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

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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

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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’.

Hazrat Daud Cave near Samarkand

One of the famous holy places in Uzbekistan is found 40 km to the south-west from Samarkand, in the Aksay village territory. It is the Cave of Hazrat Daud (St. David), worshipped in three world’s religions. The cave is wrapped in a shroud of many legends, year in, year out, told over by the locals to pilgrims who come there to ask the saint for healing or accomplishment of their heart’s desire.

According to an Arab legend Lord sent the biblical King David to Asia to preach monotheism. The preaching of Hazrat Daud, as he was called by Muslims, kindled the anger of Zoroastrians, who lived there, causing them to pursue him. Daud took refuge in the mountains, and praying to God, was able to move apart the stones by hands and tucked in the mountain.

According to another popular legend David was seeking a secret place to rest before the battle with Goliath. Genii brought him to a mountainous area close to Samarkand, but ifrits found him and brought giant Goliath on their backs too. David applied to God with a prayer to hide him, for he was not yet ready for the battle with Goliath. He ran until he had inaccessible cliffs got in his way. Believing that Lord would protect him, David began to dig a hole in a boulder which suddenly became softer than wax in his hands. He went deep into the rock, leaving Goliath holding an empty bag, and basting the rock with his club in epicene fury.

The cave of Hazrat Daud is believed to fulfill any, even most incredible desire. To get to it you need to mount 1303 steps, plunging up to the mountain peak. There, at the top, you can pray at the ancient mosque. Then you need to go down 200 steps to the cave of Hazrat Daud. The cave, from 0.5 to 4-m wide, up to 15-m high and up to 30-m long, is a dark tunnel where you can see Daud’s handprints and footprints at its end. To make a wish you should touch them.

Not every pilgrim is able to climb up about 2,000 steps. The locals offer a donkey or horse to climb the mountain. Along the whole length of the stairs there are shopping stalls trading water, officinal mountain herbs, skins of wild animals and different souvenirs.

Sept 18 Shah-i-Zinda Complex

The Shohizinda Architectural Complex exhibits a large collection of mausoleums the 11th – 15th centuries, which are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site

the Gur-Emir Mausoleum – a tomb of the Timurid dynasty, known as the Khodscha Doniyor Mausoleum than the prophet Daniel and the the mausoleum of Imam al-Maturidi

Gur-Emir Mausoleum, Samarkand

One of the most significant architectural ensembles of medieval East – the Gur Emir was built in the southwestern part of Samarkand at the beginning of the XV century. This majestic complex consisted of a khanaka, the madrasah of Muhammad Sultan – grandson of Amir Timur, and, later, tombs of Amir Timur himself and his descendants.

The madrasah, a small building with a typical yard composition was meant to teach the children Samarkand nobility. Opposite to the madrasah there located a khanaka with a central hall and cells – hudjras. The both buildings were erected by Mukhammad Sultan’s order to be become a center of Islamic education. But Muhammad sudden death in 1403 led to a change in an intended use of the complex.

After the death of Muhammad Sultan, Amir Timur was inconsolable: he ordered to put temporarily the remains of his beloved grandson in a madrasah’s corner room – darskhana, and immediately started the construction of the mausoleum which closed the ensemble from the south.

The complex courtyard was decorated with a single decorative wall with four minarets located at its corners, while from the north it was decorated with a magnificent entrance portal containing a name of the architecture – Muhammad ibn Mahmud Isfahani.

However, Tamerlane did not live to see the mausoleum finished, he died in winter 1405. The construction was completed by another Tamerlane grandson – Ulugbek. Although Amir Timur already prepared a mausoleum for himself in his native Shakhrisabz, it was Gur Emir that became his tomb and a burial place of his descendants. There rest his two sons – Shahrukh and Miranshah, beloved grandsons – Muhammad Sultan and Ulugbek as well as Timur’s spiritual mentor – Mir Said Baraka.

Today, the burial places in Gur Emir Mausoleum are marked with gravestones. The Timur’s gravestone, made of a single piece of jade, is located in the center of the tomb. The burials themselves are located below, in the mausoleum basement. The graves are located just in the same way as the gravestones in the hall upstairs. The Timurid tombs were opened only once in 1941, this event generated a famous legend.

