Report on the Urs of Dr Zahurul Hasan Sharib April 8th and 9th 2013.
On the 8th and 9th of April every year we celebrate the life of an amazing man – or more specifically his
passing from this transient life to the eternal life.
The occasion was held in Zahuri Manzil and began with a session of Zikr. This is the recitation of the name
Allah (God), preceded by, and completed by, recitation of the holy Qur’an. It also incorporates a well known
poem by Nawob Saheb called ’Sab say Pehla Bismillah’. I read a short speech in memory of Zahurmian. We
then had the fatiha associated with the Gudri Shahi Order – which was recited by Farhana Morris.
There followed a meal prepared by Farhana and other ladies. Some people departed at this point but a few of
us then listened to some Qwaal on Khawaja Saheb on CD.
The following morning a Cul was held – completing the recitation of the whole Qur’an parts of which had been
allocated to various persons to read. We sprayed the Manzil with rose water as a symbolic cleaning. The
atmosphere was excellent despite the limited amount of time we had had in preparation due to arriving back
from a trip to India only three or four days earlier.
Here is the speech I read.
The Urs of Zahurmian April 8th and 9th 2013
Ouzoo billa Hi Minach Chaitwan Nir Rajim
Bismillah ar Rehman ir Rahim
Today we celebrate the life of someone as if he was dead, but those who sacrifice their life to the service of
mankind – which is the same as saying to the service of God – do not die. Beyond the grave a man or woman
who dies is fed in their soul, at first by the memories and love they had when they still inhabited their body, but
like a tree no longer receiving nutrition from the soil eventually they lose their interest in life and sleep until the
day when we will all wake at the sound of the blast of the trumpet of angel Israfil. Some blessed souls however
who have already died in this life to their lower self are fed instead from a higher source after their physical
passing away. The rewards of their perpetual service in the life of the body and their constant attention to the
divine Source of Life, bring them into a state of continued living once the burden of that body is laid down.
Thus such persons can continue to convey to those still imprisoned in their own body many blessings from that
higher source of Life.
Such a special kind of person was Dr Zahurul Hasan Sharib. Inspired and guided by his uncle and spiritual
guide Hazrat Khadim Nawob Saheb, he left behind from an early age his interest in the affairs of this world and
dedicated himself to the search for truth and a higher form of existence. In this he was following in the tradition
of the Khawaja Khawajagan of whom Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti is a perfect example.
Zahurmian was a solicitor by profession but when he took over the reins of the Gudri Shahi Order from Nawob
Saheb in 1973 he retired to concentrate exclusively on the mission assigned to him by his guide. The mission
was to spread the love and humanism which was the hallmark of the Chishti saints and indeed Sufism in
general beyond the shores of India or Pakistan and the traditional Muslim countries. At that time westerners
were a rarity in India and even more so in Ajmer but one by one westerners did make their way to Sharib House
somehow and many became so impressed with this thin sharp featured, quietly spoken, ascetic Indian
gentleman with a penetrating look that they asked him to guide them to a better style of living – they were tired
of the materialism of their lives – they wanted an added dimension to life – they were equally suspicious of
money seeking gurus – but found in Zahurmian a man of such modest disposition, so universal an outlook and
so free from religious fanaticism that they were won over and many became amongst his closest and most
devoted murids. Zahurmian had a wide ranging intellect and a passionate interest in so many aspects of life,
including western, Asian and middle eastern culture that the people found him to be the greatest of things – a
The Holy Qur’an tells us that man was made in the finest of moulds and then became the lowest of the low. To
be a true man means to rise up to the inheritance that God gave to mankind, and in such a way that that true
manhood became something lived and practised not merely in theory but in everyday life.
Here is a poem I wrote some time back to describe the way of living that leads to and reflects what it means to
be a true man.
The Zahuri Way (of ‘Better Living’).
The way of a quiet, unassuming kind of loving,
More like a different mode, or way, of being.
Both new and ancient, a simple realistic view,
Of how Love can unite, and very quietly too,
The disparate modes and ways of living,
That today’s life to everyone is bringing.
Not rejection, but reflection and integration,
Adding an unspoken, hidden, dimension,
To the way we live, and things we do and say,
In the very ordinary patterns of our life today.
