Mirza Mazhar Jan-e-Janaan

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For other people named Mazhar, see Mazhar (disambiguation).
Mirzā Mazhar Jān-i Jānān
Born 11th Ramadan, 1111 A.H. (1699 CE)
Mughal Empire
Died 10th Muharram, 1195 A.H. (1781 CE)
Region Islamic scholar /Sufi
School Islam, Hanafi, Sufi
Notable ideas
Acceptance of Hindus as Ahl-i Kitab, unflinching adherence to the Sunnah

Mirzā Mazhar Jān-i Jānān (Urdu: مرزا مظہر جانِ جاناں‎), also known by his laqab Shamsuddīn Habībullāh (1699–1781), was a renowned Naqshbandī Sufi poet of Delhi, distinguished as one the "four pillars of Urdu poetry."[1] He was also known to his contemporaries as the sunnītarāsh, "Sunnicizer", for his absolute, unflinching commitment to and imitation of the Sunnah of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[1]

He established the Naqshbandī suborder Mazhariyya Shamsiyya.

His birth and early life[edit]

The date of birth is variously given as 1111 or 1113 A.H, and it took place in Kālā Bāgh, Mālwa. Shaikh Muhammad Tahir Bakhshi notes his date of birth as 11th Ramadan 1111 AH.[2] His father Mirzā Jān was employed in the army of the mighty Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Following a custom according to which the Emperor had the right to name the sons of his officers, Aurangzeb is reported to have said:[3]

"A son is the soul of his father. Since the name of his father is Mirzā Jān, the name of the son will be Jān-i Jānān."

His early religious instruction was entrusted to hājjī Afzal Siyālkōtī (hadith) and hāfiz Abd al-Rasūl Dihlawī (Qur'an). At the age of 18, he joined the Naqshbandī order under Nūr Muhammad Bada'ūni, who was closely connected to the teachings of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindī, and completed his studies in four years. He was also initiated in the Qādirī, Chishtī and Suhrawardī orders.[3]

In his prime, Mazhar was advised to write poetry in Urdu rather than Persian as the days of the latter language were said to be numbered in India. Besides authoring poetry and polemics, Mazhar also wrote a large number of letters relating to Sufi thought and practice.

Views on Hinduism and other religions[edit]

Among his notable ideas is his acceptance of the Divine-origin of the vedas, which he claimed were revealed by God at the beginning of creation, and his acceptance of the Hindus as the people of the book.

Legacy and influence[edit]

Among his 'disciples' or Muridīn was the great Hanafī scholar, Qādī Thanāullāh Panipatī, who wrote a famous Tafsir of the Qur'an by the name Tafsir-i Mazharī, which he named after his teacher. Also in his spiritual lineage (silsila) came the great Hanafī jurist Imam Ibn 'Abidīn and the Qur'an exegete Allāma Alusī.

His Naqshbandī lineage came to be known as Mazhariyya Shamsiyya. Mazhar apparently authorised more disciples than any of his predecessors. He regularly corresponded with his deputies, and his letters form much of the basis of our knowledge about his life and ideas.[4]

He was succeeded by his khalifa (deputy) Hazrat Abdullah alias Shah Ghulam Ali Dahlavi, who is considered Mujaddid of the 13th Islamic century by most Naqshbandi followers today. His tariqah spread to whole India and Middle East.

His death and martyrdom[edit]

Mirzā Mazhar was shot and seriously injured on the 7th of Muharram, of the year 1195 AH/1780 CE. The author of Āb-i Ḥayāt writes:[5]

"The cause of this murder was widely rumored in Delhi among high and low: that according to custom, on the seventh day [of Muḥarram], the standards were carried aloft [in procession]. Mirzā Mazhar sat by the side of the road in the upper veranda of his house, with some of his special disciples. Just as ordinary barbarous people do, his [Sunni] group and the [Shia] procession group may perhaps have hurled some insults and abuse, and some barbarous person was offended. Among them was one stony-hearted person named Faulād [=steel] Ḳhān, who was extremely barbarous. He did this evil deed. But Ḥakīm Qudratullāh Ḳhān 'Qāsim', in his anthology, says that in his poetry Mirzā Sahib used to compose a number of verses in praise of Hazrat ʿAlī, and some Sunni took this amiss and did this evil deed.

