P E A R L S   O F   S P I R I T U A L I T Y 
Gleaned from the writings of Sayyiduna AlaHadrat
Imam Ahmad Rida Khan al Qadiri Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu


I | Ignorant Sufis

The noble friends of Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala state – “an ignorant Sufi is shaytan’s joke.” Similarly, a hadith of the noble Messenger of Allah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam informs us –

فقيه واحد اشد على الشيطان من الف عابدين
“A single jurist is severer upon shaytan than a thousand worshippers.” [Tirmidhi and ibn Majah]

Those who remain ignorant yet strive hard in their worship are merely made to dance by shaytan upon his fingers. He places bridles in their mouths and tangs in their noses, and thus drags them wherever he wishes, whilst they convince themselves that they are accumulating good deeds.

Sayyiduna Junayd al Baghdadi Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu  states –

“my spiritual guide, Sayyiduna Sirri Saqti Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu  supplicated for me thus – ‘may Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala grant you the knowledge of hadith and then make you a Sufi, and may He not make you a Sufi before granting you the knowledge of hadith.” [Ihya 'Ulum ud-Din; Vol. 1; Page 13]

Sayyiduna Imam al Ghazali Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu states – whilst explaining this statement –

“here, Sayyiduna Sirri Saqti Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu meant that the one who steps into the field of taSawwuf [spirituality] armed with the knowledge of hadith is victorious, whereas the one who ventures forth without knowledge is merely (– Allah forbid! –) placing himself into destruction.”

Sayyiduna Abu-l Qasim Junayd al Baghdadi Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu states –

“the one who has neither memorised the Quran, nor written hadith (meaning the one who lacks the knowledge of the jurisprudence) shouldn’t be followed by seekers of the path (of taSawwuf,) nor should he be taken as a murshid [spiritual guide,] as all our knowledge of tariqah is in obedience to the Book and sunnah.”

Sayyiduna Sirri Saqti Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu states –

“taSawwuf is the name of the coming together of three qualities: firstly, the light of his (meaning the spiritual traveller’s) gnosis should not extinguish his light of asceticism. Secondly, he should not utter anything esoterically which exoterically contradicts the Quran or noble hadith. Finally, none of his miracles should be a means of him revealing that which Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala has forbidden to be revealed.” [Risalat ul Qushayriyah; Page 13]

Sayyiduna Shaykh Shihab ud-Din as-Suharwardi Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu states –

“that ‘haqiqah’ [spiritual reality] which contradicts the shari'ah [sacred law] is not in reality haqiqah, but rather plain heresy.” [Awarif ul Ma'arif; Vol. 1; Page 43]


II | The Definition of 'Ilm [Sacred Knowledge]

The definition of an 'alim [religious scholar] is that he –
  • is aware of the correct 'aqaid [creed] in their entirety;
  • has a firm, independent resolve;
  • and is able to extract his necessities from the corpus of religious literature without the help of another.
('ilm is not merely attained through the study of books,) but rather is also attained by discussion with the people of knowledge.[Malfużat; Page 58]

III | The meanings of Bay'ah and talab

In becoming talib, one’s intent is merely the acquisition of spiritual bounties, whilst the meaning of bay'ah is “to sell oneself entirely.” [Malfużat; Page 228]

IV | Conditions of Bay'ah

The bay'ah should be upon the hand of such an individual who embodies the following four qualities – in the case of him lacking even one of these qualities, bay'ah will not be valid upon his hand –
  • he must be a sunni with the correct creed;
  • he should possess at least such a level of knowledge that enables him to extract his necessities from the corpus of religious texts without the help of another;
  • his chain back to the Messenger of Allah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam should be continuous and unbroken;
  • and he should be free from open fisq (transgression.) [Malfużat; Page 228]
V | Bay'ah in our times

Nowadays, people take bay'ah only as a trend, remaining ignorant of its true meaning. Bay'ah can be understood by means of the following account –

A murid [disciple] of Sayyiduna Yahya al Muniri Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu was once drowning in the ocean. Sayyiduna Khidr appeared to him and said – “give me your hand, I will rescue you.”

He replied – “I have already given my hand to Shaykh Yahya al Muniri, and will now not give it to anyone else.”

Thus Sayyiduna Khidr disappeared, to be replaced by Sayyiduna Yahya al Muniri Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu who rescued him. [Malfużat; Pages 228/9]


VI | Renewing one’s Bay'ah

The practice of renewing one’s bay'ah dates from the blessed era of the noble Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, with the Messenger SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam himself taking bay'ah from Sayyiduna Salamah bin Akwa Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu three times during a single gathering. They when headed for jihad [battle] when bay'ah was taken the first time, and Sayyiduna Salamah Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu pledged his allegiance then.

