Introduction and Chisti and Suhrawardi Silsilah
- The tenth century marks the rise of the Turks on the ruins of the Abbaside Caliphate, as well as important changes in the realm of ideas and beliefs.
- In the realm of ideas, it marks the end of the domination of the rationalist philosophy (Mutazila) and the rise of orthodox schools based on Quran and Hadis (traditions of the Prophet) and of the Sufi mystic orders.
- It witnesses the rise and development of a very large number of Muslim religious movements, mystic organizations, religious cults and attitudes.
- Broadly they belong to three schools:
(i) The conservative school which believed in strict adherence to Muslim law and tradition;
(ii) The liberal school which emphasized the spirit rather than the letter of the law, interpreted religion as ‘love of God’ and ‘service of humanity’, and adopted a catholic attitude towards all social and religious problems; and
(iii) The intermediate school which sought to evolve a via media between those two extreme and conflicting attitudes.
- Mystics, who later came to be called ‘Sufis’ had risen in Islam at a very early stage.
- Most of them were persons of deep devotion. Some of the early Sufis, such as the woman mystic Rabia and Mansur laid great emphasis on love as the bond between God and the individual soul.
- But their pantheistic approach led them into conflict with the orthodox elements who had Mansur executed.
- Al-Ghazzali (1112 A.D.) tried to reconcile mysticism with Islamic orthodoxy. Around this time, the Sufis were organized in 12 orders or Silsilahs.
- The Sufi orders are broadly divided into two: Ba-Shara, that is, those which followed the Islamic law and Be-Shara, that is, those which were not bound by it.
Points To Be Remembered
- The monastic organisation of the Sufis, and some of their practices like penance, fasting and holding the breath are sometimes traced to the Buddhist and Hindu yogic influence.
- The yogic book, Amrit-kund, was translated into Persian from Sanskrit.
- The Bhakti saint Namadeva was a tailor who had taken to banditry before he became a saint.
- Ramananda and Chaitanya were born at Prayag and Nadia respectively.
- The Nath Panthi movement challenged the superiority of the Brahmanas and the caste system.
- Guru Nanak was born at Talwandi. He is said to have gone to Sri Lanka, Mecca and Madina.
- Guru Nanak advocated a middle path in which spiritual life could be combined with the duties of the house.
- Both types of orders prevailed in India. Of the twelve Silsilahs, the Chishti, Suhrawardi, Qadiri, Shattari, Firdausi, and Naqshbandi were important.
- The Chisti SilsIlah
- The Chisti silsilah, which claims the largest number of followers today, was introduced in India by Shaikh Moin-ud-din Chisti (1236 A.D.)
- He reached India before the battle of Tarain and settled at Ajmer. He had two eminent disciples - Shaikh Qutb-ud-din, Bakhtiyar Kaki and Shaikh Hamid-ud-din Sufi of Nagaur.
- With his inate catholicity of view and cosmopolitanism Hamid-ud-din refrained from calling any Hindu, a Kafir.
- He refused Iltutmish’s offer of a grant of some villages to him.
- Shaikh Farid-ud-din popularized the silsilah in Northern India. To convey his message he spoke in the local dialects, and recommended the use of Panjabi for religious purposes. Some of this verses are later found quoted in the Adi-Granth of the Sikhs. The three eminent disciples of Farid founded sub-silsilahs :
(i) Shaikh Jamal-ud-din Hanowi was the founder of the Amaliah order
(ii) Shaikh Nizam-ud-din Auliya of the Nizamiyah order and
(iii) Shaikh Ala-ud-din Auliya, the Nizamiyah branch assumed an all India status and a network of Chishti Khanqahs (monasteries), Jamaa’at Khanqas (assembly halls), Zawiyahs (convents) and Takiahs (hermitages) appeared in India from Delhi to Devagiri from Multan to Lakhnauti.
- Nasir-ud-din Chiragh-i-Delhi was one of the most famous of the Chishti saints.
- Shaikh Siraj-ud-din introduced it in Bengal. The rise of the Chisti school in Bengal synchronized with the birth of the Bhakti movement.
- It was under Chisti influence that Sultan Husain Shah of Bengal started his famous Satya-pir movement.
- Most of the Chisti saints belonged to the liberal school of thoughts. They laid much emphasis
Points To Be Remembered
- The Sufi order which was popularised in India by Babur was Naqshbandiya.
- The most famous work of Dara Shikoh, in which he proved that the Islamic Sufi concepts were identical with those of the Hindus was Majmulbahrayan.
- Dara was the follower of the Qadiriya Sufi order.
- Banis were the hymns and poems composed by Dadu.
- The cardinal doctrines of Sufism were expounded by Abdul Karimal Jilli.
- The first Sufi saint to propound the view that the divine knowledge of God can be achieved by faith, devotion and meditation was Ibnal Arabi.
- The Varkari sect in Maharashtra was founded by Tukaram.
- Mirabai was the only child of Ratna Singh Rathor of Merta.
- She was married to Rana Sanga’s eldest son Bhojraj.
- Mira wrote in Brijbhasha and partly in Rajasthani, and some of her verses are in Gujarati.
