Methodology

B) Methodology

This book presents the biography of Shaikh Muḥammad al-Muḥammad al-Kasnazān in a unique way. It recounts it in the context of explaining the Sufi method to get close to Allah, and it expounds Sufism, which represents the spiritual side of Islam, in the course of narrating the biography of our honourable Shaikh. In other words, the book explains Sufism through presenting our Shaikh’s biography and, at the same time, recounts this blessed biography via introducing Sufism. This follows the didactic Qur’anic method of recounting narratives that presents biographies not only as histories, but also as lessons and motivational sermons:

We narrate to you [O Muḥammad!] the best of narratives, by revealing this Qur’an to you; before it, you were one of the unaware. (Yūsuf 3)

Narrate to them stories that may reflect. (Al-Āʿrāf 176)

There is a lesson in their stories for the people of understanding. (Yūsuf 111)

This distinct method of narrating a biography can be used only when all aspects of the life of that person embody his beliefs. Only then, recounting the biography becomes an explanation of those beliefs and explaining them can be used for biographical narration. This is the case with Sufi Shaikhs where the life of each personified Islam, following in the footsteps of their great Master (PBUH), whose life was an explanation of his beliefs and his beliefs were the laws that governed his life. This method cannot be used for studying, for example, the greats of science, irrespective of their achievements and excellence in their respective disciplines. For as important and useful to humanity as these sciences are, they do not cover all aspects of the life of the scientists. A physicist may dedicate a large part of his life to physics, spending long years studying, conducting research, and writing. Physics, nevertheless, remains a natural science that does not touch most aspects of his life. No matter how much this scientist contributes and dedicates of his life to physics, this science would not determine how they deal with his family and people in general, shape his moral values, or form his personality and character in terms of generosity or greed, mercy or cruelty, truthfulness or dishonesty…etc. Islam, on the other hand, is a belief system that touches all aspects of a person’s life. It is the science of life, not a temporary or limited occupation. This is why this book can be as much a biography of Shaikh Muḥammad al-Muḥammad al-Kasnazān as an explanation of Sufism.

Nearness to Allah grants every Shaikh of Ṭarīqa great, special blessings that are manifested in countless paranormal wonders. These “karāmas”, as they are known, are the ink with which a large part of the Shaikh’s life is written. Karāmas play a major role in the Shaikh’s life, surrounding him even before becoming a Shaikh. Some karāmas point to him even before his birth, confirming Allah’s selection of him for that spiritual leadership. Accordingly, we see wonders permeating all stages of the life of Shaikh Muḥammad al-Muḥammad al-Kasnazān. It is only natural, then, that this biography is full of paranormal feats.

As there are countless karāmas and they continue to occur all the time, no book, regardless of its size, can compile more than a tiny number of them. We have only mentioned in this biography wonders that have explanatory functions in their respective contexts. The biography of our Shaikh cannot be sufficiently covered without referring to the history, legacy, and karāmas of the Shaikhs of Ṭarīqa Kasnazāniyya who preceded him. We have, however, quoted only a small part of this blessed history, as required by the subjects and objectives of the book.

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