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Monday 17 Dec 2018

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Kohat - Pakistan

Hazrat Khwaja Zindapir Sahib (ra) was born in 1912 in the village of Jungal Khel, district Kohat, Pakistan. Zindapir Sahib’s (ra) ancestors were from Afghanistan and migrated to Kohat.  His Father’s name was Hazrat Pir Ghulam Rasool Shah Sahib (ra).

During Zindapir Sahib’s (ra) childhood there was a clear recognition of his spiritual qualities. For example, Hazrat Ghazi Baba, who was a Khalifa of Hazrat Khwaja Mohammed Qasim (ra) in Kohat, informed Janab Hussain Shah Sahib, who was the elder brother of Zindapir Sahib (ra), that his brother was no ordinary person, and that he would become a great saint of his time and would be elevated to the maqaam of Ghausiyaat (highest ranking saint of his era).

Hazrat Khwaja Zindapir Sahib (ra) joined the civil sector within the army in 1938 as a master-tailor. During this time also, Zindapir Sahib (ra) was seeking a spiritual guide and visited many Darbars throughout Pakistan, but was unable to satisfy his spiritual thirst. Finally, whilst in Sialkot, he visited the Darbar of Hazrat Imam Ali-ul-Haq (ra) and was instructed to proceed to Darbar-i-Alia Naqshbandia Mohra Sharif, where his arrival was being eagerly anticipated

At Mohra Sharif, Hazrat Pir Nazir Ahmed Qasim (ra), the son of Hazrat Khwaja Mohammed Qasim Sahib (ra), had been passed the duties of the Darbar by his father, who was suffering from ill-health, which included the initiation into the Tariqa. Zindapir Sahib (ra) on his arrival to Mohra Sharif, was shown in to the sanctum of Hazrat Pir Nazir Ahmed Qasim (ra), along with other visitors. Zindapir Sahib (ra) remained standing and heard a voice in his right-ear advising him to take ba’ait (vow of allegiance) only with Hazrat Khwaja Mohammed Qasim Sahib (ra). Zindapir Sahib (ra) left the sanctum and requested Hazrat Pir Mubarak Khan (ra), the son of Hazrat Pir Nazir Ahmed Qasim (ra), to take him to his grand-father, which he did. Hazrat Khwaja Mohammed Qasim (ra) welcomed Zindapir Sahib (ra) with open arms and said “I have been waiting here for 100 years in anticipation of your arrival. You are my last Khalifa (spiritual representative) and your faiz (spiritual blessings) will be the greatest. There will be plenty in your chapatti-basket” (a metaphor indicating the great spiritual gifts and blessings that would belong to Zindapir Sahib (ra)). Zindapir Sahib (ra) took ba’ait (vow of allegiance) at the hand of Hazrat Khwaja Mohammed Qasim Sahib (ra) in 1938 and was given the Khilafat (spiritual representation) and the divine spirituality that is transferred in the chain of the silsilah (spiritual lineage) at the same time. Hazrat Khwaja Mohammed Qasim Sahib (ra) departed from this world a few years later in 1942.

Hazrat Khwaja Mohammed Qasim Sahib (ra) of Mohra Sharif

Zindapir Sahib (ra) continued to serve in the army for the next 10 years and his sainthood was a closely guarded secret within the Army Unit apart from a few close companions. Like many Sufi saints, he displayed many karamaat (miraculous occurrences), by the Grace of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).

Whilst the Unit was stationed in Sarai Alamghir, during the first India-Pakistan war in 1948, Hazrat Khwaja Zindapir Sahib (ra) would leave the camp in the evening to spend the night praying at a nearby watercourse. On this occasion when he went to pray, he would walk out on the surface of the water into the middle of the watercourse, lay out his prayer mat and offer prayers. One of the members of the Army Unit noticed that Zindapir Sahib (ra) was leaving the camp each evening and reported it to the Commanding Officer.  The CO decided to investigate and the following night hid near the tent of Zindapir Sahib (ra), where he watched and followed Zindapir Sahib (ra) walk down to the watercourse and lay his prayer mat on the water. Zindapir Sahib (ra) was about to commence his prayer but paused and called the CO by his name and asked him to come forward. Amazed, the CO stepped out from behind some trees and Zindapir Sahib (ra) warned him not to disclose what he had seen to anyone and to issue the following three orders to the unit. Firstly, all members of the Unit were to fast from the following day. Secondly, the regiment roll call would take place in the Unit Mosque each evening where taraveeh prayers would be offered, and thirdly, during Ramadan the Unit would be permitted to a later start time in the morning. It had previously been the practice that the Unit were given a dispensation from observing Ramadan during a time of conflict.

