Diary of an Arab writer who accompanied Nanak

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IJJSingh
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Diary of an Arab writer who accompanied Nanak

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In the year 1511, during Guru Nanak’s journeys in the Middle East, a local author, Taajudin Naqshabandhi, joined Guru Nanak and remained with him for roughly one-and-a-half to two years. Taajudin documented his time with Guru Nanak in great detail. Four centuries later, a young man from Kashmir, Syed Mushtaq Hussain, chanced upon Taajudin’s handwritten manuscript while studying to become an Islamic scholar at the Medina University. This manuscript changed Mushtaq’s life. He converted to Sikhism and went on to become the renowned Sant Syed Prithipal Singh.

It's a remarkable book and a must read.

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B39vxC ... 1ctX2psdEk
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Re: Diary of an Arab writer who accompanied Nanak

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I am delighted to know that this much information about Guru Nanak's visits to Makkah, Madina, Egypt and Turkey, has been made available.

I wish to get a copy of the book as also other material referred to, i.e., the 285 (or so) questions and answers between the author of book in Arabic and Guru Nanak. I would be grateful if an address/telephone No. could be provided to buy the material. I wrote to the email ID given in the article, but yet to get a reply.

In a similar way, description of what happened during the FIRST Amrit Sanchar ceremony in 1699 was found in book from the library of Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India. A Muslim spy of Emperor Aurangzeb used to visit the Darbar of Sahib Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj in the garb of a Hindu Brahmin. Looking at the developments on that day, he wrote a last report to Aurangzeb, giving him a stern warning not to oppose Guru Maharaj, and then himself offered for amrit and became Ajmer Singh. This book is being distributed freely in India. A reference to Ajmer Singh is also found in Kalgidhar Chamatkar by prominent writer and saint, Bhai Sahib Dr. Vir Singh Ji.

GST
IJJSingh
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Re: Diary of an Arab writer who accompanied Nanak

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The English version of the book is available in PDF only, and can be downloaded from the link above. You can contact the author at [email protected]. The Punjabi version, is available in print, the author Kanwar Ajit Singh can be reached at [email protected]. The Sikh Review article refereed in the book is written by Bhai Harbans Lal (I have pasted his article below). Bhai Harbans Lal can be reached at [email protected].

The manuscript by Taajudin Naqshabandi (who lived with Nanak) was discovered at the Medina University by Mushtaq Hussain (later Sant Prithipal Singh). Sant Prithipal Singh's descendants have Mustaq's notes which may contain information about the other 256 questions.


A Man of God Sans Religion


Bhai HARBANS LAL

Many a dear friend has encouraged me in recent years to begin recording my memories and memoirs.

My response began with the series, Tales of Haripur, first published in the pages of sikhchic.com and thereafter in the Sikh Review.

A Persian phrase that reverberates through all that comes back to me from the umpteen decades I have lived, is one used by Guru Nanak in his reply to an oft-repeated question posed to him about his religion, during his extensive travels in the Middle-East.

Those he engaged him during the course of that particular udaasi included Muslim scholars well-versed in in Islam and Islamic laws, pirs and saints, mullahs, ulemas, as well as Muslim laymen.

The phrase whose English translation provides the title of this article, was one first revealed to me by a learned scholar who
used to visit Haripur and other Potohar towns frequently. I was one of his many admirers, first while I lived in Haripur, and later in Patiala after the Partition of Punjab and the rest of the subcontinent.

Syed Prithipal Singh was originally Syed Mushtaq Hussain Mirpuri who converted to Sikhi several years after his education at an Islamic madrassa in the holy city of Mecca. His ancestors were well known for their Islamic scholarship and community leadership in the Mirpur area of Kashmir.

He was the only son of the famous Pir, Muzafar Hussain, and a grandson of Pir Baqar Shah.

In 1927-30, young Mushtaq accompanied his father on a pilgrimage of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in addition to several other places of pilgrimages in the Middle East. When visiting the Muslim sacred shrines, his father, Pir Hussain, was inspired to place his son in a Muslim madrassa for Islamic education as well as for private lessons under the private supervision of Islamic scholars to learn Arabic and Persian languages.

It is during his visit of those holy cities that Mushtaq came across a book titled Siyahto Baba Nanak Shah Faqir, by Haji Tajjudin Naqshbandhi, who had met Guru Nanak during the hajj.

Tajjudin caught up with Guru Nanak in the town of Undlas located between Erar and Bagdad and travelled thereafter with him as a member of his entourage. He thus remained with Guru Nanak during the years of 1504-06.

