Ameer Kabeer Meer Syed Ali Hamdani was a great saint, schlor, and a religious leader of the 8th century Hijri. He was also a philosopher, writer and traveller. An intellectual of repute, he was never hesitant to exchange social and religious views with other scholars irrespective of their race, creed and caste of all the countries he visited to. He enlightened the masses about the universal brotherhood, equality and brought them to the path of spritualism. Raised their social and economical standard. This is particularly true of Kashmir. Shah Hamdan contributed much for mobilization of Islamic faith all over the world through his teachings, publications and personal propagation.
Hazrat Amir Kabeer Ali Sani, Mir Syed Ali Hamdani, was born in Hamadan (Iran) on 14th of Rajab 714 H (1312 B.C.). Syed Shahabuddin his father was decedent of Imam Hussain and his mother Fatima was decedent of Imam Hassan Hamadan is a famous city in western Iran. It was founded in 800 BC as Ecbatana (Hagmatana) and ever since retained its fame particularly as centre of Islamic thinkers, philosophers and saints.
Syed Ali Hamadani at a young age mastered in all the available knowledge in Theology, Philosophy and Sufism and travelled extensively seeking knowledge and practicing spiritualism till he became a scholar of repute, a mystic and a perfect saint. He spent his life in propagating Islam and undertook several extensive tours through difficult terrains and over hazardous routes.
Syed Ali Hamdani came to Kashmir for the first in 774H (1372 B.C.) with the message of complete submission to only one God and blessed the people with the true teaching of the Prophet (SAW). This visit lasted for 4 to 6 months. During this brief stay he held intellectual and spiritual debates with scholars and priests of temples.
Few Muslim saints, traders and soldiers (Abdul Rahman Qalander, Shah Meer, Jalaldine) came before Shah Hamdan to Kashmir, during the reign of Raja Harish and Rachan Shah in (339 H), but there was very little impact.
The second visit lasted for two and a half years (781 H to 784 H) (1378 to 1381 A.D.) When he was accompanied by 700 Missionaries. The third visit lasted for a year in 785 H (1383 A.D). He left via pakhle and breathed his last at the age of 71 years on wednesday night the 6th of zil-hajja 786 h (19th january, 1385 a.d.) at Kuz (Sawad) Pakistan in 786 H. His earthly remains were taken by Sheikh Qavam-u-Din Badakhshi to Dushamba (Khatlan) in Tajkistan.
This was the time when major part of Asia was ruled by 'Tatars' and Hind especially by Tuglaqs and our medieval nation was going through misery and depression of poverty, ignorance, corruption and was fractured apart by caste system. This was the time when Kashmiris were tortured by monopoly of black magic practiced by hundreds of monks and high priests of great temples.
Meer Syed Ali Hamadani freed Kashmiri nation from living in fear, uncertainty, ignorance, inequality of caste system and poverty. He brought new hope, new life of living in peace, with respect, dignity, and equal human rights, in just and fair society. He revolutionized the Kashmiri society by propagation of Islamic teachings and brought prosperity, stability and tranquility for the first time to our nation.
Syed Ali Hamadani not only uplifted Kashmiri nation morally and spiritually but also socially and economically. He brought highly skilled technicians, engineers and architects among his missionaries from different parts of world (Persia, China, Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Russia) to Kashmir, who taught Kashmiris architecture, agriculture, engineering, different handicrafts, for which Kashmir has become famous ever since.
Kashmiri's became highly skilled artists in different handicrafts like pashmina-sazi (Kashmir fabric), carpet manufacture, shawl making, Chinstitch, Paper-mashi, wood carving, silver and copper wear and their carving, book binding, calligraphy, embroidery work, needle work, ( Suzankari) and so on.
Hamadani was not only a religious but also a civil and social reformer. He taught Kashmiri's the ways of civil administration within a just society with a sprit of communal harmony, universal brotherhood, honesty and equality as is evident also through his writings, particularly through his celebrated book
Hamadani was also a great traveller. He travelled almost round the world three times over. He also travelled to all parts of Kashmir, Leh (Ladakh), Askardoo, Gilgat. Wherever he went he opened manor houses, shrines (Mosques), libraries and industrial units of handicrafts especially in Kashmir, Russia, China, Indonesia, Srilanka, North of India and Pakistan. He started his International Islamic Mission in 738 H at the age of 24 and travelled to Asian countries far and wide where Muslims mostly suffered from lack of understanding the Shariat and also due to ideological differences that emerged from different interpretations of Shariat. He cleared them by discussions with local scholars and through his writings and teachings.
Syed Ali Hamadani was a prolific writer of Arabic and Persian and about 172 writings in the form of books and treatises are credited to him. Most of his writings in the form of manuscripts are found in all the famous libraries of the world.