Researcher of Political Science & Classical Islam. Initiated by the Khwajagan i-Naqshband.
Narration of the Golden Chain
Keeping in line with the tradition of the venerable Muhaddith Khwaja Muhammad Parsa (d.1460) in his book Fasl al-Khitab, and Muhaddith Shah Wali Allah ad-Dahlawi (d.1762) in his hadith book al-Nawadir fi Ahadith Sayyid al-Awwal wal-Akhir p.209 on the 10th of March, 2013 Mawlana GrandShaykh Nazim Adil al-Haqqani qadasAllahu sirrahul ‘aziz narrated on SaltanatTV during his first sohbet on the merits of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib titled “Shah Mardan” at 27:14 the following Hadith i-Qudsi known as the narration of the golden chain حدیث سلسلة الذهب traced back to Allah Most Majestic through the following golden chain of narrators: “Narrated Muhammad [al-Mahdi] b. Hasan [al-Askari] the Concealed Imam of the Age: narrated to me al-Hasan [al-Askari] b. ‘Ali [al-Hadi] who narrated from his father [‘Ali al-Hadi]: who narrated from his grandfather [Muhammad al-Taqi] who narrated from the father of his grandfather [‘Ali al-Rida]: narrated to me ‘Ali b. Musa al-Rida who heard from his father Musa al-Kadhim who heard from his father Ja’far al-Sadiq b. Muhammad, who heard from his father Muhammad al-Baqir b. ‘Ali, who heard from his father ‘Ali b. al-Husayn Zayn al-‘Abidin al-Sajjad, who heard from his father al-Husayn the Master of the Martyrs, who heard from his father ‘Ali b. Abi Talib the Master of the Awliya, who said, “I was informed by the Master of the Prophets Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah peace and salutations be upon him, who said: “I was informed by Gabriel the Chief of the Angels, who said, “Allah Most High, Master of Masters, announced: “I Am I, I Am Allah, there is no god other than I, whoever accepts My Oneness enters My fortress, and whoever enters My fortress is saved from My punishment.” In another version of the same narration, the words are, “La ilaha illallah hisni fa man dakhala hisni amina min adhabi” meaning, La ilaha illallah is My fortress whoever enters My fortress shall be safe from My punishment.” [Hadith Silsilat adh-Dhahab: al-Nawadir fi Ahadith Sayyid al-Awwal wal-Akhir. Muhaddith Shah Wali Allah ad-Dahlawi, p. 209]
The Arabic text to the hadith of the golden chain along with its chain of narrators is as follows:
لما وفى ابوالحسن الرضا علیه السلام نیسابور واراد أن یخرج منها الى المأمون، اجتمع علیه اصحاب الحدیث فقالوا له: «یا ابن رسول الله ترحل عنا ولا تحدّثنا بحدیث فنستفیده منک؟» وکان قد قعد فى العماریة فاطلع رأسه وقال: «سمعت ابى موسى بن جعفر یقول سمعت ابى جعفربن محمد یقول سمعت ابى محمدبن على یقول سمعت ابى على بن الحسین یقول سمعت ابى الحسین بن على بن ابى طالب یقول سمعت ابى امیرالمؤمنین على بن ابى طالب یقول سمعت رسول الله صلى الله علیه وآله وسلم یقول سمعت جبرئیل یقول سمعت الله جل جلاله یقول: لااله الاالله حصنى فمن دخل حصنى امن من عذابى».
When Abu al-Hasan al-Rida arrived at Neyshabour and decided to leave the city to join Ma’mun, the hadith scholars gathered around him and said: “O son of Allah’s Apostleﷺ, are you leaving us without pronouncing a beneficial hadith for us?” He (‘Ali al-Rida) while sitting in palanquin let his out head and said: “I heard from my father Musa b. Ja’far who said he heard from his father Ja’far b. Muhammad who said he heard from his father Muhammad b. ‘Ali who said he heard from his father ‘Ali b. al-Husayn who said he heard from his father al-Husayn b.’ Ali who said he heard from his father, the commander of the faithful, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib who said he heard from Allah’s Apostle, peace be upon him and his household, who said he heard from Gabriel who said he heard that Allah Most Majestic said: “La ilaha illallah is My fortress whoever enters My fortress shall be safe from My punishment.”
