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Khatam Sharif In Honour Of The Venerable

Shaykh Abul Hasan Kharaqani

Five groups each have a qibla: The Kaba for the believers, the earthly Bayt al- muqaddas for the Prophets, the Bayt al- mamur for the Angles, the Divine throne for the supplicators, and God for the friends.
Sayyiduna Ali (K)

A raindrop fell from a spring cloud, and, seeing the wide expanse of the ocean, was ashamed. Where is the ocean? it reflected, And where am I? Compared with that I am absolutely nothing. While thus regarding itself with an eye of contempt, an oyster took it into its bosom. Fate so shaped its course that eventually the raindrop became a famous royal pearl.

Allah Almighty asked his beloved on Mi'raj Sharif what gift he had brought for Him. Rasulullah (S) said, O my Lord! You are not in need of anything or anyone. It is we who are in need of You. What can anyone bring to You? However, I have brought one thing You do not have. I have brought humility. Pride is for the Creator alone, as everything else is His creation and there is nothing like Him, He has no equal. That is why everything else must adorn the cloak of humility before Him. Allah Almighty loves those who are humble and raises their maqam (spiritual station). The raindrop was exalted and given honour, for it was humble. Knocking at the door of extinction, it became existent and was given great value. Rasulullah (S) is the most humble in all of creation. For this Allah has declared to raise his darajat (noble rank). That is why it is always on the rise.


Every year Sultan al-Arifin Shaykh Bayazid al-Bastami would visit Khurasan to do ziyarah of the graves of the shuhada (martyrs). When he passed by the village of Kharaqan, he would take
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a deep breath as if he were taking in a scent of something. The murids asked, O Shaykh, please tell us what is this scent you are sensing, as we do not smell anything? Sultan al-Arifin replied, From this village of thieves the scent of a man comes to me, whose name will be Ali and his kunya (known as) Abul Hasan. His spiritual station will be three degrees higher than me, as he will bear the burden of marriage, cultivate the soil, and plant trees. Eighty nine years after Sultan al-Arifin passed into the Divine presence, Shaykh Abul Hasan Kharaqani came into this world, and had such an effect on religion that it has flourished ever since. Mawlana Abdur Rahman Jami say about Shaykh Abul Hasan as someone who, if was hung in the sky by a thread and a wind blew up, uprooting trees and smashing down buildings, levelling mountains and whipping all the seas up in a froth, would not be stirred. He was the Qutub (pole) of his time and the King of the Kings of Sufis.

Birth and Childhood

Sayyiduna Shaykh Abul Hasan Kharaqani was born in 963 AD in the village of thieves, a simple farmer by background, sent as a child by his parents each day out into the desert to tend the goats and sheep. Everyday his mother would give him some food to take with him as he would return in the evening. Even at this young age Shaykh Abul Hasan would secretly fast he would give the food to the poor and needy. This chivalry, self discipline and humility displayed, were some of the foundations that went onto build his spiritual magnitude. When he was slightly older, he was given seeds and a plough for the fields to which he took whole heartedly as he enjoyed contemplating whilst working in solitude, he once reflected, O Lord, Ive heard that whomever You choose to love, You hide from others. During their childhood, Shaykh Abul Hasan and his brother both engaged in a nightly routine where one brother spent all his time in devotions and prayers, while the other took care of his mothers needs. The next night the brothers would swap duties and so forth. One night when it was Shaykh Abul Hasans turn to pray, his brother asked if he could continue with his prayers from the night before as he was overwhelmed with a feeling of great devotion. Shaykh Abul Hasan agreed and thus looked after his mother that night again. Just before dawn, whilst engaged in deep meditation, his brother heard a voice which said that he had been pardoned on account of his brother Shaykh Abul Hasan who was in constant attendance of the mother. Why is that? he asked, I have devoted all my time to You, my Lord! Thats the point, replied the Lord. I do not need your devotions, but your mother needs your service.

