Moinuddin Chishti

Persian Sufi Chishtiyya order mystic (1143–1236)
(Redirected from Muinuddin Chishti)

Chishtī Muʿīn al-Dīn Ḥasan Sijzī (1142–1236 CE), known more commonly as Muʿīn al-Dīn Chishtī or Moinuddin Chishti, or reverently as a Shaykh Muʿīn al-Dīn or Muʿīn al-Dīn or Khwājā Muʿīn al-Dīn by Muslims of the Indian subcontinent, was a Persian Muslim preacher, ascetic, religious scholar, philosopher, and mystic from Sistan, who eventually ended up settling in the Indian subcontinent in the early 13th-century, where he promulgated the famous Chishtiyya order of Sunni mysticism.

Quotes about Moinuddin Chishti



Siyaru’l-Auliya, Siyaru’l-Awliya
Jaipal proceeded to fight the Khwaja with 700 magical dragons, 1,500 magical discs and 700 disciples. The Khwaja drew a circle bringing his party within it under his protection, and succeeded in killing all the dragons and disciples. ~ Anectode about Mu‘in al-Din Chishti from the Jawahir-i Faridi (based on mythology not reality)
We have caught Rai Pithaura alive and have given him to the army of Islam. ~ Mu‘in al-Din Chishti (attributed)
  • “The other miracle is that before his arrival the whole of Hindustan was submerged by unbelief and idol-worship. Every haughty man in Hind pronounced himself to be Almighty God and considered himself as the partner of God. All the people of India used to prostrate themselves before stones, idols, trees, animals, cows and cow-dung. Because of the darkness of unbelief over this land their hearts were locked and hardened.
    “All India was ignorant of orders of religion and law. All were ignorant of Allah and His Prophet. None had seen the Ka‘ba. None had heard of the Greatness of Allah.
    “Because of his coming, the, Sun of real believers, the helper of religion, Mu‘in al-din, the darkness of unbelief in this land was illumined by the light of Islam.
    “Because of his Sword, instead of idols and temples in the land of unbelief now there are mosques, mihrab and mimbar. In the land where there were the sayings of the idol-worshippers, there is the sound of ‘Allahu Akbar’.
    “The descendants of those who were converted to Islam in this land will live until the Day of Judgement; so too will those who bring others into the fold of Islam by the sword of Islam. Until the Day of Judgement these converts will be in the debt of Shaykh al-Islam Mu‘in al-din Hasan Sijza and these people will be drawing closer to Almighty Allah because of the auspicious devotion of Mu‘in al-din.”
    • About Shykh Mu‘in al-Din Chisti of Ajmer (Rajasthan) (d. AD 1236). Amir Khwurd: Siyaru’l-Auliya. Quoted in P.M. Currie, The Shrine and Cult of Mu‘in al-Din Chishti of Ajmer, OUP, 1989, p. 30. in addition see also p. 93 where it is partially reproduced.
    • Siyaru’l-Auliya was written by Sayyid Muhammad bin Mubãrak bin Muhammad ‘Alwî Kirmãnî known as Amîr or Mîr Khwurd. He was the grandson of an Iranian merchant who traded between Kirman in Iran and Lahore, and who became a disciple of Shykh Farîdu’d-Dîn Ganj-i-Shakar, the Sufi luminary of Ajodhan near Multan. His father was also a disciple of the same Sufi. The family travelled to Delhi after Shykh Farîd’s death and became devoted to Shykh Nizãmu’d-Dîn Auliyã‘. Mîr Khwurd was forced to migrate to Daulatabad by Sultãn Muhammad bin Tughlaq but allowed to return to Delhi after some time. It was then that he wrote this detailed biography of the Auliyã‘ and his disciples.
  • Sir-ul-Awliya, the most famous history of the Chishtiyya school written by Khwaja Amir Khurd, another disciple of Nizam-ud-din Awliya, tells the following story:
    “His [Muin-ud-din’s] blessed tongue uttered spontaneously, ‘We have handed over Pithora alive to the army of Islam.’ In those very days, Sultan Muiz-ud-din Sam arrived in Ajmer from Ghazni. Pithora had to face the army of Islam. He was captured alive by Sultan Muiz-ud-din… The Khwaja [Muinud-din] was a worker of great wonders. Before he reached Hindustan, all its cities right upto the point of sunrise were sunk in tumult and infidelity and were involved with idols and idolatry. Everyone among the rabble [Gods] of Hindustan claimed to be the great God and a co-sharer in the divinity of Allah. The people paid homage to stones, sods of clay, trees, quadrupeds, cows and bulls and their dung. The darkness of infidelism had made still more firm the seals on their hearts… Muin-ud-din was indeed the very sun of the true faith. As a result of his arrival, the darkness that had spread over this country was dispelled. It became bright and glowed in the light of Islam... Anyone who has become a Musalman in this country will stay a Musalman till the Day of Dissolution. His progeny will also remain Musalman… The people [of Hindustan] will be brought out of dar-ul-harb into dar-ul-Islam by means of many wars."
    • Amir Khurd, Siyar-ul-Awliya, New Delhi, 1985, pp. 111-12. Quoted in S.R.Goel, The Calcutta Quran Petition (1999) ISBN 9788185990583
  • When Mu ‘in al-din heard of this he said, ‘We have caught Rai Pithaura alive and have given him to the army of Islam.’ Accordingly in those days Sultan Mu‘izz al-din came with his army from Ghazni and fought with Pithaura who fell alive into the hands of the Sultan.
    • Siyar al-Awliya, in P.M. Currie, The Shrine and Cult of Mu‘in al-Din Chishti of Ajmer, OUP, 1989, p. 29-30

