Chishti Order

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Genealogy of Chishti Order

The Chishtī Order (Persian: چشتی‎ chishtī) is a tariqa, an order or school within the mystic Sufi tradition of Sunni Islam. The Chishti Order is known for its emphasis on love, tolerance, and openness. It began in Chisht, a small town near Herat, Afghanistan, about 930 AD.


  • The ... Indo-Persian Thamarat al-quds , which primarily concentrates on the Chishti order, contains manifold anecdotes that portray Sufi s as warriors. The first such anecdote deals with Mahmud of Ghazna’s famous campaign against the unbelievers of Somnath in Gujarat and is similar in certain respects to the anecdote concerning Abu Ishaq al- Kazaruni with which the introduction to this book begins. The anecdote relates that Khwaja Muhammad Chishti (d. 1030) accompanied Sultan Mahmud when he conquered Somnath in Gujarat. The unbelievers were on the point of defeating the Muslims, so Khwaja Muhammad Chishti called out to one of his murids who was in Chisht (near Herat in modern- day Afghanistan), summoning him to Somnath. The murid appeared and helped defeat the unbelievers. Those who were in Chisht that day saw the murid pick up a staff of wood and proceed to strike doors, walls, and vari- ous other things with it. Those who witnessed this event wondered at the murid ’s actions. However, in the end, they learned that he was assisting in the Sultan’s conquest of Somnath. This anecdote serves to establish the power of Khwaja Muhammad Chishti and thereby the legitimacy of the Chishti order. It also symbolically links a Chishti Sufi with the coming of Islam to India, a motif that we considered earlier in this chapter. Though it is unlikely that this anecdote contains much historical fact, it does symbolically represent the significant role Sufis have played in spreading Islam throughout the Indian subcontinent. Other Sufi hagiographies such as Jami’s Nafahat al-uns portray Khwaja Muhammad in a similar fashion, saying: “He waged jihad against the unbelievers and idol worshippers.” Other anecdotes in Thamarat al-quds portray Chishti Sufi s as fearless war- riors, many of whom achieve martyrdom in battle with the unbelievers, for example, “Nizam al-Din ... girt himself with a sword, mounted a horse ... fi ercely resisted the unbelievers and sent many of them to Hell. In the end, he fell from a wound he received from one of the unbelievers.” “Shaykh ‘Aziz Allah ... went to Gujarat” ... and there he slew many of the sinful unbelievers ... he fought unceasingly and was martyred in that battle.
    • Neale, Harry S. (2017). Jihad in Premodern Sufi Writings
  • In the resurgent Chishtiyya order, the emphasis was on the strict following of the sharī‘ah and re-​establishment of the Muslim political rule, either by reviving religious practices among Muslims or jihad....
  • Importantly enough, Chishtiyya revival came about in the Punjab through Noor Muhammad Muharvi (1730–​1791)...Muharvi’s teachings reconciled Sufis with the ulema by preferring devotional Islam over the literal one and professed strict adherence to the sharī‘ah as a prerequisite for entering the fold of the Tariqa.
  • The myth that ceases to be sustainable is the inclusive and peaceful disposition of the Sufis and dargah as the site of mystic spirituality. As they are demonstrated in these texts,Sufis had been politically oriented with separatist tendencies, and at times they resorted to violence. That is true not only of the Sufis belonging to the Naqshbandia Order, which is considered prone to religious literalism, but also of the Chishti Sufis who are taken to be peaceful and eclectic in their ideology.
    • UNPACKING THE MYTH OF BARELVI ECLECTICISM: A HISTORICAL APPRAISAL Tahir Kamran chapter 2 in Zahoor, B., & Rumi, R. (2020). Rethinking Pakistan: A 21st century perspective.
  • Small wonder that we find them flocking everywhere ahead or with or in the wake of Islamic armies. Sufis of the Chishtîyya silsila in particular excelled in going ahead of these armies and acting as eyes and ears of the Islamic establishment. The Hindus in places where these sufis settled, particularly in the South, failed to understand the true character of these saints till it was too late. The invasions of South India by the armies of Alãu’d-Dîn Khaljî and Muhammad bin Tughlaq can be placed in their proper perspective only when we survey the sufi network in the South. Many sufis were sent in all directions by Nizãmu’d-Dîn Awliyã, the Chistîyya luminary of Delhi; all of them actively participated in jihãds against the local population.
    • Shourie A. et al. (19901991). Hindu temples : what happened to them.

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