Tuesday, August 12, 2008


HAKEEM TIRMIDHI (d. 320 H) ON JIHAD AL-NAFS [FIGHTING THE EGO]Translated from his book ‘Aadaab al -muridin’ [Rules of Conduct forthe Seekers of God] Ed. Abdulfattah Abdullah Baraka, Cairo: Matba`atas-sa`adat, 1976.
I. Concerning the Murid (seeker) and What Helps or Hurts Him in HisJourney to God Most High, and What His First Step Ought to Be
There are two types of murid:Those that seek God’s Grace by worshipping Him, fulfilling Hiscommands and avoiding His prohibitions, then turning to perform asmany voluntary good works as they can, seeking through them salvationfrom the fire and attainment of the rewards He has prepared for Hisworkers.Others approach God in worship, fulfill His commands and avoid Hisprohibitions, then turn to examine their inner self, and they find intheir hearts many diseases, such as love of the world (dunya), lustfor power, honor, and greatness, greed, the furnace of desires(shahawat), the chatter of vain passions (hawa), ambition, envy, loveof praise and compliments–all of them worldly bonds blinding theheart.
Such a heart can never find the way to God bearing those stains,because in loving the world he parts with His Lord. He is in lovewith something God has removed far from Himself and despised. To askfor greatness is to compare oneself with God Most High; in thefurnace of desires one faces the greatest seductions; and in thechatter of vain passions lies tyranny itself and aversion to therights of God the Lord of Might and Majesty. That heart is veiledfrom wisdom and from the understanding of how God disposes Hisaffairs.
Such a person is a prisoner of his ego (asir an-nafs). He performsobligations while attached to the world, he avoids prohibitions whileattached to the world, and he generally worships God at his ownconvenience. This is a servant who must try to found upon sincerityevery matter, every action, and every moment, by working on his ego.
Whoso desires the reward of God the Lord of Might and Majesty, lethim keep to this battle, and let him be sincere in every matter inorder to purify his worship.
For whoever seeks God Most High, must take pains and ask forsincerity in the secret of his heart until the door is opened forhim. When the door opens and the gift is given, at that time the costof his journey will be repaid in full. He will be strengthened andcontinue on his way, and the further he goes the more his gift isincreased for him and he continues even further. This does not stopuntil he reaches God through his heart (hatta yasil ilallah qalban).At that time God appoints him according to his degree and he becomesa Friend of God (waliyyullah). He has made his heart stand still inthe presence of God wherefore he received his ap- pointment. Fromthat point he proceeds to works with a heart strong with God’sstrength and rich with God’s wealth, with a faultless ego free fromsins and devils. He has parted ways with vain passions and thepursuit of honor and he has purified himself.
We have dealt with these topics in two books:The Training of the Ego (Riyadat an-nafs) and The Practice of theSaints (Sirat al-awliya’), in which are found, with God’s permission,cures for all who aspire to knowledge in this matter.
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Dhikr - Remembrance of Allah
Pic by - Syed Salman Chishty ,Medina Sharif.
The Arabic word for remembrance is dhikr. Remembrance is of severaltypes or levels. There is the remembrance of physical things, whichare in front of us, and there is the remembrance of one’s desires,anxieties, and so on. Along the spiritual path, remembrance relatesto that whish is in one’s innate nature. It is the remembrance ofthe Essence of Allah the Almighty, of the source of allmanifestation and attributes. That source is within everybody. Onthe Sufi path, one is required to dis-remember everything else thatis discernible, everything that is other that Allah, in order toreturn to the original remembrance, Allah.So the original Remembrance of Allah is already in every heart,whether one is aware of it or not. Through the guidance of aspiritual master, the seeker is led beyond, to a level where thereis no remembrance of anything that is mentionable. Then that whichhas been there, encompassing everything, is evidently experiencedand witnessed. The purpose of Sufi practices is to be spontaneouslyaware of the absolute or central reality as well as remaining awareof the physical and material limitations of the phenomenal world,which surrounds us. One is an inner awareness beyond the senses andthe other is an outer awareness, which is based on the senses. Sothe aim of a Sufi teacher is to give the appropriate practices tohis close follower and to watch over the results.Generally speaking, about two hours are needed to obtain thebenefits of remembrance of Allah. During the first half-hour, themediator is primarily trying to quieten down his thoughts. In thenext half-hour, he begins to enter the meditative state. Duringthird half-hour, generally speaking, there are no thoughts or mentalvisions and meditation is established. During the last half-hour,real benefits begin to set in. Proper meditation begins when