18th Shawwal Urs Amir Khusro,New Delhi, 1325CE

July 12th, 2017

Nizamuddin at night (photo by Smitha Khorana)

Amir Khusro : Ab’ul Hasan Yāmīn al-Dīn Khusro (1253-1325 CE), better known as Amir Khusro Dehlavi or Amir Khusraw Balkhi in Afghanistan and Iran (in Persian ), is one of the iconic figures in the cultural history of the Indian subcontinent. A Sufi mystic and a spiritual disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, Amir Khusro (or Khusrau or Khusraw) was not only one of India’s greatest poets, he is also credited with being the founder of both Hindustani classical music and Qawwali (the devotional music of the Sufis). He was born of a Turkish father, Saif Ad-din, and an Indian mother, in India. (from the Aulia e Hind website)

For more information about Amir Khusro, his influence on India music and his poetry you can link to the Aulia e Hind website and the Amir Khusro website of Elekrta Music.

Amir Khusro was a devoted disciple of Nizamuddin Aulia. He love and friendship between them is a shining light in the Chishti silsila. The great saint would call him “tukem” meaning “my turk” referring fondly to Khusro’s father’s nationality. They were bonded very closely as Murshid and Mureed with much love and respect between them.

Tomb of Amir Khusro

My favorite story that illustrates this is the story of the poor farmer who came to Nizamuddin to beg for something that would help his family’s situation. Nizamuddin was known for helping the poor and needy and for never keeping anything that was donated to him after the close of the day. Each day all must be given away. But the farmer came from far away and by the time he arrived at the Khanka Nizamuddin had already given out all that there was for the day. The farmer was very dissapointed and seeing his distress Nizamuddin offered his own sandals to the man. The farmer accepted this gift but wondered to himself how this would help his family.

Setting out for home the farmer realized he would never make it back all the way that night so he came to a caravan which had camped for the night to warm himself by the fire and perhaps get some food. Amir Khusro was among the merchants in the caravan and watched as the farmer sat down to share the fire. Khusro noticed the sandals that the man was wearing and asked where he had gotten them. The farmer told his story about getting them as a gift from Nizamuddin Aulia. Khusro immediately offered to buy the sandals from the farmer and set the price as everything he had with him on the caravan. As he was just returning from a very successful trip, this was an enormous sum. The farmer was overjoyed and returned home the next day leading all the animals that had been Amir Khusro’s laden with all the goods as well.

For his part, Amir Khusro woke the next day and immediately went to the Khanka of his Sheikh, wearing the sandals on his head. When Nizamuddin Aulia saw this he smiled and said “Turkem, (a term of endearment meaning “My Turk”) how much did you pay for those sandals?” to which Khusor replied “All that I own” “Well then, you got them for a cheap price!” Nizamuddin said.



 

7th Shawwal Urs Hazrat Hubairah Basri, 287AH/900 CE

July 1st, 2017

Tomb Complex in Basra

Abu Hubairah Basri aka Ameen Ud Deen, was an early day Sufi Saint, a successor to Huzaifah Al-Mar’ashi, sixth link in the Sufi Silsilah of Chishti Order, and the Master of Ilm Mumshad Dinwari. He was born Basrah, Iraq around 167 Hijri He died on 7th Shawwaal 287 Hijri. He is burried in Basrah, Iraq.



 

6th Shawwal Urs Hazrat Khwaja Usman e Haruni, d. Makkah, 617AH/1220CE, remains brought to Ajmer 1935CE

June 30th, 2017

At The Usmani Chilla in Ajmer

(Text and photo from www.sufiajmer.org)

Early Life

Khwaja Usman Harooni was born in Haroon, which is in Iran. According to some, he was born in 526 AH (1131 AD) and according to others, he was born in 510 AH (1116 AD). He is also known by his nicknames as Abu Noor and Abu Mansur.

When he was rather young, he came in touch with an absorbed mystic (majzub) by the name of Chirk. This association with Chirk brought about a significant transformation in his life. As a result, the material world lost its charm for him and he decided to embrace a higher moral and spiritual life.

Khwaja Usman Harooni went to meet Hazrat Haji Sharif Zindani, a renowned mystic and saint of the Chishti Order, with a request to be enrolled as his spiritual disciple. Khwaja Haji Sharif Zindani found him to be a fit person and accepted the request, by placing a four-edged cap upon the head of Khwaja Usman Harooni.

He then told him that the four-edged cap implied the following four things:
First is the renunciation of this world;
Second is the renunciation of the world hereafter;
Third is the renunciation of the desires of the self;
Fourth is the renunciation of everything other than God.

