Some important sufis of Quadria order in Bengal

Hazrat Syed Shah Mehr Ali Alquadri (R.A)

Qutb ul Aqtab Hazrat Syed Shah Mehr Ali Alquadri Al Baghdadi (R.A) commonly known as “Syedena Aala Huzur” a descendant of Syedena Hazrat Ghausul Azam (Radi Allah o Anhu)was born in 1808 A.D/1223 A.H at Khanqah Sharif, Mia Mohallah in the town of Midnapore now situated in the district of West Midnapore of West Bengal. He was the son of Syedena Hazrat Syed Shah Tufail Ali Alquadri Al Baghdadi one of the most venerated saints of Bengal. His mother Hazrat Bibi Niamat un Nesa was herself a saintly lady of her age. The grandfather of “Syedena Aala Huzur”, for preaching Quadria order, migrated from the city of Baghdad to the remote town of Mangalkot in the district of Bardhaman in Bengal.

From his childhood “Syedena Aala Huzur” was put to the path of mortification and devotion. He passed most of his time in pursuit of learning, observance of religious rites and performance of spiritual exercise. He was a man of versatile genius and God gifted talents. Within a short span of time he acquired mastery over the commentaries of the Quran, the hadith of Muhammad, the principle of Islamic law and all sorts of religious sciences.[2] He was not only a great scholar but also an accomplished Sufi poet. He was the master of Arabic and Persian language. He could speak Arabic fluently as it was his mother tongue and quote entire verses of Persian mystic poets.[3] After acquiring mastery over different branches of religious sciences, he started delivering sermons on Sufism and Islamic tenets. Soon his fame spread far and wide. People from various places flocked in great numbers to acquire religious and esoteric grace from him. Even from Arabia and Persiasome persons came to him with a view to obtain his grace. Thus it can be said without doubt that Syedena Aala Huzur s’ fame spread throughout the Islamic world and his contribution in making the Quadria order popular in Bengal was enormous. In 1267 A.H he established a Madrasah at Midnapore. This Madrasah is still present in the name of ‘Suhrawardia Mehria Islamia High Madrasah’. Syedena Aala Huzur also built a Khanqah in Midnapore town. In those days this Khanqah became the centre of Islamic teachings. The needy people were provided food and medical assistance at there.

There is a famous incident of Syedena Aala Huzur that once a person posing himself as a religious scholar came from an upcountry with a cart loaded with books to his Khanqah. The person posed a lot of knotty and difficult questions for Hazrat to solve them. The discussion that took place lasted for several days and nights with occasional intervals for prayers, meals and other necessities for life. Though the problems discussed where of a religious character, but the person introduced questions of philosophy, logic and other sciences into discussion. The answers which Aala Huzur gave to those questions indicated the depth of his knowledge. The person was completely defeated in discussion and he soon left Aala Huzur on some flimsy pretext.

After the demise of his father “Syedena Aala Huzur” proceeded towards Midnapore. At the outskirt of the town in the lonely forest inhabited by ravenous beasts and harmful animals he sat in deep meditation of the Almighty Allah. At the darkness of the night in the lonely forest his voice would echo with the recitation of the name of Allah. With less food and sleep he passed his days in this manner till he reached the age of thirty. For years he kept fast (excluding the forbidden days) when he would take only a banana in the evening as his main diet. After undergoing all sorts of spiritual exercise and accomplishing different stages he attained the stage of Fanafillah. He became the Qutub of his time.

He married a pious lady named Hazrat Syeda Ummul Barkat Khatun Fatima Saniya. She was from the descendant of Hazrat Syed Isa Rizvi, a great saint who came from Bukhara and settled at Payardanga in the district of Midnapore.[5] Although married and entangled with social duties Syedena Aala Huzur continued his spiritual exercise of austerity and mortification.

Syedena Aala Huzur lived for sixty years. His demise took place on 16th Muharram 1285 A.H/ 1868 A.D at his Khanqah. His shrine is at Mirza Mohallah, Mazar Sharif Road, Midnapore town.

