THE TEACHINGS OF KHWAJA MOINUDDIN CHISHTI
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The teachings of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti
as well as his letters will now come under
several headings. Here is the first of his
of Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti
meditations of Khwaja Mo’inoddin Chishti
The real wine
in a clear heart is the sign and symbol
of moving about in Allah and refers to the
virtues and qualities, and to the way of
life to be moulded according to the attributes
The pure and
purifying wine is this, that the divine
grace may descend upon the heart of the
faithful witness of the truth.
The real tavern
is the heart. But without the guidance of
the perfect spiritual guide the absorbed
traveller on the way cannot understand it.
As you will
remember I have promised to show some pieces
of the English translation of Mo’in
ul Arwah - a book written by Nawab Gudri
Shah Baba – dealing with the life
and teachings of Khwaja Mo’inuddin
Chishti. I’ll try to give attention
to different types of teachings; different
as to the level of complexity. The following
is the summary of teachings as coming from
the second chapter of ‘Kashf ul-Asrar’
(Unveiling of Secrets) a book of Khwaja
Mo’inuddin Chishti. He tells us how
the creation of the universe took place
and that there are similarities between
the universe (macrocosm) and man (microcosm):
God gave to
all that was non-existing such existence,
that He created from the four elements four
existences, likewise He created four beings
and when God desired to see Himself and
to see Himself and to manifest His own Self,
then God, the Almighty created these four
spheres which were like four pillars.
(Then a drawing
is given in the midst whereof is a small
circle which is surrounded by four rectangles
which enclose each other).
these from God they had a tripod shape and
four elements, that is to say
- fire, which
is related to love
- air, which is related to spirit
- water, which is related to action
- earth, which is related to ego.
This is similar
(and can be compared) to the four friends
of Muhammad (s.a.w.) and the four archangels
Chishti discusses the self (nafs) in 3 stages
1. An-nafs al-ammara
(the self inciting to evil; the ego). This
nafs comes from fire.
2. An-nafs al-molhama (the inspired self).
This nafs comes from water.
3. An-nafs al-motma’inna (the quiescent
soul). This nafs comes from earth.
In the same
way as there are four seasons in the created
world, there are in the existence of man
childhood which is like the sowing of seed,
youth which is like Spring, the age of decline
which is like the beginning of Autumn and
old age which is like Autumn.
- From the heart
the tongue takes water, which is sweet,
- From the lungs the nose takes water, which
- From the gall the ear takes water, which
- From the liver the eye takes water, which
from the brain, modesty is in the eyes,
understanding is in the ear, knowledge is
in the breast and thought is in the heart.
God has created
four spheres, the first is fire, the second
air, the third water and the fourth is earth.
In heaven is the height of mystery and under
this mystery is the seat of mystery itself,
under the height fire is like air, under
the heigth air is like water and under the
height water is like earth and these are
the downfalls and the rises. From the height
of the earth is the vegetable kingdom and
from the height of the vegetable kingdom
is the animal kingdom and from the height
of the animal kingdom is the human kingdom,
and the purification of man is Nur Muhammadi
(the light of Muhammad) and this is the
whole and sole reason of the truth. The
details of this are many, but what is indispensable
for the seeker has been described here.
ul Arwah the following deals with the khirqa
(the frock of the dervishes):
to the khirqa of the dervishes, all those
who have inner knowledge are unanimous.
In the “Kashf al-Mahjub” (The
Revelation of the Veiled, the oldest treatise
in the Persian language about Sufism) it
says that the persons worthy of these robes
are only those belonging to two groups,
one are the extinct ones and the other the
ardent longers for God. And among the great
mashaykh the tradition is, that when some
morid in connection with renunciation is
drawn to them, then admonition is given
to him (please also read: she) in three
the first is service to mankind
- the second is service to God
- the third is meditation in the heart.
Hence for the
sake of service to mankind he should make
sure that he considers himself the servant
of all, that he regards all people as his
masters, that without distinction he considers
them all better than himself and that he
considers it reasonable that they are above
And in the service
to God it is necessary that he should renounce
the pleasures of this world and the next
world and that he should perform special
prayers to God.
And for meditation
it is necessary that his mind should remain
collected and all distractions be discarded
from the heart.
When those three
conditions have been obtained and the morid
has become accomplished in those three matters,
then he is considered to be worthy of the
path of religious observance and it is befitting
for him that he be clothed with the khirqa.
