Archive for the ‘AWLIYAE KASHMIR’ Category

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

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It was the time when the present Nallahmar road was a famous waterway connecting Srinagar with wullar via Ganderbal. Hazrat Sultanul Aarifeen (AR) was performing ablution at the bank of this river at Kalashpora Ghat. There came a procession of few boats decorated with gold and silver, the music of the ores was heard from a distance. It was the procession of the Qazul qazzah the then chief justice of Kashmir, Aalama Baba Dawood Khaki (AR) coming from Koolipora, Nowpora to attend his court. A man performing ablution at the bank directed the boat men to ask their chief justice to come to me. Baba Dawood Khaki(AR)  refused at the very first instance to obey the order of a person ordinarily dressed. The entire procession of boats came to standstill, despite the efforts made by boatmen to carry boats forward. No boat moved from its place. Baba Dawood Khaki (AR) was again remained by his men that he denied the order of a godly person which may be the cause for this episode. This was the turning point for Aalama Khakhi (AR), He came, as usual, well dressed, wearing costly costumes with Golden belts and Jewellery to see the man performing ablution. The Godly person asked a few questions to the Qazi, the questions were how much gold did Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) wear? Which fatwa you are going to give for a case that you don’t follow yourself? Aalama Khakhi(AR)  could not reply instead took out his outfit and began to  follow Hazrat Sultanul Aarifeen(AR) whom he considered his  “Pir Murshad” now on and  till he was alive. Baba Dawood Khaki (AR)   narrates the all dealings, teachings, mission and vision of Hazrat Sultanul Aarifeen(AR)  in “Virdul Muzeedeen”

