Written by Khalifa Allamah Riaz Ahmad Samdani
The history of Islam stands witness to the fact that the spreading of its message to the furthest corners of the world are due to the tireless efforts of the Awliya Allah (Friends of Allah i.e. saints) and the Ulama-e-Kiram (Islamic scholars).
In particular, the delivery of Islam’s message is hugely accredited to the work of the Awliya Allah which has resulted in the Muslim rule of India/Pakistan for approx. eight hundred years. These Sufi saints emerged from the Arab world, and from the cities of Sanjar, Ghazni and Bukhara. They presented such a fine practical example of the doctrines of Islam to the inhabitants of the Indian sub-continent that people who worshiped idols of stone and multiple deities now turned to worship the One & Only True God, Almighty Allah.
Amongst this group of pious accomplished Sufi saints is the great leader by the name of Khwaja Shaykh Ghulam Mohiuddin Ghaznavi, may Allah’s Mercy be upon him. Khwaja Ghaznavi spent forty-seven years preaching Islam in the Kashmir Valley, and his great efforts resulted in thousands of people finding the way to true Islam and the Siraat-al-Mustaqeem (the Straight Path).
Khwaja Ghaznavi was born in 1902 in Ghazni, Afghanistan, a city famous throughout Islamic history.
His father, Khwaja Mohammad Akbar Khan, was a great devotee (aashiq) of Sayyidina Ghawth ul Azaam Shaykh Abd al Qadir Jilani, hence he gave Khwaja Ghaznavi the beautiful name of ‘Ghulam Mohiuddin’.
Khwaja Ghaznavi is also a descendant of the great companion, Sayyidina Khalid bin al-Walid, may Allah be pleased with him.
EDUCATION & UPBRINGING
Khwaja Ghaznavi’s initial Islamic education was obtained from Khwaja Gul Mohammad who was also his uncle. As well as teaching him vital Islamic knowledge, Khwaja Gul Mohammad also inspired his great enthusiasm for worship and nawafil.
Throughout the years, Khwaja Ghaznavi also studied at the great Islamic schools in Gardez, Logar and Zurmat.
Khwaja Ghaznavi’s father was a very kindhearted & honest land-owner in his town, noted for his generosity and compassion, and he was also a very famous horse rider. This enthusiasm for horse riding led him to start a business in the horse trade industry, making Punjab and Lahore the centers for his business affairs.
It was this business which later became the cause of Khwaja Ghaznavi’s arrival in Punjab, at the age of 22, where he commenced his business affairs in various parts of the province. Later, he chose to conduct his business on a permanent basis in Poonch, a district of Kashmir, as this was a much more suitable location.
Khwaja Ghaznavi’s notable honesty and dignified character led to his business becoming very profitable and lucrative. In a very short time, the whole district recognized him as a noble gentleman of honorable conduct.
When he would meet Sufi saints, many often prophesied that he would soon become a great Wali (Friend) of Allah.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE (or Bayt)
At the age of 25, while he was on a business trip to Azad Patan, Kashmir, he met a group of people who were on their way to Mohra Sharif, to visit the great Khwaja Mohammad Qasim, may Allah’s Mercy be upon him. Khwaja Ghaznavi, being a truly modest and loving person, sent them with gifts for Khwaja Mohammad Qasim and asked them to convey his humble greetings to him.
When the people presented his gifts to Khwaja Mohammad Qasim, he said, “Let that businessman know that I want him, not his gifts.”
This message was delivered to Khwaja Ghaznavi, who decided to meet Khwaja Mohammad Qasim several months later. As soon as he met Khwaja Mohammad Qasim, the life of Khwaja Ghaznavi underwent a complete change. Soon he pledged bayt, or spiritual allegiance, at his hands thus becoming his mureed (disciple). He then quit his business and decided to spend the rest of his life with his spiritual guide (murshid).
Khwaja Mohammad Qasim (who passed away in 1943) was a great Sufi of the Naqshbandi Order, who devoted everything to his followers. Due to this immense fayz (blessing), Khwaja Ghaznavi progressed rapidly through the stages of spiritual training and tasawwuf.
