Shaikh Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi is the spiritual guide of Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo. He belonged to the progeny of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. Details about his life are concealed from the world just like other spiritual leaders of Sarwari Qadri order. They do not appreciate fame and keep themselves away from publicity, hence the details about their life remain a secret.
Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi according to writer of Manaqib-e-Sultani
According to the writer of Manaqib-e-Sultani:
- Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi held a government post in Delhi. Further he was the key holder and trustee of the royal treasury. Hence the state provided him with armed security and a guarded place to live and when he came to meet his disciples, he used to hide his face with a veil because the light of Divine majesty and beauty luminous upon his face was unbearable. Thus, he held a great position in worldly life as well as in Faqr.
This statement of Manaqib-e-Sultani creates some confusions as discussed below:
Contradiction # 1
- Since Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi had the highest station and rank in Faqr. Therefore all the seekers of Allah must have been visiting him to gain spiritual beneficence from his company. Indian authors have also stated in their books that lacs of people got spiritual beneficence from Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani, which implies that he had to meet a lot of seekers of Allah every day. If he held a high government post, it would not have been possible because then he must have been busy in doing his worldly duties. Surprisingly none of the historians have ever mentioned his name as a royal official. Indian authors too have written just a few lines about him while discussing his shrine.
- Secondly, had he been a high government official and the incharge as well as trustee of the royal treasury, he must have had contacts with all the members of the royal family and all the servants and officials of the court. During the reign of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, dozens of historians appointed to write each and every moment of the history but no one had ever mentioned his name as an important royal official which seemed strange.
Contradiction # 2
- Immediately after meeting Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani, Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo met Aurangzeb in the mosque of Delhi. There he blessed everyone but Aurangzeb, the chief of police and judge remained unaffected. On the request of Aurangzeb, Sultan Bahoo compiled the book Aureng Shahi. During that meeting, Aurangzeb would most probably have asked him about his purpose of coming to Delhi and Sultan Bahoo must have answered him that he had come to meet Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani. If Sayyid Abdul Rehman had been a government official, Aurangzeb would have recognized him immediately and would have added him to his special advisors.
Contradiction # 3
- To cover one’s face had never been a tradition of Sarwari Qadri spiritual leaders. Covering the face makes a man more prominent, while Sarwari Qadri spiritual guides never appreciate fame and prefer to remain anonymous. They also remain close to common people instead of rulers.
Contradiction # 4
- Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani’s shrine is in old Delhi at a long distance away from Lahori Gate of the Fort. Adjacent to the shrine is Shah Abdul Rehman Mosque. This also shows that he did not live inside the Fort. Rather, he lived in a common area and blessed common people with his benevolence.
All the above arguments prove that the writer of Manaqib-e-Sultani has not researched before writing the above statement about Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani nor did he travel to Delhi to confirm it. He wrote the tradition heard from someone in the family without verifying it from reliable sources.
Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi according to writer of Bagh-e-Sadaat
Bagh-e-Sadaat, a book by Sayyid Tajammal Shah Naqvi Achvi (in the possession of Ghulam Mohammad son of Khalifah Manzoor Ahmad, Uch Sharif, Pakistan) was published in 1934. Its second edition published in 1947. Nowadays this book is rare, although it is authentic that its first edition published in 1934. As its reference is present in Sharif-ul-Tawarikh which was also published in 1934 after it. On page 61 of Bagh-e-Sadaat, the lineage of Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani is:
- Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
- Shaikh Sayyid Abdul Razzaq Jilani
- Abu Saleh Nasr
- Sayyid Yaseen
- Sayyid Ahmad Shah
- Sayed Abdul Qadir
- Sayyid Abdul Latif
- Sayyid Abdul Rehman, commonly known by the name of Bholu Shah, the spiritual guide of Sultan Bahoo, buried in Delhi.
