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Sufism In Sindh :: shahadat

Shahadat

In the province of Sindh, Pakistan 65km from district Thatta lies the village of Jhoke Sharif (formerly known as Miranpur)and in Jhoke Sharif lies the dargah of Sufi Inayatullah famously known as Shah Shaheed. The Present ‘Sujjada Nashin' or the successor to Shah Inayat's dastaar or sufi turban is Sufi Attaullah Sattari.

Termed as ‘ the first socialist sufi' in Sindh, Shah Inayat was born in 1655/56 A.D in Miranpur. He had his early education from his father Makhdum Fazlullah. He travelled to different parts of the subcontinent to quench his thirst for knowledge and to find a spiritual guide, or a murshid in sufi terms. He arrived in Bijapur near Hyderabad Deccan, India and there he came under the wings of Hazrat Shah Adbul Malik.

He stayed there for one year, enduring rituals of vigorous meditation. When his learning was complete, he took leave from his murshid. Before his departure, Shah Abdul Malik placed four things before his disciple: a tasbeeh, a prayer mat, a karaa, and a sword. Shah Inayat chose the sword, to which his murshid asked: ‘O fakir what price will you pay for this gift?' He replied: "The price is my head."

Pleased with the answer , Shah Abdul Malik had one more instruction for his pupil: "Cover your face during your journey to Miranpur or people on the way will be smitten by it and follow you wherever you go." During his journey , whenever strong gusts of wind blew the veil and exposed his face, people around were duly magnetized and hence followed him to his destination in huge numbers.

Once back in Miranpur, Shah Inayat spent his days in meditation and prayers. His message was one of love, tolerance and equality. Peasants left their respective lands to work for Shah Inayat as he had organized collective farming on his lands. Countless people came under his spiritual light. Soon the population of Miranpur increased many folds.

All this infuriated the local landlords and the Kalhora power elite. Being well connected to the Mughal court of Delhi, a conspiracy was hatched. With other dargahs of Sindh giving written consent, Shah Inayat and his disciples were labelled as infidels. A crackdown was launched. Miranpur was besieged for four months but the sufis gave stiff resistance. Finally, Mian Mohd Khan Kalhora and Commander Mir Khan Talpur went to Shah Shaheed and ensured his safety by Quran and asked him to come to their chambers for talks. Though Shah Shaheed knew what was going to happen he went along anyways. Once Shah Shaheed came to Nawab Azam Khan's chambers, they arrested him, charged him with treason and sentenced him to death.

The time had come for paying the price of his murshid's gift. The executioner struck his sword but to his amazement the sword had become blunt. Shah Inayat smiled , took out his own sword ( the one his murshid had presented him) and told the evil conspirators that in their army was a soldier with brown eyes and a leprosy mark on his chest; "He is the one for the job."

The soldier was summoned to carry out the barbaric sentence. Shah Inayat handed him the sword along with a few gold coins and said, "These are the wages for your labour." Just before laying down his life for Allah , Shah Inayat gave a blessing to the executioner in the form of Hafiz Shirazi's couplet:

"You have released me from the chains of existance
May Allah bless you now and hereafter."

The inevitable had happened. A total of 24,000 followers were martyred during this battle, which is comparable only to the battle of Karbala. This was not a fight between two rulers- it was a clash between the mighty mughal forces and a band of brave sufis who chose to revolt against the corrupt feudal and imperial order of the day.

The slain head was taken to Delhi in the court of mughal ruler Furrukh Ser. On the way the head recited 700 verses, proving that those martyred in the name of Allah live on till eternity.

In Furrukh Ser's court were present two ardent devotees of Shah Inayat Shaheed. When they saw what had happened , blood rose in their eyes and in an act of fury , both of them blinded Furrukh Ser with red hot irons. Chaos erupted . One of the disciples was killed while the other managed to escape with the head of his murshid and made it to Miranpur.

A sayyid from Thatta built a shrine, where Shah Shaheed was buried. The other thousands of martyrs were buried in seven mass graves each known as 'ganj'.