Shaikh Abul-Qasim al-Junaid ibn Muhammad al-Khazzaz al-Nehawandi (may Allah be pleased with him) was the nephew of Shaikh Sari al-Saqati (may Allah be pleased with him), who was the greatest exponent of the ‘sober’ [moderate] school of Sufism and elaborated a theosophical doctrine which determined the whole course of orthodox mysticism in Islam. From childhood Shaikh Abul-Qasim al-Junaid was given to spiritual sorrow, and was an earnest seeker after Almighty Allah, well disciplined, thoughtful and quick of understanding and of penetrating intuition.
All schools of Sufism are known for their strict rules and discipline of the self and the Qadiriyya’s methods are not different from the rest. As a Sufi master, Junaid insisted on certain prerequisites before he would consider anyone as a potential murid (student). In order to be considered as a candidate and accepted as a student, one was required to have solid knowledge of Islamic laws and Islamic theological doctrines. The disciplinary rules of the school are eight principles of Junaid (third/ninth centuries). A murid [disciple] must constantly observe the following:
1. Ritual purity (wudu, a process of cleansing prior to prayer)
5. Invocation or recollection of Allah, using the formula La Ilaha Illa Allah (zikr)
6. Heart to heart connection with his/her Pir [Shaikh] at all times
7. Impure thoughts and impulses are to be put aside as they occur
8. Surrender him/herself to the will of Allah and never refuse or question what Allah has
imposed upon him.
In addition to the mentioned eight rules, some Sufi Masters also highly recommended two additional rules:
Moderation in eating and drinking when breaking a fast,and maintaining a bare minimum of sleep.
He was only 7 years old when Shaikh Sari al-Saqati took him on the pilgrimage. In the Mosque of the Santuary the question on the thankfulness was being discussed by 400 Shaikh’s. Each Shaikh expounded his own view. “You also say something,” Shaikh Sari al-Saqati prompted Junaid. “Thankfulness,” said Junaid, “means that you should not disobey Almighty Allah by means of the favor which He has bestowed on you, nor make of His favor a source of disobedience.” “Well said, O consolation of true believers,” cried the 400 shaikhs. They were unanimous that a better definition could not be given. “Boy,” said Shaikh Sari al-Saqati, “It will soon come to pass that your special gift from Almighty Allah will be your tongue.” Junaid wept when he heard his uncle say this. “Where did you acquire this?” Shaikh Sari demanded. “From sitting with you,” Junaid replied.
When someone asked the spiritual guide of Hazrat Junaid (may Allah be pleased with him), “Can a disciple excel his teacher in spirituality?” the teacher of Junaid replied, “My disciple Junaid has risen higher than me in spirituality.”
For 40 successive years Junaid kept awake the whole nights in his devotional practices. For 30 years years he would perform the prayer before sleeping, then stand on his feet repeating “Allah” until dawn, saying the dawn prayer with ablution he had made the previous night. There-upon the pride was born in him that he had reached the spiritual pinnacle. The Divine Voice reprimanded Junaid and said, ” The time has arrived when you should be declared a heretic.” He cried, “Lord! What is my fault?” The reply came, “Could there be greater sin than that ‘you’ in you still survives (your ego is not dead yet dead)?” He sighed and bowed his head in submission saying, ” He who attaineth not to the union of the Lord, all his virtues are sins.”
After that Junaid started sever spiritual practices. The opponents raised a cry and so defamed him that the Caliph was persuaded to send him his most beautiful slave-girl to test the character of Junaid. She went to him are started he coquettish tricks. Junaid raised his eyes, looked at her and again cast down his looks. The girl still went on with her amorous feats. Junaid again raised his head and blew a breath at her. She fell dead instantly. The Caliph was pained and approaching Junaid said, “How could you tolerate killing such a beauty of the world?” Junaid replied, “Just as you, the representative of God on earth, entrusted with the duty to look after us, could tolerate my 40 years of spiritual practices?”
In the heart of one of Junaid’s disciples the Devil entered and he started bragging that he had attained to perfection and association with the Saints was not necessary for him. So he started dwelling in solitude. He proclaimed in the town one day that the Angels came every day with a decorated camel and took him for trips to Heaven. When Junaid heard this blasphemy, he went to stay for a night with him. He asked him to tell the Angels when they came to him, “Ye messengers of the Devil, be ye damned.” He did the same in the night when the Angels came. The so-called Angels and the camel disappeared and he saw he was seated on a dustbin and skeletons and skulls of dead beasts were spread about him. He repented and took shelter with his preceptor, Junaid. Junaid told him, “Solitude for the new entrant in the Path is fatal. The company of the enlightened preceptor is absolutely necessary.”