1. Hazrat Amir-e-Kabir Shah-e-Hamdan
2. Sayed Abdul Qadir Jilani
2. Sheikh-Ul-Alam Hazrat Noor-Uddin Wali
3. Sultan-Ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdum
4. Hazrat Payam Uddin alias Baba Rishi (Tang-Marg)
5. Bulbul-e-Kashmir Hazrat Bulbul Shah
6. Hazrat Mir Muhammad Hamdani
Hazrat Amir-e-Kabir Shah-e-Hamdan :: Many saints came to the valley of Kashmir to preach and to propagate Islam, to name a few were: Bulbul Shah, Syed Jalal Uddin Bukhari, Syed Taj Uddin, Syed Hussain Samnani, and Yousuf. But the one who lit the torch of monotheism, in reality was Hazrat Amir-e-Kabir Sahah-e-Hamdan. Parentage
His name was Ali, and titles were Amir-e-Kabir, Ali Sa’ani, and Mir. Besides them, the Chroniclers had mentioned several other titles: Qutub-e-Zaman, Sheikh-e-Salikan-e-Jehan, Qutub-Ul-Aktab, Moih-Ul-Ambiya-o-Ul-Mursaleen, Afzal-Ul-Muhaq-e-qeen-o-Akmal-Ul-Mudaq-e-qeen, Al-Sheiyookh-Ul-Kamil, Akmal-Ul-Muhaqqiq-Ul-Hamadani etc.
He traced his patrimony through his father, Syed Shahab Uddin, to Imam Zain-ul-Abedein and finally to Hazrat Ali. His mother, Syeda Fatimah, with seventeen links, reached the Prophet.
His date of birth is disputed. To some it is 12, Rajab-Ul-Marjab 714 Hijri (12th October 1314) and to others is 12, Rajab 713 (12th October 1313). The former date appears more probable. Education
Syed Hamdani came from an educated family. He was intelligent and quick of mind, and read the holy Qu’Oran, under the care of his maternal uncle, Hazrat Ala-Uddin and from him too he took his lessons on subjects outer and intrinsic for a period of thirteen years.
Hazrat Ala-Uddin, then, entrusted him to Sheikh Abul Bracket for Spiritual training, and after his demise he proceeded to Sheikh Mahmud Mizdiqani, a renowned saint of the time. The saint put him to severe tests and thus removed pride and haughtiness from him and inculcated in him virtues of humility.
He belonged to the Kibroya branch of the Suharawardy Order and received the role of the spiritual heir from Sheikh Abul Miamin Najam Uddin Muhammad-bin-Mohammad Azani.
Payers and Meditation
After studies, external and internal, in order to train his self; he went into seclusion and spent six years. He did not utter a single word relating to material life. After the period, he again went to Hazrat Abul Barakat who attended to the cleansing of heart and physical exercise. He ordered him to go to Muhammad Mizdiqani. After the last rites of Hazrat Abul Barakat he presented himself to Hazrat Mahmud Mizdiqani on the fourth day.
Travelling is very essential in mystical life. Under the orders of his teacher Mahmud Mizdiqani, he set out on journey and spent better part of it in it. Ghulam Sarvar writes about his travels.
Sheikh Mahmud Mizdiqani Said, “Travel about the world, meet the saints, draw benefits from them as much as you can.” consequently, he undertook the Haj thrice and traveled for twenty or twenty one years. During these journeys he saw the Islamic and other countries and met the holy men there.
Preaching of the Deen
He quarreled with Amir-e-Temur and so moved to Kashmir with seven hundred Syeds and his followers, during the reign of King Shahab-Uddin. He had already sent two of his followers: Syed Taj Uddin Samnani and Mir Syed Hasan Samnani to take stock of the situation. The ruler of Kashmir became the follower of Mir Syed Hasan Samnani and because of the Kings concurrence he entered Kashmir with a large following. The King and heir apparent, Qutub Uddin, received him warmly. At that time the Kashmir ruler was on war with Firoz Tughlaq and because of his efforts the parties came to terms.
Shah Hamdan started the propagation movement of the Islam in Kashmir in an organized manner. The Kashmiri Muslims were unaware of the Deeni spirit before his arrival there. The reason being, the people, who had initiated the Movement, were saintly by nature and carried a deep influence of the Hinduism and the Buddhism. In-spite of having been turned Muslims they still observed many local rites and practices. Shah Hamdan did not stay in the valley permanently but visited on various occasions. First during the reign of Sultan Shahab Uddin in 774 Hijri he came, stayed for six months and left it. Second, he visited in 781 Hijri when Qutub Uddin was the ruler, stayed for a year and tried to extend the Movement to every nook and corner of Kashmir, returned to Turkistan via Ladakh in 783 Hijri. Third, he visited in 785, with the intention to stay for a longer period but had to return earlier owing to illness.
