1st Sheikh of the Sheikhs
His Excellency Ma'sum Ali Shah
The increaser and publisher of Allah’s signs and martyr in the way of God, His Excellency, the Sheikh of Sheikhs Seyed Maasum Ali Shah. The birthplace of His Excellency was Hyderabad of Deccan, he was born in an aristocratic family of that country. His noble name Mir Abdulhamid or Mir Abdulrahim has been mentioned in disagreement. In training of disciples and in perfecting of imperfects was ahead from his equals. In the beginning of his life, similar to all other wealthy people, was occupied with position and pomp and suddenly was seized by a divine attraction. Though he was in the best part of his youth, withdrew from this world, stepped into the arena of search, and started seeking the truth. Until finally reached the presence of His Holiness Shah Alireza Deccani surrendered to him, repented and obtained instructions. For some time was under the training and mortification of His Holiness, and engaged in freeing the self and from the blessings and inspiration of the spiritual guide was elevated to the rank of perfection and gained permission to initiate and guide the seekers. On the command of his spiritual guide, in the year 1194 (Hijri) nearing the end of Karim Khan Zand’s dynasty, departed to Iran with his family and entered Shiraz.
In Shiraz, he initiated His Excellency Faiz Ali Shah and Nour Ali Shah and took both of them under his training and reached them to the rank of perfection and gave both of them the permission to initiate and guide the seekers. After some times appointed His Excellency Nour Ali Shah as his successor. Because His Excellency Seyed, due to far distance and nonexistence of communications between Iran and India, which was the centre of spiritual guidance and the home of the Pole of the Poles His Holiness Shah Ali Reza, was authorized on behalf of His Holiness Shah Ali Reza to appoint Sheikhs and successor for himself. If required he was allowed to perform in a way that no pause in the affairs of Tarigah be occurred in Iran.
His Excellency Seyed Maasum Ali Shah after some time having stopped at Shiraz faced hostility of an Indian named Johny, who had requested His Excellency to teach the science of Alchemy to him, and because it was not granted, slandered to Karim Khan. Karim Khan asked His Excellency to leave Shiraz. His Excellency accompanying with Faiz Ali Shah and Nour Ali Shah and Mushtaq Ali Shah and Nazar Ali Shah and Dervish Hussainali departed for Isfahan. Karim Khan six months later for such misbehavior reached retribution for his actions and the Zandi dynasty collapsed.
Again His Excellency entered Isfahan and in there also after a while the spiteful and slanderous went to Ali Morad Khan Zand who had dominated Isfahan for the second time and slandered that these dervishes have claim to get the monarchy. Ali Morad Khan appointed Rustam (the police superintendent) and Aslan Mir Akhor to exile and expel the honorable Seyed and accompanying with the followers. He expelled them from Isfahan with disrespect and meanness. They took the road to Kashan with the intention of Khorasan, and at Murche Khort His Excellency Seyed Ma'sum Ali Shah sank into contemplation and said: still the vehemence of viciousness has not cooled down, not long after; they will reach to hurt and persecute us. Each one of you, who likes can hide in these gardens. Those who did not have enough capacity for patience over calamity concealed themselves, but His Excellency Nour Ali Shah stated: to where again should I flee from this place of refuge of mine. Not long after, two armed men reached and after lots of vexing and persecution to the two honorable passed them from Kashan to reach them to Teheran.
At the time of imprisonment of His Excellency in Shiraz, Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar in Teheran because of some relationships had favorable opinion about this sect and came to know the state of His Excellency Seyed and his companions. In this instance, placed all of them under his friendship and respect, and provided provisions, traveling facilities and other necessities for their journey to Mashad. His Excellency Seyed prayed for him with blessings and started towards Mashad. In the journey to Mashad, His Excellency Nour Ali Shah and Dervish Hassan Ali and Mushtaq Ali Shah and Nazar Ali Shah and Safa Ali and Shoq Ali were also with him. His Excellency after pilgrimage of Holy Mashad, departed for Herat, in there also guided, and instructed many people.
After then some followers of Iraq and Fars who were accompanying, as Nour Ali Shah and Hussain Ali Shah and Mushtaq Ali Shah and Ronaq Ali Shah and Mozafar Ali, were commanded to return back. And he himself departed for Zabol and Kabul and India and after traveling those cities travelled to Arab Iraq and at the Holy Shrines took up residence for some times in Najaf Ashraf, thereafter in Kerbala. During this time, Nour Ali Shah and Ronaq Ali Shah and some disciples were at his presence. After some times with the intention of renewing pilgrimage of Hazrat Reza (AS) went from the Holy Shrines towards Iran and entered Kermanshah.
