“Whoever is initiated by Us and follows Us and loves Us,
whether he is near or far, wherever he is,
even if he is in the East and We are in the West,
We nourish from the stream of love and give him light in his daily life.” – Hazrat Bahauddin Naqshband (RA) on the Awliya Allah
Birth Name: Abu Yazid Bistami or Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bustami
Born in: Bostam, Iran
Importance on Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA)
Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) who helped his successors and eager followers of Sufism to understand the concepts of Fana (annihilation of the self in Allah) and Baqa (remaining in the existence of Allah). Before Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA), the Sufis often preached about piety and humble characters as the main aspects of Sufism. However, after the inspirational ideas propagated by the great Sheikh the followers of Sufism received further depth in the concepts of Sufism.
He always instructed his students to perform 5 main acts.
(1) Practice the obedience of Quran
(3) Clean the hearts from hatred and lies.
(4) Do not eat illegal materials
(5) avoid wrongful innovations in religion.
This is clear evidence that Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) considered Shariah as the initial step towards finding the love of Allah (swt).
Emphasis on Sufism:Perhaps not many know that the concept of Marifa (to recognise Allah) was often taught by Dhunon al Misri (RA), but it was Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) who explained and taught the concept with further perfection and completeness. He helped his successors and eager followers of Sufism to understand the concepts of Fana (annihilation of the self in Allah) and Baqa (remaining in the existence of Allah). Before Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA), the Sufis often preached about piety and humble characters as the main aspects of Sufism. However, after the inspirational ideas propagated by the great Sheikh the followers of Sufism received further depth in the concepts of Sufism. Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) openly spoke about wajd which means annihilation in the presence of Allah (swt). At that time not many understood his unique theories but as time elapsed, these concepts became the core teachings of Sufism.
It must be pointed out for the benefit of the readers that Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA), did not devalue Shariah, but in reality always instructed his students to perform 5 main acts. Practice the obedience of Quran and Sunna. Clean the hearts from hatred and lies. Do not eat illegal materials and avoid wrongful innovations in religion. This is clear evidence that Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) considered Shariah as the initial step towards finding the love of Allah (swt).
His Sayings:His quotes and words are so extraordinarily wise and deep that describing each quotation with great details would take years for its full completion. However, stating few for the readers would give them a summary of the depth and intelligent of the Sufi legend. It is reported that once a man asked him to about a deed which could take him towards Allah (swt). He mentioned that love the saints of Allah, so that they love you in return. He further mentioned that Allah (swt) looks into the hearts of his saints and if he witnessed your name, then he will forgive all your sins. This inspirational saying is guidance for a devotee or disciple for unconditionally loving and admiring their righteous and humble master or Sheikh. It also indicates towards the Quranic concept of following the paths of those whom Allah (swt) have blessed. Quran 1:5-6 “Show/Guide us on the right path. Path of those you have favoured”. And Allah has favoured Surah 4:69 “those whom Allah has blessed are the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs, and the Righteous…”
He also mentioned that “it is not strange that I love you because I am a weak servant, but it is strange that you love me because you are the king of the kings”. His humility and humbleness increased to en extraordinary level that not a single element of arrogance was left in him. His wise and inspirational sayings were great tools in the realisation of the purpose of one’s creation. After reading the life and sayings of Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA), every intellectual person would agree that Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA), fully understood the purpose of his creation and successfully achieved the highest level of Ihsaan.
Extraordinary Knowledge and Patience:Whenever the name of Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) is mentioned, the stories of Karamaat (miracles) are essential. It is reported in Tazkirat ul Awliya (Attar Nashapuri) that he predicted the birth of Abul Hasan Kharqani while passing by Kharqan almost 100 years before he was born. Some might be surprised or unaware about these sayings. The same occurred at the time of Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA), when some people failed to understand his comments and beliefs. In retaliation some would exile the great Sufi leader from the city expecting hostile words and action from the Sheikh. However, little did they know that Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) was a true follower of Prophet Muhamed (saw) and from his Seerah, learnt the ideas if patience and tolerance. When Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) was exiled, he prayed to the Almighty Lord (swt) for the people of the city who tortured him, as reported by Attar. Perhaps one could relate this incident to the conquest of Makka, when the Mercy to the Mankind (saw) forgave the non-believers of Makkah, despite receiving enormous tortures from them in the initials years. Today people only preach about following the sayings and actions of the Prophet (saw); however Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) fully practiced the Sunna of the Prophet (saw) and so therefore became a great example for the modern Muslims.
