Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sehwan Sharif

Sehwan (Urdu: سیہون) (aka: Sehwan Sharif) is located in Sindh province of Pakistan. Sehwan town is of unimpeachable antiquity, Sehwan, some eighty miles north-west of Hyderabad lay on the opposite bank of the Indus. It is possible that the name Sehwan originates from "Siwistan" or "Seevistan", the kingdom of Raja Dahir which even extended to Punjab under the name "Shivi".[1] It was significant enough during the 8th century to be conquered by Muhammad bin Qasim in 711 CE, and two centuries later by Mahmud of Ghazni. An abortive attempt was made by the Mughal emperor Humayun to capture it on his way to Umarkot but it finally fell to his son Akbar. Apart from the remnants of the ruins scattered about its environs, the most famous monument in Sehwan remains the shrine of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.

The city is known for its Muslim patron saint Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar who lived here in 13th century CE. The mausoleum of Hazrat Shahbaz Qalandar attracts hundred of thousands of faithful every year.

Taluka sehwan is located in Jamshoro District of Sindh Pakistan at the right bank of river indus. Sehwan sharif is famous in Pakistan and world level for sufiism due to the great saint Hazrat (Usman Marwandi) qalandar lal shahbaz. another famous place is the inverted city besides the Dargah of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalander, may be the Debal Bandar of Raja Dahar. The Manchhar lake the biggest lake of Asia is in a little distance from Sehwan Sharif.

Sehwan Sharif is the eternal resting place of Hazrat Syed Usman Marwandi (Sindhi) also known as Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. He was born in 538 A.H, (1143 AD) in Marwand Iran.

Reference book, Qalandar Nama Sindhi,

His ancestors migrated from Iraq and settled down in Mashud Iran, from where they again migrated to Marwand. During the Medieval period, Mashud and other cities of that region were renowned centers of learning and civilization. His father, Syed Ibrahim Kabiruddin was a virtuous and pious dervish, and his mother was a high-ranking princess.

Syed Ibrahim Kabiruddin never thought of getting married because of prayers. With reference of book ‘lub tarik sindh’ one night Holy soul of Lal Qalandar turns up in the dream of his father “Syed Ibrahim Kabiruddin” asking him to get married saying "Get married as I have to be born by you". The birth date, age and last days of your life are mentioned in (Qalandar Nama Sindhi). The Birth name of this angelic nature baby was Syed Shah Hussain, but according to Tazkara-e-Shahbaz the name USMAN was given to hsi father and grandfather as this name was given by Hazrat Imam Hussain to his father and grandfather in their dream.

In Accordance with Alshahbaz book at the time of birth his appearance was rosy which is why his father used to call him LAL red. He liked red color since childhood and always used to wear red attire, holding a red flag and even he had red eyes. All those things gave him the title of "Lal" which literally means "red". The name Shahbaz was given to him by his spiritual master Hazrat Baba Ibrahim. He was also called saif-ul-lisan because Allah used to fulfill his every word as a token of extreme devotion to Allah. He is also known by the names Qutub-Uddin and Shams-Uddin.

Even as a young boy, Usman Marwandi showed strong religious leanings and had learnt the Holy Quran by heart just at age of seven, and at twenty embraced the Qalandar order of Sufism. The Qalandari and Qadri orders are alike spiritually according to ILM Ali Qalandar. Qalandar is a type of dervish who is generally dressed in beggars’ clothes, likes poverty and austerity and has no permanent dwelling.

Lal Shahbaz Qalandar wandered throughout Middle East and came to Sind from Baghdad via Dasht-i-Makran.Valley of panjghoor (Baluchistan) near Rakshanh stream where he did his spiritual exercise, this place is remembered by his name as DASHT-E-SHAHBAZ.

In 1263, he arrived in Lahore and then visited the shrine of Data Gunj Baksh and stayed there for forty days, and visited the shrines of Hazrat sheikh Hussain Zanjani, Hazrat Syed Ishaq Zanjani and Syed Yaqoob Zanjani. Then he proceededt to Sialkot and visit Hazrat Imam Ali La Haq. Then hejourneyed to Multan and meet Hazrat Ghous Bahauddin Zikria, and his great son Sheikh sadr-uddin Arif, which at that time was at the height of glory and splendor.

