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‫بسم اہلل الرحمن الرحیم‬

‫ختم شر یف‬
‫حضرت میاں شیر محمد شرقپوری‬
Khatam Sharif

In honour of the venerable

Mian Sher Muhammad Sharqpuri )‫(رضی الله عنه‬


Introduction

Allah Almighty created two types of creatures that roam the earth; one has the ability
to articulate words whilst the other does not. Human beings (Insan) are the ones who
the Almighty has bestowed with intellect, whilst He has deprived the animal kingdom
(haywan) of the same blessing. He has created the domain in this manner, so there
would be mutual harmony between the two domains. The Prophets and Awliya
understand this natural order and have taken lessons and wisdom from the animal
kingdom. Allah Almighty has mentioned many animals in the Holy Qur’an; there is a
chapter named after the cow, some fascinating stories about elephants and ants. In
Surah Kaf, there is a remarkable story of a loyal dog who kept the company of seven
brothers.

These brothers were being oppressed by the King, so they sought refuge in a cave.
A dog saw the brothers and was attracted by their aura, so he followed them to the
cave. Despite being shunned on several occasions and even chased away, the dog
did not give up and kept close by. Eventually the dog took refuge with the brothers in
the cave. It is said that Allah Almighty will honour this dog by giving him human form
on the day of judgement. This is the honour bestowed on a dog for loyalty; one can
only imagine the reward He will bestow on humans, for their loyalty. The Awliya use
the example of this dog to promote loyalty amongst their murids (disciples) as it is
said, the foundation of the relationship between the shaykh (master) and the murid is
loyalty.

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Apart from loyalty, animals and human beings can share many other characteristics,
despite their different physical appearances. In many areas, people’s extraordinary
qualities are described using animal metaphors. People who show brave courageous
characteristics are often described as ‘lions’ whereas those that possess negative
qualities can be called ‘sharks', 'wolf’ or a ‘snake’.

Every animal is not without its purpose in this world and there is something which
can be taken from even the smallest of animals. The goal for humans is not to
change characters, but to fully embody them and to reach maximum potential.

There was one such saint that was destined to be born in a small town of Sharqpur,
as this was foreseen by many holy people who travelled and graced this area, he
was known as the ‘Lion of Punjab’. That individual was none other than Shaykh Mian
Muhammad Sharqpuri.

Lineage

One of the earlier ancestors of Mian Sher Muhammad was called Maulvi Ghulam
Rasul, he was known as a religious and pious individual and was well respected
among the community. Once an incident occurred when he travelled to Hujra Shah
Muqim which is an old and very renowned place. Unfortunately, Maulvi Ghulam
Rasul  had a confrontation with a few Hindus in that area and matters escalated
quickly. The situation became such that he was captured and was almost facing
death until a few local Sayyids of the region recognised Maulvi Ghulam Rasul.
They warned the local Hindus that they should let him go free, as he was a God-
fearing man. The local Hindus and the Sayyids had a good relationship with each
other, and so the Hindus trusted the word of the Sayyids and released him. After
travelling around for some time, Maulvi Ghulam Rasul  eventually settled in an
area called Sharqpur which can be found near the city of Lahore.

Maulvi Ghulam Rasul settled well in this area as his skills in calligraphy and other
Islamic sciences became unveiled to the local community. He started teaching a few
local children which then lead to some land being donated to him to build a mosque
for the community. He used to run and pay the expenses of the mosque by hand
writing copies of the Holy Qur’an and selling them.

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The father of Mian Sher Muhammad was called Mian Azizuddin  who was also
a pious person. He was a high-ranking officer but kept his internal state hidden. At
times, he would be away from home for many months depending on his official
duties. Mian Azizuddin  was given the following advice by a local Shaykh, 'Your
son will become a great saint of this area. Do not be harsh with him as you will not
be able to witness his greatness first hand.' This prophesised to be true as Mian
Azizuddin was working in the Indian Punjab region, and caught an infectious
plague which ultimately would lead to his demise.

The Real Lion King

Before the birth of Mian Sher Muhammad, it was preordained by many saints and
dervishes that a lion will be born in this area, a true man of Allah. It was said that the
people will be ‘intoxicated’ by his scent. This was a riddle suggesting that people will
benefit from him and take great blessings from his presence. One Naqshbandi
Shaykh called Khawaja Amiruddin said ‘I have been waiting twenty years to
welcome that person’. This Shaykh stressed the importance of this for twenty years
so when the right signs emerge, the people do not neglect him and recognise the
lion of Punjab, Mian Sher Muhammad.