Siyar al-Aqtab by Allah Diya Chishti

Siyar al-Aqtab by Allah Diya Chishti (1647). compiled in the mid-seventeenth century. As quoted in P.M. Currie, The Shrine and Cult of Mu‘in al-Din Chishti of Ajmer, OUP, 1989 p. 66-87, 93
  • Muinuddin Hasan al-Husaini al-Sijzi Chishti was well known for his miracles and asceticism and was endowed with all the merits of perfection. He had high status and was a great healer. He was a Saiyid by true descent. There is no doubt about his genealogy. He wore the cloak of poverty (faqr) and discipleship from Imam al-Awliya Usman Harwani. Through his coming to Hindustan, the way (tariqa) of Islam was estabished there. He destroyed the darkness of unbelief and ‘shirk’ which had prevailed there since time immemorial through revealing clear reasons and arguments. For this reason Muinuddin is called Nabi-ul-Hind (the prophet of India). For seventy years his ablultion was not broken without him washing before prayer. On whomsoever his propitious glance fell, that man was immediately brought to Allah. Whenver a sinner came into his illuminated presence, he immediately repented. (accepted the true faith of Islam). ...
  • ‘’Each time he finished reading the Quran, a voice came from the unseen world saying, O Muinuddin ! your recitation has been accepted.” ‘’Although it has been stated that Muinuddin could produce any amount of gold through his miracles, it is certain that he had no dearth of money. It is related that in the kitchen of Muinuddin so many meals were cooked every day that all the impoverished people of the whole city could eat their fill. The servant in charge of this used to go every day before the saint for the expenses. He used to stand with his hands joined in respect. Muinuddin used to take a corner of his prayer rug aside and reveal sufficent treaure. He used to tell the servant to take enough gold from this treasure to cover the kitchen expenses for that day.” ...
  • ‘’It is told that once when he went to perform the pilgrimage to the holy tomb of the Prophet Muhammad, one day from the inside of the pure and blessed tomb a cry came : ‘’Send for Muinuddin.’’ When Muinuddin came to the door he stood there and he saw that presence speak to him. ‘’Muinuddin, you are the essence of my faith; but must go to Hindustan. There is a place called Ajmer, to which one of my sons (descendants) went for a holy war, and now he has become a martyr, and the place has passed again into the hands of infidels. By the grace of your footsteps there, once more shall Islam be made manifest, and the Kafirs be punished by God’s wrath.’’ ... Accordingly Muinuddin reached Ajmer in Hindustan.
  • To continue, when the Khwaja had taken up residence at the Ana Sagar, a man said to him, ‘Sir, this is the very place where Mir Saiyid Husain Khing-Sawar'*—God’s mercy upon him— at the time when he had come and conquered the country and was living in it, chose to dwell.’ The Khwaja said: ‘Praise be to God, may He be exalted, for I have gained possession of the property of my brother.
  • Although, at that time there were many temples of idols around the lake, when the Khwaja saw them, he said : ‘’If God and His Prophet so will, it will not be long before I raze to the ground these idol- temples.’’
    It is said that among those temples there was one temple to reverence which the Raja and all the infidels used to come, and lands had been assigned to provide for its expenditure. When the Khwaja settled there, every day his servants bought a cow, brought it there and slaughtered it and ate it, until the infidels got news of this, and curled up upon themselves, and were consumed with rage, and said: ‘Now it is not good to remain idle. Let us come upon these Musalmans all together, and let us neglect nothing to achieve our aim, and drive them from this city and kingdom.’
  • “So when the infidels grew weak and saw that they had no power to resist such a perfect companion of God, they… went into their idol temples which were their places of worship. In them there was a dev, in front of whom they cried out and asked for help…“… The dev who was their leader, when he saw the perfect beauty of the Khwaja, trembled from head to foot like a willow tree. However much he tried to say ‘Ram, Ram’, it was ‘Rahim, Rahim’ that came from his tongue… The Khwaja… with his own hand gave a cup of water to a servant to take to the dev… He had no sooner drunk it than his heart was purified of darkness of unbelief, he ran forward and fell at the Heaven-treading feet of the Khwaja, and professed his belief…“The Khwaja said: ‘I also bestow on you the name of Shadi Dev [Joyful Deval]’… “…Then Shadi Dev… suggested to the Khwaja, that he should now set up a place in the city, where the populace might benefit from his holy arrival. The Khwaja accepted this suggestion, and ordered one of his special servants called Muhammad Yadgir to go into the city and set in good order a place for faqirs. Muhammad Yadgir carried out his orders, and when he had gone into the city, he liked well the place where the radiant tomb of the Khwaja now is, and which originally belonged to Shadi Dev, and he suggested that the Khwaja should favour it with his residence…“
    …Mu‘in al-din had a second wife for the following reason: one night he saw the Holy Prophet in the flesh. The prophet said: ‘You are not truly of my religion if you depart in any way from my sunnat.’ It happened that the ruler of the Patli fort, Malik Khitab, attacked the unbelievers that night and captured the daughter of the Raja of that land. He presented her to Mu‘in al-din who accepted her and named her Bibi Umiya.”