In his youth, Shaykh Abul Hasan would pray Isha prayer in congregation at his own mosque in Kharaqan and then walk to the shrine of Sultan al-Arifin to spend the rest of the night there. He would pray, O! Allah, the robe of honour that you gave to Sultan al-Arifin Shaykh Bayazid alBastami , please also give to me from that blessing. In the morning he would return to Kharaqan to read Fajar in Jamat, with the same wudu he had left with. After twelve years of this practice, he heard a voice from the grave saying, O! Abul Hasan the time has come for you to sit with us.
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Shaykh Abul Hasan replied, I am an uneducated person, I do not know anything. Not even the Holy Qur'an. The voice then said, O! Abul Hasan, whatever I have achieved was through your barakah. Shaykh Abul Hasan asked, How is this possible? You passed away eighty nine years before my birth. That is true, replied Sultan al-Arifin , but whenever I passed your village I would see a light (nur) coming down from the heavens. I had a need with Allah and I prayed for thirty years for this need to be fulfilled and then I was told, if you make the light (nur) which falls on Kharaqan as your wasila then your plea will be accepted. I then asked my Lord whose nur this was, and the reply came, It is the nur of one of our special servants and his name is Abul Hasan. Shaykh Abul Hasan spoke with Sultan al-Arifin until the break of dawn. Upon departure Sultan al-Arifin ordered, Read, beginning with the Fatiha. In that blessed day, by the time Shaykh Abul Hasan reached Kharaqan he had memorised the entire Holy Qur'an.

It was after these twelve years that Shaykh Abul Hasan was given authority to give bayah and train murids. Mawlana Abdur Rahman Jami explains that because spiritual relationship transcends space and time, Sultan al-Arifin was the teacher and master of Shaykh Abul Hasan .

Humble man of power

He has taken us from Kharabandi to Khudabandi (from donkey people to Obedient Servants) Shaykh Abul Hasan expresses humility to his Lord saying that we were donkey masters and He has given us honour by accepting him as a servant in the Divine presence. Someone once asked him Where do you see God? Shaykh Abul Hasan replied Wherever you do not see yourself. Shaykh Junayd Baghdadi said, Humility is to put your heart down in front of He who knows every secret. The Awliya go onto say how can anyone have pride, especially when He is present at every moment and knows your every breath and thought that comes to you. With this in mind, how then can you lift your head with pride? Imam Qushayri said that humility is to yield to the truth with absolute attention and to give up opposing Gods will. When asked about humility Sahl bin Abd Allah Tustari said, Satan will not come near the one in whose heart there is humility. Shaykh Abul Hasans life was filled with humility from the beginning to the end. Whilst being showered by Allah with His infinite blessings, Shaykh Abul Hasan retained humility in its truest form. He once said, My life is nothing but one sajdah, meaning that he never once objected to Gods will. Shaykh Abul Hasan said, People seek Divine help on three occasions; at the time of death, in the grave and on the day of judgement. O! Allah I seek Your help all the time and not just on these three occasions.
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One day Shaykh Abul Hasan was asked by his companions, O Shaykh! Which is the best of hearts? The Shaykh replied, That heart which always remembers Him. They asked him, What is a Sufi? He replied, A sufi is not he who has a masallah or jubbah, or he follows certain principles or he has certain manners. A Sufi is he who is nothing, he absolutely doesnt exist. Meaning that he doesnt attach himself to anything and empty of all else but Allah.

In his presence

These were the humble beginnings of the master who turned Shaykh ul Islam Abdullah Ansari from the course of extreme fundamentalism to the path that led him to be known as the Master of Herat. Shaykh Abdullah Ansari said, Up to the point where I met Shaykh Abul Hasan , my life was a waste, as I could not overcome my ego. Shaykh Abdullah Ansari said, Once after meeting Shaykh Abul Hasan I was travelling from Kharaqan back to Balkh. All the way on this journey I felt that I had done something wrong. I kept thinking, trying to remember all my actions in the presence of Shaykh Abul Hasan and during my visit. As I reached the city of Balkh I saw people coming out gathering towards me with stones in their hands. It was apparent that they were coming to stone me. I was now certain that I had done something wrong and this was a punishment from my Lord. At that moment I was told I remembered that one day whilst I was laying down the masallah, prayer mat, of Shaykh Abul Hasan, I stepped on it. Immediately I repented and asked for forgiveness from Allah for what I had done. Then I saw the people dropping the stones and returning to their homes.

