SPIRITUAL SUCCESSION ( KHILAFAT )

 

In the way of Faqr, the perfect spiritual guide appoints some of his chosen seekers at different places. He does so to guide people. First he trains them spiritually and then blesses them with one or more of his attributes. They are spiritual successors.

 

Difference Between Superior and Junior Spiritual Successors

The difference between a superior and junior spiritual successor is elaborated below:

Superior Spiritual Successor (al-Khalifa al-Akbar)

The perfect spiritual guide chooses the most special seeker to bestow the Divine Trust. After all he is completely annihilated (fana) in his spiritual guide. In short, he possesses all the attributes of his spiritual guide. He represents and manifests his spiritual guide’s essence. Inasmuch as, in the physical body of that seeker, the actual being is that of his spiritual guide. In mystic terminology, he is called the superior spiritual successor (al-Khalifa al-Akbar) and he is only one. He holds the throne of Divine guidance and persuasion after the death of his spiritual guide. Given that he becomes the perfect spiritual guide possessing light of guidance for the seekers of Allah. That is to say, he is the Universal Divine Man (al-Insan al-Kamil) of his era.

Junior Spiritual Successor or Successors (al-Khalifa al-Asghar)

While the junior spiritual successor is annihilated in one or some attributes of the spiritual guide. He represents only those attributes. He is called the junior spiritual successor (al-Khalifa al-Asghar). Since, there can be more than one junior spiritual successors, hence, their number is not fixed.

Relation Between Superior and Junior Spiritual Successors

Actual source and origin of the Divine guidance and righteousness is the Universal Divine Man. As he holds the Divine Trust. While the junior spiritual successors work as his subordinates and execute their duty of guiding people. It is not necessary for these successors to station at the level of annihilation (fana) and immortality (baqa) with Allah. Moreover, the perfect spiritual guide trains them according to the requirements of the responsibility they will executed.

An Example to understand this relationship

The relation between the Universal Divine Man and his junior spiritual successors can be understood by the example of a powerhouse and transformers. First, the powerhouse supplies electricity to the whole city. Second, every area of the city has its own transformer. Hence, the actual source of electricity is the powerhouse. Transformers supply electricity to all the areas of city according to their potential.

Similarly, the actual source of all the esoteric powers is the perfect spiritual guide possessing the light of Divine guidance. These powers and light of the perfect spiritual guide reach the seekers after reflection through the inward of successors.

Now, if a junior spiritual successor commits a mistake his spiritual powers seizes. The light coming from the inward of perfect spiritual guide to his inward halts. Consequently, he demotes him from his spiritual level. However, the Universal Divine Man possesses the Divine Trust. His status is that of belovedness. So his spiritual powers never cease neither is he demoted. Rather it should be said that he never commits a mistake as he is the manifestation of the Divine Essence.

Why Junior Successors are Few

In the Sarwari Qadri order, usually there are a few junior spiritual successors. In this order, the perfect spiritual guide holds the status of the Universal Divine Man and possesses the Divine Trust. He is the possessor of contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. Thus a seeker must contemplate Ism-e-Allah Zaat under his guidance and servitude to gain the gnosis of Allah.

In short, a seeker can never find this blessing from any junior spiritual successor. Only the perfect spiritual guide can directly bless him with this Divine favour. However, after the death of perfect spiritual guide, the power of successors is increased many times. Usually because the Universal Divine Man does not appear twice at one place. The seekers recognize him after a long time at the new place where he appears.

 

Sajjada Nashin or Gaddi Nashin

(Caretaker of a Shrine)

 

The terms Sajjada Nashin or Gaddi Nashin (caretaker of a shrine) are also common nowadays in the sub-continent. Usually people wrongly take the caretaker as the spiritual successor of the Saint whose shrine he is looking after.

 Before the British rule in India, it was true that usually the spiritual successor of the Saint was also the caretaker of his shrine. However, British rulers made a law that the seat of caretaker of the shrine would be part in the inheritance. They did this just to destroy the mystic system of Muslims. Now, according to the laws of inheritance, the sons of the Saint inherit the seat of caretaking of shrine just like other property. Whether they deserve it or not. If before death, the Saint himself appoints his actual spiritual successor as the caretaker of his shrine, then usually the sons of the Saint get him evicted through the court and claim it as their inheritance.

