THE Mausoleum of his holiness SYED MUHAMMAD AMIN OWAISI ALIAS OWAISI SAHAB(rahimahumullah) is located in the historical mohalla of Srinagar known as aali kadal just 6 km away from lal chowk. His holiness amin owaisi alias Owaisi sahib(r.a) was the second son of syed hussain mantaqi bayhaqi son of syed noorud din bayhaqi, the name of his first son was mir syed Hassan bayhaqi mantaqi(r.a) whose shrine is situated at the highway of awantipora tehsil pulwama Kashmir. His holiness owaisi sahib has his education in quranic language and sunnah i.e, tradition of prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) from baba haji adham(r.a) who was from Afghanistan, in the field of mystic life as well as the realization of things his holiness mir owaisi got so much benfit from syed hilal naqshbandi(r.a). Syed hilal naqshbandi(r.a) was himself disciple of his holiness Khwaja bahaud din naqshbandi(r.a) the blessed one. Later on his holiness owaisi sahib(r.a) the blessed one associated himself with owaisi school of thought,this way of life has its source and way of life from the chief saint known as his majesty owais karani(r.a). As per the chronologists, sultan zainul abidin budshah was a devout follower of his holiness mir owaisi sahib(r.a) the blessed one. Sultan did construct a grand mosque for the up keepment and seclusion of his mentor and guide at asham, before this his holiness owaisi sahib got his secluded position from some time in the bottom of Kohi maran. According to a tradition, once his holiness syed mohammad amin owaisi(r.a) the blessesd one set for visiting the mausoleum of syed Muhammad zakariya Multani(r.a) in multan. In the way thieves demanded cash from him, the saint asked them to dig the ground, hence they got one lac rupees from the earth. At the second time the thieves again halted him in the way, at that time the saint owaisi sahib(r.a) looked at the sky at once, heavy rain and hail storm fell down. Thieves did not find their way to escape their selves from the natural catastrophe and they got the side of saint in order to save their selves. At last this sort of gangs asked him for pardon and followed the saint on the right path. After this event he arrived in Kashmir by virtue of spiritual means. It is said that the famous commander of Kashmir namely Tazi Bhat and malik ahmed yatoo felt annoyed by the saadats of bayhaqia, as they were from foreign land, the annoyed dignitaries killed the elders of the same sect in a single night. His holiness saint owaisi sahib(r.a) was one among them. The historians do mention that the deceased got his head cut while bleeding in the grand mosque of mohalla Malchimar. People felt wonderstruck on this extraordinary miracle. They buried the saint in the same khanqah. He was martyred in the month of zilqaidah 889 hijri which deposed the dead of death in alphabetic system of Persian order. His holiness owaisi sahib(r.a) was quite eloquent in Persian language. His mausoleum is one of the famous shrine in Srinagar which is esteemed by sub urban people on the occasions of religious festivals. The people throng over there for having favours and blessings.

Prof Hamid Naseem rafiabadi mentions the owaisi sahib(r.a) in his book SAINTS AND SAVIOURS OF ISLAM and i quote that paragraph of his book here. Prof. Rafiabadi says “ first naqshbandi saint syed hilal naqshbandi(r.a) left only one disciple i.e, owaisi Sahib(r.a). Some of verses of his holiness syed owaisi sahib(r.a) seem very pertinent to be quoted. For example

“The world and man of the world one endowed with the essence of the eternal, if you look deeply, you will find everything in the human being.”

He says further “The entire universe is with me. My abode is beyond lamakan(spaceless world).O Alim(religious scholar)! My body is itself a universe . Know! The soul of universe is in my soul.”

Prof. Hamid Rafiabadi further writes that “Owaisi sahib(r.a) was a broad-minded sufi, above all religious prejudices. He says, ‘Do not scorn infidelity to those who have found out truth, it is not different from faith.’ Again he (owaisi sahib) says, ‘To an Arif (Gnostic) the difference between the mosque and temple are meaningless. Men endowed with spiritual eminence, find both good and evil identical.’ About the mystical with god he says, ‘I want wisaal (Union). I do not wanteither this world or the other. I worship God; I do not worship houses or walls.”


Syed u Sadaat Mir Syed Mohammad Hussain Simnani alaihi rehma (Kulgam)…
Islam was introduced in the Valley of Kashmir not by conquest but by gradual conversion affected by Muslim Missionaries. The Muslim Missionaries who had entered the Valley in the spirit of truth influenced its people by their examples, personal methods of preaching and persuasion. A Muslim Missionary has the spirit of truth in his heart which can’t rest till it manifests itself in thought, word and deed. The first Missionary to visit Kashmir was Sharafuddin Sayyid Abdul Rehman Turkistani (Bulbul Shah) alaihi rehma. But the greatest Missionary whose personality wielded the most extraordinary influence in the spread of Islam in Kashmir was Qutub e Zaman, Sheikh e Salikan e Jahan, Qutub ul Aktab, Afzal ul Muhaq e qeen o Akmal ul Mudaq e qeen, Al Sheiyookh ul Kamil, Bani e Musalmani, Shahi Hamdani Hazrat Syed Ameer e Kabeer Meer Syed Ali Hamdani alaihi rehma. The arrival of a host of other Sayyids with Mir Syed Ali Hamdani gave a big boost to conversion of people of Kashmir to Islam among which Mir Syed Mohammad Hussain Simnani has an enduring impact.
Syed Hussain Simnani is arguably one of the most celebrated Syeds coming from Iran and Central Asia in Medieval period who blessed Kashmir and accelerated the process of Islamisation of Kashmir. Mir Syed Hussain Simnani came to the Valley of Kashmir from a place called “Simnan” in Iran. He traces his genealogy to the Prophet of Islam (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) through his grandson Syeduna Imam Hussain (radiallahu tala anhu), he being 16th in direct descent from Hazrat Ali (Karam Allah Wajhu). He was the cousin of Ameer e Kabeer Mir Syed Ali Hamdani and younger brother of Syed Taj ud Din Hamdani (Nowhatta Srinagar). Mir Syed Ali Hamdani had deputed Syed Hussain Simnani and Syed Taj ud Din Hamdani to take stock of the situation in Kashmir in the reign of Sultan Shahab ud din. So both of them entered the Valley and began to preach. Sultan Shahab ud din became a follower of Syed Hussain Simnani and because of the King’s concurrence, the Shah of Hamdan reached Kashmir with a large following. The King and heir apparent, Qutub ud din received him warmly.
Travelling in Kashmir Valley while spreading Islam, Mir Syed Hussain Simnani came to Kulgam and liked a spot on a cliff overlooking the river Veshaw. He made Kulgam his permanent abode and got engaged in a philanthropic mission there. Kulgam was earlier known as “Shampora” which was later on renamed as Kulgam by him. In the transformation of Kashmir into a new phase of its civilization march from Buddhist and Hinduised moorings to an Islamic one, the role of Syed Simnan Sahab can’t be undermined. Salar Sanz- Father of greatest Sufi Saint of Kashmir, Sheikh ul Alam Sheikh Noor ud Din Noorani Wali e Kashmiri had embraced Islam at the hands of Syed Hussain Simnani and was renamed Salar ud din. Even his marriage with ‘Sidrah’ (Alamdar e Kashmir’s mother) also took place because of the efforts of Syed Simnan. Alamdar e Mulk e Kashmir calls Mir Syed Hussain Simnani as the spiritual guide of his father. Mir Syed Hussain Simnani holds the title of Governor e Mulk e Kashmir. Chroniclers have also mentioned him as Syed u Sadaat (Head of all the heads of Kashmir).
Syed Hussain Simnani left on 11th Shaban 792 A.H and was buried at the very spot which he had found fascinating. Syed Meer Hyder Mubarak e Rehmani is also buried at the same place besides Syed Simnan Sahab. The family of Syed u Sadaat is buried in a nearby Village called “Amun” in Kulgam.
Sufism in Kashmir has roots dating back to Shahi Hamdan, Shahi Simnan and followers of other great orders (Silsilahs) who were in general orthodox in their outlook, adhering to Islamic laws and practices. But in spite of their attempts to maintain high Islamic ideals, Sufism in Kashmir, as elsewhere, did in the end compromise with many of the traditional practices. Popular Islam in Kashmir thus became diluted with foreign elements, and this character it has retained until today. Some Shaitans, in the name of Awliya e Kamleen, even used Sufism as a tool to give a way out to their impious acts. Shame on the faces of such people- those fake peers, their devilish and unislamic acts and their self-made orders (Silsilahs), who in the disguise of Sufism are making fool of the people and profaning it all because of their shaitanic acts.
May Almighty Allah guide us all to the straight path, the path that was enlightened by Ameer e Kabeer Mir Syed Ali Hamdani and his followers, Mir Syed Mohammad Hussain Simnani in particular…..

