Faqr literally means indigence; usually taken for poverty, destitution and the like. However, Mystics describe it as the main purpose of life. The Holy Prophet declared nothing but Faqr as his pride. He said:
اَلۡفَقۡرُ فَخۡرِیۡ وَالۡفَقۡرُ مِنِّی
Meaning: Faqr is my pride and Faqr is from me.
اَلْفَقْرُ فَخْرِیْ وَالْفَقْرُ مِنِّی فَافْتَخِرُّ بِہٖ عَلیٰ سَائِرِ الْاَنْبِیَآ ئِ وَالْمُرْسَلِیْنَ
Meaning: Faqr is my pride and Faqr is from me. Faqr is the reason of my superiority over all Prophets and Messengers.
اَلْفَقْرُ کَنْزٌ مِنْ کَنُوْزِ اللّٰہِ تَعَالیٰ
Meaning: Faqr is one of the treasures of Allah.
قَالَ رَسُو لَ اللّٰہِ صَلَّی اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡہِ وَآلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ اَلْفَقْرُ شِیۡنٌ عِنۡدَ النَّاسِ وَزَیۡنٌ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ فِی الۡقِیٰمَۃِ
Meaning: The Holy Prophet said, “Faqr is not appreciable for people in this world. But on doomsday it will be very precious for Allah Almighty”.
- In another Hadith the Holy Prophet said, “Faqr is most precious gift of Allah for a Momin in this world”. (Mukashifat-ul-Quloob by Imam Ghazali)
In fact, Faqr is the way or course that removes all the veils between Allah and His slave. Consequently, leading to Allah’s vision (deedar) and union (visal). It is that spiritual level whereby seeker of Allah becomes indifferent to all desires and only seeks His closeness and vision. He always keeps in view Allah’s will and surrenders to it. His entire struggle is to build stronger relation with Allah. For that he ever keeps his inward pure of all spiritual diseases like malice, arrogance, hypocrisy etc. Furthermore, he always follows and submits to the perfect spiritual guide who is the leader of way of Faqr.
Allah bestowed Faqr upon Holy Prophet on Night of Miraj
Sultan Bahoo says:
- On the night of Miraj, Holy Prophet mounted al-Buraq and Archangel Gabriel escorted him. Whole universe was decorated and eighteen thousand worlds were adorned and presented before him. At a point, Gabriel stopped advancing. Inspite of all aforementioned arrangements, the Prophet remained engrossed in beholding Allah. Nothing drew his attention away. Then Allah said:
مَا زَاغَ الْبَصَرُ وَمَا طَغٰی
Meaning: His sight neither turned aside nor was overbold. (An-Najm 17)
When, the Prophet reached utmost boundary of creation, he beheld Face of Faqr and enjoyed the status of Sultan-ul-Faqr. He absorbed resplendent light of Faqr and attained ultimate proximity and union with Allah. Then, he conversed directly with Allah. Afterwards, he advanced to ultimate stage of Faqr which is to annihilate in Allah. Hence, he became Faqr himself and acquired all virtues of love, gnosis, yearning for Beloved, intellect, tolerance, kindness and generosity. As said:
تَخَلَّقُوْا بِاَخْلَاقِ اللّٰہِ تَعَالیٰ
Meaning: Adopt all attributes of Allah.
When entire ocean of Oneness gathered in Prophet’s self on reaching final stage of Faqr, he said, “Faqr is my pride and Faqr is from me.” When he returned to his sacred Companions, the reality of Faqr manifested from him. So, a great number longed for it on hearing about ecstasies of gnosis of Faqr from him. On this, Allah said to His beloved Prophet, “O Mohammad! Keep your attention towards these Fakirs because they are the ones who are always engrossed in invocation of Allah. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
Sufis always preach to adopt the path of Faqr
Hazrat Ali karum Allah wajhul kareem said About Faqr;
مَنْ اَحَبَّنَا اَھۡلِ الۡبَیۡتِ فَلۡیَسۡتَعِدُ لِلۡفَقۡرِ جِلۡبَانَا
Meaning: One who really loves the People of Cloak (Ahl al-Bayt) should be ready to wear the gown of Faqr. (Nahj al-Balagha)
Ibrahim ibn Adham who renounced monarchy to adopt the path of Faqr says:
- Verily, Faqr is one of the treasures among countless treasures of Allah. He has placed this treasure upon the sky and He bestows it upon them whom He loves.”
Sayyid Shah Kamal Qadri Kaithali says;
- No doubt, among the following of Holy Prophet there is no greater following than that of Faqr.
Data Ganj Baksh Ali ibn Usman al-Hajveri says:
- Faqr is special attribute suited to the chosen ones only. (Kashf-ul-Mahjub)
Hazrat Khawaja Nizam-ud-Din Auliya says:
- Certainly, Faqr in this world is key to riches in the hereafter.
Hazrat Shaikh Ibrahim Khawas says:
- Faqr is actually the coverlet of honour, dignity and glory for apostles and pious ones.
