Forward and Memorium
This book has been dedicated to the memory of our beloved father the Late Hazrath Hajee Shah Goolam Mohamed Soofie Habibi II (R.A.) popularly known to his Mureeds (followers) and wellwishers as Hazrath Bhaimia Soofie (R.A.).
Below is given a brief history of this humble servant of Islam who has done a tremendous service for the Muslim Community and in particular Silsila Habibia for the past 31 years after the death of his Honoured father The Late Hazrath Soofie Shah Abdul Aziz Habibi I (R.A.) in 1947.
The Late Hazrath Bhaimia Soofie (R.A.) was born on the 12th July 1912. He received his Islamic Education in the famous Habibia Madressa at Riverside under the dynamic guidance of his beloved uncle the Late Hazrath Soofie Shah Goolam Hafiz Habibi (R.A.) (Hazrath Bhaijaan Soofie) whose Mazaar is situated at the Soofie Darbar, 45th Cutting, Sherwood, Durban.
In 1954, His Honoured and Beloved Uncle, Hazrath Shah Mohamed Ibrahim Soofie Siddiqi Habibi (R.A.) conferred upon him the Khilafath, and appointed him as Sajada Nasheen and Mutawali of the Mazaar Sharief of his honoured and noble father Hazrath Hajee Shah Goolam Mohamed Soofie Siddiqi Habibi (R.A.) at Riverside and the Mazaar Sharief of Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.). The official Khilafath was signed and written in Ajmer Sharief.
After the death of his Honoured uncle and Pir-O-Murshid, Hazrath Shah Mohamed Ibrahim Soofie Siddiqi Habibi (R.A.) The Late Hazrath Bhaimia Soofie was elected Trustee of Soofie Saheb Trust in terms of deeds of the said Trust.
He carried out his duties faithfully according to his beloved uncle’s wishes and following the footsteps of his beloved Grandfather, Hazrath Soofie Saheb (R.A.)
People were now being accepted as Mureeds (followers) in Silsila Habibia by him until the time of his death.
In 1968 the greatest tragedy to befall the Soofie Saheb family was the destruction of part of the Soofie Saheb Darbar at Riverside. Only the Mosque, Mazaar and Cemetery survived.
To carry on the work of his Grandfather, the late Hazrath Bhaimia Soofie re-established a Mosque, Madressa and Orphanage at Sea Cow Lake.
Undoubtedly the institution which was re-established at Sea Cow Lake in 1968 to carry on the work of his Honoured and Beloved Grandfather Hazrath Hajee Shah Goolam Mohamed Soofie Siddiqi Habibi I (R.A.) will remain as a living monument to the memory of the Late Hazrath Bhaimia Soofie.
The Late Hazrath Bhaimia Soofie (R.A.) Breathed his last on Friday the 3rd of Safar 1398/13th January 1978 and was laid to rest immediately after the Asar Namaaz (Prayer) in the Soofie Saheb Cemetery be hind the Mazaar Sharief of is Honoured and Noble Grandfather, His Exhalted Eminence Hazrath Hajee Shah Goolam Mahomed Soofie Siddiqi Habibi I (R.A.).
“To Allah we belong and unto Him is our return.”
Thus ended the short life of one of Islam’s most Humble servant in South Africa namely Hazrath Hajee Shah Goolam Mohamed Soofie Siddiqi Habibi II (R.A.) (Hazrath Bhaimia Soofie).
May Allah’s choicest blessings be upon him.—Ameen.
Hazrat Sheik Ahmed Badsha Peer (R.A.), whose mazaar is situated in the Brook Street cemetery in central Durban, is a household word not only in Natal, but throughout the length and breadth of the Republic. Although a number of articles have been written on this great Sufi Saint, it is a matter of regret that though his name and fame has spread far and wide, no book on this great Saint has been published as yet.
We fervently hope and pray that this humble publication, presenting for the first time a brief personal biography of Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.), will meet with your approval, enlighten you and instil into you a burning desire to seek the Truth. Most of the information on his life was given by our honoured father, the late Soofie Shah Goolam Mohamed Habibi II (R.A.) to whom we are eternally grateful. We also wish to acknowledge the book “A Spiritual Biography of Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh” by Professor Masudul Hasan, from which we drew our inspiration to prepare the chapter on Sufism, Tawakkal and Miracles.
