A Review of the 'Urs Celebrations for Khawaja Gharib Nawaz in
Southampton.  May 2012.

LINK to the full programme
Bismillah ar Rehman ir Rahim
Opening Flag Ceremony

Starting on 21st of May celebrations for the Death Anniversary ('Urs) of Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti
were held in Ajmer Sharif, India. In Southampton, England we held celebrations in tandem so to speak,
following as closely as possible the order of events in Ajmer. It was a blessed time indeed.

For the first time we had a flag ceremony with a flag! This was made with great care and diligence by my wife
Farhana. A small party of about ten people gathered for the occasion - we prepared Zahuri Manzil for the
celebrations by giving it a good cleaning and decorating it suitably. One of our neighbours said it looked like
a fairy grotto with all the lights. Then with drum and chanting we paraded the flag carried by Mikail's son
Ellis. We hoisted it to chants of Ya Khawaja Gharib Nawaz and distribution of money - followed by some food.

After months of dismal cold, grey and wet weather we had our first day of real sunshine to mark the
occasion. In fact it remained sunny and even quite hot for the entire ten days of 'Urs only ending with the
closure of the 'Urs after which it returned to cold grey days. A blessing indeed.

Another great feature was Farhana's beautiful rose garden which came into bloom at exactly the right time.
One visitor saw it and thought he had been transported to the gardens of paradise. Really we felt the
blessings of Khawaja Saheb were with us.

During this whole period the Holy Qur'an was distributed and read by various people in Southampton.
Evening Sama

After a gap of one day we had Zikr and Sama every evening in Zahuri Manzil. The Zikr lasts about an hour
and is quite vigorous - begun and completed of course with Qur'an recital with Qiirat and featuring a recital
of Nawob Saheb's 'Sab say pehli Bismillah' song.

After some refreshments we then sat and listened to recordings of Qwaal by such great musicians as Nusrat
Fateh Ali Khan and Aziz Mian and the Sabris. Of course this cannot in any way equate with the live Qwaal
but with suitable attentiveness and plenty of volume it is no doubt possible to immerse oneself, so that one
feels as if one is sitting in the Mehfil Khanna in Ajmer. The choice of music was excellent and under the able
control of Luqman who we like to call our 'DJ'. .
The 5th/6th of Rajab

This of course marks the height of the 'Urs celebrations.

In Southampton we marked it with a much larger gathering in the local Mosque. This programme followed
Zuhr Namaz and was well attended. Langar was distributed. It featured several beautiful Nath renditions and
then Zikr with Qiirat of the holy Qur'an - lasting about 45 minutes. Mikail Ali Clarke made a short inspiring
and instructive speech. Jamiluddin Morris Zahuri made a longer speech and this included some of his
poetry in praise of Khawaja Saheb. This is published on the website.

Following this we returned to Zahuri Manzil for the Fatiha of the Gudri Shah Order and a meal and of course
Namaz. We then listened to Qwaal till almost midnight. This was well attended with many visitors and guests
including some young men from Pakistan studying here who also recited some Darud and Nath.

The following morning we completed the first Cul with a recital of Juz Amma (the thirtieth part of the Holy
Qur'an) by Jamiluddin Morris Zahuri. Zahuri Manzil and those attending were liberally sprayed with rose
water to mark the occasion. The sun continued to shine and reached temperatures of 36 degrees Celsius
as the first Cul was completed.

One feature of the 'Urs in Ajmer is the recitation of poetry in praise of Allah, the Holy Prophet, and Khawaja
Sahib called 'Mushaira'. This is hosted in the main Mehfil Khanna in Ajmer. We followed this practice in our
own much smaller way and poems by Khadim Nawob Saheb, Zahurmian and Jamiluddin Zahuri were recited.
It was a very good celebration with an American poet of Persian descent also attending and a number of
young men from Pakistan offering Nath and Humd.

The following evening was for people in the order to perfume Zahurmian's Holy Qur'an and to clean Zahuri
Manzil with rose water. This was followed by a meal and Sama.
The Final Cul

Now there was gap of one day which allowed us to prepare for a garden party for a much larger number of
guests including former work colleagues of mine.

This was followed by Fatiha and a prolonged Sama session at the end of which the closure of the 'Urs was
Grateful Acknowledgements

I have not mentioned it during the above but there is no doubt that Khawaja Saheb inspired
many people to be of great help and assistance throughout. Of these the most important by
far was that of my dear wife Farhana who worked tirelessly, efficiently and in an inspired
way to facilitate the success of the whole event. I cannot say enough in praise of her for
this. Though not always enjoying perfect health she threw herself into it wholeheartedly,
organising friends and well wishers to prepare food but also reciting Fatiha, and poetry in
Urdu, ensuring that I did not forget any important aspect of the procedure and so on. She
appeared to me to be a Queen among women.

My thanks also to the murids for attending whilst having to keep their normal weekly
workload. Adam provided willing, invaluable and humble service as is his way, and it was
good to see his wife Mas who was able to attend on one occasion. Luqman provided an
excellent programme of music and was also available to help with decorations and so on
despite being in the middle of important exams. Mikail Ali Clarke despite family commitments
was able to attend and provide beautiful Qur'an recitation and accompanying of Zikr with
drum. Husam despite his responsibilities in looking after his elderly mother was able to
attend and to provide loyal support in preparation and decoration as well as solid drumming
during the Zikr. Khalida and members of her family were a great support and I know she was
very helpful to Farhana as were many others of her friends  such as Taira Sheikh who
provided valuable support. As always it was a delight to see Farhan and his father Zulfikar
attending and Farhan's sister Farah. Akhtar and Shahida were of enormous support
throughout but especially in preparing Langar. I must also thank Daniella and Lydia for
making their flat available for the garden party.

I should also say my gratitude to Khawaja Saheb for inspiring Muhammed Asif and his
friends for attending and also for his marvellous help in preparing for the final evening and
garden party. I have not yet mentioned but certainly not forgotten the great support of Riaz
and for his wife's help in preparing food.

Ever present with me was the presence of Zahurmian - guiding me as always from the
unseen - he knows my indebtedness to him has no end. I also felt the presence of Nuri
Baba with me as ever.

If Khawaja Saheb accepts our 'Urs it will be in large part due to the efforts of all these people
and I pray for the blessings of Khawaja Saheb for each and every one.