This beautiful hadith was narrated in the presence of 20-30,000 hadith scholars and Sufis and is known as the golden chain. Given Dhikr of La ilaha illallah is the central practice of all Sufi tariqats, this golden chain is in fact the primary source of all Sufi orders, including the Naqshbandi Sufi Order.
In the Qudsiyya: Kalimat-i Baha al-Din Naqshband, the book of dicta by the Muslim spiritual master Khwaja Baha al-Din Shah Naqshband (1318-1389), his biographer the venerable Khwaja Muhammad Parsa (d. 1460) traced the spiritual genealogy of the Tariqat i-Khwajagan through three parallel lines known as the silsilat adh-dhahab (golden chain)-one leading through Abu Bakr Siddiq, another through ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, and a third through ‘Ali and his descendants, the biological progeny of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
The author of Rashahat ‘Ain al-Hayat: Histories of the Khwajagan Mawlana Hussein bin Ali Safi starts his book with discussion of a triad of chains carried by the Khwajagan i-Naqshband, one from the venerable Abu Bakr and two from the venerable Mawla ‘Ali. He writes, “Khwaja Ubaidu’llah Tashkandi received the stamp of the spiritual path [tariqa] called the Path of the Masters of Wisdom [Khwajagan], and the competence to teach remembrance [dhikr], from the venerable Ya’qub Charkhi. The latter received it from: Shah Naqshbandi, who received it from: Sayyid Amir Kulal, who received it from: Khwaja Muhammad Baba Sammasi, who received it from Khwaja ‘Ali Ramitani, who received it from: Mahmud Anjir Faghnawi, who received it from: Khwaja ‘Arif Riwgari, who received it from: ‘Abd al-Khaliq Ghujdawani, who received it from: Yusuf Hamadani, who received it from: Abu ‘Ali Farmadhi, who received it from: Abu’l-Qasim Jurjani…In the sphere of esoteric knowledge,the venerable Abu’l-Qasim’s line of connection is twofold. Both tracks lead to the Centre of Light, [the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)], one by way of the venerable ‘Ali [ibn Abi Talib], and the other by way of the venerable Abu Bakr. Abu’l-Qasim’s line of connection is traced as follows: To Abu’l Hasan Kharqani, who is linked (by spiritual affiliation) to: Abu Yazid Bistami, who is linked (by spiritual affiliation) to: the venerable Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq, who is linked to: the venerable Imam Muhammad Bakir, who is liked to: the venerable Imam Zain al-‘Abidin, who is linked to: the venerable Imam Hussain, who is linked to: the venerable ‘Ali [ibn Abi Talib]…As we have recorded above, the line of connection from Abu’l Qasim Jurjani is divided into two. The second is traced to the venerable ‘Ali by way of Abu ‘Uthman, ‘Abu ‘Ali, Junaid, Sari as-Saqati, Ma’ruf al-Karkhi and Hasan al-Basri.“(Rashahat ‘Ain al-Hayat [Beads of Dew from the Source of Life: Histories of the Khwajagan: The Masters of Wisdom]. Mawlana Hussein bin Ali Saifi. Translated by Muhtar Holland. Al-Baz Publishing. P.1-2)
From Mawlana Khalid al-Baghdadi
This chain was transmitted down from the venerable Khwaja Baha al-Din Shah Naqshband through thirteen established links of GrandShaykhs to the venerable Mawlana Khalid al-Baghdadi (1778-1826).
