Islamic Widget

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why is Zikr Necessary for Everyone

Allah ordains every soul in the Quran to Perform Zikr.  This not only means reciting the Quran and Tasbeeh but also Zikr-e Qalb.  It is only through Zikr-e Qalbi that Prophetic Lights reach the depths of human soul and purify it from all vice and evil.  Zikr infuses a realization of constant Divine Presence and a seeker feels great improvement in the level of sincerity and love towards Allah and the holy Prophet-saws. Such levels of sincerity, love and feelings of Divine Presence can never be obtained without Zikr.

It would be a mistake to believe that Zikr may be a requirement only for the very pious and virtuous people.  Zikr provides the Prophetic blessings which are in effect the life line of every human soul.  It transforms even the most corrupted humans into virtuous souls by bringing out the best in them.

The fact is that Zikr is the only way to achieve true contentment and satisfaction in life.  The holy Quran has pointed to this eternal fact that it is only through Zikr Allah that hearts can find satisfaction.  Such satisfaction and peace are the ultimate requirements of every person, regardless of religion, race and ethnicity.  Practicing Zikr regularly removes all traces of anxiety and restlessness, and guides the human soul to eternal bliss and peace.

The Method of Zikr( in Detail )

Translated Speech of
His Eminence Ameer Muhammad Akram Awan
Shaikh Silsilah Naqshbandiah Owaisiah

According to the Quran, all of entire creation bears witness to Allah's Magnificence. Each element and every particle of this universe is a masterpiece of creation and a mar­vellous manifestation of Allah's Greatness. His Glory expresses itself generously and overtly in the multifarious nature of creation. The earth and the heavens, along with their peculiar characteristics, and the creation they sustain, under regular systems and patterns set since the Beginning, contain innumerable signs pointing towards Allah's Greatness. Why then, despite this explicit expression, does the majority of mankind fail to envision His Greatness, feels no attraction towards Him, as well as disregards His authority?

Allah has answered this question Himself, in that it requires a certain level of vision and wisdom to see, understand and correctly interpret these signs; this vision, perception and wisdom is produced by Allah's Zikr. The brain is a material creation, so therefore it can only perceive and address something tangible. It can discover the properties of vari­ous objects and blend them to make something new, i.e., mixing colours to create a rainbow, mixing  different ingredients, even in a specific ratio, to prepare delicious foods. It can arrange bricks and mortar to make beautiful homes, or assemble various parts and invent machines. The brain can discover the needs and realise the comforts of its own body, as well as suggest the means to do so. It can also diagnose diseases of its body and even of itself and recommend their cures. In short, it can address everything that is associated with matter. But it cannot perceive anything beyond the Realm of Creation like the Divine Being, Divine Attributes, or other sublime realities. If the intellect could perceive them, it would be possible for every human being to realise Divine Greatness and there would be no further reason or requirement to depute Prophets.

A human being can attain to any level of material progress and excellence but he can never comprehend the sublime truths of the Transcendent World, such as the Hereafter, Angels, Reward or Retribution. Nor can he answer the most basic questions embedded in his subconscious about his own origin and destination. Where do billions of these people come from and wither do they perish after death? The human intellect simply has no answer! These fundamental issues were discussed only by Prophets who provided their logical and satisfactory answers, easily understood and accepted by the human intellect. Religion most naturally and effectively satiates the whole range of intellectual scrutiny; therefore, Islam is the most natural and logical of religions. But by itself the human intellect cannot discern religion's sublime wisdom and reason without Prophetic bless­ings, which unveil Transcendental truths to be perceived and accepted by the intellect. Only Prophetic lights can establish the human-Lord relationship through His constant Zikr.

