IS*42 Indian Saint 42.
In the Ramzan month just born, this week’s Envius Thoughts Sunday Story carries the life sketch of one of our noble Sufi Saints and I am sure our esteemed viewers from more than two hundred and ten countries in the world will enjoy this post and get some useful and valuable inputs on an Indian Saint.
My N in my name stands for NAGAPATTINAM-and my family name is also that! NAGAPATTINAM VISWANATHAN SUBBARAMAN is my full name!
My home town is Thanjavur and Nagore is hardly 80 kilometers from my home. Officially also I had to visit Nagapatnam district of which Nagore is a part. There is a NAGAUR near Bikaner, Rajasthan where I spent a couple of years. Hence today’s Sunday story is special for me!
Shahul Hamid is a mystic saint, Islamic preacher in Tamil Nadu and a 13th generation descendant of the renowned Sufi saint, Muhiyudin Abd al-Qadir al-Jalani. His tomb is located in the eastern coast of Bay of Bengal at Nagore, Tamil Nadu, India.
Shahul Hamid Badusha Kaadiri was born to Syed Hassan Kuthos Baba Kaadiri and Bibi Fathima at Manickpoor, in Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh. He had his Islamic education at Gwalior under the guidance of Mohammad Ghouse. He left on pilgrimage to Mecca and then moved to Maldives, Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu with his spiritual team. He led a simple and pious life, but believed to have performed lot of miracles giving him the name Nagore Andavar(meaning Sufi of Nagore). He was also called Meera Saheb.
Shahul Hamid Badusha Kaadiri cured King Achutappa Nayak(1529–1542 A.D.), a Hindu ruler of Thanjavur of his physical affliction believed to be caused by a sorcery. Shahul Hamid found a pigeon struck with pins in the palace attic to be the cause of the misery. He removed the pins from the pigeon resulting in the king’s health improvement. The ruler was satisfied and in return donated 200 acres of land to the entourage. In remembrance of the event, the practice of setting pigeons free is continued by worshippers. In the last quarter of 18th century, when the conflict between European powers, the nawab, the Maratha kings and Tipu Sultan of Mysore all came in focus of Thanjavur domain, the dargah was in focus for this strategic rivalry.
Architecture of Nagore Durgah
The tallest minaret of the dargah
It is believed that 60 percent of the shrines were built by Hindus Pratap Singh (1739–1763 A.D.), the Hindu Maratha ruler of Thanjavur, built the one of the five and tallest minaret (periya manara) with a height of 131 feet. This minaret is located on the west face just outside the main darwaza. This was erected 195 years after Shahul’s era. As a mark of respect people also venerate the sandals of the saint which are preserved in the shrine. The central part of the dargah is the tomb of the saint, Shahul Hamid, who is a direct descendant of Mohammed, through his grandson Hassan, through Abdel Khader Gilani, Sultanul Awliya, and approached through seven thresholds (four made of silver and three of gold). The saint also known as “Ganj e Sawai” meaning the doorway of one and a quarter. Whosoever asks will be bestowed with plenty “Barakah” as per the custom of giving a little more. Since the saint was celibate he is offered a “Sehra”, and not the customary chadar of flowers as at other dargahs. He was approached by a childless couple who were told they would be blessed with children but the first offspring would he his, meaning would be presented to him to adopt. There is a shrine for Shahul’s adopted son Yusuf and wife Ceytu Sultan (Sayid Sultan) Bibi. The doors of the shrines are open only during early morning and evening. Currently there are approximately 1500 male descendants, who are called Mujawars. There is a hereditary Khalifa, from among the descendants of the saint Yusuf (the adopted son, who is a saint in his own right). He is recognized as the first hereditary khalifa, the first born of the first born. This khalifa performs all the official religious duties. The work of administration and maintenance is the responsibility of a committee who operate under a scheme decreed by the Madras High Court.
There is big tank within the precincts, called “Shifa gunta”, and its waters are held sacred. Anyone bathing therein is cured of many maladies. In the Nakaiyanthathi, the Tamil devotional poems, there is a mention about the tank as a haven of sweetness and comfort bedecked with the auspicious lotus.
There are other shrines built in his honour in Penang (Malaysia) and Singapore.The Singapore dargah has been built during 1827 and 1830 A.D. and has been declared a national monument. The above shrines along with the Masjid Jame at Chulia in Singapore and the Keramat Data Koya in Penang are influenced by the style of Nagore Durgah.]
Kanduri festival is a 14‑day event celebrated for the annual urs(anniversary) of the saint. The urs is celebrated in commemoration of the anniversary of the saint’s death, and pilgrims participate in the rituals and rites. The word kanduri is derived from Persian word for table cloth. The festival is also called Qadir Wali Ke Fande festival. A saffron flag carrying ceremony is also observed when the flag is carried in procession from the devotee’s house after a procession in streets and hoisted on a tree known as Fande ka Fahad. The Islamic rites include the recitation of Quaranic verses and observance of Fatiha ritual. The main attraction of the festival is the presence of Fakhir Jamas(mendicant priests) and the disciples of the saint who witness the festival. On the 9th day of Jamathul Akhir month, at 10 p.m., one of the disciples (called pir) is chosen for the spiritual exercise of offering prayers to the saint. The pir throws lemons at the end of the prayers on the devotees, which is believed to provide miraculous relief to worldly sorrows. The festival is also seen as a sacred exchange between Hindus and Muslims expressing solidarity of mixed faith in the region. In the evening of the ninth day of Akhir month, the chariot containing sandal paste is pulled by the pilgrims and devotees accompanied by banging of instruments across the streets of Nagore. The sandal paste is received by the saint’s descendants and used to anoint the on the Rowla Sharif of the saint by the spiritual successor (Khalifa) of the dargaha.
Worship and Rituals
Dargah is a commonplace of veneration of devotees of various religious faiths. Muslims believe that the saint is one who is close to God, hence they seek assistance either asking God through this holy saint’s closeness that he has to God, or, ask the saint himself based on the powers that God has bestowed upon the saint, due to his closeness and acts of worships he has done in his lifetime. The reason being is that Muslims believe that a soul doesn’t cease to exist after death, but instead it transcends to the next realm. A realm where the soul is more powerful, as it is no more bound to the physical needs and requirement such as hunger, thirst and tiredness. This isn’t an act that ascribes a partner to God (commonly known as Shirk), as the fundamental belief is that all powers are from the one and only, the most powerful God.
Other worship practices that can be found there, but not necessarily affiliated to Islam are offering flags and lighting lamps of ghee at the saint’s tomb. Devotees shave their heads near the tank and offer tin or silver-plated facsimiles of body parts, houses, sailboats matching their material needs.
With this we end this Sunday special story and we shall meet tomorrow as usual. Till then BYE!