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Amir-e- Kabir Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (RA) the saint and his saintly works are integral to ‘K’ narrative of more or less 750 years –mid 14th century onwards. Study of Kashmir from any perspective—historical, socio-cultural, economic would be incomplete without reference to the much revered Amir-e-Kabir. His work and deft approach impacted all aspects of human activity in Kashmir. Irrespective of his ethnicity, his footprints could be seen from Hamadan, across Central Asia—where he lies buried in Khatlan to Kashmir. In Kashmir, his name is associated with a change, which was nothing short of a renaissance.

Amir Kabir’s name reverberated on social networking site a week or two back, as academicians, politicians’ journalists and netizens engaged in a passionate discussion on anthem of Kashmir University. It was pointed out that Amir-e-Kabir did not figure in the anthem, on the basis of his ethnicity being different. It needs to be asked—could a wandering saint of Amir Kabir’s stature stay encaged in narrow confines of ethnicity.  Strange, it might seem in Hamadan, he is hardly a household name as he is in Kashmir, though there are references to him in the literary hub. I should know it, as for over a decade, I worked in hospitals in cities close to Hamadan. Hamadan formed a place; I frequently visited, as some of my friends were posted there in various hospitals.

Amir-e-Kabeer’s period of stay in Kashmir weighed with the impact he had should add lustre to his immense input. The stay is related to be in three phases, comparatively shorter than the stay of his son—Mir Mohammad. On the sheer impact, what better we could have than the light Allama Iqbal throws on it. The way he illuminates it is dazzling:

Jumla ra aa’n shah’e darya asteen

Daad ilm va sanat va tahzib va deen

The couplet makes out that Shah-e-Hamadan with his inclusive approach and oceanic vision provided (to Kashmiris) knowledge, industry, culture and religion…could there be a greater proof that Shah-e-Hamadan identified with the needs of Kashmiris in multiple spheres and contributed liberally. He mingled with Kashmir to the extent of becoming an everlasting part of the vale, as Allama Iqbal makes out in the couplet preceding the one noted above:

Syed-e-aa’n Kishwar menu nazir

Mir va darwesh va salatin ra misheer

Syed of the country a la paradise

Guide of nobles, the saints, the sultans

Allama Iqbal glues him to the paradise of Kashmir.  It worked to Mirs’ (nobles) darweshs’ (saints) and sultans consulting Shah-e-Hamadan for guidance. It is related that Sultan Shuhab-ud-Din Shahmiri (1354-1373 A.D) sought his audience.

Allama Iqbal in his masterly Kashmir related Persian poem captioned ‘Ziyarat e Amir-e-Kabir Mir Syed Ali Hamdani va Mulla Tahir Ghani Kashmiri’ imagines a Kashmir conference by the side of Hauz-e-Kauser, a well in the paradise. The poem forms a part of ‘Javid Nama’ a poetic treatise on flight of imagination, as Iqbal with his mentor Maulana Rumi sets on heavenly trail. Iqbal is seen feverish in anticipation of meeting his friends; a galaxy gathers—Rumi, Iqbal, Mir Syed Ali Hamdani and Ghani Kashmiri to dwell in ‘K’ related issues.  Rumi calms Allama by advising him to get over his anxieties.

Guft Rumi unche mee ayad nigar

Dil ma’dah ba unche be’guzasht pisar

Rumi says whatever you may get to see

Whatever passed, lose not your heart, son

Rumi further asks Iqbal to listen to Tahir Ghani’s tunes:

Shair’e rangeen nawa Tahir Ghani

Fukur’ou batin ghani zahir ghani

Tahir Ghani is introduced as a colourful poet, who lived a life of penury, yet his penury has a ring of richness, outwardly and inwardly too he is rich. The richness in the poetic tone shows Tahir Ghani’s state of contentment. Ghani is thus at peace with himself.  Rumi wants Iqbal to imbibe the state of peace, so that his state of restlessness over what is happening to Kashmir is set to rest. The prevailing scenario may not upset him, seems to be the advisory note of Iqbal’s mentor—Peer-e-Rumi.   Ghani’s tunes are registered, so is the presence of high bred Syed (read Amir-e-Kabir). He is introduced as a Syed of Syeds (Syed-ul-Sadat) and a leader of Iran (Salar-e-Ajam), who shapes destiny of nations (Mamar’e’Taqdeer’e’Umam: read Kashmir):

Syed-ul-Sadat’ Salar-e-Ajam

Daast ou mammar’e’taqdeer’e’umam

Allama’s statement is elaborate on Syed of Syed’s shaping the destiny of Kashmir and becoming an integral part of ‘K’ narrative. And, the poet traces his impeccable pedigree:

Ta Ghazali dars’e Allah’ho girift

Zikr va fikr az doodh’maan’e ou girift

Ghazali, relates Iqbal, until he grasped the essence of faith in one and only God had to rely on ancestors of Amir-e-Kabir to impart the all-important lesson. Imam Ghazali (1058-1112 A.D) who lived three centuries before Shah-e-Hamadan was the student of his ancestors. Ghazali’s stress on faith taking precedence over logic and reason is an important chapter in Islamic literary stream. It might be added though Ghazali in his dissent on Greek thought of primacy of logic and reason stressed on faith having its own logic.

The impeccable pedigree in Islamic realm, the immense impact on ‘K’ narrative makes it preposterous to even imagine that Ami-e-Kabir does not belong to Kashmir a la Tahir Ghani Kashmiri, irrespective of their Persian ethnicity. ‘K’ narrative owns him as much as it owns Kashmir being the citadel of Buddhism of yore hosting international conventions on Buddhist thought.

Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]

Dr. Javaid Iqbal

(Author is doctor in medicine, a social activist, and a senior columnist)

 

 

 

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Hazrat Sayyidah Fatimah az-Zahra (ALAIH SALAM)

Posted: June 20, 2017 by kashmirsufis in Ahlul bayah

The princess of women, Sayyidatina Fatimah Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) was, according to the statements of all the chief ‘Ulema, the most beloved of the children of the Holy Prophet of latter times (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam), and was by her superior nobility of mind and excellent qualities distinguished above all her brothers and sisters. It is recorded in the Kasheful-Ghummah that Ibn Khisab has, in his chronicle of the births and deaths of the members of the family of the prince of existences, stated, with the proper authorities taken from Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin ‘Ali al-Baqir, etc.—that the birth of Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) took place five years after the announcement of prophecy and the descent of revelation, and that she departed from this world at the age of eighteen years and seventy-five days; but according to another tradition, ended was her noble life at the age of eighteen years, one month, and fifteen days. She lived with her father in Makkah for eight years, and she went to Madinah with the Rasul of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) and dwelt with him there ten years, and she was then eighteen years old. She lived with the Commander of the Faithful, Hazrat Ali bin Abi Taleb (Karram Allah Wajhah) seventy five days after the death of her blessed father (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam), but according to another tradition, forty days. In theTanfyh of Ibn Jawzy it is stated that the birth of Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) took place five years before the Mission, and in the Rawdzat al-Ahbab two traditions are recorded on this subject, the first whereof agrees with that of the Tanfyh, but the second is to the effect that this luminary sphere of prophecy arose from the horizon of nativity in the forty-first year after the catastrophe of the elephant. In the just-mentioned work it is also narrated that the decease of Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) took place during the night of Tuesday, the third day of the month of Ramadhan, which happened six, and according to others three, months after the death of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam). On account of the two traditions of Sayyidah Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) that noble lady must have reached the age of twenty-eight or of twenty-two years; but the true knowledge is with Allah.

In the Kashaful-Ghummah it is recorded, according to the precedent of those who walk in the paths of the A’immah, that the prince of the righteous (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) had said: “During the night of my ascension, I ate one fresh date of the fruits of the trees of eternity, which was softer than butter and sweeter than honey, and the essence of that date generated seed within my loins. When I [again] alighted on earth I approached Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) and she became pregnant with Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha).” The seal of Ambiya (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) also said: “‘O Khadijah, the faithful spirit of Allah has apprised me that this child will be a daughter. Call her Fatimah, because it is a pure and blessed name.’”

When the time of the delivery of Sayyida Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) was near at hand, she sent for several of her relatives to aid her on that occasion; but as she incurred their displeasure by marrying the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam), they would not comply with her request, so that she was much distressed. Nevertheless, four women, resembling those of the tribe of Bani Hashem, suddenly made their appearance, and Khadijah was afraid of them. One of them, however said: “Fear not, for Allah the Most High has sent us to you. We are your visitors. I am Sarah; this is Maryam, the daughter of Imran; the third is Kalthum, the sister of Musa; and the fourth is Asiah, the wife of Pharaoh. They will be your companions in Paradise” Then one of these women sat down on the right and another on the left of Sayyidah Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha), the third in her front, and thefourth in her rear until Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) was born. When this took place a light shone from that infant of laudable end, which encircled the houses of Makkah from the east and west, so that there was no spot in any house which was not illuminated by that light:

Distich: The light of prosperity shone, Making my heart to gladness prone.

In the above-named work, it is also recorded that the Lord and Bestower of all gifts sent ten Huris from the uppermost paradise into the apartment of the pure Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha), each of whom brought a basin and a pitcher full of water from the Kawthar. Then the woman sitting in front of Sayyidah Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) took hold of Fatimah and washed her with that water from paradise, and afterwards she brought forth white and extremely fragrant swaddling clothes in which she wrapped the infant; then she drew a similar cloth over the child’s head by the way of a coif, and said: “Take her, Khadijah. Give way to no apprehensions, for blessing is in her and in her progeny.” Then the other women congratulated Sayyidah Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) and departed, whilst she embraced Fatimah with great joy and happiness. When the lord of prophecy (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) entered, he took the darling child into his arms, called her Fatimah, and surnamed her Umm Muhammad, but her sobriquets are numerous, such as, the blessed, the pure, the innocent, the pleasing, the pleased, the orthodox, the Vestal, and Zahra (flower).

It is related by the El-Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (Radhi Allahu ‘Anhu) that his holy and prophetic lordship (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) asked Sayyidah Fatimah one day whether she knew why she was called by that name, and Sayyidina Ali Amir ul-Mu’mineen (Karram Allah Wajhah) having thereon also asked for the reason, his lordship replied: “Because she delivered her soul from fire.” It is related that Hayder Karar (one of the names of Sayyidina Ali, Radhi Allahu ‘Anhu) said: “Verily the Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam)  was asked what Betul meant, and he replied: ‘It is a woman who never sees redness; namely, she never menstruates, because menstruation is hateful in the daughters of the Prophets.’” It is related that El-Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu Anhu) having been asked why the princess of women was surnamed Zahra, he replied: “Because Allah had magnified her, and when she arose she illuminated the heavens and the earth with her light, and the eyes of the angels were dazzled, so that they prostrated themselves, worshipping Allah Ta’ala, and saying: ‘O our God and Lord, what is this light?’ Whereon Allah vouchsafed to the the following revelation: ‘This is a light of My Light: I cause it to dwell in My Heaven: I created it from My Greatness; I produced it from my forehead, and from a Nabi more excellent than all the other Ambiya. From that light I shall produce A’immah who will promulgate My Commands, and propagate My Truth, and I shall cause them to be Khalifahs on My earth;’ and here the revelation ceased”

As has been narrated above, the lord of dominion [i.e., Hazrat Ali, Radhi Allahu Anhu] married in the second year of Hijra [A.D. 623] the princess of women, who was on that occasion, according to the tradition of the Imams of the family [of Muhammad, Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam], nine, but according to another statement fourteen, years old. Some even assert that she was twenty years of age.

It is related in the Sohah-Akhbar that when Sayyida Aisha (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) was asked what person that Prophet of Jinn and Men loved most, she replied: “Fatimah.” They said: “Of men?” She (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) replied: “Her husband.” It is likewise related of Siddiqah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) that she said: “I never saw any person resembling Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) more than Fatimah in her countenance, in elegance of speech, in dignity, and in all her motions. Whenever Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) paid a visit to the best of men (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) he rose, kissed her, and made her sit down in his own place. Whenever his lordship the refuge of prophecy (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) came to her house, Sayyidatina Fatimah acted in the same manner. It is also an authentic fact that the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Fatimah is a part of me; whoever injures her injures me, and whoever angers her angers me.” According to some traditions, he also said: “Allah gets angry when Fatimah gets angry.”