allawareness fades away and simple non-descript being ness sets in.Any awarness during remembrance of Allah is a hindrance to entryinto the realm of pure consciousness. Pure consciousness cannot betalked about. It must be experienced. All what can be said is thatis state of being ness.All mental processes are regarded as lower consciousness. Allphysical, material, and causal aspects of life are in this category.Abstract thoughts and emotions are regarded as subtler and thereforehigher. Within all human perceptions there are scales ofconsciousness. There are scales in our consciousness of hearing,seeing, understanding, and so on. So consciousness is along avertical scale. One can say the same thing about God’s attributes.There are some attributes, which have to do with the physicalmechanism that governs matter, all of which is permeated by divineorder.Physical consciousness relates to matter and mass, and is low on thescale of consciousness because it is gross. Higher on the scale isconscious of mind, such as feelings, emotions, and for example,dislike of physical pain. Higher still is the intellectualconsciousness of moral values, a sense of justice and equality, andso on.The aim of a Sufi is to go higher than all the intellectualconsciousness. In the state of meditation, in the beginning, thereis the consciousness of the physical body. Then the body isforgotten, but there is still the consciousness of ideas andthoughts. Through the technique of single-pointed meditation, allthe ideas and thoughts are sublimated. Beyond that is the state ofpure or highest consciousness where is no consciousness of anydiscernible thing. It is an indescribable simple awareness .Now thisis not even the end of the meditation exercise. Actually, itsignifies a new beginning. The end of all thoughts is the beginningof another dimension.A simile of process of meditation is that of sleep. When a person isgoing to sleep, he starts by turning down the covers and climbinginto bed. He then prepares to relax and gradually becomes lessconscious of his thoughts until physical consciousness endsaltogether. The end of thought is the beginning of another form ofconsciousness, which is called sleep. Sleep, like meditation, issubjective and experiential. It has to occur and is not talkedabout .The final stage in meditation is not describable for it isrelated to the pure consciousness. Anything that is describablebelongs to the realm of the physical world. The fact that one talksabout an experience brings limitations to it. Once a person entersthe zone of higher consciousness, he is not conscious of anythingspecific.The beginning of higher consciousness is the end of all otherconsciousness. Accordingly, description and talking about it alsoends. Is an incredibly wonderful state, vast and timeless and non-dimensional. Bliss!
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Chirag-e-Dehlawi - Hazrat Khawaja Nasiruddin Mahmood (RA)
Dargah - Chirag-e-Dehlawi Hazrat Khawaja Nasiruddin Mahmood (RA)
Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin Mahmood r.a., popularly known as “Chiragh Delhi” was the fifth spiritual successor of Hazrat Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti of Ajmer r.a. He was the Khalifa of Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya r.a. who, at the time of his death, told Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. that, “You shall have to stay in Delhi and suffer the persecution of the people,” while handing him over the “sacred relics”. (Tabbarukat-e-Mustafavi).
Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. renounced the world at the blooming age of 25 and began Mujahedas against his Nafs with the company of a dervish with whom he is reported to have roamed around the surrounding mountains and jungles of Avadh for 8 years. During this period, he always observed fasts and lived on herbs. He used to break his fast with the leaves of sambhuker (a kind of plant generally found in Avadh, Uttar Pradesh, India).
Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. came to Delhi at the age of 43 years and joined the circle of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s r.a. Murids [disciples]. One day while Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya r.a.was descending from his hujra [room] at the top of his Khanqah, he noticed that Sheikh Nasiruddin Mahmood Chiragh r.a. was standing in a despondent mood under the shade of a nearby tree. He sent for him through his attendant and took him in privacy to have a talk about his condition. After a brief self-introduction, Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. said: “Sir, I have come here to help the dervishes in putting on their shoes.” This one sentence was enough to confirm his humble character and keenness for a spiritual career and also to win the affection of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya r.a. who related his own story of devotion to his Pir-o-Murshid in the beginning of his career. He then became Murid at the hands of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya r.a. and devoted himself wholeheartedly to the service of his Pir-o-Murshid [shaikh].
