Ancestors, Birth and Education:
Born sometime between the years 1830-1840, he was named “Jama’at Ali” by his respected father, Sayyid Karim Shah. His ancestors, who belonged to Shiraz, Iran, migrated to India during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. He was born in Village Alipur Sayyidan, Tehsil Narowal, District Sialkot, in the Punjab province of Pakistan, of which the family is a permanent resident. At a very tender age, he learnt the Holy Koran by heart. He belongs to the Hassani & Hussaini family of Sadaat, i.e., Sayyids.
Knowledge and Virtue:
By birth, Ameer-e-Millat was a subtle genius and was endowed with such superb characteristics as mild, gentle right-mindedness and exceptional intuition. These excellent qualities were further refined by learned and accomplished teachers through especial and dedicated attention. Alongside mastering various intellectual and traditional sciences, he gradually kept on achieving latent and spiritual advancements. Indeed, he rivalled the competency of Imam Zahbi in learning, and that of Imam Hajar Asqalani in all-inclusive memorizing. In that era, he was conspicuous for his eloquence par excellence and was unrivalled in dazzling displays of public speaking.
Titles & Appellations Of Honor:
In 1935, during the “Masjid Shaheed Gunj” movement, he was chosen as Ameer-e-Millat (Leader of the Nation) by a convention of religious scholars and elders from all over Punjab. He thus became famous by this “Ameer-e-Millat” title.
Earlier in the 20th century, when Arabia was stricken by a severe famine, he set up a “Madinah Fund” and personally administered tremendous relief work. This ensued in the conferring of the title “Abul Arab” to him from the holy land (Hijaz).
In 1920, a Khilafat Conference was held in Lyallpur, in which Maulana Shaukat Ali addressed him as The Eloquent Person of Hind (India), but he was best known as Huzur Qibla-e-Alam.
His miracles are countless, which really calls for a big volume to record. Nevertheless, the most remarkable and outstanding among them is that each and every one of his descendents to date has been “Hafiz” of the Holy Koran, learned and accomplished religious scholar, and leading a life in strict conformity with Islamic jurisprudence.
Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam’s father, Karim Shah was formally enlisted as a disciple in the Sufi order of Naqshbandia with his maternal grandfather, Sayyid Husain Shah. He (Karim Shah) was a distinguished saint, showering bounties in abundance to public at large. Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam inherited his due share from his celebrated father. Several of his teachers were among the top-ranking religious scholars of their time, who went out of their way and passed on their respective proficiency in different fields of knowledge to Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam. Nevertheless, he still yearned for more and was on the lookout for a venerable guide who could lead him to the mystic way of life.
It so happened that Hazrat Baba Faqir Muhammad Churahi Naqshbandi, a renowned saint of that period, came over to visit Maulvi Ghulam Nabi, who resided at village Chak Quraishiyan, District Sialkot, located in the vicinity of Alipur Sayyidan. On getting the news, Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam lost no time in calling in on Hazrat Baba Sahib. The latter very kindly admitted him as a disciple into the Naqshbandia religious order, and favoured him with especial consideration.
Shortly afterwards, Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam paid his first visit to Churah Sharif to meet Hazrat Babaji. At the time of the former’s departure, Hazrat Babaji took off his turban and put it on Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam’s head, thus appointing Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam his deputy, and adding: “Be resolute in remembering Allah, and persist in religious instruction to people at large.”
Some of Hazrat Babaji’s disciples started grumbling and complained to him about this instantaneous elevation in rank of Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam, notwithstanding the complainants’ long-standing allegiance and day and night attendance at Hazrat Babaji’s shrine. The latter declared in no uncertain terms: “I am well aware of matters that you people don’t know about. I just cannot make any such decisions without the explicit command of Almighty Allah. Hafizji Sahib (Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam) had carried with him all the paraphernalia: lantern, wick, and oil, all bestowed upon him by Almighty Allah. What I simply did was setting the lantern alight with divine directive.”
Devotion To Rasul Allah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam:
During the rule of the Turks, everyone offering prayers in the Holy Haram Sharif at Madinah was forced to leave the premises after the ‘Isha prayers. However, Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam enjoyed the special privilege of staying overnight inside the grill of the tomb of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.), accompanied by four other people. Whenever he visited the holy tomb, he was overawed by respect and his whole body trembled out of sheer reverence. Even in bitter cold, he would break out in a sweat, making his dress wet, while his complexion would turn pale or ruddy.
