Female Islamic Saints


I. The tombs and colorfully decorated wall-mosque of Hijron ka Khanqah in South Delhi, India. Miyan Saheb’s checkered tomb rests in the far corner by a neem tree.

Miyan Saheb (12–13th century) was an Indian hijra (a eunuch or transgender woman) and saint. She is only known by the title Miyan Saheb. She was said to have been considered to be a sworn sister by the scholar and mystic Qutb ad-Dīn Bakhtyār Kākī of the Chisti order. Miyan's sworn brother was favored by the Lodhi Dynasty that ruled Delhi, so later in the dynasty during the 15th century, a cemetery, in which Miyan Saheb is entombed, was built in Mehrauli in South Delhi, India. Within the cemetery are also the tombs of fourty-eight other hijras, and the western end is closed off by a mosque composed of seven prayer niches in a single open stone hallway. Local hijras who live in Old Delhi reclaimed the cemetery in the 20th century, and they maintain it as a khānaqâh, or Sufi lodge, gathering and celebrating holy days there and offering free meals to the poor. This originated the contemporary name of the cemetery, Hijron ka Khanqah, the hijras’ khānaqâh.

Photo Reference

I: Kapur, Varun Shiv. “Hijron ka Khanqah.” Flickr, www.flickr.com/photos/varunshiv/3701567814.

Other Reading

Soofi, Mayank Austen. “City Monument – Hijron Ka Khanqah, Mehrauli.” The Delhi Walla, 16 Jan. 2016, /www.thedelhiwalla.com/2016/01/16/city-monument-hijron-ka-khanqah-mehrauli/.

Iftikhar, Fareeha. Delhi’s Hidden Mystic Haven for Transgenders. Daily News and Analysis, 1 Nov. 2016, www.dnaindia.com/delhi/report-city-s-hidden-mystic-haven-for-transgenders-2269106.

Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki

South AsiaChishti OrderSufiMystic.