The Hanbali Judge [al-Qaḍi] and pious ascetic [az-zāhid] Shaikh Abū Sa’īd al-Mubārak al-Mukharrimī is the pivotal fountain from whom Sayyidina-sh Shaikh ‘Abdu-l Qadir al-Jilani drank the wine of gnosis and spiritual wayfaring, in addition to acquiring the inner content and obvious meaning of Islamic legal doctrine.

His Name

He is Mubārak b. ‘Alī b. Ḥasan b. Bandār al-Baghdadi al-Makhzūmī | al-Mukharrimī. He was known by the teknonym [kunya] Abū Sa’īd.

The absence of diacritical marks and the blotching of ink in manuscripts have resulted in a discrepancy about the proper reading of his relational byname [nisba]. The two variations are: al-Mukharrimī and al-Makhzūmī.

Shaikh Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyā al-Tādifī, in his Qalā’id al-Jawāhir, states that the proper rendition of his name is al-Mukharrimi, which indicates his connection to the quarter of Baghdad called al-Mukharrim. Some of the sons of Yazid ibn al-Mukharrim settled there, and that is how that quarter of the city acquired its name. And Allah and His Messenger know best.

His Madrasa

He had a well-kept schoolhouse [madrasa] by the Portico Gate [bāb al-azaj]. The building was placed at the disposal of Sayyidina-sh Shaikh ‘Abdu-l Qādir al-Jilani, and in it he gave talks to the people, whom he addressed in the language of religious exhortation [wa’ẓ] and spiritual reminding [tadhkīr].

His Noble Tattered Cloak [khirqa]

He had worn the noble tattered cloak [khirqa] after receiving it from Shaikh Abu-l Ḥasan ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad al-Qurashī, and al-Qurashī had acquired it from Abu-l Faraj aṭ-Ṭarsūsī, to whom it was handed down by Abu-l Faḍl ‘Abdu-l Wāḥid at-Tamīmī, who had received it from the hand of his own Shaikh, Shaikh Abū Bakr ash-Shiblī. Ash-Shiblī had acquired it from Shaikh Abu-l Qāsim al-Junaid, and al-Junaid had received it from his maternal uncle, as-Sarī as-Saqaṭī, who upon whom it had been bestowed by Shaikh Ma’rūf al-Karkhī.

Al-Karkhī had otained it from our master ‘Alī ar-Riḍā, who had received it from his generous father, Mūsā al-Kāẓim. Al-Kāẓim had obtaied it from his polymath father, Ja’far aṣ-Ṣādiq, who had received it from his virtuous father, Muḥammad al-Bāqir. Al-Bāqir had obtained it from his pious father, ‘Alī Zainu-l ‘Ābidīn, who had received it from our master al-Ḥusain. Al-Ḥusain had Obtained it from our patron, the Commander of the Believers, ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (may Allah ennoble his countenance and be well pleased with him), who had received it from the Chieftain of the Messengers, the Beloved of the Lord of All the Worlds, Muḥammad (on whom be the most excellent blessings and the most perfect greeting of peace).

With regard to the tattered cloak [khirqa], its transmission is also traced by another route from Al-Karkhī, who had received it from Dāwūd aṭ-Ṭā’ī, who had obtained it from our master, Ḥabīb al-‘Ajamī. It had been given to Ḥabīb al-‘Ajamī by Shaikh al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī, and al- Baṣrī had received it from our patron, the Commander of the Believers, ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (may Allah ennoble his countenance and be well pleased with him), who had received it from the Chieftain of the Messengers, the Beloved of the Lord of All the Worlds, Muḥammad (on whom be the most excellent blessings and the most perfect greeting of peace).

As for Muḥammad himself (Allah bless him and give him peace), he had received it from Gabriel (peace be upon him), and Gabriel had received it from the Lord of Truth (Magnificent is His Majesty, and Sanctified be His Names).

(In the case of the tattered cloak, it should be explained that transmission is not verified by reference to a chain of reliable verbal reports [isnād], as required in the case of Prophetic Tradition [ḥadīth]. The only factor to be considered is the existence of companionship [suḥba] between the Shaikhs concerned.)

His Initiation of Sayyidina-sh Shaikh ‘Abdu-l Qadir al-Jilani

Sayyidina-sh Shaikh ‘Abdu-l Qādir al-Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him) made himself at home in the (ruined) fortress called the Persian Tower [al-burj al-‘ajami] for eleven years. It was because of his prolonged stay within its walls (Sayyidina-sh Shaikh being a native of the Persian province of Jilan), that it came to be called the “Persian” Tower.