The solution to adopting humility is to find those that are humble. Sultan ul- Arifin give an example that when you are visiting a friend of Allah and you are given even one moment in his presence, then that moment is spent in the Divine presence. The Divine presence is not this place or that place, but wherever there is Allahs tawajjuh. It may be difficult to please Allah as that path leads through many difficulties, hardships and tribulations. The easy way is to please his friends as they are always in His Divine presence.

Shaykh Abul Hasan Kharaqani was the master of Nasir Khusro the famous Iranian poet, Abu Ali Sina (Avicenna) the famous physician and Shaykh Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi . He was also visited by Shaykh Abu Said Abil Khayr and by Imam Abul Qasim Qushayri . All these learned figures were in awe of him. When I entered the province of Kharaqan, said Imam Qushayri , my eloquence was at its peak, but in front of the Shaykh my speech failed me, and I felt empty. This was because of the awe and majesty of Shaykh Abul Hasan , it was to such an extent that I felt my wilayah (sainthood) had been taken away from me! When I went to Shaykh Abul Hasan I was thinking that I was meeting a contemporary. When I entered the room and my eyes fell on his aura, his simplicity and humbleness, my whole body shook and trembled. I could not speak, and he said, Masha' Allah, Imam Qushayri We are honoured. And he spoke to me and asked me a question to which I replied, Whatever I am, it is due to the blessing of my Shaykh. To
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which the master looked me in the eye and asked, and what are you? At that precise mo ment I realised that I was absolutely nothing. He was the Master and I a mere novice. While all these masters were learned in the sciences, as well as enjoying high spiritual stations, Shaykh Abul Hasan had little education. Shaykh Abdullah Ansari said, Though he was unlettered, he was the Lord of the Time and Recourse for all creatures (sayyid wa ghawth). Mawlana Abdur Rahman Jami , four centuries later, followed Shaykh Abdullah Ansari by calling Shaykh Abul Hasan the qibla of the time.

The famous physician and philosopher Abu Ali Sina (Avicenna) came to visit and benefit from Shaykh Abul Hasan . When he arrived at the Shaykhs humble home, he enquired from the Shaykhs wife his whereabouts, she shouted, That good for nothing has gone out to collect firewood, anyway what do you want with that heretic? Abu Ali Sina was shocked and wondered, if Shaykh Abul Hasans wife could speak so ill of him, what sort of effect must this have on him. Abu Ali Sina headed out into the for est to look for Shaykh Abul Hasan . Soon he saw the Shaykh coming his way, riding a lion. Amazed, he asked, O Shaykh, how do you come to a state like this, where a Lion carries you? Shaykh Abul Hasan replied Well, I have had to bear the burden of a wolf like that woman, before a lion would carry one like this for me.

Visiting the Qutub

One murid requested, O Shaykh please give me permission to go to the mountains in Lebanon as I desire to do ziyarah of the Qutub of the time. The Shaykh gave him permission to leave. The murid later narrated this incident: When I reached my destination, I saw a group of people sitting at the Khanaqah facing the qibla whilst a janazah was waiting to be read. I asked the murids why nobody was leading the prayer, one of the elders replied that they were waiting for the Qutub of the world to come as only he leads all prayers. After this I could not contain myself and was delighted with the fact I was going to be seeing the Qutub very soon. A little while later the spiritual pole walked into the Khanaqah, I was so overwhelmed by his presence that I could not even lift my eyes from the ground. The Qutub led the janazah and Dhuhr prayer and left the Khanaqah. After the burial I asked one of the senior murids who the Qutub was, what was his name, the murid replied, Shaykh Abul Hasan Kharaqani and he would return for Asr prayer. I was devastated and ashamed that I had no idea of my masters maqaam. When my shaykh returned for the Asr prayer, again the spirituality was so overwhelming that I could not look up at his noble face and I went into a hal (state of ecstasy). A little while later, I left for Kharaqan Sharif and after a long and arduous journey back, I eventually arrived and met with my Shaykh. Who upon seeing me said, No permission to speak of what you have seen! I have asked Allah not to display my rank to anyone in this world or the next. The only one who knows my station is Sultan al- Arifin Shaykh Bayazid al Bistami .

