Shaykh Abu Bakr al-Shibli Alaihir raHmah
BIRTH: He was born in Samarrah in the year 247 Hijri [Masaalik as-Saalikeen, Vol. 1, Page 316]
NAME: His name was Jaafar, and he was also known as Abu Bakr. The name Jaafar bin Yunus is engraved on his blessed Shrine. His title was Mujaddid. He was known as shibli, because he came from a place called Shibla or Shabeela. [Masaalik as-Saalikeen]
EDUCATION: He says as follows about himself,
“I studied and attained the knowledge of Fiqh and Hadith for thirty years. The sea of knowledge flowed in my heart. I presented my self before many of those who were known as people of great knowledge and learning. I asked them to bless me with the knowledge concerning the journey towards Allah, and yet not one of them knew anything about what I asked. They all said, ‘that the sign of something will be found in something, but there is no sign of Ghaib’ I heard their words and was amazed. I said, you are all in the dark and Alhumdulillah, I am the light. I then thanked Almighty Allah, and then gave my wilaayat to a thief, until he did with me as he did.”
HIS SHAYKH-E-TARIQAT: He is the mureed and Khalifa of Sayyid al-Taaifa Hadrat Junaid al-Baghdadi Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho.
HIS EXCELLENCE: He was the Muqallid of Hadrat Imam Maalik Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho and he knew the entire Muwatta of Imam Maalik Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho by heart. He spent most of his time in the Ibaadat of Almighty Allah. He visited all the great Masha’ikh of his era, and spent time with all of them. He gained a very exalted position in spiritualism. His spiritual position had become so great, that the ordinary mind could not understand him. It is stated that for a very long time, he lived under a tree. He would walk around the tree, making the zikr of “Hoo – Hoo” People who saw him, asked him concerning his condition. He said, “There is a dove on this tree which is saying “Koo – Koo” I am thus following its pattern and making the Zikr of Hoo Hoo. Those who saw this noticed that the dove would not remain silent until he stopped his zikr. For as long as he was in Zikr, the dove also went on cooing. [Shahrat al-Kaamileen, Page 206]
HIS POSITION IN THE COURT OF THE BELOVED PROPHET: Hadrat Abu Bakr bin Mujahid Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho was a very great saint and a great Imam of Hadith and Fiqh. Many Ulama and Masha’ikh sat in his gatherings to listen to the knowledge he imparted. Once Hadrat Abu Bakr Shibli Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho went to one of his gatherings. On seeing Hadrat Abu Bakr Shibli Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho, he immediately stood up in respect. He embraced him with great love, and then kissed his forehead. A man from those present at the gathering (who did not know Hadrat Abu Bakr Shibli) stood up and said, “Sayyidi! This man is a insane (One who does not seem to be in the right state of mind), why do you treat him with such respect?” Hadrat Abu Bakr ibn Mujahid Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho said, “O People! I have done with him as I saw the Prophet Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him do with him.” He then narrated a dream by saying, “I dreamt that it was the most exalted gathering of the Prophet Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him. Then, when Hadrat Abu Bakr Shibli Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho entered the gathering, the Prophet Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him stood up, and kissed his forehead. I said, Ya Rasoolallah Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him, Why such a great amount of love and affection for Shibli? And the Prophet Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him said, ‘After Namaaz, he reads from Laqa Jaa Akum Rasoolun until Azeem, and he then says SallAllahu Alaika Ya Rasoolallah three times.’” [Raah-e-Aqidat, Page 19/20]
Once, Hadrat Imam Abu Bakr Shibli Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho was accused of being insane (as none knew the reality of his spiritual condition). He was admitted to a mental facility for treatment. Some of his disciples and well wishers heard of this and came to meet with him. He asked who they were and they said that they were amongst those who had great love for him. He then launched stones at them, which caused them to run away from him. He said, “If you are from amongst those who love me, then why do you run away from me when I launch stones at you? Those who truly love somebody will not run away from his pain.”
