Indian Shia History and SHAHEED E SAALIS

The Hindu rulers of Vijayanagar during the 16th and 17th centuries even donned blackened garments and helped to arrange the Kala Tazia (B...

The Hindu rulers of Vijayanagar during the 16th and 17th centuries even donned blackened garments and helped to arrange the Kala Tazia (Black Tazia) processions. Even the Scindias of Gwalior and the Holkar Maharajas of Indore conducted  Majlis or Muharram congregations.

Shiite Islam has deep rooted influence in present and history of India from North to South with various Shia Muslim dynasties ruling Indian provinces from time to time. Few prominent ones of the Indian Shia Muslim dynasties are as follows:

*Bahmani Sultanate (1347–1527 AD)
*Sharqi Dynasty (1394 CE to 1479 CE)
*Berar Sultanate (1490-1572 AD)
*Bidar Sultanate (1489-1619 AD)
*Qutb Shahi dynasty (1518–1687 AD)
*Adil Shahi dynasty (1527–1686 AD)
*Nawab of Awadh (1722-1858 AD)
*Najafi Nawabs of Bengal (1757–1880)
*Nawab of Rampur
*Nizams of Hyderabad State(1724–1948 AD)


Name   : Noor Allah Shustari s/o Sayed Mohammed Sharif al Hussain

Titles     :Qazi and Zia al Deen   Kunyat : Abul Majd

Born     :   On :  956 H (1549 A.D.)                               At: Shustar, Khuzistan, Iran

Martyred: 26 Rabi al Awwal 1019 H                             At   Agra, India:

Age       :    63 years

 We would like to discuss at some length about how Islam came to India and who were the august personalities who made supreme sacrifices to pave the way for the followers of the Al e Mohammed (s.a) to follow theTrue Faith without any fear or hindrance. Therefore we shall have to highlight the circumstances under which shaheed Saalis was martyred under the sword of the Islamic Rulers! From the period of Allama Hilli the experts in the Jafari Fiqh were the important targets of the establishments of those days. We can list 4 or 5 eminent Mujtahids who were martyred. In this series we have already discussed about the first two martyrs. We are now discussing about the Shaheed e Saalis, the Third Martyr, Qazi Noor Allah Shustari. There has been difference of opinion among the eminent Ulema as to who was the third martyr, the fourth and the fifth. TheUlema in the Sub-Continent have been unanimous in their opinion that Qazi Noor Allah Shustari is the Shaheed e Saalis (The Third Martyr). The obvious reason for this opinion is the great sacrifice he made and the propagation of the word of the Ahl e Bayt (a.s) that wasa done by him against all odds. Allama Mohammed Taqi of Iran is termed as Shaheed e Rabeh (the Fourth Martyr). But many Ulema of the Sub-Continentare of opinion that this privilege must go to a cleric of Delhi who had written a fitting reply for the infamous book “Tohfa e Asna Ashariya” and therefore he was poisoned to death by his enemies.The Ulema in the Middle East list Mulla Mohammed Taqi as the Third Martyr and Baqir al Sadr as the Fourth Martyr. Noor Allah Shustari doesn’t find a place in their listing. But one should remember that his greatness as a scholar and jurist is recognized by one and all.


The given name of Shaheed e saalis was Noor Allah and the title was Qazi and Zia al Deen. His Kunyat was Abul Majd. His father was Mohammed Sharif al Hussain and he was a Sayed descending from the 4thImam, Imam Zain al Abedeen (a.s). Shaheed e Saalis belonged to the clan of Mar-ashi Sayeds. He has descended from the Imam Zada, a scion of the 4th Imam (a.s), who settled down in Mar-ash. Qazi Noor Allah was born at Shustar in the Khuzistan Province of Iran in the year 956 H (which is equivalent to 1549 A.D). His intial education was in the tutelage of his father and uncle. At the age of 19 years, in 974 H he moved to Mashahd e Muqdis for higher education.and got admitted to the Hauza e Ilmia, the Seminary, there. When he was at the age of 35 years, in 993 H, he felt there was the need of his services in India and therefore, he migrated there from Mashad. From 993 H to 1019 H, a period of 26 years he spent in different centers of the sprawling country. On 26 Rabi al Awwal, 1019 H, a functionary of the Moguls, on the orders of King Jehangir, martyred him at the age of 63 years and he has been interred near the city of Agra. His mausoleum is visited by the Momineen with great veneration to this day. Of his monumental work, 140 books have been the books of history. He has lot more publications to his credit that are spread far and wide in the Sub Continent. One will not be far wrong if he says that the Shia Faith established firm roots in the Sub Continent because of his untiring efforts which ultimately became the cause of his Martyrdom.


