Khwaja Muinuddin’s Seven Illuminating Letters To his Spiritual Successor

A veritable mine of “Game of Wisdom”

In this Blog, we reproduce seven of the most illuminating and thought-provoking letters on the cult of Sufism which Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti affectionately wrote from Ajmer to his Khalifa (spiritual successor) Khawaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar kaki (may peace of God be upon his soul) who was the accredited Qutub (spiritual lord or chief benefactor) of his time for the jurisdiction of Delhi during the reign of Sultan Shamsuddin al-Tamish (607 to 633 A.H.)
(Note- it must be recalled that during most of the peaceful and stabilized period of Muslim rule in India, there has always been a Sufi saint in each principal center of the country who guided both the rulers and the ruled on true religious lines for the welfare of humanity, and who enjoyed highest respect and devotion generally. During the reign of Sultan Shamsuddin al-Tamish, Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki was such a Sufi saint for the jurisdiction of Delhi. Besides public affection, he was held in high esteem of the Royal Court and was the spiritual preceptor of the Sultan himself.)

As will be seen, these highly instructive and sacred communications contain a mine of precious information as well as lessons not only for the guidance of Sufi dervishes and their mureeds (disciples), but also for the enlightenment of the common people who may care to seek Divine Light and lead a pious life for their salvation. The basic foundation of these instructive letters is, of course, Islamic, for they conform to the teachings of the holy Quran and the sacred traditions of the holy prophet. But, in spite of their Islamic fabric, these teachings and lessons also conform, in one or the other form, to similar teachings imparted to the world from time to time by various other religious founders and sages for the salvation of mankind. They are, therefore, of immense value to the cause of peace and happiness of humanity, irrespective of all present religious or racial barriers.

Letter No. 1.- On Divine Mysteries

“In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
“My cordial friend, my brother, Khawaja Qutubuddin of Delhi, May the most high God grant you the happiness of both the worlds.
“After Salaams, it is impressed on you to teach your true disciples and seekers after God a few points of divine mystery, which I am writing to you, so that they may not be led astray.

“He who knew God never begged anything of Him, nor has he ever any desires. He who has not yet known Him cannot understand these things.”

“Another thing, Give up avarice. He who gave it up attained his objects. The most high and glorious God has said about such persons, “He who bridled his desires shall enter heaven.”
“He who turned away his heart from God to excessive lust shall be wrapped up in a shroud of curse and buried in the grave of regrets; and he who turned away his heart from excessive lust to God and put it on His path, shall be wrapped up in a shroud of mercy and interred in the grave of salvation.
“Hazrat Khwaja Bayazid Bastami, prince of those who know God, my God pour His blessings on him, has said: “Once I saw the most high God in a dream. He asked mi- ‘Bayazid, what do you want?’ I replied, ‘I want what you want.’ The most high God was pleased and said, ‘I am yours and you are mine’. He who submits to His will shall be under His protection.
“Now, if you want to know what mysticism is, then close the door upon every comfort, and sit on the knees of love. If you did this, you should become initiated in the mysteries of mysticism. The seeker after God must do this with heart and soul. God willing, he will be saved from the mischief’s of Satan and attain the desires of both the worlds.
“My Sheikh, my God pour His blessings on him, asked me once: “Muinuddin, on you know the one who is in the presence of God? It is he who is always at devotion, and takes whatever happens to him as coming from God as His dispensation, and is resigned to it; rather looks upon it as His blessing. This is the crux of all devotion. He who has this is the king of the entire world; rather a king of the world supplicates him for favors.”
“One day my Sheikh addressed me thus – “It is wrong to say, as come dervishes do, that when a seeker has gained his desires, he gets rid of perplexity. They also say that worship and devotion are no longer incumbent upon him, which is again wrong; because the Chief of the World, blessings and peace of God be upon him, was always prostrating in worship and devotion before God. Although he had reached the summit of devotion, he would say- ‘I did not worship Thee as I ought to have.’ These words also were always on his lips- ‘I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Mohammed is His apostle.’ Then know it for certain that when one who knows God attains perfection, he offers his prayers most sincerely, and thus gains more knowledge of God, and the idea of his presence before Him; the highest is rather the prayer (Namaaz). When one realizes this and acts with sincerity, one feels a sort of thirst as if one has drunk several cups of fire. As he will drink on such cups, his thirst will increase, because there is no limit to boundless glory of God. At this stage, tranquility of his mind is changed into untranquillity and his ease into uneasiness, until death rescues him. And Salaams.”

