Mosques and Mystics of Shikarpur - IV

Mosques and Mystics of Shikarpur - IV
There are a few saints and shrines in Shikarpur which need to be studied thoroughly as no academic research has been done on them. Such a saint is Syed Amin Shah Chishti Sabiri. One knows from the article of Professor Aminullah Alavi (1984) “Shikarpur Ja Sufia Karam" which was published in Shikarpur Mazi Ain Haal (Shikarpur: Past and Present) a book compiled by Dr. Memon Abdul Majeed Sindhi that Syed Amin Shah belonged to the Chishti Sabiri silsila. According to him, after visiting Iraq, Syria and other Arab countries, Syed Amin Shah Chishti Sabiri finally came to Shikarpur where he started preaching Chishti Sabiri Silsila. It is not known whose disciple or deputy he was.

There are two conflicting dates for the foundation of Shikarpur: 1617 and between 1675 to 1680 respectively. If we take the latter as the foundation date of Shikarpur, then one can say that he might have arrived at Shikarpur in the last quarter of the 17th century and died - as per information by Professor Aminullah Alavi - in the 18th century, which again seems to be a conflicting date when one knows about the birth of his chief khalifo Moulana Sahib Dino who according to Tarikh-e-Shikarpur by Dr. Abdul Khaliq “Raz” Soomro was born in 1770. One does not know the exact date of the death of Amin Shah Chishti Sabiri. I think that he might have died after 1770 between 1790 and 1810, if we believe that Moulana Sahib Dino Chishti Sabiri was his chief deputy (khalifo) and he died in 1830. Even if one is to believe the information provided by Professor Aminullah Alavi, then Syed Amin Shah is the earliest Chishti Sabiri saint in Sindh. Sabiri Silsila is named after Syed Alauddin Ali Ahmed Sabir Kaliyari. According to Makhdoom Ali Ahmed Sabir Kalyari, by Moulana Shah Qari Ahmed Peeli Bheti (1970), he was born in 592 AH / 1196 AD in Herat, Afghanistan. His father Shah Abdul Rahim was also known for his piety (d. 1201). Syed Alauddin Ali Ahmed Sabir Kalyari was initiated into the Chishti order by Baba Farid al-Din Ganj-i-Shakar (d. 1266) and on the instruction of his spiritual master went to preach in Kalyar in India. The Chishtiyya Sabiriyya Silsila spread in India and Pakistan through the teachings of his deputies and disciples. Syed Alauddin Ali Ahmed Sabir Kalyari died in 1291 and was buried in Kalyar Sharif near Haridwar in Uttarakhand state, India.

As discussed above, Shikarpur was probably the first thriving centre of Chishti Sabiri Sufi saints of Sindh. As we already know that the shrines of Qadiri, Suhrawardi and Naqshbandi Sufi saints are located in different villages and towns of the Shikarpur district but the Chishti Sabiri Sufis saints mainly remained in the city where their shrines are located today.

Main entrance to the shrine of Syed Amin Shah Chishti Sabiri

Not much is written on the history of Chishti Sabiri Sufis in Sindh. There are a few shrines of this order in other districts of Sindh, which are mainly found in Karachi and Hyderabad and belongs to Chishti Sabiri saints who died between 1956 to 2009. In Hyderabad is located the shrine of Baba Nathan Shah Jamali Chishti Sabiri, who died in 2009. In Karachi are located the graves and shrines of Moulana Nasim Ahmed Dehlvi Chishti Sabiri (d. 1956), Moulana Jamil Ahmed Kazmi Chishti Sabiri (d. 1973), Shah Shaheedullah Faridi Sabiri (d.1976), Moulana Pir Syed Muqaram Ali Saifi Sabiri (d. 1981), Moulana Syed Jalaluddin Chishti Sabiri (d. 1982), Shah Muhammad Farooq Rehmani  Sabiri (d.1982), Moulana Hafiz Masood Ahmed Dehlvi Chishti Sabiri (1985),  Moulana Qari Mumtaz Ahmed Remani Chishti Sabiri(d. 1990) and others.

