Literal Meaning of Faqr
Faqr (Al-Faqr) literally means indigence; usually taken for poverty, pauperism, destitution and the like.
Faqr in Islam
However, in Islam Faqr is the way or course that removes all the veils between Allah and His slave. Hence, Faqr bestows slave with Divine vision (Deedar-e-Elahi) and union (Visal). Indeed, Faqr is the soul of Islam.
Why People are Stranger to Faqr?
Modern scholars and occidentals, being strangers to this way of our great Sufi Saints, have diverted people to exoteric Islam. Hence, they have forgotten their relation with Allah. Moreover, they entangled themselves into the rituals and prayers solely. Alas, Muslims of today are as stranger to the Faqr and its reality as the non-Muslims are.
Faqr is Pride of Prophet Mohammad
Even though our Holy Prophet declared Faqr as his pride and attributed Faqr especially to his Holy Self. He sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam said:
اَلۡفَقۡرُ فَخۡرِیۡ وَالۡفَقۡرُ مِنِّی
Meaning: Faqr is my pride and Faqr is from me.
Allah has bestowed our Holy Prophet with countless marvels and virtues. But, he felt pride in none of them. Neither on truth, justice, piety, generosity, patience, bravery, nor on his abdication. Moreover, he did not feel pride in his trust in Allah, eloquence, honesty, dignities and not even on family lineage.
Even it is in Mishkat al-Masabih that the Holy Prophet said:
“I am the beloved friend (Habib) of Allah but I don’t take pride in it.”
Therefore, he has pride in Faqr only. Similarly, all the religious precepts and branches of knowledge originate from him. All the basic beliefs and devotions, Qur’an and Hadith reach the Muslim umma through him. But he never attributed any branch of knowledge to himself except Faqr.
Faqr was blessed to Prophet Mohammad on Miraj
Faqr means the ascension of soul where soul find the blessings of His vision (Deedar) and union. Therefore, Prophet Mohammad had Divine vision on night of Miraj. He prayed Allah to bestow this great blessing of His vision and union as a gift for his umma. Consequently, Allah blessed him with fasts and prayers for the exoteric purity and Faqr for the intrinsic sanctity. Thus, opened the way to access Allah for the umma.
Excellence of Prophet Mohammad over all Prophets
Before our Holy Prophet, Allah responded to the requests of prophets for His vision, as “You cannot see me”. However, Allah conferred this blessing only to His beloved Prophet and his umma. In fact, this is the greatest blessing of this universe. Moreover, there is no such pleasure as the pleasure of the vision of Allah. This Divine blessing is the one for which all the prophets prayed to be part of umma of Prophet Mohammad. The Prophet has excellence over all prophet and his umma has excellence over all nations because of this blessing.
As Our Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam declares:
اَلْفَقْرُ فَخْرِیْ وَالْفَقْرُ مِنِّی فَافْتَخِرُّ بِہٖ عَلیٰ سَائِرِ الْاَنْبِیَآ ئِ وَالْمُرْسَلِیْنَ
Meaning: Faqr is my pride and Faqr is from me. Faqr is the reason of my superiority over all the prophets and messengers. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Faqr is a Gift for Believers
قَالَ رَسُو لَ اللّٰہِ صَلَّی اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡہِ وَآلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ اَلْفَقْرُ شِیۡنٌ عِنۡدَ النَّاسِ وَزَیۡنٌ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ فِی الۡقِیٰمَۃِ
Meaning: People of this world do not consider Faqr appreciable. However, on the Doomsday it will be very precious for Allah Almighty”.
- In another Hadith the Holy Prophet said:
“Faqr is the most precious gift of Allah for a true believer in this world”. (Mukashifat-ul-Quloob)
Moreover, he (pbuh) said:
اَلْفَقْرُ عِزٌ لِاَھۡلِہٖ
Meaning: Faqr earns respect for those who are worthy of it.