In pursuit of qualifications

On one occasion a person sought permission to travel to Iraq so that he may learn Hadith sharif and become a muhaddith. Shaykh Abul Hasan asked, Is there no one here who is a great scholar of Hadith sharif you could learn from?
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The man, eager to leave, replied, Shaykh, there is no one here of that calibre. Shaykh Abul Hasan then said, I am a unlettered person, I cannot read and write, however through Allah Almightys grace whatever knowledge I have maybe you could benefit from that. The man, again without thinking much, asked, Yes but who is your Shaykh? As there must be a chain if you have studied Hadith sharif. Shaykh Abul Hasan replied, I am relating directly from Rasulullah (S). The man left the khanaqah doubting the words of the shaykh saying to himself, How can that be? It has been centuries after Rasulullah (S) passed into the Divine presence, so how can he be relating directly? That very night he had a dream in which Rasulullah (S) told him that what Shaykh Abul Hasan said was true. So the next day the man returned to the Khanaqah and narrated a Hadith sharif. After he had finished, Shaykh Abul Hasan said, That is not a tradition of Rasulullah (S). The confused man asked, How do you know this is not a Hadith sharif? You are not a scholar, you have never studied. Shaykh Abul Hasan replied, True, but when you started narrating the Hadith sharif, Rasulullah (S) was here and I could tell by the impression on his blessed face that he did not approve. Shaykh Abul Hasans connection of the heart was direct with Rasulullah (S) so that he could ask questions and obtain verifications immediately. Such was his spiritual station, yet humility was flowing from him like an endless ocean throughout his life.

The sultans visit

The sheer power and humility of Shaykh Abul Hasan not only took other Sufis breath away, it overwhelmed even the mightiest of kings. When Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna, the conqueror of Iran, Central Asia and India, was passing through the region in the course of a campaign, he pitched his camp near Shaykh Abul Hasans khanaqah and sent a servant to invite him over, with the message: The sultan has come all the way from Ghazna to see you. The least you can do is walk over from your khanaqah to his tent. The king also instructed the messenger, if the Shaykh refused to come, to recite the Quranic verse: And they obey God and they obey the Prophet and those amongst them who command (4:59) When he heard this, Shaykh Abul Hasan said, Tell Mahmud that Im so busy with obey God that I am remiss enough with obey the Prophet, let alone those who command. When the king heard this, he was so moved that he resolved to go himself and bade his favourite companion, Ayaz, to accompany him, exclaiming, You will dress as me, the king, and I as you, the servant. When they both came to the door of the khanaqah and gave their salaams, the Shaykh returned the greeting but did not get up. The Shaykh ignored Ayaz who was dressed as the King and looked at Sultan Mahmud simply gesturing him come in and dismiss the fake. He then told Sultan Mahmud to come forward and give him his hand. Sultan Mahmud asked if he would say something of Sultan al- Arifin Bayazid al Bistami ; so Shaykh Abul Hasan recounted how Sultan al-Arifin had told others that if they saw him, they would be saved from damnation. Sultan Mahmud immediately protested that
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Rasulullahs (S) Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab had seen him many times and were still damned, Shaykh Abul Hasan warned him, Watch your manners! O, Mahmud! He then explained that people like Abu Jahl saw Muhammad son Abdullah and not Muhammad Rasulullah (S), whilst citing the Quranic verse: And you [Muhammad] see them looking at you, but they do not see (7: 198) This lesson touched Sultan Mahmuds heart, who then asked for some sound counsel. You should observe four things, replied the Shaykh. Avoid what is harmful, pray in congregation, be generous, and be kind to all creatures. Sultan Mahmud put a purse of gold before Shaykh Abul Hasan , but he chose to ignore it, and instead offered a piece of dry barley bread, which he told him to eat. When he began chewing Sultan Mahmud could not swallow it. Noticing this, the Shaykh asked, Its stuck in your throat, is it? Yes! replied the sultan. You want this purse of gold to stick in my throat also? Take it back! I have divorced this kind of thing once and for all. However much Sultan Mahmud insisted, Shaykh Abul Hasan refused to accept anything he offered. Finally, he pleaded for the Shaykh to give him something personal belonging to remember him by. To this he agreed and handed the sultan his blessed Jubba. When Sultan Mahmud got up to leave, the Shaykh rose with him. Surprised, the king asked, How is it you hardly acknowledged me when I arrived, yet you rise now to see me off? The Shaykh replied, When you came, you were full of pride, out to test me. I did not rise to greet your majesty. Now that you leave in humility and poverty, I rise to salute you. In the course of his next campaign in India, Sultan Mahmud fell from his horse and nearly lost the decisive battle. He retreated to his private tent and took the blessed jubba given to him by Shaykh Abul Hasan and prayed on it and vowed to God that if he won, he would give whatever booty he gained to the poor. Just a little while later the tide of battle turned in his favour and he conquered the Hindu temple. Later that night he dreamt Shaykh Abul Hasan came to him and said, You did not show true honour to the jubba that I gave to you. Had you asked for all the people to accept Iman instead of victory over them it would have been granted! Sultan Mahmud later recounting this event said that he had learned great humility and generosity and made them a part of his kingly qualities after meeting Shaykh Abul Hasan .