Letter No. 2- On Nearness to God

“In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. One afflicted with the pain of eagerness to see God and the dervish bearing oppression, my brother, Khwaja Qutubuddin of Delhi, may the most high God grant you the happiness of both the worlds.
“After Salaams enjoined by the practice of the holy Prophet, I want to set out as below:-
“Khwaja Najmuddin the younger, Khwaja Mohammed Tariq and other dervishes were once in attendance upon Khwaja Usman Harooni, may his grave be hallowed. Meanwhile a man came to the Khwaja and asked, “How to God?” He replied- “The best way of knowing it is the doing of good deeds. Know it for certain that on him the door of nearness is opened who is given the power of doing good deeds.” Then, with tears in his eyes, he continues-

“There was a man who had a maid-servant who observed punctuality of time. She used to get up at midnight, perform ablutions and offer two rakats of Namaaz (a sacred inclination of head so that palms of hands rest upon the knees in prayers), thank God, and pray with raised hands, ‘O God, I have already reached Thee, do not now keep me away from Thee. When her master heard this, he asked her, ‘How do you know you have reached the nearness to God?’ She replied, ‘I know this, because He has given me the power to get up at midnight to offer two rakats of prayer.’ The master said, ‘Go away, O maid-servant, I set thee free for God.’

“So one ought to worship God day and night so that one’s name may be entered in the register of the pious, and one be saved from the thralldom of one’s desires and the devil
– And Salaams.”

Letter No. 3- On Renouncement

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
“One who knows the significances of ‘God is Eternal’, is initiated into the splendors of ‘He begetteth not, nor is begotten’, my brother, Khwaja Qutubuddin of Delhi, may God raise you to higher eminence, accept from Muinuddin Sanjari, a sinful fakir, salaams full of love and happiness.
“Up till the penning of these lines, I am in the enjoyment of good health for which I am grateful to God, and pray that you may have the health of both the worlds.”
“My dear brother,

Sheikh Usman Harooni says, “No one but those possessing knowledge (of God) should be let into the mysteries of love (of God).”

When Khwaja Sheikh Saadi asked him how to know those who possessed knowledge (of God), he replied, “Their sign is renunciation of the world. He, who has attained this stage, takes him for one knowing God. He, who does not attain it, is completely devoid of His knowledge.

Believe it that Kalimah-e-Shahadat (the two members of Mohammedan confession of faith, i.e. Laa-ilaha-illullah (there is no God but Allah) and Mohammed-ur-Rasullallah (Mohammed is the apostle of God) which embodies both a denial and an affirmation, is the means of acquiring divine knowledge. Power and pelf are two Mumbo-Jumbos. They have led, and are leading, many astray from the straight path. They are being worshiped by the whole world. Many are at devotion at temples. He who drove away their love from his heart, has repudiated them. He who has acquired knowledge of God, has attained the stage of faith in the existence of God. This is achieved by reciting Laa-ilaha-illallah, and acting upto it. Therefore he who does not recite Kalimah-e-Shahadat does not know God
– And Salaams.”

Letter No 4- On Disappointment

“In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
“One, who knows the truths of knowledge of God and the lover of the Lord of the universe, Khwaja Qutubuddin of Delhi, may God take pity on you.
“Know that the wisest of the men are the dervishes who have taken to religious life and disappointment; because in every wish is implied disappointment and in every disappointment a wish. On the contrary, the senseless regard health as trouble and vice versa. Therefore, the wisdom lies in this that when they are beset with a desire, they should get rid of is; resign themselves to disappointment and ascetic mortification; and, renouncing their wish, put up with disappointment. “Unless you are disappointed, you cannot attain your wishes.”

“Therefore, attachment to God, Who is eternal, is necessary. If God grants eye, it will see that all paths lead to Him, and in whatever direction in both the worlds it turns, it sees nothing but Him. Acquire an eye and religious life; because if you look closely, every particle of this earth is a Jamsheds’ Cup.
“I have no more to pen but the desire for personal meeting.”

