• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Khawaja Digar: A Time-Honored Tradition in Kashmir

By: Javid Amin

Khawaja Digar is a revered and ancient tradition that unfolds in the heart of Kashmir every year on the 3rd day of the Islamic month of Rabi-ul-Awwal. It’s a day marked by special prayers and supplications offered at the shrine of Hazrat Khawaja Syed Baha-ud-Din Naqshbandi (RA), affectionately known as Khawaja Digar.

The roots of Khawaja Digar can be traced back to Bukhara, Uzbekistan, where Hazrat Khawaja Baha-ud-Din Naqshbandi (RA) used to deliver special sermons during the Asar prayers. Even after his passing, his devotees in Kashmir continued the tradition of offering special prayers on the 3rd day of Rabi-ul-Awwal.

The tradition of Khawaja Digar found its way to Kashmir in the early 17th century when Hazrat Syed Shah Muhammad Qasim (RA), a disciple of Hazrat Khawaja Baha-ud-Din Naqshbandi (RA), migrated to the region. Hazrat Syed Shah Muhammad Qasim (RA) established a Naqshbandi Sufi order in Kashmir, and Khawaja Digar became an integral part of the Naqshbandi Sufi tradition in the valley.

For the people of Kashmir, Khawaja Digar holds immense spiritual significance. It’s a day to commemorate the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and seek blessings from Hazrat Khawaja Baha-ud-Din Naqshbandi (RA). On this auspicious day, thousands of devotees from across Kashmir congregate at the shrine of Hazrat Khawaja Baha-ud-Din Naqshbandi (RA) to participate in special prayers and supplications.

The Khawaja Digar rituals commence with the Asar prayers, performed in the afternoon. Following the Asar prayers, special sermons and supplications take center stage. Distinguished scholars and Naqshbandi Sufi masters typically lead these prayers and sermons.

While the Khawaja Digar prayers and sermons are primarily conducted in Persian and Arabic, translations are often provided for those who may not understand these languages. The essence of these prayers and sermons revolves around spiritual growth, the virtues of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and the teachings of Hazrat Khawaja Baha-ud-Din Naqshbandi (RA).

The spiritual ambiance during Khawaja Digar is heightened by the inclusion of music and chanting. These elements contribute to creating a profound spiritual atmosphere, preparing the hearts of devotees for their prayers.

The Khawaja Digar prayers and sermons extend for several hours, a testament to the devotion of the attendees. After the religious proceedings, devotees are served food and drinks, often contributed by members of the community.

Khawaja Digar stands as a unique and integral facet of Kashmiri culture. It is a day when the people of Kashmir come together to celebrate their shared faith and cultural heritage.

Historical Origins of Khawaja Digar

The roots of the Khawaja Digar tradition are believed to have sprouted in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, in the 14th century. Hazrat Khawaja Baha-ud-Din Naqshbandi (RA), the founder of the Naqshbandi Sufi order, used to impart special sermons during the Asar prayers in Bukhara. Following his demise, his disciples in Bukhara continued the tradition of offering special prayers on the 3rd day of Rabi-ul-Awwal.

Khawaja Digar made its way to Kashmir in the early 17th century when Hazrat Syed Shah Muhammad Qasim (RA), a devoted disciple of Hazrat Khawaja Baha-ud-Din Naqshbandi (RA), migrated to the region. Hazrat Syed Shah Muhammad Qasim (RA) went on to establish a Naqshbandi Sufi order in Kashmir, and Khawaja Digar seamlessly integrated into the spiritual fabric of the valley.

Significance of Khawaja Digar

For the people of Kashmir, Khawaja Digar carries profound spiritual importance. It’s a day to commemorate the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and invoke the blessings of Hazrat Khawaja Baha-ud-Din Naqshbandi (RA).

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stands as the final prophet of Islam and holds the highest veneration in the Islamic faith. Muslims believe that the teachings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) serve as a beacon of guidance and a source of inspiration for their lives.

Khawaja Digar, with its centuries-old traditions and rituals, continues to be a cherished event in Kashmir, uniting its people in faith and reverence.

The author has made every effort to ensure that the information in this article is accurate, but no guarantees are made. The author is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the article. We are open for any corrections / updations from authentic sources.