Sayyid Ali Hamdani was one of the prominent thinkers of
Islam. He expressed noble thoughts to guide others in right path. He was a great scholar in Arabic and Persian too. He was the author of more than one hundred books. He also
established Khanqahs and Kutb Khanas in Kashmir. He not only persuaded the people of Kashmir to come into the fold of Islam, purely on the basis of his spiritual force but also framed a programme on the betterment of moral material and religious condition of their lives.
Key Words:Shah-e-Hamdan, Kanqah, Kashmiris, Spiritual
Force, Moral, Religious, Condition

In the history of Islam, the Sufi saints have played a very important role. While the Muslim conquerors ventured to dominate the world with swords in their hands, the Muslim saints understood the woes of the people and gave the teachings of Islam
to them as a panacea for their deliverance. A healthy society depends on the development of the individual character and in
this direction the services of the mystics were the foremost importance. In the chain of the Sufis of Islam, 1 notice a great personality of the Muslim world who chose to work for the religious and cultural transformation of the life of the people in
Kashmir. Sayyid Ali Hamadani was a Sufi saint, devoted preacher of
Islam, great social reformer, scholar and a philosopher. He fully devoted his life to the propagation of Islamic teachings and
remained busy till to his death (6th Zilhijah, 786 A.H./A.D. 1385)) He was a versatile genius and was one of the most remarkable and luminous personality of the 14th century. His teachings were the essence of religious perfection of faith and
basis of good conduct. Uncorrupted by the court life and unspoiled by wealth and power, he influenced the rank of Muslim
society, improved its tone and helped in the evolution of Muslim mass culture specially in Kashmir. He is called the “Apostle of
Kashmir” on account of his contribution and work in the valley. 2)He commanded great influence and respect among the people because of his unique and simple views regarding religion and
culture. During his stay in Kashmir he found that the number of Muslims in the valley was very small while the majority of populations were Hindus. Non-lslamic Practices were alent in
society and Islam had not made any appreciable headway in the valley., In contravention of the Islamic teachings, Sultan
Qutub-ud-Din (King of Kashmir) had two wives who were sisters. The sayyid disapproved of these Non-lslamic Practices in Kashmir
and in accordance with his advice the Sultan divorced one of his wives and adopted the dress common in the Muslim countries,3) It was under the influence of the Sayid that Sultan Sikandar banned all intoxicants Sati and other evil practices. Religion is a light which enlightens the human conscience and helps a human beings to drink nectar at the fountain head of spiritual perfection. Islam made its way into Kashmir not by forcible conquest but by gradual conversion for which the influx of
foreign adventures from the South and Central Asia had prepared the ground. Bulbul shah a great Sufi of the Suharwardia order
came to Kashmir alongwith one thousand followers in the time of Suhadeva.

During the early period of the Shahmri dynasty a
caravan of Sayyids arrived in Kashmir who laid their imprints on every concernable area of human activity; religion, culture,
politics and economics. The pride of place can be given to Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani consequent upon the advice of his mentor, Sheik Sharaf-ud-Din, he undertook extensive travels. Kashmir also came up on his intenary. Kashmir has inherited a rich cultural and literary legacy which reflects a remarkable union of different
cultural and literacy movements.(5) For a long time Kashmir alongwith Nalanda and Taxilla shared fame as an aimportant seat
of learning and culture in the last here gathered scholars and saints from different parts of Asia to meet and exchange ideas on
fundamentals of religions. At the time of the arrival of
Shah-i-Hamadan, Leldew, a pious woman had already started a movement against the ritualistic and dogma ridden religion. The
fundamentals of her religion were rejection of idolatory, unity of God and practice of yoga. She preached harmony between Hindu Vedantism and Sufism.(6) The people of Kashmir which have had a rich intellectual
heritage respectfully responded to the movement started by Sayyid Ali Hamadani. His personal experience and his message
not only appealed the mind but it touched the heart of the masses especially those who alongwith physical appetite suffered from a
spiritual hunger. He came as a tempest to quench their unfulfilled desires. His philosophy was based on the material of human value.
He had the belief in the divinity of human soul, in the universality of love and in the dynamic power of emotion. The spiritual
exquisiteness and the divine dignity which clothed the personality of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani is explicit by his deeds and thoughts.
He was free from all the prejudices and preferences. He reached to such a pinnacle of reatness that different religious sects owned and adore him. His message of love was unlimited. Through his
religious experience he influenced every conceivable human
activity in Kashmir. In order to proliferate his own experience and transform the character of the people, he established the Khankahs in different parts of Kashmir.(2) This was a unique endevour which had a great influence on the religious life of the people. People used to gather in these Khankah’s for satiating
their spiritual as well as physical hunger. The Khankah was an institution where people came without any discrimination. This
free movement of people into the Khankah helped in breaking the class and caste society. The King and the common man were treated by Mir Sayyid Ali Hamdani with equal reverence.
The book that has had a tremendous influence on the
religiocultural life of Kashmir is Awardi-Fathiya. This piece of superb Islamic literature, is a marvelous legacy which the Amir- -e-Kabir bequeathed to Kashmiri Muslims so that they could cleanse their hearts every now and then by reciting it peacefully,
melodiously and with full belief, by understanding its meanings properly and acting upon its each phrase and thereby safeguard
themselves against sin, ignorance and innovation.8) How extraordinary was Sayyid Ali Hamdani that he made an individual possibility, a collective one by offering a comprehensive and multipurpose secital in Awradi Fathiya to the tradition mongers of Kashmir that time and today.
Chihal Asrar is yet another exclusive and grand work of
Sayyid Mir Ali Hamadani. It is a store house of mystic experiences and is considered as a compendium of his glorious experiences.9) The secret and the spirit that is contained in this grand work is the remedy that was suggested by Sayyid for the number of ills that had corrupted the society of Jammu and Kashmir. According to the Sayyid, peace, tranquility and progress can be ushered in a
ciety if the man decides to realize himself. The process of self affirmation ultimately ends the quarrels, turmoils, turbulation, oppressions and deprivations. This was true at that time and this
is true at this time also.
Sayyid Ali Hamadani possessed vast knowledge, wisdom and understanding. His disciples were practical men, who worked hard to earn their living and at the same time were God-fearing
people, who absorbed themselves in prayers after their daily work. There was no caste system and all were equal. Such an economic order of the society greatly influenced the Hinuds and
they felt attracted towards this social order.10) It is evident that Islam became popular in Kashmir as a mystic order. When the
number of brotherhood increased, then the Sayyid deputed his chief disciples alongwith a batch to different parts of the valley. In this way, a net work of the Sufi brotherhood was spread and these centers became the nucleus of missionary works for spreading
Islam. Shah-e-Hamadan stood for tolerance. He abhorred coercion
in matters of religion. If he won over to Islam tens of thousands of converts, it was by peaceful preaching and thoughtful word which
was supported by the pleasing deed. This trait of Shah-e-Hamdan, which he exhibited in propagating Islam, was markedly present in his disciples whom he stationed in Kashmir. His legacy of tolerance was upheld by his eminent son and successor, Mir
Muhammad Hamadani, who, when Sultan Sikandar’s prime minister, Malik Saif-ud-Din turned hard on his former co-religionists was stopped by him from committing any
excesses. (11) He is reported to have referred him to verse 256 of Surah Al-Baqarah which sets forth the principle.
The new face that Kashmir has worn since that time bears a deep impress of Shah-e-Hamdan. Kashmir infact was reborn to a
new life in the world of Islam and the life of Kashmiri people
absorbed fully the new spirit of Islam. That was preached by Sayyid Ali Hamadani. Kashmiri society got rejuvenated and integrated into the new social order of Islam. For Kashmiris this became the life
model and harbinger of a new era, a transformation from an earlier
corrupt society to a new tradition of Islamic Life. The new social order has sustained, got strengthened and further re-invigorated
by several historical trials that the common people of Kashmir have suffered but borne with patience in the sincere hope that their
deliverance lies in the true teachings of Sayyid Ali Hamadani who preferred the masses for a real free and disciplined life on the
touch-stone of Islam. He made use of the religious tonic for the creation of a new social order. He broke the outer shell of rigidity
and dogma instead of creating a fear, created love of the ultimate reality. He made this love manifest for clearing the social system.
He not only succeeded in the mission but succeeded gloriously in uplifting the religious onditions of the Kashmiris.

