Embattled Saints: My Year with the Sufis of AfghanistanPaperback– April 29, 2014
by Kenneth P Lizzio (Author)
Winner of the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Silver Award!
In the West, Islam has replaced Communism as the new bugbear, while Sufism, Islam’s mystical dimension, is often dismissed as the delusions of an irrational and backward people. Ken Lizzio corrects such misperceptions in this firsthand account of the year he spent in 1991 living with the head of the Naqshbandis, Afghanistan’s largest Sufi order. He presents the order in all its dimensions–social, economic, political, and spiritual–at a pivotal moment in history. He also gives a rare glimpse of everyday life in an Afghan Sufi school and of how the school has coped with the upheavals in its country.
Poignantly, the Naqshbandi way of life faces threats to its very existence. One threat lies in the creeping secularization of Islamic society, another in the dismissal of Sufism by various fundamentalist Islamic sects claiming the franchise on truth. But historically, Lizzio points out, Sufism has always been Islam’s wellspring for spiritual revival. And because Sufis deal in matters that transcend time and cultures, they help outsiders understand not only the true nature of Islam, but the deeper meaning of all religions. The sound of that meaning echoes throughout this eloquent and fascinating memoir.
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In the Qadiri lineage. Hazrat Daata Sahib was a loving and gentle saint who lived in India in the earlier part of the 20th Century. His real name was Hazrat Muzaffar Ali Al-Hanafi RA. The saint was lovingly called Daata Sahib (the one who gives freely) by the people of Bundi for his exceedingly generous nature. Continue reading →
Hamid Uddin Nagori (ra) was one of the principle disciples of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti (ra). He was sent to Nagore in Rajasthan to spread the Sufi message and to teach Islam. He had many disciples and blessings in his life. He was known to refuse help from the government in Nagore. He had a plot of land which he worked himself and earned his keep from. When offered another plot of land by the Hakim of the city he refused.
Faqruddin Fakhrey Jahan (ra) Mehroli, Delhi, India
Hazrat Moulana Faqruddin Fakhrey Jahan (ra) was one of the most brilliant of Islamic scholars in India, as well as being one of the most popular of the Chishtia saints. Indeed, this noble personality’s influence is so great that it is said that after Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (ra) and his immediate successors (the Big Five), Moulana Fakhrudeen (ra) is regarded as being the most influential figure in the spread of the Chishtia order. All contemporary branches of the order are directly linked to the great Moulana, and his services and dedication to Islam have rarely been equalled.
Hazrat Moulana Fakhrudeen (ra) was pivotally involved in the reformation of Muslim society and actively campaigned for the correct implementation and practice of the Holy Qur’an and the sacred traditions of Rasulallah (saw). His reformations did not stop at the masses, however. Emperors such as Ghaziuddeen Khan, his son and Emperor Shah Alam his mureeds. Another famous emperor of India, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was a great lover of Moulana Fakhrudeen (rahmatullahi alaihi) and devoted many of his poems to the great saint. In one poem the emperor says,
“I am a devotee of Qutbudeen
And dust at the feet of Fakhrudeen.
A king I may be
But a lowly servant of Fakhrudeen I seem.”
Thousands of students and disciples achieved great benefit at the hand of this great servant of Islam, and the knowledge that he imparted still bears its fruit today. Hazrat Moulana Faqruddin Fakhrey Jahan (ra) passed away on the 27th Rabi-ath thaani in 1199AH at the age of 73 years, but his legacy lives on and will Insha-allah continue till the day of Qiyaamat.