A Majzoob: Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer (rahmatullahi ‘alaihi) King of Guides, Guide of Kings

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Truly of those devoted to Me the one I most favour is a believer who is of meagre means and much given to prayer, who has been particular in the worship of his Lord and has obeyed Him inwardly, who was obscure among people and not pointed out, and whose sustenance was just sufficient to provide for him yet he bore this patiently. Then the Prophet (pbuh) rapped his hand and said: Death will have come early to him, his mourners will have been few, his estate scant. [Hadith Qudsi]

Brook Street Cemetery is perhaps one of the most famous cemeteries in Durban. There are many famous personalities that lie buried in the cemetery – people that hailed from respected families, business magnates, scholars, social activists and so on. None of them however, enjoy the respect and veneration that is accorded to His Exalted Eminence Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer, a man who was neither a businessman nor an academic. His family lineage is unknown, and he was shunned by people during his physical life…
One quality however, elevates Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer to a position, which is coveted by all of creation, and has being described by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) thus:

“When Allah loves a person, He calls Jibraeel saying: 'Allah loves so and so; O Jibraeel love him'. Jibraeel would love him, and then Jibraeel would make an announcement to the dwellers of heaven, 'Allah loves so-and so,' therefore all the dwellers of the heavens love him and then he is granted the love of the people on earth.”

Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer (rahmatullahi alaihi) belongs to that category of Awliya Allah who is referred to as majzoob (pl. majazib). Hazrat Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir al Simnani (rahmatullahi alaihi) in his book Lataaif-e-Ashrafi describing a majzoob states:

A majzoob is he whom Allah accepts for Himself and selects him for the proximity of His court; (and) from His holiness sanctifies him, and bestows him with all bounties of friendship without him having to have undergone great difficulty, arduous effort or intensive searching.

The term ‘majzoob’ is derived from jazb, which means to be ‘absorbed’ or ‘attracted’. The wisdom behind this title of majzoob is to bring to mind the spiritual condition that a saint of this category is in. In keeping with the dictates of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wasallam) of:

Practise dhikr so excessively that people may regard you as insane (Baihaqi)

the majzoob becomes ‘absorbed’ in the dhikr of Allah, and through the rapturous condition that is created in his heart by virtue of the dhikr,  he loses consciousness of himself. When the nur of the dhikr begins to engulf the person and overwhelms him, then like a cup that overflows, the physical mind and body are ‘attracted’ to the spiritual world, and thus the majzoob is ‘absorbed’ into the spiritual world, whilst physically living in the earthly dimension.  That condition can be best likened to a man who is fast asleep – whose body is on the bed, but his soul (ruh) is travelling and moving in the dream world. This category of Awliya Allah has been alluded to in this hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

Verily Allah loves the (hidden) devout, Allah-concious servants, who, if they are absent are not missed, and if they are around are ignored, and whose company is not sought. This, (in spite of the fact) that their hearts are lamps of guidance that can remove one from the depths of (spiritual) darkness. (Ibn Majah)

A beloved one of Allah is empowered with remarkable abilities by Allah, and using the spiritual energy that is acquired through the dhikr of Allah and bestowed by Allah’s grace, can perform extraordinary feats.  This remarkable spiritual ability is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an in an incident of a wali in the era of Sayyiduna Suleiman (alaihi salaam).

He (Sulayman) said: "O chiefs!  Which of you can bring for me the throne of Bilqees
before they come to me surrendering themselves in obedience?"  And Ifrit from the jinns    said:"I will bring it to you before you arise from your place.  And verily, I am indeed strong, and trustworthy for such work."  One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: "I would bring it to you would then before the twinkling of an eye!" - then when Sulayman saw it placed before him, he said: This is by the grace of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or un grateful! (27:38-40).

Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer’s spiritual condition was the same, and all the talents and spiritual ‘super-human capabilities’ that are bestowed upon a friend of Allah were found in the personality of Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer.
Conquest of Self=Conquest of the Universe

Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer who arrived from Madras (Chennai) under the pretext of being an indentured labourer would spend his time in dhikr and muraqaba on the sugar cane-fields instead of doing the task appointed to him. However, the supervisor who would see him ‘asleep’ would return in the evening, and to his amazement the quota of work would be completed. Realising that Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer was a unique personality, he was honourably discharged from service. After all, how can a true servant of Allah who in reality is a king (badshah) be a servant of any worldly authority?

It is narrated that there was a party that was on its way to a function in Ladysmith. Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer also requested to join the party. Ignorant people, who regarded Hazrat Badsha Peer as ‘insane’ brushed him off. To their surprise when they reached Ladysmith, they found him there awaiting their arrival!
Insight and Foresight

When Allah draws a majzoob into a dimension wherein he reaches a level of intimacy (uns) with Allah, and thus becomes estranged from himself and the rest of creation; an obvious consequence is that his thinking and will is synchronised to the will of Allah. In this condition the majzoob is exposed to “alam al-amr” (the world of command) wherein whatever Allah has willed to happen is seen by the majzoob. However, the majzoob sees the Being behind the action (Allah) rather than the act itself. He sees Allah in ‘action’ and thus becomes aware of what is to take place. Hazrat Badsha Peer who was privy to this state would often comment to people about events that were to take place, and it would happen as he had foretold.

Be concious of the insight of the believer, for he sees with the light of Allah. (Mishkat)

A group of builders were busy glazing a building in Queen Street, and Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer happened to pass by.  He forewarned them of a hailstorm that would cause extensive damage and advised them to delay the glazing. Seeing his outward unkempt, dishevelled condition, they thought him to be a madman. Exactly as he had predicted, the hailstorm destroyed all the glass. The next day he returned, and chastised them for having not listened to him and underestimating him.

Due to the fact that a majzoob is so absorbed in the love of Allah, he forgets to maintain his outward appearance. Hence, some majazib are in a state of undress, have long hair, blood-shot eyes due to lack of sleep. Their outward appearance creates a false impression that they have lost their minds. However, not every madman is a majzoob, and no majzoob is mad. Their outward condition is not due to any mind-altering drugs or insanity. On the contrary,

The secret of madness is the source of reason.
A mature man is insane for Love.
The one who has his Heart together
Is a thousand times stranger to himself.
Mawlana Jalaaluddin Rumi

Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer’s outward condition led many people to underestimate him, and as a result failed to achieve the spiritual benefits from this personality. Seeing the un Islamic way of life of the Muslims, Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer constantly foretold the arrival of a personality who would ‘wield the stick of Shari‘ah– Hazrat Soofie Saheb (rahmatullahi ‘alaihi), and urged the people to follow him. Subsequently, as predicted, Hazrat Soofie Saheb did arrive.

Upon his arrival Hazrat Soofie Saheb visited the cemetery in Brook Street asking people about the whereabouts of the grave of a great saint. Those that remembered the prediction of Hazrat Badsha Peer, decided to test Hazrat Soofie Saheb, and took him to the wrong grave. Hazrat Soofie Saheb immediately contacted Hazrat Badsha Peer spiritually and made his way to the real grave. Respectfully, he removed his cloak and placed it on the grave of Hazrat Badsha Peer as a chaadar as a declaration of his wilaayah. After all, ‘one saint recognises another’. He thereafter took it upon himself to construct the tomb of this beloved of Allah. Hazrat Soofie Saheb subsequently organised the first Urs of Hazrat Badsha Peer to highlight his elevated spiritual status amongst people.
Lover of Allah, Beloved of Allah

Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer’s spiritual condition was such that when all the people would be fast asleep, this lover of Allah would walk the streets of central Durban making the dhikr of Allah at the top of his voice, and he would spend the entire night in that condition.

My work is to weep in the remembrance (dhikr) of the Beloved,
My sleep is to be absorbed in the thought of my Beloved.

Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer had reached a very advanced stage in suluk (spiritual journey to Allah) before being absorbed in sukr (spiritual intoxication), which suspended Hazrat’s suluk. Close to the time of his demise he went around telling people that he was getting married. People didn’t realise that Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer was foretelling his demise, and was using the word ‘wedding’ which is ‘Urs in Arabic to indicate this. Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer in fact invited some people to a meal that he personally prepared before his physical demise to ‘celebrate’ his wedding.

Moulana Fateh Mahomed, who recognised the spiritual state of Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer, would constantly urge him to frequent the Masjid, so that people may recognise his condition. Due to Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer being absorbed in the dhikr of Allah and in a state of sukr and oblivious to earthly time, he was not obliged by Shari‘ah to do so. This is not a general rule and majazib are an exception.
On the day of his demise however, Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer requested Moulana Fateh Mahomed to give him ghusul and take him to the Masjid. Realising that there was something wrong Moulana Fateh Mahomed did so.
After ghusul, he took Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer to Grey Street Masjid. Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer kept on asking whether adhan had been give. At the time of adhan, he was informed. When the muazzin chanted “Ashhad an la ilaaha illallah”, Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer read “Ash hadu anna Muhmmad al Rasulullah” and breathed his last. Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer left this world on Friday the 6th of Rabi ul Awwal.

Posthumously, the acceptance of Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Badshah Peer in the sight of Allah is apparent by the thongs of people who come to pay homage to him at his tomb. People of all religions, from all walks of life are instinctively drawn to him and find solace at his blessed tomb. As an official symbol of the indelible mark that this servant of Allah has left on the hearts of people for over a century, the area surrounding his blessed tomb has been named Hazrat Badshah Peer Square. May humanity continue to slake its thirst for spiritual grace from the fountain of the ‘King of Guides’ and a guide of kings. Aameen.

 

by Hafiz Fuzail Soofie

Hazrath Moulana Abdul Latief Qadi Siddiqi (RA): A Profile of Selfless Service to the Muslim Community

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Mazaar of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief RA todayIntroduction

The spread of Islam in the southern most part of Africa occurred under arduous historical circumstances due to the political defeat and colonisation of Muslim societies across the world by various European colonial powers.

For most part of its history the practical development of Islam in South Africa was a difficult process as Islam was banned by the colonial authorities and even after its unbanning Muslims were discriminated against as a group. Notwithstanding this our early pioneers were both learned alims in sharia and sheikhs of tariqa. Thus, the spread of Islam in this part of the world occurs largely through Sufi sheikhs from various tariqa's, but predominantly from the Qadri and Chisti tariqa's.

Rare in history, especially in the southern most part of Africa, are the selfless contribution of two great Muslim personalities so intertwined in the service of Allah. Recollecting the life of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi through his service to the Muslim community and thereby to Islam is integrally linked to the role and contribution to the Muslim community by Hazrat Soofie Saheb. Both these auliya were further spiritually connected to the same sheikh from the Chisti silsila, Hazrat Habib Ali Shah (R.A.).

The fact that the Habibiya Soofie Masjid has been able to sustain and develop Islamic activity over the past century is largely the result of the pioneering work and foundation laid by these two great personalities whose selflessness in the cause of Islam has left an everlasting legacy.