Before we go into the details of the services of Shaheed e Saalis, we must look at the scenario that developed ever since the period of Bani Omayya to that of Bani Abbas and later. With the Bani Omayya heaping untold hardships on the Sayeds, they moved to Khorasan. Bani Abbas too made Khorasan the center of thewir activity to chanllenge the Bani Omayya. But once they came into power, they became as cruel to the followers of Al e Mohammed (s.a) as the bani Omayya, or more so. A lot of the followers of the Al e Mohammed (s.a) had perforce to migrate from Khorasan and the nearest and the best place for them to seek refuge was India. Some historians say that one of the reasons for Mohhamed bin Qasim attacking Sind on the orders of Hajaj bin Yusuf was the succor that the raja had given to Sayeds who flew from Hijaz, Basra andKoofa unable to withstand the tyranny of Hajaj bin Yusuf. Hajaj bin Yusuf wanted the Raja to hand these people to him but he was a man of honor and said that he had given refuge to them and wouldn’t hand them over to anyone.This is very clear that the area in Sind, from Thatt to Multan, was where the followers of Al e Mohammed (a.s) settled in India. Many of them were the progeny of the Imams (a.s). Then they moved toGujrat and other parts of India. Again another period of adversity started for the followers of Al e Mohammed (s.a) and they migrated in large numbers from Iran and Iraq to India. This calamity was the invasion ofChangez Khan and Halaku Khan. Hundreds of thousands of people migrated enmasse and Delhi became an important center for the followers of Al e Mohammed (s.a). One tyrannical ruler, Firuz Thughluk, has written in his memoirs, “Praise be to Allah! During my reign the Rafizis had started gaining importance but I din’t take rest till I annihilated the last one of them!” Firuz advanced and the followers of al e Mohammed (s.a) scattered. Some went to Kashmir and others went to the southern areas of the Deccan and Mysore. In the Deccan area there was one erudite scholar by name, Mulla Mohammed Tahir, who propagated the Deen e Ahl e Bayt (a.s). It became so prominent that the names of the 12 Imams (a.s) were included in the sermons during the Friday Congregations! The official faith of the realm was declared as Atna Ashari and it was announced that praising the enemies of Ale Mohammed (s.a) was a crime! The Faith of Al e Mohammed (s.a) spread in all the small Sultanates of the Deccan. Because of this development, theUlema from Mashad, Qum and other parts of Iran were nvited to come over to the Deccan. But in the northern parts of India the rulers were mostly inimical to the followers of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s)

In the northern areas the followers of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s) had to live in Taqayya (Dissimulation) because of the fear of the establishment there.They however wanted a cleric to guide them in the norms of their faith. Those days the king in Delhi was the Moghul Humayun. Humayun was abjectly defeated by his enemy, Sher Shah, and he had to flee to Iran. There he learned that Iran was a big power those days and if the king gave him support, he could win back his kingdom in Delhi. The king in Iran those days was Tahmasp who was a great friend of the erudite scholars and was keenly interested in the propagation of the Faith of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). Humayun lived in Iran for several years. King Tahmasp’s sister advised him to acquaint Humayun with the Faith by enlightening him with the true facts about it. When these two kings met, there used to be recitations of poetry and eulogies. With the advice of the king’s sister eulogies of the Al e Mohammed (s.a) too were recited. Slowly and steadily, the truth about the Faith started dawning on Humayun. After remaining a guest of King Tahmasp for many years Humayun requested for his help to reclaim his kingdom of Delhi. Tahmasp made some conditions and one of them was that there were the followers of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s) in India who should be allowed to live peacefully and not oppressed as was done by the earlier Sultans in those parts. Humayun agreed to these terms and Tahmasp organized a strong force to support the army of Humayun. Most of the men in the army of king Tahmasp were Shias. Their arrival into India certainly had its effect that the Shias came into some prominence, but most of the Muslims in the country were the enemies of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). As mentioned earlier the arrival of the Iranian army had a salutary effect on the conditions in the country. There is another coincidence that the consort of Humayun, Hamida Bano was a friend of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s).Therefore, during the reign of Humayun, the Azadari or public mourning to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (a.s) commenced in the country. Humayun’s vizier, Bairam Khan, who came from Iran, too was an ardent friend of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). Within about 14 to 15 months of reclaiming his dynasty Humayun fell from a staircase and succumbed to the injuries. Then his young son, who was only 12 years old, ascended the throne. Bairam Khan was the regent. The entire army consisted of locals and the Iranian forces had already departed.

