By Malik Mirza
Special to Simerg
The Journey Begins
While I was on a training assignment related to micro-finance in Bahawalpur, a thought came across my mind: Why not visit the mausoleums of our ancient Pirs, and try to explore the current on ground situation of the mausoleums? After all, the devotional literature of the Pirs resonates in our places of worship on a regular basis, and we are grateful to them for their dedication and devotion to spread the message of faith as well as show us the right path.
Hence, we requested our host organization to arrange for a trip to Uch Sharif, a town which is around 90 minutes drive from Bahawalpur, a city located in Southern Punjab, Pakistan.
On Saturday, May 28, 2011, we reached Uch Sharif which is famous for various tombs and shrines, a number of which are considered as masterpieces of Islamic architecture and are on the UNESCO World Heritage Site tentative list. Among the famous shrines at Uch Sharif are those of Bibi Jevandi, Baba Abdul Qadir Saani and Makhdoom Jahanian Shah Jahanghast. We first visited the shrine of Bibi Jevandi. From there, we asked about the directions for Pir Hasan Kabirdin and Pir Sadardin’s mausoleums. We were informed that the mausoleum of ‘Hassan Darya’ was nearby while that of Pir Sadardin was slightly further away.
About Pir Sadardin and Pir Hasan Kabirdin – Father and Son
Professor Ali Asani, in his book Ecstasy and Enlightenment states that:
“Placed by the Russian orientalist W. Ivanow between the second half of the 8th/14th century and the beginning of the 9th/15th century, Pir Sadr al-Din is the most well-known among the pirs. The number of works ascribed to him is linguistically diverse and extremely large (218 ginans and 18 granths)……. He contributed in various ways to developing the community’s organization: he is believed to have established the first jamat khana and given the title khawaja (lord, master) to his followers. The term Khoja, by which Nizari Ismailis are popularly known in the subcontinent, is a corruption of this title.
“Pir Sadr al Din was succeeded by his son, Hasan Kabir al-Din(d.c. 875/1470?), renowned in the community for his emotional poems in which he passionately expresses his yearnings for beatific vision. To this religious figures are attributed at least 79 short ginans and several granth…….”
Pir Hasan Kabirdin’s Mausoleum
We first visited the mausoleum of Pir Hasan Kabirdin who is known as Hassan Darya in the vicinity. About 500 metres before the mausoleum, we came across a large permanent sign which serves as an indicator that the Pir’s mausoleum is ahead. It also informs the visitors about the annual commemoration of the Pir’s death anniversary. The sign (photo below, followed by an explanation) has some traditional Shia writings, including a quatrain that reflects the high regard with which the Pir is held. We learnt that the annual ‘Urs’ (death anniversary) of Pir Hasan is commemorated on the 17th and 18th days of the Islamic month of Safar, and hundreds of thousands of people visit his shrine on that occasion.
The details of the sign are as follows:
It begins with Bismillah hir rehman ir rahim. This is followed by the word Allah and the names of the Panjtan Pak, i.e. Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussain.
The round one (circle) says: Darbar e Aqdas Hazrat Makhdom Sayed Hassan Kabir Din Buut Shikan (“the Royal Court of Respectful Sayed Hassan Kabir Din – the idol breaker” and then it states: Hazrat Syed Sakhi Pir Hassan Darya).
Next it says: Two days majalis of Uza & Urs Mubarak 17 & 18 Safar ul Muzafar
This is followed by a couplet which can be translated as follows:
When we talk about the progeny of Prophet, we get satisfaction in our hearts
This Zikar gives us determination to follow the path of the ritghteous (i.e those who follow the truth)
The people who were worshiping got Kabir din who broke all idols
Kabir Din is in the lineage of Shams Hussaini
The last line says: Administrator: Syed Zahid Abbas son of Late Qaim Ali Shah Shamsul Hussaini.
There is also the ceremony of ‘uza daree’, i.e. mourning in name of Hazrat Imam Hussain on the occasion of Urs. As noted on the sign, the mausoleum is administered by Syed Zahid Abbas who belongs to Fiqh-e-Jafaria.
Pir Hasan Kabirdin is not known as an Ismaili Pir in the area. Rather, people told us that he was ‘kufar shikan’, meaning ‘a person who defeated idol worship’ and made people recite ‘kalma’ i.e. he made non-believers to believe in Islam.
In accordance with one of the epitaphs on the walls of mausoleum, he was born in 1341 CE/742 AH and died in 1449 CE/853 AH. Hence, based on this, he lived to be 108 years.
The grave of Pir Hasan Kabirdin is surrounded by three graves of similar size and a smaller grave. On inquiry, we were informed that those were the graves of his grand children. The care taker of the mausoleum was not a well informed person and was unable to provide any further detail about the life of Pir Hasan.
