- Jan 3, 2010
GURU NANAK IN ARAB
Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal
Pof Emeritus, Desh Bhagat University
Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal
Pof Emeritus, Desh Bhagat University
I visited Saudi Arabia to visit my son and also to collect phtocopies of the three manuscripts on Guru Nanak stated to be in Medina Library. Prior tdo this I studies in detail about the information avaiable about Guru Nanak's visit to this part of the world which is given out in this article.
Saudi Arabia is an Arab state in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula. Approximately 2.15 million km2 in area, Saudi Arabia is geographically the fifth-largest state in Asia and second-largest state in the Arab world (after Algeria). It is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the north east, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast, and Yemen to the south. It is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, and most of its internal terrain consists of arid inhospitable desert or barren landforms. Its capital is at Riyadh.
The area of modern-day Saudi Arabia formerly consisted of four distinct regions: Hejaz, Najd, and parts of Eastern Arabia (Al-Ahsa) and Southern Arabia (‘Asir’) (Medaw, 2013, 63). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by Ibn Saud. He united the four regions into a single state through a series of conquests beginning in 1902 with the capture of Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud. The country has since been an absolute monarchy, effectively a hereditary dictatorship governed along Islamic lines. The ultra-conservative Wahabism religious movement within Sunni Islam has been called "the predominant feature of Saudi culture", with its global spreading largely financed by the oil and gas trade. (Tripp, 2013, 14: Cafie, 2017, 23) Saudi Arabia is sometimes called "the Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Al-Masjid al-Harem (in Mecca), and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (in Medina), the two holiest places in Islam. The Kingdom has a total population of 28.7 million, of which 20 million are Saudi nationals and 8 million are foreigners (BBC:2013, Izady, 2013).
The official language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic. Hejaz is the most populated region in Saudi Arabia as it includes Mecca and Medina the most important religious centres of Islam. Jeddah is the most important port. Guru Nanak visited all these places around 1518 AD. Guru Nanak entered Saudi Arabia at Jeddah from Aden/Port of Sudan. Hejaz was then a protectorate of Ottoman King Selim I. It is mentioned in Sikh scriptures that Guru Nanak met Selim I during his travel to this area. (Giani Gian Singh, 1892, pp. 239-240) There are five place connected with Guru Nanak in the Gulf region: 1. Aden 2. Jeddah 3. Mecca 4. Medina 5. Baghdad. All the places of his visit had dharmsal (makan) in the shape of mosques. All had golden domes and a platform inside. Except at Aden, all other places had free kitchen by Shah Rum. The caretakers were duly paid. They wore blue dress with salwars up to just below the knees. (Giani Gian Singh, 1892, pp. 239-240) Guru Nanak visited Mecca in 1517-1518 AD after Aden and Jeddah.
Guru Nanak in Jeddah
Jeddah is a city in the Hijaz Tihamah region on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban centre of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Mecca Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. With a population currently at 3.4 million people, Jeddah is an important commercial hub in Saudi Arabia.
Jeddah is the principal gateway to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, which all able-bodied Muslims are required to visit at least once in their lifetime and also to Medina, the second holiest place in Islam.
Commonly believed its name was derived from Jaddah, the Arabic word for "grandmother". According to eastern folk belief, the tomb of Eve (21029’31”N 39011’24”E) considered the grandmother of humanity, is located in Jeddah. (innovationsites.com is for sale!, 2009) The tomb was sealed with concrete by religious authorities in 1975 due to some Muslims praying at the site. Jeddah first achieved prominence around 647 AD, when the third Muslim Caliph, Uthman Ibn Affan turned it into a port making it the port of Mecca (Vladimir, 2011). Jeddah has been established as the main city of the historic Hijaz province and a historic port for pilgrims arriving by sea to perform their Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.