Letter No. 5- God shows the way

“In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
“The flower of those who hold communion with God, and the lover of the Lord of the universe, my brother, Qutubuddin of Delhi, may you be happy in the shelter of true God.
“One day when I, your well-wisher, was in attendance upon Khwaja Usman Harooni, a man came to him and said, “O Sheikh, I have acquired deferent kinds of knowledge, but have not attained my object.” The Sheikh replied, “You must do one thing which will make you a scholar and abstinent. It is what our chosen Prophet and Messenger of god, May blessings and peace of God be upon him, has said, i.e. renunciation of the world is the secret of all worship, while its love the root of all evil. If you act up to this Tradition, you will need no other knowledge. It is a subtle point which it is easy to understand but difficult to practice. Now, know it for certain that you cannot renounce the world until love for God has reached the highest pitch. And love is born only when God shows the way; without His showing the way, the object cannot be achieved. The Quranic verse runs: “He whom God shows the way is the one who has been put on the path of righteousness.” It, therefore, behaves a man not to waste his time in worldly pursuits but always keep God in view. He should, rather regarding time as a fine opportunity, spend his life in poverty and abstinence and hunger, behave with humility, and hang down his head in shame on account of his sins. He should always be humble and submissive; because, in the realm of worship and devotion, these are the most valuable assets.” Then he told this story which came pat to the purpose:-


“Hatim the Deaf was a pupil and disciple of Khwaja Usman. One day the Sheikh asked him how long he had lived and served him and been attending his lectures? He replied that he had done that for 30 years. The Sheikh again asked him as to how much he had acquired and benefited during this period” Hatim replied that he had learnt eight things. The Sheikh, still continuing, asked him if he did not have them before, and was told, in reply, that he did not, and that, as a matter of fact, he now needed no more. The Sheikh then said, “Verily we are jar God and verily we shall return to Him. Hatim, I spent all my life for you, and I do not want you to know more than this.” Hatim then said, “This much is enough for me, Sir, because this embraces the good of both the worlds.” “All right”, said the Sheikh, “now tell me what those eight things are.”

Hatim began thus:-

(1) Good deeds, the eternal companions

Firstly- when I reflected on the world, I found that everyone had a beloved. There are several kinds of beloved; some are with him until the throes of death and some till he is dead, while others follow him to the verge of grave. Beyond this, none goes with him; none goes with him into his grave to sympathize with him there, and hold to him a torch of light, and help him travel safely through the stages of the Day-of-Judgment. It, then, dawned upon me a man’s good deeds. I, therefore, made them my beloved, and bestowed my love on them so that they might sympathize with me in my grave and not desert me.
Sheikh- You did well.

(2) Control of animal desires

Hatim- Secondly, when I reflected on the conduct of the people, I found that all follow desires and are led by their longings. I, then, pondered over the Quranic verse: “He who fearing God checked the animal desires shall have his place in heaven,” and was convinced that the Holy Book was right. Therefore, I opposed the animal desires, and put them in the crucible of struggle (in defense of faith) and did not act up to a single prompting of theirs. I derived consolation from worship of God, the most high.
Sheikh- May God bless this. You did well.

(3) Contentment

Hatim- Thirdly, When I reflected on the affairs of the world, and found that everyone is after the worldly affair, puts up with troubles and tribulations, gets something from the worldly lords, and is very happy. I, then, pondered over this Quranic verse; “Whatever is with you is bound to come to an end, and whatever is with God shall ever remain.” Therefore, whatever I had put by I spent for God, and consigned myself to His care so that it might be endowed with eternity and be my guide and provision in the other world.
Sheikh- (Praying for blessings)- You did well.

(4) Abstinence

Hatim- fourthly, When I reflected on the condition of human beings, I found that some men regard those as nobles, respectable and great who belong to a numerous race; they look upon wealth and number of children as the source of respect and honor, and take pride in them. I, then, pondered over this Quranic verse: “With God is he most honored who is most abstemious.” It goes without saying that this is right and true, and what people think is quite wrong. So I adopted abstinence in order that I might deserve honor in the eyes of God.
Sheikh- You did well.

