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Islam and Spiritualism ( 17 Jan 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Sufi Saints of Bihar


By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

17 January, 2014  

‘Sufism’ comes from the Arabic word ‘Safa’, which means “purity”. The other meaning, which is derived from the term ‘Suf’, means “wool”, indicating lack of extravagance and signifying simplicity. In short a Sufi is one who lives a simple life and has purity of faith.

‘Sufiya-e-Bihar’ is a book “brought out by Jagran Prakashan Limited falls in the genre of coffee table books that are based on places of worship.” This article talks about the Khanquahs, Dargahs and Mazars of Bihar, mentioned in the book. With over 52 locations, this book, Sufiya-e-Bihar, gives a complete picture of the places of devotional importance in this genre in the state.

Hazrat Makhdoom Yahiya Maneri (Urdu: حضرت مخدوم کمال الدین یحییٰ منیری, Hindi: हज़रत मख़्दूम यहया मनेरी) was an Indian Sufi saint of 13th century. His tomb lies in courtyard of a mosque, located in Maner, 29 km from Patna, Bihar, India.


Anees ur Rahman Qasmi, General Secretary, Imarat Shariah (Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand) says: “Bihar, approximately from the past 1000 years has been the centre for a lineage of Great Sufis. The aura of Bihar has helped in fulfilling the educational and eternal thirst of all the Sufis. The effect of Sufiya-e-Karam can be clearly seen in the society, education, mannerism and hospitality of Bihar.”

Khanquah and Dargah of Hazrat Shah Kamaluddin Ahmad Yahya Maneri (ra): It is situated in Maner Sharief. Jawaid Iqubal, spokesperson of Khanquah Maner Sharief says, “this Khanquah is the mother of all Khanquahs in India”. The foundation stone of this oldest Khanquah was laid in 1180 AD by Hazrat Imam Mohammad Taj Faquih. The most significant parts of the Khanquah are Badi Dargaah and Chhoti Dargah.

The shrines of Maner’s Sufi are still an important pilgrimage for devotees across the world and regardless of religion. According to Jawaid Iqubal, spokesperson, if someone lifts the stone-block successfully in first attempt up to his or her chest; ‘Murad’ or wishes are fulfilled.

Khanquah and Aastana of Hazrat Makhdoom Sheikh Sharifuddin Ahmad Yahya Maneri (ra): This shrine is stationed in Bihar Sharief. It has the sacred beard-hair and finger ring of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and even soil of his grave. This tomb was built in the Mughal Era.

Khanquah Shuttaria, Mazar of Hazrat Makhdoom Syed Shah Alauddin Bukhari Shuttari (ra): It is in Begusarai. Shah Alauddin illuminated hearts of millions with his religious teachings and practices till he passed away in 1526. Pointing at the seven hundred years old mosque built by Alauddin Khilji in 1291 AD, Syed ShaahIftikharul Haque says “these are the remains of a rare medieval aged mosque”. The mosque which was once the fines piece of architecture and a part of the Khanquah is in a dilapidated condition today.

Mazar of Maulana Mazhar ul Haque: it is in Siwan. ‘The Great Trial’, a book written by the Maulana in 1921, reveals detailed proceedings regarding the trials of Gandhiji while he was lodged in Champaran jail during 1917-18. Waris Ali Farooqui, grandson of the Maulana says: “People, in general, are aware of his political life but ignorant of his secular and religious character as well as contributions in maintaining communal harmony”. Maulana Mazhar ul Haque once described Hindus and Muslims as a boat. If the boat sinks not only a particular community would be affected, but both will face the same consequences. In his remembrance the Maulana Mazhar ul Haque Arabic and Persian University was established in April 1988.

Mazar Baba Ashiq Shah: Situated in Darbhanga. It was some 200 years ago, that a group of elders from Samarqand came to Darbhanga for ‘Faizyab’ (to bless and benefit the masses). As per Shahabuddin Qadri, some of them settled in Digghi while the others did so near the pond of Mirza Khan. Mazars at both the places have now become the fulcrums of hope for the destitute and downtrodden. Numerous people visit the pond of Mirza Khan on a regular basis. The belief and faith pull devotees from long distances, from cities as well as villages and even from Nepal. The Mazar is considered as the symbol of communal brotherhood in the city. Both Hindus and Muslims believe in the shrine.

Note: The article has selected only a handful of locations, while ignoring the majority in the hope that the readers will be inquisitive to know more about them. I am thankful to ‘Bihar Tourism: Blissful Bihar’ as well as Jagran Coffee Table Book (JCTB). For more information please visit