The only information provided by the care taker was that Pir Hassan was a great saint and he made many non-believers accept the faith of Islam. There was no literature or ginan or any other written material readily available in the mausoleum. It can be seen in the photos that the end of the graves bear cloths of different colours. At times, people identify saints with colors. The courtyard of Pir Hasan Kabirdin’s mausoleum has many other graves. On inquiry, we were informed that those were the graves of people from the family of Pir.
* * * * * *
Pir Sadardin’s Mausoleum
Pir Sadardin’s mausoleum is not exactly located in the area of Uch Sharif. Rather, one needs to travel for around 40–45 minutes from the mausoleum of Pir Hasan Kabirdin and other major shrines to an area called ‘Taranda Muhammad Panah’, which is mainly a very rural population. The care taker of the mausoleum mentioned that due to its distance from the other main shrines, it is visited by fewer people on a daily basis.
Similarities and Differences between the Mausoleums of the Two Pirs
While the domes of both mausoleums are green in color, the exterior walls have different colours. The walls of Pir Sadardin’s mausoleum are white while they are greeen for the mausoleum Pir Hasan Kabirdin.
Both mausoleums were surrounded by smaller graves. On inquiry, we were informed that those were the graves of their later family members.
Outside Pir Sadardin’s mausoleum is a big tree which spreads its shadows all around it, while the mausoleum of Pir Hasan is surrounded by a mosque and a few other shops.
Like the mausoleum of Pir Hassan, Pir Sadardin’s grave is also in between two other graves. On inquiry from the care taker, we were informed that those were the graves of his grand children.
Certainly, this was one of the most memorable trips to see the heritage of the Ismaili community. We were gratified to learn that our Pirs were revered as saints by other Muslim communities, and that they left a deep impression and influence outside the Jamat. The aura and charisma of the two Ismaili Pirs is evident by the number of visitors who visit their shrines to pay homage and tributes today, centuries after they departed from this world.
The Ismaili community’s deep held reverence for Pir Sadardin and Pir Hasan Kabirdin is demonstrated by the affection and love with which members of the Jamat, young and old alike, recite their Ginanic compositions. These compositions over the centuries have nurtured the souls of millions of murids, and inspired good thoughts and actions as well as unbounded love for the Imam of the Time.
Date article posted: June 7, 2011
Copyright: Malik Mirza/Simerg.com
About the author: Malik Mirza, a chartered accountant by profession, is an honorary Alwaez who is working as senior manager finance in one of the telecommunication companies in Islamabad. He blogs regularly at www.wisdomfrombooks.com.
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This is very informative and useful information. Many of us are on the path of Siratal Mustaqeem (the straight path) through the teachings of our Pirs such as Pir Sadardin and his son Pir Hasan kabiruddin.
Ya Ali Madad, Mr Malik Mirza. I went through your piece “Journey of Discovery – Mausoleums of our Pir Sadardin and Pir Hasan Kabirdin.” Thank you for your detailed information. You are right by saying, “we are grateful to our Pirs and Dais for their dedication and devotion to spread the message of faith as well as show us right path (sathpanth).”
These two Pirs at once reminded me of the Nano and Moto Saloko that we find full of interpretation of the Qur’an to the Jampudeep community that we were and are unable to read it in Arabic. These among other Pirs played such an important role in bringing the light of Shirat-ul Mustaqeem to us from Sehentardeep that they came from. How can we ever forget Pir Sadardin not taking Pir Hassan Kabirdin with him on account of his young age on one of his visits to the then Imam? The devotion that followed in the Son’s longing and expression in the Nav Chhuga pagree he wove is a moving example of deep spiritual love he had for the Imam.
I also read Professor Asani’s name mentioned. His Chapter on ‘From Satpanthi to Ismaili Muslim’ in the Reader edited by Professor Farhad Daftary tells so much more. The book ‘A Modern History of the Ismailis’ touched my heart immediately. Those whose ancestors were from generally ‘Khoja’ background, like myself got another historical light thrown by the author Mr Malik Mirza with his giving us a picture of the mausoleums. I was taken in Multan to some tombs by a host on my flying visit long time ago, details are rather vague in my memory now.
My thanks primarily to Simerg! Keep our History and Heritage alive by sharing these with us!
I hearty congratulate & appreciate the honest effort of Malik Mirja Saheb who gave us the history of our fore father. i, myself Mr. Irfan Peerzada from Khankah-e-hussaini, Wankaner, Gujarat, India is the decedent (23 th Generation from Pir hasan Kabiruddin). I am really very happy to learn about my own history….. thank u somuch…..
Very good historical informaçao ..congratulations Mr. Malik. abdulsacoor in portugal
Absolutely amazing. You deseve a medal.The list of related articles are extraordinarily invaluable reading.
