Golra Sharif – A chapter from our history
Situated near Margalla Hills, Islamabad, Golra Sharif is a shrine of the Sufi Saint Pir Meher Ali Shah.
Prior to the arrival of Hazrat’s ancestors Golra Sharif was just a small village in the suburbs of Rawalpindi.
The area extending from Hasan Abdal to the neighborhood of Taxila, a settlement traced back to 2000 years, is custodian of a rich cultural heritage of pre-Islamic period. Even today the archaeological remains dotting the area furnish evidence of the splendid cultural and religious traditions of Buddhist era. Eminent historians of the world agree that it was here that Greek wisdom and Indian civilization meshed together to bring about a synthesis which influenced cultures and art movements everywhere.
With the passage of time, it was overrun by many foreign invaders, such as Greeks, Persians, Afghans, White Huns, Mughals, Sikhs and the British.
With his rule extending from 1747 to 1773, Ahmad Shah Abdali emerged as one of its last period rulers. After his death his son Taimur Shah ruled the area till 1793. he had to face tremendous pressure from the Marhattas and Sikhs, and by the British at river Sutlaj. when the Afghan ruler, Ahmed Shah Abdali, died and his subedar in Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, took advantage of the power vacuum and proclaimed his autonomy, it became a part of Sikh Kingdom. From 1818 to 1849, the area remained under the Sikhs till it was annexed by the British.
This was the period of great political upheaval and instability. Some of the communities, known as marauding tribes, were addicted to violent crime and internecine warfare. They levied black-mail tax on the roads south of the Margalla Pass. Morality and virtue were on a rapid decline. Absence of values had created a social abyss – a spiritual “waste land”, and the government too was based on injustice and tyranny. In such a holocaust, God in His Divine Mercy deputed Muslim saints to guide the people and to show them the path of righteousness.
A celebrated Punjabi Naat of Hazrat (R.A)
The following Naat is the most well-known of Hazrat’s writings in verse. It has a grandeur equalled by few other Naats in any language. It’s concluding verse in particular is unmatched in it’s beauty and emotional appeal.
Why is it that the yearning for the Loved One (i.e., the Holy Prophet) is especially strong today?
Why is my heart sadder today than even before?
Why does longing penetrate every tissue of mine?
And why are the eyes shedding tears like a shower of rain?
His shining face appeared to me in a vision,
And fragrance emanated in profusion from His tresses;
I fainted from the sight of these visions;
The hordes of his eyes overpowered me.
His face shines like the full moon;
A brilliant light radiates from his brow;
His hair is black, and his eyes are bewitching and intoxicated.
His two eye-brows are like cross-bows,
Hurling darts of pointed eye-lashes (in all directions);
His lips are red like rubies of Yemen;
His white teeth like a string of pearls.
I am not sure whether I should call his face the essence of life;
Or life of the entire universe;
The truth is that it is (like) the glory of God,
From which all other (worldly) glories originated,
[ Note : This refers to the Holy Prophet’s well-known hadith: “Allah created (everything from my light, and I am from the Light of Allah”]
This face (of the Prophet) emerged from the Faceless One (i.e., Allah);
The Faceless One manifests Himself through this face.
The Colourless (Reality) has been revealing itself through this image,
Ever since Unity exploded into Diversity.
It is this face (of the Holy Prophet) that guides (mankind) to the path of Faceless One (i.e., Allah);
Nay (not the path only but) to the Ultimate Reality Itself.
However, understanding this (secret) is beyond the capacity of the simpletion;
Only the select few succeed in discovering and capturing the Pearl (of Truth).
May this Face (of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H)) remain before my eyes,
In my last moments (of life) and on the Resurrection Day!
Then (also) in my grave, and at the time of crossing the (razor-sharp) Bridge (on the Judgment Day as a test to separate the virtuous ones from the sinners);
Only then shall the fake ones become pure (in the sight of Allah).
Thou (O Holy Prophet) hast been blessed (by Allah) with the promise to grant thy desire (in full);
And we (thy humble followers) have full faith in Allah’s assurance that thou shalt be happy with the Bounty of Allah.
[Note: Reference here is to verse 5 of Surah XCIII of the Holy Quran: “And presently (i.e., in the Hereafter, as also in this world) thy Lord shall grant unto thee (O Prophet ! rich and abundant reward) so that thou shalt be well-pleased].
The Gracious One (we hope) shall declare us successful (in the test of earthly life);
Because we have correctly understood the Divine words: “Intercede and thy intercession shall be accepted”.
[Note: Here the reference is to the Prophet’s divinely inspired hadith (hadith-e-Qudsi), in which Allah reassures the Prophet (P.B.U.H) with the words i.e., his intercession for the forgiveness of sinning believers shall be accepted by Allah on the Judgment Day].
Be gracious enough to remove from thy face the sheet of Yemen (O Prophet !),
And grant us a glimpse of thy endearing face.
Repeat once again those sweet words,
Which thou hadst uttered in the valley of Hamra.
Come (once again) from thy cell to Mosque,
For everyone longs for a glimpse of thy image full of light;
(And) denizens of both the worlds (i.e., this world and the Hereafter) are laying their eyes in thy path –
Human beings, angels, the houris and the fairies.
For the ones yearning and pining (for a glimpse of thine);
Who are ready to sacrifice (their lives) for thy sake;
For these slaves ready to sell themselves out without any price (in thy path);
May those moments of bliss come back once again!
Glory to Allah, who created thee (O Holy Prophet!) in the most beautiful, the best, and the most perfect mould.
Who is (the humble) Meher Ali to chant thy praises;
How (presumptuous and) impudent his eyes are to aspire to the heights of thy love!