Now a blame came on Bairam Khan that he was a Shia and that he was showing nepotism towards men of his faith for important positions. They therefore claimed that he ought to be dismissed from his position. Akbar,who was an inexperienced and ignorant youth those days, was carried away with the talk of the enemies and removed Bairam Khan from the service. Bairam Khan started for the Haj pilgrimage and was assassinated by an Afghan on the way. Now Akbar was encircled by Ulema who were professed enemies of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). Their main aim was to keep the young monarch in check and amass wealth. History records that theseUlema had become very rich and their treasuries were replete with bricks of gold! Those days if there was the slightest doubt on a person that he was a friend of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s), he would be executed publicly! WhenAkbar was surrounded by the enemies of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s), there were some Ulema who were calling themselves the Aalams or the Chief Clerics. Their effort was that no person who had the slightest liking for theAhl al Bayt should be allowed to come near Akbar. The tendency of the commoners was that on the slightest indication that a deceased person was a Shia they would desecrate his grave. It is said that Mir Murtada Khan was a very revered person of Delhi. When he died the entire population joined the funeral procession and he was interred in the graveyard of the Muslims. After some days when his will was purused, it was found that he was a follower of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). The crowds that revered him till a day earlier, and vyed with one other to give their shoulder to his bier, today attacked the graveyard and dug out his body out of the grave saying that he had no right to be interred in the graveyard of the Muslims. Saying this, they threw away the cadaver from there. This enmity was the reason that the followers of the Ahl al Bayt from the north were heading for the Deccan where the Faith of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s) was recognized as the official creed. A good number of Ulema had already reached there and even an Aalim of the other school, Mulla Ahmed, had accepted the faith of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s) and that too in a very peculiar manner. Mulla Ahmed used to live in a place called Thhat. One night he saw Hazrat Amir al Momineen (a.s) in his dream with a commentary of the Holy Quran in his hand. He told to Mulla Ahmed that it was the Tafseer e kashaf. Hazrat Ali (a.s) asked him to recite the following verse from the book:

Innama wailakum Allah wa Rasoolahu wal lazeena aamanu al lazeena yaqemoonas Salat wa yutoonaz Zakat wa hum Raak e oon

Your wali (guardian) is Allah and His Prophet and those Believers of the Faith who give Zakat (Charity) in the state of Ruku (Genuflection)

When Mulla Ahmed saw this dream, he wasn’t recognizing Hazrat Ali (a.s) as Amir al Momineen (a.s). He just accepted him as the 4th of Khulafa e Rashidin! Now Hazrat Ali (a.s) comes in his dream and asks him to read the commentary of the abovementioned verse from the book “Tafseer eKashaf”. Mulla Ahmed woke up from his dream. Tafseer e Kashaf wasn’t available in the neighborhood. Now, a scholar from Iran, Mulla Mohammed Hassan, was preparing to travel to India. He saw Hazrat Ali (a.s) in his dream who had a copy of Tafseer e kashaf in his hand and said, “O my Follower! You are going to India! Take a copy of this Tafseer with you. You will meet a Momin at a place called Thatt whose name is Mulla Ahmed. Give him the copy of the tafseer.” Mulla Mohammed Hassan awoke from his dream and as ordered by the Imam (a.s) bought a copy of the tafseer. When he reached That he asked the passersby for the place of Mulla Ahmed. He noted down the details of his dream on the last page of the book and sent it through a carrier to Mulla Ahmed. Mulla Ahmed was already confused and worried. With the best efforts he wasn’t able to get a copy of the book and suddenly he finds a person bringing it to him and saying that a cleric from Iraq had asked him to deliver it to him! He also said that on the last page of the book the cleric had written a letter for him. He read the commentary and there was a revolutionary change in his mind. Then he had debates with all the Ulema of the other schools but he wasn’t satisfied with all their arguments. Then he left Thatt and traveled to Mashad. There he acquired the Uloom e Ahl al Bayt (a.s) ---The teachings of the Infallibles. On his way back he learnt that a ruler of the Deccan had invited a person from Mashad, Fath Ali Shirazi, who was not so famous as an Alim as he was known as a scientist. He was a expert in philosophy but he was more adept in science and mathematics. He was known as Bu Ali Sina of his times. When mulla Ahmed was rreturning to India after completing his education at the Hauza e Ilmia in Mashad, he heard that Fath Ali Shirazi was heading for theDeccan. In those days there was a very famous scholar in Agra whose name was Mulla Mubarak. He was born in a family of Thatt, in Sind, but since he was a cleric of some repute, he preferred to move to Agra.Although he wasn’t a Shia, he had some friends in the community. There wasn’t any Alim of his caliber but Akbar was surrounded by sycophants who wouldn’t allow any genuine scholar to come any where near the court!Mulla Mubarak was troubled very much by those sycophants. Mulla Mubarak had two sons, Abul Fazl and Faizi, who later on became very prominent in the court of Akbar. Faizi has written a Tafseer of the Holy Quran where he hasn’t used a single alphabet with a dot. The brilliance of Abul Fazl can be judged from an incident in his childhood. Once his mentor wanted to test him.. Those days there were no chairs in the class rooms. Either they have carpets spread in the room or there used to be plain druggets. The mentor quietly put a paper under the carpet. Abul Fazl looked up and down in surprise as the mentor continued to give the lesson. The mentor asked, “What is the problem!” He repied, “Either the floor has gone higher or the roof has come closer to the ground?” These two brothers were so brilliant that after their death people used to take the sand from near their graves and ask their children to gulp it that they become bright! Mulla Mubarak was a very simple person and wasn’t aware of the intrigues of the court. His competitors knew that he was a capable person and his entry to the court would be harmful to their interests. Then he had no bias against the followers of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s) and one of his daughters was married to a Shia. These two things came in the way of his entry to the court. He was therefore forced to leave Agra and moved to a village and there he lived a life of seclusion. But his brilliant sons were becoming famous. Faizi became so well known that Akbar himself invited him to the court.


