Sept 23 Bukhara

Visit of the Maqams of the Great Sufi Saints of Bukhara: Sayyid Amir Kulal. During his lifetime he was nicknamed Kalon, which meant “the great one”. He was a potter by trade. He was famous long before he became the great teacher. Sayyid Amir Kulal was and had a spiritual authority over a hundred followers, including Baha-ud-Din Naqschband Buchari à Baha-ud-Din Naqschband Bukhari, the famous “teacher of Sufism”. Zikr with Sheikh Mehmed Effendi. Back to Bukhara and continue the sightseeing tour with some shopping in Bukhara. First you will visit the oldest citadel in Bukhara from the 4th century called Citadel Ark which served as a palace for several dynasties of the Bukhara Empire. Then visit the Poi-Kalon Ensemble, a unique example of Bukhara architectural art. It consists of three Structures built in the 12th – 16th centuries: Kalon Minaret, Kalon Mosque and Mir Arab Madrasa. Free time after the sightseeing tour. Overnight in Bukhara

Amir Kulāl (1278–1370), Persian: امیر کلال‎, Arabic: امیر کلال‎, birth name Shams ud-Dīn (Persian: شمس الدین‎, Arabic: شمس الدین‎), was a Persian[1][2] Sufi Islamic scholar, widely considered to be one of the most influential in history. He was a member of the mystical Khajagan order. His father was the Sufi scholar Saif ud-Dīn Hamza (سیف الدین حمزہ), a sayyid descendant of Prophet Muhammad. Saif ud-Dīn Hamza was amir (chieftain) of the Persian Kulal-Tribe, his full title being Amir-i-Kulal. After his father’s death, Shams ud-Dīn became the amir and head of the tribe. By this time his reputation as a scholar and religious figure had spread through Chagatai Khanate and the title Amir-i-Kulal, had become his common name. Shams ud-Dīn was named after his grandfather, the spiritual mentor of the Barlas tribe and of Turghai, the father of Amir Timur. Because he made earthenware,[3] he was popularly referred to as “Kulāl”, which means “potter” in Persian.[4]

Kulal had a number of students who later became prominent figures in history, including Baha-ud-Dīn Naqshband and the conqueror Amir Timur. After rise of the Timurid Dynasty, a close relationship began between the houses of Amir Timur and Amir Kulal and continued through the Mughal line in India. Kulal is buried at Sokhar, near Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

Sayyid Amir Kulal is known as the Rose of the Characteristics and Attributes of the Prophet, the Furthest Lote Tree of Desire for the Ultimate Stations, the Owner of the Throne of Guidance, the Attractor of Heavenly Blessings, and the Teacher with his holy breath of the Secrets of the Divine. He is a mujaddid or Renewer of the sharic(Law), a Master of the tariqa (Way), a builder of  haqiqa (Reality), and a guide for khaliqa (Creation). He was distinguished for mastery among the saints of his time, who applied the following saying to him: “The Saints of Mastery are the Masters of all Saints.”

He was born in the village of Sukhar, two miles from Bukhara. His family were sayyid, descendants of the Holy Prophet salla. His mother said, “When I was pregnant with him, whenever my hand went towards doubtful food, I would be unable to convey it to my mouth. This happened to me many times. I knew that I had someone special in my womb. I was careful and chose my food from the best and assuredly halal (lawful) food.”

In his childhood he was a wrestler. He used to practice all of its arts, until he became one of the most famous wrestlers in his time. All the wrestlers would gather around him to learn from him. One day, a man watching him wrestle had the following thought come to his heart: “How is it that a person who is the Descendant of the Prophet salla and who is deeply knowledgeable in sharica and tariqat, is practicing this sport?” He immediately fell into a deep sleep and dreamt that it was the Judgement Day. He felt that he was in great difficulty and that he was drowning. Then the shaikh Sayyid Amir al-Kulal appeared to him and rescued him from the water. He woke up and Sayyid Amir al-Kulal ق looked at him and said, “Did you witness my power in wrestling and my power in intercession?”

One time his shaikh-to-be, Muhammad Baba as-Samasi ق, was passing by his wrestling arena, accompanied by his followers. He stopped and stood there. An evil whisper came to the heart of one of his followers saying, “How is it that the shaikh is standing here in this wrestling arena?” The shaikh looked at his follower immediately and said, “I am standing here for the sake of one person. He is going to be a great Knower. Everyone will come to him for guidance and through him people will reach the highest states of Divine Love and the Divine Presence. My intention is to bring this person under my wing.” At that moment Amir Kulal ق  gazed at him, was attracted and abandoned the sport of wrestling. He followed Shaikh Muhammad Baba As-Samasi to his house. Shaikh Samasi taught him the dhikr and the principles of this most distinguished tariqat and told him, “You are now my son.”

Shaikh Kulal followed Shaikh Samasi for 20 years, spending all his time in dhikr, seclusion, worship, and self-denial. No one saw him in these 20 years except in the company of his shaikh. He would come to see his shaikh in Samas every Monday and Thursday, although the distance was five miles and the journey difficult, until he reached a state of unveiling (mukashafa). At that time his fame began to spread everywhere until he left this world.

