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Friday, 14 January 2011

SAYINGS OF HAZRAT SYEDNA PIR MEHER ALI SHAH SAHIB (R.A)


The whole life of Hazrat-e-Ala Pir Meher Ali Shah Sahib (R.A) was a model for the whole Ummah. All his life, he cleansed the hearts of the people who were in search of the righteous path of Allah, purifying them from all the worldly things and enlightened their hearts with the love of Allah and the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). One can find the code of life and its pattern in Hazrat's sayings. Following are some of the sayings which are mostly extracted from the “Malfuzaat-e-Mehria” (sayings of Hazrat), Maktubat (letters) of Hazrat Meher Ali Shah Sahib (R.A). 
  •       Every breath of life is a priceless treasure; it should be devoted to the remembrance of the Lord (Allah Almighty), and to the seeking of His pleasure.
  •       True faith can be sustained through the love of Allah.
  •       The true Abd, (i.e., slave) of Allah derives infinitely more happiness and satisfaction from spreading his hands before Him in prayer than from achieving his own worldly objectives.
  •       The love of Allah and His Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) is infinitely superior to the love of mortal human beings and of other worldly things.
  •       Observance of the Holy Prophet’s (P.B.U.H) Shariah and of his personal example (Sunnah) has precedence over everything else.
  •       There is no conflict whatsoever between the "Shariah" and the "Tariqah". While the formal constitutes the injunctions of Allah and His Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), the latter consists in acting meticulously upon those injunctions.
  •       Spiritual elevation does not give any one a license to ignore the shariah. Indeed, the higher a person goes on the spiritual scale, the greater should be his observance of the Prophet’s shariah (P.B.U.H).
  •       One should carry on one’s legitimate business in life, and should at the same time consider Allah to be Omnipresent and All-Seeing.
  •       The (true) dervish considers every one else better than him self; he tries to rectify his own faults instead of finding faults with others.
  •       A dervish is one who opposes whatever his baser self (Nafs-e-Ammara) impels him to do.
  •       Being a dervish is a state of mind, and does not necessarily depend on the type of dress that one wears, or the food that one eats, so long as these are acquired through lawful means. Ideally, of course, it is preferable to follow the example of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) who prided in simplicity and frugality.
  •       One should answer humility with humility, but need not be humble before the proud and the conceited.
  •       Seeking the favour or pleasure of persons in high office may be alright for the common man; it is undesirable for those who aspire to be dervish or Sufi.
  •        A Salik (traverser of the path) should have nothing to do with the good or the bad of the world; he should devote his entire attention to his Lord at all times.
  •       The life and the death of Awlia-Allah (friend of Allah) are devoted solely to seeing the Lord’s pleasure, and must not be compared to or equated with the life and death of the common people.
  •       Prayers and recitations should be performed primarily with the object of earning Lord’s pleasure, this can lead, as a by-product, to worldly gain also which lies in the hands of the Lord. It is inconceivable that man should devote himself wholly to the remembrance of his Creator and that the latter should not fulfill his ambition and needs.
  •       One should endeavour to do good deeds; Allah’s forgiveness, however, depends on His Mercy and Grace and not necessarily in one’s good deeds.
  •       Man’s greatness and nobility lie in his character, and especially in practicing humility and self-effacement, and not merely his lineage.
  •       Pride and conceit destroys all good deeds.
  •       Mutual love and sincerity are among the finest quality of the Islamic Ummah. In fact it was Islam which first stressed these qualities for observance by its followers. Unfortunately, however, these are largely missing from today’s Muslim world due to its indifference to Islamic teachings and values.
  •       Allah likes moderation and temperance in everything, and this constitutes the Straight Path that He has ordered us to follow. Exaggerations and misdirected excess, even in religious matters, lead to error and are liable to incur the wrath of Allah.
  •       Avoid extremes in religious as well as worldly matters, for peace and salvation lie only in following the middle path.
  •       As far as possible, one should endure the unkindness of others with patience, and leave revenge and retribution to Allah.
  •       Faith in God’s Mercy, benevolence and omnipotence in the fulfillment of human objectives must be backed up by the utmost human endeavors.
  •       Trust in God does not consist in discarding human endeavour altogether. The best course is to put in one’s best effort and leave the results to God.
  •       As indicated in the Quran (XCIV, 5-6), “hardship goes side by side with ease” (in this worldly life). One should, therefore, not lose heart in time of adversity, but should instead have full faith in the Mercy of Allah and be thankful to Him in all circumstances.
  •       Ibadat (or devotion) consists of submission without argument, acceptance without dissent, patience without complaint, faith without uncertainty, perception without concealment, and attention without diversion.
  •       All Sufi schools have the same ultimate objective, namely the attainment of spiritual elevation and union with Allah; no school should, therefore claim superiority over the others.
  •       Denunciation of Muslims as “kafir” (infidel) on petty sectarian grounds or on the basis of doubt or supposition only, is highly loathsome, and must be avoided at all costs. This alone can ensure the unity of the Ummah and thereby help it regain its lost glory.
  •       “Wahdat-ul-Shahud” is the beginning of the “Suluk” (i.e., spiritual journey) and “Wahdat-ul-Wajood” its ultimate and perfected state.           
  •       While reason and intellect do facilitate the formal study of religious and spiritual sciences, access to the deeper meanings of these sciences is possible only through the Grace of Allah with the help of an accomplished guide and teacher (a Pir).
  •       Power and authority are sure touchstones to a person’s real character and nature. The mean person in power indulges in cruelty, oppression and injustice, while the noble one in a similar position exercises kindness, generosity and justice.
  •       Sama is not an end in itself for men of God. At the same time, its importance should not be denied, since many eminent religious and spiritual personalities are known to have listened to sama as a spiritual vehicle.
  •       The Murid should obey the commands of his Shaikh (spiritual guide) in every thing and particularly in the regular performance of religious rituals and the wazaifs (recitations) enjoined by the Shaikh, in order to derive maximum spiritual benefit, those who are not content with the guidance provided by their own Shaikh-e-Kamil and keep seeking it from others, ultimately waste their efforts (just as a rolling stone gathers no moss).

BOOKS OF HAZRAT SYEDNA PIR MEHER ALI SHAH SAHIB (R.A)

This first book of Hazrat Tahqiq-ul-Haq Fi Kalima-tul-Haq (The truth about Kalima-tul-Haq) was written in 1897 AD in Persian language. It gained wide approbation in the Islamic world because of its high scholarly and analytical content, and the erudite discussion on important religious and spiritual issues contained in it. In 1962, a second edition of the book, containing Urdu translation along with Persian text, was published. Finally, a third hard-bound edition was published, with further amplifications and printing improvements, in December 1991.