It is related of Thauban, the freed man of the prophet of the last times, that he said: “When the best of men started on a journey, the last person of whom he took leave was Fatimah az-Zahra, and when he returned the first person whom he met was Betul.”

It is related in many respectable historical works that when Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) was struck by the calamity of losing her father, the best of men, she wept and lamented so much from morning till evening that she distressed the inhabitants of Madinah, who sent her the following message: “O daughter of the Nabi of Allah, if you weep during the day, take rest in the night, that way we may also have peace; and if you weep in the night, be silent during the day, and we shall likewise obtain repose.”

It is related of the Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) that he said: “There are five weepers in the world: Firstly Adam (Alayhis-Salaam), who cried so much after his expulsion from Paradise that two rivers [of tears] were flowing on his face. Secondly, Ya’qub (Alayhis-Salaam), who wept so much on account of his separation from Yusuf (Alayhis-Salaam) that he became blind. Thirdly, Yusuf (Alayhis-Salaam) who deplored in prison his separation from Ya’qub to such a degree that all the captives were distressed. Fourthly, Fatimah (alayhas-Sallam) who wept so much after the death of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) that the inhabitants of Madinah sent her the following message: “O darling of the lord of existences, you have indeed distressed us by your fervent lamentations.” Then Betul Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) betook herself at least to the cemetery of the martyrs, and wept there. Fifthly, the fourth Emam, who was constantly shedding tears on account of the calamity of Karbala, so that his attendants could never place any food before him without its being moistened by the water of his eyes.” It is related of Muhammad al-Baqir the Imam of exalted memory that he said: “After the decease of his holy and prophetic lordship, no one ever saw Fatimah laugh till her very dying day.” It is related that Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) called in her last malady for Solmy the freed woman of the lord Mustafa, and said: “Bring me some water for ablution.” Solmy narrates: “After she had washed herself so beautifully as I had never seen anyone doing it so well, she asked for clean garments and donned them. Then she ordered me to spread out her couch, whereon she reclined, turned h her right side to the Qiblah, and, placing her right hand beneath her face, she said: “Solmy, I shall at this moment depart from the abode of perishableness to the mansions of eternity, and I have washed myself that no one may undress me.” When she had uttered these words, her spirit took flight to the upper regions.” Shortly afterwards, Sayyidina Ali Commander of the Faithful (Karram Allah Wajhah) entered, and, witnessing the scene, poured forth tears from the clouds of his eyes. This event is, according to the Rauzatul-Ahbab, described in the same manner by Muhammad bin Sa’d and the amanuensis in his Tabaqat; but if it be true, it must be considered as one of the peculiarities of Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha), because it is against the commandments of the doctors of the Law [to omit the ablution of a corpse]. NOTE: The reader should know that Hazrat Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) was not like ordinary Muslim ladies.

In the Kashaful-Ghummah, it is related that Betul Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) when she was near her death, called Asma the daughter of Omys, and said:  “Asma, one day Jibreel (Alayhis-Salaam) paid a visit to my father when he was sick, and brought him some camphor of paradise for Hanutt. My father divided it into  three parts. Keeping one for himself and giving the other two to me, he said: ‘Preserve the one share for yourself, and the other for Ali Murtaza.’ Asma, that camphor,  which weighs forty mithqals, I have laid by in a certain place. The twenty mithqals which belong to me you are to put near my head; but give the other twenty to the  lord Ali Murtaza.” When Asma had done this, Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) said: “Go out and leave me alone. Call out my name after a short time; if I answer, it  is all well and good; but if I remain silent, be aware that I have departed to my noble father.” Asma obeyed, and shortly afterwards, called out: “O daughter of  Muhammad the Elect!” but received no answer. She therefore again entered the apartment, and removing the veil from the countenance of the princess of women, she  perceived that her soul had departed from the abode of grief to the palace of joy. Then she prostrated herself, approached, and kissed her, saying: “O Betul, when you  arrive in the paradise of your father, convey him my greeting and petition.” On that occasion the lord and Imam Hasan entered with the Imam Husayn (Radhi Allahu  Ta’ala Anhuma) and asked: “Asma, is our mother asleep?” Asma replied: “Your mother is not asleep, but has departed to the proximity of the Mercy of the Lord of lords.” Hereon both commenced to week and to lament, and proceeded to the Masjid of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) for the purpose of informing Sayyidina Ali Murtaza (Karram Allah Wajhah) of the event. When they had reached the proximity of that blessed locality their voices of lamentation became very loud, so that some of the Holy  Companions (Radhi Allahu Anhum) who were sitting there with Sayyidina Ali (Karram Allah Wajhah) exclaimed: “What makes you cry, O [grand] sons of the Nabi of  Allah? Allah forfend that you should weep!” Then they related what had taken place, and the Lion of Attack (Karram Allah Wajhah) was so overpowered by grief that  he fell prostrate on his face and uttered the following words: “O daughter of the Nabi of Allah, after his lordship’s death, you were my consolation; but who will calm  the pain of endless separation and of infinite exile when you are no more?” Then he pronounced the following distichs:

Each meeting of two friends has an end

Every grief is slight, except separation;

If I have lost Fatimah after Ahmad,

It is a sign that no friend remains.

Then the king and refuge of wilayat [i.e., Ali] hastened to the apartment of Taherah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha), and ordered Asma to wash and shroud the princess of the women of both worlds, and interred her body to the Baqyi cemetery. The author of Kashaful-Ghummah says: “Ibn Babutah(Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anhu) reports the matter as follows, and I consider him to be correct: She was buried in her own house, but when the [graves of the] Bani Umayya increased in the mosque her body was [likewise] interred in the same, and in what I have reported I have only stated what is know and generally believed by the people, by historians and biographers, that, as stated above, she had been interred in al-Baqi cemetery.”