Regarding the historical importance of the venerable Mawlana Khalid al-Baghdadi to the Naqshbandi transmission of the latter generations, in Mercy Oceans Book Two: Teachings of Mevlana Shaykh Abdullah Ed Daghestani En-Naqshbandi the venerable Mawlana Shaykh Nazim stated, “Each Shaykh must appoint one Grand Deputy. Mevlana Khalid Baghdadi appointed Shaykh Ismail but so many Naqshbandi Orders lost him in their silsila and lost also the secret of our GrandShaykh. Now so many Naqshbandi Shaykhs in Damascus, Aleppo and Homs cannot find a successor. Except for our GrandShaykh, no one has pointed to a Deputy. This is because we have Shaykh Ismail in our Silsila”. [Mercy Oceans Book Two: Teachings of Mevlana Shaykh Abdullah Ed Daghestani En-Naqshbandi by Shaykh Nazim Al Qibrisi. 2nd Edtion by Spohr Publishers Limited, Larnaca, Cyprus. P.199]
Following up with the statement of our Shaykh the venerable Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, his son in-law Shaykh Hisham Kabbani briefly discussed the transmitted esoteric knowledge, Sirr, of Mawlana Khalid al-Baghdadi which went to Shaykh Ismail. In The Naqshbandi Sufi Way History and Guidebook of the Saints of the Golden Chain, Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani writes of the link of the venerable Mawlana Khalid al-Baghdadi and thereafter his grand successor Shaykh Ismail to the Twelve Imams. He states, “He (Mawlana Khalid al-Baghdadi) was the Center of the Circle of Qutbs in his time…He memorized the Books of the Ithna `Ashari (Twelve Imams), the source-books for the knowledge of the descendants of Sayyidina `Ali… “If Shaykh Khalid al-Baghdadi is not a believer, then who is a believer?” …(Mawlana Khalid al-Baghdadi said) “Whatever I have of secrets I have given to my deputy Isma`il ash-Shirwani. Whoever does not accept him is not from me…” ( The Naqshbandi Sufi Way History and Guidebook of the Saints of the Golden Chain, Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, KAZI Publications Inc., 1995)
According to Ulema
The Naqshbandi link to the biological progeny of the Prophet salutations be upon him was also recorded in the writings of the Ulema of India. In his Imdad ul-Fatawa Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi writes: “…in fact, all of the chains of Wiliyat connect to the Holy Prophet ﷺ through the mediumship of the Ahl al-Bayt. As such, a chain of the Naqshbandiyya is traced from Hazrat Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, and their second chain is traced through Hazrat ‘Ali radiAllahu ‘anhu, Hazrat Imam Husayn radiAllahu ‘anhu, Hazrat Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin radiAllahu ‘anhu, Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir radiAllahu ‘anhu, Hazrat Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq radiAllahu ‘anhu, Hazrat Imam Musa al-Kadhim radiAllahu ‘anhu, Hazrat Imam ‘Ali ibn Musa al-Rida radiAllahu ‘anhu…”[Imdad ul-Fatawa Vol. 6. ‘The Fatawa of Hakim ul-Ummat Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi: Complied by Hazrat Moulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi Saheb, Grand Mufti of Pakistan’. Published by Zakaria Book Depot. Deoband, Saharanpur, U.P., India]
Khwaja Baha al-Din Shah Naqshband’s Paternal Lineage
The original family tree of the venerable Khwaja Baha al-Din Shah Naqshband Bukhari is perserved in Russia today. Here is an original scan of a biological Shajara document from the office of the Naqib al-Ashraf of Samarqand of immediate biological relatives of the venerable Khwaja Baha al-Din Shah Naqshband Bukhari who share the following common biological ancestors with the venerable Khwaja Baha al-Din Shah Naqshband Bukhari: al-Sayyid Zayn al-‘Abidin, son of al-Sayyid Qasim, son of al-Sayyid Sha’ban, son of al-Sayyid Burhan-ud-Din, son of al- Sayyid Mahmud, son of al-Sayyid Bulaq, son of al-Sayyid Taqi Sufi Khalwati, son of al-Sayyid Fakhr-al-Din, son of al-Sayyid ‘Ali Akbar, son of al-Imam Hasan al-Askari.
