His real name was Shah Zaman. Hazrat Shah Chan Charagh lived during the 18th century. Some records report it to be during the reign of Mughal EmperorAurangzeb. His ancestors came from the city of Mashhad in Iran and settled in the town of Chakwal, part of the then British India. They were holy men venerated by the general folk as Fakirs by virtue; a concept of pious poverty as called Tawwakal practised by the mystics following a spiritual discipline called Tariqa. This is a spiritual path that links them as progeny to Ali from whom the spiritual path takes its route. The village where they settled is called Syed Kasran and hails numerous shrines of his ancestors, which still are highly revered and attract thousands of devotees throughout the year. Few of them include, Sakhi Shah Nazar – Shah Deewan, Shah Maluk Badshah (his father), Mai Bint-e Khatoon (his mother), Sakhi Shah Abdal Khair, Hazrat Isam Ali Shah, Sakhi Shah Tajuddin (his grandfather) and numerous other relics including the mosque he used to meditate at and the stream he dived in to appear at river Neelam in Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir to beseech to his vanguard Hazrat Syed Sakhi Shah Inayat Walayat Badshah.
Hazrat Shah Chan Charagh was a source of spiritual guidance to general public. He preached the message of peace and tolerance. He is the propagator of Islam in that region along with Hazrat Bari Imam who was his first cousin from his father’s side. Legend has it that he was born by Hazrat Bari Imam’s dua who once told his uncle “you will soon have an illustrious son, who will be a Wali of an exalted order and by his name I shall alight my path”. They both lived in the same time carrying out their spiritual duties in their own areas.
Hazrat Shah Chan Charagh was a disciple of Hazrat Syed Sakhi Shah Inayat Walayat who was his maternal uncle, a highly celebrated Wali. His shrine is located in Muzaffarabad,Azad Kashmir. After having acquired the learning, he was sent to continue walking backwards. This was an order by his very illustrious Murshid and it was to be upheld as a command (Amr). Until he reached Rawalpindi, he stumbled and fell into a burning (tunoor), a clay oven i.e. the spot that marks a massive bonfire still to date called “Mach” in vernacular terms. He sat there steadfastly and continued in penance. That was the time when he gained popularity and masses flocked to him embracing his preachings. HazratBari Imam on the contrary carried out his intuition under water. According to common belief this duo commands each element loyal to them as part of the sacraments each Saint performed. There are tales of spiritual healings, karamaat and miracles he arbitrated.
An avid Aza’daar who prophesised Majalis and Azadari as his supreme legacy. He also contemplated that his shrine will once become a capital of a Muslim state. He never married and his descendence was carried out by his brothers’ issues. His spiritual legacy was carried out by four of his disciples, namely Syed Sakhi Shah Raza, Syed Qamar Ali Shah, Sakhi Shah Sharaf, and Kochak Ali Sultan, a Mughal prince who allured by the light he had seen had given up a life of luxury and chosen a mystic’s path. Notable mystics and Aulia like Syed Sakhi Zamaan Shah alias Bawa Zaman Shah Mottianwala follow Hazrat Shah Chan Charagh’s tariqa through Sakhi Shah Deedaran Badshah both buried in Jhaamra district Chakwal who was a disciple (Talib) to Hazrat Syed Sakhi Moazzam Shah of Jalihaari, a village on route to Chakwal from Rawalpindi.
The Darbar is a complex boasting a beautifully erected modern Shia Jami Masjid, a graveyard of the Sadaat and Faqra, adherents of his Holiness, believers and vassals including the Sajjada Nasheens and the descendants, “Mach” which is the local term for the grand bonfire, his Holiness prayed in, his tomb of course and the markazi Imambargah also called Bargahe Kazmiya, Imambargah Bab ul Hawaij. The Bargah serves as the centre of Azadari and as a pinnacle of strong ideological stance, “Rad-e Khalsiyat” which marks this chamber as the torch bearer against neo-classical concepts like Khalsiyat which resonates as Wahhabism in Shia Islam. The Minbar at Darbar has been graced by notable scholars from Allama Mirza Yousaf Hussain, Hafiz Kifayat Hussain, Syed Azhar Hassan Zaidi, Hafiz Aashiq Hussain, to illustrious modern luminaries like Mohsin Naqvi, Allama Talib Johri, Agha Naseem Abbas and Allama Ghazanfar Abbas Tonsvi as the ace cynosure delivering three ashraas a year. The very illustrious Zakireen like Ameer Hussain Shah, Sabir Shah Behal, Syed Khadim Hussain Shah, Ghulam Qanbar and Ghulam Hussain Maachi are few amongst the very many to have put their feat. Syed Ghulam Haider Shah who also commemorated the Darbar, founded Azadari here in 1952 and was congregating the rituals at Imambargah Qadeem Rawalpindi since 1920.