Training of the heart

Shaykh Nasiruddin Chiragh of Delhi told his mureeds clearly and firmly that the entire structure of spiritual discipline was based on the proper training of the heart. The qibla (focus-point) of the heart is God. The heart is the amir (ruler) of the body. When it turns away from its focus-point, the body also moves away from its focus-point. The anwar (divine lights) first descend on the soul and then they are transmitted to the body, which is subordinate to the heart. When the heart is moved, the body is also moved. Hal (spiritual state) is the result of the purity of action. Hal is transitory and is not permanent. If it becomes so it becomes a maqam (station).

Repeating the name of God

In the circle of Nizamuddin Awliya, who was, as you may know, a very prominent member of the Chishti order, someone told about a certain sufi who expired while slowly repeating the name of God. Nizamuddin Awliya was visibly moved by this story and then recited the following rubai: Âyam be sar-e-kûye to pûyân pûyân Rukhsâr be âb-e-dîde shûyân shûyân Bîchâre rah-e wasl-e to jûyân jûyân Jân mîdeham o nâm-e to gûyân gûyân. I came to the end of Your street, running, running. Tears came down my cheek, washing, washing. Union with You, I am helplessly seeking, seeking. My soul I surrender while Your name I am reciting, reciting. These lines have been recited by Nizamuddin Awliya (d. 1325 C.E.)….

Advice to the disciple

Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti has said: “The spiritual disciple should, by earnestly following and obeying the spiritual guide, try to reach the place where the spiritual guide himself becomes the comb of his disciple. It should be taken to heart, that whatever the spiritual guide persuades his disciple to do and to practise is for the benefit of the disciple himself”

Adherence to habits

Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti has said: “There is no greater or more awful calamity in your own existence than the adherence to habits. There is no poison deadlier than this, that you may desire to enrol spiritual disciples. The traveller in search of the truth who longs to have spiritual disciples does not reach the high station”.

The four dervishes

Have you read the book attributed to Amir Khusraw called ‘The four dervishes’? It has been translated into English by Amina Shah, the sister of Idries Shah. It is a book of tales with a structure like the one of the Arabian nights (‘the structure is the message’ is a sentence calling for comments!). The peculiar thing that can be said about the original is that it is said to have a healing quality. I have stayed for some time in a sufi khaneqah in India and there I have seen it being read aloud near the bed of someone who was ill. I am wondering about this healing quality. Why is it that this book is used for such…

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz

The things that took place during the second initiation of Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (this is the title of Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti; about its meaning see below) are recorded in the many books that have been written in this field. Many other details of his life can be read in those sources, which are available for English knowing people. For a long time he served his murshid. He remarked that whatever he got, he got by service. He was appointed as the successor of Khwaja Uthman Haruni after 20 years of travelling together. He was 52 years old then. His murshid then made a number of remarks, among which is the following: ‘Do not hold any hope from the people’. After…

Khwaja Saiyid Mohammed Gesu Daraz

Khwaja Saiyid Mohammed Gesu Daraz is one of the great Chishti Sufis. He is known and respected throughout the sub-continent of India, Pakistan and Bangla Desh. He is a disciple and a spiritual caliph of Khwaja Nasiruddin Chiragh of Delhi. He was born on the 4th of Rajab in the year 721 A.H. (which is the 30th of July 1321 C.E. according to my computer). His nickname is Abu’l Fatah. He is addressed as Sadruddin, Wali ul akbar us-Sadiq and Gesu Daraz. There are several reasons for calling him Gesu Daraz. He had very long hair and for this reason he came to be called Gesu Daraz, which means ‘one with long locks of hair’. Another reason assigned is this,…

Eight Chishti stages

The Chishti shaykh Hamidoddin Naagawri (d. 1276) spoke about these eight stages of the path: 1. KNOWLEDGE: Without it you cannot go straight. 2. WORK: Without it you cannot produce intention. 3. CORRECT INTENTION: Without it work becomes worthless. 4. SINCERITY: Without it love does not become manifest. 5. LOVE: Without it meditation does not become correct. 6. MEDITATION: Without it progress on the path is deficient. 7. PROGRESS: Without it you cannot open the door of the divine abode. 8. THE OPENING OF THE DOOR: Without it the goal of the traveller will not appear. The goal is that you every day recite: Everything upon it is perishing, But the face of your Lord. Next to this you should…

Burhanuddin Gharib

Burhanuddin Gharib (d. 1337) was a disciple of Nizamuddin Awliya. His love for the samaa’ (Sufi music; audition) was only surpassed by his love for his spiritual guide. When he was in the company of Nizamuddin Awliya he was so concentrated upon him, that he noticed nobody else present. He was very popular among the Chishtiyya of his time. Amir Khosraw and Amir Hasan were his personal friends. Nasiruddin Cheragh of Delhi used to stay with him. He had the utmost respect towards his spiritual guide, Nizamuddin Awliya. He never sat with his back towards Ghiyaspur, where Nizamuddin Awliya lived. ‘Ali Zumbeli and Malik Nusrat, who were related to sultan Alauddin, were probably jealous of their co-disciple and complained about…

Early sufis in the Chishti order

Many people think that Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti is the founder of the Chishti order. This is not correct, so in the following article I intend to tell something about his spiritual ancestors and briefly something about their teachings. The Chishti order of the Sufis derives its name from Chisht (pronounce: Chesht, hence Cheshti). Chisht is a small town near Herat in Afghanistan. When travelling and arriving in Herat I intended also to visit Chisht, but it was said that the road was not safe, because of dacoits, so I abandoned the idea. The first one to call himself Chishti was Abu Ishaq Shami. As the name Shami implies he came from Syria or even from Damascus (ash-Sham). He met a…