Sept 20 Samarkand – Bukhara

The city tour starts after breakfast. Today you will continue to explore the city of Samarkand. You will visit Registan Square, the Ulug Begs Observatory, which was built in the 15th century by Ulug Beg, one of the most famous rulers and scientists of Samarkand. Thereafter stroll along local Broadway surrounded by souvenir shops, tea houses, Candy stores and workshops. Then visit the Bibi-Chanum Mosque and the National Siab Bazaar, an oriental bazaar where you can buy traditional Uzbek handicrafts and find local sweets. Travel to Bukhara by bus (~ 4.5 hours). Overnight in Bukhara

Fajr Prayer/ morning prayer

Registan Square

History of Samarkand

There are cities which centuries-old history embodies the history of whole nation and countries, reflecting the way passed by many generations. Samarkand is one of the most ancient cities in the world. As other first centers of human civilization – Babylon and Memphis, Athens and Rome, Alexandria and Byzantium – Samarkand was intended to go through many events and shakes.

History of Samarkand goes back in remote days. Archeological finds and chronicle records of eyewitnesses and ancient historians allowed to establish with full reliability that a man lived on the territory of modern city many centuries before the Common Era.

Advantageous geographical location, rather favorable climate, abundance of natural springs with fine water, nearness of mountains with large wild fowl, flowing Zaravshan river – all these factors always provided favorable conditions for human settlings in that area, where strong walls, castles, majestic buildings and temples of Samarkand raised some centuries before the Commone Era.

In historical events of ancient time the earliest mention about Samarkand (also known as Marakand) dates to 329th year B.C., in descriptions of eyewitnesses and participants of conquering army of Alexandr the Great. By that time Samarkand was a big city with crowded population, developed crafts, trade, and culture. It had unassailable citadel and outside defensive wall with length of 10,5 kilometers.

According to new archeological excavations scientists concluded that Samarkand was founded much earlier than Greek-Macedonian conquest and already during the epoch of the Akhemenids State (6-4th centuries BC) it was quite developed city. Hence the “age” of Samarkand is over 2500 years, starting from the origin on the forest hill of Afrosiab, though it is far older.

Over the history the city saw half-savage tribes of Sacs and Massagets, iron flanks of Greek-Macedonin army, hordes of cruel Kara-Kidani. The city withstood invasion of the Arabs, who brought with them a new religion – Islam. Bloody hordes of Ghengis-Khan attacked peaceful houses with fire and sword. Samarkand became the capital of Great Empire of Tamerlane, ranged from Ind River to Bosfor.

After Timur’s death all his empire came to the power of his children and grandchildren. Samarkand and surroundings devolved to Ulugbek, Timur’s grandson. Ulugbek ruled Samarkand during 40 years. For the whole history Uligbek was the most peace-loving ruler. He almost did not participate in aggressive campaigns over ruling his state. He visited other countries many times but only to study traditions, culture, and customs of those countries. He was great scientist, astronomer, and mathematician; therefore he brought many scientists from different countries for science development in his county.

14-15th centuries is the period of the Golden Age of the city. City construction is at its zenith: the city is surrounded by strong fortified wall, new streets, paved of stone, are laid through the city, blue domes of magnificent ensembles tower above the city. Most of these objects survived our days and are the main symbols of the city.

Today Samarkand like most cities of Central Asia is divided into two parts: old and new city. New part is an administrative part of the city, including industrial and cultural centers, high educational institutions. Old part of the city includes historical monuments, shops, workshops, old private houses. Generally, an excursion is held in the old part of the city. Samarkand numbers 500 thousands people. This is multinational city, more that 100 nations live in Samarkand. Samarkand takes second place in Uzbekistan by number of population and territory.

Registan Square, Samarkand

The Registan Square is a real gem located in the very heart of the ancient city of Samarkand. It has gained its worldwide fame thanks to the great architectural ensemble that has become a monument of the oriental architecture. From three sides, the square is surrounded with grand madrassah, portals of which are facing the center of the space. All three erections have their own unique décor. It is by virtue of these buildings, preserved on the territory of the city, Samarkand was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001.

The history of the Registan Square

Translated from Uzbek, “registan” means a sand place. In the ancient times, this central square was covered by sand. The territory was not initially surrounded by madrassah; those great erections appeared rather later. In that period, authorities of the city were gathering people on the square to announce khan’s orders, held celebrations and public executions, and collected the army leaving to war.

In the past, one could see many trade rows around the square, where artisans and farmers were selling their goods. All main roads of Samarkand led to Registan where it was always noisy and lively.

Various rulers during their reign would change the main significance of the square, but since those times and up to now, Registan has always been the center of the city social life.

There are three madrassahs on the square: Ulughbek, Sherdor and Tilla-Kori, that are the main sights of the city. They were erected by two rulers at different times.

Ulughbek Madrassah

The heir of the great state of the Temurids, a well-known mathematician and astronomer Ulughbek, assumed the authority in 1409. In year 1417, he gave an order to build the madrassah that would later be renamed in his honor. It was the first erection on the Registan Square. The word “madrassah” stems from Arabic and literally means “teaching and learning place”.

