Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom (RA): Our Great Saint

Kashmir Magazine

TKM Desk

One of the most sacred shrines in Kashmir is the shrine of Makhdoom Sahib (R.A) which is located on the southern side of Hari Parbat Hill (Kohi Maran) in Srinagar city. The mosque, built in the name of the Sufi saint Makhdoom Sahib or Hazrat Sultan-Ul- Arifeen (R.A), is placed below the attractive Mughal Fort, the Hari Parbat Fort, is a structure with many pillars and thus a rare example of Mughal architectural style.
Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom (RA) popular known by the name Makhdoom Sahib in Kashmir was born in 900 AH at Tujjar Shareef, a village in Zainagir area of north Kashmir’s Sopore town. His father’s name was Baba Usman Raina, a rich and respectable person of the time and his mother’s name was Bibi Maryam. Baba Usman sacrificed thirty sheep at the birth of his beloved son and the meat was distributed among the poor, destitute and needy people. Hazrat Sheikh Hamza ra was a born saint. Once his mother felt ill and she couldn’t feed him her milk. Thus a woman in the neighbourhood was asked to feed him. Hazrat Sheikh Hamza (RA) didn’t take her milk. When enquired, it was revealed that the lady had left her own daughter at home and she hadn’t sought the permission of her husband. Sheikh Hamza spent his childhood at Tujjar Shareef and he was not attracted to sports and games like other children of his age.
Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom, entitled Mehboob-Ul-Alam, and Sultan-Ul-Arifeen, was a hereditary landlord, a scholar and a mystic saint of high order. Hazrat Baba Dawood Khaki was one of the pious and renowned companions of Hazrat Sultan-ul- Arifeen Makhdoom Saheb (R.A.). He was the chief Qazi of Kashmir and a scholar of great repute. It is said that Shah Hamdan, the great saint of Hamdan offered prayers at the platform where the present mosque of Baba Dawood Khaki stands now.
Baba Dawood Khaki writes that the father of Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom(R.A) was among the chiefs of his own tribe and he was linked to a Kashmiri royal tribe namely ‘Chakoun’ and few relatives of Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom(R.A) were inhabitants of Kachi Hama, a village on the foot of a mountain far from Tujar. During his studies he used to meditate a lot. Baba Dawood opines that Hazrat Makhdoom did not rest during night for years but remained engaged in prayers. He inherited the mysticism, and from the very childhood was inclined to the company of holy men, and to the truth. Having read the holy Qu’ran in the village, he went to the institution of Sheikh Ismial Kabroi for higher studies.
Once he mixed with other children in the vicinity who were throwing stones at a mosque. Sheikh Hamza saw a dream on the same night and was asked to refrain from these childish acts. He immediately repented over it and never indulged in the same in future. Sheikh Hamza received his elementary education from a local ‘Maktab.’ His teachers taught him Quran, its recitation and grammar. He read all the Persian books like Karima, Namihaq, Gulistan and Bostan etc. Malik Zeeta Raina the grandfather of Sheikh Hamza took him to Srinagar where he was admitted to Darushifa the convent school of Hazrat Sheikh Baba Ismail Kubravi. Hazrat Sheikh imparted both religious and spiritual training to students. Sheikh Hamza developed taste for literature and Islamic Studies and wrote Arabic Hazrat Sheikh Persian. He memorized the holy Quran and was later on admitted to the monastery of Shams Chak. He learnt the Quran, the Hadith, Jurisprudence, Logic, philosophy and literature. He had a sharp memory and good comprehension. Sheikh Hamza kept fast invariably and burnt the midnight oil in remembrance of God. He got secret information from the saints and many times had a vision of Hazrat Khazir. For his meeting and interaction, Sheikh Hamza (RA) mostly went to riversides, streams and springs. Once he attended a feast along with other schoolmates.
Once he was playing instead of going to elementary school (maktab) his father happened to come by, grew angry and beat him so severely that he fell ill. From the day he pledged that he would never play with his grandfather Zaiti-Rena. He went to see Fatah Ullah (son of Hazrat Baba Ismial) the spiritual teacher of the Rena tribe, and learnt the Qu’Oran for a year in the monastery at Shamsi-Chak , he was enrolled into the seminary of Baba Ismial Kubrawi, as a student, for higher studies. He studied the Jurisprudence, Tradition, Logic, Philosophy, Ethics, and Mysticism.
Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom(R.A) came to Srinagar where he was nurture and raised to Higher Spiritual states. Sultan-Ul-Arifeen says, “I was directed to recite the daroods, mention of the names, and prayers because of His kindness and whenever I sluggish in the conduct I was reprimanded. “Hard work and painstaking prayers in the early youth made him old before time” Hazrat Sultan-Ul- Arifeen (R.A), according to Baba Dawood (R.A) used to heave a sigh and weep often while interpretation this verse:
“Sokhtam Chandaun Ki Bartan Nesiat Degar Jaie Daag
