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Book Review: Ulmai Kashmir Ki Deeni Wa Ilmi Khidmaat

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Rayees Ahmad Kumar
Valley of Kashmir is famous for its enchanting beauty, mesmerizing climate, lofty snow-covered mountains, vast green meadows and fresh water bodies in the whole world. Visitors from each corner of globe throng here in every season of year to spend vacations.
Besides this, it is also the abode of thousands of saints who from distant lands of globe have arrived here and preached the noble teachings of God. It is because of their unwavering efforts and noble mission that presently we are a Muslim dominated region of the country.
Some historians and scholars are of the view that few companions of dear Prophet SAW during his blessed period too have come here to spread the fragrance of Islam the complete way of life. However few opine that it was during Hazrat Ab Rehman Bulbul who sowed the real seeds of Islam in the region.
However, almost all contemporary scholars unequivocally accept that Islam grew and progressed here due to arrival of hundreds of saints from central Asian cities viz Hamadan, Siminan and Baghdad and also by the untiring efforts of local scholars and spiritual guides. So majority of present day youth feel anxious to know about who actually played a key and pivotal role in making this valley a Muslim majority region.
To answer their all queries, very recently a magnificent book has been released which has mentioned about every preacher, spiritual guide and scholar who from time to time preached the noble teachings of Islam. This book “Ulmai Kashmir Ki Deeni Wa Almi Khidmaat” is written by Khaki Mohammad Farooq a renowned scholar, author, poet and preacher of Valley.
Hailing from the Puhroo BK Pora area of Budgam district, Khaki Mohammad Farooq was born in January 1973 and has authored about two dozen books so far. Since 1998 he has been constantly writing about Islamic studies and this book which is currently under my review has been widely hailed by the students and scholars of almost all schools of thought.
The beauty of this book and unbiased nature of author is reflected from the contents of this book mentioning scholars and preachers of all schools of thought. It is a 570 page book mentioning life and works of 345 preachers and scholars who in real sense have played a key role in making this valley a Muslim dominated region.
Its cover is beautifully designed and the paper used inside too is of superior quality. It’s proem and forewords are written by Khaki Umar Farooq on page 20, Moulana Ishaq Nazki on page 22, Dr Jawhar Qadosi on page 25, Dr Shakil Shifayi on page 29 and Khaki Mohd Farooq himself on page 32. Khaki Mohd Farooq has started with Hazrat Abdul Rehman Bulbul on page 40 who according to him was a great scholar and spiritual icon.
He has travelled to distant lands of globe and lastly thronged to Kashmir from Turkistan only for the purpose of preaching. It is through him that Rinchan a great king was converted to Islam when he saw him praying on Jhelum banks early during one morning. Later his name was changed as Sultan Sadrudin who then helped Bulbul Shah in every respect to propagate the teachings of Islam in every nook and corner of valley. A Khanqah which probably was the 1st such luminary built during that time and a community kitchen Langar-Khana too was started at a place which is now named as Bulbul Lankar.
On page 46, a brief description has been written about Hazrat Syed Hussain Simnani (RA) who stayed for twenty years at Kulgam to spread the true message of Islam among masses. He is cousin of Mir Syed Ali Hamadani (RA) the main architect of Islamic revolution of valley.
In 773 AH Syed Hussain Simnani arrived in valley through Pir Panchal pass obeying the orders of Syed Ali Hamadani (RA). It is through him that Sheikh Noor Din Noorani’s father accepted Islam and his marriage was solemnised with Sadar Bibi. Later when their son was born, he was named Sheikh Noor Din by Syed Hussain Simnani ra. A detailed account of life sketch, works and achievements of Mir Syed Ali Hamadani ra is found on page 48 to 60.
Mir Syed Ali visited the valley thrice in his life to propagate Islamic teachings and to illuminate the hearts and minds of people. Credit goes to Mir Syed Ali Hamadani for transforming the whole society in Kashmir. He not only spread the Islamic teachings but people were acquainted about different skills and handicrafts to make them economically self-reliant.
