Mir Syed Ali Hamadani (RA): His Influence on Life and Society of Kashmir.

Dr Naseem RafiabadiSyed Ali Hamadani was a great reformer and a visionary who has impacted almost all the aspects of the lives of Kashmiris. Be it religious or spiritual dimension or social and political , be it the economic activity by introducing the arts and crafts of Iran and Central Asia in Kashmir or the instructions to the Kings and rulers ,in all these matters the influence and impact of Syed Ai Hamadani cannot be undermined. .He has influenced the Muslim Rishis and Hindu ascetics equally by his deep spiritual indoctrination he was espousing. His Son Mir Mohammad Hamadani continued his mission in Kashmir and was instrumental in initiating the local Rishi Saint Shaikh Nooruddin Wali into his Sufi discipleship, thus paving the way for a long and enduring process of Islamisation of not only Kashmir but even the localised mystic orders of Kashmir like Rishism. He was the only preacher of Islam in Kashmir and Baltistan (Northern Areas, Pakistan) who brought a clandestine change in the life styles of Kashmiri masses, provided them with Islamic values, and established the Persian culture in the soil of Kashmir. In this way Kashmir was transformed into a new phase of its civilization march from Buddhist and Hinduised moorings to an Islamic and Iranian one. It was due to these Persian influences on the socio.-cultural life of the people in Kashmir that Sir Mohd. Iqbal has given reference to Kashmir in his poetry as Iran –i-Sagheer meaning miniature Iran.

Apart from the culture and mannerism, the cultural traits of Kashmiri literary life were also influenced greatly by his arrival to Kashmir. From Persia were received these genres :"new poets genres –ghazl ,qasidah,marsiya,rubai,mathanavi ,nat and Manqabat Muslims introduced in Kashmir "from Persia as there was the only litany very genres that obtained in Kashmir prior to the Muslims were vaakh,watsun,and shrukh.
He preached Islam and affected the conversion of thousands of people from Buddhism to Islam by his great efforts. He has constructed many Khânqâhs, mosques and memorial places in these areas, some places are very popular in Asia particularly "Chaqchan Mosque" a most beautiful handicraft mosque in the garassion. Ninety fiver percent people (Noorbakhshi) of District Ghanche (Northern Areas, Pakistan) has great belief on him following his Assistant's preaching's (Shah Syed Noorbakshs R.A).
pic article Mir Syed Ali Hamdani Revolutionay visonary 4 a To start with, Mir Syed Ali Hamadani, the apostle of Kashmir, better known as the "Shâh of Hamadan" and 'Ameer e Kabeer' (1314- 1384) is arguably the most celebrated of these Syeds, coming from Iran and Central Asia in Medieval period and who have blessed Kashmir and have accelerated the process of Islamisation of Kashmir which has continued after them and is still continuing unabated. In the state there are four major Hospices dedicated to the Shâh, the Khânqâh e Mu'alla (Srinagar), Trâl, Doru and Shey (Ladakh). There also are several lesser- known Hospices of the Shah, which are situated at Sopore and Paampore.etc .The Shâh died either at Hazara (Pakistan) or in Kafiristan. However, he was buried in Khatlan (Tajikistan).
His room where he stayed for the first time is a part of a great building, named as Khanqah-e-Mualla (the hospice) .The building is a beautiful model of wooden architecture of Kashmir, with engravings on walls. Friday prayers are said here where hundreds gather to pray. The sacred relics include the Prophet's flag, the pillar of the Prophet's tent, and Shah Hamadan's walking stick is also housed in this hospice. During his life the place acquired the distinction of being the center of the religious learning and spiritual enlightenment. People throng to the place and pray to Allah there even today.
The Shâh was born in Hamadan, Iran. He travelled across the continents for twenty- one years, in the pursuit of knowledge and spiritual enlightenment. He met 1400 saints in the process before he returned to Hamadan. The Shâh of Hamadan, reached to Kashmir in 1372. He went to Ladakh around 1381 and was the first to establish a mosque there.
Hamadani entered the valley in the reign of Sultan Shihab-ud-Din in 774/1372. After staying for a short time he left for Mecca. He visited Kashmir second time in 781/1379 in the reign of Sultan Qutbu'd-Din. This time he stayed in there for two and a half years and then left for Turkistan via Ladakh in 783 A.H. He paid the third visit in 785/1383, stayed in Kashmir for a short period, and then left "Kashmir on account of ill-health and stayed at Pakhli for ten days at the request of the ruler of that place whose name was Sultan Muhammad." However, Baharistan-i-Shahi does not mention Hamadan's third visit to Kashmir. Hamadani died in 786 A.H., at the age of 73 in Kanar, a place in the vicinity of Pakhli. His body was carried to Khattalan now in Tajikistan and was buried there on 25 Jamadul Awwal, 787,130 (14 July 1385).2/
It is said that Saiyid Ali Hamadani traveled through the then inhabited world thrice in his life. The purpose of his visit was to know the etiquettes, customs and manners of the people living in these places. He says for example:
"I traveled thrice from the West to the East and observed many wonderful events and things in the sea and land. Whenever I reached, to a city or an inhabitant, I observed that the customs and habits of that place are altogether different from that of the other places."3/
Abu Muhammad Hajji Muhiuddin has indicated that this travelling has taken place in this manner. In the first instance, he visited from one city to another, second time from one village to another and third time from one household to another. He met the ascetics, Qutbs, and others during this travelling.
Nooruddin Badakhshi writes: - "that during his travel he went to Muzdaq and Khatlan, Balk, Badakhshan, Syria, Baghdad, Hijaz, Rome, Mawaraul-al-Nahar and Sarandeep (Lanka)."4/
Thus, the travels of Syed 'Ali Hamadani were quite extensive. (Though Prof. Rafiqui, Prof. Khan, Ghulam Rasool Bhat and other scholars hold that the early sources are unanimous "in saying that Sayyid 'Ali came to Kashmir only once." While as Hasan, and Miskin maintain that 'Sayyid 'Ali visited Kashmir three times, in 774/1372-73, 781/1379-80, and 785/1383-84. Rafiqui for example says that according to a legend, Sayyid Ali is said to have traveled three times all over the world and Hasan and Miskin seem to have based their account on this story. Such modern scholars as Muhi'ud-Din Sufi, and Muhibbul Hasan, agree with them, both relying on Miskin"5/.
