shah muhibbullah allahabadi Home Introduction Tasawwuf(Sufism) जीवनी हज़रत शाह मुहिबउल्लाह इलाहाबादी حیٰوۃ شیخ الکبیر حضرت شاہ محب اللہؒ الہ آبادی About Us Allahabad Gallery

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Life and Times of Shaikh Muhibbullah Allahabadi

Life and Times of Shaikh Muhibbullah Allahabadi
Life and Times of Shaikh Muhibbullah Allahabadi

The seventeenth Century of Christian era occupies a unique place in the history of Indian mystical thought. It saw the two metaphysical concepts Wahdat-al Wujud (Unity of Being) and Wahdat-al Shuhud (Unity of manifestation) in the realm of Muslim theosophy and his conflict expressed itself in the formation of many religious groups, Zawiyas and Sufi orders on mystical and theosophical times, brochures, treatises, poems, letters and general casuistical literature. The supporters of these two schools of thought were drawn from different strata of society. Sheikh Muhibbullah of Allahabad, Miyan Mir', Dara Shikoh^, and Sarmad belonged to the Wahdat-al Wujud school of thought; Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi, Khawaja Muhammad Masum and Gulam Yahya belonged to the other school. Shaikh Abdul Haqq Muhaddith' and Shaikh Walliullah both of Delhi sought to steer a middle course and strove to reconcile the conflicting opinions of the two schools. Shaikh Muhibbullah of Allahabad stands head and shoulder above all the persons who wrote in favor of Wahdat-al Wujud during this period. His coherent and systematic exposition of the intricate ideas of Wahdat- al Wujud won for him the appellation of Ibn-e-Arabi Thani (the second Ibn-e-Arabi). Shaikh Muhibbullah Allahabadi was a prolific writer and a Sufi of high rapture of the 17* century. Sheikh Muhibbullah played a prominent role in developing speculative mysticism and theosophic religious thought during Shahjahan's reign (1627-57A.D.) but unfortunately literaturelists, historians and biographers have not paid much attention to this great Sufi writer. An attempt has been made in this chapter to present a brief account of his life and times.

Family and Birth
Shaikh Muhibbullah was born at Sadarpur, a village in vicinity of Khairabad in Awadh province in 996 A.H./1587 A.D. during Akbar's reign. As Allahabad became the main center of his preaching where he passed his last twenty years of life therefore he was called Allahabadi.' He belonged to a pious and learned family. His father Mubariz was a descendent of Shaikh Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar and his mother was the daughter of Qazi Ismail of Hargam. Qazi Abul Waiz of Hargam, a tutor of Aurangzeb, was his maternal cousin. Shaikh's linage goes to Hazrat Umar, the second Caliph of Islam.

Education
According to the Shaikh's statement he received his early education in his village. His teacher was a Sufi who not only instructed him in traditional sciences but also .taught him some basic mystical techniques." Shaikh Muhibbullah was a studious student who successfully completed basic course of religion and literary education. When the Shaikh was in his twenties heavy family and other responsibilities fell on his shoulder after his fathers death therefore his progress in further studies and meditation was stopped. He went to Lahore along with his cousins where he became a disciple of renowned Scholar Shah Abdul Salam Lahori.'After completing his education the Shaikh returned to his hometown and strove for livelihood here and there and ultimately he started teaching in his village. He regularly delivered lectures on the subjects of Islamic sciences and though he achieved reputation in this noble profession but he was not contented with it. His mind and spirit wanted something more. So he visited renowned centers of learning and religion to meet great scholars and saints.