Once Khwaja Mohammed Gazrooni, a Murid of Khwaja Ahauddin Zakaria r.a. of Multan was staying as a guest of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya r.a. at his Khanqah. One night Khwaja Gazrooni r.a. awoke for Tahajjud [prayer before sunrise] and keeping his clothes in the Jamat Khana, went to perform Wudu [purification] but on his return he did not find his clothes where he left them and began to grumble loudly in a fit of anger. Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. was upset by his noisy temper and thought that it would disturb Hazrat Mehboob-e-Illahi’s r.a. ['Beloved of God' -- Hazrad Nizamuddin Auylia, r.a.] devotion at the late hour of night. In order to pacify the anger of the Khwaja, he at once took off his own clothes and gave them to him. The next morning, when this incident came to the knowledge of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auylia r.a., he presented Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. with a new “poshak” (dress) and prayed for his success.
After the demise of Hazrat Mehboob-e-Illahi r.a., the Jamat Khana of his Khanqah became the property of his sisters descendants and Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. shifted himself to the place of Chiragh Delhi where his Mazar Sharif [noble shrine] stands to this day.
Like his Pir-o-Murshid, Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a.had to contend with very hard times. Often, during the nights, he had no lights in the house. For several days his oven remained cold. When anybody came to see him, he used to wear his Pir’s Jubba to meet him, and after having gone he would change into his rough clothes. He says that he never liked to perform ablution by wearing his Pir’s Jubba but he liked to hide his poverty from the world by wearing it. During his good times, although he used to fast daily, he ordered delicious food to be prepared and served to his guests and Murids. He himself used to say, “Allah be praised! After all, Faqiri (life of a Sufi) is tremendous blessing. It’s beginning and end are both beautiful.”
The title of “Chiragh,” according to one version, was given to the Sheikh by his Pir-o-Murshid. Once there was a distinguished gathering of many leading Masha’ikhs at Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s r.a. Khanqah. Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. arrived a bit late and Hazrat Mehboob-e-Illahi r.a. asked him to sit down, but he replied: “Sir, my back would be towards this august assembly”- a posture which is considered impertinent in Islamic etiquette. Upon this Hazrat Mehboob-e-Illahi r.a. said: “A Chiragh has no back” meaning that there is neither a face nor a back of a lamp, it sheds its light in all directions. From that day onwards, among his fellow Murids, the title of “Chiragh” became very popular.
Once a learned person came to Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. to become his Murid. At the time of initiation, the Saint warned him: “When an aspirant enters on the path of Tariqat, he must shorten his sleeves, keep his dress up and shave off his head. Shortening of sleeves means that he has cut off his hands so that he may not spread it before the world for help except Allah; keeping his dress up means that he has cut off his feet so that he may not go to any place that is bad and where there is a danger of misfortune; and shaving of the head means that he has cut of his head in the Oath of Divine Love so that nothing against the Shari’at [Islamic Law] would come from him.”
How great and wise were the teachings of one of he greatest Sufi Saints ever. Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. recommended all that came to him to observe punctuality of Namaz [Islamic Prayer] with congregation. He himself desired this rule very strictly since his younger days. He used to explain the benefits of Namaz by guiding instances from the Hadith [Traditions of the Prophet, s.a.w.s] and the Qur’an. He had extreme love for the Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w.s. and his philosophy of Islamic faith was based upon two paramount things, namely, obedience to whatever Allah and His Rasul [Messenger of Allah] s.a.w.s. has ordained and the avoidance of whatever was forbidden.
Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a., like many other Sufi dervishes before him, had to go through extreme sufferings from the ruler of the time. He was persecuted by Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq whom history will never forgive for his tyrannical rule over innocent humanity on the one hand and the capricious schemes that ruined Delhi and especially the 200 year old glorious work of the great Sufi Saints of India, on the other. Because of shortage of space we will not go in detail about the cruel Sultan’s whimsical schemes but so much should be said that the Sultan’s thirst for power interfered with the pious work of these Sufi dervishes. However, eventually he had to pay a severe penalty, like some of his short-sighted predecessors who had also persecuted Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya r.a.
Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin r.a. and another great Sufi dervish Hazrat Qutbuddin Munawwar r.a. had received their Khilafat on one and the same day with the instruction of Hazrat Nizamuddin r.a. that they “should maintain mutual affection without any discrimination or superiority complex.” Here is a story of their overwhelming regard for each other when they met after a long time at Hansi. When Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin r.a. was retiring from that with Sultan Feroze Tughlaq, the Saint parted with the king’s party to go to Hansi to meet Hazrat Qutbuddin Munawwar r.a. (his Pir-bhai) whom he had not seen for a very long time. On hearing that Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin r.a. had come to Hansi, Hazrat Qutbuddin Munawwar r.a. ran out of his Khanqah bare-footed to meet him on the way and received him with the most affectionate embrace and overwhelmed by the recollection of the old happy days of their association of their beloved Pir, Hazrat Mehboob-e- Illahi r.a.. Both the dervishes could not resist their sorrowful tears on this occasion. A Sama mehfil [assembly of listening] was arranged and both of them had Wajd (ecstasy) and Sukr [spiritual intoxication] in a spiritual mood. After the mehfil [assembly] both the dervishes insisted upon each other to lead the Asr prayer out of each others elderly regard, eventually Hazrat Qutbuddin Munawar r.a. led the prayer because he was the host and within his right under the Islamic Shari’at.
Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin r.a. was very fond of cleanliness. His dress always appeared very tidy and neat. On both of his sides he used to keep a heavy gathering of flowers. One day Hazrat Nasiruddin Chiragh r.a., after his Zuhr [noon] prayers, was busy with his devotional contemplation when a Qalandar by the name of Turab suddenly entered and persistently attacked the innocent Saint with a knife so much so that blood began to flow down the floor. But curiously enough the murderous attack did not disturb the Saint at all in his highly engrossed devotion. When some of the Murids saw the blood coming out of the hujra, they rushed in and caught hold of the Qalandar. Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin r.a. strongly dissuaded them and asked his beloved disciples Abdul Muqtadir Sheikh Sadruddin Tabib and Sheikh Zainudin Ali not to harm the Qalandar. On the contrary, Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin r.a. addressed the Qalandar apologetically and said: “If inthe act of attacking me with your knife, you have felt any pain in your hands, please pardon me for the same.” The Saint further gave 20 tankas to the Qalandar and sent him away unharmed.
From the above incident we see the level of his forgiveness. It is on account of such rare generosity that Hazrat Nasiruddin Chiragh r.a. enjoys high esteem in the Sufi world. Among the dervishes of the Chishtiyya Order particularly, he is a unique symbol of forbearance and humility.
Three years after the murderous attack, Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin (radi Allahu anhu) passed away of a natural death on Friday the 18th Ramadan 757 A.H. [Sept. 14, 1356 C.E.] Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin r.a. willed that at the time of putting him in the grave, the Khirqa [Sufi cloak] of his Pir-o-Murshid, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya r.a. must be put upon his chest, the Asaa (staff) by his side, the rosary on the finger of Shahadat, the kasa (a special wooden bowl which the Faqirs usually carry with them to serve as the only utensil for food, water, etc.) under his head instead of the brick, and a pair of his Pir’s shoes under his arm. This was carried out. The passing away of Hazrat Nasiruddin r.a. closed the first circle of a most glorious epoch of Sufism in India.
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Mehboob-e-Elahi - Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya (RA)
Dargah Sharif - Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya (RA) ,Delhi
Pic by - Syed Salman Chishty

“In Allah’s garden you gather roses,Being drunk with divine mysteries:Hazrat Mehboob-e-Elahi — the beloved of Allah,O, how I long for the attar of your company
Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia (d. 1325 A.D.) represents in many ways the pinnacle of the Chishti Order of the Sufis. Hazrat Baba Farid, his spiritual guide, said to him on appointing him as his successor: “Be like a big tree, so that Allah’s creation, the human beings in their vast multitudes, may find rest and solace under your shadow.” This partly explains why he admitted so many (according to some, including Barani, too many) men into the Chishti order as his disciples. Another reason has been clearly formulated in this way: “History, nonetheless, bears out the wisdom of his open-ended policy . . . To far-flung areas of Uttar Pradesh, Rajastan, Gujarat, Bihar, Bengal and the Deccan, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia sent able disciples well versed in the Chishti practices, yet sensitive to the needs of the local populace.”
With regard to the Sufi path, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia taught the following: “For a dervish, three things are necessary. They all begin with an ‘ain’ (an Arabic letter), i.e., Ishq (love), Aql (intelligence) and Ilm (knowledge). Let us discuss these three qualities one by one.
Sufism is, in its essence, the way of love. Love is considered to be a spiritual alchemy by means of which the baser qualities of a human being are transformed into higher ones. In this respect it suffices to say that Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia is known as Mehboob-e-Elahi, the beloved of Allah. Of course the spiritual status of a beloved is much higher than that of a lover.
‘Intelligence’ changed in the hands of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia into wisdom. His wisdom manifested itself in the shape of service to humanity. About him it has been said: “He was not a miracle-monger of the ordinary sort. He never flew in the air or walked on water with dry and motionless feet. His greatness was the greatness of a loving heart; his miracles were the miracles of a deeply sympathetic soul. He could read a man’s inner heart by a glance at his face and spoke the words that brought consolation to a tortured heart.”
