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Friday, 14 January 2011

Other ancestors

Other ancestors of Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah Sahib (R.A)  
Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah Sahib had descended from Syed Taj-ud-din Abdul Razzaq, the middle son of Syedna Ghaus-e-Azam, whose spiritual school (Qadriyah Razzaqiyah) is spread far and wide in the Islamic world. Syed Abdul Razzaq ranked very high among the mashaikh of his time, and was widely known as the Mufti (Expounder of Islamic Law) of Iraq. Despite being the middle son of Syedna Ghaus-e-Azam, the honour of headship and executive leadership of Ghausia Shrine at Baghdad has passed down mostly to members of his family tree. Tradition has it that one of his sons, Syed Jamaal Ullah, who was held very dear by Syedna Ghaus-e-Azam and who also bore a striking resemblance to the latter, was granted eternal life by the special Grace of Allah, and had, as a result, disappeared from the sight of the common people not long after the passing away of Hazrat Ghaus-e-Azam (R.A).
The second son of Hazrat Abdul Razzaq, Syed Abu Saleh, had been officially appointed by the then Khalifa (Caliph) to the high office of Mufti of Iraq. Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah was the descendent of his son, Syed Ali Qadiri Baghdadi, who was a distinguished scholar and was the author of several books.
Syed Taj-ud-din Mehmood, belonging to the fourth generation after Syed Ali Qadiri, was the first to arrive from Baghdad in Bengal, then a province of India, in the 9th Hijrah century. He was accorded a place of honour by the then Muslim ruler of Bengal, Sultan Feroz Shah, who allocated an estate for his Khankah. However, Syed Taj-ud-din returned to Baghdad after a few years’ missionary work, leaving behind his son Syed Abil Hayat to carry on his mission in Bengal.
After his demise, Syed Abil Hayat was succeeded by his son, Miran Shah Qadir Qumais who attained fame not only in Bengal but also in other parts of India. On the outbreak of hostilities between the Mughal King Humayun and Sher Shah Suri, Shah Qumais went back to Baghdad, and returned to India when peace had been restored after several years. This time he settled down in Gangoh, where the well-known Shaikh belonging to Chishtia Sabriya school, Abdul Quddus Gangohi, was well-established. Despite his eminent position and his advanced age, however, Shaikh Abdul Quddus personally welcomed Shah Qumais on his arrival in the outskirts of the city. Shaikh Abdul Quddus Gangohi (852-945 A.H) ranks along the leading mashaikh of the Chishtia Sabriya school second in eminence only to the founder of the school himself, Syedna Ala-ud-din Ahmad Sabir (R.A) of Kaliar Sharif, District Saharanpur (India). Many distinguished mashaikh are included among his spiritual legatees.
From Gangoh, Hazrat Qadir Qumais went to Bengal, but finding things not conducive there, he moved to the town of Sadhora then known as Shah Dhora in District Saharanpur (India) and settled down there. He passed away in Bengal, where the then Mughal ruler had sent him on some mission in 992 A.H., but his body was brought back to Sadhora and buried there.
Hazrat Shah Muhammad Fazil Qalandar, a grandson of Hazrat Shah Qumais, carried on the latter’s mission with distinction until his demise in 1104 A.H.
Pir Syed Roshan Din Shah (R.A) and Pir Syed Rasul Shah (R.A)
In the 12th generation of Shah Abdul Qadir Qumais, a gentleman named Syed Abdul Rahman Nuri went to the Hijaz for Hajj (the annual Muslim pilgrimage in Makkah), but on his way back was ill and passed away in Basra (Iraq). In accordance with his will, his awrad-o-wazaif (collection of recitations) were buried along with his body. When his sons, Syed Roshan Din Shah and Syed Rasul Shah, learnt about this in Sadhora, they walked all the way to Basra and kept a six-month vigil at the tomb of their father. Miraculously, the books came out of the grave on their own one-day, and taking hold of them, the two brothers went to the Hijaz to perform Hajj. From there they proceeded to Baghdad and Basra, then on to Kabul (Afghanistan), and finally, on the way to their hometown of Sadhora, they decided to take up residence in the village Golra near Rawalpindi (Punjab, India). This happened around the end of the 12thHijra century, when the Mughal throne in Delhi was occupied by Shah Alam II. The province of Bengal had already been conquered by the British, then represented by the East India Company. The period was marked by the anarchy everywhere, with the Sikhs having conquered the Punjab province, and the Englishmen and the Marhattas glancing avidly towards Delhi, with designs to overthrow the once mighty but now weak and emaciated Mughal Empire in India. The region in which Sadhora was situated was plagued by unrest following the third battle of Panipat between the Marhattas and Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1760-61 A.D. which the latter had won. Because of all this, Syed Roshan Din and Syed Rasul Shah preferred not to go on to Sadhora. Instead, they asked their family members and other associates to leave Sadhora and join them in Golra, which they considered a haven of peace and security, and also conducive to their missionary work. Hazrat Syed Roshan Din (R.A) was the great grandfather of Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah Sahib (R.A).
Hazrat Syed Miran Shah (R.A) and Hazrat Pir Fazl Din Shah (R.A)             
The spiritual legacy of Syed Roshan Din (R.A) and Syed Rasul Shah (R.A) passed on to Syed Miran Shah (R.A) and Syed Fazl Din (R.A), the two teen-aged sons of Syed Rasul Shah. The two young men were, therefore, taught and brought up under the care of Sa’in Ali Muhammad alias Miskeen Shah Panipatti, not a member of the august family but the leading Khalifa (spiritual deputy) of Syed Rasul Shah (R.A).
