This summer I was blessed to visit the seven pirs of Bukhara in Uzbekistan. It is proper adab to visit the eldest first, so the first of these Naqshbandi saints to visit was Hazrat ‘Abdul Khaliq al-GHudjwani (r.a.). His shrine is beautifully restored and has a busy flow of wedding parties, locals paying their respects, and people making pilgrimage from further afield. There is a mosque nearby and a madrassa, restored but unused. Helping us with the August heat, we were blessed with a cooling breeze and a shaded bench from which to offer our salams and sit in muraqabah.
Hazrat ‘Abdul Khaliq (r.a.) was born to an Anatolian princess, a descendant of Imam Malik, and Shaykh ‘Abdul Jamil, (r.a.), one of the most famous scholars of Byzantine times. He was a master of silent dhikr and the first in the silsila to use it. He studied the traditional Islamic sciences throughout his childhood, then jihad an-nafs (the spiritual struggle) under Shaikh Yusuf al-Hamadani (r.a.). He established a school in Damascus where his students mastered fiqh and hadith alongside spiritual practices. Continue reading