The mausoleum is a fine example of medieval architectural craftsmanship. The contemporaries still admire the harmony of its proportions. The ribbed dome and vault walls are completely covered with a mosaic of light and dark blue glazed bricks, gilding and painting. The relief rosettes on the dome imitate a starry sky. The interior is enriched with bar tracery grids in the windows, marble and onyx panels covered with paintings, carving and inlaid with semiprecious stones.

Subsequently, Gur Emir was a prototype for famous samples of architecture of the Great Mughal: Humayun Mausoleum in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in Agra, built by Timur descendants, who ruled northern India.

Today Gur Emir Mausoleum and its entrance portal are renovated by the restorers, but the khanaka and madrasahs, unfortunately, are left only ruins.

Mausoleum of St. Daniel, Samarkand

There is hardly any place in the world is a where Muslim, Christian and Jew come to pray. But this Tomb of the Old Testament Prophet Daniel, also known as Daniiel, or Doniyar.

It is situated on the outskirts of the settlement Afrasiab that is in the north-east of Samarkand. On a high bluff of the hill there stretched a long 5-domed building of the mausoleum, and at the foot of the hill there is the river Siab. The sprawl of the building is directly connected with the tomb, whose length is equal to 18 meters.

Many legends and hypotheses are connected with this grave. Some argue that the remains were brought here by early Christians, others are inclined to think that they had been ordered to deliver to Samarkand by famous medieval ruler Amir Timur (Tamerlane).

There are also differences between what it is in the tomb: some sources say that the burial of St. Daniel’s arm, the other counter, and say that here they brought only a handful of earth from the grave of the saint. The third contradiction is associated with belonging of the remains, where featured two faces: the first – the prophet Daniel, the second Khoja Doniyar – associate of Kusama ibn ‘Abbas (Shahi-Zinda).

There are also legends about the size of the grave. According to one interpretation, the holy relics increase from year to year. Others argue that the tomb is made large, so no one can accurately find the location of the remains and steal them.

Be that as it may, this mausoleum, being away from other attractions in Samarkand, is attracting a huge number of pilgrims of many nationalities and religions. And you should not be a believer to feel calm and peacefulness of the place.

Mausoleum of Imam al-Moturidi, Samarkand

The tomb of Imam al-Moturidi is another sacred place in Samarkand. The grand Imam and famous philosopher and theologian fought for the purity of Islam. He was buried there in 944, in the cemetery Chokardiza where many other famous scientists of Islam world were buried as well. Once upon a time a military fortress was here, therefore the cemetery has such a name: “Chokar” means “army” “Disa” means a fortress.

In 1947 the cemetery was leveled to the ground. Ten years ago the grave was found again it for visiting it was opened only on the 17th of November 2000. In 2000 1130-year anniversary of Imam al-Moturidi was widely celebrated. The mausoleum was restored in Chokardiza, and the entire territory was landscaped.

the mausoleum by Imam al-Maturidi, who was primarily considered the founder of the Sunni Maturidiyyah school of the Theosophy (Kalam) and Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh) is known.

Ali Nasafi Tomb, within the Shah-i-Zinda Complex (built 1360s-1380s)

The so-called “Tomb of Ali Nasafi” is located on the west side of the alley of tombs within the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, roughly halfway along the path. It is one of a several dozen tombs built along the south side of a hill that formed the core of Afrasiyab, the city that preceded Samarkand prior to its destruction by the Mongols. The name “Shah-i-Zinda”, or “The Living King”, refers to the legend that Qutham ibn Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad who perished here in the first siege of Samarkand by Islamic forces, is not in fact dead, but descended into a well and remains the king of an underground paradise. In honor of the saint, the site has attracted tomb building from the 11th through the 19th centuries, with many of its finest tombs built in the Timurid era (late 14th-early 16th century).

