Sheikh-ul-Alam

Nund Rishi, also known as Sheikh Noor-ud-din(RA), was a Kashmiri saint who belonged to the Rishi order. In various circles, he is also called as Alamdar-e-Kashmir and Sheikh-ul-Alam (these names were given by Mir Mohammad Hamdani for him) and is the patron saint of Kashmiris, highly revered by both Muslims and Hindus. He is known as Sahazanand or Suneha Nand among Kashmiri Hindus

Biography

His year of birth is disputed. Some say it was 779 Hijri while others hold it as 757 Hijri. It is futile to go into the discussion here but under modern research the year 779 is more probable.

This too is a matter of dispute. People generally believe that he was born at Kemoh Kolgan but his poetic works don't corroborate it and assert that his place of birth was Khi-Jogipura in the Kulgam tehsil.

"There, at Khi-Jogipura I was born because of His kindness. I am Nands Sanz Muslim."

Nund Rishi was born in a village called Qaimoh (old name Katimusha) in Kulgam district, which is 10 km from Anantnag and 60 km South east of Srinagar in the year 3649 Kashmiri Calendar/1377 CE, corresponding to 779 Hijri.

From both sides (mother and father) he came down from the royal family of Kishtwar which descended from Maharaja Vikramajit. Sheikh-Ul-Alam himself, mentions his lineage in his verse:

"My Father and mother belonged to the Sanz family. Ogra Sanz and his son Durpita Sanz were my ancestors. His son Zanga Sanz who was killed in a battle succeeded Durpita Sanz. He left behind a son: Hambar Sanz. The later had two sons: Salar and Salu. I am the son of Salar Sanz."His father's name was Shaikh Salar-ud-din

Some hold that Sheikh-Ul-Alma's father Salar Sanz paid allegiance to Yasmin Rishi, embraced Islam, and assumed the name Sheikh Salar but the Sheikh contradicts the tradition in his verses. His father's spiritual guide and teacher were Syed Hussain Samnani.

Sheikh-Ul-Alma's mother was 'Sidrah' or 'Sadra' who was en-trusted to be brought up by the village chowkidar according to the custom. Her parents died in the meantime and the Chowkidar married her away to a young man of the village who died in a short while. After this on the advice of Yasmin Rishi or Syed Hussain Samnani she was remarried to the neo-Muslim, Sheikh Salar Uddin.

His mother, was called Sadra Moji or Sadra Deddi. In Kashmir, Moji means 'mother' and Deddi denotes 'elderly' Both the parents were well known for their piety.

According to a tradition Lalla Arifa used to visit his mother during her pregnancy and took care of her. For the first three days he did not take a feed of milk. Lalla Arifa then fed him on her breasts saying; "You never hesitated in coming to this world then, why do you hesitate in taking the milk?"

Symptoms at the time of his birth: Averse to taking milk for the first three days, the first feed of milk on Lalla Arifa's breasts and reforming his step brothers. Drawing copiously from Syed Husain Samnani and Mir Muhammad Hamdani, great and perfect saints of his time indicated that he would attain the lofty sainthood in future.

The historians on Kashmir unanimously believe that he belonged to Owaisia Order but Hasan refers to Vaqa'eh Kashmir, that he drew spiritual sustenance from Hazrat Amir-e-Kabir Shah-e-Hamdan, Syed Husain Samnani, and Mir Muhammad Hamdani. It is also said that Hazrat Amir-e-Kabir entrusted him to Syed Husain Samnani at an early age. The letter, kept in the Khanqah-e-Mullah, indicates that Mir Muhammad Hamdani admitted him to his guidance for training and education in spiritual meditation and divine rites.

Sheikh-Ul-Alam was, in fact, the source of all knowledge, intrinsic as well as exterior. He was never educated or trained at a seminary or a monastery but whatever he attained was the result of his sincere, and severe attempts in pursuing meditation and prayers, although he was not literate, yet he was a poet, a philosopher, a Rishi. A saintly mystic, the flag bearer of Kashmir, and the protector of the Kashmiri culture all combined in one.

Shaikh Nur-ud-din- appears to have married Zai Ded from Dadasara, Tral, Pulwama( her father Akber-u-Din and two brothers "Kamal-u-din" and "Jamal-u-din" are buried at Dadasara Tral) and had two sons and one daughter. On the death of the children, Zai Ded also renounced the world, and became a hermit. She was buried at Kaimuh on her death.

The year of his death similar to the year of birth is a matter of dispute with the chroniclers and biographers. It varies from 808 Hijri, to 820 Hijri to 825 Hijri, and to 842 Hijri but the year 842 Hijri (1438 AD.) is probable. His tomb stands at Charar-Sharif in the district of Badgam in Kashmir and draws large crowds.

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