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The Last Letter of Sayfullah-Qadi to Hassan-Efendi

The Last Letter of Sayfullah-Qadi to Hassan-Efendi

Murshid of Naqshbandi and Shazali tariqas Shaykh Hassan-Efendi has noted down in his book Talkhis al-ma’arif: “The written heritage left by Shaykh Sayfullah-Qadi (1850-1919) contains a letter addressed to me. This is his farewell message he had sent to me before he died.” May Allah bestow upon us a better life, may His divine light shine upon the tomb of our Sayyid Sayfullah and may He make our deceased Sayyid the preparer of our way to the paradise. Here is what Shaykh Sayfullah (may Allah hallow his spirit) wrote in his letter:  

“[a letter] from Khalid Sayfullah, God’s servant who fled from his Lord, to his [i.e. Khalid Sayfullah’s] son (i.e., to Hassan-Efendi), the custodian of his soul and the joy of his heart, and his successors (khulafa’); to our dear friend, a treasure of Hassan’s heart and his daylight, al-Hajj Habibullah, as well as to their families and to all murids, people of chastity and faith.  Abide in bliss and do not let worldly matters exhaust your spirits! Truly, Allah is always near! May He guide you to become sayyids and followers of the right path, whom He mentions in His Book: {Verily, awliya’ (1) of Allah shall neither fear nor shall they grieve!} (Quran 10:62) (transl.: here and further only an approximate meaning of the original Arabic verse)

Further... I commend you to the protection of Allah. May He shield you from anything that can cause your sadness and from anything that can make you go astray. I pray that you become followers of the prophets and their khulafa’ on Earth, predestined to guide those who surrendered to the will of Allah and turned their faces away from the profane things. My last will is that you follow the right pass and leave the ambition to work miracles (karamat).  Yours is the sacred union (nisbah) between the Naqshbandiya and the Shazilya tariqats; these bonds do not weaken but become stronger from one day to another remaining pure from wickedness and impermissible innovations (bid’a) despite the evildoing of mutashayyikhun (fake scholars who pretend to be sheikhs of Islam). Their work shall not last and they shall end up achieving nothing but turmoil and mourning. So work hard on the great task you have inherited! The reason for their demise is their desire to be great masters and mentors of murids without the permission of their teachers and sheikhs. Driven by their greed they defame their own sheikhs for the sake of making money. Every sound mind should be aware of that. Soon a new person shall appear among them. He will bring distortion of the tariqat by introducing bid’as. But his evildoing shall end in a while and his disciples shall not be able to have control over people’s minds for a long time. Verily, Allah protects His eternal religion! Be cautious, my son, the nature of this world is such that a person can neither fulfill his desire nor show his best qualities because of his vain hopes and enormous greed. There are things I wished to explain to you but Allah put a barrier between me and these things and I could not disclose the mystery to you hoping in vain to get a chance to do it in the future. Verily, everything in this world carries the wisdom of Allah, but it is the predestination of the chosen ones to comprehend it. All things of higher nature kept in my heart, I have placed in your heart. I have appointed you as my heir and successor (khalifa) before Allah so you may guide His slaves, as well as I have given you the ijaza (licence or permission) to teach religious subjects, tariqat and uwaysiya (2). If Allah grants me a little more time, I will issue all ijazas for you with the quill of our sayyids Zaynullah as-Sharifi al-Ma’muri, Sayyid Ahmad al-Amasi, Muhammad Salih-Hani Kirmani, Muhammad Nur al-Bukhari (3), Shaikh Habib ar-Rahman al-Kazimi al-Madani and others. I will not mention the things that have reached me orally but not in writing (shajara (4)), for there is no need for verbose speeches. Allah is the source of all help and the ruler of the destinies.