His last Days:Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) passed away in the year 874 CE. There is a dispute as to the place of his grave, but people often claim that he is buried in the northern part of Iran. Some scholars claim that his final resting place is in Bangladesh but people have found this claim as unsound, because Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) never had the opportunity to visit Bangladesh, Allah knows best.
INFLUENCE:Bayazid was in close contact with the Twelve Imams. He received initiation from Imam Ali ar-Ridha and died in either 874 or 877/8, indicating it is most likely he would have also associated with the succeeding Shia Imams, including Imam Muhammad at-Taqi (d.835 CE), Imam Ali al-Hadi (d.868 CE), and Imam Hasan al-Askari (d.874 CE), the paternal ancestors Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari, who would later lend his name to the chain of Central Asian Sufi Masters from the 10th to the 16th century known collectively as the Khwajagan. Bayazid’s successor was Abu al-Hassan al-Kharaqani, who transmitted belief in the Twelve Imams to both Khwaja Abdullah Ansari, at whose shrine the names of the Twelve Imams are inscribed, and to Abu al-Hassan al-Kharaqani’s successor Abul Qasim Gurgani (d. 1076), at whose shrine these names are also inscribed.
Bastami’s predecessor Dhu’l-Nun al-Misri (d. CE 859) was a murid of Jābir ibn Hayyān, who was a student of the sixth Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, as well. Al-Misri had formulated the doctrine of ma’rifa (gnosis), presenting a system which helped the murid (initiate) and the shaykh (guide) to communicate. Bayazid Bastami took this a step further and emphasized the importance of ecstasy, referred to in his words as drunkenness (sukr or wajd), a means of self-annihilation in the Divine Presence. Before him, Sufism was mainly based on piety and obedience and he played a major role in placing the concept of divine love at the core of Sufism.
Bastami was one of the first to speak of “annihilation of the self in God” (fana fi ‘Allah’) and “subsistence through God” (baqa’ bi ‘Allah). The “annihilation of the self” (fana fi ‘Allah’) refers to disregarding everything in this world because of one’s love towards God. When a person enters the state of fana it is believed that one is closest to God. His paradoxical sayings gained a wide circulation and soon exerted a captivating influence over the minds of students who aspired to understand the meaning of the wahdat al-wujud, Unity of Being.
When Bayazid died he was over seventy years old. Before he died, someone asked him his age. He said: “I am four years old. For seventy years I was veiled. I got rid of my veils only four years ago.”
Bayazid died in 874 CE and is buried either in the city of Bistam in north central Iran, or in Semnan, Iran.
INTOXICATED SUFI:An intoxicated Sufi is one that expresses their feelings openly without disregarding the social consequences in doing so. Bayazid was most famous for openly expressing himself. Unlike the sufi Junayd who was a sober sufi, meaning that he reserved his feelings within himself and not allowing for such expressions to be observed to the outside world. This was the acceptable comportment of a Sufi, however when Bayazid began to express himself openly, many shunned him. The people opposed to his openness accused Bayazid of being a heretic due to his bizarre sayings. Not only his sayings are controversial, but Bayazid also claimed to have traveled through the 7 heavens in his dream. This journey proclaimed by Bayazid is similar to the Mi’raj of the Prophet Muhammad (Sells, pg 213).
These sayings are some of Bayazid’s famous sayings that caused him to be labeled as an intoxicated Sufi.
“Glory be to me! How great is My majesty!”
