Hu

121

IN MEMORY OF THE BELOVED MASTER,

HADRAT MAHBUB 'ALISHAH

THE LATE QUTB OF THE NI 'MATULLAHI GUNABADI ORDER

 

On the sixth of Ramadan, 1417, the sixteenth of January, 1997, the twenty-seventh of Daymah, 1375, the beloved(mahbub) master of the Nimatullah Gunbd Order of Sufis passed away. He was buried beside his father in Gunbd, IN accordance with his last will and testament.

In sufi books, it is said that the friends (awliy) of God are of two sorts: first, the slik-e majdhub (the attracted wayfarer), and second, the majdhub-e slik (the wayfaring attracted one). By definition, the slik-e majdhub is one who first begins to travel the path, i.e., is a wayfarer (slik), and is then captured by God, while the majdhub-e slik is one who is captured (majdhub) by God prior to his travelling the path (suluk). Both are in love with God, but for the slik-e majdhub love increases along the path, while for the majdhub-e slik, the intensity of love carries him along the path

Based on these definitions, Moses, peace be with him, was among the former, and Jesus Christ, peace be with him, was among the latter. Among the early sufi masters, Shaykh Junayd Baghdd (c. 820-910) was of the former, and Byazd Bastm (d. 874) was of the latter. Among the modern sufi masters, Sultn Alshh Gunbd was of the former, and his viceregent and son, Nur Alshh II, was of the latter. There is a hadth quds called hadth al-nawfil according to which God says: Unceasingly My servant approaches Me by supererogatory deeds (nawfil) and worship, until I love him, [1] This hadth refers to the slik-e majdhub, for it is subsequent to his works that he is captured by God. On the other hand, since the majdhub-e slik is drunk with the love of God, he is unable to pay detailed attention to his works. This is why in the Mathnav of Jall al-Dn Rum, Moses angrily scolds the illiterate shepherd who speaks of God in a familiar manner. Mawlav says, O Moses, they that know the conventions are of one sort,

they whose souls and spirits burn are of another sort.[2]

The lovers of God (muhibbn) are the slikn-e majdhub. Those who have become beloved by God (mahbubn) are the majdhubn-e slik. The Qurn refers to the latter in the following verse:( He shall love them and they shall love Him) (5:54).

Those who are majdhub-e slik do not live to be very old, for the divine call is always beckoning them, drawing them by the attraction of divine love away from this world, so that they are killed in the way of God, as it is stated in the hadth quds Whoever seeks Me, finds Me; whoever finds Me, knows Me; whoever knows Me, loves Me; whoever loves Me, I love him; and whomever I love, I kill; and whomever I kill, I Myself am his compensation (dah).[3]

Hadrat Hjj Al Tbandeh was a majdhub-e slik, for which reason his title in the tariqah is Mahbub Alshh. He died on Thursday, January 16, 1997. He was the qutb of the Nimatullh Gunbd sufi order. The chain of authorization of this order goes through his great great great grandfather, the well known rif (gnostic) and lim (Muslim religious scholar) of the nineteenth century (A.H. 14th century), Hjj Mulla Sultn Muhammad Gunbd, titled Sultn Alshh (A.H. 1251-1327/1835-1909 C.E.),[4] to Shh Nimatullh Wal (A.H. 731-831/1338-1428 C.E.), and through him via Junayd Baghdd, Sar Saqt (d. 867) and Maruf Kharkh (d. 815) to the Sh Imams. Of the Twelve Imam Sh sufi orders, this order has the most adherents, the majority of whom are Iranian.

Hadrat Mahbub Alshh[5] was born on November 13, 1947 in Tehran, the third of five children. He attended elementary school in Gunbd, and at the same time pursued elementary Islamic studies under the local religious scholars, although his primary teacher was his father. He moved to Tehran to attend high school, then to Mashhad for a year at the university there before completing his university education at the University of Tehran, where he studied Persian literature under Prof. Sayyid Jafar Shahd with an emphasis on sufi texts. His B.A. thesis is entitled The Course of Sufism through the Literature of the Sixth and Seventh Centuries A.H.. During his university study he taught Persian literature in high schools, and after graduating from the university, in accordance with the instructions of the Order to be gainfully employed, he began working as director of public relations for the Ministry of Oil, where he was employed until 1989, when he was granted retirement at his request, in accordance with his fathers orders. He married in 1977, and has two sons, Rid and Rahmatullah.

