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From Darbar-e-Sultan to Koh-i-Maran

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The journey of Hazrat Baba Daud Khaki (RA)

By: Bashir Ahmad Dar

The renowned Islamic Mujtahid Imam Mohammad Ghazali refers in his world known treatise ‘Kimiya-iS’adat’ that it is the indication of Allah’s love for a person that He opens the doors of wisdom to him. The quote suits the well-known medieval scholar and Sufi Shiekh Baba Daud Khaki quite precisely.  Born in Srinagar in 928 Hijra corresponding to 1521 A.D, Tarikh Hassan mentions his place of birth as Kalashpora whereas a modern writer has identified it as Nowpora, adding that the  present progeny of the great saint lived in the same locality. His father was Sheikh Hasan Ganai, a well-known Khattat or scribe. G M D Sufi mentions that ‘the word Ganai comes from gan meaning a pen and the writer is, therefore, called the ganai as he uses the pen.  The title of Ganai is believed to have been conferred, in Kashmir, on Baba UsamnUchchap by BudShah, at whose burial the Sultan is said to have been present’.

Though Sheikh Daud lost his parents in the early childhood, he was destined to receive education from veteran religious luminaries like Allama Razi-ud Din, Mulla BaseerKhandabhawani and Shams-ud-din Paul. Besides, by the grace of Allah, he had the qualities of head and heart. As a scholar he had no parallel and nobody could match his scholarship. It is interesting to note that most of the Sufis of the medieval times were first the religious luminaries before turning to Sufism. May be the instance of KhawjaNizamu-ud din Auliya(R.A.), Hazrat Mehboob ulAlamShiekh Hamza Makhdoom(R.A.), Sheikh Yaqoob Sarfi (R.A), or Shah QasimHaqani(R.A.)almost all of them were well versed with the religious tenets. This is in contrast to the modern scenario wherein some of those who claim to be the Sufis but devoid of the knowledge of the shariat. These reverend Sufis opened the doors of the house of Shariat, treaded the path of the Sufism (Tariaqat) to reach the zenith of the Maurfat, and they were successful in finding the ultimate Truth (Haqiqat). It was their experiences with Islam/Quran that led them to the vistas of Tasawuf.

He was engaged in the royal services as the tutor of Sultan Nazak Shah’s son. He gave up services and became a murid(disciple) of Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom, who bestowed him a Khirqa in the SuharvardiSilsilah. He became of the seven glittering stars who groomed under the blessed tutelage of Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom. These seven Sufis besides Sheikh Daud included Mir HyderTulmuli, Khawaj Hasan Qari, Khawaja Ishaq Qari, Mulla Ahmad Chagli.  Besides he also sought the blessings of Syed Ahmad Kirmani (R.A.), Moulana Sheikh Ahmad Qari(R.A), Baba HardiReshi. Soliciting the guidance of Mir Ismail Shami, he became enrolled in the Qadri Silsilah (Order).

Sheikh Daud became instrumental in guiding thousands of Kashmiris to the Right Path. He has been rightly called the Imam Azami Sani. He guided the desirous ones to the stages of spiritual domain and had a number of disciples. The chief among them included Haji Daud Balkhi, Mir Nazuk Qadri, Khawja Zain ud Din Rainawari. He travelled far and wide in the valley, relieving people of evils and myths and constructed mosques at a number of places. He breathed his last on 3rd of Safar 994 Hijra(1585 A.D.). Initially he was buried in Islamabad but lateron his mortal remains were shifted to the shrine of his Murshid Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom at Kohi Maran.

Sheikh Daud had Khaki was his pen name though some assert that abdicating the royal riches and dashing the noble status along with his wishes to the ground (Khak) entitled to be Khaki. As a profile writer he has to his credit many works of repute. These include VirdulMurideen, DastoorulSalikeen, Qasida Jalalia, Qasida Lammiya, RisalaGuslia. His excellence in the religious scholarship may be judged from the fact that, in his VirdulMurideen, he has quoted from over two hundred religious works. VirdulMurideen, still recited in the Khanqhas and Masajid (mosques) of Kashmir on occasions, is a compilation of 1362 verses in honour (manaqib) of his spiritual preceptor Hazrat Mehboob-ul-Alam Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom(R.A.). DastoorulSalikeen is the commentary of the VirdulMurideen. Besides the significance, these works carry in the religious and spiritual circles, they serve an important hagiographic source for the contemporary Kashmir.

Dr Ishaq Khan says that “Sufi literature does not merely hold a fascination for seekers after the truth because of its appeal to the mind, the senses and the emotions, but related ideas that form a continuous series in the social drama. The hagiographical literature, replete with legends, miracles, dreams and spiritual experiences, thus helps us to understand Islam not only intuitively, but also rationally and historically”.

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