Abdul Hamid Khan | Tribute to a Silent Sufi Dervish

... in the company of those on whom is the Grace of God, of the prophets, the saints, the martyrs, and the righteous: Ah! what a beautiful fellowship! Such is grace from God: and Sufficient is God as the Knower. - Q 4:69-70

The earth will never lack forty men similar to the Friend of the Merciful (Abraham), and through them people receive rain (mercy) and are given help (as wasila and shafayat by God's permission). None of them dies except God substitutes (abdal) another in his place.  
- Saying of the chosen Seal, Muhammad Mustafa

There will be five hundred Akhyar (virtuous) among my followers in every age and forty ‘Abdal. This number will not decrease. When one dies from among the latter, the vacancy will be filled, by a Divine ar­rangement, from the former. - Abu Na‘eem in Hilya al-Aulia quoting the Prophet

Forty men from amongst my Ummah are such whose hearts are like that of Sayyidina Ibrahim's heart. By virtue of them, Allah Almighty protects His creation from calamities; it is they who are known as Abdaal.  - on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Masud

On a blessed night of 21st Ramadan like one we are passing through, almost about twenty years ago my maternal grandfather, Abdul Hamid Khan passed away, may Allah sanctify his soul and perfume his final resting place. He was a silent sufi, a dervish living in the world, but always sincerely belonging to his Lord - may Allah admit his name among the purified ones - and in every sense of the words was "a hidden one" who concealed his true station from common people (even from his own family members). Indeed the secret of such rare souls - none knows their exalted rank in the eye of their Lord except the Lord Himself, the Ever Glorious. 

A rare and old photo of my late grandfather, Abdul Hamid Khan, may Allah be pleased with him. Rare because he didn't prefer taking photographs of himself. This is the only one survived.

I was born at my maternal grandparents house (at Pirojpur, a southern town in Bangladesh) and my mother being the eldest daughter of his ten children, I received abundant affection, blessings and love in my very early childhood from everyone at grandparents home, specially from my grandfather. My mom was her favorite daughter, so I naturally became center of his love and affection as his beloved daughter's first born. It was him who gave my mother's name Sufia and also when I was born he chose for me the name Sadiq.

My grandfather was a Sufi Dervish without the term ever used or talked about. That simply was the reality model of his surrenderedness (Islam) for him. I didn't know or remotely had any comprehension that he was, until much later I came to know about Sufism, about dervishes - probably ten or more years after his passing. My mom one day told casually that indeed his father had a Murshid, a Sufi Master. In personal and family life he was a very humble, simple and ordinary man. Lived a life in the pattern of the Rasul. He worked in the local court office in a very unassuming position. I never saw him dressed in anything other than the kind of simple clothe in which the photograph above was taken, and it was always white in color. He was moderately educated but his mind was as innocent as a child. He was not a man of dunya, not of the world -  but a diligent servant for whom the reality of eternal afterlife was ever present and ever real. Such personalities are called Dervish precisely because they live their life at the threshold of this world and the next. The persian word Dervish means one who sits at the threshold of a door: referring to the Door (dar) to Eternity.

He was an embodiment of what it means to be in the world but not of it. He had a large family, more than fifteen to twenty members always (excluding constant guests coming and going, fed and given hospitality), inhabited in a modestly large, two storey house where he lived. He maintained his worldly responsibility as a provider to the family, taking care of his many animals (from pigeon to cows to hens, ducks, cats and dogs) which were also part of the extended family of my grandparents house. Yet not for a single day and night he was without the deep connection with his Lord. At day he would be busy with responsibilities, slipping in and out to salaat  (islamic heart prayer) at home or at the mosque to connect and specially the night would be reserved for his special immersion.

In his night vigil he would be often found in prayer, contemplation and meditation even at his mature age, regardless of summer or winter season. He never compromised his religious and spiritual practices as he practiced them with the understanding of its outer and inner realities (haqiqat) thanks to his spiritual guide and instructor in the Sufi Path. 

In my thinly sparse childhood memory what I can recollect very strongly was his unusual way of after prayer remembrance (zikr). Infact at that time it felt neither unusual nor strange, even though I never saw during that time anyone doing loud zikr except him. Now time traveling in memory of his silhouette in a dimly lit mystical atmosphere, sitting on the prayer mat facing the Mecca on the attic and his sound of zikr "La ilaha illa Allah" - I remember that it was my first exposure to sufi remembrance practice. His way of zikr was like this: he would say, "la ilaha" almost in a whispering voice and then his voice will rise to say "illallah" - with his head moving from center of his chest to right first (while saying 'la ilaha'), then to left turning towards the heart (saying illallah) and it continued like that. Only later did I know that such rhythmic movement and directing attention to inner heart was originally taught by Prophet Muhammad to his gnostic companion Imam Ali and since practiced by the Sufis. 

This memory of mine is the most vivid memory of him, and it comes probably when I was about 7 to 9 years old. At that time I didn't have any idea whatsoever of zikr, even though now I can reconstruct from my childhood memory of my grandfather's zikr at night. His method of zikr, with first part of "the witnessing statement" (shahada, la ilaha illallah) spoken in whispering voice and then raising it with the second part is still my most favorite method of zikr and credit goes to my grandfather for imprinting (naqsh) this to my heart - even while I was completely unaware of its role and effect at that time. Transmission work in wondrous ways.