He had four children, as-Sayyid al-Amir Burhanuddin, as-Sayyid al-Amir Hamza, as-Sayyid al-Amir Shah, and as-Sayyid al-Amir ‘Umar. He also had four khalifs, but he passed his secrets to only one of them, the Master of Masters, the Knower of Knowers, the Greatest of Arch-Intercessors (al-Ghawth al-Aczam), the Sultan of the Saints, Shaikh Muhammad Baha’uddin Shah Naqshband ق.

Shaikh Sayyid Amir Kulal died in the same village in which he was born, Sukhar, the 8th of Jumada al-Awwal, 772 H.

Ensemble of Naqshbandi near Bukhara

The Memorial Complex of Khoja Bakhouddin Naqshbandi is one of the most important Muslim shrines. Every self-respecting Muslim knows and reveres this name. The great theologian of the XIV century, founder of the Sufi Order “Naqshbandia” was buried 12 km from Bukhara in his native village of Kasri Orifon. Some time ago there was the pagan temple of the site of current tomb of Naqshbandi.

Naqshbandi was the spiritual teacher of Amir Temur and made hajj to Mekka 32 times. He appealed people to be modest and rejected the luxury. His philosophy was based on the principle: “Dil ba joru, dast ba kor” (“The heart – with the God, hands at work”).

The main building of the complex is the khanqah. Before the frontal of the mosque there is the minaret and small madrassah. To the west from dahma, in separate courtyard there is the large necropolis, where Naqshbandi is buried. Graves of his mother and his teacher – Said Mir Kulol, are situated not far from his grave.

The Mausoleum of Saint Bakhouddin Naqshbandi is considered as the Central Asian Mekka. Believers from different muslim countries come here to ask for the fulfilment of wishes and healing.

The complex also includes the museum, which keeps the true information about Sufi and Sufism: Sufi wearing, books and other expositions.

Muhammad Baha’uddin Shah Naqshband

He is an Ocean of Knowledge that has no shore. Its waves were woven with the pearls of Heavenly Knowledge. He cleansed humanity with his Ocean of Innocence and Piety. He quenched the thirst of souls with the water of his spiritual Support. The whole world, including its oceans and continents, were within his grasp. He is a star decorated with the crown of Guidance. He sanctified all human souls without exception with his holy breath. He adorned even the remotest corner with the secrets of Muhammadun Rasul-Allah salla. His light penetrated every dark lair of ignorance. His outstanding proofs cast away the least whisper of doubt from the hearts of humanity. His powerful miracles brought life to hearts after their deaths and provided souls with their provision for the spiritual realm. He was nursed in the Station of the Arch-Intercessor when he was a child in the cradle. He sipped the nectar of Unseen Knowledge from the cup of Reality. If Muhammad salla were not the last of the Prophets salla, he would have been a prophet. All Praise to Allah for sending such a Reviver of Religion (mujaddid). He uplifted the hearts of humanity causing them to soar in the sky of spirituality. He made kings to stand at his door. He spread his guidance from North to South and from East to West. He left no one without heavenly support–even the wild animals in jungles. He is the greatest Ghawth, Arch-intercessor, the Sultan of Saints, the Necklace of all the spiritual Pearls that were bestowed on this world by the Divine Presence. By the light of his guidance Allah caused the good to be the best and transformed evil into goodness.

He is the Master of this Tariqat and the Shaikh of the Golden Chain and the Best of those who carried this lineage from the Khwajagan.

He was born in the month of Muharram, in 717 H./1317 CE, in the village of Qasr al-’Arifan near Bukhara. Allah granted him miraculous powers in his childhood. He had been taught about the secret of this tariqat by his first teacher, Sayyid Muhammad Baba As-Samasi (q). Then he was given the secret and the mastery of the Order by his shaikh, Sayyid Amir al-Kulal (q). He was also Uwaysi in his connection to the Prophet, as he was raised in the spiritual presence of Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q), who preceded him by 200 years.

The Beginning of His Guidance and the Guidance of His Beginning

Shah Naqshband (q) was eighteen years of age when he was sent by his grandfather to the village of Samas to serve the Shaikh of the Tariqat, Muhamad Baba as-Samasi (q), who had asked for him. From the beginning of his companionship with the Shaikh, he perceived within himself countless blessings and the urge for great sincerity and devotion. Of his youth he relates: Read more here

On Loud and Silent Dhikr

It is mentioned in the book al-Bahjat as-Saniyya that from the time of Mahmoud al-Faghnawi to the time of Sayyid Amir al-Kulal they kept the way of loud dhikr when in association and silent dhikr when alone. However, when Shah Bahaudin Naqshband received his secret, he kept only the silent dhikr. Even in the associations of Sayid Amir Kulal, when they began to do the loud dhkir, he used to leave and go to his room to do silent dhikr. This was making the murids somewhat upset: although his shaikh was doing the loud dhikr, he was doing the silent dhikr. Yet he stood in the service of his shaikh all his life.

