Archive for September, 2015

Tradition is on a steady decline not in the West only, but in the East as well. The loss of faith in long lasting values especially religious values is a common phenomenon.

Religious places and learning centres are losing credibility, family as an institution has been passing through the most difficult times. The political system has also lost credibility. However with all these concern it would be naïve to jump the conclusion that ‘De –Traditionalisation’ or decline of tradition is a common phenomenon.

Muslims have long history of prolific scholars, saints and authors who have kept tradition alive amid an imminent fall.One among such traditionalists is Mir Sayid Ali Hamadani (R.A) born in Hamdan on Rajab714/22 October 1314. He was a religious scholar, prolific writer, political theorist and a widely travelled Sufi. He was author of about 170 books. Besdies he was a staunch traditionalist who never evades tradition, be it the field of Politics, Society, Economics or Religion.

The doctrines of Hamadani’s philosophy are based on traditions taught by known traditionalists like Ibn-i-Arabi, Junaid, Mansoor Halaj,Ghazali, Najamudin Kabra, Ibn-i-Farid, Simnani etc. He had a deep influence of ancestral traditionalists who represent the tradition of sacred knowledge system of Islam and Muslims.

He was both an alim (scholar) and an arif (Sufi). He used to guide rulers of the time. His Risala-i-Maktubat, a collection of letters, comprises letters to rulers in which he gives them guidance on political and religious matters from a traditionalistic perspective. His treatise- Zakhiratu’l-Muluk- contains regulations (Qawa’id) regarding both the “Spiritual (M’anwi) and mundane (Suri)” matters. Though he always remain way from rulers.

Fallowing the tradition he strongly prescribed Master-Disciple (Peer-Muridi) Islamic teaching which many Ulemas are now opposing. He like all other traditional sufis believes that no one can travel the path of Allah without the guidance of a preceptor. He says that a person with religious knowledge’s and mystical experiences can lead an individual from darkness to light. Sayid like most of the Sufis in a traditional way hold that love of Allah emerges from gnosis (Ma‘rifa), ‘greater the Ma ‘rifa, greater is the Love of Allah’.

One of the remarkable contributions of Mir Sayid Ali Hamadani (RA) is socio-economic development after his arrival in Kashmir. He introduced traditional arts and crafts to treat a fragile socio-economic structure of Kashmir. Hamadani adeptly introduced sacred traditional art [more or less] while preaching Islam. Introducing Khanquahs, wood-carving especially in religious paces, wooden architecture, Persian arts and shawl weaving – he will be remembered for all such glorious traditions

History is a witness that when Hamadani arrives in this part of Asia, social system was pluralistic, culturally diverse and economically weak. But by carrying his sacred traditional knowledge, teachings and experiences he changed history. Without studying him, we can’t understand the history and tradition of Kashmir.

(The author is Secretary Literary Forum bandipora)

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The Shah of Hamdan: by prof Naseem rafiabadi

Posted: September 24, 2015 by kashmirsufis in Auliyaallah
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Syed Ali Hamadani (RA) was a great reformer and a visionary who has impacted  almost all the aspects of the lives of Kashmiris .Be it religious or spiritual dimension or social and political, be it the economic activity by introducing the arts and crafts of Iran and Central Asia in Kashmir or the instructions to the Kings and rulers. In all these matters the influence and impact of Syed Ai Hamadani cannot be undermined.

He has influenced the Muslim Rishis and Hindu ascetics equally by his deep spiritual indoctrination he was  espousing. His Son Mir Mohammad Hamadani continued his mission in Kashmir and was instrumental in initiating the local Rishi Saint Shaikh Nooruddin Wali into his Sufi discipleship, thus paving the way for a long and enduring process of Islamisation of not only Kashmir but even the localised mystic orders of Kashmir like Rishism.

He was the only preacher of Islam in Kashmir and Baltistan (Northern Areas, Pakistan) who brought a subtle change in the life styles of Kashmiri masses and provided them with Islamic values and established the Persian culture in the soil of Kashmir. In this way Kashmir was transformed into a new phase of its civilizational march from Buddhist and Hinduised moorings to an Islamic and Iranian one. It was due to these Persian influences on the socio.-cultural life of the people in Kashmir that Iqbal has given reference to Kashmir in his poetry as Iran –i-Sagheer meaning little Iran.

Apart from the culture and mannerism the cultural traits of Kashmiri literary life were also influenced greatly by his arrival to Kashmir. From Persia were received these genres :”new poets genres –ghazl  ,qasidah, marsiya, rubai, mathanavi, na’at and Manqabat Muslims introduced in Kashmir “from Persia as the only genres prevelent in Kashmir prior to the Muslims were vaakh, watsun, and shrukh.

He preached Islam and affected the conversion of thousands of people from Buddhism to Islam by his great efforts. He has constructed many Khânqâhs, mosques and memorial places in these areas, some places are very popular in Asia particularly “Chaqchan Mosque” a most beautiful handicraft mosque.

To start with, Mir Syed Ali Hamadani, the apostle of Kashmir, better known as the “Shâh of Hamadan” and ‘Ameer e Kabeer’ (1314- 1384) is arguably the most celebrated of these Syeds, coming from Iran and Central Asia in Medieval period and who have blessed Kashmir and have accelerated the process of Islamisation of Kashmir which has continued after them and is still continuing unabated.

Syed Ali Hamadani has presented a comprehensive code of conduct for an individual and a ruler to lead a virtuous life, which could finally lead him to eternal salvation (Sa‘adah). In this scheme he has not lost sight of earning by lawful means and spending one’s possessions in the way of God. He has laid emphasis on earning from Halal (lawful) sources, which is a hallmark of his sufi thought.