The Commands of

Hazrat Hajj Sultan Mohammad  Gonabadi Sultan Ali Shah
Renewer of the Nimatullahi Order in Iran

Sufism is the spiritual reality of Islam, even if it was not known as "Sufism" at the inception of Islam. Phenomenologically speaking, it proves to be the essence of Islam, which gives life to it, like the soul gives life to the body. In Sufi terminology, Islam has two aspects: shari'at, its outer dimension, or body, and tariqat, its inner dimension, or soul. These two aspects were inseparably joined in the person of the Prophet, but little by little through the history of Islam, there were people who paid attention only to the shari'at, Islamic law, and even confined Islam to this. Often the fuqaha or 'ulama took this attitude. In contrast to them there were people who emphasized the spiritual reality or tariqat, who became famous as Sufis.
The propagation of Islam was not through the sword of the rulers, but by the heartfelt word of the Sufis. The cutting swords of Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi or Nadir Shah Afshar did not make Islam influential among the Hindus. It was by the spiritual attraction and life giving breath of Sufi masters such as the successors of Shah Ni'matullah Wali or Mir Sayyid 'Ali Hamadani that they became Muslim.
Whenever the Muslims were weakened and deviated from the truth of Islam, great Sufis tried to renew and revive it. Sometimes this was done explicitly, as in the case of Ghazali, whose revival finds written form in his famous Ihya 'Ulum al-Din (The Revival of the Religious Sciences), and sometimes it was implicit, as with Shah Ni'matullahi Wali.
The idea of renewal in Islam was not a mere accident of history, but was foreseen by the Prophet himself. It is reported in a hadith that he said, "Verily, at the beginning of every hundred years, God raises one for this community of Islam who renews it's religion for it." Regardless of the soundness of this hadith, and whether what is mean is exactly one century, which is beyond the scope of this paper, the idea of a revival of Islam and that it must be renewed in a manner appropriate to the times, was in the minds of the Muslims.
In Sufism itself, from time to time deviations occurred. The use of expressions such as, "false Sufi claimant" and "true Sufi claimant", in books such as Jami's Nafahat al-Uns, bears witness to this phenomenon. Among the most prominent critics of such deviations were the Sufi masters. They were the true reformers and renewers of Sufism.
Sufism has usually suffered at the hands of two groups: (1) pseudo-Sufis who fancy that the inward aspects of Islam suffice for them and that they may consciously abandon its outward precepts; and (2) those fuqaha who restrict their understanding of Islam to its outward aspects and ignore its interior. Each of these groups has an incomplete understanding of Islam, one with respect to shari'at and the other with regard to tariqat. This is why the Sufi shaykhs were usually confronted by these two groups. Renewal and reformation of Sufism most often required a re-balancing of shari'at and tariqat in order to preserve its original formation. It is this effort at balancing that prompted the great Sufi shaykhs to take into consideration the circumstances of their times in order to make religious precepts appropriate to them. This enabled them to present Islam in a more complete fashion and to keep it from deviation. In a hadith attributed to the Imams, it is reported, "One who is conscious of his times is not in danger of being confounded."
One of the greatest reformers and renewers of Sufism was Shah Ni'matullah Wali. His was one of the most catastrophic times for the Muslims, especially in Iran, which had suffered through the attacks of the Mongols and the Timurids after them. In religious affairs there were Sufi pretenders on the one hand, who did not practice Sufi teachings, and hypocritical preachers on the other, who used religion for personal gain. In his poetry, Hafiz reproaches both groups, thus bearing witness to the situation in Iran. When the religious teachers had fallen so far astray, the religious ethos of the common people of the time would also have been in a state of degeneration.
In those days, Shah Ni'matullahi Wali, as master of the Ma'rufi Order and successor to Shaykh 'Abdullah Yafi'i, tried to improve both the inward and the outward religious conditions. He exposed the misdeeds and pseudo-teachings of the current Sufi pretenders, and criticized both Sunni and Shi'ite 'ulama. He called upon Sunnis to return to the sunnah of the Prophet of love for the Ahl al-Bayt, while he reminded Shi'ites that the main pillar of Shi'ism is the forgotten truth of walayat, rather than points of law and political issues. Thus, he refused to be a rafizi (one who rejected the Companions of the Prophet) or khariji (one who rejected the leadership of 'Ali).
