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The Illuminated Lamp of Delhi: Hazrat Roshan Chiragh e Dilli

Shaikh Nasiruddin Mahmud was the last great Chishti saint of Delhi. He was the fifth chain of the Chishti Silsila in Delhi and was the Khalifa of Mehboob e Illahi Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. The Chishti Silsila came to India with Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti whose Dargah is in Ajmer, followed by Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki or Qutub Saheb whose Dargah is in Mehrauli, followed by Baba Farid e Ganj e Shakkar whose dargah is in Pakpattan, Pakistan, followed by Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya who is also called Sultan ul-Mashaikh (Chief of Saints), and lastly Shaikh Naseeruddin Mahmood. There are three legends connected to the name “Chiragh e Dilli” or the “Illuminated Lamp of Delhi”.

According to Sir Syed, when Hazrat Makhdoom Jehanian Jehan Gasht (Sufi saint of the Suhrawardi Silsila) was performing the Umrah in Mecca, he was asked by Hazrat Abdullah Yafai, who was the saint in Delhi in those days. To this Makhdoom Saheb replied that the lamp of Delhi was illuminated by Hazrat Naseeruddin Mehmood

Another legend associated with this name is that once mendicants were sitting with Mehboob e Illahi and Hazrat Naseeruddin Mahmood also came there. When Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya asked him to sit, he replied that his back would turn towards the mendicants. To this Mehboob e Illahi replied with ‘A lamp has no back’.

One of the most popular and known legend goes like this. One day, when the construction work of Tughlaqabad was going on, Nizamuddin Auliya asked a few of his students to build a Baoli for him, as there was a water shortage in the area, but all the skilled labor which could build the Baoli, were involved in the monarch’s project. This was when Hazrat Naseeruddin visited the workers who were in Tughlaqabad and asked them to work for the Sultan during the day and after the sunset, they could come and work for the Sufi Saint. This system was only able to last for a few days as the laborers replenished all their energy by working day and night, and eventually, they started taking rest during their work hours, which resulted in them getting caught by the nobles of Ghiyasuddin. Soon, the news of the workers working for Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya reached the Sultan and he got angry as he was someone who disliked Mehboob e Illahi in the first place due to his rising popularity in the city. Thus, Ghiyasuddin ordered an issue, that no one will sell oil to Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, as without burning oil, there would be no light and no one will be able to work. The next day when the laborers went back to work on Nizamuddin’s Baoli without letting the nobles know. But as they reached the construction spot there was no burning oil and the laborers couldn’t work as there was no light. This is when Hazrat Naseeruddin asked the laborers, why aren’t they working? To which they replied that there is no light. Hazrat Naseeruddin then asked the laborers for a Mashal and he took the Mashal to a storeroom and came back with lamps powered by burning oil. When the laborers asked, where did the burning oil come from? He replied that with the magical powers of Mehboob e Illahi, they could generate oil. Hence a rumor spread in the markets about the magical powers of the Sufi saint. In actuality, Hazrat Naseeruddin had already stored some buffer oil as he had already anticipated that the Sultan could hinder their daily needs. This news reached Mehboob e Illahi, who got very happy with him and gave him a new name, “Naseeruddin Roshan Chirag e Dilli”, which meant the light of Delhi. Today, the name Chirag Delhi comes from the name ‘Naseeruddin Roshan Chirag e Dilli’ as Naseeruddin Roshan Chiragh e Dilli lies buried there.

Hazrat Naseeruddin Mahmud was stabbed to death by a maniacal Jalandari Faqir who had come to him to beg for alms on Friday, the 18th day of Ramzan in 1356 AD. He died at the age of 82. Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq reposed great faith in the saint and he got a dome added to the chamber in which the saint lived and he was buried alongside his most prized possessions which were his cloak, cup, and prayer mat which was given to him by his Peer o Murshid (Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya). One thing we must note of Hazrat Naseeruddin Mahmood is that he did not approve of Sema Mehfils, unlike his Peer o Murshid who even went to Tughlaqabad once to debate on the issue of Sema Mehfils and music. Unlike other Chishti dargahs, one does not find qawwali being sung at his dargah.


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