At one point, while he was a lodger in it, he made a solemn pact with Allah (Exalted is He) to the effect that he would not eat until he was provided with food, and that he would not drink until he was given the means to quench his thirst. He then stayed there for a period of forty days, without eating anything at all.

At the end of the forty days, along came a man with a loaf of bread and a dish of food. He set the meal in front of him then promptly departed and left him all alone. Sayyidina-sh Shaikh describes the events that unfolded thereafter as follows:

My lower self [nafs] immediately reasserted its instinctive urge to pounce upon the food. So I exclaimed: “By Allah, it is not absolved of the pledge I gave to Allah!” Then, from my inner being [batin], I heard a loud voice yelling: “Hunger!” But I refused to indulge it.

It so happened that Abū Sa’īd al-Mukharrimī was passing by at that moment, and he heard the sound, so he entered into my presence. When he asked me: “What is this all about, O ‘Abdu-l Qadir?” I told him: “This is nothing but the antics of the lower self [nafs].  As far as the spirit [ruh] is concerned, it is perfectly calm and quiet, reposing undisturbed in the presence of its Master [mawla] (Almighty and Glorious is He).”

“Come to the Portico Gate [bāb al-azaj],” he said to me, then he went off and left me there in my peculiar state. I said to myself: “I shall not leave this situation without a command (from the Lord).”

It was then that Al-Khidr (peace be upon him) came up to me and told me: “Get up at once and go to Abū Sa’īd (al-Mukharrimī)!” So off I went, and there I found him, standing by the door of his house, expecting my arrival.

“O Abdu-l Qadir,” he said to me, “was it not enough for you, to have me say,: ‘Come visit me!’?” It was then that he conferred upon me the tattered robe [khirqa], with his own hand. From that time on, I remained constant in my dedication to him, as his diligent student.

May Allah be well pleased with him.

His Mutual Exchange of the khirqa

Al-Tādifī, in his Qalā’id al-Jawāhir, states that he said:

“ ‘Abdu-l Qadir al-Jili wore a tattered cloak [khirqa] that he received from me, and I wore a tattered cloak that I received from him, so each of us obtained blessing by means of the other.”

His Excellence and Virtue

He was a Jurist [al-faqih] par excellence and a leading Judge [al-Qāḍi] of the Hanbali legal school [madhhab]. He renounced his position in later years to indulge in complete remembrance of and devition to his Lord.

He was endowed with penetrating insight of the human soul [firasa]. He was spiritually endowed such that many repented simply through his warm embrace or gentle look upon them.

His Passing and Burial

He passed away on a Monday, the 7th of Sha’ban 513 (A.H.) in Baghdad and was laid to rest at his schoolhouse by the Portico Gate. Some scholars have also reported his passing to be on the 4th Sha’ban, 27th Sha’ban, and 10th Muharram. And Allah and His Messenger know best!

His resting abode is sought out by visitors for it is a source of much blessings and mercy of the Divine.

O Allah, for the sake of Abu-l Farah the harbinger of joy and glad tidings, and for the sake of Abu-l Hasan and Abu Sa’id, substitute for me with beatitude, my sorrows

May Allah be well pleased with Shaikh Abū Sa’īd al-Mubārak al-Mukharrimī and bless us for his sake.

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The expert jurist and exemplary guide, Shaikh  Abū Bakr ‘Abdu-r Razzāq is the foremost intellectual  and spiritual heir of sayyiduna-sh shaikh ‘Abdu-l Qadir al-Jilani (may Allah be well pleased with them both). He is rightfully anointed with the title: crowning adornment of the religion [tāj ad-dīn].

He knew the entire Qur’an by heart. He studied Islamic jurisprudence under his blessed father (i.e. sayyiduna-sh shaikh ‘Abdu-l Qadir al-Jilani), from whom he also received instruction in many other traditional subjects. He also attended the classes of other notable scholars, including Abu-l Ḥasan ibn Ḍaramā.

This background prepared him well for his own career, in which he gave lectures and dictation, provided training and education, delivered formal opinions on legal problems, and engaged in public debate. More than a few of his students graduated with distinction, including Isḥāq ibn Aḥmad ibn Ghānim al-‘Athlī, and ‘Alī ibn ‘Alī  Khaṭīb Zūbā, to name only two of them.

