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Qutbul-Irshaad, Siraajul-Awliya, Sayyid Abul-Husain Ahmad-e-Noori Al-Husaini Al-Qaadiri Barkaati (alaihir rahmah) was born on Thursday, 19 Shawwaal 1255 Hijri (26 December 1839) in Marehra Shareef, U.P., India. He was the eldest son of Qutbush-Shaheer, Asadul-Arifeen, Sayyid Sha Hamza Al-Husaini Al-Qaadiri Barkaati (alaihir rahmah). He is a direct descendent of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) in the 38th generation via the noble Husaini Zaidi Sa’daat (alaihir rahmah) chain. His ancestors migrated from Madina Munawwarah to Iraq because of political harassment. Later, they moved to the Indo-Pak sub-continent. By Divine Command, the elders of the family were ordered to settle in Marehra, a small village in U.P., India. 

His family genealogy is as follows: Sayyid Abul-Husain s/o Sayyid Zahoor Hasan s/o Sayyid Ale’Ahmed s/o Sayyid Hamza s/o Sayyid Ale’Muhammed s/o Saahibul Barakaat Sayyid Barkatullah s/o Khaja Sayyid Meer Owais s/o Khaja Sayyid Meer Abdul Jaleel s/o Qutbul-Aqtaab Khaja Sayyid Meer Abdul Waahid Bilgraami (author of the famous thesis on Tasawwuf, “Sab’ah Sanabil Shareef”) s/o Sayyid Ibraheem s/o Sayyid Qutbudeen s/o Sayyid Maha-Rooh s/o Sayyid Baddah s/o Sayyid Kamaal s/o Sayyid Qaasim s/o Sayyid Husein s/o Sayyid Naseer s/o Sayyid Husein s/o Sayyid Khaja Omar s/o  Khaja Sayyid Muhammad Sughra (Mureed and Khalifa of Qutbul-Aqtaab Khaja Qutbudeen Bakhtiyaar Kaaki Aw’shee) s/o Sayyid Ali s/o Sayyid Husein s/o Sayyid Abul Farah Thaani s/o Sayyid Abul Firaas  s/o Sayyid Abul Farah Waasti s/o Sayyid Da’ood s/o Sayyid Husein s/o Sayyid Yah’yah s/o Sayyid Zaid (3rd) s/o Sayyid Omar s/o Sayyid Zaid (2nd) s/o Sayyid Ali Iraqi s/o Sayyid Husein s/o Sayyid Ali s/o Sayyid Muhammad /o Sayyid Esa (Al-Maroof-bi-Mo’timul-Ash’baal) s/o Sayyid Zaid Shaheed s/o Sayyiduna Imam Zainul’Aabideen (alaihimur rahmah) s/o Sayyidush Shohadah Imam Husaein Shaheed-e-Karbala s/o Ameeril-Moh’mineen Sayyiduna Ali Al-Murtudah (radi Allahu anhu) h/o Khatoon-e-Jannat Sayyadah Faa’timatuz-Zah’ra (radi Allahu anha)  d/o Imamul-Ambiyah wal Mursaleen Sayyiduna Muhammadur-Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam)

His mother passed away when he was at a tender age of two and a half years. He was raised under the able guardianship of his grandparents. His grandfather was the celebrated Sufi Grandmaster, Qutbul-Waqt, Khaatimul-Akaabir, Sayyid Sha Ale’Rasool Ahmadi al-Husaini (alaihir rahmah) who was the Murshid of the great Mujaddid of Islam, Ala’Hadrat Imam Ahmad Rida Al-Qaadiri (alaihir rahmah).  

Under the guidance of his grandfather, Sayyid Abul-Husain Noori (alaihir rahmah) entered the path of Solook at a young age of 7 years. By the time he reached the age of 12, he developed enough spiritual knowledge to qualify as a perfect Saalik of the Path. The Murshid (alaihir rahmah) carefully observed his spiritual progress, and finally, on the 12th of Rabbi-ul-Awwal Shareef 1267 Hijri, initiated him as a Mureed in the Qaadiriyyah Spiritual Order. Aarif-e-Noori (alaihir rahmah) states that immediately after his initiation, his Murshid bestowed on him 13 Khilaafat of various Salasil of the Noble Family. This coronation took place in a huge gathering in the Khanqah of Marehra Shareef on the occasion of the Mouloodun-Nabi celebrations.   

