This Famous Holy Saint was born in Manickkapur near Ayodhya in the Utter Pradesh in INDIA. On a Friday early morning in the Arabic month of 10th Jamathul Akhir Hijiri 910 (1491-A.D.)
The Holy Saint was the 23rd lineal descendant of the Holy Prophet MOHAMMED (sal)-the Prophet of Islam.
His father was HAZARATH SYED HASAN KUDDUS SAHIB and his mother BEEBI FATHIMA.
Even before his birth, a messenger of God appeared before his mother Beebi Fathima in a dream and predicted that she would be blessed with a son who would be the Saviour of people and the Captain of Islam. Even as a child he showed signs of great wisdom, intense piety and divine communication before he was eight years old. He learnt Arabic dialect and its grammar.
He went in search of a religious preceptor (Master) who could instruct him in solving the enigmas and the mysteries of the world and who could teach him more about God and his ways and at his parent’s desire, went to Gwalior to be initiated by HAZARATH SYED MOHAMED GHOUSE SAHIB in divine knowledge.
After 10 years of training, he left Gwalior and went to Manickkapur with a party of 404 disciples and then toured extensively with his disciples in Afghanistan, Balusistan and other places world performing innumerable miracles on the way by raising the dead, making the dump to speak and the lamb to walk and by curing all kinds of incurable diseases.
On his way to Mecca (Saudi Arabia), he halted in a Mosque at Lahore where a rich and respectable Mohammedan Kazi Hazarath Noordin Sahib approached Him to be blessed with a child.
The Saint His Holiness Hazarath Syed Shahul Hameed (NagoreAndavargal) sent for the said Noordin’s wife Beebi Johara, chewed betels and nuts. And give it to Noordin to be handed over to his wife Beebi Johara and ordained that she should swallow it and remain separated from her husband for 40 days.
He prayed God to bless Noodin with children, and also informed Noordin that the eldest son should be dedicated to him as his son and asked Noodin to remain with him for 40 days without seeing his wife.
As per his blessings, Beebi Johara conceived and gave birth to a son on the 12th of Rajab Hijiri 959 and the child was named SYED MOHAMMED YOOSUF SAHIB as directed by the Holy Saint.
The child was properly educated and in his 7th year took leave of his parents to go and meet his real father at Mecca as he heard a Divine Voice informing him that his father (Hazarath Syed Shahul Hameed Quadir Oli) was awaiting his arrival at Mecca so he went to Mecca and joined his father there.
The Saint, his son and 404 followers-disciples visited Ponnani, Sri Lanka, Kayalpattinam, Keelakarai and Thenkasi and propagated Islam.
Lastly the Saint visited Thanjavur, at that time the Naick dynasty was ruling over Thanjavur. The King Achuthuppa Naikan, then ruler of Thanjavur was suffering from a grievous and prolonged malady. The ministry of the King begged the Saint and requested him to visit the palace and cure the malady of the King.
The Saint was very much moved went to the palace and found that a dove was made to suffer by black-magic, with pin pricks all over its body and it was in a very precarious condition and was the cause of the King’s ailment at once. He asked his son to bring the dove prayed and removed one by one the pins in the body of the dove. After the removal of the pins the King recovered and got well.
The queen over joyed at the miraculous cure of her husband fell on her knees before the Saint and begged the Saint to bless them with children. The Saint accordingly blessed them with a fruitful progeny and in return the King offered wealth and rich presents which the Saint did not accept but only asked the King to give him a piece of land near Sea-shore.
Accordingly the King dedicated 30 acres of land called ‘Havely’ and submitted the same to the Holy Saint on which the present buildings and premises of “Nagore Dargah Shrine” stands.
He remained in the place till the end of his life with his son.
As per his instruction his son Hazarath SYED MOHAMMED YOOSUF SAHIB married SYED SULTAN BEEVI AMMA SAHIBA Daughter of Khaja Mahadoom-ul-Yamani of Mela Nagore. He got eight children-six males and two daughters.
