Tuesday 21 May 2019 \

 

My first Ustaz and how I entered Tariqah - Shaykh Said Afandi al-Chirkawi ad-Daghestani

Shaykh Said Afandi al-Chirkawi ad-Daghestani, Murshid Kamil

Honorable Shaykh Said Afandi al-Chirkawi talks about his first Shaykh Abdul Hamid Afandi from the village Inkho and how he started Tariqa path as a murid. He also touches on some important Tariqa issues.

Abdul-hamid afandi was my first spiritual teacher. I can hardly say much about him. I was young; I still knew and understood little. When they asked about the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), the Prophet’s wife Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) replied: “The Qur’an was his manners”. Neither do I know what to tell you about the Ustaz, but for the Qur’an was his every movement and word. These were amazing people, very different from us today. Their powerful faith and perfection are beyond words. As for my first meeting with the Ustaz, I used to hear about him before. And prior to that I used to hear of Ustaz from `Urib also. But I did not pay much attention to it, as people often said those days that in AkhirZaman there are no more Ustazes. Today, when I see those who doubt Ustazes, I cannot blame them, as I also went through it.

My deceased mother followed Tariqa and visited `Urib. When I got home from work, she told me about Tariqa, but I would not let it into my heart, thinking that in our time there were no Ustazes, because I had heard so from others. I used to read the Qur’an and said that there was nothing apart from it. Knowledgeable people were fewer then. The words of the ignorant, apparently, turned away people’s hearts from the Tariqa and led to the conclusion that there is nothing besides the Qur’an.

In our village there was a man named Isa-haji, I knew him well, because before we worked as shepherds together. It so happened that I lost sight of him, then long after that I heard that he had joined Tariqa. Despite everything, deep down I have loved Tariqa from childhood. I was intrigued to learn that my friend was in Tariqa, and really wanted to see him. It happened in spring, at the time of sheep shearing. Isa-haji had a brother Muhammad, now deceased. As head of the collective farm, he brought his brother Isa-haji as a trusted person to guard the wool. I worked there too, so we met. I asked Isa-haji whether it was true that he had taken Tariqa. He said, yes. Then I began to question what it is like, what you do in Tariqa. In general, we talked a lot. I had prayer beads with which I recited whatever I knew. I switched the beads with Isa-haji and asked him to take my beads to ustaz Abdul Hamid afandi (may Allah bless his soul), for him to recite dua with them. Thus we parted. I had to go to the mountains for summer grazing.

Our foreman at that time was Muhammad-Sultan and we shepherded with a man, named Uzairil Mukhtar. He always got up at night, before dawn, and I first had no idea why. It turns out that at this time he was saying dhikr with his heart. But I was not interested then.

Once Muhammad-Sultan asked me: “Mukhtar always gets up before dawn, looks at a photo for a long time and then starts crying. Do you know what this picture is?” “Wallahi, I do not,” I replied. After that I was curious what it was. After a while, when we had taken the flock to the mountains, I once said to Mukhtar: “Muhammad-Sultan told me that you carry some photo with you, do you?” “Yes, I do,” he replied. “What is this picture?” “This is a snapshot of ustaz from `Urib.[Shaykh Husenil Muhammad Afandi]” Since he had the photo with him, I asked him to show it to me. Then he took it out of the notebook and showed. Indeed, it is difficult to word the emotions, but in my whole life I have never seen a more attractive face. It filled my heart with an amazing feeling. After that something changed in me: my desires and thoughts. At that time the ustaz  from `Urib had already left our world.

After summer we had to leave for the winter pastures. But a man could shepherd no more than 70 sheeps in winter. So I stayed in the mountains to shepherd the rest of the sheep with Timuruk-haji, now deceased. We had to sort out the remaining sheeps, separate the old and sick for slaughter, and then head back to the winter cattle-station. That day in the central square I met a villager, Muhammad-haji. He asked me whether I had told Isahaji anything. I replied that I had not seen him long ago. I completely forgot what had happened in spring.

- Did you give Isahaji your beads? - asked Muhammad-haji.

- Oh yes, I did this spring, - I remembered.

- You have been accepted to Tariqah, - he said.

I asked what I was to do. He asked for my notebook to write down the task. It was the task from the Shazali Tariqa to me. That is how I came to Tariqa.

