Birth Name: Hazrat Shah Shamsuddin Mahboob Habibullah Mirza Mir Mazhar e Jaane Jaana
Born in: India, 1113H/1701 AD
Passed away in: Night of Ashura, 1195 H /1781 AD
From his childhood the light of Guidance and the Traces of Piety shone from his forehead. His features were moulded with the manifestation of heavenly beauty (tajalli-l-Jamal). He was famous, like the Prophet Yusuf, for his beauty. And everyone loved him because he represented beauty both inner and outer. That is the attribute of God, about whom the Beloved Prophet said: “God is beautiful and He loves beauty,” and it is also the attribute of the Beloved Prophet , about whom Hazrat Anas bin Malik said, “Your Beloved Prophet was the most beautiful in appearance and had the best voice of all Prophets.” Because of this, Sheikh Abdur-Rauf al-Munawi said, “The Beloved Prophet has no comparison in his beauty.”
When Sheikh Mazhar was nine years of age, he saw Sayyidina Ibrahim (A.S), who gave him miraculous powers through spiritual transmission. At this age, if anyone mentioned Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq in his presence, he would see him appear with his physical eyes. He was also able to see the Beloved Prophet and all the Companions of the Beloved Prophet as well as all the Sheikhs of the Naqshbandi Order, especially Sayyidina Ahmad al-Faruqi Mujaddadi.
His father raised him and educated him in all branches of religious knowledge. At a young age, his heart was attracted to the spiritual light coming from his Sheikh, Hazrat Sayyid Nur Muhammad Badayuni. His Sheikh opened the eyes of his heart and fed him from the nectar of the flower of the Hidden Awareness and Understanding. His Sheikh took him out of the state of self-awareness and lifted him up to the Highest Realms, which produced in him great astonishment and caused him to faint. When he woke up he accompanied Sheikh Nur Muhammad in further ascension. The Sheikh allowed him to observe the Mysteries of the Hidden World and gave him gifts from his miraculous Powers and realms.
One look of his Sheikh opened in him the Nine Points, the loci of the Naqshbandi Secrets. From the knowledge of the nine points, he delved into the secrets contained in five of the more powerful points, until his Sheikh authorized him to “activate” the Nine Points at any time and to use them. Then he brought him back down to be in his presence and only in his presence. He brought him up and down, from one stage to another, and enveloped him with his light and protected him with his gaze, until he achieved the ultimate completion and awakened himself from ignorance and inertia.
He stood fast in serving his Sheikh with complete truthfulness and sincerity. He continued to progress by entering seclusions in the desert and in the jungle at the instructions of his Sheikh. In these seclusions, his only food was grass and the leaves of trees. During his period of asceticism in the desert and jungle, he wore only what would cover his nakedness. One day, after many of these seclusions, he looked in the mirror and didn’t see himself, instead he saw his Sheikh.
At this stage, the Sheikh authorized him to guide Allah’s servants to their destinies and to the Straight Path, and he put him on the Throne of Succession – and by him the Hazrat Mazhar Jaane Jaana ascended the Tower of Happiness.
When his teacher passed away, he continued to visit his shrine and for two years he received whatever lights and knowledge his master was able to transmit to him from his shrine. Then he was ordered through his spiritual connection to his Sheikh to connect himself with a living master.
He reached the Door of the perfect Saints of his time, Sheikh Muhammad Afzal, Sheikh Safi Sadullah, and Sheikh Muhammad Abid. He attached himself to Sheikh Shah Kalshan and to another Sheikh by the name of Muhammad az-Zubair. He used to attend the session of Shaikh Muhammad Afzal, one of the Khalifas of the son of Muhammad Masoom. He visited and studied with Sheikh Abdul Ahad and received from him knowledge of the Beloved Prophet ic Hadith. During this class, whenever the Sheikh would mention a Hadith, he would disappear through Self-Effacement, and a vision would come to him in which he would find himself sitting with the Beloved Beloved Prophet and hearing the Hadith directly from the Beloved Prophet himself. He would correct any mistakes that might occur in the Sheikh’s narration of the Hadith, and was acknowledged as a genius in the science of Hadith.