The central themes of this book is Wahdat-ul-wajood (Ultimate Oneness of Being), and the Kalimah-e-Tawhid (Translation: There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger). This book of Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) provides a masterly exposition of the concept of "Wahdat-ul-Wajood" and helped clear many of the prevailing misinterpretations of the concept.
Reason for writing the book
The agreed meanings and implications of Wahdat-ul-Wajood and Wahdat-ush-Shahud appear to have been departed from by one Maulana Abdul Rahman of Lucknow, a contemporary of Hazrat, in his booklet titled "Kalimatul Haq" (The Word of Truth). The Maulana was  an eminent religious scholar, well-versed in both Shariah sciences and in Tasawwuf (Sufism) He was a staunch believer in Wahdat-ul-Wajood, in theory as well as practice. It appears, however, that during the course of his spiritual journey, he was so overcome by excessive absorption in the concept of Tawhid-e-wujudi (Unity of Being) as to indulge in a rather distorted interpretation of the concept in his above-mentioned book. In effect, he described idols (false gods) to be "at par with Allah", through a mis-interpretation of the word "ilah" (god) used in the Kalima-e-Tawhid. Maulana even went a step further and asserted that the entire Muslim Ummah was under an obligation to accept his aforesaid version of Wahdat-ul-wajood, and that ulama (past or present) who rejected this version were, or would be, guilty of misguidance.
Taking serious note of this, some contemporary ulama denounced Maulana Abdul Rahman's views as amounting to heresy, although very few of them were able to effectively counter the many learned and weighty arguments that the Maulana had advanced in support of his view-point. The result was that the issue threatened to disrupt the unity of the entire Muslim ummah.
It was this point that Hazrat decided to intervene, and wrote his book titled "Tahqiq-ul-Haq Fi Kalimatul Haq". In this book, he refuted Maulana Abdul Rahman's stand on the the point at issue with powerful and convincing arguments derived from Quran and the hadith. He conclusively proved that the meaning and interpretation of Kalima-e-Tawhid, which had been unanimously accepted and acted upon by the Islamic ummah ever since the period of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and with his full approval, but which Maulana Abdul Rahman had differed from in his booklet, were enough to preserve the iman of a Muslim, and to rid him from "kufr" (unbelief) and shirk (association or ascribing "partners" to Allah). At the same time, however, Hazrat desisted from dubbing Maulana as a heretic, as many other ulama had done. Instead he considered the latter's views to be based, not on any willful or ill-intentioned distortion but on an "overpowering spiritual experience", and therefore attributable to a state of mind beyond the Maulana's own control.    
The subject covered in Hazrat's book was highly delicate and sensitive. Furthermore, the arguments advanced by the Maulana in support of his point of view had been very strong and scholarly, and they could only be refuted by reasoning equally logical and convincing. Because of this, Hazrat's book was necessarily a highly erudite and scholarly piece of writing, and its contents could be truly understood only by persons well-versed in both the Arabic language in which the book was written, and the intricacies and subtleties of the spirit. 
Indeed the book was hailed by distinguished scholars and sufia as a work of outstanding merit and a masterpiece. Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, who occupies a position of eminence among the Sub-continent's ulama, was reported to have observed, 
"If Hazrat Meher Ali Shah had not produced this book, it would have become exceedingly difficult (if not well-nigh impossible) for the Muslim community to preserve its age-old belief structure in the face of the powerful case made by Maulana Abdul Rahman for his point of view. Thanks to this book, the controversy which threatened to divide the ummah into two bitterly opposed groups was amicably resolved and laid to rest for all time to come". 
Topics covered in the book
a)   Meaning and explanation of the Kalima’s opening words “ There is no god but Allah”;
b)   A discussion of Tawhid-e-wujudi (Unity of Being), and of the way to understand and experience it as done by the classical and eminent spiritual masters;
c)   Meaning and explanation of the second part of the Kalimah “ (Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is the Messenger of Allah)"; and
d)   Selected ahadith (traditions) of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) on this and related subjects.
2.  Shamsul Hidayah   
 As mentioned earlier, this book was written by Hazrat (R.A) as a part of his fight against Qadianism or Ahmadiya movement. In short, the book Shamsul Hidayah established the case for Jesus Christ’s ascent to Heaven "alive” and “in person” in such forceful and incontrovertible terms as to totally demolish Mirza’s interpretation and claims. The book was, therefore, acclaimed by the Muslim ulama of all schools of thought. This book was written in the year 1899.     
Reason for writing the book - in Hazrat's (R.A) own words
A summary of reasons given by Hazrat in the beginning of the book for its compilation is reproduced below:
(a) The era of true guidance, firm adherence to the faith, and balanced thinking and action is now long past, with the result that human nature is being increasingly influenced by prejudice and ignorance.
(b)  Due to the general lack of piety, and fear of God, inner light, and scholarly ability, it has become difficult to distinguish between right and wrong and to preserve true belief.
(c)  Simplicity and truth, which are among the basic and important principles of Islam, have given place to greed, mischief and hypocrisy.
(d)  Despite these shortcomings, people now tend to consider themselves to be all-knowing, and to regard the visions of prophets of Allah to be the subject of error and misinterpretation, and the “ijtihadat” (re-interpretations) of early ulama to be ‘obsolete’ while they consider their own meanings and interpretations to be immune from those faults.
(e)  Because of all this, the patently wrong and misleading views set forth in Qadyani writings have started gaining more and more credence, making it imperative that something effective be done to stem this tide.
Hazrat added that the Qadyani views had been brought to his notice earlier, but he had been restraining the ulama from condemning them because he considered this to be against the Islamic principles of tolerance and broadness of outlook. However, a situation had now been reached which could not be tolerated or ignored any longer. He had, therefore, written the book “Shamsul Hidayah” to inform the people about the true meanings of the Quranic ayah and the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H) ahadith on the related points, and thereby ensure that the established and unanimously accepted beliefs of Islam are not discarded merely due to the lack of correct knowledge. In short, the book Shamsul Hidayah established the case for Jesus Christ's ascent to heaven "alive and in person" in such forceful and incontrovertible terms as to totally demolish Mirza's interpretation and claims. The book was, therefore, acclaimed by the Muslim ulama of all schools of thought. The adverse and abusive remarks made about it by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and his followers in their various writings and sayings were an indirect proof of their helplessness in providing an effective answer to the arguments and reasoning presented by Hazrat in the book. The book has gone through three editions since it was published, the latest one having been published in 1985.
3. Saif-e-Chishtiyai    
As Hazrat had made out a very strong case in his book "Shamsul Hidayah" to expose the fallacy of the arguments put forward by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to back up his claim to be the masil of Jesus Christ and later the Promised Messiah in person. Besides negating those arguments, Hazrat had also called upon Mirza to explain the true inner meaning of the Kalima-e-Tayyibah.
