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Hazrat Shah kalim Ullah Jehanabadi R.A

The greatness of Ali (rahmatullahi alaihi) is really great!
Do blossom the bud of my aspirations;
With the pains of separation is there great restlessness.
Salutations to you, Oh comfort to the soul of Ali (rahmatullahi alaihi)
Shah Kalimullah – the saint of Shah Jehanabaad

Hazrat Shah Kalimullah Jehanabaad (rahmatullahi alaihi) occupies a very prominent place in the history of Islam and the Chishtia silsila. The golden era of the Chishtia silsila ended with the passing of Khwaja Nasirudeen Chiragh Dehlawi (rahmatullahi alaihi); for though his successors such as Hazrat Kamaludeen (rahmatullahi alaihi) carried on his work ably, the saints of the silsila became outnumbered by numerous false sufis who claimed the rank of sainthood to try and emulate the great power, reverence and influence that the Chishtia order held. Thus despite the utmost attempts of the true mashaaikh, the lofty principles and noble aims of the Chishtia silsila became drowned in a sea of false mystics searching only to increase their own prestige, and their popularity dwindled. It was Shah Kalimullah Jehanabaad (rahmatullahi alaihi) who was responsible for revitalising and restoring the silsila to its former glory. He recreated the infrastructure of the organisation, and reasserted its primary aims as they had been in the time of Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (rahmatullahi alaihi) and his great successors, which were the propagation of Islam and Sufism.

Shah Kalimullah (rahmatullahi alaihi) was born on the 24th Jamaad-us-Saani 1060 AH to a noble and well-renowned family of artisans, mathematicians and engineers. His lineage is directly linked to H Abu Bakr Siddiq (rahmatullahi alaihi). His father had been specifically invited to Delhi by the Emperor Shah Jehan to oversee the construction of the Taj Mahal. Hazrat Shah Kalimullah (rahmatullahi alaihi) once remarked that “my family’s task was to build palaces and edifices; my responsibility is to build a nation, and the hearts of a people.” He studied religious knowledge under such great ulema as Shaikh Burhani and Shaikh Abu Waida al-Hindi, the uncle of Hazrat Shah Waliullah (rahmatullahi alaihi ajma’een). Along with his families knowledge of mathematics, engineering, astronomy, philosophy and poetry, he was thus afforded an education of unparalleled breadth and depth.

The story of his attraction to Sufism is an interesting one. After becoming a learned alim he fell head over heels in love with a very beautiful girl. So enraptured was he by her that he passed his days in a madness of unrequited love, and wandered eventually into the company of a great majzoob. The majzoob made dua for him to Allah, and the very next day Shah Kalimullah (rahmatullahi alaihi) found his love returned by the girl. However, at that very moment, Shah Kalimullah (rahmatullahi alaihi) realised how limited his love for this mortal being was, and how much greater and deeper his love for the inner, eternal beauty of the majzoob was. Immediately he returned to the majzoob and begged to study under him. But the saint, realising that Shah Kalimullah (rahmatullahi alaihi) was already burning up with Allah’s love, replied that all he had was fire; rather Shah Kalimullah (rahmatullahi alaihi) should go to Shaykh Yahya Madini (rahmatullahi alaihi), for he was a sea of knowledge who would be able to cool his fire and guide him along the path. So inspired was Shah Kalimullah (rahmatullahi alaihi) by this statement that he immediately left for Madinatul Munawwarah. Coming into the company of Shaykh Yahya Madini (rahmatullahi alaihi), he realised that there was another, deeper aspect of Islam that even he, a learned professor of deen, knew nothing of. Accepted as a mureed, he underwent strict trials and mujahedas for six years before being given the Khalifa-e-azam of Shaykh Yahya Madini (rahmatullahi alaihi). Then he was ordered to return to India and given the heavy task of restoring the Chishtia silsila in India to its former greatness.

Arriving in Delhi, he founded not only a famous Darul Uloom, but also a great Khanqah near the Jaami Mosque which his family had built. This khanqah was to become the nerve centre of a revitalised Chistiyya silsila as it once again blossomed and sent its seedlings out over India. His aim in life was to propagate the deen of Islam, and his university served this end very well. Not only did people receive outward knowledge of deen and sciences such as mathematics and astronomy, but also the inward knowledge of sufism. From here missionaries were sent out across the whole of India, such as for example his khalifa Khwaja Nizamudeen Aurungabaadi (rahmatullahi alaihi).

Hazrat Shah Kalimullah (rahmatullahi alaihi) lived a life of complete tawakkul or reliance in Allah. His manner and teachings, both outward and inward, were exactly in accordance with the sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). He renewed the original principles of Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (rahmatullahi alaihi) of never accepting gifts or having anything to do with the rulers of the time, a practice that had slipped into disuse after Khwaja Nasirudeen Chiragh (rahmatullahi alaihi). Such was the power of his holy presence that even the King of Delhi used to be awestruck by him, and never spoke in his company without permission. From his khanqah in Delhi, Shah Kalimullah (rahmatullahi alaihi) would organise the Chishtia silsila across India via a great network of missionaries and khulafa. In this way the great internal cohesion that was the hallmark of the Golden Era of the Chishtis was re-established. He was so adamant about the pre-eminence of propagating Islam that he ordered every mureed of his to make it their aim in life to spread the religion. He wished to ensure that all men and women entered and progressed in Islam through love, rather than by any compulsion.

Shah Kalimullah (rahmatullahi alaihi) wrote many books in his time as well which have been received by international acclaim. Among these were a tafseer or commentary on the Holy Quran and books of hadith. His most famous work, Kashkhol e Kaleemi, is regarded by the mashaaikh of past and present as the foremost work on the training of a spiritual disciple. Ruqqa, another book of his, prepares a beginner to enter the path to Allah. Shah Kalimullah (rahmatullahi alaihi) saw no difference between men and women on the spiritual path, training and urging both genders equally to propagate Islam amongst others of their sex. He stressed that women are the mothers of the nation, and that they were the first and most important teachers of their children.

Shah Kalimullah (rahmatullahi alaihi) passed away at the age of 79 after a lifetime spent in the propagation of Islam. He left behind twenty khulafa, all of whom became great walis of their times. Because of his great services to Islam and sufism he has rightly been called the Reviver of Islam in India. So influential were his teachings and methods of propagation that they have been copied and referred to by all the shaikhs from his time onwards. Khwaja Habib Ali Shah used to keep copies of Kashkhol-e-Kaleemi with him all the time, and used the great wali’s methods in his own great Khanqah in Hyderabad. May Allah give us the ability to follow the practice of this great shaikh and servant of Islam with our actions, thoughts and hearts.

The beloved sleeps, covering her face with the beautiful locks of her hair.
Khusro, go home! The darkness of evening has engulfed the whole world.

 

Hazrat Shah Kalim Ullah of Jahanabad r.a

The greatness of Ali r.a is really great!

Do blossom the bud of my aspirations;

With the pains of separation is there great restlessness.

Salutations to you, Oh comfort to the soul of Ali r.a.

Shah Kalimullah-the saint of Jehanabad.

