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CELEBRATION OF URS SHAREEF

INTRODUCTION

The Celebration of the Urs of the Aulia-Allah is an Islamic function which is generally organised by the Sajjada-Nasheen of the particular Wali to commemorate his Youme Wisaal. The word Urs in Arabic means wedding or a joyous occasion signifying the meeting of two beings. In Arabic the bride and groom are called Aroos.  It is stated in an authentic Hadith of Mishkaat that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wassalam) said. "When Munkar and Nakeer question a person in the grave about Allah, Islam and the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wassalam) and the person answers the questions successfully, thev lovingly declare to him, " Sleep like the bride who will only be awakened by the beloved",  Hence the word Urs is traced to a Hadith. To a Wali his passing away is the culmination of a life long  yearning to meet Allah and his beloved Rasool (Salallahu alaihi wasallam).  It is stated by the Mashaaikh that death is a bridge which unites the lover with his beloved.

According to Hazrat Shah Waliullah Muhadith Dehlwi (Radi  allahu  anhu) a special Rehmat (mercy) and Anwaar (mystical light) descends at the time of the departing of the soul of the Saints. During Urs the very same Rehmat and Anwaar is anticipated and which has been established as occurring through mystical experience

Annually on that day or month on which the Wali parted from this world; the mureeds, family and the general public assemble at the graveside and recite Quran, Khatme Kwajegaan, Zikr and devotional poetry in praise of Allah, his Rasool and the Aulia and offer Essale-Sawaab to the soul of the Wali. The object of fixing the day and time of the Urs is that the devotees may assemble with ease without having any disruptions. The roots of Urs are also traced to the actions of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wassallam).

It has been stated in Tafseer Durr-Manthoor and Tafseer Kabeer that it has been related by Hazrat Anas (Radi  allahu Anhu) that the Holy Prophet used to visit the graves of the martyrs of Uhad in the beginning of every year. Thereafter the glorious Khulafa-eRaashideen continued this act. It is evident from this that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to approach the martyrs on a particular day.  From this we may gather that the Celebration of Urs with pure intention is Mubah ( a recommended act).

 

CHAADAR AND SUNDAL PROCESSION

Chaadar and Sundal procession is a public event designed to show ones love and, respect to the soul of the Wali. In this event homage is paid to the Wali upon his success in the hereafter. Trays laiden with Ghilaafs, Flowers, Itr etc. which are prepared by the mureedeen are carried on the heads to the Mazaar of the W ali as a sign of utmost respect to him. This by no means constitutes worship in any way. During this procession, Durood Shareef devotional poetry in praise of Allah, His Rasool and the Aulia are recited.

PLACING OF CHADAR, FLOWERS AND ITR ON THE GRAVE

The graves of the Aulia- Allah are from amongst the signs of Allah, and showing reverence and respect to the signs of Allah is an order from the Quran. It is also stated that the heart of a believer is the throne of Allah, therefore in showing respect to them, to place chadar, flowers etc. are permissible. The placing of flowers on a grave whether it be a grave of a W ali or not, is permissible because this is an act of the Holy Prophet. It is reported that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wassallam) once passed by two graves upon which punishment was being served to its inmates. The Holy Prophet (Salallahu alaihi wasallam) broke a branch in two pieces and placed them on either grave and he stated that as long as these branches remain fresh, the punishment will be decreased in the graves due to the Tasbeeh of the branches. Since there is no punishment in the grave of a Wali, the Tasbeeh of the flowers help increase his status further and increases the mercy of Allah upon the soul of the Wali. Chadar is placed upon the grave of a Wali to make it distinct from the grave of the ordinary people. It shows a person that here lies a friend of Allah where the mercies of Allah are constantly flowing. The placing of Chadar on the graves of the commonfolk is not permitted.