Despite its designation as the “Ali Nasafi tomb”, nothing is known of who was buried here and what relation (if any) they had to the royal family of Timur. The present name of the tomb is taken from an inscription at the base of the door jamb within the pishtaq, which attributes the tomb’s construction to a certain ostad (master artisan) Ali Nasafi, whose surname indicates the likely hometown of Karshi in what is now central Uzbekistan. Although not included in the tomb’s present name, another ostad named Ali Tuki-kub left his signature on the opposite side of the door jamb in the same position. In the absence of further information, it is reasonable to assume that the two masters were equal participants in the execution of the tomb, as they both used the same titles (ostad) and inscribed their names in similar locations on opposite sides of the entrance.

The iconography of the tomb’s richly decorated pishtaq and interior surfaces provides a wealth of calligraphic samples in Arabic, mostly written in square Kufic script. These mostly consist of verses from the Quran such as Sura 112 “The Unity”, Sura 114 “The Men”, and the entirety of verse 255 from Sura 2:

Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi [throne] extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.

As these verses are drawn directly from the Quran, they do not provide any useful information regarding the tomb’s occupant, other than that he/she was a Muslim. The only calligraphy that suggests more detail are the names of the twelve imams inscribed within several of the 8-sided star motifs on the front of the pishtaq. It may be an indication that the occupant had Shi’ite affiliations or was sympathetic to Shi’ite beliefs. Beyond that, nothing written on the tomb brings its occupant into closer focus. It remains possible that such identifying information once existed on the tomb but was located in one or more areas that did not survive the passage of time. The present “complete” appearance of the tomb is deceptive, as roughly 40% of the facade’s tile work are recent restorations, albeit of excellent quality.

The historians Soustiel and Porter suggest the monument was erected in two phases from the 1360s to the 1380s. The first phase involved the plan of the tomb which is similar to others from that era. Also, the specific use of buff bricks and turquoise key motifs is emblematic of the prevailing style of the 1360s. In contrast, the interior decoration and main facade are clearly of a more advanced nature and reflect techniques and motifs commonly used in the 1380s. For example, Lisa Golombek notes that “the technique of painting tiles with a wide-ranging palette, including low-fire pigments such as red and gold, enjoyed a brief period of popularity in the region” (Golombek, p. 145), and notes that Ali Nasafi tomb is a relevant example of this short-lived trend.

Ultimately, this suggests the occupant was a person of some stature if construction of the tomb was maintained over a period of 20 to 30 years. Alternatively, it remains possible that the original tomb of the 1360s was never completed (and its occupant interred elsewhere), and the two osted were retained in the 1380s to complete its decorative treatment for another occupant.

One significant unknown is the state of the outer dome in this chronology: as the dome collapsed long ago (fortunately, not damaging the inner dome with its splendid ceiling), it is impossible to say what sort of decoration was used and to what extent it had been completed when the two masters began their work.

40 steps to Shakhi Zinda

Mawlana Shaykh Mohammed Adil q in het Shah-i-Zinda Complex in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Legend about Uzbekistan

By the ancient legend, the Lord allotted lands of the created world to all nations. Being kind and friendly, Uzbek made the way for everyone in the crowd: “Please, pass. Markhamat.”

When, finally, it was his turn, the Lord said to him: “My son, you came too late. I have already finished the allotment of lands. Where were you before?” Uzbek bowed to the Heavenly Father and, laying his hand on his chest, said,” Oh, our Creator! You taught me to be always merciful and to love neighbors. And I, the servant of God, gave the way to everyone who wished to go forward and therefore I am the last who appeared before your eyes”.

Face of God brightened up and pure smile lit up his face. He said: “My son, Uzbek! You turned out a truly generous person with pure soul. And now I am going to give you land that I left for myself and which is like a paradise.”

So the Creator of Heaven and Earth gave Uzbek the land which was between two large rivers, flowing from the mountains. The name of this land is Uzbekistan.

Legend of Leopard: The Samarkand Symbol

“By a legend, when Samarkand was built, a palyang-leopard came down from the Zerafshan mountains. The leopard roamed about the streets, approved buildings and came back to the mountains. Since that time Samarkand residents were called leopards. And all Samarkand’s flags and arms had an image of the leopard.” This legend is told by Abu-Sand Abdu-Rakhman Ibn Muhammad Idris.

