The famous Dargah Kaliyar Sharif is now in existence for about 800 years. The arrival of Khwaja Makhdoom Alauddin Ahmed Sabir Pak popularly known as “Baba Sabir” at Kaliyar unfolds some interesting episodes of his life. It is said that after his father’s death, Sabir’s mother Hazrat-e-Hazra brought him to Pakpattan in 1204 A D where her brother Baba Farid lived. Eleven-year-old Sabir could make unusual predictions. One day, he predicted his grandfather’s death. Astonished by this revelation, his uncle asked: “Sabir, when you are here, how can you predict your grandfather’s death, who lives in Baghdad?” Sabir told his maternal uncle: “Right now when I was meditating, I saw my father’s face. He pointed his three fingers towards me which signals death.” Baba Farid believed him and said: “Child you are a saint by birth.” Thereafter, Baba Farid decided to teach Sabir lessons on worldly wisdom and declare him a scholar.
After three years of stay in Pakpattan, Sabir’s mother decided to return to Herat. Before leaving, she told Baba Farid: “This child talks less and eats less. So please take care. When I come back, I will like to marry him to your daughter.” Baba Farid was delighted to hear this.
Soon Baba Farid entrusted all the responsibilities of managing the bhandara (mass meals) to Sabir. Every morning, Sabir came out of his room, distributed meals and went back. Again in the evenings he would do the same. For about twelve years, he followed this practice and nobody ever saw him eating or drinking anything. When Baba Farid asked him why, Sabir replied: “When I was made responsible for the bhandara, I was only told to distribute food, so I did not eat. I survived on my soul’s strength.”
One day, a man saw Sabir crying in his room. When the man asked him the reason, Sabir said: “ Today, God has broken my bonds with the world and told me that from now onwards only divine men shall meet me.” After that day, nobody ever dared to go near Sabir.
On one auspicious day, Baba Farid tied a turban on his head and said: “Sabir you are the protector of `Kaliyar Sharif’. Go there and serve the men of God.”
Sabir Pak reached Kaliyar Sharif in 1253 A D. At Kaliyar, he stayed in the house of an old woman called Gulzadi. Soon his fame spread all over Kaliyar. Sabir started preaching the natives of Kaliyar about God and religion. He prayed day and night and had so much aura around him that people from far and near came to see him. The Qazi of Kaliyar Sharif, Tabrak, became so jealous that he began to poison people against him. Tabrak even spoke ill about Sabir to Rayees-e- Kaliyar (a rich and influential man). Rayees-e-Kaliyar decided to resolve this matter with Sabir on a Jume Raat (Thursday evening).
On one Jume Raat when Sabir was delivering his sermon at the masjid (mosque), Rayees-e-Kaliyar asked Sabir: “If you can tell me about my goat I lost three months back, I will acknowledge you the Imam (religious head).” Sabir clearly understood that his authenticity was being challenged. So he raised his hand towards the sky and said: “Those who have eaten the lamb, please come here.” As soon as he said this, 27 men appeared. When asked if they had eaten the lamb, they denied it. On repeated denials, Sabir asked Rayees-e-Kaliyar to call the lambs’ name. Rayees-e-Kaliyar shouted: “Harmana Harmana! Where are you?” Hearing this, the lamb screamed from the stomach of those men and feebly described how she was cut into pieces and feasted upon. This miracle created ripples but Rayees-e-Kaliyar and Tabrak called Sabir “a magician” and continued conspiring against him.
For a long time, Sabir tolerated this resentment. However, one day when Sabir was sitting with his peers in the first row to read namaz (prayer to Allah) the rich men of Kaliyar objected. A verbal dispute occurred and Sabir out of sheer anger cursed: “ All of you will die and this place will remain deserted.” Soon the mosque fell, and those inside, were crushed to death. There was utter chaos and trepidation everywhere. Only a Guler tree, a bee’s hive, a small piece of land and a graveyard survived the disaster.
The Sultan of Delhi, Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah, hearing the news of Kaliyar’s devastation, was so scared that he pleaded Baba Farid for protection. Baba Farid consoled him but instructed him to stay twelve kos away from Kaliyar.F or 12 years, Baba Sabir stood under the Guler tree which is still there in Kaliyar. People who visit Kaliyar light candles around this tree.
In 1435, another saint, Qutbe-Alam-Shah was born. It is believed that one day when Qutbe-Alam was sweeping the floor of his grandfather’s graveyard, an old man passed by and said: “Please sweep my graveyard also.” This old man was none other than Baba Sabir’s image. Alam realised that it was time for him to go to Kaliyar. But before leaving for Kaliyar, Qutbe-Alam prayed for 40 days. It is said that Baba Sabir’s soul was so impressed with his austere reverence and humility that he withdrew his curse, shunned his wrath and allowed everyone to visit Kaliyar.
From this day onwards, Kaliyar Sharif became a famous pilgrim spot. Qutbe-Alam built Baba Sabir’s grave and a mosque at Kaliyar and visited it every month. Today Qutbe-Alam’s descendant, Shah Mansoor Aijaz Sabri is the religious head of Kaliyar Sharif
Every Urs is celebrated with a lot of fanfare in the month of May-June in Kaliyar Sharif. After a glimpse of the moon of Rabi-ul-awwal, the head priest goes to his old house (in Kaliyar village). Inside the room, he reads Khatam Sharif and walks out with a plate on his head. The plate has mehndi and dori in it. Next he goes to the dargah and reads the Fatiha. After this the dori is distributed to everyone. Mushaira and Qawwali take place at the dargah and the mood is festive