According to Hikmat, Sayyid 'Ali visited Kashmir twice"6/. In the same way an Iranian journal, Darya, Shiraz, indicates that Saiyid Ali came to Kashmir in A.H. 785 for the third time and stayed there up to Dhil-q'adah of 786, before intending to leave Kashmir, Prof. Shamsu'd-Din Ahmad.7/
He belonged to a branch of the Suhrawardi order of Sufis, known as Kubrawis. It was the Shâh who brought this sect to Kashmir. The Kubrawis dominate the religious establishment of Srinagar, indeed Kashmir, to this day. The Shâh is said to have induced thirty- seven thousand Kashmiris to convert to Islam.
Some important colleges of Shah-i-Hamadan and the places where they are buried are as follows: -
Mir Syed Samani or Syed Samnani-Kulgam ,Mir Syed Haidar-Kulgam, Syed Jalaluddin 'Attayee-Kejhamah, Baramullah, Syed Kamal Thani-Naid Khai, Anantnag, Syed Jalaluddin Muhaddith, --Fatha Kadal Srinagar, Syed Feeroze-Sampur (Pampur), Syed Muhammad Kazim-Lattapora (Pampur), Syed Rukunu'd-Din -Awanpora, Baramullah, Syed Fakhru'd-Din. -Awanpora, Baramullah, Syed Muhammad----Qureshi----Bijbihara Islamabad, Syed Muhammad -Qureshi, pargana Shada, Mujah Latar, Pir Muhammad Qari--Qutbuddinpora. Langrata. and Syed Muhammad Baihaqi, --Sikandra. 8/
The Shâh's son, Mîr Muhammad Hamadâni (1372- 1450), returned to Kashmîr in 1393, accompanied by three hundred more Syeds. At the time Sihabhatt/ Suhabhatt was the commander in chief of King Sikander's army, and later the prime minister. And he was a devoted follower of Mir Mohammad Hamadani .Mir Mohammed , the illustrious son of Syed Ali Hamadani also continued the mission of his father and established some of his companions at the following places: -
Syed Muhammad Madani -Nowshara Srinagar, Syed Mohammed Hisari –Skindarpora, Syed Ali Akbar -Tashwan Qalandar pora Srinagar, Syed Mohd. Kirmani -- Tashwan Qalandar pora, Srinagar, Syed Muhammad. Zandaposh -Mazar-i-Salatin, Syed Haji Muhammad –Ranawari, Syed Nooruddin – Ranawari, Syed Muhammad –Ranawari, Syed Muhammad Isfahani –Baramullah, Syed Muhammad Afzal –Nawshahra, Syed Khalil Azizi –Sadrabal, Syed Kamal -Naid Khai, Syed Muhammad Qureshi –Bijbhara, Syed Abdullah –Bijbhara, Syed Murad –Bijbhara, Syed Kamal -Sadra Maji, Syed Mohammed 'Aanposh –KanaKadal, Syed Habibullah Azizi-Nawshahra, Syed 'Allau'd-Din -Skandrapora. (Son of Syed Jalalu'd-Din Bukhari Jahaniyan Jahan gasht), Syed Zeerak (Syed Ziyau'd-Din) Kandah-Hamah, Syed Nooruddin -Zania Kadal, Syed Fakhruddin –Neewah, Syed Abdullah -Andarwari, Srinagar, Syed Mohammed Nooristani, Hawal, Syed Mohammed Khwari -Fath Kadal, Syed Ali Akbar -Maisma and Syed Qutbu'd-Din -Qutbu'd-Din pora.9/
It is pertinent to mention here that apart from Syed Ali Hamadani that Sufis like , Mir Muhammad, Saiyid Jamaluddin Bukhâri and Saiyid Ismail Shami began to enter Kashmir in quick succession. One important ideological framework, which can be discerned running through the all activities of foreign and local Sufis and mystics in Kashmir, was based mainly on the works of Ibn 'Arabi and the Kashmiri Sufis seem to have taken little notice of Shaykh Alaud-Din Simani's criticism of Wahdat-al-Wajud of Ibn Arabi." A different trend, which emerged after the coming of the Sufis from Persia and Central Asia, was the crude synchronized form of it, which came to force with the development of an indigenous Sufi order known as the Rishism 10/
To start with let us take a close view of some Sufi stalwarts The Wahdat-al-Wajud (Unity of Being) philosophy was advocated by almost all Sufis, which has several resemblances with Hindu Vedanta, darshan. It is important to note that Syed Ali Hamadani, the famous 'Kubarawi, Sufi Saiyid Ali Hamadani (1314-1384) was an ardent advocate of the same philosophy. Although Sayyid Ali's teacher Allaudin Simnani was fiercely opposed to the theory of Wahdat-al-Wajud... He wrote a tract in defense of the Wujudi doctrine, entitled as "Risala-I-Wujudiyya". He wrote two commentaries on Ibn Arabi's acclaimed"Fusus-al-Hikam". According to Farooq Bukhari, Sayyid Ali was the first to introduce Ibn Arabi's thoughts in South Asia.

Apart from influencing Muslim sufis and masses, Syed Ali Hamadani and his Sufi colleagues, have influenced the non Muslim ascetics substantially. It is pertinent here to say that dissatisfied with the religion of the Brahmans, Lal, had therefore, no other alternative but to seek the company of the Kabrawi Sufi, Sayyid Husain Simnani, who had settled in the village of Kulgam during the reign of Sultan Shahbuddin. While Lal Ded was a wandering mystic, Simnani was engaged in a philanthropic mission in Kulgam. Lal Ded did not give a systematic expose of Saivism on the lines laid down by the theologians who preceded her; on the other hand her "songs illustrate a picture of the actual hopes and fears of the common folk that nominally followed the teachings of those men whom they had accepted as their guides".
