India has been assimilating the enigma of Sufism and its charm into her composite culture for centuries, and hence we have entire sub continent dotted with Sufi shrines promoting peace, tranquil, harmony and socio-cultural exchanges.
Nobody would ever find any difference among devotees at the Sufi shrines. What all could be found here is just faith, as pure as the morning mist. A faith to which belongs every visitor who steps here, a faith that is deeper than the oceans, dedicated, enchanting, ageless, timeless, palpable, gentle, submissive, and enduringly true.
Discriminations and differences of caste, creed, colour and religion crumble to dust in the courtyards of Sufi saints. Seekers embark on thousands of journeys from here to unknown distances, unknown to places unheard of, adding to the glory and legend of these courtyards where all are equal and all are same, what connects them all is the love for divinity and the charisma of the saints.
Amidst the woods of yet another North Indian district of Bulandshahr in the state of Uttar Pradesh, rests a Qadri Saint, who is revered by the locales as the spiritual heir of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (r.a.) (1077–1166) the founder of Qadiriyyah school of Sufism.
Not very far away from the suburbs of Aligarh, situated on the left bank of Kali Nadi or the Black River, lies Banneyr Shareef, a Sufi shrine in Bulandshahr district near the erstwhile prominent princely estate of Chattari. A thirty minute drive from the heart of Aligarh lands you straight into the heart of a Qadri Zawiya or the courtyard of Qadriyyah school of Sufism.
The abode of Hazrat Bahauddin Badrul Hind (r.a.), arrived in India during the last decade of 17th century, from Baghdad, the capital city of Iraq. He was the disciple of Hazrat Mustafa Baghdadi and migrated to India to spread teachings and messages of Qadriyyah school of thought of Sufism, the principal mystical approach of Islam.
The first Qadri saint in the Indian sub continent was Sultan Bahoo (r.a.)(1630-1691) who was once stationed in Delhi. A spiritual master of Qadriyyah tradition, he contributed greatly to the advancement of spiritual literature available in those times and made Sufism flourish in India.
After Hazrat Sultan Bahoo, Hazrat Bahauddin Badrul Hind has the honour of being the second Saint of Qadriyyah school of thought in India, his shrine at Banneyr Shareef is known as a spiritual asylum among the masses, the experiences here might send chills to many.
People who are believed to be possessed by djinns, spirits and ghosts are brought here for spiritual treatments, and such patients usually outnumber those who come here for seeking solace, the shrine was unnoticed for long until 1902, when the present structure of it was built by the followers of the Saint.
People who are believed to be under the supernatural influences swarm around the shrine on every Thursday for the Haziri, which is considered their summoning from the Saint himself. Those disappointed by the general medical practices for their ailments come here for superior healing in hope of cure and to no surprise of theirs and others as well, most of them have been cured, attributing the healing to the fame of shrine and the spiritual powers of Hazrat Bahauddin Badrul Hind (r.a.). Often the healing is believed to be a gift from the Saint but sometimes it’s mere the effect of an alluring pilgrimage to this place, that healing begins spontaneously.
Popular belief is that Hazrat Badrul Hind died four times during his lifespan of 750 years, each time, he was buried in a different site and in a different city. Once buried, he was mysteriously spotted at a different place and therefore it is believed that he has four burial sites spread from Sindh to Deccan.
It is thus believed that the last time he was buried at Banneyr Shareef near Chhatari. Although there are no official records of the lifetime of this great Sufi saint, his legend continues to exist through the spiritual descendants of him, who inherited this place through a chain of spiritual masters, yet there are some writings in Urdu like Hayat-e-Wali and Hayat-e-Qudsi which have him mentioned.
Those who have spiritual yearnings, regardless of being strong or subtle, if the dedication to seek solace is true, this is place could be a delight. Banneyr Shareef is the metropolis of ensnaring sacredness, a visit to the shrine is worth all calm one can think of, so as to touch divinity and experience transcendence.