Those Ulema who were at Akbar’s court became helpless when Faizi entered the portals of the court. He impressed the king so much at his very first meeting that Akbar appointed him his prime minister. Because Faiziwas a learned person, and was in the habit of reading literature, he slowly got attracted to the Shia Faith. But he hadn’t yet adopted the faith. Aftersometime he called his brother Abul Fazl and arranged a meeting with the king. Abul Fazl was more brilliant. Akbar liked him as well, and appointed him as a minister. Although Faizi was attracted to Shi-ism, his brother, Abul Fazl, had made an in-depth study and was already a Shia. Thus, for the first time the followers of Al e Mohammed (s.a) got entry into the court of Akbar. In a short while the brothers realized that the Ulema who had surrounded Akbar were very cleverly taking him for a ride. Their aim was only to amass wealth from the Mogul Court. The brothers thought that it was time to banish the sycophants from the court and bring better and more irudite Ulema in their place. Faizi traveled to the South once where he met Fath Allah Shirazi about whom we have mentioned in the previous paras that he was invited from Mashad to the Deccan. Faizi met the ruler there who gave him the title of Arastu e Zaman—the Aristotle of the Time. On his return, Faizi told Akbar about Fath Allah Shirazi and he was invited to visit Akbar’s Court. The ruler of the Deccan too was helpless because Fath Allah Shirazi had received an invitation from the biggest king in India. Fath Allah Shirazi went to the court along with his friend, Mulla Ahmed, who had become a Shia after getting a vision of Ameer al Momineen (a.s). Now the court had 4 followers of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). But a large number of persons in the realm were the enemies of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). The conditions were such that the followers of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s) had to give Jiziya to the authorities! It was a tax that theChristians and the Jews had to pay. The Shias too were forced to pay this tax. If they refused to comply, they would be put to sword! It was the year 988 H, after 4 or 5 years of the entry of these Ulema in the court.Fath Ali Shirazi had a friend, Hakim Abd al Fazl Gilani. He was also a scientist. He had invented a room in a pond. The water was below and it didn’t enter the room. The room was at the centre of the pond and water was all around it. He was very much respected by Akbar. He said that they were all erudite scholars but none was an Aalim e Deen. All these four Ulema were such experts in their fields that Akbar had but to keep them in his employ.There was none better than Abul fazl in the administration of the realm. Fath Ali Shirazi produced such inventions that Akbar very much wanted him to stay. He was the first in India to make a gun which would have 12 cartridges in it. Those days the guns were to be loaded after every shot. He also invented a canon that would be used for demolishing the ramparts of the forts. He made such a ladder that on pressing a button, a person would reach the top of a hill. He also made a telescope through wihich advancing armies could be viewed from a distance of 100 miles. All the four had tremendous skills but none of them was adept at Fiqh andHadit. Only Ulema in these fields were capable of taking up the propagation of the Faith. Hakim Abd al Fazl Gilani said that in Mashad there was an eminent Aalim, (Qazi) Noor Allah Shustari, who was later on known with the title of shaheed e Saalis. At that time the realm of Shah Abbas Azam was getting established in Iran. Whichever erudite Alim remained there would get a very high position in the court. But when Noor Allah Shustari heard about the need of the followers of Ahl e Bayt (a.s) in India he decided to make a sacrifice and move to the difficult terrain there. Now he made a determination to migrate to India. Let me remind you that Qazi Noor Allah Shustari was born in 953 H in the Khuzistan Province of Iran. In 974 H he came to Mashad. He was endowed with an extraordinary intelligence. From the beginning he used to have very meaningful and learned discussions with his mentors. He himself relates that one day he was sitting with his teacher when a person came and started criticizing the Faith of the Ale Mohammed (s.a) and said that the Shiasbelieve that the Prophet is Masoom (Infallible) before his Baasat (Annunciation). How is it possible for a prophet to be infallible while he has not been annunciated and his Shariah has not yet arrived? Masoom would mean that he is free of all sins. If in the absence of a shariah when there is no idea about which act is virtuous and which is sinful, how would he decide about correctness of his acts? His mentor replied that the Shia belief was that a prophet is pre-destined to be annunciated and he is aware since birth which act is good and which is taboo. Therefore he is a Masoom or Infallible since birth, notwithstanding when he is annunciated. Noor Allah Shustari says that as soon as the mentor gave his explanation, another explanation came in his mind and he smiled for quite some time. When he couldn’t keep quiet any further, he sought the permission of the mentor to interrupt the discussion. When the teacher agreed, he said, “No doubt, before the declaration of the prophethood there is no shariah.but the intelligence has always been there. Whatever is taboo in the eyes of intelligence the prophet should certainly be free of them. No doubt the five prayers were not mandated before the annunciation, but certainly consuming alcoholic beverages was socially taboo before that. The prophet of the future must certainly be known to be free of this taboo habit! The person who had asked the question too was very pleased with this explanation and said that he got the answer to a question that was worrying him for years. This incident is a small digression from our narrative to indicate how intelligent he was from his childhood.