It is not possible to fully comprehend the blessings and beneficence of the holy Prophet‑saw. A glimpse of his greatness is reflected in the fact that his company instantly infused Allah's Zikr in each cell of a believer's body. Every drop of blood, every limb and the entire skin of a believer’s body was charged with Allah's Zikr. The Quran describes the condition of his-saw Companions, “So that their flesh and their hearts soften at Allah's remembrance,” - 39:23. It means that each cell of their bodies, from their outermost skins to the core of their hearts, started remembering Allah. Indeed, it is Allah's Zikr that bestows the vision to observe His greatness in every creation. Just by looking at a prod­uct you can appreciate the wisdom and ingenuity of the designers of cars, watches, houses and other machines; similarly, the lights and blessings of Allah's constant Zikr enlighten the human heart to observe Divine Glory in each straw and particle, the changing of the seasons, the movement of celestial bodies, the rise and fall of nations and all of the events of the world portray different shades of Divine Greatness before mankind. To observe the Creator in creation, however, one should be necessarily blessed with Prophetic beneficence gained through Allah's constant Zikr.

According to the Quran, the miraculous properties of the earth, the sky shading-over without support, the innumerable species of creatures residing within, the alternation of day and night and the unfailing, vast, miraculous universal system, all point towards the greatness of their Creator; but only for the one blessed with wisdom, “Those who constantly remember Allah, standing, sitting or reclining.” A human being will always be in one of these postures. This Divine verse implies that they are always engaged in Allah's Zikr under all conditions, at all times. Religious scholars have thus concluded that the alluded to verse doesn't refer to oral Zikr because the tongue cannot do Allah's Zikr all of the time; it has to translate many other human requirements, besides doing Zikr. Even if somebody doesn't speak a word except Allah's Zikr, his tongue will certainly remain quiet during his sleep. The only organ that can permanently perform Allah’s Zikr is the human heart and only Zikr-e Qalbi (Zikr by the heart) can fulfil the condition of constant Zikr. Once the heart learns Allah's Zikr, it never stops at any time, under any circumstances. During the time of the holy Prophet-saw, a moment of his company was enough to acquire this blessing. His Companions similarly blessed the Taba’in and they in turn passed these blessings to the Tab’a Taba’in. The mere company of these exalted souls was sufficient to transfer this blessing or Barakah to their visitors. No further effort was required to achieve this excellence. However, after this glorious era, the strength of the teacher and absorption of the seeker both decreased. It therefore became necessary, as determined by the Mashaikh (spiritual teachers) that the teacher and the student must sit together. The teacher should perform Zikr on his Lataif and focus the Divine lights attending him, towards the seeker. This process is known as Tawajjuh (spiritual atten­tion). The holy Prophet-saw didn't require giving special, conscious attention to any one. The sun doesn't have to make any effort to deliver its light, a person has only to come out to receive it. Similarly, the holy Prophet-saw didn't have to make any particular effort to give spiritual attention, the seeker had only to come to him to receive Prophetic Barakah. This spiritual power was retained by the Companions, the Taba’in and the Tab'a Taba’in, whereupon ended the period of automatic transfer of these blessings. Now a seeker had to strive hard to acquire them. The teacher and the seeker both engaged themselves in Zikr, the former gave spiritual attention and the latter tried to absorb the Barakah in his heart.

The Mashaikh adopted different methods of Zikr. The method adopted by our Order is called ‘Pas Anfas’ or ‘The Guarded Breath’. Each ingress should carry the word 'Allah' to the core of heart and every egress should bring the word 'Hu' out to strike the heart or the desired Latifah. That would create a rhythm of Allah Hu in every breath. You should however, not try to make these words with the sound of your breath, because the Zikr is not done with the breath. Do take a careful note that we do breathe vigorously, but only perform Zikr with the heart. Zikr is always done with the heart and never with the breath - breathing is one of the means. Now you may ask, ‘If we do Zikr with the heart, then why do we breathe vigorously?’ The reason is simple, the absorption of Divine lights in the blood is directly related to the body’s temperature - cold bodies do not absorb these lights. Someone can give spiritual attention to a dead person and illuminate each cell of his body, but as soon as their attention is withdrawn, all of the lights would be instantly gone - because the body has lost its heat. Similarly is the case of a living person, the heat already present in the body is not sufficient to accept and absorb these lights. If you breathe normally during Zikr, you would require considerable time, probably years, to absorb the lights and illuminate your Lataif. That too, if you engage in constant Zikr and your teacher possesses adequate spiritual power. “The fountain must contain sufficient water to saturate the flowerbed.

