Saturday, May 10, 2014
The Chishtī Order (Persian: چشتی - Čištī) (Arabic: ششتى - Shishti) is a Sufi order within the mystic Sufi tradition of Islam. It began in Chisht, a small town near Herat, Afghanistan about 930 CE. The Chishti Order is known for its emphasis on love, tolerance, and openness.
The Chishti Order is primarily followed in Afghanistan and South Asia. It was the first of the four main Sufi orders (Chishti, Qadiriyya, Suhrawardiyya and Naqshbandi) to be established in this region. Moinuddin Chishti introduced the Chishti Order in Lahore (Punjab) and Ajmer (Rajasthan), sometime in the middle of the 12th century CE. He was eighth in the line of succession from the founder of the Chishti Order, Abu Ishq Shami. There are now several branches of the order, which has been the most prominent South Asian Sufi brotherhood since the 12th century.
In the last century, the order has spread outside Afghanistan and South Asia. Chishti teachers have established centers in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and South Africa. Devotees include both Muslim immigrants from South Asia and Westerners attracted to Sufi teachings.
1 Guiding principles
4 Spiritual lineage
6 Mughal rulers
7 Other notable Chisti shaykhs
10 External links
The Chishti are perhaps best known for the welcome extended to seekers who belong to other religions. Chishti shrines in South Asia are open to all faiths and attract great crowds to their festivals.
The Chishti shaykhs have also stressed the importance of keeping a distance from worldly power. A ruler could be a patron or a disciple, but he or she was always to be treated as just another devotee. A Chishti teacher should not attend the court or be involved in matters of state, as this will corrupt the soul with worldly matters. In his last discourse to his disciples, Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti said:
“Never seek any help, charity, or favors from anybody except God. Never go the court of kings, but never refuse to bless and help the needy and the poor, the widow, and the orphan, if they come to your door.”
Chishti believe that this insistence on otherworldliness differentiates them from Sufi orders that maintained close ties to rulers and courts, and deferred to aristocratic patrons.
Chishti practice is also notable for sama: evoking the divine presence through song or listening to music. Some Muslims believe that music is haram; forbidden to Muslims. The Chishti, as well as some other Sufi orders, believe that music can help devotees forget self in the love of Allah. However, the order also insists that followers observe the full range of Muslim obligations; it does not dismiss them as mere legalism, as some strands of Sufism have done. The music usually heard at Chisti shrines and festivals is qawwali.
The Chishtis follow five basic devotional practices (dhikr).
Reciting the names of Allāh loudly, sitting in the prescribed posture at prescribed times (jhikr-i djahr)
Reciting the names of Allāh silently (jhikr-i khafī)
Regulating the breath (pās-i anfās)
Absorption in mystic contemplation (murā-ḳāba)
Forty days of spiritual confinement in a lonely corner or cell for prayer and contemplation (čilla)
Early Chishti shaykhs adopted concepts and doctrines outlined in two influential Sufi texts: the ʿAwārif al-Maʿārif of Shaykh Shihāb al-Dīn Suhrawardī and the Kashf al-Maḥdjūb of Hudjwīrī. These texts are still read and respected today. Chishti also read collections of the sayings, speeches, poems, and letters of the shaykhs. These collections, called malfūẓāt, were prepared by the shaykh's disciples.
Die with the genealogy of the Chishti Order from Muhammad and Ali to Moinuddin Chishti, Louvre Museum
Sufi orders trace their origins ultimately to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who is believed to have instructed his successor in mystical teachings and practices in addition to the Qur'an or hidden within the Qur'an. Opinions differ as to this successor. Some Sufi orders trace their lineage to Abu Bakr, the first Sunni caliph, others to 'Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib, Muhammad's cousin, whom the Shi'a regard as the first imam. The Chishti, though Sunni, trace their lineage through Ali. This is not unusual for Sufi orders, which tend to stress devotion rather than legalism and sectarianism.