It is related in the Rauza-tul-Ahbab that according to one tradition Hazrat Ali Murtaza (Karram Allah Wajhah), and according to another Sayyidina Abbas (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anhu), prayed over the corpse of Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha). The next day, the two Sheikhs (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhuma) and all the companions of the best of men, reproached Hayder [The Lion, i.e., Ali] the Commander of the Faithful, saying: “Why have you not informed us, that, by being present at the honor of the prayers over Fatimah, we might ourselves have been honored?” But the king of the dominion answered: “I have acted thus by her own injunction.”

In the Rauzat-ush-Shahda [Mausoleum of Martyrs] it is recorded that according to the tradition of the Ahlul-Bayt [members of the family] the death of Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha), the daughter of the prince of existences, took place on Tuesday, the third day of the blessed month of Ramadhan, in the eleventh year of the Hijra [A.D. 632], and that she was buried in the Rauzat-Maqadasat [sacred mausoleum].

The author of the present work states that some who wrote down the traditions concerning the members of the family assert that Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) died seventy-five days after the prince of mortals; others, however, say forty days. The Kashaful-Ghumma has a tradition from the Dhariat-Taharat, the author of which is Dullaby, that al-Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) lived three months after the decease of the Mustafa (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) and the number of days given by the Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir is ninety-five. None of the traditions, however, imply that this great calamity had taken place on the third day of the blessed month Ramadhan, because in reality the death of the daughter of the prince of existences took place at the end of Safar, or in the beginning of Rabi anterior in the same year; the [true] knowledge, however, is with Allah, who is to be adored.

In the Tanfyh of Ibn Jawzy, it is recorded that Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) had four children, children, namely, the Imams Hasan and Husayn, Zaynab, and Umm Kulthum. Zaynab was married to Abdullah bin Ja’far Tayyar (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) and gave birth to two sons, Ubaydullah and Awun. Faruq the greater [i.e., the Khalif Umar] (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anhu) espoused Umm Kulthum during his own reign, and begat with her a son, Zayd by name. After the demise of Umar the Commander of the Faithful (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anhu) Awun bin Ja’far married her, and after he had also died Muhammad bin Ja’far married her, and had a daughter by her. When Muhammad had likewise departed to the eternal world, Abdullah bin Ja’far married Umm Kulthum and she died in his house.

 

 

 

Urs of Sheikh Dawood (RA), an annual event of significance falls in the month of Rajab in Hijri lunar calendar. It is highly placed in the chain of events that mark the reverence in which Kashmiris hold their Sufi saints. Known as Resh-we’r (abode of Rishis) Kashmir from north to south is dotted with mausoleums of imminent Sufi saints. Their Urs—annual commemoration dots the calendar and is remembered by high and low, literate and illiterate, even house wives otherwise busy in daily chores keep track.

 

At the very top is Urs-e-Nabi (pbuh) in Rabi-ul-Awal followed by Urs Dastageer Saab, Urs Makhdoom Saab, Urs Naqshbandi Saab, and the Urs of the patron of Kashmir Sufi saints—Sheikh Noor-un-Din Noorani (RA). There are others in various corridors—Baba Shukur-ud-Din Saab atop a hillock overlooking Wular Lake, Baba Reshi Saab uphill on the road to Gulmarg, Hussain Mantaki Saab on national highway, Zain Shah Saab on the way to picturesque Phalgam. The name—Resh we’r is thus well earned.

In Resh-we’r, Rishis had spiritual guides (Murshid) following the tradition; Sheikh Dawood (RA) was guided by Hazrat Ad’Rishi (RA) as recorded in Tarikh-e-Kabir.  However initially he sought a teacher—Kh. Yusuf Katju, who ultimately led him to his spiritual guide. Murshid of Ad’Rishi (RA) was Hazrat Baba Hardh’e Reshi (Resh-e-mool of Islamabad) whose Murshid was Hazrat Hamza Makhdoom (RA). Makhdoom Saab carries the distinction of being guided by Hazrat Jamal-ud-Din Bukhari (RA). In the Sufi realm, the belief holds that Hazrat Jamal-ud-Din Bukhari (RA) was appointed to train Sultan-al-Arifeen by the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Sheikh Dawood (RA) thus followed a significant Sufi trail.

In an outer locality of capital city, Srinagar, is the mausoleum of Sheikh Dawood (RA). The locality is named after the saint—Batmaloo, a combine of inner settlements (Mohallas’ in vernacular). Before the advent of the saint the locality was called Wud’yar’wun, a part of Ramalna Pargana (agricultural division). The revered saint-Sheikh Dawood (RA) earned his alias Bat’e’mool/Bat’h’mool on two varied counts. One, he was believed to have been a great protector of Battas’ (Kashmiri Pundits) hence was called Bat’e’mool (father or patron of Battas’). Two, he was from a family of agriculturists and would distribute Bat’h (rice) to every passer-by, and as nature would have it, never ever was shortage encountered. Hence, he earned the alias Bat’h’mool ( provider of rice).

It is recorded in Tarikh-e-Kabir that Sheikh Dawood (RA) belonged to a family of agriculturists. He was son of Sheikh Shingl’e Bhat. Originally a pandit, Shingl’e Bhat embraced Islam. He was a rich agriculturist; Sheikh Dawood (RA) inherited agricultural holdings.  Besides pursuit of spiritual knowledge remained his forte. It is related that even though he was Ummi (illiterate) as far as worldly knowledge goes, he was otherwise well-versed in spiritual knowledge. Called Ilm-e-Ludni (inner knowledge) it reveals secrets of the self, a realm of knowledge, rishi’s of Kashmir and Sufi saints were well versed with. And acquiring the knowledge and providing guidance to masses led to spiritual richness of Kashmir. Sheikh Dawood (RA) holds a significant contribution in spiritual enlightening of Kashmir.

