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This section provides the information about Great Kashmiris !

Some Great Kashmiris:

  1. Sir Mohammad Iqbal
  2. Gani Kashmiri
  3. Shah-e-Hamdan
  4. Shaikh Nooruddin Wali
  5. Habba Khatoon
  6. Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri
  7. Khwaja Abdul Karim Kashmiri
  8. Lalla Ded
  9. Makhdoom Sahib
  10. Baba Reshi
  11. Mehjoor


Kashmiri Greats

  1. Sir Mohammad Iqbal :
    Among the Kashmiris of International repute, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, the greatest poet and philosopher of the continent, tops the list. Iqbal's ancestors were the Kasmiri  Pandits of the Saproo family who, after embracing Islam, cam be known as the Sheikhs. His grandfather migrated to Sialkot in order to explore the better avenues of livelihood and then settled there permanently. Iqbal always boasted of being a Kashmiri and used to introduce himself in these words: 'The seeds of this flower are from the flower-gardens of Kashmir" . The plight of Kashmiris always dominated Iqbal's thinking which prompted him to take' active part in the freedom struggle of Kashmir. He loved his ancestral land immensely and did his utmost to make its inhabitants realize the true value of freedom and the dignity in struggling for it. For higher education Dr. Iqbal had to go Lahore where he settled permanently. His tomb is situated adjacent to the famous Shahi Masjid in Lahore (Pakistan). All foreign delegates and dignitaries visiting Lahore visit his tomb and pay homage to this world famous philosopher-poet.
    Besides Iqbal, Kashmir has produced numerous philosophers , intellectuals and poets who in their own age were considered the great literary figures. These include Gani Kashmiri,
    Shaikh Nooruddin Wali, Shah-e - Hamdan, Habba Khatoon, Rasul Mir, Wahab Khar, Mehjoor, Abdul Ahad Azad, Agha Hashar Kashmiri and
    Agha Shoorish Kashmiri.
  2. Amir-e-Kabir Shah-e-Hamdan:
    Many saints came to the valley of Kashmir to preach and to propagate Islam, to name a few were: Bulbul Shah, Syed Jalal Uddin Bukhari, Syed Taj Uddin, Syed Hussain Samnani, and Yousuf. But the one who lit the torch of monotheism, in reality was Hazrat Amir-e-Kabir Sahah-e-Hamdan.

    His name was Ali, and titles were Amir-e-Kabir, Ali Sa'ani, and Mir. Besides them, the Chroniclers had mentioned several other titles: Qutub-e-Zaman, Sheikh-e-Salikan-e-Jehan, Qutub-Ul-Aktab, Moih-Ul-Ambiya-o-Ul-Mursaleen, Afzal-Ul-Muhaq-e-qeen-o-Akmal-Ul-Mudaq-e-qeen, Al-Sheiyookh-Ul-Kamil, Akmal-Ul-Muhaqqiq-Ul-Hamadani etc.

    He traced his patrimony through his father, Syed Shahab Uddin, to Imam Zain-ul-Abedein and finally to Hazrat Ali. His mother, Syeda Fatimah, with seventeen links, reached the Prophet.

    Syed Hamdani came from an educated family. He was intelligent and quick of mind, and read the holy Qu'ran, under the care of his maternal uncle, Hazrat Ala-Uddin and from him too he took his lessons on subjects outer and intrinsic for a period of thirteen years.

    He fought with Amir-e-Temur and so moved to Kashmir with seven hundred Syeds and his followers, during the reign of King Shahab-Uddin. He had already sent two of his followers: Syed Taj Uddin Samnani and Mir Syed Hasan Samnani to take stock of the situation. The ruler of Kashmir became the follower of Mir Syed Hasan Samnani and because of the Kings concurrence he entered Kashmir with a large following. The King and heir apparent, Qutub Uddin, received him warmly. At that time the Kashmir ruler was on war with Firoz Tughlaq and because of his efforts the parties came to terms.

    Shah Hamdan started the propagation movement of the Islam in Kashmir in an organized manner. The Kashmiri Muslims were unaware of the Deeni spirit before his arrival there. The reason being, the people, who had initiated the Movement, were saintly by nature and carried a deep influence of the Hinduism and the Buddhism. In-spite of having been turned Muslims they still observed many local rites and practices. Shah Hamdan did not stay in the valley permanently but visited on various occasions. First during the reign of Sultan Shahab Uddin in 774 Hijri he came, stayed for six months and left it. Second, he visited in 781 Hijri when Qutub Uddin was the ruler, stayed for a year and tried to extend the Movement to every nook and corner of Kashmir, returned to Turkistan via Ladakh in 783 Hijri. Third, he visited in 785, with the intention to stay for a longer period but had to return earlier owing to illness.

