Qadiri Saints Of Bishandaur

Qadiri Saints Of Bishandaur
Bishandaur, now called Dewan-e-Hazoori/Huzoori, is a historical village in Sohawa tehsil in the Jhelum district. It was called Bishandaur Sharif after the arrival of Haji Abdullah Shah alias Dewan-e-Huzoori from Chakrali Budhal village in Gujar Khan where his parents were living after migrating from Takhat Parri near Rawat, Rawalpindi.  The name of Bishandaur was changed to Dewan-e-Hazoori in 1988 by the Government of Punjab. Despite getting the new name, the village has not lost its old name which is preserved in memory of the local community, text, and on the walls of shrines and graves of the descendants of Haji Abdullah Shah alias Dewan-e-Huzoori

This village is famous for the shrine complex of Haji Abdullah Shah, who is known by his title Dewan-e-Huzoori which he obtained from the shrine of Abdul Qadir Jilani (1077-1166), the founder of the Qadiriyya order.

Doorway to the shrine of Dewan-e-Huzoori

Abdullah Shah was born on 29 Shaban 974/ 20 March 1567 in Takhat Parri near Rawalpindi. According to Dr. Ahmad Hussain Qureshi, the author of Tazkira Khanwada- Hae Irfan-o-Hikmat (1982) Shah Alauddin, the grandfather of Haji Abdullah Shah alias Dewan-e-Huzoori migrated from Ghazni in Afghanistan and settled in Chiniot in Punjab. He died in 950 AH/1543 AD and was buried in Chiniot. After the death of Shah Alauddin, his son Shah Nihaluddin the father of Haji Abdullah Shah alias Dewan-e-Huzoori migrated from Chiniot and settled in Takhat Parri, then known as Akbarabad. Takhat Parri or Akbarbad was an important centre of Islamic learning. Shah Nihaluddin was himself a learned man who preached in Takhat Parri and surrounding villages. He converted many to Islam. He was deeply devoted to Sufism and travelled to the popular shrines of Sufi saints. He also visited the shrine of Abdul Qadir Jilani in Baghdad.

He spent most of his time in mediation and prayers. He moved from Takhat Parri to Chakri Budhal village for preaching where he died in 1025 AH/1616 AD and was buried in Chakri Budhal. The tomb of Shah Nihaluddin also contains the grave of his wife Hafiza Fatima.  Chakrali Budhal village is located in Gujar Kahn tehsil in Rawalpindi district.

Shrine complex of Haji Abdullah Shah Dewan-e-Huzoori village

Abdullah Shah received early education in Takhat Parri under the supervision of his father.  Sahibzada Maqsood Ahmad Sabri writes in Warsaan-e-Ilam-o-Hikmat (2012) that Abdullah Shah also learned basics of mysticism from Syed Sarmast Shirazi who was a teacher in a madrasa in Takhat Parri.

Dewan-e-Huzoori also visited Madinah and Makkah. He also visited the shrine of Abdul Qadir Jilani where he spent twelve years. According to Khaleel Ahmad the author of Tazkira Hazrat Dewan-e-Huzoori (1998), Haji Abdullah Shah received the title of Dewan-e-Huzoori from the shrine of Abdul Qadir Jilani where he was also given the responsibility of managing langar Khana, library and official correspondence. He was also in charge of official correspondence and used to stamp seals on the letters which were issued and received by the shrine of Abdul Qadir Jilani.

Graves of Haji Abdullah Shah and his son Rehmatullah Shah

Refereeing to Tuhfa Qadiriyya by Illhai Bakhsh (written in 1877) which is said to be the earliest source on Dewan-e-Huzoori, one knows that  Dewan-e-Huzoori after spending twelve years at the shrine of Abdul Qadir Jilani went to Delhi from Baghdad. In Delhi, he met Shah Muhammad Bandigi Bokhari who became his spiritual mentor.  However, In Asrar ul-Muhbat (written in 1746), a Persian manuscript by Mian Abdullah Siham (d.1757), one learns another piece of information that Dewan-e-Huzoori spent twelve years serving his spiritual mentor Shah Muhammad Bandigi Bokhari in Delhi. This is interesting to note that this information was not mentioned by any of the scholars who have written on  Dewan-e-Huzoori. They only mentioned that Dewan-e-Huzoori went from Bagdad to become a deputy of Shah Muhammad Bandigi Bokhari.  A copy of Asrar ul-Muhbat, which was written by Mian Abdullah Siham in 1159 AH/1746 AD, is kept in the Makhduma Amir Jan Library at Narali village in Gujar Khan tehsil. Mian Abdullah Siham was a nephew of Shaikh Muhammad Ashiq Sabir (d.1719-20) who was a son of Abdul Qadir Siham, a deputy of Dewan-e-Huzoori.  Hasan Nawaz Khan of Narali, the author of Gujar Khan ke Suhrawardi Mashaikh (2013) believes that Mian Abdullah Siham was a poet of Persian, Urdu, and Punjabi whose two books Asrar ul-Mohbat (written in 1746) and Gulzar Muhbat (written in 1748) have so far become known.

Shrine of Allah Ditta Shah at Dewan-e-Huzoori village

After his return from Delhi, he went to Chakrali to visit his parents. His father had died when he came back to Chakrail.   After some time, his mother also died.  Afterward, he moved to Bishandaur where he established his khanqah and started preaching Qadiri Silsila there.