In Shawwal 993 he received a letter inviting him to move to India from Mashad. He decided to move immediately and arrived at the city of Lahore. Those days Akbar was at Agra and the royal fort was under construction in that city. Shaheed e Saalis entered the city in a state of Taqayya (dissimulation). Faizi, Abul Fazl and other ulema talked to Akbar about his erudition and he was given admittance to the court. Akbarentrusted to him a task. He said that he was ruling the entire vast country but the administration of the mountainous tract of Kashmir was very difficult. It wasn’t possible for the administration to determine the population of that province nor the exact area of land. Noor Allah Shustari, on going there, not only surveyed the land but he also made the estimates of the population there. He presented his report to Akbar who was much impressed. He was given some more responsibilities. Thus he completed a period of 2 years in the court of Akbar.


It was the year 995 H and the chief qazi at the court, Qazi Moin ud Deen had grown too old and weak in health. He requested Akbar to allow him to retire. Akbar told Noor Allah Shustari that he considered himself lucky that such an erudite scholar had entered his court. He then asked him to accept the position of the chief qazi. Prior to this he was called Noor Allah Shustari. But from this time he was known as Qazi Noor Allah Shustari. While accepting the position he made only one condition that while delivering justice he will not limit himself to any one Fiqh and deliver the verdict on the basis of any of the Fiqhs, viz: Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafaee or Maliki! Akbar thought what difference it would make when all the Muslims were unanimous in accepting all the four Fiqhs. Once he became the Qazi he started propagating the Faith of Ahl al Bayt (a.s) in a very subtle manner.He also started open application of the Jafari Fiqh in his judgments. After some time some persons were startled. The Ulema of the opposite camp thought that he was giving all the verdicts based on theJafari Fiqh. They started complaining in the court of Akbar. Qazi Noor Allah spent 26 years in this position. When more complaints reached the ears of the king, he called him and asked him how true it was that he gave verdicts according to the Jafari Fiqh?  He asked Akbar to give a proof if he has given the verdict according to the Jafari Fiqh. He told the king, and explained to him, that the verdict was in accord with the Hanbali Fiqh. Qazi Noor Allah Shustari was certainly giving the verdicts according to the Jafari Fiqh, but it was so cleverly given that it was also according to one of the 4 Fiqhs! It was in fact his command over his own Fiqh and the other 4 Fiqhs that had the approval of the estabklishment of the time. One case of Mutaa had come up. Akbar was himself interested in this case. Qazi Noor Allah Shustari opined that Mutaa was certainly legitimate. When the verdict was pronounced in the court the Ulema of the other sects made a lot of hue and cry in the court saying that it was adultery and Haram and that it wasn’t legitimate in any of the Fiqhs. Qazi Noor Allahproved that it was permissible under the Maliki Fiqh. In fact Imam Malik personally opined that Mutaa was legitimate. Qazi Noor Allah proved it from the Maliki Fiqh. Although Akbar was an ignorant person, he was enjoying the proceedings. The Ulema of the other schools were already upset that a scholar of the Shia Faith had barged into the court and also had become the chief Qazi. Not only this, he was very cleverly getting away giving a verdict on the delicate problem of Mutaa according to his own Fiqh taking shelter behind the Maliki Fiqh. They were now waiting for an opportunity to turn the tables against him. In slow stages the Fiqh Jafarigained ascendance over the other Four Fiqhs. The opponents now started intrigues. They manipulated an attempt on the life of Mulla Ahmed in Lahore during the year 996 H. Akbar learned about it and issued a decree to apprehend and execute his killer. But the population of Lahore was misled by the Ulema of the other side. While Akbar was away at Kashmir, they dug up his grave and put the cadaver to flame.This was a clear expression of their enmity against the followers of the Ahl e Bayt (a.s). After two years of this, Shirazi passed away. After seven years Faizi died.. Now only Abul Fazt was there in the court. But Qazi Noor Allah Shustari continued his role assiduously. He now had a roster of about 1,500 disciples. He was training them and sending them on to the other parts of the country. He was still in Taqayya (Till the time of King Jehangir he hadn’t come out of dissimulation). One sentence came out of his mouth that Ali Alaihis Salam had said such and such a thing. The Ulema of the other schools raised their voices saying that the suffix (Alaihis Salam) was only for the prophets. Since he had used it for Hazrat Ali (a.s) Qazi Noor Allah was to be punished with execution! This Fatwa was read in the court of Akbar. But one of the Ulema wasn’t so bigoted. He read a couplet in the court:' Gar lahmak lahmi Hadit e nabawi haiBay Salle ala naam e Ali bay adabi hay ' If ‘Alis’ flesh is my flesh is tne Nabi (s.a)’s traditionThen taking Ali’s name without ‘Salle Ala’ is gross bad manners!.