The Saint went to Vanjoor nearly 2 miles away from the northern side of Nagore and in the Arabic month of Rajab fasted there for 40 days in a pit covered with a plank on which side the present Vanjoor Pallivasal stands and also fasted 40 days at Silladi Pallivasal near sea-shore of Nagore.
The holy Saint demised in His 68th year on a Friday early morning in Hijiri 978 and was entombed at Nagore according to his direction.
On the right side of the Holy Saint the tomb of His son Hazarath Syed Mohamed Yoosuf Sahib and the tomb of his wife Syed Sultan Beebi Amma Sahiba are situated.
The Maharatta King of Thanjavur Tulasi Maharaja endowed 115 villages 4000 acres of Nanja-punja lands for the maintenance of the Dargha.
The Miracles of the Holy saint had not stopped with his demise, but continues to the present day.
The people of all castes and crees are visiting Nagore Dargah daily for worshipping the Holy saint with out any distinction.
The Nagore Dargha is an object of Great veneration not only for Muslims but also for people of other religions.
The Holy Saint came to Nagore on Thursday. So every Thursday large congregation of worshippers visits the Dargha and make their offerings to the Holy Saint.
The Anniversary of the Holy Saint is celebrated every year for 14 days commencing from the 1st day of the Arabic month of “Jamathul Akhir” The festival known as ” The Grand Kandoori Festival ” attracts lakhs of pilgrims from all parts of India and abroad.
The Dargha is managed by Eight Hereditary Trustees (Nattamaigars) who are the lineal descendants of the Holy Saint’s son Hazarath Syed Mohamed Yoosuf Sahib.
After meeting the expenses of the Dargha the surplus in come derived from the land and offerings is distributed among the 640 kasupangudars(the descendants of the Saint’s son)
The Holy Saint born………………………………………………………. Hijiri 910
The Holy Saint demised……………………………………………… Hijiri 978
Stay with his father……………………………………………………………. 18 Years
Stay with his Spiritual Master……………………………………. 10 Years
Desa Sanjaram (Propagation of Religion)…….. 12 Years
Stay at Nagore ……………………………………………………………………….. 28 Years
Shrine of Syed Shahul Hamid (Malaysia)
Shrine of Syed Shahul Hamid, George Town, Penang
Honouring pious Muslims
Shrines of devout Muslims, such as Caliphs and Sufis for example, are quite common and can be found in many parts of the world. Some of these include the 8th century shrine of Hadhrat Masoumeh in Iran and in Bangladesh the shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal who died some six centuries ago. Until today, the latter’s shrine is visited by many devotees of every caste and creed, some of whom journey from distant lands.
Even on a relatively small island like Penang, several shrines and tombs of famous Muslims dot the landscape. These include the shrine of Syed Mustapha Idris aka Dato’ Koyah, from Malabar, India and the Noordin tomb. According to Penang historian Khoo Salma, Dato Koyah reportedly worked miracles, healed the sick and fed the masses.
In Penang, a shrine built in honour of a well-respected 13th century Muslim sufi called Syed Shahul Hamid is found on the corner of Chulia Street and King Street. Syed Shahul belonged to the Qadiriyah Sufi order, a movement founded by Shaykh Abd al-Qadir Jilani. Similar shrines dedicated to Syed Shahul are also found in Singapore and Sri Lanka.
Incidentally, the word Chulia (as in Chulia Street) came from the name given to Tamil Muslims traders from the Coromandel coast on the east coast of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Even today, Chulia Street is lined on both sides with Indian Muslim restaurants and shops.
Who was Syed Shahul Hamid? Throughout history, saints have been credited with uncommon and metaphysical powers. Muslim saints are no exception, although it should be noted that in the Quranic tradition, a saint is known as a wali, and any miracles performed by them are a gift from God, rather than from any miraculous power inherent in or acquired by the person. This special gift is known as karama, from which the word keramat is derived (Malay Folk Beliefs, Mohd. Taib Osman).
