Auzoo Billah Hi minach Shaitwan nir Rajim

Salaam aliekum,

All praise belongs to Allah alone, may He be well pleased with His holy Prophet
Muhammed (SAW), his family and his companions and all true believers.

May His blessings be upon the Head of the Sufi Orders Hazrat Ali Murtaza, and
all the Khawaja Khwajagan.
Friends, brothers, sisters;

At the beginning I started with making salaams – it is a conventional thing to do
and in accord with the teachings of the beloved Prophet Muhammed. It should
however be more than just a convention. When one has the Peace of Allah in
the heart – then only one can do that. The Prophets, saints and friends had that
peace. We make salaam to them in hope of receiving their real salaam in return.
Our niyat, intention, today is to celebrate the Urs, the death anniversary of
Khawaja Gharib Nawaz, Hazrat Muinuddin Hasan Chishti. To praise Allah for his
life and his immense contribution to the spiritual welfare of mankind. ‘Urs is a
wedding ceremony when the one whom Allah loves is united with him as a bride
and groom are united.
Oh dear! Oh dear! Oh dear! What a mess this world is in. See how everywhere
there is conflict and disharmony, there is terrorism and there is state
persecution. There is starvation alongside of obesity and excess wealth. There
is disease, there is hatred, there is abuse of power. There is corruption at all
levels. The seventy two sects of Islam are kept busy tearing themselves apart
with sectarian hatred - how then can they spread a message of peace and love
to suffering mankind.
There are also tribal and class conflicts, there is prejudice there is anger and
greed, and everywhere there is suffering. There is famine, there is needless
violence. Neither men nor women nor children are exempt from this.
Even in countries like this one where financial hardship is less serious, there is
mental anguish, stress, depression, anxiety, loss of values. The family itself is
being driven apart by competing pressures. The bellies may be full but the
minds and hearts are in turmoil.
The amazing technological innovations that allow us to speak to and see others
thousands of miles away is altering the lives of so many. The question how is it
used? Where it is used for good it is a great blessing – but how often is it used
for low purposes or even for evil.

People say; “If there is a loving God how is it He allows this to happen” and are
driven towards disbelief.
Where do we go for an answer, friends, where do we go to seek a way out of
the dire condition of mankind? How do we understand the working of Allah in
this world? In a world where hearts are turned to stone how do we soften them
so that their religions and beliefs are not full of hatred but full of love.
I think the best hope for us is to turn to those souls who found inner peace and
Love by turning to their Creator. I mean of course the Prophets and the Saints.
They are the model for us to copy if we wish to overcome the tensions and
difficulties in our life. Today we celebrate one of those living ones – I mean of
course Khwaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti (ra).
You know we are often told about the sawab, reward, we get in the next
world from our good deeds such as Namaz, and for fasting, and for acts of
charity, or pilgrimage, Hajj or Umra. This is right and true and we should try
hard to gain this, no doubt; but we should never forget that these acts should
be sealed by the good deeds we do so that they are not empty of meaning.
How can it be that a person does all these things and then goes and kills men
women and children without discrimination?
Good deeds are sometimes called neighbourly deeds. What is our worship if
we ignore the needs of our neighbours. Our neighbours are any one in need
not just other Muslims. People try to give the message of Islam to others with
bombs and bullets – NO the peace of heart and mind that Islam stands for is
conveyed by acts of kindness to everyone not merely people from our own
sect or religion. Even the sacred gift of religion meant to help man is
compromised due to ignorance and fanaticism.
Qutub Saheb (the successor of Khawaja Saheb) once asked Khwaja Saheb
what prayer he meant by saying there is no better thing before God than
prayer.

Khawaja Saheb said “It is hearing the complaints of the aggrieved, and
assisting them; helping the helpless; feeding the people; and freeing the
captives from captivity!

One can only make this prayer if that person is themselves free and has a
heart and mind that free from prejudice and hatred and conflict. As a matter
of fact the Prophets and saints went beyond concern with Sawab for the next
world.