In Akbar’s court the problem was somehow resolved. Akbar died after 50 years.Just prior to Akbar’s demise, under Jehangir’s orders , the last Shia vizier of the court was put to sword.


When Akbar died, Jehangir ascended to the throne. From the beginning Jehangir was surrounded by the enemies of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). They had moulded his mind in such a way that he had become the most bigoted person. But it was the grace of the Almighty that in the court was Noor Jehan who made her best efforts to give protection to the followers of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). But during the reign of Jehangir a bigoted group led bySheik Ahmed Sirhindi raised its head. This group was worried that the followers of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s) were organizing themselves fast in the country. This Ahmed Sirhindi was also given the title of Mujaddad Alf Saani! This group under him formed a front against Qazi Noor Allah Shustari. Now this group dominated the proceedings in the darbar. In the court this group surrounded him but in the palace his wife was an ardent Shia. Jehangir was a compulsive alcoholic. He was generally in deep intoxication when his senses hardly worked. In such a state the group of Ulema were poisoning his mind against Qazi Noor Allah Shustari and his queenNoor Jehan was making efforts to protect the people professing the Faith of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). Jehangir once told those Ulema to bring an incontrovertible proof against the Qazi that he could be executed. The one canard that is very handy for the enemies of the followers of the Ahl e Bayt (a.s) is that they do the malediction of the Prophet (s.a)’s Sahaba was brought forward by that group of Ulema as well. Now when Jehangirsaid that he wanted a proof that the Qazi was an enemy of the Sahaba, the Ulema chanced on a book, Majalis al Momineen, authored by Qazi Noor Allah Shustari. In this book he had penned the profiles of all theInfallibles (a.s) and he also included details about all the companions of the Prophet (s.a) who were the friends of the Ahl al bayt (a.s). He hadn’t discussed about other prominent companions. Thus the Ulema took the book as a proof of his enmity against those companions. The other book that the Qazi was in the process of writing was “Ahqaq al Haq” on the lines of “Nahj al Haq” of Allama Hilli. This book covered all the fivePillars of Shia Islam (from Tawheed to Qiyamat). One very bigoted enemy of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s), a Shafaee Scholar, Fazl ibne Doos Bayan penned a refutation of Allama Hilli’s book with the title of Abtaal al Baatil. Qazi Noor Allah Shustari had penned a fitting rejoinder to the book of Fazl ibne Doos Bayan. This book of the Qazi has been published several times from Najaf e Ashraf and Qom. Recently Aghai Shehab ud Deen Mar-ashi Najafi, who leads the prayers at the mausoleum of Masooma e Qom, has published the book in 15 volumes. Every volume is of about 700 pages. Aghai Najafi has also penned foot-notes which facilitates the reader comprehending the contents more lucidly. Qazi Noor Allah’s enemies were on the look-out for some of his writings that would serve their purpose of poisoning Jehangir’s mind against him. The Qaziwas keeping the book Ahqaq al Haq very carefully. He wasn’t even showing the book to his closest disciples. One person entered his circle of disciples and presented himself as a great admirer of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). In many years he entered so much into the confidence of Qazi Noor Allah Shustari that when the person asked him to lend the book for one night, he couldn’t refuse him. Some historians write that the Qazi didn’t lend him the book and the person stole it from him. The man immediately took the book to those Ulema who read it and immediately drafted a Fatwa against Qazi Noor Allah Shustari. According to a historian 42 Ulema put their seals over the fatwa. Another historian records that the Fatwa was sealed by 55 Ulema. The Ulema declared him a heretic in their Fatwa saying that he had ridiculed the tenets of the Faith in his book and therefore he was fit to be executed. They forwarded the Fatwa to Jehangir. When Jehangir saw the Fatwa, he asked the chiefs of the Ulema about the punishment for such a heretic. They opined that he must be given four punishments: He was to be flogged a hundred times, he was to be forced to drink molten lead, his tongue to be pulled out of the mouth and in the end his head be severed from his body. These punishments were proposed by the chief Ulemaand they wrote them down. Some Fuqaha have said that when Jehangir was about to pass the verdict of execution, Noor Jehan made her best efforts to get amnesty for the Qazi. When Jehangir was signing the death warrant, Noor Jehan caught hold of his hand. But he was brainwashed so completely by the Ulema that in anger he pulled out a burning ember from the fire-place and put on the hand of his consort Noor Jehan. The queen yelled in pain and became unconscious.He had already signed the document which was immediately taken out. The mark of that burn remained on the wrist of Noor Jehan. Jehangir got a special bracelet made to cover that mark on the wrist of the queen. The Qazi’s house was raided, he was arrested and brought to the court. Most of his life was spent in Taqayya. Either he had to seek pardon from the king or to tell him that whatever was reported to him was false and he held the same belief as all other Muslims hold. A friend of his, who was also in Taqayya, asked him to meet the king and tell him that perhaps the Royal Decree was issued because of some misunderstanding and that he too had respect for those Companions. But Qazi Noor Allah Shustari said that his dissimulation at that juncture wasn’t appropriate because his martyrdom for the propagation of theFaith of the Al e Mohammed (a.s) in the country was very important. He thought that with his renown, the sacrifice that he was going to make would strengthen the cause of the Faith. He was interrogated in the court and he agreed to all the allegations (sic) that were leveled against him!


