Ata Hussain Fani Chishti

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Ata Hussain Fani
Other namesFani Gayavi
Moghalpura, Patna City, Bihar
ReligionIslam, specifically the Chisti order of Sufism
Other namesFani Gayavi
Senior posting
Based inGaya
Period in office19th century
PredecessorSyed Shah Ghulam Hussain Danapuri
SuccessorSyed Shah Nezamuddin Chishti Monami

Ata Hussain Fani (1816–1893), also known as Ata Hussain Gayavi or Haji Ata Hussain Chishti Monami Abulolai, was a famous Sufi saint of the chisti order in South Asia. He was the first Sufi to go in the complete non-Muslim locality of Gaya and spread Islam.[1] He was also a writer, poet, linguist, and orator.

Although he never touched money with his hands he lived an extravagant life. He was known to befriend strangers, especially non-Muslims, was very well liked among his people. There were thousands of converts (both humans and Genie) to Islam that he was responsible for. His aim in life was to serve all human beings on earth and spread the message which the Islamic prophet Muhammad brought. He died as the Ghaus, which is the highest degree of spirituality a Sufi can attain, of his time.


Ata Hussain Fani Chishti Munami was born in 1816 into a pious family of saints of the chisti order at the home of his maternal grandfather, known as Khanqah Qadria Mannania, Shah mannan ki garhi, Mughalpura, Patna City Bihar, India. He was raised by his father Sultan Ahmed Shaheed through the age of 10. After the death of his father, his paternal grandfather Ghulam Hussain Danapuri took responsibility for him. He died at the age of 86, just 9 years after being made the successor of the ancestral Khanqah. After the death of his grandfather, he was nurtured by his maternal uncle Meer Qamruddin Husain Monami, who completed his worldly studies as well as spiritual teachings and awarded him Khilafat-o-Ijazat(Ijazah) upon completion.

Ancestral history[edit]

Ata Hussain Fani was born into one of the most famous Syed families of Bihar. He was the descendant of Syedna Imam Muhammad al-Baqir. After the death of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, Jafar al-Sadiq became the imam of the Muslim community. Another Son of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir was Abdullah Shaheed. His descendants migrated to Tus in present Iran. After a few generations, one of the descendants migrated to Lahore, Pakistan. Later on a scholar from the branch of Baqri Sayyids known as Tajuddin Dehlvi migrated towards India via Ajmer. He became a murid and Khalifa of Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer. He send him to Delhi in the company of Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki[ambiguous]. He later settled in Delhi. His son went to Kalpi, Uttar Pradesh, India to spread Islam. After migrating to various places to spread Islam in Eastern and Northern India this branch of Sayyid migrated to Danapur in the leadership of Muhammad Basir, the then Sajjada Nasheen of the khanqah Chistia which was founded by Tajuddin Dehlvi.

Final settlement[edit]

Ata Hussain Fani walked to the Mecca at Haj when he was 28. The journey took a total of 5 years. He was finally ordered by the Muhammad spiritually to go back to India and spread the light of Islam and accept the responsibility as a Qutub of Gaya where he lived, died and was buried. He reached Gaya in 1850. He arrived at the house of the district judge of Gaya, Syed Ashraf Hussain Sadrus Sudoor (who had already been shown the face of Shah-e-Ata in dreams and was told to welcome him whole heartedly).[2]

Spiritual history[edit]

He had ijaza of approximately 70 ways of all the major orders of the world including all the famous orders of eastern India. In fact, he had order of the fourteen major orders leading to Muhammad by all the major branches of the respective orders[further explanation needed]. He was originally bait in the Chistia Khizria Monamia order[further explanation needed] and completed his Sulook in Abulolaiya order from his uncle Syed Shah Qamruddin Monami. He also had great spiritual connections with Mohiuddin Abdul Qadir Jilani, Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar, Nizamuddin Auliya and Sharfuddin Yahya Maneri.

