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The 'Urs of Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti

August 29th - Sep 7th 2003

The 'Urs of Khawaja Gharib Nawaz was held with due ceremony again this year in Ajmer
Sharif. Very many people descended on the desert city of Ajmer, indeed the numbers
seemed greater than ever. If one says the streets around the shrine were thronged, with
what term do we describe the ocean of humanity that engulfed the shrine itself. People it
seemed came from everywhere and from all walks of life, villagers, tradesmen, city
professionals, young and old, the sick and the well, the starved and the overfed, the
curious and the zealous, the skeptical and the faithful.
As the nights succeeded one upon another, the level of the sounds of wailful soul
elevating music interspersed with the noise of the street and the many sounds native to
any Indian city, mingled, merged, and rose to a continuous crescendo barely pausing for
the early morning call to prayer before launching into another ever more powerful chord.

If sound alone were capable of driving the human spirit to the heights then such heights
must have been surpassed - but it is not sound, or ritual or any other such phenomenon in
itself that elevates the spirit - that would be like attributing the formation of waves to the
foam that rides on them. It is the the power of the wind, the divine breath, that produces
the swell of sweet spiritual ecstasy on which the pilgrims are lifted out of the mundane
towards the Reality.

At Sharib house the tradition of people from various nationalities, Indian, English, Italian,
Israeli, German, French and so on living together for a few days in a way which has
become an integral part of 'Urs, continued. There were new faces and old friends. There
were some who were missed - not to see there the form of Ijlal Siddiqi was a real
sadness, or Shah Saheb from Calcutta with his great white beard and jovial face. To
meet those who had remained in memory somehow as children - now parents themselves
- all this gave pause for reflection on the passing of time. Non more so than the thought
that this was now the sixth 'Urs where the frail physical form of Zahurmian with his
indomitable spirit conquering his own poor health, was not to be seen. Like leaves on the
stream we pass along - but the 'spirit of the 'Urs goes on and in truth Zahurmian was there
as ever - superficially out of sight perhaps but a presence intuited or perceptible
according to our individual need and ability.
Inaam Hasan Saheb continued to maintain the tradition of the Guddi, ensuring that the
traditions of the Gudri Shahi Order continued - adding his own particular form of gentle
humility to it. The ever expanding work of the school on Chilla Shareef and the decorative
additions to Zahurmian's shrine but two small evidences of his continued labours.

Every time seems to produce some different personal high point. For me this year the
poet's Mushaira following the 'Urs proper, remains a poignant memory.
I give due thanks here to the people in Sharib House who laboured so hard to make our
stay comfortable - we were of course not there as guests but as members of the order - at
our own home so to speak - but nevertheless the 'Urs requires enormous work and
endless generosity of time and labour and money on the part of some individuals.

It remains to thank the one whose guest we all were, Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti
(RA). At which point words truly become redundant but remain our only tool of expression
other than to put into action in our own lives his philosophy of Love and humanism. Truly
non leave his court disappointed - but immeasurably enriched in spirit from the
unfathomable wealth of his great, ever-living, soul.

Jamiluddin Morris Zahuri
Southampton
13th September 2003.