Nizamuddin Auliya

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Nizamuddin Auliya
Hazrat Shaikh Khwaja Syed Muhammad Nizamuddin Auliya
File:Nizamuddin Auliya Mausoleum.jpg
Moinuddin Chisti’s mausoleum in Ajmer, India
Order Chisti
Born 636 AH/1238 AD
Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, India
Passed away 725 AH/1325 AD
Delhi, India
Resting place Delhi, India
Title(s)

Sultan-ul-Mushaikh

Mahboob-e-Elahi (beloved of God)

Hazrat Shaikh Khwaja Syed Muhammad Nizamuddin Auliya was the fourth Spiritual Successor (Khalifa) of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer — the founder of the illustrious Order of Chishti saints in this country. He was specially selected by his Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin Ganjshakar, for this onerous responsibility because of his unique merits as a learned scholar, an able and diligent administrator and a perfect Spiritual Master, on the recommendation of a "basharat" (revelation) from the Holy Prophet ﷺ.

After the demise of Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar, Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia, therefore, succeeded him as the fourth Sajjadanashin (highest spiritual leader) of India; Hazrat Allauddin Ali Ahmed Sabir of Kalyar being the third in the order of precedence.

Hazrat Nizamuddin fully justified his divine selection and earned a world-wide reputation, in a short time, as the leading Sufi dervish of his time in India. In addition to his spiritual attainments and perfection, he was a most distinguished scholar and an administrative genius. He founded Khanqahs (monasteries) from the line of Ghaus-ul-Azam Hazrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani of Baghdad all over India, and sent his trained Khalifas to impart lessons in 'Truth' and 'Love' to many of the remote parts of the country, especially to its unexplored southern regions. All of these Sufi ambassadors of "Love and peace" acquitted themselves most brilliantly in their missionary duties. In Delhi itself his own Khanqah became the fountainhead of "Divine Wisdom and knowledge", religious learning and moral and social training for 50 years, attracting thousands of aspirants and scholars not only from India but also from many other foreign countries. In short, under Hazrat Nizamuddin's spiritual leadership, the sun of the Chishtia Order shone itself at its zenith in the history of Indian Sufism.

Contents

Family & Lineage

Like many eminent saints before him, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia was also a divine selection from a distinguished parentage who traced their lineal heritage from the illustrious family of the Holy Prophet ﷺ himself.

His father. Hazrat Syed Ahmed Bokhari, was a born 'wali' (saint) who is reported to have recited the Islamic kalima immediately after his birth. Similarly, his mother, Bibi Zuleikha, was a very pious lady who spent all her time in devotion and whose prayers had the reputation of never remaining unfulfilled.

Hazrat Nizamuddin's grandfathers, Khawaja Syed Ali Bokhari (on the maternal side) and Khwaja Arab Bokhari (on the maternal side) were cousins. Both of them had migrated to India from Bokhara during the reign of Sultan Shamsuddin Al-Tamish and, after a short stay in Lahore, they shifted to Badaun where they settled down permanently. Khwaja Ahmed Bokhari, father of Hazrat Nizamuddin, was married to Bibi Zuieikha at Badaun who was the daughter of Khwaja Arab Bokhari.

In those days, Badaun was called Qubat-ul-Islam or Madinat-ul-Aulia (centre of Islamic learning and sainthood) and many leading Ulema and Mashaikhs had established themselves permanently in this city.

Besides his spiritual knowledge, Hazrat Khwaja Ahmed Bokhari was a learned theologian and scholar of Fiqah (law) and enjoyed great reputation for his honest dealings and pious character. Due to these merits, Sultan Ghyasuddin Balban of Delhi had appointed him as Qaazi-ul-Quzzat (Chief Justice) at Badaun but inwardly Khwaja Ahmed had no liking for the post, and though he carried on half-heartedly for some time, he ultimately resigned and retired to the devotion of God and religious duties. He was a mureed of his learned father, Syed Ali Bokhari, whose spiritual 'silsila ', by a few generations, reached up to Hazrat Ibrahim Adham — a great Sufi luminary of his time. Hazrat Khwaja Ahmed Bokari died in Budaun and was buried there. Once more another future Qutub' of India—Khwaja Nizamuddin was orphaned at the early age of 5, like three of his illustrious predecessors in the Chishtia Order of Sufis who had also lost their fathers when they were still of tender age. 