In 1420, the construction of madrassah ended. On the outside, the building, located on the western part of the square, was done in the form of a rectangle; inside there is a square yard with entrances to the student cells (approximately for 100 people) and learning rooms. The façade of the madrassah looks out on the square, completed with two tall minarets in the corners. Special attention should be given to an exquisite interior of the building. Glazed bricks create beautiful ornaments on the yellowish laying of the walls. The madrassah portal is adorned with patterns of ten-pointed stars symbolizing the sky, and astronomy.

At that time, it was the largest scientific-educational establishment in Samarkand. Here students were taught philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, theology. Along with the madrassah, caravan-sarai and khanqah (hanaqa) of Ulughbek were constructed as well. Two centuries later, they would build two other madrassah on the place of the vendors’ shelter and khanqah, and they would complete the architectural ensemble that we can all see today.

Sher-Dor Madrassah

In 1612, Yalangtush Bahadur was appointed the emir of Samarkand. He was the governor-general of the Bukhara khans and by that time, he was already ruling feudal principalities, was known as a skillful politician and an educated commander.

Being a ruler of the city, he decided to construct another madrassah on the Square of Registan opposite the building erected by Ulughbek. According to the project of architects, the new madrassah was supposed to be located on the eastern side of the square and be a mirroring reflection of existing building on Registan. However, the exact mirroring concurrence did not work as the architect did not take one peculiarity into consideration – 200 years have passed since the construction of the Ulughbek madrassah, and the building had shrunk into the ground and the level of the square itself had risen to 2 meters. In the result, the new madrassah turned out to be taller. However, it is rather difficult to notice this different visually.

There was Ulughbek’s hanaqa located on the site of the territory planned for construction, that had noticeably dilapidated by that time. It was taken to pieces and the main part of the material was used for erection of the new building.

Construction lasted until 1636. Emir Yalangtush Bahadur wished his creation not to give in either in pomposity or space to the Ulughbek madrassah. Despite the fact that the façade of the building was completely resembling the first madrassah, they had used new technology in construction, not common in the 14th century. Workers applied rather progressive techniques that speeded the process.

Upon construction, the madrassah was named in honor of the ordering party. However, the name did not find its usage among people, and the building was renamed to Sher-Dor. The name comes from the images on the portal: two big golden tigers carrying a sun on their backs and heading after white fallow-deer were adoring the entrance. Sher means tiger (lion) and the name is translated as “adorned with tigers”. It was this plot that later became a national symbol of Uzbekistan.

Tilla-Kori Madrassah

Ten years later since the construction of the Sher-Dor madrassah, the ruler of Samarkand Yalangtush Bahadur had planned to erect another building that was supposed to complete the ensemble.

The construction began in 1646, in the northern part of the Registan Square, on the place of the caravan-sarai. The architect decided that the new madrassah should be another copy of already existing buildings, though would be located in the center.

The author of the project had an idea of achieving an architectural integrity of all erections and constructed the façade in the way that it visually created a closed space on the square.

The construction of the Tilla-Kori madrassah lasted more than 14 years and finished in 1660. The main façade of the building is done in two levels; the central portal is silted with a five-ended deep niche with two entrances leading to the inner closed yard. There is a blue-domed tower of the mosque to the left of the portal, with two minarets standing on both sides of the frontal part. The construction beautifully balances two bigger madrassah without disturbing the unity of the architectural style.

The name “Tilla Kori” was given thanks to its décor. Artists had used the painting method of “kundal” for decoration that contained mostly gilt. Among all three madrassah, this erection has a rich decoration of walls that leaves everyone impressed with the abundance of golden colors. Tilla Kori means “gilded”.

Tilla-Kori madrasah, Samarkand

The construction of the Tilla-Kori Madrassah was commenced in 1646 by the order of the Samarkand ruler Yalangtush Bakhadur and was finished only in 1660. It is the final building in the Registan architectural Ensemble. It was built on the site of caravan-saray, which had existed for over two centuries. The name of the Madrassah is derived from the rich golden decoration on the faсade. “Tilla-Kori” is translated as “decorated with gold”. Square-shaped building of the Madrassah fills the whole area between the Ulugbek Madrassah and the Sher-Dor Madrassah. The façade, faced to the square is symmetrical and consists of the high portal and two floors of arched niches, flanked with towers. Khudjras (cells), intended for students, look on the large inner yard.

The entire building is lavishly decorated with various herbal ornaments and linear patterns. The major part of decoration was lost, but due to efforts of restorers it was recovered in the second half of XX century. In 2001 this beautiful monument of the Central-Asian architecture was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

In the western part of the Madrassah there is the mosque, crowned with the big glazed dome. Its inner decoration amazes by the quality of the gold, applied by the method of “kyndal”. For a long time this mosque was the main mosque in Samarkand.

Registan Square. Now and then

It has been long since the moment of the first erection on the Registan Square up to now- already 6 centuries. In the end of the 17th century, Samarkand had gone through severe economic decline. The status of the capital city passed to Bukhara and merchants of the Great Silk Road would keep away from the city. There were only around 1000 families left in it at that time, and once wonderful buildings of madrassah were a shelter for wild animals. It was only in 1875 when Samarkand regained its past trading significance and the Registan Square was leveled and bridged.

