Wednesday, February 2, 2011

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Ali Shah of Mumbai Zanjir Matam Hussain Tekri Jaora

His brother Akbar and a few others snatched the Zanjir from Ali Shah Bhais hands and overpowered him , that made him furious and very angry.. however they refused to let him cut himself, his back was badly injured needed stitches but he refused all medical aid .

We both traveled to Mumbai the same night to participate i the Mumbai Chehlum that was the following day..

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Kashmiri Shias Hussain Tekri Jaora 2011

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Syed Ali Safvi
Safvi Abad, Bemina

Kashmir was originally a land occupied by the Brahmans. Islam did not make much headway till Rinchan was converted to Islam by a renowned sufi saint Bulbul Shah in the first quarter of 14th century. Rinchan was a Tibetan prince who had been defeated by his uncle1. He became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir. Bulbul Shah who was responsible for Rinchan’s conversion had arrived in Kashmir during the reign of Raja Suhadeva (1301-1320) from Turkistan along with one thousand refugees. His real name was Sharafuddin Syed Abdur Rehman Bulbul Shah. He was a descendent of Hazrat Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.)2. Bulbu Shah told Rinchan the miracles of Prophet Mohammed (p.b.u.h.) and superior qualities of Hazrat Ali (a.s.).
“Rinchan subjected himself to the teaching of the religion of Mustafa (p.b.u.h.) and the right principles of the truthful path of Murtaza (a.s.) and embraced Islam with sincerity and conviction.”3
This proves the fact that Rinchan was converted to the Shia faith by Bulbul Shah. It also dismisses the common held conviction that shias came in existance only after the arrival of Mir Shamsuddin Iraqi in Kashmir.
Rinchan was so much inspired by Bulbul Shah that he built a Khanqah for him, which according to many historians was the first khanqah built in Kashmir4. Besides the Khanqah, Rinchan also built a mosque where he himself attended the Friday prayers and daily congregational prayers. Bulbul Shah advised Rinchan to keep an Islamic name, which the latter accept with gratitude. Rinchan became known to history as Sultan Sadruddin, the name given to him by Bulbul Shah Qalandar.
With the passage of time many hindus were converted to Islam. The conversion to Islam was encouraged by the arrival of Syeds, Shaikhs and other eminent scholars and theologians from Iraq, Khurasan, Tibet etc. Remarkable among them were Amir Kabir Syed Ali Hamdani, Mir Syed Mohd Hamdani, Mir Shamsuddin Iraqi, Mir Syed Mohd Baihaqi, Syed Hasan Shirazi, Amir Syed Ahmed Madani, Syed Nuruddin, Mulla Parsa among others.
“It took Islam almost six centuries to secure a strong foot-hold in Kashmir. After next one hundred years Islam galloped through and overshadowed Hinduism and claimed a majority.”5
First it was Amir Kabir Mir Syed Ali Hamdani who set his pious foot on the soil of Kashmir during the reign of Sultan Qutubuddin and worked for the propagation of Islam. Mir was a great scholar and poet. He has written about one hundred and seventy books on Logic, Jurisprudence, Philosophy, Political Science, Ethics, Sufism etc. During his stay in Kashmir, Mir converted about 3,700 hindus to Islam6. Later on, Mir felt that Sultan Qutubuddin did not work according to his wishes and he consequently left Kashmir and settled at Paneri where he breathed his last in 1384A.D.7 He was later buried in Khatlan.
Soon after the death of the great Syed, his son Mir Syed Mohd.Hamdani, accompanied by three hundred followers, came to Kashmir to resume and fulfill the mission of his late father. Mir was enthusiastically supported by Sultan Sikander, the Iconoclast in his missionary zeal. Sultan Sikandar, who had succeeded his father Sultan Qutubuddin was a very pious and God-fearing man. Both Sultan and Mir eradicated the unlawful and forbidden practices prevailing in the society, like gambling, hindu practice of Sati, playing of musical instruments, dancing of women, distillation, sale and use of wine, and soon. Sultan Sikandar gave Mir full support in order to establish an ideal Islamic society in Kashmir. Islam made much headway during this period. Jama Masjid of Kashmir was built and foundation of Khanqah of Syed Ali Hamdani was also laid down during this period.
Many historians are of the opinion that Mir belonged to the Shia creed and their claim seems genuine owing to the fact that when Mir left Kashmir he performed Hajj and Umrah and before retiring to Khatlan, where he met with the Angel of Death he visited the shrines of Najaf, Karbala and Mashhad8.