Abu Muhammad Chishti in Khwajagan-i Chisht

seventeenth-century Indo-Persian hagiography Khwajagan-i Chisht.Khwajagan-i Chisht: Siyar al-aqtab, quoted from Harry S. Neale - Sufi Warrior Saints_ Stories of Sufi Jihad from Muslim Hagiography-I.B. Tauris (2022)
  • So his mother brought the Qur’an that was in the house to him, but he said, “Mother, keep the Qur’an with you, for I will recite it from memory.” His mother did as he asked, and then he immediately proceeded to recite the entire Glorious Qur’an from beginning to end. His mother, astonished, gave thanks to God.
  • It is related that when Sultan Mahmud Sabuktigin [of Ghazna] went to raid Somnath, he saw [Abu Muhammad] in the battle, as he also was coming to [the sultan’s] aid. Thus, at the age of seventy, he went thither with a company of dervishes. When they arrived, the shaykh selflessly waged jihad against the idolaters. One day, the idolaters gained the upper hand, so the army of Islam sought refuge in the woods. Now, [Abu Muhammad] had a senior murid back in Chisht by the name of Muhammad Kaku. [Abu Muhammad] cried out, “O Kaku, [come to our aid]!” Forthwith, Kaku appeared and furiously fought [the unbelievers] until the army of Islam achieved victory. At the same time, the folk of Chisht beheld Kaku take up the mill hopper and begin beating the walls and doors of the mill therewith. When the townsfolk asked him the meaning of [his astonishing deed with the mill hopper], he related this story to them.34 After the conquest of Somnath, Sultan Mahmud, having seen with his own eyes that Abu Muhammad had rendered him aid both inwardly and outwardly, believed more than ever [in the shaykh’s power] and prostrated himself before the shaykh as soon as he arrived.

