Babuji (R.A) as a traveller
Acting on the saying Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H),
“Live in this world as a traveller”.
Babuji (R.A) travelled extensively and led a life like a was-farer. In his letters, Babuji (R.A) would end up with the words signed,
“The same way-farer of a short duration from Golra”.
Babuji (R.A) never travelled alone when on holy visits. Hundreds of people accompanied him thou the number varied from time to time- it always increased. The companions whom Babuji (R.A) never termed as his followers or murids but as Sangees and friends enjoyed an unbound generosity at the hand of Babuji (R.A).
Ranging from reservation of seats in the railway trains, ships, airplanes, road transport and accommodation in Pakistan and foreign countries, Babuji (R.A) would provide for and make all the arrangements for the party. In addition to this, free langar (free food) was provided for all during the journey period. In this respect the names of Khwaja Khuda Bukhsh, Hamza Daud, late Ahmad Daud, Muhammad Din, and late Makhan may be mentioned who looked after the whole work and discharged the duties assigned to the by Babuji (R.A) to the entire satisfaction of all.
In Madina Munawwara, during his first visit in 1930. Babuji (R.A) stayed at the residence of Haji Mian Fazl Ilahi Sethi in Zuqakush-shuna near Haram Sharif. Afterwards Hazrat Syed Ahmad Bin Syed Mahdar-ul-Atas Madni Sahib played the host at his residence near Bir Buda, afterwards on the Quba road.
Looking after his companions
Babuji (R.A) used to pay special attention to the comfort of his companions during his travels. Babuji (R.A) would be the last person to take his seat ion the transport after all others had taken their seats and would be the last person to leave.
Regarding accommodation, Babuji (R.A) kept waiting outside for a considerable time until his companions had occupied all the rooms. Similarly, after food had been served to all, Babuji (R.A) would take his food.
During the train journeys, Babuji (R.A) would provide food to other people also who were traveling in his compartment.
In 1964, at the London terminal Babuji (R.A) kept waiting for a pretty long time during the night till all his companions had moved to the hotels booked for them.
Babuji (R.A) would extend a similar treatment to all those visitors who would come to meet him on the occasion of Urs at Pakpattan Sharif. Even in Madina Munawwara, Babuji (R.A) looked after and provided food to such visitors.
Visits to Saudi Arabia
Babuji (R.A) visited Saudi Arabia 34 times on pilgrimage and Umrahs. The first visit was made in the year 1930 and these continued till the year 1972 when Babuji (R.A) performed his last Hajj. However, his last visit to Saudi Arabia was made in the year 1972.
1. At Makkah Sharif
While enlightening about Babuji’s (R.A) daily schedule at Makkah, Seth Ismail of Karachi unfolded the truth that from the morning prayers until 9:00 am. Babuji (R.A) would maintain the same standing posture even in those days when the Haram Sharif boasted of no marbled floors but only a stony lay-out. Babuji’s (R.A) regard for the maintained degree of concentration was such that even a slightest moment did not occur; so engrossed was Babuji (R.A) in Allah’s grandeur as if breathing in the presence of Allah thus reflecting Babuji’s (R.A) deep regard and extreme love for the Divine.
2. At Madina Sharif
During his visits to Madina Munawwara, Babuji (R.A) hardly slept for more than three hours as he would go to Haram Sharif long before his Tahajjud prayers. There he would keep waiting at the entrance gate called “Bab-us-Salaam” till its opening. Babuji (R.A) would stay there for about four hours. Having offered the Darud and Salaams before the “Mawajah Sharif” and accompanied by Syed Haider-ul-Haidery, Hazrat Syed Ahmad Bin Mahdar-ul-Atas Madni Sahib and his companions, Babuji (R.A) would come back to his residence.
Babuji (R.A) would offer noon prayers in Haram Sharif and would take lunch at Hazrat Madni Sahib’s house. After this Babuji (R.A) would go to Haram Sharif for Asr prayers and return only after Isha prayers. Dinner was served after the Isha prayers. Despite Babuji’s (R.A) repeated requests to Madni Sahib to provide simple food, the latter’s hospitality knew no bounds. Madni Sahib used to arrange for a grand farewell fiest for Babuji (R.A) where the leading personalities of Syed families of Madina Munawwara were invited by him.