Bi'iznillah, my grandfather was a powerful (spiritual) healer and I received his healing many times while I would go and visit his house on vacations and school holidays. I had suffered from a very bad pneumonia at an age of two, so I would have asthma attack quite often from that age onwards. Having quite a challenging health condition as a young child and I remember, often while I was sick, I was lying down on the bed or floor and he would perform healing on me with gently blowing his breath over my body as he would recite talismanic words, his hands hovering on my forehead, arms, body and upto the feet. I remember that he regularly used a very simple yet powerful invocation while he would give healing to me or others. He would say with his breath the wazifas: "Allahu Shaafi, Allahu Kaafi, Allahu Maafi" (which closely translate as God is the Healer, God is Sufficient, God is Absolver). His primary tool of healing was his hand, his breath and use of pak kalam (holy words).

Many people would come from far and near to receive prayer and direct healing from him at my grandparents house.  And unusual it may feel now, but it didn't feel anything strange or unusual at the time that he was a healer and many people would come every month to return with blessed water over which he would read invocation of healing. People who heal from health problem by drinking those water in the name of God.

I received healing from him many times and I can bear witness that my health problems healed completely by God's permission and protection without any serious modern medical treatment. Never had an asthma attack more than fifteen to twelve years I guess. By God's gift, his healing cured me from serious asthma and tonsil problem, both were of severe nature and about the later the doctors even suggested surgery, which became unnecessary because of the healing.

One of the most fascinating memory from my childhood was witnessing my grandfather doing exorcism or driving out demon / evil spirits from possessed person who would be brought to him. I have memory of being present specially in one or two occasions when he neutralized the possessed person in front of our eyes. I was told later from my mom, aunt and even by my grandmother that my grandfather had access and control over invisible beings (known as Jinns, who are mentioned in the Quran as being created from smokeless fire and are commonly invisible but inhibit the earth in parallel dimension). While driving out wandering spirits /demons he would often rebuke them in loud voice to leave the possessed patient. My grandmother once told me how she witnessed many times patches of fire (or concentrated light) on the open yard of the house moving from one place to another. But my grandfather would not discuss about this matter, specially his control or access to the Jinns.  Many believed that he had a number of Jinns under his command. God knows the best. But his ability to drive out demons and to heal possessed patients as well as to successfully heal medical conditions was something for which he was well known far and wide.

Verily My saints
are under My domes,
and only I know them. 
- Hadith Qudsi

Out of jealousy of love,
God puts a veil upon the saints
and keeps them concealed
from the public.
- Simnani

The saints are God's brides whom only the close relatives (related through spiritual relation, nisbat) can behold. - Bayezid

People of Secret are bestowed the honor of Kashf or unveiling of the knowledge of the unseen. Through this divine gift they apprehend beyond the veil of ordinary phenomena, whether by vision or experience, the meanings and realities that pertain to the unseen. It is a special category of sacred knowledge or discovery that typifies Allah's Friends, whose rank Allah extols.

One of my saintly grandfather's remarkable and well witnessed karamat (miracle) was his foreknowledge about the exact day and time of his departure from his body. My younger aunt was present beside him while he passed away to his Lord. She later described, how calmly he prepared himself for the final moments, the anticipated moment for sufis to unite with promise of their Beloved. 

It was the month of Ramadan, the day of 20th Ramadan has just finished and with sunset the night of 21st Ramadan had begun. I have this intuition that in that particular year, that night (21st Ramadan) was the Hidden Night of Power, Lailatul Qadr (as many gnostics are of the opinion that this Hidden and Blessed Night moves among the odd numbered nights of Ramadan) which was elected for the departure of this gifted servant of God. 

From few days before the appointed death came, my grandfather completed few important tasks, yet remained very calm and didn't let other understand that he knew his time to depart is unveiled to him. On that very night while the ultimate moment came close, as my aunt later described from her observation, my grandfather positioned himself in the proper position as would one be placed after death, even loosened his outer garment as a sign of preparation and asked for water to drink and peacefully his soul left his body. Inna ni'Llahi wa inna ilaihir rajiun. Surely we are for Allah and to Allah is the return. 

I was tremendously blessed to receive his love, blessings and spiritual healing. May God bless his soul and elevate his station among the elects. Assalamualikum wa rahmatullah wa baraktuh, Nana. May God send His sakina upon your soul as you bestowed your grace upon me and to so many others so generously during your time on earth. May God forgive any mistakes of yours, both known and unknown. as well as that of ours. May you rest peace! By the baraka of this holy month in which you were invited to return and meet your Lord, by its sanctity - may your station be sanctified. And as the beloved Rasul promised us the true promise, when he was asked, "O Messenger of Allah! What would you say about a person who loves (certain) people but does not share their period?" the Seal replied, "A person will be with those he loves." Inshallah may we be united with you - your loved ones by the bond of our love in the hereafter.  Ameen.

By the Secret concealed in al-Fatiha!

O people! Listen to this, understand it, and know it. Allah has servants who are neither Prophets nor martyrs and yet whom the Prophets and martyrs yearn to be like, due to their seat and proximity in relation to Allah. - Hadith

O Allah send your peace and blessings upon our Master Ahmad Mustafa and upon all righteous servants of Yours who walk upon the perfumed path of Your chosen beloveds.

# Related:
. Death | Counsels of a Sufi Master
. What is Fana? What is Baqa?
. Meditative Quranic verse | the Greater Death, MahaSamadhi
. On Death | Kahlil Gibran
. a Zen Story of Dying before Death
. Bhalaa Hua Meri Mataki Phooti Rey | a sufi song celebrating the Return
. Love those who are loved by Allah



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Technology of the Heart: Abdul Hamid Khan | Tribute to a Silent Sufi Dervish
Abdul Hamid Khan | Tribute to a Silent Sufi Dervish
Technology of the Heart
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