His Birth and Passing

In his Generations [abaqāt], al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Rajab al-Ḥanbalī states (concerning Shaikh ‘Abdu-r Razzāq):

He was born in the evening of Monday, the 18th of Dhu-l Qa’da, in the year (A.H.) 528, and he died in Baghdad on the night of Saturday, the 6th of Shawwal, in the year (A.H.) 603. He was buried at the Battle Gate [bāb ḥarb] in Baghdad.

His Teachers

In his History [ta’rīkh], al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn an-Najjār informs us:

His father taught him in his early youth, and later he studied under the following professors:

  • Abu-l Ḥasan Muḥammad aṣ-Ṣā’igh

  • the Judge [al-Qādī] Abu-l Faḍl Muḥammad al-Armawī

  • Abu-l Qasam Sa’īd ibn al-Bannā’

  • Abu-l Faḍl Muḥammad ibn Nāṣir al-Ḥāfiẓ

  • Abu Bakr Muḥammad ibn az-Zāghawānī

  • Abu-l Muẓaffar Muḥammad al-Hāshimī

  • Abu-l Mu’āfā Aḥmad ibn ‘Alī  ibn as-Samīn

  • Abu-l Fatḥ Muḥammad ibn al-Baṭir

Further along in the same book, Ibn an-Najjār relates:

Shaikh ‘Abdu-r Razzāq also pursued his own quest for knowledge. He learned many lessons from the colleagues of Ibn al-Khaṭṭāb ibn al-Baṭir and Abū ‘Abdi-Llāh ibn Ṭalḥa, as well as several other teachers. Then he went on to learn from our Shaikhs and others of their calibre. He took many notes in his own handwriting, both for himself and for other people. Although his handwriting was an awful scribble, I learned a great deal from reading those notes of his.

His Students

The author of The Beautiful Gardens [ar-Raw az-Zāhir] Ibrāhīm ad-Dairī ash-Shāfi’ī informs us:

The Shaikh awarded a diploma to each of the following graduates:

  • Shaikh Shams ad-Dīn ‘Abdu-r Raḥmān

  • Al-Kamāl ‘Abdu-r Rahīm

  • Aḥmad ibn Shaibān

  • Khadīja, the daughter of ash-Shihāb ibn Rājiḥ

  • Ismā’īl al-‘Asqalānī

  • Al-Fakhr ‘Alī al-Muqādasa

His Knowledge

Ibn Rajab states:

He had a remarkable knowledge of the (Ḥanbalī) legal doctrine [madhhab], yet his knowledge of the Prophetic Tradition [adīth] far exceeded his knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence [fiqh]. In the words of Ibn Nuqṭa: ‘He was someone who knew the entire Qur’an by heart [Ḥāfiẓ], a trustworthy and reliable person.’ He has been highly commended by ad-Danīthī, not to mention many others. According to one report about him, he spent thirty years without raising his head toward the heaven above, due to a sense of shame in the sight of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He).

Ibn an-Najjār relates:

Shaikh ‘Abdu-r Razzāq was a Ḥāfiẓ (one who has learned the whole of the Qur’an by heart). He was thoroughly proficient, trustworthy and truthful. Whenever he spoke, he gave expression to a fine understanding. As an expert Jurist [faqīh], he adhered to the legal doctrine [madhhab] of Imām Abū ‘Abdi-Llāh Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal.

His Character and Personality Traits

The following passage is an excerpt from The History of Islam [ta’rīkh al-Islām] by al-Ḥāfiẓ adh-Dhahabī:

Abū Bakr ‘Abdu-r Razzāq al-Jīlī (to whose name the epithets ‘al-Baghdādī al-Ḥanbalī al-Muḥaddith al-Ḥāfiẓ’ were eventually added: His reputation is that of a trustworthy person [thiqa] and a pious ascetic [zāhid]. He learned much from his father’s instruction, then pursued further studies on his own. He devoted himself tirelessly to the quest for knowledge, especially of the Qur’an and the Tradition, until he was ready to speak and teach on his own account. He is also known by the epithet ‘al-Ḥalbī’, an adjectival reference to al-Ḥalba (the Racetrack District), which is a neighbourhood in the eastern side of Baghdād.

