PIRAN KALYAR SHARIF: A SYMBOL OF UNITY

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Piran Kalyar Sharif, a small village situated along the banks of Ganges Cannel only 07 km away from Roorkee famous for being the place of the first Engineering College in Asia namely Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee in the District of Haridwar, which is 20 km from Piran Kalyar. Here lies the shrine of (dargah) the famous Islamic Mystic, Alauddin Ali Ahmad Sabir Kalyari also known as Sarkar Sabir Pak and Sabir Kaliyari. It is one of the most the revered shrines in the South Asia for Muslims as well as Hindus. The shrine was built by Ibrahim Lodhi an Afghan Ruler of Delhi in the thirteenth century. 

Family & Lineage

Hazrat Alauddin Ali Ahmed Sabir was the great grandson of the illustrious Hazrat Syedna Ghaus-ul-Azam Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani of Baghdad, one of the greatest saints of Islam who was the founder of the well known Qadiri silsila. Hazrat Alauddin’s mother, Bibi Hajra, more commonly known as Jameela Khatoon, was from a noble family; she was the sister of the great saint Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar and it was from a basharat (prophetic vision) from the Holy prophet ﷺ that she was married to Hazrat Shah Abdul Rahim (grandson of Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam) in 571 AH in Khotwal (Multan, West Pakistan). Hazrat Shah Abdul Rahim was himself a pious man who was well versed in Uloom-e-Roohani (spiritual knowledge) and Uloom-e-Shariah (knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence). After her marriage, she lived with her husband in Herat who had travelled there from Baghdad and was living under the patronage of Hazrat Abul Qasim Gurganj a great saint of his time.

It is related that when Hazrat Ali Ahmed Sabir was still in his mother’s womb, the Holy prophet Mohammed ﷺ commanded his mother in a vision to name her child “Ahmed”. Likewise, after some time, Hazrat Ali Murtaza also appeared in a vision and asked her to call the child by the name of “Ali”. Therefore, with due regard to both of these commands, the name of Ali Ahmed was given to the child on its birth the name of “Alauddin” was suggested by another saint after the birth of the child.

Birth

Hazrat Ali Ahmed Alauddin Sabir was born on the night of Thursday, 19th of Rabi-ul-Awwal, 592 AH corresponding to 1196 AD in Herat. During his birth, when the nurse touched the body of the child, she felt a serious burning sensation. His mother warned the nurse not to touch her baby without wudhu (ablution). The nurse immediately performed wudhu and the burning sensation she felt disappeared. After the nurse took the child in her lap to bathe him, as he opened his eyes and looked towards the roof of the house, the roof collapsed and a red light was seen descending upon the child through the open roof whilst a pleasant scent covered the city of Herat.

Early Life & Childhood

Hazrat Ali Ahmed Alauddin displayed great devotion from an extremely young age. For the first 6 months and 40 days of his life, he did not take his mother’s milk. After the first year of his life, he took his mother’s milk only on alternate days, thus observing the fast every other day. When he was 3 years old, he gave up his mother’s milk altogether and used to eat a small piece of barley bread occasionally. When he began to speak, the first words he uttered were “La Moujuda Illillah” (there is nothing present but God). At the age of 5, he lost his father and observed complete silence for one year. At the age of 7, he started to fast on a daily basis and used to eat dried breadcrumbs only on the 4th or 5th day. He also began to observe Tahajjud (late night prayer) and kept himself fully occupied in the devotion of God. He never slept on a charpoy (woven bed) even at this young age, and if his mother insisted that he should not perform such hard mujahedas (strivings) at his tender age, he used to reply that he couldn’t help it and wanted to burn himself in the devotion of God.

After the death of Hazrat Abdul Rahim, Hazrat Alauddin and his mother faced particularly hard times, yet she never sought anybody’s help. During this period, Hazrat Alauddin only used to consume water and a few crumbs if any food was available. One day, Hazrat Ali Ahmed felt acute hunger and asked his mother to give him something to eat. She, of course, had nothing in the house to cook. After the zohar prayer (1-2 p.m.), Hazrat Ali Ahmed began to insist for food and, for his satisfaction, she put a degchi (cooking pot) which contained water on the oven, pretending that something was being cooked. Up until the time of maghrib (6-7 p.m.) whenever Hazrat Ali Ahmed enquired as to whether the food was ready, his mother would reply that it was not. After the maghrib prayer, Hazrat Ali Ahmed insisted to eat the food whether it was ready or not and he opened the lid of the ‘degchi’. As soon as he saw the contents, he exclaimed: “But the rice is ready.” His mother was amazed and even more so when the scent of the cooked rice that she smelt was like nothing she had ever smelt in her life.

When Hazrat Ali Ahmed finished with his meal, his mother sent for Hazrat Abul Qasim Gurganj and told him the whole story. She then consulted him about a basharat she had about putting Hazrat Ali Ahmed under the care of her brother, Hazrat Baba Farid Ganjshakar for his religious education, since he was now entering his teenage years. Hazrat Gurgani, after consulting other leading dervishes of Herat, agreed and took Hazrat Ali Ahmed and his mother to Hansi where Baba Farid lived.

