Inayat Khan Rehmat Khan Pathan was born in Vadodara Gujarat on this day in 1882. He is more commonly known as Hazrat Inayat Khan, Hazrat being an honorific, and sometimes by the title Pir-O-Murshid, which could be understood as senior teacher and head of a Sufi order.
Inayat Khan came from a family of poets and musicians, and was himself also an initiate within three Sufi orders, although principally the Nizamiyya sub-branch of the Chisthi Order. In 1910 he came West, touring as master musician. But, he quickly shifted his focus to teaching Sufism.
He married an American, and had four children. The most famous outside of his community is probably his daughter Noor-un-Nisa, who was executed by the Nazis as an Allied Special Operations agent during the Second World War.
Hazrat Inayat Khan’s order was one of several emergent spiritualities blending Eastern and Western wisdom to burst on the scene in the early decades of the twentieth century. As an eclectic he developed a universalist Sufism, significantly, not requiring people to convert to Islam to study with him. While controversial within the orthodox Muslim community, his message of love, harmony, and beauty has continued to find resonances ever since.
His universal Sufism has ten principals.
1) There is one God; the Eternal, the Only Being; None exists save He.
2) There is one master; the guiding spirit of all souls that constantly leads all followers toward the light.
3) There is one holy book; the sacred manuscript of nature, the only Scripture that can enlighten the reader.
4) There is one religion; unswerving progress in the right direction toward the Ideal, which fulfills every soul’s life purpose.
5) There is one law; the law of reciprocity, which can be observed by a selfless conscience, together with a sense of awakened justice.
6) There is one brotherhood; the human brotherhood which unites the children of earth indiscriminately in the fatherhood of God. This was later adapted by followers to; “There is one Family, the Human Family, which unites the Children of Earth indiscriminately in the Parenthood of God.”
7) There is one moral; the love which springs forth from self-denial and blooms in deeds of beneficence. … (later alternative; “which springs forth from a willing heart, surrendered in service to God and Humanity, and which blooms in deeds of beneficence”).
8) There is one object of praise; the beauty which uplifts the heart of its worshipper through all aspects from the seen to the unseen.
9) There is one truth; true knowledge of our being, within and without, which is the essence of Wisdom.
10) There is one path; annihilation of the false ego in the real (later alternative; “the effacement of the limited self in the Unlimited”), which raises the mortal to immortality, in which resides all perfection.
He died in 1927, Inayat Khan was only forty-five years old. His principal heir shifted her affiliation to the Zoroastrian born Hindu sage Meher Baba, leaving the remanent of Inayat Khan’s organization in disarray. Eventually Inayat Khan’s sons Vilayat Inayat Khan, and Hidayat Inayat Khan, and the American Samuel Lewis emerged as the leaders of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s inheritance. And since then a new generation has come to the fore, allowing Inayat Khan’s Universalist Sufi Message to flourish in several organizations.