Centre Soufi Naqshbandi – Masjid Al-Iman

By Mumtaz Rehman
December 9, 2004


1.0 Institution
  1.1 What is Sufism?
  1.2 About the Naqshbandi Sufi Order
2.0 History
  2.1 Dhikr/zikr (short form)

1.0 Institution

Introduction to Sufism[1]

1.1 What is Sufism?

Sufism is the spiritual dimension of Islam. The travellers on the spiritual path (the Sufis) seek closeness to Allah. The starting point for them is to purify their hearts from evil thoughts, jealousy, and overpowering worldly pursuits. There are several major Sufi Orders (tariqahs) and followers of all tariqahs practise the following:

  1. adhere to and practise the basic Islamic beliefs and doctrines;
  2. seek the pleasure of God;
  3. emulate the beautiful attributes and sunna of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and their Sufi masters;
  4. love and seek peace with one's self; and
  5. seek harmony with all creations (mankind, animals, and nature)

1.2 About the Naqshbandi Sufi Order

One of the most distinguished Sufi orders, the Naqshbandiyya, got its name from Shaykh Baha’ud-Din Naqshband (d. 1390), the great Sufi master in the city of Bukhara, Uzbekistan. It is a school of thought and practice that stood in the vanguard of those groups which disseminated the Truth and fought against evil and injustice, especially in Central Asia and India in the past, in China and the Soviet Union in modern times, and in Europe and North America today. In India during the Mughal period (1526-1803), its Mujaddidi branch spearheaded a religious renewal and reform movement.[2] Naqshbandi Shaykhs who took up political, social, educational and spiritual roles in their communities, acting according to the Holy Qur’an and the sunnah of the Prophet. Some of its distinctive features of this order are:

  1. Following the Prophet’s tradition, and the traditions of the Prophet’s Companions, and of those who follow them.
  2. Continuous worship in every action, both external and internal, with complete and perfect discipline according to the sunnah of the Prophet.
  3. Maintaining the highest level of purity in conduct and rejecting all innovations, and all free interpretations in public customs and private behaviour.
  4. Keeping awareness of the Presence of God, Almighty and Exalted, on the way to self-effacement and complete experience of the Divine Presence.
  5. Striving for complete reflection of the highest degree of perfection.
  6. Sanctifying the self by means of the most difficult struggle, the struggle against the self.
  7. The Naqshbandi Masters believe that this order begins where the other orders end, in the attraction of complete Divine Love, which was granted to Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (d. 634), the first friend of the Prophet and his successor, not in Prophet-hood but in the leadership of the nascent Muslim community.

1The subject of Sufism is also discussed in the introductory essay of this website, “Introduction to Islam and Islamic Tradition: An Overview,” by Dr. Sajida Alvi. Please see “Sufism and Law” in that chapter. For more resources on Sufism, Sufi Orders including the Naqshbandis, see also under “Sufism” in the topically organized bibliography at the end of Alvi’s chapter.

2The founder of the Mujaddidi branch was Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi (d. 1624), known as Mujaddid Alf Thani (the Renewer of the Second Islamic Millennium). It became popular in Central Asia, Ottoman Turkey and Arab lands. For references, see “Sufism” in Alvi’s Bibliography.

2.0 History

Although the centre was registered in 1984, activities were held in the members’ homes until 1993. In 1993, the membership rented a place on 5405 Ave. du Parc, Montreal, and named their centre, ‘Masjid al-Iman. It moved to rue Beaubien in 2002, and to rue Fairmount in 2004. The premises on rue Fairmount have a floor area of about 2,000 sq. ft. It is nicely carpeted with Persian carpets and walls are well decorated. One end of room is for men and the other end is for women. During the Dhikr, men and women form two separate circles.

There is a place for ablution (wudu) at one end of the room.

2.1 Dhikr/zikr (short form)

Shahada (the Muslim declaration of faith)
            Three times;

            ‘I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is
            His slave and messenger’.

 Astaghfiru’llah (I ask for pardon of God)
            Twenty-five times;
Recitation of du'a (prayer) in Arabic, the Shaykh (Sufi master) enumerates God’s
            attributes (translated into English for the readers):
            "Allahuma Ya Musabbib al-Asbab (the Causer of causes), Ya Mufattih al-Abwaab
(the Opener of the doors), Ya Muqallib al-quloobi wal-absaar (the Transformer of
            hearts and eyes) , Ya Daleel al-mutahayyireen (the Guide of the stupefied ones), Ya
            Ghiyath al-mustaghatheen (the Redresser of the complainants), Ya Hayyu, Ya
(the Eternal), Ya Dhul-Jalali wa-l-Ikram (the Majestic and Venerable)! Wa
            ufawwidu amri il-Allah, inn-Allaha baseerun bil-cibad."

Bond between the Shaykh and disciple (rabitat ash-sharif), and Shaykh as an

            “Connect your heart to the heart of the Shaykh, from him to the heart of the Prophet
            (s), the Prophet (s) will connect you to the Divine Presence;”
Recitation of the Qur’anic chapter, al-Fatiha (the Opening chapter), Q. 1: 1-7.
            Seven times;

            ‘Praise be to God,
            The Cherisher and the Sustainer of the Worlds;
            Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
            Master of the Day of Judgement.
            Thee do we worship,
            And Thine aid we seek.
            Show us the straight way,
            The way of those on whom Thou has bestowed Thy Grace,
            Those whose (portion) is not wrath,
            And who go not astray.’

 Salawat (Prayer/benediction for the Prophets)
            Ten times;
            O Allah, exalt Muhammad and the followers of Muhammad
            As Thou did exalt Ibrahim and his followers
            Thou art the Praised, the Glorious.’
            O Allah, bless Muhammad and the followers of Muhammad
            As Thou has blest Ibrahim and his followers
            Thou art the Praised, the Glorious.’

Recitation ofthe Qur’anic chapter, al-Inshirah (the Expansion), Q. 94:1-8.
            Seven times;

            ‘Have we not expanded thee thy breast?
            And removed from thee thy burden
            The which did gall thy back?
            And raised high the esteem (in which) thou (art held)?
            So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief :
            Verily, with every difficulty, there is relief.
            Therefore, when thou art free (from thine immediate task),
            Still labour hard,
            And to thy Lord, turn (all) thy attention.’

 Recitation of the Qur’anic chapter, al-Ikhlas (Purity of Faith), Q. 112: 1-4.
            Eleven times;

            ‘Say : He is God, the one and only ;
            God, the Eternal, Absolute ;
            He begetteth not, nor is He begotten ;
            And there is none like unto Him.’

 Salam (Salutations to the Prophet).
            Ten times;

            ‘Salams to you, O Prophet,
            Salams to you, O Beloved of Allah,
            With all His blessings.’