Sheikh Hamza Makhdum (R.A): A Great Saint Of Kashmir Valley

Sheikh Hamza Makhdum (R.A): A Great Saint Of Kashmir Valley

In the valley of Kashmir persons, who established through their actions and precepts, captivated the hearts of the people, called them to the true Religion and filled the hearts with the light of monotheism, faith, and devotion, Sultan-Ul-Arifeen (R.A) stands taller among them. Sheikh Hamza Makhdum, entitled Mehboob-Ul-Alam, and Sultan-Ul-Arifeen (R.A), was born to Baba Usman, of the Chandra-Vanshi Rajput family, a hereditary landlord, a scholar and a mystic saint of high order. Sultan-Ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdum, in this manner, inherited the mysticism.
Sultan-Ul-Arifeen inherited the mysticism, and from the very childhood was inclined to the company of holy men, and to the truth. Having read the holy Qu’Oran in the village, he went to the seminary of Sheikh Ismial Kabroi for higher studies.
Once he was playing instead of going to elementary school (maktab) His father happened to come there, grew angry, and beat him so severely that he fell ill. From the day he pledged that he would never play with his Grand Father Zaiti-Rena. He went to see Fatah Ullah (son of Hazrat Baba Ismial) the spiritual teacher of the Rena tribe, and learnt the Qu’Oran for a year in the monastery at Shamsi-Chak here he was enrolled into the seminary of Baba Ismial Kabroi, as a student, for higher studies. He studied the Jurisprudence, Tradition, Logic, Philosophy, Ethics, and Mysticism. The saint led a very simple life throughout. The title Sultan-Ul-Arifeen indicates to serious efforts and painstaking prayers did. During his studies he meditated. Baba Davood opines that Hazrat Makhdoom did not rest during night for years but remained engaged in prayers.
Sultan-Ul-Arifeen says, “I was directed to say the daruds, mention of the names, and prayers because of His kindness and whenever I sluggish in the conduct I was reprimanded. “Hard work and painstaking prayers in the early youth made him old before time.
The great sage followed the Sunni (Tradition) strictly not only in prayers but also in table manners, dress, manners, and etc. He scrupulously followed the Prophet and his love for him knew no bounds. These things helped him to reach the highest rank. Later, he had to forsake his love for isolation in order to serve the people. He remarks:
“In the early days I had completely abandoned the company of the people. Allah granted me the gift of peace at heart and composure of mind. He ordered me to serve the people so I came and started delivering the Message.”
Generally the sages are indifferent to the Shairah. In the case of the persons of the Rishiyat Order, the indifference is evident. The suppression of self, renunciation of physical demands, asceticism, and other local effects are clearly visible on sages and the Islam here. His greatest contribution was that he delivered it in its purest form to the people. He followed the Shairah strictly but asked others to do it; opposed to their reluctance of legitimate things; joined the Shairah with Rishiyat and asked the people to follow into the footsteps of the Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W) and relieved them of their superstitions. He made Hirdey Rishi eat meat under his orders, wore rich dress, declared superstitions as untrue, opposed and exposed the hypocrites, advised to work hard continuously, observed personal hygiene and cleanliness and instructed to take lawful food and to lead pious and pure life. These are the teachings that show that he tried to build a society on the pattern of the Holy Book and Shairah.
His greatest contribution was that he instructed the people to forsake superstitions and Un-Islamic activities through his speech and actions. Numerous instances can be cited from his life. One of them is: Two streams flowed in Nadi-hil, and there stood a bied tree between them. The blasphemous held it sacred and observed many rites. Nobody could go by it during night. If anyone did, he was stuck in superstitions and made offerings for his relief. When Sheikh reached the place he declared, “The Jins and Satins have fled.” He ordered for the cleaning of the streams and building of bathrooms. He relentlessly fought against such superstitions and practices, stayed at the, places to make the people fearless, got mosques built there, for instance cleansed the stream ‘Bech-nag’ at Karora and built a mosque there. Similar practices and superstitions were prevalent at Shinga-pal stream in village Barar; he too stayed there and built a mosque under the supervision of Abdul Rashid. He too built a mosque in village Aham. Wherever he observed people entangled in them, reached there, and removed their fears from his deeds. The greatest contribution of Sheikh Hamza Makhdum is the negation of the spread of the Shiat, by Sheikh Shamsuddin Iraqi, under state patronage. He made Sheikh Shamsuddin Iraqi’s efforts in effective and strengthened the tottering beliefs of the people.
Sultan-Ul-Arifin’s whole life was full of strange revelations and miracles.
Sheikh Hamza Makhdum left this world in the Hijri year 984 during the reign of Sultan Ali Shah Kochak. His colleague Tahir Rafique said his funeral prayer. He was buried near Hari parbat. (Rainawari Srinagar) Thousands of people visit the shrine to pay their respects to this great saint of Kashmir. After schooling and spiritual initiation he was destined to become the leading Sufi. The Sufi came to be known as Mehboobul Alam, Sutanul Arifeen Shaikh Hamza Makhdoom (R.A). Sheikh Hamza is regarded next to Sheikh Nuruddin Rishi, who is considered as the leader of the spiritual domain in Kashmir. If Sheikh Nuruddin is revered as Sheikh-ul-Alam, Shiekh Hamza is remembered as Mehboob-ul-Alam. Whereas the former is known as Alamdar-i-Kashmir, the latter is called as Sultan-ul-Arifeen. The locals as well as the foreigners have regarded these two Sufis as the leading spiritual leaders of Kashmir. It was most probably the reason that prompted the Afghan governor, Atta Muhammad Khan to mint the coins in the name of these two sons of soil. This is also indicative of the reverence and the popularity the saints commanded among the people and also of the rulers.
Hazrat Sultan-Ul-Arifeen had many disciples. Hazarat Sheikh Baba Dawood Khaki the chief disciple of Hazarat Sheikh Hamaza Makhdoom Sahib, Baba Dawood Khaki has also been the chief Qazi of Kashmir and a scholar of great repute. It is said that Shah Hamdan the great saint of Hamdan in Iran who had come to Kashmir about 600 years back, visited the town and offered prayers at a platform where now the present mosque of Hazrat Sheikh Baba Dawood Khaki stands. The ground floor of the mosque was completed in 800 Hijri (1397 A.D) by Mir Mohd Hamdani, the son of Shah Hamdan. It is reported that Baba Dawood Khaki undertook the construction of the first floor of the mosque in 987 Hijri (1579 A.D) while the second floor of the mosque was completed in 990 Hijri(1582 A.D) under his own supervision. The saint propagated the ideology of Islam and constructed number of mosques in different villages of Anantnag district, which even now remains named after him. The saint died in 995 hijra(1587 A.D) after staying in the district for about ten years. It is said that after a period of three weeks of the death of the saint, then Mughal Governor of Kashmir had a dream in which he saw Mukdoom Sahib (R.A) directing him to bring the body of Babd Dawood khaki to be laid his side at Srinagar .The Governor therefore secretly bring the body of Baba Dawood back to Srinagar where the body of the saint stands buried by the side of the grave of Hazart Sheikh Hamaza Mukhdoom Sahib (R.A).

(The author an associate professor at S K University of Agriculture Sciences & Technology –SKUAST Srinagar writes on Islamic topics exclusively for “Kashmir Horizon”)

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