Context of the spread of Islam

Mazaar old

It is imperative to understand the historical context in which Hazrat Shah Goolam Mohamed (popularly known as Hazrat Soofie Saheb) and Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief came to function to serve Islam and the local Muslim community. This context indicates the important role that both these Sheikhs played in the Islamic education of local Muslims and the institutional development of Islam throughout the country.

While Islam was established in the Cape for nearly two hundred years prior to the coming of Shah Goolam Muhammad (popularly known as Hazrat Soofie Saheb) and Moulana Abdul Latief it was different in the former Transvaal and Natal provinces. While in the Cape Muslims were brought either as prisoners or as slaves in the former Natal and Transvaal provinces they were brought as indentured labourers to work on the newly established sugar cane farms. Only later were these indentured labourers allowed to either settle or go back to India. The indentured labourers were followed by a nascent group of merchants and traders which sought better prospects.

Unlike in the Cape in these two provinces there were no established Islamic institutions. In the case of the development of the Habibia Soofie Complex in Cape Town it should be borne in mind that some twenty mosques existed in Cape Town with the densest concentration in one area, namely, Bo-Kaap. Thus at the time of the creation of Habibia Soofie Masjid no other mosque let alone a complete Islamic complex existed on the Cape Flats. Today the densest concentration of Muslims is to be found on the Cape Flats as a result of forced removals and the apartheid related Group Areas Act.

Therefore, the most important contribution made to spread of Islam in South Africa by Hazrat Soofie Saheb RA was the creation of the institutional framework for the perpetual spread of Islam where none existed before through the development of the 12 khanqahs throughout South Africa and including Lesotho. Moulana Abdul Latief RA used to see to the needs of the Habibia Soofie Saheb Masjid in Cape Town. The creation of these institutions allowed for the consolidation and development of the Muslim communities in the respective areas in which they were developed along Islamic principles as espoused by the Quran and Sunnah.

Moreover, while present day Muslim families take for granted that every home will have more than one copy of the Quran and other kitaabs of zikr, duas and Hadith, at the turn of the 19th century this was not the case as the Qurans and other Islamic kitaabs in this country were either written from memory or hand written from kitaabs which were secretly brought with people from the east.

Today that which local Muslims take for granted as a God given right was established through suffering, hardship, as well as gre

at dedication by our pioneer sheikhs who hailed from various sufi tariqa's with one mission, namely, to serve Allah and his creation thereby pleasing Allah who in turn elevated their status in perpetuity as his auliya.

Background to a Life of Service to Islam

Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief Qadi was born around 1859 in the village of Ibrahimpatan in the district of Ratnagiri (Kokan) on the east cost of India. Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi hailed from a prominent family of Islamic jurists. Qadi Muhammad Yusuf who was an elder in the family was the first cousin of Shah Ghulam Muhammad (popularly known as Hazrat Soofie Saheb). Both Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief and Hazrat Soofie Saheb could trace their family roots back to Sayedina Abu Bakr the first Caliph of Islam. In the case of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief, he could trace his family roots back to Sayedina Abu Bakr through his father's family.

Documentary evidence exists in Bombay that both Soofie Saheb and Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief came from a family of noted religious scholars. The family lived in Hijaz and then migrated to Persia and then to India in the 16th century. At that stage India was under Muslim Moghul rule and the second Moghul emperor Nasin al Humayun was the ruler of India at that stage. Humayun received the family upon their arrival in India and instructed the family to settle in the Kokan area and serve the cause of Islam in that area. The only rationale for this type of request that the family serve the cause of Islam in the Kokan districts from a Moghul emperor such Nasin al Humayun was that he was aware that the family composed of a number of noted Islamic scholars. In fact one of the great – great grandfathers of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief was appointed by the Moghul emperor Humayun as the Qazi of the whole Kokan area. The stamp of the emperor Humayun is still visible on the document of appointment. Once settled in the Kokan area the family produced many generations of Islamic scholars who were appointed Qazis, Imam's and other Islamic workers.

Many in the family such as Moulana Abdul Latief's father, Qazi Muhammad Yusuf, besides being schooled in fiqh and jurisprudence were also calligraphers and this is evident in the handwritten copies of the Quran's, Hadith books, and other kitaabs currently in the family's possession. In fact the family as part of rare Islamic books which it inherited from the elders of the family is also in possession of a hand written copy of the famous Mathnawi written by Jalaludien Rumi.

Maulana Abdul Latief's parents were Qazi Muhammad Yusuf and Aishah. Hazrat's father was the son of Qazi Abur Rahman. Maulana Abdul Latief had one brother by the name of Kazi Hassan and seven sisters who were Zainab, Khatoon, Khurshid, Fatima, Kulsum, Amina and Latifah. In 1870 while Hazrat Soofie Saheb was still Imam of the Mosque in the village in India he married Zainab the eldest sister of Moulana Abdul Latief. In the early 1890's Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief married Khurshid who was the sister of Hanifah Bi the second wife of Hazrat Soofie Saheb. From this marriage Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief had four children all of whom passed away in infancy. In 1898 Hazrat then married Jamal Bi in India and from this marriage Hazrat had two daughters, namely, Khairunissa and Khadija Bi.

Moulana Abdul Latief Qadi's Islamic Education

As a child and a young man Maulana Abdul Latief received his early education in Ibrahimpatan, Ratnagiri. This education was received from members of the family as his father was an Islamically knowledgeable person and Hazrat Soofie Saheb's father was both the Imam of the Mosque and administered the local madressa. Like Hazrat Soofie Saheb, Moulana Abdul Latief was brought up in a strict Islamic environment. Moreover, over the years the family had in its possession a vast array of classical Islamic literature which positively impacted on the Islamic education of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief and Hazrat Soofie Saheb. In essence Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief's early education was an advanced one due to the Islamically conducive environment in which he was brought up.

Hazrat's higher Islamic education occurred in Bombay. Bombay besides being the biggest business centre closest to his home village (some 200 km) was also an important centre of Islamic learning. In Bombay Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief studied under a Qari which hailed from Panipat in Northern India and who happened to have resided in Bombay at the time. Under guidance of this sheikh, Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief studied Quranic recitation and other subjects. It was Hazrat Moulana Hafiz Nur Mohammed Pani Patti who in 1882 presented Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief with a beautiful copy of the Dalail Khairath. This Dalail Khairath remained with Hazrat throughout his life and is now housed in the Soofie Saheb Archives in Riverside, Durban. Hazrat's studies were not easy for him as he related to family members the trying circumstances under which he studied under this Qari as throughout the duration of his studies he had to fill buckets of water climbing a five storey building to fill the water drums of his ustaad.

In India he is known for his sterling work at the Zakaria Mosque and Madressa in Bombay. It has been suggested by more than one author that given his links with this institution it not difficult to assume that Moulana Abdul Latief received some part of his Islamic education at the Zakaria Mosque and Madressa. Prior to Hazrat's departure from India to South Africa he was the principal of the Madressa and Imam at the Zakaria Mosque.

From Sharia to Tariqa

The movement of the family from a firmly traditional Islamic position based within the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaat towards a tassawuf orientation equally based in the tradition of the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaat occurred in the late 19th Century. Through the efforts of the only elder brother of Moulana Abdul Latief, Qazi Hassan, the family over a period of time was initiated as mureeds in the Chisti silsila. This occurred in the last quarter of the 19th Century when Kazi Hassan (also known in the family as Cotheh Mamoo Jaan) extended an invitation to Kwaja Habib Ali Shah to visit the family in Ratnagiri. During this trip to Ratnagiri Kwaja Habib Ali Shah spent a few days with the family.

Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief took baiat from Kwaja Habib Ali Shah and thus became a mureed of the famous Chisti sheikh from Hydrabad. Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief entered the Chisti tariqa late in his life as he was in his late thirties or early forties. Shiekh Yusuf da Costa in a path breaking article on the life of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief suggested that Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief being introduced to the Chisti tariqa was:

"Perhaps the most eventful occurrence in his life because it would give him an understanding of Islam which would change the whole direction of his life." [Sheikh Yusuf da Costa: The Contribution of Maulana Abd Al Latif (R.A.) (1860 – 1916) of the "College" to the Religious Life of the Muslims at the Cape]

As a result of a number of visits by Kwaja Habib Ali Shah to the family in Ratnagiri almost the whole family became mureeds of Kwaja Habib Ali Shah and were initiated into the Chisti silsila.

It could be possible that Qazi Hassan was influenced by Hazrat Soofie Saheb in considering the formers invitation to Kwaja Habib Ali Shah to come to Ratnagiri so as to enable members of the family to accept him as a sheikh of tariqa. Hazrat Soofie Saheb's acceptance of Kwaja Habib as a sheikh of the Chisti tariqa was unique bordering on the miraculous.

The Impact of Hadrat Shah Ghulam Muhammad (Popularly known as Soofie Saheb RA)

Like Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief, Hazrat Soofie Saheb also hailed from the village of Ibrahimpatan in the district of Ratnagiri (Kokan). Hazrat Soofie Saheb's father was the Imam of the local mosque. From a very young age Hazrat Soofie Saheb excelled in his Islamic education. In 1872 when Hazrat Soofie Saheb was only 22 years old his father suddenly passed away. After much deliberation the elders in the community decided to appoint Hazrat Soofie Saheb as the Imam of the local mosque in Ratnagiri which meant that his duties included teaching in the local madressa. Hazrat Soofie Saheb held this position as Imam for 20 years. In 1892 as he was teaching his students about the importance of the Haj, he experienced a vision of the Kaaba which left him entranced for a few minutes. After Hazrat Soofie Saheb completed his lessons for the day and dismissing his students, his strange experience during the day convinced him of the need for him to depart for Haj. He decided to go for Haj with his wife Zainab Bi and his ailing mother Rabia Bi. Upon his arrival in Mecca Hazrat Soofie Saheb performed the obligatory tawaaf and prayers and proceeded to Medina prior to the commencement of the Haj. It was in Medina that a further change came over him where he was drawn towards spiritualism. On his return home Hazrat Soofie Saheb felt that he required a sheikh of tariqa.

After discussing his intended trip to Baghdad with his family, Hazrat Soofie Saheb departed for Baghdad. It was in Baghdad at the grave of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani that he met Sheikh Goolam Mustapha Effendi al Qadri who accepted Shah Goolam Mohammed as a mureed in the Qadri sisila.

Both Moulana Abdul Latief and Soofie Saheb were mureeds of Hazrat Habib Ali Shah. Hazrat Habib Ali Shah was clearly a source of guidance behind both Hazrat Soofie Saheb and Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief.

A great number of conversions to Islam by people of the Hindu faith occurred due to the work of Hazrat Soofie Saheb in the Natal area.

The development of these Islamic institutions by Hazrat Soofie Saheb and their location in different parts of the country occurred with great foresight and with depth of vision of their immediate and future importance. In retrospect and after assessing the work of Hazrat Soofie Saheb and Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief it is not difficult to come to the conclusion that they were certainly of those of the righteous which Allah guided as they put their absolute trust in him and no other.

