About this text
The author of this biography of Indian saints and mystics Wajihuddin Ashraf lived in Lucknow and, according to the autobiographical statement in the text, was still composing the work in 1788-89. Bahr-e-Zakhkhār is divided into eight parts, beginning with the prophet Muhammad’s children and wives, covering the various orders of Sufi saints, many of whom were the author’s contemporaries, and concluding with female saints. As the selected extracts reveal, the Sufis not only had their own discourse of dearth and ascetic practice, they also directly intervened, often through prayer, miraculous powers of fasting, and charitable acts, or by reinterpreting religious injunctions on food, during times of dearth, famine, and pestilence.
5.Mauj: āhwāl-e- ḥaz̤rat Maulavi Muḥammad Ali Badauni: Yak sāl dar Bisauli imsāk-e- bārān be shiddat wāqe‘a shud. Dondi Khān ḥākim-e- ānjā ham ma‘a Fatḥullāh Khān wa Muḥibbullh Khān pisarān-e- khud wa ‘ālemān-e- shahr wa digar ‘āmmae khalāiq barāye namāz-e- istisqā mi raft, Haz̤rat Maulawi ham sharik-e- ān jamā‘ah bood, chunāncheh ba‘ad-e- namāz chehār roz guẕasht wa bārān nabārid, nāguzir Muḥibbullh Khan pisar-e- kalān-e- Dondi Khan rozi be khidmatash āmdeh darkhwāst namood ke barāye bārish du‘aā farmāyand, Haz̤rat Maulawi farmood ke hamrāh-e- shumā dar namāz ḥāz̤ir boodam az mashiyat-e- ilāhi chārah nist, ān ‘aziz tā du pehr gurusneh wa tashnah mānd, Haz̤rat Maulavi tawaz̤u‘a aṭ‘emah wa ashrebah azu kard, guft tā ke bārish nakhwāhad shud bandeh ba darwāza-e- shumā gurusneh wa tashnah khwāhad mānd, nāchār Haz̤rat Maulawi farmood ke buro fardā bārān khwāhad bārid, raft āindeh roz bārish be shiddat-e- tamām be waqt-e- ‘aṣr gardid, ou khwānhāi shirini wa neyāz be khidmat-e- Maulavi āwurd fātihā namudeh tabarruk be mardum taqsim kard.
Mauj: Hazrat Maulavi Muhammad Ali Badāuni: One year there was complete dearth of rain in Bisauli. Dondi Khān, the governor of Bisauli, with his sons Fatḥullah Khān and Muḥibullah Khān, alongwith the learned men of the town and others went to perform the prayer of Istisqā (prayer for rain). Hazrat Maulavi (Muḥammad Badāuni) was also among them. When the rains did not come even four days after the Namāz, inevitably, Muḥibullāh Khān, the elder son of Dondi Khān came to him and requested him to pray for rain. Haz̤rat Maulavi said, ‘I was present with you in that Prayer, but there is no remedy for the Divine will.’ That noble remained (at the Maulavi’s place) without water and food for eight hours. Hazrat Maulavi offered him drinks and eatables but he said, ‘I will remain thirsty and hungry at your doorstep until the rains come.’ Maulavi became helpless and told him, ‘Go, tomorrow it will rain.’ He went away and the next day at the time of the afternoon prayers, heavy rains came down. He brought trays of sweets and offerings for the Maulavi.
6.Mauj: aḥwāl-e- Hazrat Mulla Khwaja Kalān, aṣlash az nawāḥi-e- Lahore, ākbar-e- yāran-e- Hazrat Quṭubul Aqṭāb āst. Waqti dar Lāhore wabāi tā‘un sha‘eh shudeh bood, yak sāl pishtar ānḥaz̤rat farmood ke wabāi ‘aẓim mi rasad, har kas haftād hazār bār kalimah bekhwānd az wabā maḥfooẓ mānad, har kas chunān kard maḥfooẓ mānd.
Mauj: Hazarat Mulla Khwaja Kalan: he is from Lahore and one of the greatest friends of Quṭbul Aqṭāb. One year before the spread of epidemic in Lahore, he said that a great decease is going to soon break out and everyone who will recite the ‘kalemah’ for seventy thousand times shall remain safe. Everybody who did so was safe from the decease.
