A serene view of the tomb with pigeons & deep blue sky in backdrop, pic source: Author

Mir Mohammad is the pathfinder
For all the saints of the age, 
He shall be supreme till the order abideth;
The Qadiriyya order in God’s directive
Shall be commanding others
So long the universe endureth

Dara Shukoh
A 17th century painting showing Dara Shukoh, Mullah Shah Badakshani in meeting with Hazrat Mian Mir in background of river & tree at Lahore. Source: V& A museum

“God never leaves this world without keeping on it some one ever to bear testimony and proof of his existence. He does not leave His people without a master (to guide them)’.

Sayyid Ali Hujviri, Kashf-ul Mahjub

Birth, Family & Early Life: Hazrat Mian Mir was born in 1531 (938 A.H) in Sivastan, (a variant of Shivasthan, Shiva’s abode which was once a place of pilgrimage of Shivaite Brahmins) now known as Sehwan. Its a historic city located in Jamshoro District of Sindh province, Pakistan. He was born to Qazi Saeen Ditta bin Qazi Qalandar Faruqi who was a descendant of Hazrat Umar bin al-Khattab, the second Caliph & a noted companion of the Prophet. His father passed away when Mian Mir was seven years old. He was brought up by his mother Fatima who was the daughter of the famous scholar and poet Qazi Qadan. From his his early youth, he was of contemplative bent of mind and longed for a life of renunciation. At the age of 12, he left his home with the consent and blessings of his widowed mother in search of inner enlightenment at the feet of some God oriented soul. For the long time, he kept wandering for this single aim in the hills and woods around Sivastan. Dara Shukoh wrote: “One day during his vacant rambling he happened to come by a large tandoor (an oven covered with a stone slab). On pushing the slab aside, to his great amazement he discovered some sort of silting arrangement made inside the oven. It showed the signs of warmth, too. This whetted his inquisitiveness which goaded his determination to probe the bottom of this miraculous contrivance and the strange person who had made such a queer management, in the wilderness away from any human habitat. Mian Mir waited for the return of the mysterious owner of the oven for three days and three nights. This man was Sheikh Khidr who became Mian Mir’s spiritual master“. Little is known about his life besides him being a Sufi of the Qadiriyya order and the spiritual guide of Mian Mir. Impressed by his spiritual status, Mian Mir became his disciple and under his supervision took spiritual training. Seeing signs of perfection in him, Shaykh Khidr gave him permission to initiate others in the Qadiriyya sufi order which is based upon the mystic teachings of Sayyid Abdul Qadir Gilani. After seeking the blessings of Shaykh Khidr, he left for Lahore at the age of twenty-five. Here he began his religious studies at the madrassa of Mullah Saadullah Lahori. Besides continuing his religious education, Mian Mir visited the graves of the eminent Sufi’s of Lahore deriving spiritual benefit from them. He also continued his spiritual activities and passed days in the gardens and jungle around the city, in his contemplative mood in the best tradition of the ascetic Sufis. As a Sufi dervish of eminence and deep approach Mian Mir had a simple and frugal lifestyle. Poverty and humility as a principal achievements of a Sufi dervish were his mainstay. These virtues became his indispensable companions.

“As it was reported to me that in Lahore one Miyan Sheikh Mir Mohammed by name who was a dervish, a Sindhi by origin, very eloquent, virtuous, austere, of auspicious temperament, a lord of ecstasy had seated himself in the corner of reliance upon God and retirement and was rich in his poverty and independent of the world, my truth seeking mind was not at rest without meeting him and my desire to see him increased. As it was impossible to go to Lahore. I wrote a note to him and explained the desire of my heart and the saint, not withstanding his great age and weakness took the trouble to come. I sat with him for a long time and enjoyed eight thorough interview with him. Truly, he is a noble personage and in this age. He is a great gain and a delightful existence. The supplement of grace was taken out of himself by companionship with him and heard words of sublime truth and religious knowledge. Though I desired to make him some gift, I found that his spirit was too high for this, so I did not express my wish. I left him the skin of a white antelope to pray upon and he immediately bade farewell to return to Lahore”.

Emperor Jehangir in his Tuzuk-e-Jehangiri, the memoirs of Jehangir, in the section covering the 13th to the beginning of the 19th year of his reign, Vol. II, page 119, (translation by Alexander Rogers, ICS)

Physiognomy of Mian Mir

“His eyes would illumine and his heart remained in ecstasy. He was of wheatish complexion. His nose was raised, forehead wide and broad which exuded spiritual glory. The eyebrows were conjoined and his eyes were neither big nor small and showed as seekers of inner truth. The body limbs were of average size. The beard could be held in a palm grip. His hair by then had turned white. Physical debility had overtaken him due to prolonged ascesis. He was of average stature. During the closing years of life, supposed to be hundred, his feel and legs were almost inactive. Thus it necessitated performance of prayers in sitting posture”.