The Owaisiah Order has the closest and most direct connection with the holy Prophet‑saw and enables the seeker to access and absorb unlimited Barakah. Therefore the Mashaikh (spiritual teachers) of this Order have prescribed that the seeker should breathe rapidly and vigorously to generate sufficient heat in the blood to illuminate, not one but all of the Lataif in a single Zikr session. It is not possible to hear Allah Hu in the sound of the breath. We breathe freely and spiritually perceive that each breath is carrying the word Allah inside and bringing the word Hu out. The vigorous breathing, coupled with body movement and mental concentration, generates ideal conditions for the heart's Zikr. Unless these three factors combine rhythmically, one doesn't fully benefit from Zikr. The absurd criticism of ignorant people about our method of Zikr does not merit any consid­eration because such critics do not possess the basic knowledge and comprehension. It requires a thorough knowledge of a subject to fully comprehend its details and to gener­ate meaningful criticism.

I am addressing those who are blessed by Allah's grace and emphasise that Zikr is not done with the breath but by the heart. The breath is drawn in vigorously to generate heat in the blood and complete attention is to be focused on Zikr - that is important. Otherwise you would be physically engaged in Zikr but mentally wandering elsewhere. The rhythm of body movement and along with mental concentration both combine with the heat gen­erated by vigorous breathing to absorb the Barakah of the Shaikh in each cell of the body. For that reason, all distracting acts are prohibited during Zikr. If someone loses concentration or starts coughing or speaking or reciting Quranic verses or poetry during Zikr, the flow of Divine lights is immediately interrupted, therefore, it is extremely important to perform Zikr attentively and silently. One’s entire attention should be focused on the breath taking the word Allah inside and bringing the word Hu out.

I was amazed to hear someone explain the method as, "Raise the word Allah from your heart up to the heavens and strike Hu down on your heart" - this is absolutely wrong! Our Zikr method is very simple, every ingress takes the word Allah inside and every egress brings out Hu to strike the Latifah under Zikr, while vigorous and fast breathing gener­ates heat in the body. At times, one feels disturbed by the heat and coughs or speaks to lessen its effect, while such acts and distractions no doubt reduce the heat, they also decrease the absorption of Divine lights. Heat is necessary to weld pieces of metals like iron and gold or melt them for fusion. Similarly, a certain degree of body heat is required to absorb Allah's lights that actually belong to the Ruh (the Spirit), the body serves only as its abode. Unless the body absorbs these lights, the Ruh cannot be illuminated and conversely, a radiant Ruh lights up the body. It just cannot happen that one of them is bright and the other is dark. They are so intimately united that they always undergo similar experiences. Whenever any member of the Order engages in Zikr in any corner of the world, he instantly starts receiving the spiritual attention (Tawajjuh) of the Mashaikh. Now, it shall be up to him to absorb that Tawajjuh in his Lataif. The more he coordinates his breath, body movement and mental concentration, the greater shall be his absorption and the more he absorbs the greater would be the flow of lights towards him.

That, in brief, is our method of Zikr. Those who hold the Robe of Permission (Sahib-e Majaz) and others who conduct Zikr sessions need most to understand the whole process properly. I have heard them explain different methods based on their own understanding and interpretation. Those who are present should listen carefully and convey to others that we do Zikr with the heart and not with the breath; we breathe quickly to generate heat in the blood to absorb Divine Lights. The mind also joins the process by modulating 'Allah Hu' on every breath, so if the mind is inattentive the capacity of absorption decreases and the desired result is not achieved. It should be understood that reward and inner feelings are two different entities. A person who offers Salah according to its prescribed form at its proper time, even under compulsion and with total absence of mind and heart, will still deserve some Divine reward for fulfilling a religious obligation. But it is an entirely different experience to receive and absorb Divine lights related to this sublime worship. If anyone wants to feel and enjoy the Divine Presence in each moment of his Salah, he shall certainly need to devote greater attention and effort. Similarly, we don't only expect a reward for Allah's Zikr, we also desire a Divine Communion and the Light of His Countenance. We aspire to realise the Divine Presence as stated by the holy Prophet-saw, "Worship Allah as if you see Him.” We want to experience and eternalise the observation of the Divine Beatitude. The person, who doesn't want it, naturally doesn't have to put in any extra effort.

