The English version of the poetry of Sufi: Hazrat Inayat Khan reflects his deep love for these outpourings of the heart and his affection for his peers on the Path. The English rendering is typical of the outgoing Victorian age. But even today its devotional nature and blossoming description seem to be apt to the rich flowering of the Urdu original.
Inayat Khan Rehmat Khan (Urdu: عنایت خان رحمت خان ) (5 July 1882 – 5 February 1927) was a professor of musicology, singer, exponent of the saraswati vina, poet, philosopher, and pioneer of the transmission of Sufism in the West. 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, centres had been established throughout Europe and North America, and multiple volumes of his teachings had seen publication.
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. His primary concern was the mystical pursuit of God-realization. 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.
Inayat Khan was born in Baroda to a noble Mughal family. His paternal ancestors, comprising yüzkhans (Mughal 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, Sangitratna Maulabakhsh Sho'le Khan, was a pioneering 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.
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. 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.
Inayat Khan toured the United States with his brother Mahboob Khan and cousin Mohammed Ali Khan between the years 1910 and 1912. In New York, he met the woman who would become his wife, Ora Ray Baker (henceforth known as Ameena Begum). 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 travelled widely, and numerous Sufi centres 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. In 1926 he returned to India, and on Feb. 5, 1927, he died in Delhi.
Ten principles, known as the Ten Sufi Thoughts, enunciate the universal spiritual values that are foundational to Inayat Khan's mystical philosophy.
- There is One God, the Eternal, the Only Being; none exists save God.
- There is One Master, the Guiding Spirit of all Souls, Who constantly leads followers towards the light.
- There is One Holy Book, the sacred manuscript of nature, the only scripture which can enlighten the reader.
- There is One Religion, the unswerving progress in the right direction towards the ideal, which fulfils the life's purpose of every soul.
- There is One Law, the law of reciprocity, which can be observed by a selfless conscience together with a sense of awakened justice.
- There is One Brotherhood and Sisterhood, the human brotherhood and sisterhood, which unites the children of earth indiscriminately in the Parenthood of God.
- There is One Moral, the love which springs forth from self-denial, and blooms in deeds of beneficence.
- There is One Object of Praise, the beauty which uplifts the heart of its worshippers through all aspects from the seen to the unseen.
- There is One Truth, the true knowledge of our being, within and without, which is the essence of all wisdom.
- 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.