I want to tell you about another thing that had happened to me before that. The day before Timuruk-Haji and I had to sort out the flock, I went to the store to buy cigarettes. Ten packs of cigarettes cost one ruble. At that time I smoked a lot, because I got addicted to it early. Usually I bought 100 packs for 10 rubles there to stock up. But that day there were a lot of women in the store, and I hesitated. I bought only 5 – 6 packs, and returned home. I hoped to ask my wife to buy the rest later. At home I threw the pack on the table and left again. Then I met Muhammad-haji who gave me a paper with the Tariqa task. It made me think, if I should ask my wife to buy more cigarettes. What should I do now? Can I smoke? I did not ask my wife to buy cigarettes, and the ones I had already bought were left lying on the table. In the morning, when I was leaving home, I put one pack in my pocket just in case, because I was not sure. My wife asked why I did not take the rest of the pile. She thought that I had forgotten them, but I said nothing and left. On my way I lit a cigarette twice. But as soon as I smelled the smoke, I suddenly began sweating, as if inside me a fire was burning, and I threw away the cigarette. Climbing up the mountain, I met our villager Biyakail-Ali, the head of the hay cutters. The herds were gone, and he needed meat for his workers. He came up to me and asked me to give them a sheep. I replied that I can only give them my own provided he gives me back another later. Then he asked me for a cigarette, and I only had one pack of cigarettes. And suddenly it dawned on me: “I have quit smoking, am I not a murid?” I gave him the pack, and, frankly, he was happy about the cigarettes more than about the sheep. That is how I managed to give up smoking.

I knew that smoking was bad, and spent many years hoping to quit some day. I tried to fight this habit in the army. I thought I would leave the army a non-smoker. Despite the constant shortage of money, I used to buy candies and stuff my pockets with them. When I wanted to smoke, I would eat candies. But after the candies I wanted to smoke again. Thus, my stomach filled with candies, I again reached for the cigarettes.

After the army, I worked as a shepherd with a man named Zitayil Abdurahman. It was at the cattle-station in winter. In the evening after supper I usually lit a cigarette and wondered how long I will go on smoking and how to give up. My partner did not smoke, and I asked him if he had smoked before. After his “Yes” I wondered how he managed to quit, and asked how long he had not been smoking. “Five years”, he said. Then I asked: “Do you still want it?” He replied: “When you smoke, I always want you to come nearer so that I can smell the smoke.” After that, I did not believe I could quit cigarettes. If even after five years a person still misses them, should I suffer too? In general, I gave up my mind to quit.

 

And being such a heavy smoker, yet, as I said, I gave that pack to Ali, and then never even thought about cigarettes again.

 

So, I became a murid. I had never seen the ustaz from Inkho by then. Only in winter, January, when I came home on leave, I decided to visit Inkho. At that time you could only get a ride on a truck. Passenger cars were scarce, the roads were narrow, and the trip seemed real trouble. Besides, I did not know the way. I had to ask the passers-by. I went in the back of a truck and asked the driver to stop at Inkho, because I had never been there. We arrived at the place at night. I got off the car and with the help from the locals I found the way to the ustaz. He asked me about my task, and told me to continue the same way. The ustaz then asked who had sent me to him. I said about Muhammadhaji, and did not guess to say that Allah did.

Now my heart only aspired to Tariqa. I sought nothing else. When I returned from the ustaz, I was literally counting days until the next meeting. We visited the Shaykh only once a year. I can say I was mentally with him all the time. Once when we were on the Terek river, the ustaz came in my dream, ran his hand over my head, and after that I was bored with my job. I had never been in prison. Yet even jailed I would not have felt worse. If possible, I would not have stayed at this job a single day. But in winter it is impossible to quit and leave the sheep, because nobody could replace me. In general, the situation was hopeless. So I spent the winter and spring, counting the days as if in prison. And then, when we went up to the mountains, I sold and gave away my flock, leaving none. I got a job as a watchman at the hydro power plant. In my spare time I only did tasks for Tariqa. Muhammadhaji,may Allah wash off his sins, was very helpful then.

Once I heard, that Ustaz from Inkho arrived in Khasavyurt. I did not say to my wife that I had entered Tariqa, but she guessed that by the changes in me. We went together to Khasavyurt, she also decided to take Tariqa. We hid from parents where we were going. We claimed we were going to decorate our new home; I had bought a house in Novy Chirkey.

The ustaz always had near a murid from Almak named Abdurashid. He was known as a man blessed from Allah, a ‘senior murid’. He met all the newcomers, took some to the ustaz and heard out others. All the guests first came to him, and we did the same. When, after the visit to the ustaz, we were heading home Abdurashid went to see us off. He came up to me and whispered in my ear: “Did you go to your new house?” I was surprised to remember what I had said to my parents leaving home. Abdurashid almost reached the level of Ustaz.