Allah has not ordained any particular method of Zikr, “Those who remember Allah, standing sitting and reclining “ - 3:191. There shall only be one restriction. Any form of Zikr which prejudices any religious injunction or causes any distraction or disturbance for others is not allowed. Except those particularly prohibited by the holy Prophet-saw, all other methods are permitted; nobody has the right to object to any of these. The Mashaikh of various Orders adopted different methods considering their relative usefulness in the light of their experiences. It is not proper to criticise any method that remains within the prescribed limits of Shari‘ah. We have no right to criticise others and similarly, nobody has the right to criticise us. It is necessary to criticise and stop anyone who crosses the religious limits under the pretext of Zikr but it is highly improper to object for the sake of objection. We are not obliged to satisfy such critics, nobody has the time and energy to tell and teach someone who doesn't want to know and learn.

Avoid such frivolity and devote your full attention to Zikr by your heart. Concentration, breathing and body movement should be rhythmically combined. Allah should accompany each in-coming breath to the depths of the heart and Hu should strike the Latifah under Zikr with each out-going breath, that is a simple way to explain our method of Zikr. Don't lose your attention or go to sleep during Zikr, that also precludes beneficence and interrupts the flow of Barakah. Do the Zikr attentively, vigorously; with speed and force, greater absorption would attract far greater blessings.

May Allah be with you and protect you. Ameen!

Method of Zikr

Our method is called Pas Anfas, which, in Persian, means guarding every breath. Zikr is performed with the heart using breath as the medium. Sit down facing the Qiblah (direction of Mecca; in case the direction is not known then any direction is alright), fully attentive towards Allah and close your eyes. Recite the Ta’awwuz and Tasmiah and start the Zikr. When you breathe in, imagine that the word Allah penetrates the depths of your heart and when you breathe out, the word ‘Hu’ strikes the heart or the Latifah on which the Zikr is being performed. (The beginners may only do Zikr on the Qalb). Do Zikr on each Latifah for suitable duration. When all seven Lata’if have been covered, return to the Qalb. After doing Zikr on it for some more time, start the meditation. The body should now be relaxed and the mind set at ease. Concentrate on the Qalb and imagine that the word ‘Allah’ rises from Qalb and the word ‘Hu’ rises upwards to Allah’s Sublime Throne. This is the first meditation; it is known as Rabita (contact), it illuminates the Path for the Ruh and facilitates its flight toward Allah’s nearness in subsequent meditations.

 Remember that no worthwhile progress can be made without the Tawajjuh (spiritual attention) of a Shaikh, because the Barakah that initiate a seeker along the Sufi path are transmitted only through him. The Companions got this blessing from the holy Prophet-saws and transmitted it to the Taba’in, who in turn passed it on to the Taba Taba’in. The Aulia (men of God) acquired this wealth of Barakah from them, and it has similarly been transferred through the generations. Allah willing, this process will continue forever, and every believer, regardless of race, caste or gender can acquire these Barakah. Sound beliefs and sincerity are the only prerequisites for this acquisition. Constant Zikr reforms the heart and initiates the journey from vice to virtue, from anxiety to contentment and from a lost life to Falah - success in this world and the Hereafter.

Tazkiyah - an essential duty of the holy Prophet-saw

The holy Prophet Muhammad-saws had four Prophetic duties, as illustrated in the holy Quran (62:2):

(1) Reciting the Verses of the Quran

The Revelation conveyed the Commands of Allah, and is the fountain head of Islamic Shari‘ah. The final revelation was received at ‘Arafat on the 9th day of Zilhajj during the Farewell Pilgrimage. It declared:

“This day I completed your Deen (Code of Conduct) for you and also My favours on you and chosen for you Islam as Deen.”