The traditional silsila (spiritual lineage) of the Chishti order is as follows:
'Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (Ali, the cousin of Muhammad)
Al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī (d. 728, an early Persian Muslim theologian)
'Abdul Wāḥid Bin Zaid Abul Faḍl (d. 793, an early Sufi saint)
Fuḍayll ibn 'Iyāḍ Bin Mas'ūd Bin Bishr al-Tamīmī
Ibrāhīm bin Adham (a legendarly early Sufi ascetic)
Amīnuddīn Abū Ḥubayrah al-Baṣrī
Abu Ishaq Shamī (d. 940, founder of the Chishti order proper)
Abu Ahmad Chishtī
Abu Muhammad Chishtī
Abu Yusuf Nasar-ud-Din Chishtī (d. 1067)
Qutab-ud-Din Maudood Chishtī (Abu Yusuf's son, d. 1139)
Haji Sharif Zindani (d. 1215)
Usman Harooni (d. 1220)
Mu'īnuddīn Chishtī (1141-1230)
Qutab-ud-Din Bakhtyar Kaki (1173-1235)
Farīduddīn Mas'ūd ("Baba Farid", 1173 or 1175 - 1266)
After Farīduddīn Mas'ūd, the Chishti order divided into two branches:
Chishtī Sabri, who follow Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari.
Chishtī Nizami who follow Nizāmuddīn Auliyā.
Mughal princess Jahan Ara's tomb (left), Nizamuddin Auliya's tomb (right) and Jama'at Khana Masjid (background), at Nizamuddin Dargah complex, in Nizamuddin West, Delhi
The Encyclopedia of Islam divides Chishti history into four periods:
Era of the great shaykhs (circa 597/1200 to 757/1356)
Era of the provincial khānaḳāhs (8th/14th & 9th/15th centuries)
Rise of the Ṣābiriyya branch (9th/15th century onwards)
Revival of the Niẓāmiyya branch 12th/(18th century onwards
The order was founded by Abu Ishaq Shami ("the Syrian") who taught Sufism in the town of Chisht, some 95 miles east of Herat in present-day western Afghanistan. Before returning to Syria, where he is now buried next to Ibn Arabi at Jabal Qasioun Shami initiated, trained and deputized the son of the local emir, Abu Ahmad Abdal. Under the leadership of Abu Ahmad’s descendants, the Chishtiya as they are also known, flourished as a regional mystical order.
The founder of the Chishti Order in South Asia was Moinuddin Chishti. He was born in the province of Silistan in eastern Persia around 536 AH (1141 CE), into a sayyid family claiming descent from Muhammad. When he was only nine, he memorized the Qur'an, thus becoming a hafiz. His father died when he was a teenager; Moinuddin inherited the family grinding mill and orchard. He sold everything and gave the proceeds to the poor. He traveled to Balkh and Samarkand, where he studied the Qur'an, hadith, and fiqh. He looked for something beyond scholarship and law and studied under the Chishti shaykh Usman Harooni. He moved to Lahore and then to Ajmer, where he died. His tomb, in Ajmer, is the Dargah Sharif, a popular shrine and pilgrimage site.
Moinuddin was followed by Qutab-ud-Din Bakhtyar Kaki and Farīduddīn Mas'ūd. After Fariduddin, the Chishti Order of South Asia split into two branches. Each branch was named after one of Fariduddin's successors:
Nizamuddin Auliya - This branch became the Chishti Nizami branch. Nizamuddin Auliya taught Nasiruddin Chiragh Dehlavi who in turn taught Khwaja Bande Nawaz.
Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari - This branch became the Chishti-Sabiri branch.
Later, yet other traditions branched from the Chisti lineage; in many cases they merged with other popular Sufi orders in South Asia. Founders of such new branches of the lineage include:
Ashraf Jahangir Semnani - trained in the Nizami tradition; his followers became the Chishti Nizami Ashrafiya branch.
Haji Imdadullah Muhaajir Makki - trained in the Sabari tradition; his followers became the Chishtiya Sabaria Imdadiya branch.
Shah Niyaz Ahmad- united the Chishti Nizami order with the Qadriya order to form the Chishtiya Qadriya Nizamia Niyazia branch.