During his travels he met one thousand and four hundred saints and made numerous followers. The valley of Kashmir was fortunate for he decided to make it the center of his activities. Prior to him the Yogis propagated Islam and Rishis on whom the local effects ruled strongly than the pristine Islamic spirit. The intrinsic had over powered the Shairah. His greatest contribution was that he synchronized the intrinsic with the Shairah. The Kashmiris in-spite of being Muslims believed in many un-Islamic rites, practices and beliefs.
Shah Hamadan in his native land
Syed Ali Hamdani spent twenty years of his life in his native land and engaged in the spiritual training of his followers, preaching, counseling, and religious discourses.
Art and Crafts
Shah Hamadan was a Multi-dimensional personality. He was a social reformer besides being a preacher. Among the seven hundred followers, who accompanied him to Kashmir, were men of arts and crafts who flourished here? They popularized Shawl-making, cloth-weaving, pottery and calligraphy. Allama Iqbal admits that because of Shah Hamadan the wonderful arts and crafts turned Kashmir into a mini Iran and brought about a revolution in the thinking process of the people.
According to Daira-e-Maarif-e-Islamia
Shah Hamadan’s greatest contribution was the character building of the people to liberate them from the fear of the new system and their love for the older one. He imbibed true awakening and taught the Shairah. The Kashmiri people still had some of the Hindu beliefs; visited the temples and revered the Brahmins. The rulers wore Hindu dresses, and observed practices Un-Islamic in nature. On his instructions the rulers abandoned Un-Islamic dress and took to long cloaks similar to the ones wore by the Turkish rulers. Orders of the Shairah were made popular and people were inspired to learn more about Islam. For purpose of building the character of the Muslims he practiced truthfulness and fearlessness. He even scolded the contemporary rulers on their Un-Islamic activities. Sultan Qutub Uddin had two real sisters as wives. He reprimanded him and asked to divorce one of them. He obeyed. He made Islamic teachings known to the people in Kashmir, improved their beliefs, made efforts for the building of their character and laid down a fool-proof system for the propagation of the Islam.
Shah Hamadan’s followers and colleagues
Shah Hamadan’s efforts reached far and wide and benefited a large number of people. The number of his followers was large. A few to mention were: Noor Uddin Jafar Rustaq Bazari Badakhshi, Khawaja Ishaq Khatlani, Sheikh Qiwam Uddin Badakhshi, Mir Syed Husain Samnani, Mir Rukn Uddin, Syed Fakhar Uddin, Qutub-e-Amjad Syed Muhammad Qureshi, Syed Ahmad Qureshi, Syed Muhammad Aziz Ullah, Syed Muhammad murid, and Pir Muhammad Qadri etc.
Shah Hamadan, besides being a mystic saint and an effective preacher, was a man of letters and wrote about a hundred pamphlets in Arabic and Persian: Zakhira-Tul-Malik, a famous book, has been translated in many languages. It is impossible to mention all the titles of his books here, how ever, a few of them are: Sharah Nasoos-Ul-Hukm Farisi, Asrar-Ul-Nuqt, Risala Nooriya, Risia Islahat-e-Ilam-Ul-Qafia-o-Qaeda, Moudat-Ul-Qurabi, Rouzat-Ul-Firdous, Firdous-Ul-Akhbar, Manazil-Ul-Salikeen, Khulasit-Ul-Manaqib, Chehl Asrar, and etc.
Revelation and Miracles
Once a king invited him. He declined. The king grew furious; ordered to mould a horse from copper, heat it, put the saint on it, and brings him to him. The order was obeyed. The king’s servants heated the horse but it soon grew cold (under the will of God). The king repented for his conduct and begged of his forgiveness.
Illness and Death
On return from his third visit to Kashmir he reached Kinar via Pikhanli and was received as a royal guest. He fell ill there and died after five days on 6, Zil Haj 786 Hijri.
Compiler, Hasan, in the Tar-eekh-e-Hasan mentions the date of expiry in the Persian couplet, which means:
The great Syed Sirdar (Ali Hamadan) went to the paradise to take rest. Hasan mentions the year of the death in this couplet.
He was buried at Kolab in Khatlani where people gather in large numbers to pay their homage to him.
The Monastery (Khanqab-e-Mualla)
His room where he stayed for the first time, is a part of a great building, named as Khanqah-e-Mualia rose by Sultan Sikandar from 1394 to 1417 AD. The building is a beautiful model of wooden architecture of Kashmir, with engravings on walls. Friday prayers are said here where hundreds gather to pray. The sacred relics include the Prophet’s flag, the pillar of the Prophet’s tent, and Shah Hamadan’s walking stick.
During his life the place acquired the distinction of being the center of the spiritual light. People revere the place and some call it the second Ka’aba out of extreme devotion.
