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Branches of Tariqah

Sermon by Shaykh Said Afandi al-Chirkawi in the village of Lower Kazanische, Dagestan

Some people think we do not recognize Abdurahman Sughuri. But who really wants to know the truth, he knows; and who does not, will never do. How can we reject him? Take for example a tree trunk. The trunk has branches. All branches grow on the same tree, and there is no difference between them. Some people collect the fruit on this branch, and the others collect on the different branch. They keep to their branches and do not swap them.

You surely know Abdurahman Sughuri’s Silsilah[1]. At the time of Imam Shamil, Silsilah was passed to him by Jamaluddin of Kumukh. After that it broke. Have there been no other Tariqa branches, we would have nothing of [Tariqah] now.

I myself have pondered over this and could not help but wonder as there was so much talk about Jamaluddin of Kumukh, Muhammad al-Yaraghi, Imam Shamil. However, where was then Mahmud-afandi? There was no information about him. I asked myself these questions. It turned out to be the wisdom of Allah, Who protected Mahmud-Afandi (may Allah bless his soul).

Here is a story. Jamaluddin of Kumukh had a successor (ma'zun), Ismail Sivakli. His story is in the books ‘Tuhfatulahbab’ and ‘Tabaqat’. Ismail Sivakli says, Jamaluddin of Kumukh told him as his ma'zun that there will be no Qutb[2] after himself. So Shaykh Jamaluddin told his successor. Soon they parted, the Shaykh went to Istanbul, and Ismail stayed here. Ismail Sivakli was absolutely convinced that there was no Qutb in Dagestan.

He sometimes heard about a man named Mahmud-afandi in Zakatala, who was a Shaykh. But Ismail paid no attention to this, because he was told that there was no Qutb. Then Mahmud-afandi sent him a message, perhaps a letter, which urged Ismail to come to him. Sivakli did not go, as he thought there was no Qutb. The Shaykh called him a second time, but he refused to go again. Then Mahmud-afandi promised him to come himself. Now Ismail thought, even if he is not the Shaykh, then, probably, he can be at least Alim. And you can go on Ziyarat to an Alim. With this thought Sivakli went to him.

He found Mahmoud-afandi sitting at a Majlis and sat there too, but then lost consciousness as he achieved fana'[3]. When Sivakli recovered, Mahmud-afandi asked:

- “What happened to you, my son?”
– “You know what happened”, was the reply.
- “Yes, but it is better if you say yourself,” – said the ustaz.

Sivakli said: “An unknown force took my big toe and hung me upside down over a yawning chasm. I called my ustaz Jamaluddin of Kumukh to the rescue. He came, but when he saw you, Mahmud-afandi, he stood aside, and you saved me.”

Then Mahmud-afandi said: “My son, it is true, that after Jamaluddin of Kumukh there will be no Qutb, but I became Qutb before him.”

Mahmud-afandi gave iznu (permission) to Ismail and sent him back to Sivakli.

After reading all this, I realized that God protected Mahmoud-afandi. If not for his line [of Silsilah], which has continued up to this day, we would have been deprived of Tariqa. We should rejoice and give thanks to Allah. But some deny this, arguing Tariqa ended on Jamaluddin of Kumukh and there is no silsilah after him. These people contradict the truth. We should thank Allah for saving Tariqa, and we recognize Abdurahman Sughuri more than anyone else, but his Silsilah is just different.

For instance, we venerate very much Sayfulla-Qadi, and his ustaz was Zaynulla Sharifi, who is not in our Silsilah. But we never reject or deny either him or other ustazes. Sometimes a branch dies on the tree, while another continues to flourish. Such are the branches of Tariqa. Therefore do not argue with those who follow another Tariqa.

Do not deny them and do not argue with them. Envy and strife are alien to a believer. They are characteristic of munafiqs, hypocrites, enviers and heretics. Do not act so. This is my testament to you. And those persisting, will answer for it. This is no time for debate. What is the use of arguing? What will come of this? Let everyone do what he loves, mind his own business. Nobody argues with him.

If I insist that someone quits his job [tariqah] and joins me, we will quarrel. But I do not call for this. We are all ahlu qiblah. Yet everyone is responsible for their actions and choices. And those who teach will answer for those they taught. We must strive for peace. We should stop to argue, if we are believers. I look forward to it very much.

May Allah accept our Ziyarat, friends, and may you be healthy and happy, so that we can keep getting together like this again!
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[1]Silsilah is the chain of Shaykhs after the Prophet (PBUH)
[2]Qutb (a pole, a center of something) is the greatest, the closest to the spiritual perfection (hal) and advanced Allah’s ways (maqam), a hidden master of the world; the greatest of the Sufi Shaykhs.
[3]Fana' – extinction - to die to this life while alive. Having no existence outside of God. see ‘Talkhis al-Ma`arif fi targhib Muhammad `Arif by Shaykh Hasan Hilmi al-Kahibi’

Sermon delivered by Shaykh Said Afandi al-Chirkawi ad-Daghestani on the Ziyarat of Abdurahman Haji Sughuri in Lower Kazanische. August 20th, 2005.