Pir Syed Shah Ali Hussain


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Family background & genealogy

His blessed name was Ali Hussain, and his kunniyyat was ‘Abu Ahmed’, and his laqab was Shah ‘Pir’ ‘Shaykh al-Mashaykh’ and ‘A’la Hadrat’.  His title was ‘Sajjada Nasheen Sarkar-e-Kalan’, and his pen name was ‘Ashrafi’.

He was born at sunrise [Subh Sadiq], Monday the 22nd of Rabi al-Akhir 1266 A.H coinciding approximately December 1846. Immediately as he was born, his father, Hadrat Haji Sayyad Sa’adat’ Ali, bathed him. He then performed the tradition of the family. This was the fact that he got a pen and held it firmly in the hands of the newborn ‘Ashrafi Miya’, and then dipped it in an inkpot, and then, by his support, he (Ashrafi Miya) wrote the name of ALLAH (Ism-e-Jalalat ). Thereafter, his father gave him honey mixed with zam zam water, which he (Ashrafi Miya) licked and then the blessed surma of the noble shrine of Sultan Sayyad Makhdoom Ashraf Radi Allahu ‘anhu was placed on his eyes.

Shaykh al Mashaykh’s genealogy transmits from 24 ancestors to Mehbub al Subhani al-Ghawth al-A’zam Hadrat Shaykh ‘al-Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi ‘Allahu ta’ala anhu, who distributed the blessings and spirituality to the four corners of the world.

Because ‘Shaykh al-Mashaykh’ was from the descendants of the accredited successor [khalf akbar] of Abd ‘al-Razzaq Nur al-Ayn, Hadrat Sayyad Shah Hasan, this is why his family is sometimes referred to Sarkar-e-Kalan, or Bari Sarkar. His father, Sayyad Shah Sa’adat was a very knowledgable and extremely pious.

Shaykh al Mashaykh ‘Ashrafi miya’s Rahmatullahi alayh’s birthplace is the famous town of Kicchocha Shareef, in the district of Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh. (India). This was the blessed place in which centuries before, Hadrat Sultan Sayyad Makhdoom Ashraf Semnani Radi Allahu ‘anhu settled, and made it his spiritual home till the Day of Judgement. Makhdoom Ashraf Semnani Radi Allahu ‘anhu purified it from all evils and injustice’s, and distributed his blessings to the four corners of the world, which after his demise still illuminated the whole country like it did in his presence in this mundane world.

Even so, after his demise, people; sick and who are heavily drowned in difficulties and hardships come to his shrine, and make him the tawassul; the means for the fulfilment of their needs, just like people did, when he was present in the world, with his calmness and taqwa [piety].

In Kicchocha Shareef, the annual URS [anniversary], is held on the 28th of Muharram al-Haram to commemorate the demise of Makhdoom Ashraf Jahanghir Semnani Radi Allahu ‘anhi, in which hundreds of thousands of people, ulema, masha’ikh, awliyah, the pious, rich and poor, attend to receive even a drop from the perpetual blessings that are distributed here.

 

Ashrafi miya Rahmatullahi alayh was born at sunrise [Subh Sadiq], Monday the 22nd of Rabi al-Akhir 1266 A.H coinciding approximately December 1846. Immediately as he was born, his father, Hadrat Haji Sayyad Sa’adat’ Ali, bathed him. He then performed the tradition of the family. This was the fact that he got a pen and held it firmly in the hands of the newborn ‘Ashrafi Miya’, and then dipped it in an inkpot, and then, by his support, he (Ashrafi Miya) wrote the name of ALLAH (Ism-e-Jalalat). Thereafter, his father gave him honey mixed with zam zam water, which he (Ashrafi Miya) licked and then the blessed surma of the blessed shrine of Sultan Sayyad Makhdoom Ashraf Radi Allahu ‘anhu was placed on his eyes.

