ELEVEN PRINCIPLES OF THE NAQSHBANDI SUFI ORDER
The following eleven principles show the exercise aims of the Tariqat Naqshbandiya. The first eight were formulated by Khwaja Abd-al-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani and the last three were added by Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshband.
Remembrance or making mention, both oral and mental, be always repeating the Zikr imparted to you so that you may attain the beatific vision. Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshband said, “The aim in Zikr is that the heart be always aware of Al-Haqq[The Truth, a Beautiful Name of Allah], for its practice banished inattention.”
Restraint: The person saying the Zikr when engaging in the heart repetition of the blessed phrase [shahada] should intersperse it with such phrases as “my God you are my Goal and your satisfaction is my aim”, to help keep one’s thoughts from straying. Other masters say that it means ‘return’ or ‘repent’ i.e. return to Al-Haqq by way of contrition [inkisar].
Watchfulness: Over wandering, passing thoughts when repeating the blessed phrase.
Recollection: concentration upon the Divine Presence in a condition of Dhawq [zoq], foretaste, intuitive anticipation or perceptiveness not using external aids.
Hosh Dar Dam
Awareness while breathing: the technique of breath control. Khawaja Bahauddin Naqshband said, “The external basis of this tariqa is the breath.” One must not exhale or inhale in forgetfulness.
Safar Dar Watan
Journeying in one’s homeland: This is an interior journey, the movement from blameworthy to praiseworthy qualities. Others refer to it as the vision or revelation of the hidden side of shahada.
Nazar Bar Qadam
Watching one’s steps: Let the salik [pilgrim] ever be watchful during his journey whatever the type of country through which he is passing that he does not let his gaze be distracted from the goal of his journey.
Khalwat Dar Anjuman
Soltitude in a crowd: The journey of the salik though outwardly is in the world, inwardly it is with God. Leaders of the Tariqa have said, “In this tariqa association is in the crowd [assembly] and disassociation in the khalwa”. A common weekly practice was to perform Zikr in the assembly.
Temporal pause: Keeping account of how one is spending his time, whether rightly and if so give thanks or wrongly and if so asking for forgiveness, according to the ranking of the deeds, for “verily the good deeds of the righteous are the equities of those who are near [to God]”.
Numerical pause: Checking that the ‘heart Zikr’ [said in the heart, silently] has been repeated the requisite number of times, taking into account one’s wandering. Bahauddin Naqshband considered numerical awareness the first stage of esoteric knowledge.
Heart pause: Forming a mental picture of one’s heart with the name of Allah. Engraved thereon, to emphasize that the heart has no consciousness or goal other than Allah. This is the meaning of “Naqshband”.