Friday, December 03, 2021

Editorial

The Muslim devotees of Baba Guru Nanak

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | November 12, 2021 03:40 PM

By Dr Jasbir Singh Sarna
It was a sheer coincidence that the period of Ten Gurus [1460-1708] and Mughal Empire (1526-1707) was the same. The aim of Sikhism was to bring Hindus and Sikhs on the same platform. The personalities of substance from both the communities loved each other. Guru Nanak -the founder of Sikhism too was commonly revered by both communities. A poet has aptly described the situation: Nanak Shah fakir, Hindu ka guru
Muslim ka pir.

Guru Nanak was born under the care of a Muslim mid wife. His first teacher Hasan was I also a Muslim. He lived in the neighborhood of the guru. Since he had no issue of his own, he loved Nanak very dearly. When one day the child Nanak asked the meanings of some Arabic words, he felt him. Then the child Nanak advised him very clearly to remember Allah and forgo all indoles. Even today, the Muslims all over the world remember Guru Nanak as the Allah's face. Ahmedias respect the guru as a part of their faith. Mirza Sahib Ahmedi has written:
Bood Nanak aarif mard-e-khuda. gaz hai ma jar fakda rah kusha.
A Muslim writer says, "Guru Nanak was a noble old man. He was among the blessed souls whom God Himself serves the sherbet of His grace."The guru had hundreds of devotees.

Ubare Khan: This pathan was a resident of Saurian. According to Janamsakhi the guru discussed with him on the topic of the supremacy of Hindu-Muslim. Ubare Khan followed the point that Allah's light dwells in us all. He presented a cloth length to the guru with great love. The guru made two sheets out of it and gifted one to his dear companion Mardana.
Abdul Gelani: A renowned faqir of Lahore, he lived on the banks of river Ravi. His father Sayyad Jamal-ud-din came to settle there from Baghdad. He died in 1535 AD. Guru Nanak reached Shergarh from Multan where Sheikh Abdul Gelani's disciple Dawood Kirsani lived. The guru discussed Kirsani on the issue of the world, joy and sorrow.
Abdul Rehman: This Pir was a resident of Gurdez. He had come to pay obeisance at the tomb of Khalifa Karoon Al Rashid in Mashhad. It was here that he met Guru Nanak. This place is situated on Baghdad -Tabrez road. When the guru and Mardana sat outside the city and did not visit the tomb, it created an unrest and curiosity in the people to know which sect these sadhus belonged to. When asked whether the guru had faith in Prophet Mohammad or Hazrat Ali, he described the Prophet as a messenger and added that the message is always more important than the messenger. The simple folk could not understand Guru Nanak and they took him to Pir Abdul Rahman. The Pir asked the guru whether he was Sunni or Shia. The light of Allah dwells in all human beings alike. Abdul Rehman and Mash-had's disciples were highly impressed with the guru's words. Abdul Rehman served the guru in his hujra i.e.room.
Afghanistan Ruler: When Guru Nanak went to Afghanistan during one of his odysseys, the ruler of Afghanistan came to meet him personally. Out of reference, he offered his crown to him. It is mentioned in the history that the guru had refused to accept the crown but it shows the respect the Afghanistan ruler had for the guru in his heart.
Adarman Sheikh: He was the Master of Sheikh Ubare and a big hater of Hindus. He was cleansed of this hatred when he met Guru Nanak .
Imati Safi: He was one of the hajis who had come to have a discussion with the guru in Mecca. He had talked to the guru on Hindu-Muslim issue.
Sajjan Thug: This Shiekh lived in village Tulamba, Situated on the banks of Ravi, Tulamba (modern Makhdoompur Multan)
which is on the road to Lahore.
Sajjan met the guru with great love and respect but the guru was familiar with his reality. He used to cheat the gullible people. When Guru Nanak recited the hymn:
"ujal kaiha chilkana ghotim kaal rhee mas. [SGGS: 729], the thug came to realize his actuality. At last he fell at the guru's feet and engaged himself in the propagation of Sikhism. Pothi Mehabaan describes Sajjan as a resident of Deccan land while Gyan Ratnavali says he belonged to Hastinapur. But Janamsakhi literature and Sikh tradition describe him as a resident of the village.
Sharf Imam: He was one of the Ulemas who had a discussion with the guru in Baghdad. He was impressed very much with the Spiritual ideology of the guru. Sharf Pathan (Sheikh Sharf): His real name was Sheikh Sharf - ud-din (Shah Sharf). He was born in Iran and passed away in 1332 at Panipat. His mausoleum in Panipat is a famous pilgrimage for the Muslims. Janamsakhi Bala calls it Bidar while Puratan Janamsakhi puts it at Panipat. This Sheikh was not a contemporary of the guru during whose time Sheikh Id-ul-Kabir was on the Sharf seat. The Guru had his discussion with Sheikh Id-ul-Kabir in 1540. The disciples of medieval pirs and faqirs are known with the names of their Masters only. That is why the Historians wrote his name as Sheikh Sharf only. When the guru and Bhai Mardana came from Panipat, they settled outside the city. Sheikh Sharif discussed with the guru the topics like dervish, life, death etc. at length. Guru Bansavali mentions that the guru had appointed him the propagator of his mission.