During this entire period, he was under the spiritual tutelage of his father, who gave him instructions prior to his initiation in the tarqah, such as the manner of observance of prayer, supererogatory fasting, daily reading of the Qurn, maintanence of ritual purity, vigils, etc

It was at the age of eighteen, prior to entering the university of Mashhad, while he was in Gunbd for the summer, that he asked his grandfather, Hajj Muhammad Hasan Salih Alshh, then qutb, to be initiated into the order. His grandfather cast him away with a stern look which so affected him that after the usual Thursday night sufi session, majlis, he told his mother what had happened and asked her to intervene on his behalf. She went to her father-in-law, who responded that it was not an appropriate time because the boys father was away sick in Mashhad, and because he was too young.

During his year of university studies in Mashhad, Hadrat Al Tbandeh made frequent trips to Gunbd to ask for initiation (bayat). Each time he was rebuked. The following summer, he asked Hjj Shaykh Sayyid Hibbatullah Jazb[6] to intercede, to whom the qutb responded with silence. At this point, the young aspirant decided that he would stop making requests. At noon the next day, when Hadrat Slih Alshh went to make wudu,[7] he spotted the youth, who said nothing. Why dont you say something? he asked him. This sentence moved the young man so deeply that he fell at the feet of his grandfather in tears and fainted. When he came to, he found himself in the company of his mother and grandmother who were crying with the profound emotion that charged the hours prior to his initiation, which took place later that night. Both his father and Shaykh Jazb were asked by the qutb to be present in the room of initiation.

After his initiation, he went to Tehran, to continue his university studies, and he was placed in the charge of Shaykh Jazb who was instructed to train him in Islamic studiesand spiritual wayfaring. After graduating from the university, his father ordered Shaykh Jazb to provide him with further training in the religious sciences and in spiritual discipline. Shaykh Jazb died in 1985, and until that time, he was under his guidance.

In A.H. 1386/1966 C.E., he made his obligatory Hajj, and in the following years he had the good fortune to make other pilgimages to Mecca. Also in 1966, his grandfather passed away, and with the succession of his father to the position of qutb, his spiritual training became more strenuous. After fifteen years of this intensive spiritual discipline, his father intended to give him permission to lead congregational prayers, but the qutb hesitated until in a dream he was told by his father, Hadrat Salih Alshh, to grant the permission to his grandson. In the dream, they were at majlis, and Hadrat Slih Alshh asked where Al was. They called him, and Hadrat Slih Alshh gave Al an ab (cloak) and told him to lead the prayer and that they would pray behind him.[8] The authorization reads as follows:

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and blessings and peace with the best of His creatures, and the most noble of His people, Muhammad, the seal of the prophets, and with his twelve successors, the pleasing [to God].

The brethren in faith should beware that the dear light of my eyes, jj Al Tbandehmay Allah grant him success in his journey on the path of Allah and God-wariness, and may Allah keep him from calamitiesis authorized from this date to convene congregational prayers, and it is appropriate for the fuqar, may Allah grant them success, everywhere to follow him [in prayer]. I beg the kind Allah to grant him and all the brethren in faith success in obedience. It is hoped that the light of my eyes will increase his own inability and need toward the throne of God, and that he will maintain his humility and modesty toward his brethren, especially the authorized ones.

15 Shabn al-Muazzam 1401

28 Khordd 1360

[18 June 1981]

Faqr Sultn Husayn Tbandeh Rid Alshh

[signed and signeted]

Four years later, in Ramadn 1405/1985, he was authorized by his father as shaykh, to serve through the guidance and initiation of novices. The letter of authorization is translated here:

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Peace and blessings to our master and our prophet, Muhammad and to his pure folk .

To the honorable brethren of Nimatullh Sultn Alshh Order. The light of my eye, my dear, Hjj Al Tbandeh, God protect him and grant him success in wayfaring and in godwariness, who, according to my orders has been under the guidance of my honorable brother, Hjj Sayyid Hibatullah Jazb, may Allah grant him pardon and grant him a central place in His paradise, to practice the training and disciplining of the soul, and for some time has been authorized to conduct congregational prayer, from this date is authorized in the initiation of the aspirants and guidance of the seekers. He should act according to the oral instructions given to him, and guide them, and consider the guidance of one of them as an act of worship. Of course, he should increase his feeling of incapability and need toward the threshold of God, and he should have perfect kindness toward his brethren, and not neglect humility and modesty. He should give priority to the previously authorized shaykhs. I have given him the title Mahbub Al. I hope that he will be granted and profit by grace through the love of Al and his great progeny, which love is our pride. Of course, the brethren should obey him and consider obedience to him as obedience to this faqr. Wa al-salm alaykum wa rahmatullah wa baraktuh.