It is thus clear that even before the arrival of the venerable Mir Shamsuddin Iraqi in Kashmir, Shia school was in practice. However, there is no denying the fact that shias became more popular and gain more ground during the times of Mir Shamsuddin Iraqi and during the reign of Chaks.
Shamsuddin Iraqi first came to Kasmir towards the close of the15th century. He left Kashmir only to return back in 1502 along with the number of followers. His father was a Mosvi syed and his mother was from a Syed family of Qazvin in Iran. Iraqi’s disciples include the great noble of Kashmir, Musa Raina, who also held the office of the Chief Vizir during the reign of Fath Shah. Iraqi, with the help of Musa Raina was able to convert about 24,000 Brahman families to Islam9. During the peiod of nine years in office, Musa Raina supported and advanced the mission of Iraqi, which was the preaching and propagation of Shia faith. After the death of Musa Raina in 1513, Malik Kaji Chak, who was appointed the Chief Minister by Mohammed Shah extended his support to Iraqi. Shia creed made tremendous progress under Iraqi’s missionary zeal10. Large-scale reconstruction and widening of Khanqah of Syed Ali Hamdani was undertaken by Malik Kaji Chak on Iraqi’s orders.
Nonetheless, this rapid progress of Shia faith was not acceptable to some mischievous men who wanted to create dissention among Muslims. Shias received the first real set back at the hands of Mirza Haider Duglat, who conquered Kashmir in 1540 A.D. Though he didn’t occupy the throne but obtained virtual control over the administration of Kashmir11. In order to consolidate his position, he began attacking the Chak stalwarts, who were gaining importance in Kashmir and because they were the followers of shia school12, they became the obvious victims of Duglat’s wrath. In 1548A.D., Mirza Duglat issued orders of the desecration of Mir Shamsuddin Iraqi’s tomb, which was followed by the large scale massacre of all those who professed shia faith. Mirza didn’t spare even Sheikh Daniyal, the virtuous son of Shamsuddin Iraqi. Duglat called Daniyal back from Tibet and after putting him in prison for one year, he ultimately got him mercilessly excecuted. Mirza wrongly charged Daniyal with cursing the companions of the Prophet13 (p.b.u.h.) and thus succeeded in curbing the expansion of Shia faith in Kashmir.
All these events led to one of the first Shia-Sunni riots in Kashmir.
“The sectarian feelings induced by Mirza Haider Duglat kept the two sections divided throughout and during the Afghan rule, it further intensified. This mental dissention never allowed them to unite, and face the common foe jointly. The ultimate result was the loss of independence.”14
The land of Kashmir has witnessed many sectarian riots. Shia-Sunni riots of 1622A.D., 1636A.D., 1667A.D., 1685-86A.D. were the worst riots which subsequently had a titanic impact on the psychology of the people of the two sections; the impact of which can be felt even to this day.
Daulat Chak, who held the administration of Kashmir for some period rebuilt the Khanqah of Shamsuddin Iraqi, which had been completely destroyed by Mirza Haider Duglat. Daulat Chak also issued an order that homily (khutba) should be read in the name of Twelve Imams in the Jama Mosque15.
However, when Chaks finally laid claims to the throne of Kashmir, Shia faith gained tremendous influence. Ghazi Khan (1554-1563), the first ruler of this clan converted a number of Hindus to Shia faith16. Chaks were the descendents of Lankar Chak17, a ruler of Dardistan who was defeated in a battle by his enemies. Lankar Chak came to Kashmir during the reign of Suhadeva. All the seven rulers of Chak dynasty who ruled upon the throne of Kashmir allowed shias to gain influence.
However, sectarian tension (the seeds of which were sowed by Mirza Haider Duglat) coupled with the lavish life style of the successive rulers of the Chak dynasty, who took the kingdom of Kashmir for granted, led to a chaotic situation in Kasmir and consequently Mughal forces, which were unable to conquer Kashmir before despite many attempts ultimately succeeded in materializing their long cherished dream of making Kashmir a part of the Mughal Empire in 1586A.D. The only considerable things Mughals did in Kashmir were the beautification of the Vale and providing the much needed fillip to trade and commerce. Mughals literally took away the independence of Kashmiris and treated them merely as scapegoats. This inhumane treatment of Mughals left a deep impact on the lives of Kashmir. Sectarian conflicts continued even in those times. In fact, some of the worst Shia-Sunni riots took place during the Mughal occupation.
Shias managed to survive through the atrocious rule of some Mughal and Afghan rulers who were extremely hostile towards them.