You know when we die we get the reward for our good deeds for sure – it is
a promise of Allah. When this reward is spent in the next world we rest until
the day of judgement. These special souls however concentrated their whole
life, sacrificed the luxuries and pleasures of this life not for Sawab of the next
life but for love of Allah. They found in their hearts such a love for Allah, that
as the Qur’an says ‘their love for Allah was overflowing’. So when their sawab
for the many good deeds was finished they did not sleep but remained alive
and awake as Shah Wali Ullah puts it they wer fed by their good deeds but
then due to the love they had they become fed directly by Allah’s Mercy and
Love directly.

That is why we say of these persons – the leader of whom is the holy
Prophet Muhammed himself, (SAW) that they do not die. The saints who
are given the insight into Certainty (Yaqin) know this directly from their own
experience not from books.

The message given by Allah to us in the holy Qur’an is that it is the misuse of
freedom to choose that Allah gave to man that is the reason for the state of
the world. The angels have no choice but to praise and worship Allah – man
has something they do not have, a choice – but see how he misuses it. Allah
say everything from God is good but man makes it bad.

The Quran also says – man was created in the best of moulds but then
became of the lowest. The Prophets and saints were souls that were
purified and thus regained the true status of man. Often by facing difficulties
such as Prophet Yunus, or Prophet Ibrahim or Prophet Musa or Prophet Isa.
They showed man the way out of his predicament. That way was to awaken
in our hearts the Love of Allah as our choice, and the acceptable way to use
the freedom Allah gave us.
Khwaja Saheb says; “before time was there was limitless light which cannot be
imagined or understood by the rational mind. From that light, the Nuri i
Muhammed was formed.”

From the light of the Nuri-Muhammed the souls of the Pirs, those who dwelt
in pre-eternity, was formed. The soul of our father Adam was placed in to the
clay of material existence. This cannot be comprehend by reason or scientific
inquiry but Allah makes it known to His friends.

The soul’s dwelling in that placeless place became in time Prophets – each
having the same message; but a message that was presented according to
the needs of the time. Thus the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammed in Hadiths
says there is no distinction between the souls of the Prophets. They were
formed from that Nur-i-Muhammed which in English is sometimes called the
Logos.

Only one Prophet however can be proved even by the most critical scientific
examination to be a historical fact. Questions may be raised about what
proof outside of the religious texts there is for Prophet Isa or Prophet Musa
or Prophet Ibrahim or any of the others – but none question the physical
reality in historical time of Prophet Muhammed – this is one of the many
meanings of calling him the seal of prophecy. It also implies he was the last
to be given prophetic status.

This does not mean however that Allah stopped sending help to mankind by
means of inspired people. These we call the saints and amongst these high
indeed is the place of Hazrat Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti (RA).

His relationship by birth to Hazrat Abdul Qadir al Jillani is well known and it is
known that they met. Hazrat Abdul Qadir prophecied that Khawaja Saheb,
then a young man, would become the source of attraction for vast numbers
of people. His prediction was correct.

It can also be said that he had spiritual relationship with all the great saints
such as Hazrat Mevlana Rumi, Hazrat Shems Tabrizi, Hazrat Naqshband,
Hazrat Suhrewardy, Hazrat Ibn Arabi, Hazrat Hafiz Shirazi to mention but a
very few. Allah is all purity upon purity, light upon light, the saints becoming
pure partook of that that same light. They all taught and spread essentially
the same message. Just as the Prophets are one so the saints of Allah are
one.

Khawaja Saheb was brought up in Sanjar in modern day Iran. So he is often
referred to as Sanjari and also Ajmeri.
________________________

O Lord of the worlds, what great mercy You had,
When you sent us such a light from sweet Sanjar

How broad and deep was the compassion he had,
That true man who came to us from sweet Sanjar.