Hazrat Baba Farid ordered Hazrat Ali Ahmad to take charge of his Langar-khana (kitchen) and distribution of langar (food) to the poor — an order which pleased his sister. The next day she left for Herat in the company of Hazrat Gurgani as Hazrat Alimullah Abdaal remained in the service of Hazrat Ali Ahmed.

 

Title of “Sabir

But when Baba Farid’s sister saw her son Hazrat Ali Ahmed, she was shocked to find him extremely emaciated — a condition which compelled her to complain to Hazrat Baba Farid: “Brother, I had requested of you not to starve Ali Ahmed. But it seems you starved my child for 7 years.” Baba Farid replied “But it was in your own presence that I had ordered Ali Ahmed to distribute the langar and left him in charge of my Langarkhana” (Kitchen). He then called Hazrat Ali Ahmed in the presence of his mother, and asked him: “Son, you were put in charge of the kitchen, then why did you not eat anything?” Hazrat Ali Ahmed earned his unique title of Sabir (patient) from Hazrat Baba Farid when he gave a most beautiful reply to the saint’s question. He said: “Although I was deputed to distribute the langar, I was not authorized to eat any of it. How could have I dared to breach your orders?” Hazrat Baba Farid could not resist his overwhelming joy and love at this reply. He at once got up and affectionately embraced Hazrat Ali Ahmed “Sabir”. Hazrat Baba Farid then said: “A dutiful disciple must do what you have done.” Addressing his sister, he said:

Dear sister, Ali Ahmed is not born to eat; he is born to feed others. You know full well how patient he was during his infancy and childhood; and you also know what has been prophesied about his illuminating career.

It was after this incident that Hazrat Makhdoom Ali Ahmed enjoyed the popular title of Sabir – patience personified.

Marriage

After the Maghrib prayer on the 21st of Shawwal, 613 AH, the Nikah of Hazrat Ali Ahmed Sabir was solemnized and his mother lighted a lamp and directed the bride to his hujra, while she stood at the door of the hujra. Hazrat Sabir, however, remained busy in his usual deep devotion while the poor bride stood there till the time of Tahajjud, at which point he noticed her and asked: “Who are you?” She replied: “I am your wife.” Hazrat Sabir retorted:

But how is it possible to accommodate the love of two in one heart? I have already entertained the love of one. There is no room for any another’s love in my heart.”

The moment he finished these words, a furious flame arose from the floor of the hujra and reduced the bride to ashes. Hazrat Ali Ahmed’s mother, who was standing outside the hujra, dashed in but it was too late. In a fit of anger, she struck her son and exclaimed: “What shall I answer to your uncle about this tragedy?”. Hazrat Ali Ahmed replied “What tragedy?” as if nothing had happened. His mother said: “Don’t you see, you have burned your wife to ashes?” to which he replied: “It is not my fault. The divine power that rules me must have done this.”

Mausoleum

The curse of Hazrat Ali Ahmed remained in the city of Kaliyar and nobody dared to venture beyond the outer limit of the desolate area that had incurred the wrath of Hazrat Ali Ahmed, until the time of Hazrat Qutb-e-Alam Abdul Quddus Gangohi, the sixth khalifa of the Sabiri silsila. On 4 Rabi-us-Sani 907 AH, more than 200 years after the demise of Hazrat Ali Ahmed, Hazrat Abdul Quddus Gangohi, spurned by his determination to build a mausoleum made way for Kaliyar with a party of 150 people including khalifassheikhs and mureeds. When this huge assembly reached Kaliyar, Hazrat Abdul Quddus went into a state of muraqaba (meditation) and entered into a spiritual communion with the saint. He pleaded with the saint to end his jalal (wrath) on the area so that he may build his mausoleum for the people to benefit. Hazrat Ali Ahmed granted his wish and agreed to bless those that visit the site.

Hazrat Abdul Quddus and his group reached the tomb for the first time in more than two centuries and they found that it was still being protected by Hazrat Jamaluddin Abdaal and his party of 99 jinns. Hazrat Abdul Quddus and his group began to construct a mausoleum from kutcha (sandy) materials around the tomb for the first time after the saint’s demise. Having finished, they offered Salat-ul-Shukr (prayer of gratitude) and departed from Kaliyar. Hazrat Abdul Quddus used to return to Kaliyar on the 5th of each month to perform fateha.

On 16 Rajab 928 AH, 21 years after Hazrat Abdul Quddus first entered Kaliyar, Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi of Delhi provided finances to build a pucca (concrete) mausoleum over the tomb of Hazrat Makhdoom Ali Ahmed. With this money, Hazrat Abdul Quddus ordered Jamaluddin Abdaal to purchase the necessary material and to accompany him to Kalyar to assist him constructing a new mausoleum over the tomb.

They reached Kaliyar on 5 Jamadi-ul-Awwal 928 AH and started work on the 15th. Jamaluddin Abdaal and his 99 jinns also assisted with the construction and the new mausoleum was ready in 3 months and 7 days, after which the party returned to Gangoh. A 15 day Urs celebration is held each year at the mausoleum in the month of Rabi-ul-Awwal and the dargah and for the past 456 years, people from all walks of life have flocked to the site to seek the blessings of Hazrat Makhdoom Ali Ahmed Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari. (sufiwiki.com)

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