Khwaja Mohammad Qasim appointed Khwaja Ghaznavi to serve in the famous langar khaana (open kitchen) for the visitors coming to pay their respects, and this duty he fulfilled for 12 years. The hospitality of the guests at Mohra Sharif was an extremely vital task and Khwaja Ghaznavi observed it with great honor, contentment and dedication.
KHILAFA (to be appointed as the Shaykh’s deputy)
When Khwaja Mohammad Qasim had completed Khwaja Ghaznavi’s tuition in Islamic knowledge and spiritualism, he appointed him as one of his Khulafa (deputies).
Khwaja Ghaznavi spent the days serving and the nights absorbed in the dhikr of ‘Allahu’. The sound of ‘Allahu’ was from the depths of his heart, and this caused Khwaja Mohammad Qasim to instruct him, “Go and search for a large territory in Kashmir, far from any population, and spread this dhikr.”
He was to settle in this remote area and transform it into a center of Islamic services.
The son of Khwaja Mohammad Qasim, Pir Mohammed Zahid Khan, asked Khwaja Ghaznavi to start preaching Islam in the Danna Pothee Mir Khan district which was a completely deserted area. There was no population there; it was completely covered with forests and the land was full of wild animals. However, as this was an order, Khwaja Ghaznavi obeyed the instructions and settled there. He was accompanied by his younger brother Khwaja Pir Mohammed Durrab Khan Sahib (also known as Pir Saani Sahib).
For the remaining years, Khwaja Ghaznavi did not ponder upon his land, property or business. The years ahead in Nerian Sharif brought trials and tribulation but he overcame them all with great resolve and determination.
Day by day, more and more people came to visit these servants of Allah, and were taught and educated about Islam. The uninhabited land was soon converted into the grand Darbar of Nerian Sharif where every moment is now spent in dhikr (remembrance) and fikr (meditation).
CHARACTER & LIFE
Khwaja Ghaznavi’s life is a fine example of the pious ways lead by the great scholars & saints in the history of Islam. He was extremely generous and kindhearted, always ready to help those in need. Scholars, dervishes, the poor and wealthy alike would visit him daily as he always spoke to and treated all with great compassion, respect and hospitality.
He was a great figure of hope & kindness, and his devotion to Allah and the Noble Prophet is unparalleled. His incredible sincerity, integrity & righteousness transformed the wilderness into a now life-changing territory of peace and tranquility.
SERVICES TO ISLAM
It is impossible to give a complete account of Khwaja Ghaznavi’s services to Islam as he devoted his entire life to the deen.
He made many journeys in Kashmir and Pakistan, and to surrounding areas for the purpose of preaching. In the daytime, he would preach Islamic wisdom to the public and at night, he would spend his time reciting the Holy Qur’an, praying and worshiping Almighty Allah.
There were never shortcomings in either his day-time obligations or his night-time worship.
After the Isha prayer until midnight, he would be engaged in preaching and in dhikr gatherings. He would then sleep for a few hours, after which he would engage himself in solitary worship of Allah and dhikr.
Khwaja Ghaznavi’s devotees amount to more than three hundred thousand. His services to Islam spread throughout Pakistan, Kashmir and bordering areas as well as Afghanistan, England and the Arab world.
The services of Khwaja Ghaznavi’s younger brother and Khwaja Ghaznavi’s sons are well-known to all, especially the work of Ghawth ul Waqt, Shaykh ul Aalam, Khwaja Pir Mohammad Alauddin Siddiqui.
DEPARTURE FROM THIS WORLD
A year before he passed away, at an annual function at Hazru, Khwaja Ghaznavi said to Mawlana Hidayat-ul Haqq Sahib, “Allah knows best if I will be able to come here next year.” Having returned from this function, Khwaja Ghaznavi soon fell ill and his health deteriorated increasingly by the day. Twice, he was taken to Rawalpindi’s Combined Military Hospital where operations were performed, however Khwaja Ghaznavi’s health continued to decline. In the end, the illness was declared incurable.
