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The holy Prophet and Hazrath Ali

The roots of Sufism lie embedded in Islam itself. There are numerous passages in the Holy Qur'an which are of a mystical character. The holy Prophet of Islam p.b.u.h. himself displayed mystical inclinations and he very often retired to the cave known as Hirah for the purpose of devotions, meditation and contemplation. The holy Prophet was the recipient of two types of revelations, one embodied the Holy Qur'an, and the other illuminated his heart. The former was meant for all, the latter for those selected few whose hearts could be illuminated with the Divine Light. The knowledge of the holy Prophet was thus both book knowledge (Ilm-i-Safina) and heart knowledge (Ilm-e-Sina). Hadrat Ali received his heart knowledge from the holy Prophet. It is related that after the Ascension, the holy Prophet awarded a mantle to Hadrat Ali which led to the illumination of his heart.

Hadrat Ali is acclaimed as the father of Sufism. Most Sufi orders claim their descent from Hadrat Ali. According to Hadrat Ali Hajweri, the rank of Hadrat Ali is very high in the lineage of Sufis. According to Hadrat Junaid of Baghdad, Hadrat Ali is the Shaikh as regards to the principles and practices of Sufism.

According to Hadrat Ali the base of religion is the gnosis of God. He held: "The height of gnosis is His confirmation. The height of confirmation is tawhid. The height of tawhid is the acknowledgement of the supremacy of God in all matters. He is beyond all attributes. No particular attribute can give an idea of His exact nature. He is not bound by anything; all things are bound by Him. He is Infinite, limitless, boundless, beyond time, beyond space, beyond imagination. Time does not affect Him. He existed when there was nothing. He will exist forever. His existence is not subject to the law of birth or death. He is manifest in everything, yet He is distinct from everything. He is not the cause of anything, yet everything is because of Him. He is unique and He has no partner. He is the Creator. He creates as well as destroys. All things are subject to His command. He orders something to be and it is."

Sulthan ul Awliya Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jeelani

The Qadiri Silsila named after the Sultan of Saints, the Rose of Baghdad; Sheikh Sayyiduna Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA) is more popular in South Asia than any other part of the Muslim world apart from Iraq, its place of origin and is regarded as the patron of all Sufi Orders in South Asia. Among pilgrims to his tomb in Baghdad, Iraq, South Asians outnumber those from other parts of the world. In the late 20th century Pakistanis and Iraqis are the chief source of authority of the keeper of the Sultan of Saints tomb. To the Qadiris in the subcontinent, the founder of their Order has over ninety-nine names, is called Ghaus-ul-Azam (Ghaus-e-Azam/Ghaus-e-Paak), or ‘Greatest Helper’ and the ‘Pir-i- Dast-gir’ (the Pir who keeps one’s hand for support). The poems in honor of Sheikh Sayyiduna Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA), which are sung at his anniversary in the fourth month of the Islamic lunar year, reveal the tremendous admiration of the followers of this Mystical Order, who, as 16th Century Turkish folk poets boast:

I am the honey of his bee,
I am the rose of his garden,
I am the nightingale of his meadow-
Of my Shaikh Abdul Qadir!

In the book Mystical Dimensions of Islam, Annemarie Schimmel describes how old Sindhi songs describe how his spiritual realm extends from Istanbul to Delhi, town by town, country by country being blessed by him. In folk piety Sheikh Sayyiduna Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA) has even become the Master of the Jinn, and many haunted caves and sacred places in the Maghreb are devoted to his Mystical Order, and he also had a decisive influence in the Islamization of West Africa.

Sheikh Sayyiduna Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA) is the apex of spiritual authority next only to the beloved Prophet (SAW). He is the Ghaus, or the Qutb (Axis or Pole), on whom the government of the world is believed to depend.

Sulthanul Aarifeen Shaikh Ahmed Kabeer Ar Rifai

Sayyid Ahmed ar Rifai was born in the first half of Rajab in the Muslim yeer of 512 A.H. (1119 A.D.) on a Thursday. His birthplace was in the town of Ummu Abeyde in the township of Beta in the province of Basra, Iraq. He passed to the other side on Thursday, Jamadi al-Awwal 22, 578 A.H. (1183 A.D.), in the town of Wasit, in Basra, Iraq.

