HAROON RASHID BHAT
Various authors have mentioned the life story of Hazrat Makdoom SahabRA but there is a particular written record of his life in the form of the book titled “ Virid-Ul- Muridin” comprises of 1362 verses in Persian written by his intimate disciple- Baba Dawood KhakhiRA. Later on, he framed another book which is commonly known “Dusturul-Salekeen” out of those verses. In this particular work, he described the outward as well as the spiritual status of his Murshid- Makdoom SahabRA. The Sufis considered it as an ocean of knowledge so far as the path of spirituality (Tasawuf) is a concern.
As narrated by many historians, one-day Sheikh Sahab RA was busy playing, ignoring the daily lesson that he used to receive at the local elementary school (Maktab), his father Baba Usman happened to come there, grew angry and beat him so severely that he fell ill. From the day he pledged that would never play anymore. His grandfather Zaiti-Rena took him to Srinagar, enrolled him in the seminary of Baba Ismail Kabroi. There, he studied the Quran Tradition, Jurisprudence, Fiqh, Logic, Philosophy, Ethics, and Mysticism.
About his spiritual journey, he said, “Before I came under the tutelage of mu Murshid, I was emphasizing on the importance of the continuous recitation of Zikhr because I considered it as a panacea for all the troubles of heart then my mentor instructed me to discard all other recitations and to concentrate on Zikhri Allah as it possesses swift efficacy and tremendous significance. The tutor also advised me that in case of any boredom, I should recite Virdi Azam consisting of the verses of the Quran and Awrad Fateha” later, he favored its recitation by the commoners as initiated by Mir Sayyid Ali Hamdani (RA). He remarks that one who recites the Zikhr reaches the ultimate truth.
He travelled far and wide and succeeded in establishing intimate contact with the common masses. He insisted on Sunah being adhered to and the myth to be discarded. The construction of mosques at several places particularly where the people dreaded ghosts and had ascribed myths may be regarded as a part of his campaign in promoting the cause of Islam. Hundreds of poor, destitute, and hungry were fed in the Kitchen (langar) established by the saint at Kohi Maran. It was Sheikh Hamza (RA) who served as a meeting ground for the Rishis and Suharwardi saints. His influence extended to the Rishi movement as he enrolled some Rishis like Baba Hardi Rishi and Roopa Rishi as his disciple. By paying a visit to the tomb of Sheikh Nur ud Din Rishi (RA) he extended the influence of the Rishis even to the Suhawardi circles. It proved to be the reason that his disciples have preserved, with veneration the activities of the Rishis.
Mukhdoom Sahab RA was instrumental in reforming hundreds and thousands of Muslims. He offered the nectar of Maurfat to all those who thronged his spiritual abode. It was at his hands that a number of his disciples were raised to the prominence in the Sufi circles. These include the illustrious Sufis Sheikh Daud KhakiRA, Mir Hyder TulmuliRA, Khawaja Hasan QariRA, Khawaja IshaqRA Qari, Mulla Ahmad ChagliRA, Moulana Jami RA, Feroz GanaiRA, Mohammad Ali RainaRA, Baba Hardi RishiRA, Mir Mohammad AfzalRA, Bayezid ShumnagiRA, Shaikh Roopa RishiRa.
Many miracles are attributed to his life, one of his prime Khalifa Hazrat Baba Dawood Khaki RA narrated the incident of his life like this: “ Before I came under the influence of my spiritual mentor Hazrat Makdoom SahabRA. I was rendering my duties as the Chief justice (Qazi-Ul – Quza) I was enjoying all the worldly comforts. But I encountered with him, my entire life changed completely. One day as part of Sufi- training, Hazrat MakdoomRA assigned me the duty of collecting the little piece of mud (Dehela) (to cleanse themselves before prayer). One day, while collecting the balls of mud, I was recalling the luxurious days of my life when I had been a rich nobleman with a large retinue of servants, but now had been reduced to such a low state. These inner thoughts became evident before Hazrat Sultan ArifeenRA by way of intuition. The following day, Hazrat asked me to arrange some pieces of clay at Khohi Maran (Mountain). As soon as I went out to get the same, I discovered that the whole mountain had been turning into gold. I moved here and there in search of the piece of mud but all in vain. In the meantime, Hazrat Sultan ArifeenRA once again called him, in response to that I apprised him that there was no mud available but gold everywhere then he asked me to bring at least a piece of gold for him. On hearing this I got surprised and told him with great reverence that it could not be used as the replacement for that odd work. Hazrat Sultan ArifeenRA exclaimed, “if it is not used for this odd work, what is the use of it! In this way, Hazrat made me understand the nature of spirituality and artificiality and warned me to avoid those irrelevant thoughts”
As per the written records, the birth of Sheik Hamza MukdoomRA took place in 900 A. H. (1494 AD) at Tujar Sharief near Sopore in Baramulla district. He left this temporary world in 984 A. H.(1576 AD). Sultan Ali Shah Chak, the ruler of Kashmir is said to have attended his funeral prayer while it was led by Sheikh Tahir Rafiqi and included the contemporary scholars and Sufis like Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi. As per the instructions of the saint, he was laid to rest at Kohi Maran- the center of spiritual emancipation established by him. Nearly fifteen years after his departure, Akbar, the Mughal king, built a shrine there which was reconstructed during the Afghan rule by Atta Mohammad Khan around 1821 AD. As a mark of respect, Atta Mohammad Khan stuck the coins bearing the names of Sheikh Nur-ud-Din-RishiRA and Sheikh Hamza MakhdoomRA. This is probably the unique instance in history when the coins have been stuck bearing the names of saints.
Haroon Rashid Bhat can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org