Abu Ali al-Farmadi ق

8. Abu Ali al-Farmadi ق

Abu Ali al-Farmadi is called “the Knower,” “the Merciful,” and “the Custodian of Divine Love.” He said, “For the (Knower) a time will come wherein the light of knowledge will reach him and his eyes will see the incredible unseen.”

“O child!” said Luqman the Wise,
“Do not let the rooster be more watchful than you,
calling God at dawn while you are sleeping.”
He is right, he who said:
“The turtledove wept on her branch in the night
And I slept on—what lying, false love is mine?
If I were a true lover, never would turtledoves overtake me.
I am the dry-eyed lover of his Lord,
While animals weep!”
—Ghazali, Ayyuhal-walad

Of Shaykh Abu Ali al-Farmadi, it is known that sparks of the light of self-struggle were opened to his heart. He was known everywhere in his time, becoming a very famous shaykh in the Divine Law and theology. He was a scholar of the Shafii school of jurisprudence and a unique Gnostic, endowed with spiritual knowledge. He was deeply learned in the ways of both the scholars of the first and second Hijri centuries and that of the later scholars, but he made his mark in the science of Sufism. From it he extracted some of the heavenly knowledge that is mentioned in Quran in reference to al-Khidr :
And We have taught him from Our heavenly knowledge. (18:65)

The most famous shaykh of his time, as-Simnani, said about him:
He was the tongue of Khurasan, its shaykh, and the master in lifting up and raising the station of his followers. His groups were like gardens full of flowers in which knowledge flowed from his heart and took the hearts of his listeners into a state of joy and happiness.
Among his teachers was al-Qushayri, the celebrated Sufi master, and al-Ghazali al-Kabir, who said about him:
He was the shaykh of his time and he had a unique way of reminding people. No one surpassed him in his eloquence, delicacy, ethics, good manners, morality, nor his ways of approaching people.

The son of the latter, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Hujjat al-Islam (the Proof of Islam), took much from Farmadi in his renowned work Ihya Ulum ad-Din. Once he said:
I entered behind my teacher, al-Qushayri, to the public bath. I took for him a bucket of water from the well that I had filled myself. When my teacher came he said, “Who brought the water in the bucket?” I kept quiet, as I felt I had committed some disrespect. He asked a second time, “Who brought the water?” I continued to keep quiet. He asked a third time, “Who filled that bucket with water?” I finally said, “I did, my teacher.” He said, “O My son, what I received in seventy years, I passed to you with one bucket of water.” That meant that the heavenly and Divine Knowledge which he had struggled for seventy years to acquire, he passed to my heart through one glance.

On behavior towards one’s master, he said:
If you are true in your love of your shaykh, you have to be respectful towards him.

On spiritual vision, he said:
For the Gnostic (Knower), a time will come wherein the light of knowledge will reach him and his eyes will see the incredible unseen.
Whoever pretends he can hear, yet cannot hear the glorification of birds, trees, and the wind, is a liar.

The hearts of the people of Truth are open, and their hearing is open.
God gives happiness to His servants when they see His saints. This is because the Prophet said, “Whoever sees the face of a knower of God, sees me.” And also, “Whoever sees me, has seen Reality.”

Sufi Masters have thus employed the practice of concentrating on the face of the shaykh, for the purpose of attaining a vision of Reality.

Shaykh al-Farmadi also said:
Whoever looks after the actions of people will lose his way.
Who prefers the company of the rich over the company of the poor, God will send to him death of the heart.
Imam Ghazali reports:
I heard that Abul Hasan al-Farmadi said, ”The ninety-nine Attributes of God will become attributes and descriptions of the seeker in the way of God.”

Mawlana Abul Hasan al-Farmadi died in 447 AH/1084 CE. He was buried in the village Farmad, a suburb of the city of Tus. He passed on the secrets of the Golden Chain to Grandshaykh Abu Yaqub Yusuf ibn Ayyub ibn Yusuf ibn al-Husayn al-Hamadani. Q