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Naqshbandi Naqshbandiya Naqshbandiyya Naqshbandiyyah (an-Naqshbandiyyah) is one of the major tasawwuf spiritual orders (tariqa) of Islam. Originally called the Khwajagan, it is considered to be a "sober" order. The Naqshbandi order is nearly 1,400 years old, and is vibrant today.

Some interpret the name "NAQSHBANDI" translation as "the engravers (of the heart)", "related to the image-maker", "pattern maker", "image maker", "reformer of patterns", "way of the chain" and "golden chain."

The Naqshbandi tariqa takes its name from Khwaja Baha'uddin Naqshband Bukhari (r.a.) (d. 1389 C.E.), a very prominent Sufi Shaykh who continued the tradition of making the spiritual teachings and practices of Sufism more applicable to the changing times in which he lived. Khwaja Baha'uddin Naqshband was the student, and later the khalifa   (successor) of Amir Kulal. However, he also received instruction from the ruhaniya (or spiritual being) of Khwajah Abdul Khaliq Ghujdawani, who gave Baha'uddin Naqshband the practice of "SILENT ZIKR".

The Naqshbandi order stems from the Silsilah Khwajagan, which originally developed in Turkestan. The best known Shaykh of the Khwajagan was Khwajah 'Abdul al-Khaliq Ghujdawani of Bukhara (r.a) (d. 1179). He was responsible for coining certain terms with technical and spiritual meanings which are still in active use within the Naqshbandi tariqah to this day. He also made the teachings of the order accessible and relevant to the people of his era.

The Naqshbandi tariqah is notable in being the only Sufi tariqah which traces its lineage to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra), the first Caliph. All other sufi tariqahs trace their lineage through Ali ibn Abu-Talib (ra), who became the fourth Caliph of Islam. This lineage also indirectly connects to Ali (ra), the Prophet's cousin, son-in-law and the Fourth Caliph, via Jafar as-Sadiq (ra).

At the end of the sixteenth century, the Indian Shaykh Ahmad Farooqi Sirhindi (d.1624) of the Naqshbandi Order reaffirmed the importance of shari'ah in an effort to counteract the spread of un-Islamic practices among India's Muslim and Sufi circles. For this effort, he became known as Mujaddid Alf-i Sani : "Renewer of the Second Millennium."

Due to the significance of his reforms to the Naqshbandi teachings, his spiritual descendants became known as a new order, the Mujaddidi. Their teachings became popular throughout the Indian subcontinent, and spread eventually to the Caucasus, the Middle East, Asia Minor and beyond.
*** THE SUFI ORDERS - The Origin:

Islam, as a complete code of life or din, was perfected during the life of the Holy Prophet MUHAMMAD salla’Allahu alaihi wa sallam. He was the sole teacher and his mosque was the core institution of the community. Although Islam in its entirety was practiced during that blessed era, the classification and compilation of its teaching into distinct branches of knowledge, like ‘Tafsir’ (interpretation or exegesis of the Quran), Hadith (traditions or sayings of the Holy Prophet salla’Allahu alaihi wa sallam, Fiqh (Islamic law), and Tasawwuf (the inward aspect), were undertaken later. This din of Allah passed from the Holy Prophet salla’Allahu alaihi wa sallam to his Companions in two ways the outward and the inward. The former comprised the teachings of Islam enunciated by speech and conduct, i.e., the Quran and Sunnah. The latter comprised the invisible blessings or the Prophetic lights transmitting so purified their hearts as to instill in them a great love of his teachings and an ardent desire to follow them with utmost sincerity and devotion. Tasawwuf is the effort to acquire this Baraka.

The Companions handed down his teachings and blessings to the Tab’ain. Their strong hearts were capable of infusing these blessings into the hearts of their followers. Both these aspects of Islam were similarly passed on by the Tab’ain to the Tab’a Tab’ain, the former in writing and the latter from heart to heart. The compilation of the teachings (the outward aspect) and their interpretation led to the creation of many schools of religious thought of which four have survived, namely, the Hanafi, the Hanbali, the Maliki, and the Shaf’i, named after their founders. Similarly, in order to acquire, preserve and distribute his Baraka (the inward aspect), an organized effort was initiated by four schools of Tasawwuf: The Naqshbandiah, the Qadriah, the Chishtiah, and Suharwardiah. These schools were also named after their organizers and came to be known as Sufi Orders. All these orders aimed at purifying the hearts of sincere Muslims with Prophetic lights, hut they adopted somewhat different means to accomplish this goal.