Ya Sanjari, Ya Ajmeri, Ya Khawaja Gharib Nawaz.(x3)

What a power to make our hearts carefree he had,
That true lover of Allah, that came from sweet Sanjar,

What beauty that deputy of holy Mustafa had,
That pilgrim of love’s way that came from sweet Sanjer

Ya Sanjari, Ya Ajmeri, Ya Khawaja Gharib Nawaz.(x3)

The courage of a lion from brave Hazrat Ali he had,
That illustrious Saint who came to us from sweet Sanjar.

The loving look of Khawaja Uthman Harooni he had,
That Pir o Murshid who came to us from sweet Sanjar,

Ya Sanjari, Ya Ajmeri, Ya Khawaja Gharib Nawaz.(x3)

How great was the Baraka, of the Chishti saints he had.
That Sultan-ul Hind, that came to us from sweet Sanjer.

He opened his heart to all, happy and sad, good and bad,
Rich and poor flock to the door of the Saint from Sanjar.

Ya Sanjari, Ya Ajmeri, Ya Khawaja Gharib Nawaz.(x3)

_______________

You have heard a brief summary of his life but let us look in more detail at
one or two of the most significant events.
Firstly, his initiation with Khwaja Usman Harooni; Khawaja Saheb himself
writes;

I, Moinuddin Hasan of Sanjar - well wisher of all the faithful, had the honour
of meeting Hazrat Khawaja Uthman Harooni in the mosque of Khawaja
Junaid of Baghdad (ra). His holiness was surrounded by inspired
Dervishes…….(he).. asked me to offer two genuflexions…Then he asked
me to sit with my face towards Kaaba– he asked me to recite sura Baqara –
which I did.

Further he commanded me to recite benedictions on the holy Prophet
Muhammed (pbhu). I obeyed. Khawaja Uthman Harooni stood up and holding
my hand lifted his face towards the sky and said --‘Come let me cause thee
to reach Allah.’

After placing the four edged cap and bestowing a robe on Khawaja Saheb
they sat down. There followed a day and night of asceticism.

Khawaja Saheb continues.

‘The next day, when I attended upon him he asked me to sit down and recite
Sura Ikhlas 4000 times. I did. He asked me to look towards the sky. I did.

He asked me ‘How far do you see’. I replied ‘up to the Great Throne’.
Next he asked me to look towards the ground. I did.

He asked me, ‘How far do you see?’ ‘I replied – to the furthest reaches of
the earth’ .

Next he asked me to recite Sura Ikhlas again a thousand times. I did.

He asked me to look towards the sky again. I did.

He asked me ‘How far do you see now? I replied, ‘Up to the Great Hidden’.

Next he asked me to close my eyes. I did. He asked me to open my eyes.
I did.

Next, showing me two fingers, he asked me what I saw there. I replied
18000 worlds.’

After that Khawaja Saheb was instructed to look under a certain brick where
he found some dinars. He was instructed to distribute them amongst the poor.

Later the following account is given of events in Mecca on pilgrimage.

Khawaja Saheb says:

‘After going round the Kaaba Khawaja Uthman Harooni took my hand and
entrusted me to Allah. He prayed in Kaaba for my humble self. A voice
was heard - ‘We have accepted Moinuddin’.

On reaching Medina they presented themselves at the court of the holy
Prophet (pbuh). Khawaja Saheb was instructed to offer his reverential
salaams. A voice came out saying

‘Peace be on you also, O head of the Pious of the Earth and the Sea.’
On hearing this Khawaja Uthman said - ‘Now, indeed, you have reached
perfection’.

One day when Khawaja Saheb was absorbed in prayer in Kaaba he heard a
voice saying:

‘ O Moinuddin! We are greatly pleased with thee. Thou art given salvation.
Ask for anything thou may like so that We may grant it to thee.’

Khawaja Saheb prayed not for himself but for the salvation for his followers
and disciples and the reply came:

‘O Moinuddin thou art our accepted one. I will give salvation to thy followers
and disciples, and also to those who may enter thy fold till the Day of
Resurrection.’

