Ali Hujwiri

Ali Hujwiri
Ali Hujwiri
Religion Islam
School Hanafi, Sufi
Born Around 990 CE
Hudjwīr, near Ghazni, Afghanistan
Died 1077 CE
Lahore, Pakistan
Senior posting
Title Daata, Ganj Bakhsh
Religious career
Works Kashf Al Mahjub

Abul Hassan Ali Ibn Usman al-Jullabi al-Hajvery al-Ghaznawi (ابوالحسن علی بن عثمان الجلابی الهجویری الغزنوی) or Abul Hassan Ali Hajvery (sometimes spelled Hujwiri, Hajweri, Hajveri), also known as Daata Ganj Bakhsh (Persian/Punjabi: (داتا گنج بخش) (which means the master who bestows treasures) or Daata Sahib (Persian/Urdu: (داتا صاحب), was a Persian Sufi and scholar during the 11th century. He significantly contributed to the spreading of Islam in South Asia.[1]

He was born around 990 CE near Ghazni, Afghanistan during the Ghaznavid Empire and died in Lahore (in present day Punjab, Pakistan) in 1077 CE. His most famous work is Kashf Al Mahjub ("Unveiling the Veiled") (کشفُ المحجوب), written in the Persian language. The work, which is one of the earliest and most respected treatises of Sufism, debates Sufi doctrines of the past.

Ali Hajvery is also famous for his mausoleum in Lahore, which is surrounded by a large marble courtyard, a mosque and other buildings. It is the most frequented of all the shrines in that city, and one of the most famous in Pakistan and nearby countries. His name is a household word, and his mausoleum the object of pilgrimage from distant places.[2]



Ali Hujwiri is both al-Hasani and al-Husayni Sayyid. His father is al-Hasani Sayyid and his mother is al-Husayni. Abul Hasan Ali bin Usman Al-Hujwiri Al-Jullabi Al-Ghazanwi was born in Ghazni (Hujwir) where his family had settled and the members of which were passionate for devoutness and learning. He was known as Ali Al-Hujwiri Al-Jullabi, Al-Ghazanwi because he lived for a long time in Hujwir and Jullab, the two suburbs (Mazafat) of the city of Ghazni located in Afghanistan. In spite of Hazrat Ali bin Usman Al-Hujwiri's popularity and deep reverence; coming across his life biography is very much tortuous. Much of his life history and thought came from his own authentic reference Kashf al-Mahjub.[3] [4]


Ali Hujwiri studied Sufism under Abu 'l-Fadl Muhammad, who was a student of Abu 'l-Hasan al-Husri. Abu 'l-Fadl Muhammed bin al-Hasan was well-versed in tafsir and riwayat. Ali Hujwiri traveled far and wide through the Indus to the Caspian Sea. Among the countries and places which he visited were Adharbayajan, the tomb of Bayazid at Bistam, Damascus, Ramla, and Bayt al-Jinn in Syria. In Khursan alone he is reported to have met 300 Sufis.[5] Al-Hujwiri was associated with the most well-known Sufi orders in the subcontinent, such as the Qadiri, Suharwardi, Naqshbandi and the Junaidi orders. Hujwiri belonged to the Junaidia school of Sufism, founded by Junaid Baghdadi, a major Sufi saint of Baghdad. Hajwiri is also viewed as an important intercessor for many Sufis. Moinuddin Chishti Ajmeri, a chief saint of the Chishti order, stated that an aspiring murid (disciple) one who does not (yet) have a murshid (spiritual master), should read Ali Hujwiri's book Kashf al-Mahjub, as that would be (temporarily) enough for his spiritual guidance.[6] He settled for some time in Iraq where he had a short experience with married life.

Al-Hujwiri was a contemporary of al-Qushairi. During his travels, he met with many eminent Sufis, and saw and felt the slow transformation of Sufism from simple asceticism and adoration of God to a highly developed theosophical cult considerably influenced by pantheistic ideas. He is the link between Mysticism as it developed in Persia and Khurasan, and the form it took in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent.[7]

Al-Hujwiri came to Lahore under orders from his Pir as successor to Shaikh Husain Zanjani at a time when as a result of irruption of the Seljuks on one side and the rising tide of Hindu resistance on the order, the Ghaznavid Empire began to dismember rapidly, and life in Ghazni itself was disrupted. The saint had to leave Ghazni in difficult circumstances, leaving his books behind. According to Faw'id-ul-Fu'ad, Ali Hujwiri reached Lahore at night and in the morning found the people bringing out the bier of Shaikh Husain Zanjani whom he replaced in Lahore.[8]

Although a Sunni Hanafi, Hujwiri's theology was reconciled with the concept of Sufi annihilation. However he strenuously campaigned against the doctrine that human personalities can be merged with God, instead likening annihilation to burning by fire which allows the substance to acquire fire like properties while retaining its own individuality. He also was a great upholder of the Sharia and rebuffed the idea that outward observances of Islam are not important for Sufis. Hujwiri believed that individuals should not claim to have attained "marifat" or gnosis because it meant that one was prideful, and that true understanding of God should be a silent understanding.