One day, as Shah Baha’uddan and all the followers of Sayyid Amir Kulal were taking a rest from building a new mosque, Sayyid Amir Kulal said, “Whoever was keeping bad thoughts about my son Baha’uddan was wrong. Allah has given him a secret that no one was given before. Even I was unable to know it.” And he told him, “O my son, I have fulfilled the will and advice of Shaikh Muhammad Baba as-Samasi when he ordered me to raise you and nurse you in my way of training until you surpassed me. This I have done, and you have capacity to continue higher and higher. So, my dear son, I am now giving you complete permission to go wherever you like and to obtain knowledge from whomever you find.”

Diner sultan ul awliya shaykh Muhammad Adil

Citadel Ark:

Ark Fortress, Bukhara

Ark-Citadel is a residence of Bukhara khans. According to the last excavations, it was determined the citadel was on this place from 4 century BC. For many years of building and destruction, 20 meters height artificial hill was formed; its upper layers were built over in the time of last bokharan emirs. The wooden part of Ark building was burnt down during the fire of 1920. The general planning is being reestablished by historical documents. Ark included the whole city, consisting of closely accreted houses; courts and yards with state institutions, emir, his wives, and relatives and officials lodgings. Inside the trapeziform outlines of citadel walls the planning was right-angled with traditional cruciform crossing of main streets.

Ark included: emir lodging, throe-room, police department, stables, stores of clothes, carpets, utensils, treasures, armoury, jail, jeweler’s and other workshops, mint place, mosques, mazars and other buildings. The first, you can see it is massive fortress gates of Ark – portal with two-storey towers by sides from arch aperture and latticed architecture gallery on top. Behind it there is a musical pavilion, built in 17 century, two-coloured audience chamber, surrounded by gallery. Here during a day there was performed a series of makoms – it is a musical work; through it people could know the time (it is tradition left from zoroastrizm time). From ayvan, tsarevitches was looking at solemnities and executions at Registan Square before Ark. To citadel inside leads from Ark gates the gloomy, arched and raising up passage-dalon. By its side there can be seen 12 niches, leading to damp dungeons, where prisoners were lauguishing. There were awful casemates and in dungeons under bridge of planks and Ark gates towers.

To the south of entrance from the dalon, there is the most interesting of reserved monuments – throne-room of Bukharan emir, drawing room for ceremonies and festivals. It was vast, brick-paved yard surrounded by ayvans on well-proportioned wooden pillars from 3 sides. On the long axis yard in deep ayvan there is emir throne. This marble “takht” dated to 1669, under painted, wooden canopy on fretted marble pillars, was made by Nuratian masters.

Poi-Kalyan Ensemble, Bukhara

It is the main ensemble in Bukhara center, situated on the way to trade crossing of “four bazars” and Poi-Kalyan means “the pedestal of the Great” (it means “the pedestal of Kalyan minaret”). Ensemble consists of 4 monuments: Kalyan mosque and Miri-Arab Madrasah – faced to each other with main fronts; between them is Kalyan minaret; to the south of Miri-Arab there is small Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah.

Kalyan Minaret – it is a great vertical pillar, rising above the city. To proclaim the appeal to the pray – azal, it was enough to rise mosque roof, as it was in first centuries after Islam establishment. The word “minaret” descends from “minor” – it is a place, where something is on fire, the fire was set in leading light like this, between them in ancient world there were vast many-storey towers, like Phaross light-house of 143 meters height, dating to 283 BC.

Minarets played an exceptional role in architectual ensembles creating the city peculiarity.

In the beginning of 12 century – Arslan-khan ordered to rebuilt the minaret of old mosque. When the construction works had been finished, minaret fell and 2/3 of it was damaged. For the second time Arslan-khan ordered to built minaret. By inscription in turquoise majolica, under light cornice of Kalyan minaret, it was determined that it was finished in 1127. You can read “the name of Arslan-khan” on the half weight of stem. And it was found the name of master – Bano, whose burial place, local inhabitants pointed out between the next blockhouses. Kalyan minaret represents characteristic Maveranahr style of roundtrunk brick tower, decorated by the arch light. Its lower diameter – 9 meters, up diameter – 6 meters, total height is 45,6 meters. There is a brink-winding staircase inside trunk. Sixteen-arch light rotunda hangs over minaret trunk leaning on running out laying rows, decorated as stalactite cornice.

Kalyan Madrasah is dated to architecture masterpiece; it is a monument of 5 century, raised from the ruins during the years of Soviet power. In the beginning of 16 century, the mosque was partly reconstructed. The shapes of amazing arches and portal decor have already carried the features of new style, developed in Bukharan oasis in 16-17 centuries. The inscription under arch portal dates time of reconstruction. This is a poem from Koran, at the end of which we can see the date 1514-1515. In 1541 at the entrance of main portal was fixed a marble board with cut text of Abdullaziz I, this order runs that Bukharan inhabitants were free of some taxes payment.