I have been reading/studying the history of Islam and found your article of great interest. I have visited many holy tombs, not just in the sub-continent, but in places where Islam is practiced. But one place I hugely recommend you visit is Konya, the holy city situated in Turkey where Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi is buried, that is, if you haven’t already. Thanking you.
Beautiful, informative pictures, and for a for few minutes I thought I was also with mirza visiting the shrines.
Excellent work and wonderful photos and the very nice articles which I have
Nice to see the final resting places of our immortal Pirs who showed us the Path of Satpanth (the straight or true path). Pray their soul rest eternal peace.
Excellent Work. I am very much inspired by your articulation of thoughts.
Thanks for sharing such a nice piece of work.
Malik Murad Ali
You have done a remarkable job. This is superb.
Very interesting. I have also visited the Dargha of Pir Sadardin, Pir Hassan Kabiruddin and Pir Shams in Multan. I specially made this trip from New York for the purpose to see these monuments. A job well done. May Mowla bless you, Amen.
A very interesting piece – well done, Malik
My heartfelt thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures and article.
Malik, that was wonderful. I have personally followed you and your initiatives and have always found you very informative. May Mawla give you more strength to take up such initiatives in the future. The world will be enlightened with such sharings.
All the best.
This is a fantastic article, the best I have come across. Actually I got a mail from my sister in Canada and on going through your article I started searching for you. I said to myself the last I could do is say a big THANK YOU. Can you not organize a visit to these Mausoleums for those like me who would love to visit this place?
Mirza Malik – my hat off to you, your information will be of benefit to a lot of our brothers and sisters across the world. I always wondered where our great Pirs were buried, and I thank you now I know.
Excellent job done. I am aware of these historical sites and even wanted to visit. Mirza you have taken the lead. Congrats.
Simerg, thanks for sharing Malik Mirza’s valuable information of mausoleums of our great Pirs. The pictures are are very clear and beautiful. They have been added to my collection album. Keep the good work.
Very impressive. I am deeply touched and my happiness is beyond explanation. To be honest I did not know that the mausoleums were there. Thank you for sharing this information; it gives all of us an enhancement of knowledge.
This contribution is interesting but also an eye opener as suggested elsewhere. My concern is with the long-term viability of these and other mausloleums that there may be.
Some of the pictures, especially of the exterior, are of concern. The pavements and stone work as well as the walls are certainly in need of some restorative work. Whether these mausoleums are in the care of the Jamat or not, initiatives shoud be undertaken to ensure that these monuments are well maintained and safeguarded. Future generations must remember the contributions of outstanding individuals in Islamic/ismaili history.
Thanks Mr. Nazim for sharing your thoughts. After 600 years and being maintained by individuals/private owners, the condition of masoleum was not as bad as it could have been – there are other areas/shrines which are not being looked after at all – Certainly, these places should be maintained as reminders of the great contributions of those personalities
Dear Mr. Mirza
I really appreciate the work you have done and the way you represent our history but I have a question. “Do you think a person like you can go arround the world alone and collect the same data at his own?” I think your answer would be “No.” The question I then have is “Who is doing what it takes to have our history back? Are there coordinated efforts underway?”
You have done a good job. It is certainly a good start. Keep it up!
And to add to Niloufar’s comment…
Are there any plans for the mausoleums to be put on UNESCO’s tentative list of heritage sites, as is being done with some other mausoleums in the area as noted in Malik Mirza’s informative piece?
The nomination process for a placement in UNESCO’s tentative list is described at the following link:
In brief, quoting from the above source:
“A Tentative List is an inventory of those properties which each State Party intends to consider for nomination during the following years. States Parties are encouraged to submit in their Tentative Lists, properties which they consider to be cultural and/or natural heritage of outstanding universal value and therefore suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List.
States Parties are encouraged to prepare their Tentative Lists with the participation of a wide variety of stakeholders, including site managers, local and regional governments, local communities, NGOs and other interested parties and partners.”
Wonderful – what an eye opener. Has AKDN been involved with the renovation & upkeep of the mausoleums of our honourable Pirs?
I have forwarded your query to AKDN, specifically to individuals connected with the Aga Khan Trust For Culture. Niloufar, thank you for your interest.
Malik Merchant, Editor.
Very nice work and in depth historiography. Keep it up this noble work of mission. May Mowla bless you with wisdom and spirituality.
Dear Malik Mirza, Just to say Shukranlilah walhamdulillah, for a nice informative article and photos of the mausoleums of our Pirs Sadardin and Hasan Kabirdin. After 700 years, I had never imagined that their mausoleums and graves still existed. They appear to be in good shape. We remember our Pirs daily in Jamatkhanas for the powerful and inspiring divine messages they conveyed to us. My best wishes to you, and may you be blessed by Mawlana Hazar Imam.
Bravo to both the Maliks, the writer of the article and the editor of this Website, for this contribution!!
