Significance of the People of Khanqah
Importance of People of Khanqah in Light of Quran:
Allah says in the Holy Quran:
فِیۡ بُیُوۡتٍ اَذِنَ اللّٰہُ اَنۡ تُرۡفَعَ وَ یُذۡکَرَ فِیۡہَا اسۡمُہٗ ۙ یُسَبِّحُ لَہٗ فِیۡہَا بِالۡغُدُوِّ وَ الۡاٰصَالِ ﴿ۙ﴾ رِجَالٌ ۙ لَّا تُلۡہِیۡہِمۡ تِجَارَۃٌ وَّ لَا بَیۡعٌ عَنۡ ذِکۡرِ اللّٰہِ وَ اِقَامِ الصَّلٰوۃِ وَ اِیۡتَآءِ الزَّکٰوۃِ ۪ۙ یَخَافُوۡنَ یَوۡمًا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِیۡہِ الۡقُلُوۡبُ وَ الۡاَبۡصَارُ ﴿٭ۙ﴾( 36-37:24 )
“(This Light of Allah illumines) such houses as Allah has ordained to exalt (i.e., enhance their esteem and honour) and remember His Name therein. (These are the houses) in which (Allah’s servants) glorify Him morning and evening. (Blessed with this Light) are those servants (of Allah) whom neither trade nor sale diverts from remembrance of Allah (dhikr). Nor from establishing Prayer and paying Zakat (the Alms-due. Even whilst performing their worldly duties) they keep fearing the Day when hearts and eyes will (all) overturn (with terror).” (24:36-37)
This verse not only highlights importance of khanqah, the house for seekers of Allah, but also explains significant attributes of its dwellers. That is, they devote every moment of their life for Allah. They keep glorifying the name of Allah i.e. Ism-e-Allah Zaat and nothing divert their attention from it. Even while doing worldly chores, their heart and soul is inclined towards Allah. They remain engrossed in dhikr with their every breath. Thus, these special servants of Allah are blessed with the Divine light that illumines their souls. Even after so much involvement in Allah, they fear Him and the Day of Resurrection. Hence, they are watchful of their deeds and keep check even on their thoughts. Such desirable qualities distinguish them from common Muslims and elevate them to the level of Momins.
Shaikh Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi RA writes in the chapter ‘Excellence of dwellers of khanqah’ of his book, Awarif ul-Ma’arif;
- Hence, real value belongs to the people of invocation (dhikr) and not to places or locations. Wherever the invokers gather, they establish the remembrance and dhikr of Allah all the time.
Importance of the People of Invocation (Zakireen)
Allah says in the Quran;
فَاذۡکُرُوۡنِیۡۤ اَذۡکُرۡکُمۡ (2:152)
Meaning: You remember Me, I shall remember you. (2:152)
That is to say, when an invoker does dhikr of Allah, Allah also remembers him. Allah says in a Qudsi Hadiths;
Meaning: I am his Companion who does My dhikr.
Meaning: I am as My slave perceives Me. I am with him when he remembers Me (does dhikr). When he remembers Me secretly within himself I also remember him secretly. And when he remembers Me in a gathering I also remember him in a better gathering.
Anas ibn Malik RA said that there is not a day when one part of earth calls another and asks, “Did anyone offered salat upon you or invoked the name of Allah?” Thus, some places reply in affirmative and other in negative. The part of earth that replies positively has superiority over others. Each part of earth upon which a person had done dhikr or offered salat, bear witness before Allah about that person when he dies.
Since, the dwellers of khanqah perpetually remember Allah, Allah’s kind attention always remains upon them. Consequently, their inward and outward illuminate with Divine light. Moreover, their dwelling i.e. khanqah is also constantly showered with Divine light. Hence, it is a place where souls find peace and closeness of Allah. Whoever enters khanqah with pure intention to gain spiritual beneficence, surely finds it.
