Syed Muhammad Azeem Barkhiya who is known as Qalandar Baba Auliya was born in 1898 in Khorja township of Buland Shehr,U.P., India. He was the direct descendent of Prophet Muhammad through Imam Hasan Askari, the eleventh. Qalandar Baba’s maternal grandfather was a cousin of the great Indian Sufi Saint Baba Tajuddin of Nagpur. His mother was adopted by Baba Tajuddin and hence Qalandar Baba always referred him as his maternal grandfather.
He completed his primary education in Khorja, and high school in Buland Sheher. After completing the 12th grade education at Aligarh, Baba Tajuddin summoned him to Nagpur. During his stay in Aligarh, Qalandar Baba used to spend his evening at the cabin of a local recluse Sufi Kabuli Baba.
In Nagpur, Baba Tajuddin told him to abandon his formal education to stay with him. Initially his father raised his objection but when Baba Tajuddin informed him that it was his decision, he agreed.
Qalandar Baba Auliya lived with Baba Tajuddin in Nagpur for 9 years and received the divine knowledge.
During his stay in Nagpur, his mother died, leaving four daughters and two sons. Qalandar Baba Auliya was the eldest son and most of his siblings were very young at the time. It was becoming difficult for him to serve as the surrogate parent for his siblings. Realizing that Baba Tajuddin arranged his marriage with one of his disciples’ daughter in Delhi. Qalandar Baba moved his family to Delhi and worked there as a journalist until the partition of India in 1947.
After the partition, he migrated to Pakistan along with his family, and stayed in Karachi’s Lyari subdivision. At the time, Karachi was not a fully developed city and finding a job was hard. He believed in hard work and was not ashamed of odd jobs to support his family. Later on, he joined the local daily English newspaper Dawn and became its sub-editor.
In 1956, a famous dervish of Suhurwardiya Sufi Order, Hazrat Abul-Fayz Qalandar Ali Suhurwardi, came to Karachi. Qalandar Baba Auliya met and asked to be initiated in his Order. The visiting Shaykh told him at arrive at his hotel room at three in the morning. It was during winter; nevertheless, Qalandar Baba Auliya went at 2 A.M. to the hotel where Hazrat Abul-Fayz was staying and sat at the doorsteps.
At 3 A.M sharp, Shaykh Abul-Fayz opened the door of his room and summoned him inside. Qalandar Baba Auliya sat before Hazrat Abul-Fayz, and Hazrat Abul-Fayz blew three times on the forehead of Qalandar Baba Auliya. On first blow, the Alam-e-Arwah (Cosmic World) was revealed to Qalandar Baba Auliya; on the second blow, the Alam-e-Malkut (Angelic realm); on the third one, the Arsh-e-Mu’alla (The Divine Throne).
Hazrat Abul-Fayz Qalandar Ali Suhurwardi completed his teachings of Qutub-e-Irshad to Qalandar Baba Auliya, in three weeks. After that, he spiritually received divine knowledge from many saints including Shaykh Najamuddin Kubra. That phase ended when he received the divine knowledge directly from the Prophet. During that entire phase, he remained sleepless for ten days.
When Qalandar Baba Auliya was working as a journalist in the local magazine in Karachi, it was his routine that he would go to the residence of his beloved disciple Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi. There people from all walks of life would come to discuss various topics.
Once Qalandar Baba Auliya told Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi that he saw some angels standing on a roadside in Karachi, and when he asked them what they were doing? They replied that after few moments there would take place an accident, the people whose time of death has not yet come, they would have to save them. On the next day, the news about an accident published in the newspapers of Karachi, and the details of that accident were same as told by Qalandar Baba Auliya.
Once Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi was discussing with Qalandar Baba Auliya about the “Aura”, he asked him if the Aura also could perform all the works that our material body performs. Qalandar Baba Auliya replied, “Yes, that’s true” Khwaja Shamsuddin then asked, “Is it possible for someone to turn the electric swtich on or off by using his Aura?” Right when Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi finished his words, he heard the sound as some one pushed the switch button and the lights were turned off, then again, he heard the same sound and the lights were on.
