What makes the Naqshbandi-Mujaddedi order different from most other spiritual paths?
Most spiritual paths require that their adherents first purify their ego (nafs) before they can begin the purification of the heart or the enlightenment of the spiritual faculties which goes hand in hand with the purification of the heart. However, the purification of the ego is a very difficult process. It usually involves subduing the ego by denying it some or all of its natural desires. In some cases, individuals may spend most of their lives trying to purify the ego and may never manage to reach the stage of purifying the heart.
The School of Sufi Teaching is very different in this respect, in that its students begin with practices which bring about a transformation of the heart rather than beginning with the transformation of the ego. This approach, known as “Indiraj al-nihayat fi al-bidayat,” or “in their end is our beginning”, was first taught by Khwaja Baha’uddin Naqshband (died 1389 A.D.).
Baha’uddin Naqshband and his successors found that students who used this technique often advanced much quicker along the spiritual path. Moreover, after completing the purification of the heart (or “the journey toward the inner being”), they do not need to devote additional time for the purification of the ego (or “the journey to the outer horizon”), for in the process of pursuing the former they make simultaneous progress in the latter.
Another great shaykh of this order, Hazrat Sayyid Abdul Bari Shah (died 1900 A.D.) applied the principle of “in their end is our beginning” to the Chishti, Qadiri and Shadhili tariqas in which he had also been given the permission to teach. Because of the tremendous spiritual power and authority that this Shaykh had been granted, he was further able to evolve the teaching systems of these orders so that students can now apply the traditional Sufi teachings to their lives in a systematic way, while still living and working in the modern world.