(5) Jealousy

Hatim- Fifthly, When I reflected on the condition of people, I found that they speak ill of one another out of jealousy only; and they are jealous of wealth, position and knowledge. I, then, pondered over this Quranic verse; “We distributed food among them, etc. for their terrestrial life.” When this has fallen to their share from eternity and no one has a hand in it, what good can jealousy do them? I, therefore, determined to behave peacefully towards everybody.
Sheikh- You did well.

(6) Satan- the foe of mankind

Hatim- Sixthly, when I reflected on the world I found that some people are enemies of one another, and bear grudge in particular matters. I, then, pondered over this Quranic verse: “Verily Satan is your enemy.” I, then, realized that the word of God is quite true. Really, Satan is our enemy; he should not be followed. Since then I look upon Satan as my enemy. I neither follow nor listen him. I follow the commands of God and honor Him, which is right. God says, “O son of Adam, did I not warn thee against the following and worshipping of Satan, and against treading on his footsteps, because he is thy open foe” Worship Me which is the way straight.”
Sheikh- You did well.

(7) God provides for every creature

Hatim- Seventhly, when I reflected on the world, I found that everyone is making tremendous efforts to earn his bread, which leads to unlawful things and humiliation and degradation. I, then, pondered over the Quranic verse: “There is not a single creature on the face of the earth for whose subsistence God is not responsible.” I realized, then, that His word is true, as I am also one of those creatures. I busied myself with the worship of God, firmly believing that He will provide for me, because He Himself has promised it.
Sheikh- You did well.

(8) Reliance on God

Hatim- Eighthly, When I reflected on the God’s creatures, I found that everyone relies on one thing or the other. Some rely on gold and silver, while others on their Quranic verse: “God is enough for him who relies on Him.” I, then, relied on God, and He is enough for me and is my good supporter.
Sheikh- Hatim, may God grant you power to act up to all this. I have carefully read the Book of Moses, the Bible, the Psalms of David, and the Quran, and from these books I gathered only these points. He who acts up to them follows these books virtually. This story made it clear to me that it was the deeds, and not the pro-found knowledge, which were really needed.”

Letter No. 6- Negation and Assertion

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
“Repository of divine mysteries and the mine of bounties of God, my brother, Khwaja Qutubuddin of Delhi, may the most high God keep you safe.
“One day my Sheikh said a very nice thing about negation and assertion. “Negation”, he said, “means remembrance of the most high God, because a self-conscious man cannot be conscious of God. There must be one who should contradict this negation. If we think that only God exists, we achieve our object. Be it plain to you that this is the case with the Kalimah-e-Shahadat (word bearing witness to the existence of God), the prayers and the fasts. And indeed to ignore their essence and be content with their appearance is useless. He is an errant fool who has not got to the bottom of their truth.”Then, he said, “God always was and shall ever be. The devotee is blind in the beginning. When God gives him sight, he sees and hears and forgets himself. When this is the condition, the one who has attained communion with God, is endowed with eternal life.
Now I add my Salaams.”

Letter No. 7- The perfect Fakir

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
“One who is initiated in to the divine love and knows God, lover of Allah, my brother, Khwaja Qutubuddin, May the most high God increase your piety.
“After Salaams, full of love, from one who invokes God to pour His blessings on you, be it known to you.
“My dear, do tell your disciples what is meant by a perfect fakir, and what his signs are and how he is known. The sheikhs of the path (Tariqat), May the most high God hallow their graves, have said: “He is a fakir who is indifferent to all wants, and does not want but His eternal face; because all the creation is the mirror and manifestation of that Eternal face. He, therefore, seeks his end from it.”
“Some of the savants have explained it thus:

“A perfect devotee is one from whose heart everything is absent but God; and nothing but Him is his aim and object. When things other than God are driven away from his heart, the object is achieved.”

“The seeker should, therefore, be after his aim and object. Now, one ought to know what to seek? Be it plain to you that the aim is pain and heart-burning, whether divine or worldly. Here is meant by worldly heart-burning, the preliminary injunctions of the religious laws (shari-at).
-And Salaams.”

Note – These letters was originally published in the book “Holy Biography of Khwaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishty” by Khwaja Wahiduddin Begg . First edition was published in 1960.
Blog cover picture credit – Mr. Daulat Chishty Saheb.

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