9The Chishti Order (Persian: چشتی - Čištī) 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 (popularly known as Gharib Nawaz — “Friend of the Poor”) 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 in a dream and then set off on a journey of discovery.
Other famous saints of the Chishti Order are Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, Fariduddin Ganjshakar of Pak Pattan, Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, Alauddin Ali Ahmed Sabir Kalyari, Mohammed Badesha Qadri of Wadi, Shah Wali’ullah of Delhi, and Hazrat Ashraf Jahangir Semnani of Kicchocha Sharif, Uttar Pradesh.
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.
Chishti master Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882–1927) was the first to bring the Sufi path to the West. His approach exemplified the tolerance and openness of the Chishti Order, following a custom began by Moinuddin Chishti of initiating and training disciples regardless of religious affiliation and which continued through Nizamuddin Auliya and Shaykh ul-Masha’ikh Kalimullah Jehanabadi (d. 1720). All his teaching was given in English, and 12 volumes of his discourses on topics related to the spiritual path are still available from American, European, and Indian sources. Initiates of his form of Sufi practice now number in the several thousands all over the world.
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
- 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
- Nizamuddin aliya
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 -Chistiya Nezamiya Ashrafiya Branch known as Ashrafi branch
- Haji Imdadullah Muhaajir Makki - Chishtiya Saabariya Imdaadiya
- Shah Niyaz Ahmad Barelvi-Chistiya Qadriya Nizamia Niyazia Branch