Nizamuddin Awlia: Sufi saint

     Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia, another brilliant star of Sufi stream, was born in 1238. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia used to sit among the ulama (the scholars of Islam), but he was more interested in the inner life. He often used to say:

  “In the days of youth, I used to live in the company of the ulama, but in my heart the thought used to come that I should go away from their company and turn my face to the Divine Teacher. There I got the privilege of meeting Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar.

   “That sovereign of love of God (Baba Farid) has conquered the world and the light of his moon has illuminated that area.” “When I heard these words of praise in regard to Baba Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar.”

  Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia says, “I developed a sudden and intense love for him and I began to repeat his name after every Namaz (prayer).”

  Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia says, “When my eighteenth year began, I travelled from Badayun to Delhi.” Musamma Ayuz accompanied him in this journey. Ayuz was a staunch believer in the spiritual greatness of Baba Farid. Whenever he saw the slightest danger because of robbers or wild beasts, he would cry out: “O, Pir! Come! I need your protection.” Nizamuddin tells, “I asked him the name of that Pir and Ayuz said: ‘It is the one who has caught your heart and got you enamoured (meaning Baba Farid). Thus from that day my faith in the Sheikh increased’”

  The Awlia says, “When in Delhi, I stayed by chance near Hazrat Baba Fariduddin’s brother and caliph Hazrat Sheikh Najibuddin Mutawakkil. My mother and sister were also with me. We rented a house in the neighbourhood of the great Sheikh, whose company was very valuable to me. In his presence, the qualities of Baba Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar used to be described. On hearing them, I felt the desire of kissing his feet. For approximately three years I stayed in Delhi.”

  One day Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia said to Sheikh Najibuddin Mutawakkil that he should pray to God, so that he (Nizamuddin) might become a Qazi. Then he would be able to spread justice among the creatures of God. The Sheikh remained silent. When Hazrat Nizamuddin repeated his question, he answered thus: “God forbid that you be a Qazi; be something else!” In those days, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia used to spend the nights at the Jama Masjid. One morning, the muezzin (the one who calls to the prayer) recited the following verse from the minaret: “Has not the time come For the faithful That their hearts should bend For the remembrance of Allah” Hearing this, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia’s condition changed. It was as if he received spiritual illumination from every direction. And, without any food, he left Delhi in order to present himself to Baba Farid. At the age of twenty, in 1257 he reached Ajodhan. Coming before Hazrat Baba Farid, he unsuccessfully tried to summon up courage to tell in detail how eager he was to see him. He could not do so, because of awe. Baba Farid then said: “Every newcomer is nervous.”

Thereafter Baba Farid recited this verse: “O, the fire of separation of Thee, Has made the hearts like roasted meat; The flood of the fondness of Thee, Has made the lives morose.”Then Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia was honoured to be accepted as the mureed (spiritual disciple) of Baba Farid. Then Baba Sahib remarked: “O, Nizamuddin! I wanted to entrust the domain of Delhi to someone else. When you were on the way I heard a voice to the effect that I should wait as Nizamuddin is coming. He is fit for this domain. It should be entrusted to him. So stay in our company so that after completing your inner training, we will appoint you as our caliph and as the Wali-e-Hindustan (the saint of India).” Hazrat Nizamuddin lived in the company of his Pir-o-murshid (spiritual guide) for seven months and a few days. In this short period, he became deserving of the khilafat of the great mystic Baba Farid. In 1258  Baba Farid bestowed khilafat and wilayat to Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia by giving him the special turban, which came to Baba Sahib from Chisht (Afghanistan). After coming to Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia ascended the throne of khilafat-e-piran-e-Chisht i.e., he became a caliph of the Chishti Sheikhs.

  Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia came ten times to Ajodhan: three times in the life of Baba Farid and seven times after his death  After residing in Delhi for a few days, he disdained the crowds of people and desired to withdraw himself to the desert. He then received a Divine inspiration that his place of residence should be Ghiyaspur, a small village outside the city of Delhi. First he had raised a temporary shed with a straw roof for himself and all his companions. After some time, a better place was constructed for him by one of his disciples, Ziauddin Wakil Mulk.

  Amir Khusrau, a more famous diciple of the Aulia, is known for verses, which he compiled in the praise of his Pir or teacher. It is said that Amir Khusrau was once present in a mehfil of Sam’a (Assembly of music-listening) at the khaneqah of Nizamuddin Aulia, when he got so ecstatic with the music that he stood up and almost started dancing. Nizamuddin Aulia waved at him to sit down, and said “you shouldn’t dance, you are a worldly man.” He further added: “If you must dance, then do it in such a way that your hands are raised to the sky as if calling out to God, and your feet should hit the earth as if denouncing it.” It is said Khusrau once read out a ghazal which so pleased his pir Nizamuddin Aulia that the latter asked him if he had any wish to be fulfilled. Khusrau said he wished his verse be filled with sweetness. To which Nizamuddin Aulia said, “Ok, Go get that tray from beneath my cot”. He pointed. Khusrau brought the tray which had some sugar in it. Nizamuddin Aulia asked him to eat some and also pour some on his head. Khusrau obeyed him, and claimed that he has attained the sweetness in his poetry ever since. Once a poor man came to Nizamuddin Aulia asking for alms at a time when there was nothing left in the khaneqah to be given. The saint expressed his helplessness, but pointed to a torn and tattered pair of sandals that belonged to him, saying if those could be of any help to the poor man, he could take them. The faqir, having no choice, decided to take them any way, and left. When he was on his way to some other city, he met Amir Khusrau who was returning from his royal journey with camels and horses loaded with wealth. Khusrau sensed something odd as he met this man, and told him “Bu-e Shaikh mi aayad, Bu-e Shaikh mi aayad”. (I smell my master, I smell my master). This man dejectedly told him the story about how he could only get these sandals from Nizamuddin Aulia. It is said that Khusrau after seeing his pir’s belongings decided to trade his entire entourage of wealth for this pair of sandals, placed them on his head and came rushing to see Nizamuddin Aulia. His pir saw the sandals and asked Khusrau how he found them. When Khusrau told him about the price he has paid for them, Nizamuddin Aulia said, “Arzaan khareedi”. (Well, you’ve got them quite cheap). Hazrat Nizamuddin Awlia lived at village Ghiyaspur (now known as Basti Nizamuddin)  for more than sixty years and never changed his place of residence. The khanaqah is still there and is visited by many people up to this day.

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