Indeed, in Samarkand there are a lot of monuments featuring images of leopard or lion as a symbol of the greatness and power of Samarkand people. The symbol of leopard can be found not only in the architecture, but also in the handicrafts and national currency.

The most famous images of leopards are made on the portal of the Sherdor Madrassah. “Sher” in Persian means “a lion”. They say that the symbol of the lion was brought by Iranians, but during the Arab and Turkic periods it was changed to the leopard. Since that time it represents the power and strength of Great Samarkand.

40 steps to Shakhi Zinda

When one passes under the entrance portal of Shakhi Zinda, he finds himself in the world of legends and mysteries. The complex of Shakhi Zinda starts with stairs consisting of 40 steps, which represent the path of repentance and prayer. These stairs are cloaked in many legends and myths, which are still alive in the hearts of people. Every visitor of Shakhi Zinda, whether believer or tourist, always starts counting stairs both on the way up and way down. The legend says when the number of stairs matches on the both ways, the person can be considered free from sin. Therefore today you can see here many visitors, diligently counting stairs. But not many people know that this spiritual tradition has deeper roots.

In the Middle Ages the Mashad of Kussama was a place of pilgrimage, a kind of Central-Asian Mecca. During this period, the stairs appeared in the mausoleum. It was a symbol of the great transformation of the human spirit. Pilgrims had to recite verses from the Koran and think about God at each step of the stairs. Someone made the same way in his heart, sitting under the roof of aivan at the foot of the stairs. And only on the 40th day, the believer climbed the stairs, leading to the top mosque and the main mausoleum of the complex.

All this happened at the daytime. At night, the pilgrims were replaced by Muslim mystics, the Sufis, who sang their songs concentrated on the mentioning of Allah. Depending on the theological school, which they followed, these rites were silent or loud.

There is a legend about the 40-day prayer service held by the spiritual leader of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order Bahauddin Naqshbandi. Every day, praying for God and rising up step by step, he soon reached the upper step. At the same moment he saw a rider on a white horse, rapidly approaching him. For a moment the Sufi thought that he would be trampled to death by the horse but the rider, peering at the face of the master, suddenly stopped his horse and asked the Great Sufi about something.

Amazed pilgrims, who watched the incident from downstairs, saw that after ending the conversation the unknown rider turned his horse around and disappeared as suddenly as appeared. According to the legend, the rider was Kussama Ibn Abbas himself, who decided to test the great master at the peak of his Travel.

After that, the mausoleum had attracted much more pilgrims who performed their prayers in the night from Thursday to Friday. They chanted prayers that echoed through the ancient domes and arches.

Maqam Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, Kussama ibn Abbas

Legends of Shahi-Zinda

History of Shakhi Zinda has always raised a lot of questions. This monument is cloaked in mysteries and legends, most of which belong to the name of the complex: “The Living King”. All this is related with the name of the Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, Kussama ibn Abbas. There are several legends about his death.

Maqam of Hadrat Qussam ibn Abbas

The most popular legend states that during the battle with the heathens Kussama Ibn Abbas was mortally wounded. Some legends say he was beheaded, others say it was a wound by an arrow. But they all agree on the fact that during the battle the spirit of the Saint Hazrat Hyzr came down to the mortally wounded Kussama ibn Abbas and helped him escape from the battlefield. Hazrat Hyzr placed Kussama ibn Abbas in the well of Shaaban, where he, having drunk the water of life, recovered and became immortal. Hence the name Shakhi Zinda: “The Living King”.

After seven centuries, Tamerlane decided to visit the holy places in Samarkand, returning from a trip. When he came to the well, in which Shakhi Zinda had disappeared, he was overcome by doubts. He turned to his suite and said: “I’ve read in history books, and all people know that Shahi-Zinda has hidden in the well, when he was pursued by insurgent Samarkand people, and that he is alive and resides in the well. I want to know whether it is true or Shakhi Zinda has already dead.”

And his suite told him:
-Sir, no one but God can know this secret. It is impossible to say whether Shakhi Zinda is alive or dead at the present time, not seeing him with your own eyes.

