzûl) was deficient, that Ahmad Sirhindî was equal or greater than Muhammad or Abu Bakr, and that Ahmad Sirhindî declared himself a renewer of Islam. Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, pp. 13, 74, 87, and the most comprehensive treatment, pp. 122-132.
[4] The specifics of this controversy and the sources thereof are detailed in Buehler, Sufi Heirs, pp. 246-247. It is difficult to know Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s stance or actual practice on this matter since he has both configurations outlined in his letters. Sirhindî’s original order of the contemplations is found in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Makâtîb-i sharîfa, pp. 207-208 and in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, “Risâla-yi sulûk,” in Majmû‘a-yi rasâ’il- sulûk-i tarîqa-yi naqshbandiyya (Hyderabad, Deccan: Matba‘ Mufîd, n. d.), pp. 59-68, especially pp. 64-65. Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s new order is outlined in Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Sharh-i durr al-ma‘ârif, pp. 67-72, and Makâtîb-i sharîfa, p. 176. Perhaps Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh used both configurations of contemplations with different students. Note that Mawlânâ Khâlid in “Risalat fî tibyân al-murâqaba” in ‘Abdulkarîm Mudarris, Yâd-i mardân: Mawlânâ Khâlid Naqshbandî, Vol. 1 (Baghdad: Châpkhâna-yi Kûrî Zânyârî Kûrd, 1979), pp. 458-459, uses Sirhindi’s order of the contemplations.  Literary descriptions of spiritual methods, without evidence of disciple-teacher interactions, do not mean that the authors actually used these methods. Indeed, in Mawlânâ Khâlid’s case, he used a special kind of râbita rather than the more time-consuming methods of Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh involving contemplations. See Butrus Abu Manneh, “Khalwa and Râbita in the Khalidi Suborder” cited above.

The Legacy of Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh: His Successors
         Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh received an inspiration that he should send his successors out into the world just as Nizâmuddîn Awliyâ had sent out his successors.[1] In 1815 Ra’ûf Ahmad found people from Samarqand, Bukhara (successor Shâh Gul Muhammad), Ghazni (successor Mullâ Gul Muhammad), Turkistan (successors, Mullâ Khudâbûrdî and Mullâ ‘Abdulkarîm), Tashkent, Qandahar (successor, Mawlawî Nûr Muhammad), Kabul, Peshawar (successor Mullâ ‘Alâ’uddîn), Multan, Kashmir, Lahore, Sirhind, Bhopal, Sanbhal, Bareilly, Rampur, Lucknow (successor, Miyân Muhammad Asghar), Bengal, Hyderabad (successor, Shâh Sa‘dullâh), Patna (successor, Muhammad Darvîsh), Zabid, Yemen (successor, Mawlawî ‘Abdulghaffâr), and Mecca (successor, Mawlânâ Muhammad Jân) in Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s circle.[2]
            Even though Muslims in Delhi soon discovered that their political authority had ceased unless it fit the plans of the British, the institution that Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh had founded continued to flourish. Although the days of a sufi shaykh being able to exert his moral authority on government officials had ended, and there were times the shaykhs at Chitli Qabr had to take refuge elsewhere (e.g., after the 1857 rebellion), the institution adapted to the times. One way of adapting was for Sufis to focus on assisting individuals attain greater inner peace in an increasingly changing modern world. Abû’l-khayr and Abû’l-hasan Zayd Fârûqî, two influential

[1] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Sharh-i durr al-ma‘ârif, p. 142.
[2] Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî, Maqâmât-i Mazharî, 164. For information concerning Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s successors (included in parentheses above), see ‘Abdulghanî Mujaddidî, “Halât-i Hadrat Shâh Ghulâm ‘Alî Dihlawî,” pp. 599-623.

shaykhs at Chitli Qabr, were both prolific writers and continued the traditions at the sufi lodge Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh had established. One important legacy, therefore, was Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh founding an institution in Chitli Qabr that has successfully adapted to unexpected changes. Naqshbandî Sufism continues there under the supervision of Shaykh Abû Nasr Ânis Fârûqî Sâhib.[1]
         Ghulâm ‘Alî Shâh’s most influential legacy in the larger Islamic world is the Khâlidiyya lineage began by his most favored disciple, Mawlânâ Khâlid who disseminated Naqshbandî teachings in an entirely different physical, cultural, and political milieu than that of his shaykh.

Source: Sufi Illuminations Journal published by Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

[1] I would like to thank Shaykh Abû Nasr Ânis Fârûqî Sâhib, who has graciously assisted me whenever I have visited Chitli Qabr.


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