Syed Shahul’s gift was in the rescue and protection of seafaring ships, according to Prof. Dennis B. McGilvray, an American anthropologist from the University of Colorado. Thus, he continued, the location of the shrines were found at Southeast Asian maritime trading networks of his chief patrons, the wealthy Marakkayar Muslim shipping magnates.
As Penang is an important port city still, the presence of the Nagore shrine is of importance to the shipping agencies owned and operated by Indian Muslims.
The Nagore shrine today Built in the design of a miniature Moghul monument, the shrine has retained its original architecture since the 1800s. The little shops built into alcoves of the temple’s sidewall still house petty traders and a songkok maker. These shops are called butica or boteca (from where the word boutique comes from) which was a common word in Ceylon for a small native shop or booth (The Concise Guide to the Anglo-Sri Lankan Lexicon, Richard Boyle).
These days, the shrine is mostly a sanctuary of sorts to people, mainly Muslims, who need a place to pray, rest or eat. In the cool and quiet interior of the building, the noise and bustle of the traffic just outside seem suddenly far away. Worn prayer mats and well thumbed prayer books are a tell-tale sign of the shrine’s popularity as a place to pray. Visitors in need of a drink can help themselves to the jerry cans of water and plastic cups.
Abu Bakar, who has been caretaker of the shrine for over 14 years said that many people drop by the shrine –- these include tourists, well-wishers and old acquaintances. Abu Bakar is often seen sitting on the concrete platform outside chatting with friends. He is friendly, approachable and willing to answer questions in Malay or Tamil.
Visitors should bear in mind though that this humble shrine is not a typical tourist attraction – its main purpose now serves as a quiet place to pray and to rest.
The costs of upkeeping the place is provided for by the State Religious Council, and through donations made at the shrine. There are no fixed visiting hours but you should ideally visit the place in the day, and not during prayer times. Shoes must be left at the entrance, and clothing should be modest.
A short history of Saiyed Shahul Hameedi According to the shrine’s records (see picture), Hazareth Saiyed Shahul Hameedi Qadir Gunjasavoy Andavar Avargal (the Saint’s full name) was born in Manickapur near Ayodyah in India on a Friday in the 14th century. His father, Hazareth Saiyed Hasan Kuddus Sahib was the 21st lineal descendant of the Prophet Mohamed. Like the birth of all great men, Saiyed Shahul’s coming was announced by a Messenger of God to his mother Beebi Fathima in a dream. Beebi was told that she would be blessed with a son who would be the Saviour of the people and the Captain of Islam.
The records then go on to explain that even as a child, Shahul showed signs of great wisdom, intense piety and divine communion. He mastered the Arabic language by eight. After several years of training with a guru in divine knowledge, he went to Manickapur with 404 disciples and then toured Afghanistan, Baluchistan and other places performing innumerable miracles like raising the dead, giving speech to the mute, healing the lame and curing various diseases.
At a mosque in Lahore, we are told, Shahul met a childless but wealthy and pious man by the name of Kazi Hazareth Noordin Sahib, who asked that the saint bless him with children. This did the saint agree to do, and gave some betel nuts to Noordin to hand over to Beebi Johra, his wife. Noordin was also instructed to stay by the saint’s side for 40 days without seeing his wife. A son was soon born to Beebi, in the year 959, and was named after the saint’s brother, Saiyed Muhammed Eusoff Sahib.
One of the last miracles performed by Shahul was when he cured the King of Tanjore of a grievous illness, according to the records. He also blessed the Queen with many children which soon came to pass. The grateful king offered the saint rich rewards, which he refused, and instead asked for a piece of land upon which to build his shrine. It was here where he was laid to rest when he died at age 68.
Soon after, the shrine became a place of great veneration for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. His anniversary is marked annually by a celebration called Kandoori Festival, which lasts 14 days starting from the first day of Jamadilakhir.