Sultan Bahoo The Life and Teachings/Irfan-e-Nafs (Knowledge of Inner Self), Khud Shanasi (Self Realization) or Haqeeqat-e-Insan (Reality of Man)

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Since the very beginning of the planet earth, when the human being stepped on it, questions like those given below have always been arising in his mind.

•Who am I?

•What is my origin?

•What is my end?

•What is my reality?

•What is my identity?

•If there exists a Creator who has created me, who is He and how would I recognize Him?

•What is the purpose of my life?

Whenever man strived to find the answers of these questions, Allah sent His prophets and messengers to guide him in every age and every part of the world, for answering these questions. However, when advancement took place and the progress of the world reached the stage that communication became faster and easier, Allah sent His Beloved Prophet Muhammad Mustafa Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam, the reason for the creation of the universe. Allah, through this system of Prophethood, sent His ultimate message and provided an absolute guidance to mankind in the form of the Holy Quran, the complete code of life. Hazrat Muhammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam is the guide for all human beings till the Doomsday. Allah says about His Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam that he does not say anything out of his own will. So, the Quran along with Hadith Qudsi and Hadith Nabawi have been preserved till the Day of Judgment for the guidance of the Men of Allah. The fortunate one who returned to this code of life attained the true guidance and found the purpose of his life. Allah tells the purpose of the human being’s life and creation in the following Qudsi hadith:

"I was a Hidden Treasure; I desired to be known, so I created the Universe."

So, it is obvious by the above mentioned hadith that the purpose of the creation of man is to get the knowledge and recognition of Allah. Now the question arises, how will man attain the recognition of Allah? The method of gaining recognition of Allah is told in the following hadith:

"Whoever recognized his self, undoubtedly, recognized his Rab (Allah)."

The explanation of this hadith is that Allah created the sacred soul of Mohammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam from His Own Divine Light and the souls of all the rest of creation from the soul of Muhammad Mustafa Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam in Alam-e-Lahut (the Divine Realm). At this stage, the soul of humans is called “Ruh-e-Qudsi” (the Holy Soul) and this is the same state of the soul about which Allah expressed, “Man is My secret and I am his secret.” The souls were absorbed in the Vision of Allah at this stage because at that time there was no veil between the souls and Allah, so they were submerged in seeing the Divine Beauty. Neither was there earth nor heavens, so they were not attracted by the pleasures of the material world or the Paradise. At the same stage, the pledge of the human spirits “The Bala” ( ) was taken. It is mentioned in the surah Al A’raf, Allah says (Am I not your Rab?)

All of them replied, Yes you are!

Allama Iqbal says:

Alam-e-Lahut is that hidden world which is prohibited for all the creatures except the human souls. At the border of the same world, Hazrat Jibrael said to Hazrat Muhammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam on the night of Meraj, “If I step ahead a little more, I would be burnt.” From Alam-e-Lahut Allah descended the human soul to Alam-e-Jabarut (the World of Invincibility or Domination) dressing it in Jabaruti clothes because in whichever realm the soul will be sent, it needs the required cover of that world to survive in it. So here it was named as Ruh-e-Sultani (the Kingly soul). Then the soul was descended to Alam-e-Malakut (the Celestial and Angelic World) and was clothed in Malakuti dress and called “Ruh-e-Nurani” (soul with celestial light). It was then permeated into the mortal body and dressed with fleshly body, where it was called as “Ruh-e-Jismani or Hewani” (the soul with corporeal physical body or bestial one). Therefore, the soul is said to be the “Amr-e-Rabi” (Divine Command) as it descended to the material world from the Divine World by the command of Allah. In the Divine world it is just the Noor (Light) of Allah and completely Divine, that is why it is said that every child is born on the Divine Nature. It means its soul is pure, illuminated and un-inclined to the impurities and worldly pleasures. Now the actual human elevation is that he must be sanctified and exalted to such an extent that he can achieve his original soul i.e. Ruh-e-Qudsi by progressing spiritually and returning to the Divine Realm. When he reaches there, only then can he recognize his true self which is surely not the physical body made of matter, but the inner soul created from the Noor of Muhammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. On reaching Alam-e-Lahut, the original home and the actual destination of human soul, the soul finds that closeness to Allah which is required for His Deedar and Pehchan. Here, a person can find recognition of his true self, as well as his Creator’s, that is why it is said, . So, getting the same exaltation is the purpose of human life.

The Ruh-e-Qudsi (Holy Spirit) is given different names.

"Some of the mystics and sufis named the spiritual being of the human being as “the esoteric self”, batin, “inner man”, “ruh”, “inward”, “spiritual man” or “the esoteric being of man.”

"In some of the hadiths and the statement of mystics, the soul is called ‘qalb’, ‘dil’ (heart) or ‘mun’. The heart or qalb of man is not that piece of flesh which is placed at the left side of the chest. This piece of flesh is also present in the chests of animals and the deceased, and can be seen with the physical eye. How can it have the knowledge of the ‘inner world’? As it can be seen with the physical eye, so it is related to the physical world and has to decay like the other physical parts of body after death. In fact, the soul is symbolically entitled as “Qalb.”

