As Lahore is known as “Data ki Nagri” in laymen’s term. People form all over the country belonging from all sects of society come to Data Darbar to pay ‘Salam’ to the great saint. The act has been part of their traditions and has been present since generations. Commonly the belief makes the runaway children and adults think that they will be protected and sheltered by the grace of ‘Data Sahib’. These runaway people stay at Data Darbar not with the motive of religious practice; instead, they find ways of hiding from their respective families and any official authority that are in search of them.
|Location:||Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan|
|Nickname:||Data Ki Nagri|
|Type:||A Holy place|
|Local Language Name:||داتا دربار|
|Coordinates :||31.57898°N 74.30474°E|
|Architectural type :||Mosque and Sufi mausoleum|
|Site is considered:||The site is considered to be the most sacred place in Lahore,and attracts up to one million visitors to its annual urs festival|
|Address:||Data Darbar Rd, Lahore|
|Designed by::||Naqvi & Siddiqi|
|Building Usage:||Mausoleum, Masjid, Madrassah, Sarai (Rest for travelers), Conference Hall, Library|
|Floors Above Ground:||1|
|Floors Under Ground:||2|
|Social services:||In a custom that is 1,000 years old, up to 50,000 visitors per day are offered free food at the shrine|
|Provides for students:||The shrine also provides for students’ education in nearby schools, and helps fund local hospitals|
The Shrine of Data Darbar is situated in the city of Lahore. Bilal Gunj is situated in the surroundings of it. It is one of the very famous tombs in the subcontinent. At first it was built by the Mughal King. It is the tomb of Hazrat Ali Hajweri (R.A) but its popular name is Data Darbar of Lahore. He is also known as Data Ganj Buksh. He was a great Sufi Saint who was born in the Persia a thousand years ago. An idea about his birth is in between the years 990 to 1077 A.C.He worked very hard to spread the message of Islam in this area. Kashf-al-Mahjub is his famous book which means (revealing the hidden). This book got a high level of appreciation; in this book he discussed the doctrine of the Sufi Mystics. This book is still very famous throughout the world.
Mini Bio of Hazrat Ali Hujwiri Data Ganj Bakhsh
When Hazrat Ali Hajvairi R.A. (Daata Sahib of Lahore) arrived in Lahore upon advice of his mentor, the city was already flourishing with many revered Sufi saints.To test Ali Hajvairi, they sent him a cup of milk that was full of milk to the edge. It was a polite hint that there may not be more room for another saint in Lahore! Ali Hajvairi smiled at their gesture and responded by adding a spoon of sugar in the same cup of milk. Sugar dissolved in milk molecules, sweetening it without raising the level of milk, so it didn’t over flow from edges. When those saints received and drank the sweetened milk, they knew the true patron saint of Lahore has arrived. Daata Sahib’s wisdom was acknowledged by the founding father and greatest Muslim schokar, Dr. Allama Iqbal, read his poem from Israr-e-Khudi here.
In the 1980
The shrine was greatly expanded in the 1980’s under the rule of military dictator Zia ul-Haq, during which time the shrine became the largest in South Asia. Offices for NGOs, a library, madrasa, police station, carpark, and offices were all added under his regime. Designated spaces for musical performances, and new free kitchen were also added during that time. New markets have emerged around the site since its massive expansion.
A modern and huge complex was built in current days for this tomb. The complex got all the new features and modern style. It is situated in the old city of Lahore and easily accessible from any part of the Lahore. The Shrine of Hazrat Mian Mir is also situated in the same city.On the annually Holy days which are called (Ors) a huge number of peoples around the Globe come here for the congregation. This festival is very famous among the foreign and local visitors. A culture and tradition presented on those days where Fakirs dancers and sacred music are performed. Qawali is most famous and important part of this event.It is great place to visit in the city of Lahore. It provides the shelters and foods to many people on the daily basis. The administration and other rich people offer these things to the poor and needy persons. This Shrine is a combination of Mughal and modern art so it will be a never forgettable experience for you. It is a must visit place of the city.