“Thy obedience to me is greater than my obedience to Thee”
“I am the throne and the footstool”
“By my life, my grasp is firmer than His”
“I saw the Kaba walking round me”
“Moses desired to see God; I do not desire to see God;He desires to see me”
Waqiyat:Hazrat Bayazid Bostami also known as Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bustami was born in 804 CE, Bostam, Iran. Bayazid’s grandfather was a zoroastrin who converted to Islam. His grandfather had three sons, Adam, Tayfur and ‘Ali. All of them were ascetice. Abayazid was born to Tayfur. Not much is known of his childhood, but Bayazid spent most of his time in isolation in his house and the mosque. Although he remained in isolation, he did not isolate himself from the Sufi realm.
He welcomed people into his house to discuss Sufism. He was a Persian Sufi who is considered to be one the leading teachers of Sufism in the History of Islam. Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) is considered to be a great example of pure practices of Sufism for the seekers of spirituality. His methods of teaching and guiding were extremely influential and effective. This is evident from the fact that he was leader of Hazrat Dhunon al Misri (RA) who was a great personality himself and possessed unique knowledge about spirituality and the path towards Allah (swt). Perhaps it must be stated for the enthusiastic followers of Sufism that “only great teachers produce great students”, as in the case of Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) who was a great teacher.
A long time ago there was a young boy named Bayazid Bustami. He was born in Persia, an ancient land of plains, mountains and poetry. Being the only son of a poor, widowed mother, he was the light of her eyes and she rested all her hopes for the future on him. She dedicated her life to giving him the best she could, but because she was poor, she couldn’t afford much.As the small boy grew older, she scraped together what money she could and sent him to the local school where he could learn to read and write. While he was there, he would study the Qur’an, Shar’iah, math, Arabic and poetry. He turned out to be an excellent student and he learned quickly.One day, while he was reading the Qur’an he came across an ayah in which Allah said, “Be thankful to Me and be thankful to your parents.”Hazrat Bayazid read this ayah a second time and then thought about what it meant. He closed the book and immediately ran back to his mother.Now because he came home early from school, his mother became worried. She asked him, “What’s wrong, my son? Did you run away from school? Is there something that happened?”“No, mother,” Hazrat Bayazid answered. “I read an ayah from the Holy Qur’an today that said we have to be thankful to Allah and to our parents. This made me a little worried. I’m not real strong so how can I serve two masters? Mother, either keep me in your service or give me up in the service of Allah.”His mother paused for a second and smiled. Then she immediately grasped his hands in hers and said, “My son, I dedicate you to the service of Allah. To me, if you serve Allah you’re serving me, too.”Hazrat Bayazid smiled and returned to school with a new heart for his studies and a new attitude. Everyone noticed the change in him, and his teachers marveled over how he seemed to pour himself into his studies from that day forward.
He began to come to school early to read and left long after all the other students had gone. When his teacher asked him what happened, why he had become so motivated to study and learn, Hazrat Bayazid explained how his mother had released him to serve only Allah. The teacher smiled and hugged the boy firmly.
In time, after he had become a young man, Hazrat Bayazid went out on the road in search of more advanced learning. He traveled all over the Muslim world and attended different colleges and studied with different teachers. He earned many degrees along the way.
After a few more years he settled in the city of Baghdad, which at that time, was the most important city in the Muslim world.
He taught in a small school and went to college at night and never left his desire to master everything he could to be a truly thankful servant of Allah.
One late night he was on his way home when he encountered a rowdy band of drunks on the street. One of them had a guitar and was playing it in a sloppy, annoying way. Hazrat Bayazid wanted to avoid them but they were harassing everyone who passed by. As Hazrat Bayazid walked by them, the leader of the bunch started insulting him in a very nasty way, calling him names and taunting him.
Hazrat Bayazid told the man to stop his foolish talk but this made the drunken man even more angry.
The drunk picked up his guitar, lifted it high over his head and then brought it down, smashing it over Hazrat Bayazid’s head. The guitar shattered into a dozen pieces and blood streamed down Hazrat Bayazid’s blessed forehead. The rest of the drunks paused for a minute and then started yelling and laughing again.