Finally, later in 1948, whilst stationed in Abbottabad, it had become a wide known fact within the Unit that Hazrat Khwaja Zindapir Sahib (ra) was a saint of the highest rank. He left the army in 1949 but stayed in Abbottabad close to the Unit and continued practising as a Pir (spiritual guide). Hazrat Toori Baba Sahib (ra), who was a Pir-Bhai (fellow disciple in the Tariqa) of Zindapir Sahib (ra), lived in Lysaan Nawab a village near to Abbottabad and enjoyed a very close relationship with Zindapir Sahib (ra). Hazrat Toori Baba Sahib (ra) was the landlord of 1000 acres and offered 500 acres to Zindapir Sahib (ra) to move and practise from there. He would consider it an honour and himself very fortunate if Zindapir Sahib (ra) would accept.  Zindapir Sahib (ra) responded and stated that he was soon to leave for Hajj and would, thereafter, proceed on the basis of his order from Medina Sharif.

In 1952 Hazrat Khwaja Zindapir Sahib (ra) left for his first Hajj (pilgrimage) to Makkah Sharif in Saudi Arabia. Whilst in Medina Sharif, Zindapir Sahib (ra) stood in front of the Roza Mubarak (holy grave) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and respectfully requested what the order for him was.  Zindapir Sahib (ra) was then shown a vision in which he saw some mountains. On one of the mountains was written “Zindapir” and “Darbar-i-Alia Ghamkol Sharif”. This is when the name Zindapir was given by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) himself. He was thus instructed to proceed to Ghamkol Sharif.

Upon returning from pilgrimage Zindapir Sahib (ra) made a Hijrat (migration) from Abbottabad to Kohat, following the instructions he had received in Medina Sharif. Once in the valley of Ghamkol Sharif, Zindapir Sahib (ra) took refuge in a cave half way up one of the mountains. He asked a companion to block the entrance to the cave in order to shut himself away in prayer. This cave has been preserved to the present day and is visited by those who come to the Darbar. A stone staircase has been constructed to provide the visitors with a safe and accessible route up to the cave. Zindapir Sahib (ra) secluded himself in the cave for 3 days and 3 nights in prayer and the zikr (remembrance) of Almighty Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).

The first cave in the valley of Ghamkol Sharif

Zindapir Sahib (ra) was then commanded that he had not been sent to Ghamkol Sharif to close himself away from the world but to go and spread the message of Islam.  Zindapir Sahib (ra) moved down into the valley to another cave which is located just above the room where he received visitors during his lifetime. From here he began to teach and soon the news of his presence began to spread. This practice continued for several years and the number of disciples and visitors began to increase.

Hazrat Khwaja Zindapir Sahib (ra) had love for saints that belonged to the four main Tariqas of the Naqshbandia, Qadiria, Chishtia and Suhrawardia, but he was particularly fond of and would often speak about Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti (ra) of Ajmer Sharif, who was also known as Gareeb Nawaz, who according to Zindapir Sahib (ra) was the first light of the Tariqat in the Indian subcontinent.  Zindapir Sahib (ra) began to visit the Roza Mubarak (holy grave) of Hazrat Ibrahim Khandozi (ra) in the nearby village of Shaikhaan. He would visit around 2am and offer tahajjud prayers and then return back to Ghamkol Sharif before Fajr prayer. This practice continued for a number of years. It is important to note that Hazrat Ibrahim Khandozi (ra) passed faiz (spiritual blessings) to Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti (ra) during the latter’s childhood.