7.Mauj: aḥwāl-e- Hazrat Mir Sayyid Ghulām Qādir Kolani, dar khānawāda-e- qādriyah murid-e- sayyid Ja‘afar Hādiullāh Panjabi ast. Farmood ke ḥālā Shujāud Daula rā lāzim ast ke be mulk-e- khud raftah band-o- bast-e- khānah-e- khud numāyad ke wa‘ada-e- ‘umrash az yak sāl ham kam bāqi māndeh, pas hamchunān shud, ba‘ad chandi bimāri-e- āblah bar Shujāud Daula ghālib āmad az ānja kooch kardeh be mulk-e- khud rasid wa intiqāl namood.
Mauj: Hazrat Mir Sayyid Ghulām Qādir Kolāni belonged to the Qadriyah silsila and was the murid of Sayyid Ja‘afar Hadiullah Punjabi. He said, ‘Now Shujāud Daulah must return to his kingdom and make arrangements for his household because the remaining period of his life is less than even a year.’ And this is what happened. After some time, Shujāud Daula fell ill with small pox and left that place and died after reaching his kingdom.
8.Mauj: āḥwāl-e- Mir Sayyid Muḥammad Mubārak Muḥaddis̱ Bilgrāmi Ustād ul Moḥaqqeqin Mir Sayyid Tufail Moḥd. Bilgrami mi farmood, rozi sharaf-e- khidmat-e- ānḥaz̤rat daryāftam, barāye tahayya-e- waz̤u barkhāst nāgāh bar zamin uftād, ba sur‘at raftah bardashtam, ba‘ad az sā‘ati be efāqah āmad, kaifiyat istifsār kardam ba‘ad mubālgha farmood seh roz ast muṭlaqan az jins ghiẕa mayassar nayāmdeh wa darin seh roz be hich kas lab ba iẓhār nakushādam wa wām nakardam, marā bisyār riqqat dast dād filfaur āz ānjā be makān-e- khud raftah ṭa‘ām-e-shirin ke marghoob-e- ishān bood mohayyā kardeh ḥāz̤ir āwurdam, awwal khud bashāshat-e- bisyār ẓāhir namood wa do‘āha kard, ba‘ad āz ān farmood sukhane gooyam be sharṭe ke shumā girān khāṭir nashawid, guftam befarmāyand, farmood dar isṭilāḥ-e- faqir ein rā ta‘ām-e- isrāf gooyand, har chand nizd-e- fuqaḥā ākl-e-ān jāiz āst wa dar shra‘a ba‘ad seh roz-e- mayyat ḥalāl āmmā dar faqr ākl-e-ta‘ām-e- isrāf jāyez nist, man chun ein ḥarf shunidam be chun-o- chirā barkhāstam wa bā ṭa‘ām az ānjā barāmdam wa biroon zamāni tawaqquf kardah wa ṭa‘ām rā bāz āwurdam wa ‘arz̤ kardam har gāh bandah ṭa‘ām rā bardāshtah ḥaz̤rat rā tawaqqu‘a bood ke bāz khwāham āwurd, farmood nay, guftam ḥalā ein ṭa‘ām be tawaqqu‘a āwurdah am ṭa‘ām-e- isrāf namānd, ḥaz̤rat Mir azin tāweel ḥiẓẓe kard wa farmood shuma ‘ajab farāsati bekār burdid wa ṭa‘ām rā tanāwul namood.
Mauj: Hāji Mir Sayyid Muḥammad Mubārak Muḥaddis Bilgrami: the master of truth seekers, Mir Sayyid Tufail Muḥammad Bilgrami said that one day I received the honour of presenting myself before him (i.e. Muḥaddis Bilgrami). He stood up to perform the abulutions and suddenly fell down. He regained consciousness after one hour. I asked after his condition and after some hesitation he replied, ‘For three days I have not had any food at all. And for three days I did not tell this to anyone and neither did I borrow.’ I wept bitterly and went to my house at once and prepared the sweet dish which was his favourite and offered it to him. At first he expressed much pleasure and prayed for me. Then he said, ‘I wish to say something but on the condition that you will not be ill- disposed.’ I said ‘Please say.’ He said, ‘In the parlance of the destitute, this would be called extravagance in food. Although according to the experts of jurisprudence, to eat this is permissable and as per the Shari‘ah, (religious code of conduct) after three days (of starvation, to eat from) a dead body is allowed, but in mendicancy, eating excessive food is not permitted.’ On hearing this, I stood up without saying anything and came out with the food. For some time I stayed outside then brought the food back to him and said “When I took away the food, did you expect that I will bring it back?” He said, “No.” I said, “Now that I have brought the food back unexpectedly, it is not extravagance.” Hazrat Mir enjoyed this explanation and said, “What a clever argument you have put forward’ and ate the food.
