“A mystic order…was inaugurated by the Prophet, and afterwards was carried on by [his] successors, who were called Pir-o-Murshid, Shaikh, etc., one after another, duly connected as links in a chain (silsila).”
— Hazrat Inayat Khan
Sufism is said to have existed among the prophets of all peoples and cultures from the earliest times. From the prophets, the wisdom of Sufism was imparted to the saints and masters of all traditions. However, a historical tradition of Sufism can be clearly dated to the 7/8th-century C.E. in the Near East, from which stem numerous unbroken lineages passed from master-to-disciple down to our own day.
In the chain of transmission of the Inayati Order, the teachings and lineages of four great Sufi orders—the Chishti, Suhrawardi, Qadiri, and Naqshbandi—are united in its founder, Hazrat Inayat Khan. Today, there are numerous lineages and organizations tracing their origins to him. The Inayati Order represents the lineage passed directly to his eldest son, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, and currently led by his grandson, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan.