One of the great Sufis of the 12th century, Gujduvani devoted a majority of his life to reveal the principles that are still followed on the path that he enlightened, and the strong principles that are still in effect today were shaped during his time.
His Family and Birth
Abdul Khaliq Gujduvani, who was a great sufi and scholar and lived in the beginning of the 13th century, was born in the village of Gujduvan 30 kilometers from Bukhara. There is very little information about the childhood of Gujduvani. According to what he described in his book Risâlah Sahibiyya, his father is a great scholar from Malatya, Imam Abdul jamil from the lineage of Imam Malik, one of the great imams. It is understood that his father was an active and dominant person in the neighborhood where he lived. He intervened in the deportation of the Amir of Malatya from the city by his enemies and ensured his return to the city and retaking his throne. Abdul jamil, believed to be a very active person here, left Malatya in later years and settled in Gujduvan village near Bukhara and Gujduvani was born here.
Gujduvani, whose father was his first teacher like many scholars, went to Bukhara, a great center of science of that period to increase his knowledge. Here, he received education from Imam Sadr ad-Din, one of the city’s most renowned scholars.
Throughout his life, Gujduvani felt deeply committed to a command contained in a verse they attempted to interpret while reading the tafsir in the early stage of his education, and he made great efforts to comply with this command. In Surah al-Araf verse 55 it reveals "Call upon your Lord humbly and privately: indeed, He does not like transgressors." Gujduvani believed it was necessary to understand the meaning of the word "privately" commanded here properly. He explained his hesitation about this issue as follows: “If dhikr is performed loudly or one moves his organs during the recital, others will be aware of the prayer or dhikr. On the other hand, if a person performs dhikr only with his heart, the devil will be aware of it. Because it is reported in the hadith, the devil continues to flow through mankind like the blood in veins.'' (Bukhari, "Ahkâm", 21)
Based on this, Gujduvani was concerned about how to perform the prayer in private as commanded in the verse, and occupied himself with this for a long time, and when he asked his teacher how this could be performed, he received an answer saying that he will learn this when the time comes. Later, he came to Haja Khidr, who took an interest in him before, and Haja Khidr told him to go into a pool and repeat dhikr (La ilaha illallah Muhammadun Rasulallah) while he was submerged under water. Thus, the methodology of dhikr-i khafî, the dhikr method of Hajagan was formed. In this context, it was revealed that the dhikr should be made silently and in a certain number. Therefore, the principle of "vukuf-i adadi" was also introduced in the dhikr adopted by all Hajagan and later Naqshbandi members.
Gujduvani had come to Bukhara after receiving intensive training from Haja Khidr, who protected him until he was twenty-two years old. Here, he took his place among the students of Yusuf al-Hamadani (d. 535/1140), the teacher of Ahmad Yasawi who was also considered as one of the first Turkish sufis and among the great scholars of the period. While Hamadani adopted the method of performing dhikr aloud, Gujduvani , as mentioned previously, preferred to perform dhikr silently and his teacher permitted this. Following the encounter with Yusuf Hamadani, the training of Gujduvani was taken over by Hamadani and Haja Khidr was no longer a part of Gujduvani’s life. While Haja Khidr is recognized as his first teacher who guided him to the path of Sufism and taught him dhikr, Hamadani, as his second teacher is only known as his lecture teacher. However, Yusuf Hamadani is referred to as the teacher of Gujduvani because he is the person who left a deeper influence on him and determined the path he was to follow from this point on. Gujduvani remained with Hamadani until he left Bukhara (or Samarkand) and Gujduvani returned to his hometown. When he was unable to find anyone to listen to his lectures in his hometown, he concentrated on enriching and deepening his inner world by plunging into the world of asceticism and spiritual struggle.
Gujduvani’s Activities for Knowledge
Due to the asceticism he had reached in his life of seclusion, he became a well-known Sufi in a vast environment. During this period, he became such a famous scholar that a caravansary was established in Damascus in his name. Students began to visit Gujduvan to see their teacher. We see that these visits reached remarkable dimensions.
Hamadani taught great scholars and sufis in order to continue his activities to spread knowledge. One of these scholars were Ahmad Yasavi, who was called Pir-i Turkistan in the 11th century who dedicated his life to conveying Islam to vaster environments in the era when Turks were widely accepting Islam. When Ahmad Yasavi, who strived to introduce the Turks who were distant from their holy book, from their culture because they lived a nomadic life in the moorlands, to Islam with simple but deep knowledge based on the correct sources, left Bukhara and , Gujduvani had already completed his seclusion period.
