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
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
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.
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
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
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
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."