The belt of Iman

When a wali was asked, what the signs of humility were, he replied, Humility is when a servant even when provoked, offended or rejected, will not show any anger, his duty is to meet all or whomever that his Lord sends him with acceptance and kindness. Total submission to His will. Once a Christian went to see Shaykh Abu Said Abil Khayr in Khurasan. He was pretending to be a dervish to test the Shaykh as he had heard and read the Hadith sharif, Fear the insight of the believer because he sees with the light of Allah. So he said to himself that if that is true then any Shaykh that I go to will know that I am a Christian. It was customary for Christians to wear a special belt under their robes as a sign of
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their faith. So with this intention he went with a group of people to the khanaqah of Shaykh Abu Said Abil Khayr . The murids took him to the Shaykh and said, O Shaykh, this is a new visitor who wants to take bayah. Shaykh Abu Said said, What do I want with an enemy of God? and ignored him. The Christian became convinced as now he considered Muslims not only wrong in their belief but also very ill mannered. However after a while the Shaykh ordered everyone in the khanaqah, including the Christian, to leave for Kharaqan to do ziyarah of Shaykh Abul Hasan . After travelling many weeks the group finally reached Kharaqan. They met Shaykh Abul Hasan , who was very happy to see the murids of Shaykh Abu Said Abil Khayr , and in particular the Christian. The Shaykh welcomed him and gave him a lot of time and tawajjuh, the Christian was even more convinced as he said to himself, The first Shaykh was rude and this one is giving me too much attention, he has no idea of my real identity. These people definitely do not have the light. A hamam was prepared for the visitors so that they could bathe after their long journey. Shaykh Abul Hasan , addressed them saying, You have been travelling long and must be tired, all of you go bathe and change into clean clothes, and leave your old clothes there as we will wash them. The Christian panicked upon hearing this as he knew very well if he undressed the onlookers would see his belt and he would be found out. Whilst in this worried state Shaykh Abul Hasan , called him and said, Son, come, follow me. and took him to his private chambers and said, You can change here. The Christian was still worried, but Shaykh Abul Hasan went onto say, Dont worry, your secret is safe with me, leave your clothes and your belt here and go bathe. I promise no one will know about you. The Christian was shocked but did as he was told. When he returned after the bath Shaykh Abul Hasan gave him new clothes and his belt. He fell at the Shaykh's feet and cried, Oh Shaykh, you truly are a man of God, please forgive me. I do not know what you have done to me but as soon as I took my belt off, I felt Allah Almighty lift the veil of kufr away from me and whilst bathing I felt my sins being washed. I do not want to put the belt of Kufr back on, I yearn for the truth, and I want the belt of iman. Shaykh Abul Hasan smiled as he recited the shahadah. He then asked the Shaykh, I went to Shaykh Abu Said with the intention of proving his religion wrong, and he treated me with such bad manners that I thought this cannot be the true way. If he really was a man of Allah and had the insight to the light he should have realised my intentions as you did. Yet you regard him so highly; please tell me why this is so. Shaykh Abul Hasan replied, Son, Shaykh Abu Said looked into your heart and saw that your hidayah was in my hand. He saw with the light of Allah that you are a part of my flock, and the keys to your treasure are with me. So he sent you to me with the rest of the group for you to feel at ease.


