All the historians are united upon the fact that Hazrat Bulbul Shah (RA) was the first saint who sowed the seeds of Islam in Kashmir. The historians have been reserved over the pedigree of the saint and some believe that he had come from Samarqand and some state that he was from Bukhara. But the majority of them believe that he was from Turkistan. 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 Kashmir. 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. 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. Amongst these 700 sayids who accompanied Syed Ali Hamadani to valley , was the one Syed Dawood Simnania RA whose last resting place is at village Berigam in Qazigund area. He came to this village with the only motif to enlighten the masses with the noble teachings of Islam. He used to deliver regular sermons to masses of this village and the adjoining areas. People from all nearby villages then thronged to Berigam to receive the devine guidance from this God fearing saint. For this noble mission he sacrificed his all belongings and left his ancestral birthplace along with his dear family members. Syed Dawood was the Qaziul quza present day Chief justice at his native place. When he arrived at this village, he settled a deal with the Kumar family of this village.
The assembly of people who used to receive sacred teachings from Syed Dawood increased manifold with each passing day and the place couldn’t accommodate the huge gathering where this saint lived. So a deal was finalised between the Kumar family of this village and Syed Dawood Simnania RA. According to this deal a huge area which belonged to Kumars was gifted to Syed Sahib for preaching and in lieu of that Syeds small piece of land was then equally shared by Kumar families. The annual urs of this saint is celebrated each year in the month of November on 7th day of lunar month.This year it is being celebrated on 23rd of November.For centuries the inhabitants of this village have been witnessing the popular event. More than an urs it has become a socio-cultural event because on this occasion every household invites it’s close relatives to make a get-together. I remember during my childhood like every other household my grandparents would invite their daughters married far away from this village on the occasion of urs. For four complete days heavy rush of public would throng to Berigam to pay abeisance at revered saint’s tomb. The best way to pay homage to this pious saint is to adopt his teachings in our lives. He came here from the city of Simnan only to preach what the almighty Allah and the prophet (saw ) has ordered. To put forward his mission of inviting people to the right path and restricting them from evil doings is the real and global message of this urs because this saint has in his entire life dedicated himself only for this noble deed. He like all other friends of Allah has never encouraged his fellows to do unislamic practices. May almighty Allah reward this saint for his tremendous noble deeds, may his pious soul rest in ultimate peace and may almighty Allah give us the strength to follow his teachings in letter and spirit.
(Author teaches at Govt Secondary School Anderwan Ganderbal. Views are his own) email@example.com