In the suburbs of Bukhara there stands an architectural memorial to the great Sufi, hermit, and saint Sheikh Bahouddin Naqshbandi, who made an invaluable contribution to the formation and development of Central Asian progressive thought.
Nakhsbandi was born to a family of a weaver in a small village near Bukhara in 1318. Early in life he excelled at weaving of patterned silk fabrics. So it was not without reason that in later period he was regarded the patron saint of handicraftsmen. Among his teachers and spiritual tutors were such outstanding personalities as Hajji Samosi and Shamsiddin Mir Kulol, Amir Temur’s confessor. Having developed his own doctrine, Bahouddin Naqshbandi founded the Sufi order Naqshbandiya.
The basic principle of Naqshbandi’s teaching was the necessity of following the example of the Prophet and his associates. The priority of the order was the realization of faqr, that is ‘voluntary poverty’ principle. They believed that man had to content himself with only what he earned with his hands through work. This would give man independence and freedom of thought and actions. “Seclusion from society, traveling about the motherland, outwardly with people, inwardly with God” was the motto of Naqshbandia order. Sheikh Naqshbandi himself led a very modest life: slept on a plain mat in the summer and on straw in the winter. In order to subsist, he grew wheat and Asian golden haricot beans on a small patch of land. One of his precepts was ‘Let Allah be in you soul, let you hands be in work’.
After Bahouddin Naqshbandi died in 1389, numerous pilgrims began visiting his grave, as he was worshipped not only inBukhara but also in the whole Islamic world. Triple pilgrimage to his tomb is treated as equal to a small hajj to Mecca. Even the location for his mausoleum was chosen not by accident. It was the place of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to the festival of Red Rose, as ancient as Navruz, Persian New Year.
In 1544 Emir Abdulaziz built a dakhma platform with carved marble fence over the grave of the saint, and next to it an enormous khanaqa (Sufi hospice). In later period, to the west of the mausoleum there appeared a large necropolis ofBukhara emirs. Every ruler tried his best to adorn his place of eternal rest. Thus, years after, next to the dakhma there appeared richly decorated Muzaffarkhan Mosque and Khakim Kushbegi Mosque with a small minaret and a madrassah. These buildings formed a yard with a hauz (pool) reflecting the picturesque chartak structure with a dome and four arches. At the beginning of the 21st century the complex was restored and repaired. New arches and turquoise domes were built in traditional national style and there were installed carved gates and pillars. It is noteworthy that while constructing the newayvan terrace there were discovered the foundations of a similar original construction.
Naqshbandi is believed to ward off troubles. The wall of his mausoleum has a special wish stone called Sangi Murod. It is slightly sloping where pilgrims touch it.
Bahouddin Naqshbandi Complex is one of Bukhara’s most beautiful architectural sights. It welcomes pilgrims and guests alike with a unique atmosphere of serenity and seclusion.