G.M.D. Sufi, Dr. Kashir, Vol. I, University of the Punjab, Lahore,
1948, P321
M. Riaz, Dr, -o-Ahwal Amir Kabir Sayyid Ali Hamadani,
Islamabad, 1986, P20.
Aurel Stein, Dr., English Translation of Kalhanas Rajatarangi, Vol.J,
Westminster, 1900, P90.
Nazir Ahmad Shawl, Shah-e-Hamdan, Institute of Kashmir
Studies, Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir, 1988, P170.
Muhammad lqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in
Islam, Lahore, 1962, P73.
Muhibul Hassan, Kashmir Under the Sultans, Lahore, 1982, P.50.
Sayyidah Ashraf Zafar, Sayyid Mir Ali Hamdani, Delhi, 1986, P.44.
Prem Nath Bazaz, History of struggle for freedom in Kashmir,
Delhi, 1954, P49.
10. M Riaz, Dr. Asrar-o- Amir Kabir Sayyid Ali Hamadani,
Islamabad, 1986, P.48.
11. G.M.D. Sufi, Dr. Kashir, Vol. I, University of the Punjab, Lahore,
1948, P.330

Research by :- Dr.Kh.Zahid.Aziz

Assistant professor, department of kashmiryat

University of the punjab, lahore

AbstractKashmir since the establishment of Muslim rule had
remained an important Centre of Sufism. It acquired fame as
Raeshwar (valley of Rishis). Among the sufi saints of Medieval
Kashmir, Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi occupies an important place. He
was a man of international repute for his learning, scholarship
and piety. The present paper throws a brief light on the life and
times of Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi and his literary contribution and
apart from that the paper discusses in detail the role of sufis
particularly Shaikh’s role in the Mughal conquest of Kashmir.

Index Terms– Conquest, Kashmir, Learning, Mughal, Poet,
Shaikh, Sufism,
he history of Sufism in Kashmir is spread over a long period
of time starting from Bulbul Shah to the Sufi poets of
modern age. Kashmir is known as
Reshwaer (Valley of Rishis).
Sufi saints had always been the inspiring people of Kashmir by
their subtle mystical insights. Among the well-known sufi saints
of Kashmir, Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi has been the distinguished
figure not only among his contemporaries but among all the Sufis
of his age. He was displayed with the accomplishments of
learning and the perfect qualities which distinguished him as a
pious man.
1 Modern scholars call him ‘Shaikh-ul-Islam.’2 He
was a man of international reputation for his piety, scholarship
and learning. He had occupied an important place in the history
of Kashmir and during the time Akbar he was given the title
Haji Sani’.3
Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi was the most prominent Sufi saints of
sixteenth century belonging to the Kubarwiya order.
4 The
Kubarwiya order had its remarkable influence on the different
aspects of the life of Kashmiris. People in the various walks of
life used to practice Sufi-value system including
sama as
ascribed by this famous order and work for the betterment of
humanity irrespective of any consideration. haikh Yaqub Sarfi belonged to the Ganai family of
Kashmir. He was born in 928 A.H/ 1521 A.D in Srinagar.
P4F5P His
father’s name was Shaikh Hassan Ganai
P5F6P who belonged to the
Asami clan. The Asami clan traces its descent from Asim, A son
of Caliph Umar (PBUH) and it was because of this he was also
called as Asmi.
زا سفاد عاسم کہ آں نيک خو
بده ابن فاروق اعظم نِکو
گنائی لقب داشت ابن عاصمی
کشاده خدايش در
ِ گنائی است دانا بہ عرف ديار
بہ عثمان گنائی شداد يار غار
و کشمير مثلش کسے بر نخواست
زو صفش مقصر فہوم رسا است
Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi studied under Mulla Aini who came to
Kashmir from Sialkot and the later breathed here the last and is
buried in the graveyard of Shaikh Bahauddin Ganjbaksh. Mulla
Aini was the pupil of the great Mulla Abdur Rahman jami (Jam
is a place in Herat). Mulla Aini, on seeing the intelligence and
scholarly qualities of Shaikh and power to acquire the knowledge
prophesied that Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi would rise to the place of
Jami due to his literary imminence and will acquire the fame as
‘Jami Sani’ (second jami).
P7F8P About which Shaikh Yaqub has
himself given a clue in one of his verse
بعد خسرو بود جامی بلبل باغ سخن
کيست جز صرفی کنوں آں مرغ خوشخواں راعوض
After Mulla Aini, Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi studied under Mulla
Basir Khan Khandbhavani.
P9F10P Thereafter Sarfi Travelled
throughout the world to quench his thirst for acquiring
knowledge. He visited the places like Sialkot, Lahore, Kabul,
Samarqand, Mashhad, Mecca, Medina etc.
Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi became the spiritual successor of the
great master Shaikh Hussain of Khawarizm and acquired honour by performing the pilgrimages to the two great holy places of
Islam (Mecca and Medina) twice in his life.12 He received from
Shaikh Ibn Hajar a license to give instructions in the traditions of
Muhammad (PBUH) and clad in the robes of a Shaikh. He
travelled much and visited most of the Shaikhs of Arabia and
Persia and profited much by his intercourse with them and
received the authority to assume prerogatives of a religious
teacher and spiritual guide and as such he had many disciples
both in Hindustan and Kashmir.13 Shaikh also got benefited by
his intercourse with the famous sufi saint Shaikh Salim Chasti of
Fatehpur Sikri. They both spent a lot of time together during the
time of Hajj which was the last Hajj of Shaikh Salim Chasti.
They both exchanged the views of their respective orders. Sheikh
Salim taught him the teachings of Chasti order and learnt from
him the teachings of Kubarwiya order.14 Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi was
also well versed with the writings of Ibn-ul-Arabi.
Apart from worldly knowledge, Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi was deeply
interested in the spiritual knowledge and for this; he spent a lot of
time in the Khankah of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani in Srinagar.P14F15P In
the Khankah, Mir Syed Ali Hamdani appeared in his dream and
asked him to go to Khawarizm and visit Makhdoom Ali Shaikh
Kamaluddin Hussain Khawarizmi. After this Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi
left for Khawarizm via Sialkot, Lahore and Kabul and presented
himself before Sheikh Khawarizmi. Sheikh Khawarizm was one
of the great sufi saints of Kubarwiya order. He received Sheikh
Yaqub Sarfi with great respect and assigned him the work to
bring wood for the langarkhana of Khankah.P15F16P After some time
Sheikh Khawarizmi gave him the permission to return back to
Kashmir and perform the religious duties and was asked to look
after his parents.P16F17P After some time he revisited Khawarizm for
the second time and from there he went to Meshhad, Khotan,
Mecca and Medina. From Mecca, he received sannad and the
necessary license to give instructions in the traditions of Hadith
from Sheikh ibn Hajjar Makki who was a renowned Sheikh and
the great teacher of Hadith.P17F18P Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi also visited
many of the cities of Hindustan like Ahmedabad, Surat etc.
where he met many of the sufi saints and obtained spiritual
knowledge from them about which he wrote.P18F19P
احمد آباد و بہر گوشہ نگارے ديگر نتواں يافت بايں حسن ديارے ديگر
کارايں خلق ہمہ عاشقی و معشوقی است کس دريں شہر نديدم بکارے ديگر
گرچہ ايں شہر پرازما ہو شان است ولے جز ابوالفتح نخواہيم نگارے ديگر
گرچہ فارغ از يا ريم آں بے پروا حاہ ل کہ شوم مائيل يارے ديگر
It is necessary to mention that apart from Sheikh Salim,
many other Sufis of Hindustan were closely associated with Sarfi
and foremost among them are Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi also
known as Mujaddid Alfi Sani (reformer of the second
millennium). He studied the traditions of Prophet and Tafsir and