About two years of the publication of Shamsul Hidayah, the Qadyani camp published two books by way of rejoinders to Shamsul Hidayah. One of these titled "Ijaz-ul-Masih" (The Miracle of Messiah), was written by Mirza himself. Concerning his own book, Mirza put forward the claim that it was beyond human power to reply to the arguments contained in that book (Ijaz-ul-Masih). 
The second Qadyani book, titled "Shams-e-Bazighah" (The Shining Sun) was written and published by Mirza Sahib's loyal disciple and old-time associate, Maulvi Ahsan Amrohi. In this book, an effort was made, besides other things, to give a detailed explanation of the Kalimah (There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger), as had been demanded by Hazrat in his book Shamsul Hidayah.
In reply to Mirza’s two aforesaid books, Ijaz-ul-Masih and Shams-e-Bazighah, Hazrat wrote his now-renowned book Saif-e-Chishtiyai (The Chishtia Sword), and had it distributed free of cost to the sub-continent’s ulama and mashaikh as well as among religious schools and other institutions.
Saif-e-Chishtiyai further elaborated the arguments contained in Hazrat’s earlier book Shams-ul-Hidayah. In addition, it made nearly one hundred critical comments on the incorrect meaning and logic, errors of grammar, diction and idiom, plagiarisms and distortions in respect of Surah Al-Fateha (the opening Surah of the Holy Quran) as contained in Mirza’s Ijaz-ul-Masih. Similar criticism were made of the contents of Shams-e-Bazighah, in which an effort had been made by Mirza to spell out the meaning of the Kalimah (There is no god but Allah and Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is Allah’s Messenger) as demanded by Hazrat in Shams-ul-Hidayah and objections had also been raised to the various points made in that book (Ijaz-ul-Masih, written by Mirza Qadyani).
As clarified by Hazrat in his introductory remarks, this book, like Shamsul Hidayah, was also written by Hazrat on the insistence of some ulama and other people rather than on his own initiative, and its real purpose was to explain the correct position of the related issues from the standpoints of the Quran and the Hadith for the information and guidance of people rather than to indulge in polemics with Mirza and his followers.
Saif-e-Chishtiyai elaborated further upon the arguments contained in Hazrat's earlier book Shamsul Hidayah, and also gave convincing rejoinders to the objections raised by Mirza concerning that book. In addition, it made nearly one hundred critical comments on the incorrect meanings and logic, errors of Arabic grammar, diction and idiom (which are crucially important in relation to the Quran and the Hadith, since even the slightest error can completely distort the meanings of the relevant ayat and ahadith) in respect of Surah Al-Fateha contained in Mirza's Ijaz-ul-Masih. Similar criticisms were made of the contents of Shams-e-Bazighah. The details of these various comments, which can be properly understood only by those well-versed in Arabic language and in religious issues, may be seen in the book itself.
In Saif-e-Chishtiyai, Hazrat had inter alia predicted that since Mirza was an impostor, he would never have the privilege of visiting Madina Munawwara and paying his respects at the tomb of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), which, according to a hadith was one of the things which Jesus Christ (the real Promised Massiah) was destined to do, along with the performance of Hajj, after his future descent to earth. This prediction was proved correct when Mirza died a few years later neither performing Hajj nor visiting Madina.
Saif-e-Chishtiyai was hailed by contemporary religious scholars as a masterpiece on the subject. It was quoted extensively by writers of Quranic commentaries and other religious authors as a reference to prove their various points. As intended, this book did effectively stem the advancing Qadyani tide, making it almost completely ineffective. It helped thousands of Muslims to rediscover the truth about the issues that Qadianism had raised, besides making many Qadianis themselves repent and rejoin the ranks of orthodox Muslims.

4. I’la Kalimatillah Fi Bayan-e-Wa Ma Uhilla Bihi Legharillah 
(Exalting the Word of Allah through the Quranic ayah: “And that which hath been dedicated to anyone other than Allah- II, 173). First Published in 1322 A.H. (1904-05 A.D.).
Purpose of the book
This book was written by Hazrat (R.A) to present the correct and balanced view, according to the Quran and Sunnah, concerning certain issues of day-to-day significance, which have been a constant source of controversy among ulama of different schools of thought.
These included:
a)   Permissibility of sacrificing animals in the name of Allah by way of thanksgiving to Him, but at the same time as an invocation of blessing for the souls of eminent religious and spiritual personalities;
b)   Legitimacy of making offering at shrines of ‘ulama and Mashaikh (spiritual leaders);
c)   Seeking spiritual help from the souls of eminent deceased Awlia-e-Allah;
d)   True meaning and scope of the Quranic injunctions to the believers to place complete and absolute faith in Allah in all matters;
e)   Intercession by prophets before Allah on the sinners’ behalf on the Day of Judgment; and
f)    Ability of the deceased to hear after death.
The book was meant to rectify the extremist and diametrically divergent views that had come to prevail over time among ulama of different schools on these points. Immediate occasion for writing it was provided by certain questions posted to Hazrat by a group of Pakhtun and Afghan ulama from Indian’s NWFP. For the benefit of these ulama, Hazrat wrote the book in Persian. Later, on Hazrat Babuji’s initiative, the Persian text was republished along with its Urdu translation for the benefit of the general reader.
5. AlFatuhat-us-Samadiyyah (Divine Bounties)  
This book (published in 1325 A.H. – 1907-08 AD) was written in answer to ten questions addressed by a group of non-conformist ulama to Hazrat indirectly through one of his disciples, Qaim Ali Chishti who was in a Madressah Nomaniya.
The questions posed by the non-conformist ulama had been carefully chosen, so as to cover several different branches of Islamic sciences. This was not done presumably in the hope that no single person could be so widely learned as to be able to do justice to all of them. They covered, for example, such subjects as scholastic theology, linguistics, jurisprudence, philosophy, logic, Euclidean Geometry, numbers, and so on, many of which had generated controversies among ‘ulama of the early Islamic period. Thanks, however, to the ‘Ilm-e-laduni (Divinely inspired knowledge) with which he had been blessed by Allah. Hazrat gave detailed replies to each one of the Questions.
To sum up, Hazrat’s book Al Futuhat-us-Samadiyyah covers some of the exceedingly complex and abstruse branches of Islamic sciences, and provides ample proof of the extraordinary vastness and depth of Hazrat’s knowledge and erudition.    
Twelve questions posed by Hazrat to the non-conformist ulama, which were never answered
The twelve questions addressed by Hazrat to non-conformist ulama at the end of the book Futuhat-us-Samadiyyah, which, as stated earlier, never elicited any answers from the latter, are summarized below:
  1. Ilm-ul-Huruf (Science of letters)
Reproducing a saying of Syedna Muhammad bin Ali with respect to the alphabetic system, Hazrat asked the ulama to explain the meaning of that saying, and the reason for their present sequential order.