Thousands of people of all races, colour, creed, and religious constitution attend the Shrine of Hazrat Badsha Peer (R.A.), some for spiritual guidance, some for worldly gain and still others for curiosity’s sake. Be that as it may, it is highly necessary that those who attend the shrine should make a concerted effort to understand the teachings of this great saint in order to follow the pattern of life as set down by him.
A majzoob is one who is saturated with the love of the Almighty Allah. He has lost his mental balance due to his extreme love of the Creator, the Supreme. He is unaware of his surrounding. Weather and atmosphere does not affect him, he has also track of time.
May Almighty Allah Paak shower His choicest blessings on this great saint, and may Allah bless our humble efforts.—Ameen.
SUFISM – TAWAKKAL AND MIRACLES
It is an accepted fact in Islam that every Muslim is a potential missionary. However, in real life, the history of the different countries such as India, Indonesia and South Africa (to name a few), has proved that Islam began and spread by just a chosen few—those loved by the Almighty.
While the Muslim warriors carried the sword and won many lands for the Islamic Empire, the Muslim saint and Sufis won many hearts by identifying themselves with the people of the conquered territories and delivering the message of Islam to them. Islam was accepted voluntarily because the message was practised as preached by these sufi saints.
From time to time the world has produced great personalities in the different fields—soldiers, statesmen, inventors, scientists, philosophers, writers, sportsmen,—all of whom carved a name for themselves in the history of the world. Their names have only remained until their demise. But saints like Hazrath Abdul Kadir Jilani (R.A.), Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh (R.A.), Hazrath Baba Fariddudeen (R.A.) and Hazrath Kwaja Moinuddin Ajmeri (R.A.) still live as a mighty spiritual force and act as mentors and guides even after their passing away from this world. Their graves are visited every year by thousands of people of all denominations.
Likewise sufi saints that came to South Africa also played an important role as far as the spreading of the religion of Islam was concerned. Saints such as Hazrath Sheik Yusuf (R.A.) of Cape Town, Hazrath Sheik Ahmed Badsha Peer (R.A.)., Hazrath Soofie Saheb (R.A.).,
Hazrath Moulana Abdul Latief Qazi (R.A.), and many other saints of South Africa were responsible for establishing Islam in South Africa, so much so, that their tombs and institutions up to this day play a very important part in the life of the community.
At this point it is very necessary for the readers to understand the terms—SUFISM, TAWAKKAL and MIRACLES—in order to comprehend and appreciate saints and sainthood.
What is Sufism? This is a simple enough question to ask, but there is no equally simple answer. It cannot be defined in specific terms. Some feel that the word was derived from “Ashab-e-Safa”—the people who dedicated themselves to prayer. Others claim that the word was derived from “Safa” denoting purity. The various persons can only attempt to express what they themselves have felt about Sufism. The following are some of the feelings expressed by different persons about Sufis and Sufism :‑
Sufism is the renunciation of all selfish pleasure.
A Sufi is he whose language is the reality of his state.
Sufism is an essence without form.
He that is purified by love, absorbed in the Beloved and has abandoned all else is a Sufi.
A Sufi is he that has nothing in his possession nor is himself possessed by anything.
A Sufi is he whose existence is without non-existence and his non-existence without existence.
Sufism is the guarding of the heart from the vision of anything but Allah.
A Sufi is he whose thought keeps pace with his foot.
Sufism is good morals.
A Sufi is he who sees nothing except Allah in the two worlds.
Sufism consists entirely of behaviour.
A Sufi is he who cuts himself off from the world so that its gold, and silver and clay are the same in his sight.
The roots of Sufism lie embedded in Islam itself. There are numerous passages in the Holy Quran which are of a mystical character. The Holy Prophet of Islam (Peace be upon Him) himself displayed mystical inclinations, and he very often retired to the Cave of Hira for the purpose of devotion, meditation and contemplation.
He was the recipient of two types of revelations—one embodied in the Quran, and the other that illuminated his heart. The former was meant for all; the latter for the selected few, whose heart could be illuminated with the divine light. The knowledge of the Holy Prophet was thus book knowledge (ILM-I-SAFINA) and heart knowledge (ILM-I-SINA). There are accordingly two aspects of Islam—the outward and the inward. The Ulema look outward, and they are the custodians of the book knowledge which they preserve through doctrinal teachings and external practices. The Sufis look inward and they blaze the trail of heart knowledge.
