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Moinuddin Chishti

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Template:Infobox ReligiousBio Sultan-ul-Hind, Hazrat Shaikh Khwaja Syed Muhammad Mu'īnuddīn Chishtī (Ajmeri) (Persian/Urdu: خواجہ سیّد محمد معین الدین چشتی اجمیری) was born in 1141 and died in 1230 CE. Also known as Gharīb Nawāz (غریب نواز), or 'Benefactor of the Poor', he is the most famous Sufi saint of the Chishtī Order of the Indian Subcontinent. He introduced and established the order in South Asia. The initial spiritual chain or silsila of the Chishti order in India, comprising Mu'īnuddīn Chishtī, Bakhtiyar Kaki, Baba Farid and Nizamuddin Auliya (each successive person being the disciple of the previous one), constitutes the great Sufi saints of Indian history.[1]

Early life and background

Mu'īnuddīn Chishtī was born in 536 A.H./1141 CE, in Sijistān, in Persian Khorasan, modern Iran[2]. He is a descendant of Muhammad through Ja‘far aṣ-Ṣādiq. He grew up in a Persian family. His parents died when he was only fifteen years old. He inherited a windmill and an orchard from his father. During his childhood, the young Mu'īnuddīn was different from others and kept himself busy in prayers and meditation. Legend has it that once when he was watering his plants, a revered Sufi, Shaikh Ibrāhim Qundūzī (or Kunduzi) -- the name deriving from his birth place, Kunduz in Afghanistan -- came to his orchard. Young Mu'īnuddīn approached him and offered him some fruits. In return, Sheikh Ibrāhīm Qundūzī gave him a piece of bread and asked him to eat it. The Khwāja got enlightened and found himself in a strange world after eating the bread. After this he disposed of his property and other belongings and distributed the money to the poor. He renounced the world and left for Bukhara in search of knowledge and higher education.[3]

His paternal ancestry

Mu'īnuddīn Chishtī, son of Ghiyāsuddīn, son of Najmuddīn Zāhir, son of ‘Abd al-‘Azīz, son of Ibrāhīm, son of Idrīs, son of Mūsā al-Kāzim, son of Ja’far al-Ṣādiq, son of Imām Muḥammad al-Bāqir, son of Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidīn, son of Imām Ḥusayn, son of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib.

His maternal ancestry

Umm al-Wara' al-Ma’rūf, daughter of Māh-e Nūr, daughter of Dawūd, son of ‘Abdullāh Hanbalī, son of Zāhid, son of Murās, son of Dawūd, son of Mūsā, son of ‘Abdullāh, son of Ḥasan Masnā, son of Imām Ḥasan, son of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib.


Mu'īnuddīn Chishtī visited the seminaries of Samarkand and Bukhara and acquired religious learning at the feet of eminent scholars of his age. He visited nearly all the great centers of Muslim culture, and acquainted himself with almost every important trend in Muslim religious life in the Middle Ages. He became a disciple of the Chishtī saint 'Uthmān Hārūnī. They travelled the Middle East extensively together, including visits to Makkah and Medina.

Journey to India

Mu'īnuddīn Chishtī turned towards India, reputedly after a dream in which Prophet Muhammad blessed him to do so, and after a brief stay at Lahore he reached Ajmer along with Mohamad of Ghori after Prithviraj Chauhan lost Ajmer, where he settled down. There he attracted a substantial following, acquiring a great deal of respect amongst the residents of the city.

Founding of the Chishtī Order in India

He apparently never wrote down his teachings in the form of a book, nor did his immediate disciples, but he laid the foundations of the Chishtī order in the city of Ajmer in North India. His firm faith in Waḥdat al-Wujūd (Unity of Being) provided the necessary ideological support to his holy mission to bring about emotional integration of the people amongst whom he lived.

The central principles that became characteristics of the Chishtī order in India are based on his teachings and practices. They lay stress on renunciation of material goods; strict regime of self-discipline and personal prayer; participation in Samā' as a legitimate means to spiritual transformation; reliance on either cultivation or unsolicited offerings as means of basic subsistence; independence from rulers and the state, including rejection of monetary and land grants; generosity to others, particularly, through sharing of food and wealth, and tolerance and respect for religious differences.

He, in other words, interpreted religion in terms of human service and exhorted his disciples “to develop river-like generosity, sun-like affection and earth-like hospitality.” The highest form of devotion, according to him, was “to redress the misery of those in distress – to fulfill the needs of the helpless and to feed the hungry.”

It was during the reign of Emperor Akbar (1556-1605) that Ajmer emerged as one of the most important centers of pilgrimage in India. The Mughal Emperor undertook an unceremonial journey on foot to accomplish his wish to reach Ajmer. The Akbarnāmah records that the Emperor’s interest first sparked when he heard some minstrels singing songs about the virtues of the Walī (Friend of God) who lay asleep in Ajmer.

Mu'īnuddīn Chishtī authored several books including Anīs al-Arwāḥ and Dalīl al-'Ārifīn, both of which deal with the Islamic code of living.