He was a legendary author, scholar and spritual icon who arrived in valley through Ladakh pass along with more than 700 companions. After Mir Syed Ali Hamadani ra, his beloved son Mir Mohammed Hamdani ra too worked here to spread and propagate the Teachings of Islam.
He maintained close and cordial relations with Sheikh Noor Din Noorani and together they went ahead to complete the mission of Mir Syed Ali Hamadani. Full detail can be seen on page 66 of the book. Almost every inhabitant of valley is acquainted about the name of Sheikh Noor Din Noorani (RA) who was born at Khee Jogipora village of Kulgam in 1377 AD. He was a distinguished scholar, legendary poet and a great saint who knew Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Pali and Kashmiri language.
Some scholars are of the view that Sheikh was a Hafizi Quran as well. He went to every corner of valley to mould the minds of people and strengthen their faith. A comprehensive and detailed story can be seen on page 76 of the book. A brief description about Syed Janbaz Wali (RA) is found on page 80 of the book.
But here, I want to make it clear that Khaki Mohammad Farooq has forgotten to mention that he is a brother of Mir Syed Hussain Simnani (RA). Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom (RA) is popularly known as Mehboobul Alam among masses of valley, who was born at Tujjar Shareef Sopore in 900 AH. He travelled to far and wide to build mosques, Khanqah, washrooms and to make people aware about the Islamic teachings.
He memorized the holy Quran and was later on admitted in the monastery of Shams Chak. He learnt the Quran, the Hadith, Jurisprudence, Logic, philosophy and literature. He had a sharp memory and good comprehension. Sheikh Hamza kept fast invariably and burnt mid night oil in remembrance of God. A detailed account is written on page 104 to 112.
Baba Dawood Khaki (RA) who left all the worldly pleasures and luxuries and was the Chief Justice of his times became the chief disciple of Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom (RA). He authored many books in praise of his mentor and spritual guide. A detailed account is written on page 113 of the book. Sheikh Yaqoob Sarfi (RA) born in 928AH at Srinagar was among the few local intellectual scholars and distinguished spiritual guides who spread the true message not only in each corner of valley but also in parts of subcontinent. At a tender age of Seven, he memorized the entire glorious Quran and was famous for his farsightedness (page 128 to 134).
Hazrat Baba Dawood Mishkati (RA) had been a prominent 11th century Islamic scholar and Sufi mystic of valley. He possessed a strong hold on sciences of Hadith, Tafsir, Tasawuf and Tibb. He had memorized all Hadiths of Mishkat Sharif thus was given alias of Mishkati by his mentor Hyder Charkhi (193). Pir Hasan Shah Khoihami (RA), although was an Islamic scholar, Poet and litterateur but he is known as a noted Historian of valley after he authored Tarikhi Hasan the masterpiece of Kashmir history.
Born at Khoihama Bandipora, Pir Hasan Shah received his early education from his father. Later he went to Afganistan and Punjab to pursue further education. He was respected not only by general public but also by rulers and scholars of his times (355). This book contains brief and detailed account of Islamic scholars, preachers and noted religious personalities of all sectarian schools of thought. One can find life sketches and works of unlike minded people in this book viz Moulana Abdul Gani Shopiani, Mirwaiz Yousuf Shah, Moulana Gh Nabi Mubarki, Moulana Anwar Shopiani, Moulana Mohd Amin Shopiani, Moulana Syed Qasim Shah Bukhari, Moulana Yasin Hamdani, Moulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri, Mirwaiz Moulana Mohd Farooq, Dr Qazi Nisar, Moulana Abdul Gani Azhari, Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad, Dr Syed Mohammad Farooq Bukhari, Moulana Noor Ahmad Trali etc.
(Te author hails from Qazigund Kashmir)

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