Hazrat Baqi Billah – founder of Naqshbandi silsila in India

 “Those who cannot benefit from my silence will never benefit from my words.”

Khwaja Baqi Billah

I had set out to visit Qadam Sharif a Dargah in Old Delhi’s Paharganj, armed with a guide book. Getting off at the New Delhi Metro station I hired a cycle rickshaw, who very confidently said he knew where it was. In my naivete I thought that this once very important Dargah from the Delhi Sultanate would still be very well known.

I had chosen the day of Delhi’s local elections last year and found the streets mostly deserted except for polling agents for various political parties and some people who had come to exercise their franchise.

The rickshaw waala very confidently set me down at the Buland Darwaza .

image I had heard that Qadam Sharif had very grand gates as it housed the tomb of the Emperor Firoz Shah Tughlaq’s favourite son, Fateh Khan. Thinking that maybe the main entrance was elsewhere I entered. Somehow I missed reading the name on the gate: all i read was Buland Darwaza. As I set inside I saw a family living inside the compound amongst the graves. I asked them about the Dargah and was informed by them that this was the Dargah of Hazrat BAqi Billah and that Qila Qadam Sharif was some distance from here. Since I had already come here I decided to pay my respects and i am glad I did. The beautiful mosque and Dargah gladdened my heart.

imageHazrat Baqi Billah was the sufi saint responsible for establishing the Naqshbandi silsila or order in India. The son of Qazi Abdul Salam Khilgi  Samarqandi Qureishi,a famous scholar and saint of Kabul, Razi-ud-Din Muhammad Baqi  was born in Kabul in 971 A.H. or 1563 A.D. He was popularly known as Baqi Billah. Spiritual from birth , he became inclined towards Sufism and travelled through C.Asia to India. He saw Khawaja Baha-ud-Din Nashbandi bestowing spiritual favours on him. On his way to Mavara-ur-Nahr he dreamt that Hazrat Khawaja Amkangi was calling him and waiting for him anxiously. So, he went to see him at his abode and stayed there for three days. Khawaja Amkangi blessed him with his Khilafat (spiritual caliphate) and said:

“Go to India because this Order (Naqshbandia Silsila) will be established there by you”

Though he knew it was a difficult task he set out for Delhi to fulfill the task given to him. He stayed in Qila Firozabad or Firoz Shah Kotla and would sweep the qabristan behind which now falls in maulana Azad Medical College. He established and strengthened the Naqshbandi silsila in India.

imageJanab SalamatUllah Naqshbandi a direct descendant of Hazrat Baqi Billah and the mujavir (caretaker) of the Dargah. Old and frail, Pir Sahab as he is known as looked very spiritual and serene and I was very impressed by his personality. Though he was preparing for namaz he very kindly took me around and patiently answered my questions, even posing for this photograph.

imageThe mosque is very beautiful and very well maintained. There are no crowds of supplicants or those begging and it is a place of solitude and meditation.

According to Hazrat Khwaja Baqi Billah Tovakkal (trust in Allah) does not mean that a person should not earn his living and become idle as that is an act of disobedience to Allah. Everyone should earn their living in whichever manner they can and have a strong faith that only Allah is the Sustainer. He did inot approve of saints living the life of a hermit and giving up the world . According to him work is just like a source, mediation or an intercessor and worldly struggle sternthens one’s spirit.

imageHe passed away on 29 November 1603. His tomb is in a small green building just outside the mosque and again very well kept. It is said that one night Hazrat Baqi Billah after having offered his Tahajjud prayers, came to his bed to  rest. To his great surprise, he saw a cat couching in his bed. The kind hearted  Hazrat Baqi Billah  did not disturb the cat but quietly sat down on the floor and passed the rest of the night in the chilly winter, whereas the cat enjoyed a sound sleep till morning.


When one lives amongst graves, life and death hold no fear. These children of the family living here were playing, fighting,having fun here as I stood and watched them.

Location : Qutab Road, Singara Chowk, near Sadar Bazar Area

Nearest Metro Station RamaKrishna Ashram

Further reading

Khwaja Muhammad Baqi Billah Naqshbandi (971-1012 AH)

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