also the teachings of Kubarwiya order from Sheikh Yaqub
Shaikh was a great sufi of his age. At the age of just seven,
Shaikh memorized the whole Quran.
P20F21P Abul Fazl also considers
him as the greatest authority on religious matters
P21F22P He was also a
great poet of his age. He himself writes in his
Diwan that he was
just eight years of age when he started writing poetry in
چودر سال ہشتم نہاد دم قدم
زطبعم رواں گشت شعر عجم
Abul Fazl praised him and says that he was well aquanted
with all branches of poetry.
P23F24P He wrote with the pen name of
P24F25P Mulla Abdul Qadir Badauni who was a close associate
of Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi praised him and says that he was among
the great personalities of the age. He was illustrious and relied
upon as an authority on all brancehes of learning which are
treated of in Arabic, such as Quranic commentaries, the
traditions of Prophet and Sufism. He was an authorized religious
P25F26P When Sarfi departed from Lahore to Kashmir, He wrote
a letter to Badauni from the other side of the river Ravi in which
Sheikh writes, “I hope you will not entirely efface the memory of
me from the margin of your heart and that you will adopt the
graceful habit of remembering the absent. If you should have any
need of Kashmiri paper for rough notes and drafts, I hope that
you will inform me of the fact so that I may send you from
Kashmir, the rough copy of my commentaries, the writing of
which can be washed from the paper with water so completely
that no traces of ink will remain, as you yourself have seen.”
On reaching Kashmir, Sheikh wrote another letter to Badauni
which was his last letter to him. In this letter Sheikh wrote, “I
hope that whenever you sit in Nawab Faizi’s apartment of
fragrant grass (
khas khana) on the floor, with its matting cooler
than the breezes of Kashmir, in the midday heat of summer,
drinking the water which, though originally warm, has been
cooled with ice and listening to sublime talk and witty
conversation, you will think of me, the captive of the hardships
of disappointment.”
It is an established fact that Kashmir has never been able to
produce a man, a religious scholar, a sufi saint or a poet who can
equal the place of Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi in History. He possessed a
vast worldly and spiritual knowledge and it was because of this
he is famous as
‘Jami al Kalimat Souri wal Masnavi’.P28F29P
Although, he was not involved in worldly pleasures, yet the
rulers and their nobles had respect for him. They used to listen to
his advises and practice over it.
P29F30P Humaiyun and Akbar had a
wonderful belief on him and conferred distinction on him by

dmitting him to the honour of their society, regarded him with
gracious favour, so that he was held in high estimation and much
honoured. He was generous and open handed beyond anything
that can be imagined of his contemporaries.
The number of literary works by Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi is not
known and neither all of them are available. Some of the famous
works include-
Sawati-ul-Ilham (it is an Arabic taqriz/
introduction to Faizi’s Tafsir-ul-Quran), completed a Khamsa,32
Manasik-i-Hajj,33 Sharah-Sahih al Bukhari34, Kunz-al-Jawahir,
Risala e Azkar.
35 Apart from that Sheikh Yaqub Safri is also
credited with a number of works like
Diwan-i-Sarfi36, Treatises
on the art of composing engimas and also Quatrains (
on the mysticism of sufi with a
Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi occupied an important place in the
political history of Kashmir. He was the pivotal figure behind the
Mughal conquest of Kashmir. In 1557, when Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi
was thirty-five, the Shah Miri dynasty was overthrown by the
Chaks. The Chaks traced their origins to Baltistan. Being from
outside Kashmir, they were not particularly concerned about the
welfare of the people of Kashmir. The Chak rulers persecuted the
Sunni subjects. This caused several Sunni scholars to leave
Kashmir and seek shelter elsewhere.
38 As an important Sunni
leader and scholar, Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi is said to have been a
thorn in the Sultan’s flesh, and therefore, a conspiracy was
plotted to have him killed. When the Shaikh heard about the
conspiracy, he left Kashmir, and went on a long journey that took
him to Samarqand, Iran and then finally to the holy cities of
Mecca and Medina, where he spent several months in the
company of accomplished Islamic scholars, studying various
Quranic commentaries (
tafasir) and the Traditions of the Prophet
hadith). When he finally returned to Kashmir, the political
situation was grim, with the Sunnis labouring under considerable
oppression under Chak rule. Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi tried his best to
normalize the situation but that was never possible under those
circumstances. A royal decree was issued ordering that
callto prayer should be offered in shia manner and the name of
Hazrat Ali should be mentioned. Qazi Musa was killed for not
mentioning the name of Hazrat Ali in the callto prayer (
azan) and
his body was tied to the tail of an elephant and dragged through
the streets of Srinagar. This provoked the Sunnis of the town,
who rose up in protest. In order to put an end to the persecution
of the Sunnis, Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi and a group of his companions