Aarife-Noori (alaihir rahmah) further states that on the same night, the Murshid ascended the official Spiritual Throne of the Masters and after offering him some coins as a gift, held his hands and granted him the Ijaaza of Quraan al-Kareem, Siha-Sitta, Musannifaat Sha Waliullah, Hisna-Haseen, Dalaailul-Khayraat, Asma-e-Arbaeen, Hizbul-Bahar, Hadith Musalsal bil Awwaliyya, Hadith bil Izafa, Musafihaat-e-Arba’ah, Musafiha wa Mushabika, Hirze-Yamaani Dua-e-Saifi, etc. and also the Asnaad of all the Uloom the Murshid received from his teachers and Mashaa’ikh. A detailed list of these is found in the book, “An-Noor wal-Baha”. The Murshid-e-Kaamil then filled his heart with Spiritual Knowledge and taught him the secrets of Faide-Baatini Bila Peer-o-Murshid. He says that he was only 12 years old at that time.  

Aarife-Noori (alaihir rahmah) also studied the full Aalim course under great Ulama of that time. The subjects he mastered were:-

  1. Hifzul-Quraan
  2. Sarf
  3. Nahw
  4. Fiqah
  5. Usool-e-Fiqah
  6. Mantiq
  7. Hadith
  8. Tafseer
  9. Osool-e-Tafseer

He mastered these Sciences in a short period of time. He gained most of his spiritual knowledge from within his family Mashaa’ikh, namely his Murshid Kaahtimul-Akaabir (alaihir rahmah), his small Grandfather, Taajul-Aarifeen Sayyid Sha Gholaam Muhiyyudeen Ameere-Alam (alaihir rahmah) and Ilmut-Takseer from a Khalifa of the Murshid, Sheikh Sayyid Shamsul-Haq Tinka Sha (alaihir rahmah). He also studied some fields of Tasawwuf from Sheikh Sayyid Ainul-Hasan Bilgraami (alaihir rahmah) and Sheikh Ahmad Hasan Sufi Muradabadi (alaihir rahmah).  

Sayyid Aarif-e-Noori (alaihir rahmah) also derived Faid and Barkaat in the Spiritual World from numerous Prophets and Awliya of Allah. They are as follows:-

  1. Sayyidul Ambiya Muhammadur-Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) who he made Moaaniqa[1] and Musafaha[2] with and took Bay’ah on his sacred hands. He was also privileged to sit besides him in his Sanctified Majlis.
  2. Sayyiduna Nabi Moosa (alaihis salaam)
  3. Sayyiduna Nabi Sulayman (alaihis salaam)
  4. Sayyiduna Nabi Esa (alaihis salaam)
  5. Sayyiduna Ali Al-Murtudah (radi Allahu anhu)
  6. Sayyiduna Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu)
  7. Sayyiduna Ghousal Azam Sheikh Abdul Qaadir Jilaani (alaihir rahmah)
  8. Khaja-e-Khajigaan Sayyiduna Khaja Moeenudeen Ghareeb Nawaaz (alaihir rahmah)
  9. Sayyiduna Sheikh Zun-Noon Misri (alaihir rahmah)
  10. Sayyiduna Khaja Uthmaan Harooni (alaihir rahmah)
  11. Aarife-Kabeer Sayyiduna Meer Khaja Abdul Jaleel Al-Husaini Chishti (alaihir rahmah)
  12. And all his predecessor Family Mashaa’ikh.