He kept the company of these Sheikhs for twenty years. He progressed further and further in the States of Totality, until he became an ocean of bliss and knowing. He rose in the levels of the Qutbs until he became the Qutb of his time, shining like the sun at high noon. Sheikh Muhammad Afzal said, “Sheikh Mazhar Habibullah was given the state of Qutb and he is the central pivot of this tariqat at this time and will remain so in times to come.”
His spiritual understanding and awareness attracted people from all reaches of the Subcontinent. In his presence, each seeker would find what he needed, until through his blessing the Indian Subcontinent became like a Kabah encircled by flocks of angelic beings.
In his noble person were combined the energy of four tariqats. He was a master of the Naqshbandi, Qadri, Suhrawardi and Chishti Orders. He used to say, “I received the secrets and knowledge of these orders from my Sheikh, Sayyid Nur Muhammad Badayuni, until I attained a very distinguished awareness in these Orders. He lifted me from the Ibrahamic Stage to the Stage of Muhammad , which caused me to see the Beloved Beloved Prophet sitting in my place, while I was sitting in his. Then I disappeared and I saw him sitting in the two places. Then I saw him disappearing and I saw myself sitting in both places.”
About Ghaib many misconceptions exist. It is argued that after the master is no more, then how can the disciple be nourished and nurtured. After all, the master is the connection or the link between the Mureed and the realm of Ghaib. So when the master is no more then how can this link remain?
Just as before the birth of a child, milk descends into the mother’s breasts, in a similar way the inner connection with the master and the treasures of this unknown & unknowable realm open for the disciple. For this, unwavering trust for the master is the first criterion. With adab (respect) comes love for the master. Love is the key to the treasures of the realm of Ghaib. For ordinary consciousness, this is very difficult to understand as there is no inner connection. Once the realm doors are unlocked you are connected to all the masters that were present in the past, and also those who are to arrive at some future date. With this inner connection, all the inner states of awareness & tariqat and all else that is needed for transformation becomes available.
It is said that with Hazrat Mazhar Mir , the Naqshbandi tariqat attained to its totality. This may mean that the tariqat was incomplete. He emphasized that one can be in the world and still follow the path to an inward journey. One can continue totally in the outer world and its affairs, but deep within flows the stream of benediction and awareness. With trust and adab one remains connected with the realm of the pious masters. Remember trust and adab is not an outward exposition instead it is an understanding. And for this, no external expression is needed. Then one realizes that that the energy field of the master always envelops the aspirants.
His father was one of the jewels in the court of the Moghal emperor Aurangzeb. Every one used to call his father Mirza Sahib out of respect. Once, when Hazrat Mazhar accompanied his father to court of the emperor, some one asked his name. At this Aurangzeb responded by saying, ‘The child is the life essence of the father. Therefore, this boy is Jaane Jaana.” Thus, Mirza Jaane Jaana was added to his name. He was a poet who composed in Arabic and Persian languages.
With him, the tariqat attained to totality. The first change happened due to Hazrat Bahauddin Naqshband. As a result, Naqshbandi was added to the categorization. The second change happened because of Hazrat Ahmad Farooqi Mujaddadi Alf Thani. With this, Mujaddidi was added to the already existing name. And with Hazrat Mirza Mazhar Mir Jaane Jaana, the third change was affected in the categorization of the tariqat. He emphasized that it is not important that the disciple does the dhikr, or anything else but what is more important is the inner connection with the master.This inner connection happens only because of inner connection, love, and adab towards one’s master (Sheikh). Once this has happened, the journey becomes easy. When the aspirant begins to move within, the journey becomes difficult. Because of your constant negligence of the inner, there remains utter darkness. And travelling through the dark caves of the being is not only difficult but dangerous as well. It is the light of the master that guides the aspirant, until one reaches to a state when darkness is no more. Instead, there is illumination and you are ‘light within yourself’.
In his youth, he worked in the army of Aurangzeb and fought certain wars as well. Even in spiritual realm, he used the terminology of a soldier. He states that an aspirant needs to be like a soldier who sacrifices even his life for his master. He reached his own Sheikh when he was quite old. Hazrat Mazhar served his master to his utmost and used to take part in all kinds of work. He came from an affluent family.
Most of his external teaching happened through his grandfather. From his mother, he got the training of adab and akhlaq – respect and etiquette. His mother was the daughter of a master from Lahore.