From the very beginning of his childhood, Shaykh al Mashaykh ‘Ashrafi miya’ Rahmatullahi alayh led a very simplistic lifestyle, unlike most other children of his age. He was sensitive, quiet, considerate and always in contemplation and it became obvious to all who came across him that he possessed all the good moral character, and qualities, which would enable him to be ‘successful’ in his later life.


When he was 4 years, 4 months, and 4 days old, according to the family’s Islamic tradition and custom, Shaykh Allama Mawlana Ghul Muhammad Saheb Khalilabadi alayhir rahman taught and performed the Bismillah khani recitation of Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim (child’s first lesson taught at the early admission to school).


He was taught persian under the guidance of Mawlana Amanat Ali Saheb of Kicchocha Shareef.  Then, he undertook further education under the supervision and guidance of Mawlana Salamat Ali Gawrakhpuri, and also Mawlana Qadir Baksh Kicchocha, and hence at the tender age of 16 years, he graduated from the various branches of knowledge, and in 1282 Hijri he took the oath of allegiance (bay’ah) on the blessed hands of his brother, Hadrat Allama Shah Abu Muhammad Ashraf Hussain Rahmatullahi ‘alayh, who also made him the ‘accredited successor’, and bestowed him with ijazah (permission for the other branches and Silsila chains).
 
Shaykh al Mashaykh ‘Ashrafi miya’ was married to the pious daughter of Hadrat Sayyad Shah Himayat Ashraf Biskhari, in 1285 Hijri.
After taking bay’ah [oath] and being bestowed with ijazah [permission] in 1290 Hijri, he spent a whole year at the mazaar [shrine] of Astana-e-Aliyah Ashrafiya, where he retired into seclusion. This was as per advice of the great awliya [saints,] completely detaching himself from all worldly affairs. It was during this period of time when his mind, body and soul reached new heights, going through different levels and stages of muraqabah. In other words his heart was totally purified.
 

 

By the blessings and supplications of Hadrat Sayyad Makhdoom Ashraf Radi Allahu ‘anhu, many great, noble and eminent personalities were born to this blessed place of Kicchocha. However, there did not rise the sun of guidance, which illuminated the name of the Ashrafiya order (Silsila), as much as the personality of Shaykh al-Mashaykh, who without any shadow of doubt, can be entitled the Reviver (mujaddid) of the Ashrafiya Silsila (order).

 

 

 

He circulated and also distributed the spirituality and the divine blessings which he had by the propagation of the Ashrafiya order not only in the Indo-Pak region, but also by his continuous journeys to all the Islamic countries, throughout the middle-east, such as Egypt, Iraq, Syria (Sham), Aleppo and so on.

 

 

 

Shaykh al Mashaykh ‘Ashrafi Miya’ was strictly firm and steadfast on the path of shari’ah [Islamic Law], there was no compromise on this with any person. The shari’ah was his custom, and following the Qur’an and sunnah became his guide in assisting people in their need to achieve their aims and goals. His personality and taqwa (piety) was such that he never upset anyone, neither by his pen, nor by his tongue. Some of the sufi ulema and mashaykh of, stated that he resembled Mehboob-e-Subhani, Shaykh Sayyad Abd’al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi ‘Allahu ta’ala anhu. As well as his inner spirituality beauty and perfection, he was also elegant in his physical appearance. To many in his path he appeared so full of noor, that even some adversaries were overcome by his radiance. 