Faqr is Treasure, which makes one indifferent to everything other than Allah
Prophet Mohammad declared Faqr and Allah’s vision as one of His countless treasures. As after its attainment, one becomes indifferent to all the luxuries, blessings and treasures of the world and the hereafter. One who finds the Owner of all the treasures; he does not need of any other treasure. He (pbuh) said:
اَلْفَقْرُ کَنْزٌ مِنْ کَنُوْزِ اللّٰہِ تَعَالیٰ
Meaning: Faqr is one of the treasures of Allah.
In fact, this treasure is the blessing upon a person’s soul in the form of ultimate union of soul with Allah.
Faqr is Ultimate Closeness of Allah
Moreover, the Qur’an states the highest degree of closeness and union of the Prophet with Allah on the night Miraj:
فَکَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَیْنِ اَوْاَدْنٰی. سورۃ النجم
Meaning: Then a distance measuring only two bow-length was left (between Allah unveiled and His Esteemed Beloved) or “even less” than that (in extreme nearness). (An-Najm – 9)
No one knows the details of اَوْاَدْنٰی “even less”. This was the degree of the union of Allah and His beloved Prophet.
Faqr is annihilation in Oneness of Allah
Moreover, after the Miraj, revelation of some verses points toward the closeness and Divine union of Prophet Mohammad. In fact, Allah has referred the status of Prophet Mohammad as “Oneness”. Allah says:
وَمَا رَمَیْتَ اِذْ رَمَیْتَ وَلٰکِنَّ اللّٰہَ رَمٰی
Meaning: My beloved you did not stone the enemies (in the battlefield) but I did (Al-Anfal – 17)
اِنَّ الَّذِیْنَ یُبَایِعُوْنَکَ اِنَّمَا یُبَایِعُوْنَ اللّٰہَ ط
Meaning: Those who swear allegiance upon you in fact, swear allegiance upon Allah (Al-Fath – 10)
وَمَا یَنْطِقُ عَنِ الْھَوٰی۔
Meaning: He does not speak out of his own desire. (An-Najm – 3)
In a Qudsi Hadith Allah reveals this closeness of man with Him in these words:
لایزال عبدی یتقرب الٰی بالنوافل حتٰی احببۃ فکنت سمع الذی یسمع بۃ وبصرہ الذی یبصربہ ویدی التی یبطش بھا ورضلہ التی یمشی بھا. صحیح بخاری
Meaning: When a person seeks my closeness through excessive prayers and devotions, I, myself become his eyes, he sees through Me. (Moreover) I become his ears, he listens through Me, I become his hands, he holds through Me. I become his tongue, he talks through Me, I become his feet, he walks through Me.
Faqr is Purification of Soul
In fact, Faqr is the ultimate purification and sanctity if soul. Faqr blesses soul with union of Allah. A union like a drop of water gets union with ocean and becomes ocean itself. In short, Faqr is engrossing oneself in Allah to the level that he forgets his own existence.
Prophet Mohammad became reflection of Allah because of Faqr
When the Prophet reached this extreme height of Faqr, he became the manifestation of Allah. As Jalaluddin Mohammad Rumi clearly says that:
مصطفیٰؐ آئینہ روئے خداست
منعکس در وے ہمہ خوئے خداست
Explanation: The chosen Holy Prophet is the reflection of Allah’s self. All the attributes, epithets, and qualities of Allah are reflected through him.
Since Allah’s self is reflected Prophet Mohammad, that is why he said:
“Faqr is from me “
It means that he is the way to reach Allah and he himself is the Faqr.
مَنْ رَأَنِیْ فَقَدْ رَایٌ الْحَق
Meaning: One who has seen me has in fact seen Allah.
Love of Prophet Mohammad is the Love of Allah
Hence, attaining closeness of Holy Prophet is in fact attaining closeness of Allah. Those who inferred Faqr from Holy Prophet spiritually became one with him.
