Khwaja Saiyid Mohammed Gesu Daraz
Khwaja Saiyid Mohammed Gesu
Daraz is one of the great Chishti Sufis.
He is known and respected throughout the
sub-continent of India, Pakistan and Bangla
Desh. He is a disciple and a spiritual caliph
of Khwaja Nasiruddin Chiragh of Delhi.
He was born on the 4th of Rajab
in the year 721 A.H. (which is the 30th
of July 1321 C.E. according to my computer).
His nickname is Abu’l Fatah. He is
addressed as Sadruddin, Wali ul akbar us-Sadiq
and Gesu Daraz. There are several reasons
for calling him Gesu Daraz. He had very
long hair and for this reason he came to
be called Gesu Daraz, which means ‘one
with long locks of hair’. Another
reason assigned is this, that once he was
carrying on his shoulders the palanquin
in which his spiritual guide and teacher
was sitting. All of a sudden his locks of
hair, which extended up to his knees, were
entangled in the wheel of the palanquin.
Out of respect for his spiritual guide he
did not prefer to stop the palanquin in
order to take out his hair from the wheel.
His shaykh was highly pleased with him and
he recited a couplet, conferring him the
title of Gesu Daraz.
He was related to imam Zain
ul Abedin, the son of imam Husain, the son
of imam ‘Ali, who is the fourth caliph
of Islam and the son in law of the prophet
Mohammed (s.a.w.). He traced his descent
from the prophet, being related to him in
twenty-two degrees. Saiyid Yusuf Husaini
was his father, who was a spiritual disciple
of the Chishti Sufi Nizamuddin Awliya. His
father was also benefited by the spiritual
blessings of Khwaja Nasirudin Chiragh of
Delhi. His father moved to the Deccan where
he came to be known as Raju Qattal, for
the reason that he had waged a war against
his own self. This war is called the greater
jihad as it is a major struggle with the
goal to transform the ego into a self with
The reason why he moved to the
Deccan is connected to the sultan. Sultan
Mohammed Bin Tughlaq wanted to shift the
seat of government from Delhi to Daulatabad
and he ordered the residents of Delhi to
proceed to the Deccan and settle there.
The journey in those days was so hard that
many people expired on the way. His father
settled there when Gesu Daraz was in his
eight year. His mother was an accomplished
woman. Her father was a spiritual disciple
of Nizamuddin Awliya. Being aggrieved by
her brother, who was the governor of Daulatabad,
she left for Delhi along with her two sons.
Her husband was then no longer alive. She
began to live in Delhi. Gesu Daraz was then
in his fifteenth year.
Gesu Daraz received his early
education and training at home. His father
and his maternal grandfather looked after
him. At an early age he committed the Qur’an
to memory. He was deprived of paternal care,
when he was ten years, three months and
one day old.
When he was is Khuldabad –
this is the place in the Deccan where his
father settled – he used to hear a
great deal about Nizamuddin Awliya and Nasirudin
Chiragh (= lamp) of Delhi. He had begun
to feel a great love and liking for the
‘lamp of Delhi’. When he saw
him for the first time (it took place when
he moved to Delhi as he saw the Chishti
pir in the mosque of Qutubuddin Aibek on
the occasion of the Friday prayers) his
joy and fondness knew no bounds. He took
his brother with him and together they paid
their respects to Nasiruddin Chiragh of
Delhi. Gesu Daraz was accepted as a disciple.
Subsequently he was appointed as a spiritual
caliph of Nasiruddin.
Gesu Daraz continued his education
even after his being initiated into the
Chishti order. His teachers counted such
learned people as Mawlana Sharafuddin Katheli,
Mawlana Tajuddin Bahadur and Qazi Abdul
Muqtadar. He completed his education when
he was 19 years old. After completing his
education he devoted himself exclusively
to prayers, ascetic practices, rituals,
inner purification and illumination. His
spiritual guide directed him to keep ablutions
as far as possible and to maintain fasts
in the month of Shaban.