On the orders from Jehangir he was disrobed and the hangman’s noose was put around his neck. Immediately on hanging they started flogging him. With the 15th flog the martyr had breathed his last. But the decree was for100 floggings and they inflicted the flogs on the body of the 63 years old Qazi. They pulled his tongue out and put boiling lead on his head that his skull was exposed. His only crime was that he was a believer in the Ale Mohammed (a.s). Jahangir issued orders for throwing his body on the garbage dump of the Agra City.


The body of Qazi Noor Allah Shustari remained at that place without the shroud and the grave for three days. Then there are three versions about the burial. One version is that he was martyred with the orders of the ruler and the entire population of the city was scared of attempting to do anything. Only two travelers from Afghanistan, who were the followers of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s), took the body from there and interred it. One of the two persons was Sayed Raju Bukhari who had specifically traveled to Agra to meet the Qazi and, in fact, he had met him twice. The second versaion is that when Jehangir slept on the third night after martyring the Qazi, he saw the Prophet (s.a) in his dream who very angrily told him, “You have been very cruel on my son! Why do you not allow his burial?’ Jehangir instantly woke up from the dream and announced in the morning that whoever wanted to give a burial to the Qazi, he was free to do so. Now, the people who were in Taqayya till that time came out in the open and attended the burial of the martyr. The third version, which is more popular is that near Agra there was a place which was a part of Gwalior State. In that place lived an Iranian chieftain. He saw Janab e Syeda (a.s) in his dream when she said,”The body of my son is lying without the shroud and grave outside Agra. If you are my follower, go and bury my son with your own hands.” The next morning he gathered all the Iranian traders along with his own contingent of guards and reached outside the ramparts of the city of Agra. He found the body lying on the garbage dump and Sayed Raju was sitting near the head of the martyr. With great reverence a grave was dug and Saheed e Saalis was interred. He was matyred on 26 Rabi al Awwal and his mausoleum was built in the city of Agra. Ever since then his mausoleum is visited by people with great reverence. People from all faiths and even the Sunni Muslims have been regularly visiting the mausoleum. The beneficence (Faiz) of visiting the graveside of this son of Janab e Syeda (a.s) is that when they make a wish there, Allah fulfils it.One result of this martyrdom was that Qazi Noor Allah’s disciples were endowed with new strength and they worked with greater zeal to propagate the word of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). Here I would like to relate one incident. I haven’t read it in any book. But it was related to me by my mentor,Maulana Bandat Hyder Saheb. When Qazi Noor Allah Shustari was martyred, even Noor Jehan had to keep quiet considering the gravity of the situation. But she was waiting for an opportunity to punish the signatories to the Fatwa that became the cause of the Qazi getting martyred..