Hazrat Syed Shah Murshed Ali Alquadri (R.A)

Hazrat Maulana Syed Shah Murshed Ali Alquadri Al Jilani was born on Friday, the 27th of Ramadan, 1268 A.H /16 July 1852 AD at the Khanqah Sharif of Piyardanga, P.S Chandrakona, now West Midnapore. He was commonly known as “Huzur Purnoor” and “Maula Pak”. He was the eldest son and Sajjada nashin Hazrat Syed Shah Mehr Ali Alquadri Al Baghdadi commonly known as “Aala Huzur”. His mother was Syeda Ummul Barkat Khatun Fatima Saniya. She was from the descendant of Hazrat Syed Isa Rizvi, who came from Bukhara and settled at Payardanga in the district of Midnapore. Huzur Purnoor was born in the auspicious night of Shab-e- Qadar, (the night of Power). It is commonly believe that the Quran was revealed at this night.

Huzur Purnoor would pass most of his early days in spiritual thought. Even in his childhood he showed his spiritual powers. There are numerous Keramat of Huzur Purnoor, only one is narrated here. When he was a child, a student named Sajjad Karim of the Madrasah which was attached to the Khanqah purposely disturbed Huzur Purnoor and did not allow him to write. Huzur Purnoor, annoyed, threw the inkpot of the boy into a well. At this the boy complained to the Maulvi of the Madrasah who on enquiry found the complaint to be true. The Maulvi said that Huzur should have complained to him instead of throwing the inkpot of a poor boy into the well. Huzur Purnoor then pointed to a niche and said that the ink pot was there. It was actually found there though all students had seen that it was thrown into the well.

Syedena Aala Huzur, the father of Huzur Purnoor, took upon himself the charge of education and spiritual training of his son. In order to accustom him to asceticism his father would often, at the dead of night, to make him go through the most difficult spiritual exercises. Huzur Purnoor was highly intelligent and possessed extraordinary memory. He got by heart his lessons by reading them only once and retained them throughout his life. At a very early age he mastered the commentaries of Holy QuranHadith, principles of Fiqah and Islamic Jurisprudence, Logic, and other subjects. He was the master of all branches of Knowledge. He had a great love for Hadith too. In his presence the difficult books of Hadith would often be recited. He had a large collection of books relating to the subject of Hadith.

Huzur Purnoor would offer five time prayers with great regularity and punctuality. Apart from this he spent most of his time in Nafal Ibadat, Moraqaba, Mushada, Dhikr and Wazifa. He observed fast throughout the year (except the days in which fast is forbidden). He would eat only a few morsels after midnight. He would count his string of beads throughout the day and night if not engaged in reciting the Quran or in contemplation or in other mode of prayers. For years he passed his life in the woods of “Gop” (a high woody place on the bank of river Kangsabati) in Midnapore and continued with his meditation, asceticism and abstinence. He passed far beyond the stage of Fanaa and attained the stage of Baqaa. Moreover he became Qutb of his time.

After spending a long time in jungle, Huzur Purnoor began to travel all over India for preaching Islam and guiding the Muslims, stopping at the shrines of the saints. In the beginning he would walk on foot, but later he would travel by train wherever there was railway. He toured frequently in the districts of Bengal. Apart from this he also visited Faridpur and Chittagong now in Bangladesh and many places in BiharUttar PradeshPunjab and Rajasthan.

Thousands of people from different parts of world, irrespective of caste, creed and religion received spiritual blessings from Huzur Purnoor and became his devoted disciple (Murid). At a stage almost the whole elite Muslim class of Bengal became his murid. Among his followers Khondokar Yusuf Ali, Bar at Law, father of Mr. H.N. Khondokar, Justice of Calcutta High Court, Shamsul Ulema Velayat Hussian, Head Maulvi, Calcutta Madrasah, Habibul Hassan, Assistant Inspector of Schools, Syed Shah Abdul Malik, Deputy Magistrate Deputy Collector, Khan Bahadur Abdul Ghaffar, Additional Chief Presidency Magistrate, Calcutta deserves special mention.

Huzur Purnoor’s demise took place on 27th of Shawal, 1318 A.H, corresponding to 17 February 1901 AD and 4th Falgun 1307 B.S. The prayer of Janazah was led by famous Islamic scholar Maulana Khairuddin Sahab, father of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. It was in accordance with the wish of Huzur Purnoor. It so happened that during those days Maulana Khairuddin was staying in Mumbai and was very sick. At this stage one night he dreamt Huzur Purnoor, who was calling him for leading his Janazah prayer. The very next day Maulana set out for Calcutta by train, after arriving he got the news of Huzur Purnoor s’ demise. He hurried to the Khanqah Sharif and led the congregation of Janazah prayer.

