Posts Tagged ‘Kashmiri sufis’

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

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

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

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

Research by :- Dr.Kh.Zahid.Aziz

Assistant professor, department of kashmiryat

University of the punjab, lahore


Genealogy of Alamdar-e- Kashmir…
The Paradisal pleasance of Kashmir does not merely mean the beauty and symmetry which this sphere of the globe
possesses but in fact means the grandeur of its inhabitants who have made its surroundings so fragrant that the
perfumes evaporated to vast areas of human habitations and atmospheres. From time immemorial the milky way of
the firmament of Kashmir did possess glittering stars emitting fluorescence to remove the stygian darkness amid
the terrains and lofty areas of the terrene. The brightest star appeared on the firmament in the shape of Sheikh Noor
ud Din who is the lone son of the soil enjoying the status of a flag bearer (Alamdar), besides the great sheikh of the
Sheikh is said to have been born on Friday the 25th Rabiul Awal, 774 Hijri corresponding to 24th of September 1373
A.D. The genealogy displayed by Naseeb ud Din Ghazi (disciple of Sheikh) is as under:
Raja Ogra Sanz……… Drupta Sanz……… Zanga sanz…………. Hunar Sanz…….. Wogra Sanz……….. Salar Sanz………. Nund
Mohi ud din Miskeen the well known author of “Tarikhi Kabir” states that the ancestors of this great man belonged
to Kishtwar area of Jammu & Kashmir and were the rulers enjoying the valorous state of Sanz -¬ The brave. Owing
to political instability in the region they migrated to this part of the region. The then rulers of Kashmir did not only
grant them the refuge but also granted them the fief dom of Rupvan, a village in North-East region of Chrar-i-Shareif,
03kms away from the township. Miskeen Jots down that Zanga Sanz the great grandfather of Sheikh was an
advisor to Khumni- a great grocer and ruler of village Tilsara located in the Eastern side of Chrar-i-Sharief 02kms
away from the town. Khumni was murdered in the upheaval of Dalchu and Hunnar Sanz the son of Zanga Sanz
remained hidden in dark dense forests of Chrar-i-Sharief which was then known as “Tsrar Van”. After confinement
among conifers did he appear in village “Gud Sathu” situated at Chadoora Budgam road and got settled there. Salar
sanz the beloved father of Sheikh was influenced by Yasmin Rishi and accepted Islam & was named as Salar ud Din.
Though historians are mum and mute about Salar sanz but the verse revealed by Sheikh implies his prosperity and
affluence as he says,
“Kaimoh kis Salar-dins….. Yes dowlatch manz boud aayie”
Means Salar-ud-din the inhabitant of kaimoh deserves felicitations as he yielded among riches to adopt the doctrine
of Islam .This proves that sheikh was nourished and cherished in a well-to-do family with all luxuries and dainties,
rejecting the concocted stories designed and devised for him. Sheikh’s mother a pious and noble lady did hail from
“khee” a village of in kulgam District. Historians have highlighted only the spiritual conduct of Sheikh and have
ignored his other dimensions of life which include his scholarly behaviour, linguistic approach, researcher’s aptitude,
philosophical temperament and missionary zeal. The tide of time has masticated his scientific innovations which
are eminent from his Kalam.
The details can have from my paper on scientific aptitude of this great man which I delivered in university of
Kashmir on 03 day international seminar on Shah-i- Hamdan’s contribution to learning & society. The paper is
published in local daily of Kashmir Frontier of 15 March 2012.
Falsified stories have been attributed to this man by our historians and writers either due to political hedges or
timely tides which is a separate debatable discussion. Sheikh proved sharp witted from the early childhood and did
posses a capacious brain to feel and catch temperamental beats and throbs of the time. He was a great philosopher
and a true time server of his time. He happened to be a great scholar and had a full command on knowledge. His
linguistic aptitude shows his majesty and stateliness. His multidimensional personality is the outcome of his multi
phased poetry which proves to be the sole alchemy for refinement of a multi shaped creature like man. His poetry
seems to be a perfect medicament, a complete therapy and a well known remedy for ailing and failing human souls
& spirits at different times and occasions.
Once the verses revealed makes a man to feathers for aerial trips but thereby abides him to drupe down to dust to
abide and adore one omniscient and omnipotent lord. His appeal for killing one’s appetite from worldly charms &
beauties do teach and preach the man the modes and styles of this world and world after. He analyses the different
aspects of life with scientific and innovative modes and moments. His message does not pertain to a sect of society but the humanity as a whole. His plain and chaste phrases undoubtedly sensitize the human intelligentsia
and makes a man to shun his lustful behaviour and to get accelerated for human aid and help. His verses act as
stimulants for secretions of wit and wisdom for thought full innovations of this living world and he proved to be the
best annotator of Quran.
Sheikh was a great missionary and he started missionary schools for both the genders of the society across the
length and breadth of his native land. Trained missionaries were plotted to disseminate the theology of Islam to the
grass root level. For its percolation he used the soft, sweet and candid sap of his mother tongue which created a
vigorous pressure to accelerate the human wit and will. Hardly a place is found in the entire terrain where the sole of
Shiekh would not have enjoyed the bill and coo of the soil/dust.
A like a jeweller, Sheikh with the art & craft of wit & winsome designed a long chain of his followers who in close
association with the society taught the people the essence of great religion. Such grooming did create a bonton
atmosphere around the Alps and dales of Kashmir. Among these followers; comrades like Latif ud Din, Zain ud din,
Bam ud din & Nassar ud din, Dhut Ded, Shanga bi & Sala Bi are of great importance. Sheikh is said to have remained
stationed for a long time at Draigam in Budgam, Chimmar in Devsor, Hoonchipora in Beerwah and Rup Van in Chrar-
i-Sharief Budgam. Besides he had brief visits to almost all the parts of Kashmir. Sheikh during his life selected Chrar-
i-Sharief as a permanent abode where he was laid for eternal peace in 842 A.H corresponding to 1438AD.

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