(2) Tazkiyah

The Prophet’s-saws company instantly purified the souls and immediately refined human conduct. This miraculous transformation was most strikingly evident in the character of his Companions. This process of soul purification still continues through Sufi Orders of Islam.

(3) Teaching of the Book

It was only befitting that the exalted personality-saws who received the Book and fully understood the Message should teach it to the rest of mankind.

(4) Teaching of Wisdom

That was to expound the deeper meaning of the Book and exhibit practical implementation of the Quran as reflected through the speech and conduct of the holy Prophet-saws.

Scholars of his Ummah continue to serve his sublime mission by performing his Prophetic duties as under:

(1) The Qari(s) and Huffaz (who commit Quran to their memory) perform the first duty.
         (2) The Sufis perform the second duty of soul purification.
(3) The Mufassireen (Commentators) perform the third duty of teaching the book.
(4) The Mohaditheen (Traditionalists) perform the fourth duty of teaching Prophetic wisdom.

The Spiritual System


The spirit or Ruh of every person is a created reflection of the Divine Attributes and it originates in Alam-e Amar (Realm of Command). Its food is the Light of Allah or the Divine Refulgence, which it acquires from the Realm of Command through the holy Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s choicest favours and peace be upon him), whose status in the spiritual world is like that of the sun in the solar system. The Quran refers to him as the ‘bright lamp’. Indeed, he is the divinely selected channel of all Barakah. All Exalted Messengers themselves receive these Barakah from him.


The human Ruh also possesses vital organs like the physical body; through which it acquires its knowledge, food and energy. These are called Lataif (singular Latifah: subtlety). Scholars of various Sufi Orders have associated them with specific areas of the human body. The Naqshbandiah Owaisiah Order identifies these Lataif as follows.

First - Qalb:
This spiritual faculty is located within the physical heart. Its function is Zikr. Its strength increases one’s capacity for Allah’s Zikr.

Second – Ruh:
The site of this Latifah, which is a distinct faculty of the human Ruh, is on the right side of the chest at the level of Qalb. Its primary function is concentration towards Allah.

Third – Sirri:
This is located above the Qalb and functions to make possible Kashf.

Forth – Khaffi:
This is located above the Ruh and functions to perceive the omnipresence of Allah.

Fifth – Akhfa:
This is located in the middle of chest, at the centre of the first four Lataif and makes it possible for the Ruh to perceive the closeness of Allah, Who is closer to us than our own selves.

Sixth – Nafs:
This Latifah is located at the forehead and functions to purify the human soul.

Seventh – Sultan al-Azkar:
This Latifah is located at the top centre of the head and serves to absorb the Barakah of Allah into the entire body, so that every cell resonates with Zikr.

There are five Exalted Messengers among the many known and unknown Messengers of Allah. They are Hadhrat Muhammad, Hadhrat Nuh (Noah), Hadhrat Ibrahim (Abraham), Hadhrat Musa (Moses), and Hadhrat Esa (Jesus), peace be upon them all. Hadhrat Adam is the first Prophet of Allah and the father of mankind. Each Latifah is associated with a particular Prophet. The Barakah and lights from Hadhrat Adam (peace be upon him), descend on the first Latifah Qalb; its lights are reflected from the first heaven and are yellowish. The second Latifah is associated with Hadhrat Nuh and Hadhrat Ibrahim (peace be upon them). Its lights descend from the second heaven and appear as golden red. The lights descending upon the third Latifah are from Hadhrat Musa (peace be upon him) and are white. One the fourth Latifah, the lights of Hadhrat Esa (peace be upon him) descend from the fourth heaven and are deep blue. The fifth Latifah receives its Barakah directly from the holy Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s choicest favours and peace be upon him). The lights associated with this Latifah are green, descend from the fifth heaven, and overwhelm all the first four Lataif. The Lights descending upon the sixth and seventh Lataif are the Divine Lights, whose colour and condition cannot be determined. These are like flashes of lightening that defy comprehension. If Allah blesses a seeker with Kashf, he can observe all of this. The vision is slightly diffused in the beginning, but gradually the clarity improves.

