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Sufism-Part 4 (Hazrat Baba Fareed r.a)

Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar r.a. was born on the 29th Sha’ban in 569 A.H. [April 4, 1179 C.E.] in Khotwal, a village near Lahore [Pakistan]. He was a direct descendant of Hazrat Umar Farooq r.a., the second Caliph of Islam.
It is narrated that a miracle occurred before his birth proving his Saintship. One day, during the pregnancy of his mother, she wanted to pluck some plums from her neighbour’s tree without his permission, but the child in her womb (Hazrat Baba Farid) created a severe pain in her stomach that forced her to abandon the idea of plucking. After a few years after Hazrat Baba Farid’s r.a. birth, his mother lovingly expressed: “My dear son, during your confinement I never ate anything which was unlawful.” Hazrat Baba Farid r.a., however, smiled and said, “But, my dear mother, you wanted to pluck some plums from our neighbour’s tree without his permission when I had created a severe pain in your stomach which saved you from this unlawful act.”

Education: After he had completed his early religious education at the age of 7 in Khotwal, his mother sent him for higher education to Multan. Here he stayed in a masjid [mosque] where he learnt the Holy Qur’an by heart and studied Hadith, Fiqh, Philosophy and Logic under the tutorship of Maulana Minhajuddin. During his studies, Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Baktiar Kaki r.a. of Delhi visited Multan where Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. became his Murid (disciple) in the Chishtiyya Silsila. Upon the instructions of his Pir-o-Murshid, he undertook a tour of Islamic countries, for about 18 years from 593 A.H. to 611 A.H. [1196 C.E. to 1214 C.E.] he travelled to Ghazni, Baghdad Sharif, Jerusalem, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Mecca and Medina meeting many great saints and Sufis. After the demise of Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin r.a. the mantle of spiritual leadership in the Chishtiyya Silsila fell on the shoulders of Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. when Khwaja Qutbuddin r.a.nominated him to be his Khalifa or spiritual successor.

Besharat: It is narrated that when Hazrat Baba Farid r.a.visited Medina Sharif he was spiritually commanded by the Holy Prophet s.a.w.s. to visit Baghdad Sharif and meet Hazrat Abdul Wahab, son of Hazrat Ghaus-al-Azam Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani r.a. He was to receive some sacred relics from him. Accordingly, when he reached Baghdad Sharif, he received a box from Hazrat Abdul Wahab r.a. which contained the following holy relics: Two flag-poles which were used by the Holy Prophet s.a.w.s. in some of the battles fought by him; one wooden bowl in which the Prophet s.a.w.s. used to eat from; one pair of scissors and one turban which was used by the holy Prophet s.a.w.s.

Shrine & Chishtiya Mission: Because of political upheavals in Delhi, he was obliged to shift the centre of the Chishtiyya mission from Delhi to Ajodhan now known as “Pak Patan”. The Khanqah of Baba Farid r.a., with his patronage, became a great university of “moral and spiritual training.” Thousands of aspirants, scholars, dervishes and Sufis reaped benefit from this spiritual university. Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. reached the pinnacle of spiritual glory through extremely hard Mujahidas (spiritual striving) to gain mastery over the Nafs.

Death (Purdah): On the 5th of Muharram, during the Isha prayer [evening prayer] ] while in the act of Sajdah, [prostration during prayer] he uttered “Ya Hayo Ya Qayum” [O Self-Subsisting, O Eternal — two names of God] and with these words on his lips his soul disappeared into the eternal bliss of his beloved Allah. Immediately a “Nida” or Divine Voice declared: “Dost ba Dost Pewast” – Friend has merged into the unity of “Friend” (Allah). An old woman that was one of the devotees of the Saint presented a piece of cloth for the kaffan [shroud] of Hazrat Baba Farid r.a.. She implored: “I have not spun even a single thread of this cloth without having Wudu [purification]. I had prepared it for my own coffin but if it is accepted for the kaffan of this great Saint, I feel confident, Allah would be pleased with to pardon my sins and grant me salvation.” Hazrat Baba Farid’s r.a. son accepted this cloth as the Kaffan.

Murids: His Mazar Sharif [noble shrine] is in Pak Patan, Pakistan. Hazrat Sabir Pak, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya and Hazrat Jamaluddin Hansi rehmatulla alaihim [may Allah have mercy upon them] are among his favourite Murids and Khalifas. It is generally recognized that he had three wives and many children. Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. was indeed one of the most brilliant stars of the Chishtiyya Silsila and is held in high esteem by one and all.

Sufism-Part 3 (Chishti Order)

Baba Fareed (R.A)

The Chishtī Order is a Sufi order within the mystic branches of Islam which was founded in Chisht, a small town near Herat, Afghanistan about 930 CE. The Chishti Order is known for its emphasis on love, tolerance, and openness.

The order was founded by Abu Ishaq Shami (“the Syrian”) who introduced the ideas of Sufism to the town of Chisht, some 95 miles east of Herat in present-day western Afghanistan. Before returning to Syria, where he is now buried next to Ibn Arabi at Jabal Qasiyun Shami initiated, trained and deputized the son of the local emir, Abu Ahmad Abdal. Under the leadership of Abu Ahmad’s descendants, the Chishtiya as they are also known flourished as a regional mystical order.

