SHAIKH BAHAUDDIN NAQSHBAND (رضئ الله تعالی عنه)
الحمد لله رب العالمين ، والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين
Khwaja Mohammad Bahauddin Shah Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) is a bright star on the sky of Wilaya. He uplifted the hearts of millions from the darkness to the light of guidance and helped them soar in the sky. His greatness is undisputed. Sufia-e-karaam stand at his door with their hands folded receiving his blessings with utmost humiliation.
Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) is my Grand Shaikh in Naqshbandi order who quenched my thirst from his spiritual support, kindness and blessing. He is indeed the ocean of knowledge that has no shore.
I have written many encomiums in praise of my Shuyookh. The following are a few couplets in this regard which are part of my English Kalam (poetry).
I loved you a lot, for your kindnessFor Awliya Allah, I developed fondnessOn divine way, you led me alongOn this path, you made me strong
With meteoric pace, I came of ageYou pushed me reach, to this stageNo words to express, my full gratitudeYou let me peak, at this altitudeHelp me spread, your legacyIn cleaning hearts, from heresyLet people benefit, in this lifeAnd salvation, in afterlifeO’my Shuyookh I am so thankfulFor all your help I am grateful
BLESSED BIRTHKhwaja Bahauddin Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) was born in 718 AH, (1318 AD) in a rural area called Qasr-e-Hinduvan, which was later renamed as Qasr-e-Arifan, located near Bukhara, Uzbekistan. He was direct descendant of Khalifat-e-Rasulullah, Amir-ul-Momineen, Hadhrat Ali Ibn Ali Talib ( رضئ الله تعالی عنه) from father's side.It is reported that his birth was prophesied by Shaikh Muhammad Baba as-Sammaasi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه), who was a famous Shaikh and Islamic Jurist in Bukhara. Once Shaikh as-Sammaasi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) was passing through Qasr-ul-Arifan village. He smelled a fragrance emanating in the air. He turned towards his Murideen and said I smell the fragrance of a great Shaikh of Ihsan who will be born here. Whenever he passed through the village, he felt the same smell. One day, when he was passing through village, he found the fragrance was very strong. He turned towards his Murideen and said 'it looks that Shaikh is already born'. Three days later, grand father of Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) took the new born to Shaikh as-Sammaasi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) for his blessing. When the Shaikh looked at the child, he told his Murideen, 'this is the child about whom I had been telling you all along. He was very happy to see the child and declared 'this is my son and Murid. He will be one of the greatest Shuyookh. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) will shower heavenly knowledge upon him that will be engraved upon his heart and his Silsila will be named after this engraving'.Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) used to say "it is Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) special beneficence on me that I was honored as son and Murid by Shaikh as-Sammaasi, (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) right after my birth."EARLY LIFEKhwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) completed his religious education and studied all Sharia sciences by the time he was 18 years old. Probably he had memorized the holy Quran during this time. After completion of his education, he went back to Shaikh as-Sammaasi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) again. He has described his meeting with the Shaikh as follows:"I was 18 years old when I went to meet Shaikh as-Sammaasi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه). I reached his place and got the honor of meeting him. I stayed with him the whole day and by his blessings I found a great change in me. I went to sleep in his Khankha. I woke up towards the end of the night, performed ablution (wudu) and entered the mosque. I prayed 2 raka and went into a long prostration. I supplicated and implored in front of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) for His mercy and guidance. Later, Shaikh arrived in the mosque for Salat ul Fajr and after the prayer he turned towards me and taught me how to supplicate in front of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى). After that, the (dining) sheet was spread, and when everyone ate, he gave me a loaf of bread. I hesitated to take it as the bread was meant to be eaten by the people present. He told me 'take, it will be of use to you. I kept the bread. After sometime, Shaikh came out of the mosque, mounted on a donkey and started going in a certain direction. I followed him walking behind his donkey. I tried to walk in complete attention towards Allah (سبحانه و تعالى). However, whenever my attention was diverted on other things, Shaikh will turn towards me and advise me to guard my thoughts. I was surprised to see that Shaikh knew what I was thinking in my mind. After a few hours we stopped at a place and Shaikh entered a house that belonged to one of his Murideen. When his Mureed saw the shaikh, he was a little disturbed. The Shaikh asked him the reason. He said, he has nothing to serve the Shaikh at home, except milk. Shaikh turned towards me and said take out the loaf of bread I gave you. Now it will be useful for us.In his company