After reaching Medina he received from the holy Prophet (pbuh) a mandate to
the effect that:

‘O Moinuddin! Thou art a helper of my religion. I entrust to thee the country of
Hindusthan. There prevails darkness. Proceed on to Ajmer and spread there
the gospel of Truth’.

Khawaja Saheb became drowsy and was blessed with seeing in vision, the
city of Ajmer. He was bidden farewell and given the gift of a pomegranate
from heaven.

Eventually when his time came and his work in this mortal body was complete
and the message of the overpowering importance of Love of Allah was
established as a doctrine that should be available to all whatever their
background or religion, he was finally united with his Beloved forever.

I will give you the description written in the book of my own Shaikh Dr Zahurul
Hasan Sharib.

On Monday the 6th of Rajab 627 AH – the 21st May 1229 Gharib Nawaz
after night prayers went into his room and closed the door. He did not permit
anyone to enter in. All night long the people outside heard a mystic sound
coming from the room....

At the approach of dawn the sound was not to be heard. When the door
remained closed at the time of the morning  prayers his devotees thought
there was something unusual. In short, when the door was opened they
found him dead and on his forehead was written these words:

Haza habeeb Allahi
Mata fii hub Allahi

'He was a beloved of Allah, He died in the love of Allah'.

That night in dream some saints saw the holy Prophet Muhammed saying:
Moinuddin is a friend of Allah. Today I have come to welcome him.

Qutub Saheb his successor wrote this:

‘.. I felt a little drowsy whilst sitting on my prayer carpet. I saw that he  
(Gharib Nawaz) was standing underneath the throne of God. I put my head
upon his feet and inquired his condition. He replied: ‘God has been merciful
enough to shower His blessings upon me. He has allotted me a place near
the angels and thus underneath His Throne.  I live here’.

To model ourselves on the qualities of the Prophets and saints is the best
way to gain favour and acceptance with Allah.


The Shilshila (chain of transmission) of the Chishti Order

The Holy Prophet Muhammed Mustafa (SAW)
(peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him and his family and
descendents)

Hazrat Syedna Ali Murtaza (pbuh)

Khawaja Hasan Basri (ra)
Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Wahid bin Zaid (ra)
Khawaja Fuzail bin Ayez (ra)
Khawaja Sultan Ibrahim bin Adhem of Balkh (ra)
Hazrat Khawaja Sadeeduddin Khadeefa Marashee (ra)
Hazrat Khawaja Abee Hubera Basri (ra)
Hazrat Shaikh Mumshad Alu Denoori (ra)

Chishti

Hazrat Khawaja Abu Ishaq Shami Chishti (ra)
Hazrat Shaikh Abu Ahmed Chishti (ra)
Hazrat Shaikh Abu Mohammed Chishti (ra)
Hazrat Khawaja Abu Yusuf Chishti (ra)
Hazrat Khawaja Moudoud Chishti (ra)
Hazrat Shaikh Khawaja Hajji Sharif Zindani (ra)
Hazrat Khawaja Uthman Harooni (ra)
Hazrat Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti of Sanjar and Ajmer (ra)

Following from Khwaja Saheb there were four great saints in the Chishti
tradition; Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, Khwaja Baba Farid, Khwaja
Nizamuddin Aulia and Khwaja Nasiruddin Chirag of Delhi. Thereafter the
direct line finished and the relics of the order were buried with Hazrat
Nasiruddin Chirag, but the Chishti tradition carried on with the caliphs of
these saints.

There are many examples of the spiritual powers of Khawaja Saheb granted
him by Allah.  For example, on arriving in Ajmer he was asked by the servants
to move from a place he was sitting at as the camels of the Raja sat there. He
said –“Well let them sit" – and moved away. When the camels came to sit there
they would not get up again. On being informed of this event the Raja ordered
that apologies be given to Khawaja Saheb, on his accepting these apologies it
was found the camels would now stand.