As a result of this merging of the Chishti order with other branches, most Sufi masters now initiate their disciples in all the four major orders of South Asia: Chishti, Suhrawadi, Qadri, and Naqshbandi. They do however, teach devotional practices typical of the order with which they are primarily associated.
The Chishti order has also absorbed influences and merged at times with various antinomian fakir Sufi groups, especially the Qalandar. Some Chishtis both past and present have lived as renunciants or as wandering dervish.
The Mughal Emperor Akbar was a great patron of the Chishti Order.
Several rulers of the Mughal dynasty of South Asia were Chisti devotees. The emperor Akbar was perhaps the most fervent of them. It is said to be by the blessing of Sheikh Salim Chishti that Akbar's first surviving child, the future Jahangir, was born. The child was named Salim after the sheikh and was affectionately addressed by Akbar as Sheikhu Baba.
Akbar also credited the Chisti sheikhs with his victory at the Siege of Chittorgarh. Akbar had vowed to visit the Chisti dargah, the tomb of Moinuddin Chishti, at Ajmer if he were victorious. He fulfilled his vow by visiting the dargah with his musicians, who played in honor of the sheikh.
The passing of Shah Jahan; attending him, his daughter Princess Jahanara.
Akbar's descendant, Jahanara Begum Sahib, was also a devout follower of the Chisti Order.
Māri (Tamil: மாரி), also known as Mariamman (Tamil: மாரியம்மன்) and Mariaai (Marathi: मरी आई), both meaning "Mother Mari", spelt also Maariamma (Tamil: மாரியம்மா), or simply Amman or Aatha (Tamil: அம்மன், "mother") is the South Indian Hindu goddess of rain. She is the main South Indian mother goddess, predominant in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Māri is closely associated with the Hindu goddesses Parvati[clarification needed] and Durga[clarification needed] as well as with her North Indian counterpart Shitaladevi. Goddess Mariamman and Goddess Kali are closely associated with each other. Mariamman is a form of Durga who took the form of Kali.[clarification needed]
Festivities for her happen during the late summer, early autumm season of "Aadi". Throughout the deccan region, grand festival known as "Aadi Thiruvizha" are taken for Maariamman. Her worship mainly focuses on bringing rains and curing diseases like cholera, smallpox, and chicken pox.
She is worshipped in accordance to the local agamas as "Pidari" or the "Grama Devata" usually by non-Brahmin priests or in some cases of big temples like Samayapuram Maariamman temple, also by Brahmin priests. According to shaktha agamas, she is depicted in sitting posture and might be flanked some times by Ganesha and Subramaniya or Ganesha and Naaga on her sides. She is usually taken in procession in a decorated chariot.
Erode Mariamman Ther Thiruvilla
Mariamman is an ancient goddess, whose worship probably originated from pre-Vedic mother goddess cult of Dravidian people before the arrival of the Aryans with their Brahmanic religion.This is well attested by the unemployment of Brahmins in officiating the worshiping rituals of the goddess and by the non-Vedic worshiping method that was embraced by her devotees. In Tamil, the word 'Maari' would mean rain and 'amman' would literally mean mother but here "mother nature." She was believed and worshipped by the ancient Dravidian people to bring rain and hence prosperity to them as their vegetation was mainly dependent upon rain. The goddess was not a local deity, connected to a specific location but worshiped throughout the Dravidian nation.
The worshiping methods are non-vedic and often accompanied by various kinds of folk dancing. Offerings such as Pongal and Koozh that were cooked using earthen pots were also made during the festive season. Rituals such as fire walking and mouth or nose piercing were also practiced.
One story about the origin of Maariamman is she was the wife of Thiruvalluvar, the Tamil poet, who was an outcast. She caught smallpox and begged from house to house for food, fanning herself with leaves of the neem or margosa tree to keep the flies off her sores. She recovered and people worshiped her as the goddess of smallpox. To keep smallpox away, neem leaves are hung above the main entryways of South Indian homes. This temple houses both Thiruvalluvar and his wife Vaasuki Ammaiyar.