Noorjehan made a plan to punish those persons in such a way that the State didn’t appear directly involved in it. She was aware that 42 or 55 Ulema were involved in the conspiracy to martyr Qazi Noor Allah Shustariand there could be a popular unrest if any official action was instituted against them. Noorjehan at last got the opportunity of exposing these Ulema in front of the people.One day she got a report that the chief of thoseUlema was leading a congregation. While he was reciting the Surat al Fateha, he interrupted it by saying “Hush, hush”, three or four times, as if chasing away some animal. When the prayer was over, people asked him why he interrupted the recitation of the Verse. He said, “When I pray, all the curtains are raised in front of my eyes and I see the Holy Kaaba in front of my eyes!While I was praying I saw a dog was trying to enter theKaaba.If I hadn’t done “Hush, hush” to chase it away, the dog wuld have entered the Kaaba and defiled its sanctity. Therefore I uttered those words to chase it out! Noorjehan now determined to wreak vengeance against them. She got a small palce constructed with a foundation of salt. She sent an invitation to all those Ulema. All of them were very pleased to attend the party given by the queen. They all reached the venue in a group. Excellent food was prepared for the repast. The service cloth was arranged on the floor in such a manner that in front of everyone there was kept palao made of rice and chicken. Whether it was done intentionally, or it was just a chance, that the person who had chased the dog away from the Kaaba got a plate in front of him which neither had chicken nor meat! He looked to his left and to his right and every plate had plenty of chicken in it. How could he eat shuch food. He became angry and said that the Ulema of lower status were being served chicken and he was given only rice. Hearing this, Noorjehan said,”Slightly stir the rice in the dish, perhaps you will find something underneath it!” He stirred the rice and he did find legs of chicken there. Noorjehan now said, “One who cannot see a piece of chicken in his plate, how could he possibly see a dog entering the Kaaba from his prayer mat in the Mosque?” Then Noorjehan moved out of the palace and ordered his servants to copiously throw water all along the four walls of the palace. Since the palace was built on a foundation of salt, the salt melted and the structure collapsed on the heads of those persons who had put their seals on the Fatwa for the execution of the innocent Qazi Noor Allah Shustari! As mentioned earlier, I haven’t read about this incident in any book of history and that I heard it as a word of mouth from an honest Maulana. But one thing is for sure, that the martyrdom of Qazi Noor Allah Shustari redoubled the enthusiasm of the followers of the Al e Mohammed (S.A) to redouble their efforts to propagate the Faith in the vast country. Thereafter, in the court of every king there certainly was one Shia vizier or the other. Mohammed Shah was Aurangzeb’s son. The reins of power were in his hands. There was a time when Shias were forced to pay the Jiziya Tax and now sat on the throne one who was a follower of the Al e Mohammed (s.a). Then came the two Sayed Brothers,who are known in the books of history as the King Makers. They had so much power that they put kings on the throne at will! The minds of the rulers changed so much that the Last Mogul, Bahadur Shah Zafar, during an illness, made a vow that on recovering he would make a Nazr (Offering) at the Dargah of Hazrat Abbas at Lucknow! This was the sacrifice of Shaheed e Saalis that the society in the Mogul Realm transformed so fast and the persecuted Shias could breathe easy.The cruel persons who martyred him thought that they were removing a thorn from their way, but the the things that happened were quite contrary to their expectations. The same thought was in the mind of Yazid when he perpetrated the tragedy of Karbala. Yazid thought that he would intimidate the Ale Mohammed (s.a) by bringing them into the court. But Syed e Sajjad (a.s) boldly stood up. The darbar was full to capacity and the ambassadors of foreign countries were seated in a corner. No sooner Syed e Sajjad (a.s) entered the auditorium, Yazid said, “I thank God that He has belittled you!” Instead of getting intimidated with this affront, Syed e Sajjad stood up and said, “O’Yazid! We thank Allah that he deemed us capable of facing His trial! We also thank Allah that he has endowed us with such felicity that none can compete with us! Contemptible and dishonored are those who tried to belittle our family!” Yazid heard these words and knew that his objective was nullified. To cover his feeling of humiliation and mortification he summoned the executioner and told him to behead Syed e Sajjad (a.s). Yazid thought that if Syed e Sajjad (a.s) was martyred there, the ladies of the House of the Prophet (s.a) would get overawed.Syed e Sajjad (a.s) just said these words:  Al maut lana aadat wa karamatana ShahadatDeath is a habit for us and felicity is Martyrdom!

The ladies, instead of getting intimidated, stood solemnly and the sister of the Martyr Hussain (a.s), Syeda Zainab went forward, stood in front of Syed e Sajjad (a.s), and said, “None can touch Sajjad (a.s), my nephew, till I am alive! First use the sword on my neck!” Seeing this, Fizza, the maid of Syeda Fatima Zehra (a.s), stood in front of Syeda Zainab. Yazid told to the executioner, “First behead this old woman fromHabsh!” Fizza looked aoround in the court and spotted 200 chiefs from Habsh. She called, “O’ the Chiefs of my country! What has happened to your self respect? I am being insulted in front of you!” The 200 chiefstook out their swords and challenged Yazid to call back the executioner or else there would flow a river of blood in the Darbar. Syeda Zainab became emotional. She turned in the direction of Madina and said, “O’ My Grand father, the Prophet (s.a)! 200 swords have been brandished in support of a maid, but there is none to support your daughter!”

Original Source: Urdu Lectures of Moulana Sadiq Hassan Book

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Martyrdom of Qazi Nurullah and his tomb: -After the death of Mughal emperor Akbar (1605 A.D.) the bigoted group again rose to power at the imperial court. He was martyred on 18th Jamadi al-Thani in 1019 A.H./ 1610 A .D. for the reason that the he differed in his belief with the majority of the people and the bigoted group at the court of Jahangir (1605 - 1627 A.D.), the successor of Akbar.
His tomb, which is at Agra, has been the centre of pilgrimage since the day of his martyrdom. Poets praised him in their literary compositions in his lifetime and even after his martyrdom. Besides that many of his works with the description of his life have been translated into Arabic, Persian and Urdu.




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