9.Mauj: āḥwāl-e- Shaikh ‘Aṭāullāh khalaf-o-khaleefā-e-pidar-e- khud Shaikh Ẓahiruddin Ṣāni āst, ou bist-o- panjāh sāleh bood ke pidarash tamām a‘ayān-e-qaṣbah rā jam‘a sākhteh ou rā khalifa-e-khud namood wā naṣāih-e- dilpasand farmood az ān jumlah āst ke ba‘ad-e- wafāt-e- faqir Ẓahiruddin Ṣāni dar nawāḥ-e- kantoor qahṭ-e-‘azim khwāhad shud dar ān tahlakah mardum waṭan-e- khud rā khwāhand guzasht tu niz ba Fateḥpur berawi, ḥuz̤z̤ār ma‘arooz̤ dāshtand ke darin muqaddamah ḥaz̤rat du‘ā farmāyand, farmood be qaz̤āi mubram du‘ā rā tās̱ir nist, ba‘ad āz seh sāl āz wafāt-e- pidarash qaḥṭ-e-‘aẓim mashābah-e-qayāmat qāyam shudeh wa tā deh sāl mānd, ān ḥaz̤rat rā Shaikh Hisāmuddin Fateḥpuri ke āz sābiq dukhtar-e- khud be ān ḥazrat dādeh bood āz kantoor ṭalbeedah dar Fateḥpur nigāhdāsht tā chehl sāl be ‘ibādat wa reyāz̤at ānja guẕrānidah bood.
Mauj: Account of Shaikh ‘Aṭāullāh, the son and successor of his father Shaikh Ẓahiruddin the Second. He was twenty five years of age when his father assembled all the elders of the town, appointed him his successor and gave good instructions such as: “After the death of Ẓahiruddin the second, a great famine will occur in and around Kantur. Because of this calamity people will leave their native place. You too should go to Fateḥpur.” Those who were present requested His Holiness to pray for this. He said, “Prayer is of no effect in the matter of irrevocable fate.” Three years after his father’s death a famine resembling the Doomsday occurred and persisted for ten years. That noble soul (‘Aṭaullāh) was called away from Kantur by Shaikh Husāmuddin who had earlier betrothed his daughter to him, and was kept in Fateḥpur. Shaikh ‘Aṭaullāh spent forty years of his life there in the service of Allah.
Waqti Khwājā Husāmuddin dar dāman-e- garh Batili dar Ajmer khimah zad, deed ke ḥaz̤rat Mirān Sayyid Husain Khinag sawār be ishārah bālāi garh ou rā ṭalabid fauran bar ān irtifā‘a raftah khimah zad, be shab chandān bārān āmad ke khalāiq ‘iẕāi ‘azim yāftand wa āsbāb-o-āmwāl-e- shān talf shud, dar ‘umr-e- shaṣt-o- shish sālagi dar Akbarābād bimār shud, be ṣabāh-e- ān roz ke gharra-e-ṣafar sāl-e- hazār-o- chehl –o- seh (1043) bood ke be jawār-e- raḥmat ba ḥaq paiwast.
When Khwāja Husāmuddin pitched his tent below the fort of Baitly in Ajmer, he saw that Haz̤rat Mirān Sayyid Hussain the Master Rider, had called him up on the fort. Immediately he went up and erected his tent there. That night it rained so heavily that people were put to great pain and lost all their possessions and valuables. At the age of sixty six years he fell ill at Akbarābād and on the morning of Ist Ṣafar, 1043 (A.H.) joined the Divine Mercy.
11.Mauj: āḥwāl-e- Haz̤rat Shāh ‘Aleemullāh mashrab-e- Qādriyah dāsht, āz simt-e- Dehli ba Bilgrām āmdah, Sayyid Aḥmad Hussain farzand-e- Shāh Luddha gooyad ke hargiz ba sārai kasi naraft wa modām mashgool māndi, gāh gāh be sair-e ṣaḥra shudi wa shiagarf quwwat-e- kamāl-e- ou āst ke dar qaḥṭ pānzdeh pānzdeh fāqeh baru guẕashteh āz kulbah biroon barāmad wa ṭāqat-e- ou sāqiṭ nashud, wajh-e- kefāf-e- qut āz dokht-e- pārcha-e- ghurabā kardi.