While Hazrat Soofie Saheb and Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief were related as family through blood ties and marriage there is little evidence to suggest that this relationship greatly influenced or impacted on their Islamic mission and work in South Africa. Rather the contrary is evident from all historical accounts that their relationship was guided by their selfless dedication to serve Islam and Allah's creation thereby serving Allah. More importantly all historical accounts suggest that both Hazrat Soofie Saheb and Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief notwithstanding their achievements in the cause and spread of Islam in a rapid space of time were very pious and spiritually developed persons in their own right.

Early Experience in South Africa

The first time Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief came to South Africa was an Islamic teacher. The historical establishment of Muslim traders of Kokani origin in the former Transvaal meant that this community was required to establish Islamic institutions. It was these families which requested that Moulana Abdul Latief first visit South Africa to function as a teacher to these Kokani families in the former Transvaal. It should be borne in mind that while there were many Muslim traders which settled in the former Transvaal many of them followed the Hanafi madhab while those of Kokani origin followed the Shafi madhab and thus the request to Hazrat to come to them as a teacher as he would have been able to teach them the Shafi madhab as well.

After Moulana Abdul Latief had completed his teaching he opted to return to India via Durban. In Durban Hazrat Soofie Saheb urged him to stay and assist with the establishment of the Riverside Khanqah. Moulana Abdul Latief's relationship with Hazrat Soofie Saheb was close and his coming to Durban to assist with Islamic education and dawaah at the Riverside khankah was an important part of the impressive success and achievements of the Riverside Khanqah. Moulana Abdul Latief's contribution was extremely positive to the overall mission of Hazrat Soofie Saheb. In final analysis for Hazrat Soofie Saheb to have ensured the completion of his mission in a short space of time he required the assistance of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief and his own family.

Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief served as Hazrat Soofie Saheb's confidant and right hand person to ensure that the mission that was set out by Kwaja Habib Ali Shah the sheikh of both Hazrat Soofie Saheb and Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief was successfully achieved.

All historical evidence suggests that Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief served the cause of Islam as established through the work of Hazrat Soofie Saheb loyally throughout his life.

At the Riverside Khanqah in Durban Moulana Abdul Latief was in charge of Islamic education at the madressa and more especially the education of the orphans and thus he acted chiefly as a teacher and educator. As the most senior teacher at the Riverside khanqah, Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief also supervised and taught the other ustaads who were also teaching at the institution as student numbers increased and more diverse classes were organised. Hazrat Soofie Saheb entrusted the Islamic education of his own children to Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief. According to Shah Mohammed Saeid Soofie and Shah Abdul Aziz Soofie in their authoritative account on Hazrat Soofie Saheb and his Khanqahs that Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief played a sterling role in terms of Islamic education at the Riverside khanqah when they suggest that:

"The education meted out here made it one of the leading education centres in South Africa in a short time. In fact it was undoubtedly the pioneering Darul Uloom in this Southern part of the continent. Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief Qadi RA, the brother in law of Hazrat Soofie Saheb RA was the most senior teacher here. He also trained and supervised the other ustaads (teachers) at this institution as the roll increased. It was due to his untiring efforts that saw many a brilliant student emerge from this centre including the minor sons of Hazrat Soofie Saheb namely, Hazrat Shah Abdul Kader Soofie RA, Hazrat Shah Goolam Hafiz Soofie RA, Hazrat Shah Mohammed Habib Soofie RA and Hazrat Shah Goolam Fareed Soofie RA." [Shah Mohamed Saeid Soofie & Shah Abdul Aziz Soofie: Hazrat Soofie Saheb (R.A.) and His Khanqahs, P.62]

Students were placed in different classes in terms of age, aptitude, and education ability. Education by Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief at the Riverside Darbar consisted of beginners classes where the Quran and Urdu were taught. The more senior classes consisted of Arabic, Quran, Urdu, Pharsee, Islamic history, and Deenyat.

For the young and old, Islamic education conducted by Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief was also Islamic education of an advanced nature that was based on tassauwuf orientated classical Islam. Shah Mohammed Saeid Soofie and Shah Abdul Aziz Soofie in their authoritative account of Hazrat Soofie Saheb (R.A.) and his Khanqahs comment on this point when they suggest that:

"It is interesting to note that the immortal 'Mathnawi' of Moulana Jalaluddin Rumi R.A. the great mystic poet the world has produced, was also taught. The Mathnawi comprising of six books containing 26660 couplets and which took ten years to complete, is a long narrative poem. It contains the roots of religion and the discovery of the mysteries of nature and divine knowledge. It has all the pantheistic beauty of the Psalms, the music of the hills, the swaying of the forests, the colour and scent of roses, which are the Mirror of the beloved.

It is reported that there were times when Hazrat Shah Moulana Abdul Abdul Latief Qazi (R.A.) in his melodious voice, taught the Mathnawi to the students in the madressa, Hazrat Soofie Saheb R.A. sitting in the Masjid went into a state of wajd (ecstasy)." [Shah Mohamed Saeid Soofie & Shah Abdul Aziz Soofie: Hazrat Soofie Saheb (R.A.) and His Khanqahs, P.63]

Many children that were taught and received their Islamic education at the madressa and orphanage under the capable tutorship of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief proceeded to become Imams, Munshis, Muezzins, community leaders and were sent to various areas to further the cause of Islam.

After teaching at the Riverside Khanqah for nearly three years Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief requested that Hazrat Soofie Saheb grant him leave to return to India as he missed his ageing father and family tremendously. More importantly the environment in India was more conducive to the practice of a tassauwuf orientated classical Islam. Hazrat Soofie Saheb requested that Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief postpone his intention of departing for India until Hazrat Soofie Saheb returns from his trip to Cape Town. In 1903 Soofie Saheb departed for Cape Town and in his absence he placed Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief in charge of the Riverside khanqah.

Upon his arrival in Cape Town Hazrat Soofie Saheb resided at the home of a friend, Mr. Abdul Gani Parker. Mr Abdul Gani Parker's residence was in Cross Street which prior to the apartheid Group Areas Act was known as District Six. One Friday morning Hazrat Soofie Saheb appealed to Mr. Abdul Gani Parker who was his host and who hailed from the same Kokan district in India to acquire a horse and cart so that they could look around the peninsula for a suitable piece of land. After viewing many sites the horse stopped at the site of the present Habibia Soofie Masjid and would not move any further. This experience was not dissimilar to the manner in which Hazrat Soofie Saheb obtained land in Riverside in Durban as Hazrat Soofie Saheb's horse also did not want to proceed any further than the site that was chosen for the Riverside Khanqah. Hazrat Soofie Saheb with Abdul Gani Parker and a few other Muslim brothers who accompanied them on this historic trip got off the cart to view the site. Hazrat Soofie Saheb walked around the site for a while and then decided to purchase the land for the establishment of a new Khanqah.

After the purchase of the land Hazrat Soofie Saheb stayed in Cape Town for seven months while the necessary legal documents were being drawn up by the lawyers for the transfer in trust of the recently purchased properties.

At the Doornhoogte site in Cape Town which Hazrat Soofie Saheb purchased, a small wood and iron house was built and as the news of the arrival of Hazrat Soofie Saheb spread many local people came to meet him. On the trip by Hazrat Soofie Saheb's to Cape Town Shah Saeid Soofie and Shah Abdul Aziz Soofie in their authoritative account of Hazrat Soofie Saheb and His Khanqahs suggest that:

"His spiritual outlook, his humility, character, and his dedication to serve Islam and the Ummah selflessly won the hearts of many including the leading Sheikhs, Imams, Huffaz and other leading personalities of the time. He was visited daily by people during his short stay here. He accepted the invitation of all, irrespective of caste, colour, creed, language or status in the community." [Shah Mohamed Saeid Soofie & Shah Abdul Aziz Soofie: Hazrat Soofie Saheb (R.A.) and His Khanqahs, P.123]

While Hazrat Soofie Saheb was in Cape Town many people had become mureeds and entered the fold of the Chisti silsila. Hazrat Soofie Saheb ensured that the foundation of the current Masjid was laid and a madressa which also acted as a Jamatkhana was completely built prior to him returning to Durban. At this stage all structures which were built on the now famous Doornhoogte site were wood and iron structures.

Upon Hazrat Soofie Saheb's arrival in Durban from Cape Town he instructed Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi to proceed to Cape Town and take charge of the newly established khanqah. Even though Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi wished to return to India he immediately prepared himself for the new challenge which Hazrat Soofie Saheb had set for him and departed for Cape Town. Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief's action of departing for Cape Town to take charge of the Doornhoogte Khanqah instead of departing for India showed his selflessness to the cause of spreading Islam and ensuring the worship of Allah in this part of the world.

Prior to Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief's departure in 1904 to Cape Town to take charge and ensure the complete development of the new Habibia Soofie Khanqah in Doornhoogte on the Cape Flats Hazrat Soofie Saheb had received written instructions from Kwaja Habib Ali Shah to confer Khilafat upon Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief. Thus, the Khilafat granted to Moulana Abdul Latief occurred with the permission and authority of Kwaja Habib Ali Shah. The Khilafat conferred to Moulana Abdul Latief was in the Chisti, Habibi and Qadri silsilas. Hazrat Soofie Saheb also gave Maulana Abdul Latief a staff of his as a gift upon conferring Khilafat to him. The staff of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief which was given to him by Hazrat Soofie Saheb is currently housed in the Soofie Saheb Archives in Durban. The granting of Khilafat to Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi was unique as under normal circumstances the sheikh who is granting Khilafat would grant the mureed or person such Khilafat. In the case of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief he was granted Khilafat by Hazrat Soofie Saheb with the permission of his and Hazrat Soofie Saheb's Sheikh, Kawaja Habib Ali Shah while their sheikh was still alive. Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief was the first of six people upon whom Hazrat Soofie Saheb granted khilafat.

Once Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief received khilafat from Hazrat Soofie Saheb as a sheikh in the Chisti, Habibi and Qadri silsilas the following titles were added to his own name to reflect the honour bestowed upon him. These titles were al Chisti, al Nizami, al Hafizi, al Habibi and al Siddiqi.

Upon the departure of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief for Cape Town Hazrat Soofie Saheb made arrangements for his family to come to South Africa.

The Development of the Habibia Soofie Masjid

Habibia old2When Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief Qadi came to Cape Town he was welcomed by the Muslim traders who also hailed from the hilly mountainous area south of Bombay, Kokan. This community was able to identify with Moulana Abdul Latief required his services to ensure that Islam was established not just for them, but for future generations. In turn Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief required their support and participation in the development of the new established khanqah and more importantly the success of the Islamic programmes developed by him depended upon their active participation. For those from the Kokan area he was known as Hazrat Moulana and for those who did not converse with him in Urdu he was known as Sairie, which meant holy one as it was a local adaptation of Sayyedi.

Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief's Islamic work commenced immediately upon his arrival in Doornhoogte. At the time of Hazrat's arrival there was no mosque on the Cape Flats, but there many Muslim families spread out on the Cape Flats. On the first Friday in January 1904, Moulana Abdul Latief informed those people around him that Jummah Salaat was going to be held on the site which was earmarked for the Masjid. The ground was cleared and sheets and covers were laid. At the appointed time of Jummah Salaat Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief requested one of musallees to recite the call to prayer (adhaan). Muslim people living in the area responded to the Adhaan and after a short while the Jummah Salaat was in progress. After the Sunnah Salaat Hazrat delivered a lecture and a tree stump next to the wood and iron house constructed for him served as a mimbar for the actual Jummah khutba.

This act on the part of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief a century ago was certainly an historic occasion as for the first time the Adhaan was recited for the Jumuah Salaah which was held in open air on the Cape Flats. Yusuf da Costa reflected on the significance of this first Jummah Salaat for the local community that participated in this historic event when he suggested that:

"The whole proceeding must have been especially significant to those first generation immigrant Muslims from Kokan. Here they had an Imam who was 'of them'. He had come from Kokan, spoke their language, and understood their cultural idiosyncrasies. Although there were many mosques and madrassahs at the Cape at the time, the language used as a medium of instruction was the then developing Afrikaans language of which these immigrants from Kokan could by then only understand a few words. The arrival of Moulana Abd al-Latif (r.a.) changed all that. Their children could now be thought and lectures could be given in the medium of their home language." [Sheikh Yusuf da Costa: The Contribution of Maulana Abd Al Latif (R.A.) (1860 – 1916) of the "College" to the Religious Life of the Muslims at the Cape]

For Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief the attraction of the new immigrant community to the newly established khanqah was merely a means to an end as the Khanqah allowed the community to be consistently involved in Islamic programmes. At the same time he went out of his way to break down cultural barriers between Muslims from various backgrounds whose common imaan and Islamic heritage bound them into a single community. Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief's appointments of Imams at the mosque is a clear indication of his single minded purpose of getting Muslims to practice Islam in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah.

After the overwhelming success of holding the first Jummah Salaat on the Cape Flats there was no stopping of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief and the newly established jamaat at the Habibia Soofie Masjid. Thereafter Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief with the support and active participation of the community set about developing the Masjid and other parts of the Habibia complex. The wood and iron house built for Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief gave way to a proper brick structure. In January 1905 the foundation of the Masjid was laid. At the same time consideration was given to the construction of a madressa, orphanage, kitchen, storeroom, as well as rooms for the accommodation of travellers.

Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief's family arrived in Cape Town in 1905 and now Hazrat could continue the work of developing the Habibia Soofie Masjid without any personal hindrances and under the watchful eye of his father Qazi Muhammad Yusuf al Habibi and with the support of his brother and the rest of his family which formed a pillar of strength for him.

At the same time Hazrat Soofie Saheb decided to transfer the land of the mosque from the Shah Ghulam Muhammad Trust to the Molvi Abdul Latief Trust in order to allow for unfettered development of the Cape Town khanqah under the leadership of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief. This was certainly a show of confidence by Hazrat Soofie Saheb in the ability of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief.

In 1906 Hazrat Soofie Saheb visited the Habibia Soofie Masjid in Cape Town and on this visit he was pleased with the manner in which the khanqah was set up and the Islamic programmes which were put in place. The structures established at the Habibia Soofie Masjid was similar to that established by Hazrat Soofie Saheb in Riverside, Durban,

Soon thereafter the Masjid and other parts of the Khanqah were completely developed. Upon the completion of the Masjid one of his disciples enquired as to why such a big mosque was built in a sparsely populated area. To this Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief responded with depth of vision when said that 'this jungle would one day become a bustling city'. Today the Cape Flats caters for the densest population of Muslim inhabitants in the Western Cape.

From all the Masjids established by Hazrat Soofie Saheb, the Habibia Soofie Masjid (College) in Cape Town is the largest while the Masjid developed in Colenso is the smallest. Even though the land and initial establishment of an Islamic complex in Doornhoogte was the work of Hazrat Soofie Saheb, it was the capable role of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief that was important in the full establishment of the Habibia Soofie Masjid and ensuring that it served the entire Muslim community on the Cape Flats irrespective of cultural background. The Cape Mazaar (Kramat) Society aptly described the relationship between Hazrat Soofie Saheb and Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief went it suggested that:

"The spiritual vision of Sufi Saheb would never have become a reality without Moulana Abdul Latief. He had to suffer great deprivation, living in a wood and iron shack, without running water or other necessities. This he endured because he had only one mission in mind, to serve his spiritual mentor, whose guidance he knew would lead to greatness, not for him, but for Islamic Society." [Cape Mazaar (Kramat) Society: Guide to the Kramats of the Western Cape, Cape Town, 2001]

Islamic Practice

Moulana Abdul Latief's RA workHazrat was an Islamic scholar in the true sense of the term. This was evident by the fact Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief brought with him or had sent from India his personal library which consisted of an extensive collection of Islamic books. Many of these books were handwritten and leather bound copies of Islamic works some of which were written by the forefathers of both Soofie Saheb and Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi. Qazi Muhammad Yusuf the father of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief was also a professional calligrapher and had handwritten many Islamic books.

From a Quranic and Sharia perspective the spiritual development of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief was far in advance of his time. The knowledge gained by Hazrat in his study of Islam from an early age to his development as an alim and then a sheikh of tariqa was imparted by him to his congregation at the Habibia Soofie Masjid in various forms. As a learned alim Islamic education formed an important part of his Islamic make up and thus Hazrat also served as a teacher.

Islamic classes were run at the newly established madressa for the young and old. More advanced Islamic classes in various subjects were run for the training of local Imams. At this stage Habibia was one of the very few local institutions running advanced Islamic classes for the training of Imams and other Islamic workers. It was through the running of these advanced classes that the Habibia Soofie Masjid acquired its nickname as the 'College'.

In addition to establishing an Islamic complex Moulana Abdul Latief also established a spiritual programme based on the Quran and Sunnah and as practiced by the Qadri and Chisti Sufi silsilas. It was Moulana Abdul Latief who first established the spiritual programmes of the Chisti Silsila for the jamaah of Habibiyah and the Muslim community of the Cape Flats.

This programme was characterised by a regular Salaah programme of not only the Fard Salaahs, but the Sunnah Salaats as well, including the performance of Tahaajud in jamaah. Other spiritual programmes over and above the Salaah programme included Quran Khataam, regular Zikr programmes, celebration of Meelad un Nabi, annual Urs celebration, Khatme Khawajagaan, etc.

Maulana Abdul Latief established a regular programme of Islamic education which exists up until today. These programmes were geared towards the community at large and crossed cultural boundaries in order to ensure the spiritual well being of the Muslim community throughout the Cape Flats. This education is based on the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah and constitute the basis of belief in Allah by the Ahle Sunnat Wa Jammat.

Establishing the Chisti Tariqa

Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief like Hazrat Soofie Saheb was very strict about adherence to the Quran and Sunnah and this adherence translated itself to strict adherence of the sharia. Therefore for both Soofie Saheb and Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief their practice of tassauwuf was completely sharia based. In other words without fulfilling the sharia obligations of Islam a Muslim is unable to truly follow the path of tariqa.

For Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief and Hazrat Soofie Saheb there was no compulsion in teaching the practice of tassauwuf. Any person seeking to set out on the path of tariqa had to do so voluntarily. However, all those who followed the path embarked upon by Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi sacrificed their wealth, time, and energy in the cause of Islam through strengthening the development of the Habibia Soofie Masjid for the sake of the bourgeoning Muslim community on the Cape Flats.

Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief conferred Khilafat upon two persons. The first person khilafat was conferred upon by Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief was the father of the late Imam Baboo, Shah Muhammad Yusuf al Habibi. Shah Muhammad Yusuf al Habibi resided at the Habibia Soofie Khanqah and was married to the sister of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief.

The second person to be conferred khilafat by Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief was Sayid Shah Ahmed of Karda in India. Sayid Shah Ahmed of Karda in India was on visit to his Qadriya mureeds in Cape Town and wished to be initiated into the Chisti order by Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief. Sheikh Yusuf da Costa eloquently explains the significance of Sayid Shah Ahmed's act of being initiated into the Chisti Silsila by Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief when he suggests that:

"This induction is a clear indication of the high regard for Moulana Abdul Latief's (r.a.) spiritual status by others in the tasauwwuf discipline. There could be no greater compliment than the one paid to him by Sayid Shah Ahmed when the latter requested to be inducted into the Chistiyyah order by his hand." [Sheikh Yusuf da Costa: The Contribution of Maulana Abd Al Latif (R.A.) (1860 – 1916) of the "College" to the Religious Life of the Muslims at the Cape]

The Habibia Khanqah

Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi established social programmes for the poor and orphans at the Habibia Soofie Masjid. A formal orphanage was established by Moulana Abdul Latief who housed many prominent local religious personalities from around Cape Town.

The legacy established by Moulana Abdul Latief in the different facets that constitute the Habibia khanqah has endured for over a century as it was built on firm Islamic foundations purely with the intention of pleasing Allah.

Closing an Immortal Chapter and Opening a New Chapter

After Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief was satisfied with the development of the Habibia Soofie Khankah he travelled to Hijaz in 1911 to perform Haj. Upon successfully completing his Haj Hazrat travelled for the last time to India where he visited his place of birth and more importantly Hydrabad and Ajmer. The visit to Ajmer was geared towards visiting the mazaar of Hazrat Kwaja Mohinudeen Chisti (R.A.) the doyen of the Chisti silsila. The visit to Hydrabad by Shah Abdul Latief (R.A.) was his last visit to the mazaar of his Sheikh of tariqa Hazrat Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (R.A.). Kwaja Habib Ali Shah passed away in 1904 after he granted permission for Khilafat to be conferred by Hazrat Soofie Saheb to Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief and as Hazrat commenced with his daunting task of developing the Habibia Soofie Khankah in Doornghoogte, Cape Town. During Moulana Abdul Latief's return from India he stopped over in Durban as people travelling to the Middle East for Haj or travelling to India could only do so at that stage by ship which was the cheapest form of transport and the first port of entry from those destinations to the then Union of South Africa was Durban. Moreover, for Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief it was imperative that he spend a few days in Durban as during his trip, on the 29 June 1911, Hazrat Soofie Saheb had passed away.

Upon his arrival at the Durban harbour Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief set off immediately to the Mazaar of Hazrat Soofie Saheb (R.A.) were he paid his last respects and made Esale Sawab Fatheha. Thereafter Shah Moulana Abdul Latief met his sister Zainab Bi and other family members. According to Shah Mohammed Saeid Soofie and Shah Abdul Aziz Soofie in their authoritative account on Hazrat Soofie Saheb and his Khanqahs, Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief returned to Cape Town a very broken hearted man. Upon Hazrat's return to Cape Town he continued with his work at Habibia.

