The Golden Chain

13. Khwaja Mahmud Injir al-Fagnevi

Khwaja Mahmud Injir al-Fagnevi (may God sanctify his innermost being) is the thirteenth Shaykh in the Naqshbandi Golden Chain and at the same time, the fourth of the ‘Khwajagan’ – the Masters of Wisdom of Central Asia.

He was born in the village of Fagne, near Bukhara in Uzbekistan. The other part of his name, ‘Injir, derives from the word ‘fig’, one of the fruits of Paradise.

Khwaja Mahmud grew up attending the lessons and gatherings of Khwaja Arif ar-Rivgavi, becoming his most distinguished disciple. Later he became his Deputy with permission to guide people to the path of Truth. Khwaja Mahmud made his living as an Architect and Builder and supported his family exclusively from the proceeds of this work.

Khwaja Mahmud was the first of the Masters of Wisdom to introduce the method of audible or loud ’dhikr’ in accordance with the needs of the time and the conditions of the seekers. At the time that the venerable Khwaja Arif was nearing death, the Khwaja said to Khwaja Mahmud, “This is the moment for us”, indicating that it was now the time to introduce loud ‘dhikr’.

One day, Khwaja Mahmud attended a scholarly gathering and was asked by two prominent authorities of external knowledge, why he was doing loud ‘dhikr’. Shaykh Mahmud replied,
“It is the best ‘dhikr’ to awaken an outsider from his state of slumber and to attract the attention of the heedless so that he directs himself towards God – following the Shaykh who is making ‘dhikr’, straighteing himself on the Way, and making his repentance to God a pure one, which is the key to all goodness and happiness. If your intention is correct, you will find the authority to use the loud ‘dhikr”.

The Khwaja was then asked who is permitted to practice the loud ‘dhikr’? The Khwaja replied,
“The loud ‘dhikr’ is for anyone who wishes to reach the state of purifying his tongue from lying and backbiting, and freeing his private actions from what is forbidden, and cleaning his heart from pride and the love of fame.”

One day Shaykh Ali Ramitani al-Azizan said that a man saw Khidr (peace be upon him) and asked him, “Tell me where I can find someone who practices the Divine Law of the Prophet (peace & blessings be upon him) and the Straight Path, in order that I may follow him.” Khidr replied,
“The one whom you are seeking is Khwaja Mahmud Injir al-Fagnevi.”

Khwaja Mahmud radiated his knowledge from the Mosque that he built in the village of Wabiqni, close to Bukhara. He had a number of deputies, but it was his second deputy, Khwaja Ali Ramitani al-Azizan, to whom he passed the transmission of the Naqshbandi Golden Chain.

Khwaja Mahmud passed away in 1317 AD in the village of Vobkent, 30 kms to the north of Bukhara, where he is buried.

May Allah be well pleased with him.


Extracts from:- ‘The Naqshbandi Way – History and Guidebook of the Saints of the Golden Chain’ by Mawlana Shaykh Hisham.
‘Rashahat Ain al-Hayat – Beads of Dew from the Source of Life. Histories of the Khwajagan The Masters of Wisdom’ by Mawlana Ali ibn Husain Safi.
‘Masters of Wisdom of Central Asia’ by Hasan Shushud.
‘The Masters of Wisdom’ by John G. Bennett.