The Cherisher of the Poor

Just suppose you are able to make an interview with Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti, who is also known as Gharib Nawaz, the Cherisher of the Poor. What would you ask him? Perhaps some of your questions are similar to the ones as given below:

Q: Can you tell us how you started on the spiritual path?
A: After the death of my father – I was hardly 15 years old – I inherited a grinding stone and a garden. These formed my source of livelihood. From a very early age I liked the company of dervishes and I always offered them great respect. My meeting with Hazrat Ibrahim Qanduzi was a turning point in my life. It so happened that one day, when I was watering my garden all of a sudden Hazrat Ibrahim Qanduzi entered it. I extended to him the utmost courtesy and presented him a bunch of grapes. The shaykh was highly pleased with this treatment and he wanted to repay me. He took out a piece of oil-cake and chewing it, gave it to me. I ate it up. The effect of it was a noticeable change in me. I felt disgusted with mundane affairs. I sold off my grinding stone and my garden and distributed the proceeds thereof amongst the poor. Having all this I started on my travels in search of the truth.

Q: Where did you go to?
A: In those days Baghdad, Samarqand and Bokhara were the centres of Islamic learning. Maulana Hisamuddin of Bokhara has been one of my teachers. When I was 20 years old I left Samarqand and Bokhara for what you would now call Iraq. I have then spent two and a half years in the company of Khwaja Osman Haruni, who accepted me as his disciple.

Q: How come so little is known about your travels?
A: For a long time accompanied my teacher in his travels. When I travelled on my own or with a companion, I used to stay in graveyards. The moment I began to be known, I would leave secretly.

Q: What is the essence of the Chishti path of the Sufis?
A: Love and service.

Q: It is said that all night long, the night of your death, the people heard a mystic sound coming from your room. Can you tell us something about that?
A: …..

Q: Your successor, Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki has told about you: “I have stayed in his service for a considerable period of time, but I never saw a beggar or any needy person going from his door without taking something”.
A: I have talked to him about a certain prayer. It consists in hearing the complaints of the aggrieved and to assist them, to help the needy and the oppressed, to feed the people and to get free the captives from captivity.

Q: People often relate miracles or better said supernatural powers to the Sufis. What is your opinion about these supernatural powers?
A: Some people belonging to the Chishti order have fixed fifteen stages of spiritual evolution and out of these fifteen there are five stages pertaining to supernatural powers. Our Chishti Khwajagan are of the opinion that the one who treads this path should not stop in the five stages alone, but he should, with courage and determination, cross all the fifteen stages.

Q: Love is important for the Sufis…
A: Somebody asked Mansur al-Hallaj as to what is the highest point in the love of God. He replied that a lover has nothing to do except to bow his head in submission. All good and evil emanate from the Friend. You should accept all with delight. You should do nothing against the will of the Friend. Moreover you should be so absorbed in the vision of the Friend that you should be oblivious of your religion and faith.

Q: Anything else you want to say to us?
A: Safar-e mubarak! May your journey be blessed!