The Golden Chain


Jafar as-Sadiq (may God sanctify his innermost being), the fifth Shaykh in the Naqshbandi Golden Chain, said the following:-

“Precaution (Taqwa) has three facets:-
1. Precaution by dependence on God, which means leaving behind contradiction and going beyond any shadow of a doubt – this precaution is exercised by the highest.
2. The precaution of God, which means to abandon all doubtful matters and to leave the forbidden (haram) alone – this is the precaution of the elite.
3. The precaution of the Fire and Punishment, which results in leaving what is forbidden alone – this is the precaution of the general public.
Precaution is like water flowing in a river. The three levels of precaution are like the trees of every colour and variety planted on the bank of that river, each tree absorbing water from that river according to its essence, capacity, delicateness and thickness. Then the benefits and fruits which creatures take from these trees are according to their value and worth. God says,

“There are, in the land, neighbouring plots, gardens of vineyards, cornfields, palm trees in clusters or otherwise, all watered with the same water, yet We make the yield of some better than others: there are truly signs in this for people who reason.” (Quran 13:4).

Precaution in acts of obedience to God is like water for the trees, and the natures of trees and their fruits in their colours and tastes are like the measures of belief. Whoever has the highest degree of belief and the purest nature with respect to the soul, has the greatest precaution. He who is the most cautious has the purer and more sincere worship: whoever is like that is nearer to God. But every act of devotion that is founded on something other than precaution comes to nothing. God says,

“Which is better, the person who founds his building on consciousness of God and desire for His good pleasure, or the person who founds his building on the brink of a crumbling precipice that will tumble down into a Fire of Hell, taking him with it?” (Quran 9:109)

The explanation of precaution is to avoid entering an affair which contains harm. It is in reality, obedience without rebellion, remembrance without forgetfulness, knowledge without ignorance, and it is accepted by God and not rejected.”

May God be well pleased with him.

‘The Lantern of the Path’ by Imam Jafar as-Sadiq.
‘The Naqshbandi Way – History and Guidebook of the Saints of the Golden Chain’, by Mawlana Shaykh Hisham.