It should be noted that the author of Āb-i Ḥayāt, a determined Shi'a, has been suspected of indulging in partisan religious bias. Professor Frances Pritchett has noted that the latter account of the death of Mirzā Mazhar in Āb-i Ḥayāt is a deliberate distortion.[6] Professor Friedmann, as well as Annemarie Schimmel and Itzchad Weismann, have all noted that Mirzā Mazhar was killed by a Shi'ite zealot.[1][3][4]

Most of his Urdu biographers have also written that he was killed by a gunshot by a Shi'ite on 7th Muharram, and he died on 10th Muharram 1195 AH.[2]

Spiritual Chain of Succession[edit]

Mirza Mazhar belonged to the Mujaddidi order of Sufism, which is the main branch of Naqshbandi Sufi tariqah. His spiritual lineage goes to Muhammad, through Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi, the Mujaddid of eleventh Hijri century. The complete lineage is as under:[7]

  1. Muhammad d.11AH, buried Madinah SA (570/571–632 CE)
  2. Abu Bakr Siddiq, d.13AH, buried Madinah, SA
  3. Salman al-Farsi, d.35AH buried Madaa'in, Iraq
  4. Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr d.107AH buried Madinah SA.
  5. Jafar Sadiq, (after which moves to Iran) d 148AH buried Madinah SA.
  6. Bayazid Bastami, d 261AH buried Bistaam, Iraq (804–874 CE).
  7. Abul Hassan Kharqani, d 425AH buried Kharqaan, Iran.
  8. Abul Qasim Gurgani, d.450AH buried Gurgan, Iran.
  9. Abu Ali Farmadi, (after which moves to Turkmenistan) d 477AH buried Tous, Khorasan, Iran.
  10. Yusuf Hamadani, d 535AH buried Maru, Khorosan, Iran.
  11. Abdul Khaliq Ghujdawani, d 575AH buried Ghajdawan, Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
  12. Arif Reogari, d 616AH buried Reogar, Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
  13. Mahmood Anjir-Faghnawi, d 715AH buried Waabakni, Mawralnahar.
  14. Azizan Ali Ramitani, d 715AH buried Khwaarizm, Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
  15. Muhammad Baba Samasi, d 755AH buried Samaas, Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
  16. Amir Kulal, d 772AH buried Saukhaar, Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
  17. Muhammad Baha'uddin Naqshband, d 791AH buried Qasr-e-Aarifan, Bukhara, Uzbekistan (1318–1389 CE).
  18. Ala'uddin Attar Bukhari, buried Jafaaniyan, Mawranahar, Uzbekistan.
  19. Yaqub Charkhi, d 851AH buried Charkh, Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
  20. Ubaidullah Ahrar, d 895AH buried Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
  21. Muhammad Zahid Wakhshi, d 936AH buried Wakhsh, Malk Hasaar
  22. Durwesh Muhammad, d 970AH buried Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
  23. Muhammad Amkanaki, (after which moves to India) d 1008AH buried Akang, Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
  24. Muhammad Baqi Billah Berang, d 1012AH buried Delhi, India.
  25. Ahmad Faruqi Sirhindi, d 1034AH buried Sarhand, India (1564–1624 CE)
  26. Muhammad Masum Sirhindi, d 1079AH buried Sarhand, India.
  27. Muhammad Saifuddin Faruqi Mujaddidi, d 1096AH buried Sarhand, India
  28. Muhammad Mohsin,
  29. Nur Muhammad Badayuni, d.1135AH
  30. Mirza Mazhar Jan-e-Janaan, d.1195AH

His Khulafa[edit]

In Maqamat Mazhari, his foremost Khalifa and successor Shah Ghulam Ali Dahlwai writes short biographies of many of his Khulafa (deputies). Here only those names are mentioned:[8]