Quṭbuddīn Baktiyār Kākī (d. 1235) and Ḥamīduddīn Nagorī (d. 1276) were Mu'īnuddīn Chishtī’s celebrated Khalīfas or successors who continued to transmit the teachings of their master through their disciples, leading to the widespread proliferation of the Chishtī Order in India.

Among Quṭbuddīn Baktiyār’s prominent disciples was Farīduddīn Ganj-i-Shakar (d. 1265), whose dargāh is at Pakpattan, (Pakistan). Farīduddīn’s most famous disciple was Nizāmuddīn Auliyā' (d. 1325) popularly referred to as Mahbūb-e-Ilāhī (God’s beloved), whose dargāh is located in South Delhi.

From Delhi, disciples branched out to establish dargāhs in several regions of South Asia, from Sindh in the west to Bengal in the east, and the Deccan in the south. But from all the network of Chishtī dargāhs the Ajmer dargāh took on the special distinction of being the ‘mother’ dargah of them all.

A recent Bollywood movie "Jodhaa Akbar", directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, includes a qawwālī in praise of Mu'īnuddin Chishtī ("Khwāja Mērē Khwāja"). It depicts the Emperor Akbar being moved by the song to join the whirling-dervish-like dance that accompanies the song. The song is composed by A.R. Rahman.

Sufis of the Chishtī Order

He had more than one thousand khalīfas and hundreds of thousands of disciples. Sufis of different orders became his disciples and took ijāzah from him. Among the famous Sufis who trace their lineage to him are: Quṭbuddīn Bakhtiyār Kākī,Farīduddīn Mas'ūd, Nizāmuddīn Auliyā', Amir Khusrau, Muhammad Hussain-i Gisūdarāz Bandanawāz, Ashraf Jahāngīr Simnānī, Aṭā' Hussain Fānī and Shāh Jamāl Bābā Bahaya Aurangabadī.

Today, hundreds of thousands of people – Muslims, Hindus, Christians and others, from the Indian sub-continent, and from other parts of the world – assemble at his tomb on the occasion of his 'urs (death anniversary).

Many peoples from parts of the world go to Ajmer to visit the Dargah, and pray their and visit the parts of the Ajmer. Not only the common people, but celebrities, politicians, forigners visits the Khawaja garib nawaz.

Spiritual lineage

  1. 'Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib
  2. Al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī
  3. 'Abdul Wāḥid Bin Zaid Abul Faḍl
  4. Fuḍayll ibn 'Iyāḍ Bin Mas'ūd Bin Bishr al-Tamīmī
  5. Ibrāhīm bin Adham
  6. Ḥudhayfah al-Mar'ashī
  7. Amīnuddīn Abū Ḥubayrah al-Baṣrī
  8. Mumshād Dīnwarī

Start of the Chishtī Order:

  1. Abū Isḥāq al-Shāmī
  2. Abū Aḥmad Abdāl
  3. Abū Muḥammad bin Abī Aḥmad
  4. Abū Yūsuf bin Sam'ān al-Ḥusaynī
  5. Maudūd Chishtī
  6. Sharīf Zandānī
  7. 'Uthmān Hārūnī
  8. Mu'īnuddīn Chishtī

Others Buried in the Maqbara enclosure

Dargah Shareef of Khwaza Moinuddin Chishti

An outside view of the Maqbara

The famous Mughal generals Sheikh Mīr and Shāhnawāz Khān were buried in the enclosure of Mu'īnuddīn Chishtī's Maqbara after they died in the Battle of Deorai in 1659. Shāhnawāz Khān was the Emperor Aurangzeb's father-in-law.[4]

Khawaja Ghareeb Nawaz’s immortal verses on the status of Hazrat Imam Hussain (A.S)


These verses, written in Persian, can be found written on the door leading to his tomb. The literal meaning of the saying is, "Ruler is Hussain, Emperor is Hussain, Faith is Hussain, Guardian of faith is Hussain. He offered his head, but not his hand to Yazid (He did not offer his allegiance to Yazid). Indeed, Hussain is the foundation of La-Ilaha Illallah (the declaration that none but God is Absolute and Almighty)."

Blast at the Dargāh

A bomb went off inside the complex on Thursday 11 October 2007 evening killing three people and injuring 17 others. No suspects have been arrested.[5]


  1. Bhakti poetry in medieval India By Neeti M. Sadarangani. Pg 60
  2. Other accounts say that he was born in the city of Isfahān, which is in present-day Iran.
  3. Embodiment of syncretic traditions- Mohammed Iqbal
  4. History of Aurangzeb: Based on Original Sources By Jadunath Sarkar Published by Longmans, Green, 1920, Pg 187 Public Domain


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Template:Sufismms:Moinuddin Chishti sv:Muinuddin Chishti te:ఖ్వాజా మొయినుద్దీన్ చిష్తి ur:خواجہ معین الدین چشتی

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