Dara Shukoh
A 17th C Mughal painting showing Prince Dara Shukoh attending Hazrat Mian Mir (white robes) along with Mulla Shah Badakshi (black robes). Source: Wikiimages

Dressing & attributes: His dress was very simple, he wore a kurta (loose shirt with open sleeves, made from khaddar-homespun coarse cloth); a tehmad (cloth loosely wrapped around the legs), & a dastaar-turban of similar khaddar cloth to cover his head. When they looked soiled, he would seek for nobody’s service to cleanse them. He would wash them with his own hands, in the river Ravi flowing not far from his abode. He would eat little, unmindful of his physical needs and would remain engrossed in meditation. Quite often, he would be oblivious of what he ate. He would often miss the reckoning of the days and months. Whenever any friend or devotee brought food continuously, for days: he would request him to stop, to avoid a sense of ego catching the donor for his service to the God’s dervish. As Dara Shukoh cited that his handwriting was nastaliq -shikasta (cursive) script. He was fond of copying the verses of great people, bearing on ethical and moral counsel. Hazrat Mian Mir is an eminent mystic and has travel a lot. He speaks sparingly.

Later years: Mian Mir, in his advanced years, suffered from gout, would enter his hujra before dusk and bolt the door from the inside, Many time, he would not come out even during the day. Even ordinarily, he was not very happy with people visiting him. He would just welcome the visitor by raising his hands in prayer and blessings for them. Then he would politely request him to depart and got busy with his own engagements. Hazrat Mian Mir, though a man of deep illumined understanding and wisdom, neither wrote any prose nor verse. In fact, he showed no love or inclination for writing his own words, though he was fond of copying the verses of great people. Neither did he show any interest in receiving letters. He nursed a notion, unlike the other Sheikhs, that while an Allah’s dervish puts his thought on paper or writes to some one else, Allah’s raaz-inner secret, is opened to others, though unconsciously. A true dervish is ever full of Allah’s wisdom, being always absorbed in Allah’s grace and glory. which need not flow to others, who are unworthy of its retention.

Last Journey: The last lap of the saint’s earthly sojourn was very uncomfortable and anguishing. Haji Parcha who was with him narrates that one day after having the call of nature, he felt very uneasy. With Haji’s support he climbed back to the bed. Thereafter his breath shortened, yet he kept repeating in a low and slow voice “Allah, Allah, Allah“. Sheikh Mohammad Lahori who was also present on the occasion related to Dara Shukoh confirmed that Mian Ji lips continued to utter “Allah, Allah,” though its a hoarse and fading voice. He  suffered from acute dysentery during the last five days of his earthly existence. After five days of suffering, he passed away as a released captive bird, inaudibly and invisibly, with chants of Allah on his saintly lips on Tuesday, 7th Rabi-ul-Awwal 1045 A.H., 1635 A.D., in his own exclusive room located in the monastery where he passed sixty years of his earthly life in the Khanipur Colony, Anarkali.  Mian Jiv’s funeral (Janaza) was followed by a large number of his devotees, friends, admirers, & dignitaries that also included Nawab Wazir Khan, the Governor of Lahore.  

View of Hazrat Mian Mir tomb, photo source: Author

Burial: Hazrat Mian Mir’s mortal remains were consigned to earth near Aalam Ganj, village Darapur, commonly known as Hashimpur, a distance of half a kos from Lahore, in the vicinity of the graves of his spiritual associates and friends Mian Natha, Haji Suleman, Sheikh Abdul Kalaarn, and Mustafa KaIaan, as per Mianjiv’ s last wish. Dara Shukoh wanted a wide road to be built from the Lahore fort to his Khanqah so that when Dara would be in Lahore on his royal visits, he could pay homage to the saints resting place on foot. For this a huge quantity of valuable marble, red stones & other building materials was procured. But who know what destiny had chosen for him. After his tragic end in political vendetta, the Emperor Aurangzeb utilized all this procured building material in raising royal mosque in vicinity of Lahore Fort.

Inner view showing tomb stone, grave & marble enclosure, Pic source: Author

Royal Visits: Mian Mir was a great visionary, a man of spiritual transcendence, courted by kings, queens and princes for his divine counsel which was preferred without any inhibition. Shahjahan Namah by Mian Muhammad Lahori cited many of his meetings with Emperor Shahjahan. When Shahjahan visited Lahore in A.H. 928, he went to see Hazrat Mian Mir and, knowing that the Hazrat does not accept gifts, he made the offerings of a rose and a white loban that was accepted by the latter. Shahjahan said that he knew only two mystics who were the masters of subject of gnosis, one was Hazrat Mian Mir, and the other Faizu Ullah Bihari.

