Rumi says:

عشق آں شعلہ است کہ جوں بر فروخت

ہر کہ جز معشوق باشد جملہ سوخت

Explanation: Ishq (ardent love) is like fire, when it flares up within one’s inward, it destroys everything other than the beloved (perfect spiritual guide in this case).

Ishq is an Arabic word that literally means ardent love. It’s such a unique word that it doesn’t have an equivalent synonym or an antonym. It is often assimilated with fire or the oceans to convey the depth of its meaning.  Ardent love is the most dominant and powerful of all the emotions that the human being has been endowed with. Sufis believe, ardent love is a power that enables the man to cut all affiliations with everything in his surrounding and blesses with Oneness with Allah. The Divine Love begins with ardent love with spiritual guide and eventually leads to Allah Almighty.

ہوا جو عشقِ ثنائے ابوترابؓ مجھے

خدا نے کر دیا ذرے سے آفتاب مجھے

Explanation: Ardent love is the ultimate station of love.

Ardent love is the highest level of love. It is ardent love that turned Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and Bilal ibn Rabah from ordinary men to distinguished Companions.

Sultan Bahoo says:

  • “Ardent love is a subtle emotion that comes in the inward from station of no station. It never rests except that it joins the beloved.” (Mohkim-ul-Fuqara)

The eminence and reality of ardent love is such that Sufis have interpreted it with Allah Himself. Sultan Bahoo addresses Allah Almighty as ardent love (Hazrat-e-Ishq) in Risala Roohi Sharif.

Shaykh al-Islam Abdul Qadir Gilani’s conversation with Allah Almighty

Abdul Qadir Gilani narrates in Risala Ghausia: “I saw Allah so I had asked Him, “What is reality of ardent love?” Allah replied, “O Ghaus-al-Azam! Love for me, Love Me and I am ardent love Myself. Distance yourself from everything esoterically and exoterically other than Me. When you have understood the general meaning of love, so it becomes mandatory upon you to annihilate your innerself in essence of ardent love because merely the emotion of ardent love is veil between the lover and the beloved. Hence save yourself from everything other than Allah as it is a veil between the lover and the Beloved.”

عاشقاں ہِکّو وُضو جو کیتا، روز قیامت تائیں ھُو

وِچ نماز رکوع سجودے، رہندے سنج صباحیں ھُو

اَیتھے اوتھے دوہیں جہانیں، سبھ فقر دِیاں جائیں ھُو

عرش کولوں سَے منزل اَگے باھوؒ ، پَیا کَم تنہائیں ھُو

Explanation: The ardent lovers of Allah have made ablution of ardent love from the day of Divine covenant to the Day of Judgement. They are in eternal state of rukū (bowing) and sujud (prostration) in the court of Allah. True dignity and esteem are only for Faqr in both the worlds. Hence the station of ardent lovers of Allah is far beyond the throne of Allah (al-‘Arsh). (Abyat-e-Bahoo Kamil)

It is those Fakirs who have reached the exalted station of annihilation and immortality with Allah who are the true perfect spiritual guides and a medium to gain gnosis of “Hoo” for the seekers of Allah.

وہ جو لباسِ بشر میں دکھائی دیتا ہے

وہی دل میں نظر آئے تو مثل ھُو آئے

Explanation: Exoterically the spiritual guide is like a human being but in one’s inward, he manifests himself as Hoo.

Love of Spiritual Guide Is a Stepping Stone to

Love of Allah Almighty

This is the basis for assimilating the love of spiritual guide with ardent love in Sufism and Faqr. The ardent love of Allah is not possible without ardent love of spiritual guide. Rumi says: “If you are bestowed with the love of your spiritual guide, regard this as your fortuity because this is a stepping stone to reaching Allah”.

It is the ardent love of spiritual guide that eventually leads the seeker to the Divine vision. Love of spiritual guide is the path in Faqr that only has one destination – Allah Himself. Rumi’s spiritual guide Shams-i-Tabrīzī says:

عشق معراج است سوئے بام سلطانِ ازل

از رخِ عاشق فرد خواں قصہ معراج را

Explanation: Ardent love in fact is Miraj and is the path that leads to Allah. If you want to know the reality of Miraj then find a spiritual guide who knows the path to Allah as his countenance itself is Miraj.

Who soever reached Allah, only reached Him by means of ardent love with spiritual guide who is the absolute light of guidance. Perfect spiritual guides are vicegerent of the Holy Prophet and heir to Mohammadan Faqr. They are there to guide seekers of Allah in the path of Allah. When a seeker of Allah truly loves such spiritual guide, it makes the path to reaching Allah very easy.