 

 

 

 

We find it necessary to note the bond, attachment and link that existed between Imam al-Ahl as-Sunnah, Mujaddid-e-Din-o-Millat, Shaykh Imam Ahmad Rida Khan Radi ‘Allahu anhu [d.1340 H], and Shaykh al-Mashaykh. Many have stated the event cited below;

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

Shaykh al-Mashaykh arrived in Bareilly Shareef and met, for the first time with Imam Ahmad Rida Radi Allahu anhu. Immediately a bond and attachment became evident as both eminent and noble personalities respected each other with honour and dignity. Shaykh al-Mashaykh was very fond of and acknowledged the vast ocean of knowledge that Imam Ahmad Rida possessed. Likewise, Imam Ahmad Rida Radi Allahu anhu was very fond of, and acknowledged Shaykh al-Mashaykh’s beauty, elegance and piety. It is well known that on one occasion, Shaykh al-Mashaykh paid a visit to the blessed shrine of Mehboob-e-Ilahi, Khawaja Shaykh Nidam al-Din Awliya Radi Allahu anhu, and after having recited al-fateha, he left the mausoleum. Meanwhile, Imam Ahmad Rida Radi Allahu anhu co-incidentally was coming into the blessed shrine of Mehboob al-Ilahi, and on immediate sight of the elegant face of Shaykh al-Mashaykh, Imam Ahmad Rida Radi Allahu anhu stated enthusiastically :

 

Mehboob al-Subhani, Shaykh Abd’ al-Qadir al-Jilani
Mehboob al-Ilahi Khawaja Nidam al-Din Awliyah
Mehboob al-Yazdani Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir Semnani

 

In this couplet, Imam Ahmad Rida Radi Allahu anhu starts by stating ‘seh Mehboobah’ (the 3 beloved), which refers to the above.

 

 

 

‘Ashrafi miya’s murshid and spiritual mentor; Ashraf al-Awliya – Mawlana Shah Ashraf Hussain gave him successorship on the 3rd of Rabi al-Awwal 1286 Hijri, coinciding approximately 14th June 1861 at the age of 21. He became the successor to the saint on the 28th of Muharram al-Haram in 1297 Hijri, and wore the khirqa (blessed cloak) passed on from Hadrat Makhdoom Ashraf Radi Allahu anhu.

 

 

Ashrafi Miya Rahmatullahi alayh performed Hajj 4 times in total :

  • First Hajj in 1293 Hijri, in which he was spiritual enhanced at the blessed and auspicious court of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (Countless blessings and peace be upon him).

  • 30 years later, in 1323 Hijri, he performed his second Hajj, and also received special ijazah (permission) for the recitation of specific awrad and wadha’if.

  • In 1329 Hijri, after 6 years, he performed his third Hajj. After visiting the radiant city of Madinah al-Munawwarah, he also went khanqahs at:

Ta’if Shareef
Bayt al-Maqdis (where the Dome of the Rock is)
Sham
Egypt
Homs
Aleppo
Damascus, and so on.

From the visits to the above khanqahs he received many spiritual blessings, whose specific details are known to be voluminous.


  • Ashrafi miya Rahmatullahi alayh‘s final Hajj, was performed in 1354 Hijri, and on this occasion the great Ulema, and Mashaykh from the above-mentioned places entered the silsila (saintly order-chain), and were bestowed and also blessed with ijazah and Khilafah.

Shaykh al-Mashaykh ‘Ashrafi Miya’ Rahmatullahi alayh purified his heart and attained his high inner spiritual state by listening attentively to all the learned mashaykh that surrounded his life from a very early age and thus in doing so applied himself in the correct manner.  He also received guidance from his highly respected brother & scholar, ‘Za’ir al-Haramain; Sayyad Shah Ashraf Hussain. As well as attaining blessings from various noble family members, Ashrafi miya Rahmatullahi alayh also received many spiritually enhanced blessings from other awliya (saints) of other tariqas (orders) too.

For special recitals/prayers (awrad-o-wadha’if), he went into the service of Hadrat Sayyad Shah Ima-al-Din Ashraf Ashrafi, Kicchocha Shareef. Furthermore, he also ijazzah from Hadrat Sayyad Muhammad Hasan Ghazipuri, who after several links of spiritual masters, received these ijazzah directly from Sultan Sayyad Makhdoom Ashraf Radi ‘Allahu anhu, who in turn received them directly from Hadrat Owais Qarni Radi ‘Allahu ta’ala anhu.