Having stayed at Aden for three days, Guru Nanak went to Jeddah Sharif, and sat near Eve’s grave’.(Sayyad Prithipal Singh, Tajjudin Diaries) Muslims believe that upon expulsion from heaven, Adam landed in Sri Lanka and Eve in Jeddah. Jeddah is named after Arabic word “Jaddah’ meaning “grandmother” of all mankind.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s temple (makan) is towards the east of the grave of Mother Eve on the bank of river. In these countries, where ever there is Guruji’s makan, it is called Nanak Qalander or Wali Hindu Daira. Whatever the country Guruji went, he wore the local dress and preached in the local language. In Arab countries he had a stick in his hand, book under his armpit, and a blue coloured dress, a seli cap covering his head etc. (Giani Gian Singh, 1892, ® 1970, p. 241) Guru Nanak landed at Jeddah by ship in or around 1918 A.D. and a Sikh shrine commemorates his visit. The shrine is located towards the east of the sepulcher of Mother Eve. It is styled as a mosque and is known as house (makan) of Nanak Pir or Wali Hind. (Giani Gian Singh, 1892, ® 1970, p. 241)
On the Route to Mecca
Twenty two miles from Jeddah, Guru Nanak started walking in front of Shah Saraf’s camel. Shah Saraf was leading a group of Hajj pilgrims from Panipat (India). He was a spiritual god-loving person. In Taajudin Naqshbandi’s account (1509), Shah Saraf asked, “Who is walking in the front?” Taajudin documented 62 questions and responses. Shah Saraf was pleased and satisfied with this exchange. He asked, “Oh Fakir, where are you heading?” “To Mecca Sharif” was the Guru’s response. Sharaf’s disciples said, “You are a Hindu; you will not be allowed in Mecca,” and refused to include Nanak in the caravan. Guru Nanak started from Jeddah for Mecca on foot. Though Mardana and Muhammad Gaus Sankhatre walla, the two Muslims were with him, even then a fakir named Shah Sharaf asked questions to test his faith through questions in Arabic. (Kohli, 1969, p.136)
Shah Sharaf put many questions which the guru replied to his entire satisfaction. Shah Sharaf finally questioned on the use of various dress items. The accompanying Hajjis listened to the question-answer session intently. All of them realised that Guru Nanak was a Hindu and said: “The Arabic religious persons will kill you. They will trouble us as well. Please separate from us.” Baba said, “You are not the true Hajjis. You reap the benefit of Hajj only if you spread benediction, love, compassion, service and alms. If you go on having jokes, laughter, teasing and creating differences, you do not become true Hajjis. Saying this, Babaji recited Hazar Nama. (Giani Gian Singh, 1892, 239-240) Guru Nanak explained : ‘Sincerity is friendliness; insincerity is against religion. Pride is prejudiced; backbiting is like blackening one’s own face; honest person is free of all encumbrances, dishonesty causes bad blood. Hatred is hellish; Truth is heavenly. Egoistic person is lost into the world; person without ego is like a saint. Knowledge creates humility: attention takes one to heights. Saintliness is contentedness. Discontentment is hypocrisy. Oppression is an atrocity; non-use of force brings purity. Prayer is capital; curse is a calamity. Justice is clean; theft is greed; miracle is of nature above. The true path is a guru-peer (guide); lost path is for those who do not have true guidance (True Guru). Who feels pains of other is a God’s man; who does not feel other’s pain is like a butcher. God gives employment to all; sword is for the brave; justice is for the kings. The person with these good qualities is the intelligent one’.
Having heard this, they (hajjis) said, “We are afraid of godliness. They are ritualistic; not the researchers.” Baba moved separate from them and reached Mecca before them. (Giani Gian Singh, 1892, 240-241). Guru Nanak distanced himself from the caravan and continued. When Shah Saraf’s group reached Mecca, they found that Nanak Shah was already there. They heard about Nanak’s fame in Mecca, and were amazed to find out that he had been there for five months. At Jeddah, there is an important commemorative place called ‘Nanak Shah Kalandar.’ Jeddah to Mecca was then 4 destinations.
Guru Nanak in Mecca
Mecca or Makkah (Arabic) (Coordinates: 21025’N 39049’ E) is a city in the Hejaz in Saudi Arabia. (Cafie, 2007, p. 23) It is the capital of that kingdom's Makkah Region. The city is located 70 km (43 mi) inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of 277 m (909 ft) above sea level. Its resident population in 2012 was roughly 2 million, although visitors more than triple this number every year during the hajj ("pilgrimage") period held in the twelfth Muslim lunar month of Dhu al-Hijjah.
Mecca is the birth place of Muhammad and the site of Muhammad’s first revelation of the Quran (specifically, a cave 3 km from Mecca). (Khan, 2003, 26: Ahmed, 2005, 61) Mecca is regarded as the holiest city in Islam (Nasar, 2005) and a pilgrimage to it known as the Hajj is obligatory for all able bodied Muslims. Mecca is home to the Kaaba, by majority description Islam's holiest site, as well as being the direction of Muslim prayer. Mecca was long ruled by Muhammad’s descendants, the Sharifs, acting either as independent rulers or as vassals to larger polities. It was conquered by Ibn Saud in 1925.
