Meeting of the sovereign hearts at Ajmer Sharif | The Financial Express

Meeting of the sovereign hearts at Ajmer Sharif

SultanShamsuddin Altamash(Iltutmish) was on the first seeker from the Slave dynasty royal household to become the spiritual student and perform the famous Ziyarat visit to the Sacred Sufi Shrine of Ajmer Sharif in 1332 to commemorate the sacred memory as well as experience the teachings of the Sufi Saint.

Meeting of the sovereign hearts at Ajmer Sharif
The holy Sufi shrine of Ajmer Dargah Sharif has been an important spiritual pilgrimage center for both PM Hasina and her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for more than half a century.

By Haji Syed Salman Chishty

“Only those who are called by Khawaja Gharib Nawaz(r), Would make it to pay their Respect and Salaam at the sacred Sufi Courtyard and Spiritual Darbar of Ajmer Dargah Sharif.” 

This Spiritual anecdote is omnipresence in the ziyarat visits of all seekers, devotees, visitors and wanderers on mystical quest or be it Presidents, Prime Ministers, Head of States, Kings and Queens since 12th Century to the 21st Century as last glorious 800 years sacred history of Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty(r) Dargah Ajmer Sharif, have been a blessed seat of Chishty Sufi Order in South Asia which has its foundational roots in the sacred philosophy of Unconditional Love.

“Love towards All, Malice towards None” 

Khawaja Gharib Nawaz(r) – Ajmer Sharif

SultanShamsuddin Altamash(Iltutmish) was on the first seeker from the Slave dynasty royal household to become the spiritual student and perform the famous Ziyarat visit to the Sacred Sufi Shrine of Ajmer Sharif in 1332 to commemorate the sacred memory as well as experience the teachings of the Sufi Saint. This tradition has been practiced for the last 800 years,as this year Ajmer Dargah Sharif completed 810 years of observing the annual Urs Muabrak traditions of Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty(r).

In a similar way, the early Mughal Emperor Mohammad JalaluddinAkbar, visited the revered Sufi shrine of Ajmer Sharif no less than fourteen times during his reign and notably as mentioned in Akbar Nama walked bare-foot from Agra to the Sufi shrine of Ajmer Dargah to pray for a child. He also renovated and added a few other historical buildings inside the sacred premises of the sanctum sanctorum in 1579. Later on, Emperor Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Sufi Princess Jahanara later added to the various buildings and monuments inside the huge Ajmer Dargah Sharif Sufi Shrine complex. An elegant covering over the dargah sharif was constructed in 1800 by the Maharaja of Baroda. Almost every ruler of India including all Maharajas, Rajas,Nawabs and Nizam’s of the princely states of India used to visit the Ajmer Sharif on a regular basis has visited to the shrine who offered a Ghilaf Muabrak (chaddar/shawl), Langar food distribution among other philanthropic services which serve all with Unconditional Love.

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When British imperialists ruled over India, Queen Mary had offered a Ghilaf Mubarak and commissioned a water tank named as “Queen Mary Hauz” for ablution and ritual cleansing before praying and ziyarat of Dargah Sharif at the shrines complex. According to historians, Queen Victoria visited the shrine to pay homage to Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty(r). Lord Curzon, a viceroy of British India, also visited Ajmer Sharif and paid tribute to the Sufi Saint of Ajmer Sharif.

In the contemporary times since 1922, from respected Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi Ji, to majority of the Prime Ministers and Presidents of India including respected former PM Srimati Indira Gandhi ji, Shri Rajiv Gandhi ji, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji to present day Hon’ PM Shri Narendra Modi ji all have been sending Ghilaf Mubarak (Chaddar Sharif) along with Message of Peace to the Nation on the annual Urs Mubarak gathering which is attended by over a million seekers every year. Even former president of the United States of America, Barack Obama sent a ‘Ghilaf Muabrak (chaadar) to Ajmer Dargah Sharif in 2013. He was the first US president to send a ‘Chaadar’ along with a Letter of Peace.