Amin Shah was a Bukhari Syed. The information provided by the local writers seems to be contradictory to each other. Based on my study and research on the Sufi heritage of Shikarpur, I think that Syed Amin Shah Bukhari died probably between 1790 and 1810 and was buried in Kirri Atta Muhammad locality in Shikarpur. Kirri Atta Muhammad is also a historic locality in Shikarpur. There are a few historic mosques in this locality that have been either renovated or rebuilt. The earliest mosque in this locality was built by Syed Amin Shah Bukhari. It is said that when he came to Shikarpur, he first built a khanqah and mosque in the locality. Today the shrine complex of Syed Amin Shah is under the control of the Auqaf Department Government of Sindh.  Apart from the mosque of Syed Amin Shah Bukhari, other historical mosques include Al Ghafoor Durrani Masjid which was built by Agha Muhammad Ali Khan Durrani in 1907,  Ibrahim Masjid, Quba Masjid, Muhammadi Masjid, Makki Masjid etc.

As earlier mentioned, Moulana Sahib Dino was the first Khalifo of Syed Amin Shah Chishti Sabiri. According to Dr. Abdul Khaliq “Raz Soomro,” the author of Tarikh-e-Shikarpur, Moulana Sahib Dino was born in Shikarpur in 1770. He belonged to the Abro caste. He was a scholar and sufi who spread Chishti silsila in Shikarpur. Many eminent Chishti Sufi saints were born in the family of Moulana Sahib Dino Chishti Sabiri. He died in 1830 and was buried in Shikarpur. His son Moulana Abdul Karim “Karam” was also an eminent Chishti saint of Shikarpur who was initiated into Chishti Sabiri silsila by his father Moulana Sahib Dino Chishti Sabiri. He was a contemporary and friend of Moulana Hafazullah Alavi. Moualan Hafazullah Alavi (d. 1831) was son of Shah Faqirullah Alavi d.1775), an eminent Naqshbandi saint of Shikarpur.

Shrine of Syed Amin Shah Chishti Sabiri

Moulana Ghulam Rasool “Hashim” son of Khalifo Pir Muhammad Chishti was another famous Chishti Sabiri saint from Shikarpur.  He was a great-grandson of Moulana Hafiz Sahib Dino Chishti Sabiri. According to Anwar -e-Ulama -e-Ahle Suunat Sindh by Moulana Zain ul Abideen Shah Rashidi (2006) was born in Shikarpur on 3rd March 1863. He was initiated into the Chishtiyya Sabriyya silsila by his father Khalifa Pir Muhammad Chishti Sabiri. He was a poet and author of several books. He composed poetry in Sindhi, Saraiki, and Persian.  He used to compose poetry under his nom de plume “Hashim”. Some of his prominent books include Milad Nama, Miraj Nama, Tanbih ul-Muslimeen and Diwan Hashim. He died on 27 June 1926 and was buried in Shikarpur.

Moualana Abdul Karim was another Chishti Sufi saint from the family of Moulana Sahib Dino Chishti Sabiri. He was born in 1896 in Shikarpur. He received early education from his close relative Moulana Ghulam Rasool “Hashim” Chishti. Later he studied Arabic and Persian at Victoria Jubilee Institute under the supervision of Moulana Abdul Rehman Memon. He completed his education at Victoria Jubilee Institute in 1917. He actively participated in politics and joined Congress in 1918 and later he founded Anjum Mujahideen Islam. He joined Muslim League in 1920. According to Dr. Abdul Khaliq “Raz” Soomro, he established Mehmoodiyya Arabia Madrash in 1921. From 1927 to 1949 he remained associated with journalism and published about 55 books of which seven were in Persian and the remaining were in Sindhi. He died in 1964 and was buried in the Chishti mosque in Chishti mohalla in Shikarpur. Professor Abdul Hayee Moryani (2019), the author of Shikarpur Jun Masjidoon Ain Eidgah, believes this mosque was believed to have been built by Hafiz Ghulam Rasool Chishti. Later this was mosque renovated by Moulana Abdul Karim and was named after him.

The author is an anthropologist. He tweets at: @Kalhorozulfiqar