This association with the lion signifies the role and personality of Mian Sher
Muhammad as the lion has an importance in Islamic history. Many great
companions of Rasul Allah were given titles such as ‘Lion of God’ due to their
character and valour shown in desperate situations. Such great examples are
Sayyiduna Hamza and Sayyiduna Ali. A lion is an awe-inspiring animal, it is
the leader of the jungle, it is big in stature and physique, it is brave and courageous
as it protects the jungle from threats and it commands respect from others. It works
hard to attain respect, even from animals that are greater in size.

There was once a lion who gave birth to a cub. After the birth the mother felt like her
time was almost up and was thinking of who would take care of her cub. Thus, she
requested a cow in her presence and said to her, “Please sister, can you look after
my baby

as I feel my time is up. He will not survive on his own. Can you raise him?” The cow
was very hesitant at first but she saw how desperate this mother was and accepted

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her offer. She fed the cub day by day and eventually it became a fully-fledged lion
who now ruled the jungle. The lion reminded the occupants of the land to be aware
of his step mother and that if she was troubled by anyone, then they must answer to
him. This cow was given a lofty station within the jungle because of her good deed to
the lioness. In the same manner, assisting these lions of God will benefit a person
and increase his station and rank.

Early Life

The cub known as Sher Muhammad in his early years would have no affiliation
with worldly matters and would occupy himself in worship and dhikr. At an early age
of ten, he would enter the cemetery and communicate with the arwah of the holy
people present. He would at times become overwhelmed by these spiritual states
and would inflict what would appear to be painful actions such as eating burning
piece of coal but would remain unharmed. He would pay close detail in calligraphy
lessons as it was a family tradition and focused writing the names Allah Almighty and
RasulAllah n over and over in different styles and fonts.

As a young boy, he would recite the Holy Qur’an with his grandfather Maulvi Ghulam
Rasul and practice in the art of memorisation. His grandfather once noticed the
pages of the Holy Qur’an wet and questioned his grandson, “My child, why are the
pages of your Holy Qur’an wet? Do you not protect it when it rains?” The young Sher
Muhammad looked at his grandfather, his eyes were red and heavily swelled; he
relied “I am really sorry grandfather but at times when I read certain chapters of the
Holy Qur’an I start crying uncontrollably and therefore these pages are wet.” From
such an early age, he had such passion for learning, and the words of Allah Almighty
would affect him to such an extent he would be crying for hours on end.

While still a young child, he would go out of his way to assist the poor and needy. He
would bring them food, clothe them and take loans from the shop to aid those less
fortunate. This was all done in the absence of his father Mian Azizuddin. Upon
returning from work duties, his father would scold the young Sher Muhammad as
the hard-earned money would be used to pay off all the loans and debts which Sher
Muhammad had created in his father’s absence. It was at this stage in life that a
passing saint spoke about the nature of Sher Muhammad to his father and foretold
that that he will accomplish great things. The saint mentioned that his father should

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not reprimand him as he will be an Awliya Allah. Ever since that day had passed,
Mian Azizuddin never got involved with matters regarding his son.

Horse Rider

Despite his young age, Mian Sher Muhammad became a very skilled horse rider.
He shared an intimate connection with this animal and loved the challenges it
presented. There was once a wedding procession taking place in the village and
there was a demonstration of an untamed horse during this event. No one could
handle the horse and seeing this event transpire, the locals teased Mian Sher
Muhammad and presented a challenge to tame the horse as no one else could do
it. They knew he would succeed as they had never seen anyone else with such a
deep understanding of horses.

There was another incident which took place on a cold, chilly night where Mian Sher
Muhammad was restless. His mother had thought that maybe as it is a cold night,
the blanket and bedding was too thin and therefore changed it for a thicker and
warmer material. However, he could still not sleep and became more restless as the
night progressed. He then realised that something must be keeping them awake. He
told his mother that he was going out for a short walk to relax his senses, and during
this walk he came across a horse that was tied outside in the freezing cold. He saw
the horse and looked it in its eyes and realised that this was the reason why his night
was so restless and uncomfortable. He untied the horse and placed a thick blanket
over him to keep him warm. Following this, Mian Sher Muhammad was now at
ease and was able to sleep through the night. This is an inherent quality of Awliya
Allah; they cannot relax until the needs of everything in their neighbourhood are met.
They are not there just for the people but are also there for animals within their area.

The horse is such a noble creature that there is a narration of Rasul Allahsaying
that “Honour is on the forehead of the horse and disgrace is in the tail of the cow.”
Therefore, Awliya Allah and horses have a good relationship as both have been
bestowed with honour by Allah Almighty.

