The spirit of the Prophet


Text by Fred Daudon. Except for Qusam Ota, all these shrines are located around Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

Pir Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani

A woman praying in front of the tomb of Pir Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani. He is the 11th in the silsila of Naqshbandiyyah sufi tariqat.

His father Abdul Jamil was living in Malatya, Turkey. He was a scientist and was already 103 years-old. He had only daughters. One day he was praying and heard a voice. « You will have a son but elsewhere. » Surprised, he said « I wish and I pray Allah for that but now I am too old. » « No, the voice answered, you will have a son from a virgin princess. » He was sure that he recognized the voice of the man known as Jibra’il (the muslim name of the archangel Gabriel). At that time in Malatya, a previous king was unthroned by a non-legitimate ruler. He was asked by Jibra’il to go to the rejected king and ask an audience. He told the king that he will help him to go back on the throne but at one condition: to marry his young daughter. It eventually happened. After marrying the daughter, he received once again the visit of Jibra’il who asked him to move to Bukkhara to get a son. He started living in Guishdovan and few months after, he had a son named Abdul Khaliq.

Silsila means connection, link, chain in arabic. It is a « spiritual lineage » which links one Sufi sheikh (master) to its descendant and traces back to the Prophet Muhammed himself.Each tariqat has its own silsila.

Pir Muhammad Arif ar-Riwakri

Pir Muhammad Arif ar-Riwakri is the 12th sheikh of the Naqshbandiyya tariqat.

Everytime Jibra’il was visiting Abdul Khaliq, all his students were sleeping. Except one, Arif ar-Riwakri, who was putting salt in his eyes to avoid sleeping because of his pain.

He was listening to their discussion. One day Abdul Khaliq knew Arif ar-Riwakri was not sleeping. He said you will be my successor as sheikh.

It is said that Arif ar-Riwakri did some miracles (karamat). His grave was smelling musc during 40 days after his death and could be at different places at the same time.

Arif ar-Riwakri was the master (murshid) of Khodja Mahmud al-Anjir al-Faghnawi.


In Uzbekistan, there is always a narrator seating next to the holy places and shrines. As many Uzbek people do not know the stories nor the Q’ran, they help them praying and receive some money for their help.

Khodja Mahmud al-Anjir al-Faghnawi

Khodja Mahmud al-Anjir al-Faghnawi is the 13th sheikh in the Naqshbandiyya silsila.

His grave is located in the village called »fig trees. »

Anjir means fig. Faghnawi means « the man who produce fruits in any season ».

He was a farmer and master of the 14th sheikh in the silsila.

He once said: « Your soul is just a bird in a cage ».

He accomplished many miracles and could transform into a white bird with highly-developed extra-sensorial feelings.


One day, a delegation came from Yemen to visit Mahmud’s master, Arif ar-Riwakri. It was winter and they came to his house and there were no food. Khodja Mahmud al-Anjir al-Faghnawi was often distributing all his food to poor people. Arif sent his students to Mahmud’s house, telling them to ask him for food. They followed his instructions. They arrived to his house. Mahmud answered them that it was winter and he had no food to share as well. It took the basket brought by the students, take a hand of soil and poured it into the basket. He then covered the soil with fig tree branches. He recovered the basket with a veil and told the students to get back to his master without opening the basket. They went back. Once arrived at their Master’s place, Arif opened the basket and it was full of fresh figs. Arif recognized that it was a karamat.

During winter, the building managers dig and bury the fig tree to protect them.

Pir Ali ar-Khomeitani

Pir Ali ar-Khomeitani was the student (murid) of Khodja Mahmud al-Anjir al-Faghnawi. He is the 14th sheikh in the silsila.

Next to his grave, are buried his two sons: Khodja Ibrahim and Khodja Muhammed

He did also some miracles.

Once, a man came to him and implored him to retrieve his son who disappeared for many years. The Sheikh said « We should not eat until his son comes back. » They were seating around the table with the meal ready, they prayed and after few hours, someone knocked at the door. It was the son.

Pir Ali ar-Khomeitani told to his student a story. The story of a bread. One day a bread speaks: « I was a seed. The soil was frozen, I was really cold, then it rained, it was sunny and then I grew up. Then it became windy, we multiplied, then we have picked up and crushed into a powder, then we add water, until becoming a dough. Then I have been cooked in the oven by very high temperature to become a bread. » Becoming sufi is like becoming a bread, there are many stages.

One of his son emigrated to Konya-Urgench in Turkmenistan where he is buried. He was making carpets and he is recognized for his skills. That is why all the carpet designers are bringing their first creation to his grave. For them it is an honor and it brings them with success.

Pir Muhammad Baba as-Samasi

Pir Muhammad Baba as-Samasi is the 15th sheikh in the silsila. He was the master of both Amir Kulal (the 16th sheikh) and Naqshband (the 17th sheikh who gave his name to the tariqat)

Pir Muhammad Baba as-Samasi did some miracles as well such as replacing a lost tooth in someone’s mouth after a fight between two clans.

The tugh (the wooden post) was first a military symbol for Turkish and Mongols nomad tribes before turned into a sacred religious icon in Iran during the Safavid period.

The pomegranate attached to the tugh is the symbol of 4 steps of Sufism.

As-Sayyid Amir Kulal

As-Sayyid Amir Kulal is the 16th sheikh in the silsila.

Kulal means the man who makes the pottery.

Once both Pir Muhammad Baba as-Samasi and Kulal dreamed that they were in a muddy place. Stuck in the mud, surrounded by garbage. Sayyid Amir Kulal extracted himself from the mud before giving to his murshid a hand.

Naqshband SHRINE

According to local people, the snow is a very good sign when you visit the shrine of a holy person.

Muhammad Baha’uddin Shah Naqshband

Muhammad Baha’uddin Shah Naqshband is the 17th sheikh in the silsila and gave his name to the sufi tariqat which is still one of the largest nowadays.

He was used to teach lessons to his students.


One day, a man was playing cards with his friends, betting money. He lost all his money. He then gambled his wife, his house, his children, animals, everything around him. Finally he gambled his soul.


One day, a hobo arrives to his school. Students are asking him: where do you come from? he answered ‘from nowhere’. Where are you going? ‘it is not your business’; then the derviche starts to eat their food and ask for a roof for the night without trying to help them preparing food or whatsoever.

Because of his behavior, the students started to ask him to go away. The derviche says ok and leaves. Once he left, Naqshband asked his students whether this man was really a sufi. The students said « of course he is not, he is selfish and full of ego. » Naqshband answered « he was just playing a game; showing you your own appearance, talking badly of him, to other people, selfish with your food and your home… He is sufi, you are not!« 


This tree was lying on the grave of Naqshband for centuries until he died. It is now a symbol and people place ex-voto inside its trunk.


This black stone painted in grey is supposed to come from Mecca.


Qusam Ota is located in a village near Karshi in the south of Uzbekistan.

Naqshband supposedly visited this place and planted these plane trees.

The holy shrines of the local sheikhs around belongs to the Naqshbandiyya tariqat. It is still a pilgrimage site.


The local managers

Local sheikh shrine


Local people thinks that water becomes holy by touching this tomb stone. Thus every week they are pouring some fresh water. A spoon of this water would heal any disease it is said.