ABŪ ESḤĀQ ŠĀMĪ, ḴᵛĀJA, founder and eminent early saint of the Češtī selsela (3rd-4th/9th-10th century). He was a spiritual disciple of Shaikh Mamšād ʿOlū Dīnavarī in Baghdad, where he had migrated from Syria in search of a Sufi master. After seven years with his shaikh, he was directed to proceed to Češt (a medieval town near Herat) and to provide its inhabitants with spiritual assistance. He was also advised to change his nesba from Šāmī to Češtī. One of the Ḵᵛāǰa’s most important achievements in Češt was the conversion of Abdāl Češtī (q.v.). Through the latter’s efforts the teaching and practices of Abū Esḥāq gained wide acceptance and the order became firmly established. Little is known of the spiritual life of Abū Esḥāq; in Sīar al-awlīāʾ (p. 39) it is cryptically reported that he used to assume an appearance of composure (ṣaḥw) in order to conceal the extent of his inner disclosures (mokāšafāt). According to Ḵazīnat al-aṣfīāʾ (p. 226), he died on 14 Rabīʿ II 329/940-41 and was buried at Acre.


Amīr Ḵᵛord, Sīar al-awlīāʾ, Delhi, 1302/1884-85, pp. 39-40.

Jāmī, Nafaḥāt, pp. 322-23.

Dārā Šokūh, Safīnat al-awlīāʾ, Ind. Off. no. 647, notice no. 101.

Allāh-dīā, Sīar al-aqṭāb, B.M. Or. 214, fol. 57b.

ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Češtī, Merʾāt al-asrār, B.M. Or. 216, fols. 127b-28a.

Moḥammad Būlāq, Maṭlūb al-ṭālebīn, Ind. Off. no. 653, maṭlab 15.

Moḥammad Akram, Sawāṭeʿ al-anwār, Ind. Off. no. 654, fols. 74a-75b.

Ḡolām Sarvar Lāhūrī, Ḵazīnat al-aṣfīāʾ, Lahore, 1284/1867, pp. 225-26.

(Mutiul Imam)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 19, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 3, p. 280

Cite this entry:

Mutiul Imam, “ABŪ ESḤĀQ ŠĀMĪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/3, p. 280; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abu-eshaq-sami-kaja-founder-and-eminent-early-saint-of-the-cesti-selsela-3rd-4th-9th-10th-century (accessed on 30 January 2014).