The Great Hazrat Bayazid Bastami (ra)
ﺣﻀﺮﺖ بايزيد بسطامىalso known as Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bustami was born in 804 CE, Bostam, Iran. He was a Persian Sufi who is considered to be one the leading teachers of Sufism in the History of Islam. The great Sufi was always respected and appreciated for the enormous patience and tolerance that he possessed. The whole concept of Sufism is based on practices rather than theories. Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) is considered to be a great example of pure practices of Sufism for the seekers of spirituality. His methods of teaching and guiding were extremely influential and effective. This is evident from the fact that he was leader of Hazrat Dhunon al Misri (RA) who was a great personality himself and possessed unique knowledge about spirituality and the path towards Allah (swt). Perhaps it must be stated for the enthusiastic followers of Sufism that “only great teachers produce great students”, as in the case of Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) who was a great teacher. His greatness lies in the fact that even those who denied the fundamental ideas of Sufism respected him for his devotion and humbleness. Ibn Taymiyya enormously praised Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA), by ranking him amongst the top saints of Allah (swt).
Emphasis on Sufism
Perhaps not many know that the concept of Marifa (to recognise Allah) was often taught by Dhunon al Misri (RA), but it was Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) who explained and taught the concept with further perfection and completeness. He helped his successors and eager followers of Sufism to understand the concepts of Fana (annihilation of the self in Allah) and Baqa (remaining in the existence of Allah). Before Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA), the Sufis often preached about piety and humble characters as the main aspects of Sufism. However, after the inspirational ideas propagated by the great Sheikh the followers of Sufism received further depth in the concepts of Sufism. Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) openly spoke about wajd which means annihilation in the presence of Allah (swt). At that time not many understood his unique theories but as time elapsed, these concepts became the core teachings of Sufism.
It must be pointed out for the benefit of the readers that Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA), did not devalue Shariah, but in reality always instructed his students to perform 5 main acts. Practice the obedience of Quran and Sunna. Clean the hearts from hatred and lies. Do not eat illegal materials and avoid wrongful innovations in religion. This is clear evidence that Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) considered Shariah as the initial step towards finding the love of Allah (swt).
His quotes and words are so extraordinarily wise and deep that describing each quotation with great details would take years for its full completion. However, stating few for the readers would give them a summary of the depth and intelligent of the Sufi legend. It is reported that once a man asked him to about a deed which could take him towards Allah (swt). He mentioned that love the saints of Allah, so that they love you in return. He further mentioned that Allah (swt) looks into the hearts of his saints and if he witnessed your name, then he will forgive all your sins. This inspirational saying is guidance for a devotee or disciple for unconditionally loving and admiring their righteous and humble master or Sheikh. It also indicates towards the Quranic concept of following the paths of those whom Allah (swt) have blessed. Quran 1:5-6 “Show/Guide us on the right path. Path of those you have favoured”. And Allah has favoured Surah 4:69 “those whom Allah has blessed are the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs, and the Righteous…”
He also mentioned that “it is not strange that I love you because I am a weak servant, but it is strange that you love me because you are the king of the kings”. His humility and humbleness increased to en extraordinary level that not a single element of arrogance was left in him. His wise and inspirational sayings were great tools in the realisation of the purpose of one’s creation. After reading the life and sayings of Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA), every intellectual person would agree that Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA), fully understood the purpose of his creation and successfully achieved the highest level of Ihsaan.
Extraordinary Knowledge and Patience
Whenever the name of Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) is mentioned, the stories of Karamaat (miracles) are essential. It is reported in Tazkirat ul Awliya (Attar Nashapuri) that he predicted the birth of Abul Hasan Kharqani while passing by Kharqan almost 100 years before he was born. Some might be surprised or unaware about these sayings. The same occurred at the time of Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA), when some people failed to understand his comments and beliefs. In retaliation some would exile the great Sufi leader from the city expecting hostile words and action from the Sheikh. However, little did they know that Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) was a true follower of Prophet Muhamed (saw) and from his Seerah, learnt the ideas if patience and tolerance. When Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) was exiled, he prayed to the Almighty Lord (swt) for the people of the city who tortured him, as reported by Attar. Perhaps one could relate this incident to the conquest of Makka, when the Mercy to the Mankind (saw) forgave the non-believers of Makkah, despite receiving enormous tortures from them in the initials years. Today people only preach about following the sayings and actions of the Prophet (saw); however Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) fully practiced the Sunna of the Prophet (saw) and so therefore became a great example for the modern Muslims.
His last Days
Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) passed away in the year 874 CE. There is a dispute as to the place of his grave, but people often claim that he is buried in the northern part of Iran. Some scholars claim that his final resting place is in Bangladesh but people have found this claim as unsound, because Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA) never had the opportunity to visit Bangladesh, Allah knows best.
Nevertheless, it is often said that before he passed away he was asked about his age. He replied with great wisdom that “I am 4 years old”. He further said that “For seventy years I was veiled. I got rid of my veils fours years ago”. A sheikh who spent all his life in the worship and remembrance of Allah had so much humility and humbleness that he critically analysed his own life. Not many in this modern era posses the courage and strength to make such claims about themselves. His piety and connection with Allah (swt) was at the highest level that he did not need any praise or recognition from this world, so hence he openly devalued himself. The unbreakable connection and relation with Allah (swt) consequently draws the minds of the readers towards the saying of the Prophet (saw) that “Worship Allah (swt) as if you see Him”. It is as if the Mercy to the Mankind (saw) knew that amongst his humble followers would be those who would achieve the first target of Ihsaan. If seeing the Almighty (swt) was impossible then Prophet (saw) would not have said it. He (saw) said it because he had knew and had the confidence that great Muhsineen would be leading his Ummah until the day of Judgement. Undoubtedly one of the greatest Muhsin is Hazrat Bayazid Bustami (RA).
May Allah (swt) Guide us to follow His Path, act upon the Sunna of the Prophet (saw) and learn from the great Sufis. Ameen
By Sufi Foundation