 

Hazrat Shah Kalimullah of Jahanabad r.a occupies a very important place in the history of the Chishtiya Silsilah, as it was at his hands that the silsilah was revitalized and restored to its former glory. Although the work of the order had been sustained in various regional centers (such as Gujrat), its voice was somewhat drowned out by the rush of false Sufis who appeared in the scene in the confusion that followed the downfall of the Delhi kingdom and the creation of the Mughal Empire.

It was Shah Kalimullah r.a who recreated the infrastructure of the organization, and reasserted its primary aims as they had been in the time of Khwaja Moin Uddin Chihshti Ajmeri Ghareeb Nawaz and his great successors. The order was reinvigorated in the twilight of the Mughal rule, and retained its primary principles; devotion to Allah, service of the poor and separation from the ruling powers.

Shah Kalimullah r.a was born on the 24th Jamad ath-Thani, 1060 AH to a noble and well-renowned family of artisans, mathematicians and engineers. His lineage is directly linked to Sayyidina Abu Bakar as-Siddiqui r.a . His father had been specifically invited to Delhi by the Emperor Shah Jahan to oversee the construction of the Taj Mahal. Shah Kalimullah r.a once remarked that, “my family’s task was to build palaces and edifices; my responsibility is to build a nation, and the heart of a people.” He obtained his religious knowledge under such great ulama as Shaykh Burhani and Abu Wayda al-Hindi, the uncle and instructor of Shah Waliullah r.a. This, combined with his family’s knowledge of mathematics, engineering, astronomy, philosophy and poetry, afforded him an education of unparalleled breadth and depth.

The story of his attraction to the spiritual way is an interesting one. After becoming an alim, he fell head over heels in love with a very beautiful girl. So enraptured was he by her that he passed his days in a madness of unrequited love, and wandered eventually into the company of a great majdhub. He asked the majdhub to make dua from him to Allah, which the saintly man dutifully did. The very next day, Shah Kalimullah r.a found his love returned by the girl. However, at that very moment, Shah Kalimullah realized how limited his love for this mortal being was, and how much greater and deeper was his love for the true inner beauty of the majdhub. Immediately he returned, begging to study under him.

But the saint realizing Shah Kalimulah’s r.a destiny, replied, “my dear son, all I have is fire. But your fire is already burning you up. Rahter you should go to Shaykh Yahya Madni r.a for he possesses an ocean of knowledge. He will be able to cool your fire and guide you along the path.”

So inspired was Shaha Kalimullah r.a by the statement that he immediately lfet for Medinah al-Munawara. Coming into the company of Shaykh Yahya Madni r.a, he immediately understood that though he knew much about religion, he knew little about his Lord. He was accepted as a murid and underwent strict trials and mujhidah for 6 years.Shaykh Yahya Madni r.a then sent him to Mecca to perform the pilgrimage. It is said that upon reaching there, the saints of city declared, “The Qutab of the world has arrived in Mecca”. Eventually, after more strivings and tests, he was awarded the khilafat-e-azam of Shyakh Yahya Madni r.a . Then he was ordered to return to India and to commence the heavy task of restoring the Chishtiya Silsilah in India to its former greatness.

Arriving in Delhi, he founded not only famous Darul Alum, but also a great Khanqah near the Jammia Masjid that his family had built. This khanqah was to become the nerve center of a revitalized Chishtiya Silsilah, as it once again blossomed and sent its seedlings out over India. His major aim was to propogate the religion of Islam, the structures that he had build served this end very well. The university and Khanqah together ministered to all aspects of Muslim education; from the religious sciences, to worldly knowledge such mathematics and astronomy, as well as the inner wisdom-study of tasawwuf.

 

From here to, missionaries were sent out across the whole of India, foremost of who was his Khalifa al-Azam Khwaja Nizam Uddin of Aurangabad. Shah Kalimulla saw no difference between men and women on the spiritual path, training and urging both genders equally to propagate Islam amongst others of their sex. He stressed that women are the mothers of the nation, and that they were the first and most important teachers of their children.

From this headquarter in Delhi; Shah Kalimullah would organize the Chishtiya Silsila across India via this huge network of missionaries and khulafa. In this way, the great internal cohesion that was the Hallmark of the golden era of the Chishtia was re established, He was so adamant about the pre-eminence of propagating Islam that he ordered every murid of his to make it their aim in life to spread the religion. He wished to ensure that all men and women entered and progressed in Islam through love, rather than by any compulsion.

Shah Kalimullah also found the time to write many books, some of which have maintain lasting acclaim. Among these were a Tafsir( Quran al-Quran) and commentaries on books of Hadith. Some of his other works included: Siwa aa-Sabil, Ashrah-e-Kamilah, and Tasnim. Muraqqah Kalemi was a manual preparing a beginner to enter the path to Allah.

His most famous work, however, was Kashkol-e-Kalemi; recorded by the Shaykh of past and present as the foremost work on the training of the spiritual disciple.

The books of Shah Kalimullah, especially Kahskol-e-Kalemi are among the most important of the Chishtiya Silsilah’s text books, and are deemed required reading for the muridin of the order. They are the brilliant works in the science of Reality, Haqaiq and divine knowledge (Maarifah), through which every student may attain spiritual progress.

 

Hazrat Shah Kalimullah lived a life of complete tawwakul ( reliance on Allah). His wealthy family has left him a large house in Delhi, which he rented out, using the income to sustain himself and his family. His personal expenditure was only 2 and half rupees a month, and he had a rented smaller accommodation for his family, for only half a rupee a month. This he maintained despite offers from muridin and students.

 

His manner and teachings, both outward and inward, were exactly in accordance with the sunnah of the Rasululla swm. As was the way of his elders, he maintains a rigorous time table of fasting, abstinence and prayer; although his khanqahs became centers of hospitality, charity and beneficence.

Shah Kalimullah remained steadfast to the original principles of Khwaja Moin Uddin Chishti r.a. to never accept gifts from, or become involved with, the rulers of the time.

One of the rulers of the time, Sultan Farakhsaier, repeatedly requested him to accept a monthly stipend from his treasury, an offered a large house for him to live in, but Shaha Kalimullah r.a steadfastly refused. The King also used to request audiences with him, but these too were refused. The King and the Sufi master use to go to the same Masjid for Jummah prayers. Such was the power of his holy presence, however, that Kaing and his governors were too in awe of Shah Kalimullah to approach him even there. On the rare occasions that the wealthy and the powerful were allowed into his company they never spoke without permission.

Shaha Kalimullah attained unity with Allah at the age of seventy nine after a lifetime spent in the propagation of Islam. He left behind twenty Khulafa, all of whom were recognized in their time as Auliya Allah. Because of his great services to Islam and tasawwuf, he has rightly been called the revival of Islam in India. SO influential were his teachings and methods of propagation that they had been copied by the Shaykh from his time onwards. He made wisal in the year 1139 AH, and is buried in Delhi. He passed on his principle in the Chishti, Naqshabandi, Suherwardi and Qadriya orders to his successors, Khwaja Nizam Uddin Aurangabadi.

 

Hazrat Shah Nizam Uddin of Aurangabad r.a

This world of multiplicity has an adverse effect,

Whereas in reality my origin is unity;

These days the garden of my heart is slowly withering.

Salutations to you Oh beauty of Aurang-e-Chisht,

O Nizam Uddin! May my garden be refreshed.