Vis-e-vis the alias–Bat’h’mool, Tarikh-e-Hasan, a Persian chronicle of Kashmir’s history records (volume: 3, page: 358) that Bat’h’mool would prepare soft form of rice (Wugr’e in Kashmiri) in what in vernacular is called (Daigh—a big utensil). He would keep it on the bridge in the locality he lived in, and ask every hungry passer-by to take it. It would be served with (Saag: Green leafy vegetable) and (Lassi: butter-milk). For his endearing endeavour, he was called Bat’h’mool. And, this is the name, he is remembered with. Tarikh-e-Kabir records that he served meals to hungry during famine.

Tarikh-e-Hasan also records his patronage of Kashmiri pandits. As Bat’e’mool (patron of pandits) he is revered for his  cosmopolitan approach and inter-faith understanding. He shared the much needed trait with other Sufi saints of Kashmir. High degree of tolerance and inter-faith understanding has been a common vein of Sufi saints. Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani (RA) and Lal Ded institutionalized it; their poetic notes censor religious bigotry. Bat’e’mool took it to extremes by standing-up as their protector.

Historical narratives concur that he left for his heavenly abode on 21st of Rajab as per Hijri calendar, the year being 1070 A.H. It coincides with Baisakh, which heralds the spring, harbinger of agricultural season. While the Urs is dated on 24th of lunar month, prayer starts three days before on 21st of Rajab, and continue three days after the date of Urs. During these days devotees refrain from touching meat products in deference to the saint, who lived on frugal vegetarian diet. It is related that Urs became a routine after Governor Abdullah Khan issued instructions.

Sheikh Dawood (RA) lies buried in the dwelling; he lived in, with his family and disciples.  In the dwelling, he had constructed a mosque, a khanqah (Sufi dwelling—a place of prayer) and a pond in his lifetime. His name and fame spread and ultimately the locality he lived in, and where his mausoleum is located bore his name.  The name survives over last four centuries.

Tarik-e-Kabir carries the poetic note of his death:

Saal Tarikh Wafatesh Hatfi

Daad’h Ilhami Mara Az Bahr’Unn

Sheikh Momin Ba’Sur Ikhlas Guft,

Bat’h’mool Kard Mawe Dur Jinan

The narrator conveyed on his death

What an inner-voice revealed about him

Said the sacred Sheikh said with reverence

Bat’h’mool’s chosen abode is paradise!

Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]

(Author is doctor in medicine, a social activist, and a senior columnist)y

It is a rare spectacle of faith and fire that lit the hillock leading to the shrine of 15th century Kashmiri Sufi saint Zainuddin Wali, in this otherwise sleepy hamlet of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

 

Every year on the Urs (death anniversary) of Zainuddin, whose following cuts across religious and sectoral denominations, dozens of devotees carrying ‘mashals’ (fire torches) line up the zig-zag hilly track leading to his Shrine.

 

Villagers light earthen oil-lamps at their doorsteps to commemorate the Urs. Faith and fire rarely make a spectacle like the one seen here on Thursday night.

 

People from dozens of neighbouring villages and other places of the valley travelled to seek the saint’s blessings.

 

Many devotees had come to untie the votive knots tied at the shrine to seek fulfillment of prayers.

 

Each thread tied on the wooden windows or iron grill or railing of the shrine is for seeking blessings for the fulfillment of a desire.

 

Once a wish is fulfilled, a devotee returns to the shrine to untie the knots and offer obeisance at the shrine.

 

Zainuddin Wali was one of the principal disciples of Kashmir’s patron saint, Sheikh Nuruddin Wali, whose shrine is located in Charar-e-Sharief town of central Kashmir’s Badgam district.

 

Son of a Hindu ruler of the Kishtwar area in the Chenab Valley of Jammu and Kashmir, Zainuddin’s Hindu name was Zia Singh.

 

Historical records indicate the boy was constantly unwell, causing huge worries to his parents. One day, Sheikh Nuruddin Wali, during his travels through the length and breadth of Kashmir, came to Kishtwar.

 

The parents sought his blessings for the good health of their ailing son. Nurruddin Wali took a pledge from the parents that once fully cured, they would devote their son to the path of righteousness and piety.

 

 

A view from the annual urs.

In fulfillment of her pledge, the mother carried Zia Singh to Aishmuqam, where Nurruddin Wali was staying that time. It was here that Zia Singh embraced Islam and accepted the Sufi way of tolerance, love and compassion for every human being.

 

Folklore has it that under directions from his mentor, Zainuddin Wali retired to a cave in this village for prayer and meditation.

 

Finding the cave full of poisonous snakes, he carried them on a club gifted to him by his master, to a place far away from the cave so that they did not harm the devotees in future.

 

The saint is believed to have passed away inside the cave where his mortal remains are laid to rest.

 

Violence during the last 25 years has destroyed many institutions and turned beliefs and ideas upside down in trouble-torn Kashmir.

 

The mighty winds of violence, though, have not succeeded in eroding or shaking the basic edifice of Sufist Islam as it came to Kashmir 600 years ago.

He was instrumental in reforming hundreds and thousands of Muslims.
Bashir Ahmad Dar

 

Among the most venerated Sufis of Kashmir, Shiekh Hamza Makhdoom occupies a conspicuous position. In fact Sheikh Hamza is regarded next to Sheikh Nuruddin Rishi only, who is considered as the leader of the spiritual domain in the state. If Sheikh Nuruddin is revered as Shiekh ul Alam, Shiekh Hamza is remembered as Mehboob ul Alam. Whereas the former is known as Alamdar i Kashmir, the latter is called as Sultan ul Arifeen. The locals as well as the foreigners have regarded these two Sufis as the leading spiritual leaders of the state. It may be of interest to note here that it was most probably the reason that prompted the Afghan governor, Atta Muhammad Khan to mint the coins in the name of these two sons of soil.