Adherence To Divine Law & Mandatory Observance Of The Traditions of Rasul Allah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam:
Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam’s philosophy of mysticism was not forsaking worldly relations and becoming a recluse. He enjoyed good food; was well-dressed; and strictly followed the edicts of Islamic law in the administration of his day-to-day affairs. Observance of Prophet Muhammad’s (P.B.U.H.) traditions in letter and spirit was an integral part of his practice and temperament, and he emphasized the need to do the same to his disciples.
Glance , Metamorphosis And Alchemy :
Hundreds of Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam’s followers were, in their early lives, habituated to wicked deeds or were hardened criminals–having been involved in thievery, robbery, drunkenness, roguery, knavery, and what have you. Nonetheless, they were totally transformed and became the exact opposite under the influence of his vibrant spiritual influence—as if transmuted by alchemy! Now, they started strictly observing the daily prayers and the Ramazan fasting; performed Hajj; and devoted themselves to public service, specifically assisting the needy. According to one estimate, the number of Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam’s followers exceeds six lacs, spread all over the world. On a broader spectrum, his blessings and instructions also encompassed the Genii in general, and it is a fact that Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam guided many a rebellious genie to the straight path.
Religious And National Service:
As far as religion is concerned, Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam’s services are inestimable. He funded and was instrumental in the erection of scores of mosques, religious academies, caravanserais, and wells. He paid particular attention to the publication of literature on mysticism.
In 1916, he inaugurated the construction of Masjid-e-Noor at Alipur Sayyidan, which was eventually completed in 1920. The total cost came to around six lacs of rupees, which was an enormous amount in those days.
In March 1901, he founded the Anjuman Khuddamus Sufia, Hind. In addition, he started the publication of the monthly Anwarus Sufia from Lahore.
He was the patron of a number of religious and national institutions, including Anjuman Himayat-e-Islam, Lahore; Anjuman Hizbul Ahnaf, Lahore; Anjuman Nomania, Lahore; Anjuman Islamia, Amritsar; Nadwatul ‘Ulama, Lucknow; Muslim University, Aligarh; Anjuman Khuddamus Sufia, Hind; Anjuman Khuddamul Muslimeen, Kasur; Anjuman Ta’limul Qur’an, Lahore; Madrasa Saulatia, Makkah Mukarramah; Madrasa Naqshbandia, Mysore; All-India Sunni Conference; Anjuman Islamia, Sialkot; Central Muslim Association, Bangalore; etc.
In addition, he presided over many conferences and conventions, including, but not limited to, Tehrik-e-Khilafat Conference; Tehrik-e-Fitna-e-Irtidad; Tehrik-e-Sarda Act; Tehrik-e-Masjid Shaheed Gunj; Jam’iyat-e-‘Ulama-e-Hind (Sunni Conference); Ghazi Ilm Din Shaheed Case; Fitna-e-Mirza’iyat; Majlis-e-Ittihad-e-Millat; and the Pakistan Movement. He led them all dynamically and served them energetically.
The Nuisance & Menace Of Mirza’iyat:
From 1901 to 1908, he led a vigorous campaign against the nuisance of Mirza’iyat. Later, as long as he lived, he persistently repudiated this perfidious faction. Exactly as Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam had earlier predicted, Mirza Qadiyani died “Hell-bound” in a ghastly and disgraceful manner.
All-India Sunni Conference:
Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam presided over three venues of these conferences: Muradabad, 1925; Badayun, 1935; and Benaras, 1946.
For the presidency of the Badayun conference, there was a contest between Maulana Hamid Raza Khan (son of Mawlana Ahmad Raza Khan Alayhi Rahma) and another eminent personality. The former was elected by a majority of votes. After his election, Maulana Hamid Raza Khan announced from the podium: “I now offer the presidential chair to Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam. The votes of all my supporters, as well as mine, are for him. The presidency stipulates a lot of follow-up work, which I am not capable of. Since Hazrat Sahib is accustomed to, and well experienced in such matters, I appeal that he kindly accede to this request and preside over this conference.” The audience overwhelmingly seconded this suggestion, and so Hazrat Sahib was unanimously elected President.
When the Pakistan Resolution was adopted in 1940, Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam supported it whole-heartedly, and assiduously worked as a pro-active preacher to arouse the Muslims of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent in order to make the Pakistan Movement a resounding success. In this perspective, his strategy was multi-pronged: he expended huge amounts of money; made extensive tours of the country; published relevant literature; and last, but not least, addressed various Muslim League meetings and gatherings. Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam categorically told his followers that he would not lead the funeral service of anyone who had not participated in the Pakistan Movement one way or another.