In her book “Pain and Grace: A Study of Two Mystical Writers of Eighteenth-Century Muslim India” p. 32, Dr. Annemarie Schimmel writes: “Khwaja Mir Dard’s family, like many nobles, from Bukhara; led their pedigree back to Baha’uddin Naqshband, after whom the Naqshbandi order is named, and who was a descendant, in the 13th generation of the 11th…imam al-Hasan al-Askari.”
The venerable Khwaja Baha-al-Din Shah Naqshband’s (qad) lineage is described as follows: al-Sayyid Khwaja Baha al-Din Shah Naqshband Bukhari, son of al-Sayyid Muhammad Bukhari, son of al-Sayyid Jalal-ud-Din, son of al-Sayyid Burhan-ud-Din, son of al-Sayyid ‘Abd Allah, son of al-Sayyid Zayn al-‘Abidin, son of al-Sayyid Qasim, son of al-Sayyid Sha’ban, son of al-Sayyid Burhan-ud-Din, son of al- Sayyid Mahmud, son of al-Sayyid Bulaq, son of al-Sayyid Taqi Sufi Khalwati, son of al-Sayyid Fakhr-al-Din, son of al-Sayyid ‘Ali Akbar, son of al-Imam Hasan al-Askari, son of al-Imam Ali al-Hadi, son of al-Imam Muhammad al-Taqi, son of al-Imam Ali ar-Ridha, son of al-Imam Musa al-Kadhim, son of al-Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, son of al-Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, son of al-Imam ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin, son of al-Imam Husayn ibn ‘Ali, son of the Lion of Allah al-Imam ‘Ali, son of Hadrat Abi-Talib, son of Hadrat ‘Abd al-Muttalib, son of Hadrat Hashim, son of Hadrat ‘Abd al-Manaf, son of Qusai, son of Kilab, son of Marrah, son of Kaab, son of Lo’eh, son of Ghalib, son of Fahr, son of Malik, son of Nadr called Quraysh, son of Canaan. Banu Kinanah, or Canaanites were divided in four branches: An-Nadr, Abdumanat, Malakan, and Malak. Al Tabari wrote, “… the descendants of al-Nadr ibn Canaan were called Quraysh”.
Al Mahdi and Silsilat adh-Dhahab: The Naqshbandi Golden Chain and Al Mahdi
Throughout his life, the venerable Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Qubrusi stated on record not only his belief in the existence of a literal hidden Imam from the Ahl al-Bayt known as the ‘Saheb uz-Zaman Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi alahi salam’ for the spiritual elite but rather also said on record that the venerable GrandShaykh Mawlana ‘Abd Allah al-Faiz ad-Daghestani and he actually met, spoke and pledged allegiance with this Imam over 60 years ago. For example, on March 25th, 2011 Mawlana Shaykh Nazim said on SaltanatTV, “May Allah forgives us, and protect all our brothers, sisters and believers, mo’min people, to reach and to be with Saheb uz-Zaman, Imam ul-Asr, we hope. He is brining Sirr ush-Shariah. GrandShaykh was asking [Hadrat Mahdi], I was there, Oh Saheb uz-Zaman, which Madhab you are following? I am hearing, he (Hadrat Mahdi) said, “O Shaykh Abdullah, I am not in need to follow any Madhab, we are like Prophets…and whole Shia, Sunni, Salafi, Wahhabi, all of them must follow me.” Furthermore, he said, “Al Mahdi (alaihi salam) is coming. Al Mahdi (alaihi salam) is coming. Al Mahdi (alaihi salam) is in the land of Hejaz. He is there, his family knows him and besides his family, no one can recognize him. And we are asking to meet him, to kiss his feet and take bayat with him. Sixty years ago I took bayat with him, O Shaykh Hisham! Sixty years ago I gave him bayt, together with my Master Mawlana Sultan ul-Awliya Abdullah Al Daghastani…”(Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Qubrusi, April 6th, 2012. SaltanatTV)