In his book ‘Sirr al-Asrar’ al-Ghawth al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani defines Faqr as:
- The Holy Prophet said, “Faqr is my pride and is source of honour for me”. Here Faqr does not mean poverty as is usually understood. Instead it means spiritual Faqr which means to depend on none but Allah and to abdicate every pleasure except the pleasure of being close to Allah. When a person gains this status, then he annihilates in Allah (Fana Fillah). Thus, none exists within his being except the only entity Allah.
It is documented in ar-Risala tul-Ghausia (record of dialogue between Allah and Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani) that Allah said to Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani:
- O Ghawth al-Azam! Say unto your companions and friends that if they want My nearness then they must adopt the path of Faqr.
Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani further says;
- The dignity of Faqr is not in wearing rags or coarse clothes or in eating tasteless food. Rather it is in acquiring mysticism and devotion for Allah from your heart and soul. (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)
- Faqr and mysticism is a struggle to reach Allah. Hence, you must not adulterate it with anything foolish or absurd. May Allah bestow His favour upon us to acquire it. (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)
Sultan Bahoo and Faqr:
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo entitles his teachings neither as Sufism nor any of its schools but ‘Faqr’. All his teachings are about path of Faqr and its related stages and philosophies. He says;
- Faqr is exactly the Divine Essence. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
- Bahoo Fakir exhorts that whoever wants to have the Divine vision and proximity, must acquire Faqr. It is the way of invocation, meditation, love and gnosis of Allah. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
- Faqr is secret of Allah and Allah is secret of Faqr. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
- You must know that all the Prophets requested for Faqr but Allah did not accept it. Allah completely bestowed Faqr upon Prophet Mohammad who entrusted it to his umma. Faqr of Prophet Mohammad is his pride. Faqr is the ultimate beneficence. (Ameer-ul-Kaunain)
- Neither is there, nor there will be any station beyond and worth more pride than Faqr. It is eternal life. (Nur-ul-Huda Kalan)
- Know that pursuing Faqr is in fact seeking Allah and His Prophet. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
- There are three levels of Faqr. First is annihilation, negating existence of any other God ( لَآاِلٰہَ ). Second is becoming immortal with Allah ( اِلَّا اللّٰہُ ) and final level is to be the guide for people by becoming one with Prophet Mohammad ( مُحَمَّدُرَّسُوۡلُ اللّٰہِ ).(Ain-ul-Faqr)
نظر فقرش گنج قدمش گنج بر
فقر لایحتاج شد صاحبِ نظر
Explanation: Sight of Faqr is a treasure and it has authority over all treasures. Faqr makes the man of sight independent of all desires. (Nur-ul-Huda Kalan)
Great poet Allama Iqbal was also a follower of Faqr. All his poetry and philosophical thoughts basically revolve around AlFaqr. He states the grandeur of Faqr as:
فقر کے ہیں معجزات تاج و سریر و سپاہ
فقر ہے میروں کا میر، فقر ہے شاہوں کا شاہ
Explanation: All the arms and throne and crest are miracles of Faqr. Undoubtedly, Faqr is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.
مقامِ فقر ہے کتنا بلند شاہی سے
روش کسی کی گدایانہ ہو تو کیا کہیے !
Explanation: The status of Faqr is much higher than monarchy and kingdom. What can be said if someone wants to be a slave (of his own desires).
اک فقر ہے شبیریؓ، اس فقر میں ہے میری
میراثِ مسلمانی، سرمایہ شبیریؓ
Explanation: Faqr is from Husayn ibn Ali which gives strength of jihad against false forces, whether exoteric or esoteric. Such Faqr makes one leader in the world. It is the heritage of true believers and the asset of Husayn ibn Ali.
فقر مومن چیست؟ تسخیرِ جہات
بندہ از تاثیر او مولا صفات
Meaning: What do you understand by Faqr of a true believer! It is to subjugate and conquer all the dimensions. By Faqr a person acquires the attributes of Allah Almighty.
Moreover, comparing outward knowledge with AlFaqr, which is the knowledge of gnosis, Iqbal says:
علم کا مقصود ہے، پاکی عقل و خرد
فقر کا مقصود ہے، عفتِ قلب و نگاہ
Meaning: The objective of worldly knowledge is to elevate wisdom and intellect in person. While the objective of Faqr is to purify the soul and elevate insight and spiritual vision.
علم فقیہہ و حکیم، فقر مسیحؑ و کلیمؑ
علم ہے جویائے راہ، فقر ہے دانائے راہ
Meaning: Knowledge is the asset of scholars and jurists while Faqr is the asset of Prophets and possesses attributes of Christ who brought dead back to life and Moses who conversed with Allah. Knowledge searches the way but Faqr knows it.
SULTAN-UL-FAQR SIXTH SULTAN MOHAMMAD ASGHAR ALI
- Faqr is the real legacy of Prophet Mohammad. The heir of this legacy is his true heir.