this kind of events were routine and plenty that resulted in increase of my love and respect for my Shaikh."TEACHERS & SHUYOOKHKhwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) remained in the Company of Shaikh as-Sammaasi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) for a few years.Maqam of Shaikh Muhammad Baba as-Sammaasi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه)After the death of Shaikh as-Sammaasi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه), Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) moved to Samarkhand. After sometime he went to Bukhara. In both the places he spent time in the company of famous Shuyookh. In Bukhara he got married.When he was in Bukhara, he was given Khilafah by Shaikh Azizan Ali Ramitani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) who was his Grand Shaikh in Naqshbandi Silsila, died a few years earlier.A few months later Shaikh Syed Amir Kulal, the Khalifa and Successor of Shaikh as-Sammassi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) met Khwaja Naqshband and informed him that at the time of death, Shaikh as-Sammaasi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) had advised him to take care of him.The dome of Shaikh Syed Amir Kulal (رضئ الله تعالی عنه)Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) spent a few years in the company of Shaikh Amir Kulal (رضئ الله تعالی عنه). Later Shaikh Kulal gave him Khilafa by handing over the cloak of Shaikh Ramitani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) which was given to him by his Shaikh as-Sammaasi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) as a relic of the Silsila.Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) mentioned several incidents that occurred when he was in the company of Shaikh Kulal (رضئ الله تعالی عنه). One of the incidents is as follows."When I was in the company of Shaikh Kulal (رضئ الله تعالی عنه), I was often overwhelmed with 'Jazb' (nearness to Allah) and used to wander around secluded places. One night I was wandering in that state and my feet were bleeding as I was walking barefooted in a thorny jungle. It was pitch dark and snow was falling intermittently. I was freezing as I had no warm cloths to cover my body. In such a state I do not know how I reached Shaikh Kulal's (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) house. When I reached there, Shaikh was sitting with his students. When I knocked the door, he came out and saw me in that state. He went inside and asked his students to throw me out on the road. They all forcefully lifted me and threw me on the road. I was shocked and felt humiliated and could not understand why I was treated in this way. My Anima (nafs) raised its head from within and asked me to leave the Shaikh for this kind of unwarranted harsh treatment in a dark freezing night. However, Allah's (سبحانه و تعالى) guidance came to me. I said to my Nafs, I will bear this, but will not leave the company of the Shaikh. I went back to Shaikh's door, placed my head on his doorstep and closed my eyes. I remained silent and did not knock his door again. I do not know how long I sat in that condition. Just before dawn, Shaikh came out of the house and found me on his doorstep. He lifted my head and realized I was almost unconscious. He took me inside, provided me warm cloths, gave me food and removed all thorns from my feet from his hands one by one. Tears were rolling down from his eyes. He cleansed all my wounds and hugged me emotionally. He said my son you will go a long way on this path and many will benefit from your company in future."Khwaja Nawshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) used to relate the above episode and used to say, 'I am always in the look for the seeker who would place his head on my doorstep in humility, but often find most of them come to me in the pursuit of becoming Shaikhs, not Murids. Among my seekers I find hardly any sincere Murid. A Murid has to leave his ego (Nafs) and become like a dead body in the hands of his Shaikh. This is the only way to cleans oneself from the impurities'.Khwaja Naqshband described another incident in the company of Shaikh Kulal (رضئ الله تعالی عنه), as follows."I was in Bukhara and Shaikh Kulal (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) was in Nasaf and a yearning occurred to me to meet the Shaikh. I headed towards Nasaf and reached his house. When I knocked his door, Shaikh came out and saw me. He said, 'my son you have come at a right time. We are in need of logs for our kitchen that have been cut in the nearby jungle. Can you bring those logs for us. When I reached the place, I realized the trees that were cut had thorns and Shaikh had instructed the wood cutter not to remove the thorns from the logs. I made bundles of those logs and carried them on my back one by one. The thorns pricked all over my back but I obeyed the Shaikh happily."
Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) related the above incident in one of his writings later, and wrote 'in the pursuit of Haq the harshness of thorns did not trouble me. They seemed like soft silky buttons providing the joy I never felt before.'
Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) received training from Khwaja Abdul Khaliq Ghujdawani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) as well, who was Grand Shaikh of his Silsila, died 200 years ago in 575 AH (1180 AD). He mentioned about this training as follows.
