Shaykh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani
He was born in Larnaca, Cyprus, on 23rd of April 1922, which is Sunday, the 26th of Sha’ban, 1340 H. His lineage from his father’s side traces its roots to Sayiddina ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani, founder of the Qadiri Order. His lineage from his mother goes back to Sayiddina Jalaluddin Rumi, founder of the Mevlevi Order. He is Hassani-Hussaini, related to the Prophet Muhammad (s) through the lineages of his grandfathers to the Family of the Prophet (s). From his father he received the Qadiri Tariqat. From his mother’s grandmother he received the Mevlevi Tariqat.
From his childhood on Cyprus he was always going to listen to his grandfather, who was a shaykh of the Qadr fought with anyone nor argued with anyone. He was always smiling and patient.
In 1940 he began studying Chemical Engineering in theiri Tariqat, to learn its discipline and its spirituality. Extraordinary signs and events appeared in him from an early age. His conduct and manners were always perfect: he neve University of Istanbul, in the Bayazit District. At the same time he was progressing in his Shari’ah knowledge, in Arabic language through his shaykh, Shaykh Jamaluddin al-Alaasooni, who died in 1955. He received his degree in Chemical Engineering. He was considered a genius among his colleagues. His university professors encouraged him to go into research. His response was, “I have no feeling for modern science. My heart is always drawn to the spiritual science.”
In the year 1944, the young Shaykh Nazim moved to Tripoli by bus. The bus took him to the harbor and dropped him there. He was a stranger there, not knowing anyone. He was looking here and there until he saw someone coming from the opposite side of the street. That person was a shaykh, Shaykh Munir al-Malek, the mufti of Tripoli. At the same time he was the shaykh of all Sufi Orders in the city. He approached him and said, “are you Shaykh Nazim?” Shaykh Munir said, “I saw a dream with the Prophet (s) saying to me ‘One of my grandsons is coming to Tripoli.'” He showed me your appearance and told me to look for you in this area. He told me to take care of you.”
From Tripoli, he managed to get to Damascus, after some harrowing experiences in wartorn Syria. There he went directly in search of his shaykh, Abdullah ad-Daghestani.
Shaykh Abdullah ad-Daghestani
He says of that first encounter with his shaykh:
“As I approached to knock on the door, the shaykh opened the door. He said, ‘Welcome my son, Nazim Effendi.’ His unusual appearance immediately attracted me. I had never seen such a shaykh before. Light poured from his face and forehead. Warmth was coming from his heart and from the brilliant smile on his face. He took me upstairs, climbing up to his room telling me ‘we were waiting for you.'”
After taking initiation from Shaykh Abdullah ad-Daghestani, and receiving some of the training of the Order, Shaykh Nazim was immediately ordered to move back to his homeland of Cyprus. On the order of his shaykh, he immediately set out for the land he had left some five years back.
Shaykh Nazim began to spread the spiritual guidance and the Islamic teachings in Cyprus, where countless followers were coming to him and accepting the Naqshbandi Order. Unfortunately it was at a time when all religion was banned in Turkey, and as he was in the Turkish community of Cyprus, religion was entirely banned there as well. Even the calling the Adhan was banned.
His first action after reaching his hometown was to go to the mosque and call the adhan in Arabic. He was immediately jailed and stayed in jail for one week. As soon as he was released, he went to the big mosque of Nicosia and called the adhan from its minaret. This made the officials very angry and they filed a lawsuit against him. As he was awaiting the lawsuit, he used to go all over Nicosia and nearby villages calling the adhan from the minarets. Due to his doing that, many, many cases were raised against him. Finally there were 112 cases pending against him. Lawyers advised him to stop calling the adhan, but he said, “No I cannot. Spirituality must be spread.”
During his years in Cyprus, Shaykh Nazim was traveling all over Cyprus, Lebanon, Iskenderia, Cairo, Saudi Arabia and many other places to teach the tariqat. He moved back to Damascus in 1952, when he got married to one of the disciples of Grandshaykh, Hajji Amine Adil. From that time he was living in Damascus, and every year he used to visit Cyprus for three months: Rajab, Sha’ban and Ramadan. His family lived in Damascus with him and would travel with him to Cyprus when he went there. He had two daughters and two sons.
Shaykh Nazim used to go every year for pilgrimage as the Hajj leader for the convoy of Cypriot pilgrims. He made 27 pilgrimages in a all.
Leading Dhikrullah in London’s Peckham Mosque
In 1974, he began to visit all of Europe in a similar manner, travelling every year from Cyprus to London by plane and back overland, by car, and later by plane. He was and continues meeting all kinds of people from every land and speaking every language, from all different faiths and all different cultures, People were and continue to take shahada from him, to take Tariqat from him and to take spiritual secrets from him.
Recently in 1991, he made his first journey to America, where in his first trip he visited over 15 states. He met many people of different faiths, beliefs and religions: Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sufis, and other different beliefs: Sikhs, Bhuddists, Hindus, Bahais and New Age beliefs. This resulted in establishing over 15 centers of the Naqshbandi Order in North America. He made a second visit in 1993, and travelled to many cities and towns, visiting mosques, churches, synaguoges, and temples. Through him, over 10,000 people in North America have entered Islam and have taken initiation in the Naqshbandi Order.
Shaykh Nazim addresses the Grand Opening of the Haqqani Retreat and Convention Center in Michigan, USA.