This lineage continues as:
- Pir Habib Shah
- Pir Rajab Shah
- Mohammad Shah
- Pir Allah Bakhsh
- Pir Kareem Shah
- Hazoor Shah
- Noor Shah
- Zaman Shah (His shrine is in the village Tung of Isa Khel district Mianwali, Pakistan. Moreover the shrine is deserted and has no attendant neither the people of area have any knowledge about him. Zaman Shah had three sons (1) Ghulam Shah (2) Daulat Shah (3) Nadir Shah. According to the lineage records of these three sons given in the third edition of Bagh-e-Sadaat (1947), their twelve generations had passed then, who lived in Zafarwal, Nankana Sahib, Layyah and its vicinity.)
Misconception about lineage of Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani
The main objection on this lineage record is that Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani had never been known by the name of Bholu Shah. In fact Bholu Shah was another Saint of Qadri order who lived in 1200 H. Moreover his shrine is at a distance of two or three kilometers from the shrine of Sayyid Abdul Rehman. We can find discussion about him in the old and new Indian history books. All the writers have written his name Bholu Shah except Ghulam Yahya Anjum, who has written his name ‘Shah Behlan commonly known as Bholu Shah’ in Tareekh Mashaikh Qadiriyya (Vol III).
Who was Bholu Shah?
Bholu Shah was a majdhub. (Majdhub is the seeker who cannot tolerate the effects of theophanies and loses his senses. Hence, due to his lost and absorbed state, does not follow sharia properly, neither progresses on the spiritual journey.) He migrated to Delhi from Punjab. He was the disciple and spiritual successor of Abdul Hamid in Qadri order. Waqiat Dar-ul-Hakumat Dehli (Vol II) states:
- The shrine of Bholu Shah (1201 H) is near the Kabli Gate. It demolished but everyone knows its place. He was the Saint of Qadri order and died in 1201 H. Further the graves of his disciple Shah Mohammad Hafeez and his son Shah Ghulam Mohammad are near his shrine. Devotees celebrates death anniversary of Bholu Shah on the 19th of Muharram. (page 473)
Bholu Shah according to Mazaraat Auliya-e-Dehli
The book Mazaraat Auliya-e-Dehli compiled by Mohammad Alam Shah Fareedi, published in 1927 AD is the first book on the shrines of Delhi. Its second edition published in 1930. The writer and publisher migrated to Pakistan in 1947. This book republished in 2006 from Delhi with corrections and additional information by Doctor Hafeez-ur-Rehman Siddiquee. The author states in the book:
- Bholu Shah (1789 AD) – Shrine in old Delhi near Kabli Gate: Belonged to Punjab and was the spiritual successor of Shah Abdul Hameed in Qadiriyya Razaqia Moreover he also had the privilege of having the company of Fakhruddin Chishti and Shah Nano. Bholu Shah was a majdhub devotee. He died on 20th Muharram 1204 H (1789 AD) in the reign of Shah Alam II. His shrine is outside Kabli Gate. (page 157-158)
Bholu Shah according to Rehnuma-e-Mazaraat-e-Dehli
The author writes in Rehnuma-e-Mazaraat-e-Dehli:
- He (Bholu Shah) was a disciple and spiritual successor of Shah Abdul Hameed in Qadiriyya Razaqia Now he originally belonged to Punjab and had also benefitted from Shah Nano and Shah Fakhruddin. He died on 20th Muharram, 1204 H. Further his shrine is near the railway line, under the left side of Mithai Bridge (Lahori Gate 4, Old Delhi 6). A mosque is also present nearby. Shah Hafeez-ur-Rehman was amongst the special disciples of Shah Bholu, who died on 30th Dhul al-Qadah, 1236 H during the reign of Akbar Shah II and had buried near his spiritual guide. Shah Ghulam Mohammad was Shah Hafeez-ur-Rehman’s son and spiritual successor. His grave is at the footside of his father’s grave.(page 284-286)
Bholu Shah according to Tareekh Mashaikh Qadiriyya (Vol III)
Ghulam Yahya Anjum writes in Tareekh Mashaikh Qadiriyya (Vol III):
- Shah Behlan, commonly known by the name of Bholu Shah, belonged to the Qadiriyya Razaqia Moreover he was the disciple and spiritual successor of Shah Abdul Hameed and also benefited from Fakhruddin Chishti. He was a majdhub devotee, died on 19th Muharram, 1204 H (1789 AD) and had buried in Takya Bholu Shah which is adjacent to Kabli Gate in Delhi. His devotees celebrate basant (kite festival in Indo-Pak) in the spring season at his shrine with great enthusiasm. (page 291)
All the above statements prove that the lineage record of Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani given by the writer of Bagh-e-Sadaat by the name of Bholu Shah is not of Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani. It is the lineage record of Bholu Shah who migrated to Delhi from Punjab and got spiritual beneficence from Shah Abdul Hameed of Qadri order. Additionally his family resided in Punjab, which is why, his spiritual successor Shah Mohammad Hafeez became his successor and the caretaker of his shrine. After Shah Mohammad Hafeez, his son succeeded him. Their graves are also near the grave of Bholu Shah. The shrine of Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani is situated at Lahori Gate, Sadar Bazar Railway Station, Railway Colony Muslim Waqf Board Quarters, Old Delhi 6, about two kilometers away from Bholu Shah’s shrine.
