For the reason unknown I have a special affection for Sufi saints, although I was not aware of Sufi tradition until a couple of years ago. I have been quoting Hazrat Ihayat Khan, a great Sufi saint of modern times, here a lot. Now I would like to introduce another great Master, Khwaja Mu’inuddin Chishti of 12th century.
Sayings of saint Khwaja:
A friend of God must have affection like the Sun. When the sun rises, it is beneficial to all irrespective of whether they are Muslim, Christian, or Hindu.
A friend of God must be generous like a river. We all get water from the river to quench our thirst. It does not discriminate whether we are good or bad or whether we are a relation or a stranger.
A friend of God must display the hospitality like the earth. We are raised and cradled in its lap, and yet it is always under our feet.
A Bollywood movie Jodhaa Akbar (2008), one of the most beautiful movies ever, includes a qawwālī in praise of Moinuddin Chishti (“Khwāja Mērē Khwāja”). It depicts the Emperor Akbar being moved by the song to join the whirling-dervish-like dance that accompanies the song:
Khwaja Mu’īnuddīn Chishtī was born in 536 A.H./1141 CE, in Sijistān, in Persian Khorasan, modern Iran. He was a Sayed, a descendant of Muhammad through Ja’far aṣ-Ṣādiq. He grew up in Persia. His parents died when he was only fifteen years old. He inherited a windmill and an orchard from his father. During his childhood, young Mu’īnuddīn was different from others and kept himself busy in prayers and meditation.
Legend has it that once when he was watering his plants, a revered Sufi, Shaikh Ibrāhim Qundūzī came to his orchard. Young Mu’īnuddīn approached him and offered him some fruits. In return, Sheikh Ibrāhīm Qundūzī gave him a piece of bread and asked him to eat it. The Khwāja got enlightened and found himself in a strange world after eating the bread. After this he disposed of his property and other belongings and distributed the money to the poor. He renounced the world and left for Bukhara in search of knowledge and higher education. He visited nearly all the great centers of Muslim culture, and acquainted himself with almost every important trend in Muslim religious life in the Middle Ages. He became a disciple of the Chishtī saint ‘Uthmān Hārūnī.
Mu’īnuddīn Chishtī turned towards India, reputedly after a dream in which Prophet Muhammad blessed him to do so. After a brief stay at Lahore, he reached Ajmer along with Mohammad of Ghori, and settled down there. In Ajmer, he attracted a substantial following, acquiring a great deal of respect amongst the residents of the city. Mu’īnuddīn Chishtī practiced the Sufi Sulh-e-Kul (peace to all) concept to promote understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Another pearl of Khwaja sayings:
Be a blazing fire of truth,
be a beauteous blossom of love
and be a soothing balm of peace.