Wali Kandhari: A miracle man Faqir of Kandhar is known popularly as Wali Kandhari. He belonged to Hassan Abdal (Panja Sahib). In his background he was from Khurasan and had come for trade with Mirza Shahrukh. Known as Yara Ali also he was very proud of his miraculous powers. He had monopolized the water supply in the area and was a dread for the people. His popularity started eroding with the arrival of Baba Nanak . In sheer resentment he refused water to Mardana. The guru removed a big stone and a new water source emerged there. It added fuel to the fire of Wali s fury. So he hurled a stone towards the guru from the hill. The guru stopped the rock with his hand. The print of his palm on the rock still lying in the gurdwara Panja Sahib stands witness to the veracity of this incident.

Sahu Burran :There used to live a faqir of Chaneot named Sahu Burran. During meeting with him, the guru preached remembrance of Waheguru with every breath, preaching shabad to his (Burran's) disciples and saying prayer after preparing Shekhav Abraham Karah Parsad.

Kamal Sheikh: He was a disciple guru who asked him to rotate his feet where Khuda was not existent. It hit the nail and the message was communicated in the desired manner. In Gyan Ratnavali Bhai Gurdas has referred to Jeewan Qazi as following:
Jeewan mari lat di kehra sutta kufir kufari. (1/32)
According to Puratan janam sakhi the qazi who rotated the feet of Guru Nanak was Rukandin and not Jeewan.

Tateehar Sheikh: He was the disciple of a Muslim faqir, Shari Pathan. The word "Tateehae' is known to be a derivative of Tahi'.
Daulat Khan Lodhi: Daulat Khan was appointed as governor of Punjab by Ibrahim Lodhi in 1504 AD. He was the son of Tataar Khan. The area of Sultanpur was given to Daulat Khan as an estate. Babar had assured him help for the invasion of India. At last he had spoiled relations with Babar. Daulat Khan passed away in 1526. His two sons Ghazi Khan and Dilawar Khan remained with Babar. The remnants of Daulat Khan's fort were now visible in Sultanpur. Nawab Daulat Khan Lodhi was an influential and hereditary Afghan. Guru Nanak's sister was married to Jai Ram, one of his officials. Jai Ram appointed Nanak as a caretaker to take care of the Nawab's ration. The guru discharged his duties with full responsibility. His cordiality, uprightness and honesty became a talk of the town in no time. This much of appreciation could not be digested by some Exasperated they went to the Nawab and said, "Nanak has stocked out foodgrains from the stores." But when probed, the record was found correct. The Guru said to Nawab there was no Hindu or Musalmaan there. The Nawab was madly in love with Nanak.

At last, the guru decided to leave the job of modikhana (storekeeper) and dedicate himself towards the dissemination of His divine message. When Daulat Khan came to know about this decision he said to Nanak, "This is my bad luck that an official like you has resorted to mendicancy." The history stands testimony to the fact that the nawab recruited several officials at Guru Nanak's recommendation. On the occasion of Guru Nanak's marriage Daulat Khan gave a lot of cash and kindness. Once the nawab was saying namaaz and simultaneously he worried lest the heifer of his mare should fall in the well. The guru pointed out to him that he was thinking about the heifer during namaz. It shook his conscience so much that he became the guru's disciple forever. In Janamsakhis Daulat Khan has been mentioned occupying the seat of Sheikh Farid. He had come to gather fuel wood to prepare food for his Master. At that time Guru Nanak and Mardana were singing the following hymn while sitting in an open space "Aape pati kalum aap upar lekh bhi tu(n) [SGGS:1291] Sheikh Kamal listened to this line and memorized it at once. Janamsakhi Bala and Adi Sakhis describe Kamal Sheikh as Kaamil Darvesh.