Baidazien Khawhum Nihadin Daag Bar Balaie Daag”
Baba Dawood Khaki (R.A) describes an incident when Hazrat Sultan ul Arifeen Makhdoom Saheb (R.A.) reached to a place where Mehfili Mousiki was at its apex and in the meantime prayer time drew near. Hazrat Sultan ul Arifeen Makhdoom Saheb (R.A.) left the Mehfil and after ablution offered Nimaz and suggested that Gusul should have been taken before offering the Nimaz for Sharia does not allow listening music. Baba Dawood (R.A) narrates that many a time in the dream he witnessed himself in Mehfili Mousiki and every time he was asked to seek forgiveness from Allah for Hazrat Sultan ul Arifeen Makhdoom Saheb (R.A.) used to point out the cause of seeing such dreams and used to suggest him not to get involved to any such activity that is prohibited by Sharia.
The Miraculous meeting with Sheikh Najam-ud- Kubrawi (R.A)
According to “Dastoor-ul-Saliqeen” page no. 152 Hazrat Sultan-Ul- Arifeen (R.A), one day while staying in his khankah, in an engrossing mood came out of Khankah and walked along the foot of a mountain and miraculously long white beard appeared on his face and a group of saints welcomed him and introduced him with Sheikh Najam-ud- Kubrawi(R.A) and suggested him to obey the teachings of the great saint which Hazrat Sultan-Ul- Arifeen (R.A) acknowledged with submission throughout his life and Hazrat Sultan-Ul- Arifeen (R.A) became his admirer. Sultan-Ul-Arifin’s whole life was full of revelations and miracles. One day he went to the house of a saint Sheikh Khawaja Ishaq, and was served with roasted birds for the breaking of the fast (Iftar). The sage ate them, collected their bones raised his hands in prayer, and the bones joined together, the birds came to life and flew out of the window. Baba Davood opines that Hazrat Makhdoom (R.A) were copious with divine gifts, the most revered offerings were as follows: a) Khashaf-i- Qaloob, b) Khashaf-i- Qaboor, c)Khashaf-i- Israr, d) Taie Haroof, and e) Taie Makan.
Sheikh Hamza (RA) was a great nature lover. Born among the mountains of Tujjar Shareef, he spent a lot of time in the hillock of Kohi Maran where he enjoyed the sweet breeze and the natural habitat of trees, grass, flowers etc. Due to continuous day and night worshipping, Sheikh Hamza (RA) often developed a constant headache. He was advised by Syed Ahmad Kirmani (RA) to have a strole in the natural environment where he could relieve the headache. Syed Jamaluddin Bukhari (RA) of Delhi who belonged to the Suharvardi Lineage of saints visited Madina Munnawara and there he dreamt a dream. He saw Prophet PBUH talking to a young man. Upon enquiring from Prophet it was told that the young man belonged to Kashmir and he is the son of Baba Usman and spiritually the offspring of Prophet PBUH. The prophet PBUH directed Syed Jamaluddin to go to Kashmir for the spiritual guidance of Sheikh Hamza (RA). He arrived in Kashmir in 932 AH and sheikh Hamza (RA) met him in the monastery of Malik Ahmad Yatoo. Syed Jamaluddin Bukhari trained and instructed him for six months and after that, he went back to Delhi.
Sheikh Hamza’s (RA) residence Makhdoom Mandaw was the centre of enlightenment and spiritual training because of which people from far and wide were attracted to it. He went to far-off places like Kamraj, Maraj where he constructed mosques and spread the teachings of Islam. He went to each corner of the valley to preach truth and brotherhood. Under his patronage, some famous mosques at Nadihal, Tujjar Shareef and Wuhangam of Beeru were built. Sheikh Hamza ra displayed many miracles and supernatural happenings through his spiritual powers. Hazrat Baba Dawood Khaki has penned Virdul Murideen in praise of his mentor and guide in which he has mentioned many miracles of his guide. Hazrat Moulana Feroze, Sheikh Hamza’s disciple once lost his way in a desert. Then Sheikh Hamza (RA) while staying at Srinagar came to his rescue. Baba Ali Raina Sheikh Hamza’s brother once was in Arabia for seeking knowledge.
There was a hot rumour about his death in the valley. Hearing this Sheikh Hamza told people that his brother is alright. Later it was proved right when Baba Ali returned back home safely. Haji Moosa a disciple of Sheikh Hamza (RA) went to pilgrimage along with twenty other fellows on foot. Their expenses lasted just ten days in the middle of the journey. Haji Moosa turned up to his mentor who helped him by appearing before him and handing him over a bag of gold coins. Many ailing persons recovered by his simple look. Some suffering from fatal and acute diseases were cured by his benediction. A lot of others suffering from paralysis, leprosy and hepatitis by cured by his prayers and blessings.
Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom (RA) passed away at Makhdoom Mandaw on the 24th of Saffar 984 AH at the age of 84. He was bedridden for a week only. Khwaja Muhammad Tahir gave ‘Gussul’ to his body and also led the funeral prayers. His funeral was taken to Kohi Maran from Eidgah in which Ali Shah Check the ruler of the time too participated. Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom (RA) didn’t marry and thus had no family. He lived a monastic life to lead people from darkness to light.