Qalandar-e-Haq Shaikh Baha’u-d Din Ansari was born at Jindh in Haryana, India. Legend states that he was born wearing a loincloth around his waist and that is the reason he is fondly addressed as “Langotbandh Baba”.

His Travels

Not much is known of his youth and education. But he is said to have possessed an insatiable desire to attain gnosis [ma’rifa] of Allah. He travelled far and wide and eventually reached Baghdad in his quest for Divine Knowledge. He visited the tomb of Muhyiddin ‘Abdul Qadir al-Jilani where veils were lifted and he attained his Goal.

After being made a Caliph [khalifa] of the Qadiriyyah Tariqah, he returned back to India. Despite his desire for obscurity, his contemporaries recognised his greatness. The renowned Chishti master, Gesu-Daraz Bande-Nawaz Khwaja Sayyid Muhammad al-Husaini of Gulbarga, reportedly praised him as “A great Majzub!”

His Miracles

He reached a high rank in spirituality and, like his predecessors, exhibited many miraculous exploits [karamat] which continue to this day. There is a story of a disciple getting drowned in the high sea in his boat. He yelled the name of Langotbandh Baba who rescued him from the impending calamity with Allah’s leave.

Ardent devotees continue to visit his shrine to seek his intercession [wasila] to Allah, Most High, to fulfil their needs and to remove their distress. One such visitor, Ghulam Muhammad Qadiri of Pune, reports that he had been struck by paralysis of his legs. On visiting the shrine, his legs fully recovered.

His Passing

Records state that he passed away on 12 Dhu-l Hijjah 920 AH / 1515 CE. His anniversary [‘Urs] is commemorated in a large scale with fairs and special prayers by the hereditary Mutwali families who look after the Dargah. May Allah be well pleased with Langotbandh Baba, and bless us for his sake.

Location of Resting Abode

The dargah is located outside the fort of Daulatabad, about 27 kms from Aurangabad city. It is located by the side of the highway and there are no settlements to be found in the immediate vicinity. The area falls within the precinct of Abdimandi village, which is home to both Hindu and Muslim populace.

Description of Resting Abode

The dargah is over 500 years old. It is situated in a large compound surrounded by ornate walls and a large gate. There is a water pool in front of the shrine for visitors to make ablution. The main tomb contains Langotbandh Baba’s grave. Next to him is the grave of a disciple named Ibrahim Erchi.

Apart from the sepulchre, there is a rest-house by the side with rooms for visitors. There is also a mosque. The recent addition to the complex is a madrasa called “Faizane Gausia”.

Shaikh ‘Umar al-Qahiri

October 19, 2010

The zealous missionary and elegant Sufi poet, Shaikh ‘Umar b. ‘Abdu-l Qadir al-Qahiri, popularly known as ‘Umar Waliyullah (உமர் வலியுல்லாஹ்) in the Arwi region, was a reputed scholar and a devout Sufi. His grandmother was a daughter of the renowned Arwi Saint, Shaikh Sadaqatu-Llah b. Sulaiman al-Qahiri, known more commonly as Sadaqatullah Appa (சதகதுல்லாஹ் அப்பா).

His Education

He mastered the Arabic language and was well versed in theology [aqidah], jurisprudence [fiqh] and spirituality [tasawwuf]. He attained his early education and was initiated into the Qadiri path by the venerable Shaikh Muhammad al-Nuski, popularly known as Pal-Kudi Appa (பால்-குடி அப்பா). He was also initiated into the Qadiri path and anointed as deputy [khalifa] by the sage and saint from Hadramawt, Sayyid Jifri Tangal.

His Travels

He journeyed extensively to spread the message of Islam. He also went to perform Hajj and Ziyarah of Habib al-Mustafa, Allah bless him and give him peace, in Madinatu-l Munawwarah. Here he met the scholar and saint, Sayyid Muhsin al-Mukaibali. In his company, he witnessed unveilings and experienced spiritual openings. After five years in the city of the beloved Prophet – first as teacher then as principal of an institution there – he returned back to his birthplace in South India, Kayalpatnam.

His return back home marked the start of another crucial phase of his spiritual development and wayfaring. One day, while leading the congregational prayer at the Makhdum Mosque in Kayalpatnam, he heard the call from the pole of the age [Qutbu-z Zaman], Sayyid Muhammad Bukhari Tangal of Cannore, Kerala. He duly set off in search of his final spiritual master, who embraced him with open arms and initiated him into the Qadiri path and appointed him as his inheritor and a spiritual guide in his own right. Following this, Sayyid Muhammad Bukhari Tangal made a ceremonial visit to Kayalpatnam where he was warmly welcomed at the seashore by the people of the town who humbly gave bai’ah to him.

