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The Qazis of Naushera

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After the incident of Karbala, the household of Muhammad peace be upon him and the descendants of Ali Ibn Abi Talib commonly called as Alwi’s had to migrate to other lands. Many of his descendants who lived in Egypt and nearby lands departed for Turkistan and Iran due to persecution at the hands of Hujjaj bin Yusuf. As time went by, they resettled in places such as Bukhara and Hamadan in Turkistan, and Baghdad in Iraq. Some migrated to Khurasan and others to Herat in the mountainous regions of present day Afghanistan.

One of these branches which had separated from the Alwis of Baghdad some time in the twelfth century, and had established itself in Soon Valley, Salt Range of North West India. Commonly known as ‘Awan’, this tribe is perhaps the oldest inhabited tribe in the Soon valley, Salt Range. Naushera, also ‘Naoshera’ is a historical town of the Soon valley of Salt Range in the, the Punjab, Pakistan. This town is always notable as the centre and home of the leading Awan tribe.

The most illustrious family of Naushera is Qazi and sufi family of Naushera, descended from Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib. In the sixteenth century the head of this family was Muhammad Akbar Khan’s. His name also is associated in the local legend with Aku Khan.

The descendants of Akbar Khan became religious scholars, qazis and Sufis. They had forgotten the tough life of Zamindars and warfare of their ancestors, and learned the refinements of Sufism and fiqh, thus became “intermediaries between the Faithful and their God” . One of his descendant was Muhammad Khushal who had a son Muhammad Arif (died 1748). He was a pious and religious man. He had two sons Mian Muhammad (died 1788) and Fateh Muhammad.

In the early nineteenth century, there arose two religious leaders in Naushera, the one strictly orthodox in the straight Hanafi Sunni way, and the other Sufi and Majzoob. The first was Qazi Kalim Allah, son of Mian Muhammad, and the second was Hafiz Noor Mustafa, the son of Fateh Muhammad.. Both were grandsons of same person, Muhammad Arif.

Qazi Kalim Allah (died 1852), was a great scholar of Quran, Hadith and Fiqh, and Muslim jurisprudence. He was a man of learning and his acquirement procured him the office of Qazi. This was held by him throughout life and descended to his son Qazi Ghulam Muhammad, Qazi Fateh Muhammad and Qazi Noor Ahmed. The other Hafiz Noor Mustafa was a majzoob. Since the Majzoob is someone who has reached the pinnacle of Sufism, the Sufis ascribe all sorts of powers to them, from helping others miraculously to knowing matters of the Unseen. Many miracles are attributed to him. He still figures in folk-lore as a saint. He had only one daughter Sherfan Bibi married to Qazi Ghulam Muhammad the son of Qazi Kalim Allah. They had only one son whom they named Mian Muhammad Amjad who became the head of his tribe. He was a man of modest and retiring mode. Quiet and humble, he got both qualities of his grandfather and maternal grandfather. From his grandfather he got scholarship of Qur’an, Hadith, and the Hanafi school of Islamic law and from his maternal grandfather he learned mystic trances and pinnacle of Sufism. He also figures in folk-lore as a saint.

The title of Qazi was further descended to his descendants and is still held by his descendants though without judicial powers. The Qazis were men of high characters and possese influence in the area between Indus and Jehlum. Many of the direct descendants of Qazi Kalim Allah and Qazi Mian Muhammad have wielded great influence among the Awans and other tribes in Salt Range. The family is universally recognized as a line of true Alwis Awans.

It is stated in the “History of Awan”[1] that there were eight great pious men in this branch of tribe famous with the name of Qazi. All these eight have left a fame that was still remembered by the people. Of these qazis the most famous were;

1. Qazi Kalim Allah

2. Qazi Mian Muhammad Amjad

3. Qazi Mazhar Qayyum

4. Qazi Manzoor ul Haq

5. Qazi Zafar Hussain

6. Qazi Altaf Hussain

7. Qazi Fayyaz Hussain

8. Qazi Safdar Hussain

[1] History of Awan, by Muhammad Sarwar Khan Awan, 2009 by the Al- Faisal Nashran, Lahore.

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