Ibn an-Najjār relates:

He was piously devout [wari’], deeply committed to his religion [mutadayyin], and dedicated to the frequent practice of worshipful service [‘ibāda]. He performed his devotions in the seclusion of his own home, away from public view, and only came out (to the mosque) in order to take part in the congregational prayers. He had a great fondness for the narration of traditional stories and reports, and he held the seekers of knowledge in high esteem.

He was very generous with anything he had at his disposal, and chivalry was natural to him, despite the paucity of his material means. His attributes of character were excellent. He was modest to the point of humility, and adroit in all the skills of courtesy and politeness. His lifestyle was extremely simple, and he endured his poverty with steadfast patience. He was noble by nature, and virtuously conformed to the standards set by the righteous predecessors [salaf].

Ibrāhīm ad-Dairī ash-Shāfi’ī informs us:

Abū Shāmma, in his History [ta’rīkh], describes Shaikh ‘Abdu-r Razzāq as a ‘pious ascetic, a devout worshipper, a trustworthy person, satisfied with very little material wealth.’ Reliable reports concerning Shaikh ‘Abdu-r Razzāq have been transmitted by ad-Danīthī, Ibn an-Najjār, aḍ-Ḍiyā’, an-Najīb ‘Abdu-l Laṭīf, at-Taqī al-Buldānī, to name but a few.

His Funeral

We learn from Ibn an-Najjār:

When morning came around, the call to his funeral prayer [aalat ‘alaih] was proclaimed in all the districts of Baghdad, and a host of people gathered where he lay. His bier [jināza] was then carried in solemn procession to the prayer ground [muallā] on the outskirts of the city, and the funeral prayer was performed for him there.

Then he was borne, on the heads of men, to the congregational mosque [jāmi’] of ar-Ruṣāfa, where his funeral prayer was again performed. It was next performed at the Gate of the Graveyard of the Caliphs [bāb turbat al-khulafā], then on the bank of the River Tigris [ad-dijla], in the presence of the market gardeners.

From there, he was ferried across to the western side, where his funeral prayer was performed at the Harem Gate [bāb al-arīm]. He was then taken into (the ruined area of) al-kharibiyya, and his funeral prayer was repeated. Then he was carried to the graveyard of Aḥmad [ibn Ḥanbal]. The funeral prayer was again performed for him there, and there he was buried. That was indeed a memorable day.

His Spiritual Rank

Sayyiduna-sh Shaikh ‘Abdu-l Qadir al-Jilani acknowledged Shaikh ‘Abdu-r Razzāq as one of those who are ablaze—quite literally—with the ardour of longing for the Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). It was al-Ḥāfiẓ Abū Zar’a Ẓāhir ibn Muḥammad ibn Ẓāhir al-Maqdisī ad-Dārī who said:

I once attended the public session [majlis] held by Shaikh ‘Abdu-l Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him), and I heard him say:

‘This speech of mine is addressed to some men who have come to my session from behind Mount Qaf. Their feet are in the air, and their hearts are in the presence of holiness [quds]. Their hoods and their cotton skullcaps are almost set ablaze by the fierce heat of their ardent longing for their Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He).’

His son, Shaikh ‘Abdu-r Razzāq, was present at the session, sitting (below the lectern) beneath his father’s feet. He raised his head toward the sky, and his eyes became glazed for a while, till his skullcap [ṭāqiyya] and his neckband [zīq] caught fire. Shaikh ‘Abdu-l Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him) stepped down and extinguished the flames, then he said: ‘And you, O ‘Abdu-r Razzāq, are one of them!

When I asked ‘Abdu-r Razzāq (may Allah be pleased with him) what had come over him, he said:

‘When I looked up into the air, I saw some men standing there, with their heads respectfully bowed, as they listened to my father’s speech. They filled the whole horizon. There was fire in their cloths and their garments, and some of them were screaming and crying in the air. Some of them fell to the ground, where the Shaikh was in session, and some of them stayed in their places, trembling and shaking.’

May Allah be well pleased with them all.

His Supplication

This is one of the many supplications that Shaikh Abdu-r Razzāq relates from his blessed father. He says:

Here is one of the prayers of supplication [ad’iya] that my father used to offer, during his sessions of exhortation:

‘O Allah, we take refuge with Your connection from Your exclusion, and with Your nearness from Your dismissal, and with Your acceptance from Your rejection. Include us among those whose obedience and love are devoted to You, and make us worthy of giving thanks and praise to You. O Essence of Mercy!’