Shukur lillah hale maanhar lehzanay kotaar shudaast,
Sheikhu Sheikha Sheikh Hamzah ta mara rehber shudaast.
Hazarat Makhdoom Hamza(AR)   bin Usman was born at Tujar, a peripheral village in Zainageer area of Kashmir. He originated from Shahi Chak Dynasty. The elders of his dynasty were rich, honest, and pious and his  house was then a super centre for learning and teaching of Islam  quotes Aalma Khakhi. I met a few elders of his village who were pious, well adapted with the Shariah, as I inquired cause of their being so religious they quoted Baba Usman’s (RA) company with them as reason adds Aalma Khaki(AR). Hazarat Makhdoom’s(RA) family used to send zakat of their wealth and livestock to the Khankhah of Hazarat Moulana Sheikh Ismail(RA) who was scholar and religious leader of that time besides being a good friend of Baba Usman(AR)  , the father of  Hazrat Sultanul Aarifeen(AR) in Srinagar.
Initially he was admitted to a local Khankah run by Sultan Shuhab ud din in this village. One fine morning this child (Hazrat HamzaAR) left his house for school, but joined other children who were busy in playing on road side. He didn’t go to school. In the evening when his father asked about the lesson of the day, the child emphatically agreed that he didn’t go to school despite knowing consequences he could have abstained himself from saying the truth. His father got annoyed and furious and beat child to pulp so much so that he was down with fever for a couple of days. Hazarat Sheikh Hamza(AR)  was not yet adolescent, when he was made to leave Tujar Shariaf and come to Srinagar after he recovered, his grand father brought him to Srinagar where he was admitted in the Khankah of Hazrat Sheikh Fattahullah, the successor of Moulana Ismail, situated on the foothills of Kohimaran. This Khankah consisted of a library, langer (community kitchen)/ hostel, an academy that was a well known establishment of Baba Ismail , It named Dar ul Shifa. He stayed here for one year and learned one para of Quran. From here Sheikh Hamza (RA) was shifted to another Khankah built by Malikh Shams Chak on the bank of Nallahmar a most distance from Jamia Masjid . The khankah had a provision for separate rooms for the scholars to live in. He had a long stay of 20 years in this khankah. For this long span he kept busy in ibadah.
Hazrat Sultan (RA) had a wonderful memory power, as this is known from the fact that he was admitted in the Malik Shams Chak Khankha. Being a minor, a very elderly righteous person was kept as a room mate with him. The room mate used to get up during middle of the night and recite “Surat ul Kahaf” of Quran. The minor used to leave the bed and listen the same. With in few days he posed challenge to his room mate that he can remember the Surat ul Khaf without any mistake. He was given a test and proved successful. The elderly room mate was amazed to see his alarming memory.
In beginning I developed affection of Quran and repeatedly reciting this Holy Book during a night, I remembered it by heart, says Hazrat Sultan(RA)  as quoted by Aalama Khaki in Dastooru-Salikeen.
Meanwhile what happens is that one person namely  Makhdoom Syed Jamal ud din Bukhari (AR) went for Hajj along with his brother Syed Abdul Wahab Bukhari. During their stay in Madina, an amazing episode occurred with Jamal ud din (AR).He was reported turned drowsy, and was taken in a meeting being conducted by Prophet (PBUH) with his pious Suhabis. As in this meeting, a lucky young man was introduced to whom Prophet (PBUH) shared special attention to the extent that Jamal ud din(AR)  was  amazed and inquired whereabouts of the young man. The house was informed that the young man hails from Kashmir. His name is Hamza(AR)  and Prophet (PBUH) has fixed you for his training as Murshad. Jamal ud din Bukhari (AR)  was directed to proceed to Kashmir immediately for the purpose. Here in Kashmir, one might while sleeping, some unknown person told me that you should be thankful to Allah as we have finalized and fixed a Murshad, the Guide for you.  His name is Makhdoom Syed Jamal ud din Bukhari (AR), he has reached Srinagar and you can see him in Khankha Ahmad Yatoo, whatever he directs you follow in letter and Sprit. Alma khaki (AR) quotes said Hazrat Sultanul Aarifeen (AR).
Next morning, Hazrat Sultanul Aarifeen (AR) reached the spot and found Jamal ud din Bukhari (AR) slepping in Khankah. He stopped for a while but didn’t wake him up but left without meeting. He again went on very next day, seeing him in sleep, waited outside the door. The Murshad opened his eyes and gazed at him and directed Hazrat Sultanul Aarifeen (AR)   to come nearer. Don’t feel alone he said, I have been informed about you in Madeena spiritually. You have been handed over to me permanently, work hard, be punctual and obedient. Some one had brought mutton and bread to Khankah. He  was also offered some share says Hazarat Sultan (RA). I felt ashamed eating before so many people and made my mind to carry the share along with and eat in hostel. No said the guide, eat it before us all. We all have already eaten. I will be offering two more breads which you can eat at your place, said Jamal ud din Bukhari (AR) to Hazrat Sultanul Aarifeen (AR) Then former kept his cap on the head of later and directed him to go for special prayers in isolation for a few days. He did the same. Whatsoever he was bestowed in exchange, he narrated to his  Murshad The Murshad was happy to note the  reward that was given by Allah to Hazrat Sultanul Aarifeen(AR). He remained initially under the control  of his Murshad for six months continuously. Lastly the disciple was stressed that whatever his Murshad has sheared, should be dissipated amongst the needy ones.Hazrat Hamza(AR) has met many times with Hazrat Khawaja Khazir(AS) and their first meeting was in Jamia Masjid Srinagar(Dastoor us Saleeken)
After that, Makhdoom Sheikh Hamzah (AR)was blessed with a divine spiritual power, knowledge which goes  in agreement with a hadith Qudsi.P rophet (PBUH) once said when a Godly persons crosses a few stages  in Allah’s remembrances , the Malaika (angles) keep them friends  and he shines and becomes focus of affection for all. Makhdoom Sheikh Hamzah (AR) continued to quench the thirst of thousands of devotees who aspire for Allah’s  favour, with his wisdom and knowledge. As is acknowledged by Aalama Khaki (AR) in Virdul Muredeen in following few lines.
“ Chou khuda elmayludan kard taleemash zemahr
Bahre asrare Illahi Aalim amhar shudast “
“ Ao sheryat raast nasir dartareekat mujtahed
Bahre asrare hakekat sadr o masdar shudaast “
“Roushanash anwaare quraan gasth hum asrare aan
pus khawasish dedo hum alfaaze aanash aabr shudaast “
During the period of Makhdoom Sheikh Hamzah(AR) a number of great personalities existed amongst whom Hazrat Sheikh Yaqoob Sarfi(AR) and Hazrat Mir Syed Ahmad Kirmani deserve a special mention .They too bear witness to the fact that Makhdoom Sheikh Hamzah(AR) had enormous spiritual power as is quoted by Aalama Khaki in Virdul Mureeden.
“Mir Syed Ahmed Kirman zaahil kashf bood
ashq o dard o souz awra deedah wahair shudaast “
Which  means, that Mir Syed Ahmad Kirmani (AR)despite being a man with kashf (knowing before hand ) was amazed to see  Makhdoom Sheikh Hamzah’s(AR) earnest desire for Prophet’s (PBUH). There were a number of Khalifas of         Makhdoom Sheikh Hamzah (AR) which include Baba Ali Raina , Mir Baba  Hyderi Tulmullah, Khawaja Hassan Qari, Hazrat Ishaq Qari , Mir Mubarakh Behaquee, Hazrat Roop Reshi , mulla Chouwgali, Hazrat Zeeti Shah Wali and Mian Abdul Rehman Manak(AR)etc.
During the regimen  of Ali Shah Chak, then administrator of Kashmir, Makhdoom Sheikh Hamzah left for Aakhirah on 24th of Safarul Muzzafar 983 Hijri at Makhdoom Mandaw, Kalashpora  Srinagar. Hazrat Mullah Mohammad Tahir Rafique offered the Gussal and Nimaze Jinazah in Iddgah. A huge congregation has been reported joined the heavenly departure of the saint and Kohimaran was decided his permanent place.This is the day when people celebrate his URS mubarak with enthusiasm.