Bulleh Shah has put this beautifully:

ے چر نہ عشقِ مجازی لاگے

سوئی سیوے نہ بن دھاگے

عشقِ مجازی داتا ہے

جس پچھے مست ہو جاتا ہے

Explanation: If ardent love of spiritual guide didn’t exist, the man could never reach Allah. Like a needle cannot sew without the thread, similarly without love of spiritual guide it is not possible to reach Allah. It is a great blessing which engrosses the seeker in Divine vision.

Love of Spiritual Guide Enlivens Seekers Inward

Ardent love with spiritual guide is what annihilates the seeker’s innerself and not only enables the seeker to gain presence in the Mohammadan Assembly but also eventually leads to union with Allah.

There are certain prerequisites that determine whether the seeker genuinely loves his/her spiritual guide. A true lover doesn’t hesitate from sacrificing everything that he has even his own life for his spiritual guide. He becomes oblivious to everything that belongs to him or around him, his only focus becomes his beloved – spiritual guide. True lovers in the path of Allah are not afraid of hell or have any interest in being rewarded with paradise. Their sight is focused on one point and that is the spiritual guide.

 ایہہ نکتہ جداں کیتا پختہ، تاں ظاہر آکھ سنایا ھُو

میں تاں بُھلی ویندی ساں باھوؒ ، مینوں مرشد راہ وکھایا ھُو

Explanation: I was focusing on meditation and prayer but the path to Divine vision is a completely different one. My beloved spiritual guide has guided me and taught me the reality of Divine love. Since I understood this point, I have found Divine vision.

True seeker loves his spiritual guide so ardently that this saying fits well on him “My flesh is your flesh and my blood is your blood”. He demonstrates utmost humility and devotion for his spiritual guide and sacrifices everything in his spiritual guide’s love.

Love of Spiritual Guide in the eyes of Rumi:

Explanation: “Present yourself in front of your spiritual guide as clay so that he can turn you into gold.”

Sultan Bahoo says:

  • If the seeker is genuine in his love and the spiritual guide is perfect, then their combination works very well. All the stations of ardent love, from the beginning to the end can be achieved within a moment. Only a spiritual guide who himself has traversed through the path of ardent love can guide his disciples through to the destination. A perfect spiritual guide is the one who has passed through all the stations in ardent love and finally has attained the ultimate station of annihilation and immortality with Allah where he is always immersed in Divine vision.

As one poet has put it:

اللہ اللہ کرنے سے اللہ نہیں ملتا

یہ اللہ والے ہیں جو اللہ سے ملادیتے ہیں

Explanation: It is not possible to reach Allah by just calling Allah. It is the Saints of Allah who guide one to the path of union with Allah.

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen and Ardent Love of Spiritual Guide

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen fully met each and every criterion in the path of ardent love, be it love of Allah, love of Holy Prophet or love of his spiritual guide. His whole life has been dominated with love of Allah. From a very young age, he was attracted to the teachings of Islam and performing all the rituals, his lack of affection with worldly affairs is a sign of ardent love. During his youth, he turned himself away from the limelight of worldly affairs and instead dedicated himself to supererogatory prayer and invocation. The excess of invocations created knots on his blessed fingers. Because of chaplet, these prayers provided tranquillity of inward on one hand but at the same time further increased the longing in the love of Allah. As a result, he cut himself completely from worldly affairs and dedicated his life in the path of Allah.

Love of Allah and Holy Prophet are interlinked and imperative. The below quatrain provides a glimpse into the intensity of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s love with Holy Prophet.

جنت سے اعلیٰ اور ہر لمحہ انوار کی برسات ہے حضورؐ کی قبرِ انور پر

رحمت کا نزول اور ملائکہ کا درود و سلام ہے حضورؐ کی قبرِ انور پر

نجیبؔ جیسا عاصی و خطا کار نہیں ہے حضورؐ اس زمانے میں

بس ہے یہ التجا کہ سر رکھوں قدموں میں اور جاں نکلے حضورؐ کی قبرِ انور پر

Explanation: The Holy Prophet’s grave is far better place than the heavens as it is always showered with Divine light. It is always showered with Allah’s blessings and angels offer salutations. O Holy Prophet, Najib requests to lay down his life on your enlightened tomb while bowing head in your feet.

