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Langar


In the year of 1911, Hazrat Syedna Pir Mehr Ali Shah (R.A) received an official invitation to participate in the Darbar held in Delhi (India) in order to celebrate the coronation of George V, King of England and Emperor of India. In reply, Hazrat (R.A) requested to be excused from such participation. Since Hazrat (R.A) had a wide following in all parts of British India, the Government earnestly wished him to attend the Darghah and felt truly concerned at this negative response from him. The British Commissioner of the Rawalpindi Division accordingly sent emissaries to Hazrat to persuade him to reconsider his decision. These included a Pathan magistrate Muzaffar Khan and a devotee of Hazrat named Shaikh Ahmad of Gurmani Village in the Muzaffargarh district.


These persons assured Hazrat that his comfortable two-way transportation would be fully taken care of, and that all he would be expected to do was to offer his salaam (salute) to the Emperor along with other religious leaders and to pray for the stability of the British regime. Hazrat Syedna Pir Mehr Ali Shah (R.A) was offered 400 square feet of fertile land and a big amount of money by them for the langar etc. of the students, and he was told that the Government considered Golra Sharif as a University where a large number of people from all parts of the sub-continent came for their guidance spiritually and in religious sciences (as in those days, funds were being provided to the Universities). Hence they tried to convince Hazrat (R.A) on this matter by providing every kind of reasons they had so that he accepts the invitation.


Hazrat Syedna Pir Mehr Ali Shah (R.A) remarked to them, I am a dervish and attendance of royal courts has never been looked upon with favour by dervishes. Nevertheless, since the present Government has not imposed any restriction upon the adherents of our true faith of Islam. I pray for the King from my abode here. He refused to accept the land and the money saying that, The One who provides food to all (Razzaq-e-kul i.e., Allah Almighty), will provide langar and facilities for all those coming here till the Day of Judgment.


It was the result of Hazrat's prayers that till now, thousands of people come here to visit and langar is served to all. Daily approximately 10,000 people are served daily. In Juma Prayers, it is much more. In the Urs days, the amount exceeds 4,00,000 people. This was the result of the Hazrat Pir Mehr Ali Shah’s (R.A) dua (prayer). Babu ji (R.A) maintained a langar where free food was served to the visitors pouring in all the times of the day. Free accommodation was easily accessible and the people were allotted rooms for their stay irrespectively of their caste, colour or creed. The practice continues till today.


Expanding the services of the Lungar

After the demise of Hazrat Ala Babu ji (R.A) strongly believed that those arriving were Hazrat sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani’s guests, and as such needed to be looked after and entertained in the best possible manner. The enactment of his spiritual belief continued right from Ajji Sahib’s (R.A) time to Babu ji’s (R.A) age and onwards. With the passage of time, it is expending and as the amenities of life increase so do the facilities offered at the Golra Shrine Guest houses.


Babu ji made it a point to regard every person who came to him for baiat (formal pledge of fidelity) as in reality Hazrat himself, and passed him (or her) on to Hazrat’s spiritual care. As for himself, he admitted to being no more than a servant of the Golra shrine, consecrated as it is to the memory of Hazrat Syedna Ghaus-e-Azam (R.A) emanating from it. Even though his own name became, in course of time, as much as of a household word as that of Hazrat Syedna Pir Mehr Ali Shah (R.A) himself, Babu ji never elevated himself to a position higher than the latter.


The underlying idea is that the people attending the Holy shrines or visiting the religious saints and Allah’s friends are either engaged in search of God, or are so engrossed and taken up by their own mental and spiritual problems and conflicting ties that they arrive at such places thinking these as a symbol of peace and contentment.


Above all, Babu ji (R.A) religiously fostered the belief that each guest was Gods creature, sent by God Himself. Maltreating such a creature would imply mistreating God Himself. Hence the visitors should be taken as a means of earning Allah’s blessings to be carried with grace as was done by the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H).Babu ji (R.A) believed that physical exhaustion and economic pressures do create a mental crisis for an ordinary human being. Caught in the earthly dichotomies, ones clarity of vision and spiritual pursuits are apt to get endangered. The traveller therefore needs to be provided with the basic facilities of food and shelter along with an unconditional show of kindness and generosity. Langar management at Golra Sharif bespeaks of such a philosophy.


Langar Ghousia Mehria


Babu ji (R.A) maintained a Langar where free food was served to the visitors pouring in all the times of the day. Free accommodation was easily accessible and the people were allotted rooms for their stay irrespectively of their caste, colour or creed. The practice continues till today. Talking about the practice of maintaining free langar, one needs to move a step further by interpreting the term langar not simply as comprehend in its usual sense but as it actually gets practiced by the hosts at Golra Sharif. The common conception is that langar is sought of Tabaruk (Holy giving) and need not be taken in terms of something humane and down to earth, i.e. a tiny morsel is all to be aspired for and expected to be received at the Holy shrine.


Service in the langar and at the periodic functions is partly voluntary and partly on a compensation basis. All institutions are well maintained and exceptionally well-run, and atmosphere at the ceremonial functions is in strict keeping with their spiritual dignity and the sanctity of the shrine itself.To cater to the needs of thousands who visit these shrines during the year, a langar (free kitchen), three spacious guest houses, and one guest annexed have been provided. In addition, many residents of Golra town voluntarily vacate parts of their houses to accommodate the numerous visiting devotees who attend the special ceremonial functions.


At Golra Sharif langar manifests itself in a wider context. The perspective out grows the usual practice and finds itself working in the practical, down - to earth facilities of offered. Free lodging and bordering, along with the special treatments offered in terms of breakfast, proper lunch, and dinner regardless of whether the visitors and residing at the guest houses or in the open yards. Three time servings are a must. The daily visitors living nearby and making short visits experience nothing less they too are served in the best possible manner.