Qarim Din: When Guru Nanak had gone to Mecca he had met two people on the way-Karim and Rahim. They had a normal meeting with the guru.

Qutab Din Maulavi: He was the Persian teacher of Guru Nanak in his childhood. All the Janamsakhts describe the Turki/Persian teacher of the child Nanak as just Maulavi. It is only Gyan Ratnavali which tells his name as Qutab Din.

Gaus Din Imam: He was one of the Ulemas who had a dialogue with Nanak in Madina.

Gaus Qutub Salar: He was also a qazi pir of Madina who participated in discussion with Guru Nanak. It is worth mentioning here that according to Janamsakhi Bala, the guru had stayed in Mecca and madina for a full one year.

Zumma Chopan: When the guru and his companion stayed on a hillock near Matan (Kashmir) they met a shepherd Zumma Chopan. He called them thieves. "Had you been fakirs you would have come and sat there in the habitation": But when he went back and found his herd in a state of unconsciousness. When he narrated the whole thing to the guru. Guru asked the shepherd to keep uttering "Waheguru" and shaking the rams out of unconsciousness. He did so and fell at the feet of the guru at the sight of this marvel and kept listening to his discourse throughout the night.

Jalal Pir: Pir Jalal was very enamoured of Guru Nanak and held him in high esteem. Pir Jalal said, "Seeing fakirs is seeing Allah." He felt very delighted to have a dialogue with the guru. When he met Guru Nanak, the guru took notice of his piousness and shook hands with him.

Jeewan Qazi: He was a qazi from Mecca. When Baba Nanak and Mardana visited Mecca during the odysseys, Jeewan Qazi took a serious note of it and condemned the guru as kafir (apostate). Nawab Daulat Khan later became a full fledged governor of Punjab with Lahore as its capital.

Dawood- the Weaver: He was a devotee of Guru Nanak. When the guru returned from Mecca he conferred Patshahi on a shepherd at Shikarpur. It was here that a weaver named Dawood came and gave him a carpet prepared by him. He had no issues. So he expressed his desire before the Master who covered a bitch shivering with cold with the same carpet and blessed him.

Dastgir Pir: The man who had a dialogue with the guru in Baghdad is mentioned as Dastgir. GyanRatnavali mentions with reference to Bhai Gurdas, "Puchhya phir ke dastgir kaun faqir kis ka ghariana." (1/35). The sobriquet of the founder of Qadri is 'dastgir.' Sheikh Qadar Gilani is known to be the founder of this sect. He belonged to Baghdad and his period is supposed to be from 1078 to 1166 AD. When the guru went to Baghdad, Mohammad Gau with whom the guru had a conversation, was the descendent at that time.

Faiz Talib Khan: Nawab Faiz Talib Khan was the nawab of Junagarh. In Chet vikrami the guru went to Junagarh. Then Nawab felt very happy to listen to his words and honoured him. The nawab kept the wooden sandals of the guru as a souvenir. These sandals are still lying preserved in an inn near the fort. The Nanakshahi fakirs worship this souvenir. The nawab had started langar in villages and cities at the bidding of the guru.

Bahavadi Pir: His actual name was Makhdoom Sheikh Bahauddin. This was the position of the famous Pir Sheikh Bahauddin Zakaria known as makhdoom. Puratan Janamsakhi mentions Pir Bahavadi as Makhdoom Bahavadi. When Guru Nanak visited Multan at the place of Sheikh Bahauddin Zakaria, Makhdoom Bahavadi was going to say namaz. He sent the message through his servants that he would meet the guru after saying namaaz and that he should not leave without seeing him. On return Pir Bahavadi asked whether God was in Hindus or Muslims. At this the guru preached to him the omnipresence of God. According to Puratan Janamsakhi, when the guru was asked about the concept of gurmukh, the Master said that gurmukh is the one who lives in the will of God. Gyan Ratnavali places Guru Nanak's meeting with Makhdoom Bahavadi in Mecca. Probably, these Pirs of Muitan were also on their visit to Mecca during those days. He was already known to the guru. That is why he said that he should not leave without meeting him.

Bahavali Haq: He was also one of those Pirs who had a dialogue with Guru Nanak in Multan. He asked the guru about the reality of Maya and practice. The guru said that both were false. Only the name of God is true, he said.
Buddhan Shah: Baba Buddhan Shah, a Muslim faqir was a great adorer of Guru Nanak Dev. He presented goat milk to the Master who accepted it gracefully. It finds mention in the Books entitled Guru Bansavali and Gurdham Deedar.