Baba Daud Khaki, Baba Ismail Anchari and Baba Mehdi
Suharwardi went to the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar at
Agra, requesting him to send an army to Kashmir and overthrow
the Chak rule.
39 In their audience with Akbar, Shaikh Yaqub
Sarfi and his companions insisted that after Akbar took over the
administration of Kashmir, he should ensure full freedom of
religion to all its people; That there should be no interference
with local commerce and trade; That no Kashmiri should be
enslaved; That the practice of beggar or compulsory labour be
abolished and that those who had been associated with the Chak
regime should be divested of their powers.
40 Akbar gave his
consent to these conditions, and then dispatched an army under
Mirza Shah Rukh against Chak ruler, in December 1585.
Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi himself accompanied this army. 42 The
Mughal invasion was more a reaction in anger than a seriously
thought-out plan, neither the season was suitable nor was the
internal conditions suitable for launching such an attack. The
leaders of the army had urge to wait for some months till the
roads are cleared of snow and should enter Kashmir through
Bhimber which was relatively a better route but Akber in haste
ordered them to march through the Pakhli route.
43 The Chaks
fought valiantly and defeated the Mughals. Then, in 1586, Akbar
sent a larger army to Kashmir, under Mirza Qasim Khan, which
inflicted a decisive defeat on the Chaks, and Yaqub Shah Chak
was forced to flee to Kishtwar, where he died in 1592. In this
way, the last independent Kashmiri dynasty came to an end, and
Kashmir was made a part of the Mughal Empire.
With the Mughal takeover of Kashmir, some Sunnis are said to
have launched stern reprisals against the Shi’as. Shaikh Yaqub
Sarfi is said to have bitterly protested against this, and is credited
with having made efforts to restore peace and communal
Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi occupies a place of prominence in the
history of Medieval Kashmir. He had acquired international
reputation for his learning, scholarship and piety. He was
displayed with the accomplishments of learning and perfect
qualities that distinguish him as the greatest sufi of his age. He
was the greatest authority of religious matters. He traveled
throughout the world to quench his thirst for knowledge. He was
the author of many sublime and beautiful works including

Khamsa, Commentaries of Quran and Hadith, Treatises,
Quatrains etc. He devoted his life to normalize the sectarian
tensions between the Shias and Sunnis of Kashmir. When the
situation was out of control he himself along with his
companions went to the court of Akbar and assured him of
necessary support for the invasion of Kashmir and when Akbar

dispatched the army Shaikh accompanied and guided them.
Above all Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi was a man for which Kashmir
feels proud. Though he did not left behind his successor because
his only son ‘Muhammad Yousuf’ died in infancy, yet Shaikh
had Khalifas/disciples throughout India and Kashmir like Mir
Muhammad Khalifa, Shah Qasim Hakkani, Arif Billah,
Habibullah Naushahri
44 etc. He died at the age of seventy- five in
1594 AD, in Srinagar. The tomb of Shaik Yaqub Sarfi attracts
visitors and is known as
from:- Sameer Ahmad Sofi
Research Scholar, CAS, Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh

International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Volume 6, Issue 2, February 2016

1 Abdul Qadir Badauni, Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh, Vol. III (tr. W.
Haig), Patna, 1973, p. 200.

2 Peerzada Muhammad Tayyab Hussain Kashmiri, Auliya e
, Nazir Publishers, Lahore, 1988, p. 38
3 Auliya e Kashmir, op. cit., p. 38
4 A.Q.Rafiqi, Sufism in Kashmir from the Fourteenth to the
sixteenth Century
, Bharatiya Publishing House, Delhi, 1984, p.

5Khawaja M. Azam Diddamari, Wakiat-i-Kashmir (Urdu
translation by Hameed Yazdani), Srinagar, 1998, p. 224

6The literal meaning of Ganai is learned man, His family was
since centuries well learned and that is why they came to be
known as Ganai, for details, see, Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi,
Dewan-iSarfi, With an introduction by Mir Habibullah Kamli,
S.P.College Library, Srinagar, (1387 A.H), p. 2.

7 Ibid
8Diddamari, op. cit., p. 224; Dewan-i-Sarfi, op. cit., p.3;
Dewan-i-Sarfi, op. cit., p. 3
10Diddamari, op. cit., p. 224; Dewan-i-Sarfi, op. cit., p.3;
Dewan-i-Sarfi, op. cit., p.3; G.M.D Sufi, Kashir : Being A
History of Kashmir from Earliest Times to Our Own,
p. 360
12 Diddamari, op. cit., p. 224
13 Badauni, Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh, III volumes, Vol. III,
(translated and edited by Sir W. Haig), Academica Asiatica,
Patna, 1973, p. 200

Dewan-i-Sarfi, op. cit., p. 4.
Dewan-i-Sarfi, op. cit., p. 4.
16 Diddamari, op. cit., p. 224; Dewan-i-Sarfi, op. cit.,p. 4.
17 Diddamari, op. cit, p. 225
18 For details see, Dewan-i-Sarfi, op. cit., p. 4.
19 Ibid, p. 5.
Dewan-i-Sarfi, op. cit., p. 5
21 Ibid, p. 3; Diddamari, op. cit., p. 224
22 Abul Fazl, op. cit., Ain –i-Akbari, III Volumes, Vol. I, (tr.
Blochman), Low Price Publications, Calcutta, 2011, p. 191

Dewan-i-Sarfi, op. cit., p. 3
24 Ain-i-Akbari, vol,I, op. cit., p. 651
25 Badauni, op. cit., p. 200
26 Ibid
27 Badauni, Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh, p. 202.
28 Ibid, p. 203
Dewan-i-Sarfi, op. cit., p. 6.
30 Ibid
31 Badauni, op. cit., p. 201.
32 Khamsa is a series of five Masnavis also known as Panj-Gunj
which includes
Masalik ul Akhyar, Wamiq-i-Uzra, LailaMajnun, Makhaz un Nabi and Muqamat Murshid. These five
works were written in imitation of
Khamsa-i-Nizami Jami),
See Badauni, Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh, p. 200 n., Diddamari,
op. cit.,p. 226.

33 Manasik-i-Hajj, It is written in Arabic prose and explains the
rules and regulations of the pilgrimage.

34 It is a Persian commentary in prose on the Sahih-al-Bukhari of
Muhammad bin Ismail Bukhari.

35 This work is devoted to the importance of the Zikr and to the
legality of
36 It is a collection of Ghazals and Ruba’iyat
37 For details see Dewan-i-Sarfi, p. 6
38 Diddamari, op. cit., p. 225
39 Auliya-e-Kashmir, op. cit., p. 39; see also P.N.K.Bamzai, A
History of Kashmir: Political, Social and Cultural,
1962, p. 346

40 P.N.K.Bamzai, Op. Cit., 353
41 Abul Fazl, Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. I, (Blochman), op. cit., p. 479.
42 Abul Fazl. Akbarnama, vol. III, (tr. H. Beveridge), Low price
Publications, delhi, 1939, p. 715

43 Abul Fazl. Akbarnama, vol. III, op. cit., pp. 722-23

images (45)

The shrine of Sheikh Nooruddin Noorani at Chrar-e-Sharief. The shrine was reconstructed after it was destroyed in a protracted stand-off between army and the militants in 1995 summer.

Immigrant Muslim preachers from Central Asia apart, there was a serious Dawah movement at the peak of Sultanate era that immensely contributed in Kashmir’s transition to Islam. It was led by none other than Sheikh Nooruddin Reshi. It worked in the vast space outside the Shehr-e-Kashmir, where from the rulers operated. Most of the top leaders of the immigrant preachers faced issues on account of language and culture and were mostly settled around the city.

But the narrative about the spread of Islam in Kashmir has, by and large, underplayed the indigenous movement. One key factor is that the persona of Sheikh has gradually evolved into that of a super-human around whom many super-natural stories were woven. His poetry was misinterpreted, wrongly projected and disconnected with the era he lived in or the incidents he reacted to. There is an immediate requirement of rediscovering the real Nund Reshi even after six centuries.

