I visited the Dargah of Bu Ali Qalandar #Panipat with Explore Heritage in March 2015.
It was a wonderful trip as Syed Mohammad Qasim and Raj Prajapati had hired a mini bus and we all talked and ate our way to Sonepat and Panipat.
This was a Dargah I had been very keen to visit because of my love for Hazrat Ali and the saints connection with him.
Hazrat Bu Ali ( Fragrance of Ali) Qalandar
Banda-e-Murtuza Ali Hastum
Peshwa-e-Tamaam Rindan Num
Kay Sagae kuo-e-Sher-e-Yazdan Num
I am Haideri (a follower of Haider, aka Ali ibn Abi Talib), I am a Qalandar and I am intoxicated (with inspiration).
I am a servant of Ali Murtaza (aka Ali ibn Abi Talib)
I am leader of all saints
Because I am a dog of the lane of “Allah’s Lion” (referring to Maula Ali Murtaza)
His real name was Sheikh Sharf Uddin and Bu-Ali Shah the title. His father, Sheikh Fakhar Uddin was a great scholar and saint of his time. The mother, Bibi Hafiza Jamal, was the daughter of Maulana Syed Nemat Ullah Hamdani. His father came from Ganja, Azerbaijan in the year 600 Hijri and settled down in Panipat. His lineage with several links reached Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa. One account says he was born in 1209 AD in Panipat, India. However an epitaph on his tomb in Persian gives his birthplace as Ganja in present-day Azerbaijan. It traces his descent from Imam e Aazam Nauman Ibn Thaabit Abu Hanifa.
He completed his studies in Alauddin Khilji’s madarsa near the Qutub Minar in Delhi and taught there for 20 years. He was a renowned scholar and teacher of his age.
There’s an interesting story about him when he had given up studies and teaching and had gone into the forest for meditation.
The King of Delhi was unable to consumate his marriage with a girl he had married even though he had no problems with his other wives.
He summoned all the scholars of Delhi and told them about his strange problem. They were unable to figure it out and the furious ruler warned all of the scholars of Delhi, that if they could not find the reason of his problem until tomorrow, he would kill them all. Bu-Ali Shah, who was only a religious scholar at the time, was also among them.
On the same day, a wandering dervish came to the school of Bu-Ali Shah, and asked his students about him. They told him that he went to the palace. That Dervish gave some written note to the students and asked them to give it to Bu-Ali Shah. When Bu-Ali Shah arrived at his school, his students told him about the dervish and gave him the written note.
It was written in that the ruler of Delhi has married his own daughter, that’s why when he goes near her, God makes him impotent.
It transpired thst the ruler had married and deserted a beautiful woman many years ago. That woman who was pregnant at that time took refuge in the house of an old man, who was a launderer. She gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and died shortly after giving birth to her. Because the old launderer was childless, he took the baby girl and raised her up as his own daughter. Since she was beautiful, the ruler had come to know about her beauty, and he married her.
On next day, Bu-Ali Shah went to the ruler, and told him the whole story. Then the ruler inquired about that, and found it to be true.
After coming back to his school, Bu-Ali Shah threw away all of his books, and then went to look for that dervish who gave him the written note. On the third day he found him, the dervish was the great Sufi Saint Khwaja Qutub-ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki, the spiritual Master of Baba Farid.
(This is the story as given on Auliya net and Qutub Sahab was very well known in Mehrauli where this story took place. The ruler of Delhi at that time was Iltutmish and I find it hard to believe it of him.)
Bu-Ali requested him to accept him as his disciple. Khwaja Bakhtiyar Kaki declined his request saying that he was not authorized to do so. He then said that all he could do is to take him to his spiritual teacher (murshid). After saying that, Khwaja Bakhtiyar Kaki took his hand and put it on the hand of Amirul Momineen Ali. Through Imam Ali, he received the required spiritual training, and after finishing Bu-Ali Shah became a dervish. From then on, he became famous with the title of “Bu-Ali”.
He lived in Panipat till death and served the people form there. Hundreds drew spiritual or divine benefits from him.
One day a disciple of Shamsuddin Turk went to the city on an errand and saw Boo Ali Shah riding a lion and retold the episode to his teacher. Shamsuddin Turk said to his disciple, “Go to the residence of Boo Ali Shah and if you see him riding the lion, tell him: “The lion should live in the jungle.” The disciple obeyed, found Hazrat Bu Ali Shah in the condition and conveyed his teacher’s message. He rose from his place immediately and went to Ghote.
It is mentioned in ‘Sair-Ul-Akhtab’ that he died on 17, Ramazul Mubarak 724 Hijri(1324 CE) at Budha Khera but lay to rest in Panipat instead.
Various legends exist about the saint. One legend says after the ibadah (act of obedience and submission) of 36 years standing in the water in Karnal he was awarded the status of “Bu Ali” (Fragrance ofAli). After achieving this Rutba (rank) he was visited by many other Sufi saints. An alternative legend to explain his name says that Muhammad appeared to him in a dream and offered him a wish. The Qalandar asked for prophethood and was told that all positions have been filled and Muhammad was the last one. He asked to be Ali and was told that position was also filled. He then asked for at least the fragrance of Ali and that wish was granted. A scholarly view of his name is that Bu Ali is simply another form ofKuniyyat Abu Ali.
It is an epitome of faith, harmony and integrity. Every Thursday, people irrespective of their cast, creed or religion, offer prayers at this place. UrsMela an annual affair, held here is a manifestation of people’s belief and unity.
We were also treated to a wonderful session of qawwali which had been arranged by Qasim.
The dargah (mausoleum or shrine), mosque and enclosure at the Qalandar Chowk in Panipat were constructed by Mahabat Khan, ageneral in the service of the Mughal EmperorJahangir. Mahabat Khan’s own tomb in red sandstone is adjacent to the saint’s mausoleum. its a beautiful marble tomb with exquisite ornamentation as can be seen in the photographs.