Masters of the path

Alongside animals, Mian Sher Muhammad had a great relationship with his master
Shaykh Amiruddin. His master would stay with him often at Sharqpur and train

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Mian Sher Muhammadin silent dhikr and other breathing exercises. One exercise
his master would encourage was the opening of the Lataif (spiritual channels) and
would utilise the calligraphy skill of Mian Sher Muhammad to create this opening.
He would sit in the mosque and write down the names of Allah Almighty in different
colours, the colours would vary depending on which latifa his master had instructed
him to work on.

In the early days of Mian Sher Muhammad’s spiritual journey, he would become
overwhelmed by silent dhikr. In this spiritual state, he would tear his shirt off and
would wander off into the woods for days on end.

It was the practice of Shaykh Amiruddin to drink tea several times a day so Mian
Sher Muhammad would ensure the tea was always kept warm and ready to be
served. He would place a kettle on burning coal on a slow simmer so that whenever
his master wanted tea, it could be presented within minutes. One day it was raining
all day and Mian Sher Muhammad could not find suitable firewood or coal to
prepare the tea. He decided to burn his turban instead, so that he could serve his
master with a cup of tea. This happened on three occasions that day and each time
he burnt a different piece of his clothing. On the third occasion, he was obliged to
ask a close khadim to present the tea as he was now left with no garments to wear.

When the tea was delivered, Shaykh Amiruddin could taste a difference in the
flavour. He was bewildered by the taste and looked at the khadim and asked “How
come the tea tastes so different today. And where has Mian Sher Muhammad
disappeared to?” The khadim replied, “Master he made this tea by burning his thoti.
The tea he made earlier was made with his burnt shirt and the one before that he
prepared by burning his turban. Hence, why I am delivering this cup to you as he has
nothing to clothe himself with.” Upon hearing this account from the khadim, Shaykh
Amiruddin quickly got up and went to find Mian Sher Muhammad. Eventually
he was located wrapped in some cloth and sat in the corner of the mosque. Shaykh
Amiruddin ran towards him and exclaimed, “You are a true Mian (Master),’ and
embraced him as he was pleased by the dedication and will. In the Punjabi
language, the word ‘Mian’ refers to Lord or Sir, it is a title that implies both prestige
and honour.

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The honour of being given this title by his master was a clear indication that Mian
Sher Muhammad was regarded as a loyal murid. It was this dedication and level
of loyalty that resulted in Mian Sher Muhammad accompanying his master when
they visited the shrine of their Grandmaster in the Naqshbandi Mujaddidi path,
Sayyid Imam Ali Shah. It was their practice to sit at the shrine of Imam Ali Shah
for many hours meditating, especially on a moonlit night. Mian Sher Muhammad 
would sit silently during the meditation. Later he mentioned, “My Grandmaster sends
me many spiritual blessings.” He had immense love for his Grandmaster in the path
which was evident when he once kissed the eyes of a Sikh man and explained his
actions by saying, “Blessed are these eyes that have witnessed my Grandmaster.”
He did not care about the religion or creed of the person but saw him as a person
who had witnessed his Grandmaster in person, and therefore was another means of
him gaining more closeness to his masters in this blessed spiritual path.

Near the end of his spiritual training, Shaykh Amiruddincalled Mian Sher
Muhammad to his private chambers and expressed that the Khilafat (succession)
of the path was to be passed to him. Mian Sher Muhammad respectfully declined
this as he felt he was not worthy of such an honour. Shaykh Amiruddin just smiled
and did not respond.

On another occasion, the same incident occurred and Mian Sher Muhammad
again respectfully declined the role of succession but this time Shaykh Amiruddin
responded differently, “My son, it is not a choice, whether you want it or not the
Khilafat is yours.” Mian Sher Muhammad was left with no option but to accept this
role of great responsibility and carry on the work of his master.

Man's best friend

During his time as the master of the spiritual path, it was not just the people who
sought for help from Mian Sher Muhammad but also other living animals came for
advice and guidance. One day, he was sat in his hujra and a female dog entered his
chambers. She sat down and began communicating with Mian Sher Muhammad.
Following this surreal conversation, he requested for the female dog to meet him
later in the evening and mentioned the meeting point would be the forest. After the
female dog, had departed, Mian Sher Muhammad sought council from an old lady
in his area. He asked her, “What would be the best thing to feed a woman who has

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just given birth?” The old lady responded, “Feed her halva for forty days as it is easy
to digest and contains the right vitamins and minerals to recover from child birth.”
The Shaykh then kindly requested if she could prepare the halva and to divide it into
forty equal portions. The old lady was pleased that she could be of service to a man
of Allah and prepared the halva. Later, Mian Sher Muhammad returned and
collected the forty portions of halva and thanked the old lady for her efforts.