Hazrat Bayazid didn’t say a word and went home in silence, wiping the blood off his head with a handkerchief.
The next day, Hazrat Bayazid gave a basket of candy and a few dollars to his servant and directed him to go to the leader of the drunks and tell him the following words:
“Last night my head was responsible for breaking your guitar. Please buy a new one with this money. And also I found that your tongue was very sour last night. Please remove the sourness of your tongue by eating these sweet candies.”
When the drunken man received the gifts, he was so filled with shame and repentance that he brought his entire rowdy group to Bayazid and begged for forgiveness. He gave up drinking and became a righteous Muslim from that moment onward.
After a few more years in Baghdad, Hazrat Bayazid again took to the road and travelled in many lands where the people were not yet Muslims. He traveled all over India and brought thousands of people to Islam. News of his spiritual insight and wisdom reached far and wide.
Years passed and when he was a middle-aged man, Hazrat Bayazid received a note from his first teacher, his teacher from the school when he was a boy. It said, “Come to me.”
So Hazrat Bayazid immediately sold everything he had in India and began the long journey back home to Persia. Along the way, huge crowds of people gathered in every town and village he passed through. Everyone wanted to get a glimpse of the famous scholar they had heard so much about.
Then, after a month of traveling, Hazrat Bayazid finally reached the small village school where he had first learned to love knowledge.
His teacher, who was very old by now, told Hazrat Bayazid to sit down in front of him. He paused a moment and then he said, “Hazrat Bayazid, you have fulfilled your promise to Allah. Now go and serve your mother.”
When he heard his mother being mentioned, a rush of feelings overwhelmed his heart and he was filled with an unstoppable desire to see her again.
But he knew a huge crowd was gathering in the center of town in anticipation of seeing him, put on a dark robe with a hood and waited until night had fallen. Then he snuck out of the teacher’s house through a back door and made his way to his mother’s cottage.
Before he could knock on the door, he heard her praying inside. She was saying, “Merciful Allah. I have dedicated my son to your path. It is for You to love him and for You to take care of him.”
Hazrat Bayazid couldn’t hold his sorrow in a moment longer. He burst out in uncontrollable tears and sobbing.
Bayazid Bastami & the Rabbi
One day Hadhrat Bayazid Bastami rahmatullah alayhi while in meditation, saw himself in a synagogue dressed as a Jew. At first he was confused, but when he kept on seeing the same vision over and over again, he decided to enact it. So, he dressed himself as a Jew and went to their synagogue.
When the Jews and their scholars were present, their chief Rabbi stood up to speak. But when he stood up, his tongue became stuck and he could not talk. After he had been standing quietly for some time, the Jews started to complain. The Rabbi said, “In this gathering there is a follower of the Prophet Muhammed (sallalahu alayhi wassalam) and I cannot speak because he has come to examine us.”
On hearing this, their anger raged like wildfire and they asked the Rabbi to give them permission to kill this follower of the Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wassalam). The Rabbi replied, “He cannot be killed without proof, so we must talk to him peacefully and respectfully and then we can decide.”
The Rabbi then said, “Oh follower of Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wassalam). For the sake of your Prophet please stand up in your place. If you can remove our doubt about Islam then we shall accept Islam, but if you can’t, then we shall kill you.” On hearing this, Hadhrat Bayazid rahmatullah alayhi stood up and gave permission for them to question him.
Rabbi: What is one and not two?
Rabbi: What is two and not three?
Bayazid: Night and day.
[Qur’aan chapter 17 verse 12:
“And we made night and day two examples.”]
Rabbi: What is three and not four?
Bayazid: The Throne, Chair, and the Pen of Allah.
Rabbi: What is four and not five?
Bayazid: The Torah, Bible, Psalms, and the Qur’aan.
Rabbi: What is five and not six?
Bayazid: The five compulsory Prayers.
Rabbi: What is six and not seven?
Bayazid: The six days in which the Earth, the sky, and whatever is in between them was created.
