The Status of Sultan ul Faqr
In Light of Teachings of Sultan Bahoo
Sultan ul Arifeen Sultan Bahoo is stationed at the extremely exalted spiritual status of ‘Sultan ul Faqr’. He says in Risala Roohi Sharif:
Know! When the Divine light of Ahad (The One) coming out of His isolated Oneness, intended to manifest Himself in multiplicity, He graced (all the worlds) with the splendid disclosure of His Pure Divine beauty. Both the realms started burning like a moth on the candle of His blazing beauty. Then, the light of Ahad concealed in the veil of ‘M’ of Ahmad and manifested Himself as Ahmad. He then shook Himself seven times due to the abundance of Divine passion and will, with that seven purgated souls of Fakirs, annihilated in Allah, immortal with Allah, absorbed in Divine Vision, all core without any flesh or body, drowned in the unfathomed ocean of Divine beauty appeared on the eternal tree of pure transparent belief, seventy thousand years before the birth of Adam.
Neither did they see anything except the Divine Essence since pre-existence till eternity, nor did they hear anyone other than Allah. They ever remained like an ocean of union in Divine sanctuary which has no decline. At times, they endeavour for sanctity and transcendence with their body of light. Sometimes they are a drop in the ocean and sometimes the ocean in a drop. They are blessed with the cover of beneficence of, “When Faqr is accomplished that is Allah.” Hence, they have got an eternal life and are honoured and exalted with the crown of, “Faqr demands nothing from Allah or anyone other than Allah.” Neither they are aware of the birth of Adam nor about the occurrence of the doomsday. They have their feet on the heads of all the Saints, Ghawth and Qutb.
Sultan ul Faqr Resides in Divine Sanctuary
It is absolutely correct to call them god, and if you call them men of God, that is fine too. Only those who recognise them know this secret. Their station is the Divine sanctuary of the Magnificent. They never asked Allah for anything except Allah Himself. They never paid heed to the petty world, the blessings of the hereafter or the houris and castles of the heaven. The single Divine theophany that perplexed Prophet Moses and crushed Mount Sinai into pieces, the same theophany of Divine Passion and light of the Essence descend on them seventy thousand times every moment, yet they do not object or lament. Rather they say, “Is there any more?” They are the Sultan ul Faqr (King of Faqr) and lord of all the worlds.
These sacred souls are seven. Revealing their names, Sultan Bahoo says:
One of them is the sacred soul of the queen of the doomsday (Fatimah bint Mohammad razi Allahu Anha). Second is the sacred soul of Hasan of Basra. Third is the sacred soul of our spiritual guide, the reality of Truth, absolute light, exact manifestation of Truth and beloved of Allah, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. Fourth is the sacred soul of the Sultan of Divine lights and the secret of eternal Divine Self, Shaikh Sayyid Pir Abdul Razzaq Jilani, who is the son of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. Fifth is the soul of the eye of Hoo, the secret of secrets of Divine Essence, annihilated in Hoo, Fakir Bahoo. Two among them are the souls of other Saints. The stability of both the worlds owes to their favour.
Stability of the Universes Owes to Sultan ul Faqr Souls
Until and unless these two souls manifest in the world of diversity, coming out of the abode of Oneness, the doomsday would not occur. Their sight is absolute Divine light of Unity and the alchemy of honour. On whomsoever the reflection of their hidden reality is cast, his whole being is transformed into absolute light. They do not need to engage their disciples in the struggle of apparent daily recitals and mystic exercises.
