10 Sufi tales of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya


A Chishti pir has sent these lines written in Persian calligraphy:

Gar nayaabi sohbat-e-ahl-e-safaa
Bas toraa kaafist zekr-e-aasfaa

If you are unable to be in the company of the pure,
Then sufficient for you is the remembrance of the pure.

Here are some tales as recounted by Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya:

Sufi Tale 1
A pir who was acquainted with the pros and cons of the sufi way had a son who just had finished his studies in several worldly sciences. This son, with the name Muhammad, approached him and made him clear that he wished to follow the sufi path.

Muhammad then received the advice to undergo a retreat of forty days. After having completed the retreat he informed his father thereof. The pir then asked him several questions about subjects he had recently studied. Muhammad was able to answer all the questions. His father then remarked: “This retreat has proved to be of no avail to you. Take to another retreat”.

Muhammad did accordingly and after having completed it, went to his father who again asked him several questions. This time he faltered in his answers. His father asked him to perform one more retreat.

Muhammad obeyed him in perfect devotion and after having completed it went to meet his father who, as before, tested him again. But this time he had returned so much absorbed in God, that he could not answer any question.

Sufi Tale 2
Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya is known as “Mahbub-Ehlahi”, beloved of God. There are many lovers of God but there are only two sufis known as Mahbub-Elahi. They are shaykh ‘Abdul-Qadir Jilani and Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya.

There was a man who doubted that Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya was a Mahbub-Elahi. He had a dream in which he saw all the great sufis sitting in the company of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). Only Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya was not there, so this confirmed his ideas.

He then saw a curtain behind the Prophet. When it was opened he saw Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya sitting there. When he asked for an explanation he was told: “A beloved is always kept hidden”.

Sufi Tale 3
Hazrat Amir Khusraw was the most beloved disciple of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya. He was the only one who could enter the room of his murshid at all times of the day. He was also a courtier. He was in the service of several sultans.

One day he had participated in a successful campaign of the sultan. He wanted to return to his murshid and received permission from the sultan to return. The journey from Bengal to Delhi was a long one and he stayed in several inns along the way. He returned with camels and horses loaded with wealth.

When he was near Delhi something strange happened. When staying in an inn he exclaimed: “Buye shaykh miaayad! Buye shaykh miaayad!” This means: “The perfume of my shaykh has come! The perfume of my shaykh has come!”

He then made enquiries and ultimately met a man who had come to Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya asking for alms. As there was nothing in the khaneqah the shaykh gave him his own pair of sandals. This man had left the khaneqah disappointed as he only received a torn and tattered pair of sandals.

Hazrat Amir Khusraw then bought these sandals from the man he met in the inn and paid for them with all his camels and horses together with all the wealth they carried. He returned to his murshid and carried the sandals on his head as a kind of crown.

When asked what he had paid for those sandals he answered: “I have given away all my wealth”. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya then said: “Arzaan kharidi”, which means: “You have bought them at a cheap price!’ Hazrat Amir Khusraw confirmed this and added: “But I would have paid for them with my life, if necessary!”

Sufi Tale 4
Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya has said:

Tariqat ba-joz o khedmat-e-khalq nist
Ba tasbih o sajaada o dalaq nist

The sufi path is nothing but service to humanity.
It is not found in the rosary, the prayer carpet and the dervish robe.

Sufi Tale 5
Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya spoke about a certain God-fearing man called Mirah Gerami. Once it occurred to a dervish that he should pay him a visit. The dervish was endowed with a charismatic power, karamah, that his dreams would always prove true. While on his way to visit Mirah Gerami, he stayed at a place where, when he fell asleep, he heard in his dream that Mirah Gerami had died.

When he woke up he felt extremely dejected and repented for the long journey to visit the man who was no more in this world. At last he decided to find out his grave in order to pay homage to his memory and to recite the Opening chapter of the Qur’an.

People who heard him inquiring about his grave were stunned and told him that Mirah Gerami was alive. How was it that he was inquiring about his grave? The dervish was very surprised and said to himself as to why that dream of his had proved false.

He however went to Mirah Gerami and offered him the customary greetings. His greetings were properly replied and he was told that his dream was actually true, because he, i.e. Mirah Gerami, always kept himself absorbed in remembrance of God, by doing the dhikr, but that night he had fallen asleep and it was announced throughout the world that Mirah Gerami had passed away.

Sufi Tale 6
Amir Hasan ‘Ala Sijzi is the one who tells the following story when he visits Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya, who was at the vestibule of the balcony at that time. The door of the staircase was quite near.

I saluted him and paid him his respect, the shaykh nodded and gestured to sit at the same place near the door of the staircase. I did accordingly.

The door was open, but again and again its panels closed in and opened because of the wind. I held them with my hands so that they might not close in again.

After a while he loked towards me to find the panels of the door held by me. He asked why I had caught hold of them. I submitted that I had the door in my hand. How could I leave it and go elsewhere? He smiled and said: “You’ve caught hold of the door. Hold it firmly!”

Sufi Tale 7
Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya made it clear that it is spiritual proximity that counts and not physical nearness. He observed that if you, as a murid, refrained from being frequently present in the company of your pir, but remembered him with love and concern, that was much better than your being regularly present before the pir, having no knowledge of what the love for your pir really meant.

Then he recited:

Birun ze-darun beh keh daruni birun
To be outside is better than being an outsider who is inside.

Sufi Tale 8
Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya spoke a while on the subject of the departure of the friends of God from this world. One of those present mentioned the name of a particular man and said that at the time of his death he was softly uttering the names of God. This moved Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya to tears and he reited the following quatrain:

Ayam be sar-e-kuye to puyan puyan
Rukhsar be ab-e-dide shuyan shuyan

Bichare rah-e wasl-e to juyan juyan
Jan mideham o nam-e to guyan guyan

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.

Tale 9
Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya told this story, which he heard from Baba Farid about a certain Mawlana: “When Mawalana Nur Turk reached Hansi and started his sermon, I also went to attend it. I had a torn and dirty garment on me. We had never met before.

The very moment I entered the mosque and he caught sight of me, he started with the remark: “O, Muslims! The one who has the perception to critically examine the words and their meanings has arrived”.

Then he praised me so much as no one might have ever heard such praises for even a king”.

Tale 10
Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya spoke of shaykh ‘Osman Harbabadi (may God sanctify his innermost consciousness). He said he was a friend of God and a commentator of the Qur’an. He lived in Ghaznin and earned his livelihood by selling a kind of vegetable preparation, cooked in a pot, out of beet-root and turnip.

He then gave a description of the state shaykh ‘Osman was passing through. If a buyer approached him, whatever he had in his pot he gave to him and accepted the coin from him even though it could be a counterfeit one, and did not say anything about it.

When the people came to know he did not differentiate between genuine and counterfeit coins, he started getting more counterfeit coins. But he did not cease to sell the preparation.

When his last days approached he looked towards the heavens and said: “O God, You know it very well that people used to give me counterfeit coins, but I accepted them as genuine ones. I never tuned down anyone’s demand for the preparation I used to sell. Similarly, if my devotion to You has been ‘counterfeit’ in character, be kind and merciful to me and do not reject and return it to me as something unworthy of Your good grace.