His father was Sayyid Ali Abu'l Hasan. His mother was Fatima ul-Anseri bint Yahya Nijjeri. His Shaykh was Aleyyul Wasiti. His maternal uncle, who helped raise him, was Shaykh Mansur Rabbani.

Ahmed ar Rifai was related to our Prophet (saws) from both his father's and mother's sides by blood. His paternal lineage was Sayyid Ahmed er Rufai, Ibni Sayyid Ali, Ibni Sayyid Yahya, Ibni Sayyid Sabit, Ibni Sayyid Hazim, Ibni Sayyid Ali, Ibni Sayyid Ebilmekerim Rufael Hasanulmekki, Ibni Elseyyit Mehdi, Ibni Esseyyit Mehmet Ebi Kasim, Ibni Esseyyit Elhasan, Ibni Esseyyit Elhuseyin, Ibni Esseyyit Ahmet, Ibni Esseyyit Musa ul-Sani, Ibni Esseyyit Imam Ibrahimulmurtaza, Ibni Imam Musa-ulkazim, Imam Jaferi Sadik, Ibni Imam Muhammad Bakir, Ibni Imam Zeynelabidin, Ibni Imam Elsehit Huseyin, Ibni Emirulmuminin Aliyelmurtaza.
Before Ahmed ar Rifai's birth, his maternal uncle, a famous Shaykh, Mansur Rabbani, had seen our prophet Hz. Muhammad (saws) and was told that his sister would have a male child who would be famous and be known by the name "Rifa'i." When the child reached the proper age for Sufism, he should be sent to Shaykh Aleyyul Vasiti for education and training.
Ahmed ar Rifai's father passed away when his son was 7 years old. Sayyid Ali died in 519 A.H.; he is buried in Baghdad. So Ahmed er Rufai's maternal uncle started taking care of the little boy. After a while he was sent to Shaykh Vasiti in accordance with his uncle's vision. Shaykh Mansur has said that as long as Ahmed ar Rifai stayed with him, he saw many miracles come through the boy and that many blessings came through him for everyone.
Ahmed ar Rifai showed ability and wisdom beyond his age when he began his education under Shaykh Vasiti. He acquired a high maqam by explaining the book of the Shafi school called "Tanbih."

Many miracles occurred through Ahmed ar Rifai. One of the most widely known is the one that give him the name "Ebul alemeyin" (the Father of Two Banners). In the year 555 A.H., when he was 43 years old, Hz. Rifa'i went on hajj. He didn't wear the usual traveling clothes of sayyids (the relatives of the Prophet, saws, could be recognized by their clothes). There is a certain section of the Prophet's (saws) tomb in Medina that only blood relatives of the Prophet (saws) may enter. The guard at the door would not allow him in, as he wanted to know the proof that Ahmed ar Rifai was related to the Prophet (saws). Ahmed ar Rifai was sad and yelled towards our Prophet's (saws) tomb, "As-salaamu alaykum, ya jeddi (Peace be on you, my ancestor)." Our Prophet (saws) answered, saying "Walaykum salaam, ya waladi (And peace be on you, my son)." Muhammad's (saws) hand came out of the tomb and our Pir kissed the Prophet's (saws) hand. When people saw this miracle, they went into a state of wajd (ecstasy) and began stabbing themselves with their swords and knives. When the ecstasy passed, there were people lying all over the floor covered with blood, so Ahmed ar Rifai returned them to their normal health. After that, our Pir was famous for possessing this gift.

Ahmed ar Rifai is known as one of the four major tariqat pirs ("Aktab-i erbaa," a qutb of the time, not just of a local area). Another major qutb was Abdul Qadir al Geylani. One day somebody asked Abdul Qadir al Geylani (who was Ahmed ar Rifai's cousin) "Ya Hazret, what is love?" Hz. Geylani told the person to go ask this question to Sayyid Ahmed ar Rifai. After sending Hz. Geylani's salaams to Hz. Rifa'i, he asked, "What is love?" When Ahmed ar Rifai heard this question, he stood up, saying, "Love is fire, love is fire." He began whirling until he passed into the unseen and disappeared. When the person saw this, he was disturbed because he didn't understand what was happening. At that moment, the spiritual presence of Abdul Qadir al Geylani appeared and told him to look for the spot where his brother Ahmed ar Rifai had vanished, and to pour rosewater on that spot. The person did this and within a couple of moments, Sayyid Ahmed ar Rifai appeared, whirling in the exact same place. When the man went back to Baghdad, he visited Hz. Geylani, who asked him, "Did you see love? My brother Sayyid Rifa'i has reached stations that many walis have not been able to reach." Sayyid Ahmed ar Rifai also deeply loved and respected Abdul Qadir al Geylani and told his students that whoever visited Baghdad without visiting Hz. Geylani's tomb would not be welcome by Allah or by them.

