TARÎQ - TARÎQAH
طريق - طريقة
Literally: A way. A path. A road. A track. A streak. Line. Band. A hierarchy. A ma’nawî path.
Tarîqah is the plural of the tarîq.
“Question: What is tarîqah?
The Answer: The aim and goal of the tarîqah is –ma’rifat and the unfolding of the haqiqahs of îmân- through a spiritual journeying with the feet of the heart under the shadow of the Mi’raj of Muhammad (asm), to manifest the haqiqahs of îmân and the Qur'an through zawq and certain states, and to a degree by shuhûd; it is an elevated human mystery and human perfection which is called tarîqah, tasawwuf.
Yes, since man is a comprehensive index of the universe, his heart resembles a ma’nawî map of thousands of ‘âlams. For just as innumerable human sciences and fields of knowledge show that man's mind in his head is a sort of ma’nawî centre of the universe, like a telephone and telegraph exchange for innumerable lines, so too the millions of luminous books written by incalculable ahl al-walâyah show that man's heart in his essential being is the place of manifestation of innumerable haqiqahs of the universe, and is their means, and seed.
Thus, since the human heart and mind are at this centre, and comprise the members of a mighty tree in the form of a seed in which have been encapsulated the parts and components of an eternal, majestic machine pertaining to the âkhirah, certainly the heart's Fâtir used His irâdah so the heart should work and bring out from the potential to the actual, and developed, and put into action, for that is what He did. Since He used His irâdah for it, the heart will certainly work like the mind. And the most effective means of working the heart is to be turned towards the haqiqahs of îmân on the tarîqah path through the dhikr of Allah in the degrees of walâyah.” The Letters (518-519 )
“In Maktubat, Imam-i Rabbani (Radiallahu ‘anh), the hero and a sun of the Naqshbandi Order, said: "I prefer the unfolding of a single matter of the haqiqahs of îmân to thousands of azwâq, ecstasies, and instances of karâmât."
He also said: "The final point of all the tarîqs is the clarification and unfolding of the haqiqahs of îmân."
He also said: "Walâyah is of three sorts: one is the 'lesser Walâyah,' which is the well-known Walâyah. The others are the 'middle Walâyah' and the 'greater Walâyah.' 'Greater Walâyah' is to open up by way of the legacy of nubuwwah a direct way to haqiqah without entering the barzakh of tasawwuf."
He said also: "The ma’nawî journeying on the Naqshi way is with two wings." That is, "Through having a firm belief in the haqiqahs of îmân and carrying out the religious fardh. If there is a defect in these two wings, the way cannot be traversed." In which case, the tarîq of Naqshi consists of three 'veils':
The First and most important is direct service to the haqiqahs of îmân; Imam-i Rabbani (ra) travelled this way in his later years.
The Second is service to the religious fardh and Glorious Sunnah under the veil of the tarîqah.
The Third is to work to eliminate the sicknesses of the heart by way of Tasawwuf and to journey with the feet of the heart. Of these, the first is the equivalent of fardh, the second wâjib, and the third Sunnah.” The Fifth Letter
“THIRD QUESTION: The tarîqahs are the ways of haqiqah. Some of the heroes and imams of the tarîq of Naqshbandi, which is claimed to be the most famous, the most elevated, and the highway among the tarîqahs, defined its basis as follows. They said:
دَرْ طَرِيقِ نَقْشِبَنْدِى لاَزِمْ آمَدْ چَارْ تَرْكْ
تَرْكِ دُنْيَا تَرْكِ عُقْبَى تَرْكِ هَسْتِى تَرْكِ تَرْكْ1
That is to say, on the tarîq of Naqshî it is a requirement to abandon four things: To not make ones true aim both this world and even the âkhirah on account of the nafs; to forget one's own existence; to not think about these abandonments in order not to become vain and proud. This means true Ma’rifatullah and human perfections is attained through abandoning the mâsiwâ1?
THE ANSWER: If man consisted of only a heart, it would be necessary to abandon the mâsiwâ, and to leave behind even the Names and attributes and bind the heart to Janâb-i Haqq’s Essence alone. But man possesses many senses and subtle faculties like the mind (aql), rûh, sirr, nafs and others which are charged with duties. The perfect man is one who marches heroically like the Sahâbah in a broad circle and rich fashion, the heart as commander and the subtle faculties as soldiers towards the goal by driving all those subtle faculties towards haqiqah on the different ways of ‘ubûdiyyah particular to them. Otherwise, for the heart to abandon its soldiers in order to save only itself and to proceed on its own is the cause not of pride, but of constraint.” The Twenty-Seventh Word Addendum Question
“Q-What is your request from the shaikhs of today?
A-I request the ikhlas which is the subject of their consistent turmoil; also the great jihad and abandonment of iltizâm of the nafs which they are devoted themselves in the ma’nawî barracks called takka and the spiritualised military service called tarîqah; also the abandonment of personal benefit which is their shiâ’r and the meaning of zuhd2 ; also the love which they constantly claim and is the essence of Islam’s disposition. Or they should banish the obstinacy, ghiybah and partisanship amongst themselves.” Münazarat (75)
1 (On the tarîq of Naqshbandi four abandonings are necessary: abandoning the world, abandoning the âkhirah, abandoning existence, and abandoning abandoning.)
2 (Zuhd: A practising asceticism. Ascetic abstinence. Retreating on one’s own from the worldly pleasures and desires of the nafs, and adhering to the religious works and ‘ibâdah.
Zuhd of the heart: The heart’s disengaging its connection with the world and turning toward the pleasure of Allah.)