Genealogy

Syed Mohammed (or Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia) son of Syed Ahmed Bokhari son of Syed Ali Bokhari son of Syed Abdulla Khilmi son of Syed Hasan Khilmi son of Syed Ali Mashhaddi son of Syed Ahmed Mashaddi son of Syed Abi Abdulla son of Syed Ali Asghar son of Syed Jafar Sani son of Syed Imam Ali Hadi Naqi son of Imam Mohammed Jawwad Taqi son of Imam Ali Moosa Raza son of Imam Musi Kazim son of Imam Jafar Sadiq son of Imam Mohammed Baqar son of Imam Hazrat Zain ul-Abideen son of Syedna Syedus- Shohoda Hazrat Imam Husain son of Hazrat Ali Karam-Allah Wajahu son in¬law of Hazrat Mohammed Mustafa, the Holy Prophet of Islam ﷺ.

Birth

According to Tarikh Nizami, Hazrat Nizamuddin was born at Badaun 27th Safar 636 AH (19th October 1238 AD) but, according to some writers, his dates of birth are also given as 626, 631 and 634 AH respectively. Of these, 636 and 634 are commonly taken to be correct.

Early Life And Education

Bibi Zuleikha was a pious and intelligent lady. She paid special attention to her child's education and put him under the training of Maulana Allauddin Usooli of Badaun. Very soon the boy obtained his "Dastar-e-Fazilat" at the hands of one Hazrat Ali Moula Buzurg Badayuni, a Khalifa of Hazrat Jalaluddin Tabrezi, together with his blessings in the presence of a distinguished gathering of Ulema and dervishes this boy would never bow his head before anybody but God", was the opinion of all present.

Due to his extraordinary talents, Hazrat Nizamuddin was considered, even at his early age, as the best debater in Delhi. Many learned people crossed swords with him in debates only to lose. Providentially, the boy Nizamuddin at that age had a divine spark in his heart for a spiritual career and divine knowledge. As soon as he heard of the resounding reputation to Hazrat Baba Farid Ganjshakar from one Abu Bakr, Qawwal, he decided to meet him. And one day he left Badaun in the hope of meeting Baba Farid without any preparations. His first stop was at Delhi.

Delhi

As Delhi was the cradle of knowledge and learning in those days, Hazrat Nizamuddin reached the city with the mother and sister at the age of 20. Hazrat Nizamuddin obtained the sanad of Fazilat in a very short time and then received education in Hadith from Maulana Kamaluddin Zahid who specialised in this subject. 

In Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin lived in a house in close proximity to Hazrat Khwaja Najibuddin Mutawakkil (brother of Hazrat Baba Farid) who was a distinguised Sufi himself in Delhi. Hazrat Nizamuddin took advantage of his knowledge and guidance as a pupil, and heard more about Hazrat Baba Saheb's amazing spiritual reputation. Later on, he decided to go to Ajodhan ( Pakpattan) and meet the saint. During this period, Hazrat Nizamuddin was once offered, and was inclined to take up, the post of a Qazi by virtue of his distinguished qualifications but Hazrat Najibuddin Mutawakkil, when consulted, expressed: "InshaAllah Ta'Ala toaHargiz Qazi nashawi, amma chizey shawi ke mun danam. " (God willing, you will never become a Qazi but something else of which I know. Thus Hazrat Nizamuddin changed his mind.

Departure for Ajodhan

One night Hazrat Nizamuddin was staying in the Jama Masjid of Delhi. Early in the morning, the muazzin called out:

Alan yaane lill lazina aamanu antasha quloob-o-hum le zikr Allah.
AHas not the time come for the hearts of the faithful to remember God and bend by His love?)

This call proved to be a divine signal and a turning point for Hazrat Nizamuddin's future career. It only inflamed his love for Hazrat Baba Farid and he, all at once, packed up and left Delhi for Ajodhan reaching there on the 15th of Rajab, 655 AH. As soon as Hazrat Baba Saheb saw him, he welcomed him with the following Persian couplet:

Aye aatish-e-firaqat dilhaa kabaab karda,

sailaab-e-ishtiaqat jaanhaa kharaab karda.

O fire of separation, you have roasted many a heart like the kabaab(roasted meat) while the overwhelming storm of your love has ruined many a life).

Hazrat Baba Saheb added: "O Nizamuddin, I have been seriously thinking about handing over the responsibility of India's 'Qutubship'. Divinity has guided and informed me of your arrival." Baba Saheb at once accepted Hazrat Nizamuddin as his mureed and put the traditional chahaar-tarki cap of initiation on his head.