At this stage Moulana Abdul Latief was suffering from diabetes and as is the case with most pious personalities he was aware that he was not going to live for a very long time. A while before Hazrat Moulana's passing from the dunya he had informed his family that he was not to live long. In fact while Shah Abdul Latief (R.A.) was on a trip to visit some of his mureeds in Johannesburg he had written a letter to his Khalifah Muhammad Yusuf Parker al Habibi (the father of the late Imam Baboo). The letter consisted of Hazrat's wishes for the continuation of the pioneering Islamic work that had commenced at the College to further continue under the able leadership of his Khalifah Muhammed Yusuf Parker.

Nearly a month prior to the passing of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief he was confined to bed due to his illness and thus could not attend the salaah prayers in the mosque to which the better part of his life was attached. However, even terminal illness could not stop this humble servant of Allah from continuing with his daily prayers to which he became accustomed as an integral part of his life since childhood. Hazrat continued with his salaah while sitting on his bed and utilised a table and pillow to enable him to prostrate during his salaah.

It was Hazrat Soofie Saheb's request that Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi (R.A) be buried on the premises of the Habibia Soofie Masjid thereby also indicating his opinion on the spiritual status of Shah Moulana Abdul Latief (R.A.). However, according to regulations no burial was allowed to occur within the precincts of the Habibia complex. Special permission had to be requested from the authorities at the time to ensure that Hazrat Soofie Saheb's request could be honoured for Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi (R.A.). In fact permission to bury Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief within the precincts of the Habibia Soofie Masjid only came the day before the passing of Hazrat.

Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief passed away on the 17 April 1916 as the adhaan was being recited and he himself was preparing for the Zuhr Salaah. One of Hazrat's last wishes was that upon his passing his ghusl and the Salaatul Janazah be performed by one his mureeds who was Imam of the mosque at the time. Imam Hassan Jakoet, the Imam of the mosque, honoured Shah Moulana Abdul Latief's last request of him. While the Habibyah mosque was the only mosque and the largest mosque on the Cape Flats it was far too small to cater for the crowd which came to pay their last respects to a great personage and wali of Allah. Allah says of his auliya in the Holy Quran that: "Behold! Verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, Nor shall they grieve; Those who believe And (constantly) guard against evil." [Surah 10, verses 62 and 63]

His khalifah Shah Muhammad Yusuf al Habibi, Imam Hassan Jakoet and Hajji Wazir Parker were three of the people which placed Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi (R.A.) in his grave. Out of great love and respect for their sheikh, Hazrat's mureeds stood around his graveside in silent prayer for a long time.

Moulana Abdul Latief passed away at the age of 58 years. This occurred some six years after the passing of Hazrat Soofie Saheb. The passing of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi occurred only twelve years after he had performed the first Jumuah Salaah on the Cape Flats and some twenty years after his arrival in South Africa. Shah Abdul Latief (R.A.) passing occurred after ensuring the full establishment of the Habibiyah Soofie Khanqah.

The mazaar of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi lies next to the mosque and within the precincts of the khanqah which he so ably established.

Concluding Remarks

Nearly ten years ago Sheikh Yusuf da Costa in a pioneering article on the life and passing of Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi (R.A.) aptly summed up his contribution when he says that:

"Although his death was a major loss to them at the time, the results of the work that he had done in establishing the 'College' and the Chistiyyah Order in the Cape are still with the Muslim community to this day, and it is now almost eight decades later. The 'College' stands today as a major memorial to what can be achieved by the unselfish dedication to the Cause of Islam. It also stands as a memorial to the work in the Cause of Allah by one of India's and later South Africa's most precious sons, Sufi Sahib (r.a.) of Riverside , Natal." [Sheikh Yusuf da Costa: The Contribution of Maulana Abd Al Latif (R.A.) (1860 – 1916) of the "College" to the Religious Life of the Muslims at the Cape]

Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi (R.A.) like Hazrat Soofie Saheb (R.A.) lived his whole life purely as a self sacrificing servant of Allah. For the righteous and pious servants of Allah the Quran clearly states Allah's wish and command when it suggests that:

"I have prepared for My righteous servants what no eye has seen and no ear has heard, not has it occurred to the human heart. Thus recite if you wish: And no soul knows what joy for them (the inhabitants of Paradise) has been kept hidden." (Quran, Chapter 32, Verse 17).

Habibia Soofie Masjid has now endured a century of vibrant development and this history and legacy of the College has only endured due to the selfless work of its pioneers and those who picked up the mantle and legacy which both Hazrat Soofie Saheb and Hazrat Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi had successfully established.

Hazrath Khwaja Habib Ali Shah Siddiqi Chisti Nizami Habibi RA

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[Verily, on the beloved friends of Allah is there no fear, nor do they grieve. They are those who believe and are always conscious of Allah.] (Surah Yunus)

Introduction

The very name Habibia is derived from the glimmering personality of Khwaja Habib Ali Shah Chisti RA, who was the Murshid (Spiritual Guide) of Moulana Abdul Latief RA. Habibia was designated as a Khanqah (Spiritual Hospice) by Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA, brother mureed (disciple) and brother in law of Moulana Abdul Latief RA. To understand the spiritual force that drives Habibia, one needs to look at the lives of these two sterling servants of Islam. In this regard it would be useful as a first step to paint a brief background to Sufism in India.

Sufism’s impact on India

Sufism reached great heights in India during the period from the 13th to the 15th centuries. Its spiritual teachings and practice during this era had a great impact on the local population. Many of them converted to Islam when they realized the positive effects Sufism would have on their lives. For three hundred years Hazrat Khwaja Mo`inuddin Chisti RA, the founder of the Chisti Order of Sufis in India, and later his deputies (Khulafaa), were engaged in the spiritual illumination of people in this country. The most prominent of these Khulafaa are Khwaja Qutboodien Bakhtiyar RA, Khwaja Farid-ud-din Ganj Shakr RA, Khwaja Nizamuddin Awliya RA, Khwaja Alaa`udin Sabiri RA and Khwaja Nasiruddin Chiragh Dehlawi RA. In spite of staunch opposition they were rewarded with amazing success in the spread of Islam in the Subcontinent – a spread that was to be extended worldwide wherever people of Indian descent settled.

From the 16th to 18th centuries the Chisti order gradually lost ground in India until another great Chisti upsurge took place in the 19th century with the appearance of a great spiritual personage in the form of Khwaja Shah Sulaymaan Tawsawi RA of Tawas in the Punjab. He lived to the ripe old age of 84, having spent all his life in the field of Islamic education and spiritual enlightenment. He conferred Khilaafah (deputyship) on seventy of his disciples (mureeds), among who was Sayyid Khwaja Hafiz Ali Shah RA of Khairabad, near Lucknow, who was referred to as the “Shibli of the Era” and “Sultanul Mashaikh” (the King of the Sheikhs’).

Hazrat Hafiz Paak*, as he was popularly known, established his spiritual centre in Khairabad, which proved to be a cradle of learning attracting knowledge-thirsty and spiritually-hungry seekers from all over India. (*Paak is an honorific title meaning “pure” that is used for a saintly person in the Indian subcontinent). One great personality who was destined to be attracted to this cauldron of wisdom and who was to quench his thirst from this fountain of erudition was Hazrat Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (R.A.).

His birth

Hazrath Khwaja Habib Ali Shah RA was of aristocratic lineage, being the youngest son of Nawaab [“Sir”] Ahmed Yaar Khan Muhiyyud Daulah the fourth. Khwaja Habib Paak RA was born in Hyderabad on the 20th of Jamaad Ath-Thani 1236 AH [1819]. 

It is a known fact that at the time of Khwaja Habib Paak's RA birth a pious person was heard standing at their doorway and saying, "A Sheikh is born! A Sheikh is born!”

Khwaja Hafiz Ali Shah RA of Khairabad, who was to later become this newborn’s spiritual guide, also predicted the birth of Khwaja Habib Paak RA. Khwaja Hafiz Paak RA said to Ahmed Yaar Khan (who was his mureed), “In your house a son of mine will be born and you should name him Habib."

Upon hearing this, the Nawaab Ahmad Yaar Khan was silent and it crossed his mind as to how this could possibly be as his wife had passed child bearing age. Khwaja Hafiz Paak RA intercepted these thoughts of the Nawab and said, "No! No! A son will indeed be born in your house!"

After this, Khwaja Hafiz Paak RA returned to Khairabad. After two years Ahmad Yaar Khan's wife fell pregnant and gave birth to a very beautiful son who was named Habib Yaar Khan.

Four years later, Khwaja Hafiz Paak RA returned to Hyderabad. Upon his arrival he asked Ahmed Yaar Khan, "Has my son been born yet? I have come to perform his Bismillah Khani” [a tradition whereby a child begins to recite the Qur'an].

After Hafiz Paak RA performed Khwaja Habib Paak's RA Bismillah Khani he tested the young boy by placing some gold coins and sweetmeats in front of him. He then said to the young Habib Yaar Khan, “Choose whichever one of these you want by placing your hand on it.” The young boy replied, "I will take this and take that!" and placed one hand on the sweetmeats and the other on the coins. Hafiz Paak RA smiled and said, "This child will choose spirituality over wealth, and will be a wealth of spirituality."

At the age of sixteen, Khwaja Habib Ali Shah RA openly and out of his own accord renounced his billion rupee estate and his status as a Nawaab (royal), and became the mureed of Khwaja Hafiz Ali Shah RA.

Khwaja Habib Ali Shah RA handed himself completely to his murshid just as a dead body in the hands of the person giving him his final ghusl. His every action was upon the instruction of his murshid. The effect of his murshid's company began to impact greatly upon him. As time passed, Khwaja Habib Paak RA became so intoxicated in his murshid, that it was difficult to differentiate between the two. He was also accepted into the court of his murshid, and wherever he went, he was recognized as coming from Khairabad, from the court of Khwaja Hafiz 'Ali Shah RA. Hafiz Paak RA used to say, "Do not call him Habib Ali Shah Hyderabadi but address him as Habib Ali Shah Khairabadi!"

Education

Due to his love for the Qur'aan, he memorized it first before proceeding to other studies. He excelled in the rational sciences, as well as studies in Hadith and Tafseer. He studied Persian and Arabic works of his era, and also took lessons of Moulana Rumi's RA Mathnawi Sharif under the tutorship of his murshid Khwaja Hafiz Paak RA. Khwaja Habib Paak RA also studied the works of the great Sufi masters, such as Kashf-ul-Mahjub by Hazrath Data Ganj Baksh Ali Hujwiri R.A., Dalaa’ilul `Aarifeen by Hazrath Khwaja Qutboodien Bakhtiyar Kaki R.A., Madaarijun Nubuwwah by Sheikh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi RA, Raahatul Quloob by Khwaja Nizaamuddeen Awliya Mahboob Ilaahi RA, Fusus Al-Hikam by Sheikh Muhyuddeen ibn `Arabi RA, Ghunyatut Taalibeen (by Al-Ghowth Al-A`dham Sheikh Abdul-Qadir Jilani R.A., and the Tafseer of  Imam Ibn Katheer. He used poetry to explain concepts of Tareeqah (the spiritual way) and the secrets of Ma`rifah (gnosis). His composition of poetry devoted to divine love is entitled Diwaan-¬e-Habib.