May Allah bestow His mercy and be well pleased with Shaikh ‘Abdu-r Razzāq and the narrators mentioned above, and bless us for their sake.

Adapted from: Holland, M [Al-Tadifi, M] (1998). Necklaces of Gems [Qala’id al-Jawahir]. Florida: Al-Baz Publishing, Inc.

The sign-post to right-guidance, Shaikh Abu-l Fadl ‘Abdu-l Wāhid b. ‘Abdu-l ‘Azīz b. Hārith b. As’ad at-Tamīmī was a celebrated spiritual guide of the 5th Islamic century. He is known by the epithets Khādimu-sh Sharī’ah [Guardian of the Sacred Law], Sāliku-t Tarīqah [Wayfarer of the Spiritual Path], Wāqifu-l Haqīqah [Unveiler of Divine Mysteries], amongst others.

Little is known of his youth and educational endeavours. We know that in matters of fiqh, he followed the madhab of Imamu-l A’zam Abu Hanifah Nu’man b. Thabit al-Kufi, Allah be well pleased with him. There are two narrations regarding his spiritual endeavours. One states that he accompanied Shaikh Abu Bakr ash-Shibli and was vested with the Sufi khirqa by him. The other narration states that he took the path at the hands of his blessed father, Shaikh ‘Abdu-l ‘Azīz at-Tamimi. The inimitable Muhaddith Shah Waliyullah Dehlawi reconciles both of these with the following statement, “‘Abdu-l Wahid at-Tamimi wore the Khirqa from both ‘Abdu-l ‘Aziz at-Tamimi and Abu Bakr Shibli, Allah be pleased with them all. This is reflected in many of the authentic chains of spiritual transmission.” [Masaliku-s Salimīn]

His character is said to have resembled the eminent Shaikh Abu Bakr al-Shibli. He is reported to have been a devout worshipper [‘abid], a pious ascetic [zahid], and a beacon of piety [Imamu-t Taqwa] of his time. He was meticulous in emulating and protecting the prophetic behaviour [sunnah] in all spheres of his life. He lived to a ripe old age, much of which was spent in guiding the people to spiritual wayfaring. He undertook numerous journeys to spread the message of Islam. He also performed the Hajj more than once. His penchant for travelling saw him influencing a wide array of people who repented at his hands and turned onto the path of Allah. They became ardent Muballighin [missionaries] who went far and wide to spread the message of Islam. [Khazinatu-l Asfiyah]

His blessed soul left the worldly plane on Friday 26 Jumada al-Akhir 425 Hijri. He was laid to rest in the mausoleum of Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal in Baghdad, may Allah be pleased with him. Although he had many disciples [muridin] and successors [khulafa], records of their details have been lost over time. But the one name that frequently appears in books is of Shaikh Abu-l Faraj|Farah Yusuf Thawi al-Tarsusi|Tartusi who inherited his Secret [sirr].

May Allah be well pleased with Shaikh ‘Abdu-l Wahid al-Tamimi, sanctify his secret, illuminate his resting abode, and bless us all for his sake.

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.

The philanthropic scholar and saint, Taikā Aḥmad ‘Abd al-Qādir (affectionately known as Shaikh Nāyagam), was born in the morning of Fri 27 Safar 1309 (2 Oct 1891) in the city of Kilakarai (Tamilnadu, India) to the zealous missionary and knower of Allāh, Ṣāḥib al-Jalwah Shāh al-Ḥamīd ibn Sayyid Muḥammad and the pious Sitti Khadījah Umma, Allāh be well pleased with them.

His Youth & Education

He grew up till the age of 7 under the watchful gaze of his beloved grandmother, Kunanggudi Umma. Those early years were also spent in the loving company of his paternal grandfather, the erudite scholar, savant and widely considered reviver of the era (Mujaddid),  Imām al-‘Arūs Sayyid Muḥammad ibn Aḥ̣mad Lebbai, Allāh be well pleased with them.

After the passing away of his revered grandfather, he received his early religious education from two notables viz. his esteemed father, and his paternal uncle, the venerated ascetic and knower of Allāh, Ṣāḥib al-Khalwah Sayyid ‘Abd al-Qādir, Allāh be well pleased with them. During this period, he also memorized the whole Qur’ān within a short span of time.