The first construction within the perimeters of the Darbar was its Jamia Mosque. This project was completed under the guidance and supervision of Zindapir Sahib (ra) and he himself took part in the building work, regularly working during the night whilst other workers and visitors to the Darbar where asleep. The Mosque, with its gleaming white domes and lofty minarets, stands elegantly in the valley.

Jamia Mosque Darbar-i-Alia Ghamkol Sharif, Kohat, Pakistan

The rest of the Darbar began to take shape gradually under the guidance of Zindapir Sahib (ra) and the voluntary labour of the disciples. Most of the construction was and is focussed on the annual ‘Urs’ celebration which is the main event at the Darbar. Arrangements need to be made to accommodate thousands of visitors, which mean expanding current and building new facilities to house the guests. The Darbar’s langar (food) is available to all free of charge. The langar-house is overseen by appointed Khulafah and manned by volunteers. Visitors are encouraged to partake from the langar as it is believed to be a source of spiritual blessing.

And so,  the Darbar has evolved during the past 50 years, culminating into the present truly impressive Sufi centre, which Hazrat Khwaja Zindapir Sahib (ra) has built from almost nothing to its present day splendour. During his lifetime he attributed this development to the blessings of Almighty Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and his beloved Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). When Zindapir Sahib (ra) first arrived in the valley of Ghamkol Sharif he considered himself a guest of Almighty Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and subsequently all those that visit the Darbar are also seen as the guests of Almighty Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).

Hazrat Khwaja Zindapir Sahib (ra) was a unique, charismatic and exemplary individual who devoted his life in the way of Almighty Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). He was the Ghaus-e-Zaman (the highest ranking saint of his era). His speech and every action was in accordance to the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).Throughout his lifetime he never left the Darbar except to go on pilgrimage and spent his time in constant zikr of Almighty Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). He never slept, regularly fasted on a daily basis and thus ate very little. He saw visitors on a daily basis, often into the early hours of the morning, advising them on their religious and worldly affairs, a fountain of knowledge, awakening and illuminating the hearts of those that he encountered. Visitors to the Darbar are overwhelmed by its spirituality, beauty and tranquil setting. The vocal zikr of the Tariqa “la ilaha illalah” (“there is no God but Allah”) echoes through the surrounding valley and has become the hallmark of the Tariqa, soothing the mind and heart of those whose ears it reaches.

Hazrat Khwaja Zindapir Sahib (ra) departed from this world on Sunday 21st March 1999. Disciples poured into Ghamkol Sharif not just from Pakistan but from all over the world as the news spread. Sufi Sahib arrived from the UK the following day and led the janaza (funeral) prayer of his Pir Sahib (ra). The janaza was attended by thousands of followers. Zindapir Sahib (ra) was buried in the courtyard outside the room where he used to receive supplicants. The construction of the Roza Mubarak (mausoleum) started almost immediately and was completed under the supervision of Hazrat Pir Habib-Ullah Shah Sahib (grand-son of Zindapir Sahib (ra)). The Roza Mubarak has become the identity symbol of Ghamkol Sharif with its green dome and marble arch ways.

Roza Mubarak of Hazrat Khwaja Zindapir Sahib (ra)

The annual Urs, held in October to commemorate the death anniversary of Hazrat Khwaja Mohammed Qasim (ra), is now observed as the Urs of Hazrat Khwaja Zindapir Sahib (ra). Hazrat Khwaja Pir Baadshah Sahib the son of Hazrat Khwaja Zindapir Sahib (ra) now sits on the spiritual seat in Ghamkol Sharif and has become the head of the Tariqa.

Sajadah Nasheen Darbar-i-Alia Ghamkol Sharif, Hazrat Khwaja Pir Baadshah Sahib

Sahibzada Pir Abaid-Ullah Shah Sahib & Sahibzada Pir Habib-Ullah Shah Sahib

May Almighty Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for the sake of his Beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) raise the maqaam (rank) of our Grand Shakyh Hazrat Khwaja Zindapir Sahib (ra) and may we continue to benefit from his faiz (spiritual blessings). Ameen