Sultan-ul-Mashaikh, Mehboob-e-Ilahi, Hazrat Shaikh Khwaja Syed Muhammad Nizamuddin Auliya (1238 – 3 April 1325) (Urdu: حضرت شیخ خواجہ سیّد محمد نظام الدّین اولیاء), also known as Hazrat Nizamuddin, was a famous Sufi saint of the Chishti Order in the Indian Subcontinent, an order that believed in drawing close to God through renunciation of the world and service to humanity. He is one of the great saints of the Chishti order in India. His predecessors were Fariduddin Ganjshakar, Bakhtiyar Kaki and Moinuddin Chishti. In that sequence, they constitute the initial spiritual chain or silsila of the Chisti order, widely prevalent in the Indian subcontinent.
Nizamuddin Auliya, like his predecessors, stressed love as a means of realising God. For him his love of God implied a love of humanity. His vision of the world was marked by a highly evolved sense of secularity and kindness. It is claimed by the 14th century historiographer Ziauddin Barani that his influence on the Muslims of Delhi was such that a paradigm shift was effected in their outlook towards worldly matters. People began to be inclined towards mysticism and prayers and remaining aloof from the world.
Nizamuddin Auliya was born in Badayun, Uttar Pradesh (east of Delhi). At the age of five, after the death of his father, Ahmad Badayuni, he came to Delhi with his mother, Bibi Zulekha. His biography finds mention in Ain-i-Akbari, a 16th-century document written by Mughal Emperor Akbar’s vizier, Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak.
At the age of twenty, Nizāmuddīn went to Ajodhan (the present Pakpattan Sharif in Pakistan) and became a disciple of the Sufi saint Fariduddin Ganjshakar, commonly known as Baba Farid. Nizāmuddīn did not take up residence in Ajodhan but continued with his theological studies in Delhi while simultaneously starting the Sufi devotional practices and the prescribed litanies. He visited Ajodhan each year to spend the month of Ramadan in the presence of Baba Farid. It was on his third visit to Ajodhan that Baba Farid made him his successor. Shortly after that, when Nizāmuddīn returned to Delhi, he received news that Baba Farid had died.
Nizāmuddīn lived at various places in Delhi, before finally settling down in Ghiyaspur, a neighbourhood in Delhi undisturbed by the noise and hustle of city life. He built his Khanqah here, a place where people from all walks of life were fed, where he imparted spiritual education to others and he had his own quarters. Before long, the Khanqah became a place thronged with all kinds of people, rich and poor alike.
Many of his disciples achieved spiritual height, including Shaikh Nasiruddin Muhammad Chirag-e-Delhi, and Amir Khusro, noted scholar/musician, and the royal poet of the Delhi Sultanate.
He died on the morning of 3 April 1325. His shrine, the Nizamuddin Dargah, is located in Delhi. and the present structure was built in 1562. The shrine is visited by people of all faiths, through the year, though it becomes a place for special congregation during the death anniversaries, or Urs, of Nizamuddin Auliya and Amīr Khusro, who is also buried at the Nizāmuddīn Dargāh.
Besides believing in the traditional Sufi ideas of embracing God within this life (as opposed to the idea that such partial merger with God is possible only after death), by destroying the ego and cleansing the soul, and that this is possible through considerable efforts involving Sufi practices, Nizamuddin also expanded and practised the unique features introduced by past saints of the Chisti Sufi order in India. These included:
- Emphasis on renunciation and having complete trust in God.
- The unity of mankind and shunning distinctions based on social, economic, religious status.
- Helping the needy, feeding the hungry and being sympathetic to the oppressed.
- Strong disapproval of mixing with the Sultans, the princes and the nobles.
- Exhortation in making close contact with the poor and the downtrodden
- Adopting an uncompromising attitude towards all forms of political and social oppression.
- A bold stance in favour of Sema, which some considered unislamic. Perhaps this was with the view that this was in consonance with the role of music in some modes of Hindu worship, could serve as a basis of contact with local people and would facilitate mutual adjustments between the two communities. In fact Qawwali, a form of devotional music, was originally created by one his most cherished disciples: Amir Khusro.
Nizamuddin did not much bother about the theoretical aspects of Sufism, believing rather that it were the practical aspects that counted, as it was anyway not possible to describe the diversified mystical experiences called spiritual states or stations which a practicing Sufi encountered. He discouraged the demonstration of Keramat and emphasised that it was obligatory for the Auliya (which roughly means the friends of God) to hide the ability of Keramat from the commoners. He also was quite generous in accepting disciples. Usually whoever came to him saying that he wanted to become a disciple was granted that favour. This resulted in him being always surrounded by people from all strata of society.
