This article 'The Inspiring Story of the Mecca Qazi Turned Sikh Shaheed', written by Duwara Consciousness, was originally published on Feb 13th 2020. This look at the universality of Sikhi is both humbling and inspiring as we hear the story of a brave Muslim who faced death but would not renounce Guru Nanak. We are grateful to republish this article in honor of SikhNet 25th anniversary. Register to attend SikhNet's 25th Anniversary Virtual Gala. 

Amazing true story

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Sikhi is a religion of converts. 3 of the Guru Sahibs converted. Some of the most consequential Sikhs of the last century were converts: Bhagat Puran Singh, Prof Sahib Singh & Master Tara Singh. Many of you reading this, and myself as well, were blessed to be born into this tradition. I am often in awe, and a little jealous, of those who find Sikhi on their own. They value it & appreciate it in a way that those of us who were given it from childhood cannot.


The sakhi of Qazi Rukn Ud-Din’s encounter with Guru Nanak Sahib is commonly told, but we don’t think about just how remarkable his transformation was. Ud-Din was a Qazi in Mecca, the heart of the Islamic world. He had immense respect & a position of considerable power. When Guru Nanak Sahib dared to point his feet at Kabba, Rukn Ud-Din famously grabbed Guru Sahib by the legs and tried to spin him around.

According to a book which purports to be an eyewitness account of the episode, Rukn Ud-Din spent the day questioning the Guru. At every turn Guru Nanak Sahib’s answers cut through the chains of orthodoxy in his mind and finally Rukn Ud-Din could do nothing more than to bow before his new Guru.

This is usually where the story ends but there is a powerful aftermath that is explained in the eye-witness account. The Mullahs of Mecca were horrified that one of their own would abandon his faith and bow down to some strange foreigner. They issued the following sentence against him:

1. He [Rukn-ud-din] is a kafir, and his murshid, Nanak Shah, is also a kafir.⠀⠀
2. Give him thirty lashes and then lock him in a box without food for eleven days.⠀⠀
3. Drive his kin from the country.⠀⠀
4. Confiscate all his wealth.⠀⠀
5. Paint his face black and then walk him through the streets of Mecca.⠀⠀
6. Hang him upside down.⠀⠀
7. Bury him up to his neck in sand, and then stone him to death.

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Through all his tortures Rukn Ud-Din refused to turn his back on Sikhi and remained absorbed in Nam. He was killed for daring to become a Sikh of Guru Nanak Sahib.

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