Sayed Abdul Qadir Jilani :The Great defender and the leader of the saints were born of pious parents of Hasani lineage, in the year 478 Hijri at Gilan in Persia. He was Syed from both sides, from father as well as mother. His father Syed Abu Saleh, was an illustrious and God – fearing man. Once he was engrossed in meditation by the bank of a river he saw an apple floating down the river. He picked it up and ate it. It struck to him that he ate the apple without paying for it so he set out in search of the owner, on the bank of the river and at last reached the owner of the apple orchard, Abdullah Somai whom he requested to tell him the price of the apple, Abdullah Somai replied that it was an expensive thing. Syed Abu Saleh replied that he had not much by way of worldly material but he, could serve him for its compensation. Abdullah Somai then asked him to Work for a year in the orchard. In course of time the duration was extended several times. In the end Abdullah Somai admitted that he had served him in excess of the price and desired to reward him. Abu Saleh hesitated in accepting it but when Abdullah Somai persisted, he relented. He said he had a daughter, blind of eyes, handicapped of hands and feet and wanted to give her in marriage to him. In this way Abdullah Somai was married to his daughter, Syeda Fatimah. To his astonishment Abu Saleh found her wondrously beautiful and wholesome. He complained to his father-in-law that he found her exactly the opposite to what he had described her. Abdullah Somai insisted on the truthfulness of his statement. She was blind because she had not seen a man who could marry her. She was mute because she had not uttered a word repugnant to the Shairah. She was deaf because she had not heard anything inconsistent with the Shairah. She was handicapped of hand and feet because she had never moved in the direction of evil. The Great defender’s father died soon after and the little orphan was reared up by his mother and under the benevolent care of his grand father, Abdullah Somai.
During infancy he never sucked milk during the day and had it after it was dark. When hungry he never cried like other children but remained composed in the cradle. As he was an orphan his initial education started under the supervision of his mother. Having completed, his primary education he sought his mother’s permission to go to Baghdad for higher education. His mother was old still she allowed him to go and thus he set out to Baghdad in the year 488 Hijri.
Some chroniclers say he was 14 when he set out to Baghdad. His mother sewed 40 gold coins in his quilt so that he might spend then when needed. The dacoits struck the caravan on the way, and looted all the travelers of their belongings and wealth. They asked him what he had. He replied that he had 40 gold coins. The dacoits took his reply for a joke and took him to their chief. The Chief of the dacoits asked him the same question and he again replied that he had 40 gold coins on him. He demanded him to show, upon whom he tore away, the quilt and produced the gold coins. He was surprised and asked him why he had given the hidden gold coins. He could have kept them and they could have never known about them. The boy replied that he was travelling to Baghdad to receive education. His mother had instructed him to speak the truth and he had done it. This left a deep effect on the Chief of the dacoits and he gave up looting.
He received lessons on Islamic Jurisprudence form Abu Said Makhzoomi, Tradition from Abu-Bakra-bin-Muzaffar, and Commentary from the renowned Commentator, Abu Muhammad Jafar. Having thus qualified he engaged himself in teaching.
He became a teacher and took to teaching in the seminary of his teacher, Qazi Abu-Said-Mubarak. Soon he became popular with his pupils. His fame spread far and nears. Pupils flocked to him. In the morning he taught lessons on Tradition and Commentary, and in the after-noon held discourse on Mysticism and the virtues of the Qu’Oran. The number of students increased so much that the seminary could no more contain them. He, therefore, decided to extend the premises of the seminary. The students and the people willingly came forward with their wholehearted contributions. The campus buildings were ready in 528 Hijri and thereafter it came to be known as Madarsai-e-Qadriya.
Judicial Sentences and Ermons
The Sheikh (The Great Defender) besides teaching engaged himself in Judicial Sentences and Sermons in the service of the Religion; delivered his sermons thrice a week. His oratory drew multitude of crowds, which sometimes exceeded sixty or seventy thousand people.
Truthfulness and Fearlessness
The Sheikh was truthful and fearless. The Caliph Al-Muqtazi once appointed Ibne-Marjam the Qazi. Ibne Marjam was known for his cruelties. The people were panicked. They approached the Sheikh. He addressed the Caliph from the pulpit that he had posted a man Qazi who was extremely cruel. When he reached before his Creator on the last day what excuse he would put forward for appointing him. God is merciful and kind to the people. The Caliph trembled and at once sacked Ibne Marjam form the post.
Whatever Presents, valuables his followers or disciples offered him he distributed them among the poor and the needy and gave precedence to other’s needs to this own. None returned empty handed from his gate. He was therefore, called leader of the saints, the Helper, the Great defender, and Darling of God. God filled his heart with profound love for the poor, the needy, and the helpless.
Propagation of Islam
He propagated Islam through his writings and speeches and remained aloof from the government and politics. He, therefore, ruled over the hearts of the people. The kings were envious of him. Not only did he propagate Islam through pen and word of mouth but saved also the Muslims from complete extinction. The world so remembers him with the little. Mohi-uddin, the life-giver
He wrote a large number of books in defense and service of Islam. His book Ganiat Ul Talibeen is on the orders from the Tradition. Mansharah-ul-ghaib deals with Mysticism. Fateh-Rabbani is the collection of his sermons and addresses
Maktoob-e-Subhani comprises of his letters. In verse he wrote fourteen moving odes and a Persian works.