"One night I visited the Dargah of Shaikh Ahmed al-Kashghari (رحمة الله عليه). I found two men waiting for me there. I had not seen them before. They had a horse with them. They made me sit on the horse and tied two swords on my two sides. They directed the horse to the Dargah of Shaikh Mazdakhin (رحمة الله عليه). When I entered his Maqam, I had a vision. I saw the wall of his Dargah facing the Ka'ba came down crashing. Behind the wall I saw a heavy built Shaikh seated on a huge throne. Around him were seated Shaikh as-Sammaasi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه), Shaikh Kulal (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) and other Grand Shuyookh of our Silsila. There were some more people around. I was told that the person sitting on the throne was Shaikh Abdul Khaleq Gujadawani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) who had looked after me all along. I was informed that I was under his spiritual training right from the beginning. Shaikh Gujadawani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) then turned towards me and advised me a few things to remember.
The next day I went to Shaikh Kulal (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) and described him my vision. Shaikh said he is aware of it. He took me me inside a room and taught me Zikr Khafi (silent Zikr) that was to be carried out day and night." He said Shaikh Gujadawani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) asked him to teach me Zikr Khafi (silent Zikr).
The Maqaam of Shaikh Abdul Khaliq al-Gujadawani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.The students of Shaikh Amir Kulal (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) used to do Zikr aloud when they were together and silent Zikr when they were alone. When Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) received instruction to do Zikr silently, he stopped loud Zikr completely and focused on silent Zikr the rest of his life. This became the distinguishing feature of the Naqshbandi Silsila.Shaikh Amir Kulal (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) died in 1363 when Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) was 35 years old. After his death he was in the company of Shaikh Arifuddin Karani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) for some time. Later he spent sometime in the company of Shaikh Kuthum.Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) spent 7 years in the company of Shaikh Khaleel Ghirani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه). He described how he met Shaikh Khalil Ghirani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) and how he remained in his company for the following 7 years.
"I saw Shaikh Al-Hakeem Ata (رضئ الله تعالی عنه), the great Shaikh of Turkey in a dream, advising another Shaikh to take care of me. When I woke up, that Shaikh's image was in my mind. I kept looking for that Shaikh until I found him in Bukhara one day. I immediately recognized him. I was informed that his name was Shaikh Khaleel Ghirani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه). It so happened that I could not say anything to him and then he disappeared in the crowd. I came home disheartened and worried. After Maghrib, I heard a knock on my door. A person was standing on my door. He said Shaikh Khalil (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) wants to see you. I promptly took a visiting gift and went to see him. I sat in his audience and wanted to tell him about my dream. But before I could do that, the Shaikh told me in Turkish, ' I know what you saw, there is no need to repeat it'. When I heard him saying this, I was amazed. I remained in his company for the following 7 years and learned many traits of the path."
Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) described his meeting with Ghousul Azam (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) as follows.
"Once I was traveling in a desert. On my way, I met Khizr (عليه السلام). Hadhrat Khizr (عليه السلام) took me to the audience of Ghousul Azam (رضئ الله تعالی عنه). At that time I was not famous and was not known as 'Naqshband'. Ghousul Azam (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) placed his hand on my chest and said, 'O the holder of the adornment of the worlds, hold my adornment so that they can call you Naqshiband'. After that incident I became famous as Naqshband."
It is reported that Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) wrote the following in praise of Ghousul Azam (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) after that meeting.
بادشاہ ہر دو عالم شاہ عبد القادر است
سرور اولاد آدم شاہ عبد القادر است
آفتاب و مہتاب و عر ش و کرسی و قلم
نور قلب از نور اعظم شاہ عبدالقادر است
The King of this world and the hereafter is Shah Abdul Qadir (رضئ الله تعالی عنه). The head of the children of Adam is Shah Abdul Qadir (رضئ الله تعالی عنه). Sun, moon, heavens, the throne and the pen. They all get their light from the heart of Shah Abdul Qadir (رضئ الله تعالی عنه)
When some Murideen asked Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) what he has to say about the declaration of Ghousul Azam (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) 'My foot is on the neck of all Awliya Allah'? He said may his foot be on my eyes and my vision.
Many great Shuyooks were assigned to help Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) in his spiritual journey. He once described that he spent long years in the company of Hadhrat Uways al-Qarani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) who taught him how to shed internal and external bonds. Similarly he learned 'complete attribute effacement' in the company of Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Ali al-Hakeem al-Tirmidhi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه).