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Recently, on February 2021 before the fall of elected Government of Afghanistan, respected Mohammad Ashraf Ghani saheb – President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan had also sent a Ghilaf Mubarak with a Letter of Peace to Ajmer Dargah Sharif, again a first by an Afghan Head of State in recent times.

Traditionally, all the Head of States and Leadership in the Indian Sub-Continent including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives have been extending their deep reverence and respect towards Ajmer Dargah Sharif every year.

In continuation of such historical, sacred spiritual and people to people understandings of mutual respect and co-operations the upcoming visit of Hon Prime Minister of Bangladesh Shaikh Hasina saheba to Ajmer Dargah Sharif on 8th September 2022 is very significant in the contemporary times with Geo-Political impact as well as a clear message of Peace and Importance of Peace Pilgrimages as part diplomatic, bilateral relationships on global scale from India and Bangladesh to the World.

The holy Sufi shrine of Ajmer Dargah Sharif has been an important spiritual pilgrimage center for both PM Hasina and her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for more than half a century. PM Shaikh Hasina has been to Ajmer Sharif in the past, her most recent visit being in 2017 and offered ‘Chadar’ with prayers of peace at the revered Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty popularly known as Khawaja Gharib Nawaz among masses across Indian Sub- Continent and beyond. She had also visited the shrine in 2010 when she became the prime minister of her country for the 2nd time. PM Shaikh Hasina saheba has been PM of the country consecutively since 2009, winning elections in 2014 and 2018.

PM Hasina had been a regular visitor also to the famous Dargah Sharif of Nizamuddin Awliya during her stay in Delhi from 1975 to 1981 after the assassination of her father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi had given asylum to Sheikh Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana as Bangladesh underwent a tumultuous time after the killing of Sheikh Mujibur, the man responsible for the creation of the country.

In Bangladesh, the sacred city of Sylhet Holds an important respect for the Sufi Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal is a famous Sufi Saint in the country similar to Ajmer Sharif for India. Baba Shah Jalal influence and prestige are most noticeable among Bangladesh Sufis, Saints and Peace Building Initiatives. Hazrat Shah Jalal was awarded many adjectives in the spiritual society of Bengal due to his multifaceted qualities and spiritual ability. In the region of Bengal, the love and teachings of Baba Shah Jalal are widespread among the people irrespective of religion, caste, and class. Although He left the worldly abode many years ago, the revered Sufi Shrine in Sylhet and his teachings, memory and patterns still exist in Bangladesh. The whole of Bangladesh is illuminated by the loving teachings of Hazrat Shah Jalal. The influence of Hazrat Shah Jalal is found in the religious, social, political, economic life, folk literature, education, culture, and tradition of the people of this country. The various installations and inscriptions of the rulers of Bengal, the naming of the place named after Hazrat Shah Jalal and the circulation of coins prove it. Whoever is the political ruler of Bangladesh, Hazrat Shah Jalal, with respect and devotion in the heart of the ordinary people irrespective of religion and caste, is the uncrowned emperor of this region. Moreover, Sylhet is called the spiritual capital and holy land of Bangladesh.

 Acknowledging the Spiritual centers of Bangladesh, in the near future engagements between India and Bangladesh, a great gesture to declare Ajmer Sharif and Sylhet as Sufi Sister Twin Cities between our nations it shall be a global message of Peace and Unity among ideal neighboring states from the World can learn much to bridge the gap of missing links on Diplomatic as well as Bilateral Relationship between nations giving importance on people-to-people relationships.

Her visit to India will focus on issues like connectivity and trade. Both sides are keen to restore the pre-1965 rail links and other connectivity links. During the visit of PM Modi to Bangladesh in March 2021, the two Prime Ministers inaugurated the third passenger train service ‘Mitali Express’ on the Dhaka-New Jalpaiguri-Dhaka route through the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link.

The four-time Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Hasina last visited Delhi in October of 2019 and then Kolkata in November 2019 to witness the pink ball test cricket match between India and Bangladesh. PM Modi and PM Hasina also met on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2019 to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, India had extended support by sending India made vaccines to the country. In 2021, the Government of India gifted 3.3 million Covid Shield (Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines) to Bangladesh to assist in its efforts to fight against the pandemic.

