In the vast continent of South-East Asia, India stands as an example to the whole world. We are the largest democracy in the world, with a population of over 120 crores.
The thing which also adds glitter to our reputation is us being a democratically elected country where the practice of secularism has been safeguarded since times immemorial.
Every culture and religion is welcomed in India, and people of different cultures have lived here harmoniously for many years. Delhi, the capital of India is a stark example of this.
The city, which has seen many dynasties come and fall apart stands as an example of cultural harmony. It has many religious monuments, temples, and mosques which co-exist peacefully with each other.
People of different religions are tolerant towards each other and respect each other’s religion. India, the land of the Indus, Himalayas, and knowledge stands as an example to every Asian country on religious harmony and cultural preservation.
The Chirag Delhi Mosque, Delhi is one such example of how a mosque has prospered and has become quite a famous tourist destination in the environment of communal harmony between different religions. Let us take a detailed look at the mosque-
Chirag Delhi Mosque Overview
The ‘Chirag-e-Delhi’ mosque is located in the Chirag is located in the Village of Chirag, Delhi. The place is accessible from the road via the Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg. The mosque is actually a mausoleum (a burial tomb) of the world-famous Sufi Saint Hazrat Nasiruddin Mahmud Chiragh Dehlavi.
He was actually the one who famously got the name Chirag-e-Delhi. After his death, this mausoleum was built by the Sultan of Delhi at that time, Firoz Shah Tughluq in the year 1358. Later with the advent of time, the mausoleum got newer constructions built-in itself, such as two new gates, a mosque in the later 18th century along with others.
This Tughluq era architectural shrine was famous among both Muslims and non-Muslims even at that time. However, one can see that Qawwalis are not performed at the ‘dargah’ of this Sufi saint due to it being considered ‘unislamic’ by some.
The dargah in itself is an extremely beautiful work of architecture. It holds a very holy and pious feel to it, because of which you will want to come here again and again. That is the beauty of India, a monument of a different religion attracts people from every religion, which is not seen anywhere in the world.
Hazrat Nasiruddin Chirag- Biography
Hazrat Nasiruddin Chirag Dehlavi, also known as Nasiruddin Mahmud Chirag was a Sufi saint of the order of Chisti. He is considered the last of the important Sufi saints in Delhi who were from the Chisti order. This famous Sufi saint is known as Chirag-e-Delhi.
Family and Birth
Before becoming a Sufi saint, Hazrat Nasiruddin Chirag held the name Syed Nasiruddin Mahmud Al-Hassani. He was born around the year 1274 in Ayodhya, which is in modern-day Uttar Pradesh. Syed Nasiruddin’s father, whose name was Syed Mahmud Yahya AlHassani was a trader, most importantly trading in Pashmina shawls and other Pashmina related clothes.
The grandfather of Hazrat Nasiruddin was incidentally an immigrant, who had first migrated from Khorasan(north-eastern Iran) to Lahore and afterward to Ayodhya, where he had settled permanently after some time. Hazrat Nasiruddin’s father took his last breath when he was only 9 years old, which was a big shock to him.
Not much can be found about Hazrat Nasiruddin’s mother, or if he had any brothers and sisters. This seems to be all the information which is available on his the family of Hazrat Nasiruddin.
It was the mother of Hazrat Nasiruddin who helped him in getting good Islamic education after the death of his father. He was devout towards his religion since his childhood. However, there’s a little conflict about his early days of education.
According to some sources, he had reportedly studied ‘Bazoodi’ from Qazi Mohiuddin Kashani. But some sources contradict this and say that he studied ‘Bazoodi’ and ‘Hadaya’ from Maulana Abdul Karim Sherwani.
After the demise of Abdul Karim Sherwani, Hazrat Nasiruddin found himself being sent to Maulana Iftikharuddin of Gilan, who is said to be extremely aware of many different branches of Islam. From his teachers, he acquired unprecedented knowledge about different aspects of Islam and general life.