There was great impact that was received by this wandering mystic like Lala, from her surrounding Islamic personages like Sayyid Husain Simnani, Sayyid Tajuddin and Sayyid Ali Hamadani. She imbibed a critical attitude towards the manifold abuses of the caste ridden social order. Her verses against the Brahmnamic supremacy show that she as well as other sensitive elements of the medieval non-Muslims were receiving subtle impact of Islamic acculturation, as this fact is also attested by strong documentary evidences.
Muhibbul Hassan while explaining the same phenomenon has said that the Unitarian or Vedantist influence of Kashmir owes its origins to external factors and not to the local mystical ethos of Kashhmir.He writes:
"So far as Sufism in Kashmir, as introduced by the followers of the great orders, is concerned, it did not come under the influence of Advaita Saivism in its doctrinal aspect. The evolution of Islamic mysticism into a well-developed system of thought and way of life had been achieved by the middle of the thirteenth century; and the ideas, if any, which it borrowed from Buddhist and Vedantic philosophy, it did so in countries outside Kashmir. Moreover, the founders and chief exponents of the Qadiri, Kubarawi, Suhrawardi, and Naqasahbandi Orders in the Valley were in general orthodox in outlook, adhering to Islamic laws and practices and denouncing antinomianism and incarnationist tendencies. They also frowned upon the extreme asceticism which sanctioned celibacy, the annihilation of all desires, self-torture, and an ivory-tower existence. But in spite of their attempts to maintain high Islamic ideals, Sufism in Kashmir, as elsewhere, did in the end compromise with many of the traditional practices which were openly polytheistic. Popular Islam in Kashmir thus became diluted with foreign elements, and this character it has retained until to-day".11/
Syed Ali Hamadani holds man as microcosm in whom are reflected all the attributes of macrocosm. God has deposited in his heart the secrets or elements which are neither in Arsh (Throne), Farsh (Earth) and Aasman (sky). Syed says that man is a small universe in his appearance but in its actuality, reality and essence he is the macrocosm (Jahan-i-Kabir) 12/
Here his philosophy of Wahdat al Wajud has played very important role also. Since Syed Ali Hamadani was greatly influenced by Ibn Arab's Wahdat-al-Wajud, the universe according to him is a "Big Man" created by God in order to realize Himself, while man is a small universe, reflecting like a well polished mirror the objects of nature or cosmos as they really are. The perfect man is the vicegerent of God on earth. He is endowed with the ability to cognize or understands the whole universe. All the elements of universe receive the munificence of God through him, and through him God beholds His creatures and has mercy upon them. 13/
To Syed Ali Hamadani S'aadah is the end of man's life and the objects. But no end is end in itself; it becomes a means for another end, for everything there is some special purpose or end for which it is created, it is achieved, it renders happiness possible. Hamadani calls this end as Sa'adat, or Saadat-i-Ukhrawia or Saadah-al-'Abdi or Saadat-i-Haqiqi.
One can attain Sa'adah by following the people who are on right path. Moreover, one should spend his possessions in the way of God. Though it is very difficult to stand in the rank of Sufis, yet still one should make his efforts to be in the rank of Ahl-i-Futat (people of magnanimity). If one does not do so he will be amongst the people in loss. 14/
Men are created dependent. They need each other's help for the fulfillment of their works and their success. Thus the people should help each other according to their capacity. 15/
Hamadani substantiates his views by a Prophetic saying i.e., "the Prophet said that Muslims are like a building, in which every brick supports the building for its erection and strength. In the same way the individual Muslims are like the bricks giving essential support to the edifice of Muslim society. Externally strong people possessing the gifts of God must spend them in His way. But in the contrary they forget their duty and the rights of others:" 16/
Hamadani exhorted people to spend in the way of God and admonished the people for their miserliness. For example, he quotes the Quranic verses in which it is revealed that the possession of a miser will be of no use in the life hereafter. It will become the cause of miser's destruction rather.17/
Miserliness causes destruction, bloodshed and is an open revolt against Allah. Sayed Ali quotes a tradition, which runs as: - "Save yourself from miserliness. It caused the destruction of the people before you. Due to it they did bloodshed and made forbidden things lawful (Halal). They are condemned to Hell."18/
The malady of miserliness should be overcome by spending the wealth in the way of Allah. One should sit in the gathering of good ones to reach the goal or to attain the Saadah. 19/
Hamadani exhorts the Muslim ruler to satisfy the needs of the Muslims, as it constitutes the highest form of worship. He should always seek to satisfy the needs of his subjects.20/
Thus, Syed Ali Hamadani has presented a comprehensive code of conduct for an individual and a ruler to lead a virtuous life, which could finally lead him to eternal salvation (Sa'adah). In this scheme he has not lost sight of earning by lawful means and spending one's possessions in the way of God. He has laid emphasis on earning from Halal (lawful) sources, which is a hallmark of his Sufi thought.
Therefore ,he did not just preach religion ,but attempted to provide people with such beneficial arts and crafts which could benefit them immensely .The Sadat (descendants of the prophet SAW) and the people who accompanied with Syed Ali Hamadani to Kashmir came from Iran, Iraq, Kabul, Kandahar, Bukhara and other areas. They brought along with them different arts and crafts, thus paving way for the development of handicrafts."21/
Thus the economy of Kashmir and the social conditions of the valley became better.
It is said that Saiyid Ali Hamadani brought a large group of 700 people with him to Kashmir. However, they did not become a burden on Kashmir. Because they brought with them Iranian arts and crafts and made them well established in Kashmir. Several industries of Hamadan and Iran became well introduced in Kashmir. The Shawl industry was in its moribund condition when Syed 'Ali came to Kashmir. It was due to the fervent support to this industry and the patronage of the Sultan Qutbu'd-Din that this industry received a new lease of life.