About ‘knowledge’, the third faculty of a dervish, it can be said that Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia was one of the greatest scholars of his day. He wanted to become a Qazi, but gave it all up in his pursuit of inner knowledge. After becoming a Murid (spiritual disciple) of Hazrat Baba Farid, he lived in extremely poor circumstances. Seeing him, a former friend expressed great surprise as he remembered Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia as one who had begun a very promising career as a scholar. When Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia told all of this to Hazrat Baba Farid, his murshid (spiritual guide) suggested that he should recite the following couplet to his friend:
You are not my fellow traveller.Tread your own pathMay you be affluent.And I downtrodden.Then Hazrat Baba Farid ordered him to take a tray of food from the kitchen and carry it on his head to his friend. After doing so, he recited the verse. This deeply moved his friend.
One day, someone told a story of a certain saint who expired while slowly repeating the name of Allah. The eyes of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia, who was listening to this story, filled with tears and he recited this quatrain: I come running to the end of Your street,Tears are washing and washing my cheek.Union with You — what else can I seek?My soul I surrender as Your name I repeat.1. Early YearsAfter leaving their homeland the city of Bokhara, the paternal grandfather of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia — Khwaja Ali — and the maternal grandfather of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia — Khwaja Arab — along with their family, came to India. At first they lived in Lahore, but later they took up their residence in Badayun (East of Delhi). Khwaja Arab married his daughter Bibi Zulaitaikha to Khwaja Ali’s son Khwaja Ahmad.
The birth of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia took place on the last Wednesday of the month of Safar, i.e., the 27th of Safar 636 A.H. (1238 A.D.) Up to this day, his birthday celebration takes place. His shrine is bathed and the water thereof is distributed among the visitors.
Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia’s father expired when Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia was five years old. His mother brought him to a school where he learned to recite the holy Qur’an. In a short time he mastered the seven ways of recitation of the holy Qur’an. Then he studied Arabic grammar, Ahadith (traditions of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him), commentary of the Qur’an and logic. At the age of twelve, he received the “turban of excellence.” He was so sharp-witted, wise and understanding that he was given the title “Debater, capable of defeating the congregation.” He became distinguished in the science of Tafsir (commentary on the Qur’an), in the knowledge of Ahadith, in Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence), mathematics and astronomy. Khwaja Shamsul Malik was among his most learned teachers. He received a testimony of knowledge of Ahadith from Maulana Kamaluddin. [2]
Although in that period, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia used to sit among the ulama (the scholars of Islam), he was more interested in the inner life. He often used to say: “In the days of youth, I used to live in the company of the ulama, but in my heart the thought used to come that I should go away from their company and turn my face to the Divine Teacher.” [3]
II. Baba FaridOne day a certain Qawwal (Sufi musician), with the name of Abu Bakr, came from Multan (Pakistan) to Hazrat Nizamuddin’s teacher. The teacher asked for information about the Sufi Sheikhs of Multan. Abu Bakr answered thus: “I have lived in the company of Hazrat Sheikh Bahauddin Zakaria of Multan and I have sung mystical couplets for him. In his Khanqah (Sufi monastery) the worship of Allah is very devoted, so much so that even the girls who knead the flour, while doing so, are occupied with the Zikr (remembrance of Allah). From there I went to Ajodhan (the present Pak Pattan in Pakistan). There I got the privilege of meeting Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Gang-e-Shakar,” That sovereign of love of God has conquered the world and the light of his moon has illuminated that area.”
“When I heard these words of praise in regard to Baba Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar,” Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia says, I developed a sudden and intense love for him and I began to repeat his name after every Namaz (prayer).”
The Qawwal had started his concert with this line: “The living serpent of love has bitten my heart.” But then Abu Bakr could not recollect the second line. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia helped him to do so, and seeing this, the Qawwal became very attentive towards him. From that day, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia became very much attached to Baba Farid.
III. Coming to Delhi“When my eighteenth year began,” Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia tells, “I travelled from Badayun to Delhi.” Musamma Ayuz accompanied him in this journey. Ayuz was a staunch believer in the spiritual greatness of Baba Farid. Whenever he saw the slightest danger because of robbers or wild beasts, he would cry out: “O, Pir! Come! I need your protection.” “I asked him the name of that Pir and Ayuz said: “It is the one who has caught your heart and got you enamoured,” meaning Baba Farid. Thus from that day my faith in the Sheikh increased.”
