Inayat Khan

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Inayat Khan
عنایت خان رحمت خان
  • Pir-o-Murshid
  • Shaikh al-Mashaikh
  • Tansen Zamanihal
  • Yüzkhan
  • Bakhshi
  • Shah
  • Mir-Khayl[1]
Inayat Khan Rehmat Khan

(1882-07-05)July 5, 1882
DiedFebruary 5, 1927(1927-02-05) (aged 44)
New Delhi, British India
SpousePirani Ameena Begum
ChildrenVilayat; Hidayat; Noor; Khair-un-Nisa Inayat Khan
ProfessionMusician, Pir, Musicologist
Muslim leader
ProfessionMusician, Pir, Musicologist
Universel Murad Hassil, Netherlands
Sant and Pir
Venerated inInayatiyya; Western Sufism
Major shrineDargah in Hazrat Nizamuddin, Delhi
InfluencesSayyid Abu Hashim Madani
InfluencedUniversal Sufism
Tradition or genre
Chishti, and other major Sufi tariqa

Inayat Khan Rehmat Khan (Urdu: عنایت خان رحمت خان; 5 July 1882 – 5 February 1927) was an Indian professor of musicology, singer, exponent of the saraswati vina, poet, philosopher, and pioneer of the transmission of Sufism to the West.[2] At the urging of his students, and on the basis of his ancestral Sufi tradition and four-fold training and authorization at the hands of Sayyid Abu Hashim Madani (d. 1907) of Hyderabad, he established an order of Sufism (the Sufi Order) in London in 1914. By the time of his death in 1927, centers had been established throughout Europe and North America, and multiple volumes of his teachings had been published.[3]

Early life[edit]

Inayat Khan was born in Baroda to a noble Mughal family. His paternal ancestors, comprising yüzkhans (Central Asian lords) and bakshys (shamans), were Turkmen from the Chagatai Khanate who settled in Sialkot, Punjab during the reign of Amir Timur. Inayat Khan's maternal grandfather, Sangit Ratna Maulabakhsh Sholay Khan, was a Hindustani classical musician and educator known as “the Beethoven of India.” His maternal grandmother, Qasim Bibi, was from the royal house of Tipu Sultan of Mysore.[4]


Inayat Khan's Sufi sources included both the traditions of his paternal ancestors (remembered as the Mahashaikhan) and the tutelage he received from Sayyid Abu Hashim Madani.[4]: 3–64  From the latter he inherited four transmissions, constituting succession in the Chishti, Suhrawardi, Qadiri, and Naqshbandi orders of Sufism. Of these, the Chishti lineage, traced through the Delhi-based legacy of Shah Kalim Allah Jahanabadi, was primary.[5]


Inayat Khan toured the United States with his brother Maheboob Khan and cousin Mohammed Ali Khan between the years 1910 and 1912. Further travels took him to England, France, and Russia. During the First World War, living in London, he oversaw the founding of an order of Sufism under his guidance. Following the war he traveled widely, and numerous Sufi centers sprang up in his wake in Europe and the U.S. He ultimately settled in Suresnes, France, at the house and khanqah (Sufi lodge) known as Fazal Manzil.[citation needed]


Inayat Khan's teaching emphasized the oneness of God (tawhid) and the underlying harmony of the revelations communicated by the prophets of all the world's great religions. His discourses treated such varied subjects as religion, art, music, ethics, philosophy, psychology, and health and healing. The primary concern of Inayat Khan's teaching was the mystical pursuit of God-realization.[6] To this end he established an Inner School comprising four stages of contemplative study based on the traditional Sufi disciplines of mujahada, muraqaba, mushahada, and mu‘ayyana, which he rendered in English as concentration, contemplation, meditation, and realization.[7]: 218–227 

Foundational principles[edit]

Ten principles, known as the Ten Sufi Thoughts, enunciate the universal spiritual values that are foundational to Inayat Khan's mystical philosophy.[7]: 3–13 

  1. There is One God, the Eternal, the Only Being; none exists save God.
  2. There is One Master, the Guiding Spirit of all Souls, Who constantly leads followers towards the light.
  3. There is One Holy Book, the sacred manuscript of nature, the only scripture which can enlighten the reader.
  4. There is One Religion, the unswerving progress in the right direction towards the ideal, which fulfills the life's purpose of every soul.
  5. There is One Law, the law of reciprocity, which can be observed by a selfless conscience together with a sense of awakened justice.
  6. There is One Brotherhood and Sisterhood, the human brotherhood and sisterhood, which unites the children of earth indiscriminately in the Parenthood of God.
  7. There is One Moral, the love which springs forth from self-denial, and blooms in deeds of beneficence.
  8. There is One Object of Praise, the beauty which uplifts the heart of its worshippers through all aspects from the seen to the unseen.
  9. There is One Truth, the true knowledge of our being, within and without, which is the essence of all wisdom.
  10. There is One Path, the annihilation of the false ego in the real, which raises the mortal to immortality, and in which resides all perfection.