Khwaja Usman Harooni spent over thirty years in the company of his spiritual guide. During this period, he was engaged in ascetic practices and prayers. As time passed, he gained many spiritual accomplishments. He was then asked by his spiritual guide to move on and spread the Gospel of Truth.

Travels

Khwaja Usman Harooni undertook many tours and travels to preach the Gospel of Truth. In the process, he visited many countries and cities. Among them are prominent Bukhara, Baghdad, Falooja, Damascus, Mecca and Madina. During the course of his travels, he performed the Hajj, or the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
In almost all cities, he enjoyed the company of renowned sufis and accomplished dervishes. And while on way to Oosh, he met Sheikh Bahauddin of Oosh. And when he reached Badakshan, he met a saintly man who was one of the attendants of Hazrat Junayd of Baghdad.

He reached Baghdad once again, and there he stayed for a while. During all the travels, he was accompanied by his close and dear spiritual disciple, Khwaja Moin-ud-din Hasan Chishti, who carried his tiffin basket.

After a while, Hazrat Usman Harroni visited India, during the rule of Sultan Altamish.

Death

Khwaja Usman Harooni breathed his last on 5th of Shawaal in the year 617 AH (1220 CE). His blessings are still invoked by thousands of people belonging to every strata of society and every school of thought. While his tomb lies in Mecca, there is also a symbol of his strength and source of his blessings at the Usmani Chilla at Ajmer. Within the Usmani Chillah compound are buried the holy relics of Hazrat Khwaja Usman e Harooni, brought from Mecca in 1935 AD, by Nawab Gudri Shah Baba III.

Message and teachings

According to Khwaja Usman Harooni, a great man is one who is endowed with virtues like contentment, sincerity, self-abnegation, self-sacrifice and above all, spirit of renunciation. He said that the ego in a man was an enemy, as it did not allow him to think rationally, act wisely and live happily. He emphasised that unless a man loves human beings, it is impossible for him to love God.
His advice was simple and his message was as simple and that was “Live”.
To exist is one thing but to LIVE another. To exist means to merely breathe, but to live means to keep the welfare of fellow beings uppermost in priority. To live a good life requires a serious effort on one’s own part. No exterior agency, legislation or act can make the man a moral being. Inner discovery is very important.

To help his disciples live a better life, Khwaja Usman Harooni gave discourses at times to guide them towards a better path. Of his many teachings, prominent are:

* Once the Friend becomes your friend, the whole universe becomes yours. Then it is necessary that you should become unmindful of everything else except the Friend, should ever be with Him and should follow Him faithfully.
* According to him, the faithful is one who keeps three things dear to his heart: mendicancy, illness and death.
* It is best to not weep or wail in times of difficulty. In fact, according to the witness of Hazrat Abdullah Ansari, Holy Prophet Mohammed has laid down that the one who weeps and wails in times of trouble and tribulation invites the curse of God upon himself.
* The one who feeds the hungry is dear to God. God fulfills a thousand wants and frees such a person from hell-fire.
* He who gives food to a dervish becomes free from all sins.

Poetry

Khwaja Usman Harooni was also an accomplished poet. His poetic nickname is ‘Usman’. A transliteration of one of his important works is produced hereunder. The poetic translation of the work is by Dr. Zahurul Hassan Sharib.

Namee danam key akhir chun dam e deedar mi raqsam
Magar nazam baeen zoqey key peshey yar mi raqsam
Biya jana tamasha kun key dar ambohey ja bazan
Basad saman e ruswaee sarey bazar mi raqsam

Khusha rindi key pama lash kunam sad parsaee raa
Zahey taqwa key maan ba jubba o dastar mi raqsam

Tuwan qatil key az behrey tamashan khun e man rezee
Manan bismil key zerey khanjar ey khun khar mi raqsam

Manam Usman e Harooni wa yar e shaikh e mansooram
Malamat mee kunad khalqey waman bardar mi raqsam

I do not know why at last to have a longing look I dance,
But I feel proud of the fondness that before the Friend I dance.
Thou strikest the musical instrument and lo ! everytime I dance,
In whatever way Thou causest me to dance, o Friend, I dance.

Come O Beloved ! see the spectacle that in the crowd of the intrepid and daring,
With a hundred ignomies in the heart of the market I dance.

Blessed is recklessness that I trample underfoot the very many acts of virtue,
Hail to piety that with the robe and the turban I dance.