“When in Delhi, I stayed by chance near Hazrat Baba Fariduddin’s brother and caliph Hazrat Sheikh Najibuddin Mutawakkil. My mother and sister were also with me. We rented a house in the neighbourhood of the great Sheikh, whose company was very valuable to me. In his presence, the qualities of Baba Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar used to be described. On hearing them, I felt the desire of kissing his feet. For approximately three years I stayed in Delhi.” [4]
IV. Meeting Baba FaridOne day Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia said to Sheikh Najibuddin Mutawakkil that he should pray to God, so that he (Nizamuddin) might become a Qazi. Then he would be able to spread justice among the creatures of God. The Sheikh remained silent. When Hazrat Nizamuddin repeated his question, he answered thus: “God forbid that you be a Qazi; be something else!”
In those days, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia used to spend the nights at the Jama Masjid. One morning, the muezzin (the one who calls to the prayer) recited the following verse from the minaret: “Has not the time comeFor the faithfulThat their hearts should bendFor the remembrance of Allah” [Qur'an 57:16]Hearing this, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia’s condition changed. It was as if he received spiritual illumination from every direction. And, without any food, he left Delhi in order to present himself to Baba Farid. At the age of twenty, on Wednesday the 11th of Rajab 655 A.H. (1257 A.D.), he reached Ajodhan. Coming before Hazrat Baba Farid, he unsuccessfully tried to summon up courage to tell in detail how eager he was to see him. He could not do so, because of awe. Baba Farid then said: “Every newcomer is nervous.” Thereafter Baba Farid recited this verse: “O, the fire of separation of Thee,Has made the hearts like roasted meat;The flood of the fondness of Thee,Has made the lives morose.”Then Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia was honoured to be accepted as the mureed (spiritual disciple) of Baba Farid. Then Baba Sahib remarked: “O, Nizamuddin! I wanted to entrust the domain of Delhi to someone else. When you were on the way I heard a voice to the effect that I should wait as Nizamuddin is coming. He is fit for this domain. It should be entrusted to him. So stay in our company so that after completing your inner training, we will appoint you as our caliph and as the Wali-e-Hindustan (the saint of India).”
Hazrat Nizamuddin lived in the company of his Pir-o-murshid (spiritual guide) for seven months and a few days. In this short period, he became deserving of the khilafat of the great mystic Baba Farid. On the second of Rabi’ul Awwal 656 A.H. (1258 A.D.), Baba Farid bestowed khilafat and wilayat to Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia by giving him the special turban, which came to Baba Sahib from Chisht (Afghanistan). After coming to Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia ascended the throne of khilafat-e-piran-e-Chisht[5], i.e., he became a caliph of the Chishti Sheikhs. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia came ten times to Ajodhan: three times in the life of Baba Farid and seven times after his death [6].
After residing in Delhi for a few days, he disdained the crowds of people and desired to withdraw himself to the desert. He then received a Divine inspiration that his place of residence should be Ghiyaspur, a small village outside the city of Delhi. First he had raised a temporary shed with a straw roof for himself and all his companions. After some time, a better place was constructed for him by one of his disciples, Ziauddin Wakil Mulk. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia lived here for more than sixty years and never changed his place of residence. The khanaqah is still there and is visited by many people up to this day.
V. DeathAfter an illness of about four months he expired in 725 A.H. (1324 A.D.) and realized seclusion (i.e., was buried) in Ghiyaspur. The locality is named after him today.
VI. NatureAfter passing the spiritual status of ghousiat and farwaniyat, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia reached the status of Mehboob (beloved). His personality was the container of divine secrets and his intentions were in harmony with those of Allah. He spread a very fine fragrance. Qazi Hamiduddin Kashani also became fragrant with this scent and unsuccessfully tried to wash it way. He narrated the incident to Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia, who explained it thus: “Qazi, this fragrance is of the love of Allah, which He gives to His lovers.”
In the early period of his life he experienced great poverty. Although in Sultan Ghyasuddin Balban’s time one could buy melons for very little money, the greater part of the season would pass without Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia eating a single slice. One day a pious woman brought some barley flour and presented it to him. He asked Sheikh Kamaluddin Yaqub to boil it in a cauldron. At that moment a faqir with a patched frock arrived and with a loud voice said: “O, Nizamuddin! bring whatever is present.” Then Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia gave all the food to him. The faqir ate it all and then broke the cauldron. Hereafter he said: “O, Nizamuddin! You have received the bounties of the invisible world from Baba Farid and the bowl of visible poverty I have broken. Now you have become the sultan of both the visible and invisible world.” From that day on, countless gifts started coming and free food was distributed to hundreds of visitors every day.
Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia was very generous as can be seen in the following narration, which can be found in Jami’s “Nafhatul Uns.” A merchant of Multan lost all his possessions to a band of thieves. He told Sheikh Sadruddin, the son of the famous Suhrawardy saint (Shaikh Bahauddin Zakaria of Multan), that he intended to go to Delhi and asked for a letter of recommendation to Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia. Then he was told by the great saint that he would receive all the gifts that would be given from the morning to the chasht (forenoon) prayers. About 12,000 golden and silver coins were received. All these were given to the merchant.
Every day large numbers of gifts used to be received, but they were distributed before the evening. More than three thousand needy people used to live on the langar (tree feeding).
Shortly before his death, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia called Khadim Iqbal and said: “Whatever cash is present, bring it so that I may distribute it to the deserving.” Iqbal replied: “Whatever gifts come, they are spent on the same day. But there are a few thousand tons of grain in our storeroom.” Bring it out and distribute it to the deserving,” said Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia.
Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia had great love of sama (Sufi music). His friends, disciples and students used to perform such Qawwali (music) in his presence, that even animals used to stop and listen to it [7]. One day he was out for a walk, when he saw a person who was pulling water out of a well and was saying in a loud voice to his companions: “Remain outside today, brother!” Hazrat Nizamuddin, after hearing this, started weeping, and his khuddam (servants) repeated that line until they reached home again.
Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia remained a bachelor all his life. Once his kamarband (a rope used to fasten a pair of trousers) got away from his hand. Baba Farid then said: “Tighten the kamarband properly.” Hazrat Nizamuddin asked: “How should I do it? Baba Sahib answered: “Tighten it in such a way that except the houris of heaven, nobody is capable of opening it.” Hearing that Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia put his head on the floor and did not marry . [8]
VII. Writing and sayingsHazrat Nizamuddin Awlia collected the discourses of his Pir-o-murshid in a book called “Rahat-ul-Qulodo.”
Some of the sayings of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia: 1. The wilayat (domain) of gnosis and faith can suffer decay. The wilayat of compassion can not. 2. The love of Awlia (saints) is stronger than their reason. 3. The lock of spiritual perfection has very many keys. All those keys are to be possessed. If one does not open it, others can. 4. He who has knowledge, reason, and love, is deserving to become a caliph of the Sufi sheikhs. 5. So long as is possible, give relief to your heart, because the heart of a good Muslim is the palace of the manifestations of Allah. VIII. MiraclesOnce Sultan Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah asked Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia to come to him on the last day of every month. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia responded: “It is against the tradition of my sheikhs. I will never go to meet the king.” His friends advised him to turn for help to his Sheikh Baba Farid, so that the problem would be solved. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia refused to do so, saying: “The tasks of religion alone are many. I feel ashamed to give pain to the Sheikh for a worldly affair.” He then said: “The king will not be victorious over me for I have had a certain dream. I saw that an animal with horns was attacking me. Upon it coming closer, I took hold of its horns and threw the animal on the earth in such a way that it was killed.” That day, after the noon prayers, he declined to visit the king. When two hours of the day remained, he was asked again to visit the king. He gave no reply. But it so happened that upon that very night, the king was murdered by a certain Khusru Khan. [9]
Another Sultan by the name of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, wanted Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia to leave Ghiyaspur before the Sultan’s visit to Delhi. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia, was saddened by this and remarked: “Delhi is still far away.” Then just before the arrival of the king in Delhi, the palace of Tughlaqabad fell upon him and he was killed.[10]
Sultan Alauddin had the fear in his heart that Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia wished to rule the kingdom himself and that he was only waiting for the proper time and chance to overthrow him. As a test, he sent some complicated matters related to state affairs to Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia and asked for its solution. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia reacted thus: “What have the dervishes, seated on rugs, to do with the affairs of kings seated on thrones? It is better that the time of the dervish is not wasted and conscience of the faqura is not put to test.” When the king respectfully invited Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia to visit him, the latter answered thus: “The affections of a dervish should be seen as a bird to which distress is caused by the hawk of kingly shows. It is better and enough to keep acquaintance through greetings.”