Syed Miran Shah was quite a strict observer of the Shariah, but was at same time ecstatically inclined. Syed Fazl Din (R.A), however, was an eminent scholar and a distinguished spiritual personality. People thronged to him from far and near regardless of their religious or social standing, in search of solace and guidance. His Langer (free kitchen) was well known in the neighbourhood. He was blessed with Kashf (clairvoyance) and Karamat (mini-miracles). Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) received his spiritual initiation at the hand of Syed Fazl Din (R.A) and had embarked upon his mission of spiritual guidance about 11 years before the latter’s demise. Hazrat Fazl Din remained a celibate all his life, and passed away in 1892-93 (12- Zi’qad, 1311 A.H.) at the age of 108 years. His mausoleum is located at a short distance to the northwest of shrine (Darbar) of Golra Sharif.
Hazrat Syed Nazr Din Shah (alias “Ajji Sahib) (R.A) - Hazrat’s father    
Syed Nazr Din Shah (R.A), father of Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A), was the grand son of Syed Roshan Din Shah (R.A) mentioned above. Syed Nazr Din, who later became known as “Ajji Sahib” because of being the father (called ‘Ajji’ in the local Potohari language) of Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah Sahib, was born in Golra in 1815 (1234-35 A.H). He is known to have been a born Wali (saint), a fact which received providential endorsement through an incident that occurred during his youth.
In his early age, Ajji Sahib used to remain constantly occupied in his studies and in prayers and recitations in the ancestral mosque in Golra. The Sikh section of the village was located close to this mosque. It so happened that an unmarried girl belonging to the local Sikh sub-divisional officer (SDO) was found to be bearing an immorally conceived child. Taking advantage of this situation, a confidante of the SDO, who was bitterly jealous of the increasingly popularity and influence of the newly arrived Syed family, falsely accused the young Ajji Sahib of being responsible for the affair. Without seeking any authentic proof of this baseless charge, the SDO ordered Ajji Sahib to be arrested and burnt alive in the punishment for the crime. When delegations of local and neighbouring Muslims met the SDO to plead the innocence of the pious scion of the highly respected family, the latter agreed to acquit him only if Hazrat Syed Fazl Din, who then headed the Golra Khankah, appeared in person before him to assure him of the young man’s innocence. Hazrat Fazl Din Shah, however, refused to do so, and asked the SDO to do whatever he deemed fit, adding that if the boy was really guilty it was better for the family’s honour if he was burnt to death. The people of the area decided to meet the situation with force, but the Pir Sahib strictly forbade them to do so. The women of the locality offered ransom to the SDO in the form of their jewellery and ornaments, but the offer was rejected by him.
On the appointed day, a large pyre was prepared under an armed guard to carry out the penalty. On the preceding night, Hazrat Ajji Sahib was honoured by the visit of Syedna Ghaus-e-Azam (R.A) in dream, when the latter exhorted him to take a bath, wear a new dress, and offer a couple of nawafil (supererogatory prayers), before proceeding to the pyre. Ajji Sahib carried out these directions and calmly seated himself on the pyre. Kerosene oil was then poured on the pyre and a burning match applied to it. The pyre, however, failed to catch fire despite repeated efforts. The accusing person then poured more kerosene on the clothes of Ajji Sahib and on his long curly hair. However, even though the pyre did then go ablaze, the fire failed completely to touch Ajji Sahib’s body. When the news of this miraculous vindication of innocence was conveyed to the SDO, he ordered the accuser himself to be burnt on the same pyre for bringing a totally false charge against an innocent young man of an honoured family. He also rendered an unqualified apology to Hazrat Fazl Din for his misjudgment of the case. Both the latter and Ajji Sahib himself, however, asked forgiveness for the convicted. In fact Ajji Sahib did not leave the pyre until this demand had been met by the SDO.
Not long after this incident, the Sikh rule in the Punjab came to an end, and the province came under the British rule.
Hazrat Ajji Sahib was married to a lady of a Gilani Syed family descendant from Syedna Ghaus-e-Azam (R.A), which was then settled in the town of Hasan-Abdal, about 25 miles to the north-west of Golra. It was through this union that Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah was born, making him Gilani Syed from the sides of both his parents.
Hazrat Ajji Sahib, who was a disciple of his maternal uncle, Pir Fazl Din Shah (R.A) in the Qadriyah Jaddiyah school, possessed many virtues and praiseworthy traits of character. The foremost of these was his generosity and magnificence, and his concern for the poor, the needy, and the oppressed and down-trodden. He lived long enough to see his distinguished son, Hazrat Meher Ali Shah Sahib, rise to dizzy heights of spiritual eminence. His own circle of beneficiaries and disciples was also quite vast. He passed away at the age of 90 years on 24 Rajab, 1324 A.H. (1905 AD) and was buried adjacent to the mosque at Golra instead of in a separate tomb, in deference to his own wishes. Besides Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah Sahib, who was then 50 years of age, Ajji Sahib left behind two more sons, Syed Mehmood Shah and Wilayat Shah, and a daughter.   

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