Hazrat Khawaja Nizamuddin Auliya (1238 – 1325 CE) also known as Hazrat Nizamuddin, was a famous Sufi saint of the Chishti Order in India. He was born in Badayun (east of Delhi), though he later settled in Delhi, where his shrine (Nizamuddin Dargah) is still located. His original name was Mohammed. He was the son of Ahmad Dainiyal, who came to Badayun from Ghazani in the year 1234-35. At the age of 20, Nizamuddin went to Ajodhan (the present Pak Pattan in Pakistan) and became the disciple of Fariduddin Ganj-i-Shakkar. He was also the spiritual master of Amir Khusro.
One of the great saints in the Chishti lineage. From him we trace the Chishtis to Hyderabad, Gujarat, Delhi and more places. Most Chishti orders around the world have his blessed presence in their silsila. All are welcome at his Dargha where the beautiful strains of the Qawwal are heard on Thursday nights. His beloved disciple, Amir Khusro, who was primary in the development of the Urdu language, the Qawwal, is also buried there.
There is a wonderful story about the kind of relationship that Nizamuddin Aulia had with Amir Khusro. Nizamuddin was in the habit of giving away all that came to him in a day. Lines of people in need would come to his khanka asking for boons. It happened that one day a very poor farmer came to ask for enough money to keep his farm and feed his family. He came from very far away and was at the end of the line that day. When he got to the blessed one’s feet there was nothing left. The man wept and pleaded with Nizamuddin for something that would help tide his family over the difficult times. Finally the saint gave the man his sandals, apologizing that that was all he had. Reluctantly the man thanked Nizamuddin and with the sandals he began the journey home, wondering how this would help his situation.
His return home led him to a small caravan camp where he decided to spend the night. Surrounding him were caravans rich with goods going to and from Delhi in trade around the world. One of the caravans belonged to Amir Khusro who sat near the man around the campfire. They all sat talking and telling their tales but when the man related where he had been and what he was doing, immediately Amir Khusro jumped up. “And are those the sandals of Nizamuddin Aulia?” he pointed to the very sandals that the man had received. The man was quite shaken at the intensity with which Amir asked but he acknowledged that indeed they were. Amir Khusro told the man he would buy them from him. When asked what he would pay he pointed to his caravan and said “All I have.” The farmer was surprised to say the least but over joyed and quickly agreed to the bargain before this madman changed his mind.
The next day Amir Khusro returned to Delhi and to Nizamuddin Aulia. He walked into the Khanka with the sandals on his head. When Nizamuddin saw this he said “Amir, my Turk, what did you pay for those sandals?” “Everything I have.” was the reply. To which Nizamuddin said “Well, you got them for a cheap price!”