Miri-Arab Madrasah, Bukhara

There are two big blue domes of the Miri-Arab madrasah towering above the surrounding buildings in the center of Bukhara. Along with the Kalyan mosque and minaret, this religious educational establishment forms the whole ensemble Poi-Kalyan that is the spiritual center of the city.

Construction of the Miri-Arab madrasah dates back to the 16th century and is related to the sheikh Abdallah Yamani (from Yemen), the spiritual pir (guide) of sheybanids. The exact date of the beginning of the construction is still unknown. According to one version, scientists believe that the building was erected in the period of 1530-1535/1536. The other version states, that the madrasah was built to celebrate the victory of the sheybanid army over the troops of the Sefevid shah Ismail I in the battle of Gijduvan in 1512. It is also supposed that the final construction works were carried out on the funds of Ubaydulla-khan; the money received from the sale of 3000 captive Iranians to slavery.

This madrasah is considered one of the most interesting monuments of Bukhara, and is still an acting institution, where future imams and religious mentors receive their education.

Traditional national architecture is peculiar to this building – a square yard, surrounded with two floors of cells, two big domed halls in the left and right corners. There are two-store loggias adjoining the main façade in the center highlighted with a portal. The inner yard is adorned with composed carved mosaic. In the center of the madrassah, there is a shrine of Ubaydulla – emir of Bukhara, who had ruled the city in the period of 1533-1540. In the head of the building, you will see a burial place of the spiritual guide of the khan – Miri Arab (sheikh Abdallah Yamani), in whose honor the building got its name. The senior teacher of Ubaydulla – MukhammadKasimwas also buried there.

The décor of the Miri-Arab madrassah has dominance of different stone mosaics of exquisite work with geometric, vegetative and calligraphic writings and patterns. The portal, tympanums of loggias of the main façade, tympanums of hujra arches in inner facades and dome drums are adorned with artistic works. External domes are covered with calottes of blue tiles. In the inner decoration of the building, it is important to pay attention to the colorfully arranged mausoleum. Its panels and grates are decorated with carved mosaic from colorful stones and walls and shade are adorned with ganch (ganch – material similar to gypsum building plaster).

Miri-Arab madrasah was the only spiritual educational establishment in the USSR that had begun to function after the WWII. All leading imams of those times had graduated from this religious center.

Décor and architecture of the building are done in exquisite oriental taste. The monuments had gone through many destructions, but restorers managed to reconstruct the large part of the building, returning its initial look. As in the ancient times, grand façade makes any visitor admire its beautiful layout.

The Kalyan Minaret, Bukhara

From the beginnings of Islam, there have been three types of mosques: Djuma mosques, which are intended for the large crowds that come to Friday services, Namazga country mosques (musalla idgoh), which are used by the male population of both the city and the surrounding countryside to celebrate the two Muslim holidays Qurban and Ramazan, and Quzar mosques, which are designed to be used as daily mosques in residential neighbourhoods.

We know very little about the thirteenth century Djuma Mosque in Bukhara, for it has been rebuilt completely since the time of its original construction. In any case, it had a vast courtyard surrounded by galleries. However, the minaret which was built in 1127 A.D. and called the Kalyan (Great) Minaret, has survived. It still dominates the skyline of Bukhara, astonishing all who see it with its magnificent and flawless shape. The minaret was designated to summon Muslims to prayer five times a day. Normally, each mosque had its own minaret, but the main minaret was situated near the Djuma Mosque. It was from the gallery, at the top of the minaret, that the muedzin summoned the believers to prayer at the top of his voice.

The Kalyan Minaret was built twice. The fact is it collapsed just before it was completed the first time, probably because of the builders did not take into account the soft ground underneath, due to the many cultural layers beneath the city. A new, more durable foundation was laid for the minaret and, by 1127, construction of this second minaret was completed. According to someone writing at the time, «there was nothing like this minaret, for it was built very beautifully». Indeed, the forty-eight m tall Kalyan Minaret is a flawless example of both civil engineering and superior architectural creation. The baked bricks it is made from form a monolithic circular tower that narrows from its thick base to its top.

The body of the minaret is topped by a rotunda with 16 arched fenestrations, from which the muedzins gave the call to prayer. In times of siege or war, warriors used the minaret as a watchtower. Earlier, the minaret apparently had another round section above the rotunda, but now only the cone-shaped top is left. The baked bricks, from which the minaret is made, are the main feature of its architectural design. The body of minaret is belted with narrow ornamental strings made of bricks. They are arranged in a chessboard order, either straight or diagonally. A frieze with inscriptions goes around the minaret upon a muqarnas (stalactite) cornice. The frieze is covered with blue glaze, which was used widely in the architectural decor of Bukhara at that time.