The life of Hazrat Mirza Mazhar is full of anecdotes and incidents, all of which cannot be mentioned. He was quite young when his master Noor Mohammad passed away.Once he had a vision that a congregation of masters descended from heaven. One of the masters resembled Noor Mohammed, and at this he sought confirmation from the master. At this, the master responded I am your thoughts not your master. At this Hazrat Mirza expressed agony that it was for the first time he had been inclined towards another master. At this, the master in question appeared in his true form. He was, in fact, his master. Following are some sayings of Sheikh Mazhar:
· “Once I was sitting in the presence of Sheikh Muhammad Abid and the Sheikh said, “The two suns at the two ends met, and if their lights were combined and spread throughout this universe, they would have burned everything.”
· “Sheikh Muhammad Afzal was much older than I but he used to stand up for me when I entered, and he used to say to me, ‘I am standing in respect of the high lineage that you possess.’”
· “This whole world and the entire universe are in my hand, and I can see everything in them, just as clearly as I can see my hand.”
He had innumerable miraculous experiences and numberless visions about the Heavenly world as well as the lower world.
Once he travelled with some of his followers without any food or provision. They walked and whenever they got tired they sat. The Sheikh would call them and say, “This food is for you,” and tables of food would appear in front of them.
One day during the trip there was a terrible storm and the wind was blowing everything in its path. It was freezing and everyone was shivering because of the cold. Their situation worsened until it appeared that they were going to die in that frozen desert. Then Sheikh Mazhar raised his hands and said, “O Allah make it surround us but not be upon us.” Immediately the clouds lifted from around them, and though the freezing rain continued to fall one mile away, around them the temperature rose to a comfortable level.
He said, “One time I visited the grave of Sheikh Muhammad Hafiz Muhsin. I disappeared from myself and in a vision I saw his body. It had suffered no decomposition, and his shroud was still perfectly clean except for a patch of dirt on one part by his feet. Through my spiritual power, I asked him about that. He said, ‘O my son I will tell you a story. One day I took a stone from the garden of my neighbour and put it in a hole in my garden, and I said to myself, ‘in the morning I will return it to him,’ but I forgot. As a result of that action, the dirt has appeared on my shroud. That one action has tainted my shroud.’”
He said, “As long as you airlifted upward in piety you will be lifted up in sainthood.”
One day he became angry with a tyrant and he said, “A vision came to me in which I saw that all Sheikhs, from Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq up to the Sheikhs of today, were unhappy with that tyrant.” The next day the tyrant died.
A man came to him and said, “O my master, my brother has been jailed in another village. Please pray to Allah to save him.” He said, “O my son, your brother has not been jailed, but he has done something wrong and tomorrow you will receive a letter from him.” It turned out to be just as he described.
He informed his followers of great tidings and some jealous people refused to accept what he said. He said, “If you don’t believe me let us bring a judge. We will each tell him our point of view and let him judge between us.” They said, “We don’t accept any judge except the Beloved Prophet , and on Judgment Day we will ask for his judgement in this matter.” Then he said, “There is no need to wait until the Judgment Day. We will ask the Beloved Prophet to give his Judgment now.” He entered a deep state of contemplation in his heart and was told to read the Fatiha. This he did, and immediately the Beloved Prophet appeared to everyone and said, “Al-Mazhar Habibullah is right and all of you are wrong.”
He said, “Existence is an Attribute of Allah alone. This world is a mere shadow of realities existing in the Divine Presence. The reality of all possible creations, or haqaiq al-mumkinat, results from the action of the Divine Attributes and Qualities on the void. The real existence of all that manifests in physical creation is confirmed as a light in the Divine Presence.” Everything that appears in the physical creation is a mere shadow of the luminous reality projected by the Divine Qualities upon the void of non-existence. The World of the Divine Attributes or sifat is the origin of the Wellsprings of the Created Universes, or mabadi’ taayyunat al-alam. Because all physical creation arises from a combination of Allah’s Divine Qualities and the Void, creation thus partakes of two origins of opposite nature. From the nature of the void of non-existence and nothingness arise the dense qualities of physical substance that in the sphere of human action produce darkness, ignorance and evil. From the Divine Attributes come Light, Knowledge and Good. Thus the Sufi, when he looks at himself sees all that is good in him as a light from the Divine that is reflected on him, but that is not of him. A simile for it would be a borrowed suit of fine clothes with which one is beautifully dressed but that does not truly belong to him and for which he deserves no credit.