In the outward aspect of Islam, the emphasis is on the observance of law; in the inward aspect of Islam the emphasis is on the seeking of truth. The Ulema emphasize the social aspect of Islam, and lay great stress on the observances of external practices. The Sufis highlight the individual aspect and seek to purify and spiritualize Islam from within by giving it a deeper mystical interpretation.
Thus differences in Islam have arisen not about the truth or the fundamental faith, but about the path, the procedure, and the practices to be followed to reach the goal.
All writers are agreed that the Sufi phenomen is not easy to define. The Sufis never intended to found any new denomination. Their aim was always to operate within the framework of Islam; free it from formalism, and open it to the movement of the spirit. Under these circumstances the origin of Sufism cannot be traced to any particular individual. Sufism dawned unherald as the flowering of Islam itself.
Sufism also symbolised a silent protest against un-Islamic political practices especially after the reign of the four Caliphs of Islam. The political authorities won over the Ulema to their side. The Sufis accused the Ulemas of greed and covetousness. The Ulema retorted by accusing the Sufis of unthordoxy and heresy. The people being disgusted with those in power turned to the Sufis. The Islamic thus came to be divided into two camps – the political lords and the Ulema on the one hand and the Sufis and the common men on the other.
The Sufis declared that Allah could not be understood with reason; He could only be understood with faith. This led to the following doctrines :‑1
1. The Love of Allah – to know Allah was to love Him.
Fana or Annihilation – unless a man loses himself to Allah, he cannot obtain the clues to divinity.
Ecstacy and Intoxication – When the Sufis were intoxicated in love of Allah they were elevated to a state where the human individuality was merged into the Divinity of Allah. In such a state of intoxication some of the Sufis said things which did not confer to the sacred law. When challenged by the Ulemas, the Sufis defended by saying that there was too much emphasis on outward practices at the cost fo the inner spirit of Islam.
Sobriety—This in turn led to silence. The genuine Sufis chose to remain silent or clothe their thoughts in obscure, symbolic and metaphorical language. They became subtle and difficult to be understood by the common man. The stage for pseudo Sufism was thus set. Vie orthodox Ulema had become too formal and rigid and this-led to their ineffectiveness to guide the destinies of the Muslims-., The Sufis became wayward and had impounded thoughts and practice which to the ordinary man were not in confirmity with the principles of Islam.
At the present time it is clearly noted that those Ulemas who cut the golden means—who combine the outward and inward aspects of Islam, the social and the individual outlook of Islam—make the greatest impact and gain the greatest confidence of the vast majority of people.
Tuwakkal or trust in Allah is an important stage on the path of Sufism. When a Sufi reaches this stage he entrusts himself and all his ways and works to Allah in a spirit of complete trust and surrender.
Real trust in Allah proceeds from right knowledge, and those who know Him correctly have faith and confidence that He will not fail them, and give them their daily bread. It is said that Allah has made the hearts of His disciples vessels of trust, and the hearts of those who trust vessels of submission.
Trust in Allah is calmness whether one finds anything or not. One who has trust in Allah is not made glad by getting anything, nor made sorrowful on losing anything, for all things are the property of Allah. Trust in Allah is merely the beginning. It merely implies one’s conduct towards Allah. If a man spends his whole life in remedying his sipritual nature by relying on Allah, he will need another life for remedying his material nature, and his life will be over before he attains Allah.
Tawakkal has its root in the doctrine of Tauhid. Those who attain proximity to Allah are illuminated with the Divine Light, and come to realise that all things spring from only one source. When one reaches the Source the things themselves are of no importance, That is why according to the sufi ways, Tawakkal is only a stage on the mystic path where the traveller cannot rest.
A miracle is a favour which Allah bestows on his beloved ones. The Sufis contend that miracles may be classified as Karamat and Mujizat. Miracles performed by saints are known as karamats, and by prophets are known as mujizat.
Miracles may be granted to a saint so long as he does not infringe the obligations of the religious law. A miracle is a token of a saint’s veracity; it is an extraordinary act performed while the saint is still subject to the obligation of religion.