(The author is professor cum chief scientist and Head, Teaching Veterinary Clinical Services complex at FVSc & AH, SKUAST-K. Feedback at


Sheikh-ul-Alam was a great Kashmiri philosopher considered as the patron saint of Kashmiris. Sheikh ul-Alam is a saint of Reshi order who is known as Crown of the Saints of Kashmir and Flag bearer of the people of Kashmir. He is regarded as the founder of an indigenous Sufi order in fifteenth century. Sheikh-ul-Alam had not attained any conventional education but, still a great philosopher and a poet, having eternal knowledge about the existence of life. Sheikh-ul-Alam was having a sound consciousness about the reality of universe. His poetry is very influential, prestigious and esteemed at every angle. Every verse of his poetry is having a charm and conveys a message. His collection and combination of words are even unparallel. He used his poetry as an instrument to extend the true knowledge of absolute. He has used the word “Ilm” in his poetry that means knowledge which should not be confused with our often used term knowledge. His concept of knowledge is entirely different with its usual meaning. The present paper attempts to explore the word “Ilm” in his poetry which may further widen the horizon of our shrunk perception about “Ilm”. While teaching he often used the demonstration method where a person can empirically gets an opportunity to perceive a particular concept.


Keywords: Reshi, Ilm, demonstration method.


