One of the most accomplished Muslim Sufi masters of the nineteenth century Hazrat Ghouse 'Ali Shah Qalandar Panipati (RA). He was born in
1804 at Panipat, in the present-day state of Haryana in a family of
Sayyeds who claimed direct descent from the Prophet Hazrat Syedina
Muhammad ( Sal-lal-lahu Alaihi Wa Sallam ). As his mother had fallen
sick soon after his birth, he was given to a wet nurse to be looked
after, the wife of Pandit Ram Sanaihi, a pious and God-fearing Hindu.
He was doted upon by his relatives. His grandfather would address him
as 'Khurshid 'Ali' (One who shines in the light of Ali, the son-in-law
of the Prophet); his father would address him as Abul Hasan ('Father
of Hasan', one of the titles of Imam 'Ali); his mother would call him
'Ghouse Ali' ('One who is under the protection of Imam 'Ali); while
the Pandit's wife would call him 'Ganga Bishan' ('One who is an
offering to the Ganga').
At the tender age of four Hazrat Ghouse 'Ali Shah Qalandar Panipati
(RA) began to learn the Holy Qur'an from his mother, while Pandit Ram
Sanaihi began teaching him the Hindu scriptures. In his youth he was
initiated into three different Sufi orders namely Soharwardi, Qadri
and Naqshbandi. He had a total of nineteen spiritual masters, of whom
eleven were Muslims and eight were Hindus.
Great Miracle about on the topic of Meraj-un-Nabi ( Sal-lal-lahu alaihi wa sallam )
Once a person met Hazrat Ghouse Ali Shah Qalandar Panipati (RA) near a
masjid and argued how can Nabi-e-kareem ( Sal-lal-lahu alaihi wa
sallam ) go on arsh for mehraj in one day. Hazrat Ghouse Ali Shah
Qalandar Panipati (RA) said Oh “ Be-adab” look hear and suddenly
Hazrat Ghouse Ali Shah Qalandar (RA) penerated inside the walls of the
masjid and disappeared breaking the walls of the masjid and at the
same time he came came again back to the original positon where he was
standing before and the walls came back to the orginal positon. Seeing
the miracle the person began pardon from the great saint and became
Another Famous Miracle Hazrat Ghouse Ali Shah Qalandar Panipati (RA) narrates :
Once he accompanied with his spiritual teacher peer-o-murshid and they
went to a jungle where two people were sleeping. Both the sleeping
persons had burning red charcoal on their hands. One person’s hand had
burnt severely and bones were visible. Another person’s hand didn’t
burn and burning Charcoal didn’t effect the person even when it was on
his body. On this stage his Peer-o-murshid asked him tell me now who
is kalim among these 2 persons. Hazrat answered I think the person
whom the charcoal has not effected his body, he might be the kalim.
Peer-o-murshid on hearing this answer said . No. This is not the right
answer. The Muqams of Ashiqeens this world cannot know. Here the
person for whom the charcoal has not effected is not in deep
concentration and his spiritual power is on the burning charcoal and
he is still not matured in the path sulook but where the person whom
the charcoal has effected and burnt his bones is so deep in the love
and mediation of allah that his concentration is not on burning
charcoal but deep in the rememberance of allah subhaanahu thaalah.
This great waqiya is narrted by hazrat ghouse ali shah qalandar panipati (RA)
Hazrat Ghouse 'Ali Qalandar Panipati (RA) had a large number of
disciples, both Muslim as well as Hindu. His sayings were noted down
by one of his closest disciples, Hazrat Gul Hassan, and collected in
the form of a book, Tazkirat-ul Ghouseiya. The book, which is in Urdu,
deals with a range of issues related to universal love and the true
meaning of monotheism.
Like the Sufis of old, Hazrat Ghouse Ali Shah Qalandar Panipati (RA)
taught his disciples through short stories and sayings that could
readily appeal even to an unlettered audience. A story that well
illustrates Ghouse Ali's belief that all attempts by ordinary human
beings to understand God are necessarily limited, and hence no one can
claim a monopoly of the truth, runs as follows:
There were once five travellers who were journeying together in great
fellowship. One was a cook; one was a drunkard; one was a hafiz [one
who has memorized the Qur'an]; one was a Sufi and one was a Brahmin.
They passed through a jungle and heard the call of a black partridge.
One of them asked, 'What is it really saying?'
The cook said, 'Nothing but onion, garlic and ginger'.
The drunkard said, 'No, it is saying that every religious jurist is malicious'.
The hafiz recited the Qur'an, 'When We created the heavens'.
The Sufi said, 'It is saying "Great is His power"'.
The Brahmin said, 'Ram, Lakshamn and Jasrat'.
And so everyone interpreted the partridge's call after their thought
and temperament and nobody knew exactly what the partridge was saying.
Many of the stories narrated in the Tazkirat-ul Ghouseiya deal with
the oneness of all humankind and the essential unity of different
religious paths attempting to reach the one. Each religion is unique,
Hazrat Ghouse Ali Shah Qalandar Panipati (RA) suggested, and behind
the historical manifestations of religious difference is a common
quest for the Truth.