Discussion about Sayyid abdul rehman Jilani Dehlvi in Indian Books
It is in Mazaraat Auliya-e-Dehli:
- He (Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani) was amongst the great and recognized Saints. He was the disciple and spiritual successor of Sayyid Abdul Jaleel in Qadri order and was the spiritual guide of Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo who is the famous Saint of Punjab. Furthermore Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani was a man of miracles and powers. Moreover his shrine is in the compound behind the waiting room of railway station Sadar Bazar. He died between the last period of the reign of Shah Jahan and the beginning of Aurangzeb’s reign. There is no mention of the exact date and year of his death. (First edition, published in Dehli, 1927)*
* The author of later books copied details about Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani from this book relating to the history of Saints and their shrines.
Rehnuma-e-Maqamat-e-Muqaddas Dar-ul-Hakumat Dehli
Book Rehnuma-e-Maqamat-e-Muqaddas Dar-ul-Hakumat Dehli states about the shrine of Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi:
- His shrine is adjacent to Sadar Station Delhi. Furthermore he belonged to the progeny of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani and he is one of the greatest Saints. The famous Saint of Punjab Sultan Bahoo was his superior spiritual successor. It was due to his spiritual powers that the government saved his shrine during the construction of the road and the railway track. The government also tiled its compound, made an iron fence around it and made a pavement to reach the shrine. (Published in 1914 in Dehli)
Tareekh Mashaikh Qadiriyya (Vol III)
Doctor Ghulam Yahya Anjum writes in Tareekh Mashaikh Qadiriyya (Vol III):
- Sayyid Shaikh Abdul Rehman Jilani was one of the most eminent Saints of Delhi. Moreover his genealogy traces back to Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. He was distinguished in piety and mysticism and held a high position in revelations and miracles. Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani received spiritual beneficence of the Qadri way from his spiritual guide Sayyid Abdul Jaleel. Qadri way flourished in and around Dehli due to him. Countless seekers of Allah became his disciples and he blessed many of them with spiritual succession and many with the permission to grant litanies. The famous Saint Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo was also his spiritual successor. (Published in 2006 in Dehli)
The author of book Rehnuma-e-Mazaraat-e-Dehli states in the context of his shrine:
- Abdul Rehman Jilani was the spiritual guide of the famous Saint of Punjab, Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo. He was a recognized Saint of Qadri family as well as a man of miracles and powers. (Published in Dehli in 2007)
Oriental Biographical Dictionary
Beale has written in Oriental Biographical Dictionary that Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani was the son of Abdul Aziz Naqshbandi and his daughter was married to Salman Shikoh who was the son of Dara Shikoh. Doctor Rama Krishna holds the same point of view. However, this seems more like a supposition because Sayyid Abdul Rehman was genealogically a Jilani (descendant of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani and Jilan is a village in Iran) Sayyid and all his family, generation after generation, belonged to the Qadri order. Hence, it is impossible that his father belonged to the Naqshbandi order. It is also a fact that it was he who migrated to India not his father. This opinion of Beale is not considered authentic by anyone neither it has any importance in Qadri or Sarwari Qadri order. None of the old or new authors have ever mentioned it in their books.