Fight for the seat of caretaker of shrine is common nowadays. Rather it has intensified so much that it has become a matter of life and death. Simply because the inheritance of the property and the income of the shrine are both linked with this seat. Surprisingly caretakers of shrines even use this seat to get high positions in politics.

 

Famous Spiritual Successors of sultan Bahoo

 

Lacs of people got beneficence from Sultan Bahoo. Here we shall discuss only those disciples who got (junior) spiritual succession directly from him. It has already been discussed that his superior spiritual successor and heir was Sayyid Abdullah Shah.

 

SULTAN NAURANG KHETRAN

Once Sultan Bahoo visited Damaan-e-Koh, western Jabal-e-Aswad in Punjab, Pakistan. There, he saw a child who was grazing a cow. Instantly the eternal attraction of that child aroused the spiritual beneficence of Sultan Bahoo. Hence, he made that child a majdhub seeker of Allah by his single spiritual glance. The Divine light enlightened the sacred being of the child and he started revolving around Sultan Bahoo like a moth. That child was Sultan Naurang Khetran. Now he served his spiritual guide Sultan Bahoo for thirty years and left after the blessing of spiritual succession. His shrine is in ‘Wahwa’, a small town near Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan at the foot of Jabal-e-Aswad. This shrine is ‘Darbar of Sultan Sahib’. All in all masses visit it for beneficence.  Naurang Sultan blessed thousands of people with Divine persuasion and guidance. Further his spiritual munificence still continues from his shrine.

 

LAL SHAH

Once, Sultan Bahoo went to Jang, a village in Sanghar, to spread mystic beneficence. There he stayed in a mosque. A child named Lal Shah was present in the mosque. The sacred attention of Sultan Bahoo enthused the passion of Divine love in him. Thereupon he sat near Sultan Bahoo the whole night. When relatives of the child came to the mosque searching him, they found him in the service of Sultan Bahoo. Now they tried their best to take the child home but he refused completely.

They informed his father Budhan Shah. The father came with his disciples and friends. He requested Sultan Bahoo to allow the child to go home as his mother was extremely worried. Sultan Bahoo said to Budhan Shah:

“This child is not your property. As Allah has entrusted his destiny and beneficence to me. So his spiritual training is now my responsibility.”

Hearing this, Budhan Shah started trembling and said humbly:

“O lord! Lal Shah is yours now.”

Lal Shah’s mother

Budhan Shah belonged to a rich family of Pirs. He had two wives. Lal Shah was his first wife’s son. Further he had abandoned Lal Shah and his mother since long. When Lal Shah’s mother came to know about the matter, she sent a written request to Sultan Bahoo:

“I have only one son who is my only hope. Please allow me to come with him. I will also serve you keeping myself veiled.”

Her husband Budhan Shah also permitted her. However, Sultan Bahoo did not allow the woman to leave her house and ordered to keep herself veiled at home. On hearing this, she started crying and complained that why should she be kept deprived of his beneficence. Thus, Sultan Bahoo blessed the woman with his spiritual attention while she was at her home. That woman got so much absorbed in mystic states that she never indulged in worldly affairs again. If she ever had to cook food, she put the chapatti on the griddle and got immersed in spiritual ecstasy, while the chapatti burnt on the griddle.

Lal Shah becomes a Successor

Sultan Bahoo took Lal Shah with him. He asked the attendant, who lived with him, to hand over his prayer mat, ablution pot and misvak to Lal Shah.

Lal Shah lived with Sultan Bahoo for thirty years. During the entire period his possession was only a black blanket. Half of which he used to spread under him and covered himself with the other half. After thirty years, Sultan Bahoo blessed him with spiritual succession and allowed him to go home. At home, he kept himself dressed in the same old blanket. Just added a cotton turban on his head. Hence, he performed the duty of persuading and guiding the seekers in his homeland Sanghar. He died in Sanghar where his shrine is situated now.

 

SULTAN TAYYAB

Once, Sultan Bahoo went to Bhakkar, Punjab Pakistan. There lived Sultan Tayyab who was the disciple and spiritual successor of Sher Shah and the son of Sha’ali. He had no son. Now Sultan Tayyab came to know that Sultan Bahoo had come to Bhakkar. First he went to meet him and second, requested to pray for him. Sultan Bahoo gave two apples to Sultan Tayyab and said:

“Ask your wife to eat these. Allah will bless you with two sons. One of them will be yours and other will be ours.”

Then Sultan Tayyab had two sons by the grace of Allah. He named one of them Sultan Abd and the other Sultan Sohara. Sultan Abd was a Mystic by birth.

