The Great Arif (Gnostic) from Deccan, India who kept fasting for forty years in Holy City of Mashhad, Iran

Syed Shahsawar Ali Shah Mansoori (Ibn ar-Reza)

Syed Shahsawar Ali Shah Mansoori (Ibn ar-Reza), the Great Arif (Gnostic) from Deccan who kept fasting for forty years in Holy City of Mashhad was the great grandson of Syed Burhanuddin Shah Khaleelullah, the only son of Syed Shah Nuruddin Nimatullah Wali buried in Mahan near Kerman in Iran.

Shah Nuruddin Nimatullah Wali was the Doyen of Nimatullahi Sufi Order which flourished in Iran and Deccan, India. Syed Shah Khaleelullah, the only son of Syed Shah Nuruddin Nimatullah Wali and the great scholar of Iran after the heavenly departure of his father, Syed Shah Nimatullah Wali on the invitation of Ahmad Shah Wali Bahmani, the famous and powerful ruler of the Bahmani Kingdom in Deccan (South India) migrated from Mahan, Kerman and came to Muhammadabad  Bidar, the capital of Bahmani Kingdom in Deccan, India.

In Muhammadabad Bidar, Syed Shah Khaleelullah was given a royal welcome by the Bahmani King and he was greatly respected by the Bahmani ruler and the people of Deccan. When he died he was buried in Muhammadabad Bidar and his beautiful grand mausoleum on a hill top outside the Muhammadabad Bidar fort is respected and visited by the people of Deccan. In the Annual Urs of Syed Shah Khaleelullah thousands of people from Bidar and different parts of Deccan visit the shrine of Syed Shah Khaleelullah in Bidar now situated in Karnataka State, India.

Syed Shahsawar Ali Shah Mansoori, the great grandson of Syed Shah Khaleelullah was the 18th descendant of Syed Shah Nimatullah Wali. Syed Shahsawar Ali Shah Mansoori in 1878 when he was only twenty years old on the orders of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) which he got in a vision left Muhammadabad Bidar (Deccan) for the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.) in Mashhad, Iran. Syed Shahsawar Ali Shah Mansoori told that he saw in a vision the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) ordering him: “Shahsawar! Go for the Ziarat of Eighth Imam in Mashhad”. The next day he left his relatives in Muhammadabad Bidar and went walking to Mashhad, Iran.

On his arrival in Mashhad, Iran he started fasting which he continued for a period of forty years. He prayed regularly daily for long hours for a period of more than fifty years in the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.) while keeping fast continuously for a period of forty years and only did not fast only on Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha and Ashura day. By his incessant worship for a period of more than fifty years in the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.) he obtained great spiritual favors and position. He always had the honor to perform the job of a sweeper in the Holy Burial Chamber (Zarih) of Imam Reza (A.S.). Whenever he used to enter the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.) he used to convey Salaam (Salutation) to Imam Reza (A.S.) and he listened to the reply of Salaam from Imam Reza (A.S.). He used to cure lunatic persons by reciting Dua (supplication).

Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar, the famous monarch of Iran from the Qajar dynasty when visited the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.) honored Syed Shahsawar Ali Shah Mansoori with the royal title “Mansoor al-Tawliyat” and thus his family became famous as Mansoori.

When Syed Shahsawar Ali Shah Mansoori, entitled himself with the title of Abd al-Reza “the Slave of Imam Reza”, Imam Reza (A.S.) in a vision ordered him to change his title to Ibn ar-Reza “Son of Imam Reza” and Imam Reza (A.S.) ordered him in the vision “You are my son and call yourself Ibn ar-Reza” “Son of Imam Reza”. From then onwards he started writing Ibn ar-Reza after his name.

He is the author of the book titled “Miraj al-Mumineen Tuhfah tul Ruhaniyun”. This book was calligraph by Abdul Ali, the famous calligrapher of Astan Quds Razavi (The Holy Shrine of Imam Reza) during that period.

