By Khursheed Dar
Kashmir,the pir vaer, is grounded in the philosophy of universality, brotherhood , mutual love and respectability.
Here are innumerable shrines, large and small, through out the length and breadth . Indeed, so replete is our beautiful valley with the remnants of holy beings and holy shrines that it is no surprise that Kashmir has been described as paradise on the earth.Last year I visited the shrine of Hazrat Zati Shah Wali RA of Drugmulla Kupwara.On finding no information there ,I then decided to write a column about this Iconic sufi saint of my District. Visiting unidentified and unattended sufi shrines and writing research prospectives about them is my hobby.It is a great privilege for me to write such prospectives for the next generation…Late Ghulam Nabi Khayal,the genius Kashmiri poet could have given me full information but he passed away few years back.
The “Ziarat “of Hazrat Zati Shah Wali RA is a popular sufi shrine of Kupwara, situated at Muqam e Shah. The village of Maqam Shah Wali RA is located on Srinagar-Kupwara road, about two kilometers from Dargmula Chowk. Here is the shrine of the famous Wali Kamil Hazrat Zati Shah Wali RA , associated with the Muslim Waqf Board. And the name of the village is also attributed to this iconic sufi saint. This village is very beautiful. Beautiful landscapes of nature can be seen here.
The people of Kashmir are grateful to late Syed Ghulam Hassan Shah Kho Yahama for his hard work and dedication in writing the history of the saints of Kashmir and the Sultans of Kashmir, which is a beacon of light for us at this time.
Hazrat Zati Shah wali RA was a well-known Muslim saint . This shrine is that very site where this iconic mystic died after spending his days in prayer and meditation. The main feature of this shrine is the grave of Hazrat Zati Shah wali RA,Khankah,a fresh water spring,and a mulberry tree planted by this great sufi saint.The shrine is popular for granting the boons to its devotees. Devotees that get their boons granted, revisit this shrine, to make grateful offering in honour to the great saint.
As per the available sources and witnesses Hazrat Zati Shah Wali RA was a high ranked “wali kamil” of his age. He belonged to the economically sound Chak family of Kupwara . The members of this family held high positions in the government. The members of this family had also been royal courtiers. Hazrat Zati Shah Wali RA was a man of miracles and perfections. He had been praying five times and a was noble soul since his childhood. No authentic record of his date of birth is available. I have heard from my father that Hazrat Zati Shah wali RA held a very high rank in the army. It is said that one day a ruler of Kashmir sent him for an official work to Kupwara. When he reached on the top of Haidari hill, suddenly a dangerous lightning strike fell on his head from the sky, which caused him to lose consciousness. Then slowly his senses restored. He started walking barefooted It is said that whatever came out of his mouth was happening. It is said that there was a severe famine in Kashmir in his time. King Ali Shah Chak of Kashmir asked him about that famine. When will it end? Hazrat Zati Shah RA replied that when you will not be among us. It so happened that Aali Shah Chak died and the famine ended. It is said that one day Hazrat Zati Shah put a handful of dried fish in a spring which is outside his tomb. By the grace of Allah, the dry fishes became alive and started running in the spring. The devotees still feed them .
A number of miracles are attributed with this iconic mystic. He used to have a long stick in his hand. what he called a horse and had named it Samad. He used to ride on it like little children and run. Hazrat Zati Shah wali RA used to say that this is his horse. One day, they entered paddy field of a village called Latti Shat,Sopore. He put the stick there and asked the villagers to put grass and straw for his horse to eat at night. People were busy with their work. They left. No one cared about the stick of Hazrat Zaiti Shah RA. What do they see in the morning that there is not even a trace of grass straw in the fields. There were piles of dung instead of piles of paddy. Now they remembered that this incident is the result of Zaiti Shah’s disregard for his horse.They came to Hazrat Zati shah RA . They wept and plead before this towering saint. Finally the saint advised them to wash the dung of his horse. The villagers washed the dung and removed the shali as expected. His tomb is on a hill slope north of Dargmulla. Now a large village has settled there. There is a beautiful Masjid Sharif and a spring near the shrine. Thousands of devotees pay visits to the shrine of this iconic mystic daily.
There is an old mulberry tree besides the spiritual waters. When I asked the Nigraans of the Shrine about the background of this astonishing spring and the spiritual fishes.They said that when Hazrat Zati shah RA stayed at this place permanently he used the water of this spring for ablutions and baths. One day a fisherwoman passed there. She was selling dry fishes that we call in Kashmiri “huguard”.The wali took a hand full of these Dry fish. Prayed to Allah and threw them into the spring. A miracle happened.These dry fishes came into life. Since then these fishes are there and people feed them.
It is Said that Hazrat Zati Shah wali RA planted there a half-burnt mulberry tree branch“Tul Mur” from upward direction which later on grew into a tree and expanded its crown. I have seen people taking the mulberries as “Tobruk”.The “aab e Shereen” of this” Khazri’ spring is an astonishing spiritual marvel. This marvellous Spring reminds the cooked and fried fish of prophet Musa AS.
The Kashmiri Sufi saints laid down the foundations of a secular and syncretic Kashmiri society, where Kashmiri Pundits and Kashmiri Muslims lived together in complete love and harmony for centuries. Such was the closeness between these two communities facilitated by Kashmiri Sufism that it was nearly impossible to distinguish between a Kashmiri Pundit and a Kashmiri Muslim.
Hazrat Zati Shah’s (RA) life was filled with love and compassion for people and contempt of this world, other-worldiness and his life was based on purity of thought and action.He preached his message against nifaq (hypocrisy), nafs (lust), hasad (jealousy), riya (show), hirs (greed) and akl-i-haram (unlawful eating).
People bring food particularly ‘tahar and khawa ‘ to feed the hungry and the devotees at this shrine.One may watch beggars,the poor and the rich men,women, children and elders sharing the same plate.
Kashmir has the richest reservoir of the Sufi tradition, a tradition which is an integral part of the people’s ethos and which informs their lives.
Today, there is a need to further revive the secular spirit of Kashmir’s unique and indigenous Sufi culture that guided the people of Kashmir through all these years and bound them together in the spirit of oneness and togetherness.
Khursheed Dar is a sufi scholar and can be reached at [email protected]