The prophet establishes his prophesy by establishing a reality of mujizat, while the saint by the karamat which he performs establishes both prophecy of the prophet and his own sainthood. A believer seeing the miracles of a saint has more faith in the veracity of the prophet, because there is no contradiction between the claims made by them. When a prophet performs a miracle in evidence of the geniuses of his prophet hood, and a miracle is subsequently performed by a saint, such a miracle is merely a confirmation of the geniuses of the prophet of whom the saint is a follower.
A saint is a person who is patient under the command and prohibition of Allah. The more a man loves Allah the more his heart revere what He commands and the farther is his body from what He forbids.
There are some distinguishing features regarding mujizat and karamat. Mujizat involves publicity and karamat secrecy. Mujizat affects the public, while karamats are peculiar to the person by whom they are performed. A prophet is aware of the miracle wrought by him; a saint is not sure whether he has really wrought a miracle. He who performs mujizat has authority over the law, and can change it.
He who performs karamat is subject to law, and has to conform to the law of the prophet. A Karamat cannot contradict a miracle performed by the prophet. Karamats are not established unless they bear testimony to the truth of one who has performed a mujizat, they are not vouchsafed except to a pious believer who bears such testimony.
Some Sufi schools of thought hold that whereas the miracles of the prophet are wrought in the state of sobriety, miracles are performed by saints only when they are in a state of intoxication. It is argued that as the prophet is a man of law and a saint is a man of inward feelings, a miracle will not be manifested to a saint unless he is in a state of absence from himself when his faculties are entirely under the control of Allah.
Other Sufi schools of thought claim that miracles are manifested in the state of sobriety and composure, and not in the state of intoxication. The argument is that the saints of Allah are the governors of His Kingdom, which Allah has committed to their charge; therefore the judgments must be the soundest of all and their hearts must be the most tenderly disposed of all towards the creatures of Allah. They are mature and whereas agitation and intoxication are marks of inexperience. With maturity agitation becomes composure.
Generally speaking miracles cannot be performed at will or at random. A miracle can only be performed when there is an absolute need for it. Furthermore, not everyone who sees a miracle may accept it. Here Tuwakkal plays an important part.
MUSLIM PIONEERS IN SOUTH AFRICA
AT THE CAPE :
It is no exaggeration whatsoever to say that it is more than a miracle that Islam has survived in South Africa after having established itself here about 300 years ago. This can only be ascribed to the mercy and wisdom of Almighty Allah.
The first Muslims to have disembarked on the then wild and unexplored shores of South Africa (at one time known as Cape of Storms, later Cape of Good Hope) were slaves and exiles who had been transplanted by the Dutch East India Company from the East Indies. Although the vast majority of them were slaves, many were also noblemen who had rebelled against the tyranny of the Dutch imperialists in what is today called Malaysia and Indonesia. The offsprings of these Muslim pioneers (in spite of their having been slaves) can be justifiably proud of such forefathers who although removed thousands of miles away from their homes, their families and their fatherland, remained steadfast. They were in a strange undeveloped country among people with strange unfriendly ways. They were Muslims of stern caliber, who defied all attempts to convert them to Christianity and have grown in stature ever since the first boat landed which brought the first cry of La daha Walla Muhamadur Rasoollullah to the shores of South Africa.
For many years they had no mosques and madressas for their worship and for imparting religious instruction to their children. It was only after the first mosque was built in Cape Town that this became possible. The mere fact that there were no places of worship and learning at the Cape Town should have proved a severe setback to Islam. But this was not to be so.
Among the slaves and political exiles that came to the Cape, was one noble Sheikh Yusuf, a missionary who arrived in 1694 and did a tremendous amount of propagation among the Muslims at that time.
He passed away in 1699 and was laid to rest at Faure. His mazaar is visited by thousands of people every year.
About 200 years after the first Muslims had landed at the Cape, the Muslims from India arrived with other Indians for the first time in Natal to work on the canefields. Indian labour was introduced to the colony of Natal by the British Government after having proved successful in the canefields of Mauritius.
In about 1850’s the country sugar belt experienced a labour shortage. A suggestion was made to the Indian Govt. to send Indians to work as labourers on the canefields. It took some time before the Indian Govt. finally consented.