Khatm-al-Khwajaghan with Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Adil ق at the resting place of Khwaja Muhammad Baha’uddin Shah Naqshband ق in Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Who Trusts in Allah ﷻ Is Saved [25/09/2021]

“Thank Allah ﷻ for this journey. We travelled and returned with their Himmah (support). Insha’Allah we came back with Barakah. People there have Barakah too, because they were both giving and serving. May Allah ﷻ be pleased with all of them. The last time we went to these holy places with my father Mawlana Shaykh Nazim was twenty years ago. There are more followers now. There were many Murids back then as well. Everyone who saw Mawlana Shaykh Nazim knew and recognized him. Everyone showed respect. They had so much love and faith.

The Himmah of Mawlana and the Himmah of the Mashayikh there is always present. You can really see their Barakah on them. They will reach happiness here and hereafter with their patience, Adab and beautiful manners. There are thousands, millions of holy people there. All of them were people who walked on the way of Allah ﷻ, people who followed the true way of our Holy Prophet ﷺ and people who served Islam. Their Himmah is always present insha’Allah.

It was a great honor for us to have been there. It has been a while. Despite this distressed time, thank Allah ﷻ, it was very nice and you don’t feel this worldwide trouble there. Here, they say to do this and that. And there, they trust in Allah ﷻ, so Allah ﷻ is helping them. This is important. There is big difference between people who are cheated by Dunya and forgot Allah ﷻ, and people who trust in Allah ﷻ. It is difficult to explain this to people. Whoever understands, understands. Whoever doesn’t understand, what can we do? They will live in distress and in difficulty. And their distress will increase day by day. Those who trust in Allah ﷻ will be saved by Allah ﷻ. Allah ﷻ will help them. This is so with the permission of Allah

‎ﷻ. May Allah ﷻ let us all trust in Him. Those who trust in Him ﷻ will be saved.”

— Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Adil ق

Sept 22 Bukhara

Today you will continue to visit the maqams of the 7 Great Sufi Saints of Bukhara: Khaji Ali Ramitani, the most famous spiritual master of the Khwajagan Sufi school. The people called the Sufi “Azizhon” – the venerable sheikh. Then visit the memorial complex of Chor-Bakr, the Is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This complex was built over the tomb of Abu-Bakr Said, who was one of the four Abu-Bakrs (Chor-Bakr) – descendants of Muhammad. return to Bukhara and sightseeing tour in Bukhara. There you will see a Samanid mausoleum that is a is a real masterpiece of architecture from the 9th to 10th centuries. You also have the option to walk along the department stores and one of the most famous madrasas of Bukhara called Nodir To visit Devonbegi. This madrasah is also part of the Labi Hovuz Ensemble, which is a famous central attraction of Bukhara is. Overnight in Bukhara

The memorial complex of Chor-Bakr was built over the burial place of Abu-Bakr-Said, who died in the year 360 of the Muslim Calendar (970-971 AD), and who was one of the four of Abu-Bakrs (Chor-Bakr) – descendants of Muhammad. The complex includes the necropolis of family tombs, and courtyards enclosed with walls.[1] It is located in modern-day Kalaya, Uzbekistan.

This site was built during the era of Uzbek leader Muhammad Shaybani. at the purported burial site of Abu Bakr Said and his son Abu Bakr Ahmad. The site became a popular location for ceremonies and prayers in the 16th century. However, it started to lose importance in the 19th century and eventually became forbidden as a religious site during the Soviet era. After the end of the Soviet era in Uzbekistan, the site increased in importance for Muslim pilgrimage and is considered necessary for Muslim Uzbeks, along with Shahi Zinda, before their pilgrimage to Mecca.

Many constructions in the complex have richly decorated polychromatic tiles.[1]

In many courtyards above burial places, marble gravestones with epigraphic inscriptions, and vegetative and geometrical ornaments, are installed.[1]

The structure of the complex includes 25 constructions – khonaqo, mosque, ayvan with khudjras, darvazahana, minaret, and 20 small objects – courtyards – burial places with the dome coverings, and separately standing portals. The territory occupies both a memorial and an ancient cemetery equal to 3 hectares.[1]

Chor-Bakr Necropolis near Bukhara

Five kilometers away to the west from Bukhara, where the fields are separated by rows of mulberry trees, there is one of the most unusual landmarks – the Chor-Bakr Necropolis, also called the city of the dead. The first graves there appeared thousand years ago, when there was a small settlement of dervishes. But the magnificent architectural ensemble, now visited by thousands of pilgrims was not built until the XVI century.

In the X century when Bukhara was under the Samanid dynasty, there lived an old family of Djuybar Seyyids (Prophet Muhammad’s descendants), who played an important role in the city’s life. For centuries the Djuybars were buried in this country cemetery.

In the year 1560 the Shaybanid Dynasty ruler Abdullakhan II decided to memorialize the noble family, and ordered to build a mosque, madrasah and khanaka there. It was a gift to his teacher, Djuybar Sheikh Muhammad Islam Khoja, who died in 1563. The construction of the complex was completed the same year.