The Tamil word Muthu means pearl and hence in the ancient usage of the language 'Muthu Maari' was a celebrating, poetic way of telling the rain falls in droplets which were related to pearls given by the nature god for property. Maariamman was also called 'Muthu Maariamman' which meant the goddess who gives prosperous rain. This was wrongly connected to the pearl-like small form of the boils that occur during chickenpox.
Another story involves the beautiful virtuous Nagavali, wife of Piruhu, one of the nine Rishis. One day the Rishi was away and the Trimurti came to see if her famed beauty and virtue was true. Nagavali did not know them and, resenting their intrusion, turned them into little children. The gods were offended and cursed her, so her beauty faded and her face became marked like smallpox. The Rishi returned, found her disfigured, and drove her away, declaring she would be born a demon in the next world and cause the spread of a disease which would make people like her. She was called Mari, meaning 'changed.' Both stories are reported by Whitehead and he remarks that in Mysore he was told that Mari meant sakti, power.
Local goddesses such as Mariamman who were believed to protect villages and their lands and represent the different castes of their worshippers have always been an important part of the religious landscape of South India. However, we can note periods of special significance. The eclecticism of the Vijayanagar period (1336–1565) encouraged folk religion, which became more important and influenced the more literate forms of religion. In the last century and a half there has been a rebirth of Tamil self-consciousness (see Devotion to Murukan). In the middle of the present century deities such as Mariamman have become linked to the "great tradition" as the strata of society which worship the goddess has become integrated into the larger social order.
Māri is usually pictured as a beautiful young woman with a red-hued face, wearing a red dress. Sometimes she is portrayed with many arms—representing her many powers—but in most representations she has only two or four.
Māri is generally portrayed in the sitting or standing position, often holding a trident (trisula) in one hand and a bowl (kapala) in the other. One of her hands may display a mudra, usually the abhaya mudra, to ward off fear. She may be represented with two demeanors—one displaying her pleasant nature, and the other her terrifying aspect, with fangs and a wild mane of hair.
Goddess of disease
The Nanalthidal Mariamman,Kattucherry near Porayar,Tamil Nadu
Mariamman cures all so-called "heat-based" diseases like pox and rashes. During the summer months in South India (March to June), people walk miles carrying pots of water mixed with turmeric and neem leaves to ward off illnesses like the measles and chicken pox.[why?] In this way, goddess Māri is very similar to North Indian goddess Shitaladevi.
Devotees also pray to Mariamman for familial welfare such as fertility, healthy progeny or a good spouse. The most favoured offering is "pongal", a mix of rice and green gram, cooked mostly in the temple complex, or shrine itself, in terracotta pots using firewood.
Some festivals in honor of goddess Māri involve processions carrying lights. In the night, the devotees carry oil lamps in procession.[why?] Mariamman is the family deity for many families in Thanjavur district,Tamil Nadu.It is usually a family custom to initially worship the family deity for any family occasion such as wedding. Many families even have a custom of inviting the family deity first for all occasion in the family.The family deity(Kula-theivam)worship is considered more important in any Hindu festival. The family deity worship runs many generation and it also gives a clue to the origin of family,because the family deities are usually located within the vicinity of the village where the family belongs.
Mariamman temple in a village in Tamil Nadu
Main shrine to Mariamman in the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Most temples to Mariamman are simple village shrines, where non-Brahmins act as lay-priests using non-agamic rituals. In many rural shrines, the goddess is represented by a granite stone with a sharp tip, like a spear head. This stone is often adorned with garlands made of limes and with red flowers. These shrines often have an anthill that could be the resting place of a cobra. Milk and eggs are offered to propitiate the snake.
Some temples have also attained enough popularity that Brahmins officiate at them. For example, the Samayapuram temple near the shore of river Cauvery in the northern outskirts of Trichy, maintains a rich agamic tradition and all rituals are performed by Gurukkal of Brahmins.
