Birth and Childhood
Sheikh Ahmad Al Kabeer ar- Rifâi (AD1107-1183) was born on Monday in 27th day of the lunar month of Rajab 500. His birthplace was in the town of Ummu ubaydah (Hasen) in the township of Bathaeh at the Wasit province of Basra, Iraq. He passed away on Thursday, Jumada al-Awwal 12, 578 A.H. (1183 A.D.), in the town of Wasit, in Basra, Iraq.
His father was Sayyid Ali Abul Hasan and mother was Fatima al-Ansari the daughter of Yahya Najjari. His Sheikh was Ali Al Wasiti. When he was seven years old, his father passed away in 507 A.H in Baghdad and buried there. Soon after, his maternal Uncle Sheikh Mansur ar-Rabbani took him into his care and educated him.
Sheikh Ahmad Rifâi (R) memorized the holy Qur’an by the age of seven. In this year, after the demise of his father, his maternal Uncle Mansur al-Rabbani moved with his family to the region of Dikhla. There he sent his nephew to Abul Fadl Ali al-Vasiti, who was an expert in the canon law of Islam, a commentator of the holy Qur’an, and a great preacher.
He occupied all his time with obtaining religious knowledge, and indeed Allah Almighty bestowed him the knowledge. In due course, even his own teachers and the people who taught him respect learned the essence of respect when they were in his presence.
In addition to attending the Dhikr gatherings of his uncle, Sheikh Mansur ar-Rabbani, Sheikh Rifâi also attended the courses of his other uncle, Sheikh Abubaker, who was a great scientist of his era and the sultan of scientists. He eventually memorized the book Tanbih, which deals with the Fiqih (Islamic jurisprudence) of Shafi School according to Imam Abu Ishaq Al sShirazi, and wrote an explanation about the book.
Sheikh Ahmed Rifai (R) has related to our Prophet (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) through his father and mother sides by blood. His paternal lineage is as below. Sheikh Ahmad Rifai bin Sayyid Ali bin Sayyid Yahya bin Sayyid Sabit bin Sayyid Hazim bin Sayyid Ali bin Sayyid Hasan bin Sayyid Mahdi bin Sayyid Muhammad bin Sayyid Husain bin Sayyid Ahmad bin Seyyid Musa al-Thani bin Sayyid Ibrahim bin Sayyid Musa-al Qadhim bin Sayyid Jafr Sadiq bin Sayyid Muhammad Baqir bin Sayyid Zain al Abidin Ali bin Imam Hasan bin Ameer Al Mumineen Imam Ali bin Abu Thalib (May Allah Please with them.
Graduation and Teaching
When Sheikh Ahmad Rifâi (R) was twenty years old, Abu Fadl Ali, who was the Sheikh of Wasit province and his teacher, awarded him a teaching certificate encompassing the sciences of canon law and permission to initiate a Sufi order, gave him the name “father of external and interior sciences,” and dressed him with his own Sufi’s cloak. His teachers and his sheikhs agreed about the greatness of his rank and the superiority of his worth.
Sheikh Ahmad Rifâi (R) remained in Dikhla region for a short time and after that went back to his father’s guesthouse for travelers in Hasen. He became very well known. When he was twenty-eight, his uncle Sheikh Mansur (R) requested him to lead the Sufi lodge and Caliphs after him. He also instructed him to live in the Sufi lodge of Sheikh Yahya an-Najjari, who was his grandfather from his mother’s side. Sheikh Ahmad Rifâi took up his post (Sheikh ship) there as an enlightened master and began teaching in this Sufi lodge. By the time Shiekh Ahmad Rifâi (R) reached the age of thirty-five, his Murids (disciples) numbered over seven hundred thousand.
Shiekh Ahmad Rifâi (R) taught the Sunnah (the way of the Prophet Muhammad (PBH)) and the details of the Qur’an to the public, and he always said that the trade of a wise man is to show the way that leads to Allah and to direct hearts towards Allah.