 

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s Ardent Love with His Spiritual Guide

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen loved his spiritual guide Sultan-ul-Faqr VI, Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali so ardently that he had forgotten his own self. He forgot his friends, relatives and even stopped caring about his dress and subsistence. Every desire and wish vanished other than to seek pleasure, comfort and vision of his spiritual guide. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen left no stone unturned in seeking the pleasure of his spiritual guide. He accepted and fulfilled every duty with utmost integrity.

He personally took on the responsibility of providing all items of everyday use for his spiritual guide i.e. seasonal clothing, shoes, medications and other items of personal use. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen gifted 6 acres of land to his spiritual guide for the construction of shrine and also presented him an expensive car to make it easy and comfortable when travelling for preaching tours. Once Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen went to see his spiritual guide during summer, he saw that Sultan-ul-Faqr was drenched in sweat due to hot temperatures. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen returned to Lahore, bought an air-conditioner and got that installed in his spiritual guide’s room for his comfort.

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s Sacrifices for His Spiritual Guide

In 2001 when Sultan-ul-Faqr VI said to Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen that “It is very important for me and you to perform Hajj this year”. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen sold his own car to make arrangements for Hajj as he had already spent all his savings in the path of Allah. Sultan-ul-Faqr VI once said about Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen, “Najib bhai has submitted his will in front of his beloved”. In addition to this, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen took on lots of responsibilities i.e. makings arrangements and financially contributing to Mawlid (Milad) and other events, buying Sultan-ul-Faqr VI’s personal use items such as perfumes, medications, hospital bills, items for the shrine etc. Even he took on the responsibility to provide necessities for Sultan-ul-Faqr VI’s horses.

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen continued fulfilling all these duties till Sultan-ul-Faqr VI left this mortal world. He endured all sorts of hardships whilst fulfilling these duties but never let these become a hindrance in showing his love for his spiritual guide. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen has truly testified Sultan Bahoo’s below words:

ثابت عشق تنہاں نوں لدَّھا، جِنہاں تَرَٹی چَوڑ چا کیتی ھُو

نہ اوہ صوفی نہ اوہ صافی، نہ سجدہ کرن مسیتی ھُو

Explanation: Only those who sacrifice everything in the path of Allah, find reality of ardent love. And those who are when acquainted with ardent love never look back. Allah’s lovers are neither Sufi nor purified ones and nor they keep themselves busy praying in mosques. In fact, they are absorbed in the love of Allah and thus, always in the state of Divine vision. (Abyat-e-Bahoo Kamil)

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen not only sacrificed everything he had financially for his spiritual guide but also dedicated all his life to serve and seek pleasure of his spiritual guide.

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s Efforts

to Spread the Beneficence of Ism-e-Allah Zaat

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen fully supported his spiritual guide in spreading the beneficence of Ism-e-Allah Zaat (the personal name of Allah). He also worked very hard for preaching and propagation of teachings of Faqr. He travelled across the country many times to find the seekers of Allah and also turned the seekers of this world and hereafter towards Faqr. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen worked very hard to discharge his duties successfully when his spiritual guide handed over the responsibility for the publication of Mirat-ul-Arifeen magazine.

He had to face severe criticism and resistance from his adversaries but he tolerated it all wisely and amiably for the sake of gaining pleasure of his spiritual guide and had never shied away from fulfilling his duties. Through his ardent love with his spiritual guide, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen attained the exalted station of annihilation in the spiritual guide. He adopted every of his spiritual guide’s attributes and completely negated his own self. True lover is the one who assimilates beloved’s every attribute such that his own self becomes non-existent.

Bulleh Shah says:

بلھے شاہؒ دی ذات نہ کائی

میں شوہ عنایتؒ پایا اے

Explanation: Bulleh Shah has lost his own existence. I have completely annihilated in my spiritual guide Shah Inayat. Now my spiritual guide is my existence.

Whilst describing this fact, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen says:

نجیبؔ نہ رہا باقی، یار کی ذات میں فنا ہو گیا

اپنے غیر سمجھ نہ سکے، کہتے ہیں کہ کیا سے کیا ہو گیا

سنو! نجیب تو کب کا مر چکا اے دوستو

یار سے جب یار مِلا، میں میں نہ رہا وہ ہو گیا

Explanation: Najib has annihilated in his Beloved and thus, lost his own self. However, people could not understand what happened to him and how he has totally changed. Listen friends! In fact, Najib does not exist anymore. When I became spiritually one with my Beloved, then my being became His incarnation.

So, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen attained the stations of annihilation in Prophet Mohammad and highest of all stations in Faqr, annihilation and immortality with Allah only through his ardent and unwavering love.

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s Trials and Struggles

As Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen had been chosen to be the heir to the Trust of Allah since the day of Divine covenant, therefore he went through countless exoteric and esoteric trials. Our beloved spiritual guide says about these esoteric trials: “The esoteric trials I went through, had they been put to the mountains, they would have shattered into pieces”.

Sultan Bahoo says:

جے توں چاہیں وحدت ربّ دِی، مَل مُرشد دیاں تلیاں ھُو

مرشد لطفوں کرے نظارہ، گل تھیون سبھ کلیاں ھُو

انہاں گُلاں وچوں ہِک لالہ ہو سی، گُل نازک گُل پھلیاں ھُو

دوہیں جہانیں مُٹھے باھو،ؒ جِنہاں سنگ کیتا دو ڈلیاں ھُو

Explanation: Here Sultan Bahoo inculcates the seekers of Allah that if they want to achieve the station of annihilation and immortality with Allah, they must follow their spiritual guide inwardly and outwardly. When perfect spiritual guide looks towards the seekers’ inwards with his spiritual attention, it turns the buds into fully blossomed flowers i.e. they will attain perfection and they will be filled with the fragrance of oneness of Allah.

Sultan Bahoo is trying to convey that amongst the seekers of Allah there is one seeker who becomes a clone of his spiritual guide. In other words, it is like the spiritual guide appears in that seekers being. That seeker is different from all his fellow seekers and his status is higher than them all i.e. he is the true vicegerent and successor of the spiritual guide. The hadith مَنْ سَلَکَ عَلیٰ طَرِیْقِیْ فَھُوَ اٰلِیْ (Explanation: He, who followed my footsteps is indeed part of my family) is pointing to this fact. In the last verse Sultan Bahoo says that whosoever tried to gain gnosis of Allah from two different spiritual guides, that person will indeed be amongst the losers both in this world and hereafter. (Abyat-e-Bahoo Kamil)

Spiritual Vicegerent of Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen gained the status of vicegerent and spiritual successor of Sultan-ul-Faqr VI, Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali through his ardent love with his spiritual guide. Sultan-ul-Faqr VI once said about Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen: “I am the title of Faqr and you will be the exegesis of Faqr”. There has not been a tiny bit of reduction in Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s love for his spiritual guide. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen frequently mentions his spiritual guide during everyday conversations that indicates his ardent love with his spiritual guide. He passionately organises and celebrates the birth and death anniversary of Sultan-ul-Faqr VI every year. When inculcating his disciples, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen frequently quotes sayings of spiritual guide and narrates the events from the time spent with him. He was bestowed with the title of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen because of his ardent Divine love and love of his spiritual guide.

It is impossible to find an example of the way Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen understood and practically demonstrated the Divine love and love of spiritual guide. He expresses the ardent Divine love in the below verses in such a beautiful way that even the seeker of this material world turns to Divine love.

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen says:

عشق کی ابتدا ہے دیدار و صحبت یار کی

عشق کا حاصل ہے محبت یار کی

عشق کی حقیقت، عشق ہے بس عشق

عشق کی انتہا ہے ذات یار کی

Explanation: To tell the truth, the beginning of Divine love is the vision and company of the Divine Beloved. Consequently, the reward of Divine love is the love returned by the Beloved. The reality of Divine love cannot be explained in words, in fact, it is just ‘The Divine love’. Furthermore, the extreme and ultimate level of Divine love is to annihilate oneself and eventually become One with the Beloved.

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s sayings about Ardent Divine Love

  • The origin of universe is the eternal Divine love and the creation of man is for its sake. When the souls were created from the light of Prophet Mohammad, the exclusive essence of the Divine love was inherited by the human souls from the Holy Prophet. The passion of Divine love must arouse in the heart of the seeker of Allah for the Divine vision.

In fact, the relation of the soul and Allah is that of the ardent Divine love. Without it, neither the soul is awakened nor, can it find the vision of Allah. It is present in the form of a seed within the human being but is dormant. As soon as it starts to awake in the soul by the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat, inscribing Allah’s name on body and by the attention of the perfect spiritual guide, the passion and attraction for Allah start increasing.

