|Hazrat Shaikh Khwaja Syed Muhammad Nizamuddin Auliya|
File:Nizamuddin Auliya Mausoleum.jpg|
Moinuddin Chisti’s mausoleum in Ajmer, India
636 AH/1238 AD|
Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, India
725 AH/1325 AD|
|Resting place||Delhi, India|
Sultan-ul-MushaikhMahboob-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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- "If you must incur debt, then try to repay it quickly."
- "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).
Under Hazrat Nizamuddin's spiritual influence and religious training, the courtiers, princes and wealthy people now improved in character tremendously. The author of 'Siar-ul-Aulia' writes:
|“||Those courtiers, princes and wealthy persons who led a life of drinking, debauchery and sin were so powerfully influenced by Hazrat Nizamuddin's spiritual spell and moral lessons that they gave up their sinful behaviour and adopted a new and clean life. Most of them dedicated themselves to the service of the great Sheikh for the rest of their lives.||”|
Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia's character as a Sufi dervish, as built upon the essential teachings of Islam and principles of Sufism which mean Peace in their true religious sense. He was a radiant picture of "simple living in high thinking." So dominating were his personality and illuminating character that nobody could dare to stand their magnetic pull. His great love and sympathy for the oppressed humanity were equally unique and unparalleled.
This tremendous success of a poor dervish, although blessed by Divine Power, was due to his noble character which he had built up by mujahedas (strivings) and unflinching faith in God and the teachings of his illustrious predecessors.
No doubt Hazrat Nizamuddin's sparkling character was peculiarly divine, like all great Sufis, yet, as a humble commoner, orphaned at the tender age of 5, he had to struggle through a life of abject poverty — a test which only steeled his marvellous character. Although he inherited a richly fertile heritage from a very noble blood, he had to shape his personal character by persistent strivings in order to get complete control over his Nafs.
Hazrat Baba Farid's Instructions
While conferring Khilafat upon Hazrat Nizamuddin, Hazrat Baba Farid gave him the following instructions for the success of his career as a Sufi. These noble teachings are the 'essence' of the centuries' old practical experiences of Great Sufi Dervishes. Hazrat Baba Saheb advised:
- Always keep yourself busy with mujahedas. Idleness is the devil's workshop.
- In our way of life, fasting achieves 50% of success; the remaining 50% is acquired by Namaz and Hajj.
- Educate yourself and your disciples.
- Avoid all sinful acts.
- Make every possible effort to correct your own faults before reforming others.
- Whatever you have heard from me, remember it and propagate it widely
- If you have to go in seclusion, then do it in a mosque where Namaz is conducted in congregation.
- Make your Nafs idle and consider the world as absent and immaterial.
- Give up avarice and all the desires of the world.
- Your privacy or seclusion must occupy you in the devotion of God. If, in such seclusion, you are tired of bigger mujahedas, then try smaller ones.
- If you may be troubled by your Nafs, then please it with a little respite or sleep.
- Whosoever comes to you, shower your blessings and favours upon him.
Hazrat Nizamuddin followed all the above instructions most dutifully throughout his life. During his primary years, he performed mujaheda for 30 years continuously. In his declining years, he performed harder mujahedas. He fasted daily throughout his life. During the 24 hours of day and night, it is reported that he offered 200 to 300 rakats of Namaz. He used to stay in a hujra at the roof of his Khanqah but, even at the age of 80, he used to come down to perform Namaz with the congregation punctually. Daily, after all the 3 morning prayers (fajr, Chaasht and Ishraaq) he used to sit in his jamaatkhana (congregation hall) to impart religious teaching to the aspirants, when all the Ulema and Suffis of his group were also present. During this period, the poor and the needy from the city visited his Khanqha, and everyone of them was provided with food, money and clothing. It was his strict standing order that everything in the Khabqha's kitchen must be given away to the poor and that nothing should be stored for the morrow.
After the 'Zohar' prayer (1-2 p.m.), he used to have a little 'Qailula' (afternoon rest). A second sitting of the 'majlis' (meeting) was then held in which Hazrat Nizamuddin used to explain and clarify the delicate religious problems to the aspirants. Lessons in Hadith were given from many authentic religious books. He was the greatest debater of his time and his ways of explaining and teaching were polite, sweet and enchanting. After a brief respite between 'asar' (4 p.m.) and 'Maghrib' (6 p.m.) prayers, he used to end his day's fast, and after the 'Isha' (9 p.m.) prayer he retired into his hujra. At that time only his beloved mureed Amir Khusro was permitted to be with him, who often used to present some of his latest poetical compositions to the saint. After his departure, Hazrat Nizamuddin closed the door of the Hujra and remained in devotion throughout the rest of the night. Before dawn, at the time of sehr', (4 to 5 A.M.) the servant used to bring in some food, the only food he took in the 24 hours of day and night, and, after taking only a few morsels, the rest of this meagre food too was ordered to be distributed to the poor. This was the daily timetable of the great saint.