Mecca houses the Masjid al-Haram, the largest mosque in the world. The mosque surrounds the Kaaba, which Muslims turn towards while offering daily prayer. This mosque is also commonly known as the Haram or Grand Mosque.  Hira is a cave near Mecca, on the mountain named Jabal Al-Noor in the Tihamah region of present-day Saudi Arabia. It is notable for being the location where Muhammad received his first revelation from God through the angel Gabriel to Christians. (Giani Gian Singh. 1892 ® 1970, pp 243-244)
According to Islamic tradition, the history of Mecca goes back to Abraham (Ibrahim), who built the Kaaba with the help of his elder son Ismael in around 2000 BCE when the inhabitants of the site were known as Bakkah who had fallen away from the original monotheism of Abraham. (Long, 2005)
Ibrahim was a Quresh; carpenter by trade. His father Ajar used to make and sell stone idols. Ibrahim came into the company of saints and opposed idol worship. One night he broke all the idols in the temple and left his axe on the shoulder of the largest idol and left. Next day, the priests were astonished seeing this state of idols and enquired as to who had done that. Ibrahim said, “They must have fought themselves. The largest idol must have broken them in anger”. The people present said, “They are just the idols. They cannot fight or break anything.” Ibrahim said, “If they cannot do anything; what do we need them for? Worship the true God who creates and cares for the entire world and destroy the unwanted”. Many left idol worship and started following him. Soon Ibrahim became famous as a prophet. Kaaba is now in this house where Ibrahim used to meditate. People came; bowed towards him from outside and went. After his death, the same practice has continued. This house (makan) is 12 yards long 10 yards in breadth on three pillars. There are two rooms; one for Mother Eve and other for Baba Adam. There is only one gate from the east. To the right of the door is a 4’ high black stone known as ‘Sang Aswad’, adjoining to it is 6’ high ‘Sang Manat’. Both are protected by an iron ring around. The house, the rooms and the stones are kept covered with cloth offered by King Room (Turkey) and are changed every year. Pieces of the removed cloth are taken by the Hajjis as a blessing, which they put on a dead body and removed before putting the dead into grave. Likewise Hindus too have been following the same tradition by taking the piece from the cloth removed at Jagan Nath temple.(Giani Gian Singh, 1892 ® 243-244)
On the left of Kaaba is the well, known as ‘Abe Zamzam’. The followers of Muhammad say this about this well, “When the Ibrahim was young, there used to be less water in the area. His mother felt thirsty. Ibrahim rubbed the heel of his foot on ground and made a small pit out of which appeared a spring which was converted into a well later. The water of this well is called, “Abe Zamzam”. Hajjis use this water as Hindus use Ganga water. (Giani Gian Singh, 1892 ® 1970 pp. 243-249)
On a hill named ‘Arnat’ 9 kos (29 kms) from the place of Hajj in Mecca, all Hajjis gather there a day before Id and march towards the route to Room (Turkey) and Sham (Syria). Qazis from Turkey and Syria appear on camels with valuables pertaining to Prophet Muhammad. Watching them is known as Hajj. These Qazis go back on camels without getting down. There is a mosque on the hill. It is stated that on this hill, Muhammad showed the Yehudis dividing moon into two parts. One piece went through the dress of the Prophet and went out through the gate of the mosque; the second part went out breaking through the wall creating a hole in the wall which these Hajjis have a sight. Hajjis start from Jeddah reciting aits (verses) from Quran; reach the area earmarked for their countries; pray (namaz) and go around Kaaba. They then have a sip from Abe Zamzam and kiss the wall of ‘Sang Aswad’. Some even manage to enter Kaaba, but they are not allowed to look around and are asked to keep their heads down. They are then allowed to take the pillar in their arms and are sent out. Some are able to do quick prayer (namaz) inside. (Giani Gian Singh, 1892 ® 1970 pp. 243-249)
Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 AD, (Charles, 1913)] and thus Islam has been inextricably linked with it ever since. He was born in a minor faction, the Hashemites, of the ruling Quraysh tribe.