In this city, Agha Mohammad Ali son of Agha Mohammad Baqer Mojtahed (religious jurisprudent) seized and imprisoned His Excellency and after some times with the support and help of Haj Ebrahim Khan Shirazi famed as Etemad-u-Doleh Vazir (minister) and Mustafa Qoli Khan Zanganeh the governor of Kermanshah, drowned His Excellency in the river of Qarehsu secretly. And also it is said that, he strangled His Excellency in a well known garden called Arshe Barin and buried him under the building. This great crime took place in the year of 1212 and His Excellency’s age was more than sixty at that time.
Those authorized by His Excellency:
1) His Excellency Faiz Ali Shah Isfahani
2) His Excellency Nour Ali Shah Isfahani who was a Sheikh of Sheikhs and His Excellency’s successor.
Contemporaries of His Excellency Maasum Ali Shah from jurisprudents and jurists:
1) Sheikh Jaffar bin Sheikh Khazer known as Kashef-ul-Qeta
2) Seyed Sadeq bin Seyed Hussain Hussaini known as Faham
3) Agha Mohammad Baqer bin Mohammad Akmal known as Agha Behbahani
4) Mr. Seyed Mahdi Tabatabaie known as Bahrul Ulum
5) Agha Mirza Mohammad Mahdi known as Sharestani Haeri
From Mystics and Sheikhs:
1) Sheikh Zahed Gilani that his tarighe spiritual order reaches to Sheikh Ebrahim the famous hermit.
2) Seyed Sadudin Dezfulli Zahabi
3) Shah Tahir Deccani
4) His Excellency Mushtaq Ali Shah
5) His Excellency Faiz Ali Shah Isfahani
From Sultans and Governors:
In India Sultan Jalaludin known as Shah-e-Alam.
In Othmani Sultan Abdul Hamid the first.
In Iran 1) Luft Ali Khan Zand 2) Jaffar Khan Zand 3) Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar.
From Poets and Wise men:
1) Seyed Ahmad Hatef Isfahani
2) Mirza Mohammed Hussain Ronaq Ali Shah
3) Mirza Abdullah Shahab Tarshizi
4) Mirza Jaffar Isfahani named as Safi
5) Solyman Sabahi the poet.
Said: Freeing the divine bird, which is in the worldly cage, is not feasible without the effect of attraction that depends on the submission of Mustafa (S). It is up to you to obey him.
And said: A wayfarer is one who brings his face to the path of truth and holds the book of God in his right hand and the tradition of the Prophet (S) in his left hand and travels the way to tarigha between these two luminosities.
And said: Mankind is composed of three things first: heart, second: tongue, third: organs. The heart is for monotheism, tongue for testifying, and organs for worship.
And said: God is most generous of the most generous and the meaning of this is that when God forgives a sin of his servant, He does not punish another for the same sin as this sin has been forgiven before for other worshipper.
And said: The wayfarer has no remedy from four things, learning which should be his trainer so that it makes him soft and benign; and Zekr which should be his companion so that during solitude not to be afraid; and thinking (Fikr) which is his transporter till he is not kept back from companions; and piety that would prevent him from illegible.
And said: The world’s welfare is in three things, first: Zekr (remembrance) of the Almighty God, second: recital of the Koran, third: meeting spiritual brothers.
And said: The wayfarer should consider four deaths on himself to reach the status of spiritual poverty. First: the white death, which is hunger, second: the black death which is patience of the disturbance of people, third: the red death as opposing to self (nafs), fourth: the green death which is contentment from new clothing to old.
And said: The perfect spiritual guide is he who deems necessary to obey the Messenger (S) and the perfect devotee is he who sees divine illumination in the mirror of his Pir, (spiritual guide) and face of his master.
And said: The sign of an accepted wayfarer is that he cannot speak with stranger people and if he has to speak with strangers, he would be like a bird in a cage and captive in prison.
And said: Reprochee is not who disgraces Shariat (religious laws) till he be reproached. Reprochee is a person who in doing divine steps is not afraid of being reproached by people.
And said: Asceticism is that you turn back from this world and consent to fate and not converse more than deeds. Piety is not in lack of splendor and wealth, but rather is the tranquility of the heart from the non-Glorious. A poor secular lover of this world with all his poverty cannot be called a devotee and Solomon with all his riches and power is a devotee.
And said: A worshipper is he whose silence be of Fikr (contemplation) and his words be with Zekr (remembrance of God) and the best speech is Zekr and the best deeds is prayer and the best character is forbearance.