Abdullah Shah Ghazi
- See also Ghazi and Gazi (disambiguation)
Abdullah Shah Ghazi (Arabic: عبد الله شاه غازي) (c. 720) was an eighth-century Muslim mystic and Sufi whose shrine is located in Clifton in Karachi, in Sindh province of Pakistan. His real name was Abdullah al-Ashtar. His father, Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya, was a descendant of Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah.
Abdullah Shah Ghazi (Abdullah al-Ashtar)
عبداللہ شاہ غازی (عبدللہ الاشتر)
|Born||720 CE 98 HIJRI|
|Died||773 CE 151 HIJRI|
|Known for||Sufi mysticism|
|Period in office||8th century|
Sohail Lari suggests (in his book, A History of Sindh) that Shah Ghazi was an Arab merchant who had come to Sindh with the first wave of Arab invaders. However, another noted historian, M. Daudpota, suggests that Ghazi arrived in the area from Iraq as a commander, who along with Muhammed Bin Qasim, fought Sindh's Hindu ruler, Raja Dahir, in the eighth century. Abdullah Shah Ghazi was said to have been killed in a forest in the interior Sindh by his enemies. His devotees buried his body on top of a hill at the coastal area, where he had earlier arrived on an Arab ship. This area now lies in the vicinity of Clifton and Sea View in Karachi.
The tomb is built on a high platform, though the body is kept in a subterranean crypt. The shrine is made of a high, square chamber and a green-and-white striped dome, decorated with Sindhi tilework, flags and buntings. Devotees to the shrine caress the silver railing around the burial place and drape it with garlands of flowers. The shrine is highly regarded and respected by people of all ethnicities and religions.
Until the early twentieth century, the shrine was a small hut on top of a sandy hill in Clifton. The shrine was built and expanded by Syed Nadir Ali Shah, a Sufi saint of Qalandariyya Sufi Order and the then custodian of the shrine. The iconic building of the shrine, its stairs, mosque, Langar Khana, Qawwali Hall and pilgrim lodge were built under his supervision. The shrine became a centre of attraction for people belonging to different sects, ethnicities and sections of society. Free meals and the devotional poetry such as Qawwali was the essential features of the shrine. The shrine was always devotionally connected to Nadir Ali Shah's dervish lodge, called Kafi in Sehwan Sharif and for a long time the arrangements of the shrine and langar continued under his supervision. In 1962, the Auqāf department took its administrative control. The twice a day free meal started by Nadir Ali Shah continued under the management of his disciples. In 2011, the shrine was handed over to a Pakistani construction giant, Bahria Town, who renovated the exterior of the shrine. This received a mixed response from the residents of Karachi.
The Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine was attacked in 2010 by militants who detonated two suicide bombs at the shrine, killing 10 and injuring 50.
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