However, in 1918 Samarkand faced changes again. The Soviet rule prohibited activity of any madrassah as religious schools. During this time, erections endured many natural damaging factors: earthquakes, harsh weather conditions. The larger part of the cladding of the building and the painting décor were lost. Nevertheless, it was the Soviet rule that had given the order to restore the entire Registan and give it the status of the significant historical monument on the Great Silk Road.

Restoration works had lasted many years and finished just before the fall of the Soviet Union. Scientists literally had to collect the whole interior and the exterior of the buildings and smaller façade fragments, restoring all elements.

The look that we can see on the Registan today is painstaking work of hundreds of restorers. If there was no decision taken during the Soviet rule to restore the unique monument, this beautiful ancient sight would never stand in front of our eyes.

Today different concerts, celebrations and other bright events of the city and the Republic are held on the Registan Square. Thousands of tourists’ daily flow to the square in order to see the grand beauty.

Registan is a valuable gift that we had inherited from our ancestors, embodying the entire charm of the eastern architecture.

Maqam of the Grandson of Imam Jafar as-Sadiq

Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Adil ق visiting the resting place of Shaykh Makhdum Adam

Bibi Hanim Mosque, Samarkand

The majestic blue domes of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque are the unusual sight.It takes one’s breath even from understanding the scale of construction of this monument, impressing with its size and beauty. In antiquity the dome of this mosque was compared with the dome of heaven and the arch of portal – with the Milky Way.

As well as all Samarkand monuments the Bibi Khanym Mosque also has the beautiful legend. According to it, the formidable ruler built the mosque in honor of his favorite wife Bibi Khanym. After successful campaign to India Temur decided to build the biggest building of the East – the mosque – which should have exceeded all mosques of the world by its size. Sparkling walls, high minarets, wide portal of the mosque, decorated with carved marble, must have praised for centuries the name of Temur and his favorite wife.

Hundreds of architects, painters and builders were taken to Samarkand. The construction lasted for 5 years (1399-1404) and when Temur came back from another campaign it was ready-built. The yard of the mosque was surrounded by luxurious galleries, the arches of which lied on more than three hundred marble columns, minarets towered on each side of it.

Unfortunately soon after the completion of the construction, when the mosque became the place of ceremonial acts of worships, the building began collapsing. The idea of the creator to build such magnificent building was too bold for that period. The majestic arch of the portal, which according to Tamerlane’s plan should have repeated the Milky Way, could not withstand the test of time and had collapsed in the very first years after the construction.

Sher-Dor Madrasah, Samarkand

Sher-Dor Madrasah was built on the Registan Square, Samarkand in 1619-1636. The name is translated as “Madrassah with Lions”. It is the distorted and exaggerated reflection of the Ulugbek Madrasah, which is located just opposite, on the western side of the Registan Square. The difference in age between them is 200 years. Sher-Dor has larger area and sizes, but it yields to its “elder brother” by the quality of finishing works.

On the outside and inside this Madrasah is decorated with bright ornaments of glazed brick, walls and towers are covered with majolica of various patterns of climber flowers and quotations from Kuran on Arabic. But some part of finishing is irretrievably lost, though scientists, historians and restorers try to recover the initial appearance of Sher-Dor Madrasah.

By architecture the Sher-Dor Madrasah almost repeats the Ulugbek Madrasah, i.e. it is the square building with inner yard, khudjras (cells) for students and two rooms for classes. The Madrasah was considered as the modern building of that time, because the latest architectural innovations were used at the construction. Moreover such grand building has a set of constructive peculiarities, which make it one of the best architectural monuments in Samarkand.

In addition the Madrasah of Sher-Dor has some features. In the center of the arch above the entrance there is the image of swastika, which from ancient times was the symbol of abundance and fertility. Also there are images of tigers with the sun on their backs on each side of the arch.

For the whole period of existence the Madrasah of Sher-Dor has been restored many times. The largest works were conducted in the beginning of XX century by Soviet architect, out of them the most famous was V.G. Shukhov. Today this monument of Samarkand architecture is one of the main sights of the city. In 2001 the Madrasah of Sher-Dor entered the UNESCO World Heritage List.

the National Siab Bazaar, an oriental bazaar where you can buy traditional Uzbek handicrafts and find local sweets.

Samarkand bread

…There is no tastier bread than Samarkand one. Real Samarkand bread should be eatable within three years. It is enough to splash water on it and heat in the tandyr (clay oven used to bake bread). Everyone, who has ever visited Samarkand, does not leave it without Samarkand bread. It is various: small with sesame seeds, large glazed bread and always incomparably delicious, so there is nothing surprising in the fact, that people said legends about it.

Once Khan of Bukhara asked his advisers, why the bread is taken from Samarkand to Bukhara, if they could bake it in Bukhara. He was told that bread would be tasty if it was baked only in Samarkand, but the khan did not believe the advisers and ordered to bring Samarkand bakers to Bukhara. The order was carried out. Khan sent people to Samarkand to find the best baker in the city and ordered him to bake bread in Bukhara. But the bread turned out different than it was expected. Advisers decided that the case was in the ingredients and brought from Samarkand a tandyr oven, flour, water, but even then the bread differed from Samarkand one. Then the baker said: “Probably the case is in the air.” But it was impossible to transport the air, and soon the baker was allowed to return home, and people began to carry bread from Samarkand as before.