Khawaja Naqshband (d-1389 A.C) organized the Naqshbandiah Order of Bukhara [now in Central Asia (Turkestan) , Republic of Uzbekistan]. This Order has two main branches – the Mujaddidiah and the Owaisiah. The former is identified with Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi, Mujaddad Alif Sani (literally reviver of the first Muslim millenium), who was successor of Khawaja Baqi Bilah, who introduced the Order to the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent. The method of zikr employed by the Naqshbandiah is "Zikr-al-Khafi-Qalbi" (contemplation of Allah’s name within the heart) and is termed "Pas an Fas", which in Persian means guarding every breath. The Owaisiah Order employs a similar method of zikr but acquires the Prophetic blessings in the manner of Khawaja Owais Qarni, who received this beneficence from the Holy Prophet salla’Allahu alaihi wa sallam without a formal physical meeting.

The Chain of Transmission of this Baraka, of course, must emanate from the Holy Prophet salla’Allahu alaihi wa sallam. It is prerequisite in all Sufi Orders, except the Naqshbandiah-Owaisiah, that the Shaikh and the seekers must be contemporaries and must physically meet each other for the transfer of this Baraka.

*** The Object of Sufi Orders:

The Quran has linked success with Tazkiyah (purification). "He is successful who grows" (al A’ al 87: 14)

The Sufi orders in Islam are basically the training workshops where the fundamentals of soul purification (Tazkyah) and their practical application are taught. The Sufi orders have graded programs in which initially every new seeker is educated in Zikr-al-Lisani (zikr with the tongue) and is finally taught the Zikr –al-Qalbi is practiced form the very beginning.

Adherence to the Sunnah is greatly emphasized because through its blessings the seeker achievers better and quicker progress.

*** ZIKR (The Rememberance of ALLAH):

"And invoke the name of thy Lord and leave every concern and remain attentive to Him."
(Surah 73, Ayah 8)

*** In Sufism, a Sheikh should:

Follow the Prophet Muhammed sallallahu alaihi wasallam.

Follow the sharia and act from the Sunnah.

He has a silsila (lineage) and a licence to teach the path.

He speaks what's in your heart. He answers questions that you have not spoken aloud.

When you are in his presence, you forget your troubles. He takes your load. You feel your troubles lifted.

He praises Allah and not himself.

He points to Allah and not himself.

Practices what he preaches.

*** Sufism & The Spiritual System:

The spirit or Ruh of every person originates what is known as Alam at Amar or Realm of Command and is a created reflection of the Divine Attributes, Its food is the Light of Allah or the Divine Refulgence which it acquires form the Realm of Command through the Holy Prophet MUHAMMAD salla’Allahu alaihi wa sallam, whose position in the spiritual world is like the sun in the solar system. The Quran refers to him as a bright lamp. Indeed, he is a divinely selected channel of all blessings or Baraka, and all Exalted Messengers themselves receive this Baraka form him.


Like the vital organs of the physical body, the human spirit also possesses the equivalent of vital organs, called lataaif (sing: lattefa, or subtlety). The research scholars of various Sufi orders have associated them with specific areas of the human body. The Naqshbandi Order identifies these la-taaif in ascending order of power, as follows.

First – Qalb: This spiritual faculty is associated with the physical heart. To strengthen it is to increase ones general or basic capability for contemplation or zikr.

Second – Rooh: The site of the Ruh, which is a distinct facility of the human Ruh or spirit, is on the right hand side of the chest at the level of the heart. its primary function is total concentration on Allah.

Third – Sirr: This is above the Qalb and functions to make possible kashf or physical visions associated with spiritual insights.

Forth – Khafi: This located above the Ruh, and functions to perceive the presence of Allah wherever one is.

Fifth – Akhfa: This is located at the centre of the first four lataaif and makes it possible for the human spirit to perceive the closeness of Allah’s presence, which the Quran informs us is closer than faculties of both body and sprit.

Sixth – Nafs al Natiqa: This is located at the forehead and functions to influence the human soul, towards higher states leading to perfection.

Seventh – Sultan-al-Azkar: This serves to absorb the Baraka of Allah into the entire body to that one’s zikr of Allah will emanate from every cell in a single and continual act of worship.

