Refutation to Claims that the Naqshbandi Golden Chain Has Broken Links


As-Salaamu ‘alikum Shaykh,

InshAllah you are well.

Could you write a piece in refutation to the claims that the Naqshbandi Golden Chain has broken links? I ask this as this claim in spread in the salafi circles in the UK and it is causing a fitnah and misleading some mureeds.

The accusations made against the Naqshbandi Tariqah are as follows:

Shah Walilullah Muhaddith Dehalvi Naqshabndi (rh) wrote an Arabic work QAULUL JAMEEL in which he writes that the above chain is broken at THREE places:

5Jafar as-Sadiq, alayhi-s-salam (died 148 AH) < BROKEN > NEVER MET

6Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bistami, radiya-l-Lahu canh (Died 261 AH) < BROEKN > NEVER MET

7Abul Hassan Ali al-Kharqani, qaddasa-l-Lahu sirrah ( Died 425 AH)< BROKEN > NEVER MET

8Abu Ali al-Farmadi, qaddasa-l-Lahu sirrah ( Died 447 AH)


wa `alaykum salam,

Thank you for your question. I have read Shah Wali Allah’s book al-Qawl al-Jamil fi Bayan Sawa’ al-Sabil — a useful treatise on Tasawwuf and Tariqa, which is filled with explanations of the Naqshbandiyya (mostly) among other Tariqas — and it does not contain any such statement as what you have cited. You can download that book in full and check for yourself here.

In fact Shah Waliyullah in that book said that his father was ordered by his Shaykh to make the Naqshbandi dhikr from the age of 10; also that he said that “the advanced murid must investigate on the door of what Prophet he stands” in the sense of an Uwaysi connection to a particular Prophet. And after Wali Allah describes many of the devotional aadaab of the Naqshbandis, the types of dhikr, the Ten Principles, the Lata’if etc. he says, “This is what my father and master had chosen as his own practice.” Toward the end he says that his father also took bayaa and learnt dhikr from the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) directly, as well as from Prophet Zakariyya (upon him peace), and from Shah Naqshband, Shaykh Abd al-Qadir Jilani, and Khwaja Moinuddin Jishti (may Allah be pleased with all of them).

He also states in that treatise that Naqshbandi Awliya have an extraordinary tasarruf given to them by Allah over the hearts of people, and that they are astonishingly aware of the affiliation of Ahl Allah whether in the dunya life or in the graves, and of the thoughts that roam in the chests of human beings, and that they are given discretionary knowledge of future events and permission to repel afflictions among other karaamaat, and that even the ordinary shuyukh among them can use his nisba (affiliation) to guide the murid through their hearts depending on the readiness of the latter. He also mentioned a lot of medicinal spiritual recipes from his father and we have heard many of those same recipes before from our Shuyukh.

He also spoke of fana‘ and baqa‘ (extinction and enduring). Then he said that it is not “authentically transmitted” (i.e. hadith-wise) from the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) but rather that it is a free Divine gift given directly. He added that Shah Naqshband himself said “it is not the silsila that makes one arrive to Allah but rather a jadhba (pull) arrived to me and it brought me to Allah.”

I ask, does all of the above sound like he is attacking the integrity of the spiritual links in the Naqhsbandi-Siddiqi chain of transmission?

Nevertheless, regarding the issue of transmission itself, the answer in the words of Shaykh Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi in Miftah al-Ma`iyya is that “Anyone who, like those Imams, took the Path from spiritualities (ruhaaniyyaat) is called Uwaysi according to the convention of our Naqshbandi Masters, may Allah Sanctify their eminent souls.” So these are Uwaysi (i.e. by way of spiritual meeting) transmission links, which the Siddiqi chain sufficed itself in mentioning.

Historically we do know that there were additional physical masters between those links since their own biographers document them, just as there were additional masters even between the links who name contemporaries. For example, Shah Bahauddin did not only have Sayyid Amir Kulal as his historical teacher but several other historical teachers after him by his own instruction, and whom he followed for years and years; yet they are not mentioned in the chain. He also had several Uwaysi teachers, including Uways al-Qarani (RA) himself. Imam Sirhindi names among his teachers the spirituality of Sayyidina `Ali (may Allah be well-pleased with him).

The Naqshbandi masters described such links asĀ stronger and more important than physical links. See on this the introduction to Shaykh `Abd al-Majid al-Khani’s massive al-Kawakib al-Durriyya `ala al-Hada’iq al-Wardiyya. This never means that one can decide to dispense with one’s physical teacher or do without one.

Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn `Arabi has many a page devoted to that noble topic but they are a closed book to all but non-materialistic hearts. For ultimately the objection that a well-established Sufi chain is broken stems either from a lack of understanding of the world of ghayb described in Qur’an and Hadith (by those who assume there is no longer any benefit of the Friends of Allah who are in Barzakh and that the latter are not given any tasarruf by Allah Most High, which contradicts what is agreed upon among Ahl al-Haqq but typifies the understanding of Ahl al-Rusum) or from hasad and arrogance, which is the deadliest error and from which our refuge is Allah.

And Allah knows best.

Hajj Gibril Haddad

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