When Sher Shah, the spiritual guide of Sultan Tayyab, was informed that his disciple had presented his request before Sultan Bahoo, he was extremely annoyed. Surprisingly he snatched all the spiritual powers and benefits from Sultan Tayyab. Who now lay helplessly at his home dumb and lame. When Sultan Bahoo esoterically came to know the condition of Sultan Tayyab he got angry with Sher Shah. Sultan Bahoo complained against him in the court of Holy Prophet. Then the Prophet ordered Sher Shah to bless his disciple Sultan Tayyab sixty times more than before.

 

SULTAN HAMEED

Sultan Hameed was one of the most distinguished spiritual successors of Sultan Bahoo. He had great respect, affection and devotion for Sultan Bahoo.

Sultan Hameed’s Devotion for Sultan Bahoo

There is very less information available on his life. The only information about him obtained from Manaqib-e-Sultani is that he went to Bhakkar with Sultan Bahoo. One day, both of them were visiting the suburbs of Bhakkar. They reached a deserted hillock. There Sultan Hameed wanted to sit for a while but Sultan Bahoo ordered Sultan Hameed:

“Come down at once from this hillock. As it is home of some cruel being.”

Afterwards they took rest in a sandy plane. There Sultan Bahoo placed his head in the lap of Sultan Hameed and lay for some time. His body became dusty. Sultan Hameed was aggrieved to see this and wished that if he had wealth he would have made a bed out of silk and velvet for his spiritual guide. He thought that the sacred body of his spiritual guide got dusty only due to his poverty.

 Meanwhile, Sultan Bahoo raised his head and asked him:

“What are you thinking?”

Sultan Hameed expressed his feelings. Sultan Bahoo said:

 “Close your eyes.”

When Sultan Hameed closed his eyes, he saw that an exclusive gathering was going on. There a beautiful woman in a silk dress with gold ornaments was alluring Sultan Hameed and proposing him to marry her. Sultan Hameed refused her politely. He told her to keep away and be respectful as he was in the service of his spiritual guide.

What Sultan Hameed’s Dream symbolizes?

When Sultan Hameed came out of the state of meditation, Sultan Bahoo asked him what he saw. Sultan Hameed told everything. Sultan Bahoo said:

“You were complaining of your poverty. Whatever you saw in your meditation symbolized material wealth. Why did not you accept it? Had you accepted it, you would have become rich for your lifetime.”

Sultan Hameed replied respectfully:

“My Master! I only seek the light of Essence of Allah, I have no desire of riches.”

Sultan Bahoo said:

“The effect of Faqr of Prophet Mohammad will never erase from your family.”

This prediction of Sultan Bahoo proved to be true.

Shrine

The shrine of Sultan Hameed is in the graveyard of Mian Usman at Daman Chol to the north of Bhakkar, Pakistan.

 

SAYYID MUSA SHAH JILANI

Sayyid Musa Shah was commonly known by the title of Mosan Shah.

Genealogy

His lineage traces back to Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani through Shaikh Sayyid Abdul Jabbar Jilani. The lineage is as follows:

  • Sayyid Musa Shah son of
  • Sayyid Abid son of
  • Sayyid Abdul Jaleel son of
  • Sayyid Kamaluddin Shah son of
  • Sayyid Mubarak Shah Baghdadi of Adilpur son of
  • Sayyid Husayn Dehlvi son of
  • Sayyid Mohammad Makki al-Arabi son of
  • Sayyid Younus son of
  • Sayyid Ahmad son of
  • Sayyid Jafar son of
  • Sayyid Abdul Qadir Sani son of
  • Sayyid Abu Nauman son of
  • Sayyid Hameeduddin son of
  • Sayyid Abdul Jaleel son of
  • Sayyid Abdul Jabbar Jilani son of
  • Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani.

Meeting Sultan Bahoo

Sayyid Musa Shah was the resident of Ghotki, Sind Pakistan. His father Sayyid Abid died when he was a child. A Dervish potter went from Sind to Punjab to meet Sultan Bahoo. Then Sayyid Musa accompanied him. When he met Sultan Bahoo, he persuaded him to get education and sent a message for his mother to educate him first, then send him in his service. After completing education Sayyid Musa went again to meet Sultan Bahoo with the same Dervish potter. However, they found that Sultan Bahoo had died.