Huzur Purnoor was buried in the family burial ground at Mia Mohallah in Midnapore Town. There is also a mosque attached to the Shrine. It is known as Jora Masjid to the local people. The Urs Sharif (Death Anniversary) of this great saint is celebrated every year with great pomp and grandeur in Midnapore. In this connection a big Mela or Fair known as Mina Bazar Mela is also held near the holy shrine. A special train also runs from Bangladesh to Midnapore on this occasion.

Huzur Purnoor was an eminent writer and a unique Sufi poet. He composed a diwan namely “Diwan-i-Hazrat-i-Jamal” which has been published many times. This Diwan is abundantly read throughout the sub continent. It contains Ghazals (odes) in Urdu. His nom-de-plume was Aasi and Jamal. The diwan is deeply religious in thought and inspired by the spirit of Islamic mysticism. In prose his master piece work is Toghra -i- Mahamed written in simple Persian on the life and achievements of Syedena Aala Huzur. Besides, he wrote many valuable treatises on Sufism. His letters are also good example of his literary scholarship.

 Hazrat Syed Shah Ali Murshed Alquadri (R.A)

Hazrat Syed Shah Ali Murshed Alquadri (R.A) was the second son of Hazrat Syedena Aala Huzur. He stayed at the Khankah Sharif of his maternal grandfather at Piyardanga, P.S- Chandrakona at Midnapore district. There is not much information about his life history. His demise took place on Tuesday the 20th Rajab in 1300 A.H.

Hazrat Syed Shah Wali Murshed Alquadri (R.A)

Hazrat Syed Shah Wali Murshed Alquadri (R.A) was born in 1274 A.H at Khankah Sharif at Midnapore Town. He was the youngest son and Khalifa of Syedena Aala Huzur. He was famous as ‘Murshed’, Qutb ul Waqt and Chote Huzur. He was very intelligent and genius from his childhood and was under the direct guidance and training of his father who was also his Pir o Murshed. He was sent to Madrasah e Ghausia, Midnapore for early education. Thereafter, he acquired his higher education. At an early age he attained mastery over several branches of Islamic Studies. He also acquired his higher studies under the direct supervision of Aala Huzur and the scholars who would visit Khankah Sharif regularly.

Hazrat was married to the daughter of Hazrat Syeda Tahera who was a direct descendant of Hazrat Ali (A.S) through Hazrat Syed Ruhullah Musawi (R.A). He had only one son Hazrat Syed Shah Mohiuddin Harun Rashid Alquadri (R.A) who succeeded him.

Hazrat Syed Shah Wali Murshed Alquadri (R.A) was a great wali and innumerous miracles (Keramats) were manifested from him. His life was a symbol of simplicity, charity and spirituality. The evidence of his being Wali can be found in the tone by which Huzur Purnoor, his eldest brother, used to address him. In one of his verses Huzur Purnoor called Hazrat Wali Murshed was Wali ibn Wali i.e Wali son of Wali, Zinda Wali Shah Wali Murshed i.e Shah Wali Murshed , the living saint. It is said that, some Europeans, being attracted by his spiritual power, accepted Islam and became his disciple (murid).

Under his guidance thousands of people enlisted their names in the Quadria order (silsila) in Bengal. He had contributed very much for the promotion and propagation of this order in Bengal.

Hazrat s’ demise took place on Tuesday the 11th Rabiul Awwal, 1315 A.H and was buried at the foot of the Mazar of his father Syedena Aala Huzur in the family burial ground at Midnapore town. At his demise the people, the family members, disciples and people of Midnapore were deeply saddened. His elder brother, Huzur Purnoor was deeply shocked at the sudden departure of his younger brother. Huzur Purnoor wrote many quatrains in Persian in his memory. The translation of one of these quatrains is as follows:

Syed Wali Murshed has achieved the eternal life, (as) the Wali never die, so how you can call him dead.

When I searched for the year (of his demise), Asi brought the tradition of the Prophet, you see the testimony,‘Verily the Walis never dies’. (Diwan e Hazrat e Jamal, page 374).

Hazrat Wali Murshed Alquadri (R.A) was an erudite scholar of Arabic, Persian and Urdu.  He wrote many books such as Tahris e Mutabat e Wali Murshed , Tosha e Akhirat, Salwat e Daimun, Lughat e Murshedi, Jawaz e Milad Sharif, Milad e Murshedi and etc. He rendered the whole Diwan e Hafiz in Urdu poetry. He had a Diwan too but unfortunately most of these books are in manuscripts form.

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