One month before his heavenly departure he gathered his children and family members and told them that last night he has seen Imam Musa al-Kazim (A.S.) in dream in iron chains.[Imam Musa al-Kazim (A.S.) during his imprisonment in the Baghdad prison, Iraq for a period of fourteen years by Harun al-Rashid, the Abbasid Caliph was kept in iron chain. Harun al-Rashid also martyred Imam Musa al-Kazim by poisoning in the jail in Baghdad, Iraq.] Syed Shahsawar Ali Shah Mansoori told that Imam Musa al-Kazim (A.S.) in that dream had ordered him to wear the iron chain like him and told him that he will die on 25th Rajab [the day of martyrdom of Imam Musa al-Kazim(A.S.)].

Syed Shahsawar Ali Shah Mansoori ordered an ironsmith in Mashhad to make an iron chain which he saw in the dream and he put it around his body. His family members took his photograph wearing the iron chain. He called Iftikhar al-Zakirin, the famous orator of Mashhad to his residence and asked him to recite the events of martyrdom of Imam Musa al-Kazim(A.S.). He also constructed a grave in his house and made a will to his children that he should be buried in that grave. He died on 25th Rajab [the day of martyrdom of Imam Musa al-Kazim(A.S.)] in 1934 and his grave is situated in his house which is situated in the Mansoori Alley in Khosravi Avenue in Mashhad.

When he died it was the period of the despotic rule of Reza Khan Pahlavi, the King of Iran who imposed martial law in Iran. Reza Khan Pahlavi had issued strict orders that nobody should be buried in his house. A day before his death he called his son Syed Shah Abbas Mansoori, who was Alim (religious scholar) and told him to recite a Dua (Supplication) which he dictated to him and said when he will die he should meet the Governor of Khorasan province and recite this Dua and take the written permission from the governor. When he died on 25th Rajab, 1934, his son Maulana Syed Shah Abbas Mansoori went to meet General Mahmood Jam, the Martial Law Governor of Khorasan province and recited that Dua which was dictated by his late father and the Martial Law Governor in spite the government ban order issued the written permission allowing dead body of Syed Shahsawar Ali Shah to be buried in his house.

Syed Shahsawar Ali Shah versified his genealogical tree in a poem of 114 verses tracing his genealogy to his great grandfather Imam Muhammad Baqir (A.S.). This genealogical tree in a poem of 114 verses was republished in Hyderabad Deccan in 1974 by his son Maulana Syed Shah Abbas Mansoori, who was the Imam Juma and Imam Jamaat of Darbar Husaini Iranian Hyderabad Deccan. He also composed poems in praise of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and the Holy Imams (A.S.) which was published with the title “Kulliyat Qasaid Mansoori”

Syed Shahsawar Ali Shah visited Hyderabad in 1912 along with his four sons on the invitation of Mir Osman Ali Khan, the Seventh Nizam of Asif Jahi Kingdom who ruled Deccan, India from August, 1911 till September, 1948. He was invited by the King of Hyderabad Deccan Kingdom to pray for the safety of Hyderabad city which was badly devastated in ‘The Great Musi Floods’ of September 1908 in which more than fifteen thousand inhabitants of Hyderabad city were killed by massive floods in the Musi rivers which flows through the Hyderabad city.

Syed Shahsawar Ali Shah along with his four sons were given audience in the royal Durbar in Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad city. In the royal Durbar in the presence of Mir Osman Ali Khan, the King of Hyderabad Deccan Kingdom he recited the famous couplets in Persian language praying for the safety of Hyderabad city which is recorded in the Hyderabad city history annals as below:

حیدرآباد دکن شود از جمله بلایا محفوظ

عطرت حیدر(ع) و زهرا (س) چون از ایران آمد

رود موسی نکند شورش و تغیان هرگز

با عصای نبوی (ص) موسی عمران آمد

Translation:

Hyderabad city will be safe from all the calamities

The children of Hyder (A.S.) and Zahra (S.A.) have come from Iran

The Musi River will never be flooded and deluged

Because Moses of Imran have come along with the walking stick of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)

In 1911 the Czar Russian army invaded the holy city of Mashhad and bombed the holy shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.) which damaged the golden dome of the holy shrine and the historical Masjid Gowharshad situated in the holy shrine. Syed Shahsawar Ali Shah predicted inevitable overthrow of Czar Monarchy in Russia which was eliminated in peoples uprising in March 1917.