Hazrat Nasiruddin Chirag renounced this world of materialism at the very young age of 25. At that age, he began his strivings (mujahids) against the Nafs. From that time, it is said that for about 8 long years, he could be seen dwelling in the forests and mountains of Awadh, where he would fast a lot. Often he would break his fast from surrounding herbs and other leaves. This was also a part of his education which bought him close to nature and helped him in learning many survival skills.
Hazrat Nasiruddin had come to Delhi aged 43, where he joined the circle of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya and became his ‘mureed’. During the end of Nizamuddin Auliya’s life, he observed that his mureed, Nasiruddin had accomplished all tasks which one requires in order to become a dervish, he immediately appointed him as a ‘Khalifa’(divine successor) which was considered to be in line with the will of the divine.
After his appointment, Hazrat Nasiruddin was given Tabarrukaat (sacred relics), which were of the Chishti Order.
Even though Amir Khusro, an extremely brilliant and devout mureed of Nizamuddin Auliya seemed to have all the qualifications, it was Nasiruddin who was made the Khalifa, because according to Nizamuddin Auliya, it was Allah’s will.
Hazrat Nasiruddin did well to maintain the ‘silsila’ traditions and after the death of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, he did well in spreading the teachings of his mission throughout India. He became extremely popular at that time, with the word about his spiritual teachings reaching as far as Persia, Arabia, and even Egypt.
But in his early days of Khilafat, he had to endure extreme difficulties. At times, he had to fast for days at a stretch, and when he was given even one roti with sabzi, he used to treasure that little meal.
Fasting was to be done every day by him. He wouldn’t accept any food rations from his relatives. He even disguised himself as a ‘Peer Baba’ so that his poverty can be concealed from the world. But in some time, his situation improved.
He used to order the preparations of very delicious food for his mureeds and guests. He liked serving them by himself, while he used to give them small and short lessons on Islam.
Title of Chiragh
Hazrat Nasiruddin Dehlavi, who is famous as Chirag-e-Delhi has many different stories attached to how he got the title of ‘Chiragh’ or lamp.
One story goes as follows- While he was building a water reservoir for his pir, the Sultan at that time, Sultan Ghiyasuddin ordered that all the oil supplies to him be stopped so that no work could be done during the night time.
At that time, Hazrat Nasiruddin performed a miracle and asked that water be put in the lamps in place of oil. The water in the lamps then suddenly transformed into oil, which let the workers work at night. The water reservoir was then built on time.
There’s another story which is attached to the origin of his name talks about how he once went to a ‘mehfil’ (gathering) of one of his murshids and some other Sufis where he did not like the place at which he was asked to sit.
That was because his back would then have to face some other dignitaries who were also present there. At this, his mentor Nizamuddin Auliya said that “A Chirag has no back.” This is considered a more authentic story about how he got the title of ‘Chiragh’.
Khwaja Nasiruddin Chiragh took his last breath in the year 1357 AD or 17 Ramzan 757 Hijri. He was about 82 or 83 years old at the time of his death. He was a man of wisdom, which made him realize that his silsila’s fragmentation was inevitable.
Due to this, he did not appoint any ‘Khalifa-e-Azam’, or a foremost successor. He concluded that if the weight of the silsila was to fall on the shoulders of any one of the mureeds, they would not be able to carry it on their shoulders. He also thought that one reason for it was the destruction of Delhi at the hands of Muhammad Tughlaq.
This decision of his prompted him to ask his mureeds to bury the tabarrukat (sacred relics) of the silsila with him. It was Hazrat Nizamuddin’s very close aide, mureed and Khalifa Hazrat Khwaja Bande Nawaz Gaisu Daraz who had performed the task of ‘ghusal’(cleaning and bathing the dead body). The strings of the ‘charpai'(a traditional bed made of strings) of Hazrat Nasiruddin were cut off by him and later used as a relic.