Following these momentous incidents, on the instructions of his Spiritual Master, he went to the Dutch East Indies in 1177 AH. He established a number of madrasas (known as Pesantharan) in the jungles of Aceh Daru-s Salam and other parts of Sumatra (present day Indonesia). Whilst there, he met many mystics resulting in much mutual benefit. He ended up spending fourteen years in missionary activities in the region. This intense period of continued meditation, spiritual practices and deep prayers resulted in spiritual openings beyond description. Allah bestowed upon him Divine Grace [tawfiq] and exhibited many miraculous exploits [karamat] at his hands, including curing people of their illnesses.

His Writings

On return to India from the Far East, he began composing spiritual odes [qasa’id] of utmost elegance on mystical themes. Twelve of his stupendous compositions have been collated in two anthologies, Nuru-l ‘Aynayn and Mukhammas Dhukhru-l Ma’ad. The most acclaimed of his works is Qasidatu-l Allafa-l Alif. The amazing lines of this poem speak of the importance of loving the holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), necessity of the spiritual path, perils of earthly life, amongst others.

The beauty of this 31-couplet composition lies in the fact that each of the 29 couplets between the opening and closing verses begin with a letter from the Arabic alphabet in order. In everyline, the starting letter is repeated between ten to fifteen times. Another literary feature of this masterpiece is that, sets of words (two words), identifical in form (both having the same letters in the same order), are skilfully used in the same verse with differing meanings to convey highly advanced Sufi thoughts.

Several commentaries have been written on this ode. The most comprehensive being ‘Awarifu-l Ma’arif by Shaikh ‘Abdu-r Rahman al-Naqshbandi which was last published by Ibrahim Kutty of Tanur, Kerala, in 1975. The renowed scholar of Abiramam, Shaikh ‘Abdu-l Qadir has also written a concise commentary. Another poem of his that begins with the words, Ilahi kam tubaqqini [O my God, for how long are you going to keep me alive!] is regularly recited in the Arwi region with much fervour and devotion.

Some of his poetic compositions include:

  • Ghara’ibu-n Nizam
  • Hidayatu-l Aghniya
  • Bahru-s Sirr
  • Sirru-sh Shaikh
  • Shikayatu-l Gharam ila Hamimi-l Maram
  • Tariqu-l Wasl
  • Mubaya ‘atush Shaikh
  • Basharatu-Llah
  • Kanzu-l Jinan
  • Malil ‘Ubaidi ma Yasha’u Yudabbir
  • Nizamu-l Mada’ih

His Characteristics

His state of being was such that he was regularly found in spiritual trance and absorption. Nevertheless, he never failed to fulfill his obligatory duties.  He drew a large number of followers to the Qadiri path by virtue of his knowledge, piety and exemplary character. He firmly believed that loving the holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was the pre-requisite to climbing the spiritual ladder and keeping oneself off aberrations.

His Passing

After a life spent in worshipful devotion and service to humanity, he left the earthly realm on 14th Dhu-l Qa’da 1216 A.H / 1804 A.D. Shaikh ‘Abdu-r Rahman of Kayalpatnam has composed an eulogy [marthiyyah] of 94 lines on him. His life and works have also been discussed by Sayyid Muhammad ‘Abdu-l Qadir in the manaqib entitled, Tal’atu-l Qamar fi Mawlidi-sh shaikhi ‘Umar.

May Allah be well pleased with Shaikh ‘Umar al-Qahiri, sanctify his secret and illuminate his resting abode. May He forgive us and bless us all for his sake.

Shaikh Shahul Hamid

October 12, 2010

Born on 20 Shawwal 1271 AH, the ardent missionary and knower of Allah, Shaikh Shahul Hamid, known by the Arabic and Tamil epithets Sahibu-l Jalwah and Jalwat Nayagam (ஜல்வத் நாயகம்) respectively, was the younger son of Imamu-l ‘Arus Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ahmad Lebbai (மாப்பிள்ளை லெப்பை ஆலிம்), may Allah be well pleased with him.

His mother was the virtuous and chaste fourth daughter of Tayka Sahib ‘Abdul Qadir al-Kirkari, Sarah Umma, may Allah be well pleased with her. She was the inspiration for many of Imamu-l ‘Arus’ works most notably the Hadiyyah Sharifah or Hadiya Malai (ஹதியா மாலை).

His Name

At birth, he was initially named Ahmad Mustafa. He was later renamed Shahul Hamid after the Saint of Nagore in fulfillment of a vow Imamu-l ‘Arus had made at the sacred sepulchre in Nagore.

His Education

Like his elder brother, Sahibu-l Khalwah ‘Abdul Qadir (Khalwat Nayagam ஃகல்வத் நாயகம்), he memorised the Noble Qur’an when he was just nine years old.

His blessed father was his main teacher from whom he learnt the Islamic sacred sciences. He rose to the level of Mufti whose religious edicts have stood the test of time.

His Family

He married two ladies one after another and was blessed with two saintly sons from his elder wife: Haj ‘Abdu-l Qayyūm ‘Ālim and Shaikh Taika Aḥmad ‘Abdu-l Qādir ‘Ālim (may Allah have mercy on them both).