Ashrafi miya Rahmatullahi alayh, also received ijazah and khilafat from Hadrat Sayyad Shah A’le-Rasul Marehrawi Rahmatullahi alaih, who also appointed him as his accredited successor.

Yahya ibn Mu’adh Rahmatullahi alayh said:

 
Whoever is pleased with serving Allah, everything will be pleased to serve him; and whoever finds pleasure in contemplating Allah, all the people will find pleasure in contemplating him.
 

Ashrafi Miya Rahmatullahi alayh undertook and rendered great services for the circulation and propagation of Islam and its teachings. He brought thousands of misguided and errant people towards the straight path, by distributing his love, genorosity and spiritual blessings to the masses’ of people throughout Asia and the Middle-East. Wherever he travelled, whichever tricky journey he undertook, he illuminated every single person in his path. No one had any malice or an unkind word to say about or to him.

 

His speeches were warm, precise and forthright but also delivered with a lot of desire and affection. He was unique in many ways for that period, because during many of his speeches he would pause and then deliberate by reading extracts from Mawlana Rumi Rahmatullahi alayh’s Masnavi Shareef to further capture his audience’s imagination and mood. 


Ashrafi Miya Rahmatullahi alayh also founded many Islamic Mosques, Centres and Institutions. He was extremely sought after for his advice, inspiration and all round knowledge. Some of the greatest sufis, renowned scholars,  and academics would travel for days and miles, simply to sit in his company and receive blessings. It was upon his blessed hands, Hafiz-e-Millat Mawlana Abdul Aziz Rahmatullahi alayh organised the ceremony of the opening of the great Islamic Institution of knowledge, al-Jami’a al-Ashrafiya in Mubarakpur India.

 

Ashrafi Miya Rahmatullahi alayh always endeavoured and aspired to propagate Islam in any way that was possible, and he was successful throughout his entire life in doing so. 

 

After Ashrafi Miya Rahmatullahi alayh published the encyclopaedic Lataif al-Ashrafi of Mahboob al-Yazdani, Sultan Sayyad Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir Semnani Radi ‘Allahu anhu, he wrote a very detailed and concise biography on Hadrat Mehboob al-Yazdani. But, unfortunately, the original hand-written documents got mislaid somehow before they were even published.

 

In 1343 Hijri on the persistent request of Ashrafi miya Rahmatullahi alayh’s son ‘Alim-e-Rabbani’ Mawlana Sayyad Ahmad Ashraf, Ashrafi Miya Rahmatullahi alayh dictated the completed works to Mawlana Khalil al-Din Azad Samadani Rahmatullahi alayh. This book also includes records as well as detailed accounts of Ashrafi Miya Rahmatullahi alayh’s visits to the Middle-East and surrounding region.

 

 

