'I am delighted that you have presented such a colorful and informative book about one of the most historic, important and interesting shrines of India. It symbolizes the country's multi-faith tradition because people of all religions go there to offer prayers.'
Located in Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya's dargah is one of the most venerated Sufi shrines in India. Millions of people of all faiths visit his dargah each year. Devotees believe that the spiritual vibrations of the saint are palpable even to this day and that the saint will intercede on their behalf to present their wishes to the Almighty. Many flock there for the fulfillment of their wishes and boons (mannats), and other come to pay respect to a great and noble soul. Yet others come to listen to the qawaali singing or to visit the dargah out of curiosity. Thousands assemble on the urs (death anniversary) of the saint, to commemorate his union with the Almighty. This book will give you an idea of what to expect at the dargah complex, especially if you are a first time visitor or would like to know more about Sufism, the saint and various monuments and tombs in the dargah complex.
The dargah complex is a rich reflection of the culture and history of the last 700 years. In his lifetime, Hazrat Nizamuddin was renowned for his piety and generosity and for his boundless compassion for the poor and downtrodden. After his death, his popularity grew manifold, with legends of his life being recounted even today. Sufi dargahs and the Sufi philosophy currently hold an important position in the social, cultural and political life of the people in the subcontinent, being ravaged by tension and violence.
About the Book
This well-designed illustrated book provides a fascinating glimpse of the dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi. It gives a basic introduction to the doctrines of the Sufis of the Chishti order. It details the life and times of Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya and his predecessors. Laxmi Dhaul provides a series of fascinating photographs depicting various Sufi rituals performed at the dargah till today, accompanied by a commentary explaining their inner importance in simple terms.
The author - while making no claims that The Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya is an academic treatise- has endeavoured to present the saint as someone deeply committed to social reform, human equality and universal love and harmony. The text itself is compact and neatly condensed and well adapted to the impressive set of photographs that accompany it, a rich documentary source on contemporary South Asian Sufi practices. The Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya serves a valuable purpose as a general introductory volume.
About the Author
Laxmi Dhaul is the author of The Sufi Saint of Ajmer (Thea Enterprises, 2001) which was later reprinted as The Sufi Shrine of Ajmer (Rupa & Co. 2003). She has also written The Legacy of Mr. N.V. Gunaji (2004).
Laxmi Dhaul is a science graduate from St Xavier's College, Mumabi and has an MSc in Biochemistry from Mumbai University. She currently lives in Mumabi. She is a mother of three and her interest in the Chishti dargahs started when her children began attending the famous Mayo College in Ajmer. It was her repeated trips to Ajmer to visit her children and the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti which inspired her to write books on the Chishti saints.
What a great privilege to write a forward for the book "The Dargah Sharif of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya" by my friend Laxmi Dhaul! It is not only a privilege - but I am proud to write these words for several reasons. Firstly because I am a "ghulam-ma-ne ghulam" of the Chishti Silsila. My family took greater pride in being Modudi Sayeds then having a royal lineage. Secondly because it is Laxmi's second book on Saints of the Chishti silsila, the first being on Khwaja Garib Nawaz titled the "sufi Saint of Ajmer". I am fascinated by the fact that Laxmi, a woman of Brahminical descent has taken the challenge and so successfully written about Garib Nawaz and now about Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya (Mehboob e Ilahi).
This beautifully produced picturesque book can serve as a wonderful guide not only for people who are visiting Hazrat Nizam Dargah for the first time but even for those who have visited the Dargah several times and are unaware of its rich surroundings. Laxmi's book is an eye opener for many a visitor specially to those who are interested in the history of that time - the Sultanate period which has contributed immensely to the north Indian history and culture. I wish Laxmi all the best and I sincerely hope she continues this wonderful work.Mir Jaffar Imam
Sufi walks his head above in the clouds, but with his feet firmly on the ground. Maybe this is a definition of a Sufi? One will always come across the question that is a Sufi or what is Sufism? Indeed one is able to find many descriptions and answers in literature and among scholars. Yet Sufism is not about definitions and limits. It is an attitude; it is a way of seeing things. It is cultivating that divine spark within us and its transformation into a flame of love. Love that has its source and culmination in God!