The Reality of Sultan ul Faqr
Whilst explaining the reality of Sultan ul Faqr, Sultan Bahoo says:
Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) met Sultan ul Faqr on the night of Miraj in the court of Allah. He embraced it and as a result the whole being of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) turned into Faqr. (Jamia ul Asrar)
On the night of Miraj, the Prophet (pbuh) mounted al-Buraq (heavenly steed) and the Archangel Gabriel escorted him. He decorated the whole universe and eighteen thousand realms and presented them before him. In spite of all the aforementioned arrangements, the Prophet remained engrossed in beholding Allah, nothing drew his attention away. Hence Allah said:
مَا زَاغَ الْبَصَرُ وَمَا طَغَى
Meaning: His eye neither inclined aside nor overstepped the limit. (53: 17)
Allah Conferred the Status Sultan ul Faqr Upon Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)
The same situation was maintained throughout the higher and lower stations. That is why he reached the station of extreme nearness to Allah (qab qausain) and there only remained a thin veil like the membrane of an onion between the two. When the beloved came absolutely nearest there was the Divine call, “O My beloved! I sacrificed both the worlds upon you and let you have the view of the eighteen thousand worlds of both the realms. What in these worlds do you like the most that I may grant you?” The Holy Prophet replied, “O Allah! Confer Faqr upon me because nothing has such nearness and annihilation in You as Faqr has and such a closeness cannot be attained through anything else.” This very Faqr is Sultan-ul-Faqr. The person who beholds Faqr exoterically and esoterically becomes a man of Divine command and the Mohammadan Reality dominates him…..
Allah said, “O Mohammad! I conferred the status of Sultan-ul-Faqr upon you and the People of Cloak as well as upon the Fakirs and the pure and pious followers of your umma.” The Holy Prophet thanked Allah thousand times. (Jamia-ul-Asrar)
The Grandeur of Sultan ul Faqr
Whilst describing the grandeur and glory of Sultan-ul-Faqr, Sultan Bahoo says in his Persian writings:
- The Divine light of Sultan-ul-Faqr is brighter than the sun and its scent is more fragrant than the scent of rose and ambergris. Whoever has the privilege to behold Sultan-ul-Faqr in dream, becomes independent of all desires. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) takes oath of allegiance from him and guides and educates him esoterically. My words are according to my experience. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
- Only one out of thousands acquires the real gnosis of Sultan-ul-Faqr by attaining the union of exact Divine beauty being blessed with the highest levels of Faqr and witnessing it personally. Mostly people just guise themselves as the people of Faqr. Only one in thousands truly accomplishes in Faqr. What exactly is Faqr? Faqr is the Divine light whose name is Sultan-ul-Faqr that is always desirable in the court of Allah and favoured by Him. (Ameer-ul-Kaunain)
- Only he is blessed with the company of Khidr who meets the spiritual Khidr. Sultan-ul-Faqr is the real spiritual Khidr. One who meets him forgets the superficial knowledge because the theophany of esoteric knowledge, the light of gnosis and Oneness of Allah fill his spiritual self to such an extent that he ever remains engrossed in the Divine presence of nearness and union. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
Faqr is an Ocean of Divine Oneness
- Only that person is familiar with the stations of Faqr who has approached Faqr, relished Faqr and has adopted it as well as seen Sultan-ul-Faqr with his own eyes. (Asrar-e-Qadri)
- When the seeker surpasses the stations of destiny and submission and becomes attentive towards the vision and Oneness of Allah, a form of Divine light appears before him from the Divine closeness which is radiant and more beautiful than the houris and castles of the paradise. It is the countenance of Sultan-ul-Faqr that grants gnosis and Divine vision to the lover. It embraces the vigilant lover, hence he gets liberated from all the worries of world and hereafter and becomes independent of all desires. (Nur-ul-Huda Kalan)
- One cannot achieve the levels of Faqr unless Sultan-ul-Faqr who is the unique manifestation of Divine secrets embraces him esoterically and graces with sight of his countenance, mystical knowledge and persuasion. Even if a person exhausts himself with mystic struggles, he cannot sense Faqr as long as Sultan-ul-Faqr does not allow him because the esoteric form of Sultan-ul-Faqr ever remains present in Mohammadan Assembly. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
- The company of Sultan-ul-Faqr is actually the ocean of Divine Oneness. Whoever reaches the bank of this ocean becomes a man of Divine closeness. (Mohkim-ul-Fuqara)
- You must know that the origin of Sultan-ul-Faqr souls is the non-creation light of faith while their ultimacy is the non-creation Divine light of the Compassionate (Rahman). (Qurb-e-Deedar)
Clarification of a Misconception
People usually raise an objection that in Risala Roohi Sharif among all the Saints of the world only seven sacred souls are honoured with the glorious title of Sultan-ul-Faqr and the leader of the worlds (Sayyid-ul-Kaunain). Why the sacred Companions, Hasan ibn Ali, Husayn ibn Ali, Imams, religious leaders and other Saints have not been included among them?