Khwaja Hasan, who had lived in the company of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia when he was much younger, along with all his friends, was involved in the drinking of wine. One day, near the mausoleum of Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Khaki, they met again. Khwaja Hasan then recited this verse: “For years we have been in each others’ company,But your company did me no good.Your piety could not correct my sinful life.My sinful life is therefore stronger than your piety.”After hearing this verse, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia simply said: “There are different effects of company on different men.” At once, Khwaja Hasan fell down at the feet of Hazrat Nizamuddin and along with his friends became a murid (spiritual disciple) of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia.
Hazrat Sheikh Nasiruddin of Oudh related that he used to receive worldly knowledge from Qazi Muhiddin Kashani. He suddenly became ill and no hope of life remained. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia visited Sheikh Naseeruddin when he was unconscious. Then Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia rubbed his hand over his face. Immediately Sheikh Naseeruddin regained consciousness and put his head on the feet of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia.
One day a murid of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia prepared a feast for his Sheikh. Qawwals were also called and food was prepared. But when the same (music) started, thousands of people joined in. The host became worried because of the shortage of food. Feeling this, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia said to his khadim (servant): “Wash the hands of the people and let ten people sit at one place. Start giving the food after saying ‘Bismillah‘ (In the Name of Allah).” It so happened that everyone had enough food and there was a great deal of food left over. [11]
It is narrated that a certain Shamsuddin was a very rich man and had no faith in the spirituality of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia. Instead he used to speak ill of him in his absence. One day, he was drinking wine with his friends and suddenly he saw Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia appear in front of him, who made a prohibiting sign with his finger. Shamsuddin then threw the wine in the water and started towards the house of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia after performing the ritual ablutions. Seeing him, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia said: “Whoever is blessed by Allah, he abstains from sins like this.” Hearing this, Shamsuddin became very astonished and with complete faith became his murid. He distributed all his money to the dervishes and in a short time became a Wali (saint) himself.
IX. A storyOne day Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia was listening to Qawwali and in ecstasy, waving his handkerchief, said: “We regret, we have not become equal to the washermans’ son even.” At that moment no one dared to ask what he meant, but some days afterwards he was asked about it by Hazrat Amir Khusru. The explanation of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia was like this: “The son of the washerman of the king, without seeing the princess, was in love with her. He used to wash her clothes with utmost care, and even mended and improved them by various means. Without seeing her, he used to moan and weep in the memory of her beauty. His parents became very worried. To speak about it is a problem and not to speak about it is a problem. We are washers and she is a princess. How can the dust of the earth be compared with the sky?
So they tricked him in order to try and change their son’s ideas. One day his mother came to him with a grief-stricken face. He asked what was the matter with her. Then she explained “Today was the soyam (the third day after the death) of the princess whose clothes you used to wash. The boy three times asked: “Has she died?” — and then with a shriek died.
On the fourth day, the washerwoman brought the clothes back to the princess. She asked: “Who has washed these clothes today? They do not look as clean as they used to be. Their neatness used to look as if love has been involved.” Hearing this, the washerwoman became sad and started weeping. On being forced by the princess, she explained everything. The princess then wished to visit his grave. At once, when she was there, the grave cracked and the princess said: “It cracked at places. Ah! Whose grave is this? Probably a restless heart is buried in it.” Then the princess fell down and expired. [12]
X. PoetryThe following is a translation of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia’s famous poem in honour of the Prophet: O breeze! turn towards Medina (and) from this well-wisher recite the Salaam.Turn round the king of the prophets (and) with the utmost humility recite the Salaam.Sometimes pass the gate of mercy (and) with the gate of Gabriel rule the forehead.Salaam to the prophet of God (and) sometimes recite Salaam at the gate of peace.Put with all respect the head of faith on the dust there.Be one with the sweet melody of David and be acquainted with the cry of anguish.In the assembly of the prophets recite verses from the humble being ‘Nizam’.
Notes:1. Astrabadi, Mohammed Qasim Hindu Shah: “Tarikh-e-Farishta.”2. Sijzi, Amir Hasan: “Fawwai ‘du’l-Fu’ad.”3. Khrd, Amier: “Siyaru ‘l-Auliya.”4. Ibid.5. Ibid.6. Bulaq, Mohammed: “Roza-e-Aqtab.”7. Ibid.8. Same as note 1.9. Ibid.10. Ibid.11. Ibid.12. Translated from the “Tazkara-e-Ghousiya.”
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Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar (r.a)
Urs celebration at the Shrine of Baba Farid (ra) ,Pak Pattan ,Pakistan .