  1. Ilm-ul-Hai’ah (Science of shapes and forms)
Citing one of the observations of Uwaisa-ibn-ul-Kamal on this subject, Hazrat asked for the reasons behind it.
  1. Ilm-e-Riyadi (Science of Mathematics)
Hazrat sought a solution to one of the conundrum (riddles) attributed to Sahib Abi Madyan, which was more concise than the one that the ulama had asked Hazrat to decipher.
  1. Ilm-e-Fiqh (Science of jurisprudence)
An explanation was sought about the source and the reason of the “exception” contained in the following expression of leading Islamic jurists:
“The maturity of the shadow of everything is similar in size to the thing itself except around noon-time”.
  1. Ilm-ul-kalam (Science of scholastic theology)
Citing some of the observations of leading scholastic theologians like Ashari, Ibn-e-Kalab Hishm-bin Al-Hikam, Ibn Sina and others about the Word of Allah and about letters and sounds, Hazrat asked his opponents to analytically prove the correctness of anyone of those observations. He also inquired whether the latter regarded “sifat” (attributes) of Allah to be identical with zaat (“person”) of Allah Himself or separate from It.
  1. Ilm-ul-Iqlidas (Science of Euclidean geometry)
Which is the geometrical figure that proves tawhid (Unity of Allah)? And which is the figure relied upon by a Trinitarian Christian to justify his creed of Trinity. Also indicate how the latter can be disproved with the help of Euclidean geometry itself?
Make three circles whose radiuses are equal in length to three given lines, of which one touches (the circle) on the inside and the other on the outside. Describe also the nature of relationship between the three radiuses which is conducive to the solution of the problem.
  1. Ilm-e-Falsafah (Science of philosophy)
Quoting the argument of the Ashairah (The Asharits) concerning the “recentness” (as opposed to “ancientness”) of the universe, and describing it as incorrect, Hazrat has called for reasons (if any) in favour of its correctness.
  1. Ilm-ul-Hadith (Science of Prophetic Tradition)
Hazrat’s (R.A) question on this subject is also reproduced in full because of its importance:
“The hadith concerning “Tahawwul-fissuwar” (transformation of figures) included in Sahih-ul-Bukhari – apparently conflicts with the Quranic ayah (There is nothing whatever like unto Him (i.e., Allah) – XLII, 11. Please reconcile the two. How many scholars have objected to this hadith, and why? Give the reasons for this from the hadith and the ayah themselves.
“In the hadith concerning the ‘Miraj’ (Ascension) of the Holy Prophet Moses from among the apostles of Allah for the purpose of intervening in the matter of determining the number of obligatory ritual prayers to be enjoined upon the Holy Prophet’s (P.B.U.H) ummah? And why was this intervention considered necessary at all considering that the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) himself had been blessed by Allah with the knowledge of everything – past, present and future?
“What is the position of each particular apostle with respect to the specific “falak” (heaven) to which he is related?”
  1. Ilm-ul-Kalam (scholastic theology)
Hazrat sought clarification as to why in the following Quranic ayat, which relate excerpts form the conversation between the Prophet Moses and Khizar, the latter used the singular pronoun for himself in the first ayah and the plural one in the second: 
(i)     As for the ship it belonged to poor people working on the river, and I wished to mar it for there was a king behind them who was taking every ship by force (XVIII, 79)
(ii)    And we intended that their (i.e., the parents’) Lord should change him (i.e., the rebellious son) for one better in purity and nearer to mercy. (XVIII, 81)
  1. Ilm-ut-Tafseer (Science of Quranic commentary)
In relation to the ayah – “And all things We have kept in a clear register (XXXVI, 12).
Hazrat called for an explanation for the commentary on it by Shaikh Muhyuddin Ibn-ul-Arabi (R.A), and on the points arising out of that commentary.
  1. Ilm-ul-Aflak (The science of astronomy / astrology)
Hazrat sought an explanation of some of the Quranic verses containing reference to celestial bodies (sun, moon, stars etc). In particular, he enquired about the reason for the phases of the moon having been specified as twenty-eight (28).
  1. Ilm-e-Riyazi (mathematics)
The opposing ulama were asked to reconcile some of the conflicting observations concerning astronomy/astrology and mathematics.
To sum up, Hazrat’s book Al Futuhat-us-Samadiyyah, covers some of the exceedingly complex and abstruse branches of Islamic branches and provides ample proof of the extraordinary vastness and depth of Hazrat’s knowledge and erudition.
Moreover, these questions still remain unanswered.
6.  Tasfiah Mabain Sunni Wa Shi’ah  
This book, the last of Hazrat’s writings in prose, represents an effort by him to amicably resolve the age-old schism between the Sunni and Shi’ah sects of Islam. The major cause of discord between the two sects has been the divergence of views between them about the manner in which the question of succession to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) was settled after his passing away, and especially about the order in which the four Pious Caliphs (Abubakar, Umar, Usman and Ali) were installed in the office. The Prophet (P.B.U.H) himself had not nominated a successor, and had left the question to be decided on the basis of democratic consensus in accordance with the true principles of Islam. Although the matter was resolved with unison and amity at the time, issues seeking to sow the seeds of dissension were raised concerning it, long after the event, by forces which could only be regarded as ill wishers of the Muslim Ummah that had attained dizzy heights of glory in a short period of time.
Because of the ruinous effects of this schism on the unity and integrity of the Muslim Ummah, moderation-living ulama have endeavored from the beginning to bridge it through their writings and pronouncements. Unfortunately, the schism has continued to persist, largely because the voice of moderation and restraint has often been stifled amidst the tumult of extremism, and also because the ill wishers of the Islamic Ummah have, through their machinations and conspiracies, not allowed the controversy to be resolved once and for all. Realizing the grave and fundamental significance of this matter, therefore, Hazrat decided to write on the issue in what was meant to be yet another effort to effect a lasting reconciliation between the two sects. In this book, he quoted extensively from Quran and Hadith to establish the legitimacy of the decision taken consensually on the question of Khilafat (succession) to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), and to present the correct and balanced view about the respective eminence of members of the Prophet’s household (Ahle-baet) and his distinguished Companions (As’haab) which had also developed overtime into a major point of conflict. The balanced but scholarly and convincing tone in which the book has been written cannot but elicit the admiration of all fair-minded readers. At the end the august author appealed to both the sects to follow the path of moderation which is hallmark of Islam, and to view the issue involved objectively and in correct perspective.
