Monday, 29 October 2012

Meher Ali Shah, and the Light of Golra Sharif


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Meher Ali Shah
ReligionIslam, specifically the ChishtiSufi order
Personal
Born14 April 1859
Golra Sharif
DiedMay 1937 (aged 78)
Golra Sharif
Senior posting
Based inGolra Sharif
TitlePir
PredecessorHazrat Khawaja Shams-ud-din Sialvi
SuccessorPir Syed Ghulam Mehi ud Din
Meher Ali Shah (Urduپیر م‍ﮩ‍رعلى شاه ) was born 14 April 1859 (1 Ramadan, 1275 A.H.) inGolra Sharif,[1] which is located midway between Rawalpindi and Islamabad, in present-dayPakistan. The time just before his birth saw the Indian Rebellion of 1857 fought between the British and the sepoys allied with seven of the Princely states. He is renowned as aSufi saint, a great Hanafi scholar upholding the position of Abdul-Haqq Dehlavi, and especially for being at the forefront of the anti-Ahmadiyya movement. He wrote several books, most notably Saif e Chishtiyai, (The Sword of the Chishtis), a polemical work regarding the unorthodoxy and the heresy of the Ahmadiyya movement of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

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[edit]Early childhood

Shah reported that he loved seclusion since childhood, feeling uncomfortable in the midst of throngs of people, and finding deserted places serene. Quite often, he said, he would quietly leave the house at night after everyone else had gone to bed, and spend much of the night wandering the nearby wooded ravines. As he grew, he started experiencing a feeling of such unusual heat within his body that he was sometimes compelled — even on cold winter nights — to bathe in the ice-cold water of the canal, and also rub pieces of ice on his body. When he left his room late at night after finishing his studies, he used to experience the same kind of comfort from contact with the cold mountain air that a thirsty person normally derives from cool water at the height of summer. Sufis believe such heat is generated due to excessive amounts of Zikr or Dhikr, an Islamic practice that focuses on the remembrance of God.

[edit]Early education

Shah received his early education about the Quran at his family khanqah (Sufi hospice) and was given classes in Urdu and Persian in the local madrasah. He completed his intermediate level religious education here. His stay in this madrasah was for about two and a half years.
After completing his education at Angah at the age of 15 from Mianwaddal family of Hafiz Rehmatullah, he decided to continue further studies in the United Provinces (U.P) of India. In 1874 Shah traveled to different parts of India such as KanpurAligarh and Saharanpur. Next he stayed in Aligarh at the madrasah of Maulana Lutfullah of Aligarh for two and a half years.

[edit]Marriage

When Shah returned home after completing his studies, he married the daughter of Charagh Ali Shah who belonged to his mother’s family living in the town of Hasan Abdal, a few miles away from Golra Sharif.

[edit]Works

  1. Tahqiq-ul-Haq Fi Kalima-tul-Haq (The Truth about Kalima-tul-Haq)
  2. Shamsul Hidayah
  3. Saif-e-Chishtiya
  4. I’la Kalimatillah Fi Bayan-e-Wa Ma Uhilla Bihi Legharillah
  5. AlFatuhat-us-Samadiyyah (Divine Bounties)
  6. Tasfiah Mabain Sunni Wa Shi’ah
  7. Fatawa-e-Mehria
  8. Mulfuzaat-e-Mehria (Sayings of Meher Ali Shah)

[edit]Sufi of the Chishti Order

Shah was a disciple and Khalifa of Shams-ud-din in the Silsila-e-Chishtia Nizamiyah.[2] His biography, Meher-e-Muneer, records that he was also made a khalifa by Haji Imdadullah Muhaajir Makki, when he visited the latter in Mecca. Makki advised him to return to India, where a great storm was about to rise against Islam, which Shah must crush. Makki is believed by some to have been predicting the rise of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

Mausoleum of Meher Ali Shah with Mosque of Golra Sharif


Printed copy of a letter written in Urdu by philosopher Muhammad Iqbal to Shah requesting information about the "Ibn Arabi" concept of Space and Time.

[edit]Supporter of Wahdat-ul-Wujood (The Unity of Existence)

Shah was a supporter of Ibn Arabi's ideology of Wahdat-ul-Wujood but he made a distinction between the creation and the creator (as did Ibn Arabi).[3] He also wrote explaining the "Unity of Being" doctrine of Ibn Arabi.
Like his comrade Qazi Mian Muhammad Amjad, he was an authority on Ibn Arabi and his 37-volume masterpiece The Meccan Illuminations (Al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya).
In 1933, Shah was absorbed in his meditation and mystic trances. That year the philosopherMuhammad Iqbal had to give a lecture at Cambridge University on Ibn Arabi's concept of Space and Time. He wrote a letter to Shah stating that now there was nobody in all ofHindustan whom he could consult in this matter, and requesting him to tell about Ibn Arabi's work. In this letter Iqbal stated with respect that he knew he was disturbing Shah's meditations, but as his motive was the service of Islam, therefore he dared to ask him a question. Shah however, due to his meditation and bad health, could not reply.[4]

[edit]Anti-Ahmadiyya preaching

Shah was settled in Hijaz by the end of nineteenth century; Muhajir Makki of Makkah appointed him to go back to India and to fight the new movement of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. So he returned and campaigned against the Ahmadiyya, writing books such as Saif e Chistiya which was critical of the movement. Shah also challenged Ahmad to a public debate in Lahore. Ahmad had previously challenged him in writing a commentary about the Quran.

[edit]Relationship with the Deobandis

Shah also wrote against the Deobandis. He debated two Deobandis, Ahmad Ali Vabacharan and Ghulamullah Khan, and endorsed Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi's fatwa against the Deobandi school's four leaders: Ashraf Ali ThanwiRashid Ahmad al-GangohiKhalil al-Ambethawi al-Saharanpuri, and Qasim al-Nanautawi.

[edit]References

  1. ^ Mehr Muneer Biography of Meher Ali Shah
  2. ^ www.thelightofgolrasharif.com
  3. ^ Mulfuzaat -e- Mehrya by Meher Ali Shah
  4. ^ "Mehr Muneer" a Biography of Meher Ali shah by Maulana Faiz Ahmed

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