The name of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh is Ali' his kunniyat (Family name) is Abu Hasan and his birth place is the well known populous city Ghazni which was also the native town of the great king Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi, who is popularly nicknamed as But Shikan (Idol Breaker). Ghazni had two localities (Muhalla) one of them was Jalab and the other was known Hajver. It is said in one locality was settled the family of his own grand parents and the other was the abode of his grand maternal parents. The early years of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh were spent in Jalab while some period of that age was spent at Hajver. That is the reason of his being related to these places is referred to as lallabi as well as Hajveri by his biographers. But the majority of writers refer to him as Hajveri while some mention with both localities Jallabi summa Hajveri. In hjs book 'Khshful Mahjoob he has himself written his name as. Ali bin Usman bin Ali Aljalabi summa Alhajveri.
His biographers have recorded his family Lineage (silsila-e-nasab) as under: (Hazrat) Ali (Hajveri) bin Usman bin Ali bin Abdur Rahman bin Shuja'a bin Abul Hasan Ali bin Hasan Asghar bin Zaid bin (Hazrat Imam) Hasan bin (Imamul Auliya) Hazrat Ali ibne Abu Talib.
This shows that he was Hashimi Syed a well as Hanafi.
The family home of Hazrat Data Gunj Gakhsh was the central place of homage and respect by his devotees and admirers as well as his family members. His other was a lady of great devotion and attachment to religious worship and sympathetic attention for the betterment and welfare of the needy and the illness stricken. She belonged to Hussaini Syed Lineage, which in a sense meant, that she possessed the venturous spirit of the Hussaini perfectionism and the Hasani embellishment at one and the same time. His maternal uncle was reputed and respected as title bearer of "Tajul Auliya". It is said that when Prince Dara Shikoh in the company of the Emperor father Shah lahan went for an excursion visit to Afghanistan he visited and paid homage at the mazar of Hazrat Tajul Auliya during his jouney in that country, and enriched himself with the spiritual blessings and other assurances in his ventures and expeditions. But time for display of those rare qualities never arose as history and fortunes had their own secret plans and the expectations of gracing the throne of Mughal Empire fell short of achievement to Prince Dara Shikoh! Adjacent to the Mazar ofHazrat Tajul Auliya is the Mazar of his sister and mother of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh.
The biographers and the chroniclers of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh have chosen a path of brevity and choice in describing the details of the family relation of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh, with the result that the thirst and zest for enquiry of more knowledge in this respect remain unquenched and unfulfilled! It is therefore not surprising that even in giving the correct year of birth of the great saint there is no consensus among his biographers and the bulk of description in this behalf hinges round speculations and surmise, which is indeed a matter of regret and a blur of disinterestedness in this important sector of the history and biography of the Islamic greats! The conjectured year of birth of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh has been assumed as year 406 A.H. This was the period of ascendancy of the Ghazni Sultanate. The rising star of sultan Mahmood Ghaznav's longevity was about to sink as the last years of his monarchial enthronement which coincided with the early years of monarchy of his son Sultan Masood Ghaznavi, Hazrat Data Sahib did not evince any interest in recording or giving the exact date of his birth, for reasons best known to him or it was the trend of thinking in those days! Had he done so or at least given a glimpse in this connection, the spectacle of speculation and surmises which is a taboo in matters of historical research, would not have raised its discordant head! Or was it the spirit of selfimposed humility and avoidance of self reputation which the Friends of Allah often exhibited especially in respect of personal glory!
