Mir Syed Ali Hamadani and advent of Islam in Kashmir
Religions are part of human life with people having affiliations to different and particular religions. They are an integral part of human lives and preach the same message of peace and brotherhood. Islam is also one of the monotheistic and major religion in the world having an enormous following of 1.8 billion Muslims in the world. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the founder of Islam in Arabia. With the passage of time, the companions of Prophet (pbuh) played a great role in the spread of Islam in the world facing a lot of hardships day-in and day-out.
Dargah of Hazrat Hamadani in Tajikistan
The messenger of Allah sent his companions every right, left and centres to convey the divine message of one God to the people of the world in order to show them a real path of eternal religious prosperity.
History is replete with the facts that although Islam had reached Kashmir very early, but the practical aspect was missing thereof. Kashmir was once a non-Muslim land where people were accustomed to non-Muslim practices and were mostly Hindus. Thus, there came an intervention in their lives. Whether, we call it divine or by chance, Islam arrived to make its roots permeate into the lives of the masses of the valley of South Asia.
It was initially Hazrat Syed Sharaf-ud-Din Abdul Rahman (RA), a Sufi from Turkistan also known as Syed Bulbul Shah (RA) who provided the idea of Islam in Kashmir. Unfortunately, there have been little literary forays into his life, although few references to him form a part and parcel of the historical narratives of the medieval Kashmir. He was thus the first Islamic missionary to Kashmir who laid the foundation of Sufi order here. He played a catalytic role in the spread of Islam to concretise the societal transformation at large. According to historical sources, many people in Kashmir embraced the creed of Bulbul Shah.
After this great saint, there arrived the descendent of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), known as Hazrat Mir Syed Ali Hamadani (R.A), a Sufi of Kubrawi order from Hamadan, Iran from central Asia along with 700 Sayyids in Kashmir to enlighten the masses with the glorious Islam and its practical aspects through his teachings. He was a Shafi’i Muslim scholar from an educationally well-off family. He was born in 1314 A.D. at Hamadan, Persia from parents namely Syed Shihab-Ud-din and Saiyida Fatima.
Shah-i Hamadan R.A. came to Kashmir thrice with a noble mission of spreading the religion of Islam and arrived in Kashmir for the first time in 1372 A.D. and left for Mecca afterwards. Thereafter, he again arrived in Kashmir and stayed briefly and left vale again. Finally, he again came to Kashmir in 1383 and remained in Kashmir for a short span of time and left this earthly world towards eternal heavens afterwards and Tajikistan became the epicentre of his eternal bodily stay.
Shah-i Hamdan is also known as Ali Sani (Second Ali) in Kashmir and revered by one and sundry with a linked genealogy through Imam Husain (R.A.) traced back to fourth Caliph, Hazrat Ali (R.A.). He contributed not only Islamic tenets and principles based on the Islamic philosophy for the people, but also contributed the dual elements of art and crafts in Kashmir. He contributed subjects like ethics, science, philosophy, jurisprudence, theology, poetry and prose immensely in Kashmir. He also profoundly impacted the architecture in Kashmir through construction of Khanqahas and tombs.
The arrival and influx of Shah-i Hamadan (R.A.) in Kashmir brought a socio-cultural and religious revolution. Shah-i-Hamadan was also an author and a poet par excellence who wrote books like, Zakhiratul Muluk and Muwwadatul Quraba. Zakhiratul Muluk dealt with his political ideology, the duties of rulers and the responsibilities of the people. Besides, he also authored several books spanning religious and spiritual aspects.
Awrad-e-Fathiyais a major case in point. It is the collection of religious prayers of great religious people which is recited every morning after the Fajr prayers in almost all the Hanafi mosques across the Valley, reflecting the faith and deep commitment in one God laying emphasis on the unity of God and His attributes. Another important poetic collection of Shah-i Hamadan (R.A) is Chahlul Asrar. Every year prior to Eid Ul Adha, the Urs of this great saint Shah Hamdan (R.A) is celebrated on the 6th of Zil Haj of the Muslim calendar at few sacred abodes of his shrines, including Seer Hamdan, Dooru Shahabad, Tral and Srinagar as a mark of deep reverence and regard for the unrelenting efforts of this saint for the uplift and prosperity of the people of Kashmir.
The inroads of Shah-i Hamadan (R.A.) into Kashmir without any regard for the rewards makes the point clear that the great saint as a mark of legacy of the mission of his dynasty of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) cared about the people of Kashmir and yearned to stabilise their lives socially, religiously and culturally. Today, when Kashmir is at the crossroads of uncertainty, whether politically or otherwise, if we follow the paths of their great religious saint, time will not be far when divinely support to our problems will annihilate them and a valley of scenic beauty will restore and regain its charm again and metamorphosize our pains into peace. Together, by following the charted discourse of Shah-i Hamadan R.A, our lives will blossom both here and hereafter. I still remember tears rolling down the cheeks of my father at the time of prayer’s recitation at Shah-i Hamadan R.A. This were the time that etched my memory and solidified my love for the Auliya. As the remembrance days of this saint have started today in the vale, the mosques of Hanafiya school of thought are reverberating with his couplets and providing aura to the environs.
Abid Ahmad Shah hails from Seer Hamdan Anantnag Jammu and Kashmir and is alumnus of Jamia Millia Islamia and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He writes on diverse issues and is a social and political analyst on Kashmir affairs. Besides teaching, career counselling, motivational lectures and writing are his other professions. He may be reached at abidjmi121[at]gmail.com.