The Urs Fatiha for Dr Zahurul Hassan Sharib was held in Zahuri Manzil in Southampton,
England on April 8th and 9th 2009 (following the solar calender). It marked the 13th year since
Dr Sharib passed into the Mercy of Allah in a hospital in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. A reading of
the full holy Qur’an was completed. The programme on the evening of 8th consisted of a short
Zikr, followed by a Fatiha. There was then a short speech by Jamiluddin Morris Zahuri (which
is printed below). This was followed by a splendid meal prepared by Farhana and other ladies
– may Allah reward them for the same. We then listened to some Qwaal on disc. There were
The following morning a closure ceremony was held with members of the order consisting of
readings from the holy Qur’an and listening to some more Qwaal. This was followed by a short
Bismillah ar Rehman ir Rahim
The occasion today is to celebrate the life of Dr Zahurul Hassan Sharib who was the head of
the Gudri Shah Order of Sufis which is based in Ajmer in India. Zahurmian was born in
Moradabad in UP, in India. The family traced its descent from Hazrat Zubair, the close
companion of the Holy Prophet Mohammed and hence the family members came to be called
and known as "Zubairi". Hazrat Maqdum Sama Uddin Suhrawardy (A.H. 808-901) is a bright
star in the Zubairi community. The family is the direct descendant of the great saint Hazrat
Maqdum Sama Uddin Suhrawardy. The Gudri Shah Order derived also from the Qadri Order –
the spiritual teacher of its founder Saeenji Gudri Shah was from that order and lived in
Baghdad. However the Order is most closely associated with the great saint Khawaja
Moinuddin Hasan Chishti (RA).
Zahurmian studied law and qualified as a lawyer but the influence of his beloved Chaccha
Mian, Nawob Saheb, led him in another direction. At first inwardly and later fully, he committed
himself to the Sufi life. Later he succeeded his Uncle as head of the Gudri Shahi Order.
The most eminent saint of the Chishti Order, I mean of course Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan of
Sanjar (RA), had no doubt cast many a favourable look on the labours of Zahurmian who under
the spiritual direction of his beloved uncle and Guide had been constantly involved for many
years in attending the shrine of the towering saint and spiritual emperor; and also furthering his
message of Divine love for all mankind irrespective of race, colour, religion, class or caste. It is
said in the holy Qur’an that no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another. But the
Friends of Allah have yielded their own burdens in surrender and submission to Allah and thus
it is that they were able to bestow on those who sought it, relief from worldly cares.
We celebrate Zahurmian’s life– but also to mark his passing into the Mercy of Allah. Some
people think of death as an end but it is really a beginning. It may be the end of the trials of this
transitory period we call life but for those favoured by Almighty Allah it is a coming into one’s
own true nature not as result of our efforts or even as reward but as Grace from the Self
Subsisting, Living One.
Zahurmian did not look at today’s society through rose coloured glasses he saw its fractured
state, the oppression, famine, cruelty and division. He saw man’s inhumanity to man and man’
s loss of a sense of guidance. He saw the racism, caste and class barriers, the abuse of
women, religious fanaticism and fake piety, the pursuit of luxury and short lived sensual
pleasure, the loss of family and social values, and the selfishness, corruption and greed. He
felt pity for the worldliness of people. He saw they were on a merry-go-round leading nowhere.
He used to say the life in the world is like being in a hotel room, if we stay in a hotel room we
expect that soon we will leave and return home. In life to return home means to return to our
source. This means to return whence we came. It is said that in Alast before the creation of
our father Adam and mankind, the souls were asked by Allah, ‘Am I not your Lord’ – to which
some souls cried ‘Yes’. Deep inside us we do long to return to our true home which is not
made of bricks and mortars but of good deeds purified by the Grace and Mercy of our Creator.
However much we amuse ourselves with things of this world and allow our attention to be
diverted, deep within us is unease. A restless feeling a yearning for completion. Actually this
worldly life is like a disease. When we are unwell do we not yearn to return to a state of bodily
health? The word health means wholeness or one can say completion. Health can be bodily
health or it can be mental health and these are no doubt a great treasure – I was speaking one
day to a fellow follower of Zahurmian, who was very poorly; so that he could hardly speak - he
managed finally to whisper to me ‘health is wealth’. We cannot underestimate this but there is
a health that is much more than either of these and that is spiritual health and that implies
spiritual wealth. This worldly life is like a disease and within us is a longing for recovery. As
much as we can we should turn our attention from the diverting things towards the one thing
that really matters – the state of our soul.