Titles given[edit]

The most important of all the titles given to him is Abdul Razzaq by Muhammad when he went to Medina and was produced in front of Muhammad's court. Other titles are as follows:

  • Shah-e-Ata
  • Qutb-e-Gaya
  • Murshid-e-Aala
  • Sarkar-e-Ata
  • Hazrat-e-Fani


Shah-e-ata was married to a descendant of Maqdum-e-Jahan Syed Sharfuddin Yahya maneri of Bihar Sharif. He had only three children, one son and two daughters out of which only two carried the lineage forward. One of his daughters did not have any children. His son is remembered as Syed Shah Ghulam Qutubuddin Chishti. All of his grandsons and great grandsons were great Sufis of their time. It is seen as enormous blessings from Muhammad that there are great Sufis in each generation of his descendants.

The succession of the Sajjada of his ancestral Khanqah has always been in his son's descendants. Only his son had the authority to offer the duties of the Sajjada nashin in his absence. Shah Qutubuddin Chishti was his son. When he died his son became the successor of Shah-e-ata and since then the Sajjada nashin remained with the descendants of Shah Qutubuddin.

Syed Shah Ghulam Qutubuddin Chishti[edit]

He was the only son of Shah-e-ata. He was born in 1838. He became a murid (disciple) of his father in the Chishti Order. He lived wholly in the company of his father and he gained all his education from his father. He completed all his spiritual courses of enlightenment from his father as well and became a successful spiritual leader of his time.[citation needed]

It was a culture among the pandas (a caste amongst Hindus who perform a type of worship for the peace of the soul of the dead) that a devotee gave them a horse or any animal to them after they perform the worship for the peace of their relatives' soul. If the horse used to be naughty and disobedient they used to bring it to Qutubuddin. Qutubuddin used to take a small ride on it and the horse would become obedient. Once a horse that would not let anyone even touch his back was brought to him. Qutubuddin sat on the horse at one go and went for a ride. The horse tried vigorously to get him dashed on any wall, tree, or, any solid surface but all its attempts went in vain. Qutubuddin pushed his thighs slightly and the horse started gasping but kept on behaving badly. Qutubuddin at last got down, lifted the horse and thrashed him on the ground. This incident occurred near Ghandhi Maidan (it was then known as Church ka maidan (field)). Oldham, the then District collector of Gaya was sitting in his garden, was shocked to see this happen and remarked "Is he a man or a giant? He lifted and thrashed the horse on the ground with his hands!".[3]

Many such unbelievable incidents occurred in the short span of his life.[who?] He dedicated his life in helping his father in spreading the mission of Muhammad. He died young at the age of 49, in 1887, and left behind a son.[citation needed]

Syed Shah Nezamuddin Chishti Monami[edit]

He was the only child of Shah Qutubuddin. He was born in 1860. He wanted to become the murid of his paternal grandfather, Shah-e-ata but Shah-e-ata ordered him to become a murid of his father and so he did. He had Khilafat(Ijazah) of all orders from both his father and grandfather. He was a great Hakeem and a versatile person. He learned in the company of his father and grandfather. Moreover, he gained education from teachers and scholars at Gaya and Bihar Sharif. He also attended Bankipur Engineering College at Patna and got a degree from there.

Like his grandfather he was well-versed in all fields of education ranging from theology, history, Fiqh, engineering, Tib(Medical Science), Tassawwuf and jurisprudence. He was the unparalleled leader of his time. Everyone from the District collector to the Judge used to seek his advice on difficult matters. He was offered many political and administrative positions throughout his life but he always refused softly saying, "I'm a Fakir(Dervish). How can I accept these responsibilities?".[citation needed]

He became the successor of Shah-e-ata after his death in 1889. After becoming the Sajjada nashin he went to the dargah of Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer to pay his homage before starting a new chapter of his life as the Sajjada nashin of the ancestral Khanqah founded by Tajuddin delhvi, the murid and khalifa of Moinuddin Chishti. Once during this visit he told his companions to leave him alone as he was not feeling well. Everyone went and he was left alone in the room. Suddenly everyone noticed a fire on the roof and in the room. Everyone rushed to see Nezamuddin and found him as he was when they had left. They went away puzzled. Again they saw the same scenario and realised that there was an illuminated chain of blaze like light from the tomb of Moinuddin Chishti to his room. The scenario remained the same for the whole night. Even afterwards he had great spiritual connections with Gharibnawaz and Sufis like Ghaus-e-Pak and Maqdum-e-jahan. His physical strengths were also reported to be no less than those of his father.[citation needed]

