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Shaykh Sufi Arshad Mahmood

Khwaja Sufi Arshad Mahmood Aslami is the spiritual inheritor of Khwaja Sufi Muhammad Aslam Rahimahullah

He has transformed the lives of thousands, and travels the world for the sake of spreading the message of Islam to people across the globe. He currently resides in Leeds, but spends most of his time travelling across the UK attending gatherings of Dhikr, and teaching the methods of the Naqshbandi Aslami Tareeqah.

Birth, Education & Work

He was born on the 22nd June, 1953, in Sangoat, a small village in Mirpur, Pakistan. Sufi Arshad came from humble beginnings. He grew up in the family home, which was a typical simple mud house with wooden entrances. As a young boy he went to school until the age of 14 but soon after migrated to England to be with his father, Haji Muhammad Bostan Rahimahullah. Sufi Arshad continued with education until the age of 16 but, due to the circumstances at home, began full-time work in Textile factories after leaving school.

Sufi Arshad told his brothers to be better than him, and supported their education allowing them to graduate with degrees in Engineering, Pharmacy, and Medicine.

Bayah

Khwaja Sufi Arshad, to this day, still vividly recalls his first meeting with the Grand Shaykh, Khwaja Sufi Muhammad Aslam Rahimahullah at a gathering of dhikr in Keighley, 1972 at the tender age of 18.

Khwaja Sufi Arshad says: “I had been invited a couple of weeks earlier to attend a gathering of dhikr by a brother, Sufi Asghar who had come to Keighley to give da`wah. He’d also invited me previously but I had not gone due to working long hours, but this time I had given him my word that I would attend and so I did.”

“It was a warm, long summer’s afternoon in the middle of June 1972 when I turned up at the house not knowing what to expect. I entered the room, which was pretty full at this point, looking for an empty space to sit down and to take in the atmosphere. Grand Shaykh Rahimahullah was already addressing the people with their sweet, wise words on how to draw close to Allah ﷻ and increase our love for RasoolAllah SallallahuAlayhi Wasallam. Aside from this, I had noticed that all of the students were dressed in the same fashion, and were sat with the utmost adab; hands fastened, heads lowered, and listening attentively with the ears of the heart.

At the end of the mehfil Sufi Asghar invited me to come forward and take initiation with the Grand Shaykh, I was so moved by their simple nature yet overwhelmed by his presence. I could not refuse and so I gave Bay`ah along with two other brothers. We had all sat, and ate the langar (feast) presented, the gathering concluded with Grand Shaykh Rahimahullah making the final du`a and all of the brothers departing the house.

I’ve never known time to move so quickly as it did in those 2 short hours that afternoon.

It was around 5pm in the afternoon when the gathering had finished. As I had the rest of the day free I went to see my friends who were playing cards and were engaging in social smoking, as it has been coined today. I told them about the gathering, the Grand Shaykh Rahimahullah, his students, the whole experience and how I made the leap by giving bay`ah.

They sniggered and said:

“Arshad, there aren’t any real Awliya in England, these people only want your money. These men (referring to Awliya) are found in our homeland in jungles and forests, where they stay away from people busy only in dhikr.
Why have you been so foolish as to give bay`ah and bind yourself by pledging allegiance to such a man?”

For the rest of the evening, until I slept that night, the words of my friends kept ringing in my mind. Doubt and uncertainty began to take a firm grip. I recall turning sides trying to find a comfy spot on the bed. It was near the time of Fajr when I finally had managed to fall asleep, and in my dream I saw Grand Shaykh Rahimahullah stood before me. “What do your friends say, I’m not a Peer (Wali)? Do not concern yourself with what I am or am not, simply do as I have told you and in time you will understand.”

Grand Shaykh Rahimahullah was referring to the promise I made at the time of initiation, to fear Allah  and give up sin and to love RasoolAllah SallallahuAlayhi Wasallam and strive to be with him SallallahuAlayhi Wasallam.

