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Hazrat Safi AliShah II

Hazrat Safi ‘Alī Shāh I

 

Hājj Mīrzā Hasan Isfahānī – “Hazrat Safī Alī Shāh I” – the founder of the Ne‘matollāhī Safī‘alīshāhī Sufi Order was born in Isfahan on 24th November 1835. His father, Mohammed Baqer Isfahani, was also known as “Safī”. He was a trader and on one of his trips from Isfahan to Yazd, he died in Yazd. Following this sad event, Safī ‘Alī Shāh decided to stay in Yazd and devote himself to study. His stay in Yazd would last 20 years.

 

In 1863, he planned to travel to Mecca via India. In India he met many dervishes and Sufi Masters. It was also there that he completed his book Zubdat-ul-Asrār {"The Cream of Mysteries"} which he had began in Kerman at the behest of his Pīr, Hazrat Rahmat ‘Alī Shāh. When the Zubdat-ul-Asrār was finished, it was published in Bombay.

 

Then he returned to Persia. Via Karbala he went to Tehran, and for a while he lived there. But because of the rivalry and disputes among the Shaykhs of Hazrat Rahmat ‘Alī Shāh he returned to Hydarabad (in India) and decided to continue his life there. However, certain factors made this impossible, and so he went back to Tehran, where he passed away at the age of 65 on 5th April 1899.

 

The Resting Place of Hazrat Safī Alī Shāh I

 

The tomb of Hazrat Safī ‘Alī Shāh I is situated on Safī ‘Alī Shah Street in Tehran and it is known as “Safī Khāneghāh”. This house was also his own home. After his death, his only child, Mrs. Shams oz-Zoha, converted it into a khāneqāh. Every Sunday evening all his murīds and followers used to gather there for Zikr and Samā‘ [i].

 

Mr. Okhovvat, one of the old murīds of Hazrat Safī ‘Alī Shāh, says: “In the time of Hazrat Rahmat ‘Alī Shāh some of the Shaykhs were allowed to guide murīds and spread the teachings of the Order, such as Safi ‘Alī Shāh I, Tāvūs ol-Orafā, Haji Esmail Ojagh, Haji Miri Mohammad Hadi, Agha Mohammad Shirazi, and others. However, after the demise of Hazrat Rahmat ‘Alī Shāh in 1861 CE fierce disputes broke out between Agha Mohammad Shirazi and Tāvūs ol-Orafā. As a result, Hazrat Rahmat ‘Alī Shāh’s murīds were split into two groups.”

 

Views and Actions of Hazrat Safī Alī Shāh I

 

Safī ‘Alī Shāh loved Sufism from a young age. These are his own words: “I remember how at the age of fifteen, I loved and searched Sufism and adopted the ways of the dervish. Even though my parents were opposed to Sufism and tried to stop me, I used to roam about, looking for a Sufi Master to guide and teach me. In the end, I travelled on foot to Hazrat Rahmat ‘Alī Shāh to be in his presence and become one of his murīds”.

 

He travelled to Karbala, but because of the disputes between some of Hazrat Rahmat ‘Alī Shāh’s Shaykhs, he returned to Hyderabad in India. However, he didn’t choose anyone’s side and didn’t interfere. In truth, Safī ‘Alī Shāh was a very peace-seeking person.

 

He said: “I give thanks to God that I have never chosen any side at any time, because by doing so no-one has ever turned against me as an enemy”. On another occasion he advised his friends: “Never forget kindness and never be an enemy to anyone, because there is no difference between ‘enemy’ and Satan”.

 

He was truly submissive, he never did anything without his Pīr’s permission, and never asked more questions than he was allowed.

 

The Pīr of Hazrat Safī Alī ShāhI

 

Hazrat Safī ‘Alī Shāh was a dedicated follower of Hazrat Shāh Ne‘matollāh Walī and his morād {“Pīr”, “Spiritual Master”} was Hazrat Rahmat ‘Alī Shāh.

 

He met Hazrat Rahmat ‘Alī Shāh in Shiraz and lived with him in that city for several years. Throughout his life, Hazrat Safī ‘Alī Shāh remained a dedicated and humble murīd of Hazrat Shāh Ne‘matollāh Walī. In his book Zubdat-ul-Asrār {“The Cream of Mysteries”}, he calls himself Al-mohtāj Safī an-Ne‘matollāhī, “Safī, the poor and needy Ne‘matollāhī”.



[i] Zikr (from the Arabic dhikr): “Divine remembrance”, “remembering God”, either collectively or individually, mainly by repeating His Names and particular sacred phrases. The aim of Zikr is to become aware of man’s fundamental unity with the Divine. Samā‘ (which literally means “listening” in Arabic) is a Sufi ritual gathering where dervishes listen to sacred music and songs. It is often combined with Zikr, and its aim is to reach higher levels of spiritual awareness, culminating in an ecstasy in which the dervish ultimately loses his limited self (nafs) and is united with the Divine. In writings on Sufism, the term Samā‘ is often rendered as “spiritual audition” or “spiritual concert”.

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