Service to humanity

During the lifetime of his murshid, he spent most of his time serving him and undergoing strenuous Mujaahadah (spiritual exercises). Khwaja Hafiz Paak RA then declared him the Qutub (Spiritual Axis) of Kokan, and instructed him to proceed to Bombay to guide the people there. Khwaja Hafiz Paak RA said to him, "Bombay is a new area being developed. Go and serve the community there. Show them the path to Allah. In that city you will find people of differing religions and ideas. Bring about love and peace among them."

In strict compliance with the instructions of his murshid, Khwaja Habib PaakRA stayed in Bombay (occasionally visiting Hyderabad for important functions) serving humanity up to his last breath. He established a centre in Dockyard Road, Najgown, which still exists today, perpetuating the legacy of selfless service for which its founder is famous. Hazrath Khwaja Habib Paak’s RA entire life speaks of profound spirituality, unblemished service and countless miracles. He not only took mureeds but trained them to serve as Khulafaa. He sent his renowned Khulafaa to different parts of the world with specific instructions that they selflessly serve humanity and that they propagate Islam in its pristine purity, refraining from indulging in futile debates and vain arguments. Thus the Habibia branch of the Chistiyyah Silsilah was inaugurated.  

Silsilah and Bay`ah

As mentioned earlier, Khwaja Habib Paak RA took bay 'ah (spiritual allegiance) at the hand of Sheikhul Islam, the Qutub of his time, Hazrath Khwaja Hafiz Ali Shah Khairabadi RA. The Silsilah (spiritual order) continues via a chain of Mashaikh (grand masters) such as Khwaja Sulaymaan Tawsawi RA, Khwaja Noor Mahrewi RA, Hazrath Sheikh Kaleemullah Jahaan Abaadi RA, reaching Khwaja Naseeruddeen Mahmud Chiragh Dehlawi RA. From here the Silsilah links up with Sheikhul Mashaikh Khwaja Nizaamuddeen Awliya Mahboob Ilaahi RA, thereafter leading to Sheikhul Islam Khwaja Fareeduddeen Ganj Shakar RA, Qutbul Aqtaab Khwaja Qutboodien Bakhtiyar Kaki RA, and then reaching the Sovereign King of the Indo-Pak sub-continent, The Crown of Crowns, Khwaja-e-Khwajagaan, Sultan-ul-Hind Hazrath Khwaja Mo`inuddeen Chisti Hasan Sanjari Ajmeri RA. The chain then continues via the great masters until it reaches the Pride of Creation, Rahmatul lil `Aalameen Sayyidunaa Muhammad Mustafa, the Salutations and Peace of Allah are upon him.

Khwaja Habib Paak RA is also linked to the Qadiri Silsilah and reaches the King of the Awliya, Al-Ghowth Al-A`dham, Hazrath Sheikh Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jilani RA via a chain of twenty three Mashaikh.  Via his paternal forefather, Hazrath Shaykh 'Abdul Ghafoor Chinki Samarqandi RA, he is linked to the first Khalifa of Islam, The Leader of the Believers, Hazrath Sayyidunaa Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (Allah be pleased with him).

His wisaal [departure to the next world]

Finally, this Blazing Sun of the Tareeqah, whose holy personality and teachings brought light to dark hearts, left this mundane world for the hereafter on the 6th of Dhil Hajj 1323 AH (1904), in the city of Bombay. Though he left this mundane world as per command of Allah, up to this day his Astana (institution) shines with a radiance which continues to enlighten hearts. From his Khanqah in Bombay, the blessed body of Khwaja Habib Ali Shah RA was transported via train to Hyderabad, and reached there only four days later, on the 10th of Dhil Hajj, due to the thronging crowds at every station, who wished to pay homage to the great Shaykh. His Janaazah Salaah was attended by thousands of people and up to this day, his mazaar (tomb) in Hyderabad stands as a beacon of guidance, emitting the sweet fragrance of the Chistiyyah Silsilah.

His books

There are approximately twenty books written by Khwaja Habib Ali Shah RA, of which the Diwaan-e-Habib (3 Volumes) is among the most famous.

His teachings

These are some of his utterances on various aspects of the Soofie path.

“DHIKR” (Remembrance of Allah)

"There are four types of Dhikr: Dhikr An-Naasoot, Dhikr Al-Malakoot, Dhikr Al-Jabaroot and Dhikr Al-Laahoot. Dhikr An-Naasoot is the dhikr of ‘La Ilaaha Ill-Allah’ (There is no god but Allah). Dhikr Al-Malakoot (also known as the dhikr of the Tareeqah) is to recite Ill-Allah (except Allah). Dhikr Al-Jabaroot (also known as the dhikr of Ma`rifah) is to recite the name ‘Allah’. Dhikr Al-Laahoot (also known as the dhikr of Haqeeqah [ultimate reality]) is to recite the name “Hu” [“He]”.

[The terms Nasut, Malakut, Jabarut and Lahut refer to specific dimensions of reality. Nasut refers to the corporeal, Malakut to the dimension of the souls; Jabarut to Allah’s Names and Lahut to the potentialities that exist in Allah’s Knowledge].

FOUR PRINCIPLES:

"A seeker should practice the following principles:

1. Eat less

2. Speak less

3. Sleep less

4. Associate less with the people”

“SAMA” [Spiritual music]

“Hazrath Junayd Baghdadi RA was asked as to why people become unconscious and fall into ecstasy while being absorbed in Sama. He replied, "On the original day of creation, when all the souls were asked by Allah in a most beautiful voice, 'Alastu bi Rabbikum’? (Am I not your Lord?) They were overcome by ecstasy upon hearing the divine voice.” Forgetfulness has been put into the body and soul- when one listens to sweet sounds it reminds them of the divine voice and one is overcome by ecstasy.

“FANA” (Annihilation)

In reference to Fanaa, Khwaja Habib Ali Shah RA says that there are 3 types: Fanaa fish sheikh (annihilation in the Sheikh), Fanaa fir Rasool SAW (annihilation in the Messenger) and Fanaa Fillah (annihilation in Allah], and in every Fanaa there are thousands of degrees of Fanaa present.

His successors (Khulafaa)

Khwaja Habib Ali Shah RA left behind many spiritual successors, one of the most famous of whom was Hazrath Khwaja Shah Goolam Muhammad, popularly known as Sufi Sahib RA, of Durban.

Habibia’s spiritual origins: The impact of Khwaja Habib Ali Shah RA and Hazrath Soofie Sahib RA

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[Verily, on the friends of Allah is there no fear, nor do they grieve. Those who believe and are always conscious of Allah.] (Surah Yunus)

Introduction

The very name Habibia is derived from the glimmering personality of Khwaja Habib Ali Shah Chisti (R.A.), who was the Murshid [Spiritual Guide] of Mawlana Abdul Latif (R.A.). Habibia was designated as a Khanqah [Spiritual Hospice] by Sufi Sahib (R.A.), brother murid [disciple] and brother in law of Mawlana Abdul Latif (R.A.). To understand the spiritual force that drives Habibia, one needs to look at the lives of these two sterling servants of Islam. In this regard it would be useful as a first step to paint a brief background to Sufism in India.

Sufism’s impact on India

Sufism reached great heights in India during the period from the 13th to the 15th centuries. Its spiritual teachings and practice during this era had a great impact on the local population. Many of them converted to Islam when they realized the positive effects Sufism would have on their lives. For three hundred years Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (RA), the founder of the Chisti Order of Sufis in India, and later his deputies (khulafa), were engaged in the spiritual illumination of people in this country. The most prominent of these khulafa are Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar (RA), Khwaja Farid-ud-din Ganj Shakr (RA), Khwaja Nizamuddin Awliya (RA), Khwaja Allaudin Sabiri (RA) and Khwaja Nasiruddin Chiragh Dehlwi (RA). In spite of staunch opposition they were rewarded with amazing success in the spread of Islam in the Subcontinent – a spread that was to be extended worldwide wherever people of Indian descent settled.

From the 16th to 18th centuries the Chisti order gradually lost ground in India until another great Chisti upsurge took place in the 19th century with the appearance of a great spiritual personage in the form of Khwaja Shah Sulaiman Tawsasi (RA) of Tawas in the Punjab. He lived to the ripe old age of 84, having spent all his life in the field of Islamic education and spiritual enlightenment. He conferred khilafah (deputyship) on seventy of his disciples (murids), among whom was Sayyid Khwaja Hafiz Ali Shah (RA) of Khairabad, near Lucknow, who was referred to as the “Shibli of the Era” and “Sultan ul Mashaikh” [the King of the Shaykhs].

Hazrat Hafiz Paak*, as he was popularly known, established his spiritual centre in Khairabad which proved to be a cradle of learning attracting knowledge-thirsty and spiritually-hungry seekers from all over India. [*Paak is an honorific title meaning “pure” that is used for a saintly person in the Indian subcontinent]

One great personality who was destined to be attracted to this cauldron of wisdom and who was to quench his thirst from this fountain of erudition was Hazrat Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (R.A.).

Hazrat Khwaja Habib Ali Shah Chisti Nizami Hafizi (R.A.)


His birth


Hazrat Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (R.A.) was of aristocratic lineage, being the youngest son of Nawab [“Sir”]Ahmed Yaar Khan Muhiy ud Daula the fourth. Khwaja Habib Paak was born in Hyderabad on the 20th of Jamad ul-Thani 1236 AH [1819].

It is a known fact that at the time of Khwaja Habib Paak's (R.A.) birth a pious person was heard standing at their doorway and saying,
"A Shaykh is born! A Shaykh is born!”

Khwaja Hafiz Ali Shah (R.A.) of Khairabad, who was to later become this newborn’s spiritual guide, also predicted the birth of Khwaja Habib Paak(R.A). Khwaja Hafiz Paak (R.A.)) said to Ahmed Yaar Khan (who was his murid),
“In your house a son of mine will be born in your house  and you should name him Habib."

Upon hearing this, the Nawab Ahmad Yaar Khan was silent and it crossed his mind as to how this could possibly be as his wife had passed child bearing age. Khwaja Hafiz Paak (R.A.)) intercepted these thoughts of the Nawab and said,
"No! No! A son will indeed be born in your house!"

After this, Khwaja Hafiz Paak (R.A.) returned to Khairabad. After two years Ahmad Yaar Khan's wife fell pregnant and gave birth to a very beautiful son who was named Habib Yaar Khan.

Four years later, Hafiz Paak (R.A.) returned to Hyderabad. Upon his arrival he asked Ahmed Yaar Khan,
"Has my son been born  yet? I have come to perform his Bismillah Khani” [a tradition whereby a child begins to recite the Qur'an].

