SUFI TALES: THE
CHERISHER OF THE POOR
suppose you are able to make an interview with
Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti, who is also known as
Gharib Nawaz, the Cherisher of the Poor. What
would you ask him? Perhaps some of your questions
are similar to the ones as given below:
Can you tell us how you started on the spiritual
A: After the death of my father – I was hardly
15 years old – I inherited a grinding stone and
a garden. These formed my source of livelihood.
From a very early age I liked the company of dervishes
and I always offered them great respect. My meeting
with Hazrat Ibrahim Qanduzi was a turning point
in my life. It so happened that one day, when
I was watering my garden all of a sudden Hazrat
Ibrahim Qanduzi entered it. I extended to him
the utmost courtesy and presented him a bunch
of grapes. The shaykh was highly pleased with
this treatment and he wanted to repay me. He took
out a piece of oil-cake and chewing it, gave it
to me. I ate it up. The effect of it was a noticeable
change in me. I felt disgusted with mundane affairs.
I sold off my grinding stone and my garden and
distributed the proceeds thereof amongst the poor.
Having all this I started on my travels in search
of the truth.
Where did you go to?
A: In those days Baghdad, Samarqand and Bokhara
were the centres of Islamic learning. Maulana
Hisamuddin of Bokhara has been one of my teachers.
When I was 20 years old I left Samarqand and Bokhara
for what you would now call Iraq. I have then
spent two and a half years in the company of Khwaja
Osman Haruni, who accepted me as his disciple.
How come so little is known about your travels?
A: For a long time accompanied my teacher in his
travels. When I travelled on my own or with a
companion, I used to stay in graveyards. The moment
I began to be known, I would leave secretly.
What is the essence of the Chishti path of the
A: Love and service.
It is said that all night long, the night of your
death, the people heard a mystic sound coming
from your room. Can you tell us something about
Your successor, Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki
has told about you: “I have stayed in his service
for a considerable period of time, but I never
saw a beggar or any needy person going from his
door without taking something”.
A: I have talked to him about a certain prayer.
It consists in hearing the complaints of the aggrieved
and to assist them, to help the needy and the
oppressed, to feed the people and to get free
the captives from captivity.
People often relate miracles or better said supernatural
powers to the Sufis. What is your opinion about
these supernatural powers?
A: Some people belonging to the Chishti order
have fixed fifteen stages of spiritual evolution
and out of these fifteen there are five stages
pertaining to supernatural powers. Our Chishti
Khwajagan are of the opinion that the one who
treads this path should not stop in the five stages
alone, but he should, with courage and determination,
cross all the fifteen stages.
Love is important for the Sufis…
A: Somebody asked Mansur al-Hallaj as to what
is the highest point in the love of God. He replied
that a lover has nothing to do except to bow his
head in submission. All good and evil emanate
from the Friend. You should accept all with delight.
You should do nothing against the will of the
Friend. Moreover you should be so absorbed in
the vision of the Friend that you should be oblivious
of your religion and faith.
Anything else you want to say to us?
A: Safar-e mubarak! May your journey be blessed!