Style of Expression
The style of expression, whether it is verbal or written is key to getting the message across. The more attractive and catchy the style, the deeper and sooner it will penetrate into the listeners’ minds. According to Ethnologue (the organisation that researches and provides data about world languages), more than 6800 languages spoken in the world today. Indeed they all exist with a common goal of conveying the message across. It is possible that we may not be familiar with a certain language. But get the gist of the message albeit not fully understanding the words.
When Allah descended the man on earth from heavens. He also sent around one hundred and twenty four thousand prophets to guide people to the righteous path. Allah sent those prophets and messengers with Divine commandments and books. These commandments and books were written in various languages such as Hebrew, Greek and Arabic. All previous Divine books apart from Quran, have been altered over time. It is only the Quran that is still present in its original form. This is because Allah has taken it upon Himself to safeguard Quran from any alterations. So it will remain in its original form until the day of Judgement.
The Style of Quranic Expression
The style of Quranic expression is so intriguing and vast that even the non-Muslims who have read it, admit that this cannot be a word of a man. The Quran was revealed upon Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) who is the last of all prophets and the seal of prophet-hood. Allah Almighty has abridged all the characteristics and attributes of all the previous prophets in Prophet Mohammad and has manifested them in their best form through the Holy Prophet. For example the beauty of Joseph got perfection in the form of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). The spark of ardent Divine love of Abraham turned to completion in the form of Mohammadan Faqr. Moses’ desire to behold Divine majesty came to fruition through Miraj (Holy Prophet’s night journey). The soulful voice of David and his mesmerising way of expression ended on Prophet Mohammad’s unique style of expression.
The Holy Prophet’s way of expression was so fascinating and exquisite that the Companions wanted to keep listening to him. Even the non-Muslims at the time acknowledged that Holy Prophet’s style of expression was so mesmerising that whoever came to meet him became his devotee.
The Universal Divine Man who is entrusted with the Trust of Mohammadan Faqr since the physical demise of the Holy Prophet also inherits his unique way of expression along with exhibiting other attributes of the Holy Prophet.
Ghaus e Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani used to address tens of thousands of devotees at a time. His sermons were very famous amongst devotees throughout East and West.
Sultan Bahoo and his style of writing
After Ghaus e Azam, Sultan Bahoo tops the list of Sufi scholars. Sultan Bahu is the 25th perfect spiritual guide of the mystic order that originated from the Holy Prophet (pbuh). He is the fifth of the seven Sultans of Faqr.
Sultan Bahoo was born on Thursday 1st Jamadi al-Thani 1039 H (17th January 1630 AD) in Shorkot. He was saint by birth. His mother named him ‘Bahoo’ (meaning: with Hoo i.e. in union with Allah) as per Divine inspiration. This is a unique name that does not exist in history before Sultan Bahoo. He did not acquire any formal education like the Holy Prophet. Despite that, he authored more than 140 books. Only one of them is in Punjabi and that is abyat e Bahoo. This collection of poetry is also known as kalam e Bahoo or kalam Bahoo. All the other books are in Persian which was the prevailing language at the time. He says:
“I, like the Holy Prophet (pbuh) didn’t gain any formal education. However due to the abundance of Divine theophanies on my inward. The hidden secrets and knowledge that revealed in my inward, requires countless books to express it.” (Ain-ul-Faqr)
He further says: “Although, I didn’t acquire any exoteric knowledge. However I have sanctified my inward and outward. Therefore, the knowledge of everything has abridged within me.”
Sultan Bahoo’s teachings guide the seekers of Allah even today
The teachings of Sultan Bahoo are an indispensable source of gaining Divine closeness, union and gnosis. Reference from the Hadith and Quran is a distinct feature of Sultan Bahoo’s teachings. If we separate the Hadith and Quran, his teachings will seem incomplete. In his Divine journal, ‘Risala Roohi Sharif’, he says: “Whosoever will read this book sincerely with the purpose of finding gnosis and closeness of Allah, will find it to be a source of guidance.” The aforementioned statement indicates that his writings are extraordinary and only a revelation from the Divine court. He goes on to say:
معا ذ اللہ اگر ایں وثیقہء لطیفہ را از زبان بندہ دانی
Explanation: “God forbid! If someone thinks this exquisite piece of writing as words of a human being, undoubtedly it is Divine.”