19th century and later

  • “In Indian sufism anti-Hindu polemics began with Muin al-din Chishti. Early Sufis in the Punjab and early Chishtis devoted themselves to the task of conversion on a large scale. Missionary activity slowed down under Nizam al-din Auliya, not because of any new concept of eclecticism, but because he held that the Hindus were generally excluded from grace and could not be easily converted to Islam unless they had the opportunity to be in the company of the Muslim saints for considerable time.”
    • Aziz Ahmad, Studies In Islamic Culture, Oxford, 1964, p.134
  • It cannot be maintained that Islam did not provide an ample opportunity to Hindu saints, philosophers and princes to understand its true character and role. Before the armies of Islam invaded India, the sufis had settled down in many parts of India, built mosque and khanqahs and started their work of conversion. They were the sappers and miners of Islamic invasions which followed in due course. Muinuddin Chishti was not the first 'saint' of Islam to send out an invitation to an Islamic invader to come and kill the kafirs, desecrate their shrines, and plunder their wealth.
    • S.R. Goel. The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India (1994)
  • The Chishtiyya school was foisted on India by Muin-ud-din who had settled down in Ajmer before the Second Battle of Tarain. According to the sufi lore, he had made a few converts from among the local Hindus and started issuing orders to Prithivi Raj Chauhan, the Hindu king, for the benefit of these converts. When the king ignored him, he invited Muhammad Ghuri to invade the Chauhan Kingdom.
  • It is said that saint-worship among Muslims is a practice unique to India. Dargahs of Sufis, real or figurative, are found all over the country and Muslims flock to them in. large numbers. It is a legacy of medieval times. One reason for this can be that most Indian Muslims are converted Hindus, who, when their places of worship were converted into (khanqahs and later) dargahs, did not give up visiting them. For instance, at the most holy dargah of Shaikh Muinuddin Chishti, the Sandal Khana mosque is believed to have been built on the site of a Dev temple.
    • Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5, citing P.M. Currie.
  • Chishti was a great mystic, one of the greatest ever born, and he was a musician. To be a musician is to be against Islam because music is prohibited. He played on the sitar and on other instruments. He was a great musician and he enjoyed it. Five times every day, when a Mohammedan is required to pray the five ritual prayers, he wouldn't pray, he would simply play on his instrument. That was his prayer. This was absolutely anti-religious but nobody could say anything to Chishti. ... When Chishti heard that Jilani was coming he felt, "To pay respect to Jilani it will not be good to play my instrument now. Because he is such an orthodox Mohammedan, it will not be a good welcome. He may feel hurt." ... [but] Jilani laughed and said, "Rules are not for you, you need not hide them. Rules are for ordinary people, rules are not for you -- you should not hide them. How can you hide your soul? Your hands may not play, you may not sing from your throat, but your whole being is musical.
    • Rajneesh, A Bird on the Wing
  • The story of Islam is no different. Prophetic Islam is inimical to mystic ideas. In the beginning, some Sufis courted martyrdom, but eventually they bought peace and safety by surrendering to Prophetic Islam. There have been some outstanding Sufis, but by arid large the Sufi movement has been part of a larger aggressive apparatus, just like Christian Missions of Imperialism. Though Islam persecuted "infidels", destroyed their temples, enslaved and looted them, we find no Sufis protesting. In fact. they were often beneficiaries of this vandalism. "In many cases there is no doubt that the shrine of a ·Muslim saint marks the site of some local cult which was practised on the spot long before the introduction of Islam," says Thomas Arnold making it look quite normal and harmless. Mu'in aI-Din Chishtl's dargah at Ajmer is one such shrine built on the ruins of an old Hindu temple. The saint had also got the present of a Hindu princess, part of the booty captured by a Muslim General, Malik Khitab, when he attacked the neighbouring pagan land.
