Khwaja Baqi Billah (1563-1603) was a Sufi saint from Kabul.
Founder of the Naqshbandia silsila in the Indian sub-continent, Hazrat Billah was born in 16th century Kabul. After wandering through cities like Samarkand, Balkh, Lahore and Multan, he settled in Delhi to spread the deen. Here he died; here he was buried making this burial ground a favorite among Delhi’s Muslims.
Saintliness was reflected from his face from his early childhood. He liked solitude and simple life. He went to Mavara-un-Nahr, which was considered as the centre of Muslim saints at that time. There he met a large number of Sufis and Saint from whom he gathered a lot of spiritual knowledge. Firstly, he attended Khawaja Ubaid a spiritual caliph of Maulana Lutf Ullah but he was not satisfied. Then he stayed with Hazrat Sheikh Samarkandi who prayed for him but even in his company he did not get the requisite satisfaction. Thereafter, he attended the company of Hazrat Ameer Abdullah Balkhi from whom he got a little peace of mind.
During the period of learning, he was going through a book on Sufisim. Suddenly, he saw that the place was illuminated with light. He saw that Khawaja Baha-ud-Din Nashbandi was standing before him and showering spiritual favour on him.
After this incident, his heart was filled with the love of Allah and Muhammad. He wandered from Central Asia to India He traveled to Lahore and Multan on foot. Once, when he was offering prayers in a mosque at Lahore, a terrible voice rose from his heart. All the people in the mosque felt terrified. Hazrat Khawaja left the mosque at once after completing his prayers. One of his devotees narrated that, once, when Hazrat Khawaja was leading prayers, he was looking to Qibla as well as to the people behind. After the prayers Hazrat Khawaja Sahib advised his devotees not to divulge this secret to anyone else.
Hazrat Khawaja Baqi Billah once travelled to Mavara-ur-Nahr. On his way, he dreamt that Hazrat Khawaja Amkangi was calling him and waiting for him anxiously. So, he went to see him at his abode and stayed there for three days. Khawaja Amkangi blessed him with his Khilafat (spiritual caliphate) and said:
“Go to India because this Order (Naqshbandia Silsila) will be established there by you”
Hazrat Khawaja Baqi Billah humbly said to his spiritual guide that he could not do that difficult task, but Khawaja Amkangi insisted and ordered him to get guidance from “Istikharah” (prayer for getting judgment from Allah), Hazrat Khawaja performed “Istikhara”. In a dream he saw a parrot sitting on the branch of a tree. He thought that if the parrot sat on his hand, he would consider this journey as a lucky one. No sooner did this thought flashed across his mind, than the parrot flew towards him and perched on his hand. Hazrat Baqi Billah put his saliva into its beak whereas the parrot put sugar into his mouth.
Hazrat Khwaja Baqi Billah strengthened the Naqshbandia Order in India. His contacts with the nobility of the Mughal Empire proved useful for the reformation of the Muslims of India. He took bold steps and played a heroic role to stop the prevailing heresy known as Din-i-Ilahi. His writings and counsels encouraged the people to combat this very innovation. The nobility also favoured him and he used their power for the betterment of the Muslims. He stressed on Sharia during the whole of his life and influenced the people by virtue of his piety and his strict adherence to the Sunnah. He preferred Sharia to Tariqah (Sufism) and reformed the Sufis and Ulama of that time. Khwaja Muhammad Kishmi, a disciple of Hazrat Mujaddid Alif Sani, writes about the achievements of Hazrat Baqi Billah as under:
“Probably his greatest achievement is that in two or three years, he firmly established the Naqshbandi Order in India, whereas others of the same Order lagged behind and worked for many years”.
Hazrat Khwaja Baqi Billah R.A went his way to eternity on 25 Jamadi-ul-Sani (Jumada ath Thani) 1012 A.H. or 1603 A.D. His grave is situated in Delhi near the Qadam Sharif (foot-prints) of Muhammad at a platform. No dome was constructed over his grave according to his will. There is no tree to cast a shadow on the grave. In spite of this, the visitors do not feel the effect of heat when they stand barefooted beside the grave.