 

Hazrat Shah Nizam Uddin Aurangabadi was a leading saint of southern India. As the Khalifa al-Azam of Harzrat Shaha Kaliullah r.a the responsibility of propagating Islam and reforming the Muslim community at large fell on to his shoulders. The Mughal empire, the safeguard of order and civilization in India for three centuries and more was on the wane; an political instability and created a tremendous decline in both morale and morals. In these trying times, it was Shah Nizam Uddin who became the light- bearer for a struggling society.

Khwaja Nizam Uddin Aurangabadi birth and early history are somewhat vague; through it is known that he –like his murshid-was a decendant of Hazrat Abu Bakar As-Sadiq. His birthplace is thought to be Kakor, India and it was there that he received his early education. To further his studies he travelled to Delhi, the center of the learning at the time, and sought out a university. Word of the popularity of Hazrat Shah Kalimullah Jahanabadi reached his ears. And he decided to meet the great saint. When he arrived at the seminary of Shah Kalimullah, he found the door locked, as Shaykh was engaged in the spiritual musical assembly of Sama; to which outsiders were not permitted. Unaware of this, he knocked at the door and, to the amazement of other disciples, was welcomed in by Shah Kalimullah and shown great love.

Soon after, he enrolled in the great saints’ university. Initially, his primary aim was to obtain religious external knowledge only; but after a time the intense spiritual atmosphere that surrounded Shah Kalimullah r,a drew him closer to the path of tasawwuf. One day as his Shaykh prepared to leave Hazrat Nizam Uddin came forward, dusted his murshids shoes, and placed them before him. Upon seeing this, Shah Kalimullah enquired

“O Nizamuddin! Have you come to acquire knowledge, or do you seek the path to Allah?” To this the saint humbly replied, “You know better what is for me; you know better, for us, for me.”

Upom hearing these lines Shah Kalimullah recalled the prophecy of Hazrat Saykh Yahya Madni  who stated that the one who would utter these words would be responsible for the spread and propagation of the Chishtiya Silsilah. Hazrat Nizamuddin’s spiritual instructions began immediately.

After a period of strict spiritual training, Shah Nizamuddin was made the foremost khalifa of Shah Kalimullah r.a and was instructed to spread Islam and serve the needs of the community in southern India. He travelled extensively through out the whole of southern Indian Plateau teaching and catering for the needs of the community, before settling down and establishing a seminary in Aurangabad. The seminary had ten doors, and none for forbidden entrance or education. At each door stood a scribe, and whenever anyone came with financial problems they would write the following lines

“The remembrance of Allah is the greatest; on this my heart is fully concentrated. To this world Nizam Uddin is oblivious”.

The poor would than take this to the rich members of the community who, because of their respect and deep love for the great saint would regard it as the highest honor to fulfill their brothers needs.

 

Shah Nizam Uddin Aurangabad was actively involved in the propagating of Islam; and along with this he gave special attention to the spiritual training of his muridin. Historian have quoted the number of those disciples as being over 100,000 , many of whom were the people elevated spiritual state( ahl-e-Haal) and perfection ( Sahib al-Kamal). After each of the five daily Salah upto five hundred people would gather in his masjid to make the dhikr of Allah. Hazrat Nizam Uddin was strict in his observance of the Sunnah of Rasulullah swm. His concern for the welfare of the community, as exemplified by his care of the poor, was sincere and very great. He would always ensure that, in whatever way possible, he would fulfill the need of anyone who asked him for assistance.

Hazrat Nizam Uddin also wrote several books. The most important of these Nizam al-Qalub, a collection of his sayings. IN it he stresses the importance of spiritual upliftment (Islah) prior to one commencing the propagation of Islam. He states that in order to be a true representative of Islam, one necessarily must possess those qualities of spiritual perfection that would allow the person to spread the religion, not only by word, but also by practice and principle. In addition, this book describes the silent dhikr of the breath known as Pas Anfas. He states,

“ If you have any common sense, then continue the dhikr of pas anfas. Instantly, both the world will be yours. Immersion in Pas Anfas is the sword of the people of Allah, by which they cut the throat of the devil. This one advice alone will suffice you in this world; let no breath leave your chest without the mention of Allah’s name.”

Hazrat Nizam Uddin had thirteen khulafa continued his work after his demise, foremost of whom was his son, Moulana Fakhr Uddin MOuhib un-Nabi. His last few days on this earth were passed in a state of complete absorption in the rememberance of Allah (Istaghrak) he left this world on the 12 Zilqadah 1142 AH, and lies buried in his Mazar in Aurangabad. Ample testimony to his great services to Islam both during his life and posthumously can be found in the title afforded to him, Qutab-e-Deccan, or, ‘the axis around which revolves the south.’

 

Hazrat Shaykh Muhyi ad-Din Yahaya Madni r.a

Do grasp the helpless with your grace

Do grant us a sip from the goblet of love

Be good to us, for the sake of the best of creation

Salutations to you, oh Qutab of Madinah, salutations

Have mercy Shaykh Yahya, Master of kindness.

 

Shaykh Aby Yusud Yahya ibn Mohammed was a great master of the Chishtiya Nizami order; he whose renown spread beyond the borders of the Indian subcontinent, the Arab world and even the Hijaz. Such was his greatness that he was afforded the title of Muhyi ad-Din-the reviver of religion-by his contemporaries.

It is reported that he was a born wali, and upon completing his formal training in the Islamic sciences, he began his search for a spiritual guide. He soon became the murid of the now-elderly Khwaja Mohammed Chishti r.a., the famed Sufi master of the Gujrat. Such was his degree of spiritual perfection, even at such a young age, that he was immediately awarded the khilafat-e-azam of Khwaja Mohammed r.a for every silsilah in which he was authorized. He also (later) received khilafat from both of his father and grandfather whilst still in India. He settled in Delhi where he began the spiritual instruction of the people there, His fame soon spread to such a degree that Aurangzeb, the last of the great Mughal emperor , often sent messengers requesting to meet him. IN the tradition of the Chishtiya, however Shaykh Yahaya r.a consistently refused to see him. Eventually, clearly growing exasperated, Emperor Aurangzeb decided to arrive, unannounced at his kanqah. He arrived with his entourage and presented to himself before the great saint, asking a question about dhikr. Khawaja Yahya r.a, however , wasunfazed by the appearance of Aurangzeb, the most powerful man in the known world at that time. He merely recited a verse from the Holy Quran-most likely “Oh ye who believe, do not enter another;s house without permission of the owner and without greeting him with peace….”.as well as instructing the mighty Emperor about the Sunnah of visitation. Then he dismissed him, warning him that if he returned without permission he would suffer the consequences.

This astounding display of indifference in the face of one of the greatest temporal powers the world had ever seen-who was also notorious for his lack of tolerance or humility-merely enhanced the respect in which Shaykh Yahya Madni r.a was held. It promoted comparisons with the actions of the great elders of the Chishtiya order and their struggle with the ruling powers.