Spiritual Training
Reports say, while he was walking down the streets of Delhi, Nawab Sadullah Khan, his old friend and prime minister of Emperor Shahjahan, happened to pass in his palanquin and he spotted the Shaikh, but the Shaikh immediately averted his gaze and entered a nearby shop. Nawab Sadullah Khan was not a person to ignore his friend, so he told his men to bring the Shaikh to his house with respect and when the latter reached the Nawab welcomed him warmly. Sadullah Khan told Emperor Shahjahan (1627-57 A.D.) about his friend's amazing intellect and talent and, praising him to the extent that he deserved to be Prime Minister, he infect was only fit to be his assistant. Shahjahan was greatly surprised to hear such an admission from his learned Prime Minister, as result he became to be impatient to meet the man. The emperor asked many questions which always baffled him. The Sheikh's answers satisfied him and he immediately appointed him as a court minister. According to court's customs he was brought to the tomb of Khwaja Bakhtiyar Kaki'"' with a guard of honour. When the Shaikh reached the Qutub Minar he got down and asked the guards to wait as he would go to the tomb on foot and alone. The guards waited a day and night then they became restless. The commandant of the troop went to the tomb and enquired, the caretaker told him that yesterday he had sea a richly dressed gentleman who put off his rich clothes inside and borrowed a lungi and shirt and went back. The soldiers searched him everywhere with no avail. It is reported while he was praying inside; the mystically inclined Minister heard a voice which told him that he had not been bom for worldly affairs but for higher things. He immediately set out to the place where the voice told him to go. He went to Gangoh, Saharanpur, to obtain his formal Sufi's training.'Ultimately, he came into contact with Shaikh Abu Said,'a grandson of Shaikh Abdul Quddus',at Gangoh in Saharanpur District, and he was so deeply impressed by his spiritual sagacity and scholarship that he decided to join the circle of his devotees. Sheikh Abu Said was a notable saint of the Chisti-Sabri order, and, like his eminent grandfather, was a great follower of Wahadat-ul-Wujud. Sheikh Muhibbullah developed a firm faith in the validity of the doctrine of Wahdat-al Wujud under his guidance. Shaikh Abu Said was also deeply impressed by his scholarship and spiritual vision. One day he took to him to the prayer cell and taught him all the rules and regulations of Chishtiya Silsilah. Sheikh Mubibbullah prayed and diligently practiced the mystic exercises and performed all the mystical rituals in a very short time.
Shaikh Abu Said sharpened Muhibbullah's interest in asceticism and Wahdatal Wujud. However after completing his mystical course and getting Khilafat from Shaikh Abu Said he returned to his home town. He stayed there for some time and engaged himself in writing some works but soon he found that place unsuitable for him, so he left Sadrpur and came to Rudauli and visited the tomb of Shaikh Abdul Haqq" where he met Maulana Abdur Rahman Chishti'. Apart from his scholarship, Sheikh Muhibbullah was a man of great personal charm. Maulana Abdur Rahman was deeply impressed by his charming personality and rare gift of eloquence and exposition. After staying a few days there both of them left Rudauli together and Abdur Rahman Chishti took him to his house where Shaikh stayed for a few days. After visiting some saints and tombs he fmally reached Allahabad in 1038 A.H./1628 A.D. at the age of forty two and made Allahabad his permanent abode and centre for his preaching." This was the period when Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi had vibrated and echoed the whole atmosphere with the doctrine of Wahadat-al Shuhud. Sheikh Muhibbullah made his mission to preach and popularize the mystical philosophy of Ibn-e-Arabi' which had gained popularity in Sufi circles long before him. Ibn i-Arabi's works had been introduced in India by Shaikh Fakhruddin" Iraqi, a disciple of Shaikh Bahauddin Zakaria Multani.