Then a nobleman said:
– Great sir, I’ve read in a book that Shakhi Zinda will be in prayer in this well until a new messiah comes back to the Earth. Then Shakhi Zinda would come out of the well and appear to the people. But Timur did not believe to his suite. He called volunteers and promised a reward to those who would go down into the well and check whether the Living King resided in the well. He promised vast wealth those who would go down into the well, but no one wanted to risk his life, as the legends talked about a fire-breathing dragon that guarded the entrance to the well. Only one person whose name was Hida offered to go down. Hida was a brave soldier and had a tremendous force. He was tempted by the great wealth and honors, appeared before the emperor and said that he would come down into the well.

Hida tied a rope around his waist and began to descend into the well. At first he saw nothing at the bottom, but Hida was a clever soldier and had seen a lot in his life. He sat down and closed his eyes and then suddenly opened them and saw the light in the well. In the depths of the well he saw the cave and without hesitation went in. He saw an extraordinary picture: a palace faced with precious stones. The palace had sufas on each four sides and its facade looked like it was plastered with molten gold. On each side of the palace there were thrones in each sufa, adorned with precious stones. Hida was fascinated with incomparable beauty of the palace.

He had gone all over many countries, had seen a lot of different rarities, had heard many wonders, but nothing like this palace he had not even dreamed of. However, much as he went around and looked everywhere, nobody came and there was no sign of a man. Hida entered the palace, but it was also empty. Hida went through the palace, and, finally, opening a door, entered into a huge beautiful garden. It was the Garden of Eden. Hida decided to try the fruit on the trees, but suddenly a terrible voice stopped him and Hida ran like a deer away. He found himself in the meadow and saw three old men. They were surrounded by a crowd of people in white and green robes. Hida asked a man, standing next to him: Taksyr (Mister), who is this great man, shedding the light around him and those two noble old men, who sit with him?

The man replied: You should know, the servant of God, that the man, sitting in the center is Shakhi Zinda Kussam ibn Abbas with the Prophet Hyzr on the right and the Prophet Ilias on the left. People, whom you see here, are the souls of future people and the souls of dead sinless people. The first people are in white clothes, others in green. All of them come here every day to worship and serve the Hazrat (holy) Shakhi Zinda, and then fly away on those horses that you see to the right and left, to the east and west, around the world.

At that moment Shakhi Zinda noticed Hida. Hida frightened and fell to the ground. Shakhi Zinda said with anger in his voice: “Servant of God, you made ​​a daring attempt of going down into the well and appearing before the souls of sinless people. Aren’t you afraid to anger me with your visit? Don’t you know that on my order they can make you a member of the permanent world, bring in a primitive, pre-Earth form? If I do this, I will get rid of other impudent people who may also wish to descend into the well and to visit the kingdom of pure souls to satisfy their curiosity.”

Hida began justifying himself in fear: “Oh Hazrat, do not punish me. I descended into the well not of my free will. A great ruler Amir Temur came to the world. He has already won half of the world and wants to take over all the Earth. He sent me here by force. How could I disobey him?”

But Shakhi Zinda replied that Timur did not force him to descend into the well and that Hida came here only because of his own greed. And he added that he would let Hida go, but he had to keep mum about what he had seen, otherwise he would become blind, and all his descendants would also be blind. Timur would also pay for his impudence. He would never conquer China.

When Hida came back to Timur, he asked Hida about Shakhi Zinda. Hida fell to his knees and asked him not to demand the answer, otherwise he and his descendants would go blind. Temur promised to reward Hida and his descendants any lands and vast riches for life. Then Hida said Temur about what he saw, following which two tears rolled out of his eyes and he became blind. And all his descendants were born blind. So the first part of the prophecy came true. About Timur: it is known from history that during the trip to China, the great commander died in Otrar, and did not win that state. The second part of the prophecy of Shakhi Zinda came true too…

  • Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Adil ق visiting the resting place of Shaykh Ubaydullah al-Ahrar