Tajjudin recorded his time with Guru Nanak in great detail by reporting on his travels.

The book that Mushtaq came across more than four centuries was this very diary, originally hand-written by Tajjudin in a mix of Arabic and Persian languages. The book was in fact a compilation of Tajjudin’s diaries from a 2-year period.

Therein, Tajjudin had described Guru Nanak’s ravels and recorded his dialogues with the Islamic religious and civil leadership of the time. The completed diary was dated 1505 and was archived in a local library.

Recently, I have learned more of this and other extraordinary documents through my friend, Dr. Himat Singh of Patiala, Punjab.

In the absence of any facility available to copy the book in facsimile, Mushtaq Hussain took notes from Tajjudin's diaries and another book, Twarikh-e-Arab, by Khwaja Zainul Abideen, who was also present during Guru Nanak’s travels to Mecca.

Mushtaq then undertook to visit personally as many places as he could to experience the places Guru Nanak had visited four centuries earlier. During those travels, Mushtaq sought out and examined various artifacts and relics then extant from the Guru’s times. He talked to their caretakers and the locals to gather as much information as he could.

Mushtaq was fascinated by the account of Guru Nanak’s travels to the sacred places of Islam and he decided to share his experiences through public presentations and by working on publishing his findings.

Upon his return to Kashmir, Mushtaq witnessed intense persecution (1930-31) being then waged against Sikhs and their institutions in Kashmir right in front of him. The incidents he witnessed, coupled with other things that had begun to disturb him through the years, finally led to his decision to change his faith.

Thereafter, Mushtaq left his ancestral Kashmir and moved to Lahore where he came across a number of scholars of Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist orientation. He was accompanied by his wife, Gulzar Begum and son, Mohammad Nazir.

In Lahore, Mushtaq began to visit Gurdwara Dera Sahib where Guru Arjan had been martyred in 1606. He began to learn about Sikhism. He was already well on his way as a sehajdhari, having been deeply affected by all that he learned about Guru Nanak in the Arabian achives.

In Lahore he was further influenced by Giani Achar Singh.

Soon after his acquaintance with Giani ji, Mushtaq took khande-di-pahul from him in 1935.

Thenceforth, he became Syed Prithipal Singh, later also known as Sant Syed Prithipal Singh Patiale-wale.

His family joined him in this journey and also converted to Sikhi.

Syed Sahib was a very sought-after speaker. He travelled as far as England where he is remembered for laying the foundation stone of the Southall Gurdwara in or about 1965.

In 1968 he was invited to speak at the Guru Nanak Parkash Gurpurab celebrations in Kanpur, India.

He passed away during his visit to Kanpur.

Through the years, Syed Sahib worked away at translating his Persian notes for a book to be published in Punjabi. However, he did not live long enough to see the project come to final fruition.

His hand-written draft of Guru Nanak’s Travels remained unknown until his son Mohnderpal Singh Bedi finally released parts of it a few years later.

The first booklet, Babe-di-Bagdad-Pheri, has now been published (2011) by Kanwar Ajit Singh of Gurmat Vichar Kendar, Patiala, Punjab.

Coming back to the Persian quote from Guru Nanak, it is from Guru Nanak’s dialogue - not unlike the one he had with the Siddhs - with Qazi Ruknuddin of Mecca.

During Guru Nanak's visit to Mecca, Qazi Ruknuddin was among the first batch of Muslims who visited him. After the incident in which Nanak was found sleeping with his feet pointing in the "wrong" direction, several Hajjis or pilgrims to Mecca-Medina gathered around Guru Nanak, seeking a dialogue.

Qazi Ruknuddin then asked Nanak:

Fala Allah mazaboo? (What is your religion?)

To that Guru Nanak responded:

Abdulla Allah la mazaboo (I am a man of God and belong to no religion.)

This was one of some 360 questions and answers from that dialogue.

Sikh scholar Bhai Gurdas and the authors of Janam Sakhis have referred to this historic dialogue and Guru Nank’s responses, including this specific one.

To me the doctrine embodied in Guru Nanak’s self-description is a profound statement that should draw the attention of civil societies everywhere in the global village.
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Re: Diary of an Arab writer who accompanied Nanak

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Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji
IJJSingh
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Re: Diary of an Arab writer who accompanied Nanak

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I have been in contact with a number of individuals to explore the possibility of sponsoring a Muslim scholar to go to Medina University to see if the handwritten diary of Taajudin, the Persian writer, who accompanied Guru Nanak Dev ji in the Middle East in 1511AD can be located. If we can get a photocopy of this document, it will be a priceless historical treasure.