Let us try to answer this objection rationally and logically. There are several fields of knowledge and skill that have no comparison to each other. For example, someone may be an expert in Economics and Accounting whereas the other has the knack in Physics, Chemistry or Biology. Some have perfection in cricket or hockey and the others are experts in journalism, calligraphy etc. This means, in every field, there are specialists and the men of perfection and every man possesses a particular skill. Thus, there is no comparison or competition among experts of different skills. For instance, one cannot compare a doctor to a professional sportsperson.
Similarly, in the spiritual world there are many fields and different kinds of ranks, perfections and marvels. Some Mystics are famous for truth, some for gratitude, some for their justice and self-accountability. Others are famous for their modesty and self-honour; worship and adoration; patience and renunciation; ascetic discipline and mystic practices, and some for beneficence and generosity. Hence among the Prophets, Jesus Christ was best known for devotions, Prophet David was superior as a slave of Allah and Prophet Job was the most patient. It means every Prophet was a person of perfection in a particular esoteric quality and rank.
Sultan Bahoo Describes the Grandeur of Faqr
Faqr is a special spiritual rank and a marvel. In comparison to it, there is neither any marvel nor any rank. Allah granted this Divine treasure exclusively and perfectly to our lord Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) among all the other Prophets. Regarding Faqr, neither any Prophet nor any Messenger of Allah is a peer in status to the Holy Prophet. That is why he expressed his pride in Faqr. Due to it, he is exalted, distinguished and eminent among all the Prophets and Messengers. It is worth considering that he was perfect in all the physical and spiritual marvels. Yet, he was neither proud of his bravery, generosity, piety, patience, renunciation, trust in Allah nor of his eloquence but he expressed pride only in Faqr. It means that Faqr is his asset and legacy.
In short, there are countless spiritual stations and ranks like truthfulness, loyalty, justice, accountability of innerself, modesty, companionship, leadership, martyrdom, fiqh, exegesis, sainthood, levels of al-Ghawth and al-Qutb, piety, patience, gratitude, submission, fear of Allah, optimism, generosity, kindness, knowledge, bravery, affection etc. However Faqr is the most superior and elevated status. Rather, it should be said that Faqr encompasses all of them or to say, it is the fount of all these virtuous attributes.
Answering Common Objections
Given below is the debate on the objections relating to the status of Sultan-ul-Faqr raised by some ignorant people who have no spiritual insight. They object that:
- Among these seven sacred personalities, the gateway to Faqr (Bab-e-Faqr) and the leader of Faqr Ali ibn Abi Talib is not included who is the leader of the Qadri, Chishti and Suhrawardi chains and these chains connect to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) through him.
- Has Faqr not been transferred to the leader of the truthful, Abu Bakr Siddiq? He is Holy Prophet’s friend of the cave and through him the Naqshbandi chain reaches the Holy Prophet.
- Has it not been transferred to the other two pious Caliphs, Umar ibn Khattab and Usman ibn Affan?
- Did the Holy Prophet (pbuh) not bestow the legacy of Faqr upon the leaders of the lovers of Allah, Husayn ibn Ali and Hasan ibn Ali?
