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Makhdum-Ul-Mulk Sheikh Sharfuddîn Ahmed Maneri of Biharsharif


Mediviel history of Inian sub-cotinent is well connected with mystical events by Arabian origin sufi saints of India. One of India's most prominent Sufi saints, Sheikh Sharafuddin Ahmad Yahya Maneri, is called Makhdoom-ul-Mulk for his spiritual status. An overpowering urge to shun material comforts drove Sheikh Ahmed son of Yahya Maneri into the forest of Behiea (about 15 miles west of Maner in north India). After a few years he returned home only to go back to the forest, this time in Rajgir (about 75 miles east of Maner). A hot spring, near to a place where he often prayed in Rajgir, is named Mukhdoom Kund, to perpetuate his memory. After having spent at least 30 years in the forests and living on herbs and fruits Sheikh Ahmaed finally took abode at Bihar Sharif. On hearing his reputation as a saint, the Emperor of Delhi Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq had a Khanqah built for him. At the Khanqah the Sheikh taught and trained disciples in Sufism ? tasawwuf. Sheikh Sharafuddin Ahmed Maneri devoted his entire long life to teaching and writing. The collection of his letters (maktoobat) and sermons (Malfoozat) received wide acclaim. His maktubat-e-Sadee translated into English by Paul Jackson is regarded as a 'working manual' amongst the highest in Sufi circles.

Shaikh Sharfud-dîn was the son of Shaikh Yahiâ maneri bin Taj Faqeeh from Al-Khaleel (Palestine). His birthplace is Maner sharif (1), a village near Patnâ in Behâr province of India(Ancient Bihar was a part of Magadh empire and British rule included it in Bengal presidency).
A love of knowledge and the religious life, and signs of spiritual greatness, were found in him from his early childhood.
A strange Being was once seen by the cradle of the baby. The mother, frightened, reported the matter to her father, Shahâb-ud-dîn Peer Jagjot (2) prince of Kashghar at that time, and a great saint too. The latter consoled her, saying that the mysterious Presence was no less a Being than the Prophet Khedhr (3) Himself, and that the baby was expected to be a man of great spiritual advancement. He acquired traditional knowledge of Arabic, Persian, logic, philosophy and religion under Ashraf-ud-dîn Abu Towama Bokharaei (4) in Sonargaon near Narainganj present Dhaka, a famous professor of those days. He first refused to marry, but had to yield when, being ill, he was advised by the physician to take to marriage as the remedy for his disease. He married with his teachers daughter BiBi Badaam. He left home after the birth of a son, named Zakiuddin (5) in 1289.
In search of a spiritual guide he travelled to many places including Khanqah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia of Dehli, and was at last initiated (at or near Delhî ) by Najîb-ud-dîn Firdausî (6). The latter made him his deputy on earth under a deed drawn twelve years earlier under the direction of the Prophet of Islâm Himself, as declared by Najîb-ud-dîn Firdausî himself. The Firdaws?s would have remained unknown, had Khw?jah Naj?b al-D?n not been so fortunate as to find a disciple of the fame of Shaykh Sharaf al-D?n Ahmad ibn Yahòy? Munyar? (also known as Maneri) 13 The master asked him to leave the place, and quitted his body shortly after. At this stage , Sharf-ud-dîn Rahmatullahi alayh lived for many a long year in the woods of Bihiâ and the Râjgir Hills (7). Shaykh chose to do ascetic exercises in the lonely Rajgir hills of Bihar, where Buddhist monks and Hindu sages loved to establish their hermitages. He would go to Bihar Sharif near Patna each Friday for congregational prayers, returning to the Rajgir forest afterward. Later, in 782/1381, he was forced to settle down in Bihar Sharif (now the HQ of Nalanda district), where he lived throughout the greater part of the reign of Muhòammad ibn Tughluq. 14 His teachings are embodied in several collections of his letters to his disciples, both 'ulam?' and Sufis. He also wrote to the state dignitaries and even to F?r?z Tughluq. One of the collections comprising one hundred letters was compiled in 747/1346-47, and the other, containing 151 letters, was compiled in 769/1367-68. 15 His Malf?zò?t (Discourses) were also compiled and give an authentic picture of his spiritual contributions to his contemporaries and to posterity. Through Quranic verses, ah?d?th, anecdotes and parables from classical Sufi works, he discussed the religious and spiritual duties of Islam and the social and ethical responsibilities of Muslims in a vocabulary enriched by his own contemplative vision of the realities of things. Frequently quoting the Quranic verse "Despair not of the mercy of Allah" ( 39: 53), he used to affirm that the divine fire consumed the root of despondency and the young shoots of desperation. Mystical knowledge was the seed of love .
In his later days he adopted BihârSharif (now a subdivisional town in Nalanda) as his residence, at the request of some of his friends and disciples. He died on Thursday, the 6th of Shawwâl, 782 Hijra, in the opening years of the I5th Century A. D. Hazrat Sultan Sayyad Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir Semnani (8) Rahmatullahi alayh had known this beforehand by revelation (Kashf). The funeral prayer was said according to the will of this departed saint. At night in the khanqah, Hadrat Makhdoom Ashraf Rahmatullahi alayh, had a glimpse of Hadrat Makhdoom Sharfud-dîn Bihari who gave him his khirqah-(a cloak like patched garment). The titular names of Shaikh Sharfud-dîn are Makh-dûm-uI-MuIk, 'Master of the Kingdom or the World' , Sharfa Bihari ; Makhdum-e- Jahan. He was equally proficient in secular learning and esoteric Knowledge, and possessed superhuman powers. His tomb at Bihârsharif is still resorted to as a place of sanctity by a large number of devout Muslims.

