BĀQĪBELLĀH NAQŠBANDĪ, ḴᵛĀJA ABU’L-MOʾAYYAD RAŻĪ-AL-DĪN OWAYSĪ, born in Kabul in 971/1563-64 or 972/1564-65 as a son of the qāżī of that city, ʿAbd-al-Salām; studied the traditional theological sciences under Ṣādeq Ḥalwāʾī whom he followed to Transoxiana. Already at an early age he seems to have mastered very thoroughly these sciences, but at the same time he felt attracted toward the mystical life. His passionate search for a suitable pīr (elder) brought him to many ḵānagqāhs in Transoxiana where he received a first introduction to the Naqšbandī order, but unable to find a satisfying fulfillment of his spiritual need he turned to India (Lahore) and afterward to Kashmir, where he stayed with Shaikh Bābā Wālī. After Bābā Wālī’s death in 1000/1591-92 he returned to Transoxiana, where he was formally initiated into the Naqšbandī order by Mawlānā Ḵᵛājagī Moḥammad Amkanagī (son and disciple of Mawlānā Darvīš, who was a ḵalīfa of Mawlānā Moḥammad Zāhed Vaḵšī, one of the principal ḵalīfas [successors] of Ḵᵛāja ʿObayd-Allāh Aḥrār). Besides Bāqībellāh claims to have received a spiritual initiation from Ḵᵛāja Bahāʾ-al-Dīn Naqšband. Sent as a ḵalīfa to India in order to propagate the Naqšbandī order there he first stayed for a year in Lahore and in 1007/1598-99 settled down permanently in Delhi’s Fīrūzābād, where he died 25 Jomādā II 1012/30 November 1603. He had two sons, Ḵᵛāja ʿObayd-Allāh (Ḵᵛāja-ye Kalān) and Ḵᵛāja Moḥammad ʿAbd-Allāh (Ḵᵛāja-ye Ḵᵛord), both born (of different mothers) in 1010/1601-02.
He wrote several short treatises (rasāʾel) on the exegesis of certain chapters of verses of the Koran, on certain traditions, and on mystical subjects (e.g., Nūr-e waḥdat, on monism); they are cited rather extensively in the Zobdat al-maqāmāt and have been published in the Ḥayāt-e bāqīa. His poetical writings (maṯnawīs, chronograms, a sāqī-nāma, quatrains, and separate verses) have been published in the ʿErfānīyat-e bāqī, and, together with his letters to devotees and disciples, in his Kollīyāt. He is perhaps best known for his Selselat al-aḥrār, which contains quatrains accompanied by his own commentary; this work, in which he upholds the doctrine of the waḥdat-e wojūd, was later commented upon by his disciple Aḥmad Serhendī in the latter’s Šarḥ-e robāʿīyāt, upon which a supercommentary was written by Shah Walī-Allāh Dehlavī. One of his disciples, Mīr Moḥammad Jān, wrote down Bāqībellāh’s sayings (malfūẓāt) uttered during sessions (majāles) held in Delhi. They have been published in the Ḥayāt-e bāqīā. Finally A. A. Rizvi mentions a Kalemāt-e ṭayyebāt, discourses of Bāqībellāh.
As a Naqšbandī, Bāqībellāh represents the sober type of Sufi, meticulously adhering to the Islamic law (šarīʿa) and averse to ecstatic mystical experiences, but on the other hand his sympathetic attitude toward Ebn al-ʿArabī shows that he was not rigid and dogmatic in his ideas. This, together with his warm personality, accounts for his high reputation in Delhi, with the common man and the noble alike. Despite his bad health and early death he contributed much to the propagation of the Naqšbandī order in India. His type of mysticism, which seems to have found its purest continuation in his two sons, breathes a spirit different from that of his well-known disciple Aḥmad Serhendī, whose Naqšbandī-Mojaddedī line, however, came more to the fore in India.
Moḥammad ʿAbd-al-Ḡaffār, ed., Ḥayāt-e bāqīa, Delhi, 1323/1905-06.
Rašīd Aḥmad Aršad, Ḥayāt-e Bāqī, Karachi, 1969.
A. S. Bazmee Ansari, “Bāḳī biʾllāh,” in EI2 I, p. 957 (with further bibliography).
Abu’l-Ḥasan Zayd Fārūqī and Borhān Aḥmad Fārūqī, eds., Kollīyāt-e Bāqībellāh, Lahore, n.d.
Neẓām-al-Dīn Aḥmad Kāẓemī, ed., ʿErfānīyāt-e Bāqī, Delhi, 1970.
Moḥammad-Hāšem Kešmī, Zobdat al-maqāmāt, Delhi, 1307/1889-90.
A. A. Rizvi, Muslim Revivalist Movements in Northern India in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Agra, 1965, pp. 185-93.
Idem, A History of Sufism in India, pt. 2, Delhi, 1983, pp. 185-86.
Badr-al-Dīn Serhendī, Ḥażarāt al-qods, pt. 1 (Urdu tr.), Lahore, 1923.
Storey, 1/2, p. 989.
(J. G. J. Ter Haar)
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: December 15, 1988
This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 7, pp. 728-729
J. G. J. Ter Haar, “BĀQĪBELLĀH NAQŠBANDĪ,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, III/7, pp. 728-729, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/baqibellah-naqsbandi (accessed on 30 December 2012).