He says in Risala Roohi Sharif:
Explanation: “If a Saint having the spiritual union has declined from the world of souls or from the world of Malakut. Being demoted from his rank, seeks mediation of this Divine Book, it will prove a Murshid Kamil (perfect spiritual guide) for him. If he does not make this book his mediator, he is liable. And if he does, then we are responsible to take him back to his status. If a traveller of the spiritual path keeps faith in this book and seeks help from it. I will surely enlighten him and enliven his soul just because he held to this book.”
This proclamation of Sultan Bahoo is mentioned in many of his books with some variations. Indeed, his writings are an exegesis of word of Allah i.e. the Holy Quran and hence have same efficacy. His style of writing and conveying the message is so effective and powerful that even today, true seeerks of Allah find inward peace and gnosis and closeness of Allah through his teachings.
Mustafa Thani and Mujtaba Akhir Zamani
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) himself conferred the titles of ‘Mustafa Thani’ and ‘Mujtaba Akhir Zamani’ to Sultan Bahoo. Then how is it possible that his style and way of expression does not have the efficacy and attraction as the Holy Prophet’s way of expression did? His teachings are a beacon of Divine guidance for all the generations until the Doomsday. The Holy Prophet knew that there will come a time upon his umma when the so called scholars will use the religion to gain worldly riches and will mislead the people. At such time, Sultan Bahoo’s teachings will be a beacon of guidance for them. This is why the Holy Prophet conferred these titles upon Sultan Bahu.
Sultan Bahoo says:
“When apostasy will prevail and depravity will take over the truth. When there will be abundance of religious groups and sects. Every one of them will proclaim to be the righteous one and declare others as depraved. People will hesitate to go against the depraved ones. The false spiritual guides will loot the common people in the name of spirituality and Sufism. At such a time, my shrine will illuminate with Divine light. And will be a beacon of guidance to the righteous path.”
In the aforementioned saying, the Divine light and beacon of guidance refer to Sultan Bahoo’s teachings that will be a source of guidance for the seekers of Allah.
On another occasion, he says:
“Owing to Divine favour when I reached the ultimate station of Faqr. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) ordered me to guide and inculcate the mankind. Regardless of their background whether the subject is Muslim or non-Muslim, fortunate or unfortunate, alive or dead. My beloved (the Holy Prophet) gave me the titles of ‘Mustafa Thani and Mujtaba Akhir Zamani’.”
Only an Arif (perfect Fakir) understands the teachings of another Arif
It is a distinctive feature of Sultan Bahoo’s teachings that whosever reads them with sincerity and devotion (after having done ablution) and with the sole purpose of gaining gnosis and union with Allah, indeed finds them a source of guidance to attain his purpose in life. When a seeker studies these books under the guidance of a perfect spiritual guide, feels the effects on his inward. As Sultan Bahoo is the Sultan of Arifeen (Plural of Arif). So are his teachings for the seekers of Allah. He says in kalam e Bahoo:
عارف دی گل عارف جانے، کیا جانے نفسانی ھو
Explanation: Only an Arif can understand the true meaning of the teachings of another Arif. The seekers of this temporal world can never understand the meanings and the hidden message in writings of a Mystic.
Sultan Bahu’s style of writing is so unique and attractive that every seeker who studies his books. Collects the pearls of wisdom from them according to his/her inward state of sanctification and closeness with Allah. When a seeker repeats reading these books, feels that he is reading them for the first time. This is because Sultan Bahoo’s teachings contain many hidden gems of gnosis of Allah and they unfold as the seeker progresses inwardly. This unique quality resembles the Holy Quran. Allah has made the Quran such that the reader does not get tired of reading it. Regardless of how many times it is read. Similarly, the more one studies Sultan Bahoo’s books, new meanings reveal upon him each time.
Similarity between Quran and Sultan Bahoo’s style of writing
One of the miracles of Quran is that not any topic is explained in detail at one point, instead it is spread over different places. Despite that the flow and consistency is not broken. Similarly Sultan Bahoo has not written lengthy details about any topic at any one point. Instead he has repeated key topics throughout his books. And every time Sultan Bahoo expressed them in different style that bring out a different aspect and meaning for the seekers. This is the reason that for the seekers to truly understand Sultan Bahoo’s teachings, they must study them with devotion.