He busied himself for forty years in the service of the Faith from 521 to 561 Hijri During this period hundreds embarrassed Islam because of him and organized several teams to go abroad for the purpose. He arrived in India in 1428 AD. And stayed at Multan. His Qadriya order still exists in India. He died in 561 Hijri at the age of 91 years.
Knowledge is useless without action. Be a doer and not an illiterate deliberately. One who knows and acts accordingly is a viceroy of Allah.
Lo! On one who committed the Qu’Oran to memory but did not follow it.
Allah is such a name that eases every difficulty and relieves of all kinds of worries and grief’s and this is a great name.
Whoever keeps Allah his friend, he is under His protection and passes his lives under His benign benevolence.
Beggar is he who perpetually engages himself in prayer and in contemplation. He is truthful, capacious, and courageous; regards his self-the meanest; what he does not know, tries to know; teaches the ignorant, and advises the careless.
The faithful is he who seeks lawful living, and is not a fatalist. If succeeds in getting a job, he shall get lawful living and compensation for search of a living.
For patience he said; the faithful perseveres in difficulty and distress and does not forsake the Shairah; submits to the will; is not perturbed from poverty and grief but remains composed, patient, and thankful.
The patience of a beggar as against the thankfulness of a rich man and the beggar’s thankfulness as against the rich man’s patience is larger.
The war of the inner is better than that of the outer.
Don’t complain of Allah’s slave (men). Think great so long as you live.
Sheikh-Ul-Alam Hazrat Noor-Uddin Wali :: His year of birth is disputed. Some say it was 779 Hijri while others hold it as 757 Hijri. It is futile to go into the discussion here but under modern research the year 779 is more probable.
Place of Birth
This too is a matter of dispute. People generally believe that he was born at Kemoh Kolgan but his poetic works don’t corroborate it and assert that his place of birth was Khi-Jogipura in the Kulgam tehsil.
“There, at Khi-Jogipura I was born because of His kindness. I am Nands Sanz Muslim.”
From both sides (mother and father) he came down from the royal family of Kishtwar which descended from Maharaja Vikramajit. Sheikh-Ul-Alam himself, mentions his lineage in his verse:
My Father and mother belonged to the Sanz family. Ogra Sanz and his son Durpita Sanz were my ancestors. His son Zanga Sanz who was killed in a battle succeeded Durpita Sanz. He left behind a son: Hambar Sanz. The later had two sons: Salar and Salu. I am the son of Salar Sanz.”
Some hold that Sheikh-Ul-Alma’s father Salar Sanz paid allegiance to Yasmin Rishi, embraced Islam, and assumed the name Sheikh Salar but the Sheikh contradicts the tradition in his verses. His father’s spiritual guide and teacher were Syed Husain Samnani.
Sheikh-Ul-Alma’s mother was ‘Sidrah’ who was en-trusted to be brought up by the village chowkidar according to the custom. Her parents died in the meantime and the Chowkidar married her away to a young man of the village who died in a short while. After this on the advice of Yasmin Rishi or Syed Husain Samnani she was remarried to the neo-Muslim, Sheikh Salar Uddin.
Noor Uddin is remembered by the titles: Sheikh-Ul-Alam, The Savior of Kashmir, Nanda Rishi and Suneha Nand.
Birth and Bringing-up
According to a tradition Lalla Arifa used to visit his mother during her pregnancy and took care of her. For the first three days he did not take a feed of milk. Lalla Arifa then fed him on her breasts saying; “You never hesitated in coming to this world then, why do you hesitate in taking the milk?”
The historians on Kashmir unanimously believe that he belonged to Owaisia Order but Hasan refers to Vaqa’eh Kashmir, that he drew spiritual sustenance from Hazrat Amir-e-Kabir Shah-e-Hamdan, Syed Husain Samnani, and Mir Muhammad Hamdani. It is also said that Hazrat Amir-e-Kabir entrusted him to Syed Husain Samnani at an early age. The letter, kept in the Khanqah-e-Mullah, indicates that Mir Muhammad Hamdani admitted him to his guidance for training and education in spiritual meditation and divine rites.
Sheikh-Ul-Alam was, in fact, the source of all knowledge, intrinsic as well as exterior. He was never educated or trained at a seminary or a monastery but whatever he attained was the result of his sincere, and severe attempts in pursuing meditation and prayers, although he was not literate, yet he was a poet, a philosopher, a Rishi. A saintly mystic, the flag bearer of Kashmir, and the protector of the Kashmiri culture all combined in one.
His early life
Symptoms at the time of his birth: Averse to taking milk for the first three days, the first feed of milk on Lalla Arifa’s breasts and reforming his step brothers. Drawing copiously from Syed Husain Samnani and Mir Muhammad Hamdani, great and perfect saints of his time indicated that he would attain the lofty sainthood in future.
