Abu Ishaq Shami (died 940) was a Muslim scholar who is often regarded as the founder of the Sufi Chishti Order (Persian: چشتی – Čištī) (Arabic: ششتى – Shishti).He was the first in the Chishti lineage (silsila) to live in Chisht and so to adopt the name “Chishti”, so that, if the Chishti order itself dates back to him, it is one of the oldest recorded Sufi orders. His original name, Shami, implies he came from Syria (ash-Sham). He died in Damascus and lies buried on Mount Qasiyun, where later on also Ibn Arabi was buried.
Masters and students
Abu Ishaq Shami’s teacher was Shaikh Ilw Dinwari, whose own teacher was Abu Hubairah Basri, a disciple of Huzaifah Al-Mar’ashi who was in turn a disciple of Ibrahim ibn Adham. The Chishtiyyah silsila continued through Abu Ishaq Shami’s disciple Abu Ahmad Abdal. In south Asia Moinuddin Chishti was the founding father and most revered saint of the Chishti order.
Some of Abu Ishaq Shami’s sayings are:
Starvation excels all in bliss.
The worldly people are impure while the dervishes are pure in their souls. These two different natures cannot therefore mingle.
The chain of masters of Chishti order
Muhammad ibn Abdullah
‘Ameerul Mo’mineen Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib
Shaikh Khawaja Ḥasan Baṣrī
Shaikh Abdul Wāḥid Bin Zaid
Fuḍayl ibn Iyāḍ
Ibrāhīm bin Adham
Amīnuddīn Abū Ḥubayrah al-Baṣrī
Abū Isḥāq al-Shāmī
Abu Ishaq Shami is one of the first among the Sufi Chishti Order to call himself Chishti (of Chisht). The name Shami implies he came from Syria or even from Damascus (ash-Sham). Abu Ishaq Shami is supposedly to have met a Sufi who directed him to settle in Chisht, and accordingly he is known as Abu Ishaq Shami Chishti. He died in 940 in Damascus and some say that he is buried on Mount Qasiyun (many mazars are supposedly on this hill outside of Damascus where Cain slew Able), where later on also Ibn Arabi was buried but it is more likely that he was buried in Chishti e Sharif.
The Chishtia Order is one of the most popular and influential mystic orders of Islam. It derives its name from CHISHT, a village near Herat in Afghanistan, where the real founder, Hazrat Khwaja Abu Ishaq Chishti (RA) of Syria, had settled by the command of his spiritual guide, Hazrat Khwaja Mamshad Ali Dinwari (RA).
When Hazrat Abu Ishaq Chishti (RA) arrived at the Khanqah of Hazrat Mamshad Ali Dinwari (RA), the Sheikh asked him of his name. He replied “Abu Ishaq SHAMI”, and the Sheikh then said to him, “From this day people will refer to you as Abu Ishaq CHISHTI”, and that he should go to Chist in Afghanistan and spread the mystic order so that people in and around Chisht could receive spiritual guidance from him. Furthermore, the Sheikh said that all those people that would enter his (Khwaja Abu Ishaq Chisti) silsila, would be known as CHISHTI untill the day of Qiyamah.