The Chishti Order
) is a Sufi order
within the mystic branches of Islam
which was founded in Chisht
, a small town near Herat
, about 930 C.E. and continues to this day (2008). The Chishti Order is known for its emphasis on love, tolerance, and openness.
The order was founded by Abu Ishaq Shami ("the Syrian") who brought Sufism (Tasawwuf) to the town of Chisht, some 95 miles east of Herat in present-day western Afghanistan. Before returning to the Levant, Shami initiated, trained and deputized the son of the local Amir, (Khwaja) Abu Ahmad Abdal (d. 966). Under the leadership of Abu Ahmad’s descendants, the Chishtiyya as they are also known, flourished as a regional mystical order.
The most famous of the Chishti saints is Moinuddin Chishti (also known as Khawaja Baba) who settled in Ajmer, India. He oversaw the growth of the order in the 13th century as religious laws were canonized. He saw Hazrat Muhammad SalAllahu alayhi Wa-sallam in a dream and then set off on a journey of discovery.
Other famous saints of the Chishti Order are Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, Fariduddin Ganjshakar of Pak Pattan, Mohammed Badesha Qadri of Wadi, Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki and Hazrat Ashraf Jahangir Semnani of Kicchocha Sharif, Uttar Pradesh.
The Chishti Order is famous for its emphasis on love, tolerance, and openness. The Order traces its origins through various saints all the way to Hazrat Ali Radi Allahu ta`ala Anhu and Hazrat Muhammad SalAllahu alayhi Wa-sallam himself.
Sema or Qawwali is a type of devotional music to enhance the remembrance of Allah Taalah and is not a part of worship or prayer.
Followers of Pir Zada Masood Ali Chishty son of the famous Sufi saint Imamuddin Chishty of Lahore claim he was the first to bring the Chishti order to the UK. Also he is a direct descendant of Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty as is his sons Mohammed Ahsan Ali, Mohammed Mohsin Ali and his Grandson Mohammed Mahdi Chishty.
Followers of Inayat Khan claim he was the first to bring the Chishti Order to North America, but the real connection of his order (and its numerous scissions) with orthodox Islam (and with Tasawwuf especially) are denied by the most part of Eastern and Western tariqa's representatives and members.
A number of Chishti family members are now living in Pakpatan and Bahawal Nagar, North of Punjab, Pakistan.
The Nine Principles
The Chishti Order is also known for the following principles:
- Obedience to shaykh and/or pir
- Renunciation of the material world
- Distance from worldly powers
- Sama (or musical assemblies)
- Prayers and fasting
- Service to humanity
- Respect for other devotional traditions
- Dependence on the Creator and not the creation
- Disapproval of showing off miraculous feats
Common Chistiya Chain in South Asia
Start of the Sufi Order:
- Hasan al-Basri
- Abdul Wahid Bin Zaid Abul Fadhl
- Fudhail Bin Iyadh Bin Mas'ud Bin Bishr Tameeemi
- Ibrahim Bin Adham
- Huzaifah Al-Mar’ashi
- Abu Hubairah Basri
- Ilw Mumshad Dinwari
Start of the Chishti Order:
- Abu Ishaq Shami
- Abu Ahmad Abdal
- Abu Muhammad Bin Abi Ahmad
- Sayyid Abu Yusuf Bin Sam’aan Al-Husaini
- Maudood Chishti
- Shareef Zandani
- Usman Harooni
- Moinuddin Chishti Ajmer
- Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki
- Fareeduddin Masood
From here, the Chishti Order of South Asia splits into branches:
(Fareeduddin Masood had three prominent successors, a branch being named after each of them)
- Nizamuddin Auliya - Nizamiya Branch - Master of Amir Khusro
- Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari - Sabiri Branch
- Nasiruddin Chirag-e-Delhi
- Khwaja Bande Nawaz
Other branches of Chishti Order are:
- Ashraf Jahangir Semnani - Ashrafi Branch
- Haji Imdadullah Muhaajir Makki - Chishtiya Saabariya Imdaadiya
Controversy and Criticism
critics, among others, contend that the teachings of Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi constitute bid`ah
. The Salafi Permanent Committee for Islaamic Research and Fataawa
also issued a fatwa declaring that their followers should not pray with Barelvis due to practices which are viewed as kufr
; however, their bid`ah
should be "detested with good manners
- Haeri, Muneera (2000) The Chishtis: a living light Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, ISBN 0195793277
- Ernst, Carl W. and Lawrence, Bruce B. (2002) Sufi Martyrs of Love: The Chishti Order in South Asia and Beyond Palgrave Macmillan, New York, ISBN 1403960267
- Farīdī, Iḥtishāmuddīn (1992) Tārīk̲h̲-i iblāg̲h̲-i Cisht Āl Inḍiyā Baz-i Ḥanafī, Delhi, OCLC 29752219 in Urdu with biographies
- Āryā, Ghulām ‘Alī (2004) Ṭarīqah-i Chishtīyah dar Hind va Pākistān: ta’līf-i Ghulām‘alī Āryā Zavvār, Tehran, ISBN 9644012003 in Persian