Due to the difficulties faced by the Sufis in Iran after the death of Shah Ni'matullahi, the qutbs of the Order moved to India at the invitation of Sultan Ahmadshah Bahmani of the Deccan. During this time, from the end of the Safavids until the end of the Zandi dynasty, because of the political upheaval in Iran, the kings' rejection of Sufism and the sovereignty of the 'ulama who had good relations with the government, most of the Sufi orders either left Iran or operated clandestinely. Although the Safavi dynasty was itself based on a Sufi Order, the attitude taken by them was very exclusivist, so that they did not permit the free operation of other orders. This situation continued until 1190/1776, when Riza 'Alishah Deccani, who was then qutb of the Order, sent two of his authorized shaykhs, Hazrat Ma'sum 'Alishah and Shah Tahir Deccani, to Iran. The latter died soon after arriving in Iran, or on the way, and the revival of the Order in Iran was left to the former and one of his main disciples, Nur 'Alishah Isfahani. These two behaved in a way that attracted the attention of the people who had long forgotten Sufism. Many people, including some of the prominent 'ulama, such as Sayyid Bahr al-'Ulum (d. 1212/1797) and 'Abd al-Samad Hamadani (who was killed in 1216/1801 by Wahhabis), became their followers, and Sufism became current in Iran again. The opposition of some of the 'ulama to Sufism, however, continued, and they even persuaded some of the Qajari kings to kill the Sufi shaykhs on the pretext that they sought to take over the government. One can mention the martyrdom of Mushtaq 'Alishah in Kerman, or that of his disciple Muzaffar 'Alishah in Kermanshah at the order of the influential jurist, known as the "Sufi-killer", Muhammad ibn Bihbihani.
After Nur 'Alishah, the Ni'matullahi Order became the most popular Sufi order in Iran. Whenever Sufism becomes popular, pretenders to it abound. During the time when Rahmat 'Alishah (d. 1278/1861) was the qutb of the Order, Sufism became especially popular, in part because the Qajar king, Muhammad Shah, entered the Order. After Rahmat 'Alishah passed away, the Ni'matullahis divided into three branches: (1) the followers of Hajj Muhammad Kazim Isfahani Sa'adat 'Alishah; (2) followers of the uncle of Rahmat 'Alishah, Hajj Muhammad, famous as Munawwar 'Alishah; and (3) the followers of Mirza Hasan Safi, famous as Safi 'Alishah. This division first appeared due to the differences about the explicit decree of Rahmat 'Alishah that he should be succeeded by Sa'adat 'Alishah. After some time, the opponents of Sa'adat 'Alishah brought another decree attributed to Rahmat 'Alishah according to which Munawwar 'Alishah was to be the successor, despite the fact that Munawwar 'Alishah himself admitted that he had not received the decree personally. Safi 'Alishah first renewed his covenant with Sa'adat 'Alishah, and denied the validity of the decree of Munawwar 'Alishah. However, after Sa'adat 'Alishah refused to appoint him as shaykh, he broke his covenant with him and became a disciple of Munawwar 'Alishah. After some time, he also rejected the leadership of Munawwar 'Alishah and proclaimed himself qutb. In this way the Ni'matullahi Order broke up into three chains: first, the Sultan 'Alishahi or Gunabadi chain, which is the main and largest chain; second, the Dhul Riyasatayn chain; and third, the Safi 'Alishahi chain.
The Sultan 'Alishahi chain takes its name after the successor of Sa'adat 'Alishah, Hajj Mulla Sultan Muhammad Sultan 'Alishah, who was born in Gunabad in Khorasan in A.H.L. 1251/A.D. 1835.
He was one of the most distinguished and famous 'ulama and Sufis of his time, such that in most of the books of that time his name is mentioned. At the age of three he was faced with the loss of his father. Even at such a tender age, his excellence was apparent to all so that among the people and tribes of Baydukht and Gunabad he was known for his intelligence, wit, dignity and poise. After finishing his elementary studies in Baydukht, due to a lack of sufficient means, he temporarily suspended his studies, but because of his enthusiasm and eagerness, at the age of seventeen, he continued to pursue studies and made great strides, such that his local teachers no longer satisfied his scientific yearnings. Therefore, he set out by foot for the holy city of Mashhad to pursue his studies where he spent some time and benefited from the presence of the scholars there. From there, he then went to Najaf, Iraq, were he became proficient in fiqh, usul, and tafsir (exegesis of the Qur'an). Under famous fuqaha, such as Shaykh Murtiza