The Chain of Transmission within a Sufi order is of central importance in the
Sufi work. It is a major conduit of the baraka of any genuine Sufi school,
and links the mureeds of that order with the combined spiritual power of their spiritual
antecedents and with the unseen transformative forces that transpire behind the
outward manifestation of the Chain, which is called the Silsila ("chain" or "pedigree").
A "lineage-holder" within a Sufi order will have the Silsila of the lineage committed
to memory, and it is recited at pivotal occasions such as the group zikr of the
order and especially at initiations. Working backward, experientially contacting
and effacing oneself in each being in the Chain is considered a necessary development
of the practice known as "Tasawwuri Murshid."
The representation of the Chain of Transmission is called the "Shajara"
("Tree"). The shajara which appears here is that of Hazrat Pir-o-Murshid 'Inayat
Khan's primary spiritual lineage, though he was initiated into the four major Sufi
lineages represented in India. It is worth noting that at each juncture, there may
be several shaykhs deputized to carry on a lineage. A shajara is a tracing of initiatic
ancestry rather than a representation of the full flow of barakat from
The Shajara below was compiled by Pirzade Zia 'Inayat Khan from scholarly researches
in the West and India. The titles and honorifics ascribed to the beings in our Chain
vary somewhat from one source to the next, but the names listed here are fundamentally
correct. Note that the shajara listing in "Toward the One" is incorrect
and should not be relied upon.