- Vallabhacharya believed in the marga (path) of pushti (grace) and bhakti (devotion). He looked down upon Krishna as the highest Brahma, Purushotama and Parmanand.
upon service to mankind.
- The Sufi saints made themselves popular by adopting musical recitations called Sama, to create a mood of nearness to God.
- Nizamuddin Auliya adopted yogic breathing exercise, so much so that the Yogis called him a sidh (perfect).
- The Chisti mystics were believers in pantheistic monism wahdat-ul-waud, unity of being, which had its earliest exposition in the Upanishads of the Hindus.
- Suhrawardi Silsilah
- The mystic order which was reached India almost at the same time as the Chisti silsilah was the Suhrawardi order founded by Shaikh Shihabuddin Umar Suhrawardi.
- The credit of organizing it on a sound basis goes to Shaikh Bahauddin Dhakariya, who set up a magnificient Khanqah at Multan.
- One of the eminent disciples of Shaikh Bahauddin Dhakariya settled at Uch and developed the silsilah there. The main centres of the Suhrawardis were Uch and Multan.
- The attitude of the saints of this order towards various problems of religion and politics differed in certain important respects from that of the Chistis.
- Unlike the Chistis, the Suharwardi saints did not believe in leading a life of poverty.
- They accepted the service of the state, and some of them held important posts in the ecclesiastical department.
- The missionary zeal of Islam produced a two
Points To Be Remembered
- Namadeva flourished in the first part of the 14th century. Ramananda is placed in the second half of the 14th and the first quarter of the 15th century. Vallabha lived in the last part of the 15th and the early part of the 16th century.
- Chaitanya was initiated into the Krishna cult by a recluse at Gaya.
- Use of Hindi songs became so popular that a Sufi, Abdul Wahid Belgrami, wrote a treatise Haoaiq-i-Hindi in which he tried to explain such words as Krishna and Yamuna in Sufi mystic terms.
Points To Be Remembered
- Both Saguna and Nirguna Bhakti believed in the Upanishadic philosophy of advaita.
- According to Alberuni, the Sufi theories of the soul were similar to those in Patanjalis Yoga Sutra.
- The Hatha Yogic treatise Amritakunda had a lasting effect on Sufism.
- Shaikh Nasiruddin Chiragh-i-Dehlvi observed that controlled breathing is the essence of Sufism.
- Jahangir identified the highest form of Sufism with Vedanta.
- Shaikh Ahmed Sarhindi, a contemporary of Akbar and Jahangir, was a great Sufi saint of the Naqsbandi order.
- The saints of the Chisti order regarded money as carrion. They subsisted on futuh and nazur (unasked for money and presents)
- The practice of spiritual preceptorship, known as piri muridi, was prevalent in Sufism.
- The Sufis in India, particularly of the Chisti and of the Suhrawardi orders, adopted Sama and Raqs (audition and dancing) as a mode of invocation to God.
- Sufi mysticism sprang from the doctrine of Wahadatul Wujud or the unity of Being, which identified the Ha(the creator) and Khala (the creation).
- According to Jami the use of the word Sufi was first applied to Abu Hashim of Kufa before A.D. 800.
fold effect on the Hindu society.
- On the one hand, it strengthend the conservatism of the orthodox Hindus who as a defensive measure increased the rigidity of the caste system in order to make apostacy difficult.
- On the other hand, the Islamic conception of human equality and unity of God gave rise to theistic religious movements of an unorthodox character.
- One very important result of the influence of Islam was the rise of new schools of religion which aimed at liberalising the religious practices of the Hindus so as to bring about some sort of
Points To Be Remembered
- Surdas wrote Sur Sarawali, Sahitya Ratna and Sur Sagar.
- Besides Ram Charita Manas, Tulsidas wrote Gitawali, Kavitawali and Vinay Patrika.
- After the death of Chaitanya, his followers organised themselves into a sect called Gaudiya Vaishnavism.
- Guru Nanak started free community kitchens called Guru Ka langar.
- Ramananda believed in two great principles, namely, (a) perfect love for God and (b) human brotherhood.
- The teachings of Ramananda gave rise to two schools of thought, the orthodox and the liberal. The orthodox school is represented by Nabhadasa, the author of Bhaktamala and Tulsidas. The liberal school is represented by Kabir, Nanak and others.
- Ramanuja believed in the philosophy of Vishistadvaita and laid emphasis on surrender to God.
- The Bhakti saints regarded knowledge as a constituent of Bhakti.
- The Bhakti movement was essentially monotheistic.
reapproachment between the Hindus and Muslim faiths.
- The prominence which Islam gives to the unity of God and its democratic principles in social and religious matters prompted the sainty reformers of the time to re-interpret Hinduism in terms of these new ideas.
- They preached a religion which was non-ritualistic and open to all without any distinction of caste and creed. Its cardinal principle was Bhakti or unflinching devotion to a personal God.
- The Bhakti cult is much older than Islam which owes to it. But it sprang into new life and became a living force in Hinduism as the result of new ideas which Islam brought to bear upon Hindu thinkers.