Shrines of Kashmir


Shrines of Kashmir

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Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani

Syed Ali bin Shahab-ud-Din Hamadani Abidi (Persian: سید علی‎; 1314-1384) was a Persian Sufi of the Kubrāwī order, a poet and a prominent Muslim scholar. He was born on Monday, 12th Rajab in 1314 in the Islamic year 714 AH in Hamadan and died in 1384 and the in the Islamic year 786 in Kunar and was buried in Khatlan. He was very influential in spreading Islam in Kashmir and has had a major hand in shaping the culture of the Kashmir valley. He was also known as "Shah Hamadan" ("King of Hamadan", Iran) and as Amīr-i Kabīr ("the Great Commander"). He wrote several short works on spirituality and Sufism. He was immortalized by poets likeAllama Iqbal. His name was Ali, and titles were Amir-e-Kabir, Ali Sa'ani, Shah-e-Hamadan, the Chroniclers had mentioned several other titles: Qutub-e-Zaman, Sheikh-e-Salikan-e-Jehan, Qutub-Ulp-Aktab, Moih-Ul-Ambiya-o-Ul-Mursaleen, Afzal-Ul-Muhaq-e-qeen-o-Akmal-Ul-Mudaq-e-qeen, Al-Sheiyookh-Ul-Kamil, Akmal-Ul-Muhaqqiq-Ul-Hamadani etc.

Early life


Sayyid Hamadani came from an educated family. He was intelligent and quick of mind, and read the Quran, under the care of his maternal uncle, HazratAla-Uddin and from him too he took his lessons on various subjects, both outer and intrinsic for a period of thirteen years.

Spiritual Training

HazratAla-Uddin, then, entrusted him to Sheikh Abul Bracket for spiritual training, and after his demise he proceeded to Sheikh Mahmud Mizdiqani, a renowned saint of the time. The saint put him to severe tests and thus removed pride and haughtiness from him and inculcated in him virtues of humility.


He belonged to the Kubraviya Order and received the role of the spiritual heir from Sheikh AbulMiaminNajamUddin Muhammad-bin-Mohammad Azani.


Syed Ali Hamadani was a prolific traveller in his times and travelled far and wide throughout the Muslim World. His teacher Mahmud Mizdiqani had said to him, "Travel about the world, meet the saints, draw benefits from them as much as you can." Consequently, he undertook the Haj thrice and traveled for twenty or twenty one years. During these journeys he saw the Islamic and other countries and met the holy men there. To avoid persecution in his homeland at the hands of Timur, he moved to Kashmir with seven hundred followers, during the reign of King Shahab-Uddin. He had already sent two of his followers: Syed TajUddinSamnani and Mir Syed HasanSamnani to take stock of the situation. The ruler of Kashmir became the follower of Mir Syed HasanSamnani and because of the Kings concurrence he entered Kashmir with a large following. The King and heir apparent, QutubUddin, received him warmly. At that time the Kashmir ruler was on war with FirozTughlaq and because of his efforts the parties came to terms. In Kashmir, Shah-e-Hamadan started to preach Islam in an organized manner. He and his followers helped set up a large number of mosques in every nook and corner of the valley, the most famous of them being the Khanqah-e-Maula on the banks of Jhelum River. Shah Hamdan did not stay in the valley permanently but visited the valley on various occasions. The first time was during the reign of Sultan Shahab Uddin in 774 A.H he came, stayed for six months and left. The second time he visited was in 781 A.H. when QutubUddin was the ruler. This time he stayed for a year and tried to extend the Movement to every nook and corner of Kashmir, returning to Turkistan via Ladakh in 783 A.H. Third, he visited in 785, with the intention to stay for a longer period but had to return earlier owing to illness.

Illness and Visal

On return from his third visit to Kashmir he reached Kunar via Pikhanli and was received as a royal guest. He fell ill there and died after five days on 6, Zil Haj 786 Hijri. Compiler, Hasan, in the Tar-eekh-e-Hasan mentions the date of expiry in the Persian couplet, which means The great Syed Sirdar (Ali Hamadan) went to the paradise to take rest. Hasan mentions the year of the death in this couplet. He was buried at Kulob in Khatlan where people to this day gather in large numbers to pay their homage to him. Shah Hamadan's efforts reached far and wide and benefited a large number of people. The number of his followers was large. A few to mention were: Noor UddinJafarRustaqBazariBadakhshi, KhawajaIshaq Khatlani, Sheikh QiwamUddinBadakhshi, Mir Syed Husain Samnani, Mir RuknUddin, Syed FakharUddin, Qutub-e-Amjad Syed Muhammad Qureshi, Syed Ahmad Qureshi, Syed Muhammad Aziz Ullah, Syed Muhammad murid, and Pir Muhammad Qadri etc.


His descendants are known as Hamadani,Khatlani , dewani Sayyids and they trace their lineage to Ali ibnHusaynZayn al-Abidin through Sayyid Ali Hamadani Abidi. Among them is Sayyid Qamar Abbas Al-Hamadani Al-A'raji who has authored two works, one of which relates to the ancestry of Hamadani Sayyids. One is 'AnsabSadaat Al-Hussaini' or 'The Genealogy of Hussaini Sayyids' and 'Kitab Al-Mashjar Min AwlaadHussain Al-Asghar' or ' The Ancestral Family Tree of The Progeny of Hussain Al-Asghar" which specifically deals with the descendants of Sayyid Ali Hamadani.