Once again, when the ustaz was in Khasavyurt, I went to see him alone. I was a murid beginner, I was happy to be in Tariqa. I performed Shazali Wird 100 times to be followed by 500 Dhikr. I rejoiced I could do it. I stress it, there was only joy, no pride. And when I came to the ustaz, went into the yard, he came to meet me, greeted me, and said, my hand in his: “It turns out Humayd-afandi (may Allah bless his soul) performed dhikr 30 000 times, although he was so weak from a severe illness and old age, that he had to sit and rest three times, while returning from mosque.” Hearing this was such an embarrassment. Even now I feel ashamed. That is how amazing person he was.

In the old days murids were fewer. We heard they performed khatmu salawat in Inkho and the Ustaz also used to be there.  We went there a few times: the deceased Alil-Abdurahman, Muhammadhaji, Isahaji and I. Once we decided it was impolite that all the four of us travel together, so we split into two groups. Isahaji and I went through Khasavyurt and Abdurahman and Muhammadhaji through Buinaksk. The Harib pass was shut then and we had a very difficult time getting to Inkho through Shali. It was a hard time, but Tariqa was much more valued then. Murids had close ties and mutual support and assistance. The collapse of the country demoralized the society, the social order was destroyed. Murids became weak too. They have no such love as before, they are too much into the worldly.

So, this is all I can tell you about the Ustaz of Inkho. I cannot assess his role. Yet I was sure about one thing: I always had the strength and support of ustazes. I knew it, I felt it by all signs, although they were not in overt, bodily form. Everything went easy, and I had no doubt that they were with me, because I felt their support. In Tariqa everything depends on your faith. Faith and love are the foremost. If you have both these qualities, they bring the rest. It is proven, and there is no doubt.

Muhammad-haji’s first ustaz was Hamzat Afandi (may Allah bless his soul) from Tlyakh. But then Hamzat Afandi and his house fell under security forces surveillance. The ustaz of Inkho could safely go to Khasavyurt. He did not have such problems, so Muhammad-haji started going to Inkho. He often invited me to visit Hamzat Afandi, but I had heard from Abdurashid, you need the permission of your ustaz to go to another ustaz. I remembered it, but at the same time was embarrassed to refuse blank. I said nothing to Muhammad-haji’s invitation and never saw Hamzat Afandi. He soon left this world.

Ustazes consulted Muhammad Arif Afandi (may Allah bless his soul) on many issues. Abdurashid said that once Hamzat Afandi called him and said: “Go and tell my words to Muhammad Arif: I know that a murid, exploring the ways of Allah for the sake of Allah, can reach Ustaz even through the roof, no matter what, breaking it, if necessary. Yet you can hardly find someone on the path for the sake of Allah, only one in a hundred. What should I do with the new-comers: send them back or accept them?” Then Hamzat-afandi added: “Just ask it, and do not wait for the answer.” I just said it, and when I came to the words “only one in a hundred”, Muhammad Arif interrupted: “Oh my son, not one in a hundred, but one in a thousand.

The most important for murids is compliance with the ethics (adab). The new-coming murids today often know a lot they have not yet reached in Tariqa, up to muraqaba. Of course, the more curious you are, the more you know. But you cannot grow in Tariqa like this. A murid cannot do something different from what his ustaz assigned him. Many do things they have not been taught. They rush ahead.

At the time when I did not study and did not even think of it, Abdurashid gave me a book and said: “Copy it, it may be useful to you in the future.” I copied it, unaware what it was. It turns out to be muraqaba. I was still a new-comer murid. After a time the ustaz from Inkho left this world. I went to the ustaz [Shaykh Meselasul Muhammad Afandi] of Nechaevka, and he gave me Naqshbandi Tariqa, taught me muraqaba and ma’iyat. Performing ma’iyat, I remembered that it reminded of Abdurashid’s book. Until then I had not even read that book, because I did not need it. I was curious to see what happens after ma'iyat. But when I opened the book, I suddenly thought: “Why am I looking at things, I haven’t been assigned. It’s not my business”, and I shut it. Though I was curious, I overcame my curiosity and did not peep. It turned out, I did the right thing. A murid must be zealous about his own task. He must not rush to things. Today even beginners want to know about lata’if and muraqaba no less than I do. They need to work on their task, nothing beyond that. It is better for them.

 

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