Chishtinagar as I have seen


Dr. Zakia Parveen
Professor, University of Dhaka
Translated into English by Shamsur Rahman (Tareque)
[The Bangladesh Observer, Dec 1, 1995 ]

In a state of civilization which is nourished by mechanization and covered by the dazzling coating of consumerism, the grace of the soul seems to be at the peril from our life. Searching our all existence it seems impossible to find the glimpse of a soul which is full of celestial lustre and serene splendor. Whereas our soul is supposed to be full of divine lustre as the Holy Al- Quran announces that Allah has transmitted His Own Soul into the human body after the creation of human being. In a bodycentric life afflicted by extreme selfishness and self oblivion peace of soul today appears as an ever deceptive stag of gold. Like a mirage peace remains beyond reach. Even then, it is our good fortune that amidst of this despondence the torch of hope sometimes appears in front of our eyes. In the midst of this suffocating life and ambient around as sometimes we find the trace of such an existence being close to whose blissful contact our life both materially and spiritually becomes rejuvenated, soul becomes gracious and sense of perception approaches infinite horizon. In the green lash Bangladesh there is a remote and untrodden village named Panditsar. It’s a village of Naria thana of Shariatpur district. At the end of five hours journey from Dhaka by launch and further four kilometres trail inside, suddenly the vision becomes marveled crossing the bent of the road shaded by trees and plants. Suddenly the magnificant beauty of a splendid architectural building comes into sight. It is simple but graceful. With its big tomb the building is the Holy Rawza Mubarak. The immaculate building to the north of the Holy Rawza Mubarak is the Jame mosque. I have heard that gazing at this mosque for a long time a highly educated Indian explorer once commented. “it seems to be a tiny lyrical poem written with bricks and cements.” Besides there are other structures. Against the background of deep green of the surroundings the brightnees of these buildings catch the sight more. This is Chishtinagar, which is the image of beauty in total sense. It has been developed as a noble centre for spiritual and material welfare of hundreds of thousands of people. The founder of this noble institute is an extraordinarily exalted saint whose life is brightly marked by arduous worship. He himself was a great man whose face was immaculately beautiful and sublime. I had the good fortune to see him with my own eyes for many times. Literally he was illuminated with divined lustre. The way divine lustre of his soul sparkled through the countenance at every moment, it is hard to believe unless somebody would see with his/her own eyes. Science has unfolded the mystery of how various forces within the nature are being developed and expressed through various media but I do not know possessing how much divine lustre in side the soul and by which force the divine lustre of the countenance is being expressed in such a way. So far I know the history of his holy life, its full of glorious heritage. From Baghdad, the ancient heart centre of muslim spiritual scholars one religious great man came to Bangladesh in sixteenth centdury to preach the message and grace of Islam. His name is Hazrat Maruf Baghdadee Sajjada Gashtar (R.A.). His descendants later, almost successively illuminated and rambled both in the scriptural and spiritual spheres of religion in this country. In this illustrious family of traditional background, the founder of Chishtinagar, the great “Oli Allah” Hazart Shah Sufi Syed Ghulam Mawla Hossainee Chishty Shampuri (R.A.) was born on the Ist Jaishtha of 1312 of Bengali year at Shampur of greater Noakhali district. His extraordinarily brilliant student life was spent in govt. madrasas of Chitagong and Dhaka. At a certain stage his life supernaturally bent towards a different dimension. The stage of hard and intensive religious meditation begins. This great man was deeply engrossed in the meditation of Allah through unprecedented austerity and methodological rigorousness. He spent a long span of his life in Ajmer Sharif. Being replete with religious treasure he returned back with great mission of spiritual and material welfare of human being. At a certain stage he founded Chishtinagar Khanka-e Chishtia which at present belongs to Shariatpur District of greater Faridpur region. The description of his religious treasure and graceful life style is beyond my capability. His outward virtues has immensely entranced the millions like me. These extraordinary virtues were the manifestation of endless treasure of his soul. His vast education both in Shariat and Tasauf along with proficieney in history and different languages made him extraordinary. His merit was unbelievable. He retained vast information of Islamic history in every detail and narrated them readily. He had commendable mastery in Bengali, Arabic, Urdu and Persian language. He has written six books in Bengali. His book has been exhibited in the International Book Fare in Delhi and preserved at the US Library of Congress. This book is the biography of the spiritual emperor of this subcontinent _ Hazrat Khawja Gharib Nawaz Moinuddin Chishty (R.A.). In regards to historical information, analysis of language and above all in profound purport it is an unparallel annexure in the array of biography of the great men written in Bengali language. In fact he has earned his spiritual possessions following the Chishtia tariqa as directed by Hazrat Khawja Moinuddin Chishty (R.A.) and vowed to enkindle that inside the heart of millions of human being. The basic feature of Chistinagar Khanka-e-Chishtia which he founded, is the complete pursuance of religious instructions or shariat