The eldest son of 'Alī al-Naqī was Ḥasan al-'Askarī and the other son was Ja'far Bukhārī. After the death of 'Ali al-Naqi, Hasan al-Askari became the accepted Imām of both Shī'ah and Sunnī Muslims. Ḥasan al-'Askarī was killed at the age of 28. He had one son, Muḥammad al-Mahdī, who, at the age of five after the death of his father, disappeared from public view. That was in the time of the 'Abbāsid Caliphs. Knowing about the killings of all the Imāms and family members of the descendants of Muḥammad, Ja'far Bukhārī migrated to Bukhara in Uzbekistan. After a few generations, one of his descendants called 'Alī, known as Dāniyāl, the grandfather of Nizāmuddīn Auliyā', migrated to the city of Badāyūn in Uttar Pradesh, India.
- 'Alī bin Abī Ṭālib
- Husayn bin 'Alī
- 'Alī bin al-Husayn Zayn-ul'Ābidīn
- Muḥammad al-Bāqir
- Ja'far al-Ṣādiq
- Mūsā al-Kāḍhim
- 'Alī al-Riḍā
- Muḥammad al-Taqī
- 'Alī al-Naqī
- Ja'far Bukhārī
- 'Alī Aṣghar Bukhārī
- Abī 'Abdullāh Bukhārī
- Aḥmad Bukhārī
- 'Alī Bukhārī
- Husayn Bukhārī
- 'Abdullāh Bukhārī
- 'Alī, known as Dāniyāl
- Aḥmad Badāyūnī
- Nizāmuddīn Auliyā'
He was merely sixteen or seventeen years old when he first heard the name of Farīduddīn Ganjshakar, and feelings of love and respect arose in his heart right then. He narrates to his disciples that he never felt the same after hearing or even meeting any other Sufi. The love kept increasing like a burning fire. If his classmates would like to have some work out of him they used to invoke the name of Bābā Farīd, and he never refused anything asked in his name. He didn't feel the same for anyone else in his entire lifetime. He became his disciple after completing his studies at the age of 20. He visited him thrice in his lifetime.
- 'Alī bin Abī Ṭālib
- al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī
- 'Abdul Wāḥid Bin Zaid Abul Faḍl
- Fuḍail Bin 'Iyyādh Bin Mas'ūd Bin Bishr al-Tamīmī
- Ibrāhīm bin Adham
- Hudhaifah al-Mar'ashī
- Abu Hubairah Basri
- Mumshad 'Uluw al-Dinawarī
Start of the Chishti Order:
- Abū Isḥāq al-Shāmī
- Abū Aḥmad Abdāl
- Abū Muḥammad bin Abī Aḥmad
- Abū Yūsuf bin Sāmān
- Maudūd Chishtī
- Sharīf Zandānī
- Usmān al-Hārūnī
- Mu'īnuddīn Chishtī
- Quṭbuddīn Bakhtiyār Kākī
- Farīduddīn Mas'ūd
- Nizāmuddīn Auliyā'
He had more than 600 khalifas (a khalifa is a disciple who is given the authority to take his own disciples and thus propagate the spiritual lineage) who continued his lineage all over the world. Some of his most famous disciples are:
Nasiruddin Chiragh Dehlavi
He was the spiritual successor of Nizamuddin Auliya. He is considered fifth amongst the big five of the Chisti order in India (the others being Moinuddin Chishti, Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, Fariduddin Ganjshakar, Nizamuddin Auliya). His shrine is in Chirag Dilli, New Delhi, India.
He was the most loved disciple of his master. He was so close to his master that once Nizāmuddīn Auliyā' said, "If sharī'ah allows me I would like him to be buried with me in the same grave." He also said that whoever comes to visit his grave must visit the grave of Amīr Khusro first and then his. He died within a few months of his master's death. He was buried at the feet of his master. His shrine is in Nizāmuddīn Dargāh, New Delhi.
Akhi Siraj Aainae Hind
He was given the title of Āainae-Hind (Mirror of India) by Nizāmuddīn Auliyā' and lived with him for a long time. He was amongst the earliest disciples of Nizāmuddīn Auliyā', who sent him to Bengal. His shrine is in Gaur, West Bengal.
