This great spiritual guide, saint and mystic was the Caliph of Hadrat Shaikh Fariduddin Ganje Shakr. He was born in Badaun on 27th Safar 636 A.H. (1238 A.D.) His name was Muhammad bin Ali Bukhari and his title was “Sultan-ul-Mashaa’ikh” and “Mehbbob-e-Elahi.”
India is replete with his blessings and bounties. His grandfather, Hadrat Ali Bukhari, and maternal grandfather, Hadrat Khwaja Arab (radi Allahu anhuma) came together from Bukhara to Lahore. After staying in Lahore for a long time, they came to Badaun and made their permanent stay there. His father, Hadrat Khwaja Ahmed passed away right in his childhood and was buried in Badaun.
When Sheikh Nizaamuddin Awliya came of age for studies, his mother got him admitted to a madressa, where he read the Holy Qur’an and other religious books. From Badaun, he went to Delhi in search of knowledge and learnt “Hariri,” a noted book in Arabic, and took lessons in Hadith. He was then 2O. Then, he left to meet Sheikh Fariduddin and learnt from him the art of recitation of the Holy Qur’an with six parts, six chapters of “Awarif,” preface to Abu Shakoor Salmi and some other books.
When the lessons came to an end, Sheikh Nizaamuddin Awliya asked his master and guide whether he should continue with the acquisition of learning any more or be engaged in worships and functions. He said: “I never forbid anybody from receiving education; hence, do both of them at the same time and see which excels which; and for a mystic, knowledge is also necessary.”
It is narrated that once Hadrat Nizaamuddin appeared before Hadrat Baba Fariduddin for the first time and Hadrat Baba Saheb recited a Persian couplet, which had the illusion to “Mehbbob-e-Subhani” (Beloved of Allah). Hadrat Baba Saheb had seen something on the forehead of Hadrat Nizaamuddin Awliya. When the Mureeds enquired the reason of reciting the particular couplet, Hadrat Baba Fariduddin said: “There has been a standing prophecy in our Chistiya Silsila of Sufis that there would appear a spiritual successor bearing the title of ‘Mehboob-e-Subhani’ in our Order. I see that prophetic light on the forehead of Hadrat Nizaamuddin.”
After receiving the blessing of Caliphate, Hazrat Nizaamuddin went to Delhi. However, he went to Paak Patan thrice during the lifetime of his guide and mentor, Sheikh Fariduddin, but Hadrat Nizaamuddin Awliya was not present at the time of the final departure of Sheikh Faired as Sheikh Fariduddin was absent on the eve of Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki’s departure from this mortal world and Khwaja Qutbuddin at the passing away of Sheikh Hadrat Mo’inuddin Chishti.
Now Hadrat Khwaja Nizaamuddin was attaining the pinnacle of spiritual status. He was also gaining wide popularity and people in large number would visit him to receive spiritual bounties from him. The light of spiritualism and mysticism was illuminating the widest possible circle of the humans.
He was now engrossed in spiritual exercises day and night. When he reached 80 he carried his worships and functions to the extreme. He would keep fast without a break. He eat a little while breaking his fast and took nothing at dawn (Sehri). When his devotees would insist, he said: “Many paupers, destitutes and saints in mosques and shops are starving. Tell me how could this food go down my throat.” Hearing this, the devotees would remove the Sehri (pre-dawn meal).
There is a narrative from Khawaja Nizaamuddin Awliya: “Once I was on board a boat along with my Sheikh. He called me near and said, ‘”Look! When you go to Delhi keep engaged in rigid spiritual exercise. Don’t sit idle. Observing fast is half the destination and the rest of the workshops like saying Salaat, performing Hajj, etc. are another half the destination.'”
Once Sheikh Farid observed: “I have prayed to Allah that you will get whatever you beg of Almighty Allah.” On another occasion the Sheikh observed: “Nizaamuddin, I have begged from Allah the worldly power too for you.”
It is narrated that Sheikh Fariduddin Ganje Shakar would keep himself alone in his room at night and closed the doors from inside. Thereafter, he would become engaged in exchange of secrecies. Next morning his face would radiate light of divine intoxication and those who saw him would remark that his eyes looked reddened.
Hadrat Nizaamuddin always observed fast. He used to eat only half a piece of barley bread with some vegetable soup at the time of Sehri. Sometimes he took rice also in a very small quantity. Generally, he took his food with the people present and although he himself ate very little but to observe etiquette and keep company he kept his fingers in the bowl to pretend that he also was eating so that others in the company may have their own time and full share of a meal. Thousands of people used to get all sorts of new clothes and dresses from Hadrat Mehboob elahi but his own dress bore conspicuous patches of repair.
Once a few friends of Delhi, out of their curiosity and regard for his reputation, decided to go and pay their respects to Hadrat Meboob-e-Elahi.One of them had no faith in dervishes and refused to accompany them. On the persuasion of his friends, however he agreed to go only to test the Saints spiritual powers. On their way they bought some sweets and flowers for the Saint but their “faithless” friend took up some dust and wrapped it in a piece of paper. Upon their arrival, when they placed their sweets and flowers before the Saint, this “faithless” man also put the wrapper of dust, along with the sweets before the Saint. As the servant of Hadrat Nizaamuddin was removing the sweets, the great Saint, pointing towards the wrapper of dust said: “Don’t take away this wrapper as it contains some special surma (collyrium) for my eyes.” Surma is often used as a medicine for preserving the eye-sight in India. The “faithless” man was awfully upset and could not raise his eyes before Hadrat Mehboob-elahi). Due to overwhelming shame he became his mureed by falling at his feet.
A narrative says that 40 days before his final departure Mahboob Elahi did not taste any food. And till the last moments of his life he would ask whether he had offered his Salaat. On getting a reply that he had already said his Salaat, he would repeat his Salaat. In short, he would say all his Salaats twice, saying: “I am going, I am going, I am going.”
A little before his final departure he called his servant and asked whether there was something in his store. “If anything is left, I shall be accountable to my Lord for this,” he said. Thereupon, the servant gave away everything, but the food grain meant for the mendicants was left in the store. At this the Sheikh remarked: “Why have you left the dead property? Throw it away too and make a clean sweep of the store.” Thereafter, the servant threw open the doors of the storehouse and people looted all that was there. In the end, the servants submitted: “What will happen to us after your departure?” “You will be getting enough for your need from my mausoleum (Mazaar),” he said. “Who will distribute what comes in?”someone asked. “One who keeps himself deprived of the portion,” the Sheikh replied.
At last he left for his eternal abode on Wednesday, 18th Rabi-us-Thaani 72 5 A.H.
BY MOHAMMED ANSIR AHMED