Shaykh Yahya was a great lover of Sama’ and often used to arrange gatherings of Sama at his khwanqah, for the benefit of his muridin. His love for Rasulullah swm was deep and intense, so much so that he eventually emigrated to Madinah to live at the feet of Holy Prophet swm. This, of course, is the reason for his title(ism al-nisbah) ‘al-Madni’ in fact; he would be more correctly described as ‘al muhajir al-Madani- the one who emigrated to Madinah.

There are various reasons, mentioned for his emigration. One states that during one of his Sama sessions, a qawal recited a verse about going to Medinah and meeting one’s beloved. At his he went into state of ecstasy and declared, ‘I will go tomorrow!” There awoke in him a great longing to live in the illuminated city of the blessed Prophet swm. Another story says that  Raulullah came to him in a dream and requested him to journey to Medinah in order to live with him. One way or another, his longing grew too intense that he left his Khanqah and all his worldly possessions in order to end his physical separation from his beloved.

Before he left, however, he asked his mother’s permission, which she granted on condition that he would return for her Janazah. He thus left on the long and hard journey to Medinah, but immediately upon arriving, received word that his mother was gravely ill. Having only just arrived, he promptly returned to his homeland in time to be with his mother through her final illness.

He performed her Janazah, than left once again for Medinah, where he settled until his won wisal, on the 28th of Safar 1122 AH. He was buried in Jannah al-Baqi near the mazar of Sayydinah Utham r.a although his won grave was later destroyed.

Hazrat Khwaja Fuzail Ibn Ayaz r.a

Far too long the pages of my heart been sealed.

Illuminate it now-as shine the gardens-

Heads prostrate are the dwellers of the gardens.

Salutations to you, Oh Fuzail Ibn Ayaz !

Do grant me devotion and abstinence,

 

Hazrat Khwaja Fuzail Ibn Ayaz began his career somewhat ignominiously as a highwayman, playing the prosperous trade route between Bavard and Merv. As the chief of a group of bandits, he would wear the woolen garb of a dervish and tie a tasbih around his neck, while dividing the spoils of his gang amongst themselves. He was the epitome of the chivalrous highwayman; women in the caravan he would leave with dignity and belongings intact, he would never steal from one of small means, and he always left the merchants with some portion of their goods. Once a rich caravan was headed for the region, and its leader decided to hide a bad of gold with Fuzail r.a who looked for all the world to be a holy man.

“I entrusted you with my money,” he told the highwayman, “If we do get robbed, at least I will have something to fall back on.” The caravan proceeded and sure enough was waylaid by the robbers. The merchant then returned to the tent of Fuzail r.a, only to see him casually dividing up the spoils ! However, his astonishment redoubled when the highwayman told him to claim his gold, which was where he left it. “ Ah!” Fuzail’s peers,” we did not find one gold dhiram in the caravan, and there you go and return ten thousand to him!”

“ He had a good opinion of me” Fuzail r.a replied, “ I have always had a good opinion of Allah, that he will cause me to repent my ways one day.” And such proved to be the case; for Allah accepts sincere prayers, even the prayers of a sinner. That day came, when, approaching a caravan, he heard a man reciting the following verse from the Holy Quran,

“ Has the time not come for the healers of those who believe to be humbled in the remembrance of God?”

Those words pierced him like an arrow, and he fell to the ground in tears of repentance. Immediately he discarded his evil ways and, by means of absoloution, he sought out every single one of his vicitims, repaying each them what he had taken from them. He then went to the court of the sultan, confessing his crimes and begging that judgement be meted out of him. However, the sultan, seeing upon him the marks of righteousness, refused to punish him.

Hazrat Khwaja Fuzail r.a then took his family and departed for the holy lands, working as a water-carrier to earn a living. He settled for a while in Kufah, where he spent time in the company of Imam Abu Hanifa r.a. Hearing the tremendous reputation of Imam al-Hassan Basri, he travelled to Basra hoping to become his murid. However, when he arrived, he found that the Imam ahd already passed away, and he took Baya’h with his Khalifa, Hazrat Khwaja Imam Abd al-Wahid.

The gates of oratory were opened to him, and he began to preach in a manner that soon the entire Islamic world knew of him. One of his most famous pupils was Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal. He becale the greates disciple of his murshid, and also acquired Khilafat from Abu Iyadh ibn Mansur, whose silsilah reaches Sayyidina Abu Bakar r.a. Thus, through Hazrat Khwaja Fuzail, the chain of the Chishtiya order arises from both the great Sahaba Imams of Tasawwuf, Prince of faithful Hazrat Imam Ali and Hazrat Abu Bakar r.a

 

Khwaja Fuzail was one of the greatest of the early Sufis, who in that formative period of Islam, were distinguished not specialized action or formal designation, but by the loftiness of their characters and their closeness to Allah. It was about one of Khwaja Fuzail’s Khalifa, Hazrat Bashr al-Hafi, that Imam Ahmed Hanbal said, “ I know fiqh, tafsir, logic, Hadith and linguistics better than he, but he knows my Lord better than I.” What was true fo the pupil was even more true for the master. The Sufis were held in awe by all around them by virtue of their tremendous piety, even though their peers were the greatest of Imams of religion. It was said of Imam Abu Hanifah, “ how could he possibly have lapsed into error or impiety, with a companion like al-Fuzail to guide and correct him?”

Many stories are told of his extreme discipline. He used to perform the continous fast that became a hallmark of the zahidin (ascetics), eating only after several days. He also used to perform up to 500 nawafil salah in a day and night. One of the titles afforded to Hazrat Khwaja Fuzail and his contemporaries was ‘al-Bakkaa’in—the Weepers—for they used to spend nights awake weeping out of fear of displeasing Allah. Such was his adherence to the Sunnah that, when he once forgetfully washed his arm twice instead of three times in wuduh, Rasulullah swm himself came to remind him of his lapse. He achieved wide repute also as an authority on hadith, and in the biographical dictionaries he is noted as narrator of the highest reliability and trustworthiness.

Once the Caliph Harun al-Rasheed came to him for advice. His words left the emperor beside himself with sorrow. Harun declared, “ it is Fuzail (not I) which is a king among men. His boldness is extreme, and the very world is contemptible in his eyes.”

 

Aphorism

  • Imam bin Hanbal heard Khwaja Fuzail say, ‘whoever pursues leadership will be disgraced. Remain insignificant, and do not live as though you are a great man.’
  • He who acquires masifah billah ( true knowledge of Allah) without love will be destroyed by pride. He who acquires Khauf ( fear of Allah) without love, terror and despondency will stop him attaining closeness to his Lord.
  • More surprising than seeing a person crying in paradise, is the sight of a person laughing on earth.
  • One day Hazrat Khwaja Fuzail was standing at Arafat, witnessing all the thousands of pilgrims weeping and calling upon God for mercy. “ Subhanallah !” he exclaimed. “ if all these thousand went to one man and asked him together for a single penny, do you think he would refuse? “ No,” came the response. “ Well, it is easier for Almighty Allah to forgive them all, than for that man to give them a penny. Surely he is most bountiful.”

 

Hazrat Khwaja Fuzailibn Ayaz r.a attained unity with Beloved in 187 AH in Makkah whilst listening to the recitation of Surah al-Qariah , he gave a fearful cry and died. Hazrat Abdullah bin Mubarak r.a reported that, at the moment of his death, a cry was heard from ehaven and silence settled over the earth. He is buried in Janaat al-Maala, near the resting place of Hazrat Khatija al-Kubra r.a. The most famous of his Khulfa were Hazrat Bashr Hafi and Hazrat Khwaja Ibrahim bin Adham.