- Has Faqr not been granted to other Companions of the Holy Prophet who are the most exalted persons of the umma?
- Have all the interpreters of sharia and other Saints not been endowed with Faqr?
Faqr and the Rashidun Caliphs
Sultan ul Arifeen Sultan Bahoo himself has answered these objections in his writings. He states that there are four spiritual leaders:
صدیقؓ صدق و عدل عمرؓ و پُر حیا عثمانؓ بود
گوئی فقرش از پیغمبرؐ شاہِ مردانؓ می ربود
Explanation: From the Holy Prophet, Abu Bakr Siddiq got the attribute of truthfulness, Umar ibn Khattab got justice, Usman ibn Affan got modesty and Ali ibn Abi Talib received Faqr. (Ain-ul-Faqr, Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
He further says:
The seeker must recognise the four spiritual leaders. Leader of the truthful is Abu Bakr Siddiq, leader of the just people is Umar ibn Khattab, leader of the modest people is Usman ibn Affan and the leader of Fakirs is Ali ibn Abi Talib. (Jamia-ul-Asrar)
Sultan Bahoo states in these extracts that the asset and legacy of the Holy Prophet ‘Faqr’ was transferred to Ali ibn Abi Talib. He is the gateway to Faqr (Bab-e-Faqr) and the one who transfers Faqr. Moreover, Abu Bakr Siddiq, Umar ibn Khattab and Usman ibn Affan received the highest levels of truthfulness, justice and modesty, respectively. Therefore, there is no need to pay any heed to such objections.
Sultan Bahoo Describes Attributes of Seeker
Sultan Bahoo says that the seeker of Allah should be like Abu Bakr Siddiq in truthfulness. In justice and accountability of the innerself he should follow Umar ibn Khattab. In modesty, he should follow the footsteps of Usman ibn Affan and as regards Faqr, he should be like Ali ibn Abi Talib. Until one equally acquires these four levels, he cannot gain perfection in Faqr. Sultan Bahoo calls them four leaders because Faqr is accomplished esoterically by their spiritual attention. Yet the gateway to Faqr is only Ali ibn Abi Talib. The meaning of spiritual attention of four leaders is clarified in the following incident of the oath of allegiance of Sultan Bahoo:
Once he was standing in the suburbs of Shorkot. Suddenly, an exalted horse rider appeared with the refulgence of Divine light who held his hand and mounted him behind his back. Sultan Bahoo was afraid and shivering. He asked, “Who are you?” The eminent rider blessed Bahoo with his spiritual attention and revealed, “I am Ali ibn Abi Talib.” Then Sultan Bahoo asked, “Where are you taking me?” Ali replied, “I am taking you to the Mohammadan Assembly according to the Holy Prophet’s command.”
The next moment, Sultan Bahoo found himself in the Mohammadan Assembly. At that time Abu Bakr Siddiq, Umar ibn Khattab and Usman ibn Affan were also present in the company of the People of Cloak. First of all, Abu Bakr Siddiq met Sultan Bahoo and left the celestial assembly after paying his spiritual attention. Afterwards Umar and Usman met him one by one, blessed with their spiritual attention and left the assembly. Only the People of Cloak stayed there.
Sultan Bahoo Pledged Allegiance Directly to Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)
Sultan Bahoo further recounts, “It seemed from the sacred face of Ali that the lord of universe, the Holy Prophet will assign my oath taking to Ali as he was my very first source and accomplished guide on the path of Faqr but he remained silent. After a moment Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) raised his both hands towards me and ordered, “Hold my hands.” Then I pledged allegiance to him and he blessed me with Divine persuasion. He instructed me to recite shahada. When I recited it, at once there remained no veils of ranks and stations. The pre-existence and the eternity became one for me.