Prayers and Meditation
He was deeply involved in his love that he renounced the conjugal life. The mother persuaded him, requested him, reminded him of her milk, and finally frightened him; the wife beseeched him with tearful eyes, but nothing worked with him. Upon the demand of milk from his mother, God so willed that it flowed out of a stone. When the wife so insisted, he laid the baboon thorns on the floor of the cave and rested on them and asked her to do the same. She left her two children who were found dead the following morning.
Being removed of all marital connections, he busied himself completely to intense practices, rites, meditations and prayers in order to subdue the self, renounced all material interests pertaining to body and mined, in order to strengthen the spiritual powers.
He severely practiced meditation in a cave for twelve years and lived on vegetation from the woods; spent sometimes on travels, and then went to live in isolation at Vichar-naag. Later, he traveled about in Kashmir, reached Vargam, and lastly came to Charar-Sharif to spend the remaining period of his life. Here he met Mir Muhammad Hamdani, and after some discussion received the letter of guidance from him.
Sheikh-Ul-Alam and Rishiyat
Rishi is a person who immerses himself into the Divine self.
Prior to the advent of Islam in Kashmir the rishis enjoyed great influence on the life of the people. The early preachers of Islam followed the conduct and manners of the yogis and rishis in the propagation of the religion. The reason being that in-spite of their embracing Islam, they still followed ways and practices of their former times and the lay men wished to see the holy-men in the models of rishis. The preachers who came form outside, were the Syeds and nearer to the rulers whereas the Muslim rishis were natives of Kashmir. The collisions resulted in the progress of the Rishiyat or in order to propagate Islam they had to rely on the Rishiyat extensively.
The Rishiyat was deeply rooted in the psyche of the natives of Kashmir and the preaching of Islam was almost impossible without its help. The Chistia order adopted profitably listening to music for the purpose, similarly Sheikh-Ul-Alam employed the Rishiyat. Letter of guidance issued by Mir Muhammad Hamdani is the testimony, which allows him living in isolation and meditation (for a certain period of time). With him the Rishiyat transformed into a movement and he looked for such captains as to spread Islam in Kashmir. He contacted all men of intelligence, power, and character and impressed them with his spiritual powers, revelations, miracles, and discussions and won them over for the mission. His followers came to be known as rishis. Baba Bam Uddin, Baba Zam Uddin, Baba Nasir Uddin and Baba Payam Uddin were the rishis of the Rishiyat movement. He not only limited it to the men only but extended it to women also. This included Shinga Bibi, Shyan Bibi, Bahet Bibi, Dih Bibi, Datta Bibi, and Salar Bibi, both elder and younger ones. Spiritual heirs of the Sheikh-Ul-Islam of the Rishiyat movement to mention a few, were: Sangrama Gunai, Sangrama Ved, Baba-Qutab-Uddin, Baba-Qayam-Uddin, Maulana-Mank-Nayak, Sozan Rishi, Khati Rishi, Lachcham Rishi I, Machchi Rishi II, Roya Rishi, Sidrah Rishi, Bab-Yazd-Rishi, Baba-Gulab-Rishi, Sidh-Sher-Kanth, Baba-Badar-Uddin, Baba-Sadr-Uddin, and Vati Rishi.
Revelations and Miracles
Shingar Bibi was the most beautiful woman and an expert dancer of her time. She had mastered the art of enamouring the people and could entrap the pious ones in her amorous ways. She broke the forty-year-old piety of Sozan Rishi. Some evil-minded persons persuaded her to detract Hazrat Sheikh Ul Alam; She went to him in all her beauty. The Saint cast awesome look at her and turned her into an ugly old woman. She fell at his feet and begged to pardon her. Hazrat Noor Uddin pardoned her, prayed for her, and she regained her youth and beauty. Shinga Bibi became his follower, embraced Islam, sought admission into the Rishiyat movement, spent her life in the service of the faith, in prayers, and led a pure and pious life.
Propagation of Islam
In the manner of the rishis of Kashmir, he propagated Islam, spoke to the people in the Kashmiri language as against the Persian, the foreign preachers spoke to and for the reason their reach was limited. Besides, he employed verse as an effective instrument, which popularized Islam among the common people, and the Rishiyat emerged as people’s movement.
He was a great poet and had a flair for prosody, used similes, metaphors, hyperbolas and other forms of expression, rich and effective with aplomb. To express Islamic philosophy and ideals through poetic forms is an art effectively practiced by poets like Sheikh Sa’adi and Iqbal only. Sheikh-Ul-Alam stands equal to them in it. Muhammad Asad Ullah Wani regards it the holy Qu’Oran in the Kashmiri language similar to Maulana Jalal Uddin’s Roomi’s masnavi, the Qu’Oran in Persian.
He gives precedence to the following in his verse.
Good deeds, to control ones wishes, to remove ignorance, to avoid greed and avarice, religious tolerance, fraternity, national integration, and liberalism.
You enjoy in telling lies but while speaking truth you shiver like a leaf.
It is futile to give knowledge to a fool.