Babar Zaheeruddin Mohammed: Babar (1483-1530) was the founder of the Mughal regime in India. The Janamsakhis describe him as Mir Babar also.According to Sikh history, Guru Nanak met the Babar in 1520 when Babar had invaded Saidpur. Babar was a chughtai turk. The Janamsakhis refer to Babar only in the context of Babar bani composed by the guru. According to Puratan Janamsakhi and Gyan Ratnavali the guru was held captive but was acquitted at the sight of miracles like auto-revolving of the millstones or the bundle of grains not aching head in gross defiance of the theory of gravitation. When the Mughal forces apprised Babar with this quality he is reported to have said that if such a great soul lives here I would never plunder this city. 'It is said that out of penitence Babar touched the feet of the guru and said that divinity oozed from his face. All the Musalmaans and Hindus bowed before the guru. Babar asked him to ask for something. The guru asked Babar to release all the prisoners of Saidpur and return their wares. All the prisoners were released and the guru has mentioned this attack. The Adi sakhis have characterized Babar as a very fine personality saying that he meditates at night and labours hard for his livelihood.
Babar ne baabe miley niv niv sabhe nawab nivaya. [Vaaran Bhai Gurdas, 26/21-2)]

Brahm Sheikh: His actual name was Sheikh Abraham who was the 11 th in Baba Farid's line of succession. The guru met this Faqir in Pakpattan and wrote 'Asa Di Var' in this connection. Gyan Ratnavali has shown Guru Nanak's meeting with Sheikh Abraham twice and has described him as the grandson of Baba Farid. Biraham Khan: He was the son of Sikandar Khan Lodhi who ruled over Delhi from 1517to 1526. As per Janamsakhi Bala, when Guru Nanak offered water in the opposite direction at Haridwar, some Brahmins approached Biraham Khan that a Hindu faqir having no faith in Vedas or other scriptures was blaspheming the religion. The king ordered the guru's arrest but when he himself experienced the greatness of the guru he was released.

The Muslims of Mecca: In Mecca Guru Nanak had a well meaning discussion with the Muslim ulemas. Kaaba is known to be the abode of Khuda. It is a crime to sleep with your feet towards Kaaba. But the guru never meant to hurt the religious sentiments of anybody. As a good communicator he simply wanted to bring home the point that God dwells everywhere, not in a particular direction. He performed the hajj with great religious fervor and exactly following Haji's dress code.

Bhai Mardana: (1459-1534): He remained the companion of Guru Nanak for a long time during his odysseys in the country and abroad as well. He was born to Matta Lakho. According to Bhai Gurdas, "Ik baba akaal roop dooja rababi Mardana" (1/3 5) He attained the status of 'Bhai' by playing rebec with the guru. The Janamsakhis give out detailed information on this issue. It was the guru only who bought him a rabab. He was ten years older than Guru Nanak. He played with the divine bani of the Master as it dawned on him. Bhai Mardana passed away after a brief illness in 1534 AD at Kartarpur. His body was consigned to the flowing water of Ravi as per his own wish. History stands witness to it that he was the dearest friend to Guru Nanak.

Mian Mittha: He was a pious soul and a devout Sikh of Guru Nanak, he belonged to Pasrur (Sialkot, Pakistan). He met the guru as he was passing through his village. He was also accompanied by Bhai Moola. According to Puratan Janamsakhi Mian Mittha said that only two names are the great Khuda and Paighambar. Some other things also came up for discussion. After a brief sojourn with him, the guru came to Talwandi. The guru wrote to him in reply that the first name was that of Khuda at whose threshold number of paigambar are waiting to be accepted. He would often compliment Guru Nanak saying, "Nanak ji, you have been conferred greatness and you are great." Mutaza Ali: It was the name of Prophet Mohammad's daughter Bibi Fatima's husband. He belonged to Sayyad family and was one of the four Khalifas of Islam. According to Janam Sakhi Mehrvaan
the child Nanak went to have lessons from the Mulla, the latters referred to Murtaza Ali.