Shah-i-Hamadan adopted cap making as the source of his earning. This profession remained intact even after the Shah came to Kashmir. Thus Shah-i-Hamadan made Kashmir a minor-Persia (Iran-i-Sagheer) by these fine and captivating industries and crafts."22/
Shawl -Baffi (Shawl weaving) is known as "Kar-i-Ameeri" in Kashmir, perhaps for the same reason that the Sultan under the guidance of Shah-i-Hamadan gave it very much importance in order to make it a living industry once again.
It is not only Shawl industry, which was revived by Syed Ali by his clandestine efforts. But the Amir gave even the other local and Iranian crafts prevalence in Kashmir. Most of the scholars like Shamsu'd-Din, Nishat Ansari, Dr. Iqbal, Farooq Bukhari, Mustaq Hamadani, and others attribute emergence of these industries to Syed Ali Hamadani. Thus apart from bringing new sciences, culture and values from Iran to Kashmir, Mir Syed Ali Hamadani created a different environment in Kashmir by promoting various arts and crafts of Iran there.
However, though history bears testimony to the fact that Zainul-'Abidin and Mirza Haidar were two important rulers of Kashmir, who promoted various arts and crafts in the valley but in a different context the introduction of arts and crafts can easily be attributed to Sayyid Ali, as he opened the gates of interaction between Iran and Kashmir in a manner, which has no precedent. As said earlier more than 700 people arrived in Kashmir with Sayyid Ali and all of them were not religious scholars or Islamic preachers. All of them were not even Sayyids. But, there is no doubt that they were representatives of Iranian culture and Islamic legacy. Thus, apart from bringing new sciences, culture and values from Iran to Kashmir, Mir Syed Ali Hamadani created a congenial atmosphere for the promotion of various arts and crafts of Iran in the Valley.
The arts and crafts of Kashmir have been justly renowned, for centuries, all over the world. They consist mainly of handicrafts like woolen textiles of fleecy soft texture and infinite fineness in wearing, delicate embroidery work in silk and wool, hand woven carpets of finest warp and woof, lovely painting in wonderful designs on papier mache goods or on wood, fine traceries in wood-carving, deft weaving in willow-wicker, and superb metal work, of the cottage industries the most flourishing is that of wood-carving-which is not only beautiful but also of great utility, and which finds a ready and expanding market throughout the world, especially for work suited to modern requirements, (such as screens, drawing and dining room sets, smoking cabinets, and other articles of personal use) which are exquisitely manufactured in well-seasoned walnut-wood. An entirely indigenous form of woodwork (known as Khatam bundi) is used for the decoration of ceilings, fitted together in grooves. Another important cottage industry is the making of numerous useful and pretty articles of wickerwork.23/
These are the arts and crafts of Kashmir, which have developed over a long period of time. But when we see these in their real context, the interaction, it seems that between Iran and Kashmir facilitated the emergence of these and new crafts and arts like Najari, Hamam dari, Naqashi, Kafashdoozi, Kala pachapazi, Dozandagi, Kabab Pazi, Hareesa pazi, Halwapazi, Shirini pazi, Gilkari, Zargari, Sahafi, 'Qaligari, Khimahdoozi, Lihaffdoozi, Kakazsazi, Qalamdan sazi, Hakaki, Zardadoozi, Misgari; Maharkuni, Kharati, Zahgiri, Kamangari, Kulah doozi, Roghan Kashi, Namdasazi, or Namda gari, Sozan kari, Checken Dozi, Pasham sazi, Kundan gari, Nadafi, Cheet sazi, Koza gari, jild sazi, or Jild--gari, etc. However, some of these professions were basically indigenous in the valley, but most of these professions and arts came to Kashmir from Iran and Central Asia. The Kings of Kashmir made them prominent in Kashmir by assigning them a prevalent place. Zainul-'Abidin invited, for example, artisans from Samarqand like Sahaf, Kakaz saz, Qaleen bauf, Jild-saz, Qalamdan saz, Hakak, Muharkun and other experts of arts and crafts. Moreover, he sent some Kashmiris to Iran and Central Asia for learning these different arts and professions. 24/
Thus Kashmir Shawl industry, for example, Pashmina, Tafla, Shah Tus and other varieties became famous world-over. In the same way, Kashmiri woolen and Rufal Shawls (embroidered or simple), carpets, bookbinding, Qalamdan sazi, Sozan-Kari are still existing in Kashmir. Moreover, the woodcarving and Roshan gari and handicrafts are such important Iranian arts, which have continued to flourish in the Valley. The shoulder mantle or Shawl had been in existence, in a variety of forms, from the most ancient times, serving as a staple and protective garment not only for the rich and noble but also and above all for the common people. In ancient Buddhist literature the Shawl can be found among recorded inventories of woolen textiles, and it's manufacture appears to have been in existence at least as early as the late sixteenth century. 25/
For example, several Hindu scriptures suggest that the fabric of Shawl was produced in the Valley during the epic age. The Mahabharata holds the tradition that when Lord Krishna went to the Kauras (the sons of Dhritrastra, King of Hastinapur) as a representative of the Pandavas (the sons of king Pandav who on his death was succeeded by his brother Dhritrastra) he presented them with 10,000 of Kashmiri Shawls. 26/
However, as said earlier, it was during the period of 14th century when Shah-i-Hamadan came along with his companions that the Shawl industry was revived in Kashmir. He has been credited with introducing once again this industry in valley after its decline. Later on, Zainul-'Abidin and the Mughals contributed clandestinely in its progress in the Valley.
J.M.D. Sufi says :"It was however, through the efforts of the great saint, Shah Hamadan that the Shawl, as we know it, was re-born in Kashmir in the latter part of the fourteenth century and the Shawl industry took a new lease of life. Sultan Qutbu'd-Din who was then the ruler of Kashmir "patronized, nourished and stimulated it." 27/
Another Scholar writes: -
"Sayyed 'Ali traveled widely throughout Kashmir preaching Islam, establishing the Kubrawi Sufi order wherever he went. Along with him from West and Central Asia had come some 700 of his disciples, whom he dispatched to various places in Kashmir to spread the faith and set up Sufi hospices and mosques. Besides preaching Islam, these disciples play a key role in promoting various arts and crafts, for which Kashmir is famous and unrivalled today. Many of these disciples were skilled artisans and craftsmen, and they introduced into Kashmir such arts as had earlier been developed in Iran as Shawl weaving, carpet-making, papier mache, calligraphy, silver and brass smithy and book-binding."28/
Mohibbul Hassan holds: -
"It is also stated that the Shawl industry was founded by Sayyid 'Ali Hamadani in 1378."
