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. 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.
In many courtyards above burial places, marble gravestones with epigraphic inscriptions, and vegetative and geometrical ornaments, are installed.
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.
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.
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.
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 to accompany you from the Mosque of the Dome to the Sidratul Muntaha, the same place to which the Prophet 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 . And we were perceiving that there is nothing beyond that except Allah Almighty and Exalted.
Then I heard the Prophet’s 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 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).