First Sultan of Faqr (Sultan-ul-Faqr)
First of all Fatimah bint Mohammad (ra) gained the blessing of Faqr from him. Therefore, she (ra) became the first Sultan-ul-Faqr. When she found oneness with the Holy Prophet and recognized the reality of his being, he said:
“Fatima is from me”.
Gate of Faqr
Then Ali ibn Abi Talib, the gate of Faqr, annihilated himself in the Holy Prophet and found his reality. So, the Prophet Mohammad said:
“Ali is from me”.
Blessings of Faqr upon Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali
When Hasan ibn Ali (Hazrat Imam Hassan) and Husayn ibn Ali (Imam Hussain) got Faqr, he (pbuh) said:
“Hasan and Hussain are from me”.
Transference of Faqr to Umma
Then Holy Prophet transferred this treasure to umma spiritually. Every true follower and lover of the Prophet is the heir of this treasure of Faqr.
As the great poet, Iqbal says:
فقر ذوق و شوق و تسلیم و رضا است
ما امینیم ایں متاعِ مصطفیٰؐ است
Explanation: Faqr is the passion and eagerness (for Allah). Moreover, it is the way to surrender and submit yourself completely to Allah Almighty. In fact, it is the asset of our Holy Prophet and we are its inheritors.
فقروشاہی وارداتِ مصطفیٰؐ است
ایں تجلیاتِ ذاتِ مصطفیٰؐ است
Explanation: Faqr and supremacy befell from Mustafa (pbuh). Moreover, these are the refulgent lights reflected from His esteemed self.
Every follower of Islam can attain that height of accession of spiritualism by adopting the path of Faqr. Therefore, everyone can have vision of Allah according to his or her ability.
Invitation to Whole Umma towards Faqr
The Prophet’s Hadith: “Salat is Miraj of a believer” is a invitation of Meraj for the whole umma. Faqr is the way of successful people. In fact, it is the path, which we pray for in Surah al-Fatihah. These pure souls have blessings of Faqr. Faqr is in fact, that straight path (Sirat-e-Mustqeem) that leads man to Allah.
Love for People of Cloak blesses Faqr
Hazrat Ali Karum Allah Wajhul Kareem says about Faqr:
مَنْ اَحَبَّنَا اَھۡلِ الۡبَیۡتِ فَلۡیَسۡتَعِدُ لِلۡفَقۡرِ جِلۡبَانَا
Meaning: One, who really loves people of cloak (Ahl-e-Bait), should be ready to wear the gown of Faqr”. (Nahj al-Balagha)
Allah Ordered Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani to call People towards Faqr
When Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra), found accession to Allah, Allah said:
“O Ghaus-ul-Azam! Say unto your friends and companions if they want My company and nearness, they must adopt Faqr. At the ultimate end of this path, there remains nothing except Me”.
Then Allah said
“O Ghaus-ul-Azam! When you find a Fakir in condition that the fire of Faqr has consumed him, be close to him. As there is no veil between Me and him.” (Ar Risala Tul Ghausia)
Misconception about Faqr in Common People
In his book “Sirr al-Asrar” al-Ghawth al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani comprehensively defines Faqr as:
Prophet says: “Faqr is my pride and is a source of honour for me”. Here, Faqr does not mean poverty as is usually misunderstood. Rather it means spiritual Faqr, which means to depend on none but Allah. Moreover, it means to abdicate every pleasure and joy from inward except the pleasure of Divine closeness. When one reaches this station, then this is annihilation in Allah (Fana-fi-Allah). In fact, nothing exists within one’s being except Allah.” (Sirr al-Asrar)
Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani further says about Faqr:
- The dignity of Faqr is not in wearing rags or coarse clothes or in eating tasteless food. Rather it is in acquiring mysticism and devotion for Allah by your inward and soul.
- Faqr and mysticism is a struggle to reach Allah. Do not adulterate it with anything absurd. May Allah bestow his Divine favour upon us to acquire it. (Al-Fatah ar-Rabbani)
Faqr is blessing for Chosen People
- Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says about Faqr:
“Faqr is a special attribute suited to the chosen ones only”. (Kashf-ul-Mahjub)
Furthermore, Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali ibn Usman al-Hajveri says:
- Faqr in this world is the key to riches in the hereafter.