Following this phase, he continued seeking sacred knowledge at the renowned institute in Vellore, Madrasat al-Bāqiyāt al-Ṣāliḥāt, under the auspices of the distinguished scholar, A’la Haḍrat Shāh ‘Abd al-Waḥḥāb. A’la Haḍrat had a special place in his heart for his young student for two reasons:

  • He was the great-grandson of his father’s teacher.
    A’la Haḍrat’s father, Āttūr Muḥammad ‘Abd al-Qādir, was a student of Kilakarai Taikā Ṣāḥib ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Qāhirī, and had graduated from his Madrasa.
  • His ability in studies was exceptional.
    The normal practice for students in the Vellore Madrasa was to read 3 lessons a day. But he would read 6 lessons with ease.

After graduating from the Vellore Madrasa, he went to the institute in Podakkudi, Madrasat al-Nūriyyah, where he acquainted with another scholar of repute, Haḍrat ‘Abd al-Karīm.

His Marriage & Children

At the age of 19, he married his cousin, Maryam ‘Ā’isha Umma (d. 1961). She was learned in matters of religion and possessed a sharp intellect. They had been betrothed since young. At the betrothal ceremony, he agreed to the eventual wedding subject to certain conditions being met by his prospective bride:

  • Her nose should not be pierced
  • Her ears should not have more than 1 piercing each (as it was the practice of the women then to have multiple holes to ornament one’s ears with fancy jewellery)

On his wedding night, he famously ripped the karisal mani, a type of necklace worn by married Muslim woman in the South of India, that adorned his wife’s neck. When he was queried later on about the seemingly harsh action, he replied with a rhetoric question, “What place does a Karisal Mani have in an Islamic wedding?”

The couple had 3 children viz. Aḥmad Mustafā, Taikā Shu’aib, and Sitti Āliya Umma.

His Career & Contributions

He spent a short period of time working in the business incorporated by his late grandfather, Imām al-‘Arūs. The world of business did not appeal to him. He left and returned to the Madrasa instituted by his late great-grandfather, Kilakarai Taikā Ṣāḥib, where he imparted sacred knowledge and introduced new methods of teaching.

From his youth to his last breadth, his life was spent in the field of education. He was:

  • Professor of Arabic,
  • Principal of a College,
  • President of the Teacher’s Union,
  • Patron of institutes and associations in India and Sri Lanka,
  • Teacher of the Qur’ān to children, and
  • Educator of Islamic knowledge – jurisprudence (Fiqh), prophetic way (Sunnah) and languages (Arwi and Arabic) – to adults (both born Muslims and converts to Islam).

He performed all of these roles without any stipend. Rather, being a descendent of the bosom friend of the Paragon of creation (Allāh bless him and give him peace) and first Caliph of Islam, Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq (Allāh be pleased with him), he used to spend his own money in the cause of Islam.

He was unique amongst the religious scholars of the region for his understanding of the importance of the English language. He was instrumental in acquiring government accreditation for many Arabic Colleges and Madrasas, and was actively involved in the setting up of many schools in the South of India. In his last days, there were more than 300 Madrasas under his guidance within just the Rāmanāthapuram District in the state of Tamilnadu, India.

He inaugurated the “Uswatun Ḥasanah” association in Kilakarai through which he managed many mosques in the region. It is worth noting that the religious edicts (Fatāwa) which he pronounced over five decades have stood the test of time without being challenged.

His Character Traits & Mannerisms

Whenever he received unusual gifts or came into contact with unique items, he enjoyed showing it to others with the intention of educating them and to bring a smile to their faces.

Once, a friend from Colombo sent a batch of the pungent-smelling custard-like spiked-fruit, durian. As the fruit was not native to his land, he gathered the people and shared the fruit with them.

On another occasion, to explain the grip of a monitor lizard, which people in the village had never seen before, he had someone catch one from the wild and brought for display, and released it again!

He was extremely sharp, quick witted, and sensitive to people’s feelings. A man asked him one day, “Is today a good day?” He replied, “Did you pray the Fajr prayer this morning?” The man replied in the positive. He then said, “That being the case, know that all days in which the obligation of prayer is discharged, are indeed good days!”

Once, a man had his tea-stall open for business during the day in the month of Ramaḍān. The people of the town were incensed by this act. After calming them, he went to the tea-stall, sat on a chair next to it, and starting reading the Qur’ān. Nobody dared to patronize the stall whilst he was there. The man realized his folly and shut the stall. The following day, he sent a letter to the tea-stall holder with Rs. 15 and a note saying, “This is compensation for your loss yesterday.”