Spiritual successors: Some of his famous spiritual successors were Mullah Shah Badakshi, Khwaja Bihari, Mian Natha, Haji Nematullah Sirhindi, & Sheikh Ahmad Dehalvi. He maintained cordial relations with his contemporaries among which were scholars & mystics like Abdul Haqq Dehalvi, Shah Muhibullah Allahbadi & Shah Abul Muali Lahori.

Legacy of custodians: After the departure of Hazrat Mian Mir to the next world his adherent follower Prince Dara Shukoh summoned his nephew Hazrat Khwaja Muhammad Sharif Qadri from Sindh & appointed his as the first custodian of Khanqah. He was son of his sister, Hazrat Bibi Jamal Khatoon. He passed away in 1645 & buried close to his uncle resting place. During the time of colonial rule, the custodian was Hazrat Sayyad Ali Shah Qadri who passed away in 1956. In 1960, the department of waqf (Pakistan Government) undertook the charge of maintenance & care from the descendants of Khwaja Muhammad Sharf Qadiri. Till contemporary days his shrine has been visited by the devotees from different walks of life. From the poor to the celebrated dignitaries, the lovers of Mian Mir visited to seek solace & pay homage to the great saint. The great 20th century poet, Allama Iqbal was also a disciple in the spiritual order of Hazrat Mian Mir. We would like to conclude our article by the verses of Allama Iqbal eulogizing Hazrat Mian Mir.

حضرت شیخ میانمیر ولی
Hazrat Sheikh Mian Mir Wali
هر خفی از نور جان او جلی
Har khafi az noor jaan auw Jali
بر طریق مصطفی محکم پئی
Bar tareeq mustafa Muhkam payi
نغمه ی عشق و محبت را نئی
Naghma-i Ishq-o-mohabbar ra ney
تربتش ایمان خاک شهر ما
turbat-ish iman-i khak shahr ma
مشعل نور هدایت بهر ما
masha’al-i Nur-i Hidayat Bahar ma
بر در او جبه فرسا آسمان
bar darr-i jabah farsa aasman
از مریدانش شه هندوستان
az muridanish shah-i Hindustan

Verses written by poet Iqbal for Hazrat Mian Mir

The holy saint Shaykh Mian Mir,
By the light of whose soul every hidden thing was revealed,
His feet were firmly planted on the path of Muhammad,
He was a flute for the impassioned music of love,
His tomb keeps our city safe from harm,
And causes the beams of true religion to shine on us,
Heaven stooped its brow to his threshold,
The Emperor of India was one of his disciples.

English Translation by R A Nicholson. 

References: 

  1. Kashf ul-Majhub by Sayyid Ali Hujviri
  2. Sakinat-ul Awliya by Dara Shukoh Qadiri
  3. Safinat-ul Awliya by Dara Shukoh Qadiri
  4. Haq Numa by Dara Shukoh Qadiri
  5. Hasanat-ul Arifin by Dara Shukoh Qadiri
  6. Divan-I Qadiri by Dara Shukoh Qadiri
  7. Khazinat-ul Asfiyya by Mufi Ghulam Sarwar
  8. Gulshan-I Qadiri by Asad Iqbal Kharral
  9. Mian Mir and Sufi Tradition by Gyani Brahma Singh
  10. Hazrat Mian Mir by M. Din Kaleem
  11. Tazkirat-ul Fuqara by Prince Ahmad Akhtar
  12. Risala-i Nisbat by Mulla Shah Badakhshi
  13. Sharaif-i Ghausiyya (MS) by Muhammad Shah Qadiri Fazili
  14. Tuzuk-I Jehangiri
  15. Shah Jehan Namah
  16. Khumkhana-I Tasawwuf by Abul Hasan Sharib
  17. Asrar-e-Khidu, The secrets of the self by Allama Iqbal, English translation by Reynold A. Nicholson
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Sayyid Muhammad Danyal is a student of Law at University of London. Apart from his academics he is avid reader with profound interest in Sufism, Comparative Mysticism, Metaphysics & Philosophy. His hobbies include Photography and Traveling.

Published by Sayyid Danyal

Sayyid Muhammad Danyal is a student of Law at University of London. Apart from his academics he is avid reader with profound interest in Sufism, Comparative Mysticism, Metaphysics & Philosophy. His hobbies include Photography and Traveling.

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