On one occasion, Qalandar Baba Auliya said, “Miracles are not that strange thing to be performed. When a person’s conscious is subdued by his subconscious, he would do such things that are not considered normal. This could happen voluntarily or involuntarily. However, it has nothing to do with that person’s spiritual knowledge or spirituality.”
One week before of his death, he told to his disciples and friends that, “I’m a guest here for a maximum of one week”. He appointed Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi as the head of the Sufi Order of Azeemia. He died on January 27, 1979. His tomb is in the Shadman Town subdivision of Karachi.
Baba Tajuddin of Nagpur was born in an around 1852, at a place called Kamthi near Nagpur in the state of Maharastra, India. From the birth itself, there was something unusual about the child, for the newborn baby would not at all cry. He would, at times, open his eyes, look at people, and then go to sleep.
Baba Tajuddin’s father died when he was about one year old and his mother died when he was only nine years old. The care of this orphan was taken over by his maternal grandmother and maternal-uncle Abdul Rahman. As a child, Baba started his education at the age of six in a local madrasa in Kamthi.
During this time a Sufi Saint of Quadiri Order Hazrat Abdullah Shah, visited the madrasa and saw the young Baba Tajuddin. He took out a dry fruit from his bag, ate half, and put the other half in the mouth of Baba Tajuddin saying: “Eat less, sleep less and speak less. Read Quran”. As soon as Baba Tajuddin ate the dry fruit, Divine Consciousness dawned on him and for about three days, he remained in a state of Jadhab (spiritual intoxication).
At the age of 18, the financial condition of his maternal uncle’s house deteriorated due to floods. As a result, both Baba Tajuddin and his maternal uncle started looking for a job. In 1881, Baba joined the Nagpur Army Regiment. Soon a contingent of the Regiment, where Baba was serving, was sent to a place called Sagar. At Sagar, Baba used to manage his duties as an army sepoy (soldier), somehow spending the best of the time in doing Muraqaba at a local Sufi shrine. His absence from the army camp at nights, and his least regard for the service created problems from the higher authorities. One day, in a God-intoxicated state Baba suddenly submitted his resignation from the army and left the camp.
He spent the next few years as a spiritual wanderer. People at first regarded him as a madman. However, soon miracles also started taking place around him. He would suddenly tell people about their past and warn them about future problems.
In 1892, Baba was admitted in the mental institution. Soon after, he was locked up in the asylum that a strange incident took place that spread Baba’s name everywhere. The day he was admitted in the asylum,several people saw him roaming freely in the streets of Kamthi, even after he was locked up. On the next day an army sepoy, who, under the orders of the magistrate had brought Baba to the asylum the previous day, saw Baba in the street. The shocked sepoy ran back and informed the British officer of the regiment, about it. The officer immediately rode his horse and searched for Baba. He eventually found him sitting under a tree smiling at him. British officer was so enraged seeing him moving freely that he straight away rode to the asylum. He asked the doctor on duty “Where is that insane whom I sent here yesterday?” The doctor informed him that Baba was still in a locked room and also showed him the room. There the officer found Baba Tajuddin sitting inside the room in the same posture in which he had seen him sitting under the tree only half on hour ago smiling at him. On seeing the officer, Baba Tajuddin said. “Brother, you are doing your work and I am doing my work”. The officer was so influenced by the divine personality of Baba Tajuddin that he instantly became his disciple and started visiting Baba Tajuddin on every Sunday with his family members. Thereafter, the asylum authorities reconciled with Baba Tajuddin, allowing him to move freely inside the asylum compound and outside. Gradually, Baba Tajuddin’s name became so famous that thousands of people from far and near started lining up before the asylum everyday.
During his 16 years stay in the asylum, Baba Tajuddin cured thousands of people of diseases, granted children to the childless, and took on his shoulders the responsibilities (both temporal and spiritual) of thousands of his devotees.
