The Zahuri Sufi Web Site: Articles
This short article is in fact part of a letter sent in reply to Dr Godlas who
had written requesting information for his web-site. As it contains some
answers to questions often asked I have included it here. Some editing
of the original e-mail has taken place. The URL of Dr Godlas's excellent
site is: http://www.arches.uga.edu/~godlas/Sufism.html
The Gudri Shahi Order and the Origin of the term 'Zahuri'
Dear Dr Godlas,
Thank you for your interest in our web site and for including it in your pages. I have visited your site and
found it most informative, scholarly and interesting though I have as yet only read some small section of it.
In reply to your questions:
Hazrat Inaam Hasan, who is the only son of Dr Sharib resides at Sharib House, Jhalra, Ajmer, Rajasthan
India. (305001). He was made Sajjadanashin on the death of his father in 1996. For more information
about the order in India you should refer to him.
Perhaps you would not mind if I suggested an alternative wording to your entry as the current entry may
create a slightly misleading impression.
The Gudri Shahi/Zahuri Order
The Gudri Shahi Order is based in Ajmer, India and though it is technically a Qadiri Order its strongest
affiliation is with the Chishti Saint Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan. Its present head is Hazrat Inaam Hasan who
resides in Ajmer, India. Under its previous Head Dr Zahurul Hasan Sharib it gained many followers in the
west with a particularly strong presence in England, Holland and Italy. Some of these followers use the
term Zahuri to connote their particular affiliation to Dr Sharib.
Briefly the history of the Gudri Shahi order, as I understand it, is that, around the turn of the century, the
founder of the Gudri Shahi Order, Hazrat Syed Malik Mohammed Alam known as Saeenji Gudri Shah
Baba became a disciple of a Qadiri Saint known as Hazrat Mustapha (I believe in Baghdad). He was sent
to Ajmer where he formed an Uwaisi connection to Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti. Thus technically
the Gudri Shahi order is a branch of the Qadiri rather than Chishti order. But as its continued base in
Ajmer suggests, and as its continuing position in Ajmeri sufi circles supports, its closest affinity is with the
Chishti. It is usually referred to as, and thought of as, a primarily Chishti Order and its chain of
transmission reflects this.
The sajjadanashin (successor) of Saeenji Saheb (as he is known) was Hazrat Maulana Abdur Rahim
Shah (known as Qazi Gudri Shah Baba). In turn the gudi and other holy relics were passed by him to
Hazrat Mohammed Khadim Hasan Shah Gudri Shah Baba (Nawob Saheb) the uncle in law of his
successor Hazrat Dr Zahurul Hasan Sharib. In 1996 the holy relics and status of sajjadanashin passed to
Inaam Hasan the son of Dr Sharib. All of these saints lived and have their tombs in Ajmer, India.
Groups founded by caliphs of, for example Hazrat Nawob Saheb, should properly be regarded as
branches of the Gudri Shahi Order. The relics including the Gudi (prayer carpet) and succession has
never left Ajmer.
As regards the term 'Zahuri'. This came about at the time of Dr Sharib's demise and shortly after he had
invested me with a caliphate role. He referred to me a by my full name and added the title Zahuri at the
end of it.
As to whether the use of term Zahuri refers to a distinct western branch of the Gudri Shahi - I am not
prepared to comment on this at this time. However the term is used by some of Dr Sharib's western
murids. It is also clear that much of his life's work was concerned with the establishment of the order in
the west. At all events any traditions that are followed are closely based on Gudri Shahi customs and
You ask whether we have a centre - to answer this I should perhaps explain a little about Dr Sharib's
philosophy in this regard. I believe he felt that sufism was not so much about formally organised centres
and ritual as about a style of living. This I think he applied even more fully to the situation in the west
where the tombs around which so much is based in India are not to be found. The same may generally
be said of the live qwaali music which plays an important part in India but which is only valid under certain
circumstances and in that sense is not normally available in the west.
Thus our gatherings are informal meetings of friends with an interest in Dr Sharib or his writings. There is
little or no ritual other than on the usual Islamic occasions or special fatiha's established within the Gudri
Shahi tradition, for the saints of the order etc. We tend to believe that such gatherings occur through the
hidden influence of Dr Sharib and the saints of the order.
There are of course other connections through letters and now through the medium of the web. The
gatherings are not restricted to England but can occur in any of the countries where Dr Sharib's disciples
live. Of course one of the main meeting places is still India, though there are disciples now who have little
or no knowledge of India directly. The form of the gatherings is based largely on the kind of gatherings
which we had in Europe with Dr Sharib on his visits here. They take the form of eating and living together
for short periods, socialising going for walks or to visit places of interest. In short, externally they are
based on contemporary social norms except for the presence of shared mores established by Dr Sharib
and the absence of less acceptable mores which can be found in 'normal' society. We believe it is the
hidden presence of the saints of the order that gives these gatherings their special quality. The web site
and hard copy versions of this form another way of maintaining social contacts.
In following this practice we believe that we are following a tradition of sufism in which it is perceived to be
a largely hidden spiritual force within society rather than as an alternative form of Islamic ritual. Though
of course this implies no criticism of sufi rituals - I myself have some Mevlevi connections and have just
returned from Konya where I participated in some zikr ceremonies.
Work in publishing books and writings also continues and was also a very important feature of Dr
Sharib's life's work.
My own view is that what I have described is a distinct approach to the enormous 'experiment' of sufism in
the west. It is of course quite possible that some cultural gatherings at specific places may begin to
develop from within this network. However specific formal ritual would require at least the inner
acceptance by the saints of the order to be valid since innovation, as in Islam generally, is not acceptable
Externalists of course tend to find this a little vague and often ask 'what do you do?' etc The reply I have
given above is as much as we can really answer.
Your term 'presence' (in England') seems fairly appropriate except that it is far from limited to this
country. There are disciples and associates spread throughout many countries including Africa, The
Americas, Canada, most European countries and the middle east.
I hope what I have said is a little helpful. With regard to the history of the Order in India you should
however refer to Inaam Hasan at the address given. He has a much more detailed knowledge of these
things, being brought up from infancy in this tradition.
I hope these comments are helpful to you and wish you well with your web site which I look forward to
reading in more detail.
God be with you.
Jamiluddin Morris Zahuri.
Published by The Zahuri Sufi Web Site: January 1999