Stay with Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar

From 15th of Rajab, 655 A. H. to 3rd of Rabi-ul-Awwai, 656 A. H., Hazrat Nizamuddin stayed with Baba Saheb and received spiritual training along with lessons in "Awarif-ul-Ma'Arif" (a unique publication of Hazrat Khwaja Shihabuddin Suhrawardi on Sufism), and "Tamheed Abu Shakoor Salmi." After completing the necessary training, the Khilafat-Nama was granted and he was asked to go Delhi.

When Hazrat Nizamuddin left for Delhi, Hazrat Baba Saheb gave him two recious warnings:

  1. "If you must incur debt, then try to repay it quickly."
  2. "Always try to please your enemies."

The dutiful 'Khalifa' followed these precious warnings strictly throughout his life and flourished.

Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia visited Ajodhan ten times; three times during his Pir-o-Murshid's lifetime and seven times after his demise. Once Hazrat Baba Saheb offered a special prayer for his beloved Khalifa. He prayed: "O God Gracious, pray grant Nizamuddin's every request" and it never failed. When Hazrat Nizamuddin visited Ajodhan for the last time during Hazrat Baba's lifetime, the latter again prayed: "May God make you fortunate. You will be a spacious tree under which the oppressed humanity would take shelter and feel comfort." This prayer also was granted, and Hazrat Nizamuddin did become highly popular for his piety and generosity and earned the divine title of "Mahboob Elahi" (beloved of God).

Return to Delhi

When Hazrat Nizamuddin returned to Delhi for the first time from Ajodhan, he could not secure any calm, secluded and suitable accommodation to perform his devotional duties in peace, and had to go out often to a jungle to avoid the hubbub of a busy city like Delhi. In those days, he was memorising the Holy Quran under his Pir's command and wanted to be left alone.

After several inconvenient changes he, at last, shifted, under a divine inspiration, to Ghyaspur, a tiny village in the suburbs of Delhi. Here, for some time, he had to face again extremely hard times like his childhood.

His fortunes however soon changed. In the same Khanqah where he and his few companions could not get even a morsel to eat for days on end, the kitchen started to get busy throughout the day, and thousands of people took advantage of his sumptuous hospitality, while he himself used to fast daily and lived in strict austerity. All he ate was a small piece of bread prepared from barley.

Hazrat Nasiruddin Chiragh of Delhi, who succeeded him after his death as the 'Qutub' of India, says about these better times in his "Malfoozaat":

The wealth from the admirers of Hazrat Nizamuddin that flowed in like a river to his door, hardly gave him respite from morn till eve, while some people even continued to come in till Isha (9 P.M.). The charity seekers exceeded the number of admirers. In fact, Hazrat Khwaja Saheb gave more in charity than what the admirers brought. Once a wealthy person brought 100 tankas (silver coin of the day) which the Hazrat Saheb did not accept. But when he noticed the disappointment of the man, he accepted only one tanka. As the man was sitting by him with the remaining money in a very despondent mood, wishing inwardly that if the Sheikh had accepted the whole, it would have been his good fortune, Hazrat Saheb said: "I did not accept the whole because it would be useful to you. Take it away, I have enough wealth with me." The Hazrat Saheb then asked him to see on his left and, as the man saw, he was simply dazed to find a huge mound of countless gold mohurs lying carelessly in the corner of his hujra. The man knelt down at the feet of Hazrat Saheb in an ecstatic mood. When he was leaving, the Hazrat Saheb warned him not to disclose this secret to anybody. But the man could not resist his curiosity for the miracle and told all about it. (Khair-ul-Majaalis, Urdu edition, p. 202).

Desire to Leave Ghyaspur

This was the ruling period of Sultan Moizuddin Kaikbad, grandson of Sultan Ghyasuddin Balban, during which foundations of a new palace were laid in Kelu Kheri, a neighbourhood of Ghyaspur. The king's Umera (courtiers), princes and others soon began to visit Hazrat Nizamuddin's Khanqah very frequently and this caused disturbances during his devotional duties. He faced the same problem here which had compelled him to leave the city and seek refuge in Ghyaspur. He therefore wanted to leave but, just as he was thinking of abandoning the place, a handsome young divine appeared on the scene and, reading a Persian couplet, said:

First of all, you should have avoided spreading your popularity. Now, after this widespread popularity, you should not try to do something which may disgrace you before the Holy Prophet ﷺ on the Day of Judgement. It is easy to get away from the world, sit in seclusion and dedicate oneself to the devotion of God, but real chivalry and courage lie in finding peace and seclusion in the midst of disturbance from the worldly crowd. One should be unsusceptible to such a disturbance.

