All human beings are mortal. None can stay in this world for ever. But activities of some humans remain memorable for a long time because of their contribution to social change. Known as a Boro Huzur Pak, Syed Shah Rashid Ali Al-Quaderi Al-Baghdadi, the Spiritual Head of the Quaderia Order in greater Bengal, is one of those who contributed to social change and peace during his lifetime. He passed away in Kolkata recently. His demise was mourned by millions of devotees, followers and aficionados in Bangladesh, West Bengal, Bihar and abroad.
Though hailing from West Bengal, for a long time he has a deep connection with Bangladesh where he has many disciples. Followers of different faiths used to visit and respect him. His ‘darbar’ was always open to all the people irrespective of race, religion or colour.
He was the 22nd generation descendant of ‘Boro Peer Sahib’ Syedena Abdul Quadir Al-Jilani Al-Baghdadi who founded the noble Quaderia Order which even today is famously known far and wide for its spiritual purity and adherence to the original teachings of the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh).
He was also the 35th generation descendant of the great Prophet of Islam (pbuh). Belonging to a hereditary spiritual order, where the essence of spiritual inspiration is transferred spiritually from breast to breast to the next generation, he was known as the celebrated Peer Sahib of Taltala, Kolkata, and Midnapore.
Six generations ago, ‘Boro Huzur Pak’s’ branch of the family first came to Bengal from Baghdad in the year 1766. Thereafter, for 245 years, successive generations of great saints have regenerated the faith and glory of Islam in Greater Bengal including Bangladesh through their total devotion to the Will of the Almighty, enduring affection for creation and mankind, and their unique charisma of character.
‘Boro Huzur Pak’ was a great scholar of the era. His time, as Head of Order, spanning four decades saw a great rise in education levels among the masses and great advances in technology specially in electronic communications, both factors playing profound roles in the understanding of religion and spirituality. Time honoured traditions were being challenged in both sides of Bengal by an unprecedented rise in the propagation of novel, provocative and sometimes aggravating doctrines, both homegrown and imported, in the interpretation of Islamic values.
Requiring vast knowledge and great tact, he masterfully approached the matter through appropriate teachings and training of his disciples and followers who carried his message to the masses through numerous sermons, and other means tying together contemporary concerns with time-honored values.
The Quaderi Order has deep connections with Bangladesh going back to more than 260 years in the undivided Bengal. Hence, for the last 120 years a special train had been carrying Bangladeshi pilgrims from Rajbari district to Midnapore for attending the annual Urs Shareef.
In Sufi philosophy, it is said that it is possible to light one candle from another candle and once the candles are lit it is impossible to tell the difference between them. May the blessings of ‘Boro Peer Sahib’ and his descendent peers be upon us always.
‘Boro Huzur’ is survived by his brother, Hazrat Syed Shah Rowaished Ali Al-Quaderi and his nephew Hazrat Syed Shah Yasoob Ali Al-Quaderi.
The writer is a freelancer