In 1517, the Sharif, Barakat bin Muhammed, the local ruler of Mecca acknowledged the supremacy of the Ottoman Caliph, but retained a great degree of local autonomy. (http://Encyclopedia.org, 2007). The Sharif of Mecca during the period of Guru Nanak’s travel to Mecca was Barkat II bin Muhammed (Barakat Efendi) (1497-1525). Records of Guru Nanak Dev’s visit to Mecca are first found in Bhai Gurdas Vaar 1, Pauri 32.
‘ Giani Gian Singh (1892) explains this: “He slept at night in the western compound keeping his feet towards Mecca. Early morning the head of sweepers, Jiwan said to him angrily: “What type of senseless infidel you are, having your feet towards Kaaba?” Guru Nanak said, “Please move my feet to the direction where the God is not there.” As he moved Guru’s feet around, he felt Kaaba moving to the same direction. Guru Nanak said, “Jivan! God is everywhere.” This gave realisation to Jivan of God’s existence all over. As the people gathered, he shouted “Kaaba is everywhere. God is everywhere.”
It appears more logical that Jivan was made to realise the Truth that ‘God is everywhere’ through reason. As the people including Qazis and Mullahs gathered, they started questioning about the event and held discussions with Guru Nanak. Discussion with the Qazis is mentioned in Vaar 1, Paudi 33:
‘Qazis and Maulvis got together and began discussing religion. A great fantasy had been created and no one could understand its mystery. They asked Baba Nanak to open and search in his book whether Hindu is great or the Muslim. To the pilgrim (Hajjis), Baba replied that ‘without good deeds both will have to weep and wail. Only by being a Hindu or a Muslim one cannot get accepted in the court of the Lord. As the colour of safflower is impermanent and is washed away in water, likewise the colours of religiosity are also temporary. (Followers of both the religions) in their expositions, denounce Ram and Rahim. The whole of the world is following the ways of Satan’. According to an eyewitness account by the editor of the local daily paper ‘Head of these Qazis and Mullahs was Ruqan-ud-Deen who became follower of Guru Nanak’.
Name of Ruqun-ud-Deen appears in 3 Janamsakhis: Puratan Janamsakhi, Janamsakhi B 40 and Janamsakhi Bhai Mani Singh. According to Puratan Janamsakhi, Ruqun-ud-Deen was a Qazi and was present at the famous Mecca mosque during Guru Nanak’s visit to Mecca. It was Ruqun-ud-Deen who had asked Gruu Nanak not to keep his feet and not Jiwan as described earlier. Astonished Ruqun-ud-Deen kissed Guru’s feet and asked his name. As per Giani Gian Singh (1880) he held discussions with Guru Nanak. Details of ‘Makke di Goshat’ are published by Shamsher Singh Ashok (Nov, 1969). Guru Nanak sang s hymn ‘Yak arz guftam pes(i) tu dargos kun kartar’: (Mahla 1: Tilang).
‘I offer this prayer to You O Creator Lord: please listen to it. O Cherisher Lord, You are true, great, merciful and spotless. The world is a transitory place of mortality — we the beings must know this for certain in our mind. Azraa-eel, the Messenger of Death, has already kept a grip of the hair of my head, but I am not still thinking of the God! Spouse, children, parents and siblings — none of them will be there to hold my hand when I fall at last. The time of my last prayer has come; no one is going to rescue me. I wandered around in greed night and day, contemplating evil schemes. I never did good deeds; this is my state. I am unfortunate, miserly, negligent, shameless and without the Fear of God. Says Nanak, I am God’s humble servant; I am the dust of the feet of God’s slaves. (SGGS, p.721)’
This hymn became a daily prayer for Ruqun-ud-Deen thereafter,
Prof. Himmat Singh (2011, pp.135-140) in his paper mentions 3 manuscripts having details of Ruqun-ud-Deen. These manuscripts are ‘Syahto Baba Nanak Fakir’ (1509 AD) written by Taj-u-deen Naqshbandi, Twareekh-i-Arab’ (1505-06 AD) written by Khwaja Zain ul Abideen and Gunitusalehin (1506-1507) written by Abdul Rahman.
