Khanqah at Numblibal proved a learning center for knowledge seekers and became an information hub
The legendary Sufi Saint Khawaja Masood Wali properly known as Khawaja Masood Pampori was born in the famous south Kashmir’s town of Pampore. He was born in 1551 AD (958 A.H) in a well-off business class family. Khawaja Sahab was known for his extreme virtue, piety, and honesty.
He was a strict follower of Shiriyat and studied Ilm-i-Zahir, Ilmi-i-Tafsir, and Fiqah. His deep thoughts and anxiety led him to the stage where he renounced all his material connections and opted for complete seclusion. After spending few months in complete isolation, he deemed an hour to meet Hazrat Khazir (AW) who directed him to seek spiritual guidance under the renowned Sufi saint of that time Baba Dawood Khaki (RA).
Acting upon the advice of Hazrat Khazir (AW), Khawja Sahab moved to meet the spiritual master of his father Baba Hardi Reshee (RA), the close friend of Baba Dawood Khaki (RA). Fortunately, on the same day, Baba Dawood Khaki (RA) was sitting there. Knowing his family’s background and seeing his eye-catching face, Baba Hardi Rishee (RA) kissed his hands and entrusted him to Baba Dawood Khaki (RA) for spiritual training. That particular meeting proved a turning point in his life. The saint allotted him a separate room for meditation at Khaniyar, Srinagar.
After the in-depth meditation, devotion, contemplation, patience as well as fear and trust in Almighty Allah, he conquered himself (Nafs). Once he attained perfection, his spiritual master (Murshid) sent him back to Pampore. He developed a portion of land for Zafran cultivation to fulfill his domestic needs.
He also established a Khanqah at Numblibal Pampore in the sixteenth century on the eastern side of the river Jhelum on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. The only purpose behind this grand work was to reach out to the people and enlighten them with the basic teachings of Islam.
He dedicated his entire life to the service of mankind. Whatever the gifts he received, he used to distribute them among the needy people. There are many myths associated with the procurement of wood used for the construction of the Khanqah. One of them is that the long logs of wood used in construction work were brought down by flooding the Jhelum River.
Though, the structure has been repaired and renovated from time-to-time that one hardly remembers how it looked originally. This particular structure proved a learning center for knowledge seekers and became an information hub where messages were circulated to the general public. This grand structure is still existing there with the ground floor comprising a double-story hall. The construction follows the traditional pattern of wooden cribbage construction associated with the Muslim religious architecture of Kashmir.
The US architectural heritage expert Randolph Landenberg has also mentioned Khanqah-i-Khawaja Masood Pampori in his writings that gives it global recognition. His prominent disciples were Sheikh Sharif-u-din Wali (RA); Al-Maroof Shog Baba Sahib (RA); Baba Ali Sahib (RA); Baba Mohammad Sadiq (RA); Khaja Habibullah Attar (RA); and Sheikh Najam-ul- Din Rehshi (RA).
There are many miracles associated with his life, the description of those miracles are recorded by few Sufi Saints in their writings. One of the miracles noted down by Dawood Mushkati (RA) in his famous book “Asrarul-Abrar”.
One such miracle mentioned in the book is: One day Khawaja Sahab was sitting in his small room allotted by his Murshid at Srinagar. One of his disciples from Pampore decided to visit him. Khawaja Sahab forecasted about his arrival an hour before and asked other men sitting in the room to spare space for his disciple.
Another occasion when his Murshid asked him to arrange fishes for him, Khawaja Sahab went to Ganderbal. There, he met another Sufi Saint of the same order (Silsila), Mir Syed Hyder Tumuli (RA), one of the prime Khalifas of Sheikh Humza Mukdoom (RA). He welcomed him and took him to the nearby river, fishes assembled on the banks of the river. He took few of them and started his journey way back to Srinagar. When he presented fishes to his Murshid he asked him that he wanted the fresh fishes not the dead ones. Khawaja Sahab took the container back, moved few steps, raised his hands for prayer (Duwa) and by the grace of Almighty Allah all the fishes reawakened again. (Ref Hidaytul Muksileen)
There are many local legends about how saffron came to Kashmir. One goes back to the 12th century and says that Sufi Saint Khawaja Masood Wali and his disciple Sheikh Sharif-u-din Wali (Al-Maroof Shog Bab Soub) presented a local chieftain with a saffron bulb after he cured them of illness while they were traveling. (Allah knows best).
This legendary Sufi saint left this transient world on 5th Safar-ul-Muzafar, 1021 AH (1612 AD) leaving his rich legacy in the form of his teachings and the grand historical structure in the form Khanqah-e-Masoodia, which must be respected and preserved.
Every year, local people in collaborations with concerned Awaqaf Committee- Idarah, Awaqaf, Islamia Trust Pampore organize an annual celebration (Urs) on 5th Safar-ul-Muzafar at Namlabal Pampore with full religious honor and cultural gaiety. Devotees across Jammu and Kashmir mainly from the surrounding areas of Pampore town attend this annual Urs.
The local people avoid preparing meat as a mark of respect because it is said that Khawaja Masood Wali didn’t enjoy any luxurious dishes. He led a very simple and pious life. It is his rigorous training and his grand contribution towards humanity that people still recall him with deep regard and respect. It is a great privilege for me to introduce such personalities to the next generation.
Author is a teacher by profession