On Babuji’s (R.A) departure, Hazrat Madni Sahib along with his sons would accompany Babuji (R.A) to Bir Ali where the last glimpse of the Holy Dome would be seen. Babuji (R.A) and his party would offer Darud Sharif and farewell Salaams to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) at this spot. Babuji (R.A) wept bitterly at the pangs of separation from the Holy city of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). At Bir Ali, Madni Sahib would bid farewell to Babuji (R.A).
1. Stay at Jehangirabad
Normally on his way to Multan, Babuji (R.A) would stay at the cattle farm of Khan Bahadur Dost Muhammad Khan Watto in Jehangirabad, who was a staunch believer and a great devotee of his father Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A). Mehfil-e-Sama were also held there with Mahboob Qawwal creating an aura of spirituality.
2. In Multan
Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) had a very great following in Multan and its adjoining areas. In Multan, Mian Haji Imam Bukhsh, the head of Khwaja family was his great devotee. His sons Mian Haji Muzaffar Din and Khwaja Muzaffar Mehmood cherished a similar devotion. Khwaja Khuda Bukhsh and Khwaja Abdul Wadood enjoyed Babuji’s (R.A) great blessings as well as his affectionate attachment. The devotion countries.
3. In Pakpattan Sharif
Babuji (R.A) stayed at the guesthouse of Diwan Said Muhammad Sahib and late after his death, and at the residence of Mian Ghulam Farid.
4. In Jhang
Babuji (R.A) would grace the residence Meher Ahmad Nawaz affectionately nicknamed as “Punj Phoolan” who was very dear to him.
5. In Kasur
Babuji (R.A) stayed at the residence of Nawabzadah Fateh Baz Muhammad Khan.
6. In Sargodha
While in Sargodha Babuji (R.A) would stay at the residence of Meher Abdul Rahman Lak in "Dera Sadah Lak". The families are still among his devotees.
Haji Meher Sadah Lak had met Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) at Sial Sharif before 1905. His sons Haji Meher Abdul Rahman and Haji Meher Jahan Lak entered into “Bait”, allegiance with Hazrat in the same year. Hazrat visited Sardar Lak in 1907 and from that year onwards till 1926. Hazrat used to stay there during his annual visits to Sial Sharif.
Meher Jahan Khan Lak lost his three sons in their infancy and as such remained issueless. With Babuji’s (R.A) blessings, he got a son at the age of 82 in the year 1941. Babuji (R.A) remarked the newly born was a gift from Hazrat Ghaus Pak (R.A) and as such named the son as Ghulam Dastgir (R.A). To express their gratitude, Babuji (R.A) along with Meher Jahan Khan, Meher Abdul Rahman and Ghulam Dastgir visited Iraq Sharif and paid homage at the shrine of Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam in the year 1951.
Meher Jahan Khan Lak died in the year – 1952, when his son Ghulam Dastgir was only nine and a half years old. Babuji (R.A) took upon himself the affectionate responsibility and always bestowed special blessings on him. When Ghulam Dastgir got married on 13th November 1961, Babuji (R.A) presided over the ceremony in person.
In 1967, Babuji (R.A) stayed at Dera for two days at the occasion of Dastagir’s marriage of Babuji (R.A) a son was born to him in 1968 who was named Muhammad Munir by Babuji (R.A).
Babuji (R.A) had a great regard for Ghulam Dastgir’s father and hence always extended his loving patronage and blessings on him.
7. In Karachi
In the beginning Babuji (R.A) and his companions stayed in the building M/S Sadiq Traders near Railway Station. Later on they graced the residence of Ahmad Daud in P.E.C.H.S in Karachi.
During his stay in Karachi, Babuji (R.A) would always visit Late Hazrat Syed Abdul Qadir Al-Gilani, the Ambassador of Iraq in Pakistan. Being a descendent of Hazrat Ghaus-e-Azam (R.A) and called “Naqeeb”, it was he who later headed the funeral of Babuji (R.A).