Writer of ‘Syahto Baba Nanak Fakir’, Taj-u-deen Naqshbandi joined Guru Nanak’s party around Undlas, a town between Erar and Baghdad from Iran and recorded daily events of Guru Nanak. While doing research at a university in Medina, Mushtaq Hussein came across this handwritten manuscript, (Siyahto Baba Nanak Fakir), in a library written in Arabic and Persian. His recording in a diary is now known as ‘Siyahto Baba Nanak Fakir manuscript’ and it was submitted by him to the library in Medina. He recorded that ‘Guru Nanak Dev was in the Middle East in Mecca and Baghdad for roughly one-and-a-half to two years’.
According to ‘Syahto Baba Nanak Fakir’, Guru Nanak moved to the kabristan (graveyard) of Mecca and stayed there for three days. Mardana started his music (in accompaniment of Guru Nanak’s hymns). The people of Arab gathered in the presence of Guru Nanak. Heaps of dates and pots of milk were presented by these devotees. At the end of the music, Guru Nanak delivered a sermon. Qazi Ruqun-ud- Deen, Khwaja Zain-ul-aab(i) Deen (writer of Tareekh(i) Arab), Qazi Gulam Ahmed (Richest man of Mecca) and Ibni Aswad , the head of Quresh tribe and heads of Budhu tribes were also present there.
Khwaja Jainul Abdin, the author of Tarikhe Arab ( 1505-1506), also remained present in Kabristan with Guru Nanak In his Arabic book, Khwaja Jainul Abdin,, wrote the first-person account of Guru Nanak Dev ji’s Arabian journey. He writes, “I was with Guru Nanak Dev Ji when Guru Ji met Qazi (an Islamic religious judge) Rukn-ud-din.” As they came face-to-face, Rukn-ud-din offered his Salam, and the Guru gave his blessings. Rukn-ud-din asked, “Fala Alla Mazahbu,” meaning “which religion do you belong to?” The response was, “Abdulla Allah La Mazahabu,” meaning “I am God’s servant; I have no religion.”
The whole day passed in questions and answers. There were three hundred and sixty questions in total. Replying to the question on ban on singing in Islam, the Guru said: “It is written in Hadees that your Prophet Mohammed Sahib went to a wedding in the Quresh tribe where women were singing. Seeing Hazrat Mohammad, they stopped singing folk songs and started singing hymns. Mohammad Sahib Ji said they should sing folk songs and God will bestow respect on them.” Stumped, Rukn-ud-din said, “ya rabi tahroo fi al kabool-ul rab,” meaning “you have been sent to me by God; please bless me with the ability to recognize.”
Rukun-ud-din then argued that, in Islam, it is acceptable to cut hair, but that the Guru keeps his hair uncut. In response, the Guru said, “This is not correct. Even your Quran does not allow cutting of hair.” Rukn-ud-din was taken aback and asked, “Do I go against what the Quran says? Do you mean, ‘I read the Quran, but don’t understand it? Please explain.” Guru Ji asked him to refer to paragraph two Surat Badar Raku 24 Ayat 195, (The translator found the reference in question in Ayat 196 instead of 195) where it is specified that cutting hair is prohibited for the ones who go to the Hajj and wish to lead a spiritual life.
On the issue of whether or not God lives in Kaaba, the Guru said: “Even the Quran challenges the notion of considering Kaaba as God’s abode. God addressed Mohammad and said ‘Nakhan Akarth Wa Allahay Min Habul Vareed,’ meaning, ‘I am closer to every human being than his own world jugulary.” Hearing this, the audience called out, “Marhaba! Labank!! Zazak Hum Allah Tala,” meaning, “Amazing! We surrender in your service. May God bless you with boon and goodness.”
Over the next days, the Guru continued daily services of kirtan (singing God’s praises) and sermons. His services blissfully drew people who were in search of God and Truth. People would bring milk, dates, and honey as offerings, which were then distributed amongst the congregation.
One day, the congregation requested guidance for attaining salvation so that their human wanderings could end. According to the author, Jainul Abdin, Guru Nanak Dev Ji sang the following shabad (hymn) in raag (melody) (SGGS, Tilang, p.721). The hymn ‘Yak Arz Guftam’ became a fad for Qazi Ruqun-ud-Deen.
Eventually, the time had come for Nanak Shah Fakir to leave, and the congregation asked for parting words. The Lord Nanak said, “May God be in your mind always; meditate on Him. Your devotion has been accepted in the Guru’s house.”
