Moinuddin Chishti

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Moinuddin Chisti
Hazrat Sheikh Khwaja Syed Moinuddin Hasan Chisti
Moinuddin Chisti’s mausoleum in Ajmer, India
Order Chisti
Born 530 AH/1136 AD
Isfahan or Sistan (Modern-day Iran)
Passed away 627 AH/1230 AD
Ajmer, India
Resting place

Ajmer, India

Map of Burial Place

Gharib Nawaz


Hazrat Sheikh Khwaja Syed Moinuddin Hasan Chisti (ra) (also spelled Moinudeen, Moin-ud-din, Muinuddin) also known as Gharib Nawaz (Benefactor of the poor) was one of the most outstanding saints of the Indian subcontinent, and indeed an international spiritual inspiration who lived during the 6th Century AH (12th Century AD). He introduced and established the Chisti order in South Asia and significantly contributed to the spreading of Islam there.


Lineage and Family

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) was both a Hasani (maternal) and Husseini (paternal) Syed.

He was blessed with direct lineage to the Holy Prophet ﷺ through his father, Khwaja Ghiyasuddin Hasan (ra), who was a direct descendant of Hazrat Imam Hussein Ra.gif, son of Hazrat Ali Ra.gif. His silsila-e-nasab (family lineage) is as follows:

  • Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra), son of
  • Hazrat Khwaja Ghiyasuddin Hasan (ra), son of
  • Syed Ahmed Hassan (ra), son of
  • Syed Hassan Ahmed (ra), son of
  • Syed Najmuddin Tahir (ra), son of
  • Syed Khwaja Abdul Aziz Hussain (ra), son of
  • Syed Imam Mohammad Mehdi (ra), son of
  • Syed Imam Askari (ra), son of
  • Hazrat Imam Musa (ra), son of
  • Imam Ali Naqi (ra), son of
  • Hazrat Imam Mohammad Taqi (ra), son of
  • Hazrat Imam Ali Musa Raza (ra), son of
  • Hazrat Imam Musa (ra), son of
  • Hazrat Imam Mohammad Jafar Sadiq (ra), son of
  • Hazrat Imam Mohammad Baqir (ra), son of
  • Hazrat Imam Zainul Abedin (ra), son of
  • Hazrat Imam Hussain Ra.gif, son of
  • Hazrat Imam Ali Ra.gif, son-in-law of
  • The Holy Prophet Hazrat Mohammad Mostafa ﷺ

His father, an accomplished man, was well-educated and trained, and a great Sufi of his time. His piety and scholarship won him widespread respect and regard, and was held in high esteem by the Sufis of Khorasan.

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) was also blessed with direct lineage to the Holy Prophet ﷺ through his mother, Umm-ul-Warah (ra) (alias Bibi Mah Noor), who was a descendant of Hazrat Imam Hasan Ra.gif.

His great grandfather, Khwaja Syed Ahmad Husain, migrated from Samarra in Iraq and eventually settled in Sanjar, within the region of Sistan.

He was also closely related to al-Ghawth al-A'zam, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra).

It is also said that he had two brothers.[1]


Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) was born in Sanjar within the region of Sistan in modern-day Iran. Another source says he was born in Isfahan.[2] He was born in 530 AH (1136 AD).[3]

At the time of his birth, Sistan and its surrounding lands were experiencing unprecedented bloodshed and plunder at the hands of Tatars, and other rebels. These intruders had taken advantage of the weak government of Sultan Ahmed Sanjar.

Due to these disturbances in Sistan, Khwaja Ghiyasuddin Hasan (ra), father of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra), decided to leave Sistan for a safer place. He migrated with his family to Khorasan. It was a great hub of intellectual and economic activity and was home to learned Ulama and reputed Sufis. There were rich gardens and canals along with flourishing agricultural fields. Khwaja Ghiyasuddin Hasan (ra) settled down in the vicinity where he bought an orchard along with a windmill.

Early Life

During his childhood he showed early promise of a marvellous personality, displaying rare piety and sacrifice for others.

On the occasion of a certain Eid, when he was still a child, Hazrat Moinuddin Chisti (ra), richly attired, was going to Idgah to offer his prayers. On the way, he saw a blind child dressed in torn clothing. Deeply moved, he gave the child his own clothes and accompanied him to the Idgah. When only three or four years old, rather than playing with children of his age, he would invite these children to eat with him.

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) was brought up in Khorasan and received his early education at home. When he was nine years old, he committed the Holy Quran to memory. Subsequently, he was admitted to a Maktab, where he concentrated primarily on the hadis and fiqh (jurisprudence), and completed his education very early.

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) was about fifteen years old when his father died in 544 AH. He was extremely heart-broken. Prior to his father’s death, the Tatar invaders had entered Khorasan and ransacked the province. Hardly a year had passed since the death of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti’s (ra) father, when the Tartars once more ransacked Khorasan and repeated the same drama. He was overwhelmingly dismayed to see these scenes of terrible devastation.