He was also a great educator. He founded the first ever Islamic study centre in the entire Bihar with the name Darse-Nezami on the name of great Sufi Nizamuddin Auliya in 1901. It was larger than a traditional Madrasah and the centre of all educational activities around Gaya and the Magadha region. Subjects excluding Islamic studies were also taught there. This institution had many ups and downs but is still present and is now known as Al-Jamia-tul-Ata.[citation needed]

He lived for 44 years and died in 1904. His first marriage was to the daughter of Shah Enayat Ali Maudidi-a descendant of Maudood Chishti, and he had a son named Syed Shah Hussainuddin Safi who became his successor. His second marriage was to the daughter of Akbar Danapuri-a great Abulolai Sufi, and had three more sons, Hafiz Hakeem Syed Shah Qayamuddin, Syed Shah Hesamuddin Chishti and Syed Shah Ehteshamuddin Chishti, as well as one daughter. Two of his sons, Shah Qayamuddin and Shah Ehteshamuddin, died young and before they could be married. His daughter also died without bearing any sons to carry on his lineage. He was buried in his ancestral home at Danapur, Patna near the grave of his ancestors Syed-ul-Waseleen and Syed-ul-Majzubeen.

Shah Hussainuddin Safi[edit]

He was known as Syed Shah Hussainuddin Safi Chishti. He was the eldest son of Shah Nezamuddin Chishti. He was born in 1303 of the Islamic calendar. His initial education was completed in his maternal home at Sheikhpura. He learnt Persian from Maulvi Fasahat Hussain and Arabic from Syed Mohammed Isameil and Syed Abdullah Bazeedpuri. He went on to complete his studies from Darse-Nezamia founded by his father.[citation needed]

He became a murid of his father in the Chishti Order and got the khilafat Ijazah of all the orders from his father. He spiritual teachings were initiated by his father. Since his father died when he was very young, he got Owaisiat (a state in Tasawwuf in which one can meet the soul of a Sufi master just as the master was alive and learn spiritual lessons directly from the master) from Shah-e-ata and this is how his spiritual teachings were completed.[citation needed]

He became the Sajjada nashin of the ancestral Khanqah in 1904. The Khanqah achieved its highest peak during his reign on the Sajjada. Everyone used to call him the exact copy of Shah-e-ata in every way. He took the charge of Darse Nezamia founded by his father, after his father's death. Apart from the traditional methods of the Khanqah of preaching, he instead opted for many modern methods of teaching.[citation needed]

  • Halqae-Abulolaiya

It was an organization for all Muslim brethren. A programme that was organised on the 17th of every Islamic month. Speeches of different Ulema and Sufi were organized in the campus of Khanqah. This group also had the responsibility of the burial of anonymous dead bodies of Muslims. This group is still in existence and the present Sajjada nashin of the Khanqah is the Chief of this organisation.[citation needed]

  • Matbua-Monamia

Print media has always been an important means to communicate with the masses so he founded a publication house with the name of' Matbua-Monamia' for the publication of different manuscripts preserved in the ancestral library of the Khanqah. This was the first publication house ever founded in Gaya. He published many books written by his ancestors, especially those written by Shah-e-ata and his disciples. He authored many books, including the biography of many great Islamic personalities like Jalaluddin Tabrezi and Maqdum Munampak. He was the first to write the biography of Maqdum Munampak and Shah-e-ata. He also wrote travelogues. He was the first to write the history of Zahidia order in Bihar. He has also worked over Tasawwuf to a great extent. He added much to the Islamic literature in Bihar and to the literature of Munami Order.[citation needed]