Outwardly Zahurmian was a doctor of law but left this life behind and administered to the needs
of the souls who came to him from all quarters of the globe, as his Guide Nawob Gudri Shah
Baba had instructed him to do. Unlike medical men he had, and required, just one medicine
but its effects were multiple according to the needs of the patient. That medicine was what we
translate into English as Divine Love. It was the central and fundamental theme of the Chishti
Mevlana Rumi was once asked ‘What is love?’. He replied ‘It is unconditional affection’ and
then he added ‘You will know what love is when you become me’. Thus it is in Sufism that one
passes away from ones own qualities into the qualities of the guide from sheer affection, and
thence into the qualities of Hazrat Ali and further to the qualities of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and
from thence the seekers aspire to lose their own qualities entirely in the qualities of Allah. This
is called Fana and from this Fana which is a kind of death emerges the true life which is called
Baqa. It is the fulfilment of what our beloved Prophet Muhammed said – ‘die before you die’.
But one may argue this cannot be for everyone even if it so for some - what is its relevance to
everyday life? It is this that Zahurmian addressed sometimes by words, or in his copious
writings, but more often through the qualities he manifested in all his actions. It is imperative
that we understand this even if we grasp it only at the level of thoughts, for the Divine love is
what moves us inwardly in our relations with others, whether it is family, friends, or others we
meet in the course of our daily lives. In fact without love there is no real quality of life at all. The
holy Qur’an refers to this as a sign of Allah.
Love need not be expressed in words, it may be manifest by simple acts of neighbourliness, a
look, a smile, a piece of encouragement. A recognition of and sympathy for the needs of
others; empathy, tolerance, politeness, mutual help, self-help, understanding, morality, charity,
humility, generosity, a willingness to forgive and an attitude of live and let live, and a concern
for real justice. All of these and many other such qualities are the marks of a heart softened by
love. Without love we are no better than the beasts, with it we are more like the angels. From
one of the hundred of so books written by Zahurmian there is one on Khawaja Uthman
Harooni, the guide of Khawaja Gharib Nawaz, which summed it up in one word –‘Live’.
With the attributes, feelings and behaviours inspired by love we show the signs of recovery
from our spiritual ailments – the emergence of these qualities is the indicator of spiritual and
moral health. What is true for us individually is true for society at large. It is the existence of
such qualities of social cohesion and mutual support and tolerance that indicate the health of
society; qualities such as care for the disadvantaged dispossessed and helpless.
These derive their source from within us individually - so can we change our environment
spiritual and physical? In the words of a currently well known politician –‘ yes we can’ – but I
would have added –insh’allah, if God Wills.
When we worship we turn in the direction of Kabaah, this direction which is called the Qibla,
gives us an orientation for our prayers. For the Sufis in search of Divine Love, the guide is the
Qibla. Outwardly the pilgrimage is to the Kaaba at Mecca but inwardly it is to the unification
with the Beloved.
As a tribute to Dr Zahurul Hassan Sharib I have tried to express something of what he
preached and lived. I was with him constantly in the last weeks of his life as his saintliness
reached its peak – If I could explain to you the nature of that time so that it became real to you I
would, but it must suffice to say that despite the outward conditions of his ailing body, by the
Grace of Allah, his soul mounted ever higher to return to His Maker. His son, Inaam Mian was
duly appointed as Head of the Gudri Shahi Order and continues the work in India, developing
with great enthusiasm a school for children from all backgrounds.
May Zahurmian ever enjoy the Mercy of Allah, and bestow on us here present in body and spirit
a kindly look of favour from the Mercy and Grace bestowed on him from Allah.
As the holy Qur’an says
Yaaa-ayyuhal-insaanu’ innaka kaadihun ‘ila Rabika kadhan-fa-mulaaaqiih.
‘O thou man! Verily thou art ever toiling on towards the Lord, painfully toiling, but thou shall
Jamiluddin Morris Zahuri
Southampton, April 09.
Jamil outside of Zahuri Manzil 2009
The Urs Fatiha for Dr Zahurul Hassan Sharib Gudri Shah Baba:
April 8th and 9th 2009.