Hazrat dictated the manuscript of this book to Khan Bahadur Maulvi Sher Muhammad, custodian of his respondence, for some time before it was interrupted, first by Hazrat’s illness and then by the onset of spiritual state which developed gradually into Istighraq (total spiritual absorption). During his illness, Hazrat’s permission was sought for the printing and publication of the manuscript but he desired the matter to be deferred for the time being. Unfortunately Hazrat passed away before the final completion and publication of the book. After a careful review of the 142-page manuscript, the book was published in 1979 with suitable explanatory notes.
Hazrat’s foreword indicating reasons for writing the book
“The friction between the Sunni and Shi’ah is not something new, that it should call for an appeal by seekers of truth to present-day ‘ulama for its resolution. Indeed, our venerable ancestors have been giving expression to their views on the subject on the one hand and love for the Ahle-baet (Members of the Prophet’s household) on the other with due moderation and decorum over the past few centuries. Unfortunately, however, a new element seems to have entered the scene in the recent times. This is the belief that it is essential for a true sunni to be antagonistic to the Ahle-baet and friendly towards the Umayyids, i.e., the two groups that were pitted against each other in the battle of Karbala. The fact, however, is that the sunnis have never been guilty of this attitude; indeed love and respect for Ahle-baet has always been regarded by the sunni sect as a corner of their belief structure.
“The reason for this new trend seems to be that sunni ulama have, in their speeches and teachings, tended largely to focus on rebutting the shi’ah practice of hurling abuse on the Umayyad and their sympathizers, and have given much less attention to highlight the virtues and excellent qualities of the Ahle-baet.
“In view of this situation, some well-meaning sunni ‘ulama have lately been emphasizing the need for effective stemming of the aforesaid unhealthy trend. In compliance with their wishes, and despite my lack of ability, competence and time for this deterring task, I have therefore decided to write a few pages on the subject. These pages bring together some of the views contained in earlier writings and my own considered ideas on the subject. They are meant for the information of persons interested in this vital issue, with the prayer that the readers should pray for my salvation in recompense for a humble service to Islam. May Allah, Who bestowed on the world and its denizens His boundless Mercy in the august person of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) of Islam (termed Rahmat-ul-lil Alamin - Mercy for all the words) by Allah Himself in Quran, condone the sins of the Muslim ‘Ummah and forgive us all.”
Topics covered in the book        
  1. Corroboration of legitimacy of the Righteous Caliphate (Khilafat-e-Rashida) with evidence from the Quran especially ayah 55 of Surah XXIV of the Holy Book, which runs as follows:
"Allah hath promised such of you as believe (O mankind !) and do good works that He will surely  make them to succeed (the present rulers) in the earth even as He caused those who     went before them their religion which He hath approved for them, and will give them in  exchange safety  after their fear. They serve Me; (and) they ascribe nothing as partner unto Me.  Those who disbelieve henceforth, they are the miscreants."       (XXIV, 55)
 
  1. The issue of Qirtas (piece of paper);
  1. The Hadith pertaining to Khum-e-ghadir (a place containing a water pond)
  1. The matter of Bagh-e-Fidak (the Garden of Fidak)
  1. The Ayah of Mubahilah  (invocation of curse upon liars)  (III, 59-61)
  1. The Ayah of Tathir (purification)    (XXXIII, 33)
  1. The Ayah of Mavvadat (loving kindness among kinsfolk)   (XLII, 23)
  1. The Hadith concerning Madinatul’ilm (City of Knowledge)
  1. The Hadith of Thaqalain (The Prophet’s (P.B.U.H) hadith concerning his heritage of “two weighty things” viz., the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s off-spring (Ahle-Baet) which, if their teachings were faithfully and steadfastly followed by the Ummah, would help it avoid falling a prey to misguide.)
  1. Hadith-e-Madinatul ‘Ilm (The Prophet’s (P.B.U.H) hadith declaring that he was the “City of Knowledge” and Syedna Ali (R.A) was its gate)
7. Fatawa-e-Mehria
The writing of fatawa, or rulings on religious-cum-juridical issues based on the Quran and Sunnah, is an important branch of Islamic learning. Its importance stems from the fact that the Islamic Shariah comprehends every sphere of a Muslim’s life, be it religious, spiritual, secular or any other. Fatawa are meant to provide correct guidance on matters of day-to-day concern to persons who are not themselves versed in the religious knowledge, but who are nevertheless anxious to observe the Shariah in all matters as meticulously as possible. Because of its nature and importance, the writing of Fatawa calls not only for a thorough knowledge of every aspect of Shariah, but also an ability to interrupt that knowledge accurately in relation to the issues under reference, and also to couch the Fatawa in compilations of such eminent leaders of sunni “Fiqh” as Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi, and Imam Ahmad Bin Humble, and of Imam Jaffer Sadiq (R.A) whose fiqh compilations are drawn upon by the Shi'ah ulama, are the prime sources for the derivation of fatawa.
The book Fatawa-e-Mehria (Rulings of Hazrat Meher Ali Shah) brings together the Fatawa of Hazrat’s own writing. They were first published in book form in 1960. They have been further reviewed twice and their latest (third) revised edition was published in 1988.

 
 



CONSTRUCTION OF THE MAUSOLEUM

Hazrat Babuji (R.A), who occupied the spiritual throne of Golra for 37 years (from 1937 to 1974), made it a point to regard every person who came to him for bai’at (formal pledge of fidelity) as in reality Hazrat himself, and passed him (or her) on to Hazrat’s spiritual care. As for himself, he admitted to being no more than a servant of the Golra shrine, consecrated as it is to the memory of Hazrat Syedna Ghaus-e-Azam (R.A) emanating from it. Even though his own name became, in course of time, as much as of a household word as that of Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) himself, Babuji never elevated himself to a position higher than the latter. In line with this self-image, he devoted his energies through out his lifetime to the improvement and expansion of the facilities at the Shrine, in order to ensure that people visiting here in ever-increasing numbers were duly taken care of. It is principally due to these efforts of Hazrat Babuji (R.A) and after him of Hazrat Ghulam Muinuddin (R.A) and Shah Abdul Haq, (Sajjada Nasheen Dargah-e-Ghausia Mehria, Golra Sharif), that the Golra shrine today ranks as one of the best-managed shrines in the country.
On the advice of some of the devotees present on the occasion, Hazrat’s body had been buried towards the left and close to the mosque at Golra Sharif. This followed the pattern of the tomb of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) at Madina Munawwara which is also situated next to Masjid-e Nabavi on the left. For this purpose, the orchard next to the mosque had been selected, and since the surface of the orchard was substantially lower than that of the mosque. This meant that body of Hazrat was covered by as much as 20 feet of earth work.