He visited the U.S. again in 1993. There he dedicated the opening of the Haqqani Convention and Retreat Center in Fenton Michigan. This center is 200 acres of prime farmland, including a large guesthouse, mosque, dormitories, four lakes, and 200 acres of prime grazing and farmland. Situated near Detroit, it is in an excellent location central to the US and near the Canadian border. So far, several seminars and camps have been held there, in addition to the Sufi gathering in 1993, when over 1,000 followers of the shaykh, from across the country and abroad, attended the Grand Opening.
Shaykh Nazim and Shaykh Hisham with Prince Raja Ashman of Malaysia
In 1986, he began his trips to the Far East: Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. Where he visited every major city in these countries. He was welcomed in them by their sultans, presidents, MPs, government officials and of course the common people everywhere.
Shaykh Nazim’s mission to the West has resulted in the establishment of Sufi centers throughout Europe and North America. The main center is the Islamic Priory, in London, given as a gift to Shaykh Nazim by the wealthy ruler of one Islamic country, may God bless him.
Shaykh Nazim’s house has never been empty of visitors. At least one hundred visitors pass through his house each day. And he is usually found serving each and every one of them.
Shaykh Nazim’s first seclusion by the order of Shaykh ‘Abdullah Daghestani was in the year 1955, in Sueileh, Jordan. There he spent six months in seclusion and attracted thousands and thousands of disciples, so that Sueileh and it surrounding villages, Ramta and ‘Amman were full of the disciples of the shaykh. Scholars, officials and so many people were attracted to his light and his personality.
When he had only two children, one daughter and one son, he was called by our Grandhaykh Shaykh Abdullah ad-Daghestani, to meet him. He told him, “I have received an order from the Prophet (s) for you to make seclusion in the mosque of ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani in Baghdad. You go there and make seclusion for six months.”
After difficult circumstances of leaving his family and travelling to Baghdad, Shaykh Nazim arrived at the mosque of Sayiddina Abdul Qadir Jilani. Of his seclusion there he relates:
“I only emerged from my room for the five prayers. Other than that I spent my whole time in that room. I was able to reach such a state that I was reciting the whole Qur’an in nine hours. In addition to that I was reciting 124,000 times the dhikr ‘laa ilaha ill-Allah’ and 124,000 prayers on the Prophet (s) (salawat) and I was reading the entire Dalail al-Khayrat [book of devotions]. Added to that I was regularly reciting 313,000 ‘Allah Allah’ every day, in addition to all the prayers that were assigned to me. Vision after vision was appearing to me every day. They used to take me from one state to another and give me a state of complete Annihilation in the Divine Presence.”
Many times Shaykh Nazim was ordered to go into seclusion which varied in length from 40 days to one year. He did many seclusions in the city of the Prophet (s).
“No one ever had the privilege of making seclusion with his shaykh. I had the privilege of making a seclusion in the same room with my shaykh in Madinah al-Munawwara. It was in an ancient room near the Prophet’s Holy Mosque. It had one door and one window. As soon as I entered the room with my shaykh, he blocked the window by boarding it up. He gave me authorization to leave the room only for the five daily prayers in the Holy Mosque of the Prophet (s).
From His Sayings
One time he was speaking about the state of Unique Oneness (wahdaniyya):
“It means the impossibility of the existence of multiplicity, and it is of three categories:
1) The unique Oneness of the Essence. This means that His Essence is not compounded or combined from two or more parts, and there is nothing which resembles His Divine Essence.
2) The Unique Oneness of His Attributes. This means that God Exalted and Glorious, does not possess two kinds of Attributes which represent the same thing. For example, He does not have two Wills nor two Intentions. He is One in every attribute.
3) The Unique Oneness of His Actions. It means that He is the Creator by His Own Wish and His Own Will of everything that appears in this universe. All creations are either a substance or a description or an action. Thus all His Actions are created by Him for His servants.”
He said “if the love is true, then the lover must keep respect to the Beloved and ethics in manners with Him.”
He said, “God the Most High, has made His intimacy with His servants when they see His saints.”
He said, “The highest Certainty of Truth is when the shaykh glorifies the Divine Presence in your eye and diminufies everything other than God.”
“There are three big snakes that harm human beings:
1. to be fed up with the people around you;
2. to be accustomed to something you cannot leave
3. to be controlled by your ego”
He said, “To achieve in the worldly life is humiliation, and to achieve for the next life is honor. I am so amazed at those who prefer humiliation to honor.”
He said, “If God, Exalted and Glorious, revealed the Essence of His Divine Love, everyone on earth would die from that love.”
“We must always think on four matters: on God’s verses in the Holy Qur’an and his signs, which will cause love to evolve in us; on His Promise to reward us which will generate and bring forth in us yearning; on His warning to us of punishment which will generate in us shyness of God and will make that feeling to evolve within us.”
“God said, ‘Whoever will be patient with Us will reach Us.'”
“If fear of God is grounded in the heart, the tongue will never speak what is of no purpose.”
“Tasawwuf is the purity in progressing to God, the Exalted and Glorious’ Divine Presence, and its essence is to leave this materialistic life.”
“One time Junayd saw Iblis (satan) in a vision, and he was naked. He told him ‘O Accursed one, are you not shy of people to appear naked?’ He said, ‘O Junayd, why should I be shy of people that are not shy from themselves.'”
“When you meet a darwish, a faqir, a seeker in the way of God , begin with him with sincerity and loyalty and with lenience. Don’t begin with him with knowledge. Because knowledge might make him wild at the beginning, but leniency might bring him quickly to you.”
from Classical Islam and the Naqshbandi Sufi Tradition by Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani