Syed Muhammad Azeem a.k.a. Qalandar Baba Awliya was born in 1898 in Khorja township of Buland Shehr,U.P., India. He was the direct descendent of Prophet Muhammad through Imam Hasan Askari, the eleventh. Qalandar Baba’s maternal grandfather was a cousin of the great Indian Sufi Saint Baba Tajuddin ofNagpur. His mother was adopted by Baba Tajuddin and hence Qalandar Baba always referred him as his maternal grandfather.
He completed his primary education in Khorja, and high school in Buland Sheher. After completing the 12th grade education at Aligarh, Baba Tajuddin summoned him to Nagpur. During his stay in Aligarh, Qalandar Baba used to spend his evening at the cabin of a local recluse Sufi Kabuli Baba.
In Nagpur, Baba Tajuddin told him to abandon his formal education to stay with him. Initially his father raised his objection but when Baba Tajuddin informed him that it was his decision, he agreed.
Qalandar Baba Auliya lived with Baba Tajuddin in Nagpur for 9 years and received the divine knowledge.
During his stay in Nagpur, his mother died, leaving four daughters and two sons. Qalandar Baba Auliya was the eldest son and most of his siblings were very young at the time. It was becoming difficult for him to serve as the surrogate parent for his siblings. Realizing that Baba Tajuddin arranged his marriage with one of his disciples’ daughter in Delhi. Qalandar Baba moved his family to Delhi and worked there as a journalist until the partition of India in 1947.
After the partition, he migrated to Pakistan along with his family, and stayed in Karachi’s Lyari subdivision. At the time, Karachi was not a fully developed city and finding a job was hard. He believed in hard work and was not ashamed of odd jobs to support his family. Later on, he joined the local daily English newspaper Dawn and became its sub-editor.
In 1956, a famous dervish of Suhurwardiya Sufi Order, Hazrat Abul-Fayz Qalandar Ali Suhurwardi, came to Karachi. Qalandar Baba Auliya met and asked to be initiated in his Order. The visiting Shaykh told him at arrive at his hotel room at three in the morning. It was during winter; nevertheless, Qalandar Baba Auliya went at 2 A.M. to the hotel where Hazrat Abul-Fayz was staying and sat at the doorsteps.
At 3 A.M sharp, Shaykh Abul-Fayz opened the door of his room and summoned him inside. Qalandar Baba Auliya sat before Hazrat Abul-Fayz, and Hazrat Abul-Fayz blew three times on the forehead of Qalandar Baba Auliya. On first blow, the Alam-e-Arwah (Cosmic World) was revealed to Qalandar Baba Auliya; on the second blow, the Alam-e-Malkut (Angelic realm); on the third one, the Arsh-e-Mu’alla (The Divine Throne).
Hazrat Abul-Fayz Qalandar Ali Suhurwardi completed his teachings of Qutub-e-Irshad to Qalandar Baba Auliya, in three weeks. After that, he spiritually received divine knowledge from many saints including Shaykh Najamuddin Kubra. That phase ended when he received the divine knowledge directly from the Prophet. During that entire phase, he remained sleepless for ten days.
When Qalandar Baba Auliya was working as a journalist in the local magazine in Karachi, it was his routine that he would go to the residence of his beloved disciple Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi. There people from all walks of life would come to discuss various topics.
Once Qalandar Baba Auliya told Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi that he saw some angels standing on a roadside in Karachi, and when he asked them what they were doing? They replied that after few moments there would take place an accident, the people whose time of death has not yet come, they would have to save them. On the next day, the news about an accident published in the newspapers of Karachi, and the details of that accident were same as told by Qalandar Baba Auliya.
Once Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi was discussing with Qalandar Baba Auliya about the “Aura”, he asked him if the Aura also could perform all the works that our material body performs. Qalandar Baba Auliya replied, “Yes, that’s true” Khwaja Shamsuddin then asked, “Is it possible for someone to turn the electric swtich on or off by using his Aura?” Right when Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi finished his words, he heard the sound as some one pushed the switch button and the lights were turned off, then again, he heard the same sound and the lights were on.
On one occasion, Qalandar Baba Auliya said, “Miracles are not that strange thing to be performed. When a person’s conscious is subdued by his subconscious, he would do such things that are not considered normal. This could happen voluntarily or involuntarily. However, it has nothing to do with that person’s spiritual knowledge or spirituality.”
One week before of his death, he told to his disciples and friends that, “I’m a guest here for a maximum of one week”. He appointed Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi as the head of the Sufi Order of Azeemia. He made parda from the world on January 27, 1979. His tomb is in the Shadman Town subdivision of Karachi.