Sheikh-ul-Alam was a great Kashmiri philosopher regarded as the patron saint of people of Kashmir. He is considered as the founder of the Rishi order of saints that deeply influenced many great mystics like Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom, Resh Mir Sàeb , Shamas Faqir, Sakhi Zainu Din Wali, etc. A blessing of God unto the people of Kashmir, Sheikh ul-Alam was a saint of Reshi order who is also known as Taj-ul-Awliyai Kashmir means the Crown of theSaints of Kashmir and Alamdar-I-Kashmir means Flag bearer of the people of Kashmir. The admired saint is greatly respected by both the Hindu and Muslim communities of Kashmir. He also has to his credit for laying the foundation of an indigenous Sufi order in the fifteenth century. Reshi is a person who immerses himself into the Divine self. Speaking about the saint‟s life, Nund Reshi was born in Qaimoh (district Kulgam of Jammu and Kashmir) on Eid-ul-Adha. His parents Sheikh Salar-ud-Din and Sadra were pious, honest and sincere human beings and were well known because of their goodness. Sheikh-ul-Alam‟s parents were very much influenced by a great and prominent Sufi saint Hazrat Mir Syed Simnania. Inspired by his piety, it was through the hands of Simnania, that Sheikh-ul-Alam‟s parents embraced Islam. Sheikh-ul-Alam had not attained education through any formal or traditional mode but, still a great philosopher and a poet, having eternal knowledge about the existence of life. Whatever he acquired was the outcome of his meditation, good deeds, honesty and love for God. He wrote such powerful mystic poetry that he became the patron of saints and protector and embodiment of Kashmiri culture. The form of Sheikh-ul-Alam poetry is called SHRUK. Sheikh-ul -Alam‟s shruks are popular throughout Kashmir and have been spread and circulated orally by generations of people of Kashmir. Sheikh-ul-Alam left behind all those things which were bonded to material world. He detached all the connections which were linked to this world. He busied himself thoroughly in the remembrance of God and dedicated all his time in meditation and prayers in order to overcome and conquer the appetite of self, to strengthen the connection between him and God and to strengthen his spiritual power. Later he traveled to Kashmir remained in Charar-i-Shareef for a pretty long time where he met Syed Mir Mohammad Hamdani. Sheikh-ul-Alam was very much influenced by Syed Mir Mohammad Hamdani after having discussion with him and became the disciple of Syed Mir Mohammad Hamdani, who bestowed him the name “Alamdaar-i- Kashmir”. Sheikh-ul-Alam was quite aware about the reality of this universe; he could easily identify the mentality of a person at the very first sight. His poetry is very influential, prestigious and esteemed at every angle; every line of his poetry has its own charm and message. His collection and combination of words is unparallel. He used his poetry as a toolto spread the true knowledge of kindness beyond the borders of limitation. His verses are preserved in the Nur-Nama written by Baba Naseeb-ud-Din Ghazi in Persian. Besides Tasawuff Sheikh-ul-Alam composed poetry on different topics like the people of his time, about the time he lived, about towns and villages, about the self, about the lust of life and last but not the least about the practical education. There are number of schools, colleges, hospitals and institution in the name of Sheikh-Ul-Alam. University of Kashmir is conducting research on his poetry and philosophical thought in an exclusive research centre know as Markaz-i-Noor a centre for sheikh-ul-Alam studies. He used his poetry as tool to spread the knowledge of absolute. Tawhid (oneness of Almighty), Risala (Prophet-hood of Muhammad PBUH), Ma’ad (Materialism), human lust and importance of Education are main subjects of his poetry. He vehemently criticized the so called Mullas and other pseudo-scholars of Islam. One of his most famous and oft quoted couplets is (Kashmiri:”Ann poshi teli yeli wann poshi“) meaning ‘Food will last as long as forests last’. He was very much stressful about the conservation of environment the time when no one would even imagine about the current environmental crisis. Lal Ded the Shaivite poetess of Kashmir was his contemporary. She had a great impact on his spiritual growth. He has in one of his poems prayed to God to grant him the same level of spiritual achievement as God had bestowed on Lal Ded. (Khan, 2012) concluded not withstanding the fact that his personality has been unsheathed by myths invented by careless hagiographers, Sheikh-ul-Alam was a towering historical figure of medieval Kashmir. (Wani, 2012) revealed that of a very few subjects of Kashmir history, which has stimulated exceptional great scholarly attention, Sheikh-ul-Alam and his founded Rishi Movement occupies a prominent place. Yet, the corpus of literature produced on the Shaikh and his silsila (order) rests on a shaky ground in the absence of an authentic text of the poetry of the Shaikh which constitutes the basic source of his life and teachings. (Shah, 2012) conducted that the result of a study of the poetry of Sheikh-ul-Alam one of the most venerated and well acclaimed Sufi saints of Kashmir, which finally led to compilation of an inventory of plant species mentioned therein, with the broad objective to recuperate traditional botanical wisdom for sustainable development. The list of plant species is presented along with their brief description and pictorial support for understanding of common people. The conspectus of plant species is of significance, not only to provide useful insights into important floristic elements of that particular era, but also to rejuvenate the sense of species sacredness for their conservation. Such studies, if extrapolated for other regions in a multicultural nation like India, can potentially yield an invaluable traditional ecological knowledge base for conservation of sacred species. (Zaffar, 2012) Shaikh ul Alam was a man with increased knowledge and understanding which he himself Claims in one of his Shruks. The most effective means which made his movement pervasive throughout the Valley was common man‟s language and the genre he used to bring home to the people his message. He was very much concerned about the artistic and aesthetic elements in his poetry. In spite of being didactic in nature Shruks are loaded with artistic and aesthetic elements which bring more and more beauty in his verses. Therefore to understand and interpret his poetry one has to be more cautious, technical and skillful.