N.Saraf says:-
"It is said that Mir Sayyid Ali of Hamadan, known as Shah Hamadan, who visited Kashmir for the second time in 1398 and stayed for over two years, encouraged some Shawl weavers to produce, fine textures, implying thereby that Shawl fabric was already being woven in Kashmir ." 29/
Moreover, Mohammed Yousuf Teng, Prof. Muhibul-Hasan, Hakim Ghulam Hussein Makhmoor and other important researchers unanimously regard Shah-i-Hamadan and his mission as the great advent of emergence of arts and crafts in Kashmir, as in its wake about 713 people belonging to various professions entered Kashmir Valley. This fact becomes more significant in the background that at that time there were about twelve thousand idol-makers present in the Valley. Since Islam does not approve of Idol-carving, these idol-makers would have been rendered jobless, if the Shah had not provided them with alternative professions. Syed Ali Hamadani facilitated their earning by encouraging them to take the profession of stone-carving and handicrafts by the agency of the numerous artisans, who had accompanied him to his expedition to Kashmir, apart from the preachers who came with him. As a result, these Kashmiri idol-makers were provided training in stone and slab-carvings, which were meant for placing on the tombs with the fine calligraphic inscriptions on them."
In due course of time, these local artisans were able to absorb the niceties and subtleties of this new art. Now these stones and slabs were decorated with fine calligraphic inscriptions. Thus these people were provided a better alternative to their traditional professions.
Moti Lal Saqi says:-
"About the Shawl industry there is a famous view (of historians) that this fine and beneficial art was made prevalent in Kashmir by Mir Syed Ali Hamadani, who is regarded the founder of Islam in Kashmir. He came to Kashmir three times and was accompanied by religious scholars and expert craftsmen and artists of Central Asia, who settled down in Kashmir and made it their permanent abode. It is due to these craftsmen and artists that the Shawl industry was firmly established in Kashmir and made great progress which has rendered the world wonder-struck."
Nishat Ansari says:-
"If it is said that apart from being spiritual guide (Murshid-i-Ma'anawi,) and holder of royal (spiritual) secrets, Shah-i-Hamadan was the first architect who introduced industry, arts and crafts and hand-crafts in the Valley, it will not be an exaggeration".30/
The art of calligraphy was introduced in the Valley by Mir Syed Ali Hamadani and got its stronghold at various places of Kashmir. It was upto the period of Zainu'l-'Abidin that Khat-i-Diwani, Khat-i-Ru'gh, Khat-i-Reehan, Khat-i-Saroo, Khat-i-Shafeeah, Khat-i-Shakastah, Khat-i-Tugra, Khat-Ghubar, Khat-i-Kufi, Khat-i-Gulzar, Khat-i-Magrabhi, Khat-i-Muhaqiq, Khat-i-Makki, Khat-i-Madani, Khat-i-Mahi, Khat-i-Munhani, Khat-i-Nakhun, Khat-i-Naskh and Khat-i-Nastaleeqh, about two dozen beautiful and captivating calligraphic designs were developed. Though later on, from all these calligraphic forms only three forms of calligraphy remained in vogue i.e., Khat-i-Shikasta, Khat-i-Naskh, and Khat-i-Nastaliqh and these forms are still in use. Because in these calligraphic forms important and rare manuscripts, royal commands, classical poetical compositions, Reshinamahs, epic literature, important documents, religious and historical writings are preserved in various academic and literary centers, research libraries etc. Though it can't be claimed that in making all these art forms prevalent in the Valley, only Syed Ali was responsible single-handedly, however, this art form owes its origin to him to a great extent as he initiated the process of assimilation of Persian culture and its various manifestations calligraphy included, in Valley.31/
Thus, Syed Ali Hamadani placed great emphasis upon earning one's own livelihood (akl-I-Halal). He rejected the entire idea of charity for religious men or Sufi orders, because he feared that this would make them parasitical on society. He himself made his living by cap making and encouraged his murids to do some work to earn their livelihood. Hamadan's commitment to crafts is linked with the establishment of handicraft industries in Kashmir. His role in this respect was both motivational and exemplary. It is quite true also that the art of paper-machie was introduced in Kashmir by the companions of Shah-i-Hamadan.
This research leads one to conclude that Mir Syed Ali Hamadani was not only a religious preacher and missionary, but a craftsman and artist at one and the same time. His efforts to make Shawl industry well established in Kashmir has earned the epithet of "Kar-i-Amir" (the work introduced by Amir Syed Ali Hamadani). Therefore, he is regarded the founder of this industry in Kashmir.
Apart from economic and social revolution brought in Kashmir by Syed Ali Hamadani ,he wrote a book for the guidance of the rulers, named as Zakhiratul-al-Muluk,thus he provided to the rulers of his time a code of conduct to present a system of good governance to be reckoned with. "It was strange that Several scholars have worked on his (Syed Ali Hamadan's) life and works but no attempt had been made to examine his attitude towards politics, state, government, rulers and other functionaries", complained a researcher .32/
One of the significant aspects of Hamadani was despite being an Sufi working for the Kubarawi order, he did not make any attempt to shun politics or the government from his concerns of reformation. Hamadani, on the contrary, apart from writing on affairs of state, made personal contacts with the rulers of Kashmir. He had correspondence with Sultan Qutbu'd-Din, who became a disciple of him and wrote several verses in his honour. Before the departure of Sayyid Ali from Kashmir, the Sultan tried to persuade him to extend his stay in the Valley, but the Sayyid refused. However, he asked his disciple Maulana Muhammad Balkhi to guide the Sultan in matters pertaining to the shariah."