Punainallur, near Thanjavur (Tanjore), is the location of another famous Māri temple. Legend says that Mariamman appeared to the King Venkoji Maharaja Chatrapati (1676–1688) of Tanjore in his dreams and told him she was in a forest of Punna trees three miles distant from Tanjore. The King rushed to the spot and recovered an idol from the jungle. Under the king's orders a temple was constructed, the idol installed and the place was called Punnainallur. Hence the deity of this temple is known as Punnainallur Mariamman. Mud replicas of different parts of the human body are placed in the temple as offerings by devotees pleading for cure. It is said that the daughter of Tulaja Raja (1729–35) of Tanjore, who lost her eyesight due to illness, regained it after worshiping at this temple. Shri Sadasiva Bodendral is said to have made the Moola Murthy of Goddess Maariamman from the mud from the ant hill where snakes had resided.
Erode Mariamman temple festival is grand one in Tamil Nadu. Three mariamman goddess named small, mid and big mariamman in three corners of city combines to a festival at every April month of season. It has ther thiruvilla and all devotions to God which ends in Cauvery river to stack away the kambam(Mariamman's husband) into the flowing river water.
Other important temples of Mariamman in Tamil Nadu are in the towns of Veerapandi, Theni, Anbil (near Trichy), Narthamalai, Thiruverkadu, Salem, Virudhunagar and Sivakasi, Vellore. In Chennai (Madras), a famous Mariamman temple is the Putthu Mariamman—the Putthu (ant hill) is across the road from the temple and is located on the Velachery Main Road.
Singer Harini rendered in 2012 a song on Samayapuram Mariamman deity which became part of the album OM NAVA SAKTHI JAYA JAYA SAKTHI. The song narrates the power of Sakthi as Samayapuram Amman which has the Peruvalai River as Punya Theertham as believed by people in that area.
Another famous Mariamman temple is situated in the state of Karnataka, in the town of Kaup, seven kilometers from the famous temple town of Udipi.
Marubai temple matunga
Mariamman Koil, Pilakool
Mariamman Temple, Ho Chi Minh City
Mariamman Temple, Bangkok
Mariamman Temple, Pretoria
Samayapuram Mariamman Temple
Sri Ramamirthamman Temple, Erumaipadukai
Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur
Sri Mariamman Temple, Medan
Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Penang
Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore
Mariamman Temple, Pretoria
Sri Ramamirthamman Temple
Sri Ramamirthamman Temple is a famous temple on the banks of the River Vennar near Needamangalam; the beautiful village is called Erumaipadukai. Shri Maan S.Ramachandran pillai is the founder of Ramamirthamman Temple. This amman kovil thiruvilla was very famous; many people celebrate this amman kovil year festival.
It is believed by the devotees that the Goddess has enormous powers over curing illnesses and hence, it is a ritual to buy small metallic replicas, made with silver or steel, of various body parts that need to be cured, and these are deposited in the donation box. Devotees also offer mavilakku (Tamil: மாவிளக்கு), a sweet dish made of jaggery, rice flour and ghee.  Offerings of raw salt is also made to the Goddess by the rural devotees. The temple attracts thousands of devotees on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays, the holy days for Ramamirthamman.
There are many Mariamman temples outside of India, in Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Fiji, Guyana, Vietnam, Germany and South Africa, the product of efforts of the Tamil diaspora. Some notable temples include the Sri Mariamman temple in Singapore, a Mariamman temple in Pretoria, South Africa, as well as one in Medan, Sri Mariamman Temple Karachi Pakistan, Indonesia.
In Hindu tradition, Mariamman is the sister of Lord Vishnu (Sriranganathar) and called Mahamaya.
The Samayapuram Mariamman is worshiped on the first day of the Tamil month of Vaikasi by the Iyengar/Srivaishnava Brahmins of Srirangam. They claim that she is the sister of Lord Renganath (a form of Vishnu) of Srirangam. This is the second most prominent temple in Tamil Nadu, following Palani, on the basis of income.
