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 his saying goodbye to Khwaja Uthman Haruni he kept on travelling. He initiated Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki as his disciple. Subsequently this young man accompanied him on his tours and travels from the year 1187 C.E. onward.

Gharib Nawaz always kept his spiritual realisations hidden from his surroundings. When for some reason or another people found out that the solitary darwisj had marvellous inner attainments he immediately left and travelled on to another place where no one knew him.

Gharib Nawaz (in India this is translated as ‘Helper of the Poor’ but when looking at it from the original Persian it means ‘Cherisher of the Stranger’ and for some reason I always connect it to the saying: ‘Islam started as a strange element and it will end as a stranger’ – this is my version from memory) left Isfahan in present dsay Iran and travelled to Mecca in 1187 C.E.

One day when he was absorbed in his prayers in the ka’ba he heard a voice saying: ‘O, Mo’inuddin! We are greatly pleased with you. You are given salvation. Ask for anything you may like, so that We may grant that to you!’

He answered thus: ‘O, Allah, the Elevated! Give salvation to the followers and disciples of Mo’inuddin!’ He received the reply: ‘O, Mo’inuddin! You are accepted by Us! I will give salvation to your followers and disciples and also to those who may enter your fold till the Day of Resurrection’.

After paying respect to the ka’ba and performing the hajj (pilgrimage) he reached Medina. He stayed in a mosque and devoted himself to prayers. Then he received an order from the prophet that ‘India’ was entrusted to his care and that he should settle in the town of Ajmer. He was of course pleased with this mandate, but wondered where Ajmer was situated. In the meanwhile he felt drowsiness. In a dream he was blessed to see the prophet who showed him Ajmer, its situation and its fort.

So the travel to Ajmer started. From Mecca and Baghdad he proceeded to Chisht which is as you know the village near Herat in Afghanisthan where the founder of the Chishtiyya order started his spiritual work. Then he proceeded to Delhi and he reached Ajmer in 1191 C.E. He had forty followers with him.