The Chishty Order
In service of Humanity
The Chishty order was founded in the village of Chisht, thirty miles from the modern city of Herat in Afghanistan. The founder of the order was Hazrat Abu Ishaq Shami Chishty (R.A.). This order is one of the oldest and most famous. It originated in Afghanistan but its major sphere of influence was India, where the Chishty Sufis wielded an immeasurable effect on native population because of their emphasis on charity, social uplifting and generosity.
The Chishty order refrains from anything that is contrary to the dictates of the holy Quran and the practice of holy prophet ﷺ. Indeed they adhere to Sufi emphasis of Tazkiya, which refers to the purification of the heart from all negative qualities, the subduing of one’s base desires and the pursuit of Ihsan (beauty and perfection) through adoption of the divine attributes. A defining characteristic of the order is the avoidance of the company of rich and powerful, preferring that of the poor, to whom they show great respect and kindness. It is related that once a King visited Hazrat Abu Ishaq Shami Chishty (R.A.) to get help with his problem so that Hazrat could pray for him. The King's issues were resolved. Again in the time of trouble the King came to Huzoor. Seeing him Huzoor started crying and praying to Allah that “what have I done wrong that you are not happy with me. O Allah! Instead of giving me the solace of the company of poor you are testing me with the association of the rich.” The saints of Chishtiya have always sought the pains and suffering of the poor and have shown generosity and respect to those who need it most.
One of the major distinguishing features of the order, which continues even today, is the missionary aspect. In keeping with the Sunna of Rasulallah ﷺ and his companions, the khullafah of the chishtiyah are often dispatched to distant areas, often in Islamic Diaspora, where they settle and serve the spiritual needs of the populace, and doing everything through “Khidmat-e-Khalq”. They become the beloved of the population, who can see that the Sufi Master has uprooted his entire life to settle among them sharing their hopes, joys, and difficulties.
Hazrat Khwaja Nizam-Uddin-Auliyah listed the most important principles of the Chishtiyah Order:
- Unselfish service to mankind
- Living for Allah alone and maintaining complete trust in Him
- Inexhaustible generosity and forgiveness