    Shah Hamadan was a Multi-dimensional personality. He was a social reformer besides being a preacher. Among the seven hundred followers, who accompanied him to Kashmir, were men of arts and crafts who flourished here? They popularized Shawl-making, cloth-weaving, pottery and calligraphy. Allama Iqbal admits that because of Shah Hamadan the wonderful arts and crafts turned Kashmir into a mini Iran and brought about a revolution in the thinking process of the people.

    Shah Hamadan's greatest contribution was the character building of the people to liberate them from the fear of the new system and their love for the older one. He imbibed true awakening and taught the Shairah. The Kashmiri people still had some of the Hindu beliefs; visited the temples and revered the Brahmins. The rulers wore Hindu dresses, and observed practices Un-Islamic in nature. On his instructions the rulers abandoned Un-Islamic dress and took to long cloaks similar to the ones wore by the Turkish rulers. Orders of the Shairah were made popular and people were inspired to learn more about Islam. For purpose of building the character of the Muslims he practiced truthfulness and fearlessness. He even scolded the contemporary rulers on their Un-Islamic activities. Sultan Qutub Uddin had two real sisters as wives. He reprimanded him and asked to divorce one of them. He obeyed. He made Islamic teachings known to the people in Kashmir, improved their beliefs, made efforts for the building of their character and laid down a fool-proof system for the propagation of the Islam.

    Shah Hamadan, besides being a mystic saint and an effective preacher, was a man of letters and wrote about a hundred pamphlets in Arabic and Persian: Zakhira-Tul-Malik, a famous book, has been translated in many languages. It is impossible to mention all the titles of his books here, how ever, a few of them are: Sharah Nasoos-Ul-Hukm Farisi, Asrar-Ul-Nuqt, Risala Nooriya, Risia Islahat-e-Ilam-Ul-Qafia-o-Qaeda, Moudat-Ul-Qurabi, Rouzat-Ul-Firdous, Firdous-Ul-Akhbar, Manazil-Ul-Salikeen, Khulasit-Ul-Manaqib, Chehl Asrar, and etc.

    Once a king invited him. He declined. The king grew furious; ordered to mould a horse from copper, heat it, put the saint on it, and brings him to him. The order was obeyed. The king's servants heated the horse but it soon grew cold (under the will of God). The king repented for his conduct and begged of his forgiveness.

    On return from his third visit to Kashmir he reached Kinar via Pikhanli and was received as a royal guest. He fell ill there and died after five days on 6, Zil Haj 786 Hijri.

    Compiler, Hasan, in the Tar-eekh-e-Hasan mentions the date of expiry in the Persian couplet, which means:

    The great Syed Sirdar (Ali Hamadan) went to the paradise to take rest. Hasan mentions the year of the death in this couplet.

    He was buried at Kolab in Khatlani where people gather in large numbers to pay their homage to him.

    The Monastery (Khanqah-e-Mualla)

    His room where he stayed for the first time, is a part of a great building, named as Khanqah-e-Muala rose by Sultan Sikandar from 1394 to 1417 AD. The building is a beautiful model of wooden architecture of Kashmir, with engravings on walls. Friday prayers are said here where hundreds gather to pray. The sacred relics include the Prophet's flag, the pillar of the Prophet's tent, and Shah Hamadan's walking stick.

    During his life the place acquired the distinction of being the center of the spiritual light. People revere the place and some call it the second Ka'aba out of extreme devotion.
  3. Gani Kashmiri
    Due to his superb Persian poetry, Gani Kashmiri became famous in Iran also. His philosophical Persian poetry prompted Saib, a famous Persian poet, to travel all the way from Iran to Kashmir in order to see Gani and have a deeper insight into his philosophy. On his arrival the Persian poet went to meet Gani a number of times but was disappointed to find the doors of his house locked. Still he didn't give up his mission and at one occasion found the doors open. With great enthusiasm he went inside the house but found Gani missing and the house without any human being inside it. Ultimately when through some local contact Saib succeeded in meeting Gani Kashmiri, he inquired about the philosophy of locking the door while Gani himself was inside and keeping it open when he was not in the house. At this Gani is believed to have said, "I am the only treasure in this house. In order to protect this treasure the doors have to be locked. Once the treasure is not in the house there is no need to lock its doors". The Iranian poet was deeply impressed and eulogized Gani Kashmiri for his wit and intelligence.
    Gani Kashmiri wrote Persian poetry because during his times Persian was the official language and Persian literature was at its zenith. His poetry, because of its artistic merits, has a distinct place in the entire Persian literature.