When his son Maulana Agha Syed Shah Abbas Mansoori was young he requested his father to give him an advice so that he would follow it all his life. Syed Shahsawaar Ali Shah Mansoori replied: Perform midnight prayers ‘Namaz-e-Tahajjud’. But again Agha Syed Shah Abbas Mansoori asked his father the same question but three times he replied him: Pray ‘Namaz-e-Tahajjud’ and from that age when Agha Syed Shah Abbas Mansoori was 25 years old he started performing ‘Namaz-e-Tahajjud’ and continued it until his death.

Syed Shahsawaar Ali Shah Mansoori used to send his eldest daughter Shah Bibi to Maktab (Islamic School) in Mashhad, Iran for Islamic learning but Imam Reza A.S.) in a vision ordered him to teach his daughter himself in the home. Syed Shahsawaar Ali Shah Mansoori trained his daughter in Islamic Studies perfectly in such a way that whenever Maulana Agha Syed Shah Abbas Mansoori, who himself was a learned Alim from Hawzah Ilmiyyah of Mashhad and Najaf Ashraf, used to face any problem regarding the understanding of the Islamic rules, laws and history, he used to confer with his elder sister who was educated by his father in Islamic Studies.

After the heavenly departure of Syed Shahsawaar Ali Shah Mansoori in 1934 in Mashhad, Iran, Maulana Agha Syed Shah Abbas Mansoori used to take care of his elder sister Shah Bibi. Shah Bibi taught Islam, the stories of the Prophets and Holy Imams to all the children and grandchildren of Agha Syed Shah Abbas Mansoori. Shah Bibi used to gather the children to recite Nawha and Marsiya for the Shuhada (Martyrs) of Karbala and Shah Bibi used to recite Majlis of Imam Husain (A.S.), and the Alams ‘flags’ of the Shuhada of Karbala were erected in the house of Maulana Agha Syed Shah Abbas Mansoori in Hyderabad Deccan. Shah Bibi passed away in December 1973 when she was eighty years old and buried in the historical Dairah Mir Mumin cemetery in Hyderabad, India.

Maulana Agha Syed Shah Abbas Mansoori opposed the anti-Islamic acts of Reza Khan Pahlavi, the despot King of Iran and for this reason Maulana Agha Syed Shah Abbas Mansoori along with all his family members were deported from Mashhad to British India in 1935 after the massacre of the people of Mashhad by Reza Shah in Masjid Gawharshad in the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.). On 13th July, 1935 people of Mashhad gathered in Masjid Gawharshad in the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.) to protest against the government ban on women wearing Islamic Hijab. The army of Reza Shah entered Masjid Gawharshad and massacred the innocent people in the Masjid and the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.).After deportation from Mashhad, Maulana Agha Syed Shah Abbas Mansoori went to Hyderabad Deccan and became the Imam Juma and Imam Jamaat of Darbar Husaini Iranian in Hyderabad Deccan.

Maulana Agha Syed Shah Abbas Mansoori passed away on May 1992 and he is buried in Dairah Mir Momin Cemetery in Hyderabad.

The younger son of Syed Shahsawaar Ali Shah Mansoori by name Syed Ali Reza went to Najaf Ashraf from Hyderabad Deccan and after the deportation of Reza Shah from Iran during the Second World War, he came to Tehran and became the Imam Jamaat of Masjid Hujjat in Sar Asiyab Dulab locality in Tehran and became famous as Ayatullah Syed Ali Reza Quddusi. He died in Tehran in 2007 at an age of 102 years.

Another younger son of Syed Shahsawaar Ali Shah Mansoori by name Syed Husain Mansoori who migrated to Hyderabad Deccan was a very pious person who died during a religious ceremony on the night of 21 Ramazan (Shab-e-Qadr) 1955 in Hyderabad Deccan.

Compiled by: Fatima Zabeth Beenesh, Hyderabad Deccan, India