This tradition has been preserved to this day. No one leaves from Samarkand without the famous bread, which remain soft for a long time.

Hazrat Hyzr Mosque, Samarkand

Hazrat Hyzr mosque is located on the south of Afrasiab fort. The area of the Mosque is 30 x 16 m. It stands on a natural elevation where a steep stairs leads. The mosque consists of aivan and khanaka. The mosque’s aivan (an indoor canopy standing on the columns) is richly decorated with ornaments. There is an entrance from aivan to khanaka (a monastery for dervishes). Hanaka is square, with mihrabi niche with the direction to Mecca in the middle and two hudzhry (monks’ cells) on the sides. The minaret is located separately. It consists of a trunk with a spiral staircase and a crowning lantern with ribbed dome.

The Hazrat Hyzr/ Khidr mosque is a medieval Muslim shrine, the dating of the 8th century. It is named after the prophet Hezra, who patronizes travellers in the legends, has knowledge of “living water”.
The Hazrat Hyzr mosque is located in the southern part of Afrasiab, near the ensemble of Shakhi-Zinda tombs, in the northeast of Samarkand. The shrine, which can now be seen in Samarkand, began to be built on the ruins of an ancient foundation.

The mosque is a model of the traditional architecture of the Samarkand school. The rectangular structure has a winter khanaka with a dome, a column avian, a mihrab with two hujras, a separate minaret on the east side and a guldast tower in the west. The beauty of the mosque is emphasized by its elegant decor with the ceiling paintings, carved ganch in ornaments and ganch details on the ledge.
The rectangular structure has a winter khanaka with a dome, a column avian, a mihrab with two hujras, a separate minaret on the east side and a guldast tower in the west. The beauty of the mosque is emphasized by its elegant decor with the ceiling paintings, carved ganch in ornaments and ganch details at the ledge. Its interior decoration is impressive as well as the exterior of the building – it is decorated with majolica, mosaics with polished bricks, gilded paintings, plant and geometric patterns, bluestones. The beauty of the spacious patio, in which up to ten thousand believers could be prayed before, is striking.

The facade of Hazrat Hyzr mosque consists of a high base with arched niches, quince, over which the west is closed guldastoy (corner semi-tower) with the brick facing. The aivan’s top includes a number of bricks. To the east, the system includes a mosque organically portal darvazahany with guldastami and beautiful carved gates. This series closes eastern minaret. Subtle feeling manifested in the performance of the master carved door. Here division and ornamentation are made with a shallow profile, which in this case well, because the contrast shadow quite clearly reveals the shape of the ornament, while preserving the integrity basis. The building is replete with dates that mainly indicate restoration time; majority of them belong 19-20th centuries.

In the VII century, Samarkand was captured by troops of the Arab Caliphate. During this period, there was built the first Muslim mosque in the city – Hazrat Hyzr. Its name was the prophet Hazrat Hyzra, which is considered one of the major Islamic figures.

The Koran refers to him as “a servant of God”. According to the hadeeth Allah will put him above Musa (Moses). It is believed that he had defended against fire and thieves alleviated sufferings, helped in difficulties, and those who meet with him, gave happiness and long life. All of this is tied to its divine origin.

A legend says that Hazret-Hyzr helped the patron of Samarkand, Kusam ibn Abbas, to escape and become immortal. See here

Once there was a heathen temple here in which idols were worshipped in the first years of Islam. The temple was converted into a mosque. The very same mosque is mentioned in many religious books, which is described as a place of worship at the highest point of Samarkand, which was located next to the main well of the city Arziz which provides the city with water. Incidentally, in 2002, the well depth of 40 meters was restored, and today it is the same crystal-clear waters as hundreds of years ago.

Honoring the mosque Hazrat Hyzr was so high that residents of the city is constantly restored building, trying to make it even more beautiful. Perhaps that is why the original appearance construction was not preserved. Not a single source was preserved on the construction of the mosque, but on the walls and floor of the mosque there are many inscriptions on the work on the restoration of worship construction.

The pilgrimage to sacred sites of Samarkand began from here and hence there also opens a panoramic view to the other famous places of the city, the mosque of Bibi Khanum, a complex of Shahi Zinda and others.

Apart from all, Hyzr is also the patron saint of travelers. There is a tradition, leaving Samarkand ask blessings from Hazrat Hyzra. This is where we should start a journey through the city, and here is his finishing.

Abul Abbas, al-Khidr

Whoever enters the Way without a guide will take a hundred years to travel a two-day journey.
The Prophet   said, ‘In this Way, you have no more faithful companions than your works.’
How can these works and this earning in the way of righteousness be accomplished without a master, O father?
Can you practice the meanest profession in the world without a master’s guidance?
Whoever undertakes a profession without a master becomes the laughingstock of city and town.