Nassiruddin Ubaidullah Ahrar (1404-1490 AD) (in Persian: ناصرالدین عبیدالله احرار) more popularly known as Khwaja Ahrar (in Persian: خواجه احرار) was a HanafiMaturidi[1] member of the Golden Chain of the Naqshbandi Sufi spiritual order of Central Asia. He was born in Samarkand, a Persian city in Central Asia,[2] to a religious and devout muslim family. He was born to Khwaja Mehmood Shashi bin Khwaja Shihabuddin. His forefathers had migrated from Baghdad and his lineage connected to Abu Bakr Siddique from his paternal side and Umar Farooq from the maternal side.[3][4] Khwaja Ahrar was deeply involved in the social, political and economics activities of Transaxonia. He was a born into a relatively poor yet highly spiritual family and at the age of maturity he was probably the richest person in the kingdom.[5] He was a close associate of all the leading dervishes of the time. Maulana Abdur Rahman Jami was a disciple of his.[6][7] He learned and practiced the secrets of spirituality under his father and later under Khwaja Yaqub Charkhi. Read more here

Khwaja Ahrar took his spiritual bayah (spiritual oath) from Yaqub al-Charkh. He had many disciple but the most famous was the famous sufi poet Mawlana Abdur Rahman Jami. Maulana Jami wrote a book dedicated to Ahrar which is called Tuhfa tul Ahrar and Khwaja Ahrar is also mention in Jami’s most famous work Yusuf and Zulekha.[23] Khwaja Ahrar is also known to have negotiated peace many times.[24] His spiritual disciples are recorded to have shown extremely high etiquettes and morals in his presence.[25]

Famous quotes

“Everyone enters through a different door; I entered this Spiritual Order through the door of service.”[26]

“Love and follow Lovers. Then you will be like them and their love will reflect on you.”[27]

“Sufism requires you to carry everyone’s burdens and not to put yours on anyone.”[28]

Khawaja Ubaydullah Ahrar (Q.S)

Dastoor, yaa RijaalAllah! Don’t do anything without dastoor, permission. Ask for dastoor. Dastoor is the grant of those who possess spiritual power, it is Allah Almighty’s grant to them through our Prophet ﷺ. When we say “dastoor,” there is noor that we will receive from him.

Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim al Haqqani (Q.S)

Mawlana Shaykh Mohammed Adil – Khawajagan Ziyarah Tour 15-24/9-2021

Pilgrimage is a way to pray to Great Allah through past saints, to calm the mind and spirit, to understand the truth of holiness, to walk the path of solitude and purification. In Central Asia, this is called Pilgrimage, which means visiting sacred sites. At a new stage of development of our country, large-scale creative work is being carried out to restore and develop our national traditions and values, honor the memory of our ancestors, beautify sacred shrines and ziyarah places, increase their prestige in the Muslim world. Purpose of continuing this work, the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated February 15, 2018 number – 120 “On the effective organization of work on the beautification of sacred sites, shrines, mosques and cemeteries.

Khwājagān

Khwājagān (shortened/singular forms: Khwaja, Khaja(h), Khawaja or khuwaja) is a Persian title for “the Masters”. Khwajagan, as the plural for “Khwāja”, is often used to refer to a network of Sufis in Central Asia from the 10th to the 16th century who are often incorporated into later Naqshbandi hierarchies, as well as other Sufi groups, such as the Yasaviyya. In Firdowsi’s Shahnama the word is used many times for some rulers and heroes of ancient Iran as well. The special zikr of the Khwajagan is called ‘Khatm Khajagan’.

Some prominent Khwajagan

Prominent Central Asian Khwajagan included:

See also THE MASTERS OF WISDOM OF CENTRAL ASIA:

Online Copy of a short version of Shushud’s Masters of Wisdom, translated by J. G. Bennett and published in Systematics

The sacred places of the XIV-XVI centuries in Bukhara, Samarkand and Kashkadarya regions play a special role in the development of tourism in Uzbekistan. Many of the shrines in these areas belong to Great Sheikhs listed in “Golden Chain”.