Ansari, and was given permission for ijtihad in fiqh. On his return from Najaf, he went to Sabzavar, and under the direction of the famous philosopher, Hajj Mulla Hadi Sabzavari, he studied peripatetic philosophy, illuminationist philosophy and Mulla Sadra's philosophy. He distinguished himself above all the other students of Sabzavari, and wrote marginalia to the famous book of Mulla Sadra, Asfar. Attaining mastery of these sciences did not satisfy his thirst for knowledge, which he began to seek from the hearts of the Sufis. At that time, the qutb of the Ni'matullahi Order, Sa'adat 'Alishah, together with some of his disciples, went to Sabzavar. Mulla Hadi, who was devoted to the qutb, cancelled his classes and suggested that his students come with him to visit Sa'adat 'Alishah. At that very first session, the late Hajj Mulla Sultan Muhammad was attracted to the Sa'adat 'Alishah, even though the latter was not one of the 'ulama, but he did not surrender to him, and after some time returned to Gunabad. Finally, in A.H.L. 1279, he set off on foot for Sa'adat 'Alishah's place of residence in Isfahan. With a passionate inner fire he went to him and was initiated in spiritual wayfaring toward God. Just as Mawlavi followed the illiterate Shams Tabrizi, he became a follower of the unlearned Sa'adat 'Alishah. He spent little time on the various stages of the journey toward Allah, and was authorized by the master for guidance of the Sufi novices and was given the spiritual title of Sultan 'Alishah. In A.H.L. 1293, Sa'adat 'Alishah passed away and Sultan 'Alishah succeeded him as the qutb of the Ni'matullahi Order. Sultan 'Alishah became renowned throughout the Islamic world for both his knowledge and spiritual guidance. This resulted in inciting the jealousy of his enemies, those who were against his way. As a result, unfortunately, in A.H.L. 1327/A.D. 1909, he won martyrdom by being strangled. His grave is in Baydukht, Gunabad.
He has written many epistles and books, the most important of which are: his great Shi'ite Sufi commentary on the Qur'an in Arabic in four oversized volumes, Bayan al-Sa'adat; Sa'adat Nameh; and Majma' al-Sa'adat; all of whose titles allude to his master, Sa'adat 'Alishah. He also authored Walayat Nameh, Bisharat al-Mu'minin, Tambih al-Na'imin, Iyzah, and Tawzih.
As during the period of Shah Ni'matullah, the times of Sultan 'Alishah were critical. It was the time of the encounter of Iran with modern Western civilization, when the people confronted new concepts, including scientific and social ones. Naturally, some completely rejected what was strange and new, while others superficially submitted. During this time, Shi'ite jurisprudence, which is based on ijtihad and the derivation of precepts in accordance with the needs of the times, had become stagnated. Most of the fuqaha, who were not conscious of the situation of the modern world, were zealous about the outward aspects of religion and only took into consideration the outward aspects of Western civilization, as well, which they judged to be contrary to Islam.
Sufism was also undergoing a crisis. The opposition of the fuqaha that began at the end of the Safavid period was vigorously maintained. The practice of the pseudo-Sufis also was apparently contrary to both the modernists as well as Islamic law. Taking all this into account, Hazrat Sultan 'Alishah was confronted with three groups who opposed true Sufism: (1) some of the fuqaha, (2) the pseudo-Sufis, and (3) some of the modernists. All three groups were taken into consideration in his attempt to renew Sufism.
Aside from his position of leadership, Sultan 'Alishah was a philosopher and a faqih, and both his philosophical positions and jurisprudential opinions were colored by his mysticism. He was a student of Mulla Hadi Sabzawari, who was at that time the most famous proponent of a philosophical system based on Sufism derived from the teachings of Mulla Sadra, and he himself adopted a system of philosophy that mostly followed in this tradition. In fiqh, he was a mujtahid, whose permission for ijtihad was granted by the great Shi'ite faqih of the time, Ayatullah Hajj Mirza Shirazi. Nevertheless, he did not issue any fatwas as a mujtahid, because he considered it necessary to keep the realms of tariqat and shari'at separate. However, some of his juridical opinions may be found in his tafsir, Bayan al-Sa'adat. His jurisprudential views show that he was completely aware of the need to take contemporary conditions into account when reaching decisions about Islamic law, and accordingly, he viewed music and chess as lawful, the People of the Book as essentially having ritual purity and slavery, taking more than one wife at a time, and opium smoking as prohibited.

