Shaal Pir Baba

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On my visit to Miri Fort Quetta on December 2017, it nearly took me half day to discover the fort, such is the mightiness of the area. The place is full of historical sites and equipment, a cultural rich museum, a Hindu temple and map of Pakistan displayed on the ground. The word Miri took its origin from Brahvi word Mir, which means Chief while Miri represents the house of chief. In 1884, Sir Thomas Holdich wrote in the Baluchistan District Gazetteer that, “The crown of Quetta” was the Miri. The Miri Fort has been the fortress of Quetta from time immemorial and the base of the fortress was probably shaped like a mud volcano in days that are much prehistoric themselves.

During the trip, I discovered Khwaja Naqruddin’s tomb who is also famously known as Shaal Pir Baba, a Sufi saint who was also a leader of the Moudodi Syeds in Balochistan and Sindh. He earned the name ‘Shaal Pir Baba’ from Quetta city’s previous name, Shalkot. He is also known as ‘Nogazza Baba’ (meaning 9 yards long), due to the length of his grave. Khwaja Naqruddin Moudood Chishti migrated to Quetta 600 years ago from Chishti Sharif district of Afghanistan, during the rule of Afghan ruler and military general Timur, also known as Tamerlane, and stayed near the city fort. He was hence buried outside the fort.

Khwaja Naqruddin’s father was Syed Khwaja Nassar ud din Waleed (727 AH-820 AH) who is buried in Afghanistan. He is said to have provided services during the first Anglo-Afghan War, which was led by Mubarak Shah. One of his brothers, Khwaja Ibrahim Yukpassi (Pir Yukpassi), is buried in Mastung Balochistan while his other brother, Khwaja Nizam-ud-din Ali, is buried in Minziki (an area in the vicinity of Pishin city in Balochistan).

Khwaja Naqruddin’s son Khwaja Wali Kirani Moudodi Chishti is buried in Kirani, which is a small village in the west of Quetta valley. Interestingly, approximately half of the western part of Quetta was given to him as a gift, and the land still remains in his name in government records. The land included the western part of the city from Sheikh Manda Samungli to Lak Pass including the mountains, going up to Main Ghandi. Most of Wali Kirani’s descendants migrated to Balochistan and Sindh, mainly in Nawab Shah. Their forefather is believed to be Syed Imam Ali Shah, whose descendants are spread across the area of Mirpur Khas and Tando Adam.

The cause and date of Khwaja Naqruddin’s death is not known, but his brothers Khwaja Ibrahim Yukpassi and Khwaja Nizamuddin Ali lived from 1359 CE (Common Era) to 1455 CE and 1308 CE to 1405 CE, respectively.

The visitors and locals of the city mostly visit the tomb of Khwaja Naqruddin, offer prayers, recite the Quran and mention their hard times and wishes in hope and faith, as they believe that these elders get closer and hence more respectable in the eyes of The Almighty. Although, we all are aware that any Sufi Saint cannot definitely not possess godly powers, but having a Sufi relation and being pious they remain connected to God throughout their life. Hence, whenever people feel helpless and disheartened in life, they prefer to visit Sufi Saints’ tombs in the hope that the problems of their life would be solved.

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