 

21 Ramadn 1405 coinciding with the day of the martyrdom of Hadrat Mawl [Al], peace be with him,

[corresponding to 10 June 1985].

Signed and signeted:

Faqr Sultn Husayn Tbandeh Gunbd Rid Alshh.

After his appointment as Shaykh he began looking after the affairs of the fuqar as required by his decree. He began to visit various cities both in and out of Iran for the purpose of the guidance of the fuqar and seekers of the path, until he gradually attained the capacity to serve as his fathers vicegerent. In a letter to Shaykh Jazb, Hadrat Rid Alshh mentions his decision about the appointment. His father was apprehensive about appointing him as his nominated successor. One night, in Indian Kashmir, Hadrat Rid Alshh had a dream in which he saw his father and master, Hadrat Slih Alshh, asking him why he would not write the decree to nominate his son as his successor. In the dream he answered that perhaps some would oppose him, and endanger his life. His father responded that God and the Pure Imams, peace be with them, and the awliy and we will preserve him. This dream was like an inspiration, but still he hesitated. So, he decided to make istikhrah (bibliomancy) with the Qurn, and the following yah was read: And the king said, Bring him to me that he may be released into my presence andwhen he had talked with him, he said, Indeed, today you are in our presence, established and trusted. (12:54). Thus, after heartfelt inspirations and divine reaffirmations, he wrote the decree for his son to be his successor on the holiday of Ayd al-Ghadr 1406/1986, as follows:

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

And He is the Guide to the Straight Path and the Upright Way

And I salute and wish peace to the aim of His creation and His most noble creature, the seal of the prophets, the best of those who have ascended to heaven to the position of dignity and selection (istif), our master and our prophet Muhammad Mustaf[9] (s) and to his folk and companions, the guiding Imams, lanterns in the gloom, especially to his trustee and immediate viceregent, our guardian the Commander of the Faithful, Al ibn Ab Tlib and the eleven Imams of his progeny, peace be with them.

To the wayfarers of the right path of Murtad[10] and the fuqar of the Nimatullah Gunbd Order, may Allah grant them success, may it no longer remain hidden and covered from them that my honorable offspring, Hajj Al Tbandehmay Allah grant him success in wayfaring and God-wariness (taqw) and help himfor some years now has taken several steps forward in wayfaring, and observes the manners of the pure sharah and has good character, and according to some orders given by this faqr has been occupied with the spiritual jihd and meditation (murqibah). He has satisfied this faqr, and has been authorized to lead congregational prayers and to initiate the seekers. After the spirit of this sinful faqr, Sultn Husayn Tbandeh Rid Alshh quits the bodily frame, leaves the world to join his Beloved, this dear offspring will be obligated to the service of the fuqar of the Nimatullah Order, the looking after the wayfarers and the guidance of the seekers. It is hoped that this offspring will keep in mind the pleasure of God under all conditions and that his weakness and brokenness [before Allah] will grow. May he also be well mannered, humble, kind and forgiving, with the public, and with those who are bad to him, may he be forgiving, ignore their faults, and pardon them. And if someone intends to inquire and understand the truth, he should intend to remove their doubts and encourage them in accordancewith the noble verse: and dispute with them in the best way (16:125). He should have complete kindness and respect for the shaykhs and those authorized to lead prayers, and for each of them who renews his covenant, he should renew their authorizations. With the fuqar, also, he is to be as a father with the utmost caring, tolerance and forbearance. In relation to the family and relatives, he is to be completely kind and well mannered, and to treat the elders with respect. Of course, I expect that the family and relatives will swiftly hurry to renew their covenants with him, and that they will not fall short in this, and also the fuqar should make their renewals as soon as possible and not fall short in this. Especially the relatives and family who have a fondness for and firm faith in their religious path should quickly make their renewals and maintain unity and agreement, and endeavor in heart and conduct to uphold the banner of faqr. I gave him, the light of my eyes, the honor of the title Mahbub Alshh. I hope that the love of the awliy[11] and their satisfaction will be kept in mind through all situations, and that he will give directions to others to combine the precepts of the sacred sharah and the manners of the tarqat of Al, which must be observed completely by the fuqar of our Order. I bid you farewell, my brethren, and I wish you peace, and I request your supplications.