In 1358, the Sultan of Delhi, Firoz Shah Tughlaq built this great Sufi saint’s mausoleum which later witnessed the addition of two more gates.
Things to See in Chirag Delhi Dargah
As talked about before, the dargah or the mausoleum was built in the year 1358 by the then Sultan of Delhi, Firoz Shah Tughlaq. At one point of time, the Dargah was a full-fledged fort, with green gardens and even water bodies in itself.
But today, if one goes there, you will find that the place is today a rather cramped urban jungle, with the mausoleum somewhat lost between all the development and concrete. But one finds that even today, the dargah has not lost its sanctity. Also, for most visitors, the concrete maze adds an exciting twist which they seem to enjoy.
In the modern village of Chirag, which has developed around the village, one sees that finding the mausoleum is a rather tedious task. The village has a father mixed population of Hindus and Muslims, which represents the culture of India.
Both the communities regularly socialize in different local festivals. Many local Hindus say that when their family members get ill, they take them to Chirag Delhi Dargah. They say that it helps heal them miraculously, which is quite a thing.
Even though the dargah is in ruins, with the plaster falling off and the paint fading from many places, there are still many people who visit the dargah, only because of its sheer holiness. The popularity of the dargah is pan-religion, and that is what makes it so great.
The dargah has two gateways, which were added to the mausoleum afterward. Today, there is one outer wall and four different gates which enclose the whole structure.
Out of the four gates, it is the Eastern Gateway which is called the ‘taketh Darwaza’. It is a two-storeyed door which has two piers. One could notice that those piers were meant to hold a wooden door in place.
Today, there is no such wooden door. It is one of those gates which were added to the structure at a later period. It is a popular structure of the mausoleum which attracts people to it.
The namaaz hall is also one of the several additions which were made to the dargah after its completion. The hall today is used to recite ‘namaaz’(Islamic prayers) 5 times a day.
The hall was previously known as ‘Majlis Khana’ or an ‘Assembly Hall’. It was also called the ‘Mahfil Khana’ or the ‘Symposium Hall’. This hall, along with a mosque was constructed by the Mughal King-Emperor Farrukhsiyar to honor the famous and holy Sufi saint.
The dargah has in itself the mausoleum of the great Sufi saint Hazrat Nasiruddin Chirag Delhi. His grave can found in the tomb of the dargah, which went through different phases of renovation throughout its history.
Today, one can see it being enclosed by a square-shaped chamber, which garments support from 12 different pillars. There are also some shaped towers at every corner which support a larger dome which can be seen sitting on an octagonal shaped drum.
This chamber has now been enclosed by perforated screens (translucent curtains) from which one can look at the resting place of Hazrat Nasiruddin Chiragh and witness the holiness within.
Other Sufi Dargah
The disciples and descendants of Hazrat Nasiruddin are found quite far and wide from Delhi. Some are found to be as far as Hyderabad. In Ayodhya, one can find the Dargah of Badi Bua or Badi Bibi, who is considered to be the elder sister of Hazrat Nasiruddin Dehlavi.
There are many other such Dargahs of the Chisti order, such as the Dargah of Hazrat Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer, Dargah of Sheikh Salim Chisti in Fatehpur Sikri and many others. But not all saints of the Chisti order are related to Hazrat Nasiruddin by blood, but only by the Chisti order.
How to Reach Chirag Dargah, Delhi
The dargah can be visited at any time of the day when one public place could be visited. There is no such specific timing of the Dargah.
How to Reach Chirag Dargah, Delhi by Metro– The nearest metro station to the dargah is the Chirag Delhi metro station. The station can be reached by taking the Magenta metro line. One can reach the dargah by ease.
How to Reach Chirag Dargah, Delhi by Bus– The nearest bus stop to the Dargah is the Chirag Delhi, Naseer Marg bus stop. One needs to find different buses from the locality of your starting point to reach the bus stop.