Having eventually succeeded in persuading the Indian Govt. to make legal the recruitment and transportation of the indentured labourers to the Colony of Natal, the authorities concerned then chartered a ship at Calcutta the BELVEDERE, and another at Madras, the Truro, to carry the first labourers from India..
The TRURO left Madras on 13th October 1860. The voyage took 34 days and the ship dropped anchor off the South Beach, Durban on the 6th November 1860, and ten days later on 16th November the BELVEDERE arrived.
It was no easy task for these Muslims to leave their homes in India to work in a far away country like South Africa under very trying conditions and poor treatment. They left behind their mosques, madressas and families. They were in a foreign land where there were no Muslims no mosques and madressas. To make matters worse their language (Urdu) was not even understood here. Alhamdo—lillah the Guidance of Almighty, Allah set down to work immediately and one finds that Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) was chosen for this noble task.
He, with other Muslims, signed on as indentured labourers and arrived in South Afirca i n 1860, unknown and unsung, to work and to live amongst the people and carry the Kalima Tauheed to this part of the South Africa.
May Allah shower His choicest blessings on these early pioneers of Islam in South Africa.
HAZRAT BADSHA PEER (R.A.)
Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) was a Sayed, that is, a descendent of Hazrath Ali (R.A.), who was the son-in-law of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and the fourth Caliph of Islam.
Presumably the forefathers of Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) migrated to India towards the end of the 16th or 17th Century and eventually settled in Madras in South India.
-DATE OF BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE
He was born in the year 1237 A.H. (1820 A.C.), in Madras. Very little is known of his early childhood although it is certain that he was given the basic elementary Islamic teachings.
As he grew up he showed interest in Sufism and was gradually attracted towards the spiritual path. Islamic mysticism ideas were imbued in him and he would often pray to Almighty Allah in lonely spots in the mountains for days on end.
Although the name of his Pir-o-Murshid (Spiritual Master) is not known, Hazrath Soofie Saheb (R.A.), the founder of his grave here in Durban, had linked Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) to be a follower in the Qadiria Silsila (Order). This Silsila was named after Hazrath Sayedena Ghausal Azam Abdul Kader Jilani (R.A.) of Bagdad who passed away in Iraq in 561 H (1166 A.C.). The Qadiria Silsila was popular in Iraq and spread later to North Africa, Arabian Peninsula and India and has favoured green as a colour.
The first Indians, amongst whom were Muslims also, were introduced to Natal in the middle of the nineteenth century by the British Govt to work on the canefields. Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) signed on his indenture ship, left his mother city and arrived in Durban on 16th November 1860 by divine instructions to work and live with the people of faith.
Before arriving into South Africa, spiritual contact between Hazrath Soofie Saheb (R.A.) and Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) had existed. The very fact that Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) foretold the arrival of Hazrath Soofie Saheb (R.A.) in South Africa, and the latter inquiring about the whereabouts of the grave of Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) immediately after his arrival in South Africa is ample testimony that these two saints had spiritual contact.
-ON THE CANEFIELDS
After arriving in Natal, Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) was sent with other indentured labourers to a cane plantation on the North Coast of Natal. He used to rise very early in the morning with the others and go to do their day’s task. While other labourers were busy with their tasks, he usually relaxed under the tree. The Indian labourers used to remind him to finish his work, but he paid no heed. The labourers, fearing the foreman might dismiss him or even flog him, pleaded with him to return to the field and finish his part of the harvesting.
When the day’s work was done the labourers would return to their barracks. They used to be shocked to find that portion of the ground that was given to Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) to work on, was completed.
This unusual phenomenon carried on for some time until one day it was noticed by the authorities, who at once reported it to the superior. Someone recognised him to be of spiritual mind and he was honorably discharged from his duties.
He had the option of either going back to India or doing farming on his own. Instead he chose to settle in Central Durban. People hardly paid him any attention, most probably because of his shabby looks, or poor dressing or maybe they were too engrossed in the commercial hubbub of the growing city.
However, as days went past, he was drawing the attention of a few people because of his spiritual outlook.
-HIS STAY IN CENTRAL DURBAN
The city of Durban was now a busy commercial centre. Many shops were opened by the Indian traders who came to Natal as passenger Indians. Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) now settled here and came into contact with the local people. He would go to the Jumma Musjid in
Grey Street, and after namaaz often talk on Islam, to a small gathering. Those who knew him listened while others paid no attention.