According to famous book “Kashf-ul-lugat” Qalandar means "who is gone astray in the love of GOD".

As Iqbal put it "Thousand of sorrows but heart is the language of GOD. It has always been the way of Qalandari"

The people of Multan besought him to stay but he continued his journey southward and eventually settled down in Sehwan, then a famous center of learning and popular place of worship for Hindus, in the southern part of Sindh, where he lived in the trunk of a tree on the outskirts of the town. He stayed at Sehwan for six years and during this period he disseminated the light of Islam, providing guidance to thousands of people.

As Qalandar put it "Nameless and tongue less still I am the mystic of GOD. Nameless and mark less but still I’m the devote of GOD"

Sehwan is probably the town with the oldest continuous existence in Sind and in those days was the capital of a Buddhist ruler who was brother of Chandragupta II, the third of the Guptan dynasty in the 4th century AD. From the time of Arab invasion in 712, Sehwan was very important in the history of Sind since it commanded the route from the Upper to the Lower Indus, through which all invaders from either north or south had to pass. The possession of the fort was essential to the success of every campaign.

Lal Shahbaz Qalandar is an overwhelmingly popular patron saint who is cherished and adored alike by Hindus and Muslims of Sind. He was a great missionary, mystic, scholar, philosopher and poet. Several books in Persian and Arabic on philosophy and poetry are attributed to him.

He was ‘Lal’ (red) because of his red attire, ‘Shahbaz’ due to his noble and divine spirit that soared like a falcon higher and higher in the boundless heavens and ‘Qalandar’ since he belonged to Qalandria order of Sufism and was saintly, exalted and intoxicated with love for eternal being of God.

As Qalandar put it "Entrance of Heaven is towards me but valueless without you. Houri and nymph are towards me but nothing without you.I went to the heavens and lay down on the seat of GOD. Swear to GOD worthless without you"

The legend goes that the incumbent fakirs in Sewhan sent him a bowl of milk filled to the brim indicating that there was no room for anything more. But surprisingly, he returned the bowl with a beautiful flower floating on the top.

As Qalandar put it "I always do the devotional dance on fire in the love my friend. At times on soil at times on thorns"

The shrine around his tomb, built in 1356, gives a dazzling look with its Sindhi kashi tiles, mirror work and two gold-plated doors - one donated by the late Shah of Iran, the other by the late Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The inner sanctum is about 100 yards square with the silver canopied grave in the middle. On one side of the marble floor is a row of about 12 inch high folding wooden stands on which are set copies of Quran for devotees to read. On the other side, beside a bundle of burning agarbattis (joss sticks), are rows of diyas (small oil lamps) lighted by Hindu devotees.

As Qalandar put it "My heart is filled with the love of GOD, neither depressed nor have patience to my whole body"

Thousands of devotees flock to the tomb while every Thursday their number stands multiplied. Especially at the time of his ‘Urs’ (celebration anniversary) being a carnival as well a religious festival and celebrated every year on the 18th day of Sha’ban, Sehwan springs to life and becomes the focal point of more than half a million pilgrims from all over Pakistan. On each morning of the three day feast, the narrow lanes of Sewhan are packed to capacity as thousands and thousands of pilgrims, fakirs and devotees make their way to the shrine to commune with the saint, offer their tributes and make a wish. Most of the people present garlands and a green chadar (a cloth used to cover a tomb) with Qur’anic inscriptions in silver or gold threads. Humming of verses, singing and dancing in praise of the saint continues till late at night.

A devotional dance known as ‘dhamal’, being a frenzied and ecstatic swirl of the head and body is a special ritual that is performed at the rhythmic beat of the dhole (a big barrel-shaped drum), some of them being of giant size and placed in the courtyard of the shrine. Bells, gongs, cymbals and horns make a thunderous din, and the dervishes, clad in long robes, beads, bracelets and colored head-bands whirl faster and faster in a hypnotic trance, until with a final deafening scream they run wildly through the doors of the shrine to the courtyard beyond.

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