There are five Exalted Messengers among the many known and unknown Messengers of Allah. These are Hadhart Muhammad, Hadhrat Ibrahim, Hadhrat Musa (Moses), Hadhrat Nuh (Noah), and Hadhrat Esa (Jesus), peace be upon them all, A sixth, Hadhrat Adam, is the first Prophet of ALLAH and the father of mankind. Each is associated with a particular lateefa. Thus the Baraka and lights from Hadhrat Adam, peace be upon him, descend on lateefa known as Qalb. Observed through kashf, its lights are golden, reflected from the first heaven. Those with kashf observe Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, during the decent of this Baraka from Allah. The second lateefa is connected with Hadhrat Nuh and Hadhrat Ibrahim, peace be upon them. Its lights descend from the second heaven and appear to be golden red. The lights descending upon the third lateefa are from Hadhrat Musa, peace be upon him, and are white. One the fourth lateefa the lights of Hadhrat Esa, peace be upon him, descend from the fourth heaven and are deep blue, the fifth lateefa receives its baraka directly from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The lights associated with this special Baraka are green, descend from the fifth heaven, and overwhelm all the first whose color and states cannot be determined. It is like a flash of light that defies comprehension. If ALLAH blesses one with intrinsic vision or observation, (kashf) all of this can be seen. In the beginning it is slightly diffused, but as the vision develops its clarity increases.


1. Latifa Qalb

2. Latifa Ruh

3. Latifa Sirr

4. Latifa Khafi

5. Latifa Akhfa

6. Latifa Nafs al Natiqa

7. Latifa Qaalbia

8. Nafi Asbaat – Habs Nafs

9. Nafi Asbaat – Tahleel Lisaani

10. Muraqba Ahadeeth

11. Muraqbaat Mashaarab (first)

12. Muraqbaat Mashaarab (second)

13. Muraqbaat Mashaarab (third)

14. Muraqbaat Mashaarab (fourth)

15. Muraqbaat Mashaarab (fifth)

16. Wilaayat Sughra muraqaba ma'eyat

17. Wilaayat Kubra niyyat dyra ula

18. Wilaayat Kubra niyyat doosra dyra

19. Wilaayat Kubra niyyat teesra dyra

20. Wilaayat Kubra niyyat qaws

21. Muraqaba Ismul zahir

22. Muraqaba Ismi batin

23. Kamalaati Nabuwwat

24. Kamalaati Risaalat

25. Kamalati aulul azam

26. Haqiqat ka'abah rabaani

27. Haqiqat ul-Qur'aan Majeed

28. Haqiqat as-Salaah

29. Ma'ubudiat murkha

30. Haqiqat Ibraheemi (alayhi salaam)

31. Haqiqat Musawi (alayhi salaam)

32. Haqiqat Muhammadi (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam)

33. Haqiqat Ahmadi (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam)

34. Hubbe sarf

35. Dyra lata'een

Drawing from Qur'anic verses, virtually all Sufis distinguish Lataif-e-Sitta ("the six subtleties"): Nafs, Qalb, Sirr, Ruh, Khafi, and Akhfa. These lataif (singular: latifa) designate various psychospiritual "organs" or, sometimes, faculties of sensory and suprasensory perception. They are thought to be parts of the self in a similar manner to the way glands and organs are part of the body.


In general, sufi development involves the awakening in a certain order these spiritual centers of perception that lie dormant in every person. Each center is associated with a particular color and general area of the body, as well as with a particular Prophet, and varies from Order to Order. The help of a guide is considered necessary to help activate these centers. The activation of all these "centers" is part of the inner methodology of the Sufi way or "Work". After undergoing this process, the dervish is said to reach a certain type of "completion" or becomes a Complete Man.

These six "organs" or faculties, and the purificative activities applied to them, contain the basic orthodox Sufi philosophy. The purification of elementary passionate nature (Tazkiyat-an-Nafs), followed by cleansing of the spiritual heart so that it may acquire a mirror-like purity of reflection (Tazkiyat-al-Qalb) and become the receptacle of Allah's love (Ishq), illumination of the spirit (Tajjali-ar-Ruh), fortified by emptying of egoic drives (Taqliyyat-as-Sirr) and remembrance of Allah's attributes (Dhikr), and completion of journey with purification of the last two faculties, Khafi and Akhfa.

1. Latifa: Qalb

According to Naqshbandi order this latifa is located in the left of Chest and is golden. In it man witnesses his deeds.

The word Qalb, stands for heart. In Sufi terminology, this spiritual heart (not to be confused with the blood pumping organ) is again variously described. For some, it is the seat of beatific vision. Others consider it the gate of Ishq or Divine love.

Yet, for the majority, it is the battleground of two warring armies: those of Nafs and Ruh or spirit. Qalb and Nafs form the "Rooh-e-haivani" (Animal Soul). This part of the soul has the record of every activity of life.