Sayyid Musa Shah was told that one day before death, Sultan Bahoo wrote Ism-e-Allah Zaat with his finger on a paper. He gave it to his sons saying:

“Musa Shah is coming from the south. Give him this paper.” As soon as Musa Shah saw the Ism-e-Allah Zaat, he became accomplished spiritually. He dissolved the paper in water and drank it.

Spreading Beneficence

Almost one lac people of Sind benefitted from Sayyid Musa Shah. Hence his teachings removed many heretical practices prevailing in Sind. Furthermore he made Lo-Sahiban his centre. It is in the middle of Rohri and Ghotki in Sind. In 1148 H (1735 AD), he built a grand mosque there. Now, this area is famous by the name of ‘Lo-Mosan Shah.’

Death and Shrine

He died on Monday 8th Dhul al-Hijjah, 1173 H (21st July 1760). His shrine is near the mosque built by him and is visited for beneficence by people.

 

SAYYID AHMAD AND SAYYID MEHMOOD SHAH

The shrines of these two brothers are famous by the name of ‘Darbar-e-Shahan’ in Khushab, Pakistan. Not much information is available about them. Except that both brothers were the disciples and spiritual successors of Sultan Bahoo. According to a tradition they were in the army of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. When Aurangzeb was at war with Dara Shikoh in Khushab and Dara Shikoh was about to overcome his army, Aurangzeb requested these brothers to pray for his success. At last he succeeded by their prayer but afterwards they could not stay in the army. They got settled in Khushab and died there.

 

MULLA MUA’ALI

He came to meet Sultan Bahoo from Dhadar, an area in Kandahar village of Balochistan, Pakistan. He took oath of allegiance at the hand of Sultan Bahoo. He blessed him with spiritual succession after giving persuasion to him. He started guiding and persuading people on the path of righteousness during the life of Sultan Bahoo. It is said that he was the first spiritual successor of Sultan Bahoo. His shrine is in Karak near Sibi Balochistan, Pakistan and is known by the name of ‘Ziarat Akhund Mua’ali’.

 

ALAM SHAH

He came with Mulla Mua’ali to meet Sultan Bahoo and got blessed with his spiritual beneficence. His shrine is in the suburbs of Kandahar Balochistan, Pakistan.

 

MULLA MISRI

He also came to meet Sultan Bahoo with Mulla Mua’ali and got his spiritual beneficence. His shrine is in Dhadar Balochistan, Pakistan.

SHAIKH JUNAYD QURAISHI

He was the resident of Sardarpur, a village near Multan, in the east of river Ravi. Once, Sultan Bahoo visited Sardarpur where he met Shaikh Junayd Quraishi who gave a feast in his honour. Shaikh Junayd ordered his servants to cook Sangri for the feast. It is vegetable of the Ghaf tree and is long, thin and hard like vermicelli. When it was cooked, it turned into real vermicelli by the spiritual powers of Sultan Bahoo. It was presented before Sultan Bahoo. He asked for some pure dust and water. When he sprinkled the dust and water on vermicelli, they miraculously changed into sugar and ghee.

Sultan Bahoo blessed Shaikh Junayd with spiritual beneficence. His shrine is in the village of Sardarpur.

 

SHAIKH KALU

Shaikh Kalu was son of Shaikh Junayd. When he came to meet Sultan Bahoo as a seeker of the Truth, he heard someone invoking Hoo ( ھو ) from the room of Sultan Bahoo. He entered the room anxiously but found no one. He came out, but again heard the voice of Hoo ( ھو ). Again, he went into the room but couldn’t find anyone. Similarly, he went in and out of the room many times. At last, his anxiety and desire to see Sultan Bahoo heightened. Now he became extremely restless. Then Sultan Bahoo blessed him with his vision. Afterwards Sultan Bahoo took oath of allegiance from him and granted him spiritual succession. His shrine is adjacent to his father Shaikh Junayd’s shrine.

LAL SHAH HAMDANI

His shrine is at the back of shrine of Sultan Bahoo. He was son of Sharif Shah Hamdani. Once, he came at the shrine of Sultan Bahoo who blessed him so much that he never left the shrine and spent rest of his life there. He died at the shrine in 1328 H and was buried there. Sultan-ul-Faqr VI Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali  said to Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman that Sultan Bahoo once spiritually said to Lal Shah Hamdani:

“You are my beloved. I will keep looking at you from my shrine throughout your life. After your death, I will let your grave be made near my shrine and will keep looking at you till the doomsday.”

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