Furthermore, this Mahdi has been present over the centuries for the spiritual elite according to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, who stated further, “Sahib uz-Zaman Imam al-Mahdi alaihi salam…And for every century, some people, they have been granted that authority to meet him, alaihi salam, alaihi salam…”(“Sayyidina Al Mahdi (as) and Sayyidina Al Hussain (as)”, 23:49-24:04, Feb 16th, 2011, Mawlana Shaykh al-Sayyid Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Haqqani, Saltanat.org)
Hence, as per careful analysis of multiple historical documents, the factual historical chain then of the Naqshbandiyya is as follows:
In his Maktubat, Imam Rabbani wrote in the 67th Letter, “The Twelve Imams are ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, Hasan, Husain, Zaynalabidin, Muhammad Baqir, Jafar-i- Sadiq, Musa Kazim, ‘Ali Rida, Muhammad Jawad Taqiy, ‘Ali Naqiy, Hasan Askari Zakiy and Muhammad Mahdi.” [Maktubat Rabbani, Vol. 2., 67th Letter]
In 1953 J.G. Bennett personally met GrandShaykh ‘Abd Allah ad-Daghestani in Syria. According to “Hacegan Hanedani”, by H. L. Shushud, Istanbul 1958, originally published in “Systematics”Volume 6, No. 4 March 1969 by J. G. Bennett, Sultan al-Arifin Bayazid al-Bistami (804-874, 77/78 CE) was initiated by Imam ‘Ali ibn Musa ibn Ja’far ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Husayn ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, known as al-Rida (765-818).
“The Darvishes: Or Oriental Spiritualism” By John Pair Brown, confirms on p. 141, that Bayazid al-Bistami lived until the year 874/877/878, placing him as an authorized deputy of Imam ‘Ali ibn Musa al-Rida during the life times of the succeeding Imams from the biological progeny of the Prophet Muhammad, namely Imam Muhammad al-Taqi (d.835 CE), Imam ‘Ali al-Hadi (d.868 CE), Imam Hasan al-Askari (846–874 CE), and Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (869-), whose birth was documented by Khwaja Muhammad Parsa in Fasl al-Khitab [Arabic]: Fadhail Khulafa wa Ahlul Bayt, on p. 592.
The book ‘Religion and Identity in South Asia and Beyond: Essays in Honor of Patrick Olivelle’ lists the accurate historical transmission of spiritual knowledge tracing back to Sultan al-Arifin Abu Yazid al-Bistami through Khwaja Abul Hasan ‘Ali al-Kharqani as the following on p. 292,
1.Abu Yazid al-Bistami (804-877/78)
2.Khwaja Muhammad al-Maghrabi (864-)
3.Khwaja al-’Arabi Abu Yazid al-‘Ishqi Iraqi (917-)
4.Khwaja Abul Mudhaffar at-Turk at-Tusi (938-)
5.Khwaja Abul Hasan ‘Ali ibn Ja’far ibn Salman al-Kharqani (963-1034)
Among other books, I believe it is in his Maqamat Mazhari that Shah Ghulam ‘Ali Mawlana ‘Abd Allah ad-Dahlawi (1743–1824), the teacher of Mawlana Khalid al-Baghdadi (1779–1827), documented Khwaja Sayyid Abul Qasim al-Jurgani (-1058) as the link connecting Khwaja Abu ‘Ali al-Farmadhi (1042/3-1085) to Khwaja Abul Hasan al-Kharqani (d. 1034).
What follows is the historically accurate transmission of the Golden Chain from Bayazid al-Bistami down to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim; who is by this account, the 39th GrandShaykh in the 40th generation of Naqshbandi GrandShaykhs. This chain was passed from each successive GrandShaykh to Mawlana GrandShaykh Nazim qadasAllahu sirrahul ‘Aziz by this account:
Bai’ah: Seeking Inner Knowledge
To learn about taking Bai’ah to gain illumination from the inner teachings of Islam as guarded and passed down from heart to heart by the Khwajagan i-Naqshband for over a period of nearly 1140 years down to Mawlana GrandShaykh Nazim, from whom it was passed back to Mawlana Amir al-Muminin Shah e-Mardan Imam ‘ Ali b. Abi Talib and Saheb uz-Zaman Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar ‘alaihi salam click here