In short, cleansing of the Qalb or heart is a necessary spiritual discipline for travellers on the Sufi path. The term for this process is Tazkiah-e-Qalb and the aim is the erasure of everything that stands in the way of purifying Allah's love or Ishq.

2. Latifa: Rooh

This latifa is located in the right side of the chest and is red. After its activation the human gets acquainted with Alam-e-Aaraf (the place where man resides after death).

Ruh or spirit is the second contender in the battle for human life. Ruh is a soul-spark, immortal entity and transegoic "true self", that needs to be worked upon by constant vigil and prayer in order to achieve the Tajliyya-I-Ruh, or Illumination of the spirit.

Ironically, this spiritual faculty is frequently referred to in terms one encounters in connection with Nafs- "blind" life force or life current that needs to be purified by strict religious observances in order to achieve illumination.

3. Latifa: Sirr

Sirr is located near right side of latifa Qalb and is associated with the color white. It records the orders of Allah for the individual in similitude to that which is originally present in Loh-e-mehfooz (Preserved Scripturum).

After its activation, human being gets acquainted with Aalam-e-Misal (The Allegorical realm - Reflection of knowledge of the preserved Scripturum.) This center is associated with consciousness.

Sirr, literally means "the secret". Emptying of the Sirr (Taqliyya-I-Sirr) is basically focusing on Allah's names and attributes in perpetual remembrance or Dhikr, hence diverting one's attention from the mundane aspects of human life and fixing it on the spiritual realm. The "emptying" signifies negation and obliteration of ego-centred human propensities.

Sirr and Rooh form "Rooh-e-Insani (Human soul) or Ayan. This part of the soul is inscribed with commands characterizing the life. It is also termed as Ayan. When a human being gets acquainted with it, he can witness the record and scheme of "all that exists", written on loh-e-mahfooz.

4. Latifa: Khafi

According to some, it is located near left side of latifa Rooh and its color is black. It's the equivalent of Kitab-e-Marqoom (the written book).

The term Khafi means mysterious, arcane or Latent Subtlety. It represents intuition.

5. Latifa: Akhfa

The term Akhfa or ikhfa means most arcane, deeply mysterious, or obscure, subtlety. Its location is in the center of the chest. The color of this center is green. It's the Nuqta-e-wahida (point of unity) in every human where the Tajalliat (beatific visions) of Allah are directly revealed. It contains information about the hidden knowledge of the universe.

By entering into this point, the human being enters the system of the universe and laws governing the universe and he understands the meaning of "for you, We (Allah) have revealed whatever is in the earth and the heavens ". This center is associated with deep perception.

The last center or subtlety is "accessible only to those who have developed the others, and belongs to the real sage."

Akhfa and Khafi form "Rooh-e-azam" (the great soul), also called sabita. It is a bright ring of light in which all the information pertaining to the unseen and seen cosmos is inscribed.

The person who attains communion with these two subtleties can observe these visions. These two subtleties of akhfa and khafi are found in every human being irrespective of who he is, what he is, or his station in life.

6. Latifa: Nafs

This latifa is located between the eyebrows and is blue in color. In other spiritual orders it is located slightly below the navel, and is yellow.

The word Nafs is usually translated as self or psyche. The term "Nafs" comprises the entirety of psychological processes, encompassing whole mental, emotional and volitional life. The majority of Quranic-based Sufis are of the opinion that Nafs is a "lower", egotistical and passionate human nature which, along with Tab (literally, physical nature), comprises vegetative and animal aspects of human life. Ego may be assumed as an equivalent for Nafs in modern psychology.

The central aim of the Sufi path is transformation of Nafs (technical term is "Tazkiya-e-Nafs") from its deplorable state of ego-centredness through various psycho-spiritual stages to the purity and submission to the will of Allah.

Although the majority of the Sufi orders have adopted convenient 7 maqams (maqams are permanent stages on the voyage towards spiritual transformation), and some still operate with 3 stages, the picture is clear: the Sufi's journey begins with:

* Nafs-e-Ammara (commanding soul)

* Nafs-e-lawwama (self-accusing soul)

* and ends in Nafs-e-Mutma'inna (satisfied soul)

Although some Sufis's final stage is, in their technical vocabulary, Nafs-e-Safiya wa Kamila (soul restful and perfected in Allah's presence).
Lataif-e-sitta   -   The six lataif
از سر بالین من برخیز ای نادان طبیب
دردمند عشق را دارو به جز دیدار نیست
Leave from my bedside, you ignorant physician!
The only cure for the patient of love is the sight of his Beloved.
“The martyrs of the dagger of tasleem (surrender to Allah's will)
        Each moment get a new life form the Unseen World.”
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