Book review of Sufi Saints of Kashmir (English) Amazon.com and Tazkira Salikin-i-Kashmir (Urdu) Usman Publishers Gawkadal Srinagar (Author: Sayid Ashraf Shah)
Book: Sufi Saints of Kashmir
Author: Sayid Ashraf Shah
Publisher: Partridge India (Panguin)
Order from: http://www.partridgepublishing.com/india
ISBN: Soft cover: 978-1-4828-4062-9
Year of Publication: 2014
Book: Tazkira Salikin-i-Kashmir
Publisher: Shaikh Usman & Sons Book sellers Gawkadal Srinagar
Year of Publication: 2015
In these books the gist from the age-old rare manuscripts makes startling revelations and provides insight into many aspects of our rich cultural heritage that has shaped our thoughts and beliefs over the centuries.
Part I makes a startling assertion about the earliest introduction of Islam in Kashmir in the very time of the Prophet Mohammad (PBH), when two of his companions (Sahabis) visited Kashmir and King Rana Dutta adopted simplicity and fixed one tenth of his revenue (ushur) for the poor. Another handwritten manuscript reveals abour burial date of Sayid Baqir at Thune village in Wusan Kangan in 655 AH (A century earlier than the arrival of Hazrat Bulbul Shah, the former had arrived here along with 1200 Sayids. It carries an introduction by late Mubarak Shah Fitrat – a versatile scholar. The subjects like introduction of Islam in Kashmir and the details of the fourteen orders (silsilas) that sprang from the Prophet (PBUH) and the orders that became popular in Kashmir like Suhrawardya, Qadirya, Kubravya, Chishtya and Naqshbandya, are covered in the book. A brief life sketch with lineage of Sayid Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA) Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (RA), Baihaqi Sayids, and the details of descendents of Naqshbandi, Qadiri and Rishi orders have been included.
Part II covers various topics with introduction from the compiler. The book is based on the Urdu translation of the Persian poetry – MAJMOOA MASMOOA – the related stories written by Pirzada Ghulam Rasool Shaiva Zunimari ( migrated later to Gamroo Bandipora), father of the renowned historian of Kashmir Pir Hasan Shah Fazili Khoihami. The Urdu translation was accomplished by late Kh. Nazir Ahmad Kashtwari (Retd. Under Secretary General Department J&K Govt.). The subjects cover praises of Allah, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), the four Khalifas (RA), Hazrat Sulta-ul Arifeen Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom Kashmiri (RA), conversion of Ganesh Koul the Qanoongo to Islam at the hands of Sheikh Hamza (RA), and the miracles of the disciples and their descendents. It has also an advice by the author to his sons. The Persian poetry of the manuscript has been ranked at par to the Masnavi of Maulana Rumi (RA).
Part III contains topics with introduction by Dr. A.R.War. It covers brief biographies of the Sufi Saints referred in the second volume. It also contains the spiritual lineages (Shajras) of Suhrawardya, Qadirya, Shazilya, Madinya, Chishtya, Naqshbandya orders – copied from the original handwritten manuscripts of Sheikh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlavi (RA), Sheikh Murad Naqshbandi (RA) – the preceptor of the historian Kh. Azam Dedamari; Sheikh Baba Daud Khaki, etc. The lineage of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi from Hazrat Umar(RA) to his descendants who migrated and settled in Kashmir with a life sketch of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi Mujaddid Alf Sani (RA) is alo covered in the book. The family trees of Qadiris, Ahmadi Farouqis, Fazilis etc, is also recorded in the book. The compiling of the material for the book has called for a sustained effort on part of the compiler for decades together, and is an effort to bring to limelight the prevalent Sufi culture in Kashmir, which has shaped the humble, tolerant, hospitable and peace-loving nature of its inhabitants over the past few centuries.