Apart from taking active interest in the economic affairs of the people 50/, Hamadani considers that it is the quality of government that most of the problems of the people are solved with its attention. He says that one should recommend cases of the people to those who are in government and one should not lose the recompense of such recommendations .33/
Sayyid Ali Hamadani provided "advises and guide-lines derived from the Quran and Sunnah, to the rulers for the smooth functioning of the state .34/
Hamadani holds the Prophet as the father of international politics and model of the statesmanship for (Bani-a-Siyasat-i-Aqwam) entire mankind. Prophet Muhammad taught entire humanity the divine principles of state and its administration. He was a prophet and ruler. He established the first Islamic State in Medina .35/
Thus, Hamadan's political thought is a part of his general philosophy, which is based on Shariah. Like al-Mawardi he led a political life and never kept himself aloof from socio-political situations of his times. The question of ultimate end was chief concern for him and it is this question which dragged him into the discussion of political concepts like state, ruler, types of citizens and rights and duties of citizens. He based, his politics on ethics like other Muslim theorists, and did not differentiate between the two"36/
It was by dint of Hamadan's constructive intervention that he brought reconciliation between the Kashmiri and the Tughlaq armies at Firozpur in Punjab."37/
Afsar Khan included, perhaps, for the same reason, Sayyid among the "three pioneer political theorists of the period of Delhi Sultanate in their ethnic political discourses i.e., Fakhr Mudabbir, Zainuddin Barani and Hamadani and says:
"This essential theme continued to fascinate political theorists and writers on ethics in Mughal times."38/
However, Anees Saiyid opines that:-
"Zakhiratul-al- Muluk was not considered a standard text by the jurists and never served as a guide in the country, or even in Kashmir, where it was written."39/
But G.M.D Sufi writes that "It was a favourite book with scholars during the pre-Mughal regime in India" G.M.D. Sufi, Kashir; Lucknow, 1974, Vol. II p-90). Prof. Azizuddin says:-India, and outside, one or more manuscript copies of Zakhiratul Muluk, are available, while it is not the case with other works on political theory such as Adabul-al-Muluk, Fata - wa-i-Jahan-dari."40/
Zakhiratul-al- Muluk was also translated into Latin in 1825 and into French in 1829. Such a large number of manuscript copies and its translation in foreign languages indicate the popularity and importance of this work. 41/
In this way Hamadani influenced Indian Muslim political thinkers, Sultans and the Ulama in a subtle manner. It was under the influence of the teachings of Hamadani that Sultan Sikandar introduced Shariah in the administration of Kashmir during his reign. It was he who for the first time created the post of Shaikhul Islam in Kashmir.42/
Thus, Sayyid Ali Hamadani influenced the economic life and its multiple activities in Kashmir, by stressing the need to earn by the lawful means, which he considered itself as "a form of prayer", created life in the Khanqah by keeping himself and his murids busy in some work during the day time, and thus indirectly influenced the people in society and they also started engaging themselves in some work. On the other hand, he not only wrote a guidebook for the rulers, but also practically guided the affairs of state. Thus, his role was not confined to the theological aspects only, but was well extended to the economic and political aspects of people as well.
Moreover Syed Ali Hamadani was instrumental in bringing the Islamic Sufi legacy into the fuller fruition in the mystical discourses of all the subsequent Sufis and Rishis of Kashmir .Mansur being a father figure along with the stalwart Sufis like Abu Yazid, was made quite prominent by the Syed through his treatises and career. For example Syed Ali Hamadani held that when a gnostic reaches the state of illumination he sees God everywhere, he sees the center circle of the kingdom and angelic world (moheetu dairah mulk wa malakut) and he is not able to come out of it .He sees nothing except the dhat ,he knows only the Absolute Real Being (wajud-i-haqiqi mutlaq),now if at this stage the claims like subhani[Bayazid Bistami ] or laisa fi dari an ghayri or laisa fi dari an ila rabbi [Abul Abbas ,Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abdul Karim Aamili ] ,seem quite possible .All the accidents and contingent things get extinguished here in the presence of the sparks of the light of the Grandeur of His Unity (anwar-i- aaftab-i-jalal –i-ahdiat mustahlak yabad) .Even if it is said that I see everything and know everything from an angle it is also true, because the perceiver is drowned in the perception of the being of someone who is the wajud of everything.(zaira ki h au mustagraqi-mushadah –i-wajud kasay ast kih wajud hamah asha azust ).43/
Hamadani has likened heart to the niche and vegetable soul to the lamp and animal soul to spark and the nafsani soul to the oil and human soul to the light and the prophetic soul to the light of the light and the sacred soul(Ruhul al qudusi ) inclusive of all these.44/
Syed Ali divided the recipients of "Divine inspiration" into three categories .
Professor Rafiqi includes Mansur in the category of the Sufis "composed of those whose gnosis is based on mystical ecstasy (shathi). "He is obviously thinking of the Sufis like Bayazid Bistami and Mansur al –Hallaj.45/
Apart from the close acquaintance of the doctrines of anal Haqq of Mansur by Syed Ali Hamadani we find that another Sufi from Kashmir Shaikh Hamza like the mystics Bayazid Bistami and Mansur Hallaj was "transported in a state of mystical ecstasy called sukr.46/ –
For example, like Bayazid he is reported to have cried out "subhani! Ma azama shani" ("Glory be to me! How great is my Majesty!", when asked to explain his utterance the Shaikh replied: "One who makes such a statement gets identified with Essence."47/
He influenced the minds of the great majority of the people including some of the Rishi saints of Kashmir. He created bridge between the mainstream Sufism and Rishism and purified "some of the Rishi practices which, in his view, ran counter to the spirit of Islam."
