The Golden Chain

Shaykh Sharifuddin ad-Daghestani

Shaykh Sharifuddin ad-Daghestani (may God sanctify his innermost being) is the thirty eighth Shaykh in the Naqshbandi Golden Chain.

He was born in 1875 AD in the village of Kikunu, in the district of Ghanib, in the state of Timurhansuro in Daghestan. Kikunu was a spiritual place, where the villagers kept the Divine Law under the guidance of their Shaykhs. Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Madani, the thirty seventh Shaykh in the Golden Chain, was his uncle and father in law. His mother said, “While I was giving birth, he was speaking, reciting ‘La ilaha ill-Allah’. Every time I nursed him, he used to say, ‘Allah, Allah’. He became so famous for this miracle, that every woman in the district came to see him in his infancy reciting the Name of God. The index finger of his right hand was always extended in the position of the affirmation of the Divine Unity. From his childhood, he could hear the trees, stones, animals, birds and mountains reciting ‘Dhikr’.

He was born at a very difficult time, when religion was banned by the Russians in Daghestan. Under the guidance of his uncle, his parents raised him well, with knowledge and wisdom. At five years of age he started attending the gatherings of Shaykh Abu Ahmad as-Sughuri, the thirty sixth Shaykh in the Golden Chain. Due to his intelligence, he was immediately able to grasp the Sufi teachings of his Shaykh, which were being delivered from the Divine Presence.

He was a descendant of the family of Miqdad ibn al-Aswad, one of the greatest of the Prophet’s Companions, who reported forty two Holy Traditions and was left to represent the Prophet in Medina, whenever the Prophet would travel. Shaykh Sharifuddin had the mark of the hand of the Prophet on his back. He inherited this from his ancestor, Miqad ibn al-Aswad, in the place where the Prophet put his hand on his back and made a supplication for him and his descendants. That mark on Shaykh Sharifuddin gave out light, just as his face used to shine.

He was light skinned, with blue eyes. His beard was black and in his old age, it became very white. He was a very fine calligrapher, when he copied the Quran.

In the late 1890’s, Shaykh Sharifuddin, together with his family and his sister’s family, left Daghestan following the incessant incursions of the Russian military into the villages of his district. The emigration was full of potential difficulties particularly from the Russian army and also from highwaymen, who could kill without provocation. They walked overland for five months through the worst of the winter season, walking during the night and hiding through the day. In one instance, they miraculously walked through a forest full of Russian soldiers without being seen. When they arrived in Turkey, they initially stayed in Bursa. They then moved to Rashadiya, known today as Guneykoy, where they joined his uncle, Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Madani, the thirty seventh Shaykh in the Golden Chain, who had previously immigrated and settled.

In Daghestan, Shaykh Sharifuddin had been trained by Shaykh Abu Ahmad as-Sughuri, who gave him the Naqshbandi Order when he was very young. In Rashadiya, he was trained further by his uncle and future father-in-law, Shaykh Abu Muhammad, whom he helped build the village’s mosques, teaching centre and school. These were used by both the Daghestani immigrants and by students from throughout Turkey, who were welcomed into the village by his uncle.

Shaykh Sharifuddin was highly respected in Rashadiya, especially after he married Shaykh Abu Muhammad’s daughter. As well as being known for his miraculous powers among his community and throughout Turkey, he was also widely renowned for his knowledge of Islam, with many highly regarded scholars attending his talks to gain religious knowledge.

In addition to being made a Shaykh in the Naqshbandi Order, his uncle connected him to the Qadri, Rifai, Chisti, Shadhili and Khalwati Sufi Orders, becoming a Master in all six of these Orders at the age of twenty seven. Shaykh Sharifuddin was supported spiritually by the power of Shaykh Jamaluddin al-Ghumuqi al-Husayni and Shaykh Abu Ahmed as-Sughuri, his Shaykh as a young boy in Daghestan. Shaykh Sharifuddin was a spiritual inheritor of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and through this connection, reached the state of perfection.

Shaykh Sharifuddin underwent several seclusions whilst in Daghestan, the longest being for three years. He was later secluded in the mountains of Rashadiya for up to six months on the order of Shaykh Abu Muhammad. He was always in a state of inner seclusion in the crowd. One day during a six month seclusion, he was standing about to go into prostration in prayer, when he saw a large snake in his place of prostration, poised to bite him. He said to himself, “I don’t fear anything but God” and placed his head directly on the snake. Immediately the snake disappeared. During that seclusion, many states of Divine Love appeared to him. When he emerged from this seclusion, Shaykh Abu Muhammad transferred the responsibility of guiding his students to Shaykh Sharifuddin. Shaykh Abu Muhammad then sat in the company of his son-in-law, as his disciple, being the first Shaykh to become a disciple of his disciple.