And He is the Guide to the Straight Path and the Upright Way

Hadrat Rid Alshh on different occassions has reconfirmed his appointment. In the summer of 1989, when he became very ill, suffering from different ailment, at the request of the fuqar, he travelled to Sweden and Germany. In Hanover, he was confined to the hospital and was going to have an serious operation. Thus, he wrote a telegram to his successor, as follows:

Hu

121[12]

To my son, Hajj Al Tbandeh, Mahbub Alshh, may Allah grant him success, God has invited me to meet him, and so, I leave you with God; after me, the guardianship of the fuqar of the Nimatullh [Order] and the guidance of the seekers will be with you. The decree and further instructions will be given to you by your mother. Do not neglect the previous instructions regarding matters of the heart, good social relations, respect and kindness to the family, humility and good behavior toward the brethren and others. In all situations, observe the satisfaction of God, the great personages of the religion, and my satisfaction. Be careful about patience, tolerance and forgiveness. Give my regards to the entire family and to the fuqar in the majlis. I beg the prayers of each of them.

 

25 Muharram 1410,

6 Shahrvar 1368,

28 August 1989,

Faqr Sultn Husayn Tbandeh.

 

But before sending this telegram, his son, having heard of his fathers poor condition in the hospital, anxiously travelled to GermanyAfter he recovered from the operation, they returned to Iran, but Hadrat Rid Alshh remained very ill, and, much to his chagrin, he was not able to participate fully in all the sessions of the Order.

From the spring of 1992, the physical condition of Hadrat Rid Alshh became critical. In the following summer, his condition deteriorated to the point that he was taken against his will to the hospital. After spending a few weeks in the hospital, one day he apologized to the nurse for having caused so much trouble, and mentioned that he would be leaving the next day. The nurse was suprised to hear that a patient in such poor condition would be released from the hospital. She asked the doctor about it, but he professed complete ignorance of the matter. That night his son, Hjj Al Tbandeh, came to look after him. After the morning prayer, the fathers condition worsened and he began to bid his son farewell. Before the sun shines in all its glory, the sun must set and the sky darken.[13] He passed away in his beloved sons arms. When the sun rose, Hjj Al Tbandeh remarked to it, You have never risen on my father when he was asleep. [14] On Wednesday 11 Rab al-Awwal 1413, 18 September 1992, his spirit left his body and joined the Beloved.

His corpse was taken to Baydukht where an elaboate funeral was held, and he was burried in the shrine of his great grandfather beside the grave of his father, in accordance with his last will and testament. With the authorization (idhn) that had been given by Hadrat Rid Alshh, Hjj Al Tbandeh became Hadrat Mahbub Alshh, the qutb and master of the Order.

On the occassion of the fortieth day after the passing away of his father, Hadrat Mahbub Alshh gave his first proclamation to the fuqar, containing fourteen points in honor of the fourteen immaculates[15] as follows:

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Hu

121

To my brethren in faith, the fuqar of the Nimatullh Sultn Alshh Order, may Allah grant them success: The points below, which are from the subtleties and implications of faqr and dervishhood, I offer once again as a reminder, so that in compliance with the noble order, (and remind, the Reminder profits the believers,)[16] God willing, it may be of profit.

The spiritual expectations which the way of faqr and dervishhood has of its wayfarers are:

1.      Be a guard over the trust of the faqr and dervishhood God has given you for safe keeping, and by excellent words, actions and thoughts, try to be worthy of the appellations of faqr and dervishhood, for each of your wrong deeds is an embarassment to this faqr.

2.      Make the scale of your behavior the epitome of the instructions of faqr and dervishhood, which is service to God, kindness to people and ministry to the brethren, and make your deeds accord with this.

3.      Do not sell the jewel of faqr and dervishhood for a small price so that you suffer loss. The jeweler knows the value of the jewel. If you are not a jeweler, know that the price of this jewel is joining the Friend.

4.      The subtlety of faqr and dervishhood cannot be brought to the tongue, and speech is not the way to its truth. Do not break the sanctity of the heart by talk and do not say anything that may result in undermining the states (ahwl) of others.

5.      The enemy of faqr and dervishhood is the devil of the self, which appears in various forms. Do not be taken in by the deceptive ploting of the self, for it is possible that it may take on the appearance of being pleasing to God.

6.      What is expected by faqr and dervishhood from those who have found its way is nothing but the performance of the responsibilities of the faith. Every eye that looks for anything else in this way is due to a blind heart.

7.      Do not trample the blessing of faqr and dervishhood with egotism and conceit, for the grief of this ingratitude brings pain to the hearts of the great men of religion.

8.      The world of faqr and dervishhood is just giving the retreat of the heart to the Beloved. Those who pursue ease and who are alien to this suffering are not fellow travellers with this faqr.

9.      Do not break the goblet of honor of faqr and dervishhood with the stone of greed and neglect, and do not purchase for yourself the black heart of breaking the covenant.

10.  The success of service in the world of faqr and dervishhood is itself a spiritual reward. Seeking compensation is a poisonous neglect.