  • Hizbul-Foqra

In the early 19th century Wahabism had arrived in India and many groups had come up against Sunni Islam and especially against the Khanqah of that time. Shah Hussainuddin Safi founded a group of learned people and Islamic scholars who would fight against any type of anti-Sunni activities rising anywhere in Bihar. He brought all the scholars, masters, Sufis of all orders and other khanqahs of Bihar together. This is why he is remembered as Wakeel-ul-Mashaiq (leader of all the masters) by his contemporaries.[citation needed]

He died at the age of 55, in 1939, leaving behind a son and daughter. He had three marriages. He did not have any children from his first wife. After the death of his first wife he married again and had children, but they all died as infants. His second wife died soon after. His third marriage produced two children who have carried his lineage forward. His son, Amir-ul-Mashaiq Syed Shah Ghulam-e-Mustafa Ahmed Chishti is the present Sajjada nashin of the Khanqah. He had thousands of disciples and khalifa all over the Indian sub-continent who have carried his spiritual teachings forward.[citation needed]

Shah Hesamuddin Chishti[edit]

Born in 1899, he was the third son of Shah Nezamuddin Chishti. He gained education at Dars-e-Nezamia on the campus of Khanqah and from his eldest brother, Shah Hussainuddin Safi. He became a disciple of his brother in the ancestral Chishti Order. The master awarded him Khilafat Ijazah of all the orders after completing all his spiritual teachings himself. He was a great linguist and had thorough knowledge of Urdu, Persian, Arabic and English. He was serving as the Chief librarian of the Jamia Millia Islamia when Shah Hussainuddin Safi called him in 1938, and gave him all the responsibilities of the Khanqah. He was a very immaculate and soft-spoken person.[citation needed]

He left for Pakistan in 1958 after making his nephew, the son of Shah Hussainuddin Safi into the new Sajjada nashin of the Khanqah. He had two marriages. He had one daughter from the first marriage, and six children, one son and five daughters from the second marriage. He died in 1992, at the age of 93, leaving behind thousands of disciples all over India and Pakistan and was buried in Yaseenabad graveyard, Azizabad, Karachi.


He was born on 14 December 1936 which coincides with 29th of Ramzan 1355 of the Islamic calendar. Before his birth the Khadim of the Dargah of the great Sufi of Chishti Order, Noor Qutb-e-Aalam Pandwi, Pandua, West Bengal, Hafiz Peer Mohammad Monami saw dreams where Shah Nur-Qutb-e-Aalam Pandwi was saying "Inform Shah Hussainuddin Ahmed that he will be bestowed with a son, he should name him Ghulam-e-Mustafa". And so, when Amir-ul-Mashaiq was born he was named Ghulam-e-Mustafa Ahmed. He has learned from various teachers and scholars all over Gaya and Patna.

When Amir-ul-Mashaiq was only two and a half years old, his father died. Before his death, Shah Hussainuddin Safi put the ancestral cap of the Sajjada nashin on his head, and announced him as his successor and the heir of all his personal and ancestral belongings of the Khanqah.

Amir-ul-Mashaiq had a unique childhood. He was never seen playing games with his friends, or in any playground. He used to study his lessons or do Zikr and read wazifa or recite the Quran. When Amir-ul-Mashaiq was a child, Shah Hussainuddin Safi had made him his disciple in the ancestral Chishti order and left the khilafatnama (certificate of Ijazah) for him. When Amir-ul-Mashaiq grew up he accepted the oath, on the hand of his paternal uncle, Shah Hesamuddin Chishti and was awarded the Khilafat. He was also told that "You are already a murid and have the khilfat from your father. It's now upon you, you can use either my Khilafat or your fathers'".[citation needed] Amir-ul-Mashaiq, as a sign of respect, has always used the khilafat of his uncle which also includes the name of his father.

Amir-ul-Mashaiq served as the Sajjada nashin of the Khanqah for 54 years. He died on 30 January 2012, which coincides with 6th of Rabīʿ I 1433 hijri. His funeral rites took place on the following day after the nemaz of Asr. His mausoleum is erected just adjacent to Shah-e-Ata, as the place of tomb was revealed to the eldest grandson of Amir-ul-Mashaiq.