HIS SHAYKH’S LOVE FOR HIM: Once a few disciples of Hadrat Junaid al-Baghdadi Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho were seated together praising Hadrat Abu Bakr Shibli. They said, “There is none that is more respected and honest amongst us than Abu Bakr Shibli Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho” As they were having their discussion, Hadrat Junaid al-Baghdadi Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho entered and said, “What are you discussing about Abu Bakr Shibli? All that you have said is improper. He is not as good as you all say. Now remove him from the room.” After Hadrat Abu Bakr Shibli Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho left the room, Hadrat Junaid-e-Baghdadi Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho addressed his disciples and said, “I have a hundred times more respect and love for Shibli, compared to that which you were discussing. When you were praising him in his presence, it was like you were striking him with a sword. It was [Masaalik as-Saalikeen, Vol. 1, Page 323]
for this reason, that I had no option but to say what I said, so that it may be a shield against that which you were saying, if not he would have been devastated (for he could not accept being praised, due to his humility).” [Kashf al-Mahjoob, Page 193]
HIS KARAAMATS: Once Hadrat Abu Bakr Shibli Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho had taken very ill. Ali bin Esa informed the Khalifa of this, and the Khalifa sent a Christian doctor to treat Hadrat Abu Bakr Shibli Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho. This doctor was the royal specialist physician. He treated Hadrat Abu Bakr Shibli Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho, but he could not help in making him feel better. The doctor once said to Hadrat, “If I felt that your cure was in a piece of my flesh, then I would not even mind cutting of a piece of flesh.” Hadrat Abu Bakr Shibli Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho said, “My medicine is in something else.” The Doctor said, “In what is it?” Hadrat said, “In this, that you leave kufr and accept Islam.” The doctor immediately read the kalima and accepted Islam. When the Khalifa heard of what had happened, he began to weep. He said, “I thought that I had sent a doctor towards one who was ill. Little did I realize that I had sent one who was ill towards a doctor.”
Hadrat Ambaazi states that once he wore a beautiful shawl and went to visit Hadrat Abu Bakr Shibli Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho. When he reached there, he saw that Hadrat was wearing a very beautiful hat. On seeing the hat, he thought that the hat would be very well suited for him. He wished that the Shaykh would present the hat to him. He was still thinking of this, when Hadrat asked for his shawl. The Shaykh then took both the chaadar and the hat, and threw them into a fire. He said, “With the exception of the Deedar of Almighty Allah, a person should not have any other desire in his heart.” [Tazkirat al-Awliyah]
GEMS OF WISDOM:
- If you come to me on a Friday after one week, and you find that you thought of other than Allah during the week, then you should know that you have the desire of the world in your heart. What can the one who desires the world gather for the hereafter? Thus, for as long as you are in the world, prepare for the hereafter.
- It has never been such, that I remained hungry for Allah, and Allah had not entered the Noor of secrets into my heart.
- A Sufi is one who is away from the people and close to Allah.
- If a person claims to have love, yet he spends his time in other things, then, he does not desire his beloved, but he desires something else, in other words, he is making a mockery of his beloved.
- Love means, that you should give up everything for the sake of the beloved.
- Shariah is this, that you should follow it, Tariqah is this, that you should desire and Haqeeqah is this, that you should see.
WISAAL SHARIF: Various highly spiritual incidents occurred during the time of his wisaal. Many people asked him to read the Kalima and one person proclaimed the Shahaadat aloud, so as to remind him. On hearing this, he said, “The dead have come to remind the living.” He passed away on the 27th of Dhul-Hijjah, 334 Hijri on the eve of a Friday, at the age of 88 years.
HIS KHULAFA: The names of only two of the Khulafa of Hadrat Abu Bakr Shibli could be found.
1. Hadrat Khwaja Abdul Waahid Abul Fadhl Tameemi
2. Hadrat Abu al-Hasan Neemalam.
AFTER HIS WISAAL: After his wisaal, a pious man saw him in his dream, and asked, “Sayyidi! What transpired with the Angels of the grave?” He said, “When the angels came to me, and asked about my Lord, I said, ‘It is He, who created Adam Alaihis Salam and commanded the Angels to prostrate before him. All of them prostrated but Iblees, who turned his face away from the command of Allah and showed pride. At that time, I was in the spine of Hadrat Adam Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho.” The Angels said, “He has answered on behalf of all the children of Adam Alaihis Salam.” [Shajrat al-Kaamileen, Page 203]
MAZAR SHARIF: His Mazaar Shareef is in Saamarrah, which is in Baghdad Shareef (Iraq).