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Wednesday, 22-Nov-2006 10:54 Email | Share | Bookmark
Bastam religious complex - Shahrud

Niche to Mecca
The Bastami Complex in Bastam, Semnan Province of Iran, contains the shrine of Mohammad ibn Jafar Sadiq, the tomb of Bayazid, his monastery, the Iwan of Öljeitü, the tomb of Mahmud Ghazan, the Congregation Mosque, the tower of Kashaneh, and the Shahrukhiya seminary, bath, and Zurkhaneh, dating from before the Seljuki era, at the earliestBayazid Bastami (Persian بايزيد بسطامى ), also known as Abu Yazid Bistami or Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bustami, (804-874CE) was a Persian Sufi born in Bostam (alternate spelling: Bastam), Iran. The name Bastami means "from the city of Bastam". Bayazid Bastami had great influence on Sufi mysticism and is considered to be one of the important early teachers of Sufi Islam.

Bastmi's predecessor Zu al-Nun al-Misri (d. CE 859) had formulated the doctrine of ma'rifa (gnosis), presenting a system which helped the murid (initiate) and the shaykh (guide) to communicate. Bayazid Bastami took this another step and emphasized the importance of ecstasy, referred to in his words as drunkenness, a means of union with God. Before him, Sufism was mainly based on piety and obedience and he played a major role in placing the concept of divine love at the core of Sufism.

Bistami was the first to speak openly of "annihilation of the self in God" (fana fi 'Allah') and "subsistence through God" (baqa' bi 'Allah). His paradoxical sayings gained a wide circulation and soon exerted a captivating influence over the minds of students who aspired to understand the meaning of the wahdat al-wujud, Unity of Being.
When Bayazid died, he was over seventy years old. Before he died, someone asked him his age. He said: I am four years old. For seventy years I was veiled. I got rid of my veils only four years ago.”
He died in 874CE and is buried either in the city of Bistam in north central Iran, or in Semnan, Iran. Bayazid lived a century before Abul Hassan Kharaqani. Attar Neishapouri has mentioned in his book Tazkiratul Awliya that Bayazid had spoken about the personality and state of Shaikh Abul Hassan Kharaqani with his disciples while passing from the village of Kharaqan, almost 100 years before the birth of Shaikh Abul Hassan.

The Mystery About Bayazid's Shrine in Bangladesh
Interestingly enough, there is a shrine in Chittagong, Bangladesh that local people believe to be Bastami's tomb as well. This seems unlikely to be true, as Bastami was never known to have visited Bangladesh. However, Sufi teachers were greatly influential in the spread of Islam in Bengal and this might explain the belief. The Islamic scholars of Bangladesh usually regard the tomb at Chittagong attributed to him as a jawab, or imitation.
One explaination is the local legend that Bayazid did indeed visit Chattagong. At the time of his return, he found that his local followers did not want to leave. Overwhelmed by the love of his local followers, he pierced his finger and dropped a few drops of his blood on the ground and allowed his followers to build a shrine in his name where his blood drops fell.
Some of his words quoted from Tazkeratol-owlya تذکره الاولیا by Attar:

I never saw any lamp shining more brilliantly than the lamp of silence.
I went to a wilderness, love had rained and had covered earth, as feet penetrate snow, I found my feet covered with love.
I stood with the pious and I didn’t find any progress with them. I stood with the warriors in the cause and I didn’t find a single step of progress with them. Then I said, ‘O Allah, what is the way to You?’ and Allah said, ‘Leave yourself and come.’

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