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Interfaith Dialogue ( 25 March 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Ayodhya: Common Hindu-Muslim Religious Heritage



By S. Arshad, New Age Islam

26 March 2019

In India, Ayodhya is known as a religious place.  According to the belief of the Hindus, their deity Ram was born in this town. This town is known with some other names as Awadh, Aprajita, Pasoya, Sitabrahmanpuri, Shusla, Nadini etc. In modern India, this town is situated at the banks of Saryu River. This town is also known for other sacred places of Hindus like Hanuman Garhi, Ram ki Pidhi, Nageshwar Nath Mandir etc. Similarly, this place is a sacred place for Muslims too. According to the belief of Muslims, prophet Sheeth pbuh (son of Prophet Adam pbuh) and his son Nuh (pbuh) or Noah also lived here and there graves or mausoleums are located in Ayodhya. These graves are about nine yards long. Islamic historians believe that prophet Sheeth pbuh founded this town and his great grandson Hadhrat Hind bin Ham further developed it. During the life of Noah (Manu according to Hindus) the Great Deluge (Jal parlayawan, according to Hindu mythology) happened and he was transported to Turkey in his great ark with his followers and family members. However, historical evidences and the Quranic accounts testify to the fact that prophet Noah (Manu) lived and propagated his Deen (religion) in the Indian region before the great Deluge. Therefore, the possibility of the stay of Hadhrat Sheeth pbuh and his family members in Indian region cannot be rejected easily. There are some graves in Ayodhya which are believed to belong to the family members of Hadhrat Sheeth pbuh.

Hindus believed that Shri Ram was born in Ayodhya. But some intellectuals and Historians – both Hindu and Muslim --- believe that Ram is a fictitious character. But during the fifth decade of the 20th century Sufi Abdur Rasheed Huma of Delhi believed that Shri Ram was a member of Hadhrat Sheeth’s family. He was in the possession of a book in which the genealogy of Hadhrat Sheeth was given. In that genealogy, Shri Ram was shown as a descendant of Hadhrat Sheeth pbuh. That the grave of Hadhrat Sheeth pbuh is believed to be situated in Ayodhya strengthens this belief.

The descendants of Hadhrat Sheeth lived and propagated the Deen in the different parts of Indian subcontinent. In Punjab the graves of nine prophets are situated.  According to the scholars of Vedas, Rig Veda was revealed in Punjab region during sixth century BC. Atharva Veda was revealed to a prophet called Atharva and later transmitted to other prophets named Angiras, Satyavah and Angira. A village called Nuh still exists in present day Haryana which is geographically adjacent to present day Punjab. Tannur the place mentioned in the Quran from where water started gushing forth from earth is situated in Kerala on the seashore. All these facts strengthen the theory that Hadhrat Sheeth pbuh had settled in Ayodhya and his descendants had spread in the entire region called Indian subcontinent for the propagation of religion.

Mughal intellectuals Abul Fazl and Faizi did not subscribe to the belief that the graves of Hadhrat Nuh pbuh and Hadhrat Sheeth pbuh are situated in Ayodhya and so they are not mentioned in Ain-e-Akbari but the community of Sufis like Hadhrat Muhaddith Dehlvi believed that Hadhrat Sheeth pbuh lived in Ayodhya. That’s why Sufis call Ayodhya Khurd Makkah (small Makkah) and Madinatul Awliya (city of Walis or Sufis). Sufis considered Ayodhya the land of prophets and so came and settled here. In Ayodhya, there are many graves and mausoleums of Sufis. Some of them are: Syed Alauddin Khorasani, Kamaluddin Shaheed, Shah Akbar Chishti Maududi, Kaley Pahlwan, Nau Gazi Peer, Hadhrat Makhdum Bandagi Nizam, Abdul Karim Shaheed, Shamsuddin Faryadras, Gulab Shah, Raheem Shah, Teen Darwaish, Shah Musafir Shaheed, Hadhrat Bari Bi Sahiba (elder sister of Shah Naseeruddin Chirag Dehlvi and Qazi Abdul Lateef.

Ayodhya was the birth place of Shah Nasiruddin Chiragh Dehlvi, the Khalifa of Hadhrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya. He learned the Quran from Shaikh Shamsuddin Yahya Awadhi. Many disciples of Hadhrat Nasiruddin Chiragh Dehlavi like Shaikh Zainuddin Awadhi, Shaikh Fathullah Awadhi and Kamaluddin Awadhi are also resting here. The stay of all these sufis in Ayodhya also corroborates the belief that Sufis considered this place the land of prophets.

There are also a number of mosques and monasteries in Ayodhya which point to its Muslim legace.103 mosques and 83 graves of sufis point to the fact that this area once had a large Muslim population. If the belief of Sufi Abdur Rashid Huma that Shri Ram belonged to the family of prophet Hadhrat Sheeth pbuh, then Indians should accept Ayodhya as common Hindu-Muslim religious heritage.

S. Arshad is a regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/interfaith-dialogue/s-arshad,-new-age-islam/ayodhya--common-hindu-muslim-religious-heritage/d/118130

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