Bismillahi Rahmani Raheem
Allahumma Swalli Alaa Sayyidina Muhammadin Wa alaa Aali Sayyidina Muhammadin Wa Sallim
Madad Ya Al Haqqani Madad Ya Sahibu Saif, Madad Ya Ambiya Wa Awliya Allah
There are eight Naqshbandi Principles formulated by the Imam of the Khwajagan (early Naqshabndi Silsila) order , Hazret Shaykh Abdul Khaliq Ghujdavani (Q.S) and three other principles formulated by the Imam of the Tariqah Khwajah Muhammad Baha’uddin Naqshbandi Al-Uwaisi Al-Bukhari (Q.S).
1-Hosh Dar Dam (Awareness of breath), 2-Nazar Bar Qadam (Watching the step), 3-Safar dar Watan (Inward Journey in the Spiritual Path) , 4-Khalwat Dar Anjuman (Solitude in the Society) , 5-Yad Kard (Reminding outwardly and inwardly of God’s Name), 6-Baz Gasht (return to the responsibilities of a person according to Shari’ah after performing pure Zikr), 7-Concentration on God (Yaddasht), 8-Nigadasht (Guarding one’s spiritual state)
Other three Principles taught by Khwajah Shah Baha’uddin Naqshbandi (Q.S) as an additional three methods of training the students were:
9-Awareness of time (Wuquf E Zamani), 10-Counting the Zikr repetitions (Wuquf e Adadi), 11-Constant Attachment of Heart to God (Wuquf E Qalbi)
In this article I am inspired to write about: “Nazar Bar Qadam-Watching the Steps”
Watching the Steps (Nazar Bar Qadam):
A seeker must concentrate on his foot steps in the spiritual journey. It does not mean that a seeker must always look at his feet!. If you always look at your feet, you will end up colliding with someone or get a motor accident while crossing the roads, if you do not look left or right. Or if you are in the wilderness (seclusion) if you do not observe around, a wild animal or beast or robbers can chase you and attack you, so you may have to look left and right in the physical world when it is necessary.
Watching the step in the Naqshbandiyya means: “to observe the spiritual journey and make it straight and safe at all the times. If you do not watch your steps-your moments , then you mighty be following Satan!
Allah says in Quran about it: 2:208 O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.
So watching the step in Naqshbandi Way means, guarding oneself with in the boundaries of the Law of Allah.
The Messenger of Allah says about this Journey:
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (ra): The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah the Almighty is Good and accepts only that which is good. And verily Allah has commanded the believers to do that which He has commanded the Messengers. So the Almighty has said: “O (you) Messengers! Eat of the tayyibat [all kinds of halal (legal) foods], and perform righteous deeds.” [23:51] and the Almighty has said: “O you who believe! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you.” [2:172]” Then he (ﷺ) mentioned [the case] of a man who, having journeyed far, is disheveled and dusty, and who spreads out his hands to the sky saying “O Lord! O Lord!,” while his food is haram (unlawful), his drink is haram, his clothing is haram, and he has been nourished with haram, so how can [his supplication] be answered? [Muslim]
The Naqshbandi principle of Watching the step can clearly see from the above Quran verse and Hadith.
“Allah the Almighty is Good and accepts only that which is good, the Seeker must protect his feet from taking his soul to evil and forbidden things.
Rather he should look for opportunities that making to walk in the way of Piety. The beloved Messenger of Allah (alaihiswalathu wa salam )
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Every joint of a person must perform a charity each day that the sun rises: to judge justly between two people is a charity. To help a man with his mount, lifting him onto it or hoisting up his belongings onto it, is a charity. And the good word is a charity. And every step that you take towards the prayer is a charity, and removing a harmful object from the road is a charity.” [Al-Bukhari][Muslim]
So remember that if you are going to keep your eyes always looking at your feet, then you are going to lose so many virtuous deeds that is opened up for you. Rather you should look at what is commanded by Allah and His Messenger (alaihiswalathu wa salam) as we see in the above Hadith.
Looking at the Signs of Allah is Commanded in Quran, and to have a self realization and thoughts about those Signs of Allah that has come to you.
3:137 Many were the Ways of Life that have passed away before you: travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth.