Baba Daud Khaki mentions an anecdote in Dasturul Salikeen narrated by his Murshid that Allah had been gracious enough to bestow two attributes to him in the very infant stage – one was that whenever a saint or a virtuous person would visit their house, he would cling to him leaving aside all childish affairs. Second one was that he would never lie. Once, while going to Madrassa, he, on the way, observing children engaged in play joined them. This resulted him in bunking off school for the day. On his return he was quizzed by his father about his engagements and though fully knowing the consequences of replying the truth, the child informed the father of his actual engagement (play). The father beat the son (Sheikh Hamza) to pulp so much so that he got bed ridden.  It was during this illness that he made up his mind to go for schooling at Srinagar. After schooling and spiritual initiation he was destined to become the leading Sufi of the state. The Sufi came to be known as Mehboobul Alam, Sutanul Arifeen  Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom(R.A)

Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom was originally a follower of Kubrawi tradition. He, in his early childhood learnt at the feet of his father. Later on, on his migration to Srinagar, he was tutored by Shaikh Fathaullh, the son of Shaikh Isamil Kubrawi who had established Daru Shifa near Kohi Maraan. Akhund Mulla Lutufullah was also one of his teachers. Then he moved to the Khanqah of Shams Chak. He learnt the Quran, fiqh, Hadith, allied science, Suifstic traditions and was also conversant with some works of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamdani. He got initiation to the Suharwardi Silsilah at the hands of Sayyid Jallaud Din (1308-84) of Uchh, popularly known as Makhdum Jahaniyan-i-Jahan Gasht.

Right from his childhood up to attaining the status of a Sufi, he was all through virtuous, and dedicated his life to the cause of Islam. He was instrumental in reforming hundreds and thousands of Muslims. He offered the nectar of Maurfat to all those who thronged his spiritual abode. It was at his hands that a number of his disciples were raised to the prominence in the Sufistic circles.  These include the illustrious Sufis Sheikh Daud Khaki, Mir Hyder Tulmuli, Khawaj Hasan Qari, Khawaja Ishaq Qari, Mulla Ahmad Chagli, Moulana Jami, Feroz Ganai, Mohammad Ali Raina, Baba Hardi Rishi, Mir Mohammad Afzal, Bayezid Shumnagi, Shaikh Roopa Rishi.

He toured the nook and corner of the valley and being a son of the soil succeeded in establishing intimate contact with the people. He insisted on the Sunnah being adhered to and the myths and legends to be discarded. The construction of mosques at a number of places particularly where the people dreaded ghosts and had ascribed myths may be regarded as a part of his campaign in furthering the cause of Islam. Hundreds of poor, destitute and hungry were fed in the Langar (hospice) established by the saint at Kohi Maran. It was Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom(R.A) who served as a meeting ground for the Rishis and Suharwardi saints.  His influence extended to the Rishi movement as he enrolled some Rishis like Baba Hardi Rishi and Roopa Rishi as his disciple. By paying a visit to the tomb of Shaikh Nur ud Din Rishi (R.A) he extended the influence of the Rishis even to the Suhawardi circles. It proved to be the reason that his disciples have preserved, with veneration, in their hagiographies the activities of the Rishis. According to a contemporary account, Tazkirtul Murshideen by Miram Bazaz, a lesser known disciple of Shaikh Hamza, on his visit to Hardi Rishi (R.A), Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom asked the former to taste food with him. Baba Hardi Rishi (R.A) refused to taste the meat. He is said to have cited the exhortation of Khizr(A.S), Christ(A.S), Moses (A.S), Idris(A.S) and Illyas(A.S) who are said to have been spiritually present on the occasion. Bab Hardi Rishi (R.A) informed the host about the spiritual experience as the reason why he was hesitant to taste meat. Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom(R.A) replied that it was the command of the Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W) that he should share non-vegetarian food with him . In order to dispel the Rishi’s doubt, Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom invoked the help of the Prophet Mohammad(SAW) whose spiritual presence finally caused the Rishi to share the non-vegetarian meal with Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom(R.A), though it was only once in his life to do so. Likewise Khawja Hassan Qari, the illustrious disciple of Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom, narrates an anecdote of Shaikh Hamza thrashing a dervish with a stick who was indulging in Charus, to believe Qari leading to his ‘annihilation’. May be the account is riddled with supernatural events, however the patent objective reality is that it signifies that Shiakh Hamza Makhdoom was very particular about following the Shariah.

The Sheikh breathed his last in 984 Hijra (1585 A.D.). Sultan Ali Shah Chak, the ruler of Kashmir is said to have attended his funeral prayer while it was led by Sheikh Tahir Rafiqi and it included contemporary scholars and Sufis like Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi. As per the instructions of the saint he was laid to rest at Kohi Maran, the centre of spiritual emancipation established by him. Nearly fifteen years after his departure from the worldly abode, Akbar, the Mughal king, built a shrine there which was reconstructed during the Afghan rule by Atta Mohammad Khan around 1821 A.D. As a mark of respect and reverence, Atta Mohammad Khan stuck the coins bearing the names of Sheikh Nur Ud Din Rishi and Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom. This is probably the unique instance in the history of world when the coins have been stuck bearing the names of saints. This is also indicative of the reverence and the popularity the saints commanded among the people and also of the rulers.

– See more at: http://www.greaterkashmir.com/mobi/news/opinion/sultan-ul-arifeen-symbolising-spiritual-heights/203778.html#sthash.z1iFZosw.dpuf

 

Khatlan and Kashmir: Sharing Pilgrim Tourism, Trade and Culture
File Photo

UNESCO has decided to celebrate the year 2015 as the 700th birth anniversary of Mir Syed Ali Hamadani (R.A). In this connection Seminars, conferences and symposia are being held in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Tajikistan has taken the lead in this regard and recently a scientific symposium on the theme “Mir Syed Ali Hamdani: A Scientist and Thinker” was held at Dushanbe (Tajikistan) from September 5-6, 2015 to commemorate the unparallel contributions of this great scientist, thinker, philosopher, religious leader and a Sufi saint.

