On June 13, when the Quazi family opened a dusted wooden box, which remained in the attic of the ancestral house for 130 years for being jinxed, little did they know it contained rare relics and manuscripts, many of which dates back to 6th Century of Prophet Muhammad's era.
"Our more than a century-old ancestral house, abandoned now, in old city's Daribal was falling apart. We had heard from our grandparents about a box at the attic which, if opened, will spell a tragedy on the family. But because of the bad shape of the house we decided to open it on June 17 this year," said 77-year-old Quazi Mohammad Ashraf.
Ashraf was joined by other relatives to bring down the box after 130 years.
"The box contained nine relics with sanads (authentication letter of the then well-known priests). We have been able to establish the authenticity of many relics and sanads. An academic investigation is on for further revelation," said Peerzada Muhammad Ashraf, deputy director of archives and antiquities department.
The department investigated the antiquities for more than two months before itemising them for their antiquity value.
The nine relics documented by the antiquities department included two 17th Century, which is Mughal period, sanads (letter of authentication for relics), 6th Century textile spread of Prophet Muhammad, Hazrat Ali's shirt, 16th century saint Sheikh Hamza Mukhdoomi's cap, comb and belt, which he used to tie around the long robes.
"There is a belt of Mukhdoom sahib with the Mirwaiz family too. This is then second such relic available now," said the deputy director.
A rare 25-feet-long Quran written on a scroll textile material, which is just 2.5 inches wide, was also found in the box. "It's not visible to the naked eye and seems a rare technique has been employed by the author to write it. Our preliminary investigation suggests that the Quran may have been written by saint Baba Dawood Khaki," said the officer.
The rare documents found in the box are being digitised by Kashmir University's library department for research and to establish the Persian text and to retrieve the missing part.
"The relics and the literature found with it open layers of history, throwing light on life and times. King Jehangeer-era book, which needs to be preserved, documents transition of the society, religion and politics," said Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Kashmir head Saleem Beg.
Beg is worried about the preservation of the relics. "Some relics and literature are in bad shape and need immediate attention for its preservation. We should not delay it," said Beg.
There are only a few relics in Kashmir that dates back to the Prophet's era like holy hair strand of the Prophet at Hazratbal shrine.
The family, however, oppose the idea of constructing any shrine. "We want to preserve the relics and will not set up any shrine. Yes, these relics will be open for research and understand of Islamic spread in Kashmir," said Ashraf.