Moreover, Mohammad Nizamuddin Auliya says:
- In this world, (only) the Faqr is the key of treasure of the hereafter.
Shaikh Ibrahim Kkawas say:
- Faqr is the coverlet of honour, dignity and glory for apostles and pious ones.
Sultan Bahoo named his teachings as Faqr
Most importantly, Sultan Bahoo entitles his teachings neither as Sufism (Tasawuf) nor any of its schools (Tariqat) but Faqr. Moreover, all his teachings are about the path of Faqr and its stations and esoteric knowledge.
He explains Faqr in these words:
- Faqr is exactly the Divine Essence. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
- Faqr is the spiritual way, which leads to the Divine knowledge and vision of Allah. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
- “One, who followed the path of Prophet Mohammad, in fact he made Faqr his companion. No status is more honourable or higher than Faqr. Moreover, Faqr is life forever”. (Nur-ul-Huda)
- Faqr has all the heavenly treasures. Worldly treasures exhaust at last and moreover, this material life is just like a dream. But Faqr is the Oneness and gnosis. In fact it is a Divine union. (Remember!) The worldly pleasures last for a few days but at last one has to be accountable to Allah. (Taufeeq-ul-Hidayat)
فقر شاہے ہر دوعالم بے نیاز و باخدا
احتیاجش کس نہ باشد مدِّ نظرش مصطفیٰؐ
Meaning: Faqr is the sovereign ruler, which is one with Allah. That is why Faqr is indifferent to everything in this world and the hereafter. Prophet Mohammad always has authority over Faqr.
- Faqr is the righteous path. Moreover, Prophet Mohammad is the guide of this path. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Faqr leads to Mohammadan Assembly
As the Holy Prophet said: “Faqr is from me”. Hence, when the follower of this path reaches at its extremes, he gains gnosis and Divine vision (Deedar). Moreover, he finds the eternal presence in the Mohammadan Assembly. Then, the Lord of both the worlds guide and instructs him. Furthermore, he (pbuh) always remains under observation of Prophet Mohammad. There are souls of honourable Companions and Mystics. Therefore, he also directly gains beneficence from these souls. This is the station of accomplishment of religion. Esoterically there is no higher station than this. When religion has strong foundation and Holy Prophet is the guide, then the building of religion becomes strong and perfect. That is why, Iqbal has declared annihilation in Prophet Mohammad is the foundation of one’s religion. Without this station, the religion is incomplete and superficial.
Iqbal’s Teachings about Faqr
بہ مصطفیٰؐ برساں خویش را کہ دیں ہمہ اوست
اگر بہ او نرسیدی‘ تمام بولہبی است
Meaning: You must find access to the Holy Prophet as he himself is the perfect religion. If you do not find guidance from him, your religion is just like Abu-Lahab’s religion.
Iqbal himself was a follower of Faqr. Moreover, all his poetry and philosophical thoughts revolve around Faqr. So, he states the grandeur of Faqr as:
فقر کے ہیں معجزات تاج و سریر و سپاہ
فقر ہے میروں کا میر، فقر ہے شاہوں کا شاہ
Meaning: All the arms and throne and the crest are the miracles of Faqr. In addition, Faqr is the lord of lords and the king of kings.
مقامِ فقر ہے کتنا بلند شاہی ہے
روش کسی کی گدایانہ ہو تو کیا کہیے
Meaning: The status of Faqr is much higher than sovereignty and kingdom. What can be said if someone wants to be a slave (of his own desires).
اک فقر ہے شبیری‘ اس فقر میں ہے میری
میراثِ مسلمانی‘ سرمایہ شبیری
Meaning: The Faqr of Hazrat Shabir (ra) is the Faqr of sovereignty. It is the inheritance of the lords and the possession of Hazrat Shabir.