After a short while, our Master SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam said – “Salamah, will you not take bay'ah?”

When Sayyiduna Salamah Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu replied – “my master, I have already done so,” the Messenger SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam said – “once more.”

Thus Sayyiduna Salamah Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu took bay'ah again. When all others present had finished pledging their allegiance, the Messenger of Allah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam said once more – Salamah, will you not take bay'ah?”

He Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu replied – “my Master, I have already done so twice.”

The Messenger SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam said – “once more,” and thus he took bay'ah for the third time in that gathering. [Kashul Faqir Qadiri; Pages 48/9]

VII | Bay'ah from more than one Shaykh

(It is possible to leave a shaykh and take bay'ah upon the hand of another) in the case of there being some discrepancy (with regards the pristine shari'ah) in the first shaykh. Otherwise it is not permissible, though one can always renew bay'ah.

'Adi bin Musafir Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu says – “whoever comes to me, I accept his bay'ah regardless of his silsilah [spiritual lineage,] with the exception of those pledged in the Qadiri way, for no one leaves the ocean for the river.”

VIII | Acquiring the rank of fana fis-Shaykh

(The rank of fana fis-shaykh is attained by the following spiritual practice –)

Envisage that your shaykh is present in front of you, and that your heart is situated below his. Visualise that the spiritual bounty and luminosity of the Messenger of Allah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam is descending upon the heart of your shaykh and from there, cascading upon your heart. After a period, one will reach such a state where he will clearly see his shaykh upon every surface he sets his eyes upon, to such an extent that he will not be separated even during Salah. Thus, your shaykh will remain with you in every state. [Malfużat; Page 234]

IX | Benefits of reciting one’s Shajrah

Amongst the benefits that will be attained by reciting one’s shajrah are –
  • memorisation of the continuous spiritual chain which reaches back to the Messenger of Allah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam;
  • invoking the mention of the pious, which brings about the descent of Divine mercy;
  • conveying the rewards of one’s deeds to each Spiritual Master individually, which brings about their generous spiritual focus;
  • the mentioning of such luminaries in times of safety will ensure they in turn come to his aid when times of calamity strike. [Ahkam e Shari'at; Vol. 1; Page 80]


X | The Acceptance of Ważaif

To achieve the effect of waża’if [litanies] and a'mal [exercises], (the fulfilment of) three conditions is essential –

1. Confident Expectancy

For the heart to be free from such anxiety where one is constantly deliberating whether it has had an effect or not. Rather, one must trust wholly in Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala that He will definitely accept (this action).  It is mentioned in hadith that the Messenger of Allah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam stated –
ادعوا الله وانتم موقنون با لاجابة
“Supplicate to Allah in such a state that you remain certain of its acceptance.” [Sunan at Tirmidhi; Vol. 5; Page 292; Hadith 3590]

2.  Patience and Forbearance

For one not to become fearful with the passage of time, where one thinks – “even after so many days, no effect has become apparent!” This itself will come to be the cause of (the action) not being accepted! Rather, embrace the mindset that without doubt, Allah and His Messenger SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam are about to generously favour you! Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala states –

ولو انهم رضوا ما اتاهم الله ورسوله وقالوا حسبنا الله سيوتينا الله من فضله ورسوله انا الى الله راغبون
If only they were content with that which Allah and His Messenger have given them, and say, “Allah is enough for us – He will give us some of His bounty and so will His Messenger – to Allah alone we turn in hope.” [Surah al Tawbah; Verse 59]

یستجاب لاحدکم ما لم يعجل فیقول قد دعوت فلم یستجب لي
“Your supplications are accepted as long as you do not hastily say – ‘I supplicated but it is yet to be accepted.’” [Sahih Muslim; Page 1563; Hadith 2735]

3. With regards permission (to act upon) the entirety of my (meaning 'Āla Hadrat’s Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu) waża’if [litanies], A'mal [exercises] and Ta'wiżat [amulets,] I have stipulated the condition that one must remain regular in offering the five daily Salah with the congregation in the Masjid. And with Allah is Tawfiq. [Fatawa Radawiyyah; Vol. 23; Page 558]


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Compiled and Translated by
Yusuf Rida and Najibullah Qadiri
Servants of Sacred Knowledge at Kutubic