Aarife-Noori (alaihir rahmah) has also authored numerous books in Urdu, Farsi and Arabic. Some of the books are:

  1. العسل المصفى في عقائدارباب ستة المصطفى
  2. سوال و جواب
  3. اشتهار نوري
  4. تحقيق التراويح
  5. دليل اليقين من كلمات العارفين
  6. عقيده اهل سنت نسبت محاربين جمل و صفّين و نهروان
  7. لطايف طريقت كشف القلوب
  8. النور و البهاء في اسانيد و سلاسل الاولياء
  9. سراج العوارف في الوصايا والمعارف
  10. الجفر
  11. النجوم
  12. تخليل نوري
  13. مجموعه
  14. صلوة المرضيه لفقرآء المارهره

He has also written many marginal notes on the following Awraad, which are preserved in the treasures of handwritten manuscripts of the Grandmasters in the Noble Khanqah of Marehra Shareef. These are:-

  1. صلوة الغوثيه
  2.  صلوة المعينيه
  3. مجموعه صلواة النقشبنديه
  4. صلوة الصابريه
  5. صلوة ابىالعلائيه
  6. صلوة المداريه
  7. صلوة الاقرباء
  8. حرز يمانى دعائ سيفى

There are two very important points to note about Aarife-Noori (alaihir rahmah). Firstly, he is not only the Peer-Bhai[3] of the great Mujaddid Ala’ Hadrat Imam Ahmad Rida Al-Qaadiri Muhaqqiq Bareilwi (alaihir rahmah), but also his Ustaaz in the field of Ilmul-Jafr. This is the most intricate of all Spiritual Sciences of Knowledge. The Mujaddid enjoyed the tutorship of Sayyiduna Aarife-Noori (alaihir rahmah) in this occult science. Secondly, he is the Murshid of the Great Mufti and Ghouse, Taajul-Awliya Badrul-Foqaha Aarife-Billah Mufti-e-Azam Ash-Sheikh Imaam Mustafa Rida Al-Qaadiri Noori (alaihir rahmah). Both these personalities are also two of his many illustrious Khulafa. If his student and Mureed are of such high caliber then I will leave it on the minds of the reader to understand the status and caliber of Sayyiduna Aarife-Noori (alaihir rahmah) himself. He is also the 38th Grandmaster of the Qaadiriyyah Golden Chain of Mashaa’ikh. The translator (Faqeer Abdul-Haadi) is proud to be under the spiritual banner of this Golden Chain and also to be a humble Mureed of Ghosul-Waqt, Mufti-e-Azam Qutbe-Alam ash-Sheikh Imam Mustafa Rida al-Qaadiri (alaihir rahmah)

When one reads this book, one will appreciate the spiritual status and intense devotion of the author. He was the 7th consecutive Qutub of the Noble Barkaati Family, which is rare and unique to find in other noble Sufi Families of the world. He was privileged with a very special relation with the two giants in the Spiritual World, Sultaanul-Awliya Sayyiduna Sheikh Abdul-Qaadir Jilaani (alaihir rahmah) and Shahensha-e-Hindustan Khaja-e-Khajigaan Hadrat Khaja Moeenudeen Ghareeb Nawaaz (alaihir rahmah).  

It is recorded that people flocked to him in Ajmer Shareef in the annual Urs Shareef with letters of requests to be presented to the Great Khaja (alaihir rahmah) for approval. He gave these papers to his Khadim, Hafiz Nazrullah, to take to a specific place south west of the Mazaar Shareef. There, he was told, he will meet a person who will take the letters from him. Moulana Gholaam Shabeer Badayuni (alaihir rahmah) heard this and desired to meet the messenger of the Great Khaja (alaihir rahmah). So he secretly followed Hafiz Nazrullah and carefully looked around for the messenger. As he got close to the designated spot, he rushed ahead to inspect this spot and there was a few seconds between him and Hafiz Sahib. He did not find the messenger but was amazed to see Hafiz Nazrullah’s hands empty. He asked him what happened to the papers. Hafiz Sahib replied, “Why are you joking with me? Just a second ago, you took all the papers from me and still ask about them?” Both were totally confused and returned to Sayyiduna Aarife-Noori (alaihir rahmah).  