Faqr is annihilation in Allah
فقر مومن چیست؟ تسخیرِ جہات
بندہ از تاثیر او مولا صفات
Meaning: What do you understand by Faqr of a true Muslim? It is to overpower and conquer the boundaries of time and space. By Faqr, a person acquires the attributes of Allah Almighty.
Just as the materialistic knowledge of the worldly objects gives us information about them. Similarly, Faqr is to gain gnosis of Allah. Materialistic knowledge is only limited to this world whereas Faqr has access to Allah. Comparing esoteric knowledge and Faqr Iqbal says:
علم کا مقصود ہے‘ پاکی عقل و خرد
فقر کا مقصود ہے ‘ عفتِ قلب و نگاہ
Meaning: The objective of worldly knowledge is to gain wisdom and intellect. While the objective of Faqr is to purify the soul and elevate spiritually.
علم فقیہہ و حکیم، فقر مسیحؑ و کلیمؑ
علم ہے جویائے راہ‘ فقر ہے دانائے راہ
Meaning: Intellect can train jurists and philosophers. While Faqr is the attribute of Prophets. Intellect searches the ways whereas Faqr knows them.
فقر مقامِ نظر‘ علم مقامِ خبر
علم کا موجود اور‘ فقر کا موجود اور
Meaning: Intellect only gives theoretical knowledge and information. However, Faqr actually reveals the truth and unveils the reality. Moreover, intellect is verification with tongue only. Whereas Faqr makes you feel the presence of the Omnipresent Allah.
So the crux of this discussion is that Faqr is Islam’s foundation. Therefore, only Faqr leads to gnosis through Divine vision and presence in the Mohammadan Assembly (Majlis-e-Mohammadi ).
Compulsive Faqr and Chosen Faqr
Some people follow the path of Faqr only to deceive people. Therefore, such people who could not accomplish anything in their life they adopt Faqr for riches and wealth. In fact, their intention is not to behold Allah but is attainment of this mortal temporal world. Moreover, this person also adopts Faqr either being terrified because of facing some worldly nuisance, pain or illness. Sometime, this category also includes caretakers of shrine of Saints. Mostly these people are from his children and therefore, they have no idea what Faqr is. Furthermore, their aim of life is restricted to the income of the shrine. Alternatively, they want to earn nobility by expressing themselves as a Shaikh. This type of Faqr is ‘compulsive Faqr’.
On the other hand, in chosen Faqr seekers of Allah adopt Faqr by sacrificing everything. No matter they are monarchs, leaders, eminent in world or infamous and poor. Their aim is nothing other than Divine vision. They reject everything and becomes the friend of perfect spiritual guide. Moreover they say, “Allah is all for us”. Moreover, they seek Allah from Allah. Hence, they bear the status of Fakirs in front of Allah. As, Allah says:
وَ اللّٰہُ الۡغَنِیُّ وَ اَنۡتُمُ الۡفُقَرَآءُ ۚ
Meaning: Allah is Munificent and you are Fakir. (Mohammad-38)
For chosen Faqr it is necessary to remove worldly desires from one’s inward. In short, there is huge difference between compulsive Faqr and chosen Faqr. In fact, compulsive Faqr gives death to soul. Whereas chosen Faqr gives life to the soul. Moreover, in compulsive Faqr disgrace becomes the fate of a person whereas, chosen Faqr brings grandeur and strength. As, the Holy Prophet considered this Faqr as his pride.
Compulsive and Chosen Faqr in Sultan Bahoo teachings
Sultan Bahoo says:
- There are two kinds of Faqr. First, is the chosen Faqr about which the Holy Prophet said:
اَلۡفَقۡرُ فَخۡرِیۡ وَالۡفَقۡرُ مِنِّی
Meaning: Faqr is my pride and Faqr is from me.