Concept of Ilmin the poetry of Sheikh-ul-Alam

“Ilm parith tae parith na palan Pheng payi lalan gash kati aasee

“Just acquiring of knowledge without following it in a practical sense would make a person blind with eyes”. We today are having a lot of knowledge just for the sake of knowledge. The real motive of having knowledge in the past was to practice all that we know. Today is the period of value crisis even having a very impressive literacy rates in developed and developing countries. More we gained the knowledge more we get deviated from the path of practicing values. The Sheikh mostly stressed over practicing knowledge. He considers a person blind who is not following the knowledge he has gained.

“Paran paran te par gayee Tim khar gayee kitab borah hayeth

Yim sahibas nish bakhabar gayee Tim nar gayee fazal ta ata hayeth”

The so called students who get education not in a real sense just as a formality are like donkeys carrying burden of books on their shoulders. But the students who realize their self and are very much aware about their heart are more successful.

“Yath waw haley czhong kus zale Tale kani zaleas alim ta deen”

Who is going to light a lamp in these heavy stormy and windy nights of ignorance, it‟s the only education and religious practices that can do it in real sense. He considered the ignorance as the strongest storm in the world that can damage the structure of humanity. He is saying that knowledge is the only lamp which will put an end to strong winds of ignorance.

Sheikh-ul-Alam and Demonstration method

Once Sheikh-ul-Alam was invite to a feast to accept an invitation is a part of teaching of prophet (PBUH) so he could not deny and went to the house of host wearing shabby clothes. Gate keeper did not recognize him and was not allowed to enter the party. He went home back and came again but now wearing new clothes. When all had sat for the lavish dinner, Sheikh-ul-Alam entered wearing a stunning cloak and was provide the position of admiration. When everybody started to take food Sheikh-ul-Alam extended out his sleeves and put them onto the plates full of food, people surrounded got surprised and asked him the reason, Sheikh-ul-Alam replied: Kheyev Badev Narew Kheyev ,Eat you rich clothes eat “

The feast was not for poor like me, it is for the wealthy who dress in rich clothes and long sleeves. In education this method of teaching is called demonstration method. The people at party were able to perceive the concept and his criticality by experience.


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Research by:-

Mirza Muneeb Manan* Sayar Ahmad Mir**

Research Scholar Research Scholar

School of Education and Training Department of English

MANUU, Hyderabad MANUU, Hyderabad

Presented at:-

International Conference on Recent Research and Innovations in Social Science & Education