and concomitantly rigorous practice of integrated spiritual lessons. Religious activities are performed here completely avoiding all narrowness, communal frenzy, political ambition, commercial desire etc, Against the traditional stream it seems to be a strong exceptional counter stream coming close to which a divine sensation emerges in our perception. At the age of eighty two, on the 24th Magh, 1392 of the Bengali year his soul departed from this earthly world. He was laid to rest at his beloved Chishtinagar. The last moments of the lustrous life of this great saint were also extra-ordinary. Before his eternal departure he called everyone those who were present there at that time and told them, that the hour of his departure has arrived and instructed them to recite specific “Doa,” “Dorud” and the holy “kalema”. Drinking a full glass of water with his own hand keeping the head on the north and facing towards west he laid on his bed and within few moments went inside the veil of eternity (departed from this world). Till the moment of his burial the smearing of the lustre which emanated from his holy countenance could not be concealed from the vision of the general people. The source of his philosophy of life and spiritual strength was the absolute self sacrifice and absolute love to Allah and at the same time love towards His creation. In his writing and at every events of life his ardent love towards all creation has been repeatedly manifested. In his book he has written “the spiritual successor of Hazart Sheikh Shihabuddin Suhrawardi as well as famous scholar, saint and poet Sheikh Sadi written in his book “Bostan” echoing the holy sayings of Hazrat Khawja Baba Gharib Nawaz, ‘without serving the creation of the universe or makhluk, he who only wearing a rug and sitting on a prayer mat performs prayer cannot achieve tariqat.’ He has further written, “Allah is announcing his intimate relationship with His subjects in the Holy Al-Quran, “Aye believers. I am more close to my subjects even than the temple of their neck. I exist within the existence of the subjects whereas you can not see Me,” Perhaps real recognition to humanity lies only in it. The man whose opulent spirit has been glorified by the grace of the Creator Himself, denying him one cannot think of humanity. Such religious perception of the glorified spirit emanates real sense of humanity. I have tried to observe Chishtinagar through my inquisitive eyes. The blissful touch of a great saint who dedicated his life for the welfare of human being has overwhelmed my sensation time and again. Here in all activities the vivacity of life and spiritual magnanimity which are free from self conceitedness and selfishness have simply beseized me. As it is true for religious practices also it equally applies to the social activities. At different religious occasions distribution of food among thousands of people irrespective of colour, caste or community in exceptionally disciplined manner, everyday free arrangement of meal for the presentees, during Ramadan arrangement of “Iftar” among the devotees, on Eid days entertaining the masses with sweets _ these all have glorified these religious functions with extra-ordinary social welfare. At these functions religious solemnity and sanctity are retained in such a manner that it creates a celestial feeling into the heart of any person. Even after a decade (Now two decads) of the departure of the noble founder of this institute his descendants have retained this tradition in pure form. They have protected the tradition by his spiritual will and following his ideal. Avoiding traditional parochialism, on the hand he has educated his children with modern education, on the other hand ardently inspired in theology and religious practices. To protect the ideal which he conveyed perhaps this was necessary and appropriate. This institute has been marked with its exceptional features by initiating material welfare oriented programme which are inspired with profound religious conscious. Such a notable programme is the Chishtinagar Irrigation Project (CNIP) which to day is interwoven with the life and death of thousands of mass peasants of the region. Earlier in this region due to lack of irrigation, H.Y.V. variety of paddy could not be cultivated. Against this menace CNIP turned out to be a very successful personal venture which has been highly extolled by all. In the context of electrification of the local area the distinguished contribution of this institute is found to be transmiited orally from person to person of the region. Centering Chishtinager printing press writing and printing activities have been initiated in this remote village. Aiming at attaining spiritual grace, sacred religious songs are being performed here. I have heard that there is a debate on the facet of whether religious song is valid in Islam. But in all the Islamic states musical activities are performed in all state administrated media. History reveals the fact that among the undisputed great saints of Islam many practiced religious song and many of them though did not practice individually, gave their verdict in favour of the legitimacy of religious song. Use of music on the religious battle is a well recognized tradition in the history of Islam. These are all historical facts. This Chishtinagar is a nobel institute for spiritual and material welfare. People of every sphere of society is attracted to it with it’s extravegant beauty and vivacity. I have seen many of the devotees of other religion cherish unwavering respect and love towards this institute. Their eyes become inundated recalling the memories if the great founder of this institute. Such welfare orientation is the most demanding issue of the present time. This is my pious hope that this welfare would touch the entire periphery of our time.