Moreover, it has two stations. First is to gain complete authority over the inward treasures as well as all the treasures of the world. Then become sated of it. Furthermore, the second station is to gain righteousness, gnosis and Divine closeness. The other type of Faqr is compulsive. The follower of this Faqr begs from door to door. Moreover, he is disgraced and deprived of spirituality. Therefore, he is ever complaining about this. In fact, the compulsive Faqr is the Faqr that brings disgrace, the Holy Prophet said:
نَعُوۡذُ باِ للّٰہِ مِنۡ فَقۡرِ الۡمُکِبّ
Meaning: I seek refuge of Allah from the Faqr that brings disgrace.
There are two types of Fakirs. Therefore, first type of Fakirs are free from lust and worldly wishes. Resultantly they have become friends of Allah. In fact, their status is unexplainably marvellous. They have the Faqr, which is the pride of the Prophet. Furthermore, they are his beloved followers who have found eternal presence in the Mohammadan Assembly. Moreover, they do not expect anything from anyone, because they have the light of Faqr. In fact, they solve the problem of people and guide them towards Allah.
Now, the second type of Fakir is the reprobates. Hence, they are shameless and have no connection with esoteric knowledge and Allah. Therefore, this Faqr brings disgrace to them. This is compulsive Faqr because such Fakirs do not follow the sharia. Thence, they are not on the footsteps of the Prophet. As there is a Hadith of Prophet Mohammad:
نَعُوۡذُ باِ للّٰہِ مِنۡ فَقۡرِ الۡمُکِبّ
Meaning: I seek refuge of Allah from Faqr that brings disgrace. (Ameer-ul-Kaunain)
Signs of Compulsive Faqr
Such Fakir have two indication. Firstly, they always discuss worldly wealth because they are misers and insincere with their fellow Muslims. Secondly, they are always complaining to Allah about poverty. One who rejects ‘disgraced (Compulsive) Faqr’, he becomes the follower of the (Chosen) Faqr that is desired and loved. What is this desired Faqr? It is to respect and follow the orders of Allah completely and submissively, be kind to all the creation. Moreover, desired Faqr means to possess all the attributes of Allah. (Nur-ul-Huda Kalan)
Faqr is obligatory for Everyone
Allah Almighty says:
یٰٓاَیُّھَاالَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُواادۡخُلُوۡ فِیۡ السِّلۡمِ کَآفَّۃً
Meaning: O believers! Enter Islam perfectly and completely (Al-Baqarah – 208)
Islam clearly speaks of the rights of the human beings (Haqooq-ul-Ibad) and rights of Allah (Haqooq-Allah). Rights of Allah are not just offering prayers and fasting. Rather it is gnosis (marifat) of Allah. Common Muslims, considering it (gnosis) too exalted than the basic religion, have exempted themselves. They consider that it is only for Saints. Although the above-mentioned verse addresses all those who call them Muslims.
Other name of Islam is Faqr
If analysed carefully, Faqr is the actual religion, as religion is Allah’s closeness.. That is why Iqbal has said:
لفظ اسلام سے اگر یورپ کو کد ہے تو خیر
دوسرا نام اسی دین کا ہے فقرِ غیور
Meaning: It doesn’t matter if Europe resents the word ‘Islam’. Another name for the same religion is the honourable Faqr.
Reason behind Downfall of Muslims
Nowadays when we look around us, we see nothing but chaos, disorder, disintegration and confusion. Moreover, when we look inside ourselves we see restlessness, fear and frustrations overpowering our senses. Despite being followers of Islam, which means peace, we find peace nowhere. The benefactor of humanity Prophet Mohammad brought a religion for external and internal, individual and collective wellbeing. History bears witness of welfare state during his (pbuh) era and era of Rashidun Caliphate.
However, today despite being followers of the same religion we find welfare nowhere. In short, reason is that we are not following our religion completely. In fact, we are only following superficial Islam. Moreover, devotion without gnosis is like a body without soul. Therefore, exoteric knowledge of Islam does not fulfil our aim of life that is gnosis. Rather exoteric knowledge promotes sectarianism.