It has been
explained that a person may receive the
khirqa (the frock of the dervishes) for
three reasons: the first is service to mankind,
the second is service to God and the third
is meditation in the heart. The author of
‘Mo’in ul Arwah’ continues
deserves to be clothed with the khirqa who
is steadfast in God. According to the traditions
Saifuddin, the author of the ‘Qusus-ul-Adab’,
the origin of the khirqa is the black sheet
which the prophet gave to ‘Ali. He
writes that shaykh Najmuddin Kubra has copied
from the ‘Akhbar-e-Sahih’ that
the real khirqa is the cloak which the prophet
bestowed on ‘Ali and by him it was
bestowed on the great mashaykh and by them
it was bestowed on several persons. He said
that the truth about the khirqa is this
that God on account of spiritual purity
bestowed the khirqa. In short the prophet
made the khirqa the bestower of the secret
truths of the prophet and invested ‘Ali
with the khirqa. In the ‘Rahat-ul-Qulub’
and ‘Siyar-ul-Auliya’ and various
other books of the great ones on the path
it is written that the dervish mantle was
bestowed by God on the prophet in the night
of the me’raj (his heavenly journey).
That khirqa was a black garment.
But this tradition
is not proved according to the authentic
hadith. On the contrary the authors of these
traditions have explained this as untrue
and void… But as to the khirqa in
reality its benefit is that it used to be
the garment of the prophet and this is unquestionable
and clear that the tradition of the khirqa,
as has been described above, was that the
pure sufis who existed from the earliest
times, used to bestow this khirqa and initiation
after intimate friendship, learning and
discipline. This being a test of the refining
of the qualities of the ego. This custom
of the khirqa was made known in the time
of shaykh Junayd of Baghdad and after him
this custom of initiation arose.
ul Arwah attention is given to the poems
of Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti. This
is one of them:
Cast away from your face the mask of selfishness
And watch the spiritual beauty in all forms.
Ay! That You shine at every moment in a
In the Sinai of the heart.
And there is every time another Moses wishing
for Your appearance.
How can I explain that I cannot tell anything
And that in the matters of the heart all
reasoning has failed.
Last night my heart expressed too many things,
And I heard too many things that I have
never told before
Neither heard before.
The 23rd way of ma’refat (gnosis)
The members of the Chishtiyya order have
adopted fifteen principal stages and have
made them their customary line of action:
The first stage
is that of helpers, which refers to Adam.
The second is the stage of abstainers, which
is the stage of Idries (Enoch).
The third stage is that of the devotees,
which refers to Moses.
The fourth stage is that of the patient
ones, which refers to Job.
The fifth stage is that of those resigned
to the will of God, which refers to Jesus.
The sixth stage is that of the contented
ones, which refers to the great Jacob.
The seventh stage is that of the defenders
of the faith, which refers to Jonah.
The eighth stage is that of the thinkers,
which refers to Joseph.
The ninth stage is that of the afflicted,
which refers to Shu’aib (Jethro).
The tenth stage is that of the morsheds,
which refers to Seth.
The eleventh stage is that of the righteous
ones, which refers to Noah.
The twelfth stage is that of the sincere
ones, which refers to David.
The thirteenth stage is that of the illuminated
ones, which refers to Khidr.
The fourteenth stage is that of the grateful
ones, which refers to Abraham.
The fifteenth stage is that of the lovers,
which refers to Mohammed Mustafa.
If a dervish
with the help of the teaching of the morsheds
is not aware of the above mentioned stages
he is only a beginner
::: Persuasion to serve your morshed
Hazrat Qutub al-Aqtab he said: “When
I joined the Shaykh al-Islam Sultan al-Mashaykh
Hazrat Khwaja Uthman Haruni (on whose grave
is the light of God) and when the honour
of bayat (initiation) bestowed on me was
received with absolute sincerity, then for
eight years I did not give myself a single
moment of rest in the service of my morshed.
Wherever he travelled this humble servant,
carrying his bedding and luggage on his
head, remained in his company.
after seeing such service and devotion from
me, gave me such a gift as is beyond limits.
Then he said: ‘Whoever received, received
through service and devotion’. It
is incumbent upon the morid not even slightly
to diverge from the order of the morshed.
Whatever the morshed has ordered in the
way of prayer and wazifa give full attention
to it do according to it so that you reach
that stage where the pir is the beautifier
of the morid. When a pir suggests to his
morid to do something, it is for the sake
of attainment of perfection for the morid”.
is this that on account of numerous deeds,
customs and habits one be desirous of fame
and praise among the people; that is to
say that one considers the people, without
the intermediary of God, as the source of
the fulfilment of desires and may have the
hope of success from them. As this fact
is ungodly, therefore such considerations
in the heart are idols. The sincere people
of the inner path call this outward infidelity.
shaykh Sa’di what is initiation and
what is being a pir and what is being a
morid. He said: ‘Initiation is this
that you grasp the hand of the pir and act
according to his guidance. The refraining
from habits is called initiation, that is
to say, keeping aloof from former habits
and accepting the pir’s advice and
always remembering God. Being a morid is
this, that you always, in presence and in
absence, are in obedience and respect for
the morshed and that you are always with
heart and soul present in the company of
the pir, that you abstain from treacherous
deeds, that you remain in permanent union
night and day in remembering God according
to the order of the morshed…’.
