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Sheikh Noor ud Din
3649 KE 779 AH or 1377 CE
|Died||842 AH or 1440 CE|
|Other names||Sheikh ul-Alam|
|Region||Jammu and Kashmir|
Nund Rishi or Nund Reshi (Urdu: نُندہ ریشی), also known as Sheikh Noor ud-Din Wali, Sheikh Noor ud-Din Noorani (Urdu: شیخ نُورالدین نُورانی) and popularly as Sheikh ul-Alam (Urdu: شیخُ العالم) among the Muslim and as Nund laal among the Hindus – was a Kashmiri mystic regarded as the patron saint of Kashmiris. He is considered to be the founder of the Rishi order of saints which deeply influenced many well known mystics like Hamza Makhdoom, Resh Mir Sàeb, and Shamas Faqir. day.
Noorudin was born in a village called Qaimoh (old name Katimusha) in Kulgam district, which is 10 km from Anantnag and 60 km Southeast of Srinagar in the year 649 Kashmiri Calendar/1377 CE, corresponding to 779 Hijri. His grandfather was from Kishtwar. His father's name was Sheikh Sala-ud-din and his mother Sadra was called Sadra Moji or Sadra Deddi. In Kashmir, Moji means 'mother' and Deddi denotes 'elderly.'
Nur-ud-din was apprenticed to a couple of traders, one after the other. He felt disgusted with the ways of the world, and, deciding upon renunciation, retired to caves for meditation at the age of thirty like a Hindu Sage. It is said that he lived for twelve years in the wilderness. Hence, perhaps, kaimuh is given the derivation of kai-wan (or ban, a forest) in rustic belief. The actual cave of contemplation is shown in kaimuh and is about 10 feet deep. In his last days, he is claimed to have sustained life on one cup of milk daily. At some point he reduced himself to water alone, and died at the age of 63, in the reign of Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin, in 842 A. H. = 1438 A.C. Shams-ul-Arifin or 'the sun of the pious' is the chronogram which gives the date of his death. The Sultan accompanied his bier to the grave. The burial prayers were led by a divine or 'Alim of the age, Makhdum Baba Usman Uchchap Ganai. The tomb of Sheikh Nur-ud-din at Charari Sharief, a small town perched on a dry bare hill, 20 miles southwest of Srinagar, is visited by pilgrims to the present day.
During his lifetime, he witnessed much conversions in the valley, from Hinduism to Islam. Various historical events helped to shape his mind in such a manner that he produced some works of philosophy, in his own manner of verses and poetry.
Sheikh ul-Alam was deeply affected by such events and this is apparent in his verses; he specifically recalls arrival of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani to Kashmir, which happened thrice: in September 1372 CE, in 1379 CE and in 1383 CE.
Sheikh Nur-ud-din- appears to have married Zai Ded from Dadasara in Tral. Her father Akber-u-Din and two brothers "Kamal-u-din" and "Jamal-u-din" are buried in Dadasara and had two sons and one daughter. On the death of the children, Zai Ded also renounced the world, and became a hermit. She was buried at Kaimuh on her death.
Sheikh Nur-ud-din's secular life has impressed the Kashmiri people. The Afghan governor, Ata Muhammad Khan, gave, as it were, expression to public sentiment when coins were struck by him in the name of Sheikh Nur-ud-din in 1223-25 A.H. (1808-10 CE).
He used his poetry as tool to spread the knowledge of absolute. His poetry is commonly known as Shrukhs.
One of his most famous and oft quoted couplets is (Kashmiri:"Ann poshi teli yeli wann poshi") meaning 'Food will last as long as forests last' Lal Ded or Lal Sarita, who was initially a Shaivite poetess of Kashmir was his contemporary. She had a great impact on his spiritual growth. He has in one of his poems prayed to God to grant him the same level of spiritual achievement as God had bestowed on Lal Ded.
His sayings are preserved in the Nur-nama, commonly available in Kashmir. The Nur-nama also gives the life of the saint. It was written by Baba Nasib-ud-din Ghazi in Persian about two centuries after the death of Sheikh Nur-ud-din.
The University of Kashmir has honored his name by creating the Sheikh-ul-Alam Chair.
The shrine of Sheikh-ul-Alam, in addition to the structure itself, comprises attached Khanqahs, inns for the pilgrims is a place of pilgrimage for Kashmiris of all communities. The shrine contains 600‑year‑old handmade Persian and Kashmir carpets, ancient objects and scrolls, some antique copies of the Quran, extremely precious cut-glass chandeliers etc.
He died at the age of 63 years in the year of 1440 CE or 842 Hijri.
- Gems of Kashmiri Literature and Kashmiriyat by P.N. Razdan:The Trio of Saint Poets
- Soqte:School Of Orthoepy Quran And Theology::Kashmir Archived 2007-04-19 at the Wayback Machine
- Gems of Kashmiri Literature and Kashmiriyat by P.N. Razdan (Mahanori)
- Jaishree Odin, Lalla to Nuruddin: Rishi-Sufi Poetry of Kashmir. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass (2013)