He did not have a permanent home. Neither did he have a family nor relatives. Friends were few and far between. He would often sleep in the sheltered yard of the Grey Street Mosque and at times he would sleep in the homes of his few friends. He did not bother about food and luxury; a sign of a typical saint who rely upon Allah for their rizq (food)
Some would take their sick children to him for blessings, while others would ask him to pray for their health or for prosperity in business. He would often move from one place to another. His close friends and other local Muslims at times found difficulty in locating him.
At times he used to visit his friends in the canefields and would give them encouragement and the will and determination to carry the with their work in order to fulfill their contracts. There were many who were tired and were longing to go back home, to India, but because of their contract were forced to stay. He proved a source of inspiration to them, by pacifying them and winning their confidence. This he did as the situation required it until such time that they were allowed to return home. But most of them opted to remain in South Africa.
The working of a number of miracles and other extraodinary phenomena has been ascribed to Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.). A few of his his miracles shall be mentioned.
A Muslim wedding party was going to Ladysmith and Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) decided to join them. When he went to purchase a ticket he was refused because of his shabby dressing. When the party arrived in Ladysmith they were astonished to see him on the railway platform awaiting their arrival.
On another occasion a wedding party (bridegroom, parents and close relatives) were on their way to India for the wedding. He told the parents of the bridegroom to postpone the wedding and to wait for the next available ship to India. They ignored his warning and left as planned. After a few days a message was received that the ship had sunk during a storm. This was the storm that he had predicted.
Once a conductor refused him entry in a horse drawn tram. Hazrath Badsha (R.A.) ordered the horse to sit down and rest in the middle of the street. The animal refused to get up and pull the tram. Only after the conductor and passengers had apologized to him was it able to continue its journey.
While walking down Queen Street he came across a builder who was busy glazing glass panes. He told the builder to postpone the glazing until the next day and walked away. The builder looking at Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) dressing thought him to be a mad man and carried on with his work. That night the city experienced a thunderstorm accompanied by pelting hailstones. The panes were all shattered The following day the builder apologised to Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) for not taking his advice to heart.
As a Majzoob he did not care for his dressing and on a number of occasions he was taken away by the police to be kept in a cell in the local police station. To the suprise of the police in charge he would be missing from the cell with the doors still locked. These strange incidents were repeated until the station commandant recognised him to be a saint and he was not interfered with again.
He frequently visited Pietermaritzburg and Ladysmith areas especially the small and remote villages and towns in Northern Natal where the Indians had settled either as traders or labourers. Travelling was no easy task in those days when road transport was poor. He used to go by train or loose horse drawn tram or he would walk miles upon miles.
During his travels he also came into contact with many Hindus. He was simple and so was his dressing but his undoubted spiritual outlook won the hearts of many non-muslims.
Even with those Hindus and non-Muslims he used to sit and discuss various topics. He was also asked by these people to pray and spiritually bless them.
non-Muslims It is heartening to see even till this day many Hindus and other are paying homage to
this great saint at his graveside.
Sometime before his death in early 1312 A.H. (1894) he foretold the arrival of Hazrath Soofie Saheb (R.A.) into the country. One day as he was sitting amongst the people he told the gathering, “Too many people are on the wrong path. The time is near when a friend of Allah will come here and by the Barkat (blessings) of his footsteps infidelity and darkness will disappear and the light of Islam will be everywhere and if you want peace in this world and in the hereafter you must follow him.”
His robust health began deteriorating in the early 1890’s. Whenever he used to be in his normal state he used to talk to people on Islamic topics and various other subjects. This happened occasionally as he was a Majzoob, and on one of these occasions he told the people, “Tomorrow I will be a bridegroom.” He meant that he will leave this world for the hereafter. The people did not understand what he meant However, it must be remembered that saints live a very pious life on this earth, the ultimate aim being to achieve the happiness of the Lord and to seek nearness to Him. Death fulfils their ambitions and the) are very happy when their time comes to depart from this materialistic world.
It was Friday, 6th Rabi-ul-awwal, Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) was in a state of ecstasy (wajd) and as the muezzin (the caller of Azaan) called out the Azaan for the Jumma Namaaz (congregational Friday prayer just after midday) he breathed his last. “To Allah we belong, and to Him we return.”