He is also amongst the earliest disciples of Nizamuddin Auliya and lived with the master until his last breath. After the death of Nizamuddin Auliya, he went to the Deccan, and the place where he lived became famous thereby. His shrine is in Khuldabad in Maharashtra.
He is also amongst the earliest disciples of Nizamuddin Auliya. He ran the Langar khana of Nizamuddin Auliya. After the death of Nizamuddin Auliya, he went to the Deccan with Burhanuddin Gharib, and became famous by the name of Bhandari. His shrine is in Fatehabad in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra.
Syed Mahmood Kashkinakar
He holds a very special position in Islamic mysticism. He is believed to be alive in the invisible world even after his death in the visible world. There are miracles in the literature of the Chisti order which are attributed to this.
- The wilayat (domain) of gnosis and faith can suffer decay. The wilayat of compassion can not.
- The love of Auliya (saints) is stronger than their reason.
- The lock of spiritual perfection has very many keys. All those keys are to be possessed. If one does not open it, others can.
- He who has knowledge, reason, and love, is deserving to become a caliph of the Sufi sheikhs.
- So long as is possible, give relief to your heart, because the heart of a good Muslim is the palace of the manifestations of Allah.
Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia had only one sister named Bibi Ruqayya who is buried next to Bibi Zulekha, the mother of Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia in Adhchini village in Delhi.Nizamuddin Auliya did not marry. He brought his Pir/Shaikh's grandson named Khwaja Muhammad Imam, who was the son of Bibi Fatima (Daughter of Baba Farid and Badruddin is'haq)as mentioned in Seyrul Aulia book, Nizami bansari, The life and time of Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia by Khaliq Ahmed Nizami. Still the descendents of Khwaja Muhammad Imam are the caretakers of dargah sharif.
The Chisti Nizami order
Nizamuddin Auliya was the founder of the Chisti Nizami order. He had hundreds of disciples (khalifa) who had Ijaza (khilafat) from him to spread the order. Many of the Sufis of the Chisti Nizami order are recognised as great Sufis; the following is a list of notable Sufis of the Chisti Nizami order, which includes his descendants as well as his disciples:
Muhammad Hussaini Gisudaraz Bandanawaz, Gulbarga (near Hyderabad), Karnataka; Alaul Haq Pandavi & Noor Qutb-e-Alam Pandwi, Pandua, West Bengal; Ashraf Jahangir Semnani, Kichaucha, Uttar Pradesh; Faqruddin Faqr Dehlvi, Mehrauli, New Delhi; Shah Niyaz Ahmad Barelvi, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh; Shafruddin Ali Ahmed & Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, Chirag Dilli, New Delhi; Zainuddin Shirazi, Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh; Muhiuddin Yousuf Yahya Madani Chishti, Medina; Kaleemullah Dehlvi Chishti, Delhi; Nizamuddin Aurangabadi; Nizamuddin Hussain, and Meerza Agha Mohammad; Muhammad Sulman Taunswi, Pakistan, Mohammad Meera Hussaini, Hesamuddin Mankpuri.
Nizamuddin Auliya was an unparalleled Sufi of his time amongst all the existing Sufi orders of that time. Many of his contemporaries were doubtless very powerful spiritual leaders, but he was the most famous of all. In his career of approximately 70 years as a Sufi he saw the reign of seven rulers of the Delhi sultanate. The kings were very loyal to him and respectful of him. When he first arrived as the Qutb of Delhi he settled down at a lonely place on the outskirts of Delhi, Ghyaspur. But he became so famous that Ghyaspur became the main hub of Delhi and so densely populated that he wanted to leave that place but did not. He was buried in the campus of his khanqah. Ghyaspur is now a central locality of New Delhi, and is known after his name Nizamuddin. The area is so vast that it is divided into four parts: Nizamuddin Dargah (where his shrine is situated), Nizamuddin East, Nizamuddin West and Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station.
The Chisti order branched out with Nizamuddin Auliya to form the Chisti Nizami order. A parallel branch which started with Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari, another disciple of Baba Farid, was the Chisti Sabiri branch. People started adding Nizami gracefully after their name. He spiritually made many great Sufis amongst his students, descendants and the Sufis of the Nizami order.
The branches of the Chisti Nizami order are as follows:
His disciple Nasiruddin Muhammad Chirag-e-Dehli started the Nizamia Naseeria branch.