In this pursuit, I also contacted Professor MPS Bedi, to see if he could provide any additional information about his father Sant Syed Prithipal Singh (aka Syed Mushtaq Huseyin who saw the diary in Medina). Professor Sahib has been very kind, and sent me a number of photographs and the email below with information about his father. He also granted me the permission to share the contents of his email with others, which I have pasted below.

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh

Just my prelimery recollections – By Professor MPS Bedi, from email dated April 22, 2013
1902 to 12.11.1969
I am the third son out of five and only one surviving at present. I am approaching eighty now with a failing health. It has been preying on my mind that I should discharge my duty of publishing my father’s manuscript on Guru Nanak Pilgrimage to Mecca. I observe Baba Pirthi Paul Singh Ji Sayed both as a remarkable father and a great visionary of the time. I listened to his impressive lectures on Guru Nanak very attentively since my young age of four (1939) till his death on 12th November 1969, I was always astonished to learn the depth of his understanding on Guru Nanak Mission besides being Hafiz in Quarashrif.

A very small part of his manuscript called ‘Baba Di Bagdad Di Pheri’ has been published which has created an immense interest and craving among the Sikh historian to know more about Guru Nanak journey to Bagdad and Mecca. This manuscript is a Sikh heritage and I like very much to be rightly handed over to the Sikh World.

It is my intention that due to my long association with my father, I should say something about my father’s family back ground ( as I had met his relatives in Mirpur in 1993). How he was touched by the book “ Siat To Baba Nanak Fakir” that he found in Mecca Library on a Haj to Mecca with his father and Sayed Kafla from Jammu and Kashmir. What a huge impact this book had upon him how it transformed his rest of his life, with what courage he left his high family and riches and indeed spent his entire life preaching Guru Nanak Mission.

When I was in my teen, I remember my father was approached by Sardar Gulzar Singh Sidhu to write a book on Guru Nanak journeys to Mecca Madina. Mr. Sidhu was the President of Gurduara Nagina Ghat, Nangal Dam, Punjab at that time. This was about 1950. This Gurdwara is situated on the bank of River Satluj and It was from this point that Guru Gobind Singh Ji crossed the Satluj River.

The manuscript that I have in my possession is from page 1-105 in one register. I am unable to locate the next register. However, after going through this register, I came to know the background of my father, his parents and Grandparents names, the village he came from and the encounters he had with his family when he expressed his desire to become a Sikh. There was a natural craving in me to find out my Dad’s ancestors so armed with this information, I approached the Pakistan High Commissioner in London and booked a private meeting. I explained the sensitivity of visiting Sayed family in Pakistan Kashmir Mirpur and that I was a visible practicing Sikh. I did not wish to invoke any religious and family tension. However, the High Commissioner invited me after two weeks to inform that likewise my father’s ancestors were well educated broad minded on high posts and that one of my relative was a Deputy Commissioner at Mirpur in Azad Kashmir and that they are looking forward to my visit. I became very anxious to go and meet my father’s ancestors.



My respected sister in law Mrs. Manjit Kaur Bansal from Los Angels, USA offered to accompany me as she had a great respect for my father. When we landed in Islamabad in 1993, we were pleasantly surprised that one of my Dad’s nephew who was a Deputy Commissioner in Mirpur was personally there along with other relatives to greet us. My journey from Islamabad to Mirpur was very emotional. On arrival at Mirpur, we were delighted to meet a large number of my father’s relatives who invited us in their homes for dinner and to socialise. I found all of them very liberal minded and most hospitable. We exchanged gifts.

My father’s actual village is “Sayeda Da Gurha” that has come under Mangla Dam. But in January that time water had receded so we set to drive to the village with my cousin. This village is only 3 miles from Mirpur. This village along with other surrounding villages were given to honour my Dad’s Grand father Pir Bakar Ali Shah’s services as he occupied a very high position in Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir. As I walked on the footpath leading to the village, it appeared I was walking on the footprints of my father. We saw a big mansion that belonged to Bakar Ali Shah, a magnificent Mosque that he built and graveyard where all ancestors were buried. I picked up “ nanak shahi bricks” from each of these places as sweet memory and brought these back with me to London as a memorial to my Dad. I left Mirpur after 10 days of stay. It satisfied my inner urge having met most of father’s relatives who mostly lived in a street primarily occupied by Sayed families. I now realise that the courage thet my Dad took to leave all those comforts for his immense love of Guru Nanak teaching that kept him inspired all through his life. These relatives still communicate with me as we respect each other faith and convictions. Whenever, they visit London, they come and do sejda to my father big portrait that hangs in my lounge.