I am Usman e Harooni and a friend of Sheikh Mansur,
They revile and rebuke and upon the gallows I dance



 

5th Shawwal Urs Hazrat Abdur Raheem Shah, Qazi Gudri Shah Baba II, Ajmer, India, 1344AH

June 29th, 2017

Hazrat Gudri Shah Baba II

On a hill, a little to the south of the Chillah of Khwaja Sahib (Mounuddin Chishti (ra)), stands the holy, white shrine of Hazrat Abdur Rahim Shah, known as Qazi Gudri Shah Baba II. The shrine is a square building, standing in the centre of a strong, fort wall – Ahata Hazrat Abdur Rahim Shah.

1274 Hijra, the birth of the saint, is mentioned in the ‘Tazakara Hazrat Abdur Rahim Shah, Gudri Shah Baba’….

In the search of the Murshid or the spiritual guide who could bring him close to God, he left his native place Kashipur in U.P. and came to Ajmer.

After some years, he saw a dream in which Hazrat Khwaja Moin Uddin Hasan Chishti was in the company of Gudri Shah Baba I. Hazrat Khwaja Moin Uddin Chishti was pointing towards Gudri Shah Baba I and instructing Qazi Gudri Shah Baba to “Become his Mureed “. It still took him several years after this dream, to find Gudri Shah Baba I.

Fortunately, one evening he found him standing amidst the poor, distributing langar (bread and lentils). He immediately sprang forward and placed his hand on Gudri Shah Baba’s feet, out of respect. Afterwards, he joined his circle.

After becoming Gudri Shah Baba’s mureed, he accompanied him, travelling by foot, across Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq to Damascus, Egypt and Africa.

The grace of his murshid’s company brought a change in him enlightening him from head to feet. After the passing away of his murshid, the people began to call him, too, by the name Gudri Shah.

His simplicity and easy manners encouraged many thousands to enter his order.

Some of his well-known sayings are:

External work should be done correctly by external means.
Internal work should be done internally.

A secret talk is best done in secrecy.

He is not a faqir who lacks ability and patience.

Whoever has not seen the Truth here, will not see it there either.

At one time, a mureed asked a Qawwaal to sing a particular verse. Hazrat Gudri Shah Baba II became angry, saying ”Never ask the Qawwaal to sing a particular verse. In the verse he himself chooses to sing, there is inspiration. In that inspiration, there is the will of God, and where there is the Will of God, there is intoxication, joy, pleasure and cheerfulness.”

When the end of life drew nearer for Hazrat Qazi Gudri Shah Baba (II), he asked his most devoted mureed, Hazrat Nawab Khadim Hasan (Gudri Shah Baba III) to accompany him to the Chillah Sharif. He asked him to bring four bricks, and without speaking, placed the four bricks in the corners of what was to become his burial place. After some time, when he died, on the 5th Shawwal, 1344 AH, he was buried at the exact spot. His shrine is the focus of faith for the thousands of devotees, who celebrate his Urs each year.



 

Eid Khutbah – Ramadhan 1438

June 25th, 2017

Eid Mubarak

As-Salaam alaykum wa rahma tu’ala wa barakatu. Eid Mubarak! Allahu Akbar – Allahu Akbar – Allahu Akbar wa lillah ilhamd!

Brothers and sisters we must not loose sight of our identity as beleivers. From where do we draw this identity? Do we draw it from the culture we are in? Those of us living in the western culture are constantly bombarded by messages urging us to all kinds of actions against our hearts. We are constantly prodded to live for materialistic things and things that take our heart and mind from Allah (swt). And most sad of all, constantly, everyday people treat each other badly. We see rudeness and impatience and anger and enmity. What kind of society are we following? I heard a while ago that a study was done where it was estimated that we are exposed to 90 thousand advertisements every day. Violence is prevalent, and not just wars and things far away, but in our own lives. People bicker and mistrust one another, and people do cheat and steal and lie. But, by merciful Allah (swt), we are human and we do make mistakes. So where do we turn for help? How do we realize our inner life and be the kind and compassionate people we are supposed to be as believers?.

We have an ever present guide and ideal to live up to, a perfect exemplar of behavior. And it is that ideal and example of Rasool Allah (saw) that we should be drawing our identity from.

Rasool Allah (SAW) is described in hadith as

“Al-Mutawakkil” (who depends upon Allah). You are neither discourteous, harsh nor a noisemaker in the markets and you do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness. Allah will not let him (the Prophet (swt)) die till he makes straight the crooked people by making them say: “None has the right to be worshiped but Allah,” With which will be opened blind eyes And deaf ears and enveloped hearts.’ “

And about how to behave when on a journey.