Sometime later, in visions to some devotees, Hazrat (R.A) expressed disapproval of this situation, and questioned being pressed by so much of earth work. As a result, expert advice was sought as to how the position could be rectified. The engineer-in-charge of the work of mausoleum construction, Babu Lal-Muhammad Chughtai, who was then Assistant Chief Architect of the Punjab Government and was also a murid of Hazrat (R.A), advised that the surface of the grave itself should be raised to a depth of no more than 6 feet below the ground level. This would of course mean disinterment of the coffin from its existing place advised by the engineer in charge.
Hazrat Babuji (R.A) arranged to have this operation carried out with the utmost caution and discreetness in order to avoid any publicity. The coffin was taken out in the late evening, and was placed behind the closed doors near the tomb of Hazrat’s father, Ajji Sahib (R.A) where it had to be kept for two days and nights while the work of the new grave was completed. Despite the care exercised by Hazrat Babuji (R.A), however, word about the disinterment of the coffin leaked out, and hundreds of devotees rushed to Golra to earn the privilege of seeing the Holy coffin once again.
A strange incident
When the coffin was taken out in the evening, Hazrat Babuji (R.A) happened to see a small slit on one side of it, and could not resist looking through it inside the coffin. As he did so, he saw dazzling light emitting from Hazrat’s (R.A) brow, the like of which could not be compared to any earthly light. This magnificent sight instantly reminded Babuji of the following Persian verse of Khwaja Hafiz of Shiraz: 
Translation: " I swear by Allah that I feel envious of my two bright eyes (which are looking at the beloved’s face) because normal eyesight is incapable of absorbing the brilliance of such a super-fine and delicate face."
Construction of the mausoleum
The construction of Hazrat’s mausoleum took nearly twenty years to be fully completed. High quality marble for the mausoleum was requisitioned from the famed “Makrana” mines in Jodhpur princely State in un-divided India. The builders were also invited from Jodhpur. These men stayed on in Golra Sharif until the completion of the work, and have now become Pakistani citizens. The mausoleum is a beautiful structure and presents an eye-cooling view. Its design conforms to the traditional Islamic style of architecture, with an imposing dome in the middle and arched verandahs on all sides.
Just below the ceiling height on all sides both inside and outside the building, carefully-selected verses of the Quran along with excerpts from the Prophet’s  (P.B.U.H) ahadith of similar meaning, both of them with their translations, and equally well-selected Persian verses of eminent Sufi poets such as Maulana Rumi, Khwaja Hafiz of Shiraz, Shaikh Saadi, and others, have been engraved with black stone in exquisite calligraphy.   
“There is no extravagance in good things”   
Hazrat Babuji (R.A) was considerably concerned about the question whether the construction of a mausoleum over Hazrat’s (R.A) grave would be proper from the shariah point of view. Although most of the ulama ruled such construction as permissible in itself under the shariah, one of them, while agreeing with the majority view, opined that such a structure was likely to involve such large expenditure as to fall within the definition of “undue extravagance”, which is looked upon with disfavour by the shariah. Thereupon, Hazrat Babuji (R.A) consulted various scholarly writings on the subject in order to make some definite decision. In this process, he came across a ruling of Hazrat Shaikh Abu Saeed Abul Khair (R.A) in these words: 
Translation: "There is no extravagance in good things".  
 

PASSING AWAY OF HAZRAT SYEDNA PIR MEHER ALI SHAH (R.A)

Illness and debilitation
As hinted at various places either, Hazrat (R.A) had been used to eating, sleeping and speaking sparingly throughout his life. Constant remembrance of Allah and indulgence in related spiritual exercises had made him indifferent to worldly comforts and luxuries. As once admitted by himself, he used to go without food for several days during his student life without experiencing any hunger. Possibly as a result of this austere regimen, the stomach ceased to function properly in life, and the troublesome ailment of hiccough set in, sometimes to continue for weeks on end.
Sensitivity to the misfortunes and hardships of devotees
Despite the aforesaid austere schedule and other occasional ailments, Hazrat’s general health remained quite good until the age of about 71-72 year. In 1928-29, however, symptoms of debility started steadily increasing. This was due not only to physical illness, but also in appreciable measure to the multiple spiritual pre-occupations and especially to the mental distress caused by tales of woe narrated by the devotees arriving in Golra in large numbers almost daily from different places. In addition, numerous letters were received from devotees with similar tales of sorrow and grief. Due to Hazrat’s practical adherence to the principle of Wahdat-ul-wajood the troubles of others had become his own, and he felt them no less acutely than the persons concerned themselves. In this respect, Hazrat’s sensitivity reflected that of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) himself. According to Syedah Aysha Siddiqah (R.A), his wife of revered memory, the Prophet Muhammad’s  (P.B.U.H) health had been very good in the beginning. Towards the closing years of his life, however, concern for the fate of the Islamic ummah had emotionally affected him so deeply that his health underwent a rapid decline. The result was that he was obliged to say his nawafil, (supererogatory prayers) in a sitting posture. Sometimes he would recite the following Quranic ayah of Surah Al-Ma'ida ayah 118, in his prayers at night and then burst into tears:  
Translation: "If Thou dost punish them, lo! They are Thy slaves: and if Thou dost forgive them, Thou are the Mighty, the Wise".     (V,118)
Spiritual progress
As Hazrat (R.A) advanced in years, his visionary capacity also steadily increased. Alone or in company, a state of obliviousness to everything around him absorbed him. He spoke less and less even when in company, and remained mostly occupied in silent contemplation. His complexion kept changing hues, reflecting his constant inner spiritual activity. Occasionally, he would raise his hand and heave a sigh of distress. During this period, he often recited the following Urdu verse which provided an indication of his inner state:  
Translation: "In the place where my heart has set up its camp, there is room neither for speech nor quest".
Clues to Hazrat’s inner state
Around this time, some devotees of Hazrat (R.A), who were deeply concerned about his health, were re-assured through dreams and visions that Hazrat’s condition was not due to anything wrong with his health, but was rooted elsewhere. One such devotee, belonging to Multan, had the privilege of seeing Syedna Ghaus-e-Azam (R.A) in a dream and heard him say that Hazrat was in fact traversing a spiritual stage at that time, which had to be crossed entirely on one’s own since no external spiritual succour could be provided to help one out. Even so, Syedna Ghaus-e-Azam added, one eminent spiritual personality (meaning himself) was providing guidance to Hazrat in successfully passing through this stage.  
Because of the physical weakness, Hazrat (R.A) had by this time been obliged to discontinue his riding schedule. Since, however, the doctors insisted that some way must be found for him to have a little daily exercise, he tried for a few days to take a short stroll after Asr prayers. This, too, could not be kept for long. Hazrat Babuji, therefore, bought a car and arranged for Hazrat (R.A) to take daily rides in it for few miles.