After the demise of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wassalam) a Sahabiya came to Sayyida Ayesha Siddiqa (Radi allahu anhaa) and requested her to show the grave of the Holy Prophet (Sallallah alaihi wasallam).  Sayyida Ayesha Siddiqa (Radi Allahu anha then raised a sheet of fabric from the grave of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wassalam). The Sahabiya became very emotional, wept and finally collapsed and passed away (Baihaqi Shareef). The Kaaba is covered with Ghilaaf to show honour and respect towards it and to make it distinct from other places of worship. This practice was conducted during the time of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and he did not forbid it. In Tafseer Roohul Bayaan it is stated that to place Chadar on the grave of the Aulia and Pious is permissible so that the public may respect those graves and not think it to be of no value.

Attar or Perfume is sprinkled on the grave of the pious. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) loved perfume. Attar represent the sweet state that the Wali is in. The sprinkling of attar is for our benefit. Since the precincts of a Wali is highly spiritualised, Itr is sprinkled so that it helps us purify our thoughts and usher us into a state of serenity and calmness.

THE LISTENING OF SAMA (OAWALLI)

The listening of Sama is among the practices of the Chistia Order. Hazrat Khwaja Jalaluddeen Thanseri Chisti Sabiri (Radi Allahu  anhu) states in the Maqtoobat that his Murshid Qutbe Alam Hazrat Khwaja Abdul Qudoos Gangohi Chisti Sabiri (Radi Allahu anhu) stated "To celebrate the Urs of the Saints and the practice of  Sama, in accordance with the traditions of the Saints should be maintained". It is also stated that the Murshid of Hazrat Khwaja Abu Ishaq Chisti (Radi Allahu anhu), the Grand Master of the Chistia Order, Hazrat Khwaja Mamshad Ali Dinwar (Radi Allahu anhu) used to celebrate the Urs of his Murshid and on that day he used to listen to Sama. The people asked him as to what was the secret of him listening to Sama on the day of Urs. Hazrat Khwaja Mamshad Ali Dinwar (Radi Allahu anhu) replied, “Our Mashaaikh listened to Sama and today is the day of Urs. Today is my Murshid’s day of meeting with his beloved.  Death is a bridge that unites the lover with the beloved. In rejoycement of my Murshids meeting, I listen to Sama and just as he has become united with his loved one, there is a possibility that by my Murshids blessings and through listening to Sama on this happy occasion, I may get a glimpse of that beloved."

THE DISTRIBUTION OF LANGAR (FOOD)


Our Pir-O-Murshid, Sajjada Nasheen Hazrat Sayed Muhammad Shah Chisti Sabiree
distributing langar at the Urs of Hazrat Sayed Muhammad Khalid Shah Chisti Sabiree
(Radi Allahu Anhu)

The distribution of food is a virtuous act. This is done with the sole intention of sending the sawaab (rewards) to the soul of the Wali. Hazrat Hajee Imdaadullah Muhajir Makki Chisti Sabiree (Radi Allahu anhu) in his Faisala Haft Masala has stated “It is the practice of this Faqeer as regards to this issue that annually I celebrate the Urs of my Murshid Hazrat Noor Mohammed Chisti Sabiree (Radi Allahu anhu). Quraan is recited and time permitting Moulood is recited, food is served and the reward forwarded to the departed soul.”

Hazrat Sayed Shah Sharfuddeen Ahmed Yahya Muneeri (Radi Allahu anhu) has written in Fathul Ma'ani that there was a difference of opinion after the demise of the Holv Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wassallaam) as to which companion should be made Khalifa and in what way and where the Holy Prophet’s' grave should be made. Accordingly, it was decided after a great deal of discussion. Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Radi Alllahu Anhu) prepared a great deal of food on the 12th day and on reading fateha he entertained the people of Madina with it. He had so much of food prepared that it was enough for the people of Madina Munnawara. People began to enquire, "What is today?” Those who knew replied "Today is the Urs of the Messenger of Allah, Today is the Urs of the Messenger of Allah"

From the above explanations it can clearly be gathered that Urs is an Islamic and recommended act as it was celebrated by the great Aulia themselves. Muslims must remember that to worship a thing is one act, and to respect and honour a thing is just another. Shirk (polytheism) is concerned with beliefs and we do not ever regard the person in the grave (whether he be a prophet or a wali) to be equal or a partner with Allah. We love, respect and honour them as being the close friends of Allah. Visiting their graves and using them as intercessors in the court of Allah can never be called grave worship or Shirk.

 

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