The greatness of Ali r.a is really great!
Do blossom the bud of my aspirations;
With the pains of separation is there great restlessness.
Salutations to you, Oh comfort to the soul of Ali r.a.
Shah Kalimullah-the saint of Jehanabad.
Hazrat Shah Kalimullah of Jahanabad r.a occupies a very important place in the history of the Chishtiya Silsilah, as it was at his hands that the silsilah was revitalized and restored to its former glory. Although the work of the order had been sustained in various regional centers (such as Gujrat), its voice was somewhat drowned out by the rush of false Sufis who appeared in the scene in the confusion that followed the downfall of the Delhi kingdom and the creation of the Mughal Empire.
It was Shah Kalimullah r.a who recreated the infrastructure of the organization, and reasserted its primary aims as they had been in the time of Khwaja Moin Uddin Chihshti Ajmeri Ghareeb Nawaz and his great successors. The order was reinvigorated in the twilight of the Mughal rule, and retained its primary principles; devotion to Allah, service of the poor and separation from the ruling powers.
Shah Kalimullah r.a was born on the 24th Jamad ath-Thani, 1060 AH to a noble and well-renowned family of artisans, mathematicians and engineers. His lineage is directly linked to Sayyidina Abu Bakar as-Siddiqui r.a . His father had been specifically invited to Delhi by the Emperor Shah Jahan to oversee the construction of the Taj Mahal. Shah Kalimullah r.a once remarked that, “my family’s task was to build palaces and edifices; my responsibility is to build a nation, and the heart of a people.” He obtained his religious knowledge under such great ulama as Shaykh Burhani and Abu Wayda al-Hindi, the uncle and instructor of Shah Waliullah r.a. This, combined with his family’s knowledge of mathematics, engineering, astronomy, philosophy and poetry, afforded him an education of unparalleled breadth and depth.
The story of his attraction to the spiritual way is an interesting one. After becoming an alim, he fell head over heels in love with a very beautiful girl. So enraptured was he by her that he passed his days in a madness of unrequited love, and wandered eventually into the company of a great majdhub. He asked the majdhub to make dua from him to Allah, which the saintly man dutifully did. The very next day, Shah Kalimullah r.a found his love returned by the girl. However, at that very moment, Shah Kalimullah realized how limited his love for this mortal being was, and how much greater and deeper was his love for the true inner beauty of the majdhub. Immediately he returned, begging to study under him.
But the saint realizing Shah Kalimulah’s r.a destiny, replied, “my dear son, all I have is fire. But your fire is already burning you up. Rahter you should go to Shaykh Yahya Madni r.a for he possesses an ocean of knowledge. He will be able to cool your fire and guide you along the path.”
So inspired was Shaha Kalimullah r.a by the statement that he immediately lfet for Medinah al-Munawara. Coming into the company of Shaykh Yahya Madni r.a, he immediately understood that though he knew much about religion, he knew little about his Lord. He was accepted as a murid and underwent strict trials and mujhidah for 6 years.Shaykh Yahya Madni r.a then sent him to Mecca to perform the pilgrimage. It is said that upon reaching there, the saints of city declared, “The Qutab of the world has arrived in Mecca”. Eventually, after more strivings and tests, he was awarded the khilafat-e-azam of Shyakh Yahya Madni r.a . Then he was ordered to return to India and to commence the heavy task of restoring the Chishtiya Silsilah in India to its former greatness.
Arriving in Delhi, he founded not only famous Darul Alum, but also a great Khanqah near the Jammia Masjid that his family had built. This khanqah was to become the nerve center of a revitalized Chishtiya Silsilah, as it once again blossomed and sent its seedlings out over India. His major aim was to propogate the religion of Islam, the structures that he had build served this end very well. The university and Khanqah together ministered to all aspects of Muslim education; from the religious sciences, to worldly knowledge such mathematics and astronomy, as well as the inner wisdom-study of tasawwuf.
From here to, missionaries were sent out across the whole of India, foremost of who was his Khalifa al-Azam Khwaja Nizam Uddin of Aurangabad. Shah Kalimulla saw no difference between men and women on the spiritual path, training and urging both genders equally to propagate Islam amongst others of their sex. He stressed that women are the mothers of the nation, and that they were the first and most important teachers of their children.
From this headquarter in Delhi; Shah Kalimullah would organize the Chishtiya Silsila across India via this huge network of missionaries and khulafa. In this way, the great internal cohesion that was the Hallmark of the golden era of the Chishtia was re established, He was so adamant about the pre-eminence of propagating Islam that he ordered every murid of his to make it their aim in life to spread the religion. He wished to ensure that all men and women entered and progressed in Islam through love, rather than by any compulsion.
Shah Kalimullah also found the time to write many books, some of which have maintain lasting acclaim. Among these were a Tafsir( Quran al-Quran) and commentaries on books of Hadith. Some of his other works included: Siwa aa-Sabil, Ashrah-e-Kamilah, and Tasnim. Muraqqah Kalemi was a manual preparing a beginner to enter the path to Allah.
His most famous work, however, was Kashkol-e-Kalemi; recorded by the Shaykh of past and present as the foremost work on the training of the spiritual disciple.
The books of Shah Kalimullah, especially Kahskol-e-Kalemi are among the most important of the Chishtiya Silsilah’s text books, and are deemed required reading for the muridin of the order. They are the brilliant works in the science of Reality, Haqaiq and divine knowledge (Maarifah), through which every student may attain spiritual progress.
Hazrat Shah Kalimullah lived a life of complete tawwakul ( reliance on Allah). His wealthy family has left him a large house in Delhi, which he rented out, using the income to sustain himself and his family. His personal expenditure was only 2 and half rupees a month, and he had a rented smaller accommodation for his family, for only half a rupee a month. This he maintained despite offers from muridin and students.
His manner and teachings, both outward and inward, were exactly in accordance with the sunnah of the Rasululla swm. As was the way of his elders, he maintains a rigorous time table of fasting, abstinence and prayer; although his khanqahs became centers of hospitality, charity and beneficence.
Shah Kalimullah remained steadfast to the original principles of Khwaja Moin Uddin Chishti r.a. to never accept gifts from, or become involved with, the rulers of the time.
One of the rulers of the time, Sultan Farakhsaier, repeatedly requested him to accept a monthly stipend from his treasury, an offered a large house for him to live in, but Shaha Kalimullah r.a steadfastly refused. The King also used to request audiences with him, but these too were refused. The King and the Sufi master use to go to the same Masjid for Jummah prayers. Such was the power of his holy presence, however, that Kaing and his governors were too in awe of Shah Kalimullah to approach him even there. On the rare occasions that the wealthy and the powerful were allowed into his company they never spoke without permission.
Shaha Kalimullah attained unity with Allah at the age of seventy nine after a lifetime spent in the propagation of Islam. He left behind twenty Khulafa, all of whom were recognized in their time as Auliya Allah. Because of his great services to Islam and tasawwuf, he has rightly been called the revival of Islam in India. SO influential were his teachings and methods of propagation that they had been copied by the Shaykh from his time onwards. He made wisal in the year 1139 AH, and is buried in Delhi. He passed on his principle in the Chishti, Naqshabandi, Suherwardi and Qadriya orders to his successors, Khwaja Nizam Uddin Aurangabadi.