It was now evening time, and Mian Sher Muhammad made his way to the forest to
meet with the female dog. When he arrived, he saw that the female dog had given
birth to her puppies. He spoke to the female dog and gave her the following
instructions, “This halva is for you, there are forty equal portions here and they will
help you recover. Only take one portion each day.” The female dog understood she
must follow the instructions and ate one portion a day, no more no less. Mian Sher
Muhammad returned to the same location in the forest forty days later and was
pleased to see that the female dog had fully recovered and was healthy.

The Arabic term for a dog is ‘kalb,’ and in Islamic history, the dog has great
significance as it is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and in some Hadith (Traditions).
Dogs are very intelligent animals which are regarded as very useful companions,
hence why they are often known as a man’s best friend. Dogs can be well trained
and are used to aid people with disabilities. A key feature is they have extremely
sensitive noses which are up to ten thousand times greater than human beings.
Therefore dogs are useful in so many various situations; be it an emergency in
helping to locate people who become trapped under collapsed buildings or at
airports identifying passengers transporting illegal substances.

Rasul Allah give a beautiful example of a sinner who encountered a dog during
his travels. The sinner was tired and dehydrated and came across a well in the
distance. As he approached the well, he looked inside and was pleased to see there
was plenty of water for him to drink. He managed to climb into the well and drink
some water. When he came out, he was surprised to see a dog with its tongue
sticking out. As the dog crawled towards him, he thought to himself, “I was in this
state not long ago. The dog has his tongue out as it is also in need of water. I cannot
leave him like this.” So, the sinner climbed down the well again and attempted to
gather some water for the dog. He realised he had no vessel in which he could

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transport the water back up to the dog. Thinking quick on his feet he took off his
shoe and dunked it into the well. The water flowed into his shoe and he then began
climbing back up. He placed the shoe which was full of water in front of the dog.
After the dog, had quenched his thirst, the sinner put his shoe back on and continued
with his journey.

When this sinner eventually passed away, a man of Allah saw him in a dream and
questioned the sinner about what had happened to him. The sinner replied 'I was in
the Divine court of Allah Almighty. He said to me 'You were a dog, so therefore I sent
a dog to be your salvation. You showed him mercy therefore I will show you Mercy.
You may enter Paradise.’ This example given by RasulAllah should serve as a
reminder to us all, whenever we come across animals in our lifetime. Instead of
remaining unaware as to why we have associations with animals, we need to realise
the point that they are there as a means for our salvation; it is up to us to make that
connection when the opportunity is given to us.

Other honourable mentions

There have been numerous animals mentioned in the Holy Qur’an including many
occasions where previous nations and Prophets had interactions with animals. The
wolf is named in Surah Yusuf w when the brothers claimed Prophet Yusufwas
eaten by a wolf. The whale is mentioned in Surah Yunus when the Prophet Yunus
 was swallowed by it and spent forty days in the stomach of the whale. The bee is
spoken of in regards to revelations that have been bestowed upon it. The cow is
discussed at length in Surah Baqarah regarding the story of Prophet Musa  when
the Bani Isra’il were instructed to slaughter a cow. The web of the spider is described
in Surah Ankabut and the quail is mentioned in the story of the Bani Isra’il as it was
provided as sustenance for them. These are just a few to illustrate the significance of
animals in Islam. There are also many Hadith on animals such as camels, goats,
donkeys and wolves speaking and interacting with Rasul Allah in the same
manner as his Companions, which for him was a perfectly normal thing to do.

Conclusion

Main Sher Muhammadwas sent as a mercy for the entire Punjab area. He had a
strong association with animals which resulted in animals seeking guidance and help

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from him. This happens because a man of Allah is put in a position of authority and
as the veils have been lifted by Allah Almighty, he can help those that are in need.
This can be seen in the life of recent buzurgs like Hadrat Sahib who had a passion
for horses and would like to look after them and take them for walks. Similarly,
Shaykh Nazim had a passion for cats, many cats roamed around the dargah. This
is due to that attraction these men of Allah possess that pulls all living things closer
and closer to them.

Mian Sher Muhammad is amongst these blessed people who benefited everything
in the Punjab area and beyond. He passed away on 3rd Rabi ul Awal 1347 Hijri,
20th August 1928 when he had reached the age of sixty-five years. He was upset by
this as he did not want his life to extend beyond that of Rasul Allah.

He was a renowned Naqshbandi Mujaddidi master and today people from all over
the world visit his shrine to seek blessings from him. Before his passing, he called
his brother Mian Ghulamullah into his private chamber and told him how to look
after the Khanqah and its local people. Mian Ghulamullah was confused as to why
he was being told all this information as he did not have much association with the
Khanqah. However, as the conversation drew close to an end, he felt a spiritual
surge indicating some sort of transmission had occurred.

Al-Fatiha

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