From our point of view the central source of probing personal events into the life of Hazrat Data Sahib with its primal focus of attention on mysticism or Tasawwuf is his Grand Matchless Book, universally acclaimed as "Khshful Mahjoob", literally meaning "Unveiling the veiled!" From its study as a source of personal biography, some important events of his holy noble life can be extracted for which he has hinted as various places in this book. These suggestive hints indicate that since his early life as a tender aged boy he was fond of acquiring knowledge in the extant branches of knowledge in Philosophy and Theosophy which later came to be known as religious spiritualism or Tasawwuf He had an enlightened craze of paying homage to and acquiring knowledge from the well-known scholars and learned persons in his own native land and its vicinity. Then he crossed over the bounds of his native place and proceeded in travels to Syria, Iraq, Baghdad, ryfadain, Faras (Persia\ Kohistan, Azar Baijan, Tabristan, Khuzistan, Khurasan, Mawara'un Nahr and offered himself as a zealous pupil at the doorsteps of the great and well-known scholars of Islamic learning which inspired and instilled in him the quest of more and more knowledge in these fields. He spared no pains and endeavours in search of knowledge of Islam as a panacea of human ills and beacon light for the misguided and the deviators in this behalf. He cheerfully bore all the travails and tribulations that hurled themselves in the pathways of his quest, without diminishing in any measure the zeal for the knowledge. He himself writes at one place while describing his journeys in search of knowledge.
"Only in Khurasan I paid my personal respects to no less than three hundred religious scholars and acquired knowledge and enriched myself from the treasures and reservoirs of these knowledges and enlightenments". Of the many teachers from whom he sought knowledge, he respectfully and reverentially makes mention of two teachers, one of them is Shaikh Abul Abbas Ahmad bin Muhammad AI-Ashqani and the name of the other reverend scholar is Shaikh Abul Qasim Ali Gurgani. Professor Nicholson who has been the teacher of Arabic and Persian in the Cambridge University and who has the honour of translating 'Kashful Mahjub' in English, writes about the avidity and quest for knowledge by Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh in these glittering words.
"He undertook journeys to distant Islamic countries
After the acquisition of Academic knowledge in the fields of his search, he diverted his searching energy in quest of the accomplished spiritual teacher (Murshid-eKamil). He undertook long and distant arduous travels in search of a personality who could pacify his zest for Islamic learning in domains of his earnest desire and not mere academic superficial knowledge which is enough for novice in this field. Allah the Almighty mercifully guided him, as a reward for his honest, sincere and painstaking travels and the hazards which are the natural concomitants of such like Missions of approach to the august personality. The august personality of his search became his life long companion guide in the special field of knowledge which had become the chief de Mission of Data Sahib's life.
When we study the noble immaculate characters of the accomplished mystic teacher-mentors of Islam we discover that in their pursuit of spiritualism or mysticism one factor is seen as a common denominator in them all without exception that are first they devoted their entire attention in receiving and making themselves proficient in the extant academic knowledges related to the understanding and practising Islam so that they may remain well-versed and fully competent to stand any test in the performance and expounding Shariat to any brand of people coming to them for guidance and enlightement. After achieving perfection in this field they would enter the more exacting erena of the devotion to the righteous path through the medium of inner or spiritual institution and training under the command of rigorous disciplinarians who subjected their disciples to severe physical and spiritual exercises before the latter were enlisted as eligible candidates for being moulded into spiritual perfectionists as mentor-teachers themselves for other truth seekers. This in simple words means that without the academic knowledge in different sectors of extants priorities the quest for and perfection in spiritual sector is not possible.
The noble name of the Shaikh-e-Kamil (Perfect Spiritual guide) of Hazrat Data Sahib is Shaikh Abul Fazl bin Hasan Khattali who was the Shaikh-e-Kamil of the Junaidiya Chain (Silsila). The Baiyat (All~giance or fealty) chain of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh proceeds as under.
Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh was the murid (spiritual disciple) of Hazrat Shaikh Abul Fazl bin Hasan Khattali the Murid of Shaikh Abul Hasan Husri, the murid of Shaikh Abu Bakr Shibli the murid of Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi, the murid of Shaikh Sari Saqati the murid of Hazrat Maruf Karkhi, the murid of Hazrat Dawood Taa,ee the murid of Hazrat Habib Ajami, the murid of Hazrat Khwaja Hasan Basri who had received spiritual blessing from Hazrat Ali Murtaza who had the unique privilege of being brought up and instructed by Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa Salal Laho Alaihe Wa Sallam.
Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh had also received spiritual blessings and guidance in addition to Hazrat Shaikh Abul Fazl Khatali from Hazrat Abu Saeed Abul Khair and Hazrat Imam Abul Qasim Qushairi who was the author of Magazine (Ri sal a) Qushairiya. These two spritual personalities stand out prominatly among other spiritual guides from whom Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh had blessings in his pursuit of spiritual perfection. About his Shaikh Hazrat Khattali, Data Sahib pays glorious tributes at one place in the 'Kashful Mahjub' as under:
'He is like the embellishment of Autads (who are the rarest persons as members of spiritual functionaries known by this title who are said to the to be just four in the whole world) and leader of the righteous persons as followers of Islam. In the Realm of Tariqat I owe allegiance (Baiyat) to him. In Tasawwufhe (The Shaikh) follows the teachings of Hazrat Junaid, and a reliable and trustworthy murid of Hazrat Shaikh Husri."
Hazrat Data Sahib kept himself in constant service and presence of his Murshid-e-Kamil for a number of years at a stretch till the last breath of his shaikh, to this extent of servitude and regard as his beloved that when the appointed moment of the wisal (departure from the world) arrived, the sacred head of his Murshid was in the lap of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh. That was the affectionate regard of a perfect Murshid to his perfect devotee disciple -- a rare tribute indeed?
The dictionary meaning of the term Fiqh is the knowledge or understanding the science of Islamic Law and Islamic Jurisprudence. The broad concept of the Fiqh is the code of principles or laws adopted and set down by the Great Four Imams Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifah, Hazrat Imam Shafa' ee, Hazrat Imam Malik and Hazrat Imam Hanbal, forming, their own Fiqh group or sects which came to be known as Sunni or Hanafi, the Shafaee, the Maliki and the Hanbly. Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh was the follower (Muqallid) of Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifah for whom he had a great regard and reverence in his belief. Wherever the name of Hazrat Imam occurs in the book 'Kashful Mahjub', Data Sahib remembers and mentions him with great respect and devotion. Some time he addresses the Great Imam as 'The Imam of the Imams (Imam-e-Imamaan), 'The Leader of the Sunnis (Muqtadae-Sunniyaan) and some time as the Dignity of the scholars of Fiqh and Urn (Sharaf-e-Fuqaha-o-Ulamma").
It is surprising that there is no mention in any of the biographies including his own about the matrimonial life of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh• except for a cursory mention in the Kashful Mahjub that he had married but a separation took place and there after he did solemnize the second marriage during the rest of his life.
After the wisal (demise) of his Murshid-e-Kamil, Hazrat
Data Sahib left his native town Ghazni for good and made his way through the
terrains of hazardous journey towards the Indian subcontinent which was strewn
with idols and idol worshippers and a life which was far from cultured and
civilised from enlightened conceptual points of view. He was accompanied by his
colleagues and co-sharers of his spiritual ideology among whom alongwith others
Shaikh Ahmad Sarakhsi and Shaikh Abu Saeed Hajveri were prominent. Though these
enthusiastic warm-hearted preachers were less in number but this apparent
deficiency was made good and even surpassed by the combined spirit of the
numerical hordes of marchers, the new entrants in the subcontinent under the
leadership of Hazrat Data Gunj Bukhsh. They did not flinch in their energetic
effervescent march to their mentally set destination and came down to
The reigning period of Sultan Masood Ghaznavi is from 421
A.H. to 432 A.H., but the exact year of arrival of Data Sahib in
People in throngs accepted Islam and took oath of fealty and allegiance at the hands of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh and their numbers gradually rose to legions. They proved to be the lamp bearers of the Divine religion which enlightened and energised their own followers in turn, thus spreading the area of Islamic influence far and wide in the subcontinent where Islam entrenched itself so firmly and securely in the hearts of new converts so that even after a lapse of more than nine hundred years there is no visible sign of the relapse and decline of Islamic spirit among its followers whatever else may have happened to other sectors of life. In spite of all trials and travails besetting in the path of Islam followers, when the time and call come their way for the survival and safeguard of pristine- Islamic teachings, not even a neutral observer finds no let and decline in the spirit of upholding the Islamic banners aloft discarding and trampelling all hurdles and obstacles, thus ensuring that the Nurani (Divine Lit) visage of Islam remains untarnished and unsmeared in the least! The Darvaishes which the mystics may reverently be addressed as such, are intoxicated with the Remembrance and Devotion to Almighty Allah and His Holy Prophet Sallal Laho Alaihe Wa sallam, and ever vigilant watchfulness for the safety and glory of Islam as the sure remedy of human ills, thus become the true vicegerent of Allah on earth. And Allah in return and as a reward for their carrying out His Command with utmost submission and humility in His Presence fills every fibre of their physical and spiritual frame with His Own Nur and Light in such an visible and exhibitional Manifestation that anyone who comes in contact with their Divine glorified persons becomes so much charmed and enthralled at the very first glance at their holy visages that he would willingly submit to whatever he is asked to execute as an inspired obligation. Thus a formidable contingent is formed which is ever prepared to sacrifice their all for the cause and sustenance of Divine Mission of peace and security on Earth which is Islam in its real significance.