Another version of the traditions suggests she is the mother of Parasurama, Renukadevi who is appeased for rains. She is also known as Sri Chowdeshwari Devi in most of the parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. In Mysore region she is worshiped as both Chowdeshwari Devi and as well as Mariamman. There are many instances where Mariamman has appeared to people in form an old woman wearing red sari with green bangles and three mangalsutras.[clarification needed] She is also regarded as the Gramdevata[clarification needed] of certain villages, thus reducing the incidence of contagious disease in these villages. Another version depicts her as Pattalamma, goddesses of truthfullness and punctuality. She is said to punish any villager failing to practice these virtues.
In reference to Sanskrit stotras, it is suggested Mariamman is not sister of Lord Visnu rather feminine aspect of Lord. The Lord incarnates in this form during Kali yuga, when knowledge is almost void or ignorance at peak. Even few refer or map to other female goddess like Renuka devi, none of them have been proved or validated. The Mariamman represents core aspects of Lord in form of curative aspect to signify direction and awakening of knowledge. She is referred as MahaLakshmi, Mahasaraswati and MahaKali. Varamahalakshi is dedicated to Mariamman. It also represents finite aspect of infinite qualities.
I reached Mumbai at 4 pm from Ajmer Urus of Khwajah Moinuddin Chishty , I hurriedly showered , without eating anything rushed to Juhu Beach to shoot the Marriammen Feast .
I was not in Mumbai so first time this year kissed the animal slaughter at the Marriammen Temple Nehru Nagar Juhu on 7 May 2014 .. it is after the sacrifice of goats hens that the actual piercing rituals begin at Juhu Beach.
I missed Velu the temple priest too .. who looks like Rajnikanth ..
I met my dear friend Bhima Davendar late in the evening as I was busy documenting the piercings undertaken by Ganesh ..
This time I hung around the beach as I wanted to shoot the guys with hooks in the backs hung on pulleys to a crane all this very close to Mr Amitabh Bachchans house .
So when I returned to the Nehru Nagar Juhu Temple to shoot the removal of the rods the feast was almost over ..I shot the temple and the other priest who is very dear friend of mine.
I was barefeet , and returned home at about 11 pm.. I took a rickshah back home ,.This is my new album.. set ,, dedicated to
the followers of Goddess Marriammen.
I try not to miss the Nehru Nagar Marriammen Feast come what may .. and I love my Tamil friends .. I met my friend Shanmugham ..I missed Sundar of Worli.
This set is dedicated to all the Tamil followers of Goddess Marriammen in Mumbai.
Hopefully next year I will shoot this feast in Salem TamilNadu ,, waiting for the invitation from Laxmi of Mahim Macchimar now settled in Salem..
Deen hast Hussain, Deen Panah hast Hussain
Sar daad na daad dast, dar dast-e-yazeed,
Haqqaa key binaaey 'La ila' hast Hussain"
This is my new series of Ajmer Sharif Urus 2014 that includes my short trip to Pushkar to meet my friends Raj Tilak and Niru Bullet ..
As I would not be able to visit them on Chatti I met them first and returned to Ajmer to shoot the Chatti eve at Peersab Fakhru Miya .. Hujra No6
I also shot the Dam Madar Malangs ..the order to which I belong.
I shot Moti Katla the abode of the Hijras and transgender these images are marked PRIVATE ,,,and not for public view.
I left Ajmer on Chatti night ,, and reached home on 7 May 2014.
I showered rushed to Juhu Beach to shoot the Nehru Nagar Marriamm Feast 2014 .
I was invited by my friend Bhima Davendar of Nehru Nagar Marriammen Temple Juhu.
I shot this barefeet ,,
Ajmer Pushkar 2014
Shah-e-Mardan Sher-e-Yazdan Quwat-e-Parwardigar Lafata Ila Ali La Saif Ila Zulfiqar , originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1 ....
Ek Shahenshah Ne Banake Yeh Haseen Tajmahal Ham Gareebon Ki Mohabbat Ka Udaya Hai Mazak.. , a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Fli...
Dargah of Hazrat Syed Ali Mira Datar Unava Gujrat , a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr. HAZRAT SYED ALI MIRA DATAR'S G...