As soon as his Gujduvani had completed his seclusion, he became the head of the dervishes in Bukhara and its surroundings. Gujduvani had an extremely active nature. He did not sit in the dervish lodge which was also considered one of the basic features of the Naqshbandi order; and he applied the principle of constantly mingling with the people and traveling around the city and recommended this to his students with every opportunity. It can even be said that this approach, which is almost a common feature among all scholars who follow this path, took shape in the period of Gujduvani. It is known that he advised Haja Awliya al-Kabir, one of Gujduvani’s closest students not to sit in the dervish lodge and always serve the people by being among them.
Gujduvani, who continued his activities in spreading knowledge and Sufism until the late stage of his life, died while still continuing these activities. The precise date of the death of Gujduvani is unknown. Sources providing information about Gujduvani signify two different dates on this subject.
Ghulam Sarwar Lahori, who gave an earlier date of death for Gujduvani, suggests he died in 575 (1179) not based on any old sources. According to the book “Maqamat-i Abdul Khalik Gujduvani and Arif Rivgari”, whose author is unknown, Gujduvani died just before Najma ad-Din-i Kubra's death in 618 (1221). Based on this record, Said al Nafisi, who published Risalah al Sahibiyya gives the death date of Gujduvani as 617 (1220). In conclusion, although it is not certain, it is understood that Gujduvani passed away towards the end of the first quarter of the 13thcentury and at a time when the Mongol invasion had not yet began to attack the Islamic world.
His Caliphs and Understanding of Sufism
Gujduvani had left four caliphs in order to continue his guidance activities. These were Haja Ahmad Siddiq, Haja Awliya al Kabir (Kelan), Haja Habbaz Bukhari and Haja Arif al Rivgari.
After Gujduvani, the Hajagan order was continued through Arif al Rivgari. One of the most important practices of Gujduvani is executing the eight principles known as "kalimat al kudsiyya.. These principles followed by both the Hajagan and Naqshbandi order with great care and conforming with this are as follows:
1. Hush dar-dam (Abstaining from heedlessness in every breath taken and perform every action with the awareness that this will be accounted for),
2. Safar der-vatan (to be stripped of human attributes and painted with divine adjectives, to live with the awareness that human beings come from Allah and will return to Him),
3. Nazar bar-kadam (keeping your eyes on your feet while walking, thus protecting yourself from unnecessary topics that can occupy the mind and heart),
4. Halvat dar-ancuman (to be among the people externally but with Allah by heart, or as the Anatolian people say to be with Allah when among the people).
5. Yadkard (performing dhikr from the heart and with words),
6. Bazgasht (when performing dhikr saying "ilahi anta maqsudi wa rizaka matlubi" [O Allah! You are my purpose and what I request is your pleasure])
7. Nigahdasht (to fight off thoughts that will keep us occupied)
8. Yaddasht (maintaining the vigilance generated by the dhikr)
The basic principles of Naqshbandi must have been formed by adding three other principles known as vukuf-i zamani, vukuf-i adii, vukuf-i qalbi in the later periods to these 8 principles which were referred to as “kalimat al-kudsiyya.” Gujduvani, a great scholar and sufi, is classified as the person who revealed the basic principles of the spiritual path on which he was more an elucidator.
In addition to his activities of guidance aimed at spreading Islam, there are also two books of knowledge known to be produced by Gujduvani . His most famous work is Risalah al-Sahibiyya. The work, which describes the texts of Yusuf al-Hamadani and gives information about his own life, was published by the Ministry of Culture in Iran under the editorship of Said-i Nafisi, and a summary of this work was also published in Iran by the famous Iranian historian Iraj Afshar.
Another work of Gujduvani is Wasaya, which has not yet been published and is in the form of manuscript in the Suleymaniye Manuscripts Library. This book, which is a small volume work, is in form of a risalah of manners and is known to be written for Haja Awliyya-i Kabir from his students. In this treatise, it gives advice including avoiding ignorant sufis, never deviating from the Qur'an and Sunnah, being distant from judges, abstaining from sitting in lodges, abstaining from being over occupied with the sema rituals. Alim Fazlullah b. Ruzbihan Guduvani made it his duty to write a commentary on the work of this great scholar who bore the name of the city, after the city barely escaped invasion. This commentary written in Wasaya is also in the copies of the Manuscripts Library in Suleymaniye.
One of the great Sufis of the 12th century, Gujduvani devoted a majority of his life to reveal the principles that are still followed on the path that he enlightened, and the strong principles that are still in effect today were shaped during his time. In view of this, Gujduvani holds a special and important place in the order of succession.