BY HAROON RASHID BHAT
“The grand Sufi saints like Alama Syed Qasim Shah Bukhari RA, Faqeer Millat Syed Mirak Shah Kashani RA used to recitate it on daily basis to attain more spiritual expansions”
The prophet Mohammad (SAW) loved his Umma, including the people among them whom he had never met. He repeatedly mentioned them to his companions and arranged special prayer (Du’as) in favor of them. However, the people of Yemen are particularly dear to the heart of the prophet (SAW). Time and again, he not only praised them as obedient, sensitive, and virtuous but also expresses an extraordinary love for them.
This land has gained the special honor of producing numerous Islamic luminaries and Ashiqe-Rasool (SAW). One such Islamic luminary that this historical land has produced is Sheikh Abu Bakr Salim RA-the author of Darood Tuj.
Almost all the grand scholars of Islam including his contemporaries uphold high opinion about his personal life and endorsed his scholastic contribution in the field of Islam. Besides being a well-known Islamic scholar, Almighty Allah endowed him with distinctive spiritual stature. Several Sufi’s saints of that period that include Moulana Habib Sohail Eidroos RA had preordained his arrival to this transit world before his physical birth that happened on Sunday in 919 A.H.(1513) at Tarim- the town situated in South of Yemen.
It was narrated by his intimate friends that one day his father took him to the Imam of Tarim- Sheikh Shihab-Ul-Din Ahmad Bin `Abdul –Rahmān RA complaining that his son was having difficulty in memorizing the Quran. The Sheikh said to his father: “Leave him and do not burden him. He will devote himself to it of his own accord and he will have a great affair.” As soon as the Sheikh uttered those words, Sheikh Abu Bakar RA devoted fully himself to the word of Almighty Allah and memorized the whole Quran just in four months. He also developed an interest in other fields of knowledge like Alim-Zahiri (Manifested knowledge) Alim Batin ( Concealed knowledge) Alim- Mantiq (logic) and history. And within a short period, he gained a name and fame in the entire region.
As the founding scholar of Islamic literature, he had a special privilege to study the book Alman-haj three times and Ahya-Ul- Uloom forty times written by two well-known scholars of Islam- Imam Nabi RA and Imam Gazali RA. He also sought due and prior permission from his seniors before taking several books for studies. As a student of the Quran and Hadees, he availed the literary benefits from numerous Scholars of Islam, the prominent among them are Habib Umer Bashyeban RA, Sheikh Shahab-Ul-Din Ahmad Abdul Rehman RA, Sheikh Ahmad Baja-Hadb RA, Sheikh Abdullah Baqsheer RA, Fiqi Sufi Sheikh Umer RA, and Sheikh Maroof Bajamal RA.
So far his earlier life, he spent prime years of life in a village popularly known as Al-Salik which is located at the East of Tarim town. He used to walk several miles by night to Tarim to pray in mosques, visit the shrines of saints, graves of his forefathers falling within the vicinity of Tarim. He used to fill up the tanks used for ablutions in the mosques and fill up troughs for animals to drink before returning to pray the Fajr prayer at Al-Slik.
In his youth, he moved to Tarim stayed there for quite some time, and then at the age of forty-six, He decided to spend the rest of his life at the village of Anayat where he spread the message of Allah and His Messenger (SAW). He built a mosque and house there and began teaching and giving spiritual instruction. Like his ancestries, he had a deep yearning to visit Madina once a year to have a glance at the grave of Prophet Mohammad (SAW). His family had a special privilege to lead the holy pilgrimage to Makah and Madina. This old aged tradition of leading the annual pilgrimage has been still prevailing there since the time of his forefather Hazrat Faqih-Al-Muqdam RA.
Shaykh Abū Bakr was an immensely generous and kind-hearted personality. He arranged and supervised the affairs of his famous community kitchen (Lunghar Khana), cooked meals, baked a thousand loaves of bread, and distributed the same among the needy people with his own hands. Apart from the compulsory fasting, he used to observe fasting for three months in a year and deliberately choose the hottest three months in a year.
During the final years of his life, he restricted his engagements up to writings, authored many books, compiled and chanted the Darood Sherif. Among his prominent works, Darood Taj gained worldwide popularity, especially in Asia. It has been always revered and recited in this part of the world (Kashmir) with love and faith. The grand Sufi saints like Alama Syed Qasim Shah Bukhari RA, Faqeer Millat Syed Mirak Shah Kashani RA used to recite it on daily basis to attain more spiritual expansions.
Another prominent work is the collection of poems reflecting his in-depth love for the Prophet which are available in the form of Ballads, Odes, elegies interwoven with full of wisdom, love, and enlightenment.
So far spiritual inheritors are concerned, he has produced a series of disciples that include your, the most glorious son-Imam Ahmad Bin Mohammad Alhabshee RA, Imam Abdul Rehman Bin Mohammad Al Gafri RA, Imam Abdul Rehman Albaz Alshahar RA, Syed Yousuf Bin Abid Alhusini Almagrib RA, Alama Mohammad Bin Siraj-Ul-Din Bajama RA, Imam Jalal-Ul-Din Almuhali Sahab RA- Tafseer Jalalan, Sheikh Habib Abdul Rehman Bin Aqil Al-Utoos RA and Hasan Bin Ahmad Ba-Shuib, etc.
Shaykh Abū Bakr finally breathed his last on Sunday 27th Zil-Ḥijjah, 999 A.H (1583). He was buried in his cemetery in Aynat and a dome was erected over him. He said during his life that he would bless the secrets to the sandbanks in which he is buried, and its blessed sand has been used time and again for healing purposes. Since then, visitors who are on the way to the Prophet traditionally stop there to pay their respects to Shaykh Abu Bakr, RA.
Haroon Rashid Bhat is a teacher by profession, can be reached at [email protected]