I turned over in bed and awoke, it was time for Fajr salah and my body was dripping with sweat. After completing the Fajr prayer I ran to the nearest phone box and called the Grand Shaykh Rahimahullah to tell them what I had seen. Grand Shaykh Rahimahullah answered the phone and I explained my dream, they chuckled and said, “Are you now content? Do not worry about what they say, for Shaytaan always tries to find a way into goodness. Pray your Salah and keep up with your daily Wazeefa and Allah’s ﷻ Mercy will be with you!

From that day, I committed myself wholly and completely to my Shaykh.

I have been put through many tests and I have also had many blessings upon me. But I tell you, my sons, none of this would have ever happened had I failed at the first crucial test of trust in my Shaykh.”

“Love, honour, and cherish every moment with your Shaykh, for it is he who will take you into the Prophetic presence.”

A young Sufi Arshad lived his life in accordance with the Sunnah and made the recitation of Qur’an and Salawaat a regular daily habit, sleeping only 3 hours a day.

He would place himself in the servitude of Grand Shaykh as much as possible, regularly spending 3 to 4 days of the week with him after having worked in the excess of 50 hours a week. It was also common to see the Shaykh working overtime, to that extent, that at times the Shaykh would work 60 hours a week. Regardless of such little time out of work, he would always make time for Suhbah with Grand Shaykh Rahimahullah, as well as time for the family.

His habit of Salawat became so consistent in his daily life, that they were eventually graced with the visitation of RasoolAllah SallallahuAlayhi Wasallam in his dream who had told him,

“The Salawat you recite reaches us directly.”

This is indeed a favour of Allah , the Most High, that He had given Sufi Arshad the ability to always spend his time in some form of worship regardless of what it was he did. It was often said by those who would work with him in the factories, “Whenever we would see Sufi Arshad, he would be engaged in some sort of Dhikr of Allah ﷻ, or Salawaat. When time for Salah would come, he would remind us that Salah is upon us, we would then go to pray, and then return back to our post to continue our work.”

In 1979 Grand Shaykh Rahimahullah bestowed Sufi Arshad with Khilafat stating,

“You have presented many of your brothers in Tareeqah before me for Khilafah, and for the noble cause of Hijrah. So today, it’s your turn.” Grand Shaykh continued, “Bestowing Khilafat on a mureed is a very proud moment for the Murshid but it is not to be taken lightly. Do not cling to the title of Khalifah for it is empty. Rather, aim to fulfill and exceed the level of Khalifah and in doing so you will have Allah ﷻ, His Rasool SallallahuAlayhi Wasallam, and the Nisbat happy with you. Go forth my son and strive harder in the Deen to seek Allah’s ﷻ pleasure only.”

In late 1988 after 17 years in the service of Grand Shaykh, Sufi Arshad was given instruction of Hijrah, to move to another city; either Manchester, or Leeds. Initially set on Manchester, Sufi Arshad found a suitable house but after agreeing terms the owner retracted and decided not to sell. On hearing this Grand Shaykh said to Sufi Arshad:

 

“My son go to Leeds, and you will forever be in the Lead.”

 

So on the instruction of his Shaykh, Sufi Arshad moved to Leeds in 1989 to further the message of Islam.

Even when in Leeds, Sufi Arshad’s routine of visiting his Grand Shaykh did not change. This would see Sufi Arshad frequently travelling with the Grand Shaykh to gatherings across the UK.

On one occasion, it was a cold winter’s night around 10pm and it was snowing hard. Sufi Arshad returned home from work to find his front room curtains being blown in and out of the window. Immediately Sufi Arshad knew something had happened and rushed to the other side of the house to enquire. Sufi Arshad entered the house, to find his family visibly distressed, in particular his blessed wife. She expressed her concern for safety of the family, in that a brick had been thrown through the window, and this could escalate to something further. With young children in the house, she made a suggestion that they move back to Keighley; back to the comfort of family and friends.