Maqam van Shaykh Ahmad Yasavi  15-09-21

Ahmad Yasawī; 1093–1166) was a Turkic[1] poet and Sufi, an early mystic who exerted a powerful influence on the development of Sufi orders throughout the Turkic-speaking world

Yasawi became the head murshid of the Naqshbandi order when Hassan-i Andākī died in 1160. He then turned this position to Abdul Khaliq Ghajadwani under Hamadani’s advice and moved to Turkistan City in order to spread Islam in Turkestan

Influence

Ahmad Yasawi made considerable efforts to spread Islam throughout Central Asia and had numerous students in the region. Yasawi’s poems created a new genre of religious folk poetry in Central Asian Turkic literature and influenced many religious poets in the following countries.[9] Yasawi turned the city of Iasy into the major centre of learning for the Kazakh Steppe, then retired to a life of contemplation at the age of 63. He dug himself an underground cell where he spent the rest of his life.

Turkish scholar Hasan Basri Çantay noted: “It was a Seljuk king who brought Rumi, the great Sufi poet, to Konya; and it was in Seljuq times that Ahmed Yasawi, another great Sufi, lived and taught. The influence of those two remarkable teachers has continued to the present.”[10] Yasawi is also mentioned by Edward Campbell (writing as Ernest Scott)[11] as a member of the Khwajagan. Yasawi also influenced Turkish poet Yahya Kemal Beyatlı, he said: “Who is this Ahmad Yasawi? If you study him, you will find our nationality in Him.”[12]

Legacy

  • The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi[13] was later built on the site of his grave by Timur in Turkistan City. The Yesevi order he founded continued to be influential for several centuries afterwards, with the Yesevi Sayyid Ata Sheikhs holding a prominent position at the court of Bukhara into the 19th century.[14] There is the greatest influence of shamanistic elements in the Yasawiyya compared to other Sufi orders.[15]
  • Yesevi authored the Book of Wisdom (Turkic: ديوان حكمت‎, Dīvān-i Ḥikmet), a collection of poems, in Turkic.[3] The book was published in 1905 and 1895 in Kazan.[4]
  • The Naqshbandi Idries Shah mentions Yasawi’s lineage in The Book of the Book.[16]
  • The first Kazakh-Turkish university, Ahmet Yesevi University,[17] was named in his honor.

Legends about Ahmed Yasawi

Date palm

Legend has it that a religious mystic, Arystan-Bab, was the teacher and spiritual mentor of Khoja Ahmad Yasawi. It was Arystan-Bab who transmitted the amanat, which was contained in a pip of date palm. According to a legend, Arystan-Bab was an associate of the Prophet Muhammad. One day, Prophet Muhammad and his companions sat and ate dates. One of the fruits fell out of the dish, and the Prophet heard the revelation: “This date is for the Muslim Ahmad, who will be born 400 years later than You.” The Prophet asked his companions who would pass this persimmon to its future owner. No one volunteered. The Prophet repeated his question, and then Arystan-Bab answered: “If you beg Allah to give me 400 years of life, then I will give the date.”[18]

Timur’s dream

It is believed that one night Timur saw Ahmad Yasawi in his dream, where Yasawi predicted glad tidings of the forthcoming conquest of Bukhara. Taking this as a sign, Timur went on a campaign that would indeed be successful. After his victory, he decided to visit the grave of Yasawi and ordered to build there a majestic mausoleum.[19]

Maqam van Shaykh Ahmad Yasavi  15-09-21

Ahmad Yasawī; 1093–1166) was a Turkic[1] poet and Sufi, an early mystic who exerted a powerful influence on the development of Sufi orders throughout the Turkic-speaking world

Yasawi became the head murshid of the Naqshbandi order when Hassan-i Andākī died in 1160. He then turned this position to Abdul Khaliq Ghajadwani under Hamadani’s advice and moved to Turkistan City in order to spread Islam in Turkestan

Influence

Ahmad Yasawi made considerable efforts to spread Islam throughout Central Asia and had numerous students in the region. Yasawi’s poems created a new genre of religious folk poetry in Central Asian Turkic literature and influenced many religious poets in the following countries.[9] Yasawi turned the city of Iasy into the major centre of learning for the Kazakh Steppe, then retired to a life of contemplation at the age of 63. He dug himself an underground cell where he spent the rest of his life.

