Bayazid Bastami

Bayazid Bastami

Overview
Bayazid Bastami also known as Abu Yazid Bistami or Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bustami, (804-874 or 877/8 CE) was a Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 Sufi born in Bastam, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

.

The name Bastami means "from the city of Bastam". Bayazid's grandfather was a Zoroastrian who converted to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. His grandfather had three sons, Adam, Tayfur and 'Ali. All of them were ascetics. Abayazid was born to Tayfur.
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Encyclopedia
Bayazid Bastami also known as Abu Yazid Bistami or Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bustami, (804-874 or 877/8 CE) was a Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 Sufi born in Bastam, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

.

Background


The name Bastami means "from the city of Bastam". Bayazid's grandfather was a Zoroastrian who converted to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. His grandfather had three sons, Adam, Tayfur and 'Ali. All of them were ascetics. Abayazid was born to Tayfur. Not much is known of his childhood, but Bayazid spent most of his time in isolation in his house and the mosque. Although he remained in isolation, he did not isolate himself from the Sufi realm. He welcomed people into his house to discuss Sufism. Bayazid also led a life of asceticism and renounced all worldly pleasures in order to be one with God. Ultimately, this led Bayazid to a state of "self anhiliation", which, according to Sufism, is the only state a person could be in order to be closest with God. Bayazid became known as the first "intoxicated" Sufi because of the openness of his expressions he felt towards God (shatahat). Bayazid is regarded as being one of the most influential mystics due to the fact of how controversial he was at the time.

Influence


Bayazid was in close contact with the Twelve Imams
Twelve Imams
The Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, in the Twelver or Ithna-‘ashariyyah branch of Shī‘ah Islam....

. He received initiation from Imam Ali ar-Ridha and died in either 874 or 877/8, indicating it is most likely he would have also associated with the succeeding Shia Imams, including Imam Muhammad at-Taqi (d.835 CE), Imam Ali al-Hadi
Ali al-Hadi
‘Alī al-Hādī , also known as ‘Alī an-Naqī was the tenth of the Twelve Imams. His full name is ‘Alī ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Alī. The exact date of his birth and death are unknown, but it is generally accepted that he was born between 827–830 CE and he died in 868 CE.- Early years :‘Alī al-Hādī was born...

 (d.868 CE), and Imam Hasan al-Askari
Hasan al-Askari
Hasan al-‘Askarī was the eleventh of the Twelve Imams. His given name was Hasan ibn ‘Alī ibn Muhammad...

 (d.874 CE) , the paternal ancestors Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari was the founder of what would become the Naqshbandi. He was born in Bukhara which is located in Uzbekistan...

, who would later lend his name to the chain of Central Asian Sufi Masters from the 10th to the 16th century known collectively as the Khwajagan
Khwajagan
Khwājagān is a Persian title for "the Master". Khwajagan is a word often used to refer to a chain of Central Asian Naqshbandi Sufi Masters from the 10th to the 16th century...

. Bayazid's successor was Abu al-Hassan al-Kharaqani, who transmitted belief in the Twelve Imams
Twelve Imams
The Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, in the Twelver or Ithna-‘ashariyyah branch of Shī‘ah Islam....

 to both Khwaja Abdullah Ansari, at whose shrine the names of the Twelve Imams
Twelve Imams
The Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, in the Twelver or Ithna-‘ashariyyah branch of Shī‘ah Islam....

 are inscribed, and to Abu al-Hassan al-Kharaqani's successor Abul Qasim Gurgani (d. 1076), at whose shrine these names are also inscribed.

Bastami's predecessor Dhu'l-Nun al-Misri (d. CE 859
859
Year 859 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar.- Europe :* January 15 – Battle of Saint-Quentin, Aisne: Humfrid defeats Louis the German....

), a student of Jābir ibn Hayyān, who was a student of the sixth Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq
Ja'far al-Sadiq
Jaʿfar ibn Muhammad al-Sādiq was a descendant of Muhammad and a prominent Muslim jurist. He is revered as an Imam by the adherents of Shi'a Islam and as a renowned Islamic scholar and personality by Sunni Muslims. The Shi'a Muslims consider him to be the sixth Imam or leader and spiritual...

. Al-Misri had formulated the doctrine of ma'rifa (gnosis
Gnosis
Gnosis is the common Greek noun for knowledge . In the context of the English language gnosis generally refers to the word's meaning within the spheres of Christian mysticism, Mystery religions and Gnosticism where it signifies 'spiritual knowledge' in the sense of mystical enlightenment.-Related...

), presenting a system which helped the murid
Murid
Murid is a Sufi term meaning 'committed one' from the root meaning "willpower" or "self-esteem". It refers to a person who is committed to a Murshid in a Tariqa of Sufism. Also known as a Salik , a murid is an initiate into the mystic philosophy of Sufism. When the Talib makes a pledge to a...