The shrine of Hujwiri is housed in a Mughal era tomb crafted of carved white marble. The tomb is surrounded by a massive marble courtyard, while a new educational institution at the shrine complex utilizes modernist architecture.
The shrine provides a wide array of social services which have made it a popular hub for impoverished residents.In a custom that is 1,000 years old, up to 50,000 visitors per day are offered free food at the shrine. Patrons facing personal difficulties frequently donate money or labour to the shrine’s free-kitchen fund, in line with Islam’s emphasis on feeding the poor. The shrine also provides for students’ education in nearby schools, and helps fund local hospitals as part of its social mission.
Importance of Data Darbar
Almost everybody in rural areas knows about the importance of Data Darbar’s presence in Lahore. Men, women and even children living presently at Data Darbar are so content with their lives there, that unconsciously they attract others of their area and convince them through peer pressure to accompany them to the Darbar’s so called extravagant life. Lungar is considered to be source of food for the devotees and residents sheltering at Data Darbar.
The boys, most aged between eight and fifteen, sleep close together for safety and comfort as night falls and the dinner of lentils and roti from the data darbar huge lungar is eaten.
Respect of Great Sufis towards Hazrat Ali Hujwiri ra
Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti ra
Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti (ra), the great saint of Ajmer, came to Lahore to meditate for forty days at the sacred alter of Hazrat Ali Hujwiri (ra) and after receiving spiritual enlightenment; Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti (ra) expressed his gratitude and out of love and devotion uttered the following couplet whilst in an ecstatic trance.
- The giver of bounties, the benefactor of the world manifestation of the light of God,
- To the imperfect, a perfect spiritual guide, and to the perfect, a guide.
Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani ra
It is stated that Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) during one of his gatherings said,
- I, Abdul Qadir, would have taken him as my Spiritual Guide if I was born in his time.
- Data Ganj Bakhsh is a lion of Sufism and one must go to him with utmost respect.
Other Works of Hazrat Ali Hujwiri ra
Hazrat Ali Hujwiri (ra) wrote a few more books but he himself mentions in Kashf-ul-Mahjoob that they were stolen by other people. He says:
- I have already written few books on this subject, but all these efforts of mine went in vain as some pretenders picked out selected passages from them to impress their followers as it was their work and they destroyed rest of the works. This sort of people considers such sadism and denial as Allah’s blessing. Some did occupy themselves willingly but failed to gain anything from it. Some gained the knowledge of works, but did not comprehend the meaning. Such people only like the expressions thereof and think that the memorization and copying of such expression is the Sufism.
Miracle in Lahore
After he had permanently settled in Lahore, he constructed a monastery for himself and also a mosque. When the mosque was under construction, the Ulama of the city raised a storm of opposition to the effect that the mosque was not exactly aligned towards the Qibla. He remained unconcerned about this opposition and objection. When the mosque was complete he invited the Ulama, Sufis, saints, and leading citizens to it and they all offered prayers behind him. After the prayers were over, he addressed all those present, saying: “People have expressed doubt concerning the alignment of the mosque. I request you to close your eyes and meditate and then decide whether it is correct or not.” Thereafter he meditated and the curtains were removed from the eyes of the people. All of them saw that the sacred Ka’ba was before their eyes and that the mosque direction had been correctly aligned.
He spent the rest of his days there guiding, teaching, and inspiring the people and preaching and propagating the doctrine of truth. Thousands of unlettered persons became alims, hoards of people accepted Islam, the misguided began to follow the Path, the insane recovered reason and sanity, the imperfect became perfect (in knowledge) and the sinners became virtuous under the influence of Hazrat Ali Hujwiri (ra).
One of the earlier converts was one Rai Raju, the Naib (Viceroy) of Lahore during the time of Sultan Maudood. On conversion to Islam he was named Sheikh Hindi. His descendants have been since that time the custodians of the mausoleum.