Humility is Humanity: Shaikh Nuruddin (RA) describing a Muslim
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Humility is Humanity: Shaikh Nuruddin (RA) describing a Muslim

Shaikh Nuruddin (RA), the patron saint of Kashmir, has described different dimensions of the character of a Muslim in which devotional aspects indeed predominate

Post by DR. AREEF JAMAEI on Monday, October 24, 2022

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Any human being sans humility enters the influence of Satan because by denying to bow before Adam (‘AS) what Satan did was nothing but the negation of the blessedness of Adam (‘AS) which he had been bestowed with by God by dint of the knowledge of the “reality of things!” To lead a good part of human beings astray from the Path of God, Satan asked for a “lease” or “respite” which he was accorded which Satan had has been using to tempt the humans to evil.

The gravest evil which Satan could tempt human beings to is indeed arrogance, haughtiness and transgression because he had himself fallen prey to it and had thus been destroyed. It is also because arrogance becomes the root cause of all major evils as it becomes an obstacle to “see things, persons and events as they are and in the way they occur!” So, by following Satan a human being becomes his “servant” because (blind) following is equivalent to worship. It is this fact which God has warned man against like this: “Did I not enjoin on you, O you children of Adam, that you should not worship Satan; for that he was to you an enemy avowed?” (Qur’an, 36:60) It is very interesting to note that the most prominent quality of the real followers of al-Rahman (the Merciful Lord) has had been “humility” to begin with. The Qur’an, in this regard, says: “And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!” (Qur’an, 25:63)

Shaikh Nuruddin (RA), the patron saint of Kashmir, has described different dimensions of the character of a Muslim in which devotional aspects indeed predominate. However, there are a number of his poems (shruks) which describe the characteristics of being a real Muslim. In these poems, the Shaikh (RA) has actually highlighted the devastating effects of arrogance because it is such an evil that devours all good of the human personality and its virtuous aspects come to naught.

The Shaikh (R‘A) applies his poetic insight both to the general as well to the particular traits of arrogance of man. In a general sense, the Shaikh (RA) says:

tali chhui ziyus ti pathi chhukh naxchan;

wanti mali wound kithi paxchan chhui!


You (O man!) are dancing (in arrogance) without any firm foundation;

How, O dear! Your conscience allows you to do so?

It means, the Shaikh (RA) wants to convey that man is feeble in every respect and, thus, he has no room for exhibiting any kind of arrogant approach vis-à-vis the Truth as well as other human beings. And, for fathoming this reality his conscience is enough to rebuke and control him.

According to the Shaikh (RA), arrogance is detrimental to every good act of man. So, man should take care of his behaviour lest he is ensnared by this evil:

kroud nou musalmanas pazay;

kroudi sud rawi panas;

kroud nou musalmanas pazay;

kroudi kriyi ti karun dazay!


A Muslim should not be arrogant;

(Because) arrogance devalues the personality;

A Muslim should not be arrogant;

(Because) arrogance burns all virtues and all good acts!


Since all the good acts emerge from the faith (iman) which is like the seed which sprouts from the fertile soil of the heart to become a tree with full bloom, therefore, this faith should be taken care of. However, arrogance endangers the very faith of the Muslim. The Shaikh (R‘A) says:

tawi chhuh lagi imanas;

kroud nou musalmanas pazay!


(Acts of arrogance) would indeed wound your faith;

(So) a Muslim should not be arrogant!

The Shaikh’s (RA) inquisitive mind tells him that over-estimation of one’s self blocks the road of spiritual development because such a person becomes self-centred and selfish never thinking of anybody else save himself. Such a person can hardly become a tool for the spiritual progress of others. The Shaikh (RA) says:

panas moul yus kari-ni haray;

siet bayis kari-ni man man;

par ti pan yus saedras taray;

sui daep-zay musalman!


One who doesn’t over-value himself;

One who doesn’t believe in rat race;

One who works for his as well as others’ salvation;

Such a person is fit to be called a Muslim!






Describing the universal fact that “preaching begins at one’s home,” the Shaikh (R‘A), in a humble sincere tune, reminds this fact to a Muslim as follows:


angi zan khoshbu mokh zan wuyai;

nishi wudan hiyath kathan man;

paras prani ti panas palay;

sui daep-zay musalman!


One whose body is fragrant and forehead resplendent;

One who accumulates wisdom from the wise;

(Then) practices more than he preaches;

Such a person is fit to be called a Muslim!


This stanza reminds us one of the important and most quoted verses of chapter 61 (al-Saff) of the Qur’an which reads: “O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not (practice)? Grievously odious is it in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not (act upon). ” (Qur’an, 61:2-3)


However, keeping the knowledge and wisdom which one is bestowed with confined to oneself is indeed a kind of “embezzlement of knowledge!” So, every effort should be made to put the knowledge to practice and also benefit others by it. To this effect, the Shaikh (RA) says:

sui pour-shah sorug praway;

yus dayi sari yati baiyan san;

ritiyan dohan rozi thaway;

sui daep-zay musalman!


That noble person shall achieve Paradise;

Who shall know the Reality (of God) himself and convey it to others;

Such a person shall fast (be devoted to God) on “holy days”;

Such a person is fit to be called a Muslim!


Shaikh Nuruddin (RA), in this way, cuts the very root of arrogant behavour of man in general and that of a Muslim in particular. These and other compositions of the Shaikh (RA) present the message of the Qur’an in Kashmiri parlance. It is no wonder then that his Shruks have been generally called Koshur Qur’an (the Qur’anic Message in Kashmiri) in the same way as Maulana Rumi’s Mathnawi has been termed as “hast Qur’an dar zaban-i pahalvi!”  


(The author is Assistant professor Islamic Studies, GDC Kokernag. Email:

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