Upon this 'unexpected' warning, Hazrat Nizamuddin changed his mind and stayed in Ghyaspur up until his last breath. (Ghyaspur's name was subsequently changed to 'Nizamuddin' and it remains so till this day).

Quotes & Sayings

1. Devotion to God is of two kinds, lazmi (intransitive) and muta'addi (transitive). In lazmi devotion the benefit which accrues is confined to the devotee alone. This type of devotion includes prayers, fasting, pilgrimage, to Mecca, recitation of religious formulae, turning over the beads of the rosary etc. the muta'addi devotion, on the contrary, brings advantage and comfort to others; it is performed by spending money on others, showing affection to people and by other means through which a man strives to help his fellow human beings. The reward of muta'addi devotion is endless and limitless.
2. Forgive the person who has committed a wrong and thus eliminate your anger.
3. Nobody in this world has more worries and agonies than myself. So may people come to me and report their woes and misfortune to me. All these (accounts) sear my heart and my soul.
4. A spiritual mentor should not instruct his disciple openly, but should use hints and suggestions to bring about change in his thought and behaviour.
5. One who repents sincerely after committing a sin and one who committed no sin hold equal position in the mystic discipline.
6. Lordship and slavery are not known to mystic life. A slave may succeed his master to the spiritual gaddi.
7. Though God's bounty is always there, whatever one can achieve is through the dint of his effort. Under no circumstances one can earn anything without struggle.
8. Whatever one does not like for himself, he should not under any circumstances, suggest for others.
9. One should scrupulously abstain from the display of these spiritual achievements.
10. Spiritual control and sobriety (sahu) is superior to (spiritual) intoxication (sukr).
11. Food should be distributed to all and sundry, without any discrimination.
12. Women are equally endowed with spiritual power and talent. They are equal to men in spiritual discipline.
13. Books of Mashaikh (spiritual mentors) should be regularly studied for enlightenment and culture.
14. Intention and motive alone counts. One's intention should be good.
15. Every work, spiritual or otherwise, appears difficult in the beginning but perseverance makes it easy.
16. Spiritual guidance and training should be received from one spiritual source. Hold one door and hold it fast, should be the guiding principle.
17. A miracle is like a screen which obscures the reality from view.
18. Bread earned through permitted means provides greater spiritual enlightenment than livelihood obtained through doubtful means.
19. On the day of Judgement one would be asked to give account of his earnings secured through permitted means and will be punished for earning through dubious methods.
20. Real pleasure lies not in accumulation but in the distribution of wealth.
21. When one prays he should think of His mercy alone. He should neither brood over his penitence nor over his past sins.
22. Food should not be taken alone.
23. Fasting is half the prayer, the other half is patience.
24. Love of God and love of materialism cannot subsist in one heart.
25. Seclusion from human society is not desirable. One should mix with people and face their blows and buffets.
26. There should be no expression of anger when points of difference are discussed.
27. Malice and ill-will should be rooted out from the hearts.
28. One who serves becomes the master.
29. Resignation to the Will of God is the real key to peace and satisfaction in life.
30. The purpose of prayer is to get rid of self-conceit. One who is ego-centric and selfish cannot achieve anything spiritually.
31. Every wealth has its zakat (charity amount on hoarded income). Zakat of knowledge and learning is to act upon it.
32. God's relation with man is of adl (justice) and fazl (bounty). Man's relationship with man is of adl (justice), fazl (favour) and zulm (tyranny).
33. Dishonest dealings lead to destruction of cities.
34. Self-criticism and quarrel with one's own self is better than seventy years of prayer.
35. Every visitor should be served something; if there is nothing to offer, a cup of water may be offered.
36. One should be kind-hearted and should deal with people with clemency.
37. Prayers should be inspired neither by fear of hell nor by love of heaven. Love of God should be the only inspiring motive.
38. One should pray for the Salvation of all. There should be no discrimination in it.
39. Honest dealings alone lead to lasting fame.
40. Poetry and scholarship are vain and valueless if used for praise and cajolery of others.
41. One who does not love children cannot treat the grown-ups well.
42. One should hide, rather than disclose the evil deeds of others.
43. Emancipation of slaves is an act of spiritual reward.
44. A man is in his worst state when he considers himself good and pious.

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References

  1. The Life and Times of Shaikh Nizam-u'd-din Auliya, by Khaliq Ahmad Nizami
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