Ameer E Millat Vs. Quaid E Azam:
Some wretched fellow once made an abortive attempt to assassinate Quaid-e-Azam. Before long, Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam forwarded to the latter a consignment, which included a number of gift items, including the Holy Quran ; a prayer mat; a rosary; a shawl; a woollen cloth; and certain other valuables. Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam wrote in the letter that accompanied these gifts: “The nation has selected me as Ameer-e-Millat, and the invaluable efforts that you have been making for the establishment of Pakistan are truly appreciated, but are basically a part of my job. Nevertheless, I am now a man of over 100 years of age who has been overtaken by physical weakness and frailty. Therefore, you are, in fact, carrying my burden. Yet, I am duty bound to assist you in every possible manner.” He further urged that Quaid-e-Azam persist with his endeavours and predicted that the latter would definitely achieve his goal.
In reply, Quaid-e-Azam wrote: “It is an honour for me to receive the blessings of elders like you, and I can say that I have, sort of, reached the victory stand even at this moment. Let me assure you that no matter what obstacles come in my way, I will not retreat!” He added: “Your kind gift of the Holy Koran signifies that I am a leader of the Muslims. It is more than obvious that my leadership would be inconse-quential in the event that I am not knowledgeable about the Holy Koran and the Islamic law. I promise that I will study the Holy Koran, for which purpose I have already ordered various English translations and am on the lookout for some religious scholar who can teach me Koranic injunctions in English. Your second gift of the prayer mat denotes that when I do not obey Allah’s commands, how could I expect the public to abide by my directives. I assure you that I will offer my prayers regularly from now on. The gift of rosary demands that I recite benediction and salutation for Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam How can Allah’s blessings descend on a person who does not invoke Allah’s blessings for the Holy Prophet? I will certainly comply with this gesture, too.”
Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam was extremely pleased to get this reply and said: “At present, I am in Hyderabad,” [the city he was staying in at that time] “while Jinnah Sahib is in Bombay. From that far away location, how did he ever get to know about my motives, despite the fact that I never even mentioned them to anybody? For certain, Jinnah Sahib enjoys a special position in the realm of sainthood!”
Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam once invited Quaid-e-Azam to a sumptuous feast in Kashmir. When the latter arrived, Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam stood up and embraced him. He then invited Quaid-e-Azam to sit on his bed and make himself comfortable, which Quaid-e-Azam politely declined. When Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam insisted, Quaid-e-Azam said: “One who is disrespectful never succeeds in his mission. My mission is to work for the establishment of Pakistan. Please be kind enough not to deny me that achievement.” Consequently, Quaid-e-Azam calmly sat down on the carpet.
Once, while speaking at a huge public meeting, Quaid-e-Azam declared: “It is my firm belief that Pakistan will definitely come into being, because Ameer-e-Millat has assured me that this will certainly happen. I have absolutely no doubt that Ameer-e-Millat’s words will come true with the grace of Almighty Allah.”
Ameer-E-Millat Pir Syed Jamat Ali Shah Alayhi Rahma In The Eyes Of Hazrat Allama Iqbal Alayhi Rahma:
Allama Iqbal says: “Obeisance and paying homage to Hazrat Ameer-e-Millat is a sure token of good fortune.” In his collection of poetry, “Zarb-e-Kaleem,” Allama Iqbal has composed the following stanza, entitled “Mard-e-buzurg”:
His hate is deep as is his love profound
His annoyance with the audience is in effect translated into compassion
Even while being physically present in a gathering, he has been privileged to realize solitude
Just like the candle burning at a gathering, he is distinctive but at the same time
He resembles the morning sun in spreading splendour of inspiration
His conversation is simple and straightforward yet subtle and thought-provoking
His viewpoint and stance are discrete from those current in the society
And his circumstances are a mystery to the leading figures of mysticism
Ameer-E-Millat Pir Syed Jamat Ali Shah Alayhi Rahma & The Print Media:
The daily Nawa-e-Waqt, Lahore, in its issue of 16th April 1970, published an article, entitled: “Tehrik-e-Pakistan ka nidar mujahid” (Valiant fighter of the Pakistan Movement), in which the writer said: “Pir Sayyid Jama’at Ali Shah Sahib was a person of great insight. He would very closely examine all the movements launched from time to time in India, and would literally wage war against the ones that were either detrimental to the Muslims or could, in the long run, prove to be dangerous for them in terms of religion or faith, without paying any heed whatsoever to the ruling British regime. During the Shaheed Gunj Tehrik, he aroused in the Muslims the passion for the significance and stateliness of Mosques; and this was in effect a head to head encounter with the Sikhs and the British. The nation, consequently, awarded him the title of ‘Ameer-e-Millat.’ He pledged everything that he owned—life and property, in order to counter the menacing deluge of the Shuddhi Tehreek (the sinister movement to convert the Muslims to Hinduism) and to negate the adverse effect triggered by the Hindus. In order to popularize Islam and make it more intelligible for the general public, he founded numerous religious institutions, in particular those preaching Islamic doctrines, so that the basis of Islamic thought be made more resilient among the Muslims. Even to this date, several of these institutions are very much active, such as Anjuman Khuddamus Sufia, Anjuman-e-Islamia, etc., all of which were established by Ameer-e-Millat.”