  • The Divine lovers are addressed in a unique manner in the court of Allah which is entirely different from the so-called religious scholars because the matter of Divine lovers is extremely special.
  • The greatest lover of Allah is the one who is unidentifiable as the Divine lover by the world (during lifetime). As is said by Allah Almighty, “Some of My friends are concealed. No one knows them besides Me.” Although, Allah can make any one of them popular for betterment of the humanity.
  • An ardent lover of Allah never reveals his pain whatsoever, instead he is always cheerful. He hides his worldly and spiritual ordeals from the world and does not mention them even before Allah. He always remains in a state of contentment.
  • When the intensity of Divine love reaches its peak then it begins to decline and transforms into the inner tranquility. That is to say, at the extreme level of this ardent love, Divine vision and union is achieved which results in tranquility for the lover. Although, there are some Divine lovers who do not find peace at any level, there plea of ھَلْ مِنْ مَّزِیْد meaning: “Is there any more?” continues their journey from tranquility to anxiousness. This way, they complete another level of Divine union and find peace. Then, they become anxious again, lavish their souls with Divine union and become restless again and the cycle continues. At last, they become beloved from the lover.
  • The lover of Allah is not afraid of the burning flames of hell because he has spent his entire life in the flames of passionate Divine love, which are more intense. After continuously burning in the blazing flames of love, the lover himself has become fire. One sigh of the lover can extinguish the fire of hell.
  • The way of Divine love distinguishes the genuine from the fraudulent ones.
  • The Divine love is not merely a verbal claim, rather it is a mental state in which the lover is ready to proffer everything he owns for the Beloved.
  • The faith cannot be accomplished without Divine love.
  • The actual trial of lovers is taken during the Divine wrath, as Divine beauty is adored by everyone. The worshipers of the inciting innerself part themselves upon seeing His wrath and run away. While, in the true lovers it intensifies the anxiousness to meet the Beloved and they run towards Him more endearingly.
  • Divine love is painful. That is why, the lover is called sorrowful.
  • A person cannot fall in the ardent love for another person. One who claims so is a liar, because Allah Himself is the ardent love and one can feel this passion only for Allah.
  • The absolute eternal love for Allah is the only confirmation of success in His court.
  • The ardent Divine love leads to the observation of Divinity and possesses the Essence of true mystic knowledge, but intellect has access to the superficial knowledge only.
  • When the seeker of Allah crosses the limit of knowledge and intellect and enters the premises of Divine love, then the power of love helps him surpass all the spiritual stations and takes him to the station beyond the boundaries of time and space.
  • The compassionate Divine love diminishes seeker’s objections in the way of Faqr and enlightens his inward which leads to the recognition of ‘Fakir annihilated in Allah’ (the Universal Divine Man).
  • It is better to enlighten the inward with the flame of Divine love. This fire burns all kinds of doubts and disbeliefs and helps in attaining the absolute faith.
  • The Divine lover follows the footsteps of the Beloved and never disobeys Him. His inward is replete with good wishes for the Beloved.
  • People are afraid of the subsidiary troubles while the Divine lovers happily deal with enormous ordeals of the way that leads to Allah. They are fully aware of the disruptions in the way, still they untie their boat from the dock and venture through the stormy waves with steadfastness in their journey towards Allah.

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen is the 31st

and Current Shaikh of Sarwari Qadri Order

Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman is the 31st perfect Shaikh of the Sarwari Qadri order.  He is on the footsteps of Prophet Mohammad. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen is the centre of Faqr in this era. All eminent Fakirs have declared it obligatory for the seekers to search for the Imam (perfect spiritual guide) of the era to reach to Allah through him. As Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen is the imam of his era, without recognising his esoteric personality and ardently loving him, it is not possible for the seekers to reach Allah Almighty.

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s personality is like a sea of ardent love, the seekers of Allah who even get a single drop from this sea can cover all the stations to promote from Lover to Beloved. In today’s materialistic era, only Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen is the true medium of realising pure ardent Divine love through love of spiritual guide. He is benefiting his true devotees with the beneficence of his ardent love.

ذکر تصور اسمِ اللہ دا‘ جو ہادی تیرے توں پائے

ھُو دے تصور وچ رہے ہمیشہ‘ ذاتی اسم کمائے

مشق مرقومِ وجودیہ دے نال اوہ اپنے تن نوں پاک کرائے

سلطان نجیب صادقاں عاشقاں نوں‘ اللہ دے نال ملائے

Explanation: Whosoever obtains the permission for invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat (the personal name of Allah) from Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen. He attains and remains in the vision of Hoo. The practice of inscribing the personal name of Allah cleanses his physical being. Sultan Mohammad Najib blesses true seekers with union with Allah Almighty.