Stages of the Path

After all seven Lataif of a seeker have been illuminated with Divine Lights through Tawajjuh of the Shaikh and his Ruh has acquired the ability to fly, the Shaikh initiates its journey on the sublime Path of Divine nearness. The Path is known as Sulook, and its stages are not hypothetical imaginations but real and actually existing stations on the spiritual Path. These are also referred to as Meditations, because a seeker mentally meditates about a station while his/her Ruh actually ascends towards it. The first three stations that form the base of whole Sulook are described below:

Ahadiyyat. This is the station of Absolute Unity of Divinity. It is above and beyond the seven heavens. It is so vast a station that the seven heavens and all that they encompass are lost within Ahadiyyat as a ring is lost in a vast desert. Its lights are white in colour.

M‘aiyyat. This station denotes Divine Company, ‘He is with you, wherever you might be.’ This station is so vast that Ahadiyyat alongwith the seven heavens beneath are lost within it as a ring is lost in a desert. Its lights are green in colour.

Aqrabiyyat. This station denotes Divine Nearness, ‘He is nearer to you than your life-vein.’ Again, Aqrabiyyat is vast as compared to M‘aiyyat in the same proportion. Its lights are golden red and are reflected from the Divine Throne.

It is indeed the greatest favour of Almighty Allah that He blesses a seeker with an accomplished Shaikh, who takes him to these sublime stations.  The final station that a seeker attains to during his/her lifetime becomes his/her Iliyyin (blessed abode) in Barzakh and his/her Ruh stays at this station after death.

Nafs (The Human Soul)

The human soul takes its existence from the instant the Ruh is joined with the body. It is a subtle embodiment of physical requirements, instincts and desires. At the base level, its attributes are common with souls of all animals. According to holy Quran the human soul has five levels:

1. Nafs-e Ammarah (The Soul at Evil) - At this level, the soul is constantly inclined to commit evil deeds; this is the soul of every non-believer.

2. Nafs-e Lawwamah (The Accusing Soul) - At this level, if a person commits a sin, it is condemned by the soul from within. This is a soul of a believer because as a result of light of the faith the sin is not tolerated.

3. Nafs-e-Mutmainnah (The Satisfied Soul) - At this level, the soul is satisfied with its relationship with Allah, it is absolutely calm, cool, and collected. The soul hates evil and always seeks virtue and the Pleasure of Allah.

4. Nafs-e Radhiyah (The Soul Resigned to Divine Will) - At this level, the soul is pleased, under all circumstances, with whatever is ordained for it by Allah.

5. Nafs-e Mardhiah (The Pleased Soul) - At this level, the soul is completely pleased with the Will and Purpose of Allah. This was the level achieved by the Companions of Prophet Muhammad-saws as a result of direct exposure to his sacred heart.

The Naqshbandiah Owaisiah Order

Recent History

Khawajah Naqshband (d. 1389 CE) organized the Naqshbandiah Order at Bukhara (Central Asia). This Order has two main branches – the Mujaddidiah and the Owaisiah. The former is identified with Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi, known as Mujaddid Alif Thani (literally: reviver of the second Muslim millennium), a successor to Khawajah Baqi Billah, who introduced the Order to the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent. The Owaisiah Order employs a similar method of Zikr but acquires the Prophetic blessings in the manner of Khawajah Owais Qarni, who received this beneficence from the holy Prophet-saws without a formal physical meeting. The Zikr employed by the Naqshbandiah is ‘Zikr-e Khafi Qalbi’ (remembrance of Allah’s Name within the heart) and the method is termed ‘Pas Anfas’, which (in Persian) means guarding every breath.

The Chain of Transmission of these Barakah, of course, emanates from the holy Prophet-saws. It is necessary in all Sufi Orders that the Shaikh and the seekers must be contemporaries and must physically meet each other for the transfer of these blessings. However, the Naqshbandiah Owaisiah Order goes beyond this requirement and Sufis of this Order receive these Barakah regardless of physical meeting with their Shaikh or even when the Shaikh is not their contemporary. Yet, it must be underscored that physical meeting with the Shaikh of this Order still holds great importance in dissemination of these Barakah.