The Civil & Military Gazette, the famous semi-government newspaper published from Lahore, once wrote: “The English government does not feel endangered by Gandhi or any other leader; rather, it is more threatened by the activities of Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam Muhaddis Alipuri.”
It was at 11 p.m. on 26/27 Zeeqa’d 1370 H., corresponding to 30/31 August 1951, on Thursday/Friday, that Ameer-e-Millat breathed his last and perpetuated his memory.
What a nice depiction of Ameer-e-Millat in the poetry composed by Mawlana Hamid Hasan Qadri:
The one who, throwing down the gauntlet and becoming an Islamic warrior,
Guided the Muslims
Through whose pioneering in the field of enterprise and execution
Politics and religion became adjoined
Who in every conflict of religion and worldliness
Preserved the honour of equity and truth
Who was never overawed by government
As and when he observed the laws of the Holy Prophet being held in contempt.
Another Version of Hazrat Sahib Alayhi Rahma’s Biography:
Naqshbandiyya revivalist contributions in the twentieth century are centered around Sayyid Jamaat Ali Shah (rahmat Allah alayhi). He was born in the village of Alipur Sayyidan in the Sialkot District of Punjab (Pakistan), where he received an extensive religious education, achieving distinction as a memorizer of Quran (hafiz) and a Hadith specialist (muhaddith).
He was initiated into Naqshbandiyya Mujaddadiyya in 1891 by Baba Faqir Muhammad Churahi (d.1897) (rahmat Allah alayhi). He established his religious leadership in the Islamic revival movement by actively propagating Islam (tablig) as he traveled to many villages and towns throughout the Indian subcontinent. Not only encouraging regular performance of required religious duties according to Islamic law (sharia) and supervising the construction of mosques, he propagated idea of Naqshbandiyya and attracted learned religious scholars to join the Islamic revival movement. In 1904, Jamaat Ali Shah (rahmat Allah alayhi) founded the Anjuman-i-Khuddam as-Sufiyya (The Voluntary Association of Sufi Servants) and began publishing the Anjuman’s monthly journal, Risla-yi-anwar as-Sufiyya.
The explicit goals of the Anjuman were:
1. To unify all Sufi groups,
2. To spread knowledge of Taswwuf (Sufism),
3. To make books on Sufism available,
4. To circulate the Journal in which Sufis’ hagiographies, exemplary character, and conduct are featured.In 1925 he presided over first All-India Sunni Conference, giving the keynote speech. Then in September 1935,having been declared the ” leader of Muslim Community” (amir-i-millat),at a special conference of the “United Muslim Community” (ittihad-i-millat),he stressed the need for love of Prophet saws followed by the need for active propagation of Islam, for unity of Sufis and Ulama. Throughout the Pakistan movement, Jamaat Ali Shah (r.a) supported Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Muslim League.
At the 1946 All-India Sunni Conference, he publicly exclaimed (to counter those who accused Jinnah of being non-Muslim), “Jinnah is an intimate of God.” The conference was attended by 500 shaykhs, 7000 ulama, and over 100,000 other people, which encouraged the Muslim League to form Pakistan.
A committee with many scholars and Sufis was set up to make sure that the new Pakistan government would be Islamic. He passed away in 1951.Today many successors and their disciples are scattered throughout Pakistan and India, some of whom have established Sufi lodges in England and United States. Sayyid Afdal Husayn Shah is the living successor in Jamaat Ali’s lineage and serves on Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education’s Advisory Council.
1. Sayyid Jamaat Ali Shah(d.1951)
2. Faqir Muhammad Churahi (d.1897)
3. Nur Muhammad Churahi (d.1869)
4. Faydullah Tirahi (d.1829)
5. Khwaja Isa (d.1806)
6. Shah Jamalullah (d.1794)
7. Shah Qutbuddin (d.1766)
8. Muhammad Zubayr (d. 1740)
9. Hujjatullah Naqshband (d.1702)
10. Muhammad Masum (d. 1668)
11. Ahmad Sirhundi (d. 1624)(From Buehler, “Charisma and Exemplar,”1993)