Turning Point

One day, when he was watering his garden, between the months of Sha'aban and Zul-Hijjah in the year 544 AH/1150 AD, a mystic named Ibrahim Qandoozi (ra) unexpectedly entered. Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) extended to him the utmost courtesy and a hearty welcome, and offered him a bunch of grapes. The mystic was greatly pleased by the hospitality and the respect shown to him and wanted to repay Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra). He took out a piece of oil cake and upon chewing a portion of it, gave the rest to Khwaja Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) to eat. As soon as he had eaten it, he underwent a strange transformation. He felt repugnance for mundane matters and sought to pursue the higher virtues and seek out the truth.

After the death of his father, he had inherited a grindstone and the orchard, which constituted his source of income. He sold his grindstone and the orchard and distributed the proceeds of these amongst the needy, the indigent, and the poor.

Spiritual Journey

In those days, Baghdad, Samarkand, and Bukhara were celebrated centres of Islamic learning. From Khorasan he proceeded to Samarkand and then to Bukhara, where he pursued higher studies.[4] He stayed there for about five years, from 544 AH/1150AD up to 550 AH/1155AH continuing his education up to the age of twenty. He counted among his teachers the two outstanding scholars of his time, namely, Maulana Husamuddin of Bukhara (ra) and Maulana Sharfuddin (ra).

When Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) had acquired the best knowledge and wisdom of the time, he travelled widely in search of a spiritual guide who could provide him with the best spiritual guidance.

He reached Iraq in 551 AH/1156 AD where he met the renowned saint Hazrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra), better known as al-Ghawth al-A'zam, in Baghdad for the first time.[5] On meeting Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra), Hazrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s (ra) forecast for him was:

This young man will be a great figure of his time. He will be a source of inspiration and a centre of devotion and the focus of affection to myriads of people.

The prophecy proved correct.

Subsequently, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) left Iraq for Arabia, and from there he proceeded to Haroon in Iran. In Haroon, he had the unique privilege of meeting the famous saint Hazrat Khwaja Usman Harooni (ra), who accepted him as his spiritual disciple.

He spent two and a half years in the company and service of Hazrat Khwaja Usman Harooni (ra), acquiring spiritual attainments and undertaking ascetic practices, and eventually won the approval of his spiritual guide and teacher. He was given the permission to enlist and accept disciples himself and was appointed a spiritual caliph.[6]

He left Haroon for Baghdad, where he met Sheikh Abu Najeeb Suhrawardi (ra). In 555 AH/1160 AD, he travelled to Syria where he met a saint called Ohad Mahmud Al-Wahidi Ghaznavi. He then proceeded to Kerman and from there he returned to Baghdad, and then proceeded to Hamedan.

On his way to India, he visited Tabriz, Astarabad, Bukhara, Kharqan, Samarkand, Memna, and Herat. He finally reached Multan on the tenth of Muharram of 561 AH/1165 AD. He then left Multan for Lahore where he spent time at the tomb of Hazrat Sheikh Ali Hujwiri (ra) better known as Data Ganj Bakhsh.

On his return journey, he visited Ghazni, Balkh, Astarabad, and Rey. On reaching Baghdad, he offered his respect to his spiritual guide and teacher Hazrat Khwaja Usman Harooni (ra), who was then in Baghdad.

Initiation as a Disciple a Second Time

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) himself describes the details of his being initiated as a spiritual disciple a second time in the following words:[7]

I, Moin-ud-din Hasan of Sanjar, well-wisher of all the faithful, had the honour of meeting His Holiness Hazrat Khwaja Usman of Haroon in the mosque of Khwaja Junaid in Baghdad. His Holiness was surrounded by inspired dervishes.

When this humble being bowed low in due deference, my spiritual guide and teacher Hazrat Khwaja Usman of Haroon asked me to offer two genuflections. I did.

Then His Holiness asked me to sit with my face towards the Ka'ba. He asked me, next, to recite Sura Baqara. I did as I was asked to do.

Further, His Holiness commanded me to recite benedictions to the Holy Prophet Mohammed twenty-one times. I obeyed.

Then His Holiness stood up and, holding my hand in his, lifted his face towards the sky and said to me: 'Come, let me cause thee to reach God.'

Subsequently, taking out a miqraz, turned it around on the head of this humble being and placed on my head the four-edged cap and bestowed on me the robe. Then he asked me to sit. I sat. He addressed me thus: 'It is the custom with us that a new entrant has to go through asceticism for one day and one night. Thou shouldst complete it in this one day and night.' I obeyed. Next day, when I attended upon him, His Holiness asked me to sit down and recite Sura Ikhlas (Purity of Faith) four thousand times. I did that.

He asked me, next, to look towards the sky. I did. His Holiness asked me: 'How far dost thou see?' I replied: 'Up to the Great Throne.'

Next, he asked me to look towards the ground. I did, He asked me 'How far dost thou see?' I replied: 'Up to the Antipodes.'

Next, he asked me to recite Sura Ikhlas (Purity of Faith), again, a thousand times. I did. He asked me to look towards the sky again. I did. He asked me: 'How far dost thou see now?' I replied: 'Up to the Great Hidden.'