 

 

HAZRAT KHWAJA SHAH SULEYMAN TAUNSVI R.A

A and old are here absorbed in love. Salutations to you, O Hazrat of brilliant insight
The master of Tawsa: Khwaja Suleiman – the helper.

Hazrat Tawsa Sharif, a small town in Pakistan, is home to one of the most influential of the later Chishtiyya saints – Khwaja Suleiman Tawsawi (rahmatullahi alaihi). Khwaja SuleimanÕs wilayah was recognised even before he was born; whilst still in his motherÕs womb, a pious saint used to come and pay his respects to the yet unborn child. Upon the mother asking the reason for these visits, he told her that her son would be a miraculous child whose spiritual light would illuminate the world from east to west.

As a child, Khwaja Suleiman was visited by another great wali, Khwaja Noor Muhammad Maharwi (rahmatullahi alaihi) in Court Mithan, where he was schooling. Khwaja Noor Muhammad (rahmatullahi alaihi) had been informed by his own Pir-o-murshid, Khwaja Moulana Fakhrudeen (rahmatullahi alaihi), that a mighty personality would become his mureed, by whose grace all creation would benefit. He found him after years of travelling and searching in Khwaja Suleiman Tawsawi (rahmatullahi alaihi). Immediately upon embracing him and becoming his mureed, Khwaja SuleimanÕs (rahmatullahi alaihi) spiritual state changed completely, and he began to engross himself in ibaadah and spiritual exercises.

Later, when only sixteen years, Khwaja Suleiman Tawswi (rahmatullahi alaihi) visited his now ailing murshid and was granted the khilafah. Ordered by Khwaja Noor Muhammad (rahmatullahi alaihi) to propagate Islam and the Chishtiyya silsila, he spread the order to places as far afield as Iran, the Punjab, Baluchistan and India. Finally, he migrated to the city of Tawsa Sharif, where he would remain till the end of his days. Khwaja Hafiz Paak (rahmatullahi alaihi), the great wali who was destined to become his khalifa-e-azam, was one of several hundred thousand mureeds who benefited from Khwaja SuleimanÕs (rahmatullahi alaihi) guidance. Hafiz Paak (rahmatullahi alaihi) also used to recite the QurÕan and Mathnawi of Moulana Rumi (rahmatullahi alaihi) to his murshid.

As well as living the life of a faqeer and being endowed with miraculous attributes, Khwaja Suleiman (rahmatullahi alaihi) was a strict follower of the Shariah. So engrossed did he become in mystical communion with Allah that he used to remain unconscious for hours, but upon awakening, he would enquire as to whether he had missed any salaat during that time. A Hindu yogi once asked him which was greater: Sharia’h or Faqeeri. He replied unhesitatingly, “Shari’ah”. Another time, a man insane with AllahÕs love rode naked into his presence while he was in deep meditation. “What are you looking for beneath,” the man laughed, “I am here.” Yet a simple glance from Khwaja Suleiman Tawsawi (rahmatullahi alaihi) sufficed to sober him. He alighted from his donkey, put on his clothes and immediately offered salaah to Allah.

“That man was in the same wajd as Mansur-al-Hallaj,” noted Khwaja Suleiman , “If Mansur had been alive in my time, he would not have been hanged.” Mansur-al-Hallaj (rahmatullahi alaihi) was a Persian mystic whose wajd earned him execution. He refused to recant a statement spoken in his ecstasy that expressed his mystical union with God, which was misinterpreted by the orthodoxy as blasphemy. His own murshid, the great Khwaja Junaid (rahmatullahi alaihi) of Baghdad, was forced by the people to pronounce sentence on him. That Khwaja Suleiman Tawsawi (rahmatullahi alaihi) could make such a statement bears testimony to his exalted status among Awliya Allah.

Khwaja Suleiman (rahmatullahi alaihi) passed away on the 7th Safar, 1267AH after spreading the Chishtiyya Silsila for 63 years. He was buried in his roza in Tawsa Sharif, leaving behind hundreds of thousands of mureeds and a world dimmed without his spiritual light. He left his disciples with two great pieces of advice: firstly, perform your salaat wholeheartedly, after the example of the Auliya Allah; and secondly, remain in the company of the pious – in this way shall the love for Allah and his Rasul blossom in your hearts. As is stated in Sura An-Nisa, verse 69:

FRIEND HAS MERGED INTO THE UNITY OF FRIEND.

 

Hazrat Khwaja Moulana Fakhar Uddin Fakhar-e-Jahan Dehlvi R.A

The lover’s spiritual journey centres around weeping and lamenting,
To them gardens of paradise are worthless;
All beloveds do cry out the same name.
Salutations to you, the one who reveals hidden secrets –
We beseech your help O Fakhrudeen, pride of the worlds .

 

Hazrat Moulana Fakhrudeen Muhibbun Nabi Delhawi (rahmatullahi alaihi) was one of the most brilliant of Islamic scholars in India, as well as being one of the most popular of the Chishtia saints. Indeed, this noble personality’s influence is so great that it is said that after Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (rahmatullahi alaihi) and his immediate successors (the Big Five), Moulana Fakhrudeen (rahmatullahi alaihi) is regarded as being the most influential figure in the spread of the Chishtia order. All contemporary branches of the order are directly linked to the great Moulana, and his services and dedication to Islam have rarely been equalled.

Moulana Shah Fakhrudeen (rahmatullahi alaihi) was born in Aurangabad, India in 1715CE (1126AH). He was the son of the famous saint of Aurangabad, Khwaja Nizamudeen Aurangabadi (rahmatullahi alaihi), as well as being a descendant of Sayyidina Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (rahmatullahi alaihi) from his paternal side and the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) from his maternal side. When word of his birth reached Hazrat Shah Kalimullah (rahmatullahi alaihi) of Delhi, he personally named the child “Fakhrudeen” and gave him a piece of his own kharqa (patched frock). Hazrat Shah Kalimullah (rahmatullahi alaihi) also imparted the title “Moulana” to the newborn, and foretold that he would be a great scholar and saint. When Shah Nizamudeen (rahmatullahi alaihi) was on his deathbed, he held his son close to him, reading the qur’anic verse,

“…I have breathed into him of my own spirit…”
(32:9)

 

Thereafter, he named his sixteen year old son as his khalifa. For the next three years Moulana Fakhrudeen (rahmatullahi alaihi) worked hard at completing his religious and literary education, and the following eight years were spent in ascetic exercises, mujahedas and meditation. On occasion his admirers were awed to find Moulana Fakhrudeen (rahmatullahi alaihi) in a state of ecstasy, uttering remarks similar to the mystically intoxicated sufis of legend. By joining the military service of Nawab Nizamud-daula, he sought to be free of his growing reputation, but his fame soon began to be spoken of in the very camp, and he had to resign. Word of his sainthood began to spread, and due to increasing demands from his disciples, he moved from Aurangabad to Delhi in the hope of escaping the attention. On his journey to Delhi, a blind Hindu woman approached the caravan in which Moulana Fakhrudeen (rahmatullahi alaihi) was travelling. Giving a perfect description of him, she related that her goddess, Bhavani, had told him that this man would restore her sight. The great Moulana assured her that he was a common soldier, and could not perform miracles; but some time before the caravan departed, he prayed for her, and Allah restored her eyesight.