In his book Awarif ul-Ma’arif Shaikh Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi RA has likened khanqah with Ribat. Ribat is the Arabic word used for boundary that separates a Muslim country from non-Muslim country. Likewise, a khanqah becomes boundary for its dwellers, which protects them from evil of Satan and their nafs (inciting innerself). Moreover, people of khanqah can be likened with the soldiers who protect borders of their country. Just like soldiers, people of khanqah defend their area and its people. Their servitude and dhikr becomes shield from all evils and calamities. Moreover, they are the fighters against their nafs, hence are the true soldiers of Allah.
People of Khanqah are Source of Beneficence
Shaikh Razi-ud-Din bin Ismael narrates a tradition which he heard from his Shaikhs who relate it from Abdullah bin Umar. He says that the Holy Prophet pbuh said, “Due to His pious men, Allah prevents hundred men among his family and neighbourhood from troubles and difficulties.”
Similarly, Jabir ibn Abdullah RA relates a tradition from the Holy Prophet pbuh. He said, “Due to a pious man, Allah gives success to his children, grandchildren, family and neighbours. Till he stays with them, they all remain in Allah’s refuge.”
Al-Ghawth al-Azam (Ghaus ul Azam) Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilami says;
- Most people are seekers of world; seekers of paradise are less, whereas seekers of Allah are few. Despite that, their status is of alchemy, as they have the ability to transform bronze into pure gold. They are rare but are the chiefs of masses and serve as protection for common people. It is because of them that curses rebound from the creation. Only by virtue of them, rain showers and earth gives birth to grains and fruits. (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)
People of Khanqah Perform the Greater Jihad (Jihad-e-Akbar)
People of khanqah keep fighting against their nafs through dhikr and mystic devotions. Furthermore, they devote their lives for cause of Allah. Hence, they strive in the way of Allah as is due. Allah says;
وَ جَاہِدُوۡا فِی اللّٰہِ حَقَّ جِہَادِہٖ ؕ (22:78)
“And strive hard (fight Jihad) in the way of Allah such a striving as is due to Him…” (22:78)
Abdullah bin Mubarak explained this verse as; “Here, Jihad refers to the Jihad against one’s innerself and against one’s desires. Through this, the obligation of physical Jihad is fulfilled because this is the greater Jihad. As the Hadith says that whenever Prophet Mohammad pbuh returned from a battle, he said;
Meaning: We return from the minor Jihad towards the greater one.
Hence, the people of khanqah are fighters of greater Jihad. They remain focused upon their spiritual goals and abstain from actions which waste deeds. By strictly following the commands of Allah and footsteps of the Holy Prophet, they please them and attain spiritual elevation. Hence, become source of beneficence for their nation in the world and hereafter. As, a sage said, “By remembering Allah with clear heart and sincere intention within the places of worships, all knots of fortune are untied.”
Obligations of the People of Khanqah
Following are included in the obligations of people of khanqah:
- First and foremost obligation of people of khanqah is to obey their spiritual guide in every condition.
- They should focus upon building their relation with the Divine Essence.
- Should keep fighting against their inciting innerself by controlling its desires, lust and anger.
- They must not seek pleasures and ease for themselves or dominance upon others. They should be a source of comfort for their fellows not of trouble.
- Must abide by the rules and regulations of staying in the khanqah.
- It is obligatory upon every resident and visitor of khanqah to honour its sanctity. This place is meant for invocation, devotion and preaching not for play and fun.
- Keeping the khanqah clean is also obligatory upon all devotees, whether residents or visitors.
- People of khanqah should inwardly cut off from all their worldly relations to focus only upon Allah and His cause. However, outwardly they must give them their due right.
- They should sacrifice their earning for Allah’s cause and stay in the upbringing of the Creator.
- Avoid excessive socialization and contacts.
- Must refrain from wrong deeds and oblivion. They should spend most of their time in working for the cause of Allah.
- If they see anyone harming the sanctity of khanqah, they must try to stop him. Or report to the head of khanqah.
- Tolerance, forgiving others mistakes and asking forgiveness on one’s own mistakes is the basic rule to live together happily.
- Those who newly come to live at khanqah should leave past habits. And remain engrossed in invocation and devotions all the time.
- Old residents of khanqah should treat newcomers lovingly and guide them about the requirements of living at khanqah.
- Whenever a devotee has to leave khanqah, temporarily or permanently, he must seek permission from the spiritual guide.