By Muhammad Suleman

MULTAN, Sep 29 (APP)::Multan, known for its large collection of shrines within the short radius of twenty five miles, has hundreds of mausoleums of saints who preached Islam in the subcontinent with the message of love, peace, fraternity, tolerance and religious harmony.

Although the city had more than 100,000 shrines, but presently, around 3000 to 4000 of them are being visited by people on regular basis.

The historic city of Multan is said to be 5000 B.C old which has also been declared as sister city of Rome.

The shrine of Hazrat Shah Rukn-e-Alam is thronged by people mostly devotees throughout the year. A devotee, Ismaeel, 63, in the hottest of summer at 2:00 pm, who reached Shah Rukn-e-Alam’s grave from Kamalia, district Toba Tek Singh, was praying for the success of his son Mudassar, 22, in his intermediate examination.

The spiritual happiness appearing through their faces was immeasurable, as to them Almighty Allah’s blessings come over Sufis graves all the time as they had illuminated the world through holy preaching throughout their lives.

“I use to come here twice a month, for my teacher Qari Mahboob says shrines are source of merriment,” said Muhammad Akhtar, a student of Jamia Khair-ul-Maad after completing his nafal prayer beside Shah Rukn-e-Alam’s grave.

In addition to devotees, common visitors like Safia bibi reached here from DG Khan to witness the inspiring layout of the shrine which is typical of Suhrawadi tombs, with three entrances, a western-facing mehrab, and an original main entrance on the southern axis.

The mausoleum of Hazarat Shah Rukn-ud-din Alam Abul Fateh, commonly known as Shah Rukn Alam Suhrawadi, the grandson of Hazrat Ghous Bahauddin Zakariya is a three-tiered structure, quite different from the nearby Shrine of Bahauddin Zakariya and other earlier shrines which rest upon a square shaped base. Born on Ramzan 9, 735, his forefathers had arrived from Makkah to Khwazam.

According to Arshad, an official of Auqaf Department, around 2000-3000 devotees and visitors come to the shrine of Shah Rukn-e-Alam mostly on Thursday, Friday and Sunday and 1500-2000 people on other days of the week.

They are welcomed with traditional green chaddar worn at the mausoleum’s entry gate by some volunteers who remain at the entry point in 24/7.  

The Shah Rukn-e-Alam’s grave is surrounded by 72 graves of his descendants, with magnificent interior decorated with elaborate tile work subsequently covered in plaster.

Sources in Auqaf department said that over 90 percent devotees belong to Sindh while the rest of the people belong to Southern districts of Punjab. The shrine is considered to be the earliest example of Tughluq architecture.

They further said it attracts over 100,000 pilgrims to the annual Urs festival that commemorates his death. The tomb is situated at the northwestern edge of the Multan Fort.

Located in the ancient city of Multan, the tomb was built when Ghiyath al-Din served as governor of Dipalpur. According to online encyclopedia, the tomb was built between 1320 and 1324 CE by Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq in the pre-Mughal architectural style.

The city district government is offering foolproof security for three days of the Urs. The arrangements for accommodation of deovtees, gathered here from across the country, are made at nearby schools and colleges. The authorities also announce local holiday in the district on last day of the Urs. 

Auqaf Administrator Zia-ul-Mustafa in this regard said the 704th Urs would be conducted on 5th to 7th Jamadi-ul-Awal like every year.  There are lectures and speeches arranged through religious scholars and sufi leaders, a mehfil naat,
mehfil sama, dhamal etc. are regular features of the occasion.

Visitors fill the grand hall in the shrine basement throughout the night listening to naats and qawalis. Moreover, on the occasion, special prayers for peace, prosperity and development of the country and unity of Ummah are also offered.