Turkish scholar Hasan Basri Çantay noted: “It was a Seljuk king who brought Rumi, the great Sufi poet, to Konya; and it was in Seljuq times that Ahmed Yasawi, another great Sufi, lived and taught. The influence of those two remarkable teachers has continued to the present.”[10] Yasawi is also mentioned by Edward Campbell (writing as Ernest Scott)[11] as a member of the Khwajagan. Yasawi also influenced Turkish poet Yahya Kemal Beyatlı, he said: “Who is this Ahmad Yasawi? If you study him, you will find our nationality in Him.”[12]

Legacy

  • The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi[13] was later built on the site of his grave by Timur in Turkistan City. The Yesevi order he founded continued to be influential for several centuries afterwards, with the Yesevi Sayyid Ata Sheikhs holding a prominent position at the court of Bukhara into the 19th century.[14] There is the greatest influence of shamanistic elements in the Yasawiyya compared to other Sufi orders.[15]
  • Yesevi authored the Book of Wisdom (Turkic: ديوان حكمت‎, Dīvān-i Ḥikmet), a collection of poems, in Turkic.[3] The book was published in 1905 and 1895 in Kazan.[4]
  • The Naqshbandi Idries Shah mentions Yasawi’s lineage in The Book of the Book.[16]
  • The first Kazakh-Turkish university, Ahmet Yesevi University,[17] was named in his honor.

Legends about Ahmed Yasawi

Date palm

Legend has it that a religious mystic, Arystan-Bab, was the teacher and spiritual mentor of Khoja Ahmad Yasawi. It was Arystan-Bab who transmitted the amanat, which was contained in a pip of date palm. According to a legend, Arystan-Bab was an associate of the Prophet Muhammad. One day, Prophet Muhammad and his companions sat and ate dates. One of the fruits fell out of the dish, and the Prophet heard the revelation: “This date is for the Muslim Ahmad, who will be born 400 years later than You.” The Prophet asked his companions who would pass this persimmon to its future owner. No one volunteered. The Prophet repeated his question, and then Arystan-Bab answered: “If you beg Allah to give me 400 years of life, then I will give the date.”[18]

Timur’s dream

It is believed that one night Timur saw Ahmad Yasawi in his dream, where Yasawi predicted glad tidings of the forthcoming conquest of Bukhara. Taking this as a sign, Timur went on a campaign that would indeed be successful. After his victory, he decided to visit the grave of Yasawi and ordered to build there a majestic mausoleum.[19]

SONY DSC

Juma met Mawlana Shaykh Mohammed Adil q in Tashkent, Oezbekistan voor de Centraal-Azië Tour.

Legend about Uzbekistan

By the ancient legend, the Lord allotted lands of the created world to all nations. Being kind and friendly, Uzbek made the way for everyone in the crowd: “Please, pass. Markhamat.”

When, finally, it was his turn, the Lord said to him: “My son, you came too late. I have already finished the allotment of lands. Where were you before?” Uzbek bowed to the Heavenly Father and, laying his hand on his chest, said,” Oh, our Creator! You taught me to be always merciful and to love neighbors. And I, the servant of God, gave the way to everyone who wished to go forward and therefore I am the last who appeared before your eyes”.

Face of God brightened up and pure smile lit up his face. He said: “My son, Uzbek! You turned out a truly generous person with pure soul. And now I am going to give you land that I left for myself and which is like a paradise.”

So the Creator of Heaven and Earth gave Uzbek the land which was between two large rivers, flowing from the mountains. The name of this land is Uzbekistan.

Mawlana Shaykh Mohammed Adil – Khawajagan Ziyarah TourSeptember -2021

40 steps to Shakhi Zinda

Sept 18 2021 – Shah-i-Zinda Complex

Sept 19- 2021 Samarkand – Kitab – Samarkand

Hazrat Daud Cave near Samarkand

Sept 20 -Samarkand – Bukhara

Sep 21 – 2021 Bukhara – Gishduwan – Bukhara

Announcement About Khatm Al Khwajagan (21.09.2021) From Maqam of Sayyidina Abdul Khaliq Al Ghujduwani, Uzbekistan

Sept 22 2021 – Bukhara

Sept 23 2021 Bukhara