Conversely, he sees himself as base substance, full of darkness and ignorance, with a nature worse than that of an animal. With this dual perception he loosens his attachment to the attractions of the self and effaces himself, and turns in repentance or tawba towards the Divine Source of all Good. With this turning, Allah fills his heart with love and yearning for the Divine Presence. As Allah said in a Holy Hadith Qudsi, “If My servant approaches Me by one hand’s length I will approach him by one arm’s length; and if he comes to Me walking I will come to him running.”
Shortly before his death Sheikh Mazhar was in a state of great emotion and intense love of God. He experienced a great unhappiness at having spent so long in this transient world. He spent his last days in intense contemplation and, when asked, he would always say that his state was that of Annihilation and Existence in Allah, Sublime and Exalted. He increased his dhikr in his final days, and as a result of the intense light of attraction generated thereby, thousands and thousands of seekers entered into the tariqat. Each new day would bring three thousand new people to his door, and he would not let one of them go without meeting him. Finally, he became so exhausted that he scheduled only two times a day to meet with people.
One day, one of his followers, Sheikh Mullah Nazim, asked permission to travel and visit his parents in his homeland. He said, “My son, if you want to go you may, but I may not be here when you return.” This reply went from one mouth to another, shaking the hearts of people, as it indicated that his era was ending. With tearful eyes and broken hearts, people all around Punjab began wailing and crying. His house was full and no one knew what was going to happen when he was gone. Then he took a paper and wrote to one of his successors, Mullah Abdur-Razzaq, “O my son, I am now over eighty and my life is coming to its close. Remember me in your prayers.” He sent him that letter and he sent many others the same letter.
Thanking Allah for His Favours he said, “There is nothing left in my heart of anything that I have wished to achieve or to reach that remains to be accomplished. There is nothing for which I have asked Allah that I did not receive. My only remaining desire is to leave this world and be in His Presence continuously. Allah gave me everything, except permission to go to Him. I am asking Allah to take me to Him today, before tomorrow. But I don’t want to go to Him as an ordinary person. I want to go to him, as Allah described in the Holy Qur’an, as a martyr who is always alive. So, O Allah, make me a martyr in this world and take me to you as a martyr. This kind of death will bring happiness to my heart and will cause me to be in the presence of Your Beloved Prophet and of Hazrat Ibrahim and of Hazrat Musa, and with all your 124,000 Prophets; and to be with all the Companions of the Beloved Prophet , and to be with al-Junaid and the master of this Order, Hazrat Shah Naqshband , and with all the masters of the Tariqat. O Allah, I want to combine the witnessing of physical martyrdom with spiritual death in the State of Witnessing, in the State of Annihilation.”
Death – The Ultimate Transcendence
It was Wednesday evening, the seventh of Muharram, of the year 1195 H/1780 CE. His servant came to him and said, “There are three men at your door. They want to visit you.”
He said, “Let them enter.” When they entered, he came out of his bedroom and greeted them. One of them said to him, “Are you Mirza Jaane Jaana Habibullah?” He answered, “Yes.” The two said to the third, “Yes, he is the one.” One of the men took a knife from his pocket and stabbed him in the back, piercing his kidney. Because of his age, he was unable to withstand the severity of the blow and he fell to the ground. When it was time for the Fajr prayer, the King sent him a doctor. He sent back the doctor and said, “I don’t need him. As for the men who stabbed me, I forgive them, because I am glad to die as a martyr and they came as an answer to my prayer.”
He passed from this life on Friday. When the day reached its middle, he read the Qur’anic chapters Fatiha and Ya Sin until Asr time. He asked his followers, how many hours were left until sunset. They told him, “Four hours.” He said, “It is still long until the meeting with my Lord.” He said, “I have missed ten prayers in my life, all in these past two days, because my body is full of blood and I have been unable to raise my head.” They asked him, “If a sick person is in such a weak condition, is he obliged to pray with movements of his eyes and his forehead or to postpone his prayer?” He answered, “Both ways are correct.” He waited with patience for the sunset, and then he breathed his last. It was the night of Ashura, 1195 H /1781 AD.
He passed his secret to his successor, ash-Sheikh Abdullah ad-Dehlawi.