19th May 2018


Nations are not born but are built by the men of the soil. Knowledge is the fuel that illuminates the Alps and dales of
the soil in which a nation breathes and respires. Prosperity of a nation is determined by the mental scale of people
comprising a nation. Fertile be the mental faculty of a nation, fragrant be its territorial boundaries and dimensions.
Once we talk of our nation that is Kashmir, we see a rich tradition and a magnanimous culture. This magnanimity is
because of the inhabitants who lived on this sphere of the globe. They decorated the human intelligentsia from time
immemorial and thus designed a nation like Kashmir-A place well known on this part of the planet. It’s because of
this intelligentsia that people like Reshi’s and Munnis have born on this patch of land and have remained pre
dominant in building a place well known as “Pir Wari”. Among such personalities The sagacious son of the soil
appeared in the form of Sheikh Noor-u-Din (RA) in 14th century AD. He is the sagacious saint of Kashmir who builds
his nation with the secretions of wit and wisdom. It’s in his era that the people of Kashmir refreshed their religious
thoughts and beliefs and achieved familiarity with the way of Islam-A doctrine based on monotheism. The
sagacious saint cultivated in them the cultivars of peace, fraternity, felicity and sensitivity. The missionary behaviour
got developed and humane aptitude gained its momentum. The sensational sentiments of this temporal world were
replaced by deep thinking about the creation and creator.
The mental faculty attained the broader concepts and visions of passing a self less life pure and hygienic were
developed. The concept of here after world came into being. Social and civic dimensions expanded and a pulsative
human heart with feelings started its beats. Carnal aptitude of life got replaced by human aid and welfare. Sheikh
Noor-u-Din (RA) traversed the tedious mountains, tiresome meadows and pastures, cumbersome coniferous
habitations to teach and preach His nation the purpose of life on this globe. He with the sweat of His brow irrigated
such saplings in his native land that evaporated perfumes and a fragrant nation came into being. Kashmir and
Kashmiryat a well known peculiarity found its place. The natural beauties and bounties of land in association with
moral and morale behaviour of its inhabitants compelled the foreigners to grant a valorous award of “Paradise on
earth” to Kashmir. Owing to his stylish system, the whole nation remembers Him as “Alamdar”- The flag bearer of
Kashmir. He gave His nation a theory based on truth, morality, self less-self, equity, equality and generosity and
whenever we will analyse His theory on timely scales and touch stone s it always proves like tested gold.
We the Kashmiri’s shall acquaint ourselves with His theory and theology to polish our mental faculty so that we may
be able to walk with raised heads in this modern world. We shall make our children familiar with the teachings and
preaching’s of this beloved leader and shall fell the scientific fragrance from his verses to make the world in know of
his scientific aptitude. It’s the need of the hour that we shall be familiar with our ancestors to décor ourselves in a
way that the whole world be attracted like moths to visit this land owing to its beauty and morality of its inhabitants.
Let’s tread the ways and allies of this sagacious son of the soil to achieve the desired goal of life. Let me represent
the verses of this sagacious son of the soil who’s verses has a scientific fragrance viz;
“Zazur tsam hungaray Vayus ne Khand nabad te shakari”……… Means!
Hair grey art apparent on my temples, let not use any candy bar to grow stout.
The verse depicts the diabetic message which develops around the age of 40.
“Mo maz pothis mazus te budnus,
Diluk gul gatshyo kayus pul”….. Means!
Let not be inclined to gluttonous dishes and bowls. Let not develop thy cardiac vessels as stony mass.
Thus a message related to cardiology is eminent from this verse.
“Zazer thuf tsinim shairay,
Tunzar mouruem kya mun pai
Nazar douraim van kith phairay
Yavun soor te badai bayi”
Held I’m by temporal discolorations and deformations.
Leanings vociferous have declined to yielding wax;
Myopic am I with refractive error not to be corrected. Ah! The vicissitudes of life wilt name thee an old Frater.
Thus the verse seems to be related with ophthalmology branch of medical science. Let me narrate this verse in
which the message of a dietician comes to fore
“Vopul hakus tur goum dazith
Sivli kani khayoo bazith kath”…… Means!
O’ charred art my leafy greens on roasting
Ah! why not I consumed it raw.
Similarly the message related to chemistry, physics, biology, statistics etc are apparent from the pious verses
SHEIKH UL ALAM which needs to be analysed through scientific spectacles on modern scales to communicate our
future generation the grandeur of our beloved ancestors.
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