Ebu Musa el-Haddadi said that in the town of Haddahiye there was a woman whose children were always stillborn. This lady said, if I have a child, I will give this child in the service of Ahmed ar Rifai. A few years later she had a daughter who was hunchbacked and lame. Because of this, the other children in the village always made fun of her. One day, Ahmed ar Rifai was visiting this town and all the people went to the road to see him. The little girl threw herself at Rifai's feet and cried out, "You are my mother's Shaykh; please heal me from these problems!" and wept. When Hz. Rifai saw her situation he cried as well, and praying over her, he placed his hands on her back and head. The girl's back and leg were both healed. This is why Ahmed ar Rifai is called Beynennas (Ebu'l Arca), the Father of the Lame.

One Friday, Hz. Rifa'i was sleeping and woke to find that it was time for prayer. However, there was a cat asleep on his robe. He asked his wife for some scissors, cut off the part of his robe where the cat lay, stood up and went to prayers. When he returned, the cat had awakened and left, so he asked his wife for thread to sew the robe back together. When he saw his wife's displeasure at what he had done to his robe, he said "Do not worry, nothing but goodness happened and I did not suffer because of this; this was a good thing."
Once, Ahmed ar Rifai spent forty days caring for a dog with leprosy in the wilderness. When he returned and was asked why he had spent so much time caring for an unclean beast, he replied, "When I die and meet my Maker, what would I have said if He asked me why I hadn't helped one of His creatures?"

Sulthan Shaheed Ibraheem Badusha Erwadi

Popularly known as erwadi dargah and now the centre of controversy ever since fire broke out in a primitive mental asylum here on monday morning killing 26 mentally deranged persons including 12 woman and 14 men has a history of 400 years. the four dargahs were built here to commemorate seyyad ali sultan ibrahim shahid, his mother fathima, wife seyyad ali fathima and son abu thahir who are being held in high esteem since they being the messengers of god who migrated to erwadi from saudi arabia. according to the present imam of erwadi dargah, maulavi seyyad ismail siraji, seyyad ali sultan arrived in india during hijari 530. "when he reached erwadi, this place was under the rule of madurai king sethupathi maharaja. he pleased the king with his magical powers by performing many an impossible feat. the king who was immensely pleased, gave him 6000 acres of land as a token of appreciation", says the imam. though seyyad ali lived happily with his family in the land donated by the king for some time, the events in store were not favourable to him. "when the king himself appreciated seyyad ali for performing miracles, many non-muslims, especially hindus, got attracted to him. they expressed their desire to embrace islam religion by accepting his disciplehood to which he agreed", he says. but, it appears that the vikrama pandya king who succeeded king sethupathi maharaja did not like non-muslims, especially hindus getting converted to islam. "hence, there broke out a war between seyyad ali and vikrama pandya. in this war, seyyad ali attained martyrdom along with his family members. his son abu thahir was only 17 then. since then, the erwadi dargah has become a holy place", confirms the imam. asked what prompted the people to bring mental patients here, he said since seyyad ali had performed miracles, people still had unshakable trust in the magical powers of the dargah. most ironically, the dargah is also a symbol of religious harmony. since the madurai king sethupathi maharaja had patronised seyyad ali, his action cemented the bonds between the hindus and muslims which continues to date. "every year, during the month of dulkahath, we celebrate 'chandanakkudam' festival. hoisting the flag as is done in many a hindu temple down south is a speciality here. this flag hoisting ceremony is still the right of karuppayya yadavas, ambalathar, nadar and vannar communities'', he says.