He held courses on Hadith, Islamic canon law, religious precepts, and commentary of the Qur’an on all days of the week except Mondays and Thursdays. He sat in his pulpit on Monday and Thursday afternoons and preached to intellectuals and the public. Because of the depth and the influence of his words, the people were captivated, their intelligence was amazed, and their hearts submitted to him.
Whenever he sat in his pulpit to give a lecture, crowds–including advanced scientists, preachers, spiritual teachers and the general public–gathered. When he began to speak, knowledge poured out with his words like the perpetual stream. Wise men became enthusiastic when they heard his beautiful and influential words and gave their ears to his extensive knowledge. The denying and obstinate were tongue-tied in the presence of the power of the evidence. Literary men profited from his outstanding expression, scientists from his skills and talents and philosophers from his deep and wise manner of speaking.
In his book Savad ul-Aynain, the writer Imam Rafii (R) narrates, “Sheikh Salih Yusuf Abu Zakariyya al-Asqalani, who was a great expert in the canon law of Islam, told me: ‘I had gone to Ummu Ubydah to visit Sheikh Ahmad Rifâi (R). There were more than one hundred thousand people around the guesthouse; some were managers, scientists and sheikhs, and the others were the ordinary people. He gave dinner to all of them and was very friendly to everyone. He started to preach in the afternoon of a Thursday. In the audience were preachers from the province of Wasit, as well as a religious community of doctors of Muslim theology of Iraq and the important people of the province. One group asked questions about the science of commentary of the holy Qur’an, another asked about subjects dealing with the recorded sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBH), another asked about Islamic jurisprudence, another asked about the disagreements between the different religious opinions, and yet another group asked many questions about different areas of science. Sheikh Rifâi (R) answered more than two hundred questions, and he did not get angry when he was answering the questions. I became embarrassed because of the insensitivity of people asking the questions, and I stood up and said, “Is this not enough for you? He can answer every question about the written sciences, without facing any difficulty, with the permission of Allah!” Sheikh Rifâi (R) smiled at my words and said, “Abu Zakariyya, allow them to ask before I pass away. Certainly, the world is a house from which we will all depart. Allah changes all situations, all of the time.” All the public cried at this answer. The crowd was perplexed and anxious exclamations were heard. Forty thousand people became his students because of the spiritual effect of his talk.’”
Sheikh Rifa’i (R) has known as one of the four major Sheikhs of Thariqath (Aqthab al Arbaa, a Quthub of the time, not just of a local area). Another major Quthubs are Sheikh Abdul Qadir al Jeelani (R).
The Compassionate Mind
Sheikh Rifâi’s talks, his actions, his behavior and his every breath were for the sake of Allah Almighty. He always had a smiling face, was modest and good-tempered, endured suffering, and was very patient. He did not get personally cross with anyone, and did not want any help for his own person. On the contrary, he loved for Allah, and even his anger was for Allah. He did not rebuke anybody who behaved in a manner that he did not like. He considered neither his family nor himself superior to other people. Speaking about this he said, “According to the Islamic law, everybody is equal to everybody else: it doesn’t matter if they are close relatives or if they are strangers to us.” The righteous people more are closer to Allah.
Sheikh Rifâi (R) used to go to the houses of the leprous and bedridden, wash their clothes, bring their meals, sit and eat with them, and pray for them. When he heard that the people of his city were sick in a far-off city, he used to visit them. He also cured wounded animals, and said, “Compassion for the creatures of Allah is one of the qualities that bring human beings closer to Allah.”
Abu Musa al-Haddadi said that in the town of Haddahiyya there was a woman whose children were always stillborn. This woman said, if I have a child, I would give this child in the service of Ahmed Rifai. A few years later, she had a daughter who was hunchbacked and lame. Because of this, the other children in the village always made fun of her. One day, Ahmed Rifai was visiting this town and all the people went to the road to see him. The little girl threw herself at Rifai’s feet and cried out, “You are my mother’s Sheikh; please heal me from these problems!” and wept. When Sheikh Rifai saw her situation he cried as well, and praying over her, he placed his hands on her back and head. The girl’s back and leg were both healed. This is why, Ahmed Rifai is called the Father of the Lame.