The nourishing power of Islam enabled the Sufu qualities to flourish in different cultural environments. India is a great example where Sufism merged with many cultural environments and aspects of its history and traditions. As a European who has spent almost 12 years on the Indian subcontinent working in capacities considerably distant from mysticism, I have always tried to make a joyous effort to enrich myself with the Wealth the subcontinent offers in terms of an inner life or a spiritual dimension. Sufism is not only to be studied but is a way of life and an attitude for which one must have a natural inclination to open their heart. Sufism is not a religion, not a doctrine with missionaries spreading the message. On the contrary Sufis were always found in small groups and as a general rule avoided engaging in discussions, religious disputes and enforcing their views on others.
It is then with interest and joy that I learned about another book of Mrs Laxmi Dhaul about the dargahs of great Sufis of the subcontinent. This book "The Dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya" reminds we of several visits that I have made to the basti Nizamuddin quarters and especially the Dargah.
Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya on receiving orders form the Sultan Ghiasuddin Tughlak to leave the city of Delhi before the Sultans forthcoming arrival said "Hanoz Dilli dur ast" (Delhi is still far away). It was amazing that the Saint uttered these words as the Sultan thereafter died in an unfortunate accident before he could reach Delhi! The point seems to be that power based on arrogance and a self-expressed claim is not the long-term guiding force of humanity. The omnipresence of God carrying the 'destination' element must never be forgotten.
I am certain the book of Mrs. Laxmi Dhaul will bring all of us closer to the Sufi heritage and will make us reflect on the potential of Sufi attitudes to assist us in facing the problems of our world in the XXI century.
Located in Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya's dargah is one of the most venerated Sufi shrines in India. Millions of people of all faiths visit his dargah each year. Devotees believe that the spiritual vibrations of the saint are palpable even to this day and that the saint will intercede on their behalf to present their wishes to the Almighty. Many flock there for the fulfillment of their wishes and boons (mannats), and other come to pay respect to a great and noble soul. Yet others come to listen to the qawaali singing or to visit the dargah out of curiosity. Thousands assemble on the urs (death anniversary) of the saint, to commemorate his union with the Almighty.
I have endeavoured here to give an idea of what to expect at the Dargah complex, especially if you are a first- time visitor or would like to know more about it. I have also described various monuments in the complex particularly the other tombs. The Dargah complex is a rich reflection of the culture and history of the last 700 years. In his lifetime, Hazrat Nizamuddin was renowned for his piety and generosity and for his boundless compassion for the poor and downtrodden. After his death, his popularity grew manifold, with legends of his life being recounted even today.
There were renovations and additions made to the monuments at the dargah complex over time. The complex has tombs of royal and important personages in the complex that date back to the Mughal period - the tombs of Jahanara, Mohammed Shah Rangila, Bahadur Shah Zafar's wife and daughters and Akbar's favourite general Kokaltash and his family amongst others. Ceremonies, rituals and the celebration of the Urs or death anniversary of the saint which are unique to the Dargah have also been described.
Hazrat Nizamuddin witnessed the reign of seven sultans of Delhi (dates)! Some of these sultans extended royal patronage to him but others were openly antagonistic to him, often feeling threatened by the love and reverence he received from all strata of society. Hazrat Nizamuddin staunchly followed the Chishti Sufi maxim, which stipulated that sufi pirs would not attend court regardless of the consequences. Hazrat Nizamuddin is known to have said "Delhi door Art," (Delhi is far away) when he refused to comply with the summons of Sultan Ghiasuddin Tughlak calling the saint to the court.
Amir Khusrau and Mirza Ghalib two of the most famous poets of north India are also buried in the vicinity of the Dargah complex. The tomb of Hazrat Amir Khusrau, Hazrat Nizamuddin's favorite disciple, is also venerated though he was not regarded as Sufi pir. He translated his devotion to his pir into prolific compositions in verse, which continue to be rendered to date in qawwali and in other forms. Amir Khusrau is credited with the creation of the Urdu language and inventing the Sitar and tabla.
Hazrat Nizamuddin belonged to the Chishti sufi silsila (order or branch) which originated in India with Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer. I have attempted to throw some light on Hazrat Nizamuddin predecessors of the Chishti lineage namely Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer, Khwaja Bakhtiar Kaki of Mehrauli, and Khwaja Fariduddin Ganj Shakkar of Pak Patan (Pakistan).
It was in 1998, at the 786th urs celebration of Khwaja Moinuddhin Chishti at the Ajmer dargah that the idea of writing a book on the Dargah of Khwaja Gharib Nawaz first came to my mind. Fascinated by the Sufi faith, the rituals and ceremonies and the immense popularity of the Dargah I wrote The Sufi Shrine of Ajmer was subsequently published in 2004. I am happy to continue on this path and present to you the 'Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya'.
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