He asked me next to close my eyes. I did. He asked me to open my eyes. I did.

Then, showing his two fingers, he asked me:' What dost thou see therein?'

I replied: 'Eighteen thousand worlds.'

Later, pointing towards a brick ahead, he asked me to pick it up. When I did, I found a handful of dinars therein. He said to me: 'Go and distribute them amongst the needy and the poor.' I complied. When I went to him subsequently, he said to me: 'Live in our company for some time.' I replied: 'I am at your service, Sir.'


Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) accompanied his spiritual guide and teacher wherever he went. They left Baghdad for Makkah, and on their way, they stayed for sometime in Fallujah. About the visit to Mecca, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) himself says:[8]

Having reached Mecca, we were honoured by the glorious vision of the Ka'ba and by going around it. My spiritual guide and teacher here, too, took my hand in his and entrusted it to God Almighty. He prayed for my humble self in Ka'ba. A voice was heard to the effect that: 'We have accepted Moin-uddin.'

Then we reached Medina. We offered our respects at the Court of the Holy Prophet Mohammad ﷺ. My spiritual guide and teacher said to me: 'Make thy respectful salaams.' I offered my reverential salaams.

A voice came out saying: 'Peace be on you also, O Head of the Pious of the Earth and the Sea.' On hearing this, my spiritual guide said to me: 'Now indeed thou hast reached perfection.'

Leaving Medina, they stopped in Osh, Badakhshan, and Bukhara on their way to Baghdad. After staying in Baghdad for some time, Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) once again accompanied his spiritual guide and teacher on his tours and travels, visiting Osh, Siwistan, and Damascus.

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) met Hazrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) in Gail a second time in 581 AH/1185 AD and stayed with him for fifty-seven days.

Initiation into the Spiritual Order

After having served his spiritual guide teacher on tours and travels for twenty years, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) was separated from him in Baghdad, when he was fifty-two years of age.

On this occasion, Hazrat Khwaja Usman Harooni (ra) appointed him as his Sajjada nashin, his spiritual successor, and conveyed to him the holy relics of the Holy Prophet Mohammad ﷺ. Of this Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) himself says:

My spiritual guide and teacher gave me the stick that was placed before him and then honoured me by confiding to me the robe, sandals, stick and the prayer carpet. Then addressing me said thus:

'These holy relics are the sacred possessions of our spiritual ancestors, which we have received from the Holy Prophet Mohammad ﷺ and I have given them to thee. Thou should'st keep them with thee, as we have done. Whomsoever thou may'st find a real seeker, entrust them to him. Do not hold any hope from the people. Live far from the people and aloof from the public and do not demand or ask anything from anybody.'[9]

Having said these words, my spiritual guide and teacher embraced me[10] and kissed my head and eyes[11] and said: 'I have entrusted thee to God.' Then he went into trance and I departed.[12]

Spiritual Chain

His spiritual chain is traced back to the Beloved Prophet ﷺ as follows:

  • Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hassan Chisti (ra), disciple of
  • Hazrat Khwaja Usman–e-Harooni (ra), disciple of
  • Hazrat Haji Sharif Zindani (ra), disciple of
  • Hazrat Khwaja Qutubudin Modood Chisti (ra), disciple of
  • Hazrat Khwaja Nasir Uddin Abu Yousuf Chisti (ra), disciple of
  • Hazrat Khwaja Abu Mohammed Chisti (ra), disciple of
  • Hazrat Khwaja Abu Ahmed Abdal Chisti (ra), disciple of
  • Hazrat Khwaja Abu Ishaque Shami Chisti (ra), disciple of
  • Hazrat Mumshad Uluvi Deenwari (ra), disciple of
  • Hazrat Khwaja Aminuddin Habeera (ra), disciple of
  • Hazrat Khwaja Huzaefa Marashi (ra), dsciple of
  • Hazrat Khwaja Ibrahim Adham Balkhi (ra), disciple of
  • Hazrat Khwaja Fuzail Ibne Ayaz (ra), disciple of
  • Hazrat Khwaja Abdul Wahid Bin Zaid (ra), disciple of
  • Hazrat Khwaja Imam Hassan Basri (ra), disciple of
  • Hazrat Imamul Auliya Sayedna Hazrat Ali Ra.gif, son-in law of
  • The Holy Prophet Hazrat Mohammed Mustafa ﷺ

Hajj and the Prophet’s ﷺ Command

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra), after receiving the robe of caliphate from his spiritual guide and teacher, left on tours and travels again. He first reached Osh and then moved on to Isfahan where he met Sheikh Mahmud of Isfahan. He gave the clothes that he was wearing to Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki (ra), implying that he had accepted him as his spiritual disciple. Thereafter, Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki (ra) accompanied him on tours and travels in the year 583 AH/1187 AH. Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) left Isfahan for Makkah the same year. One day when he was absorbed in prayers in the Ka'ba, he heard a voice saying:

O, Moinuddin! We are greatly pleased with thee. Thou art given salvation. Ask for anything thou may'st like, so that we may grant that to thee.