The Khadim explained his experience and the noble Sayyid (alaihir rahmah) replied, “There are some Jinns that are commissioned to the sacred court of the Khaja as Khadims. They convey to and from the Khaja all requests. The Great Khaja (alaihir rahmah) has blessed me as an official to collect requests and send them to him. The messengers are aware of me and the person I send with the papers. It is the same messenger that took the papers from you.” The Murshid (alaihir rahmah) turned to Moulana Badayuni (alaihir rahmah) and asked, “Did you also go with?” He replied in the affirmative. Then Sayyiduna Noori (alaihir rahmah) said, “You were an intruder in the transaction and therefore they adopted your image and took the papers away in a split of a second.”  On the 3rd day, all the letters were returned to the senders who found the Great Khaja’s (alaihir rahmah) comments written on them. Aarife-Noori (alaihir rahmah) then said, “This is a great blessing of the illustrious Khaja (alaihir rahmah) on my humble self. I am grateful and honoured to serve the Great Master (alaihir rahmah) with my heart and soul.”

The Sayyid (alaihir rahmah) possessed an impeccable personality. If he saw a poor person with torn clothes, he requested it from him saying that he liked it. The poor person would feel happy and present them to him. The Sayyid (alaihir rahmah) would then go into his home and return with new clothes as a gift for the poor man. This was his regular practice. He always sat in the company of the poor and abstained from the wealthy. The Sayyid (alaihir rahmah) slept very little and spent most of his time in Spiritual Devotion (Muraqibah). It is said that the maximum time he slept was 4 hours a day. He never missed a single Tahajjud Salaah from a tender age of 6 years. Sayyiduna Aarife-Noori (alaihir rahmah) was the last of the senior Mashaa’ikh of the noble Barkaati Family that punctually engaged in the occult devotion of Salaatul-Mah’kooz[4]. He had a dark black ring around both his ankles due to the strain of the Salaah.  

Some of his words of wisdom are as follows:-

  1. Abstain from the company of misers.
  2. Continuously eating meat for 40 days corrupts the heart.
  3. Tareeqah is not separate from Sharee’ah. In fact, the pinnacle of perfection of Sharee’ah is called Tareeqah.
  4. Abstain from people with corrupt beliefs as their company destroys one’s Emaan and causes laziness in worship.
  5. Be punctual in the 5 daily Salaah. It is the root of excellence.
  6. One woman cannot be the wife of two husbands. Similarly, one Taalib cannot be the Mureed of two Murshids.
  7. Never regard anyone inferior to yourself.
  8. Always acknowledge the favours of Allah Y on you.
  9. Control your eyes from all unlawful things.
  10. Humility generates excellence
  11. Serve and show respect to the Awliya. It is a source of Salvation. 

This Shining Star eventually settled and breathed his last on the 11th of Rajab 1335 (31 August 1906). He was laid to rest on the southern verandah of the Dargah Shareef of The Masters in Marehra Shareef. There, at the feet of his forefather, Sultaanul-Aashikeen Sahibul-Barkaat Sayyid Sha Barkatullah Husaini Al-Qaadiri (alaihir rahmah), he still beams his brilliance till this day from the Horizons of Perfection on all those who sincerely seek spiritual perfection.  

[1] To embrace.

[2] To shake hands

[3] This a common term used in the Indo-Pak sub-continent referring to Spiritual Brotherhood i.e. when two persons are the Mureed of one Murshid. 

[4] The Master hangs upside down in a well with a rope tied to his feet and performs this Mystical Salaah. This was a speciality of Senior Mashaa’ikh of the golden era. Salaatul-Mah’kooz is performed after midnight and lasts till Tahajjud Salaah before Subhu-Saadiq. It is recorded in the Malfozaat of the noble Chishti Mashaa’ikh that they all performed this Salaah. They also attribute this form of Ibadah to Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). (Refer Haft-Bihist Mashaa’ikh-e-Chisht, section on Hadrat Baba Fareed - alaihir rahmah)