These days I am feeling weak and feeble. My son Gazammi whom I am sending to you with this letter will tell you more about my state. I have tried to invite you many times but each time I was delayed by other things I had to manage.  Nevertheless the inner vision of the heart and the mind (baseera) is more reliable and more sharp-sighted than our eyes. You are always in my heart and on my mind and I never forget you. I commend you my son Arslan Hussein. Treat him like your brother and son, and do not deprive him of your good advice and admonish him in good faith, I entrust my hopes to Allah that He makes him a righteous person, as I was told by our sayyid and maulana ‘Abdulqadir al-Jilani (may Allah hallow his spirit) (5). Maybe, the Most High reveals to him a great mystery. This is easy for Him.

Current events overflow people like a flood; only a small number can abstain from the worldly matters, and I hope you are of that sort of people. Be alert with your disciples. Allah says in the Holy Quran (8:64): {Allah is sufficient for you and those who followed you from the believers}. Do not hurry to follow every person who invites you. Each one of them comes to you with his own issue. But I hope you will follow the one who invites you for the sake of the truth and for Allah’s sake. Verily, Allah is with the patient ones! Unwillingly I have to end my letter here due to my weakness and feebleness. Allow me to convey mine and my family’s best regards and wishes. My last will is that you pray for me. My son Gazzami will discuss with you the other things. Regarding the person you had mentioned in your letter, I decided not talk about him here. He turned out to be one of the deceived, may God protect us from such delusions; however his matter will have no consequences. I am kindly asking you to comprehend that observing formal proprieties (mudarat (6)) when communicating with him is a cure of the diseases of our time. Tell your people, old and young, men and women, I am wishing them all well. I beseech you not to forget me in your prayers.”

This was the last letter he had sent me.

 

About the hirka-garment

 I met him once after receiving this letter. He robed me in his white hirka (7), which he had inherited from his sheikh, qutb-zaman Zaynullah ash-Sharifi al-Ma’muri at-Troitski (8) (Rasulev) (may Allah hallow his spirit). We were standing face to face and Sheikh Sayfullah recited a prayer:  “Oh Allah, robe him in the garments of chastity and piety!” These were the only words I could grasp and understand from his prayer.

Those who were with him while he was on his death bed told me that he had become unwell in a few days after our last meeting. On his death bed he was remembering the one in need of Allah (the author of this writing) and shortly before he took his last breath he had said: “Oh, Hassan!  What a pity I could not see you! May Allah arrange our meeting in the Abode of Peace!” Shortly before his death he bequeathed this (Shazili) hirka to the one in need of Allah (the author). May Allah bestow upon you, your family and friends all the good things! May Allah bestow upon you the blessings of His sheikhs! Amin.

Sheikh Sayfullah (may Allah hallow his spirit) used to resolve our problems, give advices and clarify complex issues in his letters. We have preserved many of them. I brought together a whole set of his letters. He always treated us kindly, whether he was well or not. He was pleased with us, although perhaps we were careless and negligent. Oh Allah, do not let us yield to the temptation! Amin.

 

Notes:

1. Awliya’ (sg. wali) - those who are close to Allah, e.g. holy people

2. Uwaysiya - a level of God knowing, reached as a result of a contact with the spirit of a prophet or a sheikh (ruhaniya).

3. Muhammad Nur al-Bukhari (middle of the 14th century) - the author of Maslak al-’arifin.

4. Shajara (literally “a tree”) - a conventional name of a part of a written ijaza (permission/licence): a spiritual “genealogy” of Sufi brotherhoods featuring the names of the sheikhs through whom the spiritual knowledge has been transmitted between generations.

5. The person mentioned here is known by both of Sayfullah-Qadi and Hassan-Efendi, however the author of the letter does not wish to call his name.

6. Mudarat - observing formal politeness with persons who might be dangerous.

7. Hirka - a garment, worn by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and passed on to Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and later - according to the Sufi rules - from each sheikh to his successor (khalifa).

8. That is, from Troitsk, a city in Chelyabinsk oblast of the Russian Federation.