After I was honoured by the persuasion of the Holy Prophet, the queen of paradise Fatimah-tuz-Zahra said to me, ‘You are my spiritual son.’ Then I kissed the feet of sacred leaders Hasan and Husayn ibn Ali and entered the circle of their slavery.” (Manaqib-e-Sultani)
After reading this extract of Sultan Bahoo the objection that the four Rashidun Caliphs are not mentioned at the status of Sultan-ul-Faqr should vanish. It must also be understood that Faqr is not accomplished without the attention of the four spiritual leaders Abu Bakr Siddiq, Umar, Usman and Ali.
Faqr and the People of Cloak (Ahl Al-Bayt)
Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi (Mujaddid Alif Sani) says:
There are two ways of union with Allah. One of them is the way of Prophethood. Through this way, only the Prophets are connected and unified with Allah and this way ceased on Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
The second way is that of sainthood. The people of this way connect to Allah through a mediator. This group consists of the Sufi hierarchy of the Qutb, Autad, Abdal, Nujaba (the nobles) and common Saints. The mediator and the main source of this way is Ali ibn Abi Talib. This way of union with Allah is all about the grand status of Ali ibn Abi Talib. At this station he exercises the authority granted to him by Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). Fatimah-tuz-Zahra, Hasan and Husayn ibn Ali also share this status with Ali. (Letter no.123 written to Noor Mohammad Tehari)
Sultan Bahoo describes this fact in these words:
Ali ibn Abi Talib received Faqr from the Holy Prophet. (Ain-ul-Faqr, Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
The spiritual leader of Fakirs is Ali. (Jamia-ul-Asrar)
The queen of the universe Fatimah-tuz-Zahra has already been discussed as Sultan-ul-Faqr. Sultan Bahoo says in Jamia-ul-Asrar:
Fatimah bint Mohammad was brought up in Faqr, nourished by Faqr and possessed Faqr. Whoever attains Faqr, it is only through her mediation.
He says about Hasan and Husayn ibn Ali:
Status of Hassan and Husayn ibn Ali in Faqr
The perfection in ‘Faqr is my pride’ was possessed by the sacred brothers Hasan and Husayn who are the beloveds of the Holy Prophet and Fatimah-tuz-Zahra. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
The aforementioned extracts clarify that as regards the final status of perfection in Faqr which is annihilation in Allah and immortality with Him, these four sacred personalities Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn cannot be differentiated from each other. They are one, same and unified as all of them are annihilated in the Oneness of Allah so they have become one. As long as the seeker of Allah does not have the same perception about the status of these four personalities, he can never find even the fragrance of Faqr.
Faqr and the Companions
Did all the Companions receive the blessing of Faqr? Answering this question Sultan Bahoo says:
Remember! After the Companions, the blessing and treasure of Faqr is granted to two personalities: the first one is Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani and the second is Abu Hanifa, the Sufi who relinquished the world. He never ever missed his prayers or fasts for seventy years. Same perfection (in Faqr is my pride) was received by the Saint Rabia of Basra. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
In this extract the words ‘after the Companions’ clarify the fact that they all received the blessing of Faqr according to their levels respectively. Afterwards this blessing was conferred upon Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Abu Hanifa and Rabia of Basra. Now the objection whether the Companions, Saints or religious jurists were blessed with Faqr or not is answered through this extract of Sultan Bahoo.
Among the daughters of the Holy Prophet Fatimah-tuz-Zahra is distinguished due to her Faqr. She inherited the true asset of Mohammadan Faqr from the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Due to this inheritance her sacred children became progeny of the Prophet. She became the first Sultan-ul-Faqr so that her excellence can be known to people. Otherwise she did not have to physically perform the duty of Divine guidance and persuasion. Ali ibn Abi Talib is the gateway to Faqr because the heritage of Faqr transferred to umma through him from the Holy Prophet. Second Sultan-ul-Faqr is Hasan of Basra.