Died in 1593, Muhammad Islam’s son Khodja Bakr Sadi was buried next to his father. In after years other family members such as Abu Bakr Fazl and Tojidin Khasan were also buried there. These four men, who bore a title of “Bakr”, slumber in one khazira (tomb). “Bakr” is translated as “brother” and Chor-Bakr, as “Four Brothers”.

Khazira is a kind of burial structure, consisting of a courtyard surrounded by solid walls, with a single entrance in the form of beautifully decorated gate. It is this structure of the tomb which distinguishes Chor-Bakr from other religious burials in Uzbekistan, for instance the Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis. The whole complex is built the same way.

The khazira of Djuybar Seyyids, located in the north-western part of the complex, can be reached by a long corridor where each step is reflected from the brick walls with a ringing echo. Other khaziras located in the eastern part of the complex run long in a succession, stretching from north to south, and opposite to them, behind a small pond, there are buildings of a mosque and khanaka. It is notable that over time the burial rituals became less stringent and Chor-Bakr became just the Djuybar family tomb – all the dynasty members, including women were buried there.

A small minaret, which resembles the famous Kalyan in Bukhara, was attached to the complex early in the XX century, thus the territory of Chor-Bakr hosts now 30 architectural structures. In addition, to the north of the necropolis there is a large garden, set out as far back as the XVI century. It is planted with poplars, sycamores, willows and many fruit trees.

Chor-Bakr is really an unusual and mysterious place. Visiting Chor-Bakr you could not help but feel the breath of the world of the dead, where in the quiet of the alleys the thoughts of the frailty of life and the transience of human life unwittingly come into your head.

Samanid mausoleum

Of all the medieval buildings in Bukhara, the Samanids Mausoleum is of special interest. This world-famous architectural masterpiece was built at the close of the ninth century. The mausoleum was erected as a family crypt immediately after the death of Ismail Samani’s father. Later, Ismail himself and his grandson Hasr were also buried in it. It is interesting to note that erecting crypts was against Islamic law at that time, for Islam forbade erecting any post-mortem monuments upon the tombs of Muslim believers. However, the prohibition was broken in the middle of the ninth century by one of the caliphs himself, for whom a special as-Suli-biya Mausoleum was built. Ismail merely followed his example.

The Samanids Mausoleum reveals the genius of a plain design. This is seen in its composition and the balanced design of its facades and interiors. It is composed of a semi-spherical dome resting on a cube. All of the facades are identical and marked with three-quarter domed columns on the corners. There is an upper armature and a central entrance with a visible horizontal dividing line.

The core is characterized by regular kiln-dried bricks, forming horizontal, vertical, and diagonal patterns on the walls. There are also separate details in the shape of disks or rosettes. Analysis shows that all elements in the Mausoleum are based on squares and diagonals: the elements form geometrically digressive lines. The same unification is seen in the architectural forms and kiln-dried brickwork in the interiors. The architectural design of the Samoniy mausoleum is entirely unique. It owes much to pre-lslamic Soghdian architecture, which used four-arch domed compositions and diminished forms on the top of buildings, including disks and rosettes on decoration columns (as can also be seen in the section between the dome and the drum of the interior). Although this building is connected with pre-Islamic architecture, it also anticipates the emergence of a new architectural style with comparatively small dimensions; the Samanids Mausoleum is full of magnificence and feeling of moving from this world to the world that lasts forever.

Lyabi-Khauz Ensemble, Bukhara

Architectual ensemble Lyabi-Khauz is formed with three large monumental buildings: Kukeldash Madrasah in the north, khanaka and Nodir Divan-begi in the west and in the east. From the south the square was closed with Trade Street. The center of old Bukhara large ensemble became a reservoir.

The name «Lyabi-Khauz» means «at reservoir». According to the old legend, for a long time knan gardener Nadir Divan-begi could not buy a lot for planned building, where a house of alone woman was. Then all-powerful vizier ordered to built a channel under women’s house, and the water began to washaway walls, unhappy women had to sell this lot. The khan hauz secretly was called «khauz of violence», what in arabian inscription gives numerical meaning of building date – 1620.

The khauz rectangular (36 – 46 meters height), stretched from the east to the west, is buried in shadow of venerable chinaras. Its shores are formed with stair launch to the water, made from massive blocks of yellow limestone. In old times there was «tea bazar», there sold sweets, dainties, bread and made food.

Kukeldash Madrasah (1568 – 1569) is the largest in Bukhara (80x 60 meters). It is built on traditional diagram of eastern institution – boarding school. However for the first time in madrasah built in rabid, light, ventilated hujrs leaded by loggias on the free yard to the streets of city. They open on the second floor on side-facades. Living apatment is equipped with modern amenities, as Ulugbek Madrasah in Samarkand, butr there is three-part apartmenton the first floor, consisted of ayvan, housing and household apartments. In darskhana 4 crossing archs, stretched from corner to corner diagonally with netted décor, carry the light.

On the west side of Laybi-khauz is one more architectural monument. This is Nadir Divan-begi Khanaka (1619 – 1620). It is great multicells building with central cupola hall, with undeep niches on sides. In the building corners are living hydjras.

