Introduction

The lesson ”Shaikh Noor-ud-din Wali” written by Professor G.R Mallik, deals with the enlightenment of “Hazrat Noor-ud-din Wali” who adopted a monastic way of life at the prime of his youth. Kashmir had been known as Resh Waer (the valley of rishis) because rishis were found in all parts of the valley living like hermits, doing penance and serving common people in several ways, mainly by planting shady trees for travellers to rest.

The advent of Islam

When Islam entered the Valley in the thirteenth century, the rishi tradition continued but was given a Muslim colour and character.The man who played the most leading role in this process was Hazrat Shaikh Noor-ud-Din Wali, also known as Nund Ryosh. His father, Salar Sanz, was the scion of a Rajput family of Kishtwar but he later accepted Islam and was named Salar-ud-Din.

The Shaikh exhibited an ascetic tendency even after his marriage with Zai Ded and the birth of a daughter, Zoon Ded and a son, Haider Baba. At the prime of his youth, he entered a cave near Kaimoh and spent twelve years there, doing penance and purifying his self. This was the period of his spiritual training and preparation.

The transformation

He turned into a dedicated missionary after leaving the cave. He moved from place to place in Kashmir preaching his simple gospel of the fear of God and accountability before Him after death, commitment to the principles of truth, justice, and love and service of mankind. In one of his verses, he tells that the chosen servants of God are those who worship him sincerely and fulfil their duties in life regularly. 

Many of Shaikh’sdisciples were noble souls and lived lives of piety and in the service of their fellow beings. Kashmiris called him and continue to call him Shaikh-ul-Aalam (RA) which means the spiritual guide of the world or a saint of world stature.

After setting a shining example of a truly saintly life, Shaikh-ul-Alam (RA) died in Rupwan in 1438 AD and was laid to rest at Chrar-i- Shareef. People of Kashmir continued to repeat his wise sayings and sweet verses. Years after his death, coins were struck in his name during the Afghan rule over Kashmir. Today numerous trusts and educational institutions exist in his name including the Shaikh-ul-Aalam (RA) Chair at the University of Kashmir and the Shaikh-ul- Aalam (RA) Museum at the University of Jammu.