Once, Sheikh Rifâi (R) spent forty days caring for a dog with leprosy in the wilderness. When he returned and was asked why he had spent so much time caring for an unclean beast, he replied, “When I die and meet my creator, what would I have said if He asked me why I hadn’t helped one of His creatures?”
One Friday, when Sheikh Rifa’i (R) woke up for prayer, there was a cat asleep on his robe. He asked his wife to bring the scissors, cut off the part of his robe where the cat lay, stood up and went to prayers. When he returned, the cat had awakened and left, so he asked his wife for thread to sew the robe back together. When he saw his wife’s displeasure at what he had done to his robe, he said “Do not worry, nothing but goodness happened and I did not suffer because of this; this was a good thing.”
Teachings and Good Works
Hadrat Sayyid Ahmad ar- Rifâi used to advise people to guard themselves from overindulging in the things that are neither recommended nor forbidden by religious law, such as overeating and oversleeping. He used to recommend worshipping at night. He also used to recommend keeping away from people who do not know their limits, who behave in excessive manner, who see themselves as superior to others, and who argue with each other.
He used to do his service by himself, repair his own shoes, and carry the firewood which was prepared for him to the houses of people who were sick, orphaned, fallen or without relations or friends.
He helped the blind find their shoes after worship, and also helped guide them to the places that they wanted to go. He respected old people and recommended respecting them. He always used to quote the words of our Prophet Muhammad (saw), “If a person shows respect to old people and those in need, Allah will assign people who will respect them when they are old.”
Hadrat Sayyid Ahmad ar- Rifâi used to go to the houses of the leprous and bedridden, wash their clothes, bring their meals, sit and eat with them, and pray for them. When he heard that the people of his city were sick in a far-off city, he used to visit them. He also cured wounded animals, and said, “Compassion for the creatures of Allah is one of the qualities that bring human beings closer to Allah.”
He was very kind and compassionate to orphans. He would cry for the poor, grow merry with their joy, and behave very modestly towards them. He considered himself as one of them.
Great people in Hadrat Sayyid Ahmad ar- Rifâi ‘s time said, “The most important reason for his reaching his high station was his great kindness to all creatures and his humility.”
He used to show respect to the wise and the experts in the canon law of Islam and wanted everybody else to respect them. He said, “The wise are the leaders and fundamentals of the community.”
Hadrat Sayyid Ahmad ar- Rifâi was not inclined towards worldly things. He did not store any possessions at any time: although he had great wealth, he did not own more than two garments at the same time, either in summer or winter. His wealth was much more than the wealth of governors and famous rich men. He used to distribute his revenue to dervishes and to people who came to the dervish lodge. Upon his passing away, his possessions were given to the people.
Hazrat Sayyed Ahmad Kabeer Rifai rahmatullāhi alaihi :
Qutb-ul-aqtaab, Sultaan-ul-aarifeen, Sartaaj-e-Auliya, Abul alamain (Father of Two Banners).
Aap ki wilaadat Rajab 512 Hijri (1119 A.D.) me Jum’eraat ko Hasen, Basra (Iraq) me hua.
Aap ke waalid ka naam Sayyed Ali bin Yahyā Nakib aur waalida ka naam Sayyeda Fatima al-Ansari bint Yahya Nijjeri hai.
Aap Husaini saadaat hain.
Aap ki wilaadat se pehle Huzoor sallallāhu alaihi wa sallam ne Shaikh Mansoor Rabbani rahmatullāhi alaihi ko khwaab me aakar bashaarat di ke ‘Tumhari bahen ke yaha beta paida hone wala hai jo wali e kaamil hoga aur Rifai ke naam se mashhoor hoga.’
Aap ki umr 7 saal ki hui tab Baghdad me aap ke waalid ka inteqaal hua.
Is ke baad aap ke maama Shaikh Mansoor Rabbani aap ko Dikhla le gaye aur unho ne aap ki parwarish ki.
Aap ne Abdus Sami al-Hurbuni se Qur’an ki taalim haasil ki aur Haafiz e Qur’an hue.