(initiate) and the shaykh (guide) to communicate. Bayazid Bastami took this a step further and emphasized the importance of ecstasy, referred to in his words as drunkenness (sukr or wajd), a means of self-annihilation in the Divine Presence. Before him, Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 was mainly based on piety and obedience and he played a major role in placing the concept of divine love at the core of Sufism.

Bastami was one of the first to speak of "annihilation of the self in God" (fana fi 'Allah') and "subsistence through God" (baqa' bi 'Allah). The "annihilation of the self" (fana fi 'Allah') refers to disregarding everything in this world because of one's love towards God. When a person enters the state of fana it is believed that one is closest to God. His paradoxical sayings gained a wide circulation and soon exerted a captivating influence over the minds of students who aspired to understand the meaning of the wahdat al-wujud, Unity of Being.

When Bayazid died he was over seventy years old. Before he died, someone asked him his age. He said: "I am four years old. For seventy years I was veiled. I got rid of my veils only four years ago.”

Bayazid died in 874 CE and is buried either in the city of Bistam in north central Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, or in Semnan, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

.

Intoxicated Sufi


An intoxicated Sufi is one that expresses their feelings openly without disregarding the social consequences in doing so. Bayazid was most famous for openly expressing himself. Unlike the sufi Junayd who was a sober sufi, meaning that he reserved his feelings within himself and not allowing for such expressions to be observed to the outside world. This was the acceptable comportment of a Sufi, however when Bayazid began to express himself openly, many shunned him. The people opposed to his openness accused Bayazid of being a heretic due to his bizarre sayings. Not only his sayings are controversial, but Bayazid also claimed to have traveled through the 7 heavens in his dream. This journey proclaimed by Bayazid is similar to the Mi'raj of the Prophet Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 (Sells, pg 213).

These sayings are some of Bayazid's famous sayings that caused him to be labeled as an intoxicated Sufi.
  • "Glory be to me! How great is My majesty!"
  • "Thy obedience to me is greater than my obedience to Thee"
  • "I am the throne and the footstool"
  • "By my life, my grasp is firmer than His"
  • "I saw the Kaba walking round me"
  • "Moses desired to see God; I do not desire to see God;He desires to see me"
  • "I am I; there is no God but I; so worship me!"

The Mystery About Shrine of Bayazid Bostami in Bangladesh



Interestingly enough, there is a shrine in Chittagong
Chittagong
Chittagong ) is a city in southeastern Bangladesh and the capital of an eponymous district and division. Built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, the city is home to Bangladesh's busiest seaport and has a population of over 4.5 million, making it the second largest city in the country.A trading...

, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 that local people believe to be Bastami's tomb as well. This seems unlikely to be true, as Bastami was never known to have visited Bangladesh. However, Sufi teachers were greatly influential in the spread of Islam in Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 and this might explain the belief. The Islamic scholars of Bangladesh usually regard the tomb at Chittagong attributed to him as a jawab, or imitation.

One explanation is the local legend that Bayazid did indeed visit Chattagong. At the time of his return, he found that his local followers did not want to leave. Overwhelmed by the love of his local followers, he pierced his finger and dropped a few drops of his blood on the ground and allowed his followers to build a shrine in his name where his blood drops fell.

This also explained by the traditional Sufi masters as a mash-had, or site of witnessing, where the spiritual presence of the saint has been witnessed, and is known to appear. This is explained through the Sufi concept of the power of the saint's soul to travel and in its spiritual form, even after death, to appear to the living. The Quran mentions that some of those who have proven their sincerity have achieved a life beyond the grave (سَبِيلِ اللّهِ أَمْوَاتًا بَلْ أَحْيَاء عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ; Wala tahsabanna allatheena qutiloo fee sabeeli Allahi amwatan bal ahyaon AAinda rabbihim yurzaqoona; Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord; 3:169

Sayings


Some of his words quoted from Tadhkiratul Awliya
Tadhkiratul Awliya
Tadhkiratul Awliya by Farid al-Din Attar of Nishapur is regarded as one of the most important works of Sufism. It is acclaimed as of the rare collection of the biographies of Muslim Sufi saints between the 6th and 13th century....

 تذکره الاولیا by Farid al-Din Attar:
  • I never saw any lamp shining more brilliantly than the lamp of silence.
  • I went to a wilderness, love had rained and had covered earth, as feet penetrate snow, I found my feet covered with love.
  • I stood with the pious and I didn’t find any progress with them. I stood with the warriors in the cause and I didn’t find a single step of progress with them. Then I said, ‘O Allah, what is the way to You?’ and Allah said, ‘Leave yourself and come.’

See also

  • Qari Muhammad Muslehuddin Siddiqui
  • Timeline of Islamic history
  • Teleportation in Islam

External links