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Sofia Imamia Noorbakshia (Arabic: صوفیہ امامیہ نوربخشیہ )is one of Islamic sect and the Sufi order and way that claims to trace its direct spiritual lineage and chain (silsilah) to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, through Ali, Muhammad's cousin, son-in-law and the First Imam, via Imam Ali Al-Ridha. In contrast, most other Sufi paths trace their lineage through Ali.This order became famous as Nurbakshi after Shah Syed Muhammad Nurbakhsh Qahistani who was attached with Kubrawiya order Sufi order ("tariqa") .
Although the sufi scholars of Noorbakhshi Muslims emphasized on Muslim unity. Al Fiqqat-ul-Ahwat is best example in which Shah Syed Muhammad Noorbakhsh clearly says" I am writing the original Shariah of Muhammad PBUH" that was practiced during Prophet's times. Shah Syed Muhammad Noorbakhsh never used any sect name neither he claimed that he is founding a new sect. He just want to guide Muslims to righ path. But other muslims and non muslims used different names for noorbakhshis sufi order.
Two origins of the word Sufi have been suggested. Commonly, the lexical root of the word is traced to ṣafā (صَفا), which in Arabic means "purity". Another origin is ṣūf (صُوف), "wool", referring to the simple cloaks the early Muslim ascetics wore.
The Nurbakshi order is one of the Sufi order and way that claims to trace its direct spiritual lineage and chain (silsilah) to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, through Ali, Muhammad's cousin, son-in-law and the First Imam, via Imam Ali Al-Ridha.
Imamia means the followers of Imams. As the Prominent feature of the Nurbakshi order is that all its spiritual masters were believed to followers of The Twelve Imams. For instance of the work of saad din humya(who was the early sufi of kubrawi order) make reference to the connection between divine guardianship (wilayat) and prophethood (Nubuwat ) while his disciple, Nasafi too has quoted as sad al din hammuya as proclaiming that the station of divine guardianship (wilya) and prophet-hood exclusively belong to The Twelve Imams
Furthermore Aladawla simnani (well known saint of Nurbakshi order, He was the master of Shaikh Mehmood muzdaqani) has also enumerated and eulogized the virtuous qualities of Ahl al-Bayt]] and has included the discussion on the description of the Ghadir khumn event affirming the sucessorship of Ali (a.s). He has also presented the description of a true shi and the difference between a nominal shi while regarding he sufis to be the true followers of Ali (a.s) in his book.
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Sufism and Tariqat
This sect became famous as Noorbakshia after Shah Syed Muhammad Nurbakhsh Qahistani who wrote two Important books Al-Fiqh al-Ahwat(Fiqh) and Kitab al-Aitiqadia (Faith) dawat sufia (prayers) which made this sect distinguish from other Islamic sects.
The most important sources of Noorbakhshi doctrines are three books: the "al-Fiqh al-Ahwat", meaning "Superlatively Precautionary Jurisprudence", the "Kitab al-Aitiqadia," meaning book of Faith or doctrines these books are written by Shah Syed Muhammad Nurbakhsh Qahistani and "Dawat-e-Sofia" written by Ameer Kabir syed ali Hamdani, sufi preacher of Islam.
It was in the valley of Kashmir and in Baltistan where the Nurbakhshiya gained their greatest prominence in the early 16th century. This was due to the missionary efforts of Mir Sham ud-Din Iraqi, himself a disciple of Sayyid Muhammad Nurbkhsh's son and spiritual heir, Shah Qasim Faizbakhsh.
In its country of origin, Iran, the order became outright Shi'a some decades after the Safavid dynasty made twelver Shi'ism the religion of the state in 1501, and the same happened in Kashmir, either during the lifetime of Shams ud-Din Iraqi, who died in 1527, or in the following decades during the brief interlude of the Chak dynasty's reign. But in Baltistan the Nurbakhshiya has survived until this day as a sect with doctrines of its own, combining elements of both Shi'ism and Sunni Islam. Ghousulal-Mutakharin Sayyid al Arifin Mir Sayyid Muhammad Nurbakhsh was the 9th century missionary Sufi master on whom the researchers have paid less attention. That is why we could not trace a detailed biography on his life. Although Nurbakhsh had many scholar-disciples including Assiri lahiji, but none of his disciples made any serious effort to write Nurbakhsh's biography and to preserve his teachings. However it is a wonderful miracle that hundreds of thousand of his followers are still present in a very far-flung and the most backward areas of Islamic Republic of Pakistan who are practising his teachings in its entirety and who are the custodians of his works and teachings even these days when five centuries have been passed after Nurbakhsh.
Nurbakhshis believe that the practices are not an assemblage of his personal view but the practices were originally conceived to him from Islamic Prophet Muhammad through the masters of the spiritual chain. They state that if anyone feels doubt in this connection, they would invite them to travel on the long road through the history of mysticism and to compare it with that of Nurbakhsh’s teachings.