    Among other Kashmiri poets Rasul Mir enjoys a distinguished position due to his poetic thought and excellent craftsmanship. Even Wahab Khar, a great mystic poet, surpassed in artistic merits to the poets of his time. Peerzada Ghulam Ahmed Mahjoor, a great modem Kashmiri poet following the footsteps of Dr. Iqbal, has very aptly said:

    "At an opportune time Kashmir will awaken the East
    Let me put this prophecy in the ears of Kashmiris"
  4. Shaikh Nooruddin Wali
    Shaikh Nooruddin is an unparalleled saint and Sufi poet whose poetry has been infusing vibrance is thousands of inanimate souls. Born in a newly converted Muslim family of Kaimuh
    (Kulgam), in the north west of Kashmir Shaikh Nooruddin struggled hard to bring about, through his excellent poetry, the religious, political, social and cultural transformation in Kashmiri people. As a result of it, he is popularly called "Alamdar-i-Kashmir" (the upholder of the banner of Kashmir) and "Shaikh-ul-Alam" (the leader of the world). People from all walks of life and all shades of opinion held him in high esteem and get inspiration and
    guidance from his poetry, which has become the most important part of Kashmiri folk literature.

    According to a legend, Hazrat Zainuddin Wali, a disciple of Sheikh Nooruddin Wali known as Alamdar-e-Kashmir or flag-bearer of Kashmir, he was born in Banderkot, Kishtwar in Doda district. It is said that once he took very ill and his mother was weeping bitterly.

    All of a sudden, a person with a radiant face appeared before her and on the promise that she would bring the child to him in Kashmir after he regained health, he cured him through his spiritual power. Over a period of time, the mother forgot the promise and her child was again taken ill. This time, however, she knew the reason and proceeded to Kashmir along with her son.

    The person who had appeared before the lady was Sheikh Nooruddin Wali. She recognised him at the first sight as the one who had visited her at Kishtwar and embraced Islam. The Sheikh named the child as Sheikh Zainuddin who later became his favourite disciple.

    It is said that when, on the command of Sheikh Nooruddin, Zainuddin Wali arrived at Aishmuqam, the cave on the hillock was infested with poisonous snakes. The reptiles vacated the place for him to meditate. Legend has it that the disciples of Zainuddin carried the snakes in baskets to a nearby place that later came to be known as “Puhir Paejin” or a basket of snakes.

    The saint passed away in 1448 AD. When his disciples brought the coffin for burial of the body, they were astounded to see it empty. In desperation they left the place and during the night, one of the disciples saw Zainuddin in his dream asking him to raise a mausoleum at the same place where the coffin was placed. Besides Hazrat Zainuddin Wali, 18 of his disciples are also buried in the premises of the shrine.

    The shrine is visited by people throughout the year. The relics at the shrine include a holy staff gifted to Sheikh Nooruddin Reshi by Mir Sayed Ali Hamadani, the 14th century preacher who influenced en masse conversion of Kashmiris to Islam. The 8-feet long rod covered in green cloth is originally believed to be of Hazrat Owais Qarni, the exalted Muslim who had the distinction of being a companion of Prophet Mohammad without having met him during his lifetime.

    At the time of a natural calamity like an epidemic, the blessings of the rod are invoked by taking it out and offering mass prayers.
  5. Habba Khatoon
    Habiba, alias Habba Khatoon, was a great poetess of the late sixteenth century. Born in Chandhar (Pampore), fifteen kilometers from Srinagar, her parents used to call her Zoon (Moon) due to her extreme beauty. They educated her but did not appreciate her innate poetic talent. They married her to an illiterate peasant, a total mismatch to her poetic bent of mind, but the marriage ended in a divorce as she could not reconcile with her illiterate husband.
    It is said that one day she along with her friends was heard singing love lores, in the saffron fields, by Sultan Yousuf Shah Chak. The Sultan was so much intoxicated with her melodious voice and poetry that he fell in love with her at first sight and proposed marriage which her parents willingly consented. In this way Habba Khatoon the poetess became the queen of Kashmir and a very wise adviser to the King.' Her poetry scaled new heights of imagination and her poems became an important part of Kashmiri' s folk literature.
  6. Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri
    The valley of Kashmir has also produced the world famous Theologians and accomplished religious scholars. Among these Maulana Anwar Shah who was born in 1875 in Lolab area of the south-west Kashmir, merits special consideration. His father's name was Peer Muhammad Muazam Shah and his mother was called Maalded.
    Maulana Anwar went outside Kashmir for higher studies and came back after receiving education and then started delivering sermons on various aspects of religion and theology.
    During his pilgrimage to Mecca also he got great recognition for his erudition and knowledge of Islamic theology. He also went to AI-Azhar University in Egypt which has a great distinction among the Islamic Institutions of the world. On his way to Malta from Cairo he was detained for his radical thoughts on Islam and was imprisoned for two years. He returned India in 1920 and settled in Deoband (UP) where he was buried after his death, in accordance with his own will.

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