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The Chishtis: Sufi Masters of India

Muneera Haeri

The Chishtis are one of the most beloved and enduring of the Sufi Orders, which emerged in the Indian Subcontinent in medieval times. The widespread acceptance of the teachings of Islam in the region was largely due to brotherhoods, such as the Chishtis, rather than through military conquest. The Sufis lived the message of original Islam and by the example of their lives attracted many to their way of being.

The founder of the order in the Indian Subcontinent was Shaykh Mu`in ad-Din Chishti of Ajmer, commonly known as Gharib Nawaz (Helper of the Poor), whose shrine continues to this day to be a popular place of pilgrimage for Muslim and Hindu alike. Muneera Haeri narrates the lives and teachings of Shaykh Mu`in ad-Din Chishti and five of his key successors, Shaykh Qutb ad-Din Bakhtiyar Kaki, Shaykh Hamid ad-Din Sufi Nagauri, Shaykh Farid ad-Din Mas`ud Ganj-i-Shakar, Shaykh Nizam ad-Din Awliya and Shaykh Nasir ad-Din Mahmud Chiragh-i-Delhi. All Masters from what is fondly remembered as the Golden Age of the Chishtis.

The book places the teachings of the Chishtiya in its historical perspective, but also emphasises their timeless message of love, compassion and tolerance for all. Their Masters often had dialogues with Hindu and Buddhist men of knowledge. They emphasised the importance of service and charitable acts as a means for self-purification. They fed Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Living as ascetics, they avoided contact with the sultans and their courts. Above all their qawwalis, or spiritual songs, attracted people to Islam.

The story of Amir Khusrau, the father of qawwalis and his devotion to Shaykh Nizam ad-Din Awliya is one of the many examples given of the impact the Chishti teachings had on celebrated historical personages. Through extracts from contemporary writings, the reader is transported to the gatherings of these medieval Masters and can imbibe the message of eternal Truth, through teachings that are as real and pertinent today as they were to the people of those times.

'The Chishtiya have at last found an articulate voice in English through the personal commitment and literary skill of Muneera Haeri.'

Bruce B. Lawrence, Professor Emeritus, Duke University.


MUNEERA HAERI is of Scottish origin. Born in Malaysia, educated in the U.K., she converted to Islam at the age of twenty-five. Muneera is married to Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri, a teaching Sufi Shaykh.

Muneera's family has had a long connection with India, spanning two hundred years. She has visited India and Pakistan extensively, and has a great love of both countries, their peoples and history. This is her first book.

Her second book 'Sufi Encounters', which she co-authored with Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri, was published by Watkins in 2018.

This eBook is Available at the Following Online Retailers

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Book Sample (PDF)