Ahead of her visit to Ajmer Sharif while in New Delhi, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that India is a tested friend that played a crucial role in the nation-building process of her country, we always remember their contribution during our 1971 war.

PM Hasina said that India is a “tested” friend and added that the neighborhood is a priority to her as well. She further said that it’s important “to improve our business, trade and our bonding”.

PM Hasina highlighted that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Modi and the then-President Ram Nath Kovind visited Bangladesh when Bangladesh was celebrating the birth centenary of Father of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, also Hasina’s father.

She said, “It is important and I really thank Prime Minister Modi and also your honorable president. Both of them visited Bangladesh when we were celebrating our father of the nation birth centenary and also our independence, 50 years of our Independence Day, and our friendship with India…That their visit at such a time, even that time there was a Covid-19 but this pandemic, but beside that both of them honored us, honored our people.”

Let us conclude our article by sharing Hon’ PM of India Narendra Modi ji’s opening remarks at the historic World Sufi Forum which was held at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi in 2016:

“Its magnificent shrines include the dargahs of great Sufi saints Mehboob-e-Ilahi and Hazrat Bakhtiyar Kaki,  that draw people from all faiths and all corners of the world.

In the different settings of Saharan Africa or in Southeast Asia, in Turkey or in Central Asia, in Iran or India, Sufism reflected the universal human desire to go beyond the practice and precepts of religion for a deeper unity with the Almighty.

And, in that spiritual and mystical enquiry, Sufis experienced the universal message of Almighty:

That perfection in human life is reflected in the qualities that are dear to God.

That all are creations of God; and, that if we love God, we must also love all his creations.

As Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya said, “Almighty holds dear those who love Him for the sake of human beings, and those who love human beings for the sake of Almighty.”

This is the message of oneness of humanity, of all of Almighty’s creations.

For the Sufis, therefore, service to God meant service to humanity.

In the words of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, of all the worships, the worship that pleases the Almighty God the most is the grant of relief to the humble and the oppressed.

In a beautiful imagery of human values, he said, human beings must have the affection of the Sun, the generosity of the river and the hospitality of the earth, because they benefit us all, without discrimination and distinction among people.And, its humanism also upheld the place and status of women in society.

Let us be inspired by the message of Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti, with your spiritual light, dissolve the clouds of discord and war and spread goodwill, peace, and harmony among the people.”

Closing our article with the Last Sermon/Spiritual Teachings of Hazret Khawaja Moinudeen Hasan Chishty(r)40 days before departing from this world (1233 A.D.)which became the foundation of Chishty Sufi Order across the world since last 800 years:

“Love all and hate none.”

Mere talk of peace will avail you naught.

Mere talk of Allah and religion will not take you far.

Bring out all the latent powers of your being and

reveal the full magnificence of your immortal self.

Be surcharged with peace and joy, and scatter

them wherever you are and wherever you go.

Be a blazing fire of Truth; be a beauteous blossom

of love; and be a soothing balm of peace.

With your spiritual light, dispel the darkness of

ignorance; dissolve the clouds of discord and war,

and spread goodwill, peace and harmony among

the people. Never seek any help, charity or favors

from anybody except God. Never go to the courts

of kings and rulers, but never refuse to bless

and help the needy and the poor, the widow

and the orphan, if they come to your door.

This is your Mission of Peace, to serve the people…

Carry it out dutifully and courageously

so that I, as your Pir-O-Murshid (spiritual guide),

may not be ashamed of any shortcomings on your

part before Almighty Allah and our

holy predecessors on the Day of Judgment.”

Hazret Khawaja Moinudeen Hasan Chishty(ra)

 (Author is Gaddi Nashin – Dargah Ajmer Sharif, Chairman – Chishty Foundation. Twitter: @sufimusafir, Instagram: @sufimusafir, Web: chishtyfoundation.org

Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online. Reproducing this content without permission is prohibited.)

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