Centre Soufi Naqshbandi – Masjid Al-Iman|
By Mumtaz Rehman
Introduction to Sufism
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:
1.2 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. 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:
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.
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)
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
‘Praise be to God,
Salawat (Prayer/benediction for the Prophets)
Recitation ofthe Qur’anic chapter, al-Inshirah (the Expansion), Q. 94:1-8.
‘Have we not expanded thee thy breast?
Recitation of the Qur’anic chapter, al-Ikhlas (Purity of Faith), Q. 112: 1-4.
‘Say : He is God, the one and only ;
‘Salams to you, O Prophet,