The doctor finally gave a report that Baba Tajuddin was not mad but a person of unusual qualities which medical science cannot explain. In the meantime, Raja Raghu Rao Bhonsle, the Maharaja of Nagpur had become an ardent devotee of Baba Tajuddin and started visiting him regularly. One day, in the evening, he thought of getting Baba released from the lunatic asylum and bringing him to his palace at Shakardara. The same night, he saw a vision in the dream in which Baba appeared and pointing towards Red Palace said, “Oh, elder brother, let me stay here.” It was early morning in 1908, Raja Raghu Rao immediately called his officials and discussed about the steps to be taken to get Baba Tajuddin released. The Council decided that the Raja Raghu Rao should immediately make an application for release to the Governor, Central Provinces. Ultimately, after depositing security money of rupees two thousands, the Maharaja secured the release of Baba Tajuddin. From his palace, Baba started his divine work.
In Shakardara, Baba Tajuddin used to sit under a tree quietly for many hours by looking on the floor, downing his head on the knees, such as he was performing meditation. People used to sit around him, waiting for Baba Tajuddin’s attention towards them. Sometimes he would be in such a Jadhab, that for many days he had been sitting there in the same condition, without movement or having meal.
Once Maharaja Raghu Rao asked Baba Tajuddin about the unseen creautres. Baba Tajuddin was lying on the floor at that time, and looking at the sky. Baba Tajuddin’s reply to that, was very much scholarly & a kind of Divine-knowledge, Baba said: “Raghu Rao! We have been watching the starts since we are born. Every night we look towards the sky, and it is interesting that we say that stars are visible before us, we watch them, and are familiar to the cosmic world. However, what we are looking at, and we are familiar to which kind of cosmic world? We are unable to define it. Still we think that ‘we know’. Moreover, when we claim that we know about something, we do not try to find that how much that claim is right or not. We know that the Sun rises, but we do not know its hidden reality, also we don’t know the hidden reality of day and night. Rughu Rao! Day & night are not angels or Jinns, but still they are visible for us. When you claim that your eyes can watch day and night, it is because they are believable for you! Nevertheless, you should also know that, thought works with the eyes. If the eyes couldn’t work with the thoughts, then you would not be able to define anything. In short, everything depends on thoughts, and it is the thought that gives us vision and hearing to our senses. People think that there are other beings out of our sense of thoughts. Although, nothing exists out of our thoughts, human is just a thought, angel is just a thought, Jinn is just a thought, and thus, everything is a nothing but a thought.”
At that time, Baba Tajuddin was still starring at the stars, he continued: “There is a strong relationship between us and the universe. The information that comes to our mind, they come from the universe, and that information comes to us through light. The rays of light bring to us information, and we call them imagination, superstition etc. Moreover, we think that these are our own creation, but actually it is not so
Once Baba Tajuddin went to the hills of Waki Sharif with some people. After reaching there, Baba Tajuddin smiled, and said, “Whoever fears the Lion, should leave. I will take rest here for a while and I think that the Lion would be coming here”. Many left, and some hid themselves nearby. Hayat Khan and Qalandar Baba Auliya also hid themselves and closely watched Baba Tajuddin. After about one hour, a Lion showed up, and went near Baba Tajuddin, who was sleeping at that time. The lion sat near the feet of Baba Tajuddin and started licking them. After few minutes, the Lion closed his eyes and put his head down on the floor. Later on the Lion started to lick the feet of Baba Tajuddin again, and this time Baba Tajuddin woke up, he sat before the Lion and rubbed his hand on the head of the Lion. Baba Tajuddin said, “You’ve come! Now you are quite alright, and I’m happy to see you in good health, now you should leave”.
The lion then left obediently.
By 1925 A.D, Baba was 64 and during the month of August, his health started deteriorating. Raja Raghu Rao hired the best doctors, but his time had come. Raghu Rao understood that Baba Tajuddin is getting ready to depart. He asked Baba to allow people to see you even if medical advice did not permit. The ever-benevolent Baba just smiled and agreed. As the news spread thousands of people came to the Maharaja’s palace and had last sight of their beloved master who had served and protected them for decades. The stream of visitors continued until the last moment of Baba’s departure on the 17th August 1925.
He did not marry and remained celibate. The famous Sufi saint Qalandar Baba Auliya was his disciple, and close relative. Qalandar Baba’s mother, who was his niece, was adopted by Baba Tajuddin when she lost her parents, that is why Qalandar Baba always called him “grandfather”.