Major Sufi Orders in India

Chishti Order

  • Most influential Silsila of India.
  • Akbar was a follower of Chishti order and was devoted to Salim Chishti of Fatehpur.
  • Established by Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, who came to India during the reign of Muhammad Ghori.
  • Iltutmish built Moinuddin Chishti’s dargah at Ajmer. Chishti saints led austere life and did not accept private property and state assistance.
  • Other notable saints of this order were Hamiduddin Nagori, Qutbuddin Bhaktiyar Kaki, Baba Farid and Nizamuddin Auliya.
  • Chisti order: Chishti order was divided into two factions after the death of Baba Farid – Nezamia & Sabiria.
    • Sabiria faction was founded by Makhdum Alauddin Ali Sabri. He isolated himself from the world and reclused himself from worldly affairs. Shaikh Abdul Quddus Gangohi was also associated with this school.

Suhrawardy Order

  • Brought to India by Bahauddin Zakaria who established this order in Multan. Unlike Chishti saints, they lived a life of luxury and accepted state assistance.
  • Shaikh Bahauddin Zakaria was the founder of Suhrawardi order in India. He was associated with the court of Iltutmish and was appointed as Shaikh-ul-islam by Iltutmish.

Naqshbandi Order

  • They emphasised primacy of Shariat and was opposed to biddat (innovations, changes introduced in Islamic practice compromising purity of Islam).
  • Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi believed that God has created the world and was separate from it. God was master and humans slave. He proposed the doctrine of Wahdut-ul-Shuhud (apparentism).

Firdausi order

  • Firdausi silsilah was a branch of Suhrawardi silsilah. Rajgir was the main seat of this silsilah and the most prominent sufi belonging to this order was Shaikh Sharfuddin Yahya Maneri. This order believed in Wahdat-ul-wujud.

Qadiri order

  • Qadiri order was orthodox in its orientation and its teachings were similar to orthodox ulema. They maintained close relations with the state and nobility and accepted state charity.
  • The Qadiri order was popular in Central Islamic countries and founded in Baghdad by Abdul Qadir Jilani in 1166 AD.
  • This order was popular in Punjab, Sindh and Deccan. Dara Shukoh was a great devotee of Miyan Mir at Lahore, who was associated with the Qadiri order.

Rishi Order in Kashmir

  • Rishi order of Sufism emerged in Kashmir in the 15th-16th centuries. This order was established by Sheikh Nuruddin Wali also known as Nund Rishi.
  • This order had a deep impact on the lives of people of Kashmir particularly in rural areas.
  • This school drew inspiration from Kashmiri shaivism which was popular in Kashmir. 
ChishtiKhwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Ajmer 
SuhrawardyShiabuddin Suhrawari, Multan 
FirdausiBadruddin Samarqandi, BiharInfluenced by Suhrawardy order.
NaqshbandiKhwaja Baqi BillahSheikh Ahmad Sirhindi
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