To feed an ass on jugglery is to waste time.
There is no use to sow in a desert; and to fry a cake of chaff is to waste oil.
Speech is Silver; silence is Gold.
Abdul Ahad Azad summarizes: “The essence of the teaching of Sheikh-Ul-Alam is living in isolation, dependence on God, total surrender to Him, and belittling the world.”
Sheikh-Ul-Alam left a deep effect on the people from his speeches and actions and indirectly moved the other mystic-saints not belonging to the Rishiyat Order. The cultural and social life of Kashmir bears his imprint. He was the precursor of the mystic poets of Kashmir who drew heavily form him. His couplets are very popular with the people even today.
Rishi-Nama and Noor-Nama are collections of his teachings and anecdotes.
The year of his death similar to the year of birth is a matter of dispute with the chroniclers and biographers. It varies from 808 Hijri, to 820 Hijri to 825 Hijri, and to 842 Hijri but the year 842 Hijri (1438 AD.) is probable. His tomb stands at Charar-Sharif in the district of Badgam in Kashmir and draws large crowds.
Sultan-Ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdum :: Sheikh Hamza Makhdum, entitled Mehboob-Ul-Alam, and Sultan-Ul-Arifeen, was born to Baba Usman, of the Chandra-Vanshi Rajput family, a hereditary landlord, a scholar and a mystic saint of high order. Sheikh Hamza Makhdum, in this manner, inherited the mysticism.
Education and Training
He inherited the mysticism, and from the very childhood was inclined to the company of holy men, and to the truth. Having read the holy Qu’Oran in the village, he went to the seminary of Sheikh Ismial Kabroi for higher studies.
Once he was playing instead of going to elementary school (maktab) His father happened to come there, grew angry, and beat him so severely that he fell ill. From the day he pledged that he would never play with his Grand Father Zaiti-Rena. He went to see Fatah Ullah (son of Hazrat Baba Ismial) the spiritual teacher of the Rena tribe, and learnt the Qu’Oran for a year in the monastery at Shamsi-Chak here he was enrolled into the seminary of Baba Ismial Kabroi, as a student, for higher studies. He studied the Jurisprudence, Tradition, Logic, Philosophy, Ethics, and Mysticism.
Prayers and meditation
The title Sultan-Ul-Arifeen indicates to serious efforts and painstaking prayers did. During his studies s he meditated. Baba Davood opines that Hazrat Makhdoom did not rest during night for years but remained engaged in prayers.
Sultan-Ul-Arifeen says, “I was directed to say the daruds, mention of the names, and prayers because of His kindness and whenever I sluggish in the conduct I was reprimanded. “Hard work and painstaking prayers in the early youth made him old before time.
Propagation of the Faith
The great sage followed the Sunni (Tradition) strictly not only in prayers but also in table manners, dress, manners, and etc. He scrupulously followed the Prophet and his love for him knew no bounds. These things helped him to reach the highest rank. Later, he had to forsake his love for isolation in order to serve the people. He remarks:
“In the early days I had completely abandoned the company of the people. God granted me the gift of peace at heart and composure of mind. He ordered me to serve the people so I came and started delivering the Message.”
Generally the sages are indifferent to the Shairah. In the case of the persons of the Rishiyat Order, the indifference is evident. The suppression of self, renunciation of physical demands, asceticism, and other local effects are clearly visible on sages and the Islam here. His greatest contribution was that he delivered it in its purest form to the people. He followed the Shairah strictly but asked others to do it; opposed to their reluctance of legitimate things; joined the Shairah with Rishiyat and asked the people to follow into the footsteps of the Prophet; and relieved them of their superstitions. He made Hirdey Rishi eat meat under his orders, wore rich dress, declared superstitions as untrue, opposed and exposed the hypocrites, advised to work hard continuously, observed personal hygiene and cleanliness and instructed to take lawful food and to lead pious and pure life. These are the teachings that show that he tried to build a society on the pattern of the Book and Shairah.
End of Superstitions
His greatest contribution was that he instructed the people to forsake superstitions and Un-Islamic activities through his speech and actions. Numerous instances can be cited from his life. One of them is:
Two streams flowed in Nadi-hil, and there stood a bied tree between them. The blasphemous held it sacred and observed many rites. Nobody could go by it during night. If anyone did, he was stuck in superstitions and made offerings for his relief. When Sheikh reached the place he declared, “The Jins and Satins have fled.” He ordered for the cleaning of the streams and building of bathrooms.
He relentlessly fought against such superstitions and practices, stayed at the, places to make the people fearless, got mosques built there, for instance cleansed the stream ‘Bech-nag’ at Karora and built a mosque there. Similar practices and superstitions were prevalent at Shinga-pal stream in village Barar; he too stayed there and built a mosque under the supervision of Abdul Rashid. He too built a mosque in village Aham. Wherever he observed people entangled in them, reached there, and removed their fears from his deeds.