Geneology of Sheikh Makhdoom Sharfuddin ibn Yahya Maneri,
the poineer of Khanqah Bihar Sharif NALANDA INDIA
Hazrat Abdul Mutallib Hashemi the Grandfather of Prophet Muhammad (PBU)
Abu Talib Prophet Muhammad Zubair Hashemi
Hazrat Ali Fatima Zahra Imam Abuzar
Imam Hussain Abu Massood
Hazrat Imam Ali Zayn Al Abidin Abu Deen
Imam Muhammad Baqar Abu Sahme
Imam Jafar as-Sadiq Abul Lais
Seyed Ismaeil (Brother of Imam Musa al-Kazim) Abu Dahr
Seyed Ishaque (Cousin ofHazrat Imam Ali Reza) Abu Saem
Syed Qutubuddin? Syed Ruknuddin Abul Qassem
Syed Dawood? Syed Hamza Abulfath
Syed Moosa?Seyed Qassem Ahmad Saeed
Seyed Hassn? Seyed Yousuf Mohammad Ali
Syed Nasiruddin Abu Bakr
Syed Shah Ahmad Taj Faqeeh(From AlKhaleelConquered Bihar)
Sultan Shah Mahmood (King of Kashghar) Sheikh Israeel
Syed Shahbuddin Pir Jagjot(Murid of Shahabuddin Suhrawardi) Sheikh Yahya Maneri Bibi Razieh daughter of Pir Jagjot & mother of Sheikh Makhdoom Sharfuddin. Bibi Badaam daughter of Abu Towama Bokhari(d.1303)wife of Sheikh Makhdoom Sharfuddin

Sample of His Writings (Translated . from the Persian by Baijnath Singh )
The institution of Theosophy (Tasavvuf) is ancient. It has been practised by the Prophets and the Saints. As evil impulses predominate in the world, the Theosophist (Sûfî) is looked down upon by men. The Theosophist is one who has lost the self, exists in the True One, is beyond the reach of the lower nature, and is at one with Truth. A Theosophical student (mutasavvif) is he who seeks to become a Theosophist through asceticism and purification, and disciplines himself in the ways of the Theosophist.
The Prophet had a place in his mosque set apart to discourse privately with his elect companions, who trod the Path. There were senior disciples such as Abubakar, Omar, Osman, Ali and Salmân; and mediocre ones, such as Belal and others. The Arab chiefs and his ordinary companions were not admitted there. The elect companions were about 70 in number. When the Prophet wished to show his special regard to a particular companion(Sûfî ), he favoured him with a piece of his garment (N. B. The word Sûfî may be derived either from Safâ, purity, or from Sûf, woolen dress.? Translator: Baij Nath Singh (10) )
The first Theosophist was Adam, and the last Mohammad; and Theosophy has continued amongst the followers of Mohammad. ? Letter 22.from Maktoobat-e-sadee Makhdoom Sharfuddin Maneri [Page 37]