6:99 It is He Who sendeth down rain from the skies: with it We produce vegetation of all kinds: from some We produce green (crops), out of which We produce grain, heaped up (at harvest); out of the date-palm and its sheaths (or spathes) (come) clusters of dates hanging low and near: and (then there are) gardens of grapes, and olives, and pomegranates, each similar (in kind) yet different (in variety): when they begin to bear fruit, feast your eyes with the fruit and the ripeness thereof. Behold! in these things there are signs for people who believe.
So now, you are watching the the steps of your soul. Since your body is the vehicle of your Soul, you must be nurture your Soul with correct food. You cannot put a wrong type of Oil in an expensive car, it will damage the engine and car itself, For the Soul to walk correctly , it must be fed correct food, both spiritual food (Prescribed Zikr) as well as the physical food (halal food). You cannot go to Audi shop to buy spare parts and service for your Toyota car!
You cannot go to Ayurveda doctor and consult with him, then go to Homeopathy pharmacist and take Medicine. So your step must be in correct way. As for the spiritual way in our Naqshbandi Way, the seeker must follow the footstep of his Shaykh,
This is what watching the step means, you watch yous step, ask to yourself,is this what my Shaykh wanted, Am I behind my Shaykh or Am I behind my ego?, or Am I behind some other people?
So whenever your ego divert you from the Saff (Row) of your Shaykh’s footstep, that time you realize it and you pull back, definitely many of us get out from the steps of our Shaykhs unintentionally, we are not talking about those who does that intentionally, while he is knowing what he doing!, We pull back our self to the way of our Shaykh and we ask Allah’s forgiveness , for more protection and aid to remain on the path.
When you are in the Tariqah ,there will be many people in it, never take anyone as role model except your Shaykh and those who are appointed by him. So when you are on a road, there will be some holes on the road with dirty water accumulated in it, do you want to step into it? or you want walk safely without getting trapped in those holes?
So this is the points of the Naqshbandi Principle- Watching the Steps interpreted and given fresh according to this times.
You must lower your gaze, there is no sin in first looking and it is sinful to look second time and further. This is n regard to looking at woman, Looking once as naturally is ok, but staring (keep eye on) at woman is forbidden.
Today, internet, social networking etc bring so many women to friend list, they posts naked photos or posting photos without Islamic modesty (Hijab), either you remove them or you unsubscribe their posts!. So today the word: Watching the step has wider perspective, you may even call a customer care and speaking to a lady on phone, or an air hostess is serving you, or a sales girl is serving you, so take the feet of your heart hold while you come across in such situation, be gentle and kind to all people. This does not mean that you have to be harsh and rude to people!
When the vision of eye is free from transgressing, that time the vision of the heart will open to a seeker, by the Permission of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’la.
The Step in the Naqshbandi Way to Guide to the Prophets,Siddiqin and Saliheen by following the steps of Shaykh who take you to the Prophets ,Siddiqin and Saliheen.
4:69 All who obey Allah and the messenger are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah,- of the prophets (who teach), the sincere (lovers of Truth), the witnesses (who testify), and the Righteous (who do good): Ah! what a beautiful fellowship!
Allah says: 1:6-7 Guide us to the straight path -The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.
It is the Shaykh who guide you to the path of those upon whom ALLAH has Bestowed His Favor. The Shaykh himself has received the favor of God, when he is a qualified Shaykh (Shaykh of Tarbiya). The Favor of Allah is His Nearness and Guidance.
So you must follow those Who fear Allah (Muttaqin), because guidance is with Muttaqin. Your Shaykh is one among Muttaqeen, 2:2 This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah;
Allah commanding you to be among Muttaqin, 9:119 O ye who believe! Fear God and be with those who are true (in word and deed).
Therefore you will follow the way of who are true. And the spiritual help from Allah is with those who are True, and they are your aiding authoirity. It is by following them you attain the Straight Path-the Path of Truth.
Allah says: 17:80 Say: “O my Lord! Let my entry be by the Gate of Truth and Honour, and likewise my exit by the Gate of Truth and Honour; and grant me from Thy Presence an authority to aid (me).”
So watching the Step in the Naqshbandiya means-the step that you taking since you born, from this world to Allah. and not to be deceived by the lower people and evilness of this world!