In Delhi, at the now famous Ajmer Gate, Moulana Fakhrudeen (rahmatullahi alaihi) opened a great university where he began conducting classes in various Islamic disciplines. He later opened a khanqah (spiritual centre) where he trained seekers on the path to Allah. The focus of his teachings was primarily directed towards Qur’an and hadith. He was an ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (saw), hence the appellation “Muhibbun Nabi”. He was scrupulous in his imitation of the sunnah out of love for Huzoor Paak (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), and continuously stressed the importance of this to his mureeds. Such was his devotion that just prior to his demise, he was unable to trim his bread due to weakness. At this he expressed great sorrow and lamented that it had grown beyond the required length as portrayed in the practice of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). This love for Allah and his prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) he imparted to his disciples and devotees.

Moulana Fakhrudeen (rahmatullahi alaihi)’s demeanour and personality was like a magnet that attracted people so greatly that even those initially opposed him and expressed their hatred of him eventually became his faithful followers. Once an afghan who entered his university with the intention of murder happened to sit in a gathering Moulana was addressing; by the end of the lecture, he repented and became Moulana Fakhrudeen (rahmatullahi alaihi)’s disciple.

Hazrat Moulana Fakhrudeen (rahmatullahi alaihi) was pivotally involved in the reformation of Muslim society and actively campaigned for the correct implementation and practice of the Holy Qur’an and the sacred traditions of Rasulallah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). His reformations did not stop at the masses, however. Emperors such as Ghaziuddeen Khan, his son and Emperor Shah Alam his mureeds. Another famous emperor of India, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was a great lover of Moulana Fakhrudeen (rahmatullahi alaihi) and devoted many of his poems to the great saint. In one poem the emperor says,

“I am a devotee of Qutbudeen
And dust at the feet of Fakhrudeen.
A king I may be
But a lowly servant of Fakhrudeen I seem.”

 

 

Thousands of students and disciples achieved great benefit at the hand of this great servant of Islam, and the knowledge that he imparted still bears its fruit today. Hazrat Moulana Fakhrudeen Muhibbun Nabi Delhawi (rahmatullahi alaihi) passed away on the 27th Jamaad-us-Saani in 1199AH at the age of 73 years, but his legacy lives on and will Insha-allah continue till the day of Qiyaamat

The beloved sleeps, covering her face with the beautiful locks of her hair.
Khusro, go home! The darkness of evening has engulfed the whole world.

 

Khwaja Qutab Ad-Din Maudud Al-Chishti r.a

The dwellers of heaven are slaves at this door,

All worshipers are in a state of prostration here;

They regard love of the material world as evil.

Salutations to you, Khwaja Maudud Chishti,

May the garden of my heart be the envy of heaven.

 

Khwaja Qutab ad-Din Maudud al-Chishti  r.a was the last in an unbroken line of five great Persian Sufis to hail from the blessed village of Chisht, which by this time had become renowned as a major center of tasawwuf in the eastern Islamic world. He was the son and spiritual successor of Khwaja Abu Yusuf Chishti r.a. He was thus raised in an environment of holiness and sanctity, and received his internal and external knowledge from the great master. He was particularly noted for, among other things, the excellent education he afforded his muridin in the fields of both shariah and tariqah.

Khwaja Qutab ad-Din was a hafiz by the age of seven and upon becoming his father’s murid , was told, “ Oh Maudud, adopt the path of faqr.” Thereafter he immersed himself in seclusion and meditation for twenty years. He used to complete the Quran twice daily, and engaged himself in dhikr and contemplation. He also began to perform the continuous fast of the Chishtiya. Khwaja Abu Yusuf sent him to another great Sufi of the time, Shaykh Ahmad Jami, to complete his studies in shariah and tasawwuf. By sixteen, he had completed his advanced Islamic studies and had already written a text book of fiqh (Khulasat ash-Shariah) and a manual of tasawwuf ( Minhaj al-Arifin).

His father then granted him the khilafat of the chishtiya order. He blessed him and opened his heart to the knowledge of the unseen, teaching him the ism al-azam. He then said.

“Oh Qutab ad-Din Maudud! The cloak of the dervishes’ is worn by one who walks the path of spiritual striving, one whose heart is free from jealousy, and one who neither becomes happy with the praise nor offended by insults. Always remain steadfast in the remembrance of Allah.”

Khwaja Maudud Chishti was the great knower of Allah ( arif/gnosis) who had investigated the secrets of the hidden world. Once, whilst he was lecturing on one of the hidden realms, a man seated in the audience felt some suspicion about the truth of what he was saying. Immediately, Khwaja Maudud went into Muraqbah and both of them disappeared for an hour. When they returned and were asked what happened, the stunned man replied that the great saint, reading the suspicion in his mind, had taken him to that very same hidden world that he had been lecturing about. When asked how he knew so much about the knowledge of the Unseen, he replied simply, “whatever I know or I say is by the permission of Allah”.

Khwaja Maudud Chishti r.a continued to serve the cause of Islam and the Chishtiya Silislah in this manner, and many thousands became Muslims at his hand. He is reported to have made khulafah to continue his work, whom he dispatched to every corner of the Islamic world. Chief among these was Khwaja Haji Sharif Zandani r.a

When his last time came, a huge man terrifying to behold appeared with a letter for him. Having read this letter, he kissed it and placed it on his eyes, immediately passing away. As the people prepared to read his funeral prayers, they were frightened away by a deafening awful sound, as though the earth was being rent asunder. From their hiding places, they observed thousands of jins and angels appearing to perform their own janazah for him. When the mourners attempted to lift the funeral bier, it rose into the air of its own accord and floated to the grave wherein it was to be buried. Thousands of non-Muslims saw this miraculous event and converted, convinced of the truth of Islam. He passed away in Rajab 527 AH, and up to the present day, many devotees visit his mazar for spiritual blessings.

 

Hazrat Khwaja Uthman Haruni r.a

Since love for you became fixed in my heart,

The outer body has become immaterial,

And not a moment is there fearfulness.

Salutations to you, Khwaja Uthman Haruni,

Make me independent of both the worlds.

 

The greatness of Hazrat Khwaja Uthman Haruni r.a can be measured simply glancing at the auliya-allah that sprang from his disciples, foremost of whom was the mighty saint of India, Khwaja Moin Uddin Chishti r.a. He was born in the village of Harun in Khurasan, a direct descendant of the Holy Prophet swm. By virtue of his knowledge and striving in the path of Allah, he became known as one of the greatest shaykh of his time.

Khwaja Uthman travelled very widely, and it was during one of these journeys that he encountered Haji Shairf Zandani. When he saw the glorious face of Haji Sharif r.a, he immediately placed his head at his feet and begged him to initiate him as his murid. He then devoted most of his time to seclusion and the conquering of his base desires. Upon receiving the Khalifat from Hazrat Haji Sharif Zindani r.a, a four-sided Topi was placed on his head Khwaja Sharif told him, “this cap represents four renunciations renouncing desire, renouncing sleep. Renouncing the world and renouncing the hereafter for Allah alone. This is the path of the Chishtiyah.”