Books :
(1.) Maktûbât-i-Sadî, a 'Series of a Hundred Letters' (or rather essays on definite subjects) addressed to his disciple Qâzî Shams-ud-dîn in 747 Hijra.
(2.) Maktûbât-i-Bist-o-hasht, a 'Series of 28 Letters', being replies to the correspondence of his senior disciple, Mozaffar, the prince of Balkh.
(3.) Fawâed-i-Ruknî, a number of brief Notes prepared for the use of his disciple Rukn-ud-dîn.

His descendants:
Barekah getting married to Seyed Wahiduddin Chilleh Kash Mashadi Razavi(18th from Prophet) son of Syed Allauddin Dehlvi, a direct decendant of Hazrat Imam Askari(11th).He was nephew (KhaharZade) & follower of Hazrat Najibuddin Firdousi. Hazrat Alimuddin Firdousi son of Bibi Barekah & Seyed Wahiduddin was grand father of Seyed Shah Mohammad Bheeka (21st) S/o Imamuddin) 22. Seyed Shah Mohammad Bheeka(Sajjada Nashin From Hazrat Muzaffar Balkhi spiritual chain after 130 years ) ?23. Seyed Shah Jalal ?24. Seyed Shah Akhond?25. Seyed Shah Mohammad?26. Seyed Shah Ahmad Ferdousi? 27. Diwan Seyed Shah Ali Firdousi? 28. Seyed Shah Abdussalam?29. Seyed Shah Zakiuddin Firdousi ?30. Seyed Shah Wajihuddin?31. Seyed Badiuddin Firdousi ?32. Seyed Shah Waliullah Firdousi?33. Seyed Shah Amiruddin Firdousi ?34. Seyed Shah Amin Ahmad Firdousi (Janab Huzur died 1903) & Seyed Shah Hakim Mohammad Ilyas Firdousi Yaas Bihari 35th (1876-1960) grand father of Seyed Manzar Hussain Akbar ( Born 1951 in Bihar From Zahida Khatoon Firdousi, Dhaka 1952-1971

Foot notes:
(1) Maner
Centuries ago it was situated on the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Son, and river Saryu joined it from the north. The remains of an old time fortress on the bank of the channel of the Son reminds one that Maner was a strategic point in ancient times. It appears as if it were the western gate of Patliputra in the Mauryan times. It is famous for its Bari and Chhoti Dargah, sacred to the memory of the Sufi Saint Hazrat Yahya father of Makhdoom Sharaf al-D?n Maneri of the 13th century and Daulat Shah Maneri of 16th Century. Hazarat Makhdoom Yahya Maneri was a famous Indian Sufi saint of 13th century. His tomb lies in a Masjid, located in Maner, 29 Km from Patna, Bihar, India. The sacred shrine is locally known as Bari (meaning big) and Choti (meaning small) Dargah. Like several other shrines of Sufi saints, Hazarat Makhdoom Yahya Maneri is revered both by Muslims as well as by Hindus. This shrine has remained a place of pilgrimage since very old time, and Sikandar Lodi and the Mughal emperor Babar (1520-1530) had also visited the shrine. This is the most secred Muslim shrine in Bihar.