On the eastern side of khauz you can see a facade of curious architectual building – Nadir Divan-begi Madrasah. At first this building was built as caravan-saray in Madrasah, joined to main facade loggias, portal and corner towers. At this time second floor was built. On longitudinal axis, across from entrance peshtak is, traditional in caravan-saray, passage to the back yard, destined for pack cattle.

Mausoleum of Imam Abu Khafs Kabir, Bukhara

Akhmad ibn Khafs al-Kabir al-Bukhari was born in the Bukhara village of Fagsodara in 767. He left for Bukhara for his trip to Baghdad already in his young age in order to study theology and Shariah law from the Imam Mukhammad ash-Shaybani. Ash-Shaybani was a student of a legendary Imam Azam Abu Khanifa, the Hanafi school (one of the four Sunni Law Schools) founder.

With the time Abu Khafs Kabir became one of the main theologians of the Islamic East. The Holy Imam is the author of a series of books on Islamic law including “Al-Akhvo val ihtilof” (“Flippant agreements and disagreements”), “Ar-Raddu alal-lafziya” (“Repulse to those looking above”) and many others. Returning to Bukhara, he shared his knowledge. It is considered that it is thanks to him that Bukhara started to flourish in spiritual and secular sciences and imams and scholars became respectable people.

Imam Abu Khafs Kabir became the founder of the Hanafi school in Mawarannahr (Transoxiana) and launched the first medrese of the Hanafi stream in Bukhara. There is a legend that when a holy sheikh was walking to a medrese through Bukhara market, then the entire noisy bazaar would respectably keep the voices down. The school where he was teaching, where later his son and grandson were teaching too (according to the legend, his wife was also teaching the female students) was the place where students from around the world were striving to be accepted.

Among famous followers of Imam Abu Khafs Kabir – Imam al-Bukhari is one of the most respectable figures in the Islamic scientific world, the author of the monumental collection of reliable hadith “al-Jami as-Sahih”.

Bukharians knew that the holy imam Abu Khafs Kabir would always respond to one’s requests for help regardless who it was coming from: from emir or a common citizen. Thanks to this, imam was called Eshoni Hojat-baror (“Ishan, resolving problems”). Bukhara dwellers would come to him for advices and directions through the gates in the north-west part of the Bukhara wall that later were called “Gates Hakk rakh” (road to truth). Even the whole district was called the same.

Akhmad ibn Khafs al-Kabir al-Bukhari passed away in 832. Bukhara city tales state that where there is a memorial complex of Abu Khafs Kabir Bukhari on the hill, there is also a burial place of Afrasiyab, the legendary king of Turan. The tomb of imam in the district of “Hakk rakh” turned into a place of pilgrimage of believers who are assured that prayers read in this holy place possess a special force. Interesting to note that the tomb of imam Abu Khafs Kabir made in the shape of a cube adorned with semi-sphere dome, architecturally reminds of the mausoleum of Samanids. And it was the son of Abu Khafs Kabir named Abu Abdallaha ibn Abu Khafs al-Bukhari who assisted the ruler of Bukhara Ismail Samani to come to power. Like his father he was a scientist, respected and influential figure in the holy city of Bukhara.

In the times of Communism, the burial place had been destroyed as many other monuments in the region. Memorial complex including the mausoleum of holy imam Khafs Kabir was restored in the years of independence and continues to remain the place of pilgrimage. Mausoleum of Khafs Kabir is frequently visited by groups’ of travellers from around the world who are on the Sufi tours.

Shaikh Muhammad Baba as-Samasi

Shaikh Muhammad Baba as-Samasi (q), the distinguished student of al-Azizan, was the Scholar of the Saints and the Saint of the Scholars. He was unique in the two knowledges, the inner and the outer. His blessings permeated every nation in his time. From his desire to learn, he caused every unseen knowledge and secret to appear. He was the pinnacle of the Suns of External and Internal Knowledge of the Eighth Hijra Century. One of his miraculous signs was his Ascension from the Dome of the Rock, which was his heart, to the station of the Knower of the Knowers. From everywhere those versed in spiritual wisdom made the pilgrimage to his Garden of Knowledge and circumambulated the Ka’aba of his Guidance.

He was born in Sammas, a village in the suburbs of Ramitan, three miles from Bukhara. He progressed in his journey by reading from the Sciences of the Qur’an, memorizing the Qur’an and the Prophetic Tradition (hadith), and becoming a great scholar in Jurisprudence. Then he began to study the Speculative Theology, Logic, and Philosophy (‘ilm al-Kalam), as well as History, until he was a walking encyclopedia of every kind of art and science. He followed Shaikh Ali Ramitani al-’Azizan (q) and he was constantly engaged in struggling against his self. He was put into seclusion on a daily basis, until he reached such a state of purity that his shaikh was permitted to transmit to his heart from the Unseen Heavenly Knowledge. He became very famous for his miraculous powers and his high state of sainthood. Shaikh ‘Ali Ramitani (q) chose him before his death as his successor and ordered all his students to follow him.