The Prohibition of Opium

One of the bad habits that was becoming current in the Far East, India and Iran during that time was smoking opium. This was a result of the colonial policies of some European countries. This practice was becoming widespread among some of the Sufis for many years to the point that it would be considered a Sufi custom. They used to say that to be a dervish one should smoke opium or hashish. To justify this, they claimed that it promoted ecstasy and the attainment of the Sufi goal of annihilation, fana. They imagined that the nothingness that comes from smoking opium is the same as the nothingness of mysticism. According to Mawlana:

In order that for a while they may be delivered from sobriety (consciousness),
they lay upon themselves the opprobrium of wine and marijuana.

Mystical nothingness comes from God, not from changes in physio-chemistry. Again, Mawlana says:

Nothingness should come from God,
So that the beauty of God may be seen in it.

The disadvantage of smoking opium from the point of view of mystical experience in Sufism is that one could confuse the hallucination produced by the use of the drug with the unveiling or opening from God for which every Sufi waits. From a social point of view, the practice led first to inactivity and then to idleness. The disadvantages for public hygiene are clear to all. For these reasons Sultan 'Alishah strictly prohibited the use of opium among his followers at a time when its subsequent social malaise had not yet become apparent, to the extent of cursing those who smoked it. He would not accept anyone who smoked opium as a Sufi novice. In his commentary on the Qur'an, Bayan al-Sa'adat, with regard to the verse, (They ask you concerning wine and lots. Say: in both these is great sin…) (2:219), he pronounced the prohibition of opium on the grounds that it violates the rights of ones faculties. This pronouncement at that time appeared to be quite revolutionary, since none of the 'ulama had said anything about it. The prohibition also became a great obstacle to the activities of the colonialists who were trying to make the people weak and dependent on them.
After Hazrat Sultan 'Alishah, his grandson and viceregent, Hazrat Nur 'Alishah Gunabadi, wrote a separate book entitled Dhu al-Faqar: On the Prohibition of Smoking Opium. In that book he says that since this sin, that results from the temptations of Satan, had become current in most of the cities of Iran, and none of the 'ulama had paid any attention to it, it is obligatory for those who are familiar with this problem to try to repel it. The language of this book is simple and lucid in a way that ordinary people could understand the evil of it.
From the time of Hazrat Sultan 'Alishah, the prohibition against smoking opium has been one of the characteristics of the Ni'matullahi Sultan 'Alishahi Gunabadi Order of Sufism.