My father was a seeker of truth right from the early years of his life. As he read the book from Mecca Library ‘Seato Baba Nanak Fakir’ he began to peruse Guru Nanak mission and studied Guru Nanak philosophy in depth. He became convinced that Guru Nanak spiritual message is a complete philosophy of life and answers all the questions that a seeker of truth is looking for. He came to Lahore Gurdwara Dhere Sahib in the Punjab in 1933 and took Amrit De phul with his family from Singh Sehab Acchara Singh. From now onward he was assigned name as Pirthi Pal Singh instead of Sayed Mustaq Hussain Shah. His son as Sardar Bhagat Singh from Mahood Hussain Shah. Bhagat Singh who was also known as Master Mohan Singh became in charge of Guru Ram Das Saran, Amritsar in later life. Besides this he was a greatest Gateka Master ever known in the Punjab after Baba Gian Singh. He died on 14th February 1980 in Guru Ram Das Niwas, Amritsar.

My father now embarked upon a Mission to preach Guru Nanak Doctrines. Sikh Jagat would listen to his lectures on Guru Nanak spiritual teachings of One God and love of Mankind as Guru Nanak exchanged his thoughts with various Peer and Hazret during his journey to Mecca.

In 1934, Baba Pirthi Pal Singh Sayed’s wife Sayed Gulzar Begum died in Panja Sahib. On one occasion, my father was staying at Gurduara Rawalpindi giving lectures. My Nana Ji, Rahes Sardar Gurmukh Singh Marwah was the President of the Gurduara at that time. As a gesture of goodwill and to cement Sikhi relations, my mother Mata Raj Kaur’s match was offered to my Dad. It is through this union, my other five siblings were born. We did not have fixed abode, and my father was propagating Guru Nanak’s Mission through his lectures from town to town Gurduaras. It was only in 1940, that we settled in Amritsar till 1946 before we moved to Patiala, our present residence point.

My father quickly grasped the Punjabi language, studied Shri Guru Granth Sahib with meaning. Again in 1966, The Management Committee of Gurduara Singh Sebha Southall, London invited my father for Sikhi Parchar. London was an International city, my father initiated 51 Shri Akhand Path Sahib for world peace and universal brotherhood at Gurduara, The Green Southall. Since this was a small place for Sikh worship, the Committee under Dad inspiration bought new building at Havelock Rd that now constitute present Gurdwara Singh Sebha. It was previously a milk Dairy. The present Gurduara is a magnificent Building attended by large Sikh Sangat and tourist right round the world visit this Sikh Shrine.

On 13th April 1967 at the request of my father Pawan Khanda Sahib was brought over from Paunta Sahib Gurdwara for Amrit Parchar in London. Over 500 Sikhs took Khande De Pahul on a Baisakhi of 1967 and this concluding ceremony was attended by all the heads of all faith in The UK. I was humbled to be one of Punj Piyaras in the Amrit Parchar ceremony.
All British Media gave a wide coverage of this concluding Diwan on World Peace (Serbat Da Bhalla).

In 1967, as my Dad was planning to return to India, he was approached by Sikh Sangat from Kabul if he could visit them on way back to India. On arrival, My father was very impressed by the love of Sikhi amongst Kable Sadh Sangat. They enjoyed father’s lectures both in Panjabi and Farsi and many Muslims were astonished to note how well he could explain Quarane Sharif as well for love of Mankind. My father along with members of Kable Sangat met King Zair Shah who was very impressed to note my Dad’s competence both in Quran and Guru Granth Sahib. He was impressed to learn Guru Nanak love of Mankind.

In September 1969, Gurdwara Sahib Kanpur invited my Dad on the 500 anniversary of Guru Nanak Ji. My Dad again initiated Akhand Path Sahib for World Peace and began to preach Guru Nanak Mission. This was to be his last stoppage in life and his last mission. He passed away amongst Sadh Sangat after doing Katha on 12 November 1969 in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib Ji his ultimate soul mate. All Sadh Sangat in Kanpur gave him their most loving and touching farewell .

Thus came the end of a remarkable Sikh missionary Baba Pirthi Pal Singh Sayed, a true disciple of Guru Nanak born on 1902. Hope his lectures and manuscript on Guru Nanak Journey to Mecca continues to inspire others for love of Mankind and Peace. I am personally indebted to my Dad that at the time of my birth I had Wahe Guru Grace upon me and a Sikhi way of life. I hope and pray “ Sir Javey te Javey Mera Sikhi Sidik Ne Javey”till the end of my life journey.
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