According to Dr Farooq Bukhari the neo Muslim Kashmiris needed the message of Islam in their own mother tongue and for that purpose Shaikh Nooruddin was selected for this job by Mir Muhammad Hamadani, he performed this job honestly and responsibly and achieved great success in this job. About the relations of Sufis and Rishis Prof Khan says:-
"The Kubarawis, the Suhrawardis and the Naqashbandis were so impressed by the Sharia –oriented asceticism of the Rishis that they perceived their movement to be a powerful instrument for generating a momentum of change, essentially from within, on the basis of Islamic teachings. The synthesis of the Rishi and the exogenous Islamic mystic traditions thus created conditions for the gradual eclipse of the local Hindu –Buddhist practices in Kashmir; by the end of the eighteenth century, we hear very little about the Rishis practising celibacy, abstinence from meat or even seclusion in caves, forests or on tops of the mountains."48/
Furthermore Gawhar is of the view that Nooruddin is the heir to the classic intellectual and gnostic legacy of Islamic legendary mystics .
Therefore his knowledge about Mansur is based on his vast erudition of the Islamic mystical scholarship and not merely on the coincidence. It should not be supposed that Nooruddin demanded of a Muslim the denial of Mansur al –Hallaj, but an alert, rationally controlled patterning of life according to the Shariah. Here also the influence of Hamadani and other Kubarawi sufis seem most glaringly present.Not unlike some great Sufis of Islam he offered a fascinating explanation of Ana al –Haqq .Significantly ,he seems to have understood Mansur from the standpoint of the Wahdat al –Shuhud.Professor Khan thinks that Nooruddin rejected the renunciation in the characteristic style of a Sufi reformer and he aimed at imparting a dynamism to his order which was close to the tradition going back to the sober Junayd –i-Baghdadi (d.910) and the later exponent of Wahdat al –Shuhud ,Ala al-Dawla Simnani (d.1335). Nooruddin himself acknowledges his debt to the Kubarawi Sufis whose order gives priority to the "way of Junayd" as the centre of the novice's education.49/.
Prof Shad Ghulam Muhammad considered that in the poetry of Sheikh Nooruddin there is a limited expounding and support of Wahdat Wajudi tawhid. He thinks that both Lal Ded and Sheikh Nooruddin have got spiritual inspiration from the Amir and the tawhid Shahudi and Tawhid Wajudi both are intermixed in their poetry ,but under the influence of Kubarawi order of Sufi the influence of Tawhid-Shahudi is more prominent as the impact of tawhid Wajudi is temporary like a breeze of wind which touches momentarily their thought and perception .However it seems quite possible that its impact may be very deep but later on both have passed through this influence and have come out from the circle of adumbration to the stage of servitude .Because both of them lay stress on piety ,chastisement of the carnal self ,self realisation and action . 50/
Moreover,after the Syeds the Muslim Rishis under the influence of Syed Mohammad Hamadâni continued the process of Islamisation of Kashmir, though some remnants of the past could not be shunned perfectly. 51/

1- His name was Ali, and titles were Amir-e-Kabir, Ali Sa'ani, and Mir. Besides them, the Chroniclers had mentioned several other titles: Qutub-e-Zaman, Sheikh-e-Salikan-e-Jehan, Qutub-Ul-Aqtab, Moih-Ul-Ambiya-o-Ul-Mursaleen, Afzal-Ul-Muhaq-e-qeen-o-Akmal-Ul-Mudaq-e-qeen, Al-Sheiyookh-Ul-Kamil, Akmal-Ul-Muhaqqiq-Ul-Hamadani etc. He traced his patrimony through his father, Syed Shahab Uddin, to Imam Zain-ul-Abedein and finally to Hazrat Ali. His mother, Syeda Fatimah, with seventeen links, reached the Prophet (SAW).His date of birth is disputed. To some it is 12, Rajab-Ul-Marjab 714 Hijri (12th October 1314) and to others is 12, Rajab 713 (12th October 1313). Dr Farooq Bukhâri says that he was born on 12th, Rajab-Ul-Marjab in 712, A.H, (i.e., 21st October 1312,Kashmir main Islam –Manzar aur pasmanzar,Maktaba Ilm wa Adab,Red Cross Road,Srinagar,1998,p69). The latter date appears more probable.
2-Abdul Wahab Kashmiri ,Fatuhat-I- Kubarawiyah, MS.R.PD (NOI7) ff.1556
3-Risalat-I-Masturat, Khulasatul –al-Manaqib
4- Khulasatul –al-Manaqib pp.72-75
5-Abdul Qaiyum Rafiqui, Sufism in Kashmir, Bharatiya Publications, Delhi, nd p.35
6-Dr. Parvez Azkai, Murawaji-Islam Dar Iran-I-Sagheer, Persian, Hamadan, Iran1370 A.
7- Prof.Shamsu'd-Din Ahmad, Shah-I-Hamadan Hayat Aur Karnnamay (Urdu) Shaykh Gh.Mohd.Srinagar, 1995,135 and pp-193-274. Also see Tr.Waqaat-I-Kashmir, in notes and explanations (Dr. Shamsu'd-Din, Urdu) J and K, Kashmir Islamic Centre, Srinagar, April, 2001, pp273-274)accepted 'Azam Dedah-mari's view that three visits were made by Sayyid Ali Hamadani to Kashmir, i.e. second time the Sayyid came to Kashmir, during Qutbu'Dins rein in 781 A.H and stayed there for about six months, and third time in 785 A.H.Ibid.p.274
8- Ibid. p ,44, 19.Tarikh-I-Hassan, Tarikh-I-Azami, and Tarikh-I- Syed ALI 9-Mufti Muhammad. Maqbool, Shah-I-Hamadan, Srinagar, 1985 p.43 10-A.Q. Rafiqui, Sufism in Kashmir, Bhartia Publishing House, Delhi, nd, p. XIVI. Muhibbul Hassan has described the status of religious personages and Sufis in medieval Kashmir .He writes:-"The Pirs with their Murids formed an important group in medieval Kashmir, and exercised greater influence on the social, religious, and cultural life of the country than the 'Ulama. They were looked upon with great reverence by all classes of people because of their great learning and piety, but above all because they were supposed to possess miraculous powers. They led a life of simplicity, but they did not renounce the world or isolate themselves from the people and their problems. On the contrary, most of them led a normal life, had wives and children, and took an active interest in the affairs of the community.......The Pir lived in the Khanqah, built and endowed for him by the princes and nobles, with his family and his professional followers who worshipped with him and were taught by him how to attain mystic experience. There was a simple initiation ceremony in which the disciple pledged devotion. After this he lived in close associates with his Pir until he reached the higher stages of initiation when he might go out to teach his master's way (tariqa) and make new disciples. When the Pir died he was succeeded by a Khalifa who stood high among the disciples for his moral, intellectual, and spiritual qualities. Sometimes hereditary principle was followed in making these appointments. The Khanqah also had an Imam whose duty was to lead the prayers."Kashmir under the Sultans,Ali Mohammad and Sons ,second edition introduced by H N Rafiabadi ,Gulshan Publishers ,Srinagar .p-380 11-Muhibbul Hassan ,Kashmir under the Sultans ,Srinagar, p-402
12-Syed Ali Hamadani, Zakhiratul –AL-Maluk, p119
13-Abbas Rizvi, A History of Sufism in India, New Delhi, 1978,p-83
14-Syed Ali Hamadani, Risalah-I-Fututia O.R.D. Srinagar, 70b.