In the last few years, two individuals have marked the beginning of this process. Both residents of Chrar-e-Sharief, the town that was the last abode of the Sheikh, the two books have attempted rediscovering the Sheikh who passed through different stages of evolution as Kashmir’s top Islamic preacher and an unparalleled linguist and poet. Assadullah Afaaqi wrote his Hayat-e-Sheikh-ul-Aalam in 2014. Ghulam Nabi Adfar published his Hayat-e-Sheik: Abiyat-e-Sheikh Kay Aaienay Mein in 2017. Self-published, both the books are low in style but high in research. Unlike Adfar’s book, which is a long essay, Afaaqi has lot more to offer.

The books recreate the situation in which the Sheikh lived and explain his leadership and his protracted battle against the Hindu and Muslim clergy, the feudal lords, the immoral bureaucracy and the despotic ruling elite. Had any researcher consulted Sheikh’s poetry and linked it with the politics of the place, Kashmir Sultanate would not look so fascinating and especially Budshah’s towering status might have reduced a few notches, if not more. He described the reign of Sultan Ali Shah and Budshah as Vaunder Raj, a monkey rule. During Ali Shah’s reign, there were some restrictions imposed on Sheikh’s activities, according to Afaaqi. Sheikh has praises Sultan Sikander, instead.

The two books have deconstructed the Sheikh and taken him out of the mythical clouds that shrouded the great revolutionary for centuries together. Sheikh was just not a monk or a sage alone. He was a statesman who had an opinion, rather a strong opinion on the politics as well.

Phal Daer Travith Mal Daer WouwumKal Boudh Khieneam Din Kyah RathSoun Rouf Travith Sartali RouwumKartal Featrim The Gari Meas Dreat

(I am such a foolish guy who sowed dirt and not the grains and spent days and nights for this. I threw away gold and silver and started crying over the loss of brass. Alas, I broke my sword and created a sickle from it!)

While rediscovering the real Sheikh, the two books have attempted clearing certain misconceptions about the person. The key interventions include a serious attempt at evaluating the real year of birth because a lot many historians and hagiographers have given different dates.


Hayat-e-Sheikh-ul-Aalam book on life and works of Sufi saint Sheikh-ul-Aalam.

“After a lot of investigation, historical evidence and rational thinking, I have come to the conclusion that 757 AH (1356 AD) as mentioned by Hazrat Baba Dawood-e-Khaki as his year of birth and 842 AH as his year of demise is correct,” writes Afaaqi. “Because it is within this time frame all the events including his meetings with Lala Arifa, Amir-e-Kabeer, his thirty years of wandering, his meeting with Hazrat Mir Mohammad Hamdani in 814 AH and his arrests in the era of Ali Shah and Budshah fit.” It means Sheikh lived for 85 years and not 67 as most of the “records” tend to suggest.

One major attempt was aimed at establishing the larger reality that Sheikh had not a modest background and was well read because his parents could afford his good education. They have fairly re-created the entire trajectory of the family’s migration from Kishtwar and their employment with various feudal lords. While some of Sheikh’s relatives actually perished in the massacre that Dulchu resorted to during his destructive raid, his two uncles had somehow owned huge estates – one in Daderkote area of south Kashmir and another in Rupwan belt of central Kashmir.

The authors have used Sheikh’s poetry to explain his family background, his childhood and upbringing. One stanza even indicates that Sheikh had even visited a Sanskrit school too. Sheikh was a second generation Muslim and his father Salaruddin had embraced Islam at the hands of Syed Hussain Simnani in Kulgam, not far away from Kheh Jogipora, where the family lived. Simnani was a close relative of Amir-e-Kabir Mir Syed Ali Hamadani who came on an exploratory visit and settled in Kulgam, many years before the arrival of Saadaat hoards from central Asia.


At one point in time, his adversaries – the Muslim Mullas, the Hindu clergy and the government, attempted tarnishing his image by saying that in abject poverty he along with his brothers attempted thievery. It was in response to this that Sheikh has explained his family background, his knowledge and admitted that he was a “refugee” at the home of Pasban, a Sultanate era position of a village Chowkidaar, the same way, Pandav’s had taken refuge in a potters house. The Pasbaan’shouse belonged to Sangram Ganai, his father’s father-in-law on whose death the family migrated from Kheh Jogipora to take care of two little orphans in Qaimoh.

The choice of a bride for Sheikh was also interesting. He married Zahida, at the age of 16 years, a resident of Dadsara (Tral), whose father was Akbaruddin and had two brothers Jamaluddin and Kamaluddin. Between Kheh and Dadsara is a long distance even now and seemingly his in-laws were a well-to-do family. They were blessed with Zoni, the daughter, and Haider, a son.

The two authors have attempted negating the popular story about Lala Arifa encouraging him to get suckled soon after his birth but lack sound arguments to negate the legend. Both of them, however, explain in detail the importance of the ascetic who preached monotheism, was more a priority of Muslim writers throughout and had left a profound impact on the life and evolution of Sheikh as a socio-religious leader. She was around 57 years elder to Sheikh. She was also a wanderer, hated clergy and preached basic puritanical philosophy. Most of the Muslim writers are strongly supporting the idea that she was very close to Islam even if she apparently was not a Muslim.

The first most dramatic development in Sheikh’s life was when he left this world and started shuttling between two caves near Qaimoh. The two books have retrieved the entire poetic exchanges – first between Sheikh and his mother Sadra Bibi, then between him and his sister, then between the couple and finally when Zahida gets both her kids and leaves them in the cave with their father. These exchanges are an incredibly rich part of Kashmiri literature.


Hayat-e-Sheikh book on life and works of Sufi saint Sheikh-ul-Aalam.

The biggest drop-scene of this stage of Sheikh’s life was the death of his children. Unlike Afaaqi Adfar insists the brother-sister died in the cave after Sheikh flung his blanket over them. “Sheikh has himself mentioned that he was of 25 years of age when he was accused (of killing his kids) and in anger, her (wife’s) brother’s petitioned the government and he was summoned,” Adfar writes, albeit without offering a source. “From Islamabad, Kotwal Tazi Bhat was sent for Sheikh’s arrest but when he reached his cave, he threw his uniform away and fell on his feet and became his follower.”

That event changed Zahiba Bibi as well. Since then, she started taking food to her husband in his cave, as and when he was there.

The next major development that transformed Sheikh was his meeting with Amir-e-Kabir Mir Syed Ali Hamadani, during his last visit to Kashmir. Afaaqi believes the meeting at Mattan took place in 786 AH (1384 AD) after which Sheikh spent almost half a year there.

This session has changed Sheikh completely and he started criticizing the very same thing he believed in till he met the Amir.

Aadneh Jungle Khasun Gayem KhamiMeh Zanou Yeh Tcheh Bead IbadatWuchteh Yeh Aaeas Bead BadnamiSareh Aes Kren Ikeah Kath

(Going to jungles was a mistake. I mistook the monasticism as a prayer but it was a big notoriety. I just had to explore one simple thing).

After his meeting with Amir, he was overwhelmed by the feeling of a family and said the forests are for the wildlife. His poetry suggests that he constructed a home as well. Afaaqi even insists that he mended fences with his wife and the follower Zahida Bibi buried in Chrar is actually his wife. The fact is that Sheikh’s meeting with the Amir marked the end of the escapism that dominated Kashmir’s Buddhist and Hindu period and had almost crept in at the very beginning of its conversion to Islam. This was despite the fact that in style, systems and interactions, the Muslim ascetics lacked any possible comparison with their Hindu and Buddhist counterparts.

Afaaqi believes that he has evidence that Mughal, after knowing the mass impact of Sheikh’s preaching on Kashmir society, identified almost 200 locations across Kashmir where Sheikh’s followers were buried. They gave them money and created a class that engaged people in grave-worship. The Reshi culture had actually made a return to Kashmir during Mughal era when, at one point of time, there were almost 12000 such ascetics who had renounced the world and were wandering in the forests. This “political corruption” stopped during the reign of Aurangzeb, however.