A letter from Allama Muhammad Iqbal
During the early stages of Hazrat’s spiritual absorption, a letter, addressed to him by the late Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, world-famed poet-philosopher of the East, was received in Golra Sharif. In this letter, the Allama had sought clarification by Hazrat (R.A) of the contents of a chapter of Futuhat-e-Makkiyah (The Meccan Revelations), the renowned book by Hazrat Shaikh Muhyuddin Ibn-ul-Arabi on the subject of Wahdat-ul-Wajood (Ultimate Oneness of Being). The letter was read out to Hazrat (R.A) during one of his rare moments of respite from Istighraq (spiritual absorption). Hazrat (R.A) listened carefully to the contents of the letter, and asked to present the letter at some other time when he was in better state of mind. Accordingly, the letter was presented after a few days but due to continued illness and discomfort, however, Hazrat (R.A) asked the devotee, to write back expressing regret that he was unable to respond to the letter due to his illness.
English translation of Allama Iqbal’s letter in question is given below for the benefit of the reader:
Respected Hazrat Qibla,
                                      Assalam-o-Alaikum,
I have wished for long time to have the privilege of meeting you, but have unable to do so. I am now trying to make amends by writing this letter. Even though I am afraid it would not be easy for you to respond (in the present state of your health), I am nevertheless taking the liberty of writing the letter because “there is no other door in India which could be knocked at for the purpose which I have in view.” Relying on your generosity of mind, therefore, I do hope that the letter will be vouchsafed a reply.
Last year, I had given a lecture in England on Mujaddid Alf-e-Sani (Shaikh Ahmad of Sirhind). The lecture had been well received in the fair-minded circles of that country. I am now planning to speak this time on Hazrat Muhyuddin Ibn-ul-Arabi. In this connection, I set out below certain questions which seem to me to need clarification:
(i)  What views had Hazrat Shaikh-e-Akbar (i.e., Muhyuddin Ibn-ul-Arabi) expressed on the subject of Haqiqat-e-Zaman (i.e., reality of time) in his various writings? How do his views differ from those of other leading scholars on this subject?
(ii)  In which books of Shaikh-e-Akbar has his views expressed on this subject been set out, and where on each book? I ask this because I would wish to study the relevant books personally as well.
(iii) Have any other sufi ulama also discussed this subject in any of his writings? If so, these may kindly be identified. The late Maulvi Syed Anwar Shah had once given me an Arabic booklet titled “Dirayatuz-zaman” (analysis of Time) sometime ago, which dealt with this subject, and which you also must have seen. I have found the booklet to be too brief, however, and would wish to have more light shed on the subject.
      Having been told that your good self had discontinued teaching for sometime, I was reluctant to write this letter. Since, however, my sole object is to serve the cause of Islam, I expect you to be kind enough to excuse this intrusion on your time.
                                                                                                     Sincerely,
                                                                                               Muhammad Iqbal.
Passing Away of Hazrat (R.A)
In the early years of his spiritual journey, Hazrat had imposed upon himself an exceptionally exacting regimen of prayers, contemplation, and physical self-denial. This included very sparing intake of food and long spells of fasting, even outside the obligatory fasting enjoined during the Holy month of Ramadan. His stomach therefore gradually became less and less used to food, and its digestive capacity was impaired in consequence. Towards the later years of his life, this gave rise to the onset of the persistent and prolonged spells of hiccoughs, an exceedingly distressing malady. This was followed by an ailment, which defied diagnosis by doctors and physicians. These different afflictions, which continued more or less for a period of about ten years, intensified during the closing 4 or 5 years, when Hazrat was almost constantly bed-ridden.
Despite this most trying situation, Hazrat continued to meet the un- ending stream of visiting devotees regularly, to pray for them, and to answer their various questions. Even though Hazrat Babuji was taking care of large numbers of visitors in order to relieve Hazrat of a part of his burden, Hazrat (R.A) nevertheless continued discharging his responsibilities himself as long as he was able to do so. This indicated the precedence over every thing else even at the cost of his own comfort.
The state of almost total Istighraq lasted for about 2-21/2  years towards the end. During this state, a devotee had to convey the requests of visiting disciples to Hazrat several times in order to attract his attention to elicit his prayers. Once Hazrat recited the following prayer during this period: 
Translation: "O Allah! Make our beginning good, and our end also good and settle all our affairs on a good and blessed note, for the sake of thy Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), the paragon of all good."    
Occasionally, Hazrat (R.A) would try to make some conversation, but would soon relapse into unconsciousness. Indeed these spells caused even greater strain and distress to him than usual. Although the real reason for this can be understood only by those who actually pass through such experiences it seems probable that the distress resulted from commuting between two totally different worlds, i.e., the physical world and the world of spirit, a move towards spiritual absorption.
On one such occasion Hazrat Babuji had all the doors of Hazrat’s room opened so that those desirous of having a glimpse of him could do so. As far as it can be recalled, Hazrat asked the late Qari Ghulam Muhammad to recite Surah Yusaf (Joseph-XII of the Holy Quran) on this occasion, and was moved to tears at some points while listening to the Surah. At the end of the recitation Hazrat Babuji took the opportunity to request Hazrat to pray for all those present at the time, which he readily did.



  
  

The great personality of Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah Sahib (R.A)

Hazrat's daily schedule
Details of Hazrat’s schedule, as excerpted from the memoirs of Sheikh-ul-Jamia Maulana Ghulam Muhammad Ghotavi, a sincere devotee of Hazrat (R.A) who used to visit Golra frequently and stay there for long periods at a time, are given below:
“ Hazrat spent almost all his time in prayers, meditation and recitations, and in providing religious and spiritual guidance to people. He offered his Tahajjud prayers and the first part of his early morning prayers (Fajr) in his room and then came to the mosque for saying the second part in congregation. After completion of the prayers, he resumed the recitations and continued them until around 10 A.M., either in the mosque or back in his room. He spoke to no one during this period, nor did anyone venture to come close to him while he was thus engaged, since the nature of such recitations were such that they could have a different impact on un-initiated people. Around 11:00 A.M., Hazrat came out of his room to spend some time in parlour in order to meet visitors, listen to their problems, pray for the resolution of their problems, and otherwise converse with some of them on scholarly topics and questions. Recitations continued during these meetings as well. Sometimes he also gave lessons from the “Mathnavi of Maulana Rumi”; the “Futuhat-e-Makkiyah” and the “Fasus-uk-Hikam” of Shaikh Muhyuddin Ibn-ul-Arabi; the “Sahih-ul-Bukhari”; and the “Sharah-e-Chaghmani”. Around noon, he returned to his room and had his lunch and his mid-day nap for about an hour. Thereafter he returned to the mosque for the Zuhr Prayers (early afternoon) prayers. This was followed by further recitations in his room until the Asr (late afternoon) prayers. During this period anyone wishing to state his problems or ask questions was allowed to do so. Indeed, sometimes a brief sitting of some selected group of persons was held and views exchanged on important religious topics".