    • Ram Swarup, Hindu View of Christianity and Islam (1992)
  • Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (1141–1230), probably the second-greatest Sufi saint of India after Nizamuddin Auliya, demonstrated a deep-seated hatred toward Hindu religion and its practices. On his arrival near the Anasagar Lake at Ajmer, he saw many idol-temples and promised to raze them to the ground with the help of Allah and His Prophet. After settling down there, Khwaja’s followers used to bring every day a cow (sacred to Hindus) near a famous temple, where the king and Hindus prayed, slaughter it and cook kebab from its meat—clearly to show his contempt toward Hinduism. ‘In order to prove the majesty of Islam, he is said to have dried the two holy lakes of Anasagar and Pansela (holy to Hindus) by the heat of his spiritual power.’ Chisti also came to India with his disciples to fight Jihad against the infidels and participated in the treacherous holy war of Sultan Muhammad Ghauri in which the kind and chivalrous Hindu King Prithviraj Chauhan was defeated in Ajmer. In his Jihadi zeal, Chisti ascribed the credit for the victory to himself, saying: ‘We have seized Pithaura (Prithviraj) alive and handed him over to the army of Islam.’’
    • Khan, M. A. (2011). Islamic Jihad: A legacy of forced conversion, imperialism and slavery.Chapter IV, quoting Sharma SS (2004) Caliphs and Sultans: Religious Ideology and Political Praxis, Rupa & Co, New Delhi, p 230
  • For more than seven centuries people of various creeds, classes and social backgrounds have expressed their devotion at the dargahs of the five great Chishti saints. Amongst these, the most revered shrine is that of Khwaja Muinuddin, popularly known as “Gharib Nawaz” (comforter of the poor). The earliest textual references to Khwaja Muinuddin’s dargah date to the fourteenth century. It was evidently popular because of the austerity and piety of its Shaikh, the greatness of his spiritual successors, and the patronage of royal visitors.”
    • Textbook, NCERT, class 12th, p 155 quoted from Atri, N., & Sagar, M. A. (2017). Brainwashed Republic: India’s Controlled Systemic Deracination
  • We may likewise view the anecdotes regarding Abu Muhammad Chishti’s military and wondrous deeds during Sultan Mahmud’s raid on the temple of Somnath, in Gujarat, as symbolizing the role of Sufis in spreading Islam in the subcontinent while also serving to portray the Chishti Sufi order as a fundamental part of Indian Islam. Another example of hagiography symbolizing historical events or circumstances may be found in an anecdote concerning Mu’in al-Din Chishti, the aforementioned founder of the Chishti order. The anecdote relates that when Mu’in al-Din settled in Rana Sagar, there were still many Hindu temples (but khana) in the area, and when he saw them, he foretold that with the help of the Prophet they would soon be destroyed. After Mu’in al-Din took up residence there, every day his servants would slaughter a cow and eat the flesh thereof. When the unbelievers found out about this, they became wroth and, burning with anger, decided that this was as good a time as any to attack the Muslims and drive them out. With this in mind, they took up swords, cudgels, and slings and went to the place where Mu’in al-Din was. There they surrounded him with the intention of harming him. Now, Mu’in al-Din was praying and did not heed the unbelievers’ presence. His servants, however, became alarmed and informed the shaykh of the dire situation. Having completed his prayers, Mu’in al-Din rose, took a handful of earth in his hand, and, reciting the Verse of the Throne,23 cast it at the armed unbeliever mob. The body of anyone whom the dust touched immediately withered, and the remaining unbelievers were vanquished.
    • Harry S. Neale - Sufi Warrior Saints_ Stories of Sufi Jihad from Muslim Hagiography-I.B. Tauris (2022),93ff

