Khwaja Mu’in-ud-din Chisti was born in 1140 (536 A.H.) in Seistan in Central Asia. He is one of the most prominent Sufis of the Sub-Continent who introduced Chistia order of Sufism to India. The order flourished in India with its branches such as Nizamia and Sabria. He was brought up in Khurasan. His father Khwaja Ghiyas-ud-din Hasan was a very pious and God fearing man. Khwaja was fifteen years old when his father died. He lived on the earnings from a garden and a water mill, inherited from his father. One day he met an ecstatic named Ibrahim Qunduzi who generated great spiritual illumination within him. After a few days Mu’in-ud-din sold his possessions and distributed the whole money amongst the local dervishes. For many years he stayed at Samarqand and Bukhara, then the great centers of learning and became a great scholar of repute. From there he traveled to Harwan, a suburb of Nishapur where under Shaikh Usman Harwani he practiced rigorous doings of austerity for about two and a half years. He visited Baghdad, Tabrez, Balakh and Lahore where he spent forty days of meditation and retreat near the shrine of Sheikh Hujveri (popularly known as Hadrat Data Gunj Bukhsh). During his travel he came into contact with great spiritual personalities of his time such as Ghaus-i-Azam, Sheikh Abu Saeed Tabrezi, Shaikh Zia-ud-din, Sheikh Shahab-ud-din Shurawardi and Sheikh Zia-ud-din Abunajeeb Shurawardi. Qutub ud Din Aibak esteemed Khwaja very high. Later he left Delhi for Ajmer where he preached and spread Islam to the non-Muslims.
It was his human, kind and courteous disposition and piety, which won over the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people. He contacted the masses directly and selflessly loved the poor people. That is why he is well known as Gharib Nawaz (one who is extremely kind to the poor). When Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti arrived on his divine mission in Ajmer around 1190, the news of his arrival spread like wild fire. People mostly non- Muslims began to flock to him in increasing numbers. Whoever came to him received the kindest treatment and blessings. Most of the people were so much inspired by his divine teachings and simplicity that they embraced Islam. Even Ajai pal, the famous magician of Prithvi Raj submitted himself to the divine powers of Khwaja Sahib, abandoned all his magic and became his disciple. Shahabuddin Ghori who had defeated Prithvi Raj in the famous battle of Tarain humbly came to him to be blessed with his grace. Akbar would get down on foot some distance before reaching Ajmer. In 1568 and 1570, he traveled all the distance from Agra to Ajmer on foot for furtherance of some vows.
His noble soul left the mortal body on the 6th of Rajab 633 A.H. (March 16, 1236) at the age of about 97. He was buried in the same cell, which was the center for his divine activities throughout his stay at Ajmer. Today his shrine is visited by the people irrespective of their creed and color from all over the world, and stand side by side to pay homage and offer hymns of praise to this divine soul.
This article was last updated on Monday, Jan 03, 2005