The Mystic Sufi Who Dedicated His Life to Spiritual Enlightenment
By Khursheed Dar
Peer Hussain Shah, also known as Hussian Saeb Kutlari, is a revered Sufi saint in the Kashmir region, renowned for his profound wisdom and captivating oratory skills. Located 12 km from Handwara town, the small village of Kutlari in the Kupwara district of Jammu & Kashmir is home to the shrine of this esteemed spiritual figure. Apart from its picturesque beauty and abundance of trout fish, Kutlari is a popular pilgrimage site that attracts devotees from far and wide, seeking solace and spiritual guidance at the shrine of Hussian Saeb Kutlari. The Life and Legacy of Hussian Saeb Kutlari
From available oral sources, the author has learned that Hussian Saeb Kutlari was a highly revered Sufi saint of his time, who devoted his life to the betterment of his community. Peer Mehraj ud din, his grandson, Sajdah Bagam, his niece, and Nisar Azam Sahib, a prominent poet and translator, are thanked for providing valuable leads for this column.
Hussian Saeb was born in 1929 in the small village of Kutlari and was widely respected in the area for his acts of generosity and piety. His parents, Peer Yahiya Shah and Aziz Ded, were known for their simplicity and kindness. Hussian Saeb’s lineage can be traced back to Hazrat Afzal Baba RA, the renowned Sufi saint of the Baba family of Dangiwacha, Baramulla.
Peer Hussain Shah Kutlari received his education up to the 8th standard. His spiritual inclination led him to seek a guide who could satisfy his thirst for spiritual knowledge. He went to Hazrat Qadir Saeb Hiri RA of Kupwara and became his cherished disciple. He also followed Hazrat Moulana Mohammad Amin Owaisi RA of Kasheera Kupwara. Nisar Azam Sahib, a renowned poet, and translator, shared an interesting event about this mystic with the author of this column. “One day, while on an excursion to Satbaran caves in Kupwara with his school, Hussain Saeb met the famous saint of Kupwara, Qadir Saeb Hiri RA, who gave him a half-chewed date. It is said that when he ate that date, he was lost in spiritual wonderment, and his heart was filled with heavenly blessings.” This event marked the beginning of his spiritual journey.
According to family sources, Hussain Saeb never married and devoted his life to the love of Allah through meditation and mystical experiences. He is also reported to have performed a 40-day ‘chilla’ in the underground cave Khankah of Shahnagri Mawar Handwara. This village is named after the towering Sufi saint Hazrat Sheikh Syed Abdul Wahab RA, who inhabited it 700 years ago.
According to family sources, Hassian Saeb once left his home and traveled to Ajmer Sharif and Hazrat Nizam ud Din in Delhi, where he stayed for decades. During his travels, he was influenced by the institution of “Langar” and felt the need to start one in his native village of Kutlari. In 1995, he opened a Langar there to feed the hungry, regardless of their religion, caste, or creed. The concept of “Langar” emerged from the teachings of the Sufi saint Fariduddin Ganjshakar, who lived in the Punjab region during the 13th century, and has become a symbol of charity and equality.
Unfortunately, the Langar of Peer Hussian Saeb of Kutlari stopped functioning after his demise. It’s a loss to society that such a beautiful initiative did not continue, but it is a reminder of the impact that even one person can have on the lives of many, by spreading kindness and serving those in need.
According to family sources, Hussian Saeb Kutlari was a follower of the Suhrawardi Sisila of Sufism and spent his days and nights in prayers and meditations. His niece, Sajdah Bagam, who served him until his last breath, attests to his unwavering dedication to prayer and his advice to his followers to pray five times a day.
In the first 20 years of his life, Hussian Saeb wandered as a “Darvash” and “Jilali Qalandar,” but in the last 20 years, he strictly followed Islamic Shariah, never missing any prayer and sometimes going for months without eating or drinking anything.
The personality of this mystic cannot be fully described in words. Many Karamaats or miracles are attributed to him that are beyond explanation. His grandson, Peer Mahraj ud Din Shah, shared one such miracle with the author of this column. One day, Hussian Saeb asked someone to call the late Abdul Ahad Kar, the former member of the assembly. When Abdul Ahad Kar arrived, Hussian Saeb garlanded him and told him that he was going to represent that area. Surprisingly, there was no sign of elections at that time. Just a few months later, Abdul Ahad Kar won the 1996 elections and did significant work for the construction of Langer and Masjid Sharief at Kutlari.
It is also believed that Hussian Saeb was a strong advocate of the concept of Langar, which emerged from the towering Sufi saint Fariduddin Ganjshakar in the 13th century. In 1995, Hussian Saeb opened a Langar at Kutlari to feed the hungry people irrespective of their religion, caste, or creed. Unfortunately, the Langar of Peer Hussian Saeb of Kutlari stopped functioning after his demise.
Hassian Saeb Kutlari was a highly spiritual personality and follower of the Suhrawardi sisila of Sufism. According to his niece, Sajdah Bagam, who served him till his last breath, he spent his days and nights in prayer and meditation. He never missed his daily prayers and advised his followers to do the same. In his first 20 years, he was a wandering “Darvash” and “Jilali Qalandar,” but in his last 20 years, he strictly followed Islamic “shariyah,” going for weeks without eating or drinking.
Despite his remarkable personality, Hassian Saeb Kutlari never sought any worldly gains. He lived a simple life, and whatever money his visitors gave him was spent on the Langar, a free community kitchen that he opened in Kutlari in 1995 to feed the hungry regardless of their religion, caste, or creed. His Langar was inspired by the institution of “Langar” that emerged from Sufi saint Fariduddin Ganjshakar in the 13th century and is a symbol of charity and equality.
Hassian Saeb Kutlari had a galaxy of followers from all walks of life who visited him to seek his blessings. He also travelled all over India and was an avid reader of books. According to oral sources, he preached love and brotherhood and believed that simple living and love for mankind were the best ways to come closer to Allah and the Prophet.
Many miraculous incidents are attributed to Hassian Saeb Kutlari, including his ability to bring rain to Dangiwacha by bathing in the natural springs. He left for his heavenly abode on 03 March 2003 and was buried at Kutlari, as per his wishes. His legacy as a renowned Sufi saint of Kashmir needs to be shared and preserved.
Dr. Rafeeq Masoodi Saeb, former ADG Doordarshan, narrates one of his miracles. Hassian Saeb Kutlari often visited his sister, who was married in Dangiwacha. When there were no rains, people used to clean the “Nagraad,” a group of natural water springs. Whenever Hassian Saeb Kutlari would appear there, it would suddenly rain, and when he did not show up, there would be no rain. He would even bathe in the ice-cold water with bare feet during harsh winters.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of this newspaper/Magazine. The author can be reached at [email protected]