S.A.A.Rizvi, History of Sufism

  • The Sultanu’l-Masha’ikh (Shaikh Nizamu’d-Din Auliya’) believed that when Khwaja Mu‘inu’d-Din reached Ajmer, India was ruled by Pithaura Ra’i (Prithviraj) and his capital was Ajmer. Pithaura and his high officials resented the Shaikh’s presence in their city, but the latter's eminence and his apparent power to perform miracles, prompted them to refrain from taking action against him. A disciple of the Khwaja’s was jn the service of Pithaura Ra’i. After the disciple began to receive hostile treatment from the Ra’i, the Khwaja sent a message to Pithaura in favour of the Muslim. Pithaura refused to accept the recommendation, thus indicating his resentment of the Khwaja’s alleged claims to understand the secrets of the Unseen. When Khwaja Mu'inu’d-Din (the spiritual King of Islam) heard of this reply he prophesied: ‘We have seized Pithaura alive and handed him over to the army of Islam.’ About the same time. Sultan Mu‘izzu’d-Din Muhammad’s army arrived from Ghazna, attacked the forces of Pithaura and defeated them. Pithaura was taken alive, and thus the Khwaja’s prophesy was fulfilled.! The Akhbaru'l-Akhyar also contains the same account,! and a large number of medieval and modern scholars confirm the validity of the story and recount fantastic miracles performed by the Khwaja at Ajmer.
  • Jamali relates that Shaikh ‘Usman so dearly loved Khwaja Mu‘inu’d-Din that he himself began a journey walking behind his disciple. After travelling some distance he reached a Zoroastrian fire temple. He sat under a tree and asked his servant to bring him some fire. The priests would not allow him to take it. The Shaikh went himself to the fire worshippers. Their leader was seated on a throne with his seven-year old son on his lap. Shaikh ‘Usman asked if their hands were put into the fire would they be burnt. At the feceipt of a negative reply the Shaikh snatched the boy and jumped into the fire with him. After some hours they both emerged unharmed. The head priest embraced Islam and the fire temple was demolished. Shaikh ‘Usman stayed there for about two and a half years. In the Khairu'l-Majalis the Zoroastrian priests are replaced by Hindus and the conversation is reported in the Hindawi.
  • After finally settling at Ajmer, Khwaja Mu‘inu’d-Din, who until then had been celibate, took two wives. According to tradition he decided to marry in order to imitate all the Prophet’s practices. The Sururu’s- ‘Sudur states he was then ninety, but this would appear to be incorrect. A few years after his arrival at Ajmer, he married the daughter of Sai Wajihu’d-Din, a brother of Saiyid Husain Mashhadi. Ghausi Shattari’s statement that the Khwaja and his wife lived together for twenty-seven years* would seem to be reinforced by circumstantial evidence. The wedding seems to have taken place in 606/1209-10. The Khwaja’s second wife was a daughter of a local Hindu chieftain who had been seized in war. Both are said to have borne the Khwaja children.
  • From there the Khwaja went to Ajmer. ... Reaching there he decided to sit under a tree, but the camel keepers ordered him away as the area belonged to the Ra'i. The Khwaja and his followers moved to a place near the Anasagar Lake. His servants killed a cow and cooked kebabs for him. Some members of the Khwaja’s party went to Anasagar and the others to Pansela Lake for ablutions. There were one thousand temples on the two lakes. The Brahmans stopped the ablutions and the party complained to the Khwaja. He sent his servant to bring water for his ewer. As soon as the ewer touched the Pansela Lake, all the lakes, tanks and wells around became dry. The Khwaja went to the Anasagar Lake temple and asked the name of the idol. He was told it was called Sawi Deva. The Khwaja asked whether the idol had talked to them. On receiving a negative reply he made the idol recite kalima and converted it into a human being, naming it Sa‘di. This caused a sensation in the town. Prithviraj ordered his prime minister Jaipal who was also a magician, to avert the evil influence of the Khwaja. Jaipal proceeded to fight the Khwaja with 700 magical dragons, 1,500 magical discs and 700 disciples. The Khwaja drew a circle bringing his party within it under his protection, and succeeded in killing all the dragons and disciples. Pithaura and Jaipal begged the Khwaja’s forgiveness. The Khwaja’s prayers restored water to the lakes, tanks and wells. A large number of people accepted Islam. Jaipal decided to compete with the Khwaja in the performance of miracles. Sitting on his deer skin he flew to the heavens. ‘The Khwaja ordered his slippers to bring Jaipal back to earth, which they did. On Jaipal’s request to show him some miracles, the Khwaja’s spirit flew to the highest heaven, where Jaipal also joined him. Getting nearer to the divine presence, on the Khwaja’s orders Jaipal accepted Islam in order to gain the full benefit of that spiritual bliss. When they returned the Khwaja and his party stayed in the town. Pithaura refused to accept Islam and the Khwaja prophesied he would be handed over to the Islamic army.“ (from the Jawahir-i Faridi written in 1623) p.117