Shaykh Abul Hasan was a man of such spiritual attainment that when asked for some counsel he said, Prayer and fasting are fine, but rooting pride, envy and greed out of ones heart is finer. He also said, Harmlessness is a key quality as nothing is harsher in the world than that you should have animosity towards anyone.
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As long as a follower is aware of his or her actions, this counsel of the Shaykh should be kept in mind: Whatever you do with the Creator in mind is sincerity, while whatever you do with creation in mind is hypocrisy. Whilst in munajat with his Lord, Shaykh Abul Hasan said, My life has become a sin in my eyes. As long as I clung to the world, I remained excluded from its mystery, but once I declared, Allah! I never came back to any created thing. Many people made demands of him, whether seeking wonders or actual counsel. One said, I want to wear a Sufi cloak. The Shaykh replied, Answer me a few questions first, to show whether or not you have the right to wear the cloak. If a man puts on a womans clothes, will it make him a woman? The man replied, No, Shaykh. Shaykh Abul Hasan then went onto ask, And if a woman dresses like a man, will that ever make her a man? The man replied, No, Shaykh. The Shaykh then said, Then no amount of wearing a Sufis patched cloak will ever make a Sufi out of you. Once Shaykh Abul Hasan went into seclusion in the Khanaqah, fasting for seven days with forty of his murids. When the week had passed a man came to the door with a platter of roasted lamb saying, I have brought this lamb for the Sufis, please take. When Shaykh Abul Hasan heard this he said to his murids, If any of you claim you are Sufis then eat, I am afraid I cannot make such a claim. The murids were humbled by what their Shaykh had said and not one got up to eat.

Passing into the Divine presence

Hadrat Dawud at-Tai once went to Sayyiduna Imam Jafar Sadiq and said, O descendant of the Prophet! (S) please give me some nasiyyah (guidance) because my ego is making claims. Sayyiduna Imam Jafar Sadiq replied, O Dawud! how can I advise you when I am in a worst situation? Hadrat Dawud asked, How is that? Sayyiduna Imam Jafar Sadiq replied, I have a lot to account for because I am from the Ahle bayt. I am afraid as to how I will face Rasulullah (S) on the day of judgement. Hadrat Dawud at Tai were in a state of humiliation and cried, That is enough! My ego has calmed down. If you fear that day then who is Dawud Tai? What is to become of us?

On top of the hill behind the village of Kharaqan stands a humble mud brick structure housing the shrine of Shaykh Abul Hasan Kharaqani . Next to this is the newly rebuilt mosque containing the original mihrab dating back to the Shaykhs time with the following words inscribed into it:
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Said Ali the Master, God hallow his spirit: Five groups each have a qibla: The Kaba for the believers, the earthly Bayt al-muqaddas for the Prophets, the Bayt al-mamur for the Angles, the Divine throne for the supplicators, and God for the friends. When Shaykh Abul Hasan was about to leave this world, he sighed, If only my heart in agony could be taken out and shown to others, so that they might know that with such a God no idolatry can come about. Then on his deathbed, he gave instructions that his grave be dug thirty yards deep, so that it is lower than the grave of Sultan al-Arifin Shaykh Bayazid al Bistamis in Bistam Sharif. This powerful master humble in demeanour and outward circumstances and in simple farmers clothing passed into the Divine presence and was buried on the blessed day of Ashura, Tuesday 10th of Muharram 425 AH (6 December 1033 AD) at the age of 73.

Original Mihrab at the khanaqah


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