Sweet offerings during Muharram

Sweet offerings during Muharram

Much like groundnuts being offered to the deity at the Bull Temple during kadlekai parishe or groundnut fair in Bengaluru, jaggery is offered from the 5th to the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram at the dargah of Sayyed Noor Mohammed Shah Qadri, situated at Jungali Peth in Hale Hubballi (Old Hubli). A large number of devotees, irrespective of caste and creed, visit this sufi shrine during this period and offer jaggery while seeking the blessings of the saint. The urs organised here on the day of Muharram also attracts a huge gathering.

Benevolent ruler

Sayyed Noor Mohammed Shah Qadri’s family migrated from Gujarat to Karnataka (Vijayapura) during the reign of Ibrahim Adil Shah II (1556-1627). Like other Adil Shahi rulers, this king had a cosmopolitan outlook towards his subjects. He was also an expert in Indian classical music. Surprisingly, his collection of musical compositions in the Deccani Urdu called Kitab-e-Nauras begins with prayers to Ganesha, Saraswati and other hindu deities. No wonder, he was called Jagat Guru.

This enlightened ruler was also a patron of arts. He had great respect towards sufis and saints and donated generously to build places of worship of all religions. Likewise, the king held Sayyed Noor Mohammed Shah Qadri in high esteem. It is said that Noor Mohammed Shah Qadri was a good designer and helped in designing many mosques.

Like other sufis, he also traveled widely and preached universal brotherhood. This sufi saint ran a khanqa (hospice) in Vijayapura and served society irrespective of religion. 

Like other sufis and saints, Sayyed Noor Mohammed Shah Qadri used
poetry as a medium to educate people. Talking about Sufism, author and
researcher Seyyed Hossein Nasr says that its message is timeless as it speaks truth. Auhtor Raziuddin Aquil, in his book In the name of Allah, writes that Sufism
proclaimed truth and showed similarities with the values underlined by India’s
religions.

Sayyed Noor Mohammed Shah Qadri shifted from Vijayapura to Bankapura in Haveri district and subsequently settled in Jungali Peth in Hale Hubballi. As the name suggests, the place was a thick forest then. He built a mosque for the convenience of his followers and it is said to be the oldest mosque in the area.

It is said that when he had been to Mecca and Medina on pilgrimage, the Sheriff of Medina had presented him several holy relics, which he brought to India. But today only two hair strands of Prophet Muhammad’s beard, a scarf (believed to be of the prophet’s daughter Fatima’s), a book dedicated to Fatima and a small wooden stool believed to be used by her, remain with the descendants of the saint.

Interestingly, this book, which has not been opened so far, is exhibited during Muharram. During Eid-e-Milad, holy relics of Prophet Muhammed are also displayed. There is an Aasar Mahal in the vicinity of the dargah in Hubballi and it reflects Adil Shahi architecture.

Sayyed Noor Mohammed Shah Qadri passed away on the 7th day of Muharram (28th September) in 1626 A D. To commemorate his contribution to the society, his urs is celebrated from the 7th to the 10th day of Muharram. On this occasion, people give hudda (gift) to the shrine to fulfill their wishes. People belonging to all religions come and pay respect to this great sufi saint.

Sufism and Bhakti movement have strengthened the pluralistic society of India. Arshad Qadri, a descendant of the saint and a trustee of the dargah says, “We are shortly starting educational institutions and a free hospital as well as langar (feeding visitors free). Our aim is to serve people and promote communal harmony.”

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