Do not be a servant for a wage like a beggar,

For the Friend has His own way of training servants.[17]

11.  Do not take captive the freedom of faqr and dervishhood by envy of the world and yearning for the afterlife. Do not want anything from the Friend but Himself

There must be three partings in the clothing of faqr:

Parting from the world, parting from the other world, and parting from parting.[18]

 

12.  The destination of faqr and dervishhood requires a firm will. Accept the difficulties of the way, even if it costs your life, by the mount of yearning for union,[19] and expect your heart to open, for dispair and hopelessness are infidelity.

I expect all the brothers and sisters in faith to meditate on these points and to look upon them with the eye of the heart, and to prepare their provisions for the way, and not to be negligent, so that

If anyone is home, even a single word will suffice.[20]

And Peace be with you, and the Mercy of Allah and His blessings.

shur Husayn A.H.L. 1416

Corresponding to A.H.S. 19 Khordd 1374

[9 June 1995]

Faqr Hjj Al Tbandeh

Mahbub Alshh

[signed and signeted]

His third reminder was written in February 1996, in the form of the sacred number of seven admonitions, and like the previous one, is in a beautiful Persian prose style.

Hu

121

My brethren,

This is the third reminder of this faqr to the wayfarers of the Nimatullh Sultn Alshh Order. What does the repetition of words and advice in the world of faqr show? A blind heart or inattention to the advisor?

1.      To continue negligence in the way of faqr is ingratitude for its blessing, which is irreplaceable, and to repeat negligence is an obstacle to mercy. Who does not know what will happen eventually to one who closes his eyes to the lamp of the leader of the caravan?

2.      The instructors of faqr, like all gardeners, plant the sapling of faith, and care for it until its flowers can be picked. They think of nothing but this.

3.      Gardeners water. By their ability to absorb through their roots the flowers also should pay heed to the sufferings of the gardener. Do our worldly desires not trample the sufferings of the gardener?

4.      The gardener is commanded to garden, and insight and knowledge of this have been given to him. It is not fair to request something of him that is not his duty. How excellent the (Prophet) has said, You are better aware of your worldly affairs than I.

5.      The seed of a plant that is not planted in the ground still has the capacity to be planted and nourished; however, if it is planted in the ground, but is not nourished, the earth will rot it and destroy it.

6.      Who does not know what fate lies ahead for the corrupted seed and the withered tree. Can it be planted in another field? Seeds are not sown in planted ground. Unless the heart is purified of the love of the world, it will not become the place for the love of mawl.[21]

7.      The world is the farm for the other world.[22] I wonder at those who, while they know that if they nourish the seed of faith with the water of love, and train it with righteous works, it will grow from the depths of the earth to the summit of the sky, and that one seed will produce between one hundred and seven hundred fruits,[23] yet fall short and prevent its growth with the brambles of negligence.

Finally, I hope that those who have come close to this order for the sake of wealth or position or a comfortable life will take a good look at their own selves and will not blacken their report cards any more, and that they may know that their sufferings are worthless and that they cause trouble for the gardener.

It is as plain as day from the seed We planted

 

That we are the damned, not the folk of heaven.[24]

Ayd Fitr A.H.L. 1416

Faqr Hjj Al Tbandeh Mahbub Alshh

[signed and signeted]

Despite the short period during which he provided guidance, a period not lasting more than four years, in harmony with the names sent down from the heavens,[25] he became the beloved (mahbub) of the fuqar, and of his friends and enemies alike. He was so fond of God, that his body could not bear the burden of his spirit, and he anxiously awaited union with Him. He repeatedly mentioned to his intimates that his period of guidance would be short, and that in this respect he resembled his great grandfather, Hadrat Nuralshh II. The death of his father and master made him so sad that never fully recovered from it. In this way, he was like Mawln Rum after the murder of Shams.he was most fond of the following quatrain by Bb Thir:

I see you in the desert when I look there,

When I gaze at the sea, I see you there,

Wherever I look, in the mountains or plains,

It is your graceful figure at which I stare

He observed the rules of sharah with precision, even though he was a majdhub-e slik, which demands full attention to the love of God rather than the external aspects of religion, as was the case with Jesus (a) in contrast to Moses (a). In sessions, he used to remind the fuqar of the need to combine the rules (ahkm) of sharah with the manners (db) of tarqat, and he also emphasized this in his proclamations. However, the main topic of his discourses in the sessions with the fuqar was love. For example, when he spoke of the tragedy of Karbal, he would emphasized that Imam Husayn (a) was the most exalted manifestation of love;[26] and when he commented on the Qurn, he usually spoke of the story of the love between Joseph and Zulaykh;[27] and when he requested that someone recite poetry, he preferred poetry about Layl and Majnn.[28]

He concerned himself with the problems of the furar, and would visit them often in their homes, even after the morning prayer if there were no other opportunity. In accordance with his fathers decree, he sought to uphold the banner of faqr.