The use of Persian poetry in his teachings further enhances his style of writing. The verses contain an ocean of hidden secrets within them. Again this resembles with Quran. In many places the Quranic verses appear to read like poetry. Indeed, Sultan Bahoo’s style of expression is reflective of his very exalted spiritual status of annihilation and immortality with Allah. He himself stated this fact on various occasions throughout his teachings:
اگر باےَ بشریت حا یَل نبودے، باھو عین یا ھو است
Explanation: When the ‘Ba’ of ‘Bahoo’ is removed, it becomes ‘Hoo’ (which means Allah Almighty).
This verse eludes to Sultan Bahoo’s esoteric status of complete annihilation, immortality and union with Allah Almighty. In reality, his every act and saying is the saying of Allah. As one hadith of the Holy Prophet says that when a seekers reaches the peak of Faqr, it is only Allah.
Abyat e Bahoo
The Abyat-e-Bahoo is a unique and very bold collection of Sultan Bahoo’s Divine poetry. He has used these Abyat to express some of the very important topics of Sufism.
Sultan Bahoo, for the first time in history used poetry to explain the importance of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and perfect spiritual guide. The Abyat are so fascinating that even today, the mystics and devotees read and listen to them with passion. With the obsolescence of the Persian language from the Sub-Continent, the Abyat became an identity for Sultan Bahoo in Indian Sub-continent in particular and throughout the rest of the world in general. These Abyat are read and listened to in shrines of every Sufi order, mosques, Mehfils and madrassas.
It is a very distinct feature of Sultan Bahoo’s teachings that whosoever reads them with devotion and sincerity to attain gnosis and closeness of Allah, Sultan Bahoo guides him to the living Shaikh of Sarwari Qadri order of that age. Nearly in every of his book there is a statement that ‘this book benefits its readers just like a perfect and accomplished spiritual guide. Whosoever reads it with devotion and sincerity will surely gain presence in Mohammadan Assembly and Divine vision.’
Sultan ul Ashiqeen and Teachings of Sultan Bahoo
Sultan Bahoo’s teachings are an ocean of Divine knowledge. He has written them in such a way that even a reader with basic knowledge can read and understand them. However the hidden gems of gnosis of Allah can only be understood when these books are studied under the guidance of the perfect spiritual guide who has treaded the path of Faqr and has passed through all the way stations.
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen is the 31st and present Shaikh of the Sarwari Qadri order. His teachings are a true reflection of Sultan Bahoo’s teachings. Like Sultan Bahoo’s teachings, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s writings are very attractive and fascinating for the readers. It is hard to find an example of the way how Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen has propagated and spread Sultan Bahoo’s teachings. He has authored Shams-ul-Fuqara book that is in short an encyclopaedia of Sultan Bahoo’s teachings. Reading this book alone will provide the reader with all knowledge spread in all of Sultan Bahoo’s books. In addition, he has written book ‘Sultan Bahoo’ capturing a comprehensive biography of Sultan Bahoo.
The way Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen has explained Abyat-e-Bahoo and published that as a book is a marvel in its own right. Furthermore, he has written an easy to understand translation and exegesis of ‘Risala Roohi Sharif’.
A seeker can only succeed on the path of Faqr in company of the perfect and accomplished spiritual guide who has completed this journey himself and knows ups and downs of this path. Only such a spiritual guide (Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen in the present era) can lead his disciples to their destination and save them from the threats and dangers of this way. Tehreek Dawat-e-Faqr invites you to visit Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen and to take oath of allegiance on his sacred hand. He grants his disciples Ism-e-Allah Zaat upon taking oath of allegiance for contemplation and invocation. Only through his company, one can truly understand the teachings of Sultan Bahoo and succeed in achieving the purpose of our lives.
Dr Sehar Hamed Sarwari Qadri wrote the original article in Urdu which appeared in the January 2020 issue of the monthly Sultan-ul-Faqr magazine. Waheed Hassan Sarwari Qadri has translated this into English.