“ After Asr prayers, Hazrat usually left alone on horseback for the village Maira Badiyah, two or three miles away, where he offered his Maghreb (evening) and Isha (late evening) prayers in a mosque before returning to Golra. A daily spell of horse riding had been medically prescribed for him as a fitness device in an otherwise sedentary schedule. 
Once a sincere devotee suggested that Hazrat might take someone along him for security purposes during this ride. Hazrat, however, declined the suggestion, and drew the devotee’s attention to ayah 67 of Surah V of the Holy Quran in which Allah had promised protection of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H)  “against mankind”. When the devotee pointed out that such a protection was specifically promised for the Holy Prophet ( P.B.U.H), Hazrat remarked that as a slave of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) he too considered himself to be indirectly covered by this divine promise. The recitations and meditation were resumed after supper and continued fairly late into night before Hazrat retired to bed. The daily time-table was suitably adjusted during the Holy month of Ramadan, in order to provide for Sehr (start of fast in the early morning), iftar (breaking the fast at the sunset), and the taravih prayers as part of Isha, when the entire Holy Quran is recited in twenty or more daily installments over the one-month period by a hafiz (a person who has memorized the full Quran), and which are an important Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H)”.
“ To those who took bai’at at his hands to become his formal disciples (or Murid), Hazrat usually adjoined two things: (a) to say all the five daily prayers regularly and (b) to add a couple of short recitations after each prayer. The latter comprised, in most cases, the recitations of Darud Sharif on the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) ten times, the Kalima Sharif ten times, and the Surah Ikhlas of the Quran ten times. 
This signified two things
(i)         Hazrat’s recognition of the key importance of salat in an Islamic system, and its instrumentality in restraining a person from “ wickedness and sin" as stressed in both the Quran and Hadith and Sunnah,     
(ii)         His anxiety not to over burden the common run of his disciples with too exacting a regimen of prayer and recitations, but to stress only those matters which could open the way to piety and virtue in a person’s entire life. The regimen was suitably enhanced for those seeking spiritual advancement or themselves requesting extra recitations.
Hazrat’s conversation was a model of conciseness and precision. Replies to lengthy questions were provided in a few words and in a manner fully conceived by the questioner.”
Character and attributes
Constancy of relationship   
Hazrat’s relation to those known to, or in any way connected with, him was based on complete constancy, solicitude and concern for their problems and troubles. He enquired about their circumstances, consoled them with genuine compassion, and prayed for the resolution of their difficulties. The result was that he was considered by them to be not only the Pir and a guide, but also a source of comfort and solace to them. He often indulged in pleasantries with the poor and lowly, making everyone of his myriad followers feel he was kinder to him than to everyone else.         
Attitude towards ill wishers and detractors
Hazrat took special care to treat his detractors and ill wishers with even greater kindness and grace than those who were loyal and friendly to him. One such person once came to him to obtain a letter of recommendation to a local official in connection with some genuine personal problem. Hazrat not only gave him the needed letter but also refused to accept some amount of money which he wanted to present by way of nazrana (offering).
Even otherwise, Hazrat gave little importance to monetary offerings made by his visitors during his daily sessions. These were collected by a person designated for this purpose, and deposited with the administrator of the langar (free kitchen), without Hazrat caring even to look at them. The same happened to the money offered to Hazrat during his train journeys by devotees who thronged in large numbers to pay their respects to him at different railway stations en route.
Diet
In the glorious tradition of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) of Islam and of all the classical sufi masters, Hazrat’s living was frugal, and his diet sparing and simple. According to Shaikh-ul-Jamia Maulana Ghulam Muhammad Ghotavi, Hazrat used to take only a few morsels of food after the Isha (late evening) prayers and then apparently went to sleep. In fact, however, he used to keep awake, spend the whole night in secret and soundless recitation, and to say his Tahajjud (pre-dawn) prayers with the same wudu (ablutions). According to his own admission made towards the tag end of his life, his total weekly food intake never exceeded a few ounces. Despite this highly austere regimen, Hazrat remained in excellent physical condition throughout the life, presumably because the physical food vacuum was made up by spiritual reinforcement. Only towards the very end did his body strength undergo a marked decline, and his digestive system showed visible signs of impairment due to prolonged voluntary abstention from food.
Complexion and General Appearance
Hazrat had a wheatish complexion, high forehead, awe-inspiring and captivating eyes, a lean and handsome nose, arched and dense eyebrows, lips of medium thickness, shining teeth, a compact beard (not too long nor too short), curly hair extending down to the ear lobes, a broad chest, soft and delicate fingers, and spacious palms. Even though of medium stature, Hazrat rose above everyone else while in company. He walked with a tender step, and his body was as a whole strong and wiry.
The aforesaid features combined to make Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) an embodiment of physical beauty and grace. Added to the spiritual and ideational greatness that he developed overtime, the total emerging picture was one as close to uniqueness as one could wish to be seen in a human being.
Dress
Although Hazrat did not like to be photographed, and strictly forbade anyone to do so, some of his devotees did manage to photograph him without his knowledge or permission. A couple of such photographs are included in this website. Hazrat liked white dress, and wore it immaculately clean and tidy. The dress comprised items confirming to the best traditions of Muslim ulama and divines in this part of the world. He kept the tasbeeh (rosary) constantly in his hands for purposes of silent recitation.
Horse-riding
Hazrat was an expert rider, and was able to control even the most unruly horse without any difficulty. Examples of this were witnessed on several occasions in Golra, Sial Sharif, and Pakpattan Sharif. A number of well bred horses, offered by different devotees for his use, formed part of his stable. For his daily ride outside Golra after the Asr prayers, he used a horse specially selected by him, which came over time to recognize and defer tamely to his riding style. Because of its respectful tameness while Hazrat rode it, the horse came to nicknamed Huzuri (the reverential one).
Voice and gait
Hazrat (R.A) had a sweet and dignified voice. He spoke in measured tones, and in a manner that his words sank indelibly into the listener’s mind.
Hazrat (R.A) walked with a gait full of dignity and poise, which impressed and was admired by all and sundry. Whenever he entered an assemblage, everyone present became a picture of reverence and humility to greet him, and was anxious to shake and kiss his hand, or, if this was not possible, to at least touch his person for blessing. The attendants of the shrine often had to make a circle around Hazrat (R.A) to protect him from being squeezed in by the multitude.