Makhdoom Sahab, the saint Kashmir remembers for 440 years

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by Ishtiyak Magray

SRINAGAR: Thousands of devotees thronged the shrine of Makhdoom Sahib to observe the Urs of the revered saint. The Urs, the yearly memorial celebrations is an elaborate 13 days affair, of which one night into prayers.

Braving bone chilling cold, the devotees held Shab Khani, the night long prayers, at the shrine located at Hari Parbat, histrically known more as Koh-e-Maraan. It is overseen by the Fort built during the Afghan era, almost two centuries after the saint passed away.

Devotees praying at Mukhdoom Sahab. KL Image: Shuaib WAni

People usually pay obeisance at the shrine for all days of Urs. They also make donations for the upkeep of the shrine and the development of the allied infrastructure. The donations are collected by the Wakf Board, the custodian institution of the Muslims shrines.

Coming from all over the valley, the devotees remained engaged in supplications besides offering prayer five times.

The whole area in and outside the shrine wore a festive look as several stalls, selling eatables and other articles such as prayer caps and religious books were set up. The most selling eatable is Halwa-Purath.

The saint, popularly known as Makhdoom Sahib or Sultan-ul-Arifeen, is one of the venerated sages of the summer capital and his followers have been paying obeisance at the shrin for more than 440 years now.

Makhdoom Sahib lived in the sixteenth century and was born as Hamza Mukhdoom. He hailed from Tujjar Sharif in Sopore. The sage, however, spent most of his lifetime praying at the mountain where his shrine is currently located. Open source information suggests that the young saint studied in the Shamsi Chak monastery for a year, and later studied jurisprudence, tradition, philosophy, logics, ethics and mysticism in a madrassa founded by Ismail Kubrawi. In 1576, when he passed away, he was of the age of 82 yars.

On his Urs, special prayesr are being offered at various other places. Apart from Mukhdoom Sahab, the special praying meetings are also arranged in Tujar – where there is a shrine also, and Aham Sharief in Bandipore. The saint, histories suggest, has prayed for some time at the latter places as well.

Given the massive following of the saint, authorities are ensuring all the arrangements are in place, They are holding special meeting at administrative level to ensure the devotees do not face any problems during the Urs. Chief Minsiyer Mehbooba Mufti has already greeted the people on the occasion of Urs. She said Kashmir is eternally grateful to the saint for his contribution in “the social, educational and spiritual awakening of the people here.”

Authorities had linked the shrine with the main road through a cable car. However, it is mostly in disuse as people avoid flying above the dead. The cable car passed through Mal Khah, one of Kashmir’s major Muslim cemeteries.

The Urs of saint offers a huge audience to the political leaders as well.

This year JKLF leader Yasin Malik visited the shrine and talked to the devotees who had assembled for the afternoon prayers. He accused the pro India parties for all the miseries Kashmiris are facing, his spokesman said.

JKLF leaders speaking to the devotees at Mukhdoom Sahab in Srinagar. Party photo

“We have forgotten the teachings of these spiritual leaders and because of this ignorance we are today suffering in our daily lives,” Malik said. “It was this great thinker and spiritual leader who besides providing us the much needed religious and spiritual teachings also taught us the way of living with dignity and honor and resisting falsehood and tyranny.”

Appealing for religious tolerance among the natives of Kashmir across Maslaki divisions, Malik promoting mutual brotherhood and unity is the only solution that can eradicate our miseries.

Taking a dig on all pro-India political parties and politicians of the state, JKLF chairman said as a matter of fact it is these pro-India politicians and their political parties which are responsible for all miseries Kashmiris are facing from the last 70 years. “The pro-India politicians and their parties are promoting a politics of deception after every six years we see a change in their theatrical role,” Malik said, “One (party) assuming power and another taking the charge of opposition.”

In opposition, Malik said, they chant freedom and human rights but as soon they get power, they become agents of oppression and in both their avatars fulfill their selfish goals, class or sectional interests. “Politicians wearing green robes and raising deceitful slogans betrayed common people in the name of Azadi and human rights but as soon they got power, they changed their colours and functioned as tools of oppression,” Malik said.

Malik said the Jammu Kashmir is fighting a war for their “dignity, identity and liberation”, which is “based on truth and justice”.

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