Episode 16 – Exploring India with Faizal Sayed

This episode covers the Visit to Ajmer and the Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti (R.A). Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti(1142 – 1236) also known as Gharib Nawaz (Benefactor of the Poor), was an imam, Islamic scholar and philosopher from the Indian Subcontinent. He introduced and established the Chishti Order of Sufism in the Indian subcontinent.

Kwaja Moinuddin Chishti is said to have been born in 536 AH/1141 CE either in Sistan in western Afghanistan or in Chisht in a city in western Afghanistan and is a “sayyid”, a direct descendant of Muhammad through Sayyid Ali Akbar. His parents died when he was fifteen years old. He inherited a windmill and an orchard from his father. During his childhood he was different from other children and kept himself busy in prayer and meditation. He later disposed of his property and other belongings and distributed the money to the poor. He renounced the world and left for Bukhara in search of knowledge and higher education.

Moinuddin, in other words, interpreted religion in terms of human service and exhorted his disciples “to develop river-like generosity, sun-like affection and earth-like hospitality.” The highest form of devotion, according to him, was “to redress the misery of those in distress – to fulfill the needs of the helpless and to feed the hungry.” It was during the reign of Akbar (1556–1605) that Ajmer emerged as one of the most important centers of pilgrimage in India. The Mughal Emperor undertook a journey on foot to Ajmer.