In this gathering, Hajji Gul Mohammad, Shiekh-e-Arab Khawaja Jainul Abdin, the chief of the Quresh tribe, Aban Aswad, and the chief of the Basu tribe were all present. The news that Rukn-ud-din had accepted Nanak Shah as his spiritual guide spread like wildfire in Mecca.
This meeting is narrated by the Arabic author in three hundred pages. He further writes that Rukun-ud-din came into contact with the Creator on a Friday evening in 917 Hijri (1511 AD). Only the qazi knows the mystery of this contact.
Khwaja Zain-ul-aab (i) Deen , the writer of Twareekh(i) Arab, who was present in Qabristan of Mecca, wrote about the discourse by Guru Nanak to Ruqun-ud-Deen and other present in the chapter Bab-ul-Mecca of his book ‘Twareekh-i-Arab’ (p. 300): The discourse of Guru Nanak was heard by 300 followers. Ruqun-ud-Deen went into deep meditation. Thereafter, Ruqun-ud-Deen never went back to his home and remained in meditation in a cave till he was put to death by the fundamentalist regime. When Amir of Mecca came to know that the Muslims are following an infidel, he issued fatwas (religious order/edict). These fatwas were;
1. Nanak fakir is an infidel. His teachings are falsehood and against the Muslim religion.
2. Ruqun-ud-Deen’s entire property will be confiscated.
3. The Khwesh tribe, the follower of Guru Nanak is ordered to leave the country.
4. Each followers of Guru Nanak ‘to undergo beating by 30 lashes and to be without food for 11 days.’
5. They will then be buried in sand dunes.
6. Before this, they will be taken on camels around the city with blackened faces.
7. They will be hung upside down.
8. The strongest follower of Guru Nanak (Ruqun-ud-deen) will be buried in ground till his chest and then stoned to death.
Since it was announced in the city that a criminal is being stoned to death; the citizens thronged to watch the event. The citizens of Mecca gathered round with stones….The writer of Twarikh-e-Arab sums up this event saying: “The sacrifice of Ruqun-ud-Deen was special. Watching the sacrifice, 50% of the onlookers became followers of Nanak”. This is how the number of followers of Guru Nanak increased with each sacrifice.
In summer heat, Rukn-ud-din underwent all punishments undeterred. When they removed him from a box after eleven days, people could hear God’s name from every pore of his body.
Finally, after twenty-two days, the seventh fatwa of burying in sand and stoning approached. Rukn-ud-din was carefree in eternal bliss and simran. There was no sign of sadness in him. At the end, the Shah of Mecca sent for a pen and ink so that Rukn-ud-din’s last words could be documented. Rukn-ud-din came out of his trance and remembered the words of his guru: “Share with others what you experience.” There could have been no better time for this; the masses of Mecca had gathered for the stoning. In front of everybody, he stated his last testament: “Rubanian khatiba el imame hazrat Nanak ma, akallamehu ina feehay musle mun.” This meant that “my religion and my god is Guru Nanak. He brings the greatest sacred message and the book. I believe in him. If you wish for redemption, then seek Nanak’s shelter. Whoever reflects on this, will go to heaven.” Upon saying this, he left his body. Those who had brought stones to hit him fell on his feet. Many in the crowd turned their faith to Nanak. Even to this day, the people of Badh tribe, who are lion-hearted, and those, who are descendants of Nanak’s devotees, still live in Mecca and Baitul Makadas. As Sikhs, they do not cut their hair. Rukn-ud-din’s descendants still live around the Tirah Mountains in Afghanistan.
Amir of Mecca sent his men to locate and eliminate Guru Nanak as well. Abdul Rahman the writer of another book Gunitusalehin (1506-07) was one such person assigned the job. He wrote about his encounter with Guru Nanak in his book: “When I was driving my horse with speed and hurry; my horse stopped abruptly. I tried to move him by kicking and hitting but the horse did not move. I lifted my head to find in front that at a distance of 100 yards the faqirs were seated. The elderly person in the midst of them had a brightened face and an aura around him more powerful than thousands of suns. This brightness shut my eyes and I had a revelation that I was about to commit a crime. The horse proved better than me who saved me from committing this crime even though I gave him lashes to advance. In front of me is the same Godly person who had moved the Mecca mosque and Shah Sharaf and Ruqun-ud-Deen had become his devout followers. He has rightly spread the True Name of God among the Arabs and is now in front of me. I regained my senses and thought of doing the right. I immediately saw reason; left my horse and shoes and fell at his feet.” This is how the person who had come to kill Guru Nanak turned his follower.