A strange incident
Once accompanying Babuji (R.A) on a journey to Karachi, Sardar Akram and other companions namely, Late Khwaja Muzaffar Mehmood and Mahboob Qawwal witnessed a procession of Majzubs alongside the road. The Sardar says that the mostly astounding thing was the fact that it continued up to Karachi as well as that those who thronged both the sides where clad in similar dresses. Only their faces differed. They had come for Babuji (R.A) Ziarah or perhaps they were on duty it seemed. When the companions asked Babuji’s (R.A) sons for further confirmation and explanation, they both maintained silence.
8. In Lahore
When in Lahore, Babuji (R.A) used to stay at residence of Mian Muhammad Hayat Qureshi who was a great and selfless companion of Hazrat Syed Meher Ali Shah (R.A). Sometimes Mehfil-e-Sama was held at his residence. Afterwards Babuji (R.A) graced the residence of Mian Muhammad Saeed Qureshi, Senator and his brother Mian Zakir Hussain Qureshi near Fortress Stadium, Lahore. Shorish Kashmiri, a renowned figure who was quite critical of “Sufism” as such, regarded Babuji (R.A) alone as a true and perfect embodiment of Sunnah and Shariah. He concluded his research with the statement that all over the sub-continent, Babuji (R.A) alone was the person who really influenced and impressed him while labeling Babuji (R.A) as “a complete personality – the only personality”. Ever since, the relation has continued.
9. In Peshawar
In the early phase of his visits, Babuji (R.A) stayed with his father at the residence of Khan Bahadur Haji Karim Bukhsh Sethi in Peshawar. Later on, Babuji (R.A) used to stay at the residence of Ismail Sethi in Sethi Street. Members of Ismail Sethi became devotees of Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) on the occasion of Hazrat’s visit to Peshawar in connection with the invitation of Diwan Sahib of Ajmer Sharif over a debate on the issue of “sama” with the Ulama of Peshawar. Later on Khan Bahadur Haji Karim Bukhsh and his cousin Mian Haji Abdul Rahim attended the debate which was scheduled to begin in Lahore in 1901 with Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian.
Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) along with Babuji (R.A) visited Peshawar in the year 1911 and again in 1929. Babuji (R.A) visited Peshawar on several occasions afterwards. He attended a Mehfil-e-Sama on 30th November 1962 “Rumi day”, on the premises of Islamia College at Government College, Peshawar, and at the Campus of Board of Intermediate Education on 3rd March 1972.
The term “Rumi day” relates to Babuji’s (R.A) love for Hazrat Maulana Rum. In his late days Babuji (R.A) would lovingly call Hazrat Rumi as “Pir-e-Ma” (mine guide).
10. In Mansehra
Babuji (R.A) had gone to Kot Najibullah Haripur to attend the Khatm-e-Urs ceremony of Maulvi Hamid-ud-Din Sahib. The Governor sent in the Police asking, Babuji (R.A) to leave Abdul Qayyum Khan was the then Chief Minister. Babuji (R.A) returned as ordered.
A few days later Abdul Qayyum on his way to Karachi along with his entourage was detained at Lahore, and his post of Chief Minister-ship dissolved.
After some time elapsed, Babuji (R.A) remarked that since Abdul Qayyum had fallen from his worldly status, Babuji (R.A) would like to meet him. But then stopped himself from doing so lest his visit may be interpreted as a slander against Abdul Qayyum Khan. Hence Babuji (R.A) would reverse his decision.
Visits to Turkey
1. In Konya
Babuji (R.A) held Maulana Rum in high eastern and along with Hazrat Syed Ahmed bin Mahdar-ul-Atas Madni, his two sons Syed Ghulam Muinuddin and Shah Abdul Haq as well as other companions first visited Konya in the year 1949.
The Mudir (manager) of the Shrine of Hazrat Jalaluddin Rumi (R.A) hosted a lunch in his honour. He had extended the invitation, as stated by the Mudir himself, on the directive of Hazrat Jalaluddin Rumi (R.A).