In 1956 the then master of the Suhrawardiyya Order, Abul Faiz Qalandar Ali Suhrawardi visited Karachi. Qalander Baba Auliya went for an audience with him and requested to be initiated. Abul Faiz asked him to come at 3 O’ clock in the morning. In the bitter cold of the early morning, he sat on the steps of the Grand Hotel on McLeod Road, Karachi; exactly at 3 O’ clock Abul Faiz opened the door and asked him to come inside. He instructed Qalandar Baba to sit in front of him and then he blew on Qalandar Baba’s forehead 3 times. With the first breath the realm of spirits was revealed. With the second blowing of the breath, angels and the Divine Attributes was revealed and with the third breath the highest realm was revealed to him. Abul Faiz Qalandar Ali Soharwardi imparted spiritual training to him in three weeks time.
After that Qalandar Baba’s spiritual training was taken over by the soul of Sheikh Najmuddin Kubra. When the training was completed He transferred the spiritual knowledge to him and presented him to the Divine Presence of God.
During this period Qalander Baba Aulia did not sleep for ten days and nights. He prayed and chanted the holy verses all the time.
To spread the teachings of Qalandar Baba Auliya, three books have been written by Silsela-e-Azeemia.
- Loh-o-Qalum (Pen and the Scripturum), A treasure of divine knowledge of mysteries and secrets of nature.
- Rubaiyat-e-Qalander Baba Auliya, a collection of mystic verses.
- Tazkira-e-Tajuddin Baba (Blessed be he), An work of metaphysical sciences and scientific interpretations of divinations and wonder-workings performed by spiritual people.
Additionally, Qalandar Baba Auliya left maps and diagrams of the visible and invisible realms. He started the publication of the monthly magazine called Roohani Digest, and formed a trust called The Azeemiyya Trust. The trust acquired land and constructed a mausoleum over his resting place in Shadman Town, North Karachi.
Pigeon that came to life: I loved pigeons and pigeon keeping was my hobby. Once a dove joined the flock of pigeons and started living with them. The dove was crossed with one of the pigeons. When she laid and the chicks hatched out they were extraordinary pretty. They had black wings. Rest of the body was pure white. They were so attractive that every one would praise them for their beauty. One day, one of these pigeons fell prey to a cat. I chased the cat. By the time I reached the cat on the roof, the cat had killed the pigeon and was busy in devouring on the prey. Tears came to my eyes with grief and anger. In that state of shock I came to His Divine Grace Qalander Baba Auliya and in a very hurt tone told him that the cat killed my pigeon, which I adored the most. He calmly commented, “It happens so.”
I feeling grieved even more, said, “I am at loss to understand that how a cat could dare to prey on my pigeon in your presence,” I was quite desperate, I went to the kitchen with a heavy heart. His divine Grace, Qalandar Baba Auliya called out my name twice. Grief and anger had made me arrogant and I ignored his calls. When I came out of the kitchen, I saw my pigeon pecking in the compound. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I ran upstairs and found feathers and blood spots on the roof. I felt ashamed of myself. Came down and fell on the feet of His Divine Grace and apologised for my indecorous behaviour. Before evening I distributed all the pigeons to my friends and decided to stay away from the hobby.
Deaf and Dumb Girl: A born deaf and dumb girl was brought to Qalandear Baba Auliya. Those who have been close to Babaji know it well that he was a very cautious person by nature and avoided any performance of wonder working. God knows in what state he was at that time. He addressed the girl and asked her name. The dumb girl naturally remained mute. He asked her again. Now this time more commandingly “Tell, what is your name?” She kept staring in silence. Now he was angry he lifted his hand as if to hit her and said in an enraged tone, “Tell what is your name?”
And to the surprise of all those who were there, she uttered her name and started speaking normally thereafter. She was sixteen or seventeen at that time.
Spiritual Healing of Tumor: Once a lady visited Qalandar Baba Auliya and told him that there was a tumor preventing her to bear children. She said, “I am otherwise a contented person but due to my inability to bear children my husband is insisting on for second marriage.”
And, after saying this all she started crying desperately in sobs. In that fit of crying she drew near to Qalandar Baba Auliya and placed her head on his chest. Tears not only soaked the shirt but affected his heart as well. Getting up, he told her to lie down straight. Recited something and blew upon his index finger and made a cross where the tumor was supposed to be. When the doctors tested her they found that tumor was no more there. Allah, the most exalted also blessed her with children after that.