“ It is because of his Compassion, Humility, and Generosity that he gained the unique title ABUL-FUQRA”
By Haroon Rashid Bhat
Baba Naseeb-Ud-Din Ghazi was an influential Islamic scholar and Sufi saint. Historians related two views about his birth and birthplace. According to an article issued by Jammu and Kashmir Art and Cultural Academy, Nassar-Ud-Din popularly known as Baba Naseeb-Ud-Din Ghazi was originally from Rawalpindi Pakistan. He came to Kashmir with his father-. His father- Hassan Eazi entrusted him to Sultan ul Arifeen Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom at an earlier age for attaining Islamic Knowledge. As per the written records, he was only seven years old when he attained the tutelage of Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom Sahib. After the initial guidance, he shouldered the responsibility to Sheikh Dawood Khaki for further guidance. But the Noted historian like Hassan Shah Khouhami, M. Azam Dedimari, and his close associate Baba Dawood Mishkati mentioned that he was the direct disciple of Baba Dawood Khaki. He was connected with Soharwardi Silsila through him. He was born in 978 Hjiri at Bijbihari Anantnag during the reign of Sultan Ali Check. His father‘s name was Sheikh Hassan. He received his early Quranic education from Moulana Yousuf Ganie Kohami. He acquired the knowledge of Fiqh, Tafseer, Hadees, and other religious knowledge from Mullah Akhand Kamalu- Din Kashmiri. After that, he received further education from Baba Dawood Khakhi. After the initial guidance, he shouldered the responsibility to Sheikh Dawood Khaki for further guidance. He was greatly influenced by the Rishi movement. Like Baba Dawood Khaki who mostly subsisted on wild vegetables, Baba Naseeb-Ud- Din Gazi adopted vegetarianism and celibacy.
There is a very famous verbal story associated with his life and work. When the Sufi saint Baba Naseeb-Ud-Din Gazi came to know that his disciples became a bit sluggish, he conducted regular joint practicing sessions to keep them physically and mentally fit. One day they were busy practicing, beating the drum, and chanting Allah, Allah. People from the nearby area started to assemble there to watch their actions. In the meantime, an idea struck him to use the same practice for social and religious purposes. They traveled far and wide and used this as a tool to assemble the people to collect donations. The same donations were used for the construction of Masjids, Khanqhas, and other public constructions. He constructed 1200 Mosques and Bathrooms, Musafir Khanas, and Bridges and planted trees on both sides of the roads wherever he went to apprise people about teaching Islam. Besides that, those saints had spent their entire life caring for orphans, and the destitute therefore they also used to distribute alms among needy people. Another credit goes to him that it was through him the interpretation of Sheikh Nurruding’s saying spread down to the social order. The “Noor-Nama” written by him Ghazi gained the status of being the first narration of the Rishis of Kashmir and has a key status in Rishi’s history. He records the august birth of Hazrat Shaikh as in the year 779 AH. Thus it is established by the historical sources that Hazrat Shaikh-ul-Alam Shaikh Noor-Ud-Din Wali (RA) entered the world of existence from the unknown world in 779 AH / 1377 AD. He is still remembered among the common folk for utilizing the services of the Bhands (Dhambli Dancers) for the wider dissemination of Islamic teachings. Traditional performance of the Dhambali at the shrine of Baba Naseeb-Ud-Din Gazi on the eve of his annual day celebration broadening the social horizon given to the process of Islamization even by the Suharwardi Sufis. Baba Naseeb was an able Persian and Kashmiri writer. He was also interested in poetry. He penned down Naath, Manqabat.
During his spiritual journey, he visited most in-accessible areas at that time which include Tibet, Iskardu, Karnah, Dardistan, Baltistan, Kishtwar, Doda, Baderwah, Poonch, Rajouri, Nowshera, Budgam (Soibugh, Chewdara) etc. According to reports, Baba Naseeb Ud Din Ghazi has written about 22 books mostly in Arabic and Persian. Baba Naseeb Ud Din Ghazi and several disciples the famous among them are Sheikh Momin Haaj Baba, Baba Abdullah Guzaryali, Mohammed Amin Sofi, Mula Zehri Kashmiri, Khawaja Mohammed Amin Gazi, Mulla Tayub Tahiri, etc. He had a very close rapport with Baba Dawood Mishkati. They both visited Ladakh Tibet together. The head of state of Tibet received them wholeheartedly. During that particular visit, Baba Dawood Mishkiti shared those experiences that reflect the spiritual highness of his comrade. He says, “We stayed at Ladakh for a few days. There was a natural flow of hot water (spring). Hazrat tried to extend his hand to experience its hotness, once he did so, he experienced extreme hotness and instantly took away his hands. Then he made a wish that there should be another adjacent spring with cold water so that the travelers enjoy both hot and cold water in the same place. In the meantime, he rubbed the ground with his shoe and the water body came into existence in the form of a spring with cold water. We all sipped a few drops of water from the spring. That news spread like wildfire, people rushed there to see Miracle – Karamat made by Hazrat. Baba Mishkati also mentioned that whenever Hazrat saw a cemetery or crematory ground, he started to recite verses of the Quran (Fathiya) in favor of them. One day I dared to ask him. “Hazrat, it is understood that you prayed for Muslims but doing the same for Hindus, It astonished me” He replied, “You can’t experience what I am experiencing, I saw many Hindu souls here who are very virtuous, they interacted with me” Those all episodes mentioned by historian highlighted his spiritual stature. He spent his last days at Bijbehara where his soul left for Heaven at the age of 82 on the 13th Muharram 1047 Hijri. Though he had expressed his wish that his corpse should be buried near the Astani Aliya Mukhdoom Sahab. But because of the presence of a huge public, his body was buried in his native town. His followers erected a tomb around his grave. The shrine is wonderful architectural evidence of its glorious past. All his disciples enshrined his name and retained his legacy. Among them, Baba Abdullah Guzaryali promoted his mission with full commitment. It is because of his Compassion, Humility, and Generosity that he gained the unique title ABUL-FUQRA.
Haroon Rashid Bhat is a teacher columnist, can be reached at email@example.com