Love of Humanity
Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, in spite of his constant devotion to God, never forgot his duties towards charity and humanity. His kitchen always remained open, and thousands of poor people used to eat in his kitchen daily. Before going out for Friday prayers, he personally examined every corner of the Khanqah and the kitchen to be sure that nothing was left and everything was given way in charity. Travellers, guests and all sorts of people arriving at his Khanqah were treated most hospitably and were provided with what they needed.
Love for his Enemies
Hazrat Nizamuddin considered that jealousy and enmity did not go hand-in-hand with the creed of Sufism which teaches to treat one's enemies and opponents with all due love and forbearance. In the vicinity of Ghyaspur there lived a man named Chajju who bore a serious grudge against Hazrat Nizamuddin without any cause and always tried to harm him. But when the saint heard of Chajju's death, he went to attend his funeral and, after his burial, offered two Rakats of Namaz at his grave and , forgiving his past behaviour, prayed for his salvation.
Similarly, Maulana Ziauddin Sanami, a staunch follower of Shariat, used to oppose and criticise Hazrat Nizamuddin vehemently for his love of Sama. He had also written a book against Sama. When the time of the Maulana's death arrived, Hazrat Nizamuddin went to see him. The Maulana, out of his respect for the saint, sent out his turban to be spread under the feet of Hazrat Nizamuddin as he approached his home, but the saint picked it up and placed it upon his eyes. As he reached his room, the Maulana could not raise his eyes due to the great shame he felt for his past behaviour. Immediately after Hazrat Nizamuddin came out of the room, Maulana Ziauddin died. Hazrat Nizamuddin lamented and said: "There was a staunch supporter of the Prophet's Shariat. Alas, he too is no more in this world."
As mentioned, Hazrat Nizamuddin always observed the fast. He used to eat only half a piece of barley bread with some vegetable soup at the time of 'sehri' (4 to 5 A.M.). Sometimes he took rice also in very small quantity. Generally he took his food with the people present and although he himself ate very little but, to observe etiquette and keep company he kept his fingers in the bowl to pretend that he was also eating so that others, in company, may have their own time for a full share of meal. Very often, while eating, he would think of the poor and start weeping upon their condition. Sometimes half-chewed morsels were found on his 'dastarkhwan',; the reason being that any morsel giving delicious taste was taken out to defeat and kill the pleasure of the Nafs. In his kitchen, all sorts of delicious food was prepared for the poor and the rich alike but he never tasted it himself. After the Maghrib (6 p.m.) prayer, some of his mureeds in the city (Delhi) used to send him a variety of rich food daily, but it was all distributed among his servants and the poor.
Thousands of the people used to receive new clothes and dresses from Hazrat Nizamuddin but his own dress bore conspicuous patches of repair. When he was in the attendance of his Pir-o-Murshid at Ajodhan, his clothes were badly torn. Owing to poverty, he could not afford to have any soap for washing or even the necessary piece of cloth to stitch repairs. The grandmother of the author of "Siar-ul-Aulia" once washed and repaired his clothes for which he remained under a lifelong obligation to her, and used to remember that favour openly before his mureeds.
Love for the Prophet
Like his great Spiritual teachers and predecessors, Hazrat Nizamuddin also entertained overwhelming love for Prophet Mohammad ﷺ. Some time before his death, he saw the prophet ﷺ in a spiritual communion who said: "Nizam, I am very eager to meet you." Ever since that day, Hazrat Nizamuddin remained in a state of eagerness looking forward to the last journey of his life. Forty days before his death, he gave up all food and if anyone asked him to take it, he said: "How can one relish any food when one is fond of meeting the Prophet ﷺ?"
When his condition became alarming and he was requested to take some medicine, he quoted Amir Khusro's following verse:
Love for the poor
A day before his death, he ordered his personal attendant Iqbal to distribute all that was in his Langarkhana and storeroom to the poor so that "he may not have to give an account of the same before God." One of the servants had kept back some foodgrains for the inmates of the Khanqah but, when the saint heard of it, he ordered: "Please, let the poor have everything and you should sweep the floors of my 'Toshakhana' (storeroom)." This order was strictly carried out.
Just before his death on the morning of 18th Rabi-us-Sani, 725 A.H., he distributed from his private Bughcha (an attache case) miscellaneous presents to his various Khalifas and ordered them to go out to all corners of India to preach the gospel of Truth and Love. Handing over the traditional "Tabarrukaat- e-Mustafavi" (sacred relics) which he had received from his Pir-o-Murshid, and which were coming down with the successors in the Chishtia Order for the past 600 years) to Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin Chiragh of Delhi, he said:
After this, he offered his early morning prayer (Namaz), and then passed on. Unprecedented grief overtook his life-long companions - attendants, Khalifas, friends, mureeds — thousands of devotees and, above all, thousands of the poor who used to enjoy his unparalleled hospitality for the past 60 years. Every home in Delhi, Hindu or Muslim, was plunged into mourning.
A monumental mausoleum on the tomb of Hazrat Nizamuddin was built by Sultan Mohammed bin Tughlaq, son and succcssor of Sultan Ghyasuddin Tughlaq, king of Delhi.
Quotes & Sayings
- ↑ The Life and Times of Shaikh Nizam-u'd-din Auliya, by Khaliq Ahmad Nizami