- Actually, Faqr is the knowledge of vision of Allah and presence of Mohammadan Assembly.
- The Holy Prophet said اَلۡفَقۡرُ فَخۡرِیۡ وَالۡفَقۡرُ مِنِّی meaning: Faqr is my pride and Faqr is from me. Hence it is obligatory upon his every follower to acquire his pride Faqr from him.
- Faqr is the greatest treasure of all the treasures of Allah and only Prophet Mohammad distributes it.
- The real straight path is the Holy Prophet himself. One who has reached his assembly covering the stages of Faqr, has found the straight path.
- Faqr is the secret of Allah. Whoever finds Faqr gets aware of the hidden secret and becomes confidant of Allah.
- There are very few people who travel the path of Faqr. It is only because of their presence that the world is not reprimanded, sky rains and earth grows crops. As doomsday will approach nearer, their number will gradually decrease. Hence, when doomsday will occur, world would be empty of them. When Allah decides to torment any area, first He evacuates that region from His seekers. Their existence in world is a blessing. O people! Search them and recognize them before Allah closes the doors of repentance. (Sultan-ul-Faqr VI Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali-Life and Teachings)
SULTAN-UL-ASHIQEEN SULTAN MOHAMMAD NAJIB-UR-REHMAN
- Faqr is the most remarkable inward rank and marvel. There is nothing comparable to it in the inward.
- Faqr is eternal destiny of those who abdicated all luxuries of world and hereafter on day of Divine covenant. They remained firmly devoted to Almighty Allah only. None of the charms and pleasures of universe could shake their steadfastness.
- In fact, Faqr is the ardent Divine love.
- Faqr is the path which takes the slave of Allah to Allah.
- The outward aspect of Faqr is to adopt the virtues of Prophet Mohammad. While, its inward aspect is the Divine vision and union.
- Just like musk, the fragrance of Faqr cannot remain hidden. It manifests from the whole being of Fakir with his each and every deed, which attracts people towards him.
- Keep in mind that Faqr has nothing to do with the genealogy.
- Faqr is not complicated. If you want to understand Faqr go through the lives of four Rashidun Caliphs, Faqr will become easy for you.
- Faqr is the most elevated spiritual level whereby a person becomes indifferent to all kinds of needs. He is only concerned about Allah’s will. Hence, he always adapts himself to fate destined to him by Allah and asks for nothing except closeness of Allah.
COMPULSIVE FAQR AND CHOSEN FAQR
Some people adopt AlFaqr untruthfully only to deceive people. Their intention is not to behold Allah but attain worldly respect or wealth. Some people also adopt AlFaqr being fed up of worldly troubles, failures and rejections. Or some Saint’s shrine caretakers also hypocritically claim to be the follower of AlFaqr. Mostly they are from Saint’s children and usually have no idea what real Faqr is. Their aim is limited to the income of shrine or grabbing offerings from disciples. Or their ambition is to become known as Shaikhs and earn false nobility. Such AlFaqr is ‘compulsive Faqr’.
Contrarily, in chosen AlFaqr, seekers of Allah desire nothing but vision of Allah. They renounce and sacrifice everything for Allah saying ‘Allah is all for us’.
There are radical differences between compulsive AlFaqr and chosen AlFaqr. Compulsive Faqr results in death of soul whereas chosen AlFaqr vivifies the soul. In compulsive AlFaqr a person is disgraced in Allah’s court. But chosen AlFaqr bestows grandeur and strength. Sultan Bahoo says;
- If AlFaqr is not chosen, rather adopted without contentment then it is the Faqr that falls flat and brings disgrace, i.e. ‘compulsive Faqr’. The person having this AlFaqr complains of poverty when hungry. Anyone who complains about Faqr, in fact, complains about Allah. Person who complains about Allah is a reprobate and apostate. The Prophet is averse to him. The Holy Prophet said:
اَلْفَقْرُ سَوَادُ الْوَجْہِ فِی الدَّارَیْن
Meaning: (Compulsive) Faqr is disgraced in both the worlds.
Indeed AlFaqr is the soul of true Islam. Contemporary religious scholars, being stranger to this way of our great Saints, have diverted people at large to superficial values and acts. Hence Muslims have forgotten their inward connection with Allah and entangled themselves into apparent rituals solely. Resultantly, Muslims of today are as stranger to the word ‘Faqr’ and its reality as the non-Muslims are. Even though our Holy Prophet declared Faqr as his pride and attributed AlFaqr especially to his holy self.
If analyzed carefully, AlFaqr is actual religion, as religion is to attain Allah’s closeness which is what AlFaqr exactly does. That is why Iqbal said:
لفظ اسلام سے اگر یورپ کو کد ہے تو خیر
دوسرا نام اسی دین کا ہے فقرِ غیور
Meaning: It does not matter if Europe resents the word ‘Islam’. Another name for the same religion is the honourable ‘Faqr’.