He was laid to rest after Asar namaaz in the Muslim cemetery in Brook Street. Thus ended the short life in South Africa of one of the country’s most hallowed and legendary Indian saint, a Majzoob, a Sufi of the Qadiriya Silsila, Hazrath Sheikh Ahmed Badsha Peer (R.A.) May his soul rest in eternal peace! Ameen!
-HIS GRAVE LOCATION
In the year 1313 A.H. (1895) a Sufi of the Qadiriya and Chistia Silsila, Hazrath Hajee Shah Goolam Mohamed Soofie Habibi Siddiqi I (R.A.), popularly known as Hazrath Soofie Saheb was sent by his honourable Pir-o-Murshid, His Exhalted Eminence Hazrath Khawaja Habibi Ali Shah (R.A.) of Hyderabad, Deccan, India to South Africa for the sole purpose of spreading Islam.
As soon as Hazrath Soofie Saheb (RA) arrived into the country he set about making inquiries about the grave of Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) Meanwhile people had forgotten about him and the whereabouts of his grave. They were unable to show Hazrath Soofie Saheb (R.A.) the exact grave.
Hazrath Soofie Saheb (R.A.) then asked to be taken to the cemetery and standing at the entrance of the cemetery he made Muraba (spiritual search of any secret truth by the mind of man revealed, by the grace of Almighty Allah).
He was thus able to locate the grave of Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.). He went near the grave and the yellow shawl that was on his shoulder was then placed on the Holy Grave of Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.). Hence the first Gilaaf (sheet) was placed on this grave.
Hazrath Soofie Saheb (R.A.) having read a dua (supplication) told the people that it was this saint who had foretold his arrival to South Africa.
There a temporary shelter was erected by Hazrath Soofie Saheb (R.A.) and since then then many alterations and additions were affected to the mazaar of Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) with the help of the Muslim community.
The Urs Shariff of Hazrat Badsha Peer (R.A.) was first celebrated by Hazrath Soofie Saheb (R.A.) in 1313 A.H. (1895).
The Arabic word Urs, means wedding—signifying joy and happiness. It is well known that saints lead a very pious life so that they may achieve the happiness of the Lord and to seek nearness to Him. Their entire life revolves around the love of Almighty Allah and in the sincere hope of meeting Him (Wisaal). Behind every act is a single intention, i.e. seeking the pleasure of the Lord. Death ultimately fulfils their entire ambition. On the day of death they are in a state of ecstacy (wajd) for it means a direct wisaal of Almighty where physical veils are lifted and the ambitions of the long awaited one are achieved.
Consequently this day is remembered by the devoted followers (mureeds) and those connected with the saint, as a day when their leader assumed a veil of departure from this perishable world and went a step further towards Almighty Allah.
The Urs Shariff of Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) is a very ceremonial one in which thousands of people pay homage to this great saint of Islam.
The date for the celebration of the Urs Shariff is chosen by the Sajada Nasheen which usually falls around the 6th Rabi-ul-Awwal. The celebrations are held over two days, Saturday and Sunday. The Mazaar (tomb) of Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) is newly painted and the dome is illuminated with flowers, buntings and colourful lights.
On that particular Saturday of the Urs, the highlight of the commemoration. of the Urs is the Sundal Procession, which leaves from the shop owned by the Sayed Fakroodin family proceeding through Grey and Queen. Streets to the Mazaar Shariff in Brook Street. This route has been followed from the time of Hazrath Soofie Saheb (R.A.).
Sandalwood paste, flowers, sweetmeats and gilaafs are placed in thalas (trays) and are carried by the devotees. A shamyana (yellow in colour, representing the Chistia Silsila) is hoisted canopy fashion on four poles over them. They are led by a party of Qawwals who render songs dedicated to the memory of the saints, with pupils of the Soofie Saheb Badsha Peer Madressa at the front. While the procession is on its way, a tape plays the recitation of the Holy Quraan over the microphone at the Mazaar in Brook Street.
When the procession reaches the Mazaar the Sajada Nasheen enters the holy precincts of the saint with other devotees following him. The gilaafs (sheets) which are brought by the devotees are placed on the grave one by one, followed by flowers. The sandalpaste is applied on the grave to create a pleasant atmosphere. Panygeric poems are also recited after which a portion of the Holy Quraan is recited and the reward transferred to the Holy Soul of the Saint.