When Ali transferred the Trust of Faqr to him, it was proved that the treasure of Faqr is not like a worldly inheritance which is transferred to one’s children only, otherwise Hasan and Husayn are at the perfection of Faqr and the second Sultan-ul-Faqr Shaikh Hasan of Basra and the fifth Sultan-ul-Faqr Sultan Bahoo are proud of their slavery.
Prophet Mohammad Transferred Faqr to his Umma
In short, Allah conferred the greatest blessing of Faqr upon the Holy Prophet at the night of Miraj. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) granted this blessing to the glorious queen of paradise, Fatimah-tuz-Zahra. And he conferred the robe of Faqr to Ali ibn Abi Talib. Faqr transferred to Mohammadan umma only through Ali. Then Hasan ibn Ali, Husayn ibn Ali and the Companions found Faqr. Among the whole umma of the Prophet, six other personalities were chosen. They were crowned with a special rank in Faqr; Sultan-ul-Faqr. Sultan Bahoo describes their peculiar signs as below.
Their sight is absolutely the Divine light of Unity and the alchemy of honour. On whomsoever the reflection of their hidden reality is cast his whole being is transformed into absolute light. They do not need to engage their disciples in the struggle of superficial daily recitals and mystic exercises. (Risala Roohi Sharif)
It means they do not engage the seekers of Allah in the hard work of daily recitals or forty days seclusions. Rather their glance itself is a Divine light. On whomever it is cast, he also becomes the Divine light.
I had to discuss this issue in detail because I have often faced such queries. Moreover, such questions keep arising in people’s minds particularly those with superficial mind-set. Hopefully, the aforementioned discussion, would clarify the misperceptions. Although, one thing must be kept in mind that the complete authority of Faqr is with the Holy Prophet because Faqr is his true asset and the People of Cloak are the real inheritors of this heritage and its conveyors.
This is an English translation of Urdu blog مرتبہ سلطان الفقر – حضرت سخی سلطان باھو کی تعلیمات کی روشنی میں which appeared in January 2022 issue of the Mahnama Sultan ul Faqr Magazine, Lahore. It is an excerpt from Shams ul Fuqara written by the Universal Divine Man of this era and the present Shaikh of the Sarwari Qadri order, Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman. The English translation of Shams ul Fuqara (Sufism – The Soul of Islam) is available both in printed form as well as a pdf copy that can be downloaded from the Sultan ul Faqr Publications website.
What is the status of Sultan ul Faqr?
Sultan ul Faqr enjoys an extremely exalted spiritual status. Faqr is a special spiritual rank and a marvel. In comparison to it, there is neither any marvel nor any rank. Amongst all the spiritual ranks, Faqr is the most superior and elevated status. Rather, it should be said that Faqr encompasses all of them or to say, it is the fount of all these virtuous attributes.
Who is Sultan ul Faqr?
Sultan ul Faqr is the Saint who has accomplished Faqr in its entirety. Faqr is a special spiritual rank and a marvel. In comparison to it, there is neither any marvel nor any rank. Allah granted this Divine treasure exclusively and perfectly to Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) among all the other Prophets. Regarding Faqr, neither any Prophet nor any Messenger of Allah is a peer in status to the Holy Prophet. That is why he expressed his pride only on Faqr. It is worth considering that he was perfect in all the physical and spiritual marvels. Yet he was neither proud of his bravery, generosity, piety, patience, renunciation, trust in Allah nor of his eloquence. But he expressed pride only in Faqr. It means Faqr is his asset and legacy.
In short, there are countless spiritual stations and ranks. Such as truthfulness, loyalty, justice, accountability of innerself, modesty, companionship, leadership, martyrdom, fiqh, exegesis, sainthood. The levels of al-Ghawth and al-Qutb, piety, patience, gratitude, submission, fear of Allah, optimism, generosity, kindness, knowledge, bravery, affection etc. However Faqr is the most superior and elevated status. Rather, it should be said that Faqr encompasses all of them or to say, it is the fount of all these virtuous attributes.