[Qur’aan chapter 50 verse 38:
“And we created the Sky and the Earth and whatever is between them in six days”]
Rabbi: What is seven and not eight?
Bayazid: The seven skies.
[Qur’aan chapter 67 verse 3,
“Who created the seven skies layer upon layer!”]
Rabbi: What is eight and not nine?
Bayazid: The bearers of the throne of Allah.
[Quraan chapter 69 verse 17:
“And they will lift their Lord’s throne on themselves on that day, eight persons. “]
Rabbi: What is nine and not ten?
Bayazid: The villagers of Hadhrat Salih peace be upon him in which the mischief mongers lived.
[Qur’aan chapter 27 Verse 48:
“And in that city there were nine persons who created mischief on the Earth, and they didn’t amend. “]
Rabbi: What is ten and not eleven?
Bayazid: The person who performs a minor pilgrimage along with the major one and doesn’t have the capacity to sacrifice an animal, he has to keep ten fasts.
[Qur’aan chapter 2 verse 196:
“So keep the three Haj days and seven fasts when you return”.]
Rabbi: What is eleven, twelve and thirteen things which Allah has mentioned?
Bayazid: Hadhrat Yusuf had eleven brothers.
The twelve months in a yea.,
[Qur’aan chapter 9 verse 36:
“The number of months, with Allah , is twelve months”.]
Hadhrat Yusuf saw thirteen things prostrating to him.
[Qur’aan chapter 12 verse 4:
“I saw in a dream eleven stars, the sun and the moon, I saw them (for my sake) prostrating (to me)”.]
Rabbi: Which is that nation which lied and went in to paradise and which is that nation which said the truth and entered hell?
Bayazid: Hadhrat Yusuf’s brothers lied but they went to paradise.
[Qur’aan chapter 12 verse 17:
“Oh father! We went out to run and we left Yusuf with our belongings, then he was eaten by the wolf.”]
The contradiction between the Christians and the Jews was true but they went to hell.
[Qur’aan chapter 2 verse 113:
“And the Jews said that the Christians are not on any path, and the Christians said that the Jews are not on any path, even though they all read the book.”]
Rabbi: What is the meaning of
Qur’aan chapter 51 verse 1-4:
By the ships that scatter broadcast; And those that lift and bear away heavy weights; And those that flow with ease and gentleness;
And those that distribute and apportion by Command?
Bayazid: The meaning of flying scattered ships is air, the meaning of weight carrying ships is water filled clouds, the meaning of calmly sailing ships is boats, and the meaning of the last is the angels which distribute the sustenance.
Rabbi: What is that thing which has no soul nor any connection with breathing, yet it breathes?
Bayazid: It is the dawn, for it has no soul but it still breathes.
[Qur’aan Chapter 81 verse 18:
“And the morning, when it breathes.”]
Rabbi: What are those fourteen things to which Allah talks with honour?
Bayazid: The seven earths and the seven skies,
[Qur’aan chapter 41 verse 11:
Then He said to it and to the Earth, come both of you with happiness or hardly, They said we will come happily.]
Rabbi: Which is that grave which moves the person in it around?
Bayazid: The fish of Hadhrat Yunus alayhi salaam.
[Qur’aan chapter 37 verse 142:
“Then the fish took him as a morsel”.]
Rabbi: Which is that water which neither came up from the earth nor down from the sky?
Bayazid: The water which Hadhrat Sulaiman alayhi salaam sent to Bilqis, Queen of Sheeba, for it was the sweat of a horse.
Rabbi: What are those four things which had no father nor were born from a mother’s stomach?
Bayazid: The sheep of Hadhrat Ismail, the she camel of Hadhrat Salih, Hadhrat Adam and our mother Eve alayhi salaam.
Rabbi: Whose blood flowed first on the Earth?
Bayazid: It was Habil’s (Abel) when Qabil (Cain) killed him.
Rabbi: What is that thing which Allah created and then bought?
Bayazid: A believers soul.
[Qur’aan chapter 9 verse 11:
“Allah bought from the Muslim’s their souls.”]