He respectfully responded:

O, Great God! Grant salvation to the followers and disciples of Moinuddin.

He received the reply:

O, Moinuddin! Thou art our accepted one. I will give salvation to thy followers and disciples and also to those who may enter thy fold till the Day of Resurrection.

After paying respects to the Ka'ba and performing the hajj he reached Medina and devoted himself to prayers in the Ka'ba mosque. During his stay, he received a mandate from the Court of the Holy Prophet Mohammad ﷺ to the effect:

O, Moinuddin! Thou art a helper of my religion. I entrust to thee the country of Hindustan. There prevails darkness. Proceed to Ajmer and spread there the Gospel of Truth.

He was immensely pleased with this mandate but wondered where Ajmer was situated. In the meanwhile, he was consumed with drowsiness. He was blessed by seeing the Holy Prophet Mohammad ﷺ in a dream who showed him the city, the fort, and the situation of Ajmer. He was bid farewell and was given a pomegranate from heaven.

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) reached Baghdad and moved on to Chisht on his way to Herat. From Herat, he proceeded to Sabzevar, which was ruled by Yadgar Mohammed, who also became his spiritual disciple.

He left Sabzevar and reached Shadman Fort, and then left for Lahore via Multan. He then proceeded to Delhi and stopped on the way at Samana (in the Patiala district), and from there, reached Ajmer for the first time in 587AH/1191 AD. He had forty followers with him.

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) in Ajmer

At that time, Ajmer was ruled by Prithvi Raj Chauhan, the famous Rajput king. In Ajmer, he wanted to stay at the site where the Auliya mosque is now situated but the servants of Prithvi Raj Chauhan did not allow him to do so on the pretext that the camels of Prithvi Raj Chauhan usually sat there. Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) thereupon countered: "If the camels sit there, let them sit." He then stayed on a Hill close to Ana Sagar lake and occupied the site now known as Chillah Khwaja Sahib. The camels returned to their usual place and sat there as usual, but once they sat, they were unable to stand up again. The Raja was informed. All the camel-drivers tendered an unconditional apology. Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra), accepting the apology said: "Well, go. The camels now stand." When they returned, they saw the camels were standing.

When the news spread that a very pious dervish had come to Ajmer, people began to flock to him in increasing numbers. Whoever came to him, received the kindest treatment and blessings. People were so much inspired by his divine teachings and simplicity that they began to embrace Islam. Many became his disciples.

Meanwhile, Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori again attacked India, in 1192 AD, and in the famous Battle of Tarain, defeated Prithvi Raj Chauhan. When Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori came to know of the presence of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) at Ajmer, he personally came to see him and enjoyed the grace of his meeting.

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) left Ajmer for some time and returned again to Ajmer in 588AH/1191 AD. He left for Baghdad in 598 AH/1200 AD and on reaching Balkh, he accepted Maulana Ziauddin (ra) as his spiritual disciple. He visited Ajmer a third time in 602 AH/1206 AD and once again in 610 AH/1213 AD.

He visited Delhi twice during the reign of Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish. He reached Delhi in 611AH/1214 AD and stayed in the Khanqah of Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki (ra), and during his stay, he conferred a robe on to Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar (ra).

When his spiritual guide and teacher, Hazrat Khwaja Usman Harooni (ra), paid a visit to Delhi, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) requested that "some calm, quiet and secluded place may be chosen for his permanent abode and stay," to which His Holiness responded: "O, Moinuddin! Live in my company for sometime once again so that thou may’st acquire spiritual powers through the constancy of my training and preaching and after that permanently settle in Ajmer." The renowned poet of Shiraz, Sheikh Sa'di (ra) came to Delhi at that time and had the privilege of meeting both the saints.

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) once again visited Delhi in 621AH/1224 AD at the request of a certain farmer, who implored him to ask the king to set aside the order of confiscation of the produce of his land passed by a certain officer.

He wanted to take Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki (ra) with him to Ajmer as Sheikh Najmuddin Sughra (ra) had complained to him that the presence of Qutb Sahab in Delhi eclipsed his importance and prestige, but when implored by the high and the low of Delhi not to do so, permitted him to remain in Delhi and entrusted the city to his care. He himself returned to Ajmer. Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) continued his noble magnificent mission, showing the Path of Truth to the people. He also sent his disciples and successors to the different part of the country who also served the people and preached the tenets of Islam. A few of his prominent successors are:

  1. Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki (ra) (Delhi)
  2. Hazrat Sheikh Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar (ra) (Pakpattan)
  3. Hazrat Sheikh Nizamuddin Auliya (ra) (Delhi)
  4. Hazrat Sheikh Nasiruddin Chiragh Dehlavi (ra) (Delhi)


It has been recorded that Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) performed more than 5,000 miracles during his stay in India and in the countries he visited in the Middle East and Arabia.

Wives & Children

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) married at an advanced age in obedience to the commandment of the Holy Prophet ﷺ. He married twice.