Despite lack of free time for this purpose, he was especially fond of studying the works of the sufis. He himself has written books and delivered lectures in the sessions and on occassions such as the memorial services of shur for the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a), some of which have been published. The most important of his works are the following.

               {   Khorshd-e Tbandeh (The Radient Sun: A Biography of Hadrat Rid Alshh) (Tehran: Haqqat, 1373/1994).

      { Zuhur al-Ishq al-Al (The Most Exalted Manifestation of Love: A lecture given on the occasion of shur a.H. 1416) (Tehran: Haqqat, 1374/1995).

               {   Ahd Ilah (The Divine Covenant: Two lectures given on the occasion of shur a.H. 1414, 1417) (Tehran: Haqqat, 1376/1997).

               {   Hudur-e Qalb (Presence of the Heart: On the rememberance of God in the heart), (unpublished).

               {   Risleh dar Jabr wa Tafwd (An Essay on Determinism and Free Will) (unpublished).

Since he knew that his life would not last long, at the very start of his vicegerency, he appointed his uncle, Hjj Dr. Nur Al Tbandeh to be his successor, with the spiritual title Majdhub Alshh. Hjj Dr. Nur Al Tbandeh was known to be advanced in both the exterior and interior aspects of the way and he was the constant consultant of his father and himself. Therefore, he wrote the decree of appointment on the fortieth day after the passing away of Hadrat Rid Alshh, although he did not make it public at that time. The text of the decree is as follows:

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate, and He is the Guide to the upright religion and the straight path.

Praise be to Allah, the Maker of a vicegerent on the earth,[29] and blessing and pleace to the best of His creatures and His beloved, Muhammad ibn Abdullah (s), and to His vicegerents and inheritors until the raising of the Day of Judgment.

This is to inform all the brethren in faith and seekers of the way (may Allah grant them success) that in these days of the time of the occultation (ghaybah)[30] in which the affair of guidance toward the clear religion and initiation of the novices (dastgr-ye tlibn) into the true Radawiyyah Nimatullhiyyah Sultn Alshh Way, has reached this faqr il Allah (poor unto God), Hjj Al Tbandeh, Mahbub Alshh (may Allah forgive his sins and cover his faults) from hand to hand, from soul to soul, and I have been appointed to be in the service of the fuqar and to guide the servants of God by the great Mawln, my physical and spiritual father, Hadrat q-ye Hjj Sultn Husayn Tbandeh Gunbd, Rid Alshh (may his grave be purified), according to his testament and decree. Since this firm divine chain and rope is unbreakable, and will not be cut off until the day of resurrection, after this faqr, the guiding and leading of the wayfarers should be entrusted to my honorable uncle, Hjj Dr. Nur Al Tbandeh, who has been struggling in wayfaring toward Allah for some time now, and has reached the stages of poverty (faqr) and annihilation (fan), has pleased my exalted grandfather, Hadrat q-ye Slih Alshh and my high ranking father q-ye Rid Alshh (may Allah sanctify their spirits), and has found a pure breast and ample heart. I honored this great man (may Allah extend His hand to him) in tarqat with the title Majdhub Alshh, and since this was through divine inspiration, I did not consider it permissible to delay it. When this faqr has been freed from the bounds and troubles of the corporeal body, and I have submitted my spirit (jn) to the Beloved (jnn), the shaykhs should renew their covenant and obey him. The fuqar, too, are to renew their covenants, should not consider it permissible to delay this, and should obey him. In all matter, his pleasure should be considered as that of this faqr. And peace be with those who follow the guidance,[31] and avoid transgression and ruin.

Dated Tuesday, 22 Rab al-Thn 1413,

equivalent to 28 Mehr 1371,

(1992) corresponding to the fortieth day after the passing away of the great Mawln, Hadrat q-ye Rid Alshh, may his spirit be sanctified,

Faqr Hjj Al Tbandeh, Mahbub Alshh

[signed and signeted]

During the period while Hadrat Mahbub Alshh was qutb, he taught the fuqar to value their faqr and to put it into practice in their daily lives. For this reason, he wrote various proclamations on different occasions, including the previously mentioned proclamation of twelve points on the occassion of shur in 1995. He considered this day to be exemplary, because on this day Imm Husayn and his followers, as perfect wayfarers, gave their lives to Allah.[32]

Four years passed since the passing away of his beloved father, and day after day the pain of separation and keeness for union increased.

