Khwaja Moinuddin Hassan Chishty (R.A.)
Patron of the poor
Khwaja Moinuddin Hassan Chishty (R.A.) lived his life with Islamic code of conduct and Quran. His life’s crux is Al Ihsan and doing what is beautiful in Imaan. He supported and provided patronage to the poor irrespective of diversity. He sought the company of poor and regarding it as the blessing of Allah. His philosophy of seeking the divine light in every individual paved the way for the concept of universal brotherhood. His philosophy of Love is the constant solution to global conflicts and only way to peace. The language through which he communicated was that of the heart as he communicated his message of love with various cultures.
Today, Khwaja Moinuddin Hassan Chishty (R.A.) is an eternal spiritual phenomenon that drives countless lives across the globe. He is not only revered in the Indian subcontinent but across the globe.
There are various reverential titles by which he is implored by the masses, chief amongst them being
- Gharib Nawaz (one who bestows abundantly to the poor)
- Sulltan-ul Hind (The spiritual sovereign of India)
The Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) of history can be traced to Sanjan in Isfahan, which is now famous by the name of sanjar or senjar in Iran. He was born in the year 530 AH which corresponds to 1135/ 36 AD in Gregorian calendar.
According to Sayyid Muhammad bin Mubarak Kirmani’s Siyar-ul-Awliya, Khwaja Sahib’s (R.A.) blessed father was Khwaja Gayasuddin Hassan, a scholar with spiritual nature and an assured position of an Amir in Khurasaan. He affectionately called his son by the name of Hassan. Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) could trace his descent to Imam Husain (R.A.), maternal grandson of the Prophetﷺ.
His honorable mother was Hazrat Bibi Mah-Noor alias Ummul Warah daughter of Dawud the son of Abdullah al-Hambali. She could trace her lineage to Imam Hassan (R.A.) maternal grandson of the Holy Prophet Mohammed ﷺ.
Both of his parents were inclined towards the spiritual rather than this material world. He not only inherited these virtues from His parents, but was also nurtured in the same manner
Evidence of a Compassionate Nature since Birth
Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) did not have a mischievous nature like other children his age but was of a solemn temperament in his youth. His reverential title of “Gharib Nawaz”, which means one who bestows abundantly to the poor, suited him even as an infant. Once a child cried for milk in his presence, he signaled his mother to feed the child her milk and when she did so, he laughed out of joy. As he grew older at the age of three or four years old his happiness lied in gathering children of his age into his home and feeding them. One incident of his childhood related here will reflect on the personality of Gharib Nawaz (R.A.): On the occasion of Eid he was going towards Eidgah to perform Namaz. He saw a blind boy wearing tattered clothes on the way. Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) immediately gave the boy his new clothes and wore his torn garb in exchange and took the child with him to read Namaz. Huzoor's house was always open to poor and destitute; helping the needy always used to bring him deep satisfaction and bliss. These childhood traits of compassion and mercy showed the noble personality he was to attain. Khwaja Sahib's (R.A.) father was a scholar; accordingly he was educated at home by his father and became a Quran Hafiz at the age of nine. Later His father sent him to an Islamic school (madarsa), where he learned Hadeeth simultaneously with The Holy Quran. The Blessed saint's father died when he was in his fifteenth year, followed by his mother in two months. Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) inherited a garden and windmill from his parents. He started living his life on the income earned through this source.
Insurgence in the Life of the great Sufi
The great Wali loved the company of Sufis, sages and mystics. Whenever he got the opportunity of their companionship, he used to show them great regard and feel deep contentment and joy. It is professed that: 'one day he was farming, when he was visited by a renowned Majzub named Sheikh Ibrahim of Qandüz (R.A). As soon as Khwaja Sahib saw the sage, he paved him homage and treated him with great reverence. Gharib Nawaz (R.A.) left all his work, offered him food (Grapes) and set down at his feet for the service of the saint. Hazrat Ibrahim (R.A.) ate some of the grapes and happily said: "Son! The garden that you are irrigating is influenced by the cycle of time; it will be blooming one day and scorched the other. That merciful Allah Tal’a will one day bestow upon you a garden with trees that will stand resolute in the hot tempests of judgment day. One who eats the fruit of such trees does not regard the bounties of this world, even with a lifted gaze." After saying this Hazrat Ibrahim (R. A.) took out a dry flatbread from his pocket and placed it in the mouth of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty (R.A.) and went away.' It is mentioned by Hamid bin Fazlullah Jamali in Siyar-ul-'Arifin that after placing the bread in Khwaja Sahib (R. A.’s) mouth the majzub Hazrat Ibrahim (R.A.) kissed Khwaja Sahib’s (R.A.) hands and gave him some seeds of samsam (til) from his own mouth to chew on. As soon as Gharib Nawaz swallowed the seeds he was enlightened from within. His heart was filled with mutiny and all worldly wealth seemed insignificant to him. On the second day, Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) sold his Garden and windmill and distributed all his wealth among the poor and needy. All the people he knew were astonished on His decision, but in His heart Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) knew that a source of illumination was burning so brightly that all the brightness of this world seemed dark after that. Like a true mystic he travelled everywhere acquiring knowledge and divine truth in the company of great saints of that time.