It is believed at the time of A’la Hadrat ‘Ashrafi Miya’ Rahmatullahi alayh’s demise, he had 230, 000 entrants to his silsila, who took the bayah (oath of allegiance) upon his blessed hands, and approximately 350 accredited successors (Khalifa. pl: Khulafa). Some of the more recognised names have been listed below :
Fakhr al-Ulema, Hadrat Mawlana Sayyad Shah Muhammad Fakir Ilaahabadi      
Ustadh al-Ulema, Hadrat Mawlana Hakim Na’im al-Din Ashrafi Muradabadi
Muballigh al-Islam, Hadrat Haji Sayyad Mir Muhammad Ghulam Bhik Ashrafi,
Hadrat Mawlana Sayyad Shah Amir Hamza Ashrafi Jalali
Mawlana Khalil al-Din Ashrafi Khalilullah Shah Barelwi
Mawlana Ghulam Qutb al-Din Ashrafi Barhamchari
Qutb-e-Rabbani Mawlana Sayyad Shah Tahir Ashraf Dehlawi
Imam al-Muhaddithin, Sayyad Didaar Ali Shah Muhaddith al-Wari
Taj al-Ulema, Mawlana Mufti Muhammad Umar Ashrafi Na’imi Muradabadi
Bahr al-Ulum, Mufti Abd al-Hafiz Haqqani Hafizullah Shah Ashrafi
Mufti al-A’zam-e-Pakistan, Allama Sayyad Shah Abu al-Barakat Ashrafi Lahori
Mufassir al Qur’an, Allama Sayyad Abu Al-Hasanat Ahmad Qadiri Ashrafi Lahori
Muballigh-e-Islam, Hadrat Mawlana Shah Abd al-Alim Merthi Siddiqi Madani
Khatib-e-Azam, Mawlana Shah Arifullah Merthi,
Mujahid al-Millat, Allama Shah Habib al-Rehman Orrissawi
Hujjat al-Islam, Hadrat Allama Mawlana Shah Hamid Rida Khan Barelwi
Ustadh al-Ulema, Mawlana Mufti Abd ‘al-Rashid Khan
Ustadh al-Ulema, Mawlana Muhammad Yunus Ashrafi Sambhali
Amin-e-Shariat, Hadrat Mawlana Shah Rifaqat Hussain Mufti al-Azam Kanpur
Rais al-Muhaqqiqin, Hadrat Mawlana Sayyad Sulayman Ashraf Bihari
Sadr al-Ulema, Imam al-Nahw, Hadrat Allama Sayyad Ghulam Jilani Muhaddith al-Merthi
Jalalah al-Ilm, Hadrat Mawlana Hafiz Abd ‘al-Aziz Muhaddith al-Muradabadi

On the 11th of Rajab; 1355 Hijri, thousands of people accompanied Ashrafi Miya Rahmatullahi alayh in performing the traditional halaqa dhikr (divine meditation and remembrance of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), referring to the verse:

Translation:
Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah), and whose hearts find rest in the Remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the Remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest” [Surah ar’ Ra’d 13:28].
 
When he recited the kalimah (testimony of faith): Ashrafi miya Rahmatullahi alayh breathed his last, and sadly passed away. He was aged 90 years.
 
Ashrafi miya Rahmatullahi alayh’s dargah (shrine) lies very close to the shrine of Hadrat Sultan Sayyad Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir Semnani Radi ‘Allahu anhu, in Kicchocha Shareef, in the district of Faizabad, [Ambegar Nagar], U.P in Northern India. Muslims, devotees from all corners of the globe gather regularly to gain blessings.

Just as Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala bestows upon his beloved and chosen people with wisdom, spirituality and knowledge, He also tests them by giving them hardships and adversities in life, in many different ways and guises, as stated in the Qur’an al-kareem:

 

Translation:

And necessarily, We shall put you to test with something of fear and hunger and with some loss of wealth and lives and fruits;

 

Sometimes, by actions, sometimes with pain and difficulties, and by enduring patience in difficult situations, like the death of loved ones, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala wants to test them, as stated in the Noble Qur’an:

 

1. Immensely blessed is He in Whose control is the entire Kingdom, and He has authority over every thing.
2. He, Who has created death and life that He might test you, as to whose work, is excellent among you. And He is the Esteemed one the Forgiving.    (Kanz al-Iman)

 

Ashrafi Miya Rahmatullahi alayh had reason to be patient in difficult and painstaking phases of his life, he had to live through the sad death of his first respected spouse, who had great moral characters, and also the death of his young child. However, he did not go astray nor shirk his moral duties, instead he was ever so thankful to Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala for what he had suffered.

A’la Hadrat Ashrafi Miya Rahmatullahi alayh was succeeded by his most noble and pious son; Mawlana Ahmad Ashraf Rahmatullahi alayh, who was also revered and rightly earned the tiltes of ‘Sultan al Waizeen’ and ‘Alim al Rabbani’ by his contemporaries.

 

 


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