Religion for PeaceSpirituality for Peace

Hamza Makhdoom Kashmiri—حمزہ مُخدوم کشمیری—By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi

The shrine of Hamza Makhdoom is one of the most sacred dargahs in Kashmir which is located on the southern side of Hari Parbat Hill (Kohi Maran) in Srinagar city. Special On his Urs
Hamza Makhdoom Kashmiri—حمزہ مُخدوم کشمیری—By Ghulam Rasool DehlviS

uharwardi Sufi order was first introduced in Kashmir by Saiyid Jamaluddin Bukhâri in the first half of the sixteenth century. One of his chief disciples was Hamza Makhdoom who born at Tujar, near Sopore in the present-day Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

A prolific spiritual scholar, Hamza Makhdoom (1494-1576) still has a great adherence in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir. He hailed from the spiritual tradition of Jalaluddin Bukhari—popularly known as Jalaluddin Surkh-Posh—and was a follower of Bahaud-din Zakariya of the Suhrawardi Sufi order. It was under his influence that a large part of the present Kashmir’s population subscribes to the Hanafi tradition. His entire lineage was known for an intellectual spiritual legacy and an ethics-based spirituality (Tariqat).

Also known as Makhdum Sahib and Sultan-ul-A’rifin (king of the realised saints), Hamza Makhdoom is venerated in the Valley as the “Beloved of the World” (Mahbub-ul-Aalam). This 16th century proponent of the Suhravardi Sufi order in Kashmir belonged to a Chandravanshi Rajput family, and was born in a village near Sopore in Baramulla district. His spiritual hospice (Khanqah) and shrine is on top of the Hari Parbat (Koh-e-Maran), commanding a majestic view of the most beautiful part of Srinagar. According to several historians, Makhdum Sahib’s family were descendants of Kangra’s Rajput rulers, through Ramchandra — commander-in-chief in the army of Raja Suhadev, the last Hindu ruler of Kashmir, and minister in the court of Rinchen Shah, the first Muslim king of Kashmir.

Hamza Makhdoom’s entire lineage was known for an intellectual legacy and an ethics-based spirituality (Tariqat). In his childhood, his father Usman Raina, himself an acclaimed A’alim (scholar) taught him and then enrolled him in a Maktab at his village. Later, his grandfather, Reti Raina, took him to Srinagar, where he studied the classical Islamic sciences — from the Quran, Hadith, Kalam (philosophy), Fiqh (jurisprudence) to Sufism at Dar al-Shifa in Srinagar. Over there, Makhdum Sahib acquired the knowledge and gnosis of 14 different Sufi branches, but in his later life, he was more inclined towards the Suhrawardi Silsila (Sufi order) and treaded the spiritual path popularly known today as “Mahbubiyya Silsila” named after his epithet Mahbub-ul-Aalam (Beloved of the World). Thus, Makhdum Sahib became the first saint in the Valley who strengthened the common grounds for spiritual coexistence between the Rishis and Sufis in Kashmir.

Mahbub-ul-Aalam stressed the regular spiritual practice of Zikr-e-Qalb (inward remembrance of the Divine). He did not like the idea of outward flaunting of Zikr and, therefore, he exhorted Sufi music (Sim’a) only within the prescribed limits. Mahbub Sahib is also known for questioning the prevailing social customs and several superstitions like the blind faith in ghosts and the veneration of the spirits (muwakkils). Similarly, he did not reconcile with the idea of non-Suhrawardi orders about the seclusion and renunciation of the worldly life. He contended that the renunciation does not imply going naked or forsaking worldly responsibilities.

His idea of renunciation was one in which a seeker becomes sincerer on his/her path to the extent that even enormous wealth does not turn into an obstacle. He was one of the rarest Rishi-Sufis in the Valley who were sociable and accessible. Prior to him, the Sufi mystics in the Valley did not seem to have made significant social networks with the commoners. But Mahbub Sahib established a stronger base at the societal level and thus became the Mahbub-ul-Aalam (Beloved of the World) in the true sense.

Sultan-Ul-Arifeen inherited Islamic mysticism from the very childhood. Having read the holy Qu’Oran in the village, he went to the seminary of sheikh Ismial Kabroi for higher studies and acquired the profound knowledge of fiqh (jurisprudence), kalaam (Logic), Philosophy, Ethics and Sufism.

Among his many disciples, Baba Dawood Khaki was the chief who has also been the chief Qazi of Kashmir. The platform where mosque of Hazrat Sheikh Baba Dawood Khaki stands was completed (Ground Floor) in 800 hijri (1397- A.D) by Mir Mohd Hamdani, the son of Shah Hamdan.

Baba Dawood Khaki undertook the construction of the first floor of the mosque in 1579 A.D while the second floor of the mosque was completed in 900 hijri (1582 A.D) under his own supervision. The saint constructed number of mosques in different village of Anantnag district until he died in 1587 A.D.

The shrine of Hamza Makhdoom is one of the most sacred dargahs in Kashmir which is located on the southern side of Hari Parbat Hill (Kohi Maran) in Srinagar city. The mosque, built in the name of the Sufi saint Makhdoom Sahib or Hazrat Sultan-Ul- Arifeen (R.A), is placed below the attractive Mughal Fort, the Hari Parbat Fort, is a structure with many pillars and thus a rare example of Mughal architectural style.

Baba Dawood Khaki writes that the father of Hamza Makhdoom was among the chiefs of his own tribe and he was linked to a Kashmiri royal tribe namely ‘Chakoun’ and few relatives of Hamza Makhdoom were inhabitants of Kachi Hama, a village on the foot of a mountain far from Tujar.

It was Srinagar where Hamza Makhdoom became a saint of higher spiritual state. He says, “I was directed to recite darood sharif, mention of the names, and prayers because of His kindness and whenever I sluggish in the conduct I was reprimanded. “Hard work and painstaking prayers in the early youth made him old before time”, Baba Dawood Khaki reports.

Sheikh Hamza considered the zikr to be a panacea for the ailment of the heart but he did not like the idea of outward flaunting of Zikr and, therefore, he exhorted Sufi music (Sim’a) only within the prescribed limits and, therefore, he upheld Zikr-e-Qalbi (inward divine remembrance and chanting). He believed that the latter was meant for beginners alone.

Like the Suharwardi Sufis, he believed that the renouncement of the world did not mean that one should go naked or wear a Longota, (the narrow strip of cloth). Renunciation in fact demands nothing but sincerity on the part of the devotee; wealth in itself was no obstacle to the mystical path.

Mahbub Sahib met the Lord at the young age of 35 and he had lost all his teeth and all his hair had turned white. He would say: “The pain of love (gham-e-’ishq) has turned me old”.

The writer of this article is an alim (classical Islamic scholar) and doctoral scholar with Centre for Media, Culture & Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia. Contact him at

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