Sultan ul Arifeen Abu Yazid al-Bistami

Also known as Bayzid al-Bistami.  He was born in 812 A.D., in Bistam (Iran). His grandfather was a Zoroastrian from Persia (Iran). Bayazid made a detailed study of the Sharia't (Islamic law) and practiced a strict regimen of self-denial. All his life he was assiduous in the practice of his religious obligations and in observing voluntary worship.

During childhood, in a cold night his mother woke up & asked him to bring her water. The water-pot was empty at that time, so he went to the fountain to pour the water-pot. After coming back home, he poured the glass & went near his mother, he saw that his mother has already slept. Because of respect, he didn't wake her up, and stood whole night in coldness, by holding the glass of water, so that when his mother would wake up, he present her the glass of water. The whole night passed, and in the morning when his mother woke up, she saw that Bayazid is standing by holding the glass of water. She became pleased, and blessed him.

Once he was reciting Qur'an, when he reached to Sura Luqman's Aya't: "Be commendable to me as well as to your parents" After reading that, he went to his mother & said: "O mother, I can't be commendable to two persons. You should demand me from God, so that I would be always commendable to you, or otherwise hand over me to God, so that I would always be commendable to God." His mother agreed to hand him over to God. So then he made himself busy in prayers & worship. He went to many dervishes & Saints to learn from them. Imam Jafar Sadiq & Imam Musa Kazim were among his Shaykhs (Spiritual Teachers). And it is said that he met 360 Sufis on different places.

He performed toughest spiritual practices & Chillakashi (Contemplations) for 12 years. During that period many people became his desciple. He became so famous around Arabia, that a large number of people had been surrounding him all the time. As, a dervish needs loneliness, so that he could be near to God. So for that purpose he committed some strange acts to expell the people around him. Like, he ate meal in the month of Ramadan (when Muslims fast), he claimed to be God etc. These acts are invented by Bayazid, which later practiced by many Sufis Saints. In Sufism, these kinds of acts are known as "Malamat", so Bayazid Bistami was the founder of Silsila Malamatiya (Malamatiya Sufi Order), it is also called as Tayfuriyya Sufi Order.

A person who always rejected the Sainthood of Bayazid, once came to him and said: "I want to learn the secrets of God." Bayazid sent him to a mountain by saying that there lives a friend of him, so he should meet him first. When that person went to that mountain, he found a thick & large python, he fell unconscious from fear, and after coming to his senses, he ran away towards Bayazid, and told him whole story. Bayazid said: "It's strange! You have such great fear for the creature, how could you bear dread of the Creator!"

Once he performed the prayer in mosque following the prelate of the mosque. After finishing, that prelate asked him that what is his source of income? Bayazid said: "I would reply you later, first I should must re-perform my prayer." The prelate asked: "Why do you want to re-perform the prayer?" Bayazid repied: "The prelater who even doesn't know about the Providence, the prayer under his leadership couldn't be right."

Many Muslim scholars in his time, and many after his time, said that Bayazid al-Bistami was the first one to spread the Reality of Annihilation (Fana'). Even that strictest of scholars, Ibn Taymiyya, who came in the 7th Century A.H., admired Bayazid for this and considered him to be one of his masters. Ibn Taymiyya said about him: "There are two categories of Fana': one is for the perfect Prophets and Saints, and one is for seekers from among the Saints and pious people (saliheen). Bayazid al-Bistami is from the first category of those who experience Fana', which means the complete renunciation of anything other than God. He accepts none except God. He worships none except Him, and he asks from none except Him."

Bayazid always said about God: "I want not to want except what He wants."

Once during Jazb (Ecstasy) he said: "Praise to Me, for My greatest Glory!" And he continued saying, "I set forth on an ocean when the Prophets were still by the shore." Later when he came to his normal senses, his disciples told him what improper words he said. Bayazid said that if next time he would say such words, they should kill him without any delay. So on another occasion, he repeated the same words, and when his disciples wanted to cut his throat, the knife went through his body wihtout any harm, as his body was not materialistic, but the smokey one. The disciples repeated to cut his throat many times, but failed, then they saw many Bayazids in the room & became afraid. So they stopped their efforts to kill him.

He often prayed in such words: "Oh, Allah, how long this 'You' and 'I' remain between You and I. Take this 'I' from me so all that remains is 'You'. Oh, Allah, when I am with You I am greater than all; when I am without You I am nothing. Oh, Allah, my poverty took me to you and Your blessings protected my poverty."

He once said: "O Allah, what is your Fire? It is nothing. Let me be the one person to go into your Fire and everyone else will be saved. And what is your Paradise? It is a toy for children. And who are those unbelievers who you want to torture? They are your servants. Forgive them."

During spritual contemplation, once he reached to the cosmic world, there he saw the angels, he asked them: "Where is God, I've come to meet him." The angels replid: "God isn't here, he lives in the broken hearts of the people on earth, go search him there."

When Bayazid reached to the highest stage of spirituality, God asked him: "What do you want?"

He replied: "Whatever you have, give that to me."

God said: "Annihilate (Fana') yourself for my eternal nearness."

Bayazaid agreed, and then said to God: "Without having any spiritual & eternal benefit, I won't go from here."

God asked: "What else do you want?"

Bayazid asked God to forgive all the mankind. God said him to watch out clearly, when he looked towards mankind, he saw that every human has generocity of God. But the most generosity of God was with Bayazid himself. Then Bayazid asked God to also forgive Satan.

God replied: "He is made of fire, and is suitable for fire. But you should keep away from fire."

Once Bayazid said: "I have come to know Allah through Allah, and I have come to know what is other than Allah with the light of Allah." He said: "Allah has granted his servants favors for the purpose of bringing them closer to Him. Instead they are fascinated with the favors and are drifting farther from Him." And he also said, praying to Allah: "O Allah, You have created this creation without their knowledge and You have placed on them a trust without their will. If You don't help them who will help them?"

A man asked Bayazid: "Show me a deed by which I will approach my Lord." He replied: "Love the friends of Allah in order that they will love you. Love his Saints until they love you. Because Allah looks at the hearts of His Saints and He will see your name engraved in the heart of His Saints and He will forgive you." For this reason, the Naqshbandi followers have been elevated by their love for their shaikhs. This love lifts them to a station of continuous pleasure and continuous presence in the heart of their beloved.

A Sufi, Sahl at-Tustari, sent a letter to Bayazid which read: "Here is a man who drank a drink which leaves him forever refreshed." Bayazid replied: "Here is a man who has drunk all existences, but whose mouth is still dry and burn with thirst."

Bayazid urged his disciples to put their affairs in the hands of God and he encouraged them to accept sincerely the pure doctrine of Tauheed (the Oneness of God). This doctrine consisted of five essentials: to keep the obligations according to the Qur'an and Sunnah, to always speak the truth, to keep the heart free from hatred, to avoid forbidden food and to shun innovations.

When Bayazid died, he was over seventy years old. Before he died, some one asked him about his age. He replied: "I am four years old. For seventy years I was veiled. I got rid of my veils only four years ago."

Bayazid died in 874 A.D. His tomb is in Bistam (Iran).

Hadrat Junaid Baghdadi says: "As the Archangel Gabriel is superior from all angels, in the same way Bayazid is superior Sufi among all."