The Noorbakhshiya has emerged in the 15th century in Iran as a branch of the Kubrawiya Sufi order A similar controversy has later developed about the religious affiliation of Sayyid Muhammad Noorbakhsh who had been a disciple of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani’, principal successor Khwaja Ishaq Khuttalani, and who became the founder and eponymous of a new branch of the Kubrawiya. Noorbakhshis doctrines were preached in Kashmir and Baltistan in the early 16th century by Mir Sham ud-Din Iraqi himself a disciple of Sayyid Muhammad Noorbakhshis's son and spiritual heir, Shah Qasim Faidbakhsh.
Massacre of Nurbakshi in Kashmir
The dominance of Sunni Islam in Kashmir after the period of Nurbakshi influence there was restored by Mirza Haider Doghlat when he conqeuered Kashmir. Doghlat sent Fiqh al-ahwat to the Sunni 'ulema for their analysis which resulted a condemnatory fatwa by the 'ulema in order to end the Nurbakshi order, and convert them to Sunni Islam. Mir Danial Shaheed and other personalities were killed during the clashes. The onslaught against the Nurbakshia led to bloodshed and end of the once popular Sufi order.
The Nurbakshi people survived much longer in Baltistan which was after all an extremely remote region. There is little doubt that the Nurbakhshia order spread in Baltistan. After Twelver Shi’ism but following the pattern of Iran and Kashmir, the latter has gradually absorbed the former a puzzling question remains how and at what time the transformation from Noorbakhshis to Shi’ism took place in the valley of Skardu, the political center of Baltistan. While the 16th century Shardu rulers Ghazi Mir and Ali Sher Khan Anchan are generally being portrayed as Shi’a, in history books Noorbakhshis point at the construction of a large Khanah in Gamba near Skardu as late as 1717 to prove their strong presence in the Skardu valley at that time.
Today 95 % of Ghanche District, 90% of Khaplu Town, 20% of Shigar and 15% of Skardu City are belongs to Noorbakshi sect while a notable size of Nurbakshi Muslims are settled in different cities of Pakistan like Karachi, Islamabad, lahore, Peshawar and Quetta etc. where they have their own mosque and Marissa.
Nurbakhshis are known as peaceful, tolerable and moderates, who not only equally respect other Muslim school of thoughts but also stress upon to behave human beings lovely. Syed_Muhammad_Shah_Noorani is current spiritual leader of Noorbakhshi Muslims.
Basic concepts and Pillars of Islam
According to Nurbakshi Muslims this faith is related to Qur'an surah al baqarah. Contrary to Ithna-Asheri Shia Islam, Nurbakshi Islam has Five articles of faith which are identical to Sunni Muslims but known as the Five pillars of iman that all Nurbakshi Muslims are united upon in belief, along with the many key points of creed mentioned in Usool-e-Ataqadiah. Also, Nurbaksi Muslims do not believe in taqiyah nor do they accept the practice of mut'ah.
Basic concepts (Usool-e-Deen)
- Monotheism of one God
- Existence of angels of God
- Authority of the books of God
- Following the prophets of God
- Preparation for and belief in the Day of Judgment
Pillars of Islam (Farooh-e-Deen)
- Declaration of Faith(Kalemah)
- Prayer (Salat)
- Charity (zakat)
- Fasting (Swaum)
- Pilgrimage (Hajj)
- Beyond Lines of Control: Performance and Politics on the Disputed.
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- Encyclopaedia Of Untouchables : Ancient Medieval And Modern. - 2008. p. Page 345.
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- Sufism: An Entry from Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam. Published by MIU Press.
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- Manazir a -Mahadir lil manazir al-hadir
- Bashir, S: "Messianic Hope and Mystical Vision: The Nurbakhshiya Between Medieval and Modern Islam (Studies in Comparative Religion), "University of South Carolina Press", October 2003
- Reick Andreas: "The Nurbakhshis of Baltistan- Revival of the Oldest Muslim Community in the Northern Areas of Pakistan", Paper read at the International Conference "Karakurum-Himalaya-Hindukush-Dynamics of Change", Islamabad, national Library, 29.9-2.10.1995 and published in The Monthly Nawa-i-sufia Islamabad, Issue No. 28, March 1997.
- Dr. Naeem, G: "Mir Sayyid Muhammad Nurbakhsh and Nurbakhshiya Sect", "Shah-e-Hamadan Publications, Islamabad, Pakistan, 2000"
- Balghari S.H."Shah Syed Muhammad Nurbakhsh Qahistani","Monthly Nawa-i-Sufia Islamabad",Issue No.28., 1996
- Hanif, N. (2002-01-01). Biographical Encyclopaedia of Sufis: Central Asia and Middle East. ISBN 9788176252669.
- Usool-e-Ataqadiah,Shah Syed muHammad Nurbakshia
- Usool-e-Ataqadiah, Shah Syed Muhammad Nurbakshia.