After Hafiz Paak (R.A.) performed Khwaja Habib Paak's (R.A.) Bismillah Khani he tested the young boy by placing some gold coins and sweetmeats in front of him. He then said to the young Habib Yaar Khan,
“Choose whichever one of these you want by placing your hand on it.”
The young boy replied,
"1 will take this and  take that!" and placed one hand on the sweetmeats and the other on the coins. Hafiz Paak (R.A.) smiled and said, "This child will choose spirituality over wealth, and will be a wealth of spirituality."

At the age of sixteen, Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (R.A.) openly and out of his own accord renounced his billion rupee estate and his status as a Nawab (royal), and became the murid of Khwaja Hafiz Ali Shah (R.A.).

Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (R.A.) handed himself completely to his murshid just as a dead body in the hands of the person giving him his final ghusl. His every action was upon the instruction of his murshid. The effect of his murshid's company began to impact greatly upon him. As time passed, Khwaja Habib Paak (R.A.) became so intoxicated in his murshid, that it was difficult to differentiate between the two. He was also accepted into the court of his murshid, and wherever he went, he was recognized as coming from Khairabad, from the court of Khwaja Hafiz 'Ali Shah (R.A.). Hafiz Paak (R.A.) used to say,
"Do not call him Habib Ali Shah Hyderabadi but address him as Habib Ali Shah Khairabadi!"

Education

Due to his love for the Qur'an, he memorized it first before proceeding to other studies. He excelled in the rational sciences, as well as studies in Hadith and Tafsir. He studied Persian and Arabic works of his era, and also took lessons of Maulana Rumi's (R.A) Mathnawi Sharif  under the tutorship of his murshid Khwaja Hafiz Paak (R.A.). Khwaja Habib Paak (R.A.) also studied the works of the great Sufi masters, such as Kashf-ul-Mahjub by Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh Ali Hujwiri R.A., Dalail  ul-Arifin by Hazrat Khwaja Qutb ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki R.A., Madarij -un-Nubuwwah by Shaykh Abd al-Haq Muhaddith Dehlwi R.A., Rahat al-Qulub by Khwaja Nizam ud-din Awliya Mahbub Ilahi R.A., Fusus al-Hikam by al-Shaykh al-Akbar Muhiy ud--din ibn Arabi R.A., Ghunyat ut-Talibin (by al-Ghawth al-Azam Shaykh Abd al-Qadir Jilani R.A., and the Tafsir of  ibn Kathir. He used poetry to explain concepts of tariqah (the spiritual way) and the secrets of ma’rifa (gnosis). His composition of poetry devoted to divine love is entitled Diwan-¬e-Habib.

Service to humanity

During the lifetime of his murshid, he spent most of his time serving him and undergoing strenuous mujahada [spiritual exercises]. Khwaja Hafiz Paak (R.A.) then declared him the Qutb[Spiritual Axis] of Kokan, and instructed him to proceed to Bombay to guide the people there. Khwaja Hafiz Paak (R.A.) said to him,
"Bombay is a new area being developed. Go and serve the community there. Show them the path to Allah. In that city you will find people of differing religions and ideas. Bring about love and peace among them."

In strict compliance with the instructions of his murshid, Khwaja Habib Paak
(R.A.) stayed in Bombay [occasionally visiting Hyderabad for important functions] serving humanity up to his last breath. He established a centre in Dockyard Road, Najgown, which still exists today, perpetuating the legacy of selfless service for which its founder is famous. Hazrat Khwaja Habib Paak’s (R.A.) entire life speaks of profound spirituality, unblemished service and countless miracles. He not only took murids but trained them to serve as khulafa. He sent his renowned khulafa to different parts of the world with specific instructions that they selflessly serve humanity and that they propagate Islam in its pristine purity, refraining from indulging in futile debates and vain arguments. Thus the Habibiyah branch of the Chistia Silsilah was inaugurated. 

Silsilah and  Bay'ah


As mentioned earlier, Khwaja Habib Paak (R.A.) took bay 'ah [spiritual allegiance] at the hand of Shaykhul Islam, the Qutb of his time, Hazrat Khwaja Hafiz Ali Shah Khairabadi (R.A.). The silsilah (spiritual order) continues via a chain of mashaikh (grand masters) such as Khwaja Sulayman Tawsawi (R.A.), Khwaja Noor Mahrewi (R.A.), Hazrat Shaykh Kalimullah Jahan Abadi (R.A.), reaching Khwaja Nasir ud-din Mahmud Chiragh Dehlwi (R.A.). From here the silsilah links up with Shaykh-ul-Mashaikh Khwaja Nizam ud-¬din Awliya Mahbub Ilahi (R.A.), thereafter leading to Shaykh-ul-Islam Khawaja Farid ud-din Ganj Shakar (R.A.), Qutb ul-Aqtab Khwaja Qutub ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki (R.A.), and then reaching the Sovereign King of the Indo-Pak sub-continent, The Crown of Crowns, Khwaja-e-Khwajegan, Sultan-ul-Hind Hazrat Khwaja Muin ud-din Chisti Hasan Sanjari Ajmeri (R.A.). The chain then continues via the great masters until it reaches the Pride of Creation, Rahmatul lil Alimin Sayyiddina Muhammad Mustafa, the Salutations and Peace of Allah be upon him.

Khwaja Habib Paak (R.A.) is also linked to the Qadiri Silsilah and reaches the King of the Awliya, al-Ghawth al-A’zam, Hazrat Shaykh Sayyid Abd al-Qadir Jilani (R.A.) via a chain of twenty three mashaaikh.  Via his paternal forefather, Hazrat Shaykh 'Abd al-Ghafur Chinki Samarqandi (R.A.), he is linked to the first Khalifa of Islam, The Leader of the Believers, Hazrat Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddiq (Allah be pleased with him).

His wisal [departure to the next world]

Finally, this Blazing Sun of the Tariqah, whose holy personality and teachings brought light to dark hearts, left this mundane world for the hereafter on the 6th of Dhil Hajj 1323 AH [1904], in the city of Bombay. Though he left this mundane world as per command of Allah, up to this day his Astana [institution] shines with a radiance which continues to enlighten hearts. From his khanqah in Bombay, the blessed body of Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (R.A.) was transported via train to Hyderabad, and reached there only four days later, on the 10th of Dhil Hajj, due to the thronging crowds at every station who wished to pay homage to the great Shaykh. His janaza salah was attended by thousands of people and up to this day, his mazar [tomb] in Hyderabad stands as a beacon of guidance, emitting the sweet fragrance of the Chistiya Silsilah.

His books

There are approximately twenty books written by Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (R.A.), of which the Diwan-e-Habib (3 Volumes) is among the most famous.

His teachings

These are some of the Khwaja’s utterances on various aspects of the Sufi path.

“DHIKR” (Remembrance of Allah)


"There are four types of Dhikr: Dhikr al Nasut, Dhikr al Malakut, Dhikr al Jabarut and Dhikr al Lahut. Dhikr al Nasut is the dhikr of La Ilahi Ill-Allah [“There is no god but Allah”]. Dhikr al Malakut (also known as the dhikr of the tariqah) is to recite Ill-Allah [“except Allah”].Dhikr al Jabarut (also known as the dhikr of ma'rifah) is to recite the name "Allah”. Dhikr al Lahut (also known as the dhikr of haqiqah [ultimate reality]) is to recite the name “Hu” [“He]”.

[* The terms Nasut, Malakut, Jabarut and Lahut refer to specific dimensions of reality. Nasut refers to the corporeal, Malakut to the dimension of the souls; Jabarut to Allah’s Names and Lahut to the potentialities that exist in Allah’s Knowledge].

“FOUR PRINCIPLES”

"A seeker should practice the following principles:
1.    Eat less
2.    Speak less
3.    Sleep less
4.    Associate less with the people”

“SAMA” [Spiritual music]

“Hazrat Junayd Baghdadi (R.A.) was asked as to why people become unconscious and fall into ecstasy while being absorbed in sama. He replied, "On the original day of creation, when all the souls were asked by Allah in a most beautiful voice, 'Alastu bi Rabbikum’? (Am I not your Lord?) they were overcome by ecstasy upon hearing the divine voice.” Forgetfulness has been put into the body and soul- when one listens to sweet sounds it reminds them of the divine voice and one is overcome by ecstasy.

“FANA” (Annihilation)

In reference to fana, Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (R.A.) says that there are 3 types : fana fi shaykh [annihilation in the Shaykh], fana fi rasul[annihilation in the Messenger] and  fana fillah [annihilation in Allah], and in every fana there are thousands of degrees of fana present.

His successors (khulafa)

Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (R.A.) left behind many spiritual successors, one of the most famous of whom was Hazrat Khwaja Shah Goolam Muhammad, popularly known as Sufi Sahib (R.A.), of Durban.

Hazrat Khwaja Shah Goolam Muhammad Sufi Sahib Chisti Nizami Habibi (R.A.)- the great Khalifa of Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (R.A)

Mazaar of Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA

Hazrat Haji Shah Goolam Muhammad Sufi Siddique Chisti al-Qadiri Habibi (R.A.) was born in 1267 AH [1848] in Ibrahimpatan,
Ratnagir, India. He was the eldest son of Hazrat Ibrahim Siddiqui (R.A.), a direct descendant of the first Khalifa of Islam, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (Radi Allahu 'Anhu).

Unlike many other children of his time, he was brought up in a strict Islamic atmosphere, and received his early education from his father, who was the Imam (leader) of the local mosque and teacher at the madrasah (Islamic school). Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) excelled in his studies and qualified as a hafiz (one who has memorized the Holy Qur'an) at this madrasah. After the demise of his father in 1872 (when he was 22 years old), Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) was appointed as the Imam of the mosque and teacher.

Acting upon a vision of the Holy Ka’bah whilst teaching his students the importance of Hajj (the pilgrimage to Makkah), Hazrat Sufi Sahib decided to go for Hajj in 1892. After performing the sacred pilgrimage to Makkah, and paying his respect to the Holy Prophet Muharnmad (the Salutations and Peace of Allah be upon him) in the Holy City of Al-Madinah, he returned back home to India, and was turned away from the materialistic world towards spiritualism. Mystic ideas were now imbued in him, and he felt the need for a murshid (Spiritual Guide), who could place him on the path of Sufism. He thus left India, and journeyed to Baghdad, in search of a spiritual guide.

After arriving in Baghdad, Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) spent some time in the khanqah (monastery) of a-Ghawth  al-Azam, Hazrat Shaykh Sayyid Abd al-Qadir Jilani (R.A.), before setting off in search of a murshid. Here, he met Hazrat Shah Ghulam Mustafa Effendi al-Qadiri (R.A.), who accepted Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) as a murid (disciple) in the Qadiriya Sufi order. It was Hazrat Shah Ghulam Mustafa Effendi (R.A.) who first called him "Sufi." Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) spent six months thereafter in Baghdad, where he used to sit in the mazar of Hazrat al-Ghawth al-A'zam engaged in mujahada. After this time, his "Qadiri" murshid, Shah Ghulam Mustafa Effendi (R.A.) ordered Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) to return to India, to meet with his "Chisti" murshid, the Qutb of  Kokan, Hazrat Khwaja Habib Ali Shah Chisti Nizami Hafizi (R.A.).

Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) thus left Baghdad and journeyed back to India. When he reached the khanqah of' Hazrat Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (R.A.) in Hyderabad, Deccan, a mehfil us sama (recitation of devotional and mystic poetry) was in progress. Hazrat Khwaja Habib 'Ali Shah (R.A.) immediately recognized Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.), and with one  glance caused Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) to become overcome with wajd (ecstasy), which lasted for two days. After this, Khwaja Habib 'All Shah (R.A.) embraced him, and immediately accepted him into the Chistiya Silsila..

Khwaja Habib Paak (R.A.) recognized Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) as a brilliant shining star amongst his disciples and loved him dearly. Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.), after resigning from his post as Imam and teacher at the madressa, remained in the service of his murshid and was instructed in the way of Sufism.


Khwaja Habib Paak (R.A.) always visited the mazaars of the Awliya Allah (Friends of Allah) especially during the urs celebrations. During one of his visits to the urs of Hazrat Khwaja Nasir rud-din Chiragh (R.A.) in Delhi, whilst sitting at the grave, Khwaja Habib Paak (R.A.) was instructed by Khwaja Nasir rud-din Chiragh (R.A.) to send his brilliant murid (Hazrat Sufi Sahib) to South Africa to propagate Islam and the Chistiya silsilah.Thus acting upon this instruction, Khwaja Habib Paak (R.A.) ordered Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) to South Africa.

In 1895, Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) arrived in Durban, South Africa. Upon arrival in South Africa, Hazrat Sufi Sahib made it his first task to locate the grave of a saint of Allah who was unknown to the people, Hazrat Shaykh Ahmed Badsha Peer (R.A.).  After making enquiries, he found himself at the cemetery in Brook Street, Durban, where he meditated until he was able to identify the grave of Hazrat Badsha Peer (R.A.).

Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) then searched for land to build a khanqah, from where he could propagate Islam and the Chistiya Silsila. He found this at Riverside, on the banks of the Umgeni River in Durban.

Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) purchased this land and the trust deed was created with the assistance of Mahatma Gandhi (who was then a practicing lawyer in Durban). It was here in Riverside that Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) planted the flag of Islam and the Chistiya Silsila. A mosque, madrasah and orphanage were built, and thus the first Chisti khanqah in South Africa came into existence. From here, the sweet fragrance of the Chistiya Silsila spread through South Africa, and the rose-bud of this great mystic order of Islam continues to bloom until the present day.

Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.), apart from imparting religious lessons and caring for the orphans, sick and needy, also established many other Islamic activities, such as the regular commemoration of urs of the various grand masters, dhikr programmes, and Mawlid un-Nabi (the Salutations and Peace of Allah be upon him), to name a few. He also provided many welfare services (e.g. prison and hospital visits, burial services, spiritual help, marriages etc.), and established the first old-age home to care for the elderly. At the hands of Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.), many non-Muslims entered the fold of Islam, and many Muslims became murids  (disciples) in the Chistiya and Qadiriya Sufi Orders of Islam.

Mazaar Shareef

The work of Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) did not stop in Durban. He established similar khanqahs in Ladysmith, Cape Town (Habibia),Colenso, Tongaat Butha Buthe,Verulam, Pietermaritzburg and Newcastle. In Durban, apart from Riverside, khanqas were established in Westville, 45th Cutting, Springfield and Kenville. He accomplished all of this in just fifteen years!

On Thursday, 29 June 1911(2 Rajab 1329 AH), Hazrat Sufi Sahib (R.A.) stood at the door of his house and, whilst looking towards the khanqah, said, “May Almighty Allah, through the wasilah [means] of our beloved Nabi (the salutations and Peace of Allah be upon him) accept the humble effort of ours and may He safeguard the khanqahs!”

The same day, as the muaddhin  was calling the adhaan for the Dhuhr prayers, this shining star of the Chistiya Silsila breathed his last. He was 63 years old. His mazaar stands in Riverside, at the banks of the Umgeni River where it overlooks the Indian Ocean, reflecting the bright light of Islam and the Chistiya Silsila. It has been declared a National Monument by the local government, and the road leading to the mazaar has been named after this fragrant rose-bud from the garden of Chist.

We owe our gratitude to Hazrat Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (R.A.) for sending this great servant of Islam to our South African shores, who lit the lamp of iman and love in our hearts.

Hazrath Haji Shah Goolam Muhammad Soofie Siddiqi Chisti Nizami Habibi RA

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Hazrath Haji Shah Goolam Muhammad Soofie Siddiqi Chisti Nizami Habibi RA was born in 1267 AH [1848] in Ibrahimpatan, Ratnagir, India. He was the eldest son of Hazrath Ibrahim Siddiqi RA, a direct descendant of the first Khalifa of Islam, Hazrath Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq RA.

Unlike many other children of his time, he was brought up in a strict Islamic atmosphere, and received his early education from his father, who was the Imam (leader) of the local masjid and teacher at the madrasah (Islamic school).

Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA excelled in his studies and qualified as a hafiz (one who has memorized the Holy Qur'an) at this madrasah. After the demise of his father in 1872 (when he was 22 years old), he was appointed as the Imam of the masjid and teacher.

Hazrat Soofie Saheb RA Mazaar today

Acting upon a vision of the Holy Ka`bah whilst teaching his students the importance of Hajj (the major pilgrimage to Makkah), Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA decided to go for Hajj in 1892. After performing the sacred pilgrimage to Makkah, carrying his beloved mother on his back the entire time, and paying his respects to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (the Salutations and Peace of Allah be upon him) in the Holy City of Al-Madinah, he returned back home to India, and was turned away from the materialistic world towards Tasawwuf (spirituality). Mystic ideas were now imbued in him, and he felt the need for a murshid (Spiritual Guide), who could place him on the path of Tasawwuf. He thus left India, and journeyed to Baghdad, in search of a spiritual guide.

After arriving in Baghdad, Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA spent some time in the Khanqah of Al-Ghowth Al-Azam, Hazrath Shaykh Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jilani RA, before setting off in search of a murshid. Here, he met Hazrath Shah Goolam Mustafa Effendi Al-Qadiri RA, who accepted Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA as a mureed (disciple) in the Qaadiriyyah Soofie order. It was Hazrath Shah Goolam Mustafa Effendi RA who first called him "Soofie." Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA spent six months thereafter in Baghdad, where he used to sit in the mazaar of Shaykh Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jilani RA engaged in Mujaahadah. After this time, his "Qadiri" murshid, Shah Goolam Mustafa Effendi RA ordered Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA to return to India, to meet with his "Chisti" murshid, the Qutub of Kokan, Hazrath Khwaja Habib Ali Shah Chisti Nizami Hafizi RA.

Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA thus left Baghdad and journeyed back to India. When he reached the Khanqah of Hazrath Khwaja Habib Ali Shah RA in Hyderabad, Deccan, a mehfil us Sama (recitation of devotional and mystic poetry) was in progress. Hazrath Khwaja Habib 'Ali Shah RA immediately recognized Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA, and with one glance caused Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA to beco me overcome with wajd (ecstasy), which lasted for two days. After this, Khwaja Habib 'Ali Shah RA embraced him, and immediately accepted him into the Chistiyyah Silsila.

Khwaja Habib Paak RA recognised Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA as a brilliant shining star amongst his disciples and loved him dearly. Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA, after resigning from his post as Imam and teacher at the madrasah, remained in the service of his murshid and was instructed in the path of Tasawwuf.

Khwaja Habib Paak RA always visited the mazaars of the Awliya Allah (Beloved friends of Allah) especially during the Urus celebrations. During one of his visits to the Urus of Hazrath Khwaja Naseeruddeen Chiragh RA in Delhi, whilst sitting at the grave, Khwaja Habib Paak RA was instructed by Khwaja Naseeruddeen Chiragh RA to send his brilliant mureed (Hazrath Soofie Saheb ZRA) to South Africa to propagate Islam and the Chistiya Silsilah. Thus acting upon this instruction, Khwaja Habib Paak RA ordered Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA to South Africa. 

In 1895, Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA arrived in Durban, South Africa. Upon arrival in South Africa, Hazrath Soofie Saheb made it his first task to locate the grave of a saint of Allah who was unknown to the people, Hazrath Shaykh Ahmed Badsha Peer RA.  After making enquiries, he found himself at the cemetery in Brook Street, Durban, where he meditated until he was able to identify the grave of Hazrath Badsha Peer RA.

Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA then searched for land to build a Khanqah, from where he could propagate Islam and the Chistiyyah Silsila. He found this at Riverside, on the banks of the Umgeni River in Durban.

Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA purchased this land and the trust deed was created with the assistance of Mahatma Gandhi (who was then a practicing lawyer in Durban). It was here in Riverside that Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA planted the flag of Islam and the Chistiyyah Silsila. A masjid, madrasah and orphanage were built, and thus the first Chisti Khanqah in South Africa came into existence. From here, the sweet fragrance of the Chistiyyah Silsila spread through South Africa, and the rose-bud of this great mystic order of Islam continues to bloom until the present day.

Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA, apart from imparting religious lessons and caring for the orphans, sick and needy, also established many other Islamic activities, such as the regular commemoration of Urus of the various grand masters, dhikr programmes, and Mawlid un-Nabi (the Salutations and Peace of Allah be upon him), to name a few. He also provided many welfare services (e.g. prison and hospital visits, burial services, spiritual help, marriages etc.), and established the first old-age home to care for the elderly. At the hands of Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA, many non-Muslims entered the fold of Islam, and many Muslims became mureeds (disciples) in the Chistiyyah and Qaadiriyyah Soofie Orders of Islam.

The work of Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA did not stop in Durban. He established similar khanqahs in Ladysmith, Cape Town (Habibia), Colenso, Tongaat, Butha Buthe, Verulam, Pietermaritzburg and Newcastle. In Durban, apart from Riverside, khanqahs were established in Westville, 45th Cutting, Springfield and Kenville. He accomplished all of this in just fifteen years!

On Thursday, 29 June 1911(2 Rajab 1329 AH), Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA stood at the door of his house and, whilst looking towards the Khanqah, said, “May Almighty Allah, through the Waseelah [means] of our beloved Nabi (the salutations and Peace of Allah be upon him) accept the humble effort of ours and may He safeguard the khanqahs!”

The same day, as the mu’aththin was calling the Athaan for the Thuhr prayers, this shining star of the Chistiya Silsila breathed his last. He was 63 years old. His mazaar stands in Riverside, at the banks of the Umgeni River where it overlooks the Indian Ocean, reflecting the bright light of Islam and the Chistiya Silsila. It has been declared a National Monument by the local government, and the road leading to the mazaar has been named after this fragrant rose-bud from the garden of Chist.

We owe our gratitude to Hazrath Khwaja Habib Ali Shah RA for sending this great servant of Islam to our South African shores, who lit the lamp of Imaan and love in our hearts.

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