In search of truth and Allah Ta’aalaa
According to Khwaja Sahib a true searcher of truth and the Allah Ta’aalaa travels in for divine knowledge in the company of pious souls. A quotation by Abu Yazid Bistami (R.A.) in Kashful Mahjub states that: “the perfection of human knowledge is ignorance. Divine knowledge: You must know enough to know that you do not know. That is to say, human knowledge is alone possible to Man, and humanity is greatest barrier that separates him from Divinity.” Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) travelled all his life quenching his thirst for enlightening the inner self and perfecting this wisdom. He spent his life in learning of the truth and service of great saints of his time, to later share it with the world, and spending his life in the service of humanity and God.
He travelled from Khurasaan to Samarkand (present Uzbekistan) and then to Bukhara, which were the renowned centers of learning at that time. Not much is known about this time of his life. In search of inner spirituality, Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) wanted the help of a spiritual guide. This pursuit took him to Iraq, where in 1156 AD he met Hazrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Al Gilani Al Hasani (R.A.). Upon meeting Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) the reverent sheikh said that: “this young man will be a great paragon of his time. He will be a source of inspiration, a centre of devotion and focus of attention for myriads of people.” From there Khwaja Sahib’s (R.A.) travelled to Haroon where He met with his spiritual guide (Murshid) Hazrat Khwaja Usman-E-Harooni (R.A.) in the mosque of Khwaja Junaid Baghdadi (R.A.).
On their first meeting the Peer-O-Murshid took his hands and said that “I have delivered you to Allah Tal’a” (Anees-ulArwah, page13) and Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) became one of his deputies (Khalifa). In Anisul Arwah Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) describes his second day in the service of his blessed peer as “The blessed saint asked me to recite Surah Al-Ikhlas 1000 times and I followed his instruction. Then He instructed me to look up, I did and said to me ‘what do you see?’ I replied everything till Arsh Azeem (the Great Arch). Then the holy Peer ordered me to glance below and said: ‘what do you see when you gaze at the ground?’ I answered I can clearly see till Hijab-e-Azmat (The Great Veil). Then He bid me to close my eyes and open them again. I did. He showed me two of his fingers and asked ‘what do you see now?’ I said eighteen thousand variety of Allah’s creation. And then he responded that ‘your work is successfully done.’”
Khwaja sahib’s first journey with his Peer was to Mecca where they stayed in Falooja. He describes this journey in his own words in Anisul Arwah.
“Having reached Mecca”, Khwaja sahib says, “We were honored by the glorious vision of Kaba. We went round it. My spiritual guide and teacher here, too, took my hand in his hand and entrusted it to God. He prayed in Kaba for my humble self. A voice was heard to the effect that:-
‘We have accepted Moinuddin’.
“Then, we reached Medina. We presented ourselves at the court of the holy prophet Mohammadﷺ. My spiritual teacher said to me, ‘Make your respectful salaams’. I offered my reverential salaams. A voice came out saying, ‘Peace be on you also, O, the head of the pious of the earth and the seas’.
“On hearing this, my spiritual guide said to me, ‘Indeed, now you have reached perfection.’”
Gharib Nawaz (R.A.) then travelled in service of the blessed saint for ten years to places like Badakhsha and Bukhara etc.
Later he voyaged alone for ten years at the directive of his Peer. Once he was returning from Isfahan a young man followed Khwaja Sahib (R.A.). He asked the young man, “Son! What are you searching for?” The youth respectfully addressed, “I am searching for your proximity.” Khwaja sahib humbly said, “I am myself is a humble servant of Sufis, what can I give you?” The courteous youth responded, “What you are Allah Ta’aalaa knows better, but I am your slave and you are my master.” On hearing the young man’s reply Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) was influenced so much that he took him under his loving guidance. This young man was later known as Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki (R.A.) and became Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty’s (R.A.) successor.
After this journey He returned back to his Peer, where he was given sermons for humanity (Anisul Arwah) and made Khwaja Sahib’s (R.A.) his successor. His spiritual guide also confided to him the holy relics of the Prophet ﷺ.It marked the beginning of another journey for Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) the journey for the betterment of humanity. His travels took him finally to Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan where His pious personality and righteous deeds would bring millions to the fold of religion of love and service to humanity.
The Veil of Death
Final Voyage, the spiritual Union or Wisa’al
In his poems Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) regarded death as a much coveted final journey by the lover to reach his God. For a Sufi death is a celebration and freedom from the pain of separation from the beloved Allah Tal’a. They regard death as a much awaited friend.
On Monday the 6th of Rajab, in the year 627 AH / 20th May 1230 AD, Khwaja Sahib (R.A.) left this finite world for the infinite and became immortal in the love of God. Upon his forehead were written the words:-
“He was a beloved of Allah, and he died in the love of Allah.”