Rumi, Mathnavi

Abul `Abbas is Khidr salla, whom Allah mentioned in the Holy Qur’an [18:65f.] as the servant of Allah who met with the Prophet Musa salla. He preserved and maintained the Reality of the Golden Chain until the next link in the Chain, `Abdul Khaliq, could assume his destined station.

Imam Bukhari relates in the Book of Prophets that the Prophet salla said, “Al-Khidr (‘the Green Man’) was so named because he sat on a barren white land once, after which it turned luxuriantly green with vegetation.”

The important role of Khidr as the murshid (initiator) of saints may be illustrated by the importance of his role as the murshid of prophets, particularly of the Prophet Musa salla. Moses was a highly powerful prophet, one of the five greatest ones whom Allah sent to this world: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, Peace and blessings be upon them. Yet despite Moses’ elevated knowledge, Allah caused him to be in need of Khidr, even though Khidr was not a prophet. This is to teach us, as Allah said in the Holy Qur’an, that “Above every knower there is a greater knower” (Yusuf, 76).

The story of Moses’ encounter with Khidr is related in Surat al-Kahf (65-82) and goes thus: Moses and his servant found one of Allah’s servants whom Allah had honored uniquely and had taught knowledge from His Own Presence. Moses said to him, “I would like to accompany you.” He answered him: “You cannot bear to accompany me.” Moses was surprised and insisted he was able to do so. Khidr said: “You cannot, but if you do, do not ask about what I am doing no matter what you see me do. On that condition alone you may follow; but if you wish to ask questions, don’t follow me.” This meant that Khidr was going to do something that Moses would not understand, although he was the Messenger of a great religion. He was in need of Khidr to teach him something.

They took a boat and crossed the Tiberias River in Palestine. When they had reached the middle of the river, Khidr made a hole in the boat in order for it to sink. Moses was unable to keep silent, saying: “Why are you doing this childish act? Those people gave you the boat, are you now scuttling it?” Khidr replied: “Did I not tell you you would be unable to keep company with me?” Moses had not yet understood, even though he was a prophet and could read hearts, that there was something taking place that he did not know. They continued and found a young boy. As soon as they saw him, Khidr killed him. Moses said: “What are you doing? You sank a boat, and now you kill a child? This is against all laws!” Again Khidr said: “Did I not tell you you could not keep company with me? The third time you ask me, we will part ways.” Then they reached a city where they asked for food. No one gave them any food, and they threw them out. On their way, they found a wall on the verge of collapse. Khidr rebuilt that wall and made it straight. Moses asked: “Why are you doing this? No one accepted us as their guests in this city, and yet you are building their wall for them?” Khidr said: “This is the point where we separate, for you did not understand the wisdom of what I am doing.”

“O Moses, what we do is what Allah tells us to do. First I caused this boat to sink because there is a tyrant who is seizing every boat from the poor people on this side of the city. In order for these people not to lose their boat, I made it sink. That tyrant is going to die tomorrow, and tomorrow they can retrieve their boat and use it safely. I killed the child because Allah did not want that child to cause his parents, who believe in you, to leave and run away from your religion. Allah will give them better children than him. I built the wall which belonged to a man who was in life very generous to the poor. When he passed away, he left a treasure buried under the wall for his two orphans. Were that wall to come down, people would see the treasure and take it. I restored it in order for the two children to receive their treasure later. You did not understand God’s wisdom.”

That was Moses who, with all the honor bestowed on him by God, found himself ignorant before Khidr. How can we, who know so little in comparison to Moses, consider ourselves knowledgeable if Moses himself, with all his knowledge in the Divine Presence, was unable to understand certain things? This is a lesson in humility for human beings, and particularly for scholars and religious leaders: “Your knowledge is not worth mentioning. There are others more and highly more knowledgeable than you. As high or deep as you travel into knowledge, there is deeper depth and higher height than where you stand.”

That is why, when someone sits to give advice, he must sit with complete humbleness and complete respect for the listener. He cannot consider himself higher than them, otherwise that light will never reach their hearts. That is also why each is in need of a guide, as was shown by the Guide of guides himself, the Prophet salla, when he took Jibril salla as a guide for Revelation, and when he took a guide in traveling to Madina.

This is how Ibn `Arabi (q) in Fusus  al-hikam explains the three acts of Khidr salla witnessed by Musa salla:

Moses was tested ’by many ordeals’ [20:41] the first of which was the murder of the Egyptian [28:14-15], an act which he committed by Divine impulsion and with the approbation of God deep inside him, without however, his perceiving it; nevertheless he felt no affliction in his soul for having killed the Egyptian, although he himself was not acquitted until he had received a Divine revelation on the subject. For all prophets are interiorly preserved from sin without their being conscious of it, even before they are warned by inspiration

It is for that reason that al-Khidr showed him the putting to death of the boy, an action for which Moses reproached him, without remembering his murder of the Egyptian, upon which al-Khidr said to him: ‘I have not done it of my own initiative,’ recalling thus to Moses the state in which he, the latter, found himself when he did not yet know that he was essentially preserved from all action contrary to the Divine Order.