Ulama's Criticism
Some of the views of the Shaikh Muhibbullah however, evoked orthodox criticism. Once the Ulama of Allahabad issued a fatwa against him and condemned him on a charge of heresy. When his friend Shaikh Abdur Rashid of Jaunpur came to know of it, he rushed to Allahabad and used all his argimientative powers and influences to defend him. Shaikh Abdur Rashid argued that Shaikh Muhibbullah had used mystical and not philosophical terminology which had a different connotation altogether. His defense of the Shaikh Muhibbullah was successful and the Ulama withdrew their fatwa of execution, but throughout his whole life Shaikh Muhibbullah had to face bitter opposition from the Ulama?Shaikh Muhibbullah's thought his associations and his attitude towards many problems of religion provoked Emperor Aurangzeb's criticism. When his treatise Taswiyah came to his knowledge, he found many things in it highly objectionable. By that time the Sheikh was already dead. Aurengzeb (1658- 1707A.D.) called upon his Chief disciple Shaikh Muhammadi to give a satisfactory explanation of those objectionable statements or to renounce the discipleship of the Shaikh Muhibbullah and to bum the copies of the book. Shaikh Muhammadi, who was a man of sturdy independence and had a saintly character, replied that on that account he was ready to renounce his discipleship but he also argued that he could not comply with the imperial order as he had not yet reached that spiritual stage from which the Shaikh had made those  utterances, and that when he achieve that higher position he would send the Emperor a commentary on those statements. He also added that if the Emperor had decided to have the copies of the said treatise burnt, there was enough fire in the royal kitchen for this purpose. The Emperor kept quiet after receiving this outspoken reply.

Disciples
Shaikh Muhibbullah's greatness can also be judged by the qualities of his son and disciple who were the tourch bearers of his thoughts and doctrines and who hold high positions. Here the short descriptions of some of his disciples:

Shaikh Tajuddin
Shaikh Muhibbullah had a son named Tajuddin who was brought up with all care and was taught esoteric as well as exoteric subjects. The Shaikh was an accomplished saint and scholar who carried on his father's tradition in and around Allahabad.

 Qazi Sadruddin
Sadruddin, Qazi of Allahabad, commonly known as Qazi Ghasi was the first disciple as well as one of the Chief Khalifa of Shaikh Muhibbullah and was considered as his great disciple who furthered and enriched the legacy of his mentor and propagated it in the area especially when he succeeded the post of his Sheikh.

Shaikh Muhammadi Fayyaz(d. 110 A.H./1695 A.D.)
Shaikh Muhammadi Fayyaz was a famous saint of very high repute. He enjoyed the company of the Shaikh for fourteen years. The Shaikh had great regard for him. After receiving khirqa-e-khilafat (robe of succession) from Shaikh Muhibbullah he went to Agra and lived there permanently and devoted all his life to prayer and practice of Tasawwuf. He was an authority on the subjects of Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh and Ilm-e-Kalam. He was a reputed author of many books and treatises.

Qazi Yusuf (d. 1084 A.H./1673 A.D.)
Qazi Yusuf another disciple of the Shaikh, was a great theologian and jurist. After the death of his father he became the Qazi of Bilgram in the reign of Shahjahan (1627-57A.D.). He wrote two treatises in Arabic and Persian in reply to the questions sent by Dara Shikoh to Shaikh Muhibbullah.

Qazi Abdul Rashid
Qazi Abdul Rashid belonged to Delhi. He had received traditional education as well as spiritual guidance firom Shaikh Muhibbullah and then became the Qazi of Sambhal.

Mulla Muhsin Fani (d. 1081 A.H./1670 A.D.)
Mulla Muhsin Fani Kashmiri, the controversial author of Dabistan-e-Mazhahib, was famous for his great learning and accomplishment. Muhsin Fani was the Sadr of Chief justice of Allahabad during Shahjahan's reign. He became a disciple of Shaikh Muhibbullah Allahabadi. Later he became spiritual guide and teacher. He was also a poet of repute and has left a collection of poems.

Shaikh Ahmad (d. 1088 A.H./1677 A.D.)
Shaik Ahmad the son of Ishaque Nasirabadi, was bom and brought up in Nasirabad .After completing his traditional education he became a disciple of Shaikh Muhibbullah. He was an eminent theologian as well as a great Sufi. He is said to possess the power to perform miracles. He was a man of letter and authored many books. 

Syed Muhammad Qannauji (d. 1101 A.H./1689 A.D.)
Syed Muhammad of Qannauji also known as Mir Kabir Qannuji was a great mathematician and a good scholar of Arabic. He was in the service of Emperor Shahjahan and Aurangzeb. Aurengzeb regarded him as his teacher and used to discuss with him on Fiqh (Jurisprudence) and Hadith (Traditions) thrice a week.
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