Phir Shaikh Mansoor Rabbaani ne aap ko Shaikh Ali al-Waasiti ke paas taalim ke liye bheja.
Aap bahot zaheen the. Aur kam umr me sab taalim haasil ki.
Aap ne Shaafi mazhab ki fiqh ki kitaab ‘Tanbih’ ki tafseer likhi.
20 saal ki umr me Shaikh Abu Fazl Ali al-Waasiti ne aap ko khilaafat ata farmai.
Kuchh waqt Nehre Dikhla (Tigris) par rahe aur phir Hasen aakar apne waalid ke musafirkhaane (sara) me qayaam kiya.
Hazrat Shaikh Mansoor Rabbaani ke wisaal ke kuchh waqt pehle un ki zauja mohtarma ne arz kiya ‘Khilaafat ke liye wasiyat farma den.’
Shaikh Mansoor Rabbaani ne apne bete aur bhaanje Ahmad Kabeer Rifai ko bulwaaya aur dono se farmaaya ‘Khajoor ke patte lekar aao.’
Beta bahot se patte kaat kar le aaya. Magar Hazrat Ahmad Kabeer Rifai koi patta na laaye. Wajah puchhi to arz kiya ke ‘Maine sab ko ALLĀH ki tasbeeh karte hue paaya, isi liye kisi patte ko nahi kaata.’
Hazrat Shaikh Mansoor Rabbaani rahmatullāhi alaihi muskuraye aur apni zauja ki taraf kar dekhkar farmaaya ‘Maine bhi kai martaba apne khalifa ke liye dua ki to har martaba yehi farmaaya gaya ke tumhara khalifa tumhara Bhaanja hai.’
28 saal ki umr me aap ke maama Shaikh Mansoor Rabbani ne apne wisaal ke kuchh arse pehle aap ko khilaafat ata farmaai aur un ke madrasa ki zimmedaari di.
Aap ne tamaam zindagi logo ko Qur’an wa Shariat aur Hadees o Sunnat ki taaleem dena jaari rakha.
Kai baar aap ki masjlis me hazaaro ki ta’adaad me log jama hote the.
Log aap se kitne bhi alag alag sawaal kare aap bagair pareshaan hue un ko jawaab dete the.
Aap Aqtaab e araba (4 Major Qutubs) me se hain.
Aap ko Qutub e waqt (Qutub of the time, not just of a local area) ka martaba mila hai. Ya’ni aap sirf kisi ilaaqe ya mulk ke Qutub nahi the, apne daur me tamaam dunya ke Qutub the.
555 Hijri me Hazrat Ahmad Kabeer Rifai rahmatullāhi alaihi Hajj ke liye gaye aur Makka me Hajj ke arkaan ada karne ke baad aap Madeena shareef pahunche.
Ek roz Asr ki namaaz ada karne ke baad aap Ghaus e aazam Abdul Qaadir Jeelaani radiy-Allāhu ta’ala anhu aur deegar Auliya Allāh aur Ulma e kiraam ke saath Huzoor Sarkare Madeena sallallāhu alaihi wa sallam ke Roza e anwar par salaam pesh karne gaye.
Aap ne Huzoor Rasool-Allāh sallallāhu alaihi wa sallam ko is tarah salaam kiya ‘Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullāhi Ya Jadadi’.
Roza Mubarak ke andar se jawab aaya ‘Wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatullāhi Ya Waladi’ ya’ni ‘Aur tum par bhi salaam aur ALLĀH ki rahmat ho, Aye mere bete’.
Aur saath me sunaheri jaaliyo me se noorani haath bahar aaye aur Hazrat Ahmad Kabeer Rafai rahmatullāhi alaihi ne aap sallallāhu alaihi wa sallam ke daste mubarak ko chuma aur phir wo haath Roza mubarak ke andar chala gaya.
Aap hamesha apna kaam khud karte the.
Aap hamesha mareezo, ghareebo, mohtaajo, yateemo, jaeefo, buzurgo ki khidmat me lage rehte.
