FAḴR-al-DĪNZARRĀDĪ, MAWLĀNĀ, an 8th/14th century spiritual leader of the Češtī Sufi order in India. He hailed from Sāmāna (Ḥamīd, p. 64), but nothing else is known about his life prior to his involvement with the order. In Delhi he attended the assemblies of Mawlānā Faḵr-al-Dīn Hānsawī, where the renowned shaikh Naṣīr-al-Dīn Maḥmūd Čerāḡ-e Dehlī (q.v.) and Mawlānā Kamāl-al-Dīn Sāmāna also took instructions in mystic guidance or hedāya (Ḥamīd, p. 64; Kermānī, p. 264). An externalist by education, initially Faḵr-al-Dīn had little faith in mysticism or the teachings of Kᵛāja Neẓām-al-Dīn Awlīāʾ (d. 725/1325), the great shaikh who presided over the Češtī order in Delhi at the time. Yet after seeing the Ḵᵛāja only once, Faḵr-al-Dīn was so impressed by his learning and piety that he became Neẓām-al-Dīn’s disciple and dedicated himself to serving the Češtī order. Out of attachment for Neẓām-al-Din, he built his own house in the vicinity of the Sufi convent (ḵānaqāh), over which the Ḵᵛāja presided (Kermānī, p. 265). Ḵᵛāja Neẓām-al-Dīn later designated Faḵr-al-Dīn as his deputy and successor (ḵalīfa). After Neẓām-al-Dīn’s death, Faḵr-al-Dīn lived for some time in Basnāla (a hilly area in Delhi), then moved to Loni (now in Uttar Pradesh, not far from Delhi), and finally settled down near Ḥawż-e ʿAlāʾī in Delhi (Kermāni, pp. 265-67). This distinguished ḵalīfa of the Ḵᵛāja, who regularly fasted and moved from one place to another (ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq, p. 97), was considered one of the eminent scholars of his day and an intellectual pillar of Delhi’s learned community (Baranī, pp. 350-52). An acknowledged teacher, he compiled a book named ʿOṯmānī for the instruction of Aḵī Serāj, a senior disciple of Ḵᵛaja Neẓām-al-Dīn Awlīāʾ (Kermānī p. 289). Faḵr-al-Dīn had a profound knowledge of Islamic law and wrote two legal treatises in defense of samāʿ, the practice of mystic music and dancing. One of these treatises, Oṣūl al-samāʿ, has been published (Jhajjar, 1311/1894). He also defended samāʿ at a time when sultan Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn Toḡloq (r. 720-25/1320-25) objected to it under the influence of the ʿolamāʾ. Perhaps due to problems with the authorities, Mawlānā Faḵr-al-Dīn migrated to Dawlatābād, along with other Sufis from Delhi. He then proceeded on a pilgrimage to Mecca. On his way back Faḵr-al-Dīn was received with great honors by the ulama of Baghdad, who expressed their esteem for his erudition. From there he embarked on a ship to return home. Heavily overloaded, the ship sank and Faḵr-al-Dīn perished (Kermānī, p. 270-74).



ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq Moḥaddeṯ Dehlawī, Aḵbār al-aḵyār, n.p., 1309/1891-92.

Żīāʾ-al-Dīn Baranī, Tārīḵ-e fīrūzšāhī, ed. S. Ahmed Khan as The Táríkh-i Feroz-sháhí, Calcutta, 1860-62.

Qalandar Ḥamīd, Ḵayr al-majāles, ed. K. A. Neẓāmī, Aligarh, 1959.

Moḥammad b. Mobārak (Amīr-e Ḵord) Kermānī, Sīar al-awlīyāʾ, n.p., 1978.

(Sharif Husain Qasemi)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: January 20, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol IX, Fasc. 2, p. 163