The Golden Chain

Shaykh Abdullah al-Faiz ad-Daghestani

Shaykh Abdullah al-Faiz ad-Daghestani (may God sanctify his innermost being), the thirty ninth Shaykh in the Naqshbandi Golden Chain said the following:-

John Bennett relates a meeting with Shaykh Abdullah Daghestan, on the rooftop of the Shaykh’s house and Zawiya in Damascus in 1955, in his book ‘Witness’, as follows:-

“The sheikh was waiting for me on the roof of his house. It was high up above the city, commanding a superb panorama. Abdullah Daghestani was of middle height, with a white beard, but looked far younger than the seventy five years attributed to him by the Hadji. I felt at ease from the start, and very soon I experienced a great happiness that seemed to fill the place. I knew that I was in the presence of a really good man.

After the usual salutations, and compliments on the excellence of my Turkish, he astonished me by saying, ‘Why did you not bring the lady sister who is with you? I have a message for her as well as you’. It seemed unlikely that anyone could have told him about Elizabeth. We had walked straight to his house, and Hadji, my guide, had left me at the door without speaking to anyone. I replied that as he was a Muslim, I did not think he would wish to speak with a woman. He said very simply, “Why not? Rules and customs are for the protection of the foolish; they do not concern me. Next time you pass through Damascus, will you bring her to see me?’

I promised to do so if the opportunity came. We sat for a long time in silence, watching the ancient city. When he began to speak, I found it hard to come out of the deep reverie into which I had fallen. He was saying, ‘I was expecting someone today, but I did not know it would be you. A few nights ago an angel came to my room and told me that you would come to visit me, and that I was to give you three messages.
You have asked God for guidance about your wife. She is in god’s keeping. You have tried to help her, but this is wrong. You disturb the work that God is doing in her soul. There is no cause for anxiety about her, but it is useless for you to try to understand.
The second message concerns your house. You have asked God for guidance as to whether you should go your way or follow others. You must trust yourself. You will be persecuted by the Armenians, but you must not be afraid. You have to attract many people to you and you must not hesitate even if other people are angry.”

He fell silent again. I was astonished at the two messages, for it was perfectly true that I had prayed for guidance on those two questions. If he was right, then the way before me was clear. I was already beginning to plan a series of lectures that I would give in the autumn, when he broke into my thoughts again.

“The most important message is the last. You must know that there is great wickedness in the world. People have given themselves over to the worship of material things, and they have lost the will and the power to worship God. God has always sent Messengers to show the way out of such situations, and He has again done so in our present age . . .

I advise you frequently to repeat in your heart the words ‘la illah il Allah’, which means surrender to God alone.” When I said this was the Muslim profession of faith, he replied that it is as much Christian as Muslim, for the foundation of religion is that man should not follow his own will, but the Will of God.”