The Golden Chain

Shaykh Nazim Adil al-Haqqani

Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Haqqani ar-Rabbani (may God sanctify his innermost being) is the fortieth Shaykh in the Naqshbandi Golden Chain. He reached the highest spiritual station possible on earth, being the ‘Qutb’ or ‘Pole’, otherwise known as the ‘Sultan Awliya’ – ‘King of the Friends of God”.

Born in Larnaca, Cyprus in 1922, he was a Hasani-Husayni descendant of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) on his father’s side, and a descendant of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq on his mother’s side.

In addition to this impeccable pedigree, his family tree includes Shaykh Abdul Qadir Gilani, the founder of the Qadiri Sufi Order, on his father’s side and Mevlana 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 also 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) in Istanbul, 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, he 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’ (Holy Traditions) 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 Spiritual Master 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 Shaykh Abdullah’s disciples, Hajjah Amina Adil, who was a Saint in her own right. They later had four children. Shaykh Nazim then lived in Damascus, receiving spiritual training from Shaykh Abdullah and visiting Cyprus for three months of the year.

Just before his death in 1973, Shaykh Abdullah al-Faiz ad-Daghestan nominated Shaykh Nazim as his successor and the next Shaykh in the Golden Chain. Shaykh Nazim led the funeral prayer and oversaw the burial of Shaykh Abdullah.

In 1974, Shaykh Nazim began to visit Europe, flying to London and then returning across Europe by car. He spent many years travelling through the different regions of Turkey, where he is still known affectionately throughout the country as ‘al-Qubrusi – the Cypriot’. Shaykh Nazim moved back to live in Cyprus in the early nineteen eighties.

Fluent in Arabic, Turkish, Greek and most proficient in English, this helped Shaykh Nazim become one of the most significant Shaykhs of the Golden Chain to spread the teachings of the Order around the world. 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 his Caliph, 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 Naqshbandi Masters of Central Asia.

Shaykh Nazim did many seclusions, including one for six months at the Mosque of Shaykh 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 orphanages in Africa and South East Asia.

Shaykh Nazim Adil al-Haqqani was probably the most influential Sufi leader of the twenty first century, and one of the most revered Muslims of his era. He left many representatives throughout the world, with his three main Caliphs or Deputies being Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, his son, Shaykh Mehmet Adil al-Haqqani and Shaykh Adnan Kabbani, who died in 2018.

Shaykh Nazim passed from this world in 2014 and was buried in the grounds of his Centre in Lefke, Cyprus.

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.