Mauj: Account of Shāh ‘Aleemullāh of the Qādiri Silsilah: He came from Delhi to Bilgrām. Sayyid Aḥmad Hussain son of Shāh Luddha says that he never went to any one’s house and always kept busy (with prayer). Only sometimes he went to the forest. An example of his amazing (spiritual) powers is that during the famine, he had to starve for fifteen, fifteen times, but when he came out of his solitary abode, had not lost his strength. He earned his livelihood by stitching clothes for the poor.
12.Mauj: aḥwāl-e Haz̤rat Qāzi Shahābuddin Qidwai, ma‘aroof be Qazi Shahāb parkālah ātish āz āulād-e- amjād-e- Haz̤rat Qāzi Qudwah az maḥboob tarin muridān-e- Quṭubul Madār ast. rozi dar Makanpur khalāiq-e-aṭrāf jam‘a āmdeh dar khidmat-e- Shāh Madār nālish namoodand ke bar mā wabā āmdeh bimāri baham mirasad ke hargiz ‘ilāje tadbir nist wa khalāiq-e-kas̱eer murdeh ast, ānḥaz̤rat be Qāzi Shahbuddin farmood ke be falān bulandi rafteh mashgool shau balāye ke barin mardum musallaṭ shudeh ast berawad. Qazi raftah mashghool shud ba‘ad seh roz yak sho‘ala-e- ātish dar gard-o- ghubār namoodār shudeh nazdik-e- Qāzi Shahabuddin āmadeh, ou ān sho‘ala rā faru burd, ān gard-o-ghubār nāpaida shud, Qazi barkhāsteh be makān-e- khud āmad, Qazi rā dard-e- shikam baham rasid khuddām ein khabar rā be Shāh Madār rasānidand, khud tashrif āwurdeh dast-e- ḥaq parast-e- khud bar shikam-e- Qāzi nihād wa farmood ke sho‘ala khurdi ān wabā bood az dast-e- tu chandin khalq rā ḥaq ta‘āla az balā rehā bakhshid, Qazi filhāl az ān ranj ṣeḥat yāft.
Mauj: Account of Hazrat Qāzi Shahābuddin Qidwai, known as Qāzi Shahāb: a world-renowned sufi, and highly revered, he reached Lucknow upon his return from Jaunpur. Quṭubul Madār, out of affection for him, gave him a prayer mat to take to Shaikh Mina. Shaikh Mina gave him much respect. One day in Makanpur people from the neighborhood assembled before Shāh Madār and complained that we have been afflicted with an epidemic and a disease which is not curable and large number of people have succumbed to it. That holyman told Qāzi Shahābuddin to go up a hill and pray that the calamity which has afflicted the people should go away. Qāzi went up and prayed. After three days, a flame of fire emerged from the dust and came to Qāzi Shahābuddin. He swallowed that flame and that dust disappeared. Qāzi stood up and came to his house and was afflicted with stomach ache. Servants gave this news to Shāh Madār. He came personally and put his truth-worshipping hand on his (Qāzi’s) stomach and said: “The flame which you swallowed was that decease. Because of you, Allah saved so many people from this calamity.” Qāzi was immediately cured from that illness.
Mauj: aḥwāl-e-Haz̤rat Shaikh Bheekah Lakhnawi ast, dar Muntakhabut Tawārikh masṭoor ast ke wai Lakhnawist, be kenār-e- āb-e-Gomti doroon-e- jangal miyān-e-ghāri door az ābādāni ke kas badān chārah nami tawānad burd makhfi mi bood wa dar har hafteh yak bār ba‘ad az namāz-e- digar roz-e- jum‘ā afṭār mi kard. Pir zāli dar khāna-e-ou bood ke pārah-e-nān-e- khuskhk bā mewah-e- darakht-e- kunār ke khud nishāndeh bood barāi ghaẕāi ou mi āwurd. Agar kasi irtikāb be mashaqqat-e- mazid namoodeh be ziyārat-e- ou mi raft ou dar rāh waqt-e-mo‘ayyan bar dar-e- ḥujrah āmdeh mi nashist wa sukhan aṣlan nami kard. Shaikh Abdul Qādir ṣāḥib-e-tārikh-e- Badayuni nawisad dar waqt-e- ḥokumat-e- Sulṭān Husain marḥoom dar Lukhnow faqir bā yār-e-digar Abdur Raḥmān Khān nām khalifa-e-Hasan Khān be qaṣd-e-mulāqāt-e-ou raftam wa ou rā post bar ustukhwān didam.