Shaikh Sirhindi writes about the Owaisiah Order in his book ‘Tazkirah’: ‘It is the most sublime, the most exalted, and the most effective…and the highest station of all others is only its stepping stone.’

By far the greatest singular distinction of the Naqshbandiah Owaisiah Order is the honour of Spiritual Bai’at (Oath of Allegiance) directly at the blessed hands of the holy Prophet Muhammad-saws.

The Reviver Shaikh

Shaikh Allah Yar Khan was born in Chakrala, a remote village of Mianwali District of Pakistan, in 1904. He completed his religious education in 1934. The same year, he met Shaikh ‘Abdul Rahim, who took him to the shrine of Shaikh Allah Deen Madni. By Divine Will his spiritual connection was immediately established with the saint of the 10th century Hijra (sixteenth century CE) and he started receiving spiritual beneficence. His sublime education in Sufism, signifying progressive spiritual growth and advancement, continued for about twenty-five years, after which he was directed to undertake the propagation of Prophetic blessings - a noble mission that he accomplished with singular zeal and dedication for a period spanning half a century. Anybody who visited him was duly rewarded with a share of spiritual bliss commensurate with his/her sincerity and capacity. Shaikh Allah Yar Khan’s mission produced men and women of deep spiritual vision and eminence.

He authored eighteen books, the most distinguished being Dalael us-Sulook (Sufism - An Objective Appraisal), Hayat-e Barzakhiah (Life Beyond Life) and Israr ul-Haramain (Secrets of the two holy Mosques). He was undoubtedly one of the most distinguished Sufi saints of the Muslim Ummah and a reviver of the Naqshbandiah Owaisiah Order.

He passed away on 18 February 1984 in Islamabad at the age of eighty. Six months before his death, he nominated his most illustrious and spiritually gifted student, Muhammad Akram Awan, as his successor to lead the Naqshbandiah Owaisiah Order.

The Current Shaikh

Shaikh Muhammad Akram Awan was born on 31st December, 1934 in village Noorpur Sethi, about 4 km from the present headquarters of the Order, Dar ul-Irfan. He received his initial education in his village school and later attended a college at Chakwal. He spent a turbulent youth characterized by family feuds and external skirmishes. Duly dismayed by the violence and tumult, he set out in search of peace and truth. His sincere resolve was answered at the age of 24, when he met Shaikh Allah Yar Khan at a religious assembly. He remained in close association with his Shaikh, marked by unmatched sincerity and devotion, for twenty-five years. Shaikh Allah Yar Khan transformed the unbridled youth into a Sufi saint of high eminence, infusing deep vision and spiritual blessings into the heart of his promising student.

Shaikh Muhammad Akram Awan did not receive formal religious education at any institution. He acquired the basic Islamic knowledge directly form his Shaikh. Blessed with llm-e Ladunni (Knowledge from the Divine Presence,) he possesses singular wisdom in Tafsir (interpretation of the holy Quran). He delivered regular lectures on Quranic subjects during the life of his Shaikh and has written an exemplary Tafsir of the Quran, titled ‘Asrar at-Tanzil’. This was in fulfilment of Shaikh Allah Yar Khan’s desire, who could not undertake this work himself due to enormous demands of his mission. Asrar at-Tanzil has received wide acclaim and recognition form all schools of Islamic thought, both in Pakistan and abroad.

He is Dean of the Siqarah Education System, a unique system that integrates Islamic teachings with normal education at both school and college levels, and strives to transform its young students into enlightened, practical Muslims.

He is the Patron-in-Chief of al-Murshid, a monthly magazine of the Order in Urdu. He regularly writes for the Magazine to provide guidance for seekers on the spiritual heritage of Muslim Ummah.

He is also the Patron-in-Chief of al-Falah Foundation, an organization established in 1989 for the welfare of the people in Pakistan’s rural areas.

His sole mission in life is to create awareness in Muslims about their spiritual heritage and to spread the Prophetic lights and blessings to every comer of the globe for the guidance of whole mankind.

