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Excerpt from "Masters of Wisdom of Central Asia"

by Hasan Lutfi Shushud


Khwaja ‘Abd al-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani
Fourth Deputy of Khwaja Yusuf al-Hamadani

The name Khwaja ‘Abd al-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani heads the list in the biographies of the Masters of Wisdom, for he is the chief and top link of this chain of transmission. One of the great shaikhs of Turkestan, he was the fourth deputy of Khwaja Yusuf al-Hamadani and one of the eleven who accompanied Khwaja Yusuf from Hamadan to Samarqand. He is said to have bestowed his spiritual influence on the venerable Khwaja Baha’ al-Din Naqshband.

He was born in Ghujdawan and his tomb is in the same place. He was studying in
Bukhara when, by his own account, “I was twenty years of age when the Master of the righteous, the venerable Khi?r, on him be peace, commended me to the great Shaikh Khwaja Yusuf al-Hamadani and advised him to give me instruction. I served as his novice as long as he was in Transoxiana, to my practical and spiritual benefit.”

When Khwaja Yusuf al-Hamadani went back to Khurasan, Khwaja ‘Abd al-Khaliq engaged in ascetic practices, which he followed in a private manner. His saintliness and charismatic powers were outstanding. According to the Rasha
?at, “He gained many disciples in the province of Damascus and a dervish convent and center were established in his name.”

Khwaja ‘Abd al-Khaliq’s Letter of Counsel

The following instructions appear in a letter of counsel, which he wrote for his third deputy, Khwaja Awliya’ Kabir.

Thoroughly imbue yourself with knowledge, self-discipline and piety. Make a profound study of the Islamic classics. Learn jurisprudence and the Prophetic traditions. Steer clear of ignorant zealots. . . .

Treat everyone kindly and look down on no one. Do not embellish your outward appearance, for ornament is a mark of inner poverty. Do not get into quarrels. Ask favors of none and do not let yourself become a burden to others.

Place no trust in this world and do not rely on worldly people. Let your heart be filled with melancholy and disillusion; let your body suffer and your eyes weep. Let your conduct be upright and your prayers sincere. Wear old clothes and choose a poor man as your companion. Let your home be a house of worship and let the Exalted Truth be your most intimate friend.

The Principles of the Way of the Masters


The following aphorisms, composed by Khwaja ‘Abd al-Khaliq, are considered to be the principles of the Way of the Masters.

1. Conscious breathing (ho sh dar dam): Remain attentive with every breath. According to Sa‘d al-Din Kashghari: “Be conscious and heedful of God, Glorified and Exalted is He, with every breath you take.” In this context Shaikh Najm al-Din al-Kubra said:

The “h” in the divine name Allah is the very sound we make with every breath. The other letters (in the Arabic spelling: alif and reduplicated lam) represent an intensified definite article (serving to emphasize the Uniqueness of God). The essential part of the divine name is therefore that “h,” which automatically accompanies our every breath. All life depends on the constant utterance of that noble name.

The venerable Makhdumi (Mawlana Jami) was obviously alluding to Loss of Separate Identity (ghaib al-huwi ya) in his stanza:

Your alphabet I’m sure you know
We lose ourselves in “h” with every breath we blow
Utter it carefully and be awake:
That is no ordinary sound you make!


In Sufi terminology “Loss of Separate Identity” is an expression for non-individualization [la ta‘ayyun], referring to the indefinable essence of the Glorified and Exalted Truth.

2. Watch your step! (nazar bar qadam): Direct yourself constantly toward your goal.

3. Journey homeward (safar dar watan): Pass from the world of potentiality to the world of realization.

4. Solitude in the crowd (khalwat dar anjuman): Be free from limitation in the midst of limitations. When Khwaja Naqshband was asked to state the basic principle of spiritual development, he said: “Solitude in the crowd; that is being outwardly with people, but inwardly with God, Exalted is He.” According to Khwaja Awliya’ Kabir, it means that one should reach the stage where one is so constantly and completely absorbed in divine remembrance that “one could walk through the market-place without hearing a sound.”

5. Remembrance (yad kard): Remember with the heart at the same time as mentioning with the tongue--or transforming dhikr of the tongue into dhikr of the heart. According to Khwaja ‘Ubaidallah al-A
?rar, “the real meaning of dhikr is inward awareness of God, Exalted is He. The purpose of dhikr is to attain this consciousness.”

6. Returning (baz gasht): Single-minded pursuit of divine Truth. According to Khwaja A
?rar, it means the return to God.

7. Attentiveness (nigah dasht): Keeping out worldly thoughts by vigilant control of one’s attention.

8. Recollection (yad dasht): Constant awareness in the blissful presence of God, Exalted is He. “The complete experience of divine contemplation, achieved through the action of objective Love.”

9. Awareness of time (wuquf zamani): Watching one’s composure and checking one’s tendency to heedlessness. According to the venerable Ya‘qub Charkhi, Khwaja Naqshband explained this as “seeking forgiveness when in a state of spiritual constriction and expressing gratitude when in a state of expansion.”

10. Awareness of number (wuquf ‘adadi): Observing the exact number of repetitions in dhikr. Khwaja ‘Ala’ al-Din al-‘A
??ar said: “The important thing is not the number of repetitions but rather the composure and awareness with which one makes them.” According to Khwaja Baha’ al-Din Naqshband, numerical awareness is the first stage of esoteric knowledge.

11. Awareness of the heart (wuquf qalbi): Equivalent to Recollection (as in 8, above). Khwaja A
?rar says it means that the heart becomes aware of God, Glorified and Exalted is He. The heart is the comprehensive human entity within which all other organs and faculties are contained. “It is the divine manuscript on which infinite mysteries are recorded.”

Hasan Lutfi Shushud (1902-1988) was born near Izmir in Anatolia, Turkey. A renowned Sufi saint and master, he was perhaps best known for his role as final guide to Gurdjieff’s disciple J. G. Bennett.

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Masters of Wisdom of Central Asia by Hasan Lutfi Shushud © 2014 Inner Traditions.
Printed with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International. www.InnerTraditions.com


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