Soon Sheikh is busy creating one of the most elaborate systems for the preaching of Islam at Chrar-e-Sharief. With his strong argumentation, logic, oratory and knowledge, Sheikh led some of the biggest names of the era into Islam. The most notable was a Shivite scholar Bum Sadhu, operating from his Bumzu centre, who eventually became Baba Baamuddin, one of the most confidant’s of Sheikh. There was Jia Singh of Kishtwar who became Baba Zainuddin and Awat Rana of Madwan who became Baba Latifuddin, the famous Vedic scholar Kati Pandit who became Baba Qutubbidin. For most of Sheikh’s life, there was a vast network of his confidant’s who worked at designated places within the well-demarcated territories. The entire network was operating more like an organization.


Gutted shrine of Sheikh Noor ud Din, Chrar-e-sharief, in 1995.

Sheikh would take potshots on Hindu clergy based on common sense. “Shiva will not get you his attention by mere calling him. Why you throw so much ghee in the fire, eat it, it will give your energy. If you do not want to eat, give it to somebody who requires it,” one of his couplets says. “You use cow-dung to paste your kitchen walls. You drink cow urine. You love milk, curd and ghee. (But) when it comes to beef, you get scared. Why?” Sheikh was pained by the practice of aged Brahmins’ marrying young girls and then leaving them as young widows or forcing them to commit Sati. Budshah had lifted the ban on Sati and instead created a chain of buildings where the young Hindu widows would live in isolation.

All these activities triggered a bid for revenge by the Hindu clergy. Adfar talks about a serious bid on Sheikh’s life that was spearheaded by Srinagar based Brehman leader Taula Raina – apparently after Bum Sadhu converted. He led a gang of 1200 armed men that moved to Chrar-e-Sharief but it ended in a conversation and their conversion to Islam.

However, the celebrated event was when his antagonists wanted to honeytrap the Sheikh. It has been a medieval tradition practice in most of the subcontinent and was standardized by Kashmir Brahman clergy. They sent a damsel to his durbar. She was the most famous dancer of her time. She fell to his knowledge and character, converted and is known as Hazrat Shang Bibi in Kashmir’s Islamic history. Interestingly, the Sheikh wrote a gazal, Yawan Metch, addressed to this damsel detailing her character and the costs her actions would entail in the life hereafter. This particular composition is completely different from the entire poetry of Sheikh.

Post conversion, Shangh Bibi was part of Sheikh’s female followers and operated in a formal centre at Zalsu. These included Sham Bibi, a resident of Beerwa, whom Afaaqi terms as Kashmir’s first Marsiya Nigarwomen poet. Her elegy of Sheikh is the only detailed description of how the Sheikh looked like. Dehat Bibi and Behat Bibi were the two teachers of the centre.

Sheikh remained highly critical of the Brahmin, the Muslim clergy including the Mulla, the Syed and the Sofi, throughout. He traced their failure to their greed for resource and power and identified their weaknesses in keeping the mosque and temple happy. He was highly critical of the exploitative systems in place that would deprive the peasantry of their hard-earned harvest and the duplicity that was the order of the day.

Kashmir’s standard-bearer saint disliked the traditional Mulla so much that he adopted a dress that was common in the peasantry. Sheikh was never been seen with a turban. He used a Sozni bordered cloth on his head, always carried a walking stick, and had a dense flowing grey beard and long hair. He would usually wear a Pheran, and had Khraw, the wooden sandals, as his footwear. There has never been a mention of a rosary in his hands. He would eat modestly. Records including his own poetry suggest that he had a lot of green vegetables including the forest vegetables, cereals and meat throughout his life.

A good chunk of his poetry is about the neo-Muslim who had not converted by heart. He talks about the fake converts who would line up in the mosques but at whose homes their women would lay prostrate before the idols. By and large, he was referring to a huge chunk of neo-converts as Munafiqeen, a sort of religious hypocrites, who outwardly practices Islam and inwardly concealing their disbelief.

His commentary and the style on the sad state of affairs made people with power against him at all levels. Since the entire power elite was restricted to Srinagar, Sheikh would avoid the city. In his entire life, Adfar writes, he has spent only six months in Mukhta Pakhri in Srinagar. There was a conspiracy to even murder him using palace intrigue but somehow Budshah understood the plot much faster than his advisers thought. The immigrant preachers, some of whom had managed connections in the ruling elite, were increasingly becoming an extension of the power elite were very unhappy with him because he would tell them their Iman was knee-deep and half-baked.

Afaaqi has strongly criticized the Sultans for restricting Sheikh’s activities. They have found no evidence that Budshah attended his funeral though it has been one of the huge funerals of the medieval Kashmir.

During Ali Shah reign (1389-1413 AD), according to Afaaqi, Sheikh strongly reacted to the high-handedness of the neo-convert Saifuddin (originally Suha Butta). “Sheikh was arrested and restrictions were imposed on his movement as mentioned by Jonaraja”. Saifuddin was Ali Shah’s key governor.

In Budshah’s reign, Baba Zainuddin was banished to Tibet. Afaaqi says there is no evidence of his return from the arid region, so far.

When the Sultan undid part of the Sikander’s policies, Afaaqi says Sheikh reacted especially against the liquor permission and official patronage to singing and dancing. “He was arrested,” Afaaqi says. “Hazrat Bahauddin Gunj Bakhsh who was Sheikh’s very close confidant in Srinagar was murdered during a night.”

The other instance is that of a Mecca scholar who arrived in Kashmir during Budshah’s era. Identified as Sayed Saidullah, Afaaqi says he came with a lot of literature to Dubar. Budhah’s official historian also mentions it. Later, in reaction to the killing of a Brahmin hermit, Jonaraja says the Arab was punished: “Sadaula was not killed, owing to king’s kindness, but the king ordered him to ride on an ass with his face towards the tail and to be led about every marketplace, his beard drenched with human urine, his head shaved, every one spitting on him, and his hands tied with the entrails of the dead man.”



Sheikh-ul-Aalam was unhappy with Budshah for most of his life.

Afaaqi has attempted an explanation. He says Sheikh was unhappy with the king for his policies and had sent his confidant Haji Loli on pilgrimage. A resident of Chakoo village in Kulgam, Loli was perhaps the only follower of Sheikh who moved out as far as Mecca and later to Punjab. The idea for sending him there was to petition against the Kashmir king and in that response, Syed Sadullah came with a lot of books which pleased the king. However, he was later disgraced and Afaaqi says it was a conspiracy by the Brahmin clergy.

Interestingly, Loli is also buried in Chrar-e-Sharief. Prior to his return, he had married in Punjab and Allama Iqbal in a letter to his brother, Sheikh Atta Mohammad, on October 15, 1925, has mentioned that his family is the progeny of Haji Loli.

After Sheikh’s demise, Mulla Ahmad, a scholar who wrote the first book about Sheikh, was banished to Pakhli. Soon after, Syed Mohammad Amin Owaisi, a member of the ruling family, was murdered when he reacted to king’s policies, Afaaqi has written.

However, the destiny had something interesting to unfold.After spending 22 years in Kashmir, Mir Muhammad Hamadani, son of Amir decided to return home. Well before that, he took a huge delegation of the political rulers and the preachers to Sheikh’s Zalsu centre where they interacted and finally the Central Asian preacher issued Khat-e-Irshad. It was a declaration – signed by Hamadani, Sheikh and the ruler, that Sheikh is a Wali and would be responsible for spreading Islam.