Visit of such places are for two reasons. First just as a tourist and second for a special purpose.
Would you please share which of the two were in your mind and thoughts? Further my humble request is to share about the situational effect or any other special impact that you felt when you visited both the shrines.
Dear Mr. Toojik
I was in Bahawalpur for a training. There was no specific purpose. Perhaps, I may say that I went there as tourist as we had one spare day and being a blogger, I thought it is better to share this information with others.
While visiting the masoleums, I was quite happy that I got a chance to see such places which we generally don’t see in normal course of our lives. Also, I was surprised to learn that no one knew about the exact history of Pirs. Rather, they were considered as the Muslim saints for whole area who helped people accept the message of Islam. It was a mixed feeling of respect, gratitude, awe, humility and inspiration as those Saints were in the area 600 years ago!
Indeed, it was a memorable experience, to say the least
Thanks for sharing. How did you reach there? By train or car or van and which is the nearest big city to Uch.
Bahawalpur is the nearest city to Uch Sharif. It is accessible either through road or train or plane. From Bahawalpur, you need to take a vehicle/car to take you to Uch Shariff. It is easily accessible.
Thank you Mirza
How long it takes to reach Uch from Bahawalpur by vehicle.
Zabardast! I enjoyed reading your article.
Thanks a lot for appreciation – I look forward to see your article on Shrines of Sind soon.
Great piece of work!!!! I felt like I was actually there at the sight…..
Brother Mirza: Thank you for sharing such a beautiful article and photos. Not everyone can visit the shrines but when I read your piece it was like being there.
May Mawla bless you with his choicest blessings! Amen………..
Great work!!! You beautifully wrote such a nice piece with all visuals to give us a live experience of these visits. I wish you best of luck and I must congratulate you on this great work……
Thanks a lot Abida for appreciation and your comments. I wish one day I am able to write similar piece for Pir Sham’s masoleum in Multan. Thanks again for reading and your comments – Please feel free to share it with others
Thanks for sharing ..always be Blessed
Thanks for a valuable article.
Very informative! Thanks for sharing.
Superb Malik !
Uptill now I was only dreaming of going to these shrines and you did it.
Thanks Shams for your comments.
We usually don’t travel to these places unless and until there is some associated opportunity. It was really interesting to visit these places while I was at Bahawalpur
Thanks for appreciation
Thank You Malik Mirza.
Thanks Nooruddin for your comments
Your youtube channel reminded me of the visits we made to Chitral for our social work
Brother Malik Mirza: Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful work with us. This is indeed great service – especially for the ones who are geographically remote. Articles such as this window into not only our culture but also our amazingly rich historical past. Great work! And thank you once again!
Thanks brother Perwaiz for your kind comments and wishes. In my view, we can use internet for spreading as much knowledge and information as we can for the benefit of society at large.
Once again, thanks for your appreciation and comments
Alwaez Malik Mirza: Ya Ali Madad. My humble prayers for you. May you be blessed with more such visits.Your article was a dose of spiritual scent to my soul. We are planning to visit Pir Satgur Noor’s mausoleum in India. Thank you, brother, for this fine article.
Thanks a lot sister Gulshan for your kind words. I would really love to read about Pir Satgur Noor’s mausoleum. I intend to visit Pir Sham’s masoleum in Multan whenever i got a chance and will, inshallah, write about it too.
Once again, thanks a lot for your prayers and kind comments
My wishes have been fulfilled by seeing these photos of the mausoleums and graves of our beloved Pirs.
Thanks Mr. Dossani – I am happy to contribute towards your joy – your prayers will be appreciated
A vey informative piece, thank you for sharing.
I was born and brought in Karachi and have visited Lahore quit a few times but never thought of visiting these place of our Pirs. No information about these place were available with any institution of Jamat and never were we encouraged to go there and pay our respect to these places. After reading this beautiful and detailed article by Mr.Mirza, I feel guilty by not visiting these places when I was residing in Pakistan. Now because of advance age, I don’t think I will be able to visit these places. My many thanks to Mr.Mirza and everybody at Simerg.
Thank you. This is good information.
This is a nice and informative piece. It was good to learn that the mausoleums of our Pirs are still preserved. We hope to see more such articles about other Pirs.
Thanks papa – your prayers are requested
Mirza: Thank you for sharing this very valuable and informative knowledge you have acquired by visiting the mausoleums of perhaps the most beloved Pirs of Shia Ismaili Muslims of the Sub-Continent. The photos are superb and Simerg has to be congratulated for bringing your article and photos to the readers. Well Done!
Thanks Dr. Aziz
Hats off to Simerg for such a wonderful work which gives all of us opportunity to contribute and learn from each other – Thanks for your appreciation of photos and the article.
Feel free to circulate the information about the article to others