At the age of forty years he
married Bibi Khatun, the daughter of Mawlana
Saiyid Ahmad. They had two sons and three
daughters. His eldest son named Saiyid Husain
died during the life-time of Gesu Daraz.
His second son, Saiyid Mohammed Yusuf became
his spiritual successor. His eldest daughter
was named Bibi Fatima. His second daughter
was named Bibi Batul and his third daughter
was named Bibi Umuddin.
On the eve of the invasion of
Timurlenk he left Delhi along with the members
of his family. On the way he stayed in Gawalior
with one of his disciples named Mawlana
Alauddin. He honoured him by appointing
him as one of his spiritual caliphs.
Gesu Daraz was very pious. He
adhered to the sunna of the prophet Mohammed
(s.a.w.) strictly. He served his spiritual
guide faithfully. He used to wake up in
the middle of the night and devote himself
to rituals, remembrance of God and prayers.
After the ishraqi prayers, he used to take
food with his sons and used to teach commentaries
on the Qur’an and traditions. In the
noon he used to take a little rest. After
the prayers following this rest he used
to recite the Qur’an regularly. In
the night about fifteen people took food
with him every day.
At the time of accepting anyone
as his spiritual disciple, he used to place
his right hand on the hand of the new entrant
and used to tell this:
‘Know that you promised
this humble being and to the spiritual guide
of this humble being and to all the awliya
of this order, that you will always ‘protect’
your eyes and your tongue, and will firmly
hold to the shariah. Do you accept it?’
After acceptance he would take
a pair of scissors, then he always recited
the takbir i.e. Allaho akbar, Allah is greater
(than anything you can imagine) and then
would cut some hair near the right and the
left ear and again would recite the takbir.
He would then place the four-edged cap on
the head of the disciple and asked the disciple
to offer a prayer of two cycles. Then he
would issue certain spiritual instructions
to the newcomer.
Gesu Daraz was an eminent poet.
He has left a large collection of poems.
During his long span of life (he attained
the ripe age of one hundred and four years,
four months and twelve days) he wrote about
105 books. This means that he wrote one
book each year…
His teachings have been preserved.
He says that the advantage of being a disciple
is this, that on the Day of Judgment the
spiritual guide and teacher will plead your
case and will help and assist you.
Discussing prayer and its efficacy,
Gesu Daraz says that the prayer which is
offered in conformity with the conditions
attached to it, is sure to be accepted.
If you may have some doubts about its being
accepted or if you have not observed all
the conditions precedent to it, then it
is of no use to complain of its not being
He says that there is no difference
of opinion, that to feed the poor and the
hungry is considered praiseworthy in every
religion. There is in fact nothing better
than to feed the hungry, to give them rest
and respite, and to console them.
According to him if one may
not get even according to one’s need
then it constitutes privation. The one who
is happy under such circumstances and may
not like to get more than one’s needs
is known in the terminology of the tariqat
as pious. And if one may neither decry nor
like to get more, then it is a case of submission.
If one may not desire more, but may like
to get more then it constitutes contentment.
If one may desire more, but finding it difficult
to achieve so, the search may have been
given up, then it is called greed. If one
may be overpowered by necessities and those
necessities may not be fulfilled, then the
one concerned, is confused indeed.
The Chishti Sufi Gesu Daraz
has also taught:
· The spiritual guide
and teacher is well-acquainted with the
ups and downs of the spiritual path. Without
his help and guidance the way cannot be
traversed. The goal cannot be reached by
mere rigours and ascetic practices without
the help of the spiritual guide.
· A sound heart results in a sound
vision. This vision becomes such, that it
turns dust into alchemy.
· Piety is the cure of all the spiritual
The above comes from an unpublished manuscript
written by a Chishti pir. He has had access
to Persian and Urdu books and manuscripts.