Sulthanul Hind Khaja Moinudheen Chisthi Ajmeer

Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, r.a. was born in Seistan (East Persia) also known as Sajistan, around 533 Hijri (1138-39 A.D.) in a well respected family. His father, Khwaja Ghayasuddin, r.a. and mother, Syeda Bibi Ummalwara (alias Bibi Mahe-Noor), were the descendants of Hazrat Ali, r.a. through his sons Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain. Khwaja Sahib lost both his father and mother at an early age of sixteen years. He inherited an orchard and millstone which were his means of livelihood. One day when Khwaja Sahib was working in his orchard, a pious dervish and majzoob, Ebrahim Qandoozi, came and took his seat under the shade of a tree. When Khwaja Sahib saw him, he brought a bunch of grapes and presented it to his guest. The visitor ate the grapes and was delighted. He then took something out of his bag, chewed it, then offered it to his young host. Khwaja Sahib ate it without any hesitation, and at once the light of wisdom and knowledge dawned upon the young Khwaja. Immediately he disposed of all of his worldly belongings and distributed the money amongst the poor. Having thus broken all the ties with worldly affairs, he set off for Samarkand and Bokhara then the great centres of learning for religious education and knowledge.

When Khwaja Sahib had acquired the best knowledge and wisdom of the time, he travelled widely in search of a Pir (spiritual guide) who could provide him with the best spiritual guidance. He came to know of Hazrat Khwaja Usman Harooni , r.a, who was the greatest scholar and unrivalled spiritual guide of that period. In the very first meeting, Khwaja Sahib completely submitted himself to his Murshid and remained in the company of this great divine spiritual leader, for twenty years and served him devotedly, passing through the various stages of spiritual life. Thus the great Murshid trained and elevated Khwaja Sahib to the highest spiritual attainments.

As the great Khwaja Sahib became accomplished and perfect in every respect, the divine tutor honoured him with the robe and took him to Hajj. Both then proceeded to Mecca and performed the Hajj, and then went to Medina and stayed there for some time, to receive blessings from the prophet of Islam (s.a.w.s.)

One night, while in a trance, he was ordered by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.): "O Muinuddin! you are a prop of our faith. Proceed to India and show the Path of Truth to the people there." In compliance with the above spiritual command, Khwaja Sahib left Medina for India. He continued his journey, passing through Isfahan, Bokhara, Herat, Lahore and Delhi meeting several prominent Sufis of the period. He arrived at the barren and desolate land of Rajputana which is now known as Rajasthan. On his way to India, he enrolled large numbers of people into his fold and blessed thousands of others with spiritual power.

Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, r.a., arrived in Ajmer at the age of 52 years around 587 A.H. (1190 A.D.), on his divine mission, unique in the annals of Islam. His only armour for the success of his great mission was the greatest "invisible power" that pervades and sustains the whole universe. At that time, Ajmer was ruled by Prithvi Raj Chauhan, the famous Rajput king. In his court, he had a large number of powerful magicians with Ajai Pal as their leader. Khwaja Sahib stayed on a hill close to Ana Sagar lake now known as the Chillah Khwaja Sahib. When the news spread that a very pious Dervish had come to Ajmer, people began to flock to him in increasing numbers. Whoever came to him, received the kindest treatment and blessings. People were so much inspired by his divine teachings and simplicity that they began to embrace Islam. Many became his disciples. Even Ajai pal submitted himself to the divine powers of Khwaja Sahib, gave up all his magic and became his disciple.
Meanwhile, Shahabuddin Ghori again attacked India, in 1192 A.D., and in the famous battle of Tarain, defeated Prithvi Raj. When Shahabuddin Ghori came to know of the presence of Khwaja Sahib at Ajmer, he personally came to see him at his place, and enjoyed the grace of his meeting.

Khwaja Sahib continued his noble magnificent mission, showing the Path of Truth to the people. He also sent his disciples and successors to the different part of the country who also served the people and preached the tenets of Islam. A few of his prominent successors are:
Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Khaki, r.a. (Delhi. ob. 1236)
Hazrat Shaikh Fariduddin Ganj-e-shakar, r.a., (Pak Pattan ob. 1265)
Hazrat Shaikh Nizamuddin Awlia (Delhi, ob. 1325)
Hazrat Shaikh Nasiruddin Chiragh Delhi (Delhi, ob. 1356)

After achieving the objectives of his mission and complying with the command given to him by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), his noble soul left the mortal body on the 6th of Rajab 633 A.H. (March 16, 1236) at the age of 97. He was buried in the same cell which was the centre for his divine activities, throughout his stay at Ajmer. Today his tomb is popularly known as The Dargah Sharif (holy tomb). People of all walks of life and faith from all over the world, irrespective of their caste, creed and belief, visit this great shrine to offer the flowers of their esteem and devotion. The rich and the poor stand side by side to pay homage and respect to this divine soul.