Murad Faqir: When the guru went to Baghdad, he settled outside a cemetery. During his journey to Mecca and Madina he had reached here. In Baghdad the descendants of Pir Dastgir and Bilol became devotees of Guru Nanak . A Khutba (sermon) written both in Persian and Turkish, is available even today. The overall control of this monument is held by Majid Yussouf. Swami Anand Ucharya had written a poem under inspiration from this very Khutba in 1919. The followers of Guru Nanak are called 'safis' who lived in Alkot and banks of the river in Baghdad. The guru lived in Baghdad for four months at a stretch. Here he had a number of sittings with the scholars. They asked him, "How will you spell Moghammad in Ilm-e-Abjad?" The Guru replied to this question as under:
"Naam lo jis hindse ka, karlo chauguna, Do aur mi la lo, phir kar lo panch guna, Bees se uda lo, baki kar lo nau guna
Is main do our mila lo, Nanak Is tarha naam Mohammad lo bana."
At the time of departure from Baghdad the scholars gifted him a beautiful robe with the verses of the Quran written on it. This robe is still lying at Dera Baba Nanak. This inscription was repaired by Murad Faqir.

The Faqirs of Multan: When Guru Nanak returned from Mecca, he reached Multan. There two faqirs brought a bowl full of milk and placed it near him. It was to suggest symbolically for Multan was already overflowing with faqirs with no room for anyone from outside. The guru put some sweetener and a flower in the bowl. He replied in a way that he would be no hindrance for anybody and remain dissolved like sugar and unaffected like flowers. It delighted the faqirs and they honoured him wholeheartedly. The Muslims of Multan have built a monument to commemorate Guru Nanak. This mirrors their love for the guru.

Farid Kamaal: When Guru Nanak visited Kashmir during his spiritual prowess. He kept propagating Sikhism in Kashmir in tandem with Pandit Brahm Das. He bowed before the divine effulgence of the guru.

Rai Bular: In the middle of the fifteenth century the chieftain of Talwandi Rai Bhoi was a Bhatti Musalmaan Rai Bular, Guru Nanak was born here in 1469. Rai Bular respected Guru Nanak from the core of his heart. He told Mehta kalu, "Your son is a great man, and this is my privilege." Once, Rai Bular sought Guru Nanak's blessing with folded hands for begetting a son. After a brief pause the guru blessed him saying that' fulfilled. In lieu of it he transferred half of his landed property in the name of Nanak and announced it in a big gathering. This is a reality that the tillers and owners of this 18750 acres of land are Bhatti Sardars but on record it is in the name of Nanak. Mehta Kalu was a patwari of ten villages. The Janamsakhis portray Rai Bular as a very great man. After Bibi Nanaki it was only Rai Bular who could see the Divine in Guru Nanak.

Qazi Rukandin: He was a Muslim qazi from Arab countries met Guru Nanak when he went to Mecca Madina. Zin-ul- Aabdin's book "Tareekh-e-Arab" mentions in detail that as many as 360 questions in Arabic language came up for discussion between them. The questions pertained to religion, music, dress etc. Rukandin was imbued with divinity as a result of his meeting with the guru. He engrossed himself in meditation all the time. He started enjoying the solitude of mountains like recluses. He became a Sikh of Guru Nanak. When Amir Shah of Mecca came to know about it the radical priesthood charged him apostasy and issued a verdict against him. He was forced back from the mountain caverns and the following verdicts were issued against him:

1. He is as much kafir as his murshid (Master).
2 Punishment of 30 flogs, emaciation of 11 days and solitary confinement.
3 Banishment of his khwaish tribe.
4. Confiscation of his property.
5. Parading in Mecca with a blackened face.
6. Hanging upside down.
7. Burying in the sand up to the throat and stoning to death.

Braving all the punishment stoically in May June Qazi Rukandin remained unruffled. There was no trace of sadness on his face. Finally, he was ordered to get his last statement recorded on the 22nd day. Pen and ink were brought. The qazi came out of his consciousness. He saw and remembered the Words of his Master, "Propagate what you have experienced." What else could be the better opportunity? All the people of Mecca were here on the occasion. So the statement was recorded in the august presence: "My God, my religion, my faith is Nanak only, He is the owner of the biggest pen and book. I am his follower, If you want salvation, come to his refuge. Whosoever acts upon my advice will go to paradise. Saying this he abandoned his temporal frame.

The people who had come there with stones in their bags fell at his feet. Most of the peoples present there became the devotees of Guru Nanak. The descendants of Rukandin Qazi still live in Mecca as the devotees of Nanak and like Sikhs they are his suite as well. The banished Khwesh tribesmen are living in the hills of Teerah and Afghanistan these days. The robe gifted to the guru had on it the verses of Quran and praise to Baba Nanak. In the western corner of Mecca there are three hujras:1. Sultan Bahu 2. Baba Farid 3. Baba Nanak Shah Fakir. A mosque called 'Masjid Vali Hind' exists for the propagation of Guru Nanak's philosophy. Besides, so many other parables are linked to Guru Nanak in Mecca and Madina.

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