Ali-Hujwiri is said to have died on the twentieth of the month of Rabi-ul-Awwal 465 H.E, but the date, the month and year are all conjectural. Most early writers agree on 455 H.E. as the year of his death, on the basis of the various chronograms.[9]

Respect of Sufis towards Ali Hujwiri

Ali Hujwiri was buried near the mosque which he had built during his life-time. It has a been a practice of Sufi saints coming to South Asia to first visit the shrine of Ali Hujwiri. Upon arriving in the subcontinent, Moinuddin Chishti first came to Lahore to pay his respects at Daata Ganj-Bakhsh's shrine, where he spent quite some time in meditation and prayer before attaining enlightenment. He was then directed to settle in Ajmer Sharif, and commence his spiritual mission to go further east and preach. Moinuddin Chishti paid homage to Ali Hujwiri in the following words:[10][11]

Ganj Bakhsh-e faiz-e aalam, mazhar-e nur-i Khuda
Naqisaan ra pir-e kaamil, kaamilaan ra rahnuma

گنج بخش فیضِ عالم مظہرِ نورِ خدا
ناقصاں را پیرِ کامل، کاملاں را رہنما

Ganj Bakhsh is a manifestation of the Light of God for all people
A perfect guide unto the imperfect ones and a guide unto the perfect ones

Kashf Al-Mahjub

Kashf al Mahjub is held in high esteem as the first important treatise on Sufism in Persian. The date of the completion of the book cannot be determined with any certainty. It must have taken Hujwiri a long time to write it in Lahore without his personal collection of books. He was a prolific writer, perceptive and discriminating in his choice of topics.

Kashf al Mahjub was written in response to the request of one Abu Sa'eed Al-Hujwiri who put the following questions to him: "Explain to me the true meaning of the Path of Sufism and the nature of the stations' (maqamat) of the Sufis, and explain their doctrines and saying, and make clear to me their mystical allegories, and the nature of Divine Love and how it is manifested in human hearts, and why the intellect is unable to reach the essence thereof, and why the soul recoils from the reality thereof, and why the spirit is lulled in the purity thereof; and explain the practical aspect of Sufism which are connected with these theories."[12]

Kashf al Mahjub (Unveiling the Veiled) begins with a chapter on ilm. Hujwiri introduces the concept of experiential knowledge toward the end of the chapter.[13]

When Ali-Hujwiri was asked what is Sufism? he replied, "In our times this science has been in reality obliterated, especially in this region, for people are all occupied with pleasure, and have turned away from satisfying [God].[14]

Other works

Ali Hujwiri wrote a few more books (which are mentioned in Kashf-ul-Mahjub, and listed by Professor Nichlolas in his English translation), but he himself mentions that all of those were stolen by other people. Some people think that the magazine Kashf-ul-Israr is also written by him, but Hakeem Muhammad Mosa Amaratsari believes the content of that work does not match Ali Hujwiri's erudition. Some of his works include the following:[15]

~Minhaj-ud-Din, on the method of Sufism, and an account of the Ahl-l-Suffa and full biography of Mansur al-Hallaj;
~Asrar-ul-Khiraqq wa'l-ma'unat, on the patched frocks of the Sufis;
~Kitab-i-Fana-o-baqa, composed "in the vanity and rashness of youth", a work in explanation of the sayings of Mansur al-Hallaj
~Kitab-al-Bayan-li-ahl-al-iyan, on union with God;
~Al-Riayat li-huquq Allah, on Divine unity

See also


  1. ^ Pilgrims of Love: The Anthropology of a Global Sufi Cult; Pnina Werbner, Pg 4, Published 2003 C. Hurst & Co
  2. ^ Wach, Joachim (October 1948). Spiritual Teachings in Islam: A Study. JSTOR 11990583. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Hidayet, Hosain (06). "Hud̲j̲wīrī, Abu 'l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. ʿUt̲h̲mān b. ʿAlī al-G̲h̲aznawī al-Ḏj̲ullābī al-Hud̲j̲wīrī,". Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. 
  5. ^ Nichloson, Reynold (2000). Kashf al-Mahjub of al-Hujwiri. E.J.W. GIBB MEMORIAL. 
  6. ^ Preface to Nicholson's translation of Kashf Al Mahjub
  7. ^ Rashid, Abdur (1967). The Life and Teachings of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh. Ishfaq Ahmed. 
  8. ^ Hidayet, Hosain (06). "Hud̲j̲wīrī, Abu 'l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. ʿUt̲h̲mān b. ʿAlī al-G̲h̲aznawī al-Ḏj̲ullābī al-Hud̲j̲wīrī,". Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. 
  9. ^ Nichloson, Reynold (2000). Kashf al-Mahjub of al-Hujwiri. E.J.W. GIBB MEMORIAL. 
  10. ^ Preface of Kashful-Mahjoob, Edited by Zhokovski, Preface by Qasim Ansari, Tahori Publications 1999, Tehran, Iran
  11. ^ Gul Ahmad Shefta, Emergence of Persian in the World, Link
  12. ^ Rashid, Abdur (1967). The Life and Teachings of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh. Ishfaq Ahmed. 
  13. ^ Renard, John (2004). Knowledge of God in Classical Sufism. New York: Paulist Press. 
  14. ^ Ernst, Carl (1997). The Shambhala Guide to Sufism. Boston: Horticultural Hall. 
  15. ^ Rashid, Abdur (1967). The Life and Teachings of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh. Ishfaq Ahmed. 

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