The Chain of Transmission

Hadhrat Muhammad ur-Rasool Allah
(Sall Allah-o Alaihi wa Sallam)

Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq
(Radhi Allah-o Unho)

Hadhrat Imam Hassan Basri
(Rahmat Ullah Alaihi)

Hadhrat Daud Tai
(Rahmat Ullah Alaihi)

Hadhrat Junaid Baghdadi
(Rahmat Ullah Alaihi)

Hadhrat Ubaid Ullah Ahrar
(Rahmat Ullah Alaihi)

Hadhrat Abdur Rahman Jami
(Rahmat Ullah Alaihi)

Hadhrat Abu Ayub Muhammad Salih
(Rahmat Ullah Alaihi)

Hadhrat Allah Deen Madni
(Rahmat Ullah Alaihi)

Hadhrat Abdur Raheem
(Rahmat Ullah Alaihi)

Hadhrat Allah Yar Khan
(Rahmat Ullah Alaihi)

Hadhrat Ameer Muhammad Akram Awan
(Madda Zillah al-‘Aali)

Sufi Orders


Islam, as a complete code of life or Deen, was perfected during the life of the holy Prophet Muhammad-saws. He was the sole teacher and his mosque was the core institution for the community. Although Islam in its entirety was practiced during that blessed era, the classification and compilation of its knowledge into distinct branches like ‘Tafsir’ (interpretation of the Quran), Hadith (traditions or sayings of the holy Prophet-saws), Fiqh (Islamic law), and Sufism (the soul purification) were undertaken subsequently. This Deen of Allah passed from the holy Prophet-saws to his illustrious Companions in two ways: the outward and the inward. The former comprised the knowledge defined by speech and conduct, i.e., the Quran and Sunnah. The latter comprised the invisible blessings or the Prophetic lights transmitted by his blessed self. These blessings purified the hearts and instilled in them an ardent desire to follow Islam with utmost love, sincerity and devotion. Sufism is the effort to acquire these Barakah (Blessings).

The Companions handed down his-saws teachings as well as blessings to the Taba’in. Their strong hearts were capable of infusing these blessings into the hearts of their followers. Both aspects of Islam were similarly passed on by the Taba’in to the Tab’a Taba’in. The compilation of knowledge and its interpretation led to the establishment of many schools of religious thought; famous four being the Hanafi, the Hanbali, the Maliki, and the Shafa'i, all named after their founders. Similarly, in order to acquire, preserve and distribute his blessings, an organized effort was initiated by four schools of Sufism: The Naqshbandiah, the Qadriah, the Chishtiah, and the Suharwardiah. These schools were also named after their organizers and came to be known as Sufi Orders. All these Orders aim at purifying the hearts of sincere Muslims with Prophetic lights. These Sufi Orders also grew into many branches with the passage of time and are known by other names as well.


The holy Quran has linked success in this life and the Hereafter with Tazkiyah (soul purification).

He, who purified, is successful. (87: 14)

Sufi Orders of Islam are the institutions where the fundamentals of Tazkiyah (soul purification) and its practical application are taught. They have graded programs in which every new seeker is instructed in Zikr-e Lisani (oral Zikr) and is finally taught the Zikr-e Qalbi (Remembrance in heart). However, in the Naqshbandiah Order, Zikr-e Qalbi is practiced form the very beginning.

Adherence to the Sunnah (Prophet’s way of life) is greatly emphasized in this Order, because the seeker achieves greater and quicker progress through its blessings. The essence of Zikr is that the Qalb should sincerely accept Islamic beliefs and acquire the strength to follow the Sunnah with even greater devotion.

‘If the heart is acquainted with Allah and is engaged in His Zikr; then it is filled with Barakaat-e Nabuwwat (Prophetic blessings) which infuse their purity in the mind and body. This not only helps in controlling sensual drives but also removes traces of hatred, greed, envy and insecurity from human soul. The person therefore becomes an embodiment of love, both for the Divine and the corporeal. This is the meaning of a Hadith, “There is a lump of flesh in the human body; if it goes astray the entire body is misguided, and if it is reformed the entire body is reformed. Know that this lump is the Qalb”.’
(Asrar at-Tanzil by Ameer Muhammad Akram Awan)