(2) Peer Jagjot : Shahâb-ud-dîn Peer Jagjot (2) prince of Kashghar at that time, and a great saint too. The maternal grand- father of Shaikh Ahmad Charmposh whose tomb is in Amber SHARIF, FATHER OF Bibi Kamal of KAAKO and father of Bibi Razia( Barhi Bua) was Shahabud-Din Suhrawardi (prince of Kashghar;) better known as Pir Jagjaut whose tomb is at Jithuli Sharif near Patna a disciple of Abu Hafs Omar Suhrawardi of Khorasan (Ref: Sirat-e-Firoz Shahi and Fawaid-e-Rukniya.)
(3) Khezar (Khedhr) (A mysterious Personage, according to some, a Prophet; according to others, a Walî 'Friend of God'. He is supposed to be an Immortal Being, an invisible Teacher and Helper of Mankind. Moses was sent by God to seek His instruction.(AlQuran ; Kahf,18 : 66-85) 'Khezar' literally means 'green', a metaphorical expression for auspiciousness, blessedness, wholesomeness, and fertility.)
(4) Abu Towama Bokharaei; A famous professor of those days scolar in Islamic studies, Arabaic Persian, logic and philosiphy; who was migrated from Bokhara to DELHI, then exiled by Afghan ruler to Sunargaon (Narayanganj), near modern Dacca in Bengal.. Hazrat Makhdoom Sharaf al-D?n Maneri, studied under him until his own father's death in 690/ 1291. Hazrat Makhdoom Sharaf al-D?n Maneri married with his teachers daughter BiBi Badaam..
5, Zaki'ud-Din, Makhdum (14th Century)
Zaki'ud-Din was a leading Sufi saint. His early education was completed at home. He was married to the daughter of Syed Hussain of Munayr. The wife of Makhdum Zaki spent the greater part of her life at Munayr. Makhdum Zaki had only one daughter, named Bibi Barkah, at whose birth Makhdum Zaki died at Shakerdih near Suri in the district of Birbhum, West Bengal. After a few days, his wife also died; both were buried at Shakerdih, known as Makhdum Nagar. Bibi Barkah, a baby at the time of her parent's death, was sent to the house of Makhdum Jahan at Manayr Sharif, who handed over her grand-daughter to his beloved mother, who was popularly known as 'Bari Bua' (Bibi Razia). The grand daughter and only offspring from the house of Makhdum Jahan Bibi Barkah was brought up and educated with great care; and having attained maturity she was married to Hazard Alaud-Din of Jhansi, who was the nephew of Khwaja Najibud-Din Firdause.(6)
6. Khw?jah Naj?b al-D?n Firdaws? was the disciple of Khw?jah Badr al-D?n Samarqand? Firdaws? the fouder of Firdowsia branch in Delhi. Firdowsia branch is an offshoot of Suhrawardia through Kubrawia. Shaykh Najm al-D?n Kubr? ( 540/1145-618/1221), the founder of the Kubraw? Order, was the disciple of Shaykh Ism?'?l Qa?r? (d. 589/ 1193) of Khuzistan and Shaykh 'Amm?r ibn Y?sir al-Bidl?s? (d. 597/ 1200), who in their turn were disciples of Shaykh Abu'l-Naj?b Suhraward? .A galaxy of eminent Sufis flocked to Kubr? as disciples and a number of branches of his order spread to Baghdad, Khurasan, and India. One of Kubr?'s eminent disciples, Shaykh Sayf al-D?n B?kharz? (d. 658/ 1260) ordered his disciple, Khw?jah Badr al-D?n Samarqand? Firdaws? to settle in Delhi. Ref: 6 S.H. Askari, Islam and Muslims in Medieval Bihar (Patna: Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library, 1992), pp. 228-97.
7. Rajgir hills, lying in central regions of the Indian state of Bihar, are two parallel ridges extending around 65 km. The highest point in the hills rise to an altitude of 388 meters, but mostly the hills are around 300 meters high. Between these two ridges lie a number of places of historical importance, dating from the period of the Mahabharata, Gautam Buddha, Mahavira, Mauryas and the Guptas.Currently, Rajgir is the most famous place of the area. Rajgir is a city and a notified area in Nalanda district in the Indian state of Bihar. The city of Rajgir (ancient Rajagriha or R?jag?ha; Pali: R?jagaha) was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha, a state that would eventually evolve into the Mauryan Empire. Its date of origin is unknown, although ceramics dating to about 1000 BC have been found in the city.One may visit Rajgir from Patna. Rajgir is connected to Patna via Bakhtiarpur by rail and road to Bakhtiarpur and NH 31 towards south to reach Bihar Sharif Indian Railways run trains directly from Rajgir to Kolkata and New Delhi.(Ref: Wikipedia)
8. The spiritual attraction of Hadrat Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir Semnani, was so great that he didnt stay at any particular place for too long, rather striving to journey on towards his destined goal. This journey took him through large rivers, mountains and deserts, encountering many difficulties on the way. When Hadrat Ala al-Haq Wadeen Rahmatullahi alayh, arrived at Bihar, Hadrat Makhdoom Sharfuddin Yahya Muneri Rahmatullahi alayh, had passed away the same day. Before his death, he willed that his funeral prayer would be performed by a Sayyad who was Hassani and Hussayni - noble on both sides (that is -najibut tarfain), a Hafiz with seven Qiriats and a deserter of throne who would be coming westwards. Hadrat Sultan Sayyad Makhdoom Ashraf Rahmatullahi alayh had known this beforehand by revelation (Kashf). The funeral prayer was said according to the will of this departed saint. At night in the khanqah, Hadrat Makhdoom Ashraf Rahmatullahi alayh, had a glimpse of Hadrat Makhdoon Sharfuddin Bihari who gave him his khirqah-(a cloak like patched garment). The khadim (keeper) of the shrine kept the garment until it was decided it would come onto the rightful owner if he asked for it by stretching his hands. With the khirqah placed on the shrine and everyone present stretching out to receive it that is until Hadrat Makhdoom Ashraf Rahmatullahi alayh, stretched out his hands and immediately the garment came onto his hands. He put on the khirqah and lost himself in a world of ecstasy and said the following words : " Mora Bar Sar Chun Bowad Az Lutf Asrar
Bar Aamad Raast Mara Khirqah Dar bar"
'The worldly crown has been on my head,but the kindness of his cloak will suit better on my body'
(Ref. . Askari, S.H. "New Light on Rajah Ganesh and Sultan Ibrahim Sharqi of Jaunpur from Contemporary Correspondence of Two Muslim Saints" . Letters of Shaikh Nur Qutb-i 'Alam and Ashraf Jahangir Simnani, Shaikh Ashraf Jahangir. Makt?b?t-i ashraf?. Persian MS. Aligarh Muslim University History Department, Aligarh. MS. No. 27. Copy in the British Library, London. Or. MS. No. 267