Since the Sheikh had already sung in praise of his Pir, the Amir, it was just an addition to the status he already had. But it ended, to a large extent, the intrigue that was being manufactured in Srinagar, around power corridors against Kashmir’s most prominent Muslim in history.


Rich in spiritual intellect, Kashmir’s Rishi-Sufis spoke in poetry and parables to highlight the universal human trajectories.

The Kashmir Valley is one of the sacrosanct places for mystics. Historically, it was the bastion of pluralism, which merged the two Indian Oceans of mysticism — Rishimat and Sufism — thus introducing “Rishi-Sufis” as harbingers of mutual respect, understanding, spiritual acceptance and non-violence.

Rich in spiritual intellect, Kashmir’s Rishi-Sufis spoke in poetry and parables to highlight the universal human trajectories. The founder of this Sufi order is believed to be the 14th-century mystic — Sheikh Noor-ud-din Wali — widely known as Nund Rishi. While Muslims revere him as Sheikh-ul-Alam (mentor of all), Hindus often call him Sahaj Anand (affectionate soul).

Born in 1377, he was bestowed with mystical moorings right from his childhood days. His foster mother was a female mystic (yogini) popularly known as Lal Ishwari among Hindus and Lal Arifa among Muslims. Holding the newborn Nund Rishi in her lap, she whispered in his ear to feed him with her milk:

“Chai ali chai zaina yali na mandchookh chaina kyazi chukh mandchaan”
(Suckle son, suckle, you didn’t hesitate when you were born, why hesitate now?)

Inspired by the early Kashmiri mystics, he strengthened the Valley’s syncretic culture spreading his messages in the form of verses and poetry. Most verses by Sheikh-ul-Alam or Nund Rishi foster the concept of ishq-e-haqiqi (divine love) and wisal-e-ilahi (divine union), such as these:

Oh God, you are all pervading,
You are the self in our body.
When man’s heart lights up with the flame of love,
Then shall he reach La-Makaan (no-place).
First I forgot myself and yearned after God,
Then I reached La-Makaan (highest mystical state).

Many such verses in Nund Rishi’s poetry build a deeper personal relationship with God and inevitably an innate concern for all his creations — mankind, animals, nature and environment in particular. Therefore, his poetry is popularly known as “Shrukhs” (catholicity of vision). Significantly, environmental protection and preservation of the Valley’s nature from devastation is also the thrust of his verses like this:
Extensively I toured in jungles through kail trees,
The warmth of June touched adversely the delicacy of jasmine,
Distinct are not the pearls to the moisture,
Mere touch shall damage delicacy of diamond,
Sooner the flame of tulips shall extinguish,
The evening occasions but the drowsiness of slumber.

Sheikh-ul-Alam left deep spiritual imprint in the teachings of later Rishi-Sufis like Hamza Makhdoom also known as Mehboob-ul-Alam (loved by all), Shamas Faqir, the celebrated Kashmiri Sufi poet and Resh Mir Sahib, a prolific Sufi scholar called the “last giant of the Rishi-Sufism”.

Rishi-Sufis focused not only on spiritual pursuits but also social, economic and cultural development of the Kashmir Valley. In fact, they brought the various crafts and industries from Persia, like the famous pashmina, the textiles woven in Kashmir. Today’s Valley is in quest for the very lost cultural heritage.

Shared by : Ghulam Rasool dehalwi


In a verses of the compilation, Virdul Mureedeen, Baba Dawood Khaki, writer of this qaseeda (poem), says; it  is  having more than 360 verses like pearls, in praise of his mentor and guide Hazrat Makhdoom Sahib RA.which  has become a rosary of  pearls for the sufi saint, the recitation of which he assures shall add grace to  disciples  and can help a long way in achieving  their aims. The compilation describes the dynamism, mysticism, miracles, commands, teaching, knowledge power and spirituality of  his pir-o-murshad, Hazrat Sultanul aarifeen. RA. The compilation by the learned disciple of Hazrat Makhdoom Sahib RA,has been done taking into consideration the sayings, teachings and quotations of earlier prophets (Anmbiyas) – Mosses, Jesus Christ, Prophet MohammadPBUH, Companions of ProphetPBUH  and his family including Hazrat Ayesha RA, Hazrat Hazrat Ali RA,Ahlibyat RA Hassanain brothers RA, Imam Jaffer Sadiq RA, Abu Zar Gaffari RA , special  mention of the pre-era sufi saints like Sheikh Najjam Din Kubrah RA, Syed Jamal Uddin RA , Syed Jamal din Bukhari RA , Mehmood Pehalwan RA, Hardireshi RA,  Mula  Sheikh Ahmed Chagli RA , Isamil Koul RA  Doulat Raina RA , and  Syed Shamsuddin RA  etc. Various sufi lines the ( Silsilas) viz  Kubravia, Suhraverdia  and  Qadria, special prayers Wazaifs ; various forms of Knowledge super highways  viz, Alim Ludhni and Alim Najoomi , mention of countries like Arabia, Tibet, India including  Kashmir and different villages and places in Kashmir; sayings of prophet (Ahadees)   reflections from Quran etc.
In fact praising the mentor and guide is no way less than ibadah as  Moulana Roomi RA has too praised his guide in Masnavi and his son  and disciple Sultan Walad has praised his father and guide. Virdul mureedeen is in fact a unique scripture of its kind in Persian language as told by Allama Khaki RA that many great and renowned poets of his time were very known figures in the field of poetry yet could not compose such a qaseeda which is within the purview of  religious laws. It contains thoughtful and judicious religious laws, reality, mysticism, stages of mystic initiations, its stages and principals.
It is an interpretation of  quality of saint in light of the meanings of quranic verses and  crux of traditions. It describes the status, position and miracles of his pir murshad hazrat sultanul Aarifeen RA. While compiling the verses of Virdul mureedeen Allaama Khaki RA says that an eulogy in the version falls shorter to describe them all. He claims of having read all the God blessed saints and found  Sultanul AarifeenRA at par with great saints. While enlisting the miracles of the Sultanul Aarifeen RA, Allama KhakiRA believes that an ordinary human being cannot believe the impossible and commendable miracles of Sultanul Aarifeen RA; Allama does not feel disheartened, but gets contented with the example that black hearted Abu Jehal too did not believe the miracles of Prophet PBUH. He advises that do not refuse the excellence of mysticism, thinking about the time and space. Very strongly Allama Khaki  RA reiterates that association and company of a saint, the guide is fruitful while company of a stranger is harmful. He calculates that one sitting with a saint is worth forty and one week’s company of such a  Murshad is worth spending 700 years in dedicated and thoughtful prayers and advises to stop the supererogatory prayer and reply soon the Murshid’s call to get great reward.
He narrates that one who shows kindness, courtesy and sincerity towards the murshad gets benefitted. While seclusion without a guide leads astray. A murshad is like a lighted candle in chandelier of the body. Sultanul Aarifeen RA has been selected a guide and murshad of the people by the mercy of  Allah upon the people. Allama Khaki RA describes a student, who judges the guide or murshad’s Ibadah.
Allama  Khaki RA thanks  Allah  for creation of pleasures in him itself , with the kindness that sympathised the afflicted self and says that the dust of his murshad’s feet proved better than antimony of his eyes and dust of his path  proved better than ambergris to his mind
In the end Allam Baba Dawood khaki advises the reader as
Oh! Reader if you are judicious look to what the speaker said,the proverb”not to see who said” is manifested .
Author is Chief Scientist Div of Surgery and Radiology

Download the book wirdulmurideen with English translation here -> Wirdul Murideen of BabaDawood  Khaki (q) with