Lies buried near the Chilla of Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti in Ajmer, Rajasthan, India.
The following brief account of his life has been received from
Mr Siraj Mohammed Elschot, a devoted Dutch disciple and
his official biographer.
Brief Biographical Notes on Dr Zahurul Hassan Sharib
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, who was a patron saint of
Sultan Sikandar Lodi (A.D. 1488-1517), the second king of the Lodi dynasty, who ruled
India. His father Sultan Bahal Lodi (A.D. 1451-1488) was equally devoted to the great
saint and often came to him to seek his blessings. Of Maqdum Sama Uddin it is said
that he was the last towering Sufi saint belonging to the Suhrawardy order in India. He
lies buried in Mehrauli, New Delhi.
His mother Ishrat Un Nissa, though not a Hafiz or a Qari, could recite the Koran with
precision and accuracy. She would read the Koran regularly every day, keep the fast
and offer prayers. At an advanced age her unfulfilled wish was also fulfilled. She with her
husband performed Hajj. His mother belonged in fact to that category of women of days
past, who sought their salvation in the service of the husband. His father Nur ul Hasan
possessed all the traits of a middle class gentleman. He offered his morning prayers
and recited his Wazifa without fail. He did not follow any profession or avocation, since
he had inherited sufficient property landed and urban both from his father. When he left
for Pakistan in September 1950, all his property was taken over by the custodian under
the law then in force. He was fond of English novels, newspapers, magazines, bridge
and above all of politics. He relished good food, good society and liked to be a
member of a club. He was not an honour conferring nobleman, but he was certainly a
dinner giving gentleman.
On his attaining the age of four years, four months and four days, Zahur's Bismillah was
performed with due display of pomp and pageantry. Subsequently his father and mother
began to differ on his immediate future education. His mother wanted that he should
finish the Koran first and after that he should be sent to a school, where he would learn
English and other subjects. His father thought otherwise. He thought that he should
receive English education first and after completing his education, study the Koran.
Ultimately a compromise was reached and according to the terms of the compromise
he would study the Koran first at home and along with the Koran learn Urdu and if
possible the English primer too. After finishing the Koran, it was so decided, that he
would go to school.
During his stay in Ajmer his uncle Nawab Khadim Hasan Zubairi Moini Gudri Shah
showered many blessings upon him, some of which he realised years after. He, to the
great surprise of his father and his teachers, wrote a book in English entitled
"Biography and Sayings of Holy Saints", which was published when he was still staying
in Ajmer with Nawab Sahab. The inspiration came from Nawab Sahab. It was his first
publication, when he was about fifteen years old. This book in a way decided his future
Nawab Sahab began to improve his Persian and gave him "Tarikhe Farishta" to read.
Since then he felt interested in Persian literature, an interest which lasted throughout the
rest of his life. Afterwards he read the choicest books of Persian literature, particularly
those written by the Sufi saints.
From the time that he offered "Rural Government in the United Province of Agra and
Oudh" as the subject of his thesis for the doctoral degree, he felt drawn towards the
rural life and felt interested in the rural problems facing India with the result, that he did
whatever he could to uplift the rural masses.
After passing his M.A., he had spent some time with his Chacha Mian (as he called his
uncle, Nawab Sahab) at Ajmer. This can be said to be a formative period in his life. He
was at the cross of the road, not knowing which way to take. There were many
conflicting pulls. His father had always wished to see him an officer, belonging to the
I.C.S. cadre, earning money and enjoying power and prestige. His mother was a little
less ambitious. She wanted him to be an earning member of the family, so that the
economic slump, which set in in India in 1929 due to the failure of crops and which had
hit the family fortunes too, may be compensated.
His Amman, as he called his grandmother, had no other wish but to see him a married
man, as was the case with the middle-class family in those days, where security meant:
a wife, children and a house. His Chacha Mian, who ever showed an interest in his life,
did not say anything directly but once he recited a verse in Persian, which translated
'Everybody is brought into the world for some work.
The love of that (work) is put into his heart.'
This was a clear indication that it was better to entrust the future to the Future and to
wait and to watch.
He gave up the idea of entering politics and instead took to social and literary work,
which the legal profession reluctantly allows. Rural India offered him a new vision of
service and: "I was drawn day by day to the real India, which is rural India with its abject
conditions of living, famine and flood and its more than half a million villages scattered
throughout". Having passed the L.L.B. examination, he undertook the Advocate's
training, as required by law. Mr.P.N. Raina was the senior advocate at Agra with whom
he took training. Babu Bindeshri Prasad was another senior advocate, who evinced a
great interest in his training. The training lasted a year.
After that he returned to Moradabad. He was enrolled as an advocate of the Allahabad
High Court in November 1938. He started his practice in January 1939. The first case
that he got related to the Small Cases Court. Its valuation was ten rupees only (about 20
pence in 1999 terms)and from this the amount of his fee can easily be concluded. He,
after some time, started practice on the criminal side, which was certainly better paying
than the civil practice. He did not accept any case relating to taxation, labour laws and
He cannot be said to be a great success at the Bar, for the simple reason that his heart
was elsewhere. His attention was divided. Divided attention implies less concentration
on legal practice and the law is a jealous mistress. He was writing books and he was
establishing societies and institutes of the social and literary type. He took service
rendered to the people in an unselfish spirit as another good way of pleasing God. He
established the Rural Welfare Society of India, which rendered relief and rescue work to
the Indian villages. He established Better Living Societies in some villages, which
aimed at a better living, a better business and a better farming for the teeming millions
inhabiting the villages.
Discipleship is not a contract voidable at the option of the parties, but is a relationship,
which even death cannot severe. To be bound by such a relationship is really an
occasion of joy and a source of satisfaction. His joy knew no bound, when he was
admitted in the Order at a brief, simple but solemn ceremony on the 19th of August
1942. He felt relieved of a burden. The search has its reward. He says thus: "I felt as if
some burden had been removed. I felt light, relaxed and relieved. It gave me inner
satisfaction and peace of mind, which I had been looking for".
In October 1945 he was married to Shakila Khatoon at Agra. He has three daughters
namely Mah Noor, Meher Noor and Bahar Noor. He has one son named Inaam Hasan.
One of his daughters named Noor Jamal died in infancy, when she was eleven months
The soothing, silent looks of his Chacha Mian, Hazrat Khadim Hasan, had a potent and
powerful influence on his life. He to him was an institution. His close and intimate
contact and relationship from 1929-1970 lent colour to his life. As he himself says: "I
was drawn towards towards different colours. Some colours fascinated me and some
colours attracted me. Some colours were fast, some colours were bright and some
colours were dim. The flying colours soon vanished into air, into thin air leaving not a
trace behind. But the colour, which was permanent and enduring, remains with me to
this day. It is the life-giving colour of the one, whose life epitomized the rainbow colour. It
is the soothing, pleasing and inspiring colour born of spiritual states and ecstasy of the
one, to whom I looked for guidance, light and help in moments of spiritual crisis".
Contributed by Mr Mohammed Siraj of Holland
Published by The Zahuri Sufi Web Site March 2002
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