He used to say, as he passed the village of Qasr al-cArifan, “I am smelling from this place the scent of a Spiritual Knower who is going to appear and after whose name this entire Order will be known.” One day he passed the village and said, “I am smelling the scent so strongly that it is as if the Knower has now been born.” Three days passed, and the grandfather of a child came to Shaikh Muhammad Baba as-Samasi saying, “This is my grandson.” He said to his followers, “This baby is the knower that I was telling you about. I am seeing in his future that he is to be a guide of all humanity. His secrets are going to reach every sincere and pious person. The heavenly knowledge that Allah is going to shower on him will reach every house in Central Asia. Allah’s name is going to be engraved (Naqsh) on his heart. And the Order will take its name from this engraving.”

From His Sayings

The seeker must always stand on his keeping Allah’s Divine Orders, and he must be constant in the state of purity. He must first have a pure heart that never looks towards anything but Allah Almighty and Exalted. Then he must keep pure that inner self, which is never revealed to anyone. That is perceiving the true vision. The purity of the chest (sadr), consists of hope and contentment with His Will. Then purity of the spirit, which consists of modesty and reverence. Then purity of the stomach, which depends on only eating permitted food, and abstinence. This is followed by purity of the body, which is to leave desire. This is followed by purity of the hands, which consists of piety and endeavor. Then comes purity from sins, which is regret and heartbreak for past wrongdoing. After this is purity of the tongue, which consists of dhikr and asking forgiveness. Then he must purify himself from neglect and slackness, by developing fear of the Hereafter.

We must always be asking forgiveness, being careful in all our affairs, following the footsteps of the good and pious, following their internal teachings, and safeguarding the heart from all whispers.

 Be guided by the teachings of your shaikhs, because they are more direct to cure you than reading books.

You must keep in the association of a saint. In that association you must keep your heart from gossiping and you must not speak in their presence in a loud voice, nor should you be busy in their company with prayers and voluntary worship. Keep their company in everything. Don’t talk when they are speaking. Listen to what they say. Don’t look in their homes at what they have, especially in their rooms and their kitchens. Never look towards another shaikh but keep the belief that your shaikh will make you arrive. And don’t ever connect your heart to another shaikh, as you might be harmed by that. leave behind whatever you have been raised on in your childhood.

I

One time I went to see my shaikh, Shaikh Ali ar-Ramitani. When I entered his presence, he said to me, ‘O my son, I am seeing in your heart the desire for an Ascension.’ As soon as he said that he placed me in the state of vision, where I saw myself walking day and night, from my country to reach the Mosque of the Dome, Masjid al-Aqsa. When I reached Masjid al-Aqsa, I entered the mosque and I saw a man there, clothed all in green. He said to me ‘Welcome, we have been waiting for you for a long time.’ I said, ‘O my shaikh, I left my country on such and such date. What is today’s date?’ He answered, ‘Today is the 27th of Rajab.’ I realized I had taken three months to reach the mosque, and to my surprise I had arrived on the same night as the night of the Prophet’s Ascension.

 He told me, ‘Your shaikh, Sayyid ‘Ali ar-Ramitani has been waiting for you here for a long time.’ I went inside, and my shaikh was ready to lead the prayer. He lead the Night prayer. After completing the prayer, he looked at me and said, ‘O my son, I have been ordered by the Prophet salla to accompany you from the Mosque of the Dome to the Sidratul Muntaha, the same place to which the Prophet salla ascended.’ When he finished speaking the green man brought two creatures the like of which I had never seen before. We mounted these creatures and we were lifted up. Wherever we were lifted up, we were acquiring knowledge of those stations of what was between Earth and Heavens.

It is impossible to describe what we saw and learned in that ascension, because words cannot express what relates to the heart, and it is not conveyable except by taste and experience. We continued until we reached the State of the Reality of the Prophet (al-haqiqat al-Muhammadiyya), which is in the Divine Presence. As soon as we entered this state, my shaikh vanished and I vanished. We were seeing that there is nothing in existence in this universe except the Prophet salla. And we were perceiving that there is nothing beyond that except Allah Almighty and Exalted.

Then I heard the Prophet’s salla voice saying to me, ‘Ya Muhammad Baba as-Samasi, O my son, that path you are on is one of the most Distinguished ones, and those who have been chosen to be stars and beacons for human beings will be accepted in that path. Return, and I am supporting you with all my power, as Allah is supporting me with His Power. And keep in the service of your shaikh.” As the voice of the Prophet salla came to an end, I found myself standing in the presence of my shaikh. That is a great blessing, to be in the company of such powerful shaikhs, who can take you to the Divine Presence.

Shaikh Muhammad Baba as-Samasi (q) died in Samas on the 10th of Jumada al-Akhir, in the year 755 H. He had four khalifs, but the Secret of the Golden Chain he passed to Shaikh Sayyid Amir Kulal ibn as-Sayyid Hamza (q).