9. His Tomb Badhi Dargah (Bihar Sharif, Nalanda): In Bihar Sharif , Nalanda the Tomb of SHARFUDDÎN Yahya Maneri lies in a mosque to the east of a large tank, with masonry walls and ghats, and pillared porticos, which is connected with the old bed of the Son by a tunnel, 400 feet long. The tomb is situated in an enclosure half filled with graves and ancient tress, on the north and west of which are three domed mosque and some quaint little cloisters build by Ibrahim Khan. It has been from a very early date, a place of pilgrimage being visited among others by Sikandar Lodi and Emperor Babar (1520-30). It is one of the most popular mausoleums in eastern India for pilgrimages This is headquarters of Nalanda district , 30 kms South of Bakhtiarpur on Indian National Highway NH-31. This is also a railhead on the Bakhtiarpur Rajgir branch line of the Eastern Indian Railway. This town is known as Bihar Sharif, owing to its many Muslim tombs that still retain traces of its former importance as a Muslim pilgrimage. The tomb of Makhdum Shah Sharf ud-din, also called Makhdum-ul-Mulk, died here in 1379; the inscription over the entrance shows that his tomb was built in 1569. This tomb, which stands on the south bank of the river, is held in great veneration by the local Mohammedans, who assemble here on the 5th day of Shawwal (Lunar month of EidulFitr) to celebrate the anniversary of his death. Dargah (Shrine 9 ) of the Firdausi Sufi scholar and saint, Makhdum Sahib Sharaf ud-din Maneri, located in Bihar Sharif receives little press, even during the time of major festival events. It is often characterized by Biharis and others (the servants or khadim log of the shrine themselves, but also local residents Hindus & non-muslims)