He had thousands of disciples all over India, Pakistan, and the USA, and he also had many khalifas all over India. He was married to a descendant of Abdul-Qadir Gilani, the eldest daughter of Hakeem Abdur-Rahim Qadri, AmjharSharif, Aurangabad, Bihar. He had three sons, Faqr-e-ulema Alhaaj Maulana Syed Mohammed Sabahuddin Chishti, Syed Ata Ahmed Fuzail, and Hafiz Syed Ata Faisal. He also had eight daughters.

Each Sufi of Gaya has learned spiritual lessons from him. This is why he is known as Amir-ul-Mashaiq (the master of all masters). Sufis throughout the order felt extremely impressed by his spirituality after meeting him. His personality was unparalleled all over Bihar.Ulema and Sufi loved his company and he loved to impart spiritual lessons to everyone. There have many converts to Islam at his hands. Even Wahhabi and Deobandi accept him as the true leader of the Muslim community.[citation needed] He is very soft-spoken and not any seeker of any particular thing, Knowledge, Spirituality, Tranquility, or wealth. No one, even a child returns empty-handed from his doors. His doors of the Khanqah are still open for everyone, around the clock.


It is believed[by whom?] that he had approximately of 60,000 disciples all over Asia. The number of Khalifas is understood to be many hundreds. Many of his disciples went on to become very successful Sufi of their time. Though the list is very long, only a few are listed here.

Razzaqi order[edit]

Since Shah-e-Ata was given the title of Abdul Razzaq his disciples and Sufis of his order proudly wrote themselves as Sufis of Razzaqi order. Thus the Razzaqi Order came into existence.

Famous disciples[edit]

One major reason for the loss of information regarding many of his Khalifas was that it was lost during India's First War of Independence in 1857. The second cause was when the Wahhabi extremists formed Saudi Arabia and Sufis had to leave that region. Shah-e-Ata's Khulfas and their successors in the Middle East went out of touch and could not be traced after that.

Much information regarding Sufis of the Razzaqi order was lost during the Partition of India in 1947.So much less information regarding the disciples and Sufis of the order of Shah-e-Ata is available. Some information has been recovered from the book of Shahe-e-Ata, Kaifya-tul-Aarfeen wa Nisbatul Aasheqeen, which was published twice, once during the life of the author and again in the life of his great grandson, Shah Hussainuddin Safi.

Many other Sufis who are the successors of the disciples of Shah-e-Ata have been tracked down since 1970 and have become an important source of information regarding the Razzaqi order and the history of Razzaqi order in different parts of Asia. Only the most famous Sufis are listed below, whose orders are still present by means of any living Sufi and as long as their successors are still in touch with the successors of Shah-e-Ata.

Syed Shah Qazi Mazahir Imam[edit]

He was the most loved disciple of Shah-e-ata.[citation needed] Initially he was hesitant to become a disciple of any Sufi master, (though he wanted Shah-e-ata to be his master), as his father was also the disciple of Shah-e-ata. Shah-e-ata used to say that "it seems that you are very hesitant to accept oath so i will have to take your oath forcefully".[citation needed] The words of Shah-e-ata became true. Qazi Mazahir was an immaculately beautiful person with a charismatic personality. He was once listening to Sema in the Manpur locality of Gaya district and a man who was looking for a Pir after completion of all his studies came to him respectfully and requested him to make him his disciple. Qazi Mazahir said,"I am still not associated with any of the Tariqah (orders) how can i make you my murid?".[citation needed] Qazi Mazahir kept on repeating himself, but the stranger was very firm about his commitment. At last Hazra Qazi Mazahir Imam went to Shah-e-ata to become his disciple. When he entered the Khanqah Shah-e-ata was sitting on the Sajjada, waiting for him. Shah-e-ata had already taken out the Shijra (the chain depicting the name of all the Sufis in the order) and signed the Khilafatnama (a certificate giving permission to the disciple to propagate the order further) to be given to him.