When you watch your step, you will flee from all afflictions, you do not go to streets to fight and argue. Because the Messenger of Allah says:
Sahih Bukhari, Book 88,Narrated Abu Huraira (R.A): Allah’s Apostle (alaihiswalathu wa salam) said, “There will be afflictions (in the near future) during which a sitting person will be better than a standing one, and the standing one will be better than the walking one, and the walking one will be better than the running one, and whoever will expose himself to these afflictions, they will destroy him. So whoever can find a place of protection or refuge from them, should take shelter in it.”
So we can observe that the Naqshbandi Principle of “Watching the Steps” meaning safeguarding your spiritual journey from the footstep of Satan and making it according to the footstep of the Shaykh who followers the footstep of the rightly guided successors and who follow the footstep of Prophet alaihiswalathu wa salam.
This is only brief narration, it take hours to explain, and reading or listening explanation does not do much good, to inherit those , go to our Shaykh or his representative and train yourself ,live under his authority and command.
I am pointing you to Hazret Lokman Hoja (may Allah Preserve him).
If you have been given a spiritual vision of our Shaykh or his Khalifas , then seek their companionship and save yourself from following the footstep of Satan, the purpose of your creation is that, to follow the examples of Prophets and Companions.
The Companions did not sit and say we follow Prophet directly, after the Prophet (alaihiswalathu wa salam) veiled from this world., they appoint a Successor and all of the followed him, then the next one, then the next one, in the Haqq Way, that Sunnah will be followed until Last day in an unbroken chain. You may say any opinion you want and deceive yourself and others and you will be responsible to that!.
It doesn’t matter how much big we are , must follow the one who is formally appointed. This is what Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (R.A) did in his life time, this is what Imam Hassan (R.A) and Imam Hussain(R.A) had done.
Now you are coming with a PhD or Diploma of Islam from unbelievers and hypocrites Universities and saying you are high ranked and you do not need to follow anyone. We are not concerned about the dajjal ways you following!
This much is enough for me to understand and this much is enough for you to understand. So guard your steps in Deen matters, follow the footstep of Imams and Awliya Allah, especially with the one whom you made Oath of Allegiance to, He will take you wherever he is walking, if you do not have his spiritual companionship, then it will be Satan who will take you in confused ways!
There is no confusion in the Religion of Allah.
The feeling of compulsion happen when a person get confused!
Allah says: 2:256 Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.
On the authority of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abee Talib (may Allah be pleased with him), the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and the one much loved by him, who said:
I memorised from the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt.”[At-Tirmidhi] [An-Nasai]At-Tirmidhi (Arabic:2520) said that it was a good and sound (hasan saheeh) hadeeth.
So it evil (Thaghooth) that make you doubtful and Suspicion, so when you sincerely follow the Shaykh you will be successful. Satan’s party may try to deceive you by saying: You are blindly following your Shaykh!
But say, i am following my Shaykh with utmost sincerity.
The Messenger of Allah says:
On the authority of Tameem ibn Aus ad-Daree (ra):
The Satan’s party (the innovators) does not follow Shaykh or Imams of the time, when Allah says to follow “Those who are in authority among you”. If their arguments is to be accepted,that a person has to be perfect and no one is perfect except Allah and Prophet (saw) and you should not follow anyone else blindly, then you will not be able to follow any Hadith that is narrated in all Hadith books!, How are you going to accept hadiths?, Do you have Allah and Prophet (saw) to come and say “this Hadith is true and this is false”?
Or you are making your ego a god and making this Sahih (authentic)?
So the innovators claim that you should not follow the Imams and Shaykhs, is illogical and innovation! while they publishing and reading those Hadiths.
So now, we must concentrate in our Path and the steps that we are taking in our heart and reflecting it in our outward life.
Walhamdulillahi Rabbil aalameen.
– Jouhar Ali Naqshbandi Al-Hassani Ar-Rabbani*
(* A weak student of Sulthanul Awliya Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Al-Haqqani and Sahibu Saif Hazret Shaykh Abdul Kerim Al-Kibrisi (Q.S) from the Jama’ath of Hazret Lokman Hoja Efendi (Q.S)