Bahrulmusalla Sayyid Muhammed Bahassan Jamalullaili (Kadalundi)

He was a Great Sufi Scholar and Master of Thariqa.  He was born in Yemen and lived in the early 19th century. He traveled to Kerala, a southern state of India and settled at Kadalundi, a town situated close to the city of Calicut. His marvels are very great and he is one of the Greatest Spiritual Helper. As a Qutb-e-Zaman, he was a champion of the entire Tawheedi orders


Baba Hajji Malang

Climbing up to the Hajji Malang Shrine is an exciting and a hard trek. A motorable road takes you to "Malangad" which is about 15 kms, from Kalyan railway station. The shrine has been drawing pilgrims and sheer trekkers for a long time. Buses or Rickshaw plying a good road gets you there with no problems.

After you leave the vehicle a 2-½ hour climb takes you straight to the shrine. Shops on either side for the entire stretch try or coax you in to buying something. There are also stalls that sell soft drinks, sugarcane juice, etc, which also offers you a place to sit and rest a while if you are so inclined.

For the more experienced or adventurous, the climb can be made with the help of locals through the brush and up the mountainside, straight to the shrine.

As the story goes in Thane district of the state of Maharashtra a king by name "nal" ruled. The atrocities on the common folk and the havoc created in his state by the demons reached unbearable proportions. The cry from the oppressed had reached Mecca Medina and Allah ordered Baba Hajji Malang to pay a visit to the place from where these crimes against the society are committed and to ensure safety and well being of the common man by eliminating these demons.

Baba Haji Malang and his followers reached the small village called Brahman wadi near this mountain. On reaching, he felt very thirsty and asked for water from a house belonging to a Brahman. The Brahman, realizing that Baba Haji Malang and his followers are tired, arranged for a place to rest and offered them Milk instead of water. This holy act of the Brahman was duly appreciated by Baba and he blessed him. He took leave from the Brahman in order to complete the work ordered by the God at the earliest.

They found a small and cleaner place where Bakhtawar wanted to put so Baba Hajji Malang blessed him, and said "that during "Kalyug" this place will be known as "first Step" and will be treated as sacrosanct."

According to legend the King and Queen have been turned to stone and even today are stoned by believing public. A climb to the mountain includes being carried by a rope across two peaks for Rs. 20.00 After this you carry on climbing and try to stone the peaks and it is believed that if your stone hits one of the peaks then your wish will be granted as long as you do not wish for the throne of Delhi.

Once a year it is time to celebrate a big festival on this mountain named after Baba. This year on the 26th of February is the annual Urs or the birth centenary of Baba Hajji Malang. The devout followers of Baba from every caste and creed attend to the celebrations with great fervor. During these annual celebrations Baba's palanquin is carried out and it forms the Juloos. The palanquin route covers the entire mountain and is then brought back to the Dargah. The bursting of crackers and lightening of the mountain highlight the night on which this palanquin makes round. The fireworks display from the mountain is a delight to see. The pilgrims desiring to stay overnight can hire temporary huts on small rentals.

From the Dargah, a further hike of 45 minutes to 1 hour, takes you to the graves of " Panch Peer " which are of the disciples of Baba who came with him. Along this stretch, one visits the place of "Chasma". It is believed that from a spot where Baba's horse leg touched, water spouted.

Till today water is still coming and people take this water home and drink it with good faith.
On the eastern side of this mountain, trekking is good. An eight-hour walk by the natives, which translates into at least 10 for us lesser mortals, keep you still overlooking Panvel, Badlapur, Kalyan etc. Shacks can be arranged which have been erected for this purpose. Some animals like Peacocks, Leopards, and Huge Snakes are spotted, though you are quite safe. Light snacks should be taken from the Dargah itself for the journey.

Buses back from the shrine ply till quite late though it is better to inquire about the last bus back.