MADRASA NAQSHBANDIYA QASR AL-ARIFAN
Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) stayed in Merv and Bukhara for long years. Later, he returned back to his native place Qasr al-Arifan. Towards the end of his life, he had become very popular. Thousands of visitors from far and wide used to visit him for advice. He established a big Arabic Madrasa and a mosque in Qasr al-Arifan. The Madrasa had become very popular during his life time. Thousands of people received education in this school. It is reported that at a time over 5000 people were accommodated in the school complex. The school survived 700 years and was renovated after the fall of Soviet Union in 1990s.
Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) was an exemplary model of conduct for his students and Murideen. A few aspects of his personal traits are described below for the benefit of our readers.
(i) Khwaja Bahauddin (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) used to fast most of the days in the month. At the time of breaking the fast, he used to eat the barley he had grown himself. He would harvest it, grind it, make the dough, knead it and bake it himself. He used to share his food with the visiting scholars, seekers and the needy. He used to serve food to the people by his own hands.
Once he was invited to a town where one of his students had prepared food. When the dining sheet was spread, he refused to eat and said, 'my son when you prepared this food, from the time you kneaded the dough, cooked and served, you were in the state of anger. Your food is mixed with your anger. If we eat it, Satan will find a way to enter our bodies and insinuate with his evil thoughts.
(ii) Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Mahmud al-Hafizi (رحمة الله عليه), also known as Muhammad Parsa, who was Shaikh's Khalifa, reported an incident, as follows.
"When Shaikh Muhammad Shamsuddin al-Jazari visited Samarkand, Mirza Aleg Beg was our King. Some jealous scholars complained to the King that I was narrating Ahadith whose chain of transmission were unknown. The King ordered me to appear before him. I informed the Shaikh about this happening. The Shaikh said, do not worry, I will accompany you. When we reached there, we found Shaikh Husamuddin An-Nahawi, the Mufti of Bukhara, sitting in the King's Court Hall along with many other scholars. Shaikh Shamsuddin al-Jazari was also present.
Shaikh Hussamuddin asked me about the chain of narrators of a Hadith which I had described in front of people earlier. When I gave them the chain, they claimed it is incorrect. They asked me the chain of another Hadith. When I described the chain, they claimed it was incorrect. Shaikh interfered at that moment as he knew that whatever I say, they will reject it. He asked me to tell Shaikh Hussamuddin as follows.'You are the Shaikh and the Mufti. What do you say about such and such narrator?' Shaikh Husamuddin said, 'We accept him as trustworthy as his lineage is such that all scholars accept, and there is no argument on that matter.'
Then Shaikh told me to tell Shaikh Husamuddin that the the Hadith scholar you are accepting as authentic, has written a book of Ahadith. It is available in your home. It contains 500 pages and its color is such and such and the Ahadith you have rejected are written by him on such and such page numbers in that book.
Shaikh Hussamuddin did not remember that book. He refused to have such a book at his home. To find out the truth, the King sent a person to his house to find that book. We all waited for the person to return. The person went to his house and found that book. The book was brought to the Court Hall. When they looked, the Ahadith were found on the pages as described by the Shaikh. "
(iii) One of the Murids of Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) named Muhammad Zahid, described an incident in the company of the Shaikh, as follows.
"A few months had passed since I became Murid. Once I was sitting in front of the Shaikh. It was spring season. I felt a craving to eat watermelon. When this thought occurred in my mind repeatedly, Shaikh looked at me and said, Muhammad Zahid, go to the stream near our house and bring us what you see and we will eat it. I went to the rivulet and found a watermelon flowing on the surface of the stream close by its bank. I was able to catch the watermelon from my hand. The watermelon was very fresh. I brought it to the Shaikh. The fruit was cut into pieces and all in attendance were served with it."
(iv) Khwaja Bahauddin (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) described three ways to achieve the knowledge of Truth (علمِ حق). (i) Contemplation (Muraqaba- مُراقبہ), (ii) Vision (Mushahada - مُشاہدہ), and (iii) Reckoning (Muhasaba - مُحاسبہ).
Explaining the terms he said, in the state of Contemplation the seeker forgets about the entire Creation, and remembers only the Creator.
In the State of Vision, inspirations from the Unseen come to the heart of the seeker accompanied by two states, (a) contraction, and (b) expansion. In Contraction, the vision is held at the majesty of Almighty. In expansion, the seeker sees the beauty of His Tajalliat.