First Marriage

When he had settled down in Ajmer, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) had a dream in which the Holy Prophet ﷺ appeared in 590 AH/1194 AD. The Prophet ﷺ said, "O Moinuddin, You are a great preceptor of our religion. You should not depart from our ‘sunnah’” (meaning marriage which is incumbent upon every Muslim under the laws of Shariat).

He married Bibi Ummat-ullah and they had three children:[13]

  1. Khwaja Fakhruddin (ra)
  2. Khwaja Husamuddin (ra)
  3. Bibi Hafiza Jamal (ra)

Second Marriage

His second marriage was with Bibi Asmat (ra), daughter of Syed Wajihuddin Mashhadi (ra) who was the commissioner of Ajmer in 620 AH/1223 AD. The marriage resulted in the birth of Hazrat Khwaja Ziauddin Abu Sa'id (ra).

Passing On

On Monday the sixth of Rajab in 627 AH (21 May 1230 AH) he closed the door of his tenement and instructed his attending devotees not to disturb him that night. Throughout the night the people outside heard a mystic sound emerge from it, a sound of ecstacy. At the approach of dawn, all was silent.

When the door remained closed at the time of morning prayers, his devotees and disciples thought this was strange. The door was opened, and there he lay. The following sentence in Arabic was radiantly glittering on his forehead: "He was a beloved of God and he died in the love of God." Haaza Habib-Allah Mata Fee Hoob-Allah (He is God’s beloved and he died in God’s love)

Names & Titles

He is addressed by various titles, amongst which are:

  • Qutb-ul-Mashaikh Barro Behr (Lord of the land and the sea)
  • Habib Allah (Beloved of God)
  • Ata-e-Rasul (Gift of the Prophet)
  • Khwaja-e-Ajmer (Khwaja of Ajmer)
  • Khwaja-e-Buzurg (Great Khwaja)
  • Hind-ul-Wali (Saint of India)
  • Gharib Nawaz (Patron of the poor)
  • Sultan-ul-Hind (Spiritual Sovereign of India)
  • Naib-e-Rasul-fil-Hind (Deputy of the Prophet in India)
  • Aftab-e-Jahan (Sun of the World)
  • Panah-e-Bekasan (Shelter of the Helpless)
  • Daleel-ul-Arefeen (Argument of the Enlightened)

His Character

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) was very fond of music and fell unconscious in a state of rapture when listening to it. He always appeared to be solemn and sad, and had the utmost respect and regard for his spiritual guide and teacher. Very absorbed, he kept his eyes closed when lost in contemplation, but opened them at prayer time. He followed the precepts of the Holy Prophet ﷺ in everyday life. Fear of God would cause him to tremble and weep and the dread of the last resting place, the grave, also dominated his thoughts. Sometimes he felt in an elevated mood and was then so much absorbed and lost in meditation that he was quite unmindful of what was going on around him. At other times, he was consumed by a pensive mood, and then he would close the door of his tenement in order to devote himself to contemplation.

He had a forgiving nature and showed love, regard, and respect to all, irrespective of caste, creed, or religion. He was cosmopolitan in outlook, and a man of generous disposition, taking pleasure in helping the poor and the needy.

He was renowned for his hospitality and entertained the people. Myriads of people of the city, with no ostensible means of subsistence, depended upon his langar (free distribution of food). He himself ate very little, fasting throughout the year, and wore patched clothes. Very fond of prayers, he would read the Quran twice a day. He took no rest or respite for seventy long years and was very particular about his ablutions.

He showed utmost concern for the well-being of his spiritual disciples and was greatly loved by his spiritual guide and teacher Hazrat Khwaja Usman Harooni (ra) who said of him: "Our Moinuddin is a beloved of God and I feel proud of the fact that he is my disciple."

He took to renunciation and self-abnegation.


Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki (ra) of Osh was his premier spiritual caliph and Sajjada nashin (spiritual successor). Amongst his prominent caliphs, one may mention the following:

  • Hazrat Khwaja Fakhruddin Abul Khair
  • Hazrat Sufi Hamiduddin of Nagore
  • Sheikh Moinuddin
  • Sheikh Wajihuddin
  • Sheikh Burhanuddin
  • Sheikh Ahmad
  • Sheikh Shamsuddin Faqari
  • Abdullah Biyabani
  • Shaikh Nizamuddin of Nagore
  • Shaikh Mujadduddin of Sanjar
  • Shaikh Ali of Sanjar (May Allah’s mercy be upon them all)


Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) was a great mystic poet and has left a collection of poems in Persian. Among his other books, all written in Persian traced so far, are:

  1. Anis-ul-Arwah
  2. Hadis-ul-Ma'arif
  3. Risala Maujudia
  4. Kanj-ul-Israr
  5. Kashf-ul-lsrar
  6. Afaq-o-Anfas


Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra) was a source of inspiration and illumination and his discourses reveal great spiritual insight. They are contained in a book entitled Daleel-ul-Arefeen written by his premier caliph and Sajjada nashin Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki of Osh (ra).