Two flags, representing the Qadiriya and Chistia Silsilas are hoisted followed by songs by the Qawwals. The celebration is continued at the Darbar of the Saint in Sea Cow Lake.
In the evening, Khatmul Quraan (recitation of the Holy Quraan) takes place. Thereafter Qawwals, local and occasionally from overseas, render songs in the praise of the Almighty, the Prophet and the Saints, until the Fajar Namaaz. (Early morning prayer).
On Sunday a wait (lecture) is delivered by a learned Alim (lecturer) ending with Salaams to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) After the Zohar Namaaz people are served with Niaz dinner in a huge marquee erected in the Darbar at Sea Cow Lake.
LIFE AFTER DEATH
Islam believes in life after death. We do not die, our soul passes away from this world to the next. But the souls of those loved by the Almighty still remains to be of service. The soul in the body of a saint may be compared with a sword in a sheath. The sword is more useful when out of the sheath. Likewise the soul of a saint.
Kings, rulers and dictators are shown respect by their subjects out of fear or because of personal obligations . Once they leave the world they are forgotten. The passage of time virtually destroys their monuments and shrines.
On the other hand generation after generation of people flock like bees to the mazaars and khanqahs of Sufis and pay homage to the great sons of Islam. In doing so they are helped to achieve what they want in life.
Thus sufi saints render their services for the cause of Islam and even after their passing away from this world their mazaars and khanqahs play a very important part in the lives of the community.
Below is given a brief detail of how the cash and kind brought in by the people are utilised at the Soofie Saheb Badsha Peer Darbar in Sea Cow Lake.
a. Cash— collected in the mazaar is utilised to maintain the following.
1. Mazaar Sharief of Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) in Brook Street
2.Mazaar Sharief of Hazrath Soofie Saheb (R.A.) in Riverside.
3. Soofie Saheb Mosque in Riverside.
4. Soofie Saheb Badsha Peer Mosque in Kenville.
5. Soofie Saheb Badsha Peer Orphanage in Sea Cow Lake.
6.Soofie Saheb Badsha Peer Madressa in Sea Cow Lake – included are free education, uniforms, kitaabs and books.
7.Sha Mohamed Ibrahim Soofie Islamic Library in Sea Cow Lake.
Besides the above, free kaffans are provided for the poor and needy, Eid hampers are distributed and Islamic literature is also distributed periodically.
b. GILAAF (sheets)— that are placed on the grave of Hazrath Badsha Peer (R.A.) are taken to the Darbar at Sea Cow Lake and used as follows‑
1 White gilaafs are given for kaffan purposes and madressa uniforms.
2 The other gilaafs are given to the poor who require them for sheets and pillow cases.
3 The extremely poor use them for curtains and dresses.
4 Gilaafs are also given to organisations requiring them for making of buntings for Moulood, Urs, etc.
5 The bulk of the gilaafs are given to the poor during the month of Ramadan.
c. Sweetmeats and Foodstuffs—are given to the Madressa pupils, inmates at the Orphanage, the poor and needy and to the non-Muslim children in Sea Cow Lake.
d. Quraan and Kitaabs—that are donated to the mazaar are used by the pupils at the madressa in Sea Cow Lake. Any extras are sent to the other madressas.
“HAZRAT DATA GANJ BAKSH”-by Professor Masadul Hassan “THE BIG FIVE OF INDIA IN SUFISM”—by W. D. Begg “THE SUFI ORDERS IN ISLAM”—by J. Spencer Trimingham “A MUSLIM SAINT IN SOUTH AFRICA”-by G. R. Smith “RIAZ-E-SOOFIE”—by Hazrath Moulana Tajammul Hussain. Moulana Qootboodin Qazi—Cape Town Maulana A. Raoof-Durban O. M. Essop—Durban Moulana Karan
We supplicate our Omnipotent, All-Knowing Allah, the Beneficent the Merciful, to convey our thousands of blessings and salutations to His Prophet (S.A.W.) as well as to his descendents, companions and all his loved ones, and to bless his followers, and associate us with them, and keep us firm, dead or alive, in his path, and among his dependents alone.