17-Zakhiratul –AL-Maluk, opt.cit.p-234
19-Syed Ali Hamadani, Risalat-I-Akhlaqiah p13a
20- Zakhiratul –AL-Maluk p-105
21-Mufti Muhammad. Maqbool, Shah-I-Hamadan, Srinagar, 1985 p.43
22-Syeda Zaffar, Syed Ali Hamadani, Gulshan Publications, Srinagar.1991, p.129
23-Mohd. Yasin, Madhavi Yasin, Mysteries and Glimpses of Kashmir Raj Publications Delhi, 1996 p.40
24- Tarikh-I-Hassan vol. PP 178 –197
25- Frank Ames, The Kashmir Shawl and its Indo –French Influence, Antique Collectors Club, Scotland, 1997,3rd.Ed.F.N 16.
26-Ibid p- 17
27-Pandit Anand Koul, "The Kashmir Shawl Trade" in the new defunct East and West of Germany, 1915, p-30, quoted in Islamic Culture in Kashmir, G.M.D. Sufi, Light and life Publishers, New Delhi. 1979, p-233.
28- Ibid.p-233
29- The monthly, Shirazah (Urdu),Vol. 1,No. III, 1963
30- The monthly, Shirazah (Urdu )Vol. 1,No. III) 1963
31- Shirazah, Kashmiri Ajaibat Number, Cultural Academy Srinagar
32-S.M. Kamaluddin Husain, Sahib-I-Muwaddatul-Quraba, Maligaon, 1984. However, Dr. Hayat Amir has dealt with the political thought of Mir Syed Ali Hamadani in his book, "The Religious Thought of Mir Syed Ali Hamadani, Al-Hamra publications, Delhi, 1992, pp. 137-167
33- Zakhiratul-Muluk. National Museum Manuscript,-- f.35a
34- Hayat Amir, p-147, op cit. P-147. Hayat Amir equates Hamadani with Ibn Taimiayh in this respect.
35- Ibid. P-148.
36- Ibid. Dr, Hayat Aamir.op.cit.p-174.
37-.M.D.Sofi, 195 (Muhiuddin - p-57)
38-Afsar Khan, Fatawa-i-Jahandari, Lahore, 1972, p-71
39- State, Religion and Society in Medieval India, Delhi, 1984, p-10
40-An unpublished article of Prof. Azizuddin entitled "Mir Saiyid Ali Hamadan's Attitude towards Government, Rulers and Officers, in the Government, p-14.
41-Sofi op.cit. P 90
42-Prof. Azizuddin.op.cit.p-14. (Dr. Parvez Azkai ,Murawaju Islam dar Iran-i-Sagheer Ahwal wa athar Mir Syed Ali Hamadani, with Risalah-i-Hamdaniyah , Intisharat-i-Danish-gah-i-Bu Ali Sina ,Hamadan Iran,1370,A.H ,pp141-145 )
43-Dr Azkai includes Mansur among those Gnostics who said such shattihat . Ibid .p-174, foot note no. V11
44-Nooruddin Badakshi, (edited by Dr Syeda Ashraf Zaffar) Khulasatul –al- Manaqib dar Manaqib Mir Syed Ali Hamadani, Markazi-i-Tahqeeqat-i-Farsi Iran wa Pakistan, Islamabad, 1995, p-142
45- Abdul Qaiyum Rafiqi ,Sufism in Kashmir(Fourteenth tom the Sixteenth century ) Al-Rafiqui Publishing House ,73,Balgarden ,Karannagar,Srinagar ,second edition,2003,p-54 .
46-Ibid.Rafiqui op.citp-25
47-Abdul Qaiyum Rafiqui ,Sufism in Kashmir(Fourteenth tom the Sixteenth century ) Al-Rafiqui Publishing House ,73,Balgarden ,Karannagar,Srinagar ,second edition,2003,p-54
48- Kashmir's Transition to Islam, The Role of Muslim Rishis, Manohar, New Delhi, 1994 P-223
50- Ghulam Muhammad Shad,Kasmitri-Sufi Shairi and Syed Ali Hamadani ,edited Andrabi and Tak &K Academy for art culture and languages, Srinagar, Shah-I Hamadan special,vol.35,No,-1-3pp-149-150.
51-For example ,the practices prevalent during the Hindu period were allowed to continue as has been put by Ishaq Khan in a scholarly manner thus, '...through the Rishis, [Islam] allowed the main configuration of pre- existing Kashmîrî popular religion to adapt itself to the wider Islamic framework. However, the Suhrawardi, Naqasahbandi and Qadiri Sufi Orders have also played a very great role in the process of Islamisation of Kashmir. Moreover the localized Rishi version of Sufi teachings, and a central figure in this regard was Sheikh Nooruddin, popularly known as Nunda Rishi took this process to its logical conclusion.

(Author is Director Shah-I-Hamadan Institute of Islamic Studies, University of Kashmir. Internationally know scholar on Islamic studies and author of over a dozen of books on Islam and Islamic scholars)