by Muhammad Khaliq
On March 23, 2005 at approximately one o’clock in the afternoon, Din Mohammad an Afghan national, working for the AKF and I left Baharak for Yamgan valley where we had to make some arrangements for the opening ceremony of a school in Eskon village which the AKF had built. The spring season was in full swing, the fields were lush green and layers of yellow muster flowers added more natural beauty to the Baharak village. I was impatient, I wanted to reach Yamgan as quickly as possible not because I was running out of time for the preparation of the school opening ceremony, but rather I was going to visit an historical place, which I had heard a lot about and had waited a long time to visit; the historical place was Hazrat Syed village where Hakim Abu Moin known more commonly as Nasir Khusraw’s tomb was situated. It was here in this village that he had spent the most productive part of his life. As the car drew ever closer to our destination, different types of images of the village and the tomb that I had envisaged came to my mind in full panorama.
Soon we were in the Jurm district of Badakhshan province, which is in the east of Bharak; I noticed that from place to place farmers had destroyed the wheat fields. At first I thought the wheat crops may have not germinated and for that reason the farmers were trying to cultivate other crops, but when I looked more carefully I saw that the fields had fully germinated crops and the crops themselves also looked healthy. I could not comprehend the matter and so to satisfy my curiosity I asked Din the reason. Din being a polite and cautious character didn’t tell me anything and only said “Khaliq Sahib in masla degar asth” it is another matter. Later I understood that the farmers were destroying the wheat crops to replace them with a crop of poppies ‘the brown gold’. The previous year the growing of poppies as a crop was fully banned, so perhaps this spring they might have got a green signal from some high government authorities. Destroying the wheat field to me was an act of destroying ethics of the society and had a direct link in the planning of the destruction of humanity. As I had predicted because of this callous act more people would become addicted to opium and heroine.
After a couple of meetings with the District Government Officials in Jurm District headquarters we left for the Yamgan valley, by the time we reach Hazrath Syed village it was already dark.
The next morning I woke up early and went for a morning constitutional walk, the early spring morning in Hazrath Syed village was a bit chilly but beautiful, crisp and clear. I looked at the valley, it was a narrow valleysurrounded by arid mountains and where ever the water channels could be reached the land had been irrigated either from the spring water or water from the river. On the right hand side of the valley on the eastern slope above the traditional mud houses I saw a white building with traditional shrine flags, I understood that this was the tomb of Hakim Nasir Khusraw ‘the ruby of Badakhshan’.
I returned to the guesthouse, Shiva the AKF guest house manager in Hazarth Syed village guided Din and me through the zigzag streets of the village to the tomb. When we reached the bottom of the rock where the tomb was situated Shiva left the narrow path and went toward a house just below the path. Here Shiva knocked at the door which was opened by a boy; the boy disappeared inside and soon returned with a key. On his return Shiva told us the story that Hakim Nasir Khusraw himself had assigned the responsibility of taking care of his Masjid and tomb to this family before his death, so since that time this particular family had been taking care of the tomb.
After four minutes gentle climb we reached the tomb, this was the place I had dreamed of visiting on more than one occasion, at last here it was just in front of me.
The tomb was of the poet, philosopher, scholar and traveler Abo Moin Hamid-u-din Nasir Bin Khusraw (1004-188 AD), whom I am a fervent admirer of his and have always been impressed by his ideology. This was the tomb of the divine guided scholar who started his famous seven year journey to seek knowledge and to search for truth. By the time he returned from his travels he was completely changed, his beliefs had changed, his knowledge had increased and above all he had been assigned responsibility for preaching in Khurasan and Badakhshan by the Fatimid caliph and Imam of the time Al-mustansirbillah. This was the scholar who through his writings and philosophical teachings clearly linked the material and spiritual worlds. His natural scientific ideas are still valid today, such as the theory or creation of the universe in which he describes that the universe came into its solid form from energy. Because of his beliefs he was compelled to leave his family and belongings but would not be compromised on telling the truth. This was mainly because the knowledge he imparted was so advanced that the people of that time could not comprehend it and on this basis opposed him. He bore the hardship but did not compromise at any time on telling what he believed to be the truth.
We walked toward the tomb, I placed my hands on the gate as part of the tradition relating to entry and I entered the tomb. It had been built in traditional style, a two portion building, the first portion is like a balcony, where there are two of his family members buried. The actual tomb is inside a 3 X 4 metres in sized room, where there are two graves: Hakim Nasir Khusraw and his brothers’ Hazrath Syed. Hakim Nasir Khusraw’s grave was covered with a curtain. On the tomb ceiling boards Koranic verses (Ayat) have been calligraphed. Some utensils and a lamp stand were on display in the balcony portion, while his book box and other materials associated with him were inside the tomb. After a brief prayer for his great soul, I started curiously looking at the things inside the tomb. The boy showed us a wooden box saying that Hakim Nasir’s books and copy of the Holy Koran were taken from this very box during the regime of Mohammad Zahir Shah the former king of Afghanistan and people of this area belive that this inapproperate action caused fall of Zahir Shah. Adjoining the tomb is a small Masjid.
I tried to see inside the curtain to see how the grave actually looks, but I was unable to see because of the dark, I flashed my digital camera to see and also take some images, when the picture appeared on the screen there were boulders (round stones) and freshly dug soil. This revealed that the grave had been recently damaged by grave diggers (in Afghanistan people are digging graves in search of antiquities). Seeing the damage to the grave I was shocked, my conscience responded to satisfy me; “Khaliq! Hakim Nasir Khusraw doesn’t reside in this mud grave, as he himself believed it and preached that the Almighty Creator has created human beings from the combination of matter and soul (Nafs). The reason for this is to provide the opportunity for the soul to identify its imperfection and to try to correct this through seeking knowledge and wisdom. Once the period of this combination breaks, matter and soul return to their original places. The body joins the earth and soul joins the universal soul (Nafsi Kul). He is now part of the universal soul. For me he exists in the form of love and respect for him and the ethics and knowledge he has enriched and inspired in me and through me.
We returned from the tomb thinking of his time and his contribution of knowledge to the greater world and for the greater good of humanity. I told myself, the Afghan Government has named the teacher pedagogical institute after him and an Afghan politician has established an Institute and library using his name. What more therefore can I do to spread his message?
The contributor is an educationist currently based in Afghanistan. He belongs to Shimshal Valley of Gojal Hunza.