Hazrat Abu Ishaq Shami r.a


The Crown of the Awliya, Hazrat Khwaja Abu Is`haaq Chisti (Radi Allahu Anhu) was a great sufi mystic of his era and is also the founder of the Chistiya Silsila.  He was born in Syria, and spent his early life there.  He lived in the era of the following Mashaa`ikh, who were his contemporaries, viz. Hazrat Abu Bakr Shibli (Radi Allahu Anhu), Khwaja Hasan bin Mansur Hallaj (Radi Allahu Anhu), Khwaja Abul Abbas ibn `Ata (Radi Allahu Anhu).

When he desired to become a mureed of Hazrat Khwaja Mamshaad Uloowe Dinwar (Radi Allahu Anhu)), he made Istighara for a period of fourty days.  Thereafter, a voice from the unseen said to him,

“O Abu Is`haaq!  Mamshaad Uloowe Dinwari is Our Friend. You should go and become his mureed and serve him dutifully.”

Upon receiving these instructions, he left Syria, and traveled to Baghdad, and humbled himself in the presence of the great Wali, Hazrat Mamshaah Uloowe Dinwari (Radi Allahu Anhu).  Hazrat Khwaja Abu Is`haaq Chisti (Radi Allahu Anhu) kissed the feet of the Master, and made known to him his intentions of becoming his mureed, upon which Hazrat Mamshaad Uloowe Dinwari (Radi Allahu Anhu)) said to him:

“O Young Man!  The way of the durwesh is very difficult, but whoever becomes a durwesh, he becomes a Friend of Allah and His Rasool (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam), and he become acquainted with the Divine Secrets of Allah.”

Abu Is`haaq Chisti (Radi Allahu Anhu) replied:

“This devotee has presented himself in your service.  I have firm faith that with the Master’s blessings, I will become a perfect durwesh.”

Hazrat Mamshaad Dinwari (Radi Allahu Anhu) placed a cap on the head of Hazrat Khwaja Abu Is`haaq (Radi Allahu Anhu), and said to him:

“I have made dua to Allah that he make you a perfect durwesh.”

Thereafter, he was initiated as a mureed. 

After becoming mureed, Hazrat Mamshaad Dinwari (Radi Allahu Anhu) requested to know his name.  Hazrat Abu Is`haaq (Radi Allahu Anhu) said to him: 
I am Abu Is`haaq Shami (Syrian)!

Hazrat Mamshaad Dinwari (Radi Allahu Anhu) said to him:
From this day on, you will be known as Abu Is`haaq Chisti, and you should go to Chist in Afghanistan, and spread the teachings of our Grand Masters, by which the people of that area will benefit, and whoever enters your Silsila until the Day of Qayamat will be called Chisti.

He was amongst the Masha’ikh who loved the listening of Sama, and the ulema of his era did not oppose his mehfil-e-sama.  He allowed the listening of sama under very strict conditions, and whoever attended his sama gatherings never turned towards sin ever again, and became conscious of Allah and pious.  He never allowed the wealthy and wordly people into his sama gatherings, and is they entered without his permission, they were inflicted with some sickness. 

Once, the country experienced a very severe drought.  The ruler of the country approached Khwaja Abu Is`haaq (Radi Allahu Anhu) to make dua for rain.  The Great Khwaja requested the ruler to arrange a mehfil-e-sama for him, and assured the ruler that, when in the mehfil-e-sama he (Khwaja Abu Is`haaq) begins to cry, it will rain.  The ruler immediately arranged a mehfil-e-sama, but was instructed by Khwaja Abu Is`haaq (Radi Allahu Anhu) to leave the gathering.  The ruler humbled himself, and pleaded with Khwaja Abu Is`haaq (Radi Allahu Anhu) to allow to remain, but the Great Khwaja said to him:

If you remain in this gathering, I would not receive that, which I am desirous of.  You sitting in this gathering is not correct, so you should return to your home.

The ruler returned to his home, and the mehfil-e-sama began.  During the sama, Khwaja Abu Is`haaq (Radi Allahu Anhu) entered into a spiritual state and began crying, when miraculously, it began to rain, relieving the country of its severe drought.

Hazrat Khwaja Abu Is`haaq (Radi Allahu Anhu) said:
Faqr is path of the Friends of Allah, and whichever durwesh followed this path, reached some elevated spiritual stage.  All the Awliya and Ambiya followed this path, and always considered following it a very noble act.

He also said:
In hunger, one will find the secrets of Allah hidden.  Whenever Allah wills to bestow upon a person some of His Secrets, He gives him the ability to stay hungry, because in this state, one has complete trust (tawakkul) in Allah.

Once, Hazrat Mamshaad Dinwari (Radi Allahu Anhu) requested to one of his mureeds to summon Hazrat Abu Is`haaq (Radi Allahu Anhu) into his presence.  When Hazrat Khwaja Abu Is`haaq (Radi Allahu Anhu) presented and humbled himself in front of his Murshid, Hazrat Mamshaad Dinwaari (Radi Allahu Anhu) said to him:

O Abu Is`haaq!  You are my son, and I have very high regard for you.  I nominate you as my successor, and instruct you to spread my teachings and the name of our glorious Masha’ikh.

He also advised him saying:

Always conduct yourself well with the people, and love the poor more than the wealthy.

When Khwaja Abu Is`haaq Chisti (Radi Allahu Anhu) wore the cloak of succession (khilafat), a voice from the unseen said:

Congratulations upon you, O Abu Is`haaq, on your wearing of the blessed mantle.

Khwaja Abu Is`haaq (Radi Allahu Anhu) began crying intensely.  He was then asked the reason for his crying.  He replied:

All the veils have been removed from my eyes, and I see everything from the Arsh up to the Abyss, but my desire is not for the Arsh, but for the Lord of the Arsh.

Before Khwaja Abu Is`haaq Chisti (Radi Allahu Anhu) passed away, he bestowed the khilafat of the Chistiya Silsila upon his beloved mureed, Khwaja Abu Ahmed Chisti (Radi Allahu Anhu).  Hazrat Khwaja Abu Is`haaq (Radi Allahu Anhu) passed away on the 14 Rabi-ul-Akhir, and his mazaar is in Chist in Afghanistan. 



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.