For ten years he undertook strenuous mujhadahs, during which period he did not sleep by night nor eat his fill. Hazrat Khwaja Uthman was a hafiz al-Quran, and performed two complete recitations daily. It was due to these great strivings that he attained the pinnacle of spiritual glory. The effect of his tawajhu was such that whomever he bent his gaze on would renounce sin; and his muridin were characterized by a disdain for the world and proximity to the Divine.

One such murid was the great master of Indian tasawwuf, Khwaja Moin Uddin Chishti r.a , whose suluk Khwaja Uthman completed over a period of twenty-four hours. After he had molded this great servant of Islam, Uthman dispatched him to Ajmer in accordance with the instructions of Rasulullah swm. Often tales are told of the love that disciples have for their masters; but in this case, such was the longing of master for disciple that Khwaja Uthamn r.a decided to follow him to India. He embarked on this journey with another of his disciples, Khwaja Fakhr ad-Din, bringing many more people into the fold of Islam along the way.

Once they stopped in an area inhabited by Zoroastrians and needed a fire to break their fast. Coming across a great palace, they were refused permission to use the sacred fire to cook. Greatly upset that people should worship a creation of Allah rather than Allah Himself. Khwaja Uthman met with the king, whose name was Mohisa. He found him sitting on an iron throne with his seven-year old son on his lap. The Zoroastrians’ argument was that fire was divine because it was pure and burnt all that was exposed to. Khwaja Uthman laid down a challenge that if he could walk into the fire without being burnt, the king and his subjects should accept Islam. As soon as Mohisa agreed, the great saint suddenly snatched the king’s son off his lap and, to the horror of all, walked fiercely into the huge blaze. As he did so, he recited the following Quranic aayah”

“We (Allah) Said, Oh Fire! Be thou Cool and a place of safety for Ibrahim.”

Immediately, Allah caused the same miracle to work for Khwaja Uthaman r.a neither he nor the child were burnt even the slightest. Upon emerging and being asked what it had been like, Mohisa’s son replied that it was as though they had been in a beautiful garden. At this manifest miracle, the king and all his subjects became Muslim, and Khwaja Uthman r.a spent another year and a half in their company, teaching Mohisa and his son about the inner aspects of Islam. In time, by the grace of Allah, they too became saints.

Another time, an old woman whose son had disappeared forty years ago came to him for aid. He instructed everyone present to recite sura al-Fatiha five times and then told the woman to go home. He used to say, “ a friend of Allah has three qualities; generosity like the sea ( which gives unceasingly), affection like the sun(which warms all without discrimination) and humility like earth ( which considers itself lowly enough for all to tread upon it.)”

The generosity and kindness was evident in his won character, as can be gauged from the following story. A jealous neighbor bore great dislike for the saint, and used to go out of his way to trouble him. After the man died, he was seen in a dream and asked about his experiences in the grave. He said that just as the angels were about to begin his punishment, Khwaja Uthamn r.a came and forbade the angels from punishing him. Allah then tols the angels that he had forgiven the man because of the wasilah of His beloved. When Khwaja Utham r.a was asked why he done this for a man who detested him, he replied that it was the practice of his beloved Rasullualh r.a to make duaa for both friend and enemy alike.

In this way Khwaja Uthman r.a attained unity in Madina on the 5th Shawwal 617 AH, and was buried close to the mazar of his namesake Sayyidna Utham al-Ghani r.a. Unfortunately both these blessed places were destroyed by the Saudi regime, a result of its adherence to the narrow wahhabi doctrine.

 

Hazrat Khwaja Moin Uddin Hassan Chihsit Sanjagri r.a

With every breath, my restlessness increases; Why does the bud of my heart not blossom?
Grant you my wishes, for the sake of Ali (radiallahu anhu). Salutations to you, O
Khwaja, the saint of Hind! May this devotee’s aspirations be fulfilled.

 

The small town of Ajmer, 400 kilometres south and west of Delhi, is unremarkable to the eye at first glance. However, on closer inspection, one beholds the reason that it stands out; pilgrims. In thousands upon thousands they come, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, of all nationalities; raising their voices in celebration and prayer, in praise and remembrance of one of the greatest saints ever produced in the long and illustrious history of Islam. The deservedly titled Sultan of India, the Qutb or spiritual axis of the eastern Islamic world; he is the fountain from whose spiritual light have sprung all the beautiful, mighty saints of the Chishtiyya silsila: Hazrat Khwaja Moinudeen Hassan Chishti Gharibun-Nawaaz Ajmeri ( rahmtullahi alaihi).

The chieftain and founder of the Chishtiyya silsila, one of the four great orders that radiate throughout the world, Khwaja Gharibun-Nawaaz (radiallahu anhu) is one of the most respected and universally recognised figures in Sufism and Islam. He stands tall as a great spiritual leader; a reformer and purifier of hearts at the most turbulent of times. Most of the saints before his time had been concentrated around the lands of the Middle East, but he was a pioneer, a missionary who was responsible for spreading the Sufi and Islamic sphere of influence to the remotest regions of polytheistic India.

His pious character was a true picture of Islam; his practice exactly in accordance with the dictates of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah, and his teachings beautiful lessons in godliness, truthfulness, and equality which enlightened the hearts of multitudes. Authentic estimates place the number of people he guided to the path of Islam at nine million. It is a historical fact that his Chishtiyya silsila wielded a direct and crucial influence on the course of Indian history, the development of the embryonic Bhakti Consciousness Movement of Hinduism, and modern (pantheistic) Buddhism.

Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) was born in the year 536AH in Sijistan, the son of Khwaja Ghyasuddin Chishti, a pious and influential man of what is now Iran. He was a direct descendant through both his parents of Hazrat Ali (radiallahu anhu). It was a time of chaos and great upheavals in both India and the Muslim Empire as a whole. In the year of his birth, Sultan Sanjari was finally defeated before the implacable advance of the Mughals, spelling the beginning of the end of the Sultanate; and in Khurasan, where he was brought up, religious sects and barbarism had lain waste a once civilised country. He was orphaned at the tender age of fourteen, and was thus raised in the same condition as Rasulallah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam).

But social evils, moral degradations and personal tragedy stirred something deep within the young man, and he began to turn towards the spiritual life. Once when watering his father’s garden, he came across a dervish, Hazrat Ibrahim Qanduzi (radiallahu anhu). He was deeply affected by the saint’s holy manner, and Hazrat Ibrahim (radiallahu anhu) for his part transformed Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu)’s inner being. His eyes became opened to the ultimate realities of the spiritual world. Renouncing all material things, he sold his father’s garden, all his possessions and distributed the money among the poor.

