Friday, December 23, 2011

Mulla Abdullah Afghani

Mullā ᶜAbdullāh Afghānī [pseudonym] (عبدالله افغانی; d. December 21, 2010) was a Naqshbandi Sufi master. He was born in Afghanistan in the first decades of the twentieth century. He did his religious education in Afghanistan and became a Hanafite clergyman (Mullā.) During his stay in Afghanistan, he used to reside in Gāzurgāh, a quarter in Herat wherein Khwāja ᶜAbdullāh Anṣārī, whose shrine was usually visited by Mullā ᶜAbdullāh, had been buried in the eleventh century.
In the years of crisis in Afghanistan in 1980s, he migrated with his family to Iran and stayed in Shāhrūd in northeast of the country and lived on his labor as a gardener while still costuming as an Afghan clergyman. In Iran he used to frequent the tomb of Bā-Yazīd, a great early Sufi master in whose spirituality Mullā ᶜAbdullāh passionately believed, in Basṭām, a town nine kilometers far from Shāhrūd.
In Iran he introduced himself by the pseudonym ᶜAbdullāh that despite being a common Muslim name literally means “God’s servant.” He also introduced himself as “Mullā Afghānī.”
He had followers and disciples in Iran as well as Afghanistan. He was especially well received by Iranian Sunnites living in the eastern provinces of the country and Afghan refugees. Among his disciples there were educated Shiite Iranians. Several miracles are attributed to him by his disciples. In the eyes of his Iranian disciples, he appeared as a spiritual mentor rather than a religious clergyman. He usually instructed his disciples, individually or in very small groups, at his home or at the Sufis’ tombs like Bā-Yazīd’s or that of Sheikh Abū al-Ḥasan of Kharaqān. His discourses and comments were very simple and at the same time extremely influential and attractive.   
The ideas of friendship with God and companionship of His friends were the center of Mullā ᶜAbdullāh’s Sufi teachings. He had a deep love for the Prophet Muhammad and exoterically propagandized the spiritual power of reciting the formula of Durūd-e Sharīf (the Noble Salutation to the Prophet.) He was a passionate fan of Hāfiẓ’s poetry and used to give mystical commentaries on his verses.
After months struggling with cancer, he smiling passed away at his home in Shāhrūd, at the sunset of December 21, 2010. His body was taken to Herat by his family and was buried next to his master. He didn’t leave a Sufi organization behind.  

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