CHISTI, HAZRAT KHWAJA MUINUDDIN HASAN (c 1232) Chisti, a Muslim Sufi order in South and Central Asia, named after Chist, a village near Herat in Afghanistan, was founded by the Syrian mystic Abur Ishaq It was brought to India by Muinuddin Chisti in the 12th century The Chistiya and other Sufi orders place emphasis on the doctrine of the unity of being (whadat al-wujud) Thus natural goods were rejected as distracting from the contemplation of God The recitation of the names of God, both aloud and silently, led to the development of qawwali, devotional songs sung at the Chisti shrines Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was the most popular qawwali singer of recent times and has a large following in the Western worldMuinuddin Chisti settled in Ajmer, Rajasthan (now a state in India, bordering Pakistan’s province of Sindh), from 1190 until his death in 1232 His tomb in Ajmer, with the crown made of solid gold and to which the Mughul emperor Shah Jahan added a mosque, has become the most frequented Muslim pilgrimage site in the South Asian subcontinent It is also visited by Hindu devotees

The fact that President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan chose to stop at Ajmer en route to Delhi on 16 April 2005 for a summit meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India had some symbolic significance Visits to shrines and the teachings of Sufistic orders are frowned upon by fundamentalist sects of Islam, such as Wahabism, which had gained considerable ground in recent years in Pakistan It was also the professed ideology of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, which emerged as the main opposition to President Musharraf after the elections of 2002 The Chisti order also does not allow connection with the state and embraces pacifism, while the Wahabis do not accept the doctrine of the separation of state and religion and espouse activism to achieve their goals Earlier, Musharraf had planned to visit the shrine in July 2001, during his first visit to India for a summit with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee However, the Agra summit collapsed over the issue of Kashmir, and Musharraf, in a moment of pique, cancelled the visit to Ajmer and returned to Pakistan

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