HAZRAT KHWAJA HAJI SHAREEF ZANDANI (RADI ALLAHU ANHU)

Hazrat Khwaja Haji Shareef Zandani (radiallahu anhu) was a great Sufi of his time.  He was a mureed of Hazrat Khwaja Moudood Chishti (radi Allahu anhu).  When he was bestowed with the “khirqa” (SUFI CLOAK) of khilaafat a divine voice called out, “O Haji Shareef!  We congratulate you upon receiving the khirqa of the dervishes.  We have accepted you and made you a beloved in our court.”

Hazrat Haji Shareef Zandani was a master in the field of the undertaking of mujaheda and riyazat.  The dervishes of his time used to present themselves in front of him to gain recognition as to whether their mujahedas were undertaken correctly or not.  He himself undertook several difficult mujahedas throughout his life.  He fasted regularly and broke his fast once after three days, eating only three morsels of food without any salt.  Whoever ate from his left over food became a majzoob.  He used to perform his salaah with great love and used to get so engrossed in it, that even if someone tried to disturb or harm him he would be totally unaware of it.  The people questioned him as to the reason for his engrossment to such a level, to which he replied, “A lover should be such that when he takes the name of his beloved nothing else should remain.  I swear by Allah, when taking the name of the beloved (ALLAH), I become so intoxicated in my love for Him that even if the entire world was changed into wine and I were to drink it, it would not intoxicate me to that level.”  He used to often cry and fall unconscious in the fear of his creator.  Upon regaining consciousness the mureeds used to ask him as to the reason for this excessive crying.  He used to reply by saying,  “When I remember the verse of the Quraan where Allah says that HE HAS CREATED JINN AND MAN ONLY SO THAT THEY MAY WORSHIP HIM, and this means that we should be worshipping Him day and night.  Look what we are doing!  I do not know what my condition will be on the day of Qiyamat. Outwardly I have adorned the garment of the dervishes, I fear that Allah, on the day of Qiyamat must not make me feel ashamed of myself in front of the dervishes and one of the dervishes must not say that Hajee Shareef WAS a friend of Allah. This type of love and friendship in our path is not correct but an act of shirk. This is the reason why everyone is not allowed to wear the apparel of the dervishes. Only those dervishes in whose heart lies nothing but the love of Allah and his Rasool (Salallahu alaihi wasallam) are permitted to wear it.”   

Whenever the poor and needy visited Khwaja Shareef (radi Allahu anhu) he showed them so much of love and respect that the people present would be left surprised.  So much was his love towards them that he used to take the dust from their feet and place it on his eyes and while in this act he used to say, “O Allah!  Haji Shareef is at the service of the poor and keep my love for them firm.”  He never associated with the rich and wealthy.

Like all the grand masters he adopted the path of FAQR, which is generally translated to mean poverty but according to Sufism it is to be outwardly poor but spiritually being rich with Allah.  In this state one has complete trust in Allah.  This state is a gift bestowed only to the chosen servants of Allah.  A faqeer feels joy and happiness in the state of poverty and seclusion because it is only in this state that he receives a great Divine Light and sees the mysteries of Allah’s spiritual world.  When Hazrat Haji Shareef Zandani Shareef (radi Allahu anhu) passed a day in this state of extreme poverty, he, at the end of the day used to recite with great love 100 rakaats of nafil salaah to thank Allah.  When he was asked by the people about this he used to say “This insignificant Haji Shareef is so ashamed that even if every hair on my body were turned into a tongue to make Allah’s zikr and if I were to perform the salaah equal to all of Allah’s creation still I would not be able to thank Allah enough for this one day.  It is my good fortune that Allah remembers me among the poor and needy.  When there is extreme poverty in my house it is not such a great calamity because I am worthy of it just like all the Prophets and Saints of Allah and I make dua to Allah to give me death amongst the poor and raise me on the day of Qiyamat amongst the poor.”

Once a very poor man in distress presented himself in front of Hazrat Haji Shareef Zandani Shareef (radi Allahu anhu) explaining to him that he had seven daughters and he did not have enough money to get them married.  He requested assistance from Hazrat Haji Shareef (Radi Allahu Anhu).  Hazrat Haji Shareef (R.A) listened to his plea and told him that he should not worry and that he should come the next day.  On his way back home he met a Jew who enquired from where he was coming. The man replied and told him that he was coming from Hazrat Haji Shareef (Radi Allahu Anhu) to whom he had went to request some financial help to get his daughters married.  The Jew then said that Haji Shareef has given up the world, he himself has nothing how is he going to help you, tell your sheikh to become my servant and I will give you 7000 gold dinars to get your daughters married and the condition being that he should work for me for seven years to my satisfaction after which I will give him his freedom.  The man immediately went to the Great Khwaja and reported the entire story.  Hazrat Haji Shareef readily agreed and said, “If by my seven years of work your problem can be solved I accept to work for the Jew on his conditions.” After saying this they both went to the house of the Jew and got the contract signed and presented it to the qazi of the city. The Jew then handed 7000 gold dinars to the old man, which he used for the weddings of his daughters.  The Jew then told Hazrat Haji Shareef,  “from now on you are my slave and you have agreed to work for me for seven years to my satisfaction,” to which the Khwaja accepted.  The Jew then gave him instructions by telling him to guard the entrance of his house day and night without any sleep preventing any thieves from entering the house.  This news spread throughout the city like wild fire.  When the king heard about this he immediately sent 7000 gold and 7000 silver dinars to the Khwaja and requested him to give it to the Jew so that he may get back his freedom.  Hazrat Haji Shareef  (R.A) took all the money and distributed it to the poor and needy and said that he had promised the Jew that he will work for him for seven years and under no condition will he break his promise.  When the Jew heard about this he immediately came and requested the Khwaja to forgive him for his disrespectful behaviour and gave him his freedom.  Hazrat Khwaja Zandani then told him, “Just as you have freed me Allah will free you from the fire of hell.”  Immediately thereafter he became a Muslim and a mureed at the hands of Hazrat Khwaja Shareef Zandani (R.A).  After spending some time with his murshid he also renounced the world and became a perfect Sufi.   

Hazrat Khwaja Haji Shareef Zandani (R.A) loved listening to Sama. At times his mehfil-e-sama programmes used to continue for a period of three to four days.  Most of the Masha’ikh used to attend these mehfils.  He used to say that Sama is a great gift and everybody does not know its secret.

Hazrat Khwaja Haji Shareef Zandani (R.A) passed away on the 3rd of Rajab 412 A.H, at the age of 120 years. He bestowed the Khilaafat of the Chishtia order upon his beloved mureed Hazrat Khwaja Usman Harooni (R.A).

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