A brief biography of Ameer Ali bin Shihabudin Hamdani – by Amir Al-Athari

A brief biography of Ameer Ali bin Shihabudin Hamdani

Better known as the Shah of Hamadan

Ameer-e-Ali Hamdani (1314- 1384) is arguably the most celebrated of the Persian Shafii missionaries , coming from Persian in Medieval period and who had accelerated the process of Islamisation of Kashmir which continued after them. In Kashmir there are four Major mosques of Shah-Hamadan ,the Mualla Mosque (Srinagar), Tral, Doru and Shey (Ladakh).

Jamia Masjid Zanskar in Ladakh and Jamia Masjid Chaqchan in Baltistan were built by him by due to few circumstances the work on those Mosque was left incomplete later his son Mohammed bin Ali completed them . The Ameer Ali was born in the Persian city of Hamadan, . He travelled for twenty- one years across west Asia, in the pursuit of Islamic knowledge .

The Shah Hamadan reached Kashmir in 1372. He went to Ladakh around 1381 and was the first to establish a mosque there. Shah Hamadani (RA) entered the valley in the reign of Sultan Shihab-ud-Din in 774/1372. After staying for a short time he left for Mecca. He visited Kashmir second time in 781/1379 in the reign of Sultan Qutbud-Din. This time he stayed there for two and a half years and then left for Turkistan via Ladakh in 783 A.H. He paid the third visit in 785/1383, stayed in Kashmir for a short period, and then left Kashmir on account of ill-health and stayed at Pakhli for ten days at the request of the ruler of that place whose name was Sultan Muhammad.

Shah Hamadan (RA) died in 786 A.H,at the age of 73 in Kunar, a place in the vicinity of Pakhli. His body was carried to Khatalan now in Tajikistan and was buried there on 25 Jamadul Awwal, 787,130 (14 July 1385). Apart from culture and mannerism, the cultural traits of Kashmiri literary life were also influenced greatly by his arrival to Kashmir.He preached Islam and affected the conversion of thousands of people from Hindus and Buddhism to Islam by his great efforts. During this period the Seljuk influence on Kashmiri society and culture became dominant.

It is true that the Kashmiris welcomed the new Seljuk culture as their contacts became wider and larger with other Islamic countries of the world,but they could not put away their own old practices,customs and some of the rituals. Thus we find the symbols of old and new culture amongst the people of kashmir.It gave a shape to the society and culture .in this way their was a change in every aspect of life ,even the offical language was Persian. Islam was introduced in the Valley of Kashmir not by conquest but by gradual conversion effected by Muslim Missionaries.

Islam is essentially a missionary religion and the Muslim Missionary, carries with him the Message of Islam to the people of the Land . A Missionary has the spirit of truth in his heart which cannot rest till it manifests itself in thought, word, and deed.
Ameer Ali Hamadani became Hafiz-I-Quran in his very early boyhood and studied Islamic theology under his maternal uncle Sheikh Alala-ud-Din Simnani Shaf’ii rahimahullaah .Being a traditionalist Sheikh Simnani distanced from innovation (bidat) in Islam .Sheikh Simnanis rejection of Ibn-Arabiís philosophy of Wahdat al Wajud emanates from his close understanding of the teachings of Sunnah. The correspondence between him and Abdur-Razzaq Kashani, to which Sheikh Simnani sent him a strong letter considering the philosophy of Unity of Being condemnable Kufriyaat and worse Blasphamy than beliefs of the Pagan infidel.

These Persian Shafii missionaries established mosques with lodging and langar at many places in the valley which served as centres for propogation of Islam.The persians had establised trade relation with Kashmir. They brough their merchandise in their caravans and disembarked on the Silk road cities of Skardu ,Khaplu . The preaching Institutions associated with him are situated in different countries i.e. Yarkand (China), Kunar (Afganistan), Bukhara, Samarkand (Uzbekistan), Island of Philippines, Sarai Kaubchou (Russia), Iskardu (Baltistan), Ladakh (Jamia Masjid).


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