Tipu Sultan (Rahmatullah Alayh)’s Link with the Spiritual Family of Rae Barelly

A number of books have been written on the life of Tipu in different languages from various angles worldwide. Amongst all the eminent personalities of India, it was Tipu alone who has earned the distinction of being made the subject of the historic research and work by a number of authors, a majority of them being non-Muslims. Those historians and writers who have highlighted his personal life agree unanimously to the fact that apart from being extraordinarily secular in nature, he had great love towards his own religion. In other words, he was a true follower of Islam. Concerning the issue of following the teachings of Islam, he imposed as much strictness on the common Muslims as upon himself. However, ironically enough, no historian has taken up the cudgels to investigate into this aspect thoroughly up till now.

From where or how did this love for Islam, religious strictness and abstinence become inherent in him such that unmindful of the criticism and opposition of majority of people, he went ahead to eliminate un-Islamic practices and innovations in religion in spite of the fact that his father, Hyder Ali was a bit lenient in terms of religion. However, from authentic sources, one can conclude that though his family had descended from the Quraish tribe of Arab, because of living in India for years altogether along with the Hindus, the family was no more supportive of an Islamis spirit deeply or developed religious outlook staunchly. Even in Devanahalli, the place where he spent his childhood, there was no such religious atmosphere or Islamic society. Probably, it might not have had an impact upin him. After a long research the writer of the article got a clue from Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Nadvi that there may be some reference to this  aspect in the personal collection of books of the Hasani family, piled in the Shibli Library, Nadwat-ul-Ulama, Lucknow. And really there was a manuscript by Syed Hyder Ali Tonki which disclosed the hidden mystery that Tipu had spiritual links with Shah Abu Sayeed and his son Shah Abullais, the real maternal grandfather and maternal uncle, respectively, of Sayyid Ahmad Shaheed (rahmatullah alayh), the great founder of the revitalization of Khilafat Movement in the Sub-Continent. Both these saints were the spiritual guide and the patron of this family. Sayyid Ahmad Shaheed (rahimahullah) (1786-1831) was the great disciple of an eminent Muslim divine Shah ‘Abd al-Azeez (rahmatullah alayh) who had issued a fatwa declaring the Sub-Continent as Darul Harb. Inspired by this fatwa Sayyid Ahmad Shaheed had started a movement which exhorted Muslims to return to early Islam and fight against those non-Muslim powers which were playing havoc with the lives of Muslims. He was a bitter critic of innovations in Islam and non-Muslim practices and rituals which had got deeply embedded in the minds of uneducated Muslim masses. He had nothing to do with Khilafat Movement which was started by Muslims in 1920 against the British. The family was in bayat with Shah Abullais of Naqshbandi Order and the spiritual effects and the spirit of their conscience and cravings had got deeply embedded into the body and soul of Tipu Sultan. The ban imposed by Tipu on the traditional peeri-mureedi and practices in connection with rituals on the eve of Muharram was also the outcome of the association with these saints whose entire family had earned great fame all over the country. Otherwise it would have been a Herculean task for Tipu to impose such a ban in those days when the ignorant practices and innovations in the religion had crept deep inside the Muslims in the country. Shah Abu Sayed visited the Sultanat-e-Khuddad along with his son, Shah Abullais with the intention of spreading the teachings of Islam and reformation from North India after traversing thousands of miles during the period of Hyder Ali. Thousands of Muslims entered into bayat with him over there. When Shah Abullais returned after performing Hajj, he preferred to stay in the Sultan-e-Khuddad permenantly and continued to guide the Sultani family spiritually. He stayed in the western coastal city of Koriyal Bandar. He expired at the same place in 1208 A.H. corresponding to 1793 A.D. six years before the Sultan’s demise, albeit Shah Abu Saeed passed away in 1193 A.H. at his home town, Rae Bareli.

In 1822, Hadhrat Sayyid Ahmad Shaheed (rahmatullah alayh), the nephew of Abullais stopped in Calcutta for 3 months along with his entourage on his trip to Makkah fot the purpose of Hajj, Sultan Tipu’s exiled princes and their mother who were staying at Tollygunj in Calcutta also came to know about it. Tipu’s wife was aware of her husband’s and her father-in-law’s spiritual link with the saints Shah Abu Sayeed and Shah Abullais belonging to the Hasani family of Rae Bareli and both of them were mureeds in that order. She sent a person called Muhammad Qasim in the servive of Sayyid Sahib (rahmatullahi alayh) to find whether he belonged to the family of Shah Abu Saeed so that they might also visit him to pay their regards. Sayyid Sahib (rahimahullah) told the man that Shah Abu Sayeed happened to be his real maternal grandfather and Shah Abullais his maternal uncle. Thereafter, Sayyid Sahib (rahimahullah) got the bayat of all the princes on the request of Tipu’s wife. Finally, she herself along with the only princess took the bayat besides other royal women folk. Tipu’s wife was a very pious lady. She had earned greater spirituality from the blessings of Sayyid Sahib (rahimahullah). The princes had undergone a great change, in terms of their ideologies, after being in contact with their atheist teacher Abdul Raheem. However, Tipu’s wife stopped him from teaching the princes when Sayyid Sahib had asked her to do so.


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