June 01(TNS): Pir Mehr Ali Shah (born 1 Ramadan 1275 A.H., i.e., 14 April 1859 in Golra Sharif, died in May 1937) was a Sufi scholar from Pakistan belonging to the Chishti order. He is known as a Hanafi scholar upholding the position of Abdul-Haqq Dehlavi, and a leader of the anti-Ahmadiyya movement. He wrote several books, most notably Saif e Chishtiyai (“The Sword of the Chishti Order”), a polemical work criticizing the Ahmadiyya movement of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
Shah was a supporter of Ibn Arabi‘s ideology of Wahdat-ul-Wujood but he made a distinction between the creation and the creator (as did Ibn Arabi). He also wrote explaining the “Unity of Being” doctrine of Ibn Arabi.
Like his comrade Qazi Mian Muhammad Amjad, he was an authority on Ibn Arabi and his 37-volume masterpiece The Makkah Illuminations (Al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya). In 1933, Shah was absorbed in his meditation and mystic trances.
Love of ALLAH and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H)
The love of Allah was inmate in Hazrat’s temperament from the beginning, and music produced an electrifying effect on him. He had a good voice himself and enjoyed listening to good musical voice in others. His general manner of conversation was as sweet and sincere as to inspire feelings of tenderness in others. In those early years, he often used to go out in uninhabited, quiet places, and recited divine love songs aloud to soothe him. People of the neighborhood, including some of his class mates listened to these songs avidly but furtively.
Zikr-o-Fikr (remembrance and meditation) of Hazrat (R.A)
Hazrat used to hold his sittings on a stone slab of the shape of a prayer mat, which was placed outside his hujrah (prayer cell) under the shade of trees. Hazrat often spent whole nights (including the long and exceedingly cold winter ones of this mountainous region) with only one blanket to cover him. He sat here completely motionless in single-minded contemplation until the break of dawn, when he rose to prepare for his morning prayers. The warmth of the love of Allah so permeated his body that even on the cold nights, he used to dip himself in the near-frozen water of the pond in the valley to soothe his nerves. Most often he used to perform the morning prayers with the ablutions of the preceding night’s Isha prayers, thus keeping awake the whole night through.
These prolonged vigils and constant sitting posture had in course of time the effect of benumbing Hazrat’s legs and thighs, severely restricting his movements. The local physician prescribed massage and horse-riding during the afternoons in order to obtain relief. This eventually helped in getting over the distressing condition, with the result that an afternoon spell of riding became an integral part of Hazrat’s daily schedule until quite late in life.
Ishq-e-Rasool (love of Holy Prophet) (P.B.U.H)
Ishq-e-Rasool (P.B.U.H) i.e. love of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) is a basic element of Awlia-Allah. Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) was indeed a figure of Ishq-e-Rasool (P.B.U.H). If anyone came to seek prayers from Hazrat on acquiring any wazifa, Hazrat always advised to recite Darud Sharif, as it is the key to the love of Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) and to every problem.
It was due to this love of Allah and love of the Holy Prophet that Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah was able to achieve higher states of Ma’rifat (a higher state in Sufism).
During a journey from Makkah to Madina (eternal resting place of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) after the main Hajj ceremonies, an incident happened that can best be described in his own words reproduced below:
“While passing through the Wadi-e-Hamra on the road to Madina Munawwara, it so happened that, because of the threat of an attack on our caravan by robbers (which used to be a common occurrence in those days), I happened, while offering my Isha prayers, to default in carrying out the Sunnats (the part of the prayers in emulation of the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H) ritual practice). I went to sleep at one end of the caravan. Maulvi Muhammad Ghazi, who had left his teaching activities in the Madressah-e-Saulatiyah, was accompanying me during this journey. During the sleep I saw in a dream that while I was sitting in a mosque in a praying posture, the Holy Prophet graced the place by his Holy presence, giving me new life with the sight of his perfect beauty. Coming near me, he remarked that a member of his progeny (such as myself) should not default in performance of his Sunnat. There upon I immediately caught hold of the silk soft shins of the Prophet (P.B.U.H) in extreme humility, and started reciting the words: “Blessings and salutations be upon you, O Messenger of Allah”. Not fully sure at first that I was in fact in the presence of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) himself, I asked him about his identity three times. Instead of answering my question directly,
however, he only repeated his earlier admonishing about defaulting about the performance of the Sunnat prayers. For this, as well as from the fact that he did not forbid me from addressing him in the second person as “O Messenger of Allah”, I inferred that my august addressee was indeed the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) himself. Another indication about the identity of the personality facing me was the incomparable beauty of his face, indeed his whole person— a beauty that neither tongue nor the pen adequately described, and could belong only to handsomest and the purest human being that had ever lived or will ever live again”.
The sentiments generated by the dream are reflected to some extent in the Punjabi language Naat (Eulogy of the Holy Prophet) that Hazrat composed during rest of the same journey between the valley of Hamra and Madina Munawwara. It is probably with reference to sentiments such as these that in his book Futuhat-us-Samadiyyah (Divine Revelations), Hazrat has written as follows: “One even now comes across persons belonging to the noble group on whom the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) bestows his latent (spiritual) bounties, either on the departure at the end of this stay in Madina or at any time during their stay there, the like of which no eye has ever seen and no ear heard of”.
A story goes that Allama Muhammad Iqbal, world renowned Muslim philosopher and poet of the east, heard one evening someone outside his residence in Lahore singing the above mentioned opening verse of the Naat. Touched by the melody as well as the meaning of the verse, Allama Sahib sent down his servant to bring up the stranger to him, and then asked the latter to sing the full Naat in his presence. When the singer recited the concluding verse (also reproduced above), which contains Hazrat’s name as author of the Naat, Allama Sahib realized why the Naat was so over powering in its emotional effects.