Influence on Kashmiri culture

Shah-e-Hamadan has been on the principal historical figures who have shaped the culture of Kashmir. His influence on arts and culture and the economy of the valley cannot be overstated. Among the seven hundred followers who accompanied him to Kashmir, were men of arts and crafts who flourished in the valley. They popularized Shawl-making, carpet-manufacturing, cloth-weaving, pottery and calligraphy. Allama Iqbal admits that because of Shah Hamadan the wonderful arts and crafts turned Kashmir into a mini Iran and brought about a revolution in the thinking process of the people. The skills and know-how he brought to Kashmir gave rise to an industry which is world famous even now as the home of Cashmere shawls. The many vocations he introduced in the valley have provided a livelihood to the artisans of Kasmir for centuries. Shah Hamadan was a Multi-dimensional personality. He was a social reformer besides being a preacher. He brought substantial reforms in the lives of ordinary Kashmiris, getting rid of practices like black magic and Sati. He made Islamic teachings known to the people in Kashmir, improved their beliefs, made efforts for the building of their character and laid down a fool-proof system for the propagation of the Islam. He introduced the Central Asian architecture in the valley and when fused with the Kashmiri architecture, gave rise to a new style. The most famous example of this is the Khanqah-e-Mualla, the monastery dedicated to him in Kashmir. This building, which contains the room where he stayed on his first visit to the valley, is a beautiful model of wooden architecture of Kashmir, with engravings on walls. Friday prayers are said there were hundreds gather to pray. The sacred relics include the Prophet's flag, the pillar of the Prophet's tent, and Shah Hamadan's walking stick. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter his Khanqah which has a temple of the Hindu goddess Kali within the same premises. Even today the wall of the Khanqah facing the river has vermillion smeared on it by the local Kashmiri Pandits, who have been allowed to pray there freely. Some of his descendants still live in Kashmir.

His position with respect to Hindus

Before Shah-i-Hamadan left Kashmir he ordered the then king Sultan Qutubudin to impose the following sanctions on non-Muslims:
1. They will respect Muslims.
2. They will not adopt Muslim names.
3. They will not harbor spies or act as spies.
4. If any relation of theirs wants to embrace Islam, they will not oppose it.
5. They will not sell intoxicating drinks.
6. They will not give up their traditional dress so that they can be distinguished from Muslims.


He is a highly revered figure in Kashmir, parts of Pakistan as well as in Tajikistan, where he is buried. He is credited with having performed many miracles in his time.
A 627 year old chinar tree at Chatargam, Chadoora, Budgam district, Kashmir, said to be the oldest tree of this type in the world, was allegedly planted in 1374 AD by Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani.


Shah Hamadan, besides being a mystic saint and an effective preacher, was a man of letters and wrote about a hundred pamphlets in Arabic and Persian: Zakhirat-ul-Maluk, a famous book, has been translated in many languages. Some other famous works are:
• RisalahNooriyah, is a tract on contemplation.
• RisalahMaktubaat, contains Amir-i-Kabir’s letter.
• DurMu’rifatiSuratwaSirat-i-Insaan, discusses the bodily and moral features of man.
• DurHaqaa’ikiTawbah, deals with the real nature of penitence.
• HallilNususiallalFusus, is a commentary on Ibn-ul-‘Arabi’sFusus-ul-Hikam.
• SharhiQasidahKhamriyahFaridhiyah, is a commentary on the wine-qasidah of ‘Umar ibnul-Fariz who died in 786 A.H. =1385 A.C.
• RisalatulIstalahaat, is a treatise on Sufic terms and expressions.
• ‘ilmulQiyafah or Risalah-i qiyafah is an essay on physiognomy. A copy of this exists in the United States National Library of Medicine. • Dah Qa’idah gives ten rules of contemplative life.
• KitabulMawdahFilQurba, puts together traditions on affection among relatives.
• KitabusSab’ina Fi Fadha’ilAmirilMu’minin, gives the seventy virtues of Hazrat ‘Ali. Arba’inaAmiriyah, is forty traditions on man’s future life.
• RawdhtulFirdaws, is an extract of a larger work entitled.
• FirdawsulAkhyaar, by Shuja-ud-Din Shiruyah.
• ManaziluInsaaliqin, is on Sufi-ism.
• Awraad-ul-Fatehah, gives a conception of the unity of God and His attributes.
• ChehlAsraar (Forty Secrets), is a collection of forty poems in praise of Allah and The Prophet
• Zakhirat-ul-Muluk, a treatise on political ethics and the rules of good government.


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2. Ninth Session, Part 2
3. Soqte:School Of Orthoepy Quran And Theology::Kashmir
4. Hadith alThaqalayn || Imam Reza (A.S.) Network
5. Dogar, SafdarHussain, ed. (2014). PiyamZainab. p. 44.
6. Al-Hamdani, Sayyid Abdul Basit, ed. (2010). TazkirahSadaat Hamdan. p. 537.
7. Al-Musavi, Sayyid Abu Zahra, ed. (2014). Mujam Al-Nassabeen. p. 110.
8. Al-A'raji, Sayyid NabeelSa'ib, ed. (2014). Sahah Al-Auqaab 2. p. 435.
9. Zakhirt-ul-mulk
10. Rajesh Bhat (2007-12-24). "627-year-old living legend found in Kashmir".
• The Nurbakhshis of Baltistan: Crisis and Revival of a Five Centuries Old Community, Andreas Rieck Die Welt des Islams, New Ser., Vol. 35, Issue 2 (Nov., 1995), pp. 159–188

Shah Hamdan Mosque

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