Saturday, December 12, 2009

Brief History and Life of Syed Ibrahim Mallick Biya (RA)

Syed Ibrahim Mallick Biya was a distinguished military general and a famous Sufi of the 14th Century A.D. He was the 7th descendent of Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani (Rahmatullah Allaih, RA). He conquered the state of Bihar and was appointed Governor of Bihar by Sultan Mohammad son of Tughlaq. He was given the coveted title of Mallick by the Sultan and became famous as Mallick Biya. On account of this honor, his descendents carried this title and today 600 years later are still distinctly connected with him and recognized as the Mallicks of Bihar.

The State of Bihar (capital, Patna) is located in the eastern part of India. In the east, it borders the State of West Bengal (capital, Calcutta), in the west, it borders with the State of Utter Pradesh, also known as U.P. (capital, Lucknow), in the south, with the State of Orissa (capital, Katak), and in the north, with the Kingdom of Nepal (capital, Kathmundo) and the Kingdom of Bhutan.

At the time of Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq (1290 AD-1351 AD), even though the State of Bihar was under the control of Delhi, for all practical purposes, its rulers were autonomous. The Sultan received numerous complaints against the Raja Bithal, the Governor (Subedar) of Bihar, who was not only a tyrant but also a rebel against the Sultan of Delhi. The Sultan sent his general, Syed Ibrahim, to punish Raja Bithal. After a fierce battle, the Raja was killed and his army was defeated. The conquest of Bihar was a remarkable achievement, and on this occasion, the Sultan conferred upon Syed Ibrahim the title of “Madarul Mulk Mallick Saif wa Daulat” (Administrator and King of Sword and Wealth). It is recorded that the Sultan was so jubilant by this victory, that, in his court, he himself came down to receive and greet Syed Ibrahim. After an exchange of greetings, Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq said to Syed Ibrahim in Persian (the official language at the time) “Mallick Biya, Be-nashin” meaning “O King come and sit next to me” and led Syed Ibrahim to his seat. The Sultan bestowed this great honor upon him. Since then, he was called “Mallick Biya.” The Sultan appointed Syed Ibrahim as the governor of the state of Bihar. He chose to settle with his family and relatives in Biharsharif.

Biharsharif is an old and historical town, which had been the capital of the State of Bihar during the Muslim reign from Bakhtiyar Khilji (the first conqueror of Bihar and Bengal - 602 AH/1205 AD) through Sultan Sher Sahah Suri (1484-1545 AD). This town also has the distinction of being the burial place of such revered Muslim saints as Makhdumul Mulk Hazrat Sharfuddin Ahmad Yahya Maneri (RA), Hazrat Makhdum Syed Ahmad Charmposh (RA), Hazrat Shaikh Hussain Naushah Tauheed (RA) and Hazrat Pir Badr Alam (RA), besides having the monumental tomb of Hazrat Syed Ibrahim Mallick Biya (RA). In 947 AH/1541 AD, Sultan Sher Shah Suri moved the capital of Bihar to Patliputra (Patna) where he built a fort. In 1108 AH/1697 AD, when Emperor Aurangzeb of Delhi, appointed his grandson, Prince Azimus Shan, as Governor of Bihar, he changed the name from Patliputra to Azimabad. When India later came under the British rule, the name of Azimabad was changed to Patna.

Syed Ibrahim (Mallick Biya) was a distinguished military general, and, surprisingly enough, an eminent Sufi (saint) as well. He was a descendent of Hazrat Ali Karram Aallaho Waj-ha-hoo (KAW) and when the Abbasyds persecuted his ancestors, they escaped to Ghazni. He was born and raised in Batnagar, which is three miles east of Ghazni, the historically famous province of Afghanistan. He received his education and military training in Ghazni and then he came to Delhi to serve under the tutelage of Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq, who was famous for his magnificent patronage of intellectuals, scholars, and talented military generals of his time. Besides Syed Ibrahim, Ibn Batuta, the famous traveler and pioneer explorer, and other people like him came from all over the world to serve the Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq. In Bihar, Mallick Biya led many expeditions such as Chhai Champa and Parmangarh, Deora and Khatangi, and defeated Raja Baithal and was appointed Governor of Bihar by Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq. Syed Ibrahim also served as Governor of Bihar and general for a few years from1351-1353 AD/751-753 AH, during the reign of Sultan Firoze Shah Tughlaq son of Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq. During his reign, he fought his last pitched battles with Raja Hans Kumar and conquered the Fort of Rohtas. When the fighting finally stopped, Syed Ibrahim established law and order in the region. After peace prevailed, one night Mallick Biya left the fort, when a group of enemy soldiers, hiding in the darkness outside the fort, perpetrated a sneak attack on this valiant general from behind and killed him. Thus, the life of a great warrior, and great Muslim came to an abrupt end (Inna Lillahe wa Inna Alaihe Raje-woon). He died on Sunday, 13th Dul Hajj 753 AH corresponding to 20th January 1353 AD. His body was brought to Biharsharif for burial, where he had lived nearly his entire life with his family, relatives, and kinsmen.

The tomb of Syed Ibrahim is located in Biharsharif, at the hilltop of Pir Pahari, one mile west of the town. The mausoleum is an extraordinary structure of a rare quality of bricks, which have withstood the ravages of time and the unrelenting devastation of weather for the last 600 years. Even the inexorable erosion process, ruthless and immutable, marvelously spared the tomb from decay. After 600 years, the structure stands as if it were built in recent days. Besides Mallick Biya’s tomb, there are 10 graves of his sons and grandson inside the dome. The tombs of other family members and companions of Mallick Biya are lying on the east, west and south sides of the mausoleum. Due to the high respect and reverence given to the tomb of Mallick Biya for generations, no one is buried on the north side of the dome. The south side of the burial place is still reserved only for the Mallick clan members who wish to be buried on Pir Pahari.

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