Listen to this reed, for it complains.

It tells of separations.

I want a breast torn asunder by partings,

So that I can tell it of the pain of longing.[33]

In the beginning of the winter of 1996, because of his illnesses, and at the request of the fuqar outside Iran, he went to Germany for treatment. This journey took three weeks, and in the last meeting with the fuqar in Germany he said good-bye to them in a strange way, which seemed to signify his leaving Germany and returning to his homeland in Iran, but really meant much more.

This homeland is not Egypt, Syria nor Iraq,

This homeland is a place without a name.[34]

He returned to Tehran before the beginning of Ramadn. In the last Friday morning session before Ramadn, he said to the fuqar, This is the last Friday that I am coming to the session. Those present thought that he was referring to the fact that there are no Friday morning sessions during Ramadn.

A few weeks before his death he gave a sealed envelope to one of the fuqar to be opened upon the event of his death. The envelope contained six telegrams with instructions that they be sent to his shaykhs, in which he informs them of his death and tells them to renew their covenants with Hadrat Majdhub Alshh. Among these telegrams are the following:

Hu Allah

Dubay, the United Arab Emirates

[Address]

Honorable Brother, q-ye Hjj Mr Mutalib Mrz Mushtq Al,

He [God] has summoned this faqr, so, the guardianship of the fuqar is being turned over by Allah to my honorable uncle, respected scholar (lim), the great rif, Hjj Dr. Nur Al Tbandeh, Majdhub Alshh. Your duty is to renew your covenant with him and to obey him. His rejection and acceptance is to be considered as that of this faqr. I bid farewell to you and to all the fuqar, and insist on your obedience to Hadrat Majdhub Alshh.

Wa al-salm.

Faqr Al Tbandeh, Mahbub Alshh

Hu

121

Tehran

[Address]

Honorable brother, Shams al-Dn Hir, Irshd Al,

God has sought me to meet Him. Your duty is to turn to this faqrs vicegerent and successor, my honorable uncle, Dr. Nur Al Tbandeh, may Allah keep him. Renew your covenant and obey him. His rejection and acceptance is to be considered as that of this faqr. Send my regards to all the fuqar and ask their pardon. Finally, I insist on your obedience to Dr. Nur Al Tbandeh, Majdhub Alshh.

Faqr Al Tbandeh, Mahbub Alshh

Hu Allah

Qom

[Address]

Honorable brother, Sayyid Ahmad Sharat, Fayd Al, may Allah keep him,

I have chosen the companionship of my high ranking father and ancestors. Since this chain is unbreakable, by divine inspiration I am turning over the trouble of the guardianship of the fuqar to my learned uncle, the rif, Dr. Nur Al Tbandeh, Majdhub Alshh, may Allah lengthen his noble shadow. You are to renew your covenant immediately. Turning away from the command of that great man is arrogance before God. I leave you and the rest of the fuqar to the Exalted God and Hadrat Majdhub Alshh. Of course, in this regard, a separate decree has been written, which will be announced at the required time.

Faqr Al Tbandeh, Mahbub Alshh, may Allah forgive him.

From the beginning of Ramadn, his physical condition deteriorated. The day before his death, he said that he had been unable to sleep for a few days, yet he was fasting. During the sahar[35] of the sixth of Ramadn, he phoned his aunt in Baydukht and said to her that he was coming there. During these days he was like a guest invited to a feast and was waiting to go there. He was invited to the feast of Allah. According to the sufis, fasting has various stages the highest stage of which is fasting from ones being, and the breaking of this fast is the divine encounter at the feast of Allah.

He passed away on the morning of Thursday, 6 Ramadn A.H.L. 1417, 16 January 1997. He died when his corporeal heart stopped, and the dove of his spirit was released from the cage of his body.

I am the dove from the garden of heaven, I do not come from the world of earth.

For several days a cage was made of my body.

Happy the day that I take flight to the bosom of the Friend,

Now I beat my wings in hope of reaching His lane.[36]



[1] This hadth has been narrated in various sources, including the Sh, Awl al-Laal, by Ibn Ab Jumhur Ahsa (A.H. 838-c. 901)Vol. 4, p. 103: Unceasingly My servant approaches Me by supererogatory deeds (nawfil) and worship, until I love him, and when I love him, I become his ear by which he hears, and his eye by which he sees, and his tongue by which he speaks, and his hand by which he seizes, and his foot by which he walks.

[2] The Mathnaw of Jalluddin Rum, tr. Reynold A. Nicholson (London: Gibb Memorial Trust, 1977), translation volume 1, II/1764, p. 312.