This is the unboasted and untrumpeted achievement at the holy blissful hands of those servants of Allah who are sometimes sarcastically called as slumberous mendicants on account of their hours long engrossment in their meditations and Muraqibas, or as spineless crusaders to fight against social and moral evils without any visible weaponry in their hands, and yet when in spite of all these tauntings of being resourless, the Revolution in the hearts and minds does take place entirely through the Divinely inspired glances by these spiritualists and Diviners, the joker and ridiculers stand aghast speechless and bewildered at the unbelievable phenomena before their own eyes. This is indeed the critical moment when the genuine truth seekers and the ridiculers part with one another as belonging to the distinct forces of Good (Khair) and those soulless creatures joining hands with the forces of evil (Sharr) as if in execution of Divine Plan of creation! The courageous conquerors of the Ghazni Dynasty conquered the lands of the aliens bringing their vast countries and the inhabitants making them servants and subjects geologically and outwardly, demolished strong concrete fortresses and planted their royal flags over the palaces of their enemies and forcibly got their names and their achievements recorded in the history of the regions, but as against these kings and the army commanders and in juxtaposition to horrible tales of their forcible subjugation of the people, a Darvaish rising from the tracts of Ghazni almost resourceless worldlywise without any pomp and show of valour and awe of physical conquest, in the company of zealous devotees marched from place to place conquering the hearts and subjugating the souls of the people who came within his sight and transformed the life patterns of these people as if giving them a new birth and new life which would stand them in good stead in the new existence of the Hereafter.
There are more than one versions as regards the demise of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh. Professor Nicholson has written that the intermediary year between 456 AH to 465 AH is the year of his wisal (death). But the Epitaph which was set up earlier (perhaps removed afterwards) over the grave of Hazrat Data Sahib by Jami Lahori indicated the year of demise as 465 AH derived from the calculation of numerical values of letters of Arabic Alphates comprising the word 'SARDAR' (with letters, Seen, Ray, Dal, Alif and Ray each of which has been given the numbers according to Abjad system which is peculiar to outsiders and strangers to this Mathematic system! Nevertheless this system of calculation is in vogue in the Islamic system of calculation. The numerical break up of the Abjad letters comprising the word 'SARDAR' alongwith the numerical values ofthese letter is as follows:
Letter Seen Ray == Dal== Alif == Ray ==
60 200 4 1 200
(Note:- The explanation of the letters and their Numerical values to arrive at the figure 465 is by way of a paranthesis by the translator in English of. the Moqaddama Introduction to the book in Urdu)
Data Sahib was a scholar of a very high calibre, broad minded and deep spirtual insight. He was himself a treasure-personified of books of every conceivable points of view concerning spiritual and mundane aspects of life. His knowledge both in philosophy and logics (Maqulaat) as also in traditions (Manqullaat) was uncomparable. He possessed clear unfading mind distinct farsighted vision, unequivocal transparent heart and conscience, unbiased outlook in all matters. He was also a poetic genious but could not or did not leave an imprint as legacy to be sources of guidance and beneficence for person who has a dig in the genre, but persons of dubious inclination beguiled him in the name of borrowing his books, in prose and poetry and working as pirates published these works in their own names while the Data Sahib simply out of courtesy and avoiding harm to anyone's personal interest, kept an honourable and dignified silence Nonetheless Data Sahib was the author of a number of books on different important subjects, the titles of these books are as under:-
1) Diwan (Collection of poetic verses);
2) Kitabe Fana-o-Baqa
3) Asrarul Ghalq Wal Mam '00 'naat
4) Kitabul Bayan Le Ahli! Eimaan
5) Bahrul Qulub
6) Minhajuddin and
7) Sharh-e-Kalam Mansur Al Hallaj
But it is extremely regrettable that none of these highly valuable and precious books is available. Some books were pirated and offenders attributed these books to themselves as authors without the slightest prick of conscience. This has been mentioned by him in his only surviving matchless grandiose book 'Kashful Mahjub, with a touch of regret and sorrow. The other books became untraceable and are not available even for a mention or review.