The Hussainia branch is named for Muhammad Hussaini Gisudaraz Bandanawaz. He was the most famous and loved disciple of Nasiruddin Muhammad Chirag-e-Dehli. The khanqah he established in Gulbarga, Karnataka is still in existence.
Shah Niyaz Ahmad Barelvi, in the 19th century started the Niyazia branch.
The Nizamia Serajia branch was started by Serajuddin Aqi Seraj. This branch is also known as Chistia Serajia.
The Chistia Ashrafia branch was started by Ashraf Jahangir Semnani. He established a khanqah, still in existence at Kichaucha sharif, Uttar Pradesh, India.
The Chistia Serajia Faridia order was started by Fariduddin Tavaelabukhsh, a descendant of Nizamuddin Auliya and a Sufi of the Serajia branch of the Chisti order. This branch is also known as Nizamia Serajia Faridia.
King's disrespect leads to his doom
One of the kings of the Delhi sultanate during Nizamuddin Auliya lifetime was Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah, the last ruler of the Khilji dynasty. Legend has it that disrespect of Nizamuddin Auliya caused the king's death. Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah used to assemble all the leading figures and famous personalities of Delhi in his court every weekend. Once a courtier complained to him that Nizamuudin Auliya never came to the court. The King declared, "Order him in my name to come to my weekend gathering, else he will be hanged." When Nizamuddin Auliya's disciple, Amir Khusrau, related this to his master, he ignored the message, and did not even answer. As the weekend approached, his disciples became concerned for his life. On the day before the weekend, Nizamuddin Auliya went to the grave of his mother and came back looking unperturbed, telling his disciples to go home and sleep as usual. The next morning, everyone was very tense and worried, but Nizamuddin Auliya remained unperturbed. Shortly, news came that there had been a rebellion in the palace, and the king had been brutally killed.
TitlesMEHBOOB-E-ILAHI (Beloved of Ilahi).
2. SULTAN-UL MASHAIKH (King of Masha'ikh).
3. IMAM-UL-MEHBOOBEEN (Leader of Mehboobeen).
4. MALIQ-UL FUQRA WAL MASAQEEN.
6. TAJ-UL MUQQARABEEN.
5. MEHFIL-E SUKHAN (Attraction in the Gathering).
7. ZARI’ZAR BAKSH (Distributor of Gold and Silver).
8. NIZAMUDDIN BA'HATH (The Debator).
9. MEHFIL-E SHIKAN (The breaker of assemblies)
10. TABIB-E DIL (Healer of the heart)
11. GAUS-UL ALAM (Gaus of World)
12. JAG UJIYARE (Light for the World)
- "Nizami Bansari" by Hazarat Khawaza Hasan Nizami; also availble in Urdu & hindi by His successor Hazarat Khawaza Hasan Sani Nizami
- The Life and Times of Shaikh Nizam-u'd-din Auliya, by Khaliq Ahmad Nizami; Idarah-i Adabyat-i Delli, 1991.
- Nizam Ad-Din Awliya: Morals for the Heart, by Bruce B. Lawrence; 1991, Paulist Press. ISBN 0-8091-3280-X.
- Khwajah Nizamuddin Auliya, by Abdurrahman Mumin; Qazi Publishers and Distributors, 1998, ISBN 81-85362-59-9.
- Sheikh Nizamuddin Auliya, by Khaliq Ahmad Nizami; National Book Trust, 2004, ISBN 81-237-4148-0.
- The Dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya, by Laxmi Dhaul; Pallee, Anoop Kamath, Rupa & Co., 2006. ISBN 81-291-0938-7.
- Fawa'id al-Fu'ad : Spiritual and Literary Discourses of Shaikh Nizamuddin Awliya. Originally Compiled by Amir Hasan 'Ala' Sijzi Dehlawi. English translation with introduction and historical annotation by Ziya-ul-Hasan Faruqi. New Delhi, D.K. Printworld, 1996, 495 p. ISBN 81-246-0042-2.
- AmirMir Sayyid Ali Hamadani
- Ali Hujwiri
- Moinuddin Chishti
- Aaj Rang Hai
- Akhi Siraj Aainae Hind
- Alaul Haq Pandavi
- Ashraf Jahangir Semnani
|Sufism and Tariqa|
the Life and the time of khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia by Khaliq Ahmed Nizami, Fazwadul fuwad by Hasan ala sijzi. website: www.nizamuddinaulia.org
- A website about Nizamuddin Aulia
- The Life of Nizamuddin Auliya
- Nizamuddin Aulia at Moinuddin Chishti website