His Spiritual Legacy

Amongst the pivotal role that he performed was being the Spiritual Guide (Murshid) to seeking aspirants (Murīdīn) of the ‘Arūsī-Qādirī Ṭarīqa. He received the Sufi cloak from his venerated father, Ṣāḥib al-Jalwah.

He had disciples in the thousands who were spread across South and South-East Asia. A significant number of converts entered the Sufi path at his hands. Many of his disciples and deputies (Khulafā) were older than him in age and experience.

His Appearance

He was of medium height and build. He had a fair complexion and radiant countenance. His beard was thick and long. He possessed a piercing sight, sweet mouth, and a prayerful tongue that displayed his deep knowledge and illuminated wisdom.

Even when he left his house for the adjoined Madrasa, he would look his regal best; he would don his cap and turban, wear a white top and thin-lined sarong, rub kohl in his eyes, apply perfume on his being, wear his glasses and watch, and carry prayer beads and a walking stick.  

He would greet everyone with a genuine smile and enquire about their welfare with sincerity. His external disposition was a reflection of his inner beauty.

His Passing

He left the shackles of the worldly prison and met his Lord in pure wedded bliss in the morning of Sat 13 Safar 1369 (14 Feb 1976) after the dawn (Fajr) prayers. He was 87 years old.

The following day, in the presence of a huge crowd of family, friends and disciples, his funeral (Janāza) prayer was led by his younger son, Taikā Shu’aib. He was then laid to rest at the ‘Arūsiyyah Taikā – in the company of his spiritual forefathers.

May Allāh be well pleased with Shaikh Nāyagam Taikā Aḥmad ‘Abd al-Qādir and us, sanctify his secret and ours, and illuminate his resting abode and ours. Āmīn!

Shaikh (Dr.) Tayka Shu’ayb ibn Ahmad ‘Abdul Qādir (Allah preserve him) is the present Murshid of the ‘Arusi-Qadiri order. He comes from an illustrious family from the Arwi region who trace their lineage back to our master, Abū Bakr as-Siddīq (Allah be well pleased with him). He was born in 1930 in the South Indian Islamic centre Kilakkarai to the renowned Arwi savant and saint, Shaikh Taika Ahmad ‘Abdul Qādir ibn Shāhul Hamīd and the pious Maryam ‘Āisha Umma (Allah have mercy on them).

His Education

He began his educational endeavours under the auspices of his revered father focusing on Arabic and other traditional Islamic sciences. He completed “Moulavi Fazil” specialising in Qur’ānic exegesis and capped it with the “Afzal-ul-Ulema” qualification.

He read “Arabic and Persian” at the University of Ceylon, Sri Lanka. His unique research of the Arwi region earned him a doctorate from the Columbia Pacific University, USA. His natural flair for language acquisition has seen him becoming proficient in Arabic, English, Malayalam, Persian, Tamil and Urdu.

He began teaching Arabic at the age of 15 at his family run Madrassa. Upon graduation, he taught full-time at various institutions in South India. Over 1,200 students have acquired knowledge from him in the traditional manner. He has also supervised 11 students at graduate and doctorate levels.

His Writings

He has published 8 books in English and Tamil. His first book, “Nithya Kadan” – a summary of Islamic laws in Tamil – was published when he was just 17. He has written various articles addressing the polemic of the methodologically challenged, who attack legitimate practices of Arwi Muslims. He has also collected, catalogued and preserved over 250 manuscrits in his library.

His 880-page monumental work, “Arabic, Arwi, Persian and Urdu in Sarandib and Tamilnadu” is a labour of love that spanned 30 years of extensive travel in South Asia, Far East, East Africa and Middle East. It was released in Jun 1993 at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan in New Delhi by the then President of India, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma.

The book brought to the academic forefront the hitherto unexplored or forgotten history and contributions of Arwi Muslims to Islamic literature, education, propagation and spirituality through Arabic, Arwi, Persian and Urdu. The book also features a critical commentary of the famous Mawlid composition by Imām al-‘Arus Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ahmad Labbai (Allah illuminate his resting abode), “Minhat al-Sarandīb fī Madh al-Habīb”.