Aap farmaate the ki ‘Makhlooq par raham karna ye ek aisi sifat hai ki jo bande ko ALLĀH ta’ala ke qareeb karti hai’
Aap masjid me se baahar nikalte waqt andhe logo ko un ke joote talaash karke pehanne me madad karte aur un ko un ke ghar pahunchate ya un ko raasta batate.
Aap buzurgo ki izzat karte aur logo ko bhi kehte ke ‘Huzoor Rasool-Allāh sallallāhu alaihi wa sallam ne farmaaya hai ki Jo buzurgo ki izzat karega ALLĀH ta’ala us ki zaroorat ke waqt aise log ata farmaega jo us ki izzat kare.’
Aap juzaam (leprosy) ki beemaari walo ki khidmat karte, un ke saath waqt guzaarte aur un ke liye dua karte, un ke kapde dhote, un ko saaf karte, un ke liye khaana laate.
Thandi ke mausam me aap yateemo, beemaaro, ghareebo aur mohtaajo ke ghar par jalaane ke liye lakdiya dene ke liye jaate.
Aap aalimo ki bahot ta’azeem karte the aur farmate ki ‘Aalim qaum ke raahnuma hote hai.’
Aap logo ko un logo ki sohbat se door rehne ke liye farmaate jo bad-tameez ho, takabbur wale ho aur jo logo se bin zaroori bahes karte ho.
Aap logo ko mubaah kaam me bhi zyadati karne se bachne ke liye farmaate jaise zyada khaana aur zyada sona.
Aap raat ka aksar waqt Ibaadat o riyaazata aur Tilaawate Qur’an aur Zikre ilāhi me guzaarte the.
(1) Haddadiya me ek aurat ko mare hue bache paida hote the. Us ne dua ki ke ‘Agar mujhe aulaad hogi to main use Ahmad Kabeer Rifai ki khidmat me de dungi.’ Kuchh arse baad use ek ladki paida hui magar wo kubaani aur langdi thi. Is wajah se gaanv ke ladke us ka mazzaaq udate the.
Ek baar Hazrat Ahmad Kabeer Rifai us gaanv me aaye to sab log un ki ziyarat ke liye pahunche. Wo ladki Hazrat ke qadmo me gir gai aur rote hue kaha ‘Aap meri waalida ke peer hain. Mujhe is pareshaani se najaat dila dijiye.’ Aap ko raham aa gaya aur aap ne dua ki aur apna haath us ki pusht par aur sar par pher diya. Foran ALLĀH ke fazl se us ladki ki peeth aur pair durust ho gaye.
(2) Ek baar Hazrat Ahmad Kabeer Rifai ke bhaanje Hazrat Abul Farah bin Ali rahmatullāhi alaihi aap ke paas malfoozaat (naseehat) sunne ki niyyat se baithe the.
Itne me ek shakhs waha aaya. Hazrat ne use Marhaba kaha. Us ne kaha ‘Maine 20 roz se kuchh khaya peeya nahi hai. Main chahta hu ke mujhe khaane peene ke liye kuchh mil jaaye.’
Aap ne farmaya ‘Tumhari khwahish kya hai?’ Us ne aasman ki taraf nigaah uthai to dekha ke 5 Murgaabiya (ek parinda) udti hui ja rahi hain. Us ne Kaha ‘Kaash un me se ek mujhe bhuni hui mil jaaye, jis ke saath gehu ki rotiya aur thande paani ka maskija bhi ho.’
Ye sunkar aap ne farmaaya ‘Ye murgaabiya tere liye hi hain.’ Phir aap ne udti hui murgaabiyo ki taraf dekhkar farmaaya ‘Is shakhs ki khwaahish jaldi puri kar do.’ Jaise hi aap ne ye kaha ke foran un murgaabiyo me se ek bhuni hui aap ke paas aakar giri. Phir aap ne apne pehlu me pade hue 2 pattharo ko haath me liye to wo behtareen qism ki gehu ki rotiya ban gaye. Phir aap ne apna haath fiza me buland kiya to surkh rang ka thande paani se bhara hua ek maskija aap ke haath me aaya.
