Also known as Bayazid. Prominent paradigm of “intoxicated” Sufism from the north eastern Iranian town of Bistam. Early education included Hanafi legal thought. Best known for “ecstatic utterance” [shath], several hundred of which are attributed to him by Sufi historians & theorists.
Bayazid Radi Allahu anhu’s grandfather was a Zoroastrian from Persia. Bayazid Radi Allahu anhu made a detailed study of the statutes of Islamic law (shari’a) and practiced a strict regimen of self-denial (zuhd). All his life he was assiduous in the practice of his religious obligations and in observing voluntary worship. He urged his students (murid’s) to put their affairs in the hands of Allah and he encouraged them to accept sincerely the pure doctrine of tawhid (the Oneness of God). This doctrine consisted of five essentials: to keep the obligations according to the Qur’an and Sunnah, to always speak the truth, to keep the heart free from hatred, to avoid forbidden food and to shun innovations (bid’a).
Bayazid Radi Allahu anhu said the ultimate goal of the Sufi is to experience the vision of Allah in the Hereafter. One of his sayings was,
“I have come to know Allah through Allah, and I have come to know what is other than Allah with the light of Allah.”
He said, “Allah has granted his servants favours for the purpose of bringing them closer to Him. Instead they are fascinated with the favours and are drifting farther from Him.” And he said, praying to Allah, “O Allah, You have created this creation without their knowledge and You have placed on them a trust without their will. If You don’t help them who will help them?”
Of tasawwuf …. Bayazid said:
“It is to give up rest and to accept suffering.”
Many Muslim scholars in his time, and many after his time, said that Bayazid al-Bistami was the first one to spread the Reality of Annihilation (fana’). Even the most heretical and puritan of scholars, Ibn Taymiyya, who came in the 7th Century A.H., admired Bayazid for this and considered him to be one of his masters.
Ibn Taymiyya said about him,
He continues, quoting Bayazid saying,
When Bayazid Radi Allahu anhu died [261 H.], 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.” Shaykh ‘Abdullah Daghestani, referred to this saying in his encounter with Khidr alayhi asalam, who told him, as he was pointing to the graves of some great scholars in a Muslim cemetary: “This one is three years old; that one, seven; that one, twelve.” It is said he is buried in two places, one is Damascus and the other is Bistam in Persia. The secret of the Golden Chain was passed from Bayazid al-Bistami Radi Allahu anhu to Abul Hassan al-Kharqani Radi Allahu anhu.