The Abandonment of Idleness

In Islam, the outward is not separate from the inward. Any work done with the intention of pleasing God is considered to be an act of worship. So, occupation with worship is no excuse for abandoning worldly affairs. The Prophet said, "There is no monasticism in Islam." In Sufism, in special circumstances, such as during the taming of the carnal soul, instructions may be given for seclusion. Before the divine commissioning of the Prophet, he spent time in seclusion in the cave of Hera. Due to divine attraction, it sometimes occurs that a Sufi abandons the world. In all of these instances, solitude is the exception rather than the rule. Occupation with the arts and crafts in traditional Islamic societies, e.g., architecture, calligraphy, etc., were integrated with the journey toward God. This is why anyone who wants to become a fata and enter the way of Sufism, had to occupy himself with a craft or art. However, there were Sufis who both intentionally and unintentionally made use of the idea of khalvat, or seclusion, as an excuse for idleness and begging. They made a pretext of reliance on God alone, tawakkul, and contentment with one's lot, riza, as a Sufi manner. This is why some of the khanaqahs turned into gathering places for the lazy.
During the time of Shah Ni'matullah Wali, this bad custom was common among many Sufis. Although he practiced seclusion many times, he instructed his followers to be occupied with some work and not to try to gain money through Sufism. He himself used to farm and praised this occupation. He said that labor was a sort of alchemy.
The custom of mendicancy was current among many Sufis, especially in the Khaksar Order, during the time of Hazrat Sultan 'Alishah, who strictly prohibited all his followers from being idle and without work. He gave reasons for this prohibition based on rational argument, common sense and religious principles. He said, "Everyone should work for a living and for the sake of the improvement of the world. One should occupy himself with any work that he likes and is not against religious law, including farming, trading, or industry." In another place he says, "Idleness is against civilization, too."
This instruction, especially in the modern world, and with the appearance of civil society that necessitates close social relations and the occupation of each member of society with a work was much needed at that time. At the same time, as a Sufi master, he warned his followers against taking pride in worldly gains and wealth or being covetous thereof. He said, "One should consider himself poor even if one has limitless wealth…. No one takes more than a single shroud from this world. When one becomes aware of this truth, he will understand that he is poor in this world and needy to God…. Improvement of the world is by no means contrary to dervishood." He taught that any work, including prayer and fasting, but also trading and farming, with the intention of performing God's commands, is worship. Earning money is not opposed to reliance on God. He says that the faqir should work but consider the results of his work to be from God.
Hazrat Sultan 'Alishah like Shan Ni'matullah Wali used to farm, and he often had calloused hands. Once, someone came to his house to ask him about alchemy. He was not in the house at the time, but was in his garden. The man went into the garden, and after greeting him, before he could ask anything about it, Hazrat Sultan 'Alishah showed his hands to him and said, "This is our alchemy! We toil and benefit from it." He even used to rebuke farmers who neglected their lands, saying, "If an earth that has the capacity of delivering 300 kilos of wheat, delivers only 270 kilos of wheat because of negligence, the farmer will be held responsible for the remainder."
After Hazrat Sultan 'Alishah, the prohibition of idleness has become one of the main characteristics of the Ni'matullahi Gunabadi Order, and all the subsequent qutbs have themselves worked and advised their followers to do so, as well.

The Lack of Restrictions to Special Garb

One of the old customs among the Sufis was wearing special garments, such as woolens, a patched cloak, and other items. Shah Ni'matullah Wali did not restrict himself or his followers to any special clothing by which they could be designated as Sufis. He sometimes wore a white wool robe, and sometimes a long gown. To the contrary of his practice, many of his followers again began wearing distinctive dress, as is mentioned by 'Abd al-Razzaq Kermani, the author of his biography: "The clothing worn by his dervishes was absolutely not worn by him or his children." The prohibition of dervish vestments was only temporarily cancelled several centuries later by Hazrat Riza 'Alishah Deccani for two of his authorized shaykhs, Hazrat Ma'sum 'Alishah and Hazrat Nur 'Alishah I, whom he had sent to Iran. These two great men entered Iran wearing special dervish robes and carrying the characteristic dervish bowl and ax. This policy was enacted to attract attention to the arrival of Sufism in Iran where it had been outlawed for many years.
Hazrat Sultan 'Alishah once again prohibited his followers from wearing any distinctive Sufi clothing. He used to say: "Servitude to God does not depend on any special clothes. In the Qur'an it is written, 'The garment of piety (taqwa) is the best.'" With this rule, no difference could be made out between Sufi Muslims and the other people of the country, and their particular beliefs remained protected in their hearts. This rule is still current in the Ni'matullahi Gunabadi Order, which has been reissued by the qutbs after Hazrat Sultan 'Alishah.