Iqbal Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh entitled the soul or the inner being of man as “Khudi” and he calls the intrinsic knowledge of the inner self or Irfan-e-Nafs as the “Recognition of Khudi” or Khud Shanasi (Self Realization). Most of the interpreters of Iqbal have blundered by misinterpreting “Khudi” as “Ego” instead of “Soul.” Perhaps they could not understand that the ego (pride or vanity) leads the man away from Allah and the soul brings him close to Allah. However, Iqbal has used the terms “mun”, “dil”, and “ruh” as well.

A layman terms the inner being or soul as “conscience.” When a person does anything wrong or commits a sin, it is the soul which regrets and repents because sin is not inherent in its nature, so the man exclaims, “my conscience is pricking me.” The recognition of Ruh-e-Qudsi is actually called Khud Shanasi (Self Realization), Haqeeqat-e-Insan (Reality of Man) or Irfan-e-Nafs (Knowledge of the Inner self) and same is the meaning of ‘Deen’ or the True Faith.

In the Holy Quran, man’s attention is directed again and again towards his inner self.

"And I am within your selves. So do you not notice?" (Surah Adh-Dhariyat-21)

"And we are nearer to the man than his jugular vein." (Surah Qaf-16)

The Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam has also frequently referred to the esoteric self in his sayings:

"No doubt! Allah neither sees your faces nor your actions, rather He checks your intentions and hearts." (Bukhari, Muslim)

"Actions are judged by intentions."

"In their hearts (qalb, soul) Allah has inscribed faith." (Surah Al-Mujadala-22)

Maulana Rumi Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says to man while unveiling this reality:

"You are a little world by appearance but in reality you are a great world."

"Although, the human body is worthless regarding his physical being yet a man possesses a “large realm” within his esoteric self."

Hazrat Bu Ali Shah Qalander Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh tells us:

"Your Beloved (Allah) is within you, why are you so oblivious."

Shaikh Akber Mohi-ud-Din Ibn-e-Arabi Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:

“O Seeker! Recognize your essence; what are you and what is your reality? What is your relation to Allah? On what basis are you called Haq (the Truth) and on what basis are you called Alam (the world)." (Fasoos al-Hakam Wal Aiqan)


Like all Arifeen (the knowers of Allah) and Saints, Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh exhorts man to observe through his heart and to ponder over his existence. As Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh possesses a great status among the mystics and is appointed at the rank of Sultan-ul-Faqr, so his style is also different and unique among all of them. All the teachings of Sultan-ul-Faqr Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh, whether in prose or poetry, are a beautiful illustration of the Quran and Hadith. He refers to the verse of the Quran that “Allah is nearer to him than his jugular vein” and states that it is essential to get access to one’s inner self first to find The Real Essence (Allah). He asserts the presence of Allah within our inner selves and says that the very word ‘nearer’ is also unsuitable, as this word represents aloofness and duality, rather, Allah is actually our Being and our Reality. He says:

"Allah is nearer than the jugular vein but you are blind to his unparalleled Beauty, so the Union with Allah is not your destiny." (Deewan-e-Bahoo)

Prophet Mohammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam says;

"Whoever, recognized his self, undoubtedly recognized his Rab (Allah)."

This is addressed to the Mohammadan Ummah, so that a person comes to know his inner and spiritual status and his nafs and heart become absolutely disgusted of lust, sensual appetites and sins. Man is created for the total submission to Allah. Without the servility to Allah, the entire life of man is merely a disgrace and embarrassment. (Mehek-ul-Faqr Kalan)

The heart in a human body is a vast and magnificent lustrous essence and it is the mirror to The Divine Reality. When it is enlightened by the Personal Light of Allah, the entire Universe is seen into it, equal to a mustard seed.

Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh opines that such a state occurs in the heart by the Gnosis of Allah due to which all the (inward and outward) states of both the worlds are contained in the heart, and the person with insight can have its clear view with his inner eyes. An ardent Lover of Allah always remains attentive towards his heart. Sultan-ul-Arifeen says:

"Know, that to earn magnificence through Zikr (invocation), Fikr (meditation), Muraqbah (concentration), Muhasbah (self accountability), Mukashfa (unveiling) and through Khalwat-e-hujra (one’s secluded room) is the status of worthless people because, the secluded closet of the heart is better than the closet of dust, as the closet of dust is inferior to the one of heart. Whoever found the secret of the Truth, found it from within his heart and the one who has discovered the secret of the Truth through his heart, has released himself from the seclusion of dusty closet." (Mehek-ul-Faqr Kalan)

"The Qalb which is once awakened, is ever longing, suffering and attentive like an ardent and crazy lover to be immersed in the Vision of Allah." (Qurb-e-Deedar)