Once he became the murid of Shah-e-ata he used to visit his master in the Khanqah everyday on foot, covering a distance of five to seven kilometers across mountain and rivers. Shah-e-ata died in 1889 but he kept visiting the shrine of his master until his last day on earth. He died in 1942 and was buried in the Abgila locality of Gaya. His life is a perfect example for the disciples of all the Sufis. He never called the descendants of shah-e-ata by their name even when one of the great grandsons of Shah-e-ata was his son-in-law. His disciples were innumerable and was present all over India. He founded his own Khanqah which is famous as Khanqah mazahirya and is still in existence. He had three sons Qazi Maqbool Imam, Qazi Waris Imam, and Qazi Jalil Imam. All three of them went on to become great Sufis of their time. His youngest son died in 1992. The orders of his eldest and youngest son are no longer in existence, but the order of his second son and many of his Caliph is still present.

Syed Shah Qazi Najam Imam Chishti Monami Razzaqi is the grandson of Qazi Maqbool Imam-the eldest son of Qazi Mazahir Imam and the present Sajjadanasheen of Khanqah Mazahirya founded by Qazi Mazahir Imam.He has Khilafat (Ijazah) from Qazi Waris Imam (the second son of Qazi Mazahir Imam) and Amir-ul-Mashaiq-the successor and Sajjadanasheen of the Khanqah of Shah-e-Ata. In fact, he has taken thorough spiritual lessons from Amir-ul-Mashaiq and has become his murid (disciple).

Syed Shah Nudrat Hussain Burdawani[edit]

He was already the Sajjada nashin of his ancestral Khanqah established at Burdwan, West Bengal. His was ordered spiritually from his ancestors to go to Gaya and become the disciple of Shah-e-ata. He became his very obedient disciple and started living in the Khanqah of Shah-e-ata. Meanwhile, he wrote the Malfoozat(sayings of a Sufi) of Shah-e-ata in forty lessons and got it checked and signed by the master himself. After completing his sulook he went to Burdwan. After his death he was buried in his own Khanqah at Burdwan, West Bengal. His son Zia-ul-Hassan was a famous Sufi of his time. His khanqah and the order is still in existence. Syed Shah Fazl-ur-Rahman Razzaqi is the grandson of Shah Zia-ul-Hassan and the present Sajjada nashin of the Khanqah.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Syed Muhammad Sabahuddin Monami, (2000), "Zikr-e-Ata", the precise biography of Shah-e-Ata, "Maktaba-e-Ataiya". p. 4
  2. ^ Ata Hussain Fani, (1930). "Kaifya-tul-Aarfeen Nisbatul Aasheqeen", "Al Maktab-e-Monamia". p. 370
  3. ^ Syed Muhammad Sabahuddin Monami, (2000), "Zikr-e-Ata", the precise biography of Shah-e-Ata, "Maktaba-e-Ataiya" p. 84
  • Ata Hussain Fani, (1930). "Kaifya-tul-Aarfeen Nisbatul Aasheqeen", "Al Maktab-e-Monamia".
  • Ata Hussain Fani, (1883). "Kanz-ul-Ansaab", the Syeds of Bihar, "Matbua Haidari Safdari", Mumbai.
  • Ata Hussain Fani, (1876). "Masnavi Sirr-e-Haq","Matbua Navalkishor", Lucknow.
  • Sheikh Hussainuddin, (1937). "Tazkira-e-Fani", the life and times of Shah Abdur Razzaq, "Al-Maktaba-e-Monamia".
  • Syed Muhammad Sabahuddin Monami, (2000), "Zikr-e-Ata", the precise biography of Shah-e-Ata, "Maktaba-e-Ataiya".
  • Dr. Ata Khursheed, (2004). "Safarnama-e-Haj 'Syed Ata Hussain Fani'", Aligarh Muslim University, research unit, AMU.
  • Qamar Aazam Hashmi, (1969). "Bihar mein Urdu savaneh nigari", "Patna Printers".
  • Akhtar Orenvi, (1971). "Bihar mein Urdu Nasr ka Irtaqa", "Patna Book Trust".
  • Ahmedullah Nadvi, (1974). "Muslim Shorae Bihar(Vol.4)", "Karanchi Offsets".