[3] Hadrat Mahbub Alshh liked this hadth very much, and mentioned it frequently in his speeches, for example in his book, Zuhur al-Ishq al-Al (Tehran: Haqqat, 1374/1995), p. 24.

[4] His detailed biography, Nbiqah-ye Ilm va Irfn (The Genius of Knowledge and Gnosis), was written by his great grandson, Hadrat Rid Alshh, second edition, (Tehran: 1350/1971). The Order is called Gunbd because Hadrat Sultn Alshh was born in the city of Gunbd in northeast Irans Khurasn provence.

[5] There are two biographies of him in Farsi, one of which has been published as an appendix to Mahbub Alshhs Khorshd-e Tbandeh, second edition, (Tehran: Haqqat, 1377/1998) by Muhammad Husayn Khubrahfarshch. The other was published as an appendix to Mahbub Alshhs Ahd-e Ilh (Tehran: Haqqat, 1376/1997) by Shahrm Pzouk

[6] Hjj Shaykh Sayyid Hibbatullah Jazb was one of the great scholars and shaykhs of the Order, born in 1895 in Isfahan, died in 1985 in Tehran. His biography is given in Risleh-ye Jazbiyeh, ed., Sayyid Al Rid Jazb, 2nd ed., (Isfahan: 1999).

[7] The minor ablution prescribed by Islam is called wudu. It is required for the performance of the ritual prayer of Islam, and members of the Order are instructed to be constantly in a state of wudu.

[8] Harat Rid Alshh describes this dream in an unpublished miscellany called Kashkul-e Tbandeh, ms. p. 240.

[9] This title, from the same root as istif means the chosen one, the one selected [by God].

[10] This is the spiritual title of the first Imm, it means one who is pleasing to God.

[11] The word awliy is the plural of wal, friend or guardian, and it refers to the saintly personages of Islam, especially the Imams and the spiritual guides.

[12] Hu is the third person masculine singular pronoun in Arabic. It is used to refer to God. The number 121 below Hu, according to the abjad system of assigning numerical values to the letters of the Arabic alphabet, is the numerical value for Y Al! (O Al!). The Shite Sufis, particularly the Gunbds, put Hu, 121, at the head of their letters.

[13] The family name of Hadrat Rid Alshh, Tbandeh, is the Persian word for the shining of the sun.

[14] Similar words were spoken by Imam Hasan (a) when his father, Imam Al (a) was killed.

[15] The Prophet, his daughter Ftimah and the twelve Imams are the fourteen immaculates of Sh Islam, divinely protected from error and sin.

[16] (51:55).

[17] A couplet from the Dvn of Hfiz.

[18] A couplet attributed to Shh Nimatullh Wal.

[19] This alludes to a hadth according to which the Prophet (s) said, yearning is my mount.

[20] A famous Persian proverb originally part of a couplet by Izz al-Dn Mahmud Kshn.

[21] The word mawl is derived from wal, meaning friend or guardian, and is used to designate the Lord, Master, and especially Imam Al.

[22] This is a hadth attributed to the Prophet (s).

[23] This refers to the following verse of the Qurn: (The similitude of those who spend their wealth in the path of God is the similitude of a grain of corn that grows seven ears, in each ear of which are a hundred grains; and verily God gives manifold increase to whosoever He wills, and God is omniscient, all knowing.) (2:261).

[24] This is a couplet from Saad.

[25] This is a well-known saying in Islamic culture that may originate from a hadth.

[26] This is also the title of one of his published lectures, uhur al-Ishq al-Al.

[27] See the twelfth surah of the Qurn.

[28] Two famous lovers about which a wealth of Persian poetry has been written, by Nizm, Jm and many others.

[29] See Qurn (2:30).

[30] This refers to the major occultation of the Twelfth Imam (a).

[31] See Qurn (20:47)

[32] According to the Glorious Qurn: (Allah has raised the strivers with their wealth and lives in rank above those sitting) (4:95).

[33] These are the first two verses of the Mathnav of Mawln Rum.

[34] This couplet is from Shaykh Bah.

[35] This is the precious time prior to the dawn (on average about one and a half hours), about which the sufis say that the gates of heaven are opened for the effusion of Gods grace. The fuqar have been instructed to remain awake during this period.

[36] These lines have been attributed to Mawlav Jall al-Dn Rum, Jadhabt Illhiyyah: A Selection from the Ghazliyt-e Shams, ed., Shaykh Asadallah Izadgoshasp, (Tehran: 1999), p. 240.

bonyad@erfan-gonabadi.com