Family and personal life[edit]

In New York, he met the woman who would become his wife, Ora Ray Ameena Begum née Baker. They had four children: Vilayat Inayat Khan, Hidayat Inayat Khan, Noor Inayat Khan, and Khair-un-Nisa Inayat Khan.[citation needed]

Death and legacy[edit]

In 1926 Inayat Khan returned to India; he died in Delhi on 5 February 1927.[8][9][10][11] He is buried in the Inayat Khan dargah in Nizamuddin, Delhi. The dargah is open to the public and hosts qawwali sessions. [12]


Musicological works[edit]

  • Balasan Gitmala
  • Sayaji Garbawali
  • Inayat Git Ratnawali
  • Inayat Harmonium Shikshak
  • Inayat Fidal Shikshak
  • Minqar-i Musiqar

Sufi works[edit]

  • 1914 A Sufi Message of Spiritual Liberty
  • 1915 The Confessions of Inayat Khan
  • 1918 A Sufi Prayer of Invocation
  • Hindustani Lyrics
  • Songs of India
  • The Divan of Inayat Khan
  • Akibat
  • 1919 Love, Human and Divine
  • The Phenomenon of the Soul
  • Pearls from the Ocean Unseen
  • 1921 In an Eastern Rosegarden
  • 1922 The Way of Illumination
  • The Message
  • 1923 The Inner Life
  • The Mysticism of Sound
  • Notes from the Unstruck Music from the Gayan Manuscript
  • The Alchemy of Happiness
  • 1924 The Soul—Whence and Whither
  • 1926 The Divine Symphony, or Vadan

Posthumous Sufi works[edit]

  • 1927 Nirtan, or The Dance of the Soul
  • The Purpose of Life
  • 1928 The Unity of Religious Ideals
  • 1931 Health
  • Character Building; The Art of Personality
  • 1934 Education
  • 1935 The Mind World
  • Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
  • 1936 The Bowl of Saki
  • The Solution of the Problem of the Day
  • 1937 Cosmic Language
  • Moral Culture
  • 1938 Rassa Shastra: The Science of Life's Creative Forces
  • 1939 Three Plays
  • Metaphysics: The Experience of the Soul in Different Planes of Existence
  • 1980 Nature Meditations

Collected works[edit]

  • 1960–1967 The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, 12 volumes
  • 1988– Complete Works of Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan: Original Texts, 12 volumes (to date)
  • 2016– The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan: Centennial Edition, 4 volumes (to date)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pirzade Zia Inayat Khan, ed. (2001). A Pearl in Wine: Essays on the life, music and Sufism of Hazrat Inayat Khan. New Lebanon, NY; USA: Omega Publications. ISBN 093087269X.
  2. ^ Mehta, R.C (2001). "Music in the Life of Hazrat Inayat Khan". In Pirzade Zia Inayat Khan (ed.). A Pearl in Wine: Essays on the life, music and Sufism of Hazrat Inayat Khan. New Lebanon, NY; USA: Omega Publications. pp. 161–176. ISBN 093087269X.
  3. ^ Graham, Donald A. (2001). "The Career of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan in the West". In Pirzade Zia Inayat Khan (ed.). A Pearl in Wine. New Lebanon, NY; USA: Omega. pp. 127–160. ISBN 093087269X.
  4. ^ a b Khan, Shaikh al-Mashaik Mahmood (2001). "The Mawlabakhshi Rajkufu 'Alakhandan: The Mawlabakhsh Dynastic Lineage, 1833-1972". In Pirzade Zia Inayat (ed.). A Pearl in Wine. New Lebanon, NY: Omega. pp. 3–126. ISBN 093087269X.
  5. ^ Pirzade Zia Inayat Khan (2001). "The 'Silsila-i Sufian': From Khwaja Mu'in ad-Din Chishti to Sayyid Abu Hashim Madani". In Pirzade Zia Inayat Khan (ed.). A Pearl in Wine. New Lebanon, NY: Omega. pp. 267–322. ISBN 093087269X.
  6. ^ Keesing, Elisabeth de Jong (1977). Inayat Answers. London: Fine Books Oriental. ISBN 978-0856920080.
  7. ^ a b Hazrat Inayat Khan (2019). The Sufi message of Hazrat Inayat Khan. Vol. 4, Healing and the mind world. (Centennial ed.). Richmond, VA; USA: Sulūk Press; Omega Publications. ISBN 978-1941810309.
  8. ^ van Beek, Wil (1983). Hazrat Inayat Khan: Master of life, Modern Sufi Mystic (1st ed.). New York: Vantage Press. ISBN 978-0533054534.
  9. ^ Inayat Khan (1979). Elise Guillaume-Schamhart; Munira van Voorst van Beest (eds.). Biography of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan. London; The Hague: East-West Publications. ISBN 0856920134.
  10. ^ Keesing, Elisabeth Emmy de Jong (1974). Inayat Khan: A Biography [Translated from the original Dutch: Golven, waarom komt de wind]. Translated by Hayat Bouman; Penelope Goldschmidt. The Hague: East-West Publications; Luzac. ISBN 0718902432.
  11. ^ Sirkar van Stolk; Daphne Dunlop (1967). Memories of a Sufi Sage: Hazrat Inayat Khan. London; The Hague: East-West Publications. ISBN 0856920134.
  12. ^ Bergman, Justin (24 November 2016). "36 Hours in Delhi". The New York Times.

External links[edit]