Social and Political Affairs

Essentially, Sufism is not a political school of thought, so it has nothing to do with politics. However, Sufis have entered into political affairs as individuals rather than as Sufis.
Generally speaking, the duties ordained by Islam have been divided by the Sufi shaykhs of the Ni'matullahi Order into three kinds:
(1) Precepts of the shari'at that must be obtained from a qualified mujtahid (expert in Islamic law);
(2) Precepts of the tariqat that must be obtained from the current Sufi master;
(3) Personal precepts to be discerned by the individual himself. One should personally discover one's responsibilities by one's own religious thinking and reasoning.
Thus, interference and expressing views about social affairs is outside the scope of tariqat and the fuqara do not expect instructions in such regards from the authorities of the Order. One's works and intentions are to be made pure for the sake of Allah, and one's own responsibilities are to be discovered. The authorities of the Order will not express views on such questions so that it is not imagined that these are duties of tariqat.
During the constitutional crisis in Iran in the first decade of the twentieth century, when the fuqara asked Hazrat Sultan 'Alishah about their duties, he used to say, "I am a simple farmer from a village. I don't know what constitutional and absolute monarchy mean." He left it to them to figure out for themselves. At the same time, he gave advice to the rulers not to do injustice to the people. For example, in his book Walayat Nameh, there is a chapter entitled, "On Explaining Sovereignty and the Treatment of Subjects," in which he severely criticized the rulers of the country, and says, "In this matter, they should take as their example the first caliphs of Islam; and if their time was too long ago, they should take as their example the rulers of the West, who do not live in luxury, make the country flourish, provide ease for their subjects and who fill the treasury."
Hazrat Sultan 'Alishah lived during the dictatorship of the Qajar dynasty and its opposition to the reform of the Iranian constitution. The idea of a constitution was one of the first political concepts from the West to enter Iran. Some of the 'ulama, like Bihbahani approved of it as consistent with Islam, while others, such as Fazlullah Nuri, disapproved of it as against Islam. Naturally, the formation of political groups and intrigue were current. The fuqara were uncertain of their duties in this regard.

The Revival of Walayat

Walayat is the inward aspect of the mission (risalat) of the Prophet to guide the people. It is the source of tariqat in Islam, or Sufism. The outward aspect of this mission is bringing the shari'at, which is concerned with religious precepts. According to the Qur'an, the period of risalat came to an end with the passing away of the Prophet, but the period of walayat extends until the end of time. Walayat is the main pillar of both Shi'ism and Sufism. Accordingly, both of these refer to the same truth. In both Shi'ite and Sufi theory, the station of walayat cannot be filled by the choice of the people or of an elite. The Prophet chose 'Ali to be his successor in accordance with divine command. In the same manner, each succeeding wali must be appointed by the preceding one. This is why almost all Sufi orders trace their permission for guidance to Imam 'Ali.
Over the course of the centuries, Shi'ism became a set of theological and jurisprudential teachings coupled with a political movement, and walayat was confined to a political interpretation. On the other hand, there were Sufis who completely neglected the issue of walayat.
One of the main issues in the revival of Sufism is the revival of the idea of walayat in Sufi books, which is especially evident after the fall of the 'Abbasid dynasty and the weakening of the political power of the Ahl al-Sunnah.
Undoubtedly, the main problem addressed in works of Shah Ni'matullah Wali is walayat, the various aspects and views about which are discussed at length in many of his works. He raised the topic of walayat to such prominence that the Sufis would understand this to be the source of Sufism itself. On the other hand, he addresses the official Sunni and Shi'ite positions, asking what it really means to be a true Sunni or Shi'ite. He says that to be a Sunni is to follow the tradition (sunnah) of the Prophet, one of whose requisites is love for the Ahl al-Bayt. To the Shi'ites, who were infamous at the time as rafizi (those who were considered heterodox because of their refusal to accept the authority of the first caliphs), he says that to be Shi'ite does not mean cursing the first three caliphs, but it means following 'Ali. In one of his poems he says:

I am not a rafizite, but I am
a pure believer, and enemy of the Mu'tazilite.
I have the religion of my ancestor (the Prophet)
after him, I am the follower of 'Ali the wali.

He reminded the official Shi'ites that believing in the walayat of 'Ali is not merely a matter of words. It is impossible unless there is a heartfelt connection of discipleship. In a poem he says:

Although you do not have the walayat of that wali ('Ali), you boast of walayat.
You should know what you are boasting about.
We have raised the banner of his walayat.
Why should the drum be beaten while under the rug?

In the teachings and works of the martyr Hazrat Sultan 'Alishah, the issue of walayat is renewed, with the difference that in the time of Shah Ni'matullah Wali, since the religion of the majority of the Iranian populace was Sunni, primarily he addressed them, while in the case of Hazrat Sultan 'Alishah, since after the Safavid period the Iranian populace was mostly Shi'ite, his polemic was directed primarily at those who had inherited a nominally Shi'ite affiliation. In most of his books, including his Sufi commentary on the Qur'an, Bayan al-Sa'adah, his main topic is walayat and its different dimensions. His Persian book, Walayat Nameh, is an independent treatise specifically devoted to a Sufi/Shi'ite presentation of the topic of walayat. At the very beginning of the book, he says: "Many have erred, thinking that walayat is love, or the mere verbal claim of the Imamate or walayat of the Ahl al-Bayt." On another book, he says: "Those whose fathers were Shi'ite think that they are Shi'ite because they imagine this to be no more than the verbal claim of the walayat of 'Ali…. They didn't understand anything of Shi'ism except its name." Thus, his main intention is to show the Sufi dimension of Shi'ism, i.e., walayat, to the nominal Shi'ites who had confined it to a verbal claim or to jurisprudence and theology.
Among the important points that he made about walayat is the issue of having permission for authority in Sufism. This topic became especially highlighted after the competing claims to succession following the passing away of Hazrat Rahmat 'Alishah, and the failure of some to obey his authorized successor, Hazrat Sa'adat 'Alishah.
As it has been said, one of the main principles of walayat is that the master of the Order should have permission from his predecessor. These permissions for guidance should form an unbroken chain or series reaching back to Imam 'Ali. This is why the word silsilah (chain) is used for the Sufi orders. During the time of Hazrat Sultan 'Alishah, since there were numerous sectarian divisions of the orders, and there were many who claimed to be masters without having any permission, there was an intense need to deal with this issue. He refers to this problem in many of his works. For example, he says: "Know that the tree of the shaykhs of every Sufi order of the past has been recorded." He continues to explain that the explicit authorization (nass) of the shaykh is necessary to support the claim of being a shaykh, and is needed by the novice in order to understand under the direction of whom he could enter the tariqat. This is why the Sufi shaykhs sought to protect this authorization. In another place he says, "In every religious affair it is necessary to have the permission of the religious authority of the time."
Now in the Ni'matullahi Gunabadi Order, having explicit authorization has become the most important criterion for spiritual guidance.


صفحه اصلي - سلسله اولياء - كتب عرفاني - پند صالح - تصاوير - بيانيه‌ها - پيوند - جستجو - يادبود - مكاتبه - نقشه سايت - اعلانات

استفاده و كپی برداری از منابع، مطالب، محتوی و شكل این سایت با رعایت امانت و درستی آزاد است.

تصوف ايران ۱۳۸۵

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