1. Ansari, 'Abd al-Samad. Akhb?r al-as?fiy?. Khuda Bakhsh Library, Patna. Persian MS. No. 188. Compiled 1645.

2. Barani, Zia al-Din. T?r?kh-i F?r?z Sh?h?. Edited by Saiyid Ahmad Khan. Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1862. Extracts in The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians, translated and edited by H. M. Elliot and John Dowson, 3: 93?268. 8 vols. Allahabad: Kitab Mahal, 1964.

3. Firdausi, Shaikh Shu'aib. Man?qib al-as?fiy?. Calcutta: Nur al-Afaq, 1895.

4. Firishta, Muhammad Qasim. T?r?kh-i Firishta. 2 vols. Lucknow: Nawal Kishor, 1864?65. Translated by John Briggs under the title History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India. 4 vols. London, 1829. Reprint. 3 vols. Calcutta: Editions Indian, 1966.

5. Hujwiri, 'Ali b.'Uthman al-Jullabi al-. The Kashf al-Mah?j?b: The Oldest Persian Treatise on Sufiism. Translated by Reynold A. Nicholson. 1911. 2d ed. 1936. Reprint. London: Luzac, 1970
Patna: K. P. Jayaswal Research Institute, 1973.

6. Rajgiri, Imam al-Din. Man?hij al-shat?t??r. Khuda Bakhsh Library, Patna. 2 vols. Persian MSS. Nos. 1848, 1848-A

7. Ernst, Carl W. "An Indo-Persian Guide to Sufi Shrine Pilgrimage." In Manifestations of Sainthood in Islam, edited by Grace Martin Smith and Carl W. Ernst (Istanbul: The Isis Press, 1994), pp. 43-68

8.Abul Hassan Ali Nadwi Edited and Translated by Mohiuddin Ahmad
English translation of the Maulana Nadwi's work "Tarikhi Dawat-o-Azimat
Published By Darul Ishaat , Karachi Pakistan 2008

9. Kelly Pemberton; , University of California, Berkeley ;A House of Miracles for One and All: Sufi Shrines, Islamic Identity, and the Synthesis of (Sub-) Cultures in India Today; Annual Association for Asian Studies Conference, Washington D.C., April 2002)

(10) Letters from a Sufi teacher
Shaikh Sharfuddîn Manerî or Makhdûm-Ul-Mulk ; transl. from the Persian by Baijnath Singh. - revised ed. - Benares City; Londen : Theosophical Publishing House, 1987. - xi, 97 p. ; 18 cm.
ISBN 8170590450 sign.: ESO-12-2-MANE-2

11. Paul Jackson In Quest of God: Maneri's Second Collection of 150 letters ;Introduction, Translation and Notes by Paul Jackson; The Hundred Letters of Sharafuddin Maneri.

12. Bruce Lawrence - Duke University, Professor of Islamic Studies - Author of Introduction to first volume, "Sharafuddin Maneri: The Hundred Letters" (Classics of Western Spirituality)

13. Rizvi, A History of Sufism in India, 1:226-28.

14. Ibid., 230-31.

15. Shah Shu'ayb, Man?qib al-a?fiy?' ( Lucknow, 1287/1870) 346.

16.Rizvi, A History of Sufism in India, 1:231. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1978


18.Cunningham, "Report of a Tour in Bihar and Bengal in 1879?80 from Patna to Sunargaon," in Archaeological Survey of India, Report 15 (Calcutta, 1882):

Manzar Hossein Akbar,MD. Research Assistant

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 December 2010 00:38 )