It is an accepted act that t e worth and class of any work (book) is judged in relation to the personal qualities of its author. To say anyth howsoever grandiloquent it maybe about the book, the author of which is the personality of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh, is like placing a candle or lamp before the sun! Words of any class and degree simply fail to examine and assess the greatness and excellence of the distinction of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh. The great scholars and exponents of theology as well as spiritualism have admitted in every age and at every centre of learning, have expressed their opinions and reviews in the most praiseworthy and adorable words and expressions. Some of these reviews or appreciative words recorded in this behalf are reproduced below:
Hazrat Maulana Jami in his universally acclaimed book 'Nafhat'ul'Uns' pays tributes to Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh in these unforgettable words.
Translation (from Persian): "He was at once a learned scholar as well as fully conversant with the Truths and Realities associatted with the creation of the universe. He benefited himself with the company and association of numerous great religious and spiritual leaders of his time and received blessings from them. He is the author of "Kashful Mahjub" which is one of rare reliable books on the knowledge of Tasawwuf In this book he has collected a number of delicate and deep secrets (ofthe universe etc)."
Mufti Ghulam Sarwar of
Translation (from Persian): Hazrat Shaikh Ali Hajveri is the author of many books and among these books the one which is most reputed and well known is 'Kashful Mahjub'. No one can dare raise an objection or criticize this book in any respect. This is the first ever book on Tasawwufwritten in Persian"
The most valued and the appropriate opinion about this book is that which has been given is that of Sultanul Mashaikh Nizamul Haq wal Deen Hazrat Mahboobe Elahi .. It is said in Fawaidul Fawad (by Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya):
"One who has no murshid will get him as a blessing of study of this book"
A great and weighty reason of 'Kashful Mahjoob' being
popular as an eternal guidance in the present materialistic age when
practically every one is involved in mad race of grabbing more and more wealth
and material comfort is that this book has inspired and awakened the conscience
and spirit of research of truth among a large group of people have engaged
themselves in printing and publishing 'Kashful Mahjub' in a befitting manner
with neat and tidy get up and vieing with' one another in the dissimination of
message of spiritual blessing which the book contains. Apart from the Musalmans
even non-Muslim Orientalists are also busy translating this book in foreign
languages. Among the English Orientalists Professor Nicholson who was the
teacher of Arabic and Persian in the Cambridge University has translated this
book into English and to be true he has accomplished this feat in the excellent
manner which this book deserves. Likewise the Soviet Russian Orientalist
Professor Zufiskieve in keeping with the high estatimation of this book in his
own mind, he undertook the arduous and yet enviable task of correcting and
amending the unwarranted intrusion in the original text of this book, he has
managed to spent many of his precious years befor he succeeded in his
painstaking self-imposed obligation, and he himself wrote a research based
introduction in Persian which is the original language of Kashful Mahjub and
published it from Leningrad. Now in the Central Library of Leningrad there is
an authentic error free copy of the real Kashful Mahjub -- an honour which
perhaps is not available with Eastern sector of
The holy personality of Data Sahib is more renowned and acclaimed' than his personal name. His personal name is Shaikh Ali and Kunniyat (family name) is Abul Hasan. But his title of Gun) Bakhsh (The Endower of Treasure) one who bestows or offers his treasures as personal gifts unto whomsoever he pleases, is known and recognised all over the world and hearer's attention is at once drawn to one of the greatest Mystic sages whose holy shrine is the centre of homage payers at Lahore, the historical city of Pakistan. The research scholars have divined to locate the genesis of this title of Data Gunj Bakhsh. It is said that Hazrat Sultanul Hind Khwaja Moinul Haq wal Deen Ajmeri paid a visit to the mazar of Hazrat Data Sahib and stayed in one Hujra (small secluded room meant for worship) for forty days to complete his Muraqabah (Meditation). During this period Hazrat Khwaja Ajmeri received magnimous spiritual enlightenments and soul rousing blessings bestowed spiritually by Hazrat Data Sahib to such an enormous measure that only Hazrat Khwaja can describe. It is said that when after the completion of forty days Chillah Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin intended to leave the Hujra and pay farewell homage the following famous poetic couplet came unto his lips and the Khwaja Sahib in an ecstatic trance recited the said couplet which caught the attention of the bystanders and came upto their tongues and lips and became instant, verbal currency far and wide as if through Divine charm! The literal content of the couplet is reproduced below for memorising in exact words which is sure to be a source of spiritual (as well as mundane) blessing. The couplet is:-
GUNJ BAKHSH FAIZE AALAM MAZHARE NUR-E-KHUDA NAQISAAN RA PEER-E-KAMIL KAMILAN RA RAHNUMA
An attempted translation of this inspiring couplet maybe presented thus:
'The Bestower of the treasure of the universal blessing, the Manifestation of Divine Light.
The Perfect spiritual inspirer to the raw (and uninitiated) and a guide for those on path of Perfection.
The words so rehearsed by the Great Khwaja Ajmeri soon became spiritual slogan for all those who are ever ready to remember and pay humage to Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh. After the Khwaja Moinuddin Ajmeri, the holy shrine of Data Sahib became the centre of spiritual. blessing and the visits of other Murshids belonging practically to all sects and creeds of spiritual theology to this holy place has further popularised and sanctified the shrine of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh. Now-a-days the shrine of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh by its spiritual mystic magnetic force attracts unending crowds of pilgrims and devotees who are seen at almost all the odd-even hours making their way to the Mazar Shareef begging and entreating his favour for presenting and solving their problems in the presence of Almighty Allah and this faith in his spiritual powers has never been in question. Yet it is an irony of situation that in the midst of these throbbing bands of believers of mystic blessings an antagonistic group of decriers of the great mystics as alsq of the creed of mysticism has coopped up which spares no time and energy of denouncing this creed of mystic as anti-Islamic touching the frings of Kufr and faithlessness. But the Truth never succumbs and surrends and establishes its entity. This is the reward of remembering Almighty Allah and offering thanks giving to Him Who in turn does not overlook the sincere help seekers in hours of their agony and miseries.
Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh has shown us the way of access to Almighty's favour and it is to keep the Remembrance of and thanksgiving ever pulsating and throbbing in our hearts and mind. And this is the surest way of being blessed with the Favours and Munificence of Almighty Allah and this is also the Divine way of remembering and benefiting the truly Humble servants of Allah who Himself abides by His own Assurance that He never causes breach of His Promise.
In conclusion it is only befitting and appropriate that some heartfelt tributes maybe offered in the presence and in honour of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh.
Syed of Hajver is the Master of the Ummats
His Tomb (Mazar) is most sacred you the Saint of Sanajr His Tomb (Mazar) is like the Ka'bah for the Saint of San jar He broke down the obstacles of Mountains
In the land
The Grandeur of Age of Farooq is reflected m his resplendant visage
The guardian of the honour of the Holy Qur'an
The house of the Falsehood gets destroyed through the Force of his sight
The clay of
Our Mom got brightened through him as sun
He is himself the Lover, The messenger and carrier of message of love
From his forehead the secrets of the Truth become evident