After Shaykh Abu Muhammad had bestowed the leadership of the village of Rashadiya onto him, Shaykh Sharifuddin enlarged the village so it could take more immigrants, which included expanding the roads and bringing water into the village. He used to welcome each immigrant coming from Russia, offering them whatever they needed in the way of food and shelter, whilst asking nothing in return. After living through the tyranny of the Russian soldiers, they found happiness and peace in their new country and village, feeling especially blessed in having a Naqshbandi Shaykh living and teaching in their new village.

Continuing the relationship that Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Madani had established with Sultan Abdul Hamid, Shaykh Sharifuddin became an advisor to the Emperor of the Ottoman Empire. It has been recorded in both ‘Sultan Abdul Hamid II – The Last Great Ottoman Sultan’ by Muhammad Harb and ‘Osman’s Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire’ by C. Finkel, that “Sultan Abdul Hamid was part of the Khalidi branch of the Naqshbandi order, as were a number of his closest advisers.”

Shaykh Sharifuddin was respected even by the new secular Republic of Turkey’s regime, established by Ataturk. Where others were imprisoned for wearing the head covering of the Prophet, Shaykh Sharifuddin and his Deputy, Shaykh Abdullah ad-Daghestani, were the only two Shaykhs allowed to wear turbans in the new Republic.

Shaykh Sharifuddin would reach a state of vision in which he would be dressed with the manifestation of Divine Majesty. At that time, no one could look into his eyes, for if they did, they would faint or be powerfully affected by him. For this reason, when he entered this state, he would cover his eyes with a veil. His supplication to God was always accepted. He received a secret from the Prophet: the ability to see behind him as clearly as he could see in front of him.

Three days before he died, Shaykh Sharifuddin called Shaykh Abdullah ad-Daghestani and some other disciples to him, saying, “For three months I have been diving into the ocean of Surat al-An’am (the sixth chapter of the Holy Quran) to bring out from one of its verses the names of all the Saints of the Naqshbandi Order, whose number is 7,007. Praise belongs to God, I was able to obtain their names with all their titles and I have recorded them in my private notebook, which I am giving to my successor, Shaykh Abdullah. It contains the names of all the different Saints who are going to be present in the time of the Mahdi (peace be upon him).”

The next day he called his Caliph, Shaykh Abdullah ad-Daghestani and said, ”O my son, this is my will. I am going to die in two days. On the order of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, I am assigning you as my successor in the Naqshbandi Order, together with the five other Sufi Orders that I have received from my uncle. All the secrets and powers that were bestowed upon me from my predecessors in the Naqshbandi Order, I am bestowing on you. All the disciples to whom you give initiation, will be initiated in all these Orders. Soon there will be an opening for you to leave Turkey and to move to Damascus. Watch for it and seize the opportunity.” Shaykh Abdullah related, “He gave me that will and I tried to hide it as I wished to hide myself.”

Shaykh Sharifuddin ad-Daghestani died in 1936 AD in Rashadiya. He was buried on top of the hill in the cemetery of Rashadiya, beside Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Madani, in a small chapel that is still open to visitors today.

Shaykh Abdullah related, ”When the news of his death was made known, everyone came to his house to receive his blessings. Even Ataturk, the president of the new Republic of Turkey, sent a delegation out of respect. When we laid him down to wash his body, he moved his hands towards his thigh to cup the water that poured off him. All his disciples came and drank from the water of that ritual purification, as had been done by Ali (peace be upon him) with the water used for the washing of the Prophet’s blessed body. When every disciple had passed to drink, he moved his hand back to its original place. That was a miracle from his oceans of miracles, and that happened after his death.
When we buried him next day, more than three hundred thousand people came to his funeral. The village could not accommodate that crowd of people. They came from Yalova, Bursa and Istanbul. It was an enormous crowd and a huge mass of sobbing people. Men, women and children were crying. May God Almighty raise up His saints in every century.”

His teaching centre or ‘zawiya’ still contains the beads that he used to use for the Dhikr of the Masters or ‘Khatm ul-Khwajagan’. Shaykh Sharifuddin wrote many books, which were mostly lost during the Balkans War. Nevertheless, many manuscripts that contain the secrets of the Naqshbandi Order remain with his family.

He passed his Secret to his successor, Sultan al-Awliya, Shaykh Abdullah al-Faiz ad-Daghestani.

May God be well pleased with him.


Source:- ‘The Naqshbandi Way – History and Guidebook of the Saints of the Golden Chain’ by Mawlana Shaykh Hisham.