 He showed him also the perforation of the boat, apparently made to destroy the people, but which has, however, the hidden sense of saving them from the hand of a ‘violent man.’ He showed this to him as an analogy to the ark which hid Moses when he was thrown into the Nile; according to appearances, this act was equally to destroy him, but according to the hidden sense, it was to save him. Again his mother had done that for fear of the ‘violent man,’ in this case Pharaoh, so that he would not cruelly kill the child

 Moses arrived then at Madyan, there met the two girls and for them drew water from the well, without asking from them a salary. Then he ‘withdrew to the shade,’ that is to say to the Divine shadow, and said: ‘O my Lord, I am poor with regard to the blessings Thou bestowest on Me’; he attributed, then, to God alone the essence of the good that he did and qualified himself as poor (faqir) towards God. It was for that reason that al-Khidr reconstructed before him the crumbling wall without asking a salary for his work, for which Moses reprimanded him, until Khidr reminded him of his action of drawing water without asking for reward, and other things too, of which there is no mention in the Koran; so that the Messenger of God — may God bless him and give him Peace! — regretted that Moses did not keep quiet and did not remain with al-Khidr, so that God could tell him more of their actions.

Of Khidr’s sayings to Sahl at-Tustari (q) according to Ibn `Arabi:

Allah created the Light of Muhammad  from His Light… This Light stayed before Allah for 100,000 years. Allah directed His Gaze upon it 70,000 times every day and night, adding to it a new light from His Light every time. Then, from that Light, He created all creations.

When the Prophet salla left this world and condolence came, they heard a voice from the corner of the house saying, “Peace, God’s mercy and blessings be upon you, members of the Family of the Prophet salla!” `Ali (r) then asked if they knew who this was, and he said it was Khidr salla. Bayhaqi transmitted it in Dala’il an-Nubuwwa.

Sept 19- 2021 Samarkand – Kitab – Samarkand

Ziyarat in Kitab with a visit from Hazrat Dervisch Muhammad al-Samarqandi, Hodja Mahmud al-Amkanaki, Hazrat Bashir. Return to Samarkand. Overnight in Samarkand


On the way...

Maqam of Shaykh Darwish Muhammad

قMawlana Shaykh Muhammad Adil ق visiting the resting place of Shaykh Darwish Muhammad ق in Kitab, Uzbekistan

The shrine of Darvesh Muhammad (date of birth is unknown and Mevlana Darvesh Muhammad died in 1562). The shrine of Mevlana Darvesh Muhammad is located in the village of
Khujaisparoz (or Khujaparvoz), 14 km far from east of the center of Kitab district of Kashkadarya region, and is also known as the Aksu shrine. In this shrine there are the graves of the great sahibkiran Amir Temur’s teacher Sheikh Shamsiddin Kulol (XIV century) and Mevlana Darvesh Muhammad. The healing Aksu River flows in front of the shrine. Till today, a mosque built in the 14th century and a mulberry tree planted at that time are preserved in this sacred place. The length of the mulberry tree can fit up to 9 people’s arms. In its time,
the front of the shrine also contained khujras, after The World War II (1941- 1945) they were destroyed and the bricks were carried away, but the main foundations are still preserved.

Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Adil (Q.S) making dhikr at the mosque of Khawaja Darwish Muhammad (Q.S)

Personality and life of Darvesh Muhammad (Mevlana Darvesh Muhammad) Darvesh Muhammad was originally from the village of Vakhshuvor in the Altynsay district of the Surkhandarya region, that is why he is also known as Darvesh Muhammad Vakhshuvori. Darvesh Muhammad was the nephew of Muhammad Zahid, who was a disciple of Muhammad Khoja Ahror Vali and his descendants are related to Hazrat Umar. He spent 15 years of his youth in zuhd (piety) and riyazat(difficulty). He was educated by his uncle Muhammad Zahid.
After having a knowledge of religion, Darvish Muhammad became one of the greatest of the khalifa and taught the followers and disciples the sciences of the Qur’an and hadith, as well as other scientific rules. He has such works as “Maktubot”, “Risolai dar suluk”, “Risolai khush dar dam”.
According to the narration of the sainthood of Darvish Muhammad, Bukhara khan invited to the meeting all the greats and pirs . Meals were served at the meeting. Darvish Muhammad did not eat any food, and when asked why, he said that these foods were not prepared halal. They asked the reason of why it was not halal, he said that there was najaz (dead animal) in the well which the water of the meal was taken. When they went to the well, they saw a dead
animal at the bottom. Darvish Muhammad, known also as “Khojagan Sardaftari”, allowed his son Khojagi Muhammad Imkanagi to be the sheikh after him. In present day, this sacred place is visited by both local tourists and tourists from all countries around the world such: Indonesia, India, Turkey, Bangladesh, England, France and China.

He is the Ghawth (Arch-Intercessor) of the Famous Saints and the Blessing of the Scholars of Islam. He is the Dawn and the Light of both the East and the West. He is the Master of the Kingdom of Guidance. He grew up in the house of his uncle who taught him the best manners, educated him in spiritual and religious knowledge, and nursed him from the fount of morality and ethics. He quenched his thirst with the Heavenly Realities and Unseen Knowledge, until his heart became a House of Revelation, as Allah said in the Holy  Hadith, “Neither my heaven nor my earth could contain Me, but the heart of my Believing Servant contained Me.”