Jab wo shakhs kha pee kar chala gaya to Hazrat ne Murgaabi ki haddiyo ko baayen haath me lekarus par apna daahina haath phera aur farmaya ‘Aye haddiyo aur paththo khuda ke kukm se aapas me jud jaao.’ Phir aap ne ‘Bismillāhir rahmānir raheem’ padhi to wo murgaabi zinda ho gai aur hawa me udti hui chali gai.
Ek baar Jum’aa ko Aap sokar uthe to dekha ki Aap ke kurte par billi so rahi hai. Aap ne apni biwi ko qainchi dene ke liye kaha aur kurte ka utna hissa kaat daala aur namaaz ke liye chale gaye. Aap jab waapas aaye to wo billi waha se chali gai thi. Aap ne wo kurte ka tukda uthaya aur apni biwi ko use silkar kurte me lagane ke liye kaha. Jab aap ne apni biwi ki naraazgi dekhi to aap ne farmaya ‘Fikr mat karo. Jo hua hai achha hi hua hai aur mujhe is ki wajah se koi pareshaani nahi hui hai. Ye achha kaam tha.’
Ek martaba Aap jaa rahe the aur ek tiddi Aap ke kapdo par baith gai to jab tak tiddi ud na gai Aap usi jagah dhup me thehre rahe aur phir farmaaya ‘Is ne hum se saaya haasil kiya.’
Ek baar Aap ne khaarish zada (khujli wale) ek kutte ke ilaaj me 40 din guzaare. Logo ne jab puchha ki ‘Aap ne aik wehshi jaanwar ke liye itna waqt kyun guzaara?’ To aap ne farmaaya ‘Agar ye mar jaata to jab main apne khaaliq se milta aur wo puchhta ki tum ne meri makhlooq ki madad kyun nahi ki to main kya jawaab deta.’
(1) Tareeqat aur Shariat alag alag nahi ho sakte magar saath saath hote hai. Agar Shariat sahi nahi to Tareeqat bhi sahi nahi hogi.
(2) Adab ALLĀH ta’ala ka ata kiya hua noorani taaj hai. Jo ise pehan leta hai wo buraai se mehfooz ho jaata hai. Taqwa jis darwaaze se aata hai wo Adab kehlaata hai.
Aap ne ‘Al-Burhaan-ul-Moeed’ naami kitaab bhi likhi hai.
Aap ki nasl Sayyed Ziya-ud-deen Mohammad Madyan se jaari hai.
(Aap ke dusre beto ka bachpan me hi inteqaal ho gaya.)
Aap ki 2 betiya hain :
Sayyeda Faatima aur Sayyeda Zainab.
Aap Hazrat Abu Fazl Ali al-Waasiti rahmatullāhi alaihi ke mureed aur khalifa hain.
Aap se Tareeqat ka ‘Rifaeeya’ silsila jaari hai.
Aap ke Khulfa :
(1) Hazrat Sayyed Ziya-ud-deen Mohammad Madyan rahmatullāhi alaihi
(2) Hazrat Sayyed Izz-ud-deen Ahmad rahmatullāhi alaihi
(3) Hazrat Sayyed Ali Mirbaaz rahmatullāhi alaihi.
Aap ka wisaal 22 Jamaadi ul awwal 578 Hijri (1183 A.D.) ko Jum’eraat ke din hua.
Aap ka mazaar Wasit, Basra (Iraq) me hai.
ALLĀH ta’ala us ke Habeeb sallallāhu alaihi wa sallam ke sadqe me
Aur Hazrat Sayyed Ahmad Kabeer Rifai rahmatullāhi alaihi aur Ahle bait ke aur Auliya Allāh ke waseele se
Sab ko mukammal ishq e Rasool ata farmae aur Sab ke Eimaan ki hifaazat farmae aur Sab ko nek amal karne ki taufiq ata farmae.
Aur Sab ko dunya wa aakhirat me kaamyaabi ata farmae aur Sab ki nek jaa’iz muraado ko puri farmae.