Mysticism and mystics

He says that “Mysticism is a name and not a custom." By merely being conversant with and studying mysticism, one does not become a Sufi. It is the inner life that marks one out as a mystic. A mystic must have an exact understanding of divine knowledge. He should surrender his will to the Will of God. He should be kind, hospitable, and courteous, devoid of any trace of haughtiness or arrogance or superiority. He should be content, meek and gentle, reposing his utmost trust in God. The ambition to win disciples and to win applause or fame is foolish and vain. On the contrary, the essential ambition should be to be nearer to the Friend and to be accepted by the Friend.


He says that a disciple must submit his whole self and will to his spiritual guide and teacher. He observed:

The spiritual disciple should by earnestly following and obeying his spiritual guide, try to reach the place where the spiritual guide himself becomes the comb of his disciple.

A spiritual disciple then should have as his motto, service, love of, obedience to, and faith in his spiritual guide and teacher in order to attain perfection.

Spiritual Guide

As regards the spiritual guide, he says that he, indeed, is a guide, friend, and philosopher to his disciple, for his moral, spiritual, and ethical development.


According to Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (ra):

The path of love is such, that he who treads on it, loses his name and identity. Love is all-embracing and all-pervading: the lover's heart is a fireplace of love. Whatever comes in it is burnt and becomes annihilated. There is no fire greater in intensity than the fire of love. The sign of true love is manifested in obedience to and the fear of the Friend.

As regards the repentance of lovers, he says that this is of three kinds.

  1. Firstly, it is due to shame
  2. Secondly to avoid sin
  3. Thirdly to purify themselves by purging cruelty and enmity from within themselves

Genuine love rules out the idea of treating the Friend with a reserve. The springs of love are in God and not in us. Hence, love is divine.


He emphasises the importance of prayer and says that it is a great necessity for the development of the soul.

He does not restrict prayer in its implications, expressions, and meaning, giving a broad connotation to the word "prayer." According to him, prayer consists in selfless service, sympathy, and fellow-feeling. Thus, helping the weak, the aggrieved, the needy, to feed the hungry, and to have the captive freed all constitute prayers.

He says that to see six things constitutes prayer for the mystic:

  1. To see one's own parents in the morning and say salaam to them
  2. To see one's own children with love and affection
  3. To see the Holy Quran
  4. To see the face of the learned with respect
  5. To see the gate of Ka'ba
  6. To look towards the face of one's own spiritual guide and teacher and to devote oneself to his service

The Enlightened

According to him, fear, respect, and shyness are the three things that go to make one enlightened.

The perfection of the enlightened depends upon the loss of the self. An enlightened being is said to be perfect only when all barriers separating him and the Friend are dismantled. Either he must live (in case, he does not to give up himself) or the Friend (when all barriers are removed and there is no separate self anymore).


He lays great emphasis on renunciation, holding that the object should be to have no objective. To lose an objective is to gain the objective.

A perfect dervish should remove from his heart the stain, stress and the burden of anything and everything. He should not give place in his heart to anything and anyone except God Almighty alone. He should not pursue any other object. He should desire nothing except God.


According to him, the real fast is the renunciation of all religious and worldly desires.


He says that there are three conditions attached to sama.' (music); these relating to time, place, and community of interest.

It is through sama' that the nearness of God is achieved. It confers love on the heart, it gives sincerity to the head, unity to the soul, service to the body, and vision to the eye.


1. The heart of a lover (the true devotee of God) constantly burns with the fire of love so much so that whatever (passion) intrudes upon its sanctity is burnt to ashes.
2. When the river pursues its course, the flow occasions force and noise, but when it ultimately merges into the sea, it rest in supreme peace. The same is true of the individual 'self covering various stages on its onward journey to merge itself in the Universal Self.