Not ‘converting’, ‘reverting’, or fruitlessly debating,
Nor sanctimoniously to unearned piety pretending;
Avoiding excess, and from self indulgence abstaining,
But enthusiastically for perfection always striving.
Trying to be ever giving, and readily fault forgiving,
With high thinking and a quiet, simple, style of living,
Guided by a divine Love that is life illuminating;
In short, aspiring to be a genuinely human being.
All these thoughts have in them something good,
But they are really circling what is not understood,
Intellectually, but by heart, mind, body and soul,
Must be tasted as real, life-giving, and whole.
One could call it a way to more sincerely praise and pray,
Zahur Mian called it ‘better living’; I call it the Zahuri Way.
Our gathering today is not only to give the praise of Zahurmian that is his due – but to continue to expand his
work in bringing to people here in England the message of ‘Live’ that was the hallmark of Khawaja Uthman
Harooni. Living is not just breathing it is an altogether higher state of existence. To live is to have love in one’s
heart , and to have that is to give love to those who seek it. Love is not merely idealistic it is hard and practical
– it may take the form of helping the sick, giving a smile of encouragement to the down hearted, work for the
community, for the relatives. It reminds us to always seek Allah – the Beloved when we have a problem – and to
trust Him to solve our problem. The wine of love gives bliss to the heart but that bliss in itself is not enough it
must bear good fruits – the fruits of good neighbourly actions, of good manners, of helpful advice when
required and of patient listening when that is required. Zahurmian’s son Inaam Hasan now guides the Gudri
Shahi order and he is tirelessly engaged in building a school for poorer children.
Zahurmian is a living spiritual force for good in this crazy world we live in – he brings sobriety to our lives but
also provides us amply with the wine of Love – a love that unites instead of dividing. That sees the need of all
mankind not only those who are Muslims but all persons of good heart. Like Khawaja Saheb his door was open
to all – people brought their burdens to him and he freed them from those burdens – he was one of those who
the Quran describes as – those whose love of Allah is overflowing. Love does not make judgements of the
sincere seeker who finds their way to its door it accepts our poor offerings and gives us in its place something
more valuable than gold and jewels. That is it makes us truly human.
To Zahurmian his murids were his family and he bestowed on all his children the same affection and love that
one might expect from a good father. He could be stern when he saw foolishness and gentle and reassuring
when he saw fear or discouragement in the murid.
Breathless (Ode to Zahurmian)
I am breathless at the wonder of it all!
You, breathed your last blessing,
Whilst in this world still living;
But your blessings keep coming,
Like a tree that keeps blooming,
Since you became breath-less,
You breathe blessings, more not less;
The breath of your loving
Breathes life into my living,
The high thinking and simple living
You bequeathed is breezing
In, around, below and above;
In the way you spoke of love,
(Treasures not trifles),
You gave me the key for.
Who could do more?
I had thought I was knowing,
But the breath of your loving,
Is continually showing me,
My ignorance, now I see -
But in a strange way it is sort pleasing,
Because when a donkey I am being,
Ignorantly braying, unable to see,
That it is you who are riding me
My ignorance has this virtue at least,
You can guide me like any kind of beast;
And shows just how important to me
You were and will continue to be,
I sometimes shudder inside, unseen,
To think how it might have been,
If your hand I had not kissed,
How much I would have missed,
But my purpose is not just to eulogise,
(Though for this I do not apologise),
But to recall the subtle message you were giving;
That, for all, the way to better living, is in loving,
And that worshipping is not just declaring,
And fasting, and praying, and giving -
It is living each day like you, with grace,
Wisely and well, a member of the human race,
I see you rising from out of an ocean,
Of chaos, contradiction and confusion;
Emerging, with a knowing smile
Like one who has gone the extra mile,
If my life has any meaning at all,
It is in manifesting the way of Zahur.
May All-Mighty Allah in His Omnipotence and Mercy bestow on the soul of Zahurmian a continuous and
generous flow of blessing and may He make pure and acceptable out poor offering of this Urs fatiha on the
occasion of the passing of Zahurmian into Allah’s Mercy 17 short years ago.
May Zahurmian from his high place smile on our efforts and give generous reward to those who were able to
attend here today – and those who would have liked to but were constrained for some reason from being here.
And can I add my personal thanks to the efforts of all people who helped – preparing this place and the
JMZ April 2013
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