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Shah Alam of Gujarat

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The Sufis of Gujarat were responsible for the cultural integration of the people of the state. The Sufis spoke to people in their own language and sought to share the pain, tribulation and joy of the people.

The dargah of Shah Alam in the city of Ahmedabad is among the most famous and beautiful dargahs in Gujarat. Sayyid Sirajuddin Muhammad, the son and successor of Burhanuddin Qutub e Alam, came to be called by the title of Shah Alam, king of the world.  

Shaykh Burhanuddin was the grandson of the celebrated Sayyid Jalauddin Hussain Bukhari of Uch, also known as Makhdoom Jehaniya Jehan Gasht. He had kept in touch with both the Delhi Sultans and the all the religious and spiritual leaders of India of his time. He arrived in Gujarat during the beginning of the fifteenth century, settling on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

Following the Suharwardi tradition, the family established close contact with the local rulers and played an active role in the social and political life of the city. The Sultans of Gujarat became deeply devoted to Qutub -e -Alam and Shah Alam, ascribing their victories to their blessings. The Sufis infused the local people with a spirit of religiosity and homogeneity.

Shah Alam, the eleventh among twelve sons, assisted his father, Qutub- e- Alam in playing host to many men of spiritual eminence. A dutiful son, he is said to have approached his father during one of the latter’s spiritual states and implored that his heart be filled with mystic knowledge. An interesting miracle happened one day; while bathing in a water body, his feet hit upon something. The Shaykh remarked that he didn’t know whether the object was stone, iron or wood. Miraculously, the object turned into a mixture of the three materials and became a venerated relic.

Shah Alam was related to the royal houses of Sindh and Gujarat through marriage to Bibi Marqi, the second daughter of Jam Sahab of Sindh. He taught people to trust in God and spend time in reflecting on His glory.

Many stories recount how the young Shah Alam yearned for his heart to be engulfed with Divine love. He spent six days a week in solitary meditation, remaining inaccessible even to the rulers. He received visitors only on Fridays, when open discussions were held and anyone could seek his guidance.
An account of the Friday gatherings was compiled in a seven volume manual titled, ' Kunuz -e -Muhammadi’ by Shaykh Farid bin Daulat Shah Jilwani. Unfortunately, the book is not traceable today.

Under the Chishti influence, Shah Alam became a lover of music and held qawaalis regularly. His khanqah was at Rasulabad between the outskirts of the city and his father’s khanqah at Vatwa. Here, Shah Alam trained innumerable disciples, wrote manuals, anthologies of prayers, and met visitors. He advised people not to waste time, indulge in wasteful or hurtful talk, and to clear the heart of all malice. He encouraged devotees to spend most of their time in remembrance of God.

Many of these accounts were compiled but have not survived, and much of Shah Alam’s valuable library containing rare manuscripts is lost. The Sufi died on 20 Jumada al akhira 880 Hijri/1475 AD.

A weeklong festivity marks the Urs celebrations, which include a mushaira, poetic symposium, and milad, celebratory tributes to Prophet Muhammad. On the last day there is an exclusive event for women called, ‘Bibi ka Mela’, so they can spend time at the dargah without being pushed around by the large number of men in the compound.  

A large number of devotees continue to visit his dargah in Gujarat. The beautiful mausoleum was built by a noble man by the name of Abdul Latif Taj Kham Narpali in 1532 AD.  Asaf Jah, Shahjehans’s trusted aide and the brother of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, built the façade of the mosque in the courtyard.

The Sufis of Gujarat were responsible for the cultural integration of the people of the state. The Sufis spoke to people in their own language and sought to share the pain, tribulation and joy of the people. The boundaries of Ahamdabad were laid out when Sultan Muzaffur Shah broke away from the Delhi Sultanate in 1411, on the advice of Muzaffur Shaykh Ahmed Khattau, a Sufi of the Maghrebi Order. Since then, Gujrat had been blessed with Sufis and remained a centre for learning.

Comments (4 posted):

Waris Shah Poetry on 23 September, 2011 01:16:41
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Manglik Matrimony on 13 October, 2011 02:31:09
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Stone And Bath on 13 February, 2012 07:13:09
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Stone And Bath on 13 February, 2012 07:13:09
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I would like to appreciate your hard work you did write this post, Thanks for sharing this valuable post.

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