Hadrat Sayyid Laʻl Shāh Hamdānī Bilāwalī Naqshbandī Mujaddidī (d.1896) was one of the greatest deputies of Khwājā Muhammad Usmān Dāmānī Naqshbandi Mujaddidi (1828-1897), may Allah sanctify their souls.
He was from Dandā Shāh Bilāwal, a town established by his great grandfather Sayyid Shāh Bilāwal Hamdānī who migrated from Hamadān (Iran) and established this new village in Punjab, located between Miānwālī and Chakwāl. He was a true Sayyid, a descendant of the Holy Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. He was son of Sayyid Jeewan Shāh and had a brother Sayyid Imām Shāh Hamdānī.
Hadrat Laʻl Shāh received Islamic education from Hadrat Mawlānā Ahmad Deen Angvī, a renowned scholar and khalīfa of Khwājā Dost Muhammad Qandahārī Naqshbandi (of Mūsā Zaī Sharīf). After completing his education, he stayed with his teacher for fifteen years and taught in the same madrasāh. When his teacher passed away from this world, he left out to seek spiritual training from the shaykh of his teacher Khwājā Dost Muhammad, and did bay’ah on his noble hands in the Naqshbandi tarīqāh. For two years, he received spiritual training and guidance from his shaykh until he passed away in 1284 AH (1868). During the last days, his shaykh who was very ill, asked him to come near and placed his noble hand on his chest and he fell unconscious. When he waked up, he said my chest is now clear of all impurities and rust, and has become bright like a mirror.
Later, he renewed his bay’ah with his shaykh’s successor Hazrat Khwājā Muhammad Usmān Dāmānī Naqshbandi and received spiritual Fayd and training from him for many years. He was made a deputy by Khwājā Dāmānī and is considered one of his chief deputies. In the later years of his life, Khwājā Dāmānī remained ill and weak and used to forward new seekers to either Sayyid Laal Shāh or Khwājā Sirāj ad-Dīn for bay’ah. Many pupils of Khwājā Dāmānī were actually formally initiated by Sayyid Laal Shāh, including the great Naqshbandi shaykh Hazrat Pīr Fazal Ali Qureshi (d.1935).
His chain of the Naqshbandi order goes to Imam Rabbani Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi as follows:
- Hazrat Sayyid Laal Shāh Hamdānī
- Hazrat Khwājā Muhammad Usmān Dāmānī
- Hazrat Khwājā Dost Muhammad Qandahārī
- Hazrat Shāh Ahmad Saeed Mujaddidī Fārūqī
- Hazrat Shāh Abū Saeed Mujaddidī Fārūqī
- Hazrat Shāh Ghulām Alī Dehlavī
- Hazrat Mirzā Mazhar Jān-e-Jānān
- Hazrat Sayyid Noor Muhammad Badāyūnī
- Hazrat Hāfiz Muhammad Mohsin Dehlavī
- Hazrat Khwājā Saif ad-Dīn Sirhindī
- Hazrat Khwājā Muhammad Ma’soom Sirhindī
- Hazrat Imām Rabbānī Mujaddid Alf Sānī Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindī Fārūqī
His personality was a full manifestation of sainthood. Light emanated from his bright and shining face and people found it hard to look into his face more than a moment. Pīr Fazal Ali Qureshī, one of his pupils who later became a great shaykh, reports that one day I was watching my shaykh who was walking. I was looking at him behind a wall but could not look into his bright face. Unthinkingly, I recited this āyah: “This is not a human, he is but a gracious angel.” (Qurān 12:31)
He adorned the throne of guidance for almost 30 years and trained hundreds of people in the noble Naqshbandi tariqah, specially people from the Awan tribe.
In 1308 AH, he went for Ḥajj and performed the Ḥajj in Makkah and made pilgrimage to the Prophetic Court, upon him be peace and blessings, in Madīnah.
He was called to the eternal world at afternoon on Wednesday 27 Sha’bān 1313 AH (12 February 1896), one year before his shaykh Khwājā Muhammad Usmān Dāmānī who passed away on 22 Sha’bān 1314 AH (26/27 January 1897). His disciples then turned to Khwājā Dāmānī and some of them were re-initiated in the Path by Khwājā Sirāj ad-Dīn, the only son and successor of Khwājā Dāmānī.
He is buried in Dandā Shāh Bilāwal near the graves of his ancestors. His sacred grave is a source of blessings and a place of pilgrimage by thousands of his followers and lovers.
After his death, his shaykh Khwājā Dāmānī wished that this spiritual blessing should remain in the family of Sayyid Laal Shāh. Shāh sahib did not have sons but only two daughters, and a nephew Sayyid Muhammad Shāh. When his nephew came to Hazrat Dāmānī after the death of his uncle and shaykh, Khwājā Dāmānī took him to the holy grave of Khwājā Dost Muhammad Qandahārī and prayed to Allah the Almighty that O God! I have come at the shrine of your beloved and accepted person and brought to you the nephew of Sayyid sahib (Sayyid Laal Shah), please open the stages of Sulūk on him (Sayyid Muhammad Shah) and take him to the stage of your love and closeness. Thus the prayer was answered and the stages of Sulūk were opened for him in that one sitting. Khwājā Dāmānī then awarded him khilafah and gave him the certificate of permission written by Mawlānā Mahmood Shīrāzī, and sent him back to receive condolences for his uncle. (Maqāmāt Fazliā)
Hazrat Qureshi reports that once an epidemic spread in the area surrounding the khānqāh of Khwājā Dāmānī. When Sayyid Laal Shāh arrived in the village, Hazrat Dāmānī said the epidemic will now end as Shāh sahib has entered the village. So the disease stopped spreading.
Once, two persons in the family of Khwājā Dāmānī became very sick while he was on a journey. He asked his assistant to write a letter to home to know the conditions. However, Sayyid Laal Shāh said that there isn’t any need to write a letter as everything is fine back home. He said this from his miraculous vision, and it was confirmed later on.
Once Hazrat Dāmānī was invited by a person. With the huge numbers of guests accompanying him, the food was soon finished. Sayyid Laal Shah said that I am restricted by pudency and etiquette, otherwise if I wanted, this hill would have turned into halvā (a sweet).
It is not evident if Hazrat Sayyid sahib left any qualified deputies. Some of his murids later became notable masters of the Path, including the following:
- His nephew Sayyid Muḥammad Shāh Hamdānī
- Hazrat Pīr Muḥammad Fazl ʿAlī Quraishī Naqshbandī Mujaddidī (1270-1354 AH)
- Mawlānā Abū as-Saʿd Aḥmad Khān Naqshbandī Mujaddidī (1360 AH)
He did not have sons, his lineage has continued through his blessed daughters.
- Jalwā Gāh-e-Dost (Urdu) by Khwājā Muhammad Tāhir Bakhshi Naqshbandi
- Biography in Urdu by Mukhtar Ahmed Khokhar, published in Attahir
- Maqāmāt Fazliā (Urdu) by Sayyid Zawwār Hussain Shah
- Majmua Fawaed Usmania (Urdu translation) by Sayyid Akbar Ali Dehlavi, translated by Muhammad Nazir Ranjha, 2006