P.M. Currie : The Shrine and Cult of Mu‘in al-Din Chishti of Ajmer

  • To settle in Ajmer, before dealing with the local secular ruler, Mu‘in al-din had to overcome the local deity, Shadi Dev, and Jogi Ajaipal, ‘who had no equal in the whole of Hindustan.” Mu‘in al-din’s encounter with Shadi Dev is not without interest. Having settled his opposition and converted him to Islam, Mu‘in al-din, at Shadi Dev’s suggestion, moves into his former temple. The take-over of ‘pagan’ sites is a recurrent feature of the history of the expansion of Islam. The most obvious precedent is to be found in the Muslim annexation of the Hajar al-aswad at Mecca. Jamali tells how Usman Harwani converts a group of fire-worshippers and moves into their temple for two and a half years after which he leaves them in the hands of the original priests who are now Sufi shaykhs. Sir Thomas Arnold remarks that ‘in many instances there is no doubt that the shrine of a Muslim saint marks the site of some local cult which was practised on the spot long before the introduction of Islam.’
    “There is evidence, more reliable than the tradition recorded in the Siyar al-Aqtãb, to suggest that this was the case in Ajmer. Sculpted stones, apparently from a Hindu temple, are incorporated in the Buland Darwãza of Mu‘în al-dîn’s shrine. Moreover, his tomb is built over a series of cellars which may have formed part of an earlier temple… Tradition says that inside the cellar is an image of Mahadeva in a temple on which sandal used to be placed every day by a Brahman.“ The shrine still employs a Hindu family to prepare the sandal which is now presented on the grave of Mu‘in al-din. A tradition, first recorded in the ‘Anis al-Arwãh, suggests that the Sandal Khãna is built on the site of Shãdî Dev’s temple.”
    These relics of Hindu buildings and practice imply that there is some substance behind the Styar al-Aqtab’s story of Mu‘in al-din moving into Shadi Dev’s tomb. At the least it serves as a useful explanation to his followers of why Mu‘in al-din, else-where portrayed as a powerful evangelist, is-buried on ground sacred to the Hindus.
    • P.M. Currie, The Shrine and Cult of Mu‘in al-Dîn Chishtî of Ajmer. About Shykh Mu‘în al-Dîn Chishtî of Ajmer (d. AD 1236) (Rajasthan) and about sufis in Ajmer and of the Sãbriyya branch of the Chishtiyya silsilã. Siyar al-Aqtãb, Thomas Arnold. Quoted in P.M. Currie, The Shrine and Cult of Mu‘in al-Dîn Chishtî of Ajmer, OUP, 1989 p. 86-87
  • There has so far been little scholarly success in de-mystifying the Mu’in al Din legend.’ Unfortunately, there are no reliable histories which refer to Mu‘in al-din. The three contemporary historians do not mention him.....
    All the raw materials from which the later hagiographers constructed their pictures of Mu‘in al-din have been assembled above. They borrow from each other and elaborate on each other, but their basic resources are to be found in the four texts, Siyar al-Awliya’, Syar al-‘Arifin, the apocryphal malfizat, and the Siyar al-Aqtab.
    • P.M. Currie, The Shrine and Cult of Mu‘in al-Din Chishti of Ajmer, OUP, 1989
  • In the later hagiographies, where the picture of Mu‘in al-din’s tolerance is replaced by a portrait of him as a warrior for Islam, his miraculous powers are used to enhance his success as an evangelist. He brings the seven fire-worshippers to Islam because they see that fire has no power to burn him, and it is through his miraculous powers that Shadi Dev and Jogi Ajaipal are converted.
    • page 94
  • The khuddam are the servants of the shrine... Some khuddam claim that they are descended from Mu‘in al-din deliberate misrepresentation... There is an alternative tradition, that the khuddam are descended from converts originally belonging to the Bhil tribe. It is said that there were five brothers called Laikha, Taikha, Shaikha, Jhoda and Bhirda. Jhoda and Bhirda never accepted Islam and settled in Pushkar. The other three brothers became converts through Mu‘in al-din himself. They dedicated their lives to his service and, after his death, looked after his grave as have their descendants ever since.
    • p 146.
  • Mu‘in al-din is believed to have been Allah’s appointed evangelist in Hindustan, to have been instrumental in the victory of the Muslim armies in their final invasion of India, to have had authority over Mughal emperors, to have performed countless miracles, embodied the values of Islam, to communicate readily with God and man, and to watch constantly over the welfare of his devotees. However, this faith in Mu‘in al-din rests on assumptions about his life and about the origins of the cult which subsequently developed that have only very limited historical justification.
    • Chapter Conclusion.
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