Reforms in beliefs
The greatest contribution of Sheikh Hamza Makhdum is the negation of the spread of the Shiat, by Sheikh Shamsuddin Iraqi, under state patronage. He made Sheikh Shamsuddin Iraqi’s efforts in effective and strengthened the tottering beliefs of the people.
Revelations and Miracles
Sultan-Ul-Arifin’s whole life was full of strange revelations and miracles. One them to quote is:
One day he went to the house of a saint Sheikh Khawaja Ishaq, and was served with roasted birds for the breaking of the fast (Iftar). The sage ate them, collected their bones raised his hands in prayer, and the bones joined together, the birds came to fife and flew out of the window.
Sheikh Hamza Makhdum died in the Hijri year 984 during the reign of Sultan Ali Shah Kochak. His colleague Tahir Rafique said his funeral prayer. He was buried near Hari parbat. Thousands of people visit the shrine to pay their respects and receive his blessings.
Hazrat Payam Uddin alias Baba Rishi (Tang-Marg):: Sheikh Alam Noor Uddin Noorani impressed upon the Kashmiri intellectuals, powerful men, and rulers, the reality and importance of Islam. He employed discourses, discussions, debates, revelations and miracles for the purpose. He initiated a new system Rishiyat bearing a strong impression of the country. With the passage of time from Sheikh-Ul-Alam Noor Uddin to Baba Payam Uddin Baba Rishi via Baba Zain Uddin grew stronger. There were many sages (Rishis) but the word Rishi simply refers to Baba Payam Uddin. Many places are related to him such as: Khanqah-e-Rishi, Islamabad, Ziariat-e-Rishi (Shrine) Habba Kadal, and a shrine, of the Rishi by the side of the road, on the reaches of Gulmarg hill. The Gulmarg monastery appears to be a place of solitude and peace from a distance. The poet describes it:
This is a land of flowers, of hills, of beautiful scenes, of sweet smelling shrubs, where the colorful lala flowers bloom in abundance and the bounties of God drop in plenty. The place is no less than the supreme paradise because the shrine of Hazrat Payam Uddin stands here. The shrine and tomb are built in the pagoda style and placed amid wondrous scenic beauty. It has the Jama Majid on one side and a market on the other. One reaches the shrine through a flight of stairs. The langar (public, free eating place) adjoins the tomb. It has a tradition. The king had no male offspring. He went to the sage and requested him for it. The sage prayed to God and the king was bestowed with a male child. The father and the son became his followers. Even today the seekers of offspring’s plaster the oven of the langar and receive God’s grace.
Most of the chroniclers are silent about him. A short mention has been made in the pamphlet issued by the Department of Information and Publicity of the Aqua of the Jammu and Kashmir does not satiate the seekers.
Baba Payam Uddin was born to a noble and a minister of the contemporary ruler, at Chander-nau-gaon in the region of Lar. It is also said that Baba Payam Uddin was himself a noble of high rank and a trusted man of the king and lived a life of ease and luxury. Still he liked the company of the saints and sages and sought their blessings.
One day he rode a horse. On the way he saw a train of ants carrying grains. He descended and observed them. If God wills, He directs him with small things. He thought that the small ants were working hard to gather grains for winter. He was there entrapped in the glamour of the world unmindful of his next life. (A’khirat), Anxiety of the life after death sat so heavily on his mind that he resigned his job, renounced his home, and came to Baba Zain Uddin who put him to prayers and meditation. On completion of the internal training he asked his permission to retire in solitude at Tang-Marg in Rabnoh village. There lived men ill of nature and low of character that objected to his stay but finally he won them over and improved them.
At the time of leaving his house, his wife was expecting a child. A son was born in his absence, grew up, and saw his father, and started serving him. He ordered him to move to a village. There he committed an act not according to Sunni. This so much infuriated Baba Payam Uddin that he cursed him to death. Eventually he died.
Baba Payam Uddin died on 3, Zil Haj 889 Hijri and interned at a place, 3 miles from Tang-Marg, by the side of Gulmarg. People from all corners of Kashmir; visit the Shrine in large numbers. It is believed whenever a fire breaks out in the Shrine some severe calamity befalls on the people of Kashmir.
Bulbul-e-Kashmir Hazrat Bulbul Shah :: In the valley of Kashmir persons, who established through their actions and precepts, captivated the hearts of the people, called them to the true Religion and filled the hearts with the light of monotheism, faith, and devotion, Bulbul Shah stands taller among them. People called him with the epithet of the nightingale of Kashmir.
His name was Syed Sheriff Uddin Abdul Rehman and title Syed Bilal that owing to frequent use changed into Bulbul. Hence he came to be known as Bulbul Shah or the Bulbul-e-Kashmir.
Bulbul Shah sought allegiance to the renowned saint, Shah Nemat-Ullah Farisi Shirazi, of the Suharawardy Order who, in turn, looked to Zia Uddin-Ul-Najeeb Abdul Qahiri.
