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“What has he found who has lost God? And what has he lost who has found God?”

― Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah Al-Iskandari

3rd April marks the 711th Urs (death anniversary) of the iconic Sufi saint Sultan-ul-Mashaikh, fondly remembered as Nizamuddin Auliya or Mehboob-e-Ilahi. One of the prominent saints of the Chisti order, he preached that love and service to humanity were the only means of reaching God. For him, the love for god implied love for fellow people. In the honour of this humble man, we give you a list of other such places that every Sufi disciple or follower should visit and be a part of the celebrations there.

 

Nizamuddin Auliya

Where: Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, New Delhi; India

“Real pleasure lies not in accumulation, but in the distribution of wealth.”

The tomb of one of the world’s most famous Sufi saints, Nizamuddin Auliya is preserved inside Nizamuddin Dargah in the capital city of India, New Delhi. The tomb has been built and re-built many times, however, the present monument is based on the structure perfected during the reign of the great Mughal Emperor, Jalal ud-din Muhammad Akbar in 1562. Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya’s death anniversary (Urs) is celebrated on the 17th of Rabi II or Rabi-ul-Aaqir.

 

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

Where: Mevlana Museum, Konya; Turkey

Mevlana Museum, Konya

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, of how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” 

A monastery which was converted into a museum later, Mevlana Museum is the final resting place of the great Sufi poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi. On 17th December every year, thousands of pilgrims from all over the world visit Rumi’s tomb for a religious celebration.

 

The Great Mosque of Uqba

Where: Kairouan, Tunisia

The Great Mosque of Uqba

Considered to be one of the oldest Muslim places of worship in Africa, the Great Mosque of Kairouan or the Sidi Okba Mosque is situated in UNESCO World Heritage Town of Kairouan. The first mosque was built in 670 by the founder of Kairouan, Sidi Oqba, shortly after Muslim Arabs arrived in North Africa. At its peak between the ninth and eleventh centuries AD, Kairouan was one of the most sought-after centres of Islamic civilization and scholarship. Though the city declined by mid-11th century, the Mosque of Okba continues to remain a masterpiece of Islamic art and architecture.

 

Khoja Akhmet Yassawi

Where: Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, Turkistan; Kazakhstan

Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi

This unfinished mausoleum in the city of Turkestan, in southern Kazakhstan, was built in 1389 by Turko-Mongol conqueror Timur. The tomb was made in the memory of famous Turkish poet, philosopher and Sufi mystic Khoja Ahmed Yasawi. Despite its incomplete state, this religious structure continues to draw pilgrims from all over the planet and has become a symbol of the Timurid dynasty. In 2003, UNESCO recognized Khoja Ahmed Yasawi’s mausoleum as Kazakhstan’s first patrimony place and hence, declared it to be a World Heritage Site.

 

Abadir Umar ar-Rida

Where: Old Harar, Ethiopia

Old Harar

Called Gey (“the City”) by its inhabitants, the historic town of Harar was found between the 7th and the 11th century while the walls surrounding it were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Harar Jugol is known to be the fourth holiest city of Islam, home to over 102 shrines and 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century. As per a 13th century unpublished historical document ‘Fath Madinat Harar’, patron saint and cleric Abadir Umar Ar-Rida and other religious leaders came from the Arabian Peninsula to settle in Harar in 1216 AD. Subsequently, Ar-Rida, who is also called Fiqi Umar, became a clerical figure for the locals and his tomb is a beloved pilgrimage destination for Sufi followers.

 

Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi

Where: El-Mursi Abul Abbas Mosque, Alexandria; Egypt

Mosque Alexandria

Considered to be one of the most important mosques of Eqypt, the beautiful Abu el-Abbas el-Mursi Mosque is located in the Anfoushi neighborhood of Alexandria, near the Citadel of Qaitbay. It is built in the honour of 13th century Murcia Andalusian saint Al-Mursi Abul-‘Abbas, who played a big role in leading the Shadhali brotherhood towards Sufism. This Sufi saint was admired for helping the needy and for his outright honesty, and has become a much respected name in Egypt.

 

Amadou Bamba

Where: Touba, Senegal

Mosque of Touba

“I have received an order from my Lord to guide the people toward God, The Most High. Those who want to thread this path just have to follow me. For the rest, who are only looking for education, there are enough men of letters who are available throughout the country.”

The holy city of Mouridism and the burial place of its founder, Shaikh Aamadu Bàmba Mbàkke is situated in central Senegal, in modern day Touba. Apart from being the leader and founder of the large Mouride Brotherhood, Sufi Aamadu Bàmba Mbàkke had a social mission to fulfil:  He wanted to liberate his society from colonial estrangement and restore it back to the “Straight Path” of Islam. Touba’s annual pilgrimage Magal, celebrated to mark the exile of Ahmadou Bamba to Gabon, draws almost two million people from Senegal and beyond.

 

Moinuddin Chishti

Where: Dargah Sharif, Ajmer; India

ajmer

“No nation can ever achieve progress until the men and the women do not go ahead shoulder to shoulder.”

Located in the princely state of Rajasthan, Dargah Sharif or Ajmer Sharif, holds the grave of celebrated Sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishti, of the Chishti Order of Sufism. Every year, on the 6th and 7th of Rajab, the seventh month of the Islamic calendar, the world gathers to rejoice the life of Moinuddin Chishti, fondly remembered as Gharīb Nawāz, or ‘Benefactor of the Poor’.

 

Hazrat Shah Jalal

Where: Hazrat Shah Jalal Shrine, Sylhet; Bangladesh

On the banks of Surma River is the historic town of Sylhet, filled with breath-taking natural beauty. It is also home to the Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal, an iconic Sufi Muslim figure known for the spread of Islam in Bangladesh through Sufism during early 13th Century. Born as Shaikh Makhdum Jalal ad-Deen bin Mohammed, his robes and sword are unspoiled within the mosque, but are not for the general public to view. Only few people have the privilege to enter the shrine, as its guardians hold the right to turn visitors away should they feel the visitor is not properly dressed. So popular is Hazrat Shah Jalal in Bangladesh that the country’s largest airport Shahjalal International Airport, placed in Dhaka is named after him.

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