Book Review: The Conqueror of Hearts

The Conqueror of Hearts

Title: The Conqueror of Hearts – In the Land of Sultan Muhammad Al-Fateh [Travels in Turkey with Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi Mujaddidi (DB)]
Compiled by: Shaykh Faqir Mustafa Kamal
Publisher: Maktabatul Faqir (2011)

This book is a travelogue of a 5 day trip in Turkey undertaken by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad and his students, touring the historically significant sites in the country and reliving some of the important aspects of Turkey’s Islamic history, including the victories of Sultan Muhammad Al-Fateh. The main reason for the trip was to spread the blessing of the remembrance of Allah throughout the land, as Shaykh Zulfiqar writes in the Foreword:

(This) Faqir is duty-bound by the amanah (trust) placed on me by my mashaikh (teachers) to take the zikr (remembrance) of Allah, Allah, Allah to all corners of the world.

The first chapter discusses the anticipation and preparation of the students prior to the arrival of their teacher and it was clear from the outset, the deep spiritual love the students have for Shaykh Zulfiqar and their longing to be in his company. In the front cover, a quote from Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi is shared with the reader:

A moment spent in the company of the friends of Allah is better than a hundred years of sincere worship.

This book is a great introduction to the immense joys of traveling with one’s teacher to spiritually significant sites that bring about the remembrance of and the deepening love for Allah and his Prophet (peace be upon him), not to mention highlighting of the mannerisms (adab) and outlook one should have, when visiting these and other sacred sites around the world. It was also interesting to note the contrast of both physical travel with one’s teacher and spiritual travel with one’s teacher along the path to Allah, a recurring theme seemingly forming a backdrop for the book.

One of the priorities of Shaykh Zulfiqar’s visit was to see the Sacred Trusts, which contain sacred relics from numerous Prophets (peace be upon them) and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) of our Prophet (peace be upon him). This collection is housed in Topkapi Palace, the former official residence of the Ottoman sultans for 400 years. I found it interesting that upon entering the complex, Shaykh Zulfiqar headed straight for the area of the Sacred Trusts, by passing all the other exhibits containing the gems and jewels of the Ottoman Sultans. Of course upon seeing the relics of the Prophet (peace be upon him) what could be more impressive? Shaykh Faqir Mustafa Kamal writes:

Hazrat rushed through these exhibits, unimpressed by their glitter, as other tourists drooled over their opulent displays.

As the trip included visits to many tourist areas, it was also clear that Shaykh Zulfiqar was making supplication for all the tourists around him during his journey, and a couplet of poetry is cited:

The effect of the glance of a Wali is such
That we have seen the destiny of thousands change with it.

On Day 4, they visited the Khanqah (spiritual lodge) of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi and the book includes a recap of the history of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi benefiting those readers unfamiliar with his life. Overall this book is a short read of approximately 100 pages, allowing the reader to appreciate both the spiritual value of traveling with one’s teacher and attaining benefit in their company. For those who are not familiar with Turkish Islamic history it also provides the reader with a brief synopsis of the spiritually relevant landmarks within the country, and the appropriate mannerisms of visiting these sites.

May Allah preserve and increase all those who assisted in making this book available. Ameen.

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