Naqshbandi Muhammadi SA – History

How did this Order reach the Cape?

      We have to turn to Shaykh Yusuf who had been initiated into this Order around 1644 in Yemen while on his way to Mecca. The Naqshbandi shaykh, Muhammad Abd al-Baqi al-Mizjaji, initiated him into this Order which was associated with the Indian shaykh, Taj al-Din Zakariyyah. This, of course, means that when Shaykh Yusuf arrived at the Cape in April 1694, he must have brought Naqshbandi teachings and practices with him. He had, for example, adopted the silent dhikr practiced by the Naqshbandi Order.

      We do not, however, know the extent to which he had implemented these Naqshbandi teachings and practices at the Cape, and also whether the Naqshbandi practices found at the Cape at the beginning of this century had their origins with Shaykh Yusuf. Some Naqshbandi teachings and practices also came to the Cape at the beginning of this century through Sufi Saheb and Maulana Abd al-Latif of the College. The Chisti Habibi Order to which they belonged had absorbed a number of Naqshbandi practices through their shaykh, Khwaja Habib Ali Shah. His family up to his father had been in the Naqshbandi Order. The Chisti Habibi path is in fact a combination of Qadiri, Chisti and Naqshbandi practices.

      Perhaps the most famous Naqshbandi in the Cape has been Sayyid Abd al-Qadir al-Naqshbandi of Faure. Originally from Syria, he arrived in Cape Town in 1950 and went to live near the shrine of Shaykh Yusuf in Faure. He spent most of his time teaching but no evidence has been found of him establishing the Order at the Cape. He died in November 1985. In a very similar way is the khilafah in the Qadiri and Naqshbandi Orders granted to Master Ismail Chogle of Cape Town by his shaykh, Shaykh Abd al-Gaffoor Shah al-Qadiri al-Naqshbandi Alahabadi of India. Master Chogle did not initiate anyone into any order. In 1981, his son, Abd al-Hay Chogle of Athlone took bay’ah from Shaykh Abd al-Gaffoor Shah. In 1986, Shaykh Abd al-Gaffoor Shah granted Abd al-Hay khilafah in the Naqshbandi Order. This included the right to initiate anyone into the Order, and also to confer khilafah on anybody else. Although Abd al-Hay holds the weekly Naqshbandi dhikr with his family, he also has not granted bay’ah to anyone. There has, therefore, been no growth that we are aware of, of the Order from Sayyid Abd al-Qadir, Master Ismail Chogle and Abd al-Hay Chogle.

      Matters changed in 1998 with the establishment of the Haqqani Foundation of South Africa in Cape Town by Shaykh Hisham Kabbani (a khalifah of Shaykh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani who is the head of the world-wide Naqshbandi Order, and is also considered to be a mujaddid and a qutb of this age). Shaykh Muhammad Nazim empowered Professor Yusuf da Costa, through Shaykh Kabbani, to grant persons bay’ah to him (i.e. to Shaykh Nazim), and, in the process, into the Naqshbandi Order. This presented a major breakthrough for the Naqshbandi Order. For the first time for a long time, we now have a flourishing and growing group of individuals attached purely to the Naqshbandi Order, and who are organized in the Haqqani Foundation. Upon Mawlana Shaykh Nazim’s visit to South Africa in 2000, Imam Hassen Walele, too, was given permission to grant people bay’a into the Naqshbandi Order.

      The group’s congregational dhikr (Khatmul-Khwajagan) takes place every Friday evening at various Masajid (please check homepage for schedule). This dhikr is open to the general public and ladies are welcome. This dhikr is overseen by Prof. Yusuf da Costa, who delivers a short talk thereafter. Each murid also has a private dhikr which has to be done daily. All this has resulted in a steady spiritual enrichment of the members of the group.

This piece is taken from the website of Naqshbandi Muhammadi SA.

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