Still at a young age, he arrived at the great centres of learning in Samarkand and Bokhara, where he swiftly became a hafiz and distinguished alim, fully conversant in all aspects of Islamic thought. Unsatisfied with this, he began a strict regime of prayers, meditations, fasting and self-renunciation which continued for years and grew more intense and vigorous until Allah granted him the exalted rank of sainthood. He used to fast for seven days and nights, breaking fast on the eighth with a small crust of bread soaked in water. At this point, he felt the need for a shaykh, or spiritual guide, feeling the truth of the Qur’anic injunction,

 

O YE WHO BELIEVE! BE MINDFUL OF YOUR DUTY TOWARDS ALLAH, AND SEEK A
MEANS OF APPROACH UNTO HIM, AND STRIVE IN HIS WAY IN ORDER THAT YE MAY SUCCEED. (5:35)

He himself used to state, “success is not possible without a guide.” He travelled extensively throughout the near East, finally finding a spiritual guide in Hazrat Khwaja Uthman Haruni (radiallahu anhu). In twenty years he spent under his murshid’s guidance, he attained perfection in tasawwuf and was awarded the khilafat-e-azam by Khwaja Uthman (radiallahu anhu). He offered many pilgrimages both with his murshid and alone. It was during one of these, while in Madinah Sharif, that he was directed spiritually by Rasulallah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam)) to go to India and spread Islam there. He left immediately with 40 of his disciples, on the long and arduous journey.

Along the way, he stopped in several places including Baghdad, Isfahan and Balkh. In Baghdad Sharif, he was the guest of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (radiallahu anhu), the greatest of saints and founder of the Qadriyya silsila. Hazrat Ghaus-ul Azam (radiallahu anhu) organised a qawwali in his own house for the visitors, and he himself stood outside that night, with eyes closed and his staff tightly held against the ground. When asked the reason for his actions, he replied, “I needed to stop the ground shaking, such was the power of Khawja’s wajd.”

In Sabzwar, he came across a ruler of such corruption that he would not even hesitate to denigrate the holy sahaabi of the Holy Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam). Yet one glance from the great saint sufficed to render the man unconscious. When he awoke, his personality had changed completely; he gave up his kingdom, renounced all his possessions and became a mureed of Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu).

Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) and his disciples were in a cave in the mountains of the Hindu Kush when one of the most famous events in sufi history occurred. Hundreds of miles away, in Baghdad Sharif, Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (radiallahu anhu) pronounced his chieftainship of all auliya-allah by saying, “My foot is on the neck of all walis.” Spiritually hearing the great saint’s statement, Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) immediately threw himself down and stretched his neck against the floor, signifying his submission to that truth.

It was because of this type of humble obedience that Allah granted him the title, “Sultan-e-Hind”, for he is the leader and spiritual head to all the hundreds of walis that have blessed India in after-times. So it was that Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) arrived in India at a time of tremendous upheaval and moral decay. The Ghaznavi dynasty was in its death throes, and the Rajput kings were gaining power. Tyrannical rulers were making life unbearable for common people, especially the muslims whose numbers were diminishing day by day.

Yet India is not named for no reason, “the land of saints and sufis”; its people had inherited a wealth of spirituality that yearned for expression. It was into such an arena that Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) stepped, a torch to India’s tinder. First he went to Lahore, a centre of learning where resided a great number of Muslim theologians, philosophers and sufis. Yet he soon left this place, for his divinely guided mission was not to men such as these, but rather to those who were deprived of the light of Islam.

Thus he arrived in Delhi, which was to become the seat of his most famous successors. At the time, the city was a place of much fear and mutual hatred between Hindus and Muslims, but Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) began delivering his sermons in a soft tongue, dipped in honey. As a result of this kindness and forbearance, both Hindus and Muslims were turned towards the path of truth. The great wali was revered and loved by those of both religions, a trend which, was to be the hallmark of Sufism in India.

Soon, however, he left Delhi too, heading instead for the remote city of Ajmer, deep within the kingdom of the most powerful Rajput prince in Northern India, Raj Prithviraj.

This city was completely alien to Islam; no muslims at all lived within its bounds. It was in this hostile environment that Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) and his forty disciples settled and began the bulk of his teaching. Very soon, however, he changed the entire civic atmosphere, gathering people of all races, castes and stations to the shining truth of Islam. His high morals and frugal lifestyle deeply impressed the Hindus and all the while, the beautiful messages of the Qur’an and Sunnah entered deep into their hearts. Soon they started to convert, in multitudes upon multitudes, and the raja became alarmed as even his courtiers and high-ranking servants took up Islam.

It is interesting here to note that the raja’s mother had predicted the arrival of Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu), and had warned her son not to interfere with him lest he suffer total destruction. Whether Raj Prithviraj forgot this prophecy or ignored it is unknown, but he began to harass the shaykh and trouble his followers. But Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu), holding firm to the Islamic doctrine that, “Allah is with those who patiently persevere,” steadfastly carried on his peaceful mission. One day, however, he said, “the raja will be captured alive, and his kingdom snatched away.” This prophecy was proven true not months later. The raja, was defeated by Sultan Shahabuddin, was captured alive and brought into the presence of the sultan, who ordered him executed. The power of the Rajputs was thus broken for more than three hundred years.

Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) carried on his work in Ajmer for 45 years, and millions entered Islam through his spiritual light and endeavours. Besides this great service, he also established permanent sufi centres which were run by such mighty disciples as Khwaja Qutbudeen Khaki, Hazrat Nizamudeen Auliya, Hazrat Baba Farid Ganj Shakar and Khwaja Nasiruddeen Chiragh Delhawi (rahmatullahi ta’aala ajmaeen).

On the 29th Jamaad-us-Saani, before entering his bare cell for his usual meditations, he advised his attendants that he should not be disturbed until his khalifa-e-azam, Khwaja Qutbuddeen Khaki (radiallahu anhu), arrived from Delhi. On the 6th Rajab, 633 AH, his khalifa arrived and, receiving no answer to his polite knocking, the mureeds broke down the door. There they found that their beloved murshid had already left the world, at the ripe old age of ninety-six. To the wonder and amazement of all, upon his forehead was inscribed in letters of light,

LOVER OF ALLAH, AND HE DIED IN THE LOVE OF ALLAH

 

Such was the passing of one of the greatest saints in Islamic history. Undoubtedly, if not for him and his enormous sacrifices, many of those who read this would not have been born into the mercy of this beautiful religion. One can only imagine the hardship he endured in his early years in Ajmer, in the kingdom of a hostile king, surrounded by a nation of polytheists, a people even whose native tongue – Sanskrit – was foreign to him.

How similar was his situation, and his conduct under adversity, to the Holy Prophet (saw) himself! How he managed to convert so many Hindus to Islam, working from the heart of their own kingdom, at a time when the only words that the two religions could address each other with were hatred and war, is a miracle in itself

He not only moulded the character of a people, but also led them to a more prosperous, nobler way of living, and cultivated in them the qualities of humanity and truth. Through him and his immediate successors, the entire culture and civilisation of India underwent a profound change.

As alluded to before, apart from the millions of converts to Islam, the Bhakti Consciousness movement, modern Buddhism and Sikhism, all monotheistic or pantheistic in outlook emerged from the ancient religions of Hinduism and Buddhism due in great part to the Chishtiyya silsila’s efforts in the path of Islam. As is stated in Sura al-Nasr,

When Allah’s succour and triumph cometh, and thou seest mankind
entering the religion of Allah in troops, then hymn the praises of thy Lord,
and seek. forgiveness of Him Lo! He is ever ready to show mercy.