The message of the unity of all human beings, transcending religious
differences, underlies many stories contained in the Tazkirat-ul
Auliya. In one story, Hazrat Ghouse Ali Shah (RA) relates: Once there
were four travelers passing through a dense forest. When they stopped
to rest for the night, because of the dangers from highwaymen, robbers
and wild animals, they decided they should keep a watch for each part
of the night.
The first watch was given to the wood sculptor. While he was sitting
alone, his three companions sleeping, he took a piece of wood and
began to carve. During his watch in the first quarter of the night he
carved the figure of a beautiful woman. Then he woke one of his
companions, a dressmaker, to take over the watch while he slept.
Noticing what his friend had created and admiring his skill, the
dressmaker decided to spend the time of his watch making a beautiful
garment for her. After he had made the garment and dressed the statue,
it was time to wake up the third watch of the night, who happened to
be a jeweller.
This man decided to adorn the girl with beautiful jewellery from
earrings to necklace, from bracelets to a beautiful belt for her
waist. Now the last watch of the night was about to begin. The
jeweller managed to wake the fourth man who was fast asleep, a
good-for-nothing fellow with no skills or arts to speak of.
The man rubbed his eyes to shake off his sleep and looked around in
the pitch darkness broken only by the last embers of the fire which
they had lit. In the light of that fading fire he saw to his utter
amazement the figure of a beautiful woman, dressed and adorned. He
looked at his three friends, now fast asleep, and admired their
skills. He was perplexed because they had left nothing for him to add,
and even if they had, he was unable to offer anything.
So he felt very distressed at himself and thought how u
seless his life
had been and was ashamed before these strangers whom he had met on the
journey. The night was quickly receding as he rose with tears in his
eyes and did the necessary ablution to offer a special prayer. There
he sat in that still land before sunrise and raised his hands and
'Oh Almighty and Merciful Lord, give from your boundless mercy a
little portion so that I may not be ashamed before these friends as
this day rises. You are the Giver of Life, who gives life to
everything in the universe. You are Eternal. Bestow upon this figure
the gift of life, which is in Your power alone to give'.
At the first moment of daybreak, there was a movement in the figure
and there she was, a breathing, beautiful woman. So when the
travellers awoke, their eyes were filled, not only with the light of
the rising sun, but also by the beauty of a living form before them
whose miracle confounded them. They could not believe that a form
carved out of dead wood could breathe and move.
Soon their bewilderment was replaced by mutual hostility as to who had
greater claim over her. Each one talked about his contribution to her
making, and the fool about his prayers. They had slept the previous
night as friends but when they awoke the following morning they became
However, they agreed on one thing, that they should go into the city
and present their case before the magistrate. This they did and the
magistrate was baffled by the intensity with which each one of them
stressed his part of the story. What mystified him most was the fact
that the girl did not utter a single word, as if she were deaf and
Finally, he brought the men before the king, hoping that in his
presence at least one of them would speak the truth. But each repeated
the same story, which was obviously so unbelievable that the king was
also greatly puzzled. One of the princes suggested that they should
invite a faqir ( saint of allah ) to advise on this inscrutable
On his arrival, the faqir looked at the assembly and the helplessness
of everyone there with the single exception of the mysterious girl who
stood amidst them as if she were all alone. Then the faqir led them
out of the city and brought them before an old and mighty tree known
in ancient times as the Tree of the Oracle.
As the faqir asked the tree on behalf of the king for the solution to
the mystery, an opening appeared in its trunk. They all watched as the
girl walked towards the tree, stepped into the opening and disappeared
inside it. So from formlessness emerged the form and to formlessness
We are of God, and unto God we return, says the Holy Qur'an, Hazrat
Ghouse Ali Shah (RA) noted. Such is the case, he said, with all of us.
As soon as we step into this world, we are surrounded by claimants of
various kinds and powers -- parents claiming us because they brought
us up; teachers claiming us because they gave us education; relatives
claiming us because they are our kin; friends claiming us because they
gave us their love; and rulers and employers claiming us because they
gave us security and livelihood; and, if we happen to be Muslim, the
Imams claim that we owe them our obedience; and if we happen to be
Hindu, then the Pandits claims us because they have prayed for us in
But a day shall come when these relationships and the claims that
build upon them will all be nullified, and none shall ever know from
where he came and where he went. On that day, each soul shall have
much to worry about itself. On that day shall a man flee from his own
brother, and from his mother and father, and from his wife and
children, says the Holy Qur'an, Hazrat Ghouse Ali Shah (RA)
Hazrat Ghouse Ali Shah (RA) was by no means an exceptional Sufi, and
numerous mystics, from within the Muslim, as well as Sikh and Hindu
traditions, have taught the same message, expressing it in different
These traditions need to be recovered and rearticulated today, to
provide new ways of understanding religion and coming to terms with
the fact of religious pluralism. In the struggle against religious
fascism and terror such traditions must have a major role to play.