South Africans throng to meet Indian Sufi seer
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South Africans throng to meet Indian Sufi seer

The South African devotees, in large numbers, have been seeking the seer since his arrival two weeks ago.

india Updated: Sep 03, 2005 11:26 IST

The custodian of a Sufi shrine in India is touring South Africa and devotees in large numbers have been seeking him out since his arrival two weeks ago.

Hazrat Ghulam Jilani Saheb, the kadim (custodian) of the shrine of Hazrat Makhdoom Alahuddin Ali Ahmed Sabir Kalyari in Kalyar in Roorkee in India's Uttaranchal state, is staying with the two brothers in Lenasia province for the Urs celebrations.

One of them, Shabbir Sayed, went to India to bring Hazrat Jilani, now in his 70s, to Lenasia. Even he was surprised when devotees thronged the Johannesburg airport on his arrival.

The Lenasia Muslim Brigade also awaited their arrival in Lenasia to march them to his temporary abode.

"Since we started the annual Urs Sharief 38 years ago, we have always wanted someone of the calibre of Hazrat Jilani to grace and bless the occasion, and we are thrilled that he finally consented to undertake his first trip out of India (after his pilgrimage to Makkah)," said Shabbir, whose family again played host to thousands who attended the annual Urs function.

Commenting on the people he met here, Hazrat Jilani said South Africans appeared to have many problems but they were also very loving and caring people. He surprised many visitors by remembering names and personal details of many family members who had visited him in India over the decades.

Leading a frugal lifestyle, Hazrat Jilani politely declined scores of invitations to visit the homes of devotees, inviting them to rather come and visit him at the Sayed residence.

The attendance of Hazrat Jilani at this year's Urs, held as a mark of respect to both Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti of Ajmer and Hazrat Makhdoom Alahuddin Ali Ahmed Sabir Kalyari, attracted a record crowd of more than 5,000 people, for whom 45 huge dekhshas (giant pots cooked over open fires) of food were prepared.

The celebration ended with qawwali performances by artistes and by Sarfaraaz Raj and his group from Rampur in India.

First Published: Sep 03, 2005 11:26 IST