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RELIGION OF BALTIS                                                                                                                                                         

According to Mr. Hashmatullah the credit of the conversion of Baltis to Islam goes to

Syed Mohammad Noor Bukhsh, nephew and disciple of Syed Ali Hamadani, who visited Baltistan between 1438 and 1448 A.D. In 901 A.H.(1499 A.D) Mir Shamsuddin Iraqi arrived in Kashmir. However, Sufi says that Sheikh Shamsuddin Mohammad al-Isfahani, commonly know as Mir Shamsuddin Iraqi, who was a preacher from Talish, on the shores of Caspian, arrived Kashmir in 1487 A.D. On his expulsion from Kashmir he came to Baltistan and stayed for five or six year and on hearing about the murder of Syed Mohammad Baqi he went back to Kashmir in or about 1506A.D. he converted the people in this region to shia faith. The people who were converted to Islam by Syed Mohammad Noor Bukhsh , called themselved Noor-Bukhshis.

It seems necessary to reproduce the views of Biddulph also about relgion in this area. He writes:-

“The Noor Bukhsh sect, which has been before referred to, is peculiar to Baltistan, where it numbers over 20,000 followers, most of whom are to be found in Shigar and Khapoloo. It is apparently an attempt to form a via media between shiah and soonnee doctrines. Mohammedanism is said to have been first introduced into Baltistan according to Soonnee tenets by Syed Ali Hamadani. Later, a certain Syed Moahmmad Noor-Baksh, a native to9 samarcand, resided for sometime in Baltistan on his way ot Hindustan. He was succeeded by Syed Shamsuddin Iraqi, the disciple of Shah Kasim Fai Buksh, who was the son of Syed Mohammad Noor Buksh and he tried to convert the Baltis to Shia tenets,”

There is general belief that Baltis were converted to Islam by Syed Ali Hamadani.But it is nowhere proved from History that Syed Ali Hamadani ever paid a visit to Baltistan.Sufi is the view that Syed Hamadani visited Kashmir in (774 AH) 1372, (781 AH) 1379 and (785 AH) 1383 A.D.and went to Ladakh in 1381 A.D. (783 AH)  enroute  to Turkistan, Therefore, his visit to Baltistan is disproved.

We agree with Molvi Hashmatullah that it was Syed Mohammad Noor Buksh, a nephew and disciple of Syed Ali Hamadani. Who visited Baltistan and converted the people from: Buddhism to Islam.

The influence of Buddhist religion is reflected in the architecture of some of the Khanqas and mosques constructed in this region after the conversion of the people to Islam. The mosque at Thagas(Khaplu velley) is sstated tp be the first one constructed in this region and dates back to 1012 A.H. The Kanqah at Gamba Skardu dates back to 1130 A.H. The date of Shigar Khanqah could not be ascertained.One version is that this Khanqah wasconstructed by Raja Azam Khan (1755-1785 ) while another version is that it was constructed by Raja Hussain Khan (1785-1815 ). It is said that it was constructed later than the one at Gamba Skardu. The foundation of the Chaqchan mosque at Khaplu is said to have been laid by Syed Mohammad Noor Buksh who visited this area between 840 and 850 A.H. The mosque does not bear any date. The Khanqah at Keris bears the date of 1118 A.H.HHH

 

 

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