While the Guru was in Mecca, he was presented with a robe on which ayats of the Quran and the Guru’s praise were printed. The Guru was also presented with five ser (a unit of weight) of dates and honey. The second robe was presented by Karoon Hamid, who was the ruler of Egypt. This robe had an Arabic inscription as well. The robe kept in Dera Baba Nanak is one of these two. The Arabic author describes that the robe had the inscription, “La Hilailla Alla Subhan Kaanikun To Min Zalmeen,” meaning “the worship-worthy God is the only one who would show mercy and bless a sinner like me.” “El Hamdul Il Lahe Aalmeen, Alrehman Rahim Malik Yomudin.”
When the Guru was leaving Mecca, people were inconsolable at the thought of his departure. Taajudin writes that the Guru gave them his staff as a memento and said, “Aasa Man Fazale Rabeen Deedarun Pheere, Haka Ru Vaseera Tul Musatkim.” Translated, this means “consider this staff a seal of God. It shall remind you of the path to God.” Nanak’s disciples consider this staff an object of reverence.
According to Mushtaq, locals talk of three dwellings to the west of Mecca built in the memory of Sultan Bahu, Baba Farid, and Guru Nanak Shah Fakir.
During Guru Nanak’s travels Sheriff of Mecca was Barakat II bin Muhammed (Barakat Efendi) (1497–1525) under Mamluk Empire (1254-1517 AD) and also later during the empire of Shah Selim (1517-1520 AD) who were liberal in their thinking and treated persons from other religions with respect. Visit of other than Muslims to Mecca was not banned. George sandy a Christian mentions of his travels to Mecca, Medina and other areas of Turkish Empire in 15-16th century. He also mentions of Indian caravans reaching Mecca for trade. (Sandy, 1673, p.97)
Though there are instances where Guru Nanak is recorded as showing miracles but it is also recorded that Guru Nanak said, “I perform no miracles. It is all by the Grace of God. “It is a known fact that Guru Nanak had a rare power of convincing by actions and reasoning out. Mecca event too appears to be reasoning out that Jeevan, Ruqun Din etc., understood and realized and it should be taken as such and nothing more since lot of myth has been added into hagiographies of Guru Nanak.
Relics of Guru Nanak are found at a number of places. It is also likely that Guru Nanak left his khadavan (wooden slippers) and a staff at Mecca/Medina as given out by Bhai Gurdas, Giani Gian Singh and a host of other writers. However these are not traceable at present. Nothing material should be assumed. Understanding his teachings and living these is more important than the material artefacts.
From Mecca, the Guru went to the nearby town of Amara. It was in Amara that the Guru granted benediction to the town’s chief, Janab Imam Gulam Kadar, the son of Imam Jafar. To display his gratitude, the Imam dedicated his mosque to the Guru and his teachings. To this day, according to Mushtaq, this mosque is known as ‘Masjide Wali Hind’ (Mosque of the Indian Prophet). The town’s people had to build a separate mosque for themselves.
From Amara, the Guru went to Medina. Here, he made his presence known on the mausoleum of Prophet Mohammad. He started singing kirtan and said, “Neehum, Hafat, Chahar Da Ha Salasa Wa Rubaya…” meaning “the nine regions, the seven continents, and the fourteen worlds are all manifested in three qualities. Hinduism says that all this has divided a human’s life into four parts. God is one, and none is his equal…” When the Muslim community heard the singing—and on the mausoleum of Prophet Mohammad of all places—it caused a flood of emotion and anger. They grabbed whatever arms they could and ran, but as they raised their hands in order to strike and kill, they froze.
Hazrat Ali, the descendant of Mohammad Sahib’s son-in-law and a Khalifa (Leader; a successor of Mohammad), put his fingers in his ears and was arrested in this pose. The four Imams—Zaa-far Safi, Jamal Din, Kamal Din, and the Khalifa—were wonder-struck. They asked for mercy on behalf of everybody and begged for an apology for their crime, saying to Nanak that he has been recognized as a nabi (prophet) and will be respected accordingly. The Guru forgave them and the towns’ people’s limbs began to move again. Here, the Guru’s kharavan (wooden slippers) are kept in his memory. The Guru blessed the congregation with kirtan for twenty-seven days and taught them to be one with God.
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