Wheresoever you look, there is the Face of God;
Everything is perishing except the One face.
Born in Larnaca, Cyprus in 1922, he was a Hasani-Husayni descendant of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, on his father’s side and a descendant of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, on his mother’s side. In addition to this impeccable pedigree, his family tree included Abdul Qadir Gilani, the founder of the Qadiri Sufi Order, on his father’s side and Jalaluddin Rumi, the founder of the Mevlevi Sufi Order, on his mother’s side.
Shaykh Nazim moved from Cyprus to Istanbul, where he graduated in Chemical Engineering and received certification in Islamic law. He met his first two spiritual Shaykhs there, Shaykh Jamaluddin al-Lasuni and Shaykh Sulayman Arzurumi, who was one of the 313 saints of the Naqshbandi Order standing in the footsteps of and representing the 313 Messengers. Shaykh Nazim would usually be seen meditating throughout the night in the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the Blue Mosque), where he would be joined by his two Shaykhs for the dawn prayer.
He was then given permission by his Shaykh to travel to Damascus and on the way, stayed at the Mosque of Khalid bin Walid in Homs for a year. Whilst in Homs, he received further certification in Islamic law and the hadith of the Prophet from the great Muslim teachers there. With the help of the mufti of Tripoli, Shaykh Nazim arrived in Damascus, where he met the Pole of his time, Shaykh Abdullah al-Faiz ad-Daghestani, who then became his Shaykh.
Shaykh Abdullah sent Shaykh Nazim back to Cyprus, where he provided spiritual guidance and Islamic teaching, as he travelled all over the island. He also visited Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and many other countries teaching Sufism. He moved back to Damascus in 1952, when he married one of Grand Shaykh’s disciples, Hajjah Amina Adil, later having four children. Shaykh Nazim then lived in Damascus, receiving spiritual training from Shaykh Abdullah and visiting Cyprus for three months of the year. Shaykh Nazim moved back to Cyprus in the early eighties.
Fluent in Arabic, Turkish, Greek and most proficient in English, this helped Shaykh Nazim become one of the most significant Shaykhs in the Golden Chain to spread the teachings of the Order around the world.
In 1974, he began to visit Europe, travelling to London by plane and then returning across Europe by car. Shaykh Nazim spent many years travelling through the different regions of Turkey, where he is known affectionately throughout the country as ‘al-Qubrusi – the Cypriot’. In 1986, he travelled to Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan, where he made a profound impact.
In 1991 and 1993, Shaykh Nazim visited many States in the USA, meeting people of different beliefs and religions. He established new Sufi Centres during these visits. Together with Shaykh Hisham, Shaykh Nazim has brought tens of thousands of Americans to the Naqshbandi Order and Islam.
In 1993, Shaykh Nazim visited Uzbekistan, the country that many of the Shaykhs of the Golden Chain lived and taught students. He was the first in many generations of Naqshbandi Shaykhs to return to the heartland of the great Central Asian Masters.
Shaykh Nazim did many seclusions, including one for six months at the Mosque of Abdul Qadir Gilani, the founder of the Qadiri Order, in Baghdad, who is one of Shaykh Nazim’s ancestors.
During his lifetime, Shaykh Nazim expanded the Naqshbandi Sufi Order in every direction around the world, including into many countries for the first time. He did this by virtue of his powerful spiritual presence, humbleness and good humour. He had millions of followers that loved him. He provided and organized significant charities around the world including the provision of food to the poor, water wells in Africa and orpahanages in Africa and South East Asia.
Shaykh Nazim was probably the most influential Sufi leader of the twenty first century, and one of the most revered Muslims of his era. He gave his name to the current title of the Golden Chain – the Naqshbandiyya Nazimiyya Sufi Order.