ABOUT CHRONOGRAMS

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ABOUT CHRONOGRAMS

This is in reference to the article by ZGM, “Of Persian Chronograms” in GK Sunday Special dtd. Dec. 09, 2012.

It is said that world came into being through ‘Spoken Word, Sound, Harmony and Vibration.’ The numbers are ancient. “Allah has kept a count of everything- Holy Quran.” The science of numbers goes back to pre-historic days, for the ancients knew it long before the pyramids were built. Tradition says that God taught it to a school of Angels, who in turn taught it to Adam and Noah. The Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras who combined the mathematical disciplines of the Arabic, Druid, Phoenician, Egyptian and Essene sciences. Since then it has continued to evolve. The science of numbers has now assumed diverse applications.

Walter B. Gibson says, “The science of numbers is the practical application of the fundamental laws of mathematics to the material existence of man.”

The Arabic (even Hebrew) alphabets have been assigned particular numbers since earliest times. The number 786 accounts for ‘Bismillah-i-rahman-i-rahim.’ The “tawiz”-talismans used to be written in numbers calculated from Ayat of the Holy Quran. The practice of converting words into numbers was later adopted in Persian language too. This resulted into formation of chronograms-appropriate couplets of vital events like date of death, coronation, laying foundation stones etc., containing words, which sum up to the date of the important event. These chronograms would also be inscribed on tomb-stones and were also recorded in biographies and history books.

Among the scholars Kh. Azam Dedamari-the historian saint used to compose chronograms of  most of the saints mentioned in his book ‘Waqat-i-Kashmir’. Even the names of all the books written by him sum up to their date of writing like Waqat-i-Kashmir-1148 AH, Qawaid-ul-Mashaikh-1136AH, Asbat-ul-Jahar -1158 AH, Tajrabat-ul-Talibin-1126 AH, Ashjar-ul-Khuld- 1140 AH, Wasail-ul Azam etc. He started to write ‘Waqat-i-Kashmir’ in 1148 AH and due to ill-health he completed it in ten long years and composed its start and end like this:

“Shud sal waridati Kashmir-Ba name kitab “Waqat-i-Kashmir”

Agar pursand Tarikhash chisan yaft- Biguft tartib “Abwab-ul-janan” yaft.

Kh Azam Dedamari died in 1179 AH on 10th Muharram. Molvi Hidayatullah Mufti writes that Kh Azam Dedamari was ailing for a long time due to kidney trouble. When a person asked his hakim about his ailment, the hakim said , “Zaf-i-Gurdah” i.e. weakness of kidneys. On this Kh Azam said, “Think that this is my date of death.”

Agar pursand Azam az chi murdah- Bigo sal-i-wafatash “Zaf-i-Gurdah”

Zi kheel-Malik ba rasm- dua- Khudaish biamarzad amad vida.

Among  contemporary scholars was Pirzada Ghulam Hasan Masoodi, who composed chronograms of many persons with a great reluctance but it is a matter of great concern that these scholars of this art have left no successor. The art seems to be dying with their burial. It would be a great contribution if the chronograms inscribed on different tomb-stones are collected in a book form, giving description and location with each of these. This may preserve these vital clues to our history, which are vanishing with the tantalization of our age old graveyards that are getting converted to colonies due to pressure of urbanization and our disregard to preserve our heritage.

Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili

About shahishaharyar

Chartered civil engineer,Fellow institution of engineers India, Member Indian road congress,Member American society of civil engineers, Presented over 70 papers in various seminars,published books over 36 on environment,history, sufi saints, genealogy,free lance writer, travelled in India and abroad.

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