Dewan-e-Huzoori was a famous Qadiri Sufi saint of Pothohar whose name and fame reached everywhere - even to the Mughal court in Delhi. Even Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Shah Jahan (d. 1666) visited his khanqah at Bishandaur and later he wrote a letter to his sister Princess Jahan Ara Begum when she was en route to Kabul that She should meet two saints in Punjab Shah Daula of Gujrat and Haji Abdullah Shah of Bishandaur. Jahan Ara Begum writes in Risla-i-Sahibiyah (1640-1) that when she stayed at Tal (tank) Jalal Gakhar (which is located near Karounta village in Sohawa tehsil), she sent presents to Haji Abdullah Shah to seek his kind attention. Furthermore, she describes that Haji Abdullah Shah accepted the presents and instructed her to keep herself busy in remembrance and celebration of the Lord. Haj Abdullah Shah also sent a prayer carpet which was made with his own hands and two loaves of bread to Princess Jahan Ara Begum.  According to Princess Jahan Ara Begum that thirty years had passed but Haji Abdullah Shah never came out of his house.

Shrine of Haji Abdullah Shah alias Dewan-e-Huzoori village

Princess Jahan Ara Begum (1614-1681) was the eldest daughter of Shah Jahan and was deeply devoted to Sufism. Risala-i-Sahibiyah is a biography of her and his brother Dara Shikoh’s spiritual master Muhammad Shah who was popularly known as Mulla Shah Badakhshi (1585–1661) or Mulla Shah. His friends and disciples used to call him Hazrat Akhaund (revered teacher).  Mulla Shah was a disciple of Mian Mir (d.1635). Infact, Princess Jahan Ara Begum was the author of two Sufi treatises,1) Risla-i- Sahibiyah, a biography of his spiritual master Mulla Shah and 2) Munis-al-Arvah, an anthology of Chishti Sufis saints.

Bishandaur became a thriving centre of Qadiri Sufis in Pothohar and many people became disciples and deputies of Dewan-e-Huzoori. Haji Abdullah Shah alias Dewan-e-Huzoori died on 20 Shawal 1072 AH/ 7 June 1662. He was buried at Bishandaur Sharif. He had two sons Shah Abdul Aziz and Rehmatullah Shah. Dewan-e-Huzoori was succeeded by his eldest son Dewan Shah Abdul Aziz. Later he moved to Goleki in Gujrat and his younger brother Rehmatullah Shah became Gadi-Nashin of the shrine of Dewan-e-Huzoori. Both brothers Dewan Shah Abdul Aziz and Rehmatullah Shah enthusiastically continued the success of Qadiriyya Silsila. With Bishandaur and Goleki as bases, the descendants, deputies, and disciples of Dewan-e-Huzoori spread Qadiri Silsila in different districts of Punjab and Azad Kashmir.   Dewan Shah Abdul Aziz died in 1105/1694 and was buried at Goleki village in Gujrat district.   He had four sons Yaqub Shah, Jalal Shah, Jamal Shah, and Noor Shah. Some of the descendants of Dewan Shah Abdul Aziz migrated from Goleki to different villages and towns of Rawalpindi, Hafizabad, Lahore, and other districts of Punjab and Azad Kashmir to spread Qadiriyya Silsila.

Shrine of Karam Hussain Shah at Paroch Sharif, Gujar Khan tehsil

Rehmatullah Shah, the younger son of Dewan-e-Huzoori died in 1093 AH/1682 and was buried next to the grave of his father at Bishandaur Sharif. Rehmatullah Shah had also four sons Abdur Rahman alias Shaikh Muhammad, Muhammad Amin Shah, Inayat Shah and Abdul Salam Shah. The descendants of Rehmatullah Shah also moved from Bishandaur Sharif to spread Qadiriyya Silsila in Kohliyan Sharif near Hassan Abdal in Attock district, Barala and Chichlar in Kotli district, Thoha Khalsa in Kahuta teshil, Jand Mehlu in Gujar Khan tehsil and Chhabar in Chakwal. Shaikh Muhammad (d.1697) son of Rehmatullah Shah became a famous mystic in Bishandaur Sharif and many people became his disciples. One of his most prominent disciples was Shah Murad (d.1702) whose shrine is located at Takiya Shah Murad near Khanpur in Chakwal district. He was an outstanding poet of Urdu, Punjabi, and Persian. The shrines of Dewan-e-Huzoori and his descendants are visited by many people every day. Thousands of devotees of Dewan-e-Huzoori throng his shrine on his annual urs. Apart from the shrine of Dewan-e-Huzoori, devotees also the shrines of Akhbar Shah (d. 1936), Allah Ditta Shah (d.1970), and others.

Shrine of Vilayat Shah at Koheliyan Sharif, Hassan Abadal tehsil

The shrine complex of Dewan-e-Huzoori includes his shrine, graves of his descendants, a Jami mosque, and an educational complex.

I have visited some of the shrines of the descendants of Dewan-e-Huzoori in different villages and towns in the Rawalpindi and Attock districts. Vilayat Shah Chishti Qadiri (d.1925) whose shrine is located at Kohliyan Sharif was from the family of Muhammad Zia Shah son of Abdul Salam Shah. Vilayat Shah was also initiated into Chishti Silsila and became a disciple of Khawaja Shamsuddin Sialvi (d.1883).  The shrine of Karam Hussain Shah (d.1977), a descendant of Dewan-e-Huzoori, is known as' Dera Bishandauriyan da’ (place associated with Bishandaur) at Paroch Sharif village in Gujar Khan tehsil.

Two of the most prominent deputies of Dewan-e-Huzoori were Dewan Shah Abdul Baqi (d.1662) and Abdul Qadir Siham. Both were cousins and spread Qadiriyya Silsila in Pothohar and other regions of Punjab. The shrine of Dewan Shah Abdul Baqi is located in Beval town. The son and grandson of Abdul Qadir Siham are buried in Jalhari Bhai Khan village near Mandra in Gujar Khan tehsil. Like the descendants of Dewan-e-Huzoori, his deputies and disciples also spread Qadiriyya Silsila in their respective villages and towns

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