His Worldly Endeavours

He ran the well-known metals-supply agency known as “Tayka Kadai” which was established by his father in the town of Madurai. He was also responsible for a warehouse in the town of Kilakkarai.

Such was his success in the worldly domain that by the time he was 35 years old, he had bought the village of Kattakulam and served as the Zamindar.

His Other-Worldly Pursuits

Besides being a successful businessman, he was a scholar and saint who was esteemed as a gnostic. He was blessed with the honour of leading the Salatu-l Janaza or funeral prayers for his much revered father.

Being the designated deputy of his father in the spiritual domain, he took over and strengthened the various Tariqatu-l Arusiyyatu-l Qadiriyyah institutions and served as the spiritual guide for many.

His laudable services in Sri Lanka include the setting up of various institutions, Madrasas, mosques, and Takiyyas in Maligawatte, Hambantota, and other towns.

His Travels & Passing

In keeping with the family’s long and glorious tradition, he was very active in missionary work both in India and abroad. He passed away in 1339 AH whilst on Hajj pilgrimage at a village called Bahra near Jeddah. His body was brought to Makkatu-l Mukarramah and buried in Jannatu-l Mu’alla.

He was laid to rest in between the graves of our mother and beloved wife of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), Lady Khadijah (Allah be well pleased with her) and the great Shafi’i jurist, Imam Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami (Allah be well pleased with him).

The following lines are from an elegy on him by Shaikh ‘Abdu-r Rahman ibn Miran Lebbai Maraikayar of Sri Lanka:

dhâba-l fu’âdu likarbi sharri ‘azâ’imi
wa hujûmi muhzini bâli kulli munâdimi
mudh ja’a na’yu-l lawdha ‘iyyu-l fâhimi
Shâhi-l Hamîdi-l Kirkariyyi-l ‘Âlimi
ذاب الفؤاد لكرب شر عظائم
وهجوم محزن بال كل منادم
مذ جء نعي اللوذ عي الفاهم
شاه الحميد الكركري العالم
fî Jannati-l Ma’lâ ghadhâ nuzûluhu
bi-Jannati-l Firdawsi tâba hulûluhu
Anâkha fî finâ’i hâ dhalûluhu
Shâhi-l Hamîdi-l Kirkariyyi-l ‘Âlimi
 فى جنة المعلى غدا نزوله
بحنة الفردوس طاب حلوله
أناخ فى فناء ها ذلوله
شاه الحميد الكركري العالم

His Unique Habit

From his unique habits was the writing of poems invoking Allah’s blessings on villages and towns where he rendered religious services. His poems are of a high standard and eloquence. The following is one such poem composed at Dickwella, one of the Muslim centres in Sarandib (modern day Sri Lanka):

Yâ Rabbi ihfaz kulla muslimînâ
fî Dikkuwallâ min shurûri-d dînâ
يا ربّ إحفظ كلّ مسلمينا
فى دكّولّى من شرور الدينا
wa jamî’i âfâti-d dunâ wa-l ukhrâ
wa irdahum awjib lahum ghufrânâ
وجميع أفات الدّنا والأخرى
وإرضهم أو جب لهم غفرانا
wa bârikan rahîmu fî amwâlihim
wa wuldihim wa hirfihim rahmânâ
وباركن رحيم فى أموالهم
وولدهم وحرفهم رحمانا
a’mârahum tawwil wa akhlis ‘amalahum
li-wajhika-l karîmi yâ mannânâ
أعمارهم طول وأخلص عملهم
لوجهك الكريم يا منّانا
wa wassi’an arzâqahum halâlâ
wa arghidan ma’âshahum dayyânâ
ووسّعن أرزاقهم حلالا
وأرغدن معاشهم ديّانا
wa tahhiran qulûbahum mina-r riyâ
wa min siwâka wa-l hawâ sultânâ
وطهرن قلوبهم من الريا
ومن سواك والهوى سلطانا
bi-jâhi sayyidinâ Muhammadini-n Nabii
wa-l ghawthi Muhyiddîni yâ burhânâ
بجاه سيدنا محمد النبى
والغوث محي الدين يا برهانا
wa bi-barakati-d du’â li-‘âlimin ‘aruus
Sayyid Muhammadini-l walî subhânâ
وببركت الدعا لعالم عروس
سيد محمد الولى سبحانا
wa-qbal du’â Shâha-l Hamîdi wa-ihmihi
wa-hfazhu kulla sâ’atin ahyânâ
واقبل دعا شاه الحميد وإحمه
واحفظه كل ساعة احيانا

May Allah be well pleased with Sahibu-l Jalwah Shahu-l Hamid ibn Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ahmad Lebbai al-Kirkari al-Siddiqi and sanctify his secret. May Allah bless us and fulfill all our legitimate needs for his sake. Bi sirri-l Fatiha.