The most famous of the Chishti saints is Moinuddin Chishti (popularly known as Gharib Nawaz meaning “Benefactor of the Poor”) who settled in Ajmer, India. He oversaw the growth of the order in the 13th century as Islamic religious laws were canonized. He reportedly saw the Islamic prophet Muhammad in a dream and then set off on a journey of discovery.

Chishti master Inayat Khan (1882–1927) was the first to bring the Sufi path to the West, arriving in America in 1910 and later settling near Paris, France. His approach exemplified the tolerance and openness of the Chishti Order, following a custom began by Moinuddin Chishti of initiating and training disciples regardless of religious affiliation and which continued through Nizamuddin Auliya and Shah Kalim Allah Jahanabadi. Chishti master Mido Chishty has taken teachings of the order to develop FUZN. This has proven popular in the Middle East, Australia and California.

Key Practices & Principles:

The Chishti Order is famous for its emphasis on love, tolerance, and openness. The order traces its spiritual origin through various saints all the way to the Islamic caliph Ali and from him to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

The Chishti saints had two hallmarks which differentiate them from other Sufi saints. The first was their ethical relations to the institutional powers. This meant voluntarily keeping a distance from the ruler or the government mechanism. It didn’t matter if the ruler was a patron or a disciple: he was always kept at bay since it was felt that mixing with the ruler will corrupt the soul by indulging it in worldly matters.

The second distinctive dimension was related to the religious practice of the Chishtis. It was proactive rather than passive; a ceaseless searches for the divine other. In this respect the Chishtis followed a particular ritual more zealously then any other brotherhood. This was the practice of Sama, evoking the divine presence through song or listening to music. The genius of the Chishti saints was that they accommodated the practice of sema with the full range of Muslim obligations.

The Chishti Order can also be characterized by the following principles:

  • Obedience to the sheikh and/or pir
  • Renunciation of the material world
  • Distance from worldly powers
  • Supporting the poor
  • Service to humanity
  • Respect for other devotional traditions
  • Dependence on the Creator and not the creation
  • Disapproval of showing off miraculous feats

The Chishti Order is now indigenous to Afghanistan and South Asia (mainly India, Pakistan and Bangladesh). It was the first of the four main Sufi Orders (Chishtia, Qadiriyya, Suhrawardiyya and Naqshbandi) to be established in this region. Moinuddin Chishti introduced the Chishti Order in India, sometime in the middle of the 12th century AD. He was eighth in the line of succession from the founder of the Chishti Order, Abu Ishq Shami. The devotees of this order practise chilla i.e. they observe seclusion for forty days during which they refrain from talking beyond what is absolutely necessary, eat little and spend most of their time in prayers and meditation. Another characteristic of the followers of this order is their fondness for devotional music. They hold musical festivals, and enter into ecstasy while listening to singing.

After Fariduddin Ganjshakar, the Chishti Order of South Asia split into two branches. Either branch was named after one of Ganjshakar’s successors:

  1. Nizamuddin Auliya – This branch became the Chishti Nizami branch. Nizamuddin was the master of Nasiruddin Chiragh Dehlavi who in turn was the master of Khwaja Bande Nawaz. All these are important saints of the order.
  2. Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari – This branch became the Chishti-Sabiri branch.

Over time (principally after the 17th century) many further branches emerged which routinely united or diverged towards other popular Sufi orders in South Asia. Prominent people of later times who trace their spiritual lineage through the Chishti order include:

  1. Ashraf Jahangir Semnani – He further extended the litanies the Chishtiya Nizami branch. His followers became the members of the Chishti Nizami Ashrafiya branch.
  2. Haji Imdadullah Muhaajir Makki – He extended the litanies of the Chishtiya Sabaria branch. His followers became the members of the Chishtiya Sabaria Imdadiya branch.
  3. Shah Niyaz Ahmad- He united the Chishti Nizami order with the Qadriya order to form the Chishtiya Qadriya Nizamia Niyazia branch.
  4. Habibi Silsila – In century 13th Hegira – Silsila Chishtiya Nizamia Habibia emerged at Hyderabad, India – Khaja Habib Ali Shah.

As a result of this metamorphosis of the Chishti order with other branches, most Sufi masters now initiate their disciples in all the four major orders of South Asia: Chishti, Suhrawadi, Qadri and Naqshbandi. They do however; prescribe prayers and litanies, only of the order with which they are primarily associated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notable Members:

  • Hasan al-Basri
  • Abdul Waahid Bin Zaid
  • Fudhail Bin Iyadh
  • Ibrahim Bin Adham
  • Huzaifah Al-Mar’ashi
  • Abu Hubairah Basri
  • Mumshad Dinawari
  • Abu Ishaq Shami
  • Abu Ahmad Abdal
  • Abu Muhammad Bin Abi Ahmad
  • Abu Yusuf Bin Saamaan
  • Maudood Chishti
  • Shareef Zandani
  • Usman Harooni
  • Moinuddin Chishti
  • Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki
  • Fariduddin Ganjshakar

 

List of Sufi Saints of South Asia

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