His Initiation

He was vested with the Sufi mantle and authorised as Shaikh of the ‘Arūsi branch of the Qādiri path by his father, Shaikh Ahmad ‘Abdul Qādir, who had inherited the mantle from the two notables, Sahibu-l Jalwah Shahu-l Hamid [ஜல்வத் நாயகம் Jalwat Nayagam] and Sahibu-l Khalwah ‘Abdu-l Qadir [ஃகல்வத் நாயகம் Khalwat Nayagam], Allah be well pleased with them. He was also conferred with the deputy-ship [khilafat] of the Qādiri path by As-Sayyid Ash-Shaikh ‘Abdu-l Karīm al-Kasnazānī [d. 5 Feb 1978], may Allah sanctify his secret.

His Travels and Pursuits

His involvement in the traditional family business of precious gems offered him extensive travel opportunities which he duly made use of to seek and disseminate knowledge. He has taken part in and led delegations to numerous seminars and conferences in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, China, Japan, UK and USA. He has also undertaken lecture tours to Belgium, France, Iraq, Jordan and the UAE.

He is associated with a number of academic institutions and organisations in South Asia and Far East in various capacities. He is co-Managing Trustee of the Seethakkathi Trust – a distinguished charitable institution that financially assists academic institutions, hospitals and orphanages. It also gives scholarships to deserving students and publishes literary works of historical importance.

May Allah continue showering His immense blessings upon him, grant him good health, a long life and enable us to benefit from his being.

Ahlan wa Sahlan

October 22, 2007

The ‘Arusi branch of the Qadiri sufi way is one of the authentic rivers to the Divine Ocean that is widely followed in South and South East Asia. It originated and took shape during the early part of the 19th century under the watchful gaze of the Arwi saints of the Qadiri way. It crystallised and reached the zenith under the auspices of the 19th century renewer, Imam Sayyid Muhammad al-‘Arus al-Qahiri, Allah sanctify his secret.

The aim of this website is to bring to the forefront the rich spiritual heritage of the Arwi region (present day South India & Sri Lanka) by focusing on the ‘Arusi-Qadiri order. This will be done by letting the biographies of the luminous Arwi saints and their works speak for themselves.

What this Site is NOT

The purpose of this website is not to wax lyrical about Tasawwuf/Sufism/Islamic spirituality. Only one blinded by ignorance, deluded by the rhetoric of rage, devoid of an atom of intellect and bereft of any knowledge of the tradition of the Islamic faith can claim that Tasawwuf/Sufism/Islamic spirituality is not a valid part of Islam.

Neither is the aim of this website to glorify this order (Tariqah) to the exclusion of other legitimate branches or paths to the Divine. Elevation and abasement is the domain of Allah and we make no claims to superiority. Our cloak of honour lies in aligning our actions, fulfilling our duties and discharging our responsibilities in a manner that is in congruent with the dictates of the sacred law (Shari’ah) and harmonious with the Prophetic example (Sunnah).

May Allah protect us from knowledge and states of being that are harmful to our souls here and in the hereafter.

The Need for this Site

There is a conspicuous dearth of information on the internet about the spread of Islam in the Arwi region (present day South India & Sri Lanka) and the flavour of Islam therein. This vacuum has been effectively filled by the literature of the petro-dollar funded methodologically challenged self-styled saviours who have acrimoniously hijacked the Islamic faith.

They hark the banner “Qur’an & Sunnah” and claim to follow the way of the pious predecessors (Salaf al-Salihin). In truth, they are the furthest from that which they claim to adhere to. Just as not everything that glitters is gold, it has become increasingly evident that not every group that carries the slogan “Qur’an & Sunnah” is a defender of the religion.

To destroy a Nation, one need not cleanse the land of its people. Just re-write history. And that is precisely what the Zionists are trying to do around the world and the BJP of India attempted to do with the national curriculum. And unfortunately, the puritans and reformers associated with this faith have been conspicuously doing the same with our tradition and texts for some time now.

May Allah protect us from their excesses and give them their due recompense.

Taking into account the prevailing hostile climate, both within the Muslim ranks and otherwise, it is our wish that this website, together with a collection of other related websites on Arwi Islam and Muslims, will serve to re-connect the Arwi/Tamil Muslim diaspora back to their roots.

If the realisation dawns on readers (especially the Arwi/Tamil Muslim diaspora) that Arwi Islam and Muslims have been a vibrant and dynamic force to be reckoned with, half our aim will be fulfilled. The other half will be achieved when readers faithfully return to their tradition in practice with fervour and zeal.

There is no power or might except Allah, the incomparable in Majesty. Success and guidance are from Allah, eminent is His Glory.