In the state of Reckoning, the seeker evaluates every second that has passed; was it in the presence of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) or in the presence of the world.
The general rule is, the seeker must reject Satan's evil whispering and Anima's (Nafs) insinuations. It is important to reject them before they reach him. At least, he should reject them after they reach him. If he allows them to reach and control him, it is very difficult for him to take them out of his heart.
Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) died on Monday, 3rd Rabia I, 791 AH (March 3,1389 AD). As per his instructions, he was buried in the Garden within his school complex.
The successive rulers of Bukhara expanded the complex and a massive mausoleum was constructed at his Maqaam.
Surrounded by ever expanding complexes and buildings, his mausoleum in Bukhara, Uzbekistan is visited by thousands of Muslims from all over the world.
After the death of Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه), successive scholars, have written books about his deeds and sayings. These include, (i) Awrad an-Naqshbandiyyah, (ii) Tanbih al-Ghafilin, (iii) Maslakul-Anwar, (iv) Hadiyyatus Salikan wa Tuhfatut Talibin, etc.
Biographical accounts of Khwaja Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) were written and published after his death by many Naqshbandi scholars. These include (i) Awrad Bahauddin by Masud al-Bukhari and Sharif al-Jarjani. This book contains his life’s works and Fatawa. (ii) Risala Qudsiyya, by Shaikh Muhammad Parsa, died in Madina in 822 AH (1419 AD). (iii) Al-Bahja al-Saniyya, by Khani. (iv) Anis at-Talibeen by Salahuddin Mohammad Bukhari.
Spiritual Golden Chain (Shajrah-e-Treeqa) of Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه ) is as follows:(1) Ahmad Mujtaba, Mohammad Mustafa (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم)
(2) Ameer al-Momineen Abu Bakr Siddique (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )
(3) Hadhrat Salman Farsi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )
(4) Hadhrat Qasim ibn Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )
(5) Hadhrat Imam Jafar Sadiq (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )
(6) Hadhrat Bayazid Bastami (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )
(7) Hadhrat Abul Hassan al-Kharaqani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )
(8) Hadhrat Abul Qasim Gurgani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )(9) Hadhrat Abu Ali Farmadi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )(10) Hadhrat Abu Yaqub Yusuf Hamadani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )(11) Hadhrat Abdul Khaliq Ghujdawani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )(12) Hadhrat Arif Reogari (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )(13) Hadhrat Mahmood Anjir Faghnawi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )(14) Hazrat Khwaja Azizan Ali Ramitani (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )(15) Hadhrat Khwaja Muhammad as-Sammaasi (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )(16) Hadhrat Khwaja Amir Kulal (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )(17) Hadhrat Khwaja Baha'uddin Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه )
Some well known Shuyookh who continued Khwaja Naqshband's (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) legacy after his death are as follows.(i) Shaikh Alauddin Bukhari al-Attar (رحمة الله عليه), died 802 AH (1393 AD), Khalifa, and son-in-law of Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه).(ii) Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Mahmud al-Hafizi (رحمة الله عليه), also known as Muhammad Parsa, died in 822 AH (1419 AD). He was a prolific writer and author of 'Risala Qudsiyya'. He is the founder of many traditions of the Naqshbandi order.(iii) Shaikh Yaqub al-Karkhi (رحمة الله عليه) of Ghazni, died in 851 AH (1447 AD). He was responsible for the expansion of Naqshbandi order in Central Asia.(iv) Shaikh Ahmad Farooqi Sirhindi (رحمة الله عليه). He was an Indian Scholar and Jurist lived during 1564-1624 in India. He is described as 'Reviver of the second Millennium' (مُجدٌِد الف ثانی) for his struggle in opposing 'Deen-e-Elahi', a Cocktail of Religions founded by Mughal Emperor Akbar in India. His Shaikh was Khwaja Baqi Billah (رحمة الله عليه), who was the originator and pioneer of Naqshbandi Order in Indian sub-continent.
Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshband (رضئ الله تعالی عنه) is among Awliya-e-Kubaar. He taught people Islamic Tawheed, the tenets of Islam, love of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم), his Ahle Bait-e-At Haar, dignitaries of Islam and Awliya Allah. He followed Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) in every aspect of his life. His services in spreading Islam in Central Asia are unparalleled.