  1. Shaykh Abdullah alias Shah Ghulam Ali Dahlawi (author of the book)
  2. Shaykh Sayyad Mir Musalman, a Sayyad (descendant of Muhammad), died during the life of his shaykh
  3. Qadi Thanaullah Panipati, author of Tafsir Mazhari and other notable Islamic books, descendant of Usman the third caliph of Islam
  4. Mawlana Fadalullah, elder brother of Qadi Thanaullah Panipati
  5. Mawlana Ahmadullah, eldest son of Qadi Thanaullah Panipati, famous for his braveness and fighting skills
  6. Wife of Qadi Thanaullah Panipati
  7. Shaykh Muhammad Murad, a trader, spent 35 years in the company of his shaykh
  8. Shaykh Abdur-Rahman
  9. Mir Aleemullah Gangohi
  10. Shaykh Muradullah alias Ghulam Kaki
  11. Shaykh Muhammad Ehsan
  12. Shaykh Ghulam Hasan
  13. Shaykh Muhammad Muneer
  14. Khwaja Ibadullah
  15. Mawlana Qalandar Bakhsh
  16. Mir Naeemullah
  17. Mawlana Thanaullah Sanbhali
  18. Mir Abdul-Baqi
  19. Khalifa Muhammad Jameel
  20. Hazrat Shah Bheek
  21. Mawlana Abdul-Haqq
  22. Shah Muhammad Salim
  23. Shah Rahmatullah
  24. Muhammad Shah
  25. Mir Mubeen Khan
  26. Mir Muhammad Mueen Khan, brother of Mir Mubeen Khan
  27. Mir Ali Asghar alias Mir Makhoo
  28. Muhammad Hasan Arab
  29. Muhammad Qa'im Kashmiri
  30. Hafiz Muhammad
  31. Mawlana Qutbuddin
  32. Mawlana Ghulam Yahya
  33. Mawlana Sayyad Ghulam Muhiuddin Jilani
  34. Mawlana Naeemullah Bahra'ichi
  35. Mawlana Kaleemullah Bangali
  36. Sayyad Mir Ruhul-Amin
  37. Shah Muhammad Shafi
  38. Muhammad Wasil
  39. Muhammad Hussain
  40. Shaykh Ghulam Hussain Thaanisari
  41. Mawlana Abdul Kareem
  42. Mawlana Abdul Hakeem
  43. Nawab Irshad Khan
  44. Ghulam Mustafa Khan, student of Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dahlawi
  45. Noor Muhammad Qandhari
  46. Mulla Naseem
  47. Mulla Abdur Razzaq
  48. Mulla Jaleel
  49. Mulla Abdullah
  50. Mulla Taimoor

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c And Muhammad is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic piety, by Annemarie Schimmel (Chappel hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1985)
  2. ^ a b Jalwa Gah-e-Dost (Urdu) 2nd edition (2008) by Hazrat Khwaja Muhammad Tahir Bakhshi Naqshbandi: http://urdu.islahulmuslimeen.org/urdu/books/jalwagah/h30.htm
  3. ^ a b c Medieval Muslim views of Indian religion, Y. Friedmann, JOAS 95, 1975.
  4. ^ a b The Naqshbandiyya: orthodoxy and activism in a worldwide Sufi tradition, Itzchak Weismann, Routledge, 2007.
  5. ^ ĀB-E ḤAYĀT: Shaping the Canon of Urdu Poetry MUḤAMMAD ḤUSAIN ĀZĀD translated and edited by Frances W. Pritchett in association with Shamsur Rahman Faruqi: http://dsal.uchicago.edu/books/PK2155.H8413/123141d3.html
  6. ^ Nets of awareness: Urdu poets and its critics, Frances W. Pritchett
  7. ^ http://www.islahulmuslimeen.org/golden_chain.asp[dead link]
  8. ^ Maqamat Mazhari by Shah Ghulam Ali Dahlawi (Urdu translation): http://www.maktabah.org/index.php/biography/sufi-shaikhs/889.html

External links[edit]