Arrival in the Kashmir Valley
Bulbul Shah’s native town is a matter of controversy among the writers. Dr. SN Naz thinks, he was from the region of Tamkastan of the ancient Iran, some relates him to Baghdad; still others trace him from Turkistan. He reached Kashmir with his friend Mullah Ahmad. Some hold, he came to Kashmir with one thousand refugees out of the fear of the Mangols. Others believe, he entered the valley in 1324 AD. During the reign of Ranchan Shah. We think his arrival during the reign of Ranchan Shah, a Bodh ruler, is more probable. Rancher Shah was a seeker of Truth. Hinduism could not satisfy him and found the answer with Bulbul Shah. His meeting with Bulbul left a deep mark on him and he learnt the teaching of Islam from his precepts and actions. He embraced Islam under the assumed name Sadar Uddin, and along with him thousands became Muslims.
Ranchan Shah shared a greater responsibility in the propagation of Islam. He ordered for the construction of a monastery for Bulbul Shah, came to be known as the Khanqah-e-Bulbul Shah which formerly stood in the Mohalla Bulbullinko. In addition to it, he raised a mosque and several other buildings which don’t exist now and of which we read in books only.
The nobles who turned to Islam included the commander of the Kashmir forces, Ravan Chandra. He adopted Bibi Lalla, the saint, as his daughter and foretold that she would be a great saint. This proved true.
Hazrat Syed Bulbul Shah was a great scholar, a man of letters, and a theologian. Besides, he had reached the lovely end in intrinsic and spiritual learning. He illuminated the darkness of the hearts with the torch of the faith.
He resigned the worldly matters for meditation, prayers, and travels, which, at last, landed him into Kashmir.
Revelation and Miracles
Once it grew very cold in Kashmir. The water in the river Jhelum froze hard. People suffered for want of water. Bulbul Shah himself went in search of water but the Jhelum water was so hard that it refused to break. He saw towards the sky and said, “Where is the sun to melt the snow from its heat?” It is said, the sun rose and frozen snow melted.
Bulbul Shah was a wonderful and impressive man. Whatever he said did it built a place of peace and quiet in the form of a monastery from where ran the stream of benedictions and Faith that lit the entire valley.
He died on 7, Rajab 722 Hijri (1326 AD) The following couplet, when computed, gives 722 Hijri as his date of death.
Saal-e-Tarikh-e-Vasl-e-Shah Bulbul-e-Quads Guft-e-Khas Ilah. (Meaning: The divine nightingale mentioned the year of the death of (Bulbul) Shah 727 Hijri.
Hazrat Mir Muhammad Hamdani :: Hazrat Mir Muhammad Hamdani, the son of Hazrat Shah Hamdani, was born in 1372 AD. And received the rank of the spiritual heir from his father. It is said that Shah Hamadan bequeathed him that he would continue the mission and not leaves Kashmir. He also gave two letters to Maulana Sirahi with the instructions to hand them over to Khawaja Ishaq Khatlani and Noor Uddin Jafar Badakhshi after his death. These two holy men went to see Mir Muhammad Hamdani to condole him on his father’s death that demanded the two documents from them. Khawaja Khatlani handed him over the will but kept the document of the heir apparent with the remark that he would do so only when he proved himself capable of it. This transformed him internally, spent three years with the Khawaja Sahib, and later learnt intrinsic conduct from Noor Uddin Jafar Badakhshi. Having been qualified for the post, he succeeded to the seat of his father.
Under instructions of his father, he did not severe his relations from Kashmir but entered into two marriages to strengthen them, and thus set up two links, spiritual as well as material. He completed work of his father and stayed here for eleven years. Like his father he took great pains in sinking down the Islamic faith and the removal of Un-Islamic practices, rites, and beliefs from the Kashmiri Muslims.
His efforts resulted in the blooming of Islamic mysticism, based on Sunni and the Book. He observed Shareiah more than the Tariqat (Intrinsic)
He never liked any digression. This saved the Kashmiri Muslims from the extremes. His persuasions made Sultan Sikandar to enforce the orders of the Sunni in letter and spirit. Music, dancing and gambling were banned.
Sultan Sikandar was his devotee. He ordered for the construction of mosques, monasteries, and seminaries. His Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief, Soh Bhatt, became Muslim and assumed the name Serif Uddin who, being a new Muslim, pulled down many temples out of frenzy. When the matter came to the notice of Hazrat Mir Hamdani, he forbade him to do so and introduced him to the Qu’Oranic induction, meaning: There is no compulsion (on people) in matters of their Faith.
Syed Muhammad wrote a booklet on mysticism. Once he disagreed with Syed Muhammad Hissari on the subject: mysticism, so he penned down his ideas on the following night. Besides, he wrote several other pamphlets. Risala Sikandari is well known.
The torch of the faith, having lit up the darkness, went out at Khatlani in 1450 AD. Thousands of Kashmiri Muslims bade him farewell with tears in their eyes. The Khanqah-e-Mullah (the monastery) is a living monument emanating peace, love, and fraternity to the people around.