Madame Sara Okcu
happened that at this entrance Babuji (R.A) caught site of a woman
expressing her grievances before Maulana Rum. Being a devotee of Rumi she
had come there to request from Rumi. Babuji (R.A) asked Madni Sahib, who
was accompanying him on his visit to Konya Sharif, as to why she was
crying. On learning about her condition, Babuji (R.A) said: “Ask her to
be silent now for I am her brother”. Since then she is a part of
Babuji’s (R.A) family, and the sons have maintained a similar respect
and love for her. Each year she visits Golra Sharif.
Brimming with love and devotion for Babuji (R.A), she is a perfect embodiment in her own person. The love and affection she bears for Babuji (R.A) and his family is par excellence. If at any time inquired about Babuji’s (R.A) personality and kindness, she would always reply, “It’s unique – beyond verbal expression. It can’t be accounted for”.
It was she who on meeting Babuji (R.A) at the entrance to Rumi’s shrine, took him later on to Mr. Veli Ertan Mudir Mahad Islam-ul-Aalee and Nacdet Friert Uksek, Islam Enstitusu. With the special permission of Mudir, Mahboob Qawwal recited verses from Masnavi and then afterwards Babuji (R.A) offered “Fateha”. This was the daily routine during Babuji’s (R.A) stay in Konya. The advocate met Babuji (R.A) and invited him and his party to a reception in a park. He was greatly influenced by Babuji (R.A).
This visit to Konya in 1949 was followed up in the years 1964 and 1969.
2. In Istanbul
On his visits to Turkey Babuji (R.A) visited not only the shrine of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (R.A) and Shamsuddin (R.A), but also of Hazrat Ayub Ansari in Istanbul.
On the death of Mr. Muhammad Tahir advocate Konya, who had held a reception in the honour of Babuji (R.A) during his visit to Konya, Babuji (R.A) arranged a Khatm-e-Quran Sharif for the departed soul and directed Ms. Sara Okcu to convey his heart felt sympathy to the bereaved family. in his letter dated 7.1.1966 to Madame he prayed for the honourable settlement of the problems of Turks in Cyprus.
In Istanbul, during his visit to Hazrat Abu Ayub Ansari, thousands of Turks thronged over there and kissing Babuji’s (R.A) hands, requested for prayers in Baghdad Sharif.
Visits to Iraq
Babuji (R.A) along with his companions visited the Holy Shrines at Karbala and Najf-e-Ashraf besides Kazimain Sharif, Imam Abu-Hanifa (R.A), Prophet Hazrat Yusha (A.S), Hazrat Al-Maruf Karkhi (R.A), Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi (R.A), Hazrat Sirri Saqatee (R.A), Bahlool Dana (R.A), the companion of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) Hazrat Muslim bin Aqeel (R.A), Hani bin Urwa (R.A), and Hur (R.A).
Journeys to Europe and Middle East
Babuji (R.A) and his sangees visited the Vatican City on 23rd May 1964. He also visited the Church along with his Sangees. During his visit to the church, Mahboob Qawwal was reciting the verses of love for mankind and humanity.
Babuji’s (R.A) mysticism was characterized by tolerance and love of mankind irrespective of their caste and creed.
During his tour of Europe and Middle East, Babuji (R.A) stayed for three days in the city of Jerusalem; visited Madina-tul-Khalil Masjid Aqsa, Dome of Rock and offered prayers at the tombs of Prophet Hazrat Ibrahim (Aleih-is-Salaam), Prophet Hazrat Ishaq (A.S), Bibi Sara (A.S), Prophet Hazrat Yusaf (A.S), Prophet Hazrat Yunis (A.S), Prophet Hazrat Musa (A.S) and visited other important places.
In Damascus, the tombs of Bibi Zainab (R.A) and Hazrat Bilal (R.A) were visited by Babuji (R.A).