Rabbi: What is that voice which Allah created and then spoke ill of?
Bayazid: The donkey’s voice.
[Qur’aan chapter 31 verse 19:
“Without doubt the worse voice is of a donkey.”]
Rabbi: What is that creation that Allah created and from it’s greatness created fear?
Bayazid: Women’s scheming.
[Qur’aan chapter 12 verse 28:
“Truly, mighty is your scheming.”
Rabbi: What is that thing that Allah created and then asked about?
Bayazid: The staff of Hadhrat Musa.
[Qur’aan Chapter 20 verse 17:
“And what is that in your right hand, Oh Musa? He said “This is my staff.”]
Rabbi: Who are the most pious of the women and what are the blessed rivers?
Bayazid: The most pious women are Hadhrat Eve, Hadhrat Khadija, Hazart Aisha and Hadhrat Fatima.
The most blessed rivers are the Oxus, Simwon, Tigris, Euphrates and Nile.
Rabbi: Which is the most blessed mountain and the most blessed animal?
Bayazid: Mount Toor in Makkah and the horse.
Rabbi: Which is the best of all months and the best of all nights?
Bayazid: The month of Ramdhan and the Night of Power.
[Qur’aan Chapter 2 verse 185:
“The month of Ramdhan in which the Qur’aan was revealed.”
Qur’aan chapter 97 verse 3:
“The night of power is better than a thousand months.”]
Rabbi: There is a tree which has twelve twigs, each twig has thirty leaves, and each leaf has five fruits, two in the sun and three in the shade. What is the meaning of this tree?
Bayazid: The tree means one year, the twigs mean the twelve months, the leaves represent the thirty days, and the fruits are the daily prayers, two of which are prayed in the day and the remaining three which are prayed at dawn, at dusk, and in the night time.
Rabbi: What is that thing that circled around the Ka’abah in Makkah even though it had no soul?
Bayazid: The boat of Hadhrat Nuh alayhi salaam. In the time of the flood it arrived in Arabia and circled around the Ka’abah.
Rabbi: How many prophets did Allah send as Messengers?
Bayazid: Only Allah knows, but in narrations it is said that Allah created 126,000 prophets from which 313 were Messengers.
Rabbi: What are those four things whose roots are one but their colours and tastes are different?
Bayazid: Eyes, ears, mouth and nose.
The wetness of the eye are sour, the wetness of the ears is acid, that of the noses is also acid and the wetness of the mouth is sweet.
Rabbi: What is the voice of the donkey called?
Bayazid: It is the curse on the tax takers.
Rabbi: What is the voice of the dog called?
Bayazid: Doom on the dwellers of Hell by the anger of Allah.
Rabbi: What is the remembrance of the ox?
Bayazid: SubhanAllah wa bihamdihi, subhanAllah il adheem.
Rabbi: What is the remembrance of the camel?
Bayazid: HasbunAllahu wa ni’mal wakeel.
Rabbi: What is the remembrance of the peacock?
Bayazid: Huwal wadud, dhul ‘arsh il-adheem.
Rabbi: What is the beautiful recitation of the nightingale?
Bayazid: So remember the pure Allah when it is morning and evening.
Rabbi: What is that thing which Allah sent revelation on, but it was not human, Jinn or Angel?
Bayazid: The honey bee.
[Qur’aan chapter 16 verse 68:
“And your lord gave order to the honey bee.”]
After this the Rabbi couldn’t ask any more questions and became quiet. Hadhrat Bayazid rahmatullah alayhi said, “Now you give me the answer to my one question. What is the key to paradise?” The Rabbi replied, “If I give the answer to this question, this gathering will kill me.”
The gathering shouted in one voice “We shall not do anything. Now tell us the true answer!”
The Rabbi then said, “Listen! the key to paradise is:
There is no God worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad peace be upon him is His Messenger!”
On hearing this the whole gathering accepted Islam and Hadhrat Bayazid rahmatullah alayhi returned giving thanks to Allah.