Ansari has said: ‘To bestow initiation,
to cut the hair on the head of the morid,
to make a morid, to guide and to help the
morid to reach God is a great task. Without
the training of a perfect morshed the beginning
morid cannot attain the nearness of God’.
Khwaja Shibli has written that spiritual
exercises are of two kinds, real and outward.
Outward religious exercises consist of eating
little, speaking little and remaining away
from the world, but the real spiritual exercise
is to polish the mirror of the heart through
the secret remembrance.
of the Qur’an is of two kinds, one
unreal and one real. To memorise the Qur’an
without understanding its meaning is unreal
memorisation and the real memorisation is
that of reciting the Qur’an in the
Unity is also
of two kinds, one unreal and one real. The
unreal union is this, that in the world
of jabarut and lahut, through the secret
remembrance, the true seeker with the service
of remembrance in his heart will with heart
and soul attain the intoxicating effect
of love. Only after achieving perfection
in the unreal union can one reach the real
union. The real union consists in this,
that the real seeker, leaving aside self-seeking,
self-seeing and his own existence, reaches
the state of union with God. As long as
the seeker looks at himself he will not
see God. When the seeker does not see himself
in between, he will reach the perfect union
The eighteenth way of ma’refat
Ibrahim Adham said: “I have for years
together remained in prayer, idle deeds,
the practice of the customs, recitation,
the use of the rosary and I spent my whole
life in the company of the learned ones,
the ascetics and the saliks who are not
majzub. However I did not attain even the
perfume of the knowledge of God, but when
I stayed in the company of Hazrat Khwaja
Fuzayl Ayaz I reached the perfect goal.
It is said that
mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi was the leader of
the scholars of Islam. He had in his library
2954 books and he had 976 pupils. He used
to hold discussions with these scholars,
he was involved in self-love and arrogance
and he considered himself as having reached
union with God. But when he got attached
to the qutb (the pole) of the awliya (friends
of God), Shams Tabrizi, he left books, paper
and lectures and through the company and
the spiritual training of the shaykh, he,
after acquiring nearness to God attained
unity in God.
God there are fourteen famous kinds of knowledge:
1. The knowledge of the shariat, that is
to say the explanation of the words of God.
2. Religious knowledge, that is to say knowing
the glory of visions.
3. The higher knowledge, that is to say
knowledge of the meaning of poetry.
4. The knowledge of philosophy, that is
to say the works of the old philosophers.
5. The knowledge of faith, that is to say
knowing the names of the qualities of God.
6. The knowledge of calligraphy.
7. The knowledge of astronomy, that is to
say counting of stars and planets.
8. The knowledge of dialectics.
9. The knowledge of music.
10. The knowledge of medicine, that is to
say the knowledge of the healing of the
11. The knowledge of the unity of God.
12. The knowledge of the tariqat, that is
to say knowledge of the world of malakut.
13. The knowledge of haqiqat, that is to
say the knowledge of the world of jabarut.
14. The knowledge of inspiration, that is
to say love and affection.
is taken from the twenty-fifth way of ma’refat:
One day shaykh
Abdullah Ansari asked God: ‘O, God!
What is the first thing and what is its
end, that is to say, what is its result?’
The answer came: ‘The first task is
fana (annihilation) and its end is wafa
(fidelity) and the result is baqa (permanent
Then he asked:
‘What is annihilation, fidelity and
The answer came: ‘Annihilation is
being free from egoism, self-adoration and
(separate) existence. Fidelity is keeping
a bond with the Friend with heart and soul.
Permanent existence is keeping the heart
busy with truthfulness in all conditions’.
As I am unconscious
and intoxicated by the wine of Your love,
In everything I look into, I see Your beauty.
Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti said: “For
the seekers the first way is the shariat
(Islamic laws). When the seekers on the
way are devoted followers of the shariat
and carry out the commands of the shariat
and do not even diverse to the amount of
a particle of dust from the way, then they
reach tariqat (the path of Sufism). When
they are consistent in that degree and follow
the way of the people who have done this
before them and do not for a moment transgress,
then they reach the degree of ma’refat
(gnosis, inner knowledge of God) and when
they recognise and understand the importance
of this place then light will be generated
in them. If they are consistent in this
degree then they go over to the fourth degree,
that is the degree of haqiqat (the realisation
of the Truth). After having reached this
degree, whatever they ask they will receive
::: ::: :::