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Syed Muhammad Nizamuddin Auliya was one of the most prominent Sufi saints from the Indian subcontinent. He was also known as Hazrat Nizamuddin and Mahbub-e-Ilahi, meaning 'Beloved of God'. Nizamuddin Auliya was a Sunni Muslim scholar and a Sufi saint of the Chishti Order.
Being a Sufi, the Chishti saint stressed on love as a means of realising God. At the same time, he believed that the love of God implied a love of humanity and brotherhood. Even today, it is visible how Nizamuddin Auliya has created a major influence on not just the Muslims of Delhi, but all around the world.
Nizamuddin Auliya was born in 1238 AD in the region of Baduan, Uttar Pradesh, to Syed Abdullah bin Ahmad Al Hussaini Badayuni and Bibi Zulekha. When Nizamuddin was five years old, his father died. At the age of 21, Nizamuddin went to Ajodhan, which is now present in Pakpattan Sharif, Pakistan, to become a disciple of the Sufi saint Fariduddin Ganjshakar, also known as Baba Farid. In fact, every year in the month of Ramadan, Nizamuddin would visit Ajodhan in presence of Baba Farid to gain knowledge about Sufism.
Interestingly, on his third visit to Baba Farid, he was made the successor. And, when he was returning back, Nizamuddin received the news that Baba Farid had died.
After becoming the successor of Baba Farid, Nizamuddin lived at various places in Delhi, before finally settling down in Ghiyaspur. He also built his Khanqah, which is a place of worship and holding Sufi rituals, and which was thronged with all kinds of people, rich and poor alike. Famous disciples of Nizamuddin includes, Shaikh Nasiruddin Chirag Delhavi and Amir Khusro.
The teachings of Nizamuddin Auliya included a vision of kindness, love, and religious pluralism. In fact, it was claimed by Ziauddin Barani, who was a Muslim political thinker of the Delhi Sultanate, that Nizamuddin Auliya had a strong influence on the Muslims of Delhi as they began to be inclined towards mysticism and prayers and remaining aloof from the world.
Lastly, one of the most beautiful statements by Nizamuddin Auliya was, "A man is in his worst state when he considers himself good and pious," which is somewhere or the other very appropriate for this century.
Keywords: Nizamuddin Auliya, Sufism, Islam, Devotion, Pilgrims, Delhi
By Atul Mishra
Sufism is a mystical belief and spiritual practice in which ‘divine love and knowledge’ of God is solicited. Sufi saints, scholars, poets and musicians, all believe in what is called muridin (singular murid), meaning “desiring the knowledge of knowing and loving God”. This eternal endearment for God and the craving to attain Him, has been perpetually present in all Sufi art forms, be it music or poetry.
Amir Khusrou is believed to be above every Sufi poet when it comes to Sufi poetry. The magnificent couplets that he wrote in his lifetime are filled with the cries to ‘become’ God and to attain the beloved God. The word ‘beloved’ in his oeuvre does not refer to any human being, but rather to the divine love. Let us look at Amir Khusrou’s life, his contributions and a few of his couplets in brief.
Born to Amir Saif-ud-Din Mahmud and Bibi Daulatnaz in 1252-53 CE, Amir Khusrou was a Sufi musician, poet and scholar. Saifuddin had to migrate from Samarkand (Uzbekistan) to Balkh (Afghanistan) and then to Delhi due to the invasion of Genghis Khan. And then he was granted a fief in the district of Patiyali. Here he married Bibi Daulatnaz and they had four children. Amir Khusrou was one of them.
Khusrou began learning and writing poetry at the age of eight. He was an influential prodigy in the cultural history of Indian Subcontinent. He became spiritual disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi. After the death of his father, he came to Delhi. (Source:Wiki)
Khusrou was a genius in true sense. Apart from such dense oeuvre of his poetry which stands out eternally, he has made many contributions to the Indian Subcontinent arts of music and poetry. Here are his contributions:
- Invented musical instruments sitar and tabla.
- Considered as father of Qawwali.
- Introduced the ghazal style of song into India.
- Introduced Persian, Arabic and Turkish elements into Indian classical music.
- Originator of the khayal and tarana styles of music.
A couple of Couplets
सेज वो सूनी देख के रोवून में दिन रैन,
पिया पिया मैं करत हूँ पहरों, पल भर सुख न चेन।
(Farsi couplet I: angelfire.com)
Translation: Day and night, I see an empty bed, and cry
Calling for my beloved, I remain restless forever.
As discussed earlier, Sufi love is the love for God. In this couplet ‘beloved’ is God to the poet. The poet is crying his heart out to attain the spiritual divine love of God. He waits and waits, cries and cries, looking desperately at his bed for his ‘beloved’. And in the desperation he is left restless.
Because Sufi concept of love also asserts that love in its true sense means “becoming” each other, then it can be propounded in this context that the poet is waiting for the Unison with the God so that he comes his ‘beloved’.
ख़ुसरौ बाज़ी प्रेम की में खेलूँ पी के संग,
जीत गई तो पिया मोरे,हारी, पी के संग।
(Farsi couplet II: angelfire.com)
Translation- I, Khusrou, play the game of love with my beloved,
If I win, the beloved’s mine, defeated, I’m beloved’s.
The desperation to attain that spiritual love is so intense that the poet, in a game of love with the God, says that if he wins it the ‘beloved’ i.e. God has to become his, and if he loses he becomes his beloved’s. Thus, in any case winning the game himself, no matter who becomes whose, because his ultimate desire is to unite with God.