Shias in Kashmir are mainly divided in two groups – ‘Qadimi’ and ‘Jadeedi’. The former are the followers of Moulvi family and the latter are the followers of Aga family of Budgam. Though both the families have immensely contributed towards the propagation of Shia faith in Kashmir yet there is no escaping the fact that contribution of Aga family of Budgam surpasses those of Moulvi famiy by far.
It would be an utter injustice if the contribution of this prominent Aga family is not taken into account. In the past more than a century this family has produced great thinkers, scholars, social reformers and theologians who played a significant role in the development of the Shia school particularly in the vale of Kashmir. Aga family is the descendent of Mir Syed Shamsuddin Iraqi. It was Ayatollah Aga Syed Mehdi, who after staying for twenty seven long years in Iraq during which he was awarded the rank of jurisconsult (Mujtahid), returned to his native land in 1880 and started preaching and propagation of Shia faith. Inspired by his articulate teaching and sagacity, hundreds of people accepted the shia faith. Aga Syed Mehdi was a great scholar and he has left behind number of books dealing on various subjects like Islamic history, jurisprudence etc. His most popular book is the one that was written on the Caliphate of Hazrat Ali (a.s.). Aga Syed Mehdi breathed his last on 21 Ramazan, 1892A.D. and was buried in his ancestral grave yard in Budgam.
Aga Syed Mehdi was succeeded by his son, Aga Syed Mohammed, who himself was an eminent scholar and theologian of his time. He laid the early foundation of Imam Bara Budgam. He too has written many books and most popular among them is a book on jurisprudence (Minajus Salah wa Merajul Falah). This was one of the first book of its kind written in kashmiri language during that period. The book is a masterpiece in Kashmir’s literature. The book speaks volumes about the intellectual insight of Aga Syed Mohammed Almosvi. Even today, one would hardy come across a home where this book has not been treasured.
Aga Syed Mohammed after spending his entire life spreading the teaching of Islam left for the eternal abode on 7 March, 1931A.D. After Aga Syed Mohammed, his younger brother Aga Syed Ahmed shouldered the responsibility and dedicated himself for the noble cause of his ancestors. Prominent among his contributions is that he rebuilt the tomb of Mir Shamsuddin Iraqi in 1352 Hijri and also got the Imam Bara of Hasanabad reconstructed in 1354Hijri. He died on 21 Zil’hajja, 1364Hijri18.
(to be concluded…)

1. Kashmir throug theAges, by Gwasha Lal Kaul, page 47.
2. Baharistani Shahi (1982), ed. Dr.Abar Hyderi, page29.
3. Baharistani Shahi (1991), ed. K.N.Pandit, page 22.
4. Ibid, page22.
5. Kashmiris Sufism.
6. Ibid.
7. Baharistani Shah (1991), ed. K.N.Pandit,page36.
8. Ibid, page57.
9. Tarikh-I-Hasan Khuihama, Pir Gh. Hasan, page223.
10. Kashmiris Sufism.
11. Kashmir under the Mughals, Ab.Majid Mattoo, page149.
12. Kashmir through the Ages, Gwasha Lal Kaul, page57.
13. Baharistani Shahi (1991), ed. K.N.Pandit, page140-141.
14. Kasmir under the Mughals, Ab.Majid Mattoo, page152.
15. Baharistani Shahi (1991), ed. K.N.Pandit, page150.
16. Kashmir through the Ages, Gwasha Lal Kaul, page57.
17. Ibid, page47.
18. Baharistani Shahi (1982), ed. Dr. Akbar Hyderi, page99.