The symposium was attended by the scholars from India, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, France, America and other Central Asian Republics. I also had the privilege to attend this mega event. The second day of the symposium was held at Kulab (Khatlan). For me, it was an emotional moment as I got an opportunity to visit the mausoleum of Amir Kabir situated right in Kulab again after 2007 when I first visited the shrine to pay my homage to this great saint philosopher.
Khatlan has its own history. It has its glorious past, rich cultural heritage. It is famous for its handicrafts. In the past, it was denoted as a group of   districts of Transoxiana (Mawara-un-Nahr– Beyond the River). There are historical relations between Khatlan and Kashmir. At present, Khatlan is a province of Tajikistan. Its capital is Auratipa, famous for its handicrafts; especially dying of cloths, same as what is reflected in the pictures of yore of the dying centers around Zainakadal, Srinagar.
Kulab, which is mentioned in the history as Khatlan, is at present a district of Khatlan province and is 240 Kms away from Dushanbeh, west of Tajikistan. Kulab is a city center of the district. The meaning   of the   word Kulab is (kul = stream; Aab = water), therefore a river and a source of water. Both words i.e kul and Aab is familiar with Kashmiri diction and are frequently used by Kashmiris. It is out of context to deliberate upon the geographical landscape of Kulab and Khatlan. However, it is worth mentioning here that in the 8th century Kulab emerged as a destination of a socio-religious, cultural, mystical, literary and scientific center of excellence. Mir Syed Ali Hamadani (R.A) constructed a Khanqah here, where thousands of Sufi saints, Ulema and Mashiakhs would quench their mystical and scientific thirst. The Alishaian was a respectable, noble and ruling family of Kulab. Khawja Ishauqe Khatlani was a prominent member of this ruling clan. Today, this clan of Alishian is known as Dehhai Langar in the district of Momin abad. When Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.A) migrated from Hamadan to Khatlan, he took shelter in the family of Alishian. Later on Khawaja Ishauqe Khatlani shunned the worldly desires and did pay his allegiance to Hazrat Amir Kabir to pave the ways of spirituality under his holy guidance. He not only became the renowned disciple of Hazrat Shahi Hamdan (R.A) but married her daughter to him. In the absence of Ali Thani, Mir Syed Ali Hamadani (R.A), Khawaja managed the affairs of the Khanqah and disciples of Hazrat Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.A).
The Kashmiri people have strong desires, feelings, passion, faith, and a special relationship and connection with Kulab, because their benefactor along with his family members is buried there. The mausoleum of Hazrat Shahi Hamdan (R.A) is situated on the right side of a big highway, which passes through the main city. The tomb is located in the center of a garden, which is spread over 3-4 acres of land. The garden has been designed as a recreation cum amusement park. It is full of flowers and different fruit trees. The main gate and the tomb have been built with pink glazed bricks. The three small dooms are covered with gold foils. On the right hand side of the main gate is a museum, where some old Mss., paintings, photos are on display. All the structures are designed by the Iranians. The tomb is of a three vertical shape building having three small rooms just at a distance of 50 feet from the main entrance. On the roof of the main gate the caption “Aaram Ghah-e-Mir Syed Ali Hamdani” (The resting place of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani) is written in bold letters.
The Tajik people have also strong sense of attachment, love and affection with this great personality. They have declared him as a national hero as the picture of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.A) is printed on their currency notes. The Tajiks call him as Amir Jan (The Lovable Leader / Guide).
The Khatlan has remained a place of attraction for Kashmiris. There are very old relations between the two regions. These relations were fostered after Mir Hamdani stayed in this region for considerable amount of time after the Amir  and his son Mir Mohammad Hamdani, along with a huge galaxy of learned Say’yeds, Ulema, Mashaikh, Hakims and artisans arrived in Kashmir around 14th century A.D. This laid a strong foundation of a new era of submission of the entire populace to a new faith, Islam, which was coupled with Iranian cultural, intellectual and artistic genius; transforming the socio-religious, linguistic, economic and political scenario of Kashmir into a new form and identity. Persian language became the only means for the propagation of Islam not only the for religious preachers and Ulema but gradually Persian became the means of correspondence, communication and the language of research and scholarship so much so that it not only remained official language for 700 years but produced a large number of poets, prose writers, Ulema and scholars  in different fields of knowledge and science. Mir Syed Ali Hamdani not only made the people of Kashmir well versed with the Islamic-Iranian culture, but also paved a way to give boost to their economy. He introduced arts and crafts that were prevailing in Iran and Central Asia. This is how Allama Iqbal has expressed this reality while paying glorious tributes to Hazrat Shahi Hamdani (R.A). He says:
Khita ra Aan shah darya Aasteen
Dad Ilm- u- sant- u- tahzeeb- u- deen
 Afreed  Aan mard Iran-i –Sagir
ba hunar hai gareeb- u- dilpazeer
(That generous king gave knowledge, trade and religion to the region  (Kashmir),
That man gave birth to little Iran,
with the pleasant and agreeable arts and crafts)
Moreover, Ali Sani Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.A) gave an everlasting gift to people of Kashmir in the shape of Awradi Fatheia, the divine allegiance and faith. In short the people of Kashmir are indebted to the offerings and contributions of this kindled spirit. Therefore all Kashmiris in different forms and capacities pay their homage to this great Sufi saint and religious leader who led them from darkness to light. The letters of Hazrat Amir Kabir are an ample proof for his advice to the then rulers of Kashmir; impressing upon them to be kind and generous to their subjects.
To express their inner emotions and feelings, the people of Kashmir during his lifetime visited Kulab. In the beginning, when Islam made its way into Kashmir, Shiekh Suliman Kashmiri and his son Shiekh Ahmad Khuskhawn are among those fortunate people who travelled to Kulab in order to seek guidance from Hazrat Amir Kabir. Shiekh Bahaud-Din Ganjbaksh and Shiekh Suliman Kashmiri are among the disciples of Shah Qasim Khatlnai. Both Sufi saints visited Kulab to get the spiritual education from him. They paid glorious tributes to Hazrat-i- Shah Hamdan (R.A). A renowned Sufi saint, religious leader, poet, prose writer, theologian, philosopher, commentator and ambassador of 10-11th century, Shiekh Yaqoob Sarfi Kashmiri (d. 1003 A.H/1594 A. D) had a great faith towards Shah Hamadan. He was himself among his devotees and has accepted him as his spiritual guide. Maulana Shiekh Yaqoob Sarfi in great regard to Hazrat- I- Amir Kabir confessed himself as a poor and humble servant and by heart and soul kept himself for his service as his gatekeeper. In respect of Salari Ajam, Shiekh Yaqoob Sarfi expressed his gratitude in his writings. During his vast and extensive tour of Iran and Central Asia, Shiekh Yaqoob Sarfi paid homage from the entire nation towards the’ Maimar Taqdeeri Umm’ (the builder of the destiny of nation ) at Kulab.  He himself says:
“Musharaf shud Aanja Faqir Haqir
ba t auf-i- Mazar-i- Amir Kabir
Mazar-i- Pur Anwar syed Ali
ki hastum ba jan Bandai Aan wali.”
(This humble servant became honoured,
 with the circumambulation of the grave of Amir Kabir.
The resting place of Syed Ali is full of lights,
as I am the servant with heart and mind of that saint)
An unmatched disciple of Shiekh Yaqoob Sarfi, Mir Mohammad Roshan spent some years as a Mujavir at the Mazar of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.A) and was enlightened by his pure soul. It seems that some Kashmiris while travelling to Khorasan might have visited the Mazar of Hazrat Amir Kabir at Kulab. Late Prof. Shamsud-Din Ahmad during his visit to USSR paid his obeisance at the Mazar. He has written in detail about the resting place of Hazrat Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.A) in his book entitled “Shah- I- Hamdan: life and works”. In 1995, with the endeavors of the head of Shah Hamdan Educational and Cultural Trust, Syed Shabir Hamdani, along with a delegation of eight members, visited Kulab and paid their homage at the Mazar. One of the team members namely Ghulam Ali Bakhshi published a booklet as a travelogue highlighting the different aspects of the Mazar of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (R.A). Moreover, the owner of the valley’s leading and reputed travel agency “Al Hayat Hajj & Omrah travel services”, Wali Waheed arranged a tour package and a five member team visited Kulab in August, 2005.
It is worthwhile to note that the chain of pilgrims, which started in 8th century /14th century, is still in progress and shall continue in future. The government of Tajikistan, by bringing Kulab on the map of pilgrim tourism, has taken a lead in this context. The Government of J&K and Indian government both are well aware of the importance of pilgrim tourism to foster bonds of friendship and revival of these very old relations. Both the governments can take up the matter with Tajik government so that the pilgrims of both the regions freely travel to the pilgrim destination revered by both the people. It will give a boost to tourism sector as well. On the occasion of Two Day International Conferences held by Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, the then ambassador of Tajikistan to India, Mr Said Beigh during his meeting with the Governor of the state N.N Vohra had put forth a suggestion of direct flights between Srinagar and Dushanbe. During his visits to the valley, he also held parleys with the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries for revival of historic trade relations.
It is the need of hour that the Ministry of culture, J&K government should take a lead and take into confidence the Govt. of India to give impetus in promoting the pilgrimage tourism, culture and trade relations by facilitating visits of the business communities of both the countries. We can also take into consideration the mutual cultural affinities and undertake joint research projects to promote cultural relations and research on scientific and literary works. The Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir, Srinagar and Academy of Sciences, Tajikistan could be the co-partners in this endeavor. The Centre of Central Asian Studies and Tajik Academy of Science had in the past created history by publishing jointly the map of Al-khawarazmi. Let us start making joint efforts to prepare a catalogue of the manuscripts about the great personality Hazrat-e-Shah-e- Hamdan.