The Raja became jealous of the powers of Khwaja Saheb to attract followers.
He ordered him to leave Ajmer. Khawaja Saheb went saying, ‘Well I will leave
but the armies of Shahabuddin Ghori will soon turn the Raja himself out.” This
soon came to pass.

Here are some of his qualities of Khwaja Sahib as recorded by my Sheikh
Hazrat Zahur Mian Gudri Shah Baba.

Qutub Sahib said; I have passed 20 years in Khwaja Saheb's service but
never heard that he prayed for his health – instead he would say "O God
wherever there be the pain of Love grant it to Thy servant Moinuddin".

He maintained an interest in listening to music as a way of reaching closer to
Allah. Those who attended the concerts when he was present reached
spiritual ecstasy.

His respect for his guide was immense – he was once sitting with some
friends and kept standing up every time he looked in a particular direction.
Asked why he said, “The tomb of my spiritual guide is in that direction and
every time I looked that way caught a glimpse of it so I stood up in respect”.

When he was absorbed he used to keep his eyes closed for hours together,
only opening them to perform Namaz. Any one he gave a look to became a
saint themselves.

He had two moods – in one he was so absorbed he was heedless of any
others around him. In the other he became thoughtful and retired to be alone.

He was strict in obeying the commands of the holy prophet (pbuh).

He used to say that if people knew the state of those who are buried they
would become motionless and like salt dissolving in water.

He gave respect to all regardless of their religion, caste or creed. He never
became angry on account of the words of anyone.

Qutub Saheb says; I never saw a beggar or a needy person going from his
door without something.

Huge quantities of food he supplied to the hungry – and this is continued to
this day. There are two Begs – cooking pots – in his shrine  - they are so big,
the size of a small house, that they require a ladder to climb down into them
to pass up the food.

He fasted 12 months of the year.

His clothes were always patched.

He used to remain on the prayer carpet after fajr namaz and would say that
the one who sits thus will be admitted to heaven and further if there are
seventy persons with him they will all find the gates of heaven opened to them.
Friends, Hazrat Khwaja Saheb was a model for us all; Not only
did he spread the message of Islam but he gave the message that true
Islam is the purest kind of love that does not close its doors to anyone in
whose heart love has made its place.

The Qur’an gives this message – it says ‘Rain falls and from the effect of the
rain falling many different kinds of fruit and cereals grow’.  The rain is the
same – what grows is different.

This is the state of our humanity from the blessings Allah sends down we
each grow in all our different ways. Let us aim to be that kind of kind of
person who is grateful for that immeasurable blessings of the All-mighty and
one that produces the best kind of fruit – in the form of good works.

Khwaja Saheb’s message was always available to all irrespective of creed,
caste, colour, or religion. Today at his tomb there are people, more than half
a million people, who come from every background. There are Muslims,
Hindus, Jews, Sikhs, sunnis, shias, Christians, Buddhists. There are Sufis and
Kalanders and orthodox muslims. There are poets and artists. There are
farmers, there are beggars, there are craftsmen and sportsmen and women;
there are men women and children; there are the lame and the sick; there are
the rich and the famous; there are politicians of every hue. There are
policemen and soldiers, there are the old and the young and each leaves with
some blessing whether they know it or not.

The Allah we worship is not the Allah just of Muslims – the Quran says –
"Rabin Naas, Malikin Naas, Illahin Naas", Naas means Man or mankind.
He is One God, Mankind is one essentially. Service to mankind irrespective
of religion is service to that One God.

Shaitan, the Qur'an says has no power over His servants – let us aspire and
strive to be one of those servants in the model of Hazrat Khawaja Gharib
Nawaz – Sultan ul Hind. It is said – if you cannot reach up to be a friend of
God at least be a friend of His friends.

O Khawaja Saheb from the immeasurable blessings and love Allah gives to
you grant some blessings on the people of Southampton and elsewhere;
gathered here as we are as beggars at your door.

La Illaha Ilallah