We have discussed complete research of all the Indian and Pakistani authors about Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi. It proves that the Indian authors have just rewritten what had published in Aasaar-e-Dehli in 1914 or in Mazaraat Auliya-e-Dehli in 1927. Whereas, Pakistani authors have been copying the statement of Manaqib-e-Sultani. No one has ever taken the pain to go to his shrine and research or even confirm the details known about him.
Research by Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman
To find the exact details about Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani, it was necessary to research properly and then compile his actual biography. In this context, the most difficult job was to go to India and carry out the research there.
In November 2008, I discussed the matter with Asad Khan Sarwari Qadri, the beloved disciple of Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali. He told me that his friend Mohammad Ilyas’s wife belongs to old Delhi. His brother-in-law Mujeeb-ur-Rehman often visits Pakistan. Maybe he could be of assistance. Then Asad Khan talked to Mujeeb-ur-Rehman on telephone and asked for help in this matter, he agreed. The first step was to search the shrine of Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani in Delhi because Delhi has expanded much now. Mujeeb-ur-Rehman sent us some books about the shrines of Delhi. Through those books, he got guidance about the location of the shrine. Even then, it took him two months to find the shrine. He came to know that it was difficult to enter that area as its occupants were the people of other religion and the shrine along with its adjacent land had been encroached since 1947.
Meeting Saleem-uz-Zaman Hashmi
Mujeeb-ur-Rehman took his mother along and went to the Mosque Shah Abdul Rehman adjacent to the shrine. There he met Sayyid Saleem-uz-Zaman Hashmi son of Sayyid Ahsanullah Hashmi son of Hakeem Sayyid Abdul Rehman Hashmi. Further he voluntarily served as the imam of the mosque as well as the attendant of the shrine.
Now Mujeeb-ur-Rehman discussed the matter with him in detail and also let him talk to Asad Khan on cell phone. First of all, he complained that no one takes the pain to search the facts about Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi. Moreover the authors just copy whatever had written about him in the old books without verification. When the latest book Rehnuma-e-Mazaraat-e-Dehli published in 2007 was shown to him, he told that the picture of the grave of Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani given in the book was forty years old. However, he promised that he would search his old family records which were in Arabic and Persian and then he would be able to give the exact information in writing.
Saleem-uz-Zaman Hashmi was stricken with paralysis
A year passed by, although Sayyid Saleem-uz-Zaman Hashmi gave all the information to Asad Khan on phone but before he could give anything in writing, he had a stroke of paralysis in 2009. He could not move the right side of his body. We waited until he was under treatment. In early 2010, he asked Mujeeb-ur-Rehman to write the available information about Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani, as he thought his last moments had approached. Mujeeb-ur-Rehman could write in Hindi only so it seemed appropriate to get all the information written by him in Hindi and then composed in Urdu.
Hindi script by Saleem-uz-Zaman Hashmi was composed in Urdu
Mujeeb-ur-Rehman wrote all the information given to him by Saleem-uz-Zaman Hashmi in Hindi and came to Pakistan in February 2010. Here all the notes were translated and composed in Urdu. Those notes and a beautiful sheet specially embellished for the shrine of Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani, on which Ism-e-Allah Zaat was embroidered, were handed over to him. He returned to India on 21st February, 2010.
On 23rd February he met Sayyid Saleem-uz-Zaman, who was very ill and came to the shrine with great difficulty. He read and signed that script and gave it back to Mujeeb-ur-Rehman permitting him to give it to anyone who needs it for research purpose. Sayyid Saleem-uz-Zaman Hashmi died on 25th February, 2010. Mujeeb-ur-Rehman has added in the script that perhaps Sayyid Saleem-uz-Zaman Hashmi remained alive for the last few days just to handover that script to him.
On 13th May 2010, Mujeeb-ur-Rehman again came to Lahore and delivered that script signed by Sayyid Saleem-uz-Zaman Hashmi to Mohammad Asad Khan in the presence of witnesses. Mujeeb-ur-Rehman also wrote all the incidents that took place during the preparation of the script, in Hindi. It was translated there and then in Urdu under his guidance and signed by him. Now this script is in the possession of Mohammad Asad Khan Sarwari Qadri. According to that script, the biography of Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani is in the next section.