While he was in the hospital, Khwaja Ghaznavi said, “Take me to my home.” His devotees took him from Rawalpindi to Nerian Sharif. Here, Khwaja Ghaznavi again said, “Take me to my home.” His devotees said, “This is our home.” Khwaja Ghaznavi replied, “This is not my home.”
During his very last days, Khwaja Ghaznavi had completely closed his eyes from this world. He would only open his eyes if someone spoke to him, or to ask if it was time for prayer.
Khwaja Ghaznavi departed from this world on Friday 28th Rabi-ul Awwal 1395 (11 April 1975) at 2.35pm after the Jummah prayer. He was 73 years old.
Khwaja Ghaznavi appointed a number of mureeds as his khulafa so that they could continue his service to Islam.
His khulafa number more than seventy. Some of their names are listed below:
1. Mawlana Hidayat-ul Haqq (Hazru)
2. Mawlana Mufti Abdul Malik Hazarvi (Hazara)
3. Faiz Mohammad (Tatta Pani, Azad Kashmir)
4. Ghulam Hussain (Bandli Sharif, Azad Kashmir)
5. Mohammad Ameer (Afghanistan)
6. Shaykh Nazeer Ahmad (Madinah Munawwara)
7. Ghulam Mohammad (Sahiwal)
8. Mohammad Shafi (Gujar Khan)
9. Mohammad Fazil (Sindh)
10. Mohammad Azam (Poonch, Azad Kashmir)
11. Mawlana Abdullah Ateeq (Kotli, Azad Kashmir)
12. Mawlana Riaz Ahmad Samdani (United Kingdom)
Khwaja Ghaznavi married three times. His first wife was from Nerian Sharif, the second from Ghazni and the third from Punjab. He left behind seven sons to his noble memory. All his sons are exceptionally learned Islamic scholars and preachers, who are continuing the great task of their honorable father by serving Islam.
Khwaja Ghaznavi’s sons are:
1. Khwaja Pir Mohammad Alauddin Siddiqui, may Allah grant him long life and elevate his status
2. Sahibzada Pir Nizamuddin Qasmi
3. Sahibzada Imam Rabbani Farooqi
4. Sahibzada Mohammad Fazl-e-Rabbani
5. Sahibzada Sher-e-Rabbani
6. Sahibzada Ghulam Rabbani
7. Sahibzada Shams-ul Arifeen
KHWAJA GHAZNAVI’S TEACHINGS
1. The true meaning of Islam is to protect yourself from all sin, which is achieved by practicing the five pillars of Islam.
2. Abstain from all actions which are displeasing to Allah.
3. Your body should always be used for obedience to Almighty Allah.
4. When you stand for salah, remind yourself you are standing before Allah, Who is the Greatest, Who hears and sees all things.
5. Allah blessed Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, with the complete knowledge of the names of all things. But his knowledge compared to the unlimited knowledge of our Holy Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, is like a drop of water compared to an ocean.
6. Jealousy, envy, hatred and arrogance are all evil traits which were not only the reason why Iblees refused to bow to Prophet Adam, but they were also the cause of the accursed lblees challenging Almighty Allah.
7. In yourselves, replace pride and arrogance with humility. Replace your base desires and comforts with patience, determination, gratitude to Allah, and engage in His Remembrance. Replace greed with love of Allah, His Beloved Prophet, and your Shaykh.
8. The four famous principles of the Naqshbandi Order are:
• Remember Allah with every breath
• Never take even one step in a wasteful cause, and remove from yourself all desire for worldly goods
• Always remain in the company of the Awliya-e-Kaamileen (accomplished Sufi saints)
• Bring others towards Allah, and always be conscious of Him.
9. An accomplished Shaykh is a deputy of the Holy Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and is the means or waseela between Allah and His servants. The Shaykh guides and leads his disciples by the teachings of the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet said, “Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.” [Tirmidhi]
10. Do not be disrespectful to your Shaykh, do not ignore him, do not oppose him and do not consider your opinion better than his, because a true Shaykh will lead you to the correct path of Islam, the Sirat-al-Mustaqeem.
11. Your salvation & success in this World and in the Hereafter is dependent upon your imaan (faith) and your good deeds.