In this state of distress Sufi Arshad fell asleep late that night not knowing what he should do. He was concerned that by working late another incident like this might happen, but may worsen with young children at home. He was stuck between the choice of staying in Leeds, or going back to Keighley. But going back would mean letting down Grand Shaykh, and a failure in his attempt at Hijrah.

Torn between the two options, near the time of Fajr, Sufi Arshad had the ziyaarah of the Grand Master, Khwaja Sufi Nawabuddin Rahimahullah who said,

“Is this it? Have you had enough? One brick thrown through your window, and you want to pack your bags and leave? Take note of my words!” Sufi Arshad told us, that at this point Khwaja Nawabuddin Rahimahullah had a stern aura about them, but in a manner that a father addresses their child, “do not even think of moving back!” The Grand Master  Rahimahullah explained to Sufi Arshad that acceptance does not come without trials, by saying “This brick has been the means of your acceptance in the court of RasoolAllah SallallahuAlayhi Wasallam.” The following morning Sufi Arshad reaffirmed his mission and was to stay in Leeds, he had informed his family that the sole reason for coming to Leeds was to propagate the message of Islam, and any notion of moving back to Keighley should be forgotten.

In the latter part of Grand Shaykh’s Rahimahullah life, he gave permission to Sufi Arshad to begin his own Halqa (circle of students) and to train them in the Naqshbandi Aslami way. Out of humility Sufi Arshad did not and felt it was improper to do whilst still under the tutelage of Grand Shaykh Rahimahullah. One of the fellow students complained to Grand Shaykh Rahimahullah in that “You have told Sufi Arshad to take on Mureed (students’), but he refuses to do so. Shaykh, this a disrespecting your instruction. Tell Sufi Sahib to do as he’s told.”
Grand Shaykh Rahimahullah replied, “You are right my son I have told him several times now (over several years) but then I also understand why he is not yet doing so, leave him be. This is between me and him.”

When Sufi Arshad heard about this he said,

“My brother what use is a candle (light) in the blazing sun? I amount to less than a candle and my Shaykh is like the Sun at its Zenith. To those who need the light of guidance I will continue to take them to my Shaykh (Sufi Muhammad Aslam) as he is the perfect guide.”

It was mentioned in regards to Sufi Arshad, by the Grand Shaykh Khwaja Sufi Muhammad Aslam Rahimahullah,

“Through the efforts of Sufi Arshad alone, over 500 people have become aspirants in the Naqshbandi Path upon my hands and changed their lives for the better.” This illustrated the relentless efforts and resilience of Sufi Arshad in dawah to those who were perhaps neglectful of their religious duties.

It was in 1999 that Grand Shaykh Rahimahullah had left this temporary abode, and it was after this time that Sufi Arshad Mahmood began accepting students in the Naqshbandi Aslami Tareeqah.

In the present era, Khwaja Sufi Arshad Mahmood exhausts himself in spreading the love of RasoolAllah SallallahuAlayhi Wasallam and the teachings of Grand Shaykh Rahimahullah. He has visited countries across the globe, in particular Asia, Europe, and North Africa. He is recognised for the effect he has on the youth, and has been bestowed with the ability to inspire the hearts of people that had gone away from the remembrance of Allah , the Creator, and His Beloved SallallahuAlayhi Wasallam. It was said by Grand Shaykh in the latter part of his life to Sufi Arshad, “My son, I see your gardens blossoming, many people will come to see you. I won’t physically be around to witness this, but you will take my message across the world, and in particular Europe.” To this, Sufi Arshad replied, “O Shaykh, who is going to sit with me when I have nothing to give?” In response to this, Grand Shaykh had explained that in time all will fall into place, and we see today, before our own eyes, that the words spoken by that chosen friend of Allah  come to fruition.

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Reviver of the Millenia – Keighley, Yorkshire U.K. – Dec 2015

 

May Allah  forever preserve, and protect the Khwaja, known as Sufi Arshad Mahmood. May Allah  allow us to remain in his presence, and may we be given the best of abilities to serve him, and to benefit from him in the best of manners. Ameen!