3. He indeed is a true devotee, blessed with the love of God, who is gifted with the following three attributes:

  1. River-like charity, i.e. his sense of charity has no limits and is equally beneficial to all the creatures of God who approach him,
  2. Sun like affection, i.e. his affection may be extended indiscriminately to all like sunlight and
  3. Earth-like hospitality, i.e. his loving embrace may be open to all like that of the earth.
4. The association with the pious and godly persons is better even than doing a good deed, and the association with ungodly and vicious people is worse than doing an evil act.
5. A sin committed does not harm an individual so much as the looking down with contempt upon one's own fellow beings.
6. The estate of a hermit settles upon him who has no earthly belongings which might excite his sense of attachment.
7. Realization of God comes to him who keeps vigilance and forgets recollection of ‘self’.
8. The test of a true devotee's mind is that it is always, and to all intents, strictly obedient to the will of God and is constantly afraid of behaving in a manner which is apt to displease Him resulting in the withdrawal of His grace.
9. A seer of the 'essence of things' is characteristically mute and meditative.
10. It is an elevated stage on the path leading to the realization of God that the seeker of the goal can witness the Universe and its panorama through his two fingers only.
11. Concentration on the implications of drawing and discharging breath is a part of the seer's (Arif’s) worship.
12. Of all the worship, the worship that pleases the Almighty God most is the grant of relief to the humble and the oppressed.
13. He is hardened sinner who commits sin and yet simultaneously entertains the belief that he is one of God's 'chosen few'.
14. The Arif or seer is always over head and ears in the ocean of happiest expectation. If he stands up, the guiding force is the love of the 'friend' (God); if he sits down it is to meditate over His glory and if he sleeps, it is the sweet remembrance of Him which lulls him to rest.
15. He is the knower of the path of love (of God) who relinquishes a attachment to both the worlds.
16. The highly prized gift for a dervish is his association with other dervishes, while his greatest loss is to remain away from them.
17. Patience is tested through resignation to sorrow, sufferings and disaster without murmur or disclosing one's pains to others.
18. The more one learns about the 'essence of things' the more one wonders.
19. The seer regards death as a friend, luxury as an enemy and the constant narration or remembrance of God as a glory.
20. Knowledge is comprised unto an unfathomable ocean and enlightenment is like a wave in it; then what is the relation of God and man? While the ocean of knowledge is sustained by God alone, the enlightenment pertains to man.
21. Those having insight into the 'essence of things' are endowed with light like the sun and they impart illumination to the whole world.
22. Without saying prayer, in other words without performing Namaaz, none can approach God because Nammaz is the climax in the process of such approach for the pious.
23. There are four cardinal virtues of the individual self; firstly, refraining from begging in the state of penury; secondly, showing the attitude of the well-fed when feeling hungry; thirdly, maintaining cheerfulness in the time of sorrow; and fourthly, befriending the enemy.
24. By attaining perfection in the observation of Islamic Law (Shariat) through a pious conduct, one reaches the stage of the path leading to Divinity (Tariqat), and then onward he passes on to enlightenment (Marifat) and lastly to the attainment of the high point of human existence (Haqiqat).
25. The soul of him who perform ablution before going to bed always soars high in the heaven (Arsh), taking a bird's eye view of the lower regions.
26. Namaaz is like a trust committed to human care by God, and as such it should be zealously guarded. Namaaz is the climax or destination of the faithful, and lastly Namaaz is secret relationship existing between the worshipper and the worshipped.
27. Even the angels in the heaven pray for him who, having performed his morning Namaaz remains sitting there engaged in the meditation of God.
28. Incessant recitation of praise of God (Alhamd Sharif or Te Deum) is the infallible remedy for the fulfilment of one's needs.
29. The graveyard is the place for picking up a lesson. In such a solemn surrounding, one should not indulge in laughing or burst into laughter or eat or drink or do any other worldly thing.
30. In the matter of realization of God and 'self, no distinction in made between an Arif and a Salik; they both reach the same and identical destination.
31. God rains misfortune and misery upon the heads of those whom He loves.
32. It is a pious act to look at God's scripture (Quran), greater is the piety in reciting it even if it be but one letter. It will banish ten vices and enable ten virtues being recorded in lieu. It improves the eyesight and will impart immunity to the eyes against all mishaps.
33. A devotional approach to the saint and friendship with dervishes attract blessings from the High.
34. The devotional visit to God's Kaaba is as good a reward as one thousand years of worship and devotion to God. The piety resulting from the Hajj itself is over and above this.
35. To cast a devotional look towards one's Pir and to serve him faithfully are comparable to the devotion to God.
36. The best way of evading the fire of hell lies in feeding the hungry, providing water to the thirsty, removing the wants of the needy and befriending the miserable.
37. It amounts to devotion and worship on the part of a son to cast a look on the faces of his parents. All the sins committed by the son who kisses the feet of his parents are extinguished. Khwaja Bayazid Bustami (may God's peace and grace be upon him) once said, "Whatever position of distinction I have attained, it is a legacy bestowed upon me by my parents.
38. He is an Arif or seer who is visited every day by a hundred thousand flashes of light (inspiration) from the Heaven.
39. He is an Arif whom unseen wisdom enlightens to enable him to reveal mysteries to solve all thorny problems and meet all arguments successfully. He is always swimming in the ocean of interpretation and is capable of extraction the pearl of secrets and of 'light' and to present it to those who are competent enough to test its genuineness.
40. Just as the sunshine increases gradually in the morning so does the Divine Light expand in one who says Ishraaq prayers.
41. One of the sings of an Arif is that he remains characteristically smiling at all times.
42. When the Arif meditates over a thing, he attains a state of absorption in which even if thousands of angels assuming wonderful forms try to attract him, he would remain entirely undisturbed for the time being.
43. For an Arif it is an ordinary miracle that he ascends beyond the Heaven by taking only one step and reaches the 'Veil of Divine Glory'. But God alone knows the secret implications of that stage. He cannot say where it leads him ultimately to, and what he perceives in that mysterious state when he returns.
44. The mouth of a human being is regarded as sanctified irrespective of his personality, i.e. be it that of a true and faithful Muslim (Momin), or an unbeliever {Kafir), be he purified or impure.
45. If all the rules of prayer are not followed properly, it is struck back on the face of him who offers such a prayer (Hadith).
46. Prayer is a pledge between a momin and God. Its faithful discharge leads to redemption. If it is not discharged faithfully, the defaulter would not be able to show his face to God on the Day of Judgment.
47. Offer your repentance quickly before death arrives and hurry up to perform the Nameez before its final hour passes.
48. It is greatest sin not to perform the obligatory prayer at its proper and appointed time or to say two obligatory prayers simultaneously at one and the same time.
49. The Almighty God will erect on the Day of Judgment curtains the thickness of which will take 500 years to cross over between the hell and the man who feeds a hungry person.
50. That man is a true devotee of God who resigns with pleasure to the misfortune that comes from his Beloved (i.e. God).
51. For the seer or dervish who follows the true path, it is the greatest sin if his heart does not melt with the fear of God when the name of God is uttered before him, or when Quran is recited before him.
52. It is incumbent on the follower of the path leading to Divinity (Tariqat) that he must first divorce or renounce the physical world, and then the second world thereafter and ultimately his own 'self (Nafs), when alone he can pursue his right path, failing which he should abandon the enterprise of Sufism.
53. For a follower of the path of Truth, it is worse than a sin to disdain or look down upon anyone.
54. The stage of perfection in knowledge of the realization of God (Irfaan) is reached when the seer enlightens the hearts of other people with the Divine Light.
55. The Arif is defined as one who banishes all thoughts from his mind and indulges in only one pointed meditation of God's glory in order to acquire nearness with Him and who is Himself One without second.
56. When the Arif becomes silent it means that he is talking to God, and when he closes his eyes it means that he is knocking at God's door.
57. The path of Love (of God) is such a path that whoever stepped into it, he lost himself.
58. Those who are true lovers of God give away both of the worlds for the sake of their Beloved and even then they feel that they have done nothing whatsoever.
59. Three things are dearer than all other things in the world. Firstly, the savant who says according to what he has digested; secondly, the person who does not succumb to avarice; and thirdly, the Arif who is always singing the praises and glory of his Beloved (God).
60. There are no rituals or ceremonies to be performed in Sufism, nor are there academical dissertations which may be easily acquired by reading, but, according to men who are lovers of God and the Sheikhs of Tariqat, Sufism means scrupulously maintained moral behaviour which one must observe towards all he creatures of God.
61. The resignation of the Arif is indicated in his reposing unflinching faith in the mercy and grace of God and God alone, and that he should not be attracted to anyone else.