He was known in his time as Darwish Wali. He grasped all kinds of understandings of the Religion and he was able to erase the mischief and the misguidance of many of the false teachers of his time. He revived languishing hearts and he mended broken hearts, until he became the blessing of his time and the Human Essence of Guidance. He had many followers throughout the country. His house and his mosque were filled with visitors asking and seeking his guidance.

One time after an association he had just held with him and other murids, Shaykh Muhammad az-Zahid told him to go up a certain hill at some distance and wait for him there. The Shaykh told him he would be coming later. Darwish Muhammad was so obedient to his Shaykh that he surrendered his will to him completely. His conduct was perfect. He went and waited for the Shaykh to come, without using his mind to ask: “how shall I go there, what shall I do when I get there, etc.” He moved immediately. He arrived and began to wait. The time for afternoon prayers came and the Shaykh did not show up. Then the sun set. His ego was telling him, “Your Shaykh isn’t coming; you have to go back. Maybe the Shaykh forgot.” His truthful belief, however, told him: “O Darwish Muhammad, believe in your Shaykh and believe that he is certainly coming, as he said. You have to wait.”

How was Darwish Muhammad’s heart to believe his ego when his heart was being lifted up to be with his Shaykh? He braced up and waited. Night came and it was very cold on the hill. He was freezing. He spent all night awake and his only source of warmth was his dhikr of “la ilaha illallah”. Dawn came and the Shaykh had still not shown up. He was hungry and started looking for something to eat. He found some fruit trees, ate, and kept waiting for the Shaykh. The day went, and then the next day. He was again in a big struggle with his ego, but he kept thinking: “If my Shaykh is a real Shaykh, he knows what he is doing.”

A week went and then a month. The Shaykh was not coming. The only distraction Darwish Muhammad had from waiting was dhikrullah, and his daily prayers were his only other activity. He kept on only until the power of his dhikr made the animals come and sit around him to make dhikr with him. He realized that this miraculous power had come to him from his Shaykh.

Winter came and the Shaykh didn’t come. It began to snow. It was extremely cold and there was no more food. He began to cut the bark of the trees and feed himself on the moisture inside, and from roots and whatever green leaves he could find. Deer came to him and he began to milk the ewes. This was another miracle which appeared to him. The ewe did not move when he milked her, and another came. He was being lifted up to higher and higher spiritual levels, and his teacher was sending him spiritual knowledge through these miracles and visions. Khidr salla” He said, “What if something had happened to me?” Darwish Muhammad said, “O my Shaykh, if I had not stayed here and waited for you and obeyed, you would have never come to me by permission of the Prophet salla” Darwish Muhammad had detected in his heart that his Shaykh was coming by the order of the Prophet salla.

The Shaykh laughed and said: “Come with me.” At that moment he poured to him the secret and the power of this Golden Chain of the Naqshbandi order that he had in his heart. He then ordered him to be the Shaykh of the murids. Darwish Muhammad remained in his Shaykh’s service until Shaykh Muhammad az-Zahid passed away.

Darwish Muhammad died on the 19th of Muharram, 970 H. He passed the secret of the Order to his son, Muhammad Khwaja al-Amkanaki (q).

Khawaja Muhammad al Amakanki (Q.S)

Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Adil (Q.S) making the ziyarah of Khawaja Muhammad al Amakanki (Q.S)

Shrine of Khojagi Muhammad Imkanagi (Mevlana Abdulboki Khojagi Imkanagi, 1512-1600)
The shrine of Khojagi Muhammad Imkanagiy is located in the village of Imkanak, 12 km far from the east of the center of Kitab district of Kashkadarya region. There is a large complex built on the hill in the early XVII century and there are remains of the khanaqah and the walls of the complex, and in the eastern part of the building there is a dakhma. This complex and dakhma were built by his son and disciple Hoja Abdulqasim in 1601-1605. The foundation of the dakhma was rectangular and the surface was decorated with gray marble.

At the top of the dakhma there is a tombstone made of white carved marble. The shrine is also important because of its location in a beautiful place and is of great interest to visitors. A mosque was built on the territory of the shrine for Muslim tourists during the years of independence. In the southern part of the area there is also a large 16th century maple tree, which can easily accommodate 8 people inside.

Hodja Mahmud al-Amkanaki

Shaykh Muhammad Khwaja al-Amkanaki was born in Amkana, a village of Bukhara. His father and his uncle raised him. During his childhood, he was well guided, until he became like one beneath an exalted dome, protected from every shame. He never discovered any good characteristic except that he acquired it. He discarded even the smallest mistakes and errors. H never encountered a high station without encompassing it, nor a valuable secret without keeping it, nor a delicious spiritual taste without savoring it.
He followed his father like the sun on a bright day and like the full moon on a dark night. He sat on the throne of succession. He tried his best to lift up the hearts of people. He wore the cloak of the spiritual poles. Every atom in this world, whether human or animal, plant or inanimate object, was supported by his spirituality. The light of his power enlightened the Way of this Order, so that his fame spread far and wide. People ran to him to receive his knowledge, to be guided by his light, and to be enlightened by his guidance. His door became the aim of every knower and the qiblah (focus of spiritual attention) of the hearts of the pious. He was dressed and decorated with the attributes of the Divine, attesting to his high position in the heavenly realm.Read more here

Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Adil (Q.S) making hadra after the ziyarah of Khawaja Muhammad al Amakanki (Q.S)

Hazrat Bashir.

the tomb of Hazrat Bashir in Kitab District of Kashkadarya region, the original name of Hazrat Bashir is Sultan Said Ahmad Ali. He was born in 1368 in the village of Kosatarosh of the Kitab District. Until the age of 4-5 , Hazrat Bashir would live under the wing of his parents,and then independently,would reach perfection in the chapter of Sharia, tariqat , enlightenment and truth. He Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Adil (Q.S) making hadra after the ziyarah of Khawaja Muhammad al Amakanki (Q.S)Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Adil (Q.S) making hadra after the ziyarah of Khawaja Muhammad al Amakanki (Q.S)followed the tariqat of Sheikh Bozrukwar Yassavi. The heritage and traditions left by him have been of great value in the Islamic world as well as their place. Rumor has it that Hazrati Bashir throws a stick made of Arch in his hand from the place where he lives, and the stick is pinned to a hill in the same place. Over time, the stick begins to bruise from the place where it was pinned. This juniper is also now living as a burrow. Hazrat Bashir passes away at the age of 96. His grave is on a hill of Spruce greenery, and now this place is called the tomb of Hazrat Bashir. Some sources say that after having placed Hazrati Bashir in the grave,the light fell from the sky after the evening prayer which light the blessed graves of him.

The power of Awliya’ led so many people to guidance. Not only that, but each of them made scholars by teaching the knowledge of Dunyā & Ākhirah. They sent their followers & Murids everywhere, so became means for spreading Islam. All this was for the pleasure of Allah


8. Khwaja Alauddin al-Attar

Khwaja Alauddin al-Attar (may God sanctify his innermost being), is the eighteenth Shaykh in the Naqshbandi Golden Chain and at the same time, the ninth Khwaja of the ‘Khwajagan’ – the Masters of Wisdom of Central Asia.

Born in Bukhara, his personal name was Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Bukhari, but he became known as Khwaja Alauddin Attar. He left everything that he had inherited from his father to his two brothers, and devoted himself to study in the Sufi and Islamic Schools in his home city. He consequently became a leading authority in both Islamic and Sufi knowledge.

He asked his Master, Khwaja Shah Naqshband, for his daughter’s hand in marriage. The answer came to Shah Naqshband after midnight, while he was sleeping in the village of Qasr al-Arifin. On awakening, he went to the School in Bukhara, where Khwaja Alauddin was studying and living. Shah Naqshband found everyone sleeping except Khwaja Alauddin, who was reading the Holy Quran by the light of a small oil lamp. Coming up behind him, he tapped him on the shoulder but Alauddin did not respond. He tapped him again but he still did not respond. Then through his spiritual vision, Khwaja Shah Naqshband perceived that Khwaja Alauddin was not present but was in the Divine Presence. He then called him spiritually and Khwaja Alauddin immediately looked up and said, “O my Shaykh”.
Shah Naqshband said, “I’ve had a dream in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) accepted your proposal for my daughter. This is the reason that I have come to you so late at night – to inform you of the good news.”
Khwaja Alauddin responded, “O my Shaykh, I have nothing to spend on your daughter nor myself, because I am poor, having given my inheritance to my brothers.”
Shah Naqshband replied, “O my son, whatever God has written for you on the Day of Promises will accrue to you. So do not worry, God will provide.”

Like Joseph was close to the heart of his father, Jacob, Khwaja Alauddin was very dear and special to Shah Naqshband, who took full responsibility for Khwaja Alauddin, raising him from one level to another until he was ready to appear in the Divine Presence. Khwaja Alauddin became unique among the many followers of Shah Naqshband, with the Shaykh ordering him during his lifetime, to enlighten some of the Shaykh’s followers. Consequently, Khwaja Alauddin became the Shaykh of Khwaja Muhammad Parsa, who said he heard Khwaja Alauddin say, “I was given a power by my Shaykh, Shah Naqshabnd, such that if I were to focus on everyone in this universe, I would raise them to the state of perfection. “

Khwaja Alauddin was very dear and special to Shah Naqshband, just as Joseph had been dear to the heart of his father, Jacob.

Two weeks before his death, Khwaja Alauddin Attar advised those close to him, “I am going to leave you, to go to the other life.” He died in 1400 AD and was buried in Denau, in the Surkhandaya region of south-east Uzbekisatn, near the Afghan border.

He passed the secret of the Naqshbandi order onto his foremost Deputy, Khwaja Yaqub al-Charkhi.
His other Deputies, that continued the Naqshbandi teaching were:-
– Khwaja Nizamuddin Khamush, a man of numerous miracles. Shaykh Sa’d al-Din Kashghari was one of his deputies.
– His noble son, Khwaja Hasan Attar, who was a prominent Naqshbandi Shaykh, having many Deputies.
– Shaykh Sayyid Sharif al-Jurani, the author of the Books, ‘The Unity of Being’ and ‘Definitions’.