Babuji (R.A) also visited to the shrines of Hazrat Ali bin Kaab (R.A), Hazrat Ruqayya Bint (daughter of) Imam Hussain (R.A), Hazrat Abbas Bin (son of) Hazrat Usman (R.A), Bibi Sakeena Bint Imam Hussain (R.A), Bibi Kulsoom Bint Hazrat Imam Ali (R.A), Hazrat Abdullah bin Imam Jaffer Sadiq (R.A), Bibi Asma Bint Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A), Hazrat Umm-e-Habiba (R.A), Hazrat Umm-e-Salma (R.A), Hazrat Saad Bin Abi Waqas (R.A), Hazrat Bayazid Bastami (R.A) Hazrat Bilal (R.A), Hazrat Abu Obeidah bin Jarrah (R.A), Hazrat Zunoon Misri (R.A), Hazrat Muhyuddin Ibn-ul Arabi (R.A), Hazrat Yahya Kalbi (R.A) and many others.
All these visits to the notable shrines were made in the year 1964.
Visits to Afghanistan
Babuji (R.A) travelled to Herat (Afghanistan) in the year 1971 and stayed there for five days.
Mehfil-e-Sama was held every day at the shrine of Hazrat Maulana Abdul Rahman Jami (R.A), a very famous and renowned Sufi Poet. Many local Afghans including Ulama attended this Mehfil and requested Babuji (R.A) to pray for them. Babuji (R.A) visited Khair-ul-Madaris and had a meeting with the Ulama.
On the last day of his stay, Babuji (R.A) remarked that he felt even the stones and trees bidding him farewell, and it was as if Hazrat Jami (R.A) had granted Babuji (R.A) the permission to leave, for on the previous day his feelings were completely different. Babuji (R.A) remarked to his companions, “You are businessmen but the real business is having relationship with Allah’s friends”.
During his stay in Afghanistan, Babuji (R.A) visited various other sacred places such as shrines of Hazrat Abdullah Ansari (R.A), Sheikh Galtan (R.A), Khirka Sharif in Kandhar, Mehmood Ghaznavi (R.A), Hazrat Usman Hajveri (R.A), Hakim Sinai (R.A), Fakhar-ud-Din Razi (R.A), Shafeeq Balkhi (R.A), Jalaluddin (R.A), and Sheikh Kamal-ud-Din (R.A).
During his journey Babuji (R.A) had a minor heart attack but deliberately kept quiet so that his companions might not feel worried. In Herat, the Doctor advised him complete bed rest but Babuji (R.A) continued visiting Maulana Jami’s Shrine, and would sit there for four to five hours daily attending Fateha and Qawwali Mehfil.
Babuji (R.A) stayed at Paghman in Kabul at the residence of Abdul Rashid Khan – a notable businessman of Afghanistan.
Visits to India
Babuji (R.A) would visit the shrines of Hazrat Khwaja Moin-ud-Din Chishti (R.A) in Ajmer Sharif, Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki (R.A), Hazrat Mahboob-e-Ilahi Khwaja Nizaam-ud-Din Awlia (R.A), and Hazrat Amir Khusro (R.A) in Delhi.
During his visit to Calcutta in January 1957, Babuji (R.A) stayed with Rahmat Khan Sahib who was an Army Contractor and a leading businessman.
Rahmat Khan once learnt that some local persons had made an unsuccessful attempt on the life of Babuji (R.A). He started at once from Calcutta along with his forty armed guards and secretly reached Golra to take revenge. On hearing about him, Babuji (R.A) reprimanded him greatly as it was against Islam and told him that in case he disobeyed him, he will not remain in Bai’at with him. After that, he left. His son Muhammad Afzal Khan nicknamed as “Laaloo” by Babuji (R.A) wanted to seek some service but Babuji (R.A) directed him to do some business. He came to Karachi in 1970 and met Babuji (R.A) after a few years but still greatly repents for the delay in visiting Babuji (R.A).
Babuji (R.A) visited Mahatma Gandhi Samadhee also during his visit to India.
In Calcutta, Babuji (R.A) stayed at Muhammad Bukhsh Peshawari, and Matu Sahib, - Laaloo’s father.
In Ajmer Sharif, he stayed at the residence of Mutawalli Sahib; in Bombay at the residence of M. Musa who belonged to Fateh-Jang. Later at the residence of Hakim Shams-ud-Din, and then Seth Ismail and Ali Muhammad Sahib’s place.