62. Only two things are enough for one desirous of establishing himself on the path of Tariqat:

  1. devotion to and worship of God and
  2. obeying His commandments.
63. Death is a bridge which expands the passage for a lover to reach his Beloved (God).
64. Love of God transcends and is above all passion for others.

65. According to those well-versed in the doctrines of the seeker of true path, penitence, or Toba, assumes shape in the combination of three things:

  1. moderation in food with the resolve of fasting,
  2. moderation in speech in order to save time for singing the praises of the Beloved (God) and
  3. moderation in sleep in the interest of reserving more time and energy for his devotion.

[14] [15]


Sultan Ghiyasuddin constructed Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti’s (ra) mausoleum in 1464 AD and constructed the dome over it on around 1464-1500 AD. After sometime, Emperor Akbar remodelled the Shrine in 1564 AD. Subsequently, alterations and modifications were made by Emperor Shah Jahan.

The tomb is always covered with precious gilaphs (sheets of expensive cloth) with rich embroidery work all over, which are presented by the followers and devotees of the Holy Saint. The inside of the dome and the walls are artistically engraved and embellished in gold tracing. The top of the shrine is always covered full length with fresh fragrant flowers, mostly roses and jasmine. The shrine is surrounded by two silver screens.



  1. Masalek-us-Salekeen, vol. II, p. 271.
  2. Siyar-ul-Aqtab, p. 101; Khazinat-ul-Asfin, vol. I, p. 232.
  3. Mirat-ul-Israr (MS.); Iqtibas-ul-Anwar, p. 144; Mirat- ul -Ansab, p. 160.
  4. Siyar-id-Arefeen, p. 5; Siyar-ul-Aqtab, pp. 101-2; Masalek-us-Salekeen, vol. II, p. 273.
  5. Siyar-ul-Aqtab, p. 106; Ahsan-us-Siyar, p. 134.
  6. Siyar-ul-Aqtab, p. 106.
  7. Anis-ul-Arwah, pp. 2-3.
  8. Anis-ul-Arwah, p. 3.
  9. Masalek-us-Salekeen, vol. II, p. 275.
  10. Anis-ul-Arwah ,p.34.
  11. Masalek-us-Salekeen, vol. II, p. 275.
  12. Anis-ul-Arwah ,p.34.
  13. Ahsan-us-Siyar, p. 159; Waqia'a-e-Shah Moin-ud-din, p. 53.
  14. Holy Biography of Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti - W.D. Begg.
  15. The Life and Teaching of Khwaja Muinuddin Chisiti - Dr Zahurul Hasan Sharib.
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