Malik related to me from Abu Ubayd, the mawla of Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik from Khalid ibn Madan who attributed it to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “Allah, the Blessed and Exalted is kind and loves kindness. He is pleased with it and helps you with it as long as it is not misplaced. When you ride dumb beasts, stop them in their stopping places, and quicken their pace when the land is barren. Travel by night, because the land is traveled faster at night than it is during the day. Beware of pitching tents on the road, for it is the path of animals and the abode of snakes.”

My friends we are all on a journey every day in this life. Should we not then behave just as well to those around us in our every day life as we would towards beasts?

Towards each other especially and even more importantly in these hard conditions of today’s world.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “One should do six acts of kindness to another: he should salute him when he meets him, accept his invitation when he gives one, say ‘Allah have mercy on you’ when he sneezes, visit him when he is ill, follow his bier when he dies, and like for him what he likes for himself.”

And in another hadith

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “Every act of kindness is “sadaqah, and kindness includes meeting your brother/sister with a cheerful face and pouring water from your bucket into your brother’s/sister’s vessel.”

We must stop doing things to each other that nullify our identity as believers. We must treat other people with kindness and with the charity that Rasul Allah (saw) has shown us and has described to us.

Allah (swt) has shown us just one tiny part of the divine kindness that awaits us in the afterlife.

Rasul Allah (saw) said: There are one hundred (parts of) mercy of Allah and He has sent down out of these [only] one part of mercy upon the jinn and human beings and the insects and it is because of this (one part) that they love one another, show kindness to one another and even the beast treats its young one with affection, and Allah has reserved ninety-nine parts of mercy with which He would treat His servants on the Day of Resurrection.

And this kindness, this path of virtue is not necessarily easy. Especially with all the examples around us of harshness and cruelty, and the people encouraging us to the “easy path” the path of rejection and doubt in Allah (swt)

Allah (swt) talks about this in the Holy Quran, he tells us that many times we choose not to take this righteous road al aqaba, the road that is correct but sometimes harder but listen, there is good news in taking that road! (90:12-17)

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْعَقَبَةُ

Wama adraka ma al’aqaba

And what will explain to thee the path that is steep?

فَكُّ رَقَبَةٍ

Fakku raqaba(tin)

(It is:) freeing the bondman;

090.014 أَوْ إِطْعَامٌ فِي يَوْمٍ ذِي مَسْغَبَةٍ

Aw it’a-amun fee yawmin thee masghabat

Or the giving of food in a day of privation

090.015 يَتِيمًا ذَا مَقْرَبَةٍ

Yateeman tha maqraba

To the orphan with claims of relationship,

090.016 أَوْ مِسْكِينًا ذَا مَتْرَبَةٍ

Aw miskeenan tha matraba

Or to the indigent (down) in the dust.

090.017 ثُمَّ كَانَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَوَاصَوْا

بِالصَّبْرِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْمَرْحَمَةِ

Thumma kana mina allatheena ‘amanoo watawasaw bialssabri watawasaw bialmarhama

Then will he be of those who believe, and enjoin patience, (constancy, and self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion.

‘A man walking along a path felt very thirsty. Reaching a well he descended into it, drank his fill and came up. Then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out, trying to lick up mud to quench its thirst. The man saw that the dog was feeling the same thirst as he had felt so he went down into the well again and filled his shoe with water and gave the dog a drink. God forgave his sins for this action.’ The Prophet (saw) was asked: ‘Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?’ He said, ‘There is a reward for kindness to every living thing.’

Part 2

The Prophet Muhammad (peace by upon him) said: “Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam on every day the sun rises.” He was then asked: “From what do we give charity every day?” The Prophet Replied: “The doors of goodness are many…enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf (until you understand them), leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms — all of these are charity prescribed for you.”

Brothers and sisters, we should pledge ourselves to be among those that choose that difficult path. That in spite of what we see around us we should hold on to our identity of peace bringers and believers, lovers of Allah (swt). And we must teach our children to do that as well. That we should follow the example that Allah (swt) has given us in the Quran and the acts of Rasul Allah (saw) which are an exemplar of this behavior. Treat each other and other people with kindness and patience and sincerity in these things. After all, we do not know when we die or why we die but we can choose to die as believers, secure in our aman and our iman, in our tawaqqil and our taqwa allah.

Wa allahu alim.

As an addition I would also like to remind you that it is considered to be recommended to fast 6 days in Shawwal based on Hadith. The example of Rasul Allah (swt) is there for us to follow.