Chain of transmission
Photographs by my daughter Rif’at Soofi.
Truth is handed over from person to person; it’s not taken from books. Every book studied with a true scholar, is a book passed down a ‘chain of transmission’ or he was given permission to study and teach it, since the scholars recognized his ability to read independently. The light of truth is passed down from heart to heart.
Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) says in the Holy Qur’aan (16:43)
Ask the people of zikr (who know reality in a world of illusion) when you don’t know
It’s an obligation to consult people of knowledge. Even the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him, his family and companions) was taught by Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) .You cannot take knowledge that has any import or weight in this world; whether medicine or engineering from books, you have to study under qualified teachers.
The ‘pledge of commitment’ (bay’ah) is given Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) with the strong resolve that this is the hand of my teacher who will spiritually prune me on this path. After one is initiated as a mureed (disciple), literally meaning ‘the intent’ the Murshid (spiritual guide) hands over a copy of the Shajrah (lineage of the Grand Masters) to the mureed. Hidaya or guidance from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) flows, according to the Sufi way, from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) to His beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him, his family and companions) and then through him to the chain (silsila) of spiritual luminaries.
All divine blessings come to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him, his family and companions) as mentioned in hadith:
اِنَّمَا أَنَا قَاسِمٌ وَ اﷲُ يُعْطِیْ.
All blessings are given to me and I distribute
Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has created the personality of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him, his family and companions) as the first transformer, and only personality capable of receiving directly from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and he distributes it to those who received knowledge from him and who had their personalities shaped by him. They are spiritually superior and in every way elevated being on an attained level of perfection. The next transformer after the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him, his family and companions) is Hazrath Abu Bakr; then Hazrath Umar; then Hazrath Uthman and then Hazrath Ali (may Allah be well pleased with them all). In our Shajrah we mention Hazrath Ali (may Allah be well pleased with him) because he was especially chosen to transmit this spiritual knowledge. We enter an order for the sake of spiritual knowledge and practice to acquire holiness to refine our thought, body, soul and entire being.
The wisdom behind reading the Shajrah for the mureed in a specific silsila, is that he remains in touch with this chain or channel which has been formed by Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) for him. When we read the shajrah we establish our connection with the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him, his family and companions) through that chain. This is a special channel to obtain special favors of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). As the angels are appointed functionaries to perform specific tasks the Auliaare functionaries to assist man on the spiritual quest. The recitation of the shajrah is to stay in touch with the link of the spiritual chain and the spiritual masters who make up the spiritual chain. The link is kept fresh and “rust free”; by virtue of the mureeds daily recitation of the Shajrah. By reciting the Shajrah, one repeatedly renews one’s pledge with the Masters of the Order; and this contact brings great results in this world and in the hereafter.
Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) says in Holy Qur’aan the 17th Sura, Bani Israel verse 71:
“One day we shall call together all human beings with their respective Imams/Leaders”.
The explanation of this verse is that each follower will be asked to be behind his leader/guide that he followed in this world. This verse is indicative of the fact that the mureedwill be called upon on the Day of Qiyaamah to be behind his Shaykh, and under the flag of the spiritual order that he belongs to.
It is of utmost importance that the mureed recites the Shajrah with understanding, sincerity and feeling. This will stir his soul; which is invaluable in the spiritual progress of the mureed. The attention of the Shuyukh (plural of “Shaykh“) is also drawn to the person and they respond spiritually, with great affinity – both in this life and after death.
Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) says in the Holy Qur’aan in the 52nd Sura, at-Tur (Mount Sinai) in verse 21:
And those who believe and whose families follow them in Faith,-
To them shall We join their families: Nor shall We deprive them (of the fruit) of aught of their works
The Shajrah expresses certain feelings with the specific intention of “Wasila” present; but at the same time, it should be kept in mind that everything invariably is from the blessing of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He).
The Shajrah is usually recited after Salaatul Fajr or after Salaatul Esha. The time for reading should be kept constant. The wazaaif prescribed by the Shaykh to a mureed should be consistently recited, for this serves as a “polish” for the heart.
The Hadith states:
Mercy of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) descends where the pious are remembered
If mercy descends where they are remembered how much more mercy must descend where they are resident.
Hazrath Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (May Allah be well pleased with him)
“When anyone talks or remembers the pious servants of Allah, Allah’s mercy descends upon them like gracious rain and refreshes the mind.”
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ
كَشَجَرةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِي السَّمَاء
‘A (spiritually) beneficial tree, whose root is firm and whose branches are in heaven’
[Holy Qur’aan, 14th Sura, Ibrahim, verse 24]
الہہی تابود خورشیدماہی چراغ چشتیہ راروشنا ئئ
بگر داب بلا افتاد کشتی مدد کن یا معین الدین چشتی
اللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَّمَدٍ كَمَا
تُحِبُّ وَ تَرْضَى بِاَنْ تُصَلِّ عَلَيْهِ
چشتيہ نظاميہ سليمانیہ حافظیہ حبیبیہ صوفیہ
The Shajrah of the
Chishtia, Nizaamia, Sulaimania, Hafizia, Habibia, Sufia