Annual Urs At Sufi Shrine

By Faisal Magray

The annual Urs – death anniversary— of revered Kashmiri saint, Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom (RA) is observed every year on the 24th of Safar, the second month in the Islamic calendar, with fervor and gaiety. Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom sahib, popularly known as Makdoom Sahib and Sultan-Ul-Arifeen meaning ‘King of Gnostics’, is highly revered by Kashmiri Muslims and his shrine located on the southern side of the Hari Parbhat hill in downtown Srinagar Kashmir , is thronged by thousands of people during the 13-day Urs.

Sufi Saint had played a vital role in the diffusion of religious and spiritual education, social and political consciousness among Kashmiri Muslims. He inherited the mysticism, from the very childhood was inclined to the company of holy men, and to the truth. Kashmiri Muslims have been paying obeisance at the shrine for nearly 500 years now.

He not only guided people in religious studies but there are thousands who were benefited from his spiritual powers.  Apart from the annual Urs, thousands of people visit the shrine usually on Thursdays and Mondays, besides every 13th of the Islamic calendar to pay obeisance.

   View of Makhdoom Sahib Shrine which  is located on the southern side of Hari Parbat Hill in    Srinagar  kashmir . The  shrine  is double storied, in the name of the Sufi saint Makhdoom Sahib  popularly    known as  Sultan-Ul-Arifeen. Thousands of Kashmiri Muslims who believe in Sufism    throng the shrine  to offer prayers.

Devotees Offering Prayers on The Urs Of Sufi Saint Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom sahib (R.A). Hundreds of devotees gathered to offer prayers on the annual festival at the shrine of Makdoom shahib. Most of the Devotees believe that the reverence and love for Hazrat Makhdoom Sahib (RA) is the reason that attracts them across the Valley on this auspicious occasion.

A  Kashmiri Man prays at the mausoleum of Sheikh Hamza, popularly known as Makhdoom Sahib, on a hillock in Srinagar during the annual Urs – death anniversary - of the 16th century Muslim saint. The shrine of Makhdoom Sahib (RA) has been a source of inspiration and spiritual guidance for all the devotees visiting the shrine.

Kashmiri Muslim women devotees raise their hands  praying  outside the mausoleum of  Sufi saint Sheikh Hamzah Makdoom in Srinagar during the saint's Urs or, yearly commemoration in Srinagar. Women are not allowed to enter the mausoleum. Thousands of Kashmiri Muslims devotees thronged the shrine and tied votives at the marble windows as a ritual.

Kashmiri woman ties a piece of cloth (Votives )  to traditional candle holder  at the entrance to the mausoleum of Sheikh Hamza, popularly known as Makhdoom Sahib, on a hillock in Srinagar during the annual Urs – death anniversary – of  Muslim saint. This traditional ritual is performed by those seeking a particular wish from the saint.

Boy prays infront of wall, tied with thousand of colored cloth pieces (votives). The pieces of cloth have been tied by the people who come from different parts of the Kashmir valley  for the fulfillment of their Wishes.

Devotees bow their head infront of mausoleum and worship for long hours during annual urs. Most of the devotees from different places spend nights to worship here.

Kashmiri veiled women prays at the shrine, majority of kashmiri women are turning to sufi holy men, to cope up with their distress. The practice Sufism, a mystical school of Islam imported from Middle Asia in the 14th century,  are believed to have miraculous powers of healing.

Kashmiri devotee hugs one of the pillars of mausoleum inorder to receive blessings from saint during Urs.  Most of the devotees said, that Makdoom sahib holds a great significance in their lives and most of their wishes get fulfilled.

      A Kashmiri woman (not seen in picture) distributing holy dates to seek blessings of Sufi saint at his shrine. Majority of women in Kashmir have great faith on Sufism. Thousands of people visit the shrine to pay their respects and receive his blessings.