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Remembering the great saint – Nund Reshi (RA)

Srinagar: As the Valley today observed the Urs of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani (RA),  popularly known as Nund Reshi, with a special focus on his teachings and the path of peace and harmony, some attention must also go to preservation of relics and sites associated with the Kashmir’s Patron Saint.

No doubt people of the Valley still hold the relics and sites of this Saint in high esteem and reverence, but the kind of institutional care and preservation it deserves is clearly missing.

During his journeys through Valley’s hill and dale, Sheikh Noor-ud-Din (RA) visited several places. But many of the sites associated with the Saint have neither been documented nor are properly maintained.

This wonderful heritage needs to be documented and developed for promotion of the pilgrimage tourism.

The famous sites where the Saint is believed to have spent time in meditation, and which have been neglected include Gufabal-Qaimoh, Tismur  Pattan, Darigam, Hunchapora, Sheek Rani, Akhal, and Rupwan.

Even though the monumental remains of that period still exist at several of these places, but due to human vandalism and official apathy, the relics and sites associated with this Saint have been deteriorating.

Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani (RA), is learnt to have first meditated in an underground cave at Gufabal-Qaimoh in the southern district of Kashmir. He is said to have been 20 when he took refuge in this cave and spent 12 years inside the cave in meditation.

He also planted an Elm tree near the cave. The tree and cave are still found at the site, and people usually visit this site, during Urs days and pray there.

After living in this cave, he said to have searched for more silent and calm places which he could found in dense forests of Pir Panchal and reached Tismur in the same district of Kulgam. Here he spent one more year in meditation.

A miniature stone mortar and pestle are seen outside the Sufi shrine of Tismur and it is believed that the Saint used them in preparing of his food which exclusively consisted of ‘Yopalhak’ and ‘Qaslin-hand’ – wild forest herbs.

Kheejogepora is another important site associated with the Saint. There is a spring attributed to the Saint here and many traditions are related with this spring.

Mukhtamul site is also associated with this Saint. It is near Vecharnag in Srinagar (near Soura). Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani (RA) is said to have spent about six months here on a stone slab in meditation.

It is here that Saint is said to have encountered Yavanmachi, a beautiful dancer who come to the Saint to turn him away from meditation. But it is said that the encounter with Saint transformed her completely and she gave up her life of sex and sleaze and became a pious woman.

Similarly, there are other few Reshi sites which have been forgotten altogether.

Today when while Kashmir is commemorating the Saint’s annual Urs, it is time that both people and the authorities also wake up to the need of preserving the sites, monuments and relics associated with this 14th century Saint and pledge to document and preserve his oral and built heritage. IMG_20151011_084922