Mauj: Account of Hazrat Shaikh Bheekah Lakhnawi. It has been written in Muntakhabut Tawārikh that he is from Lucknow. At the bank of Gomti, he used to live in a cave in the forest, away from people and where no one could attend to him. Once every week on Friday he used to break his fast after the noon prayers. There was an old lady in his house who brought food for him consisting of a piece of dry bread and Lote-fruites from the tree that she has herself planted. Shaikh ‘Abdul Qādir of Badāun writes that during the time of Late Sulṭan Hussain, this destitute, (Badāuni) with another friend called ‘Abdur Rahmān Khān, successor of Hasan Khān, went to meet him in Lucknow. I saw him skin and bones.
14.Mauj: aḥwāl-e- Sayyid Muḥammad Tāhir murid-o-khalifa-e- Quṭubul Madār ast. Hargiz az murshid-e-khud judā nashudeh ba‘ad az hafteh wa māhi yak kaf barg darakht-e- nib ke talkh tarin darakhtha-e- Hindustān ast khushk kardeh bekhurdi ba‘ad chandi ān rā niz guẕāsht.
Mauj: Account of Sayyid Muḥammad Tāhir, disciple and successor of Quṭubul Madār. He never separated from his guide. He used to eat after one week or one month just one dried leaf of the Neem, the most bitter tree in India. After some time he eschewed even that.
Mauj aḥwāl-e- Haz̤rat Khwājā Muqri Madāri az Hind be Lāhore uftād wa shakhṣi be ism-e- khwājagi Shādi Muqri rā be ghulāmi giraft wa hāfiz-e- Qurān kard . dar taẕkirah Mullā Ṣāleḥ nawisad ke wai rā chun jaẕbah-e- ilāhi faru giraft khwājagi ou rā āzād kard wai az Lahore be Badāun āmdeh zāwiyah sākhtah muqim shudah. rozi shakhṣi āz Lāhore be Badāun raft wa az wafāt-e-khwajgi khabar dāsht, az wai khabar-e- khwājā pursid wa guft chunān ma‘aloom mi shawad imsāl dar Lāhore bārān bisyār āmdeh wa imārāt-e- āli rā kharāb sākhteh wa khalāiq zaye‘a shudeh ba‘ad az ān be shahr ātish uftād wa tamām bisokht, ou guft āri pas guft khwāja-e- man niz azin ‘ālam naql kardeh ast too barāi taskin man chunin mi goi. Guft qabl az ātish wa pish az bārān khwājā shuma intiqāl namood.
Mauj: Account of Hazrat Khwāja Muqri, Madāri. He went from India to Lahore and a man named ‘Khwājagi Shādi’ made Muqri his slave and made him learn the Qurān by heart. Mulla Ṣāleḥ writes that when he was gripped by Allah’s love, Khwājagi set him free. He came to Badāun from Lahore, built a prayer cell for himself and lived there. One day someone came to Badāun from Lahore who knew of Khawājagi’s death. He (Muqri) asked about him and said, “It appears that this year it rained a great deal in Lahore and ruined magnificient buildings and people died. After that, a fire broke out and burnt down the entire city.” He said, ‘yes.’ Khwāja Muqri said, ‘My Khwāja has also told me this. You say this to my satisfaction.” That man said, ‘Your Khwāja had died before the fire and rain.’
16.Mauj: ahwāl-e- Haz̤rat Maulavi ‘Abdus Salām murid-e- Hāfiz ‘Abdul Ghafoor ast ke peshwā-e- naqshbandi bood wa ḥazrat Moosā naqshbandi badu nawisht ke wabā wa ṭā‘un dar ālam paidā shud ālam talf mi shawad man yā shumā har do kas yaki agar jān-e- khud nis̱ār-e- khalq numāyad ālam maḥfooz mi mānad. Hāfiz jawāb nawisht man jān-e- khud nis̱ār namoodam ba‘ad namāz kalema-e-ḥaq bar zabān rāndeh jān be ḥaq shud ṭā‘un wa alam mauqoof shud.
Mauj: Hazrat Maulavi ‘Abdus Salām is the disciple of Hāfiz ‘Abdul Ghafoor, a pioneer of the Naqshbandi school. Hazrat Moosā Naqshbandi wrote to him that an epidemic and plague had broken out and the world is about to perish. If either I or you sacrifise our life for the people, it will be saved. Hāfiz wrote in reply, ‘I have sacrifised my life.’ And after the night prayer, he recited the Kalemah and gave his life to his Creater. The Plague and epidemic were stopped.