Marehra has been the heart throb of millions of Sunni Muslims around the world right from the time of Mughal emperor Jehangir. The great seer and the direct descendant of the Holy Prophet, Mir Abdul Jaleel Bilgrami settled in Marehra around eleventh century and his spiritual circle covered the entire region of Braj (from Agra to Bareilly), Rohailkhand (from Bareilly to Kanpur), Awadh (from Kanpur to Kalpi) and Bundel Khand (from Kalpi to Jhansi). His was a dynasty of established scholars, well recognized poets in Braj, Hindustani, Urdu, Persian and Arabic.
One of the descendents of Mir Abdul Jaleel Bilgrami was Syed Sahib-e-Alam whom the great Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib called his Pir-o-Murshid and wrote several letters to him. In these letters, Mirza Ghalib yearned to go to Marehra and enjoy its tasty plums and sweet mangoes. But he could not manage to reach Marehra and fulfill his aspirations. His book “Ood-e-Hindi” is reported to have been compiled in Marehra by the prolific scholar like Syed Sahib-e-Alam. Shah Barkatullah, the great grandson of Mir Abdul Jaleel Bilgrami was a versatile poet in Braj and Persian. His collective works in Braj Bhasha entitled Pem Prakaas have been an inspiration for many scholars, both Hindu and Muslim, to obtain their doctorate on Shah Barkatullah. The Diwan-e-Ishqui is the collective work of Shah Barkatullah alias Ishqui Marehravi in Persian. He was also a great musician with extra ordinary expertise in sitar and Ragas. He was the principal link in the chain of Sufism in India.
He ruled the spiritual horizon at a time when the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir was ruling the country from Delhi. In the beginning, Shah Barkatullah followed the Chishti order of Sunni Mysticism in India. Later he went to Kalpi where Syed Shah Fadhlullah baptized him in Qadiri order. From then onwards Shah Barkatullah adopted the Qadiri Silsila as his medium of baptism. He was a true secular seer having his disciples both among Hindus and Muslims. His spiritual lineage became known as Barkaati Silsila. Shah Barkatullah’s legacy was carried out by his noble son Shah Aley Muhammad. Since he was the eldest son of Shah Barkatullah, he was known as Sarkar-e-Kalan. Shah Aley Muhammad dedicated himself to meditation and Dhikr. His son, the third Qutub of Marehra, namely Syed Shah Hamza was a remarkable author who wrote many treatises on various Islamic Mystical subjects. His famous works are Kaashiful Astaar and Fassul Kalimaat. Shah Hamza was also a great poet.
His Qaseeda (eulogy) in praise of Hazrat Sheikh Abdul Qaadir, the great seer of Baghdad is well recognized among Sunni circles all over the world. Shah Hamza’s son Syed Shah Aley Ahmad Achchey Miyan possessed a miraculous personality. He cured the ailing masses through his spiritual powers and became so popular that the town of Marehra came to be known as the Marehra of Achchey Miyan. He had special fascination towards the great seer of Baghdad known as Ghaus-e-Azam. He handed over his caliber to his youngest nephew Hazrat Syed Shah Ghulam Muhiyuddin Amir-e-Alam who held a ministerial post in the court of the ruler of Awadh Nawab Amjad Ali Shah.Shah Achchey Miyan declared him his vice-regent in the spiritual field. The eldest brother of Shah Amir-e-Alam namely Syed Shah Aley Rasool Ahmadi was a spiritual doyen of high caliber. He embodied the dynamics of Chishti and Qadri order. His disciples included great personalities of their times like A’lahazrat Imam Ahmad Reza Khan, the Muhaddith of Bareilly who has been revered by the Sunni sect all over the world. He also baptized Syed Hussain Ashraf of Kichhochha in the Sufi order and conferred upon him his Khilafat in Qadri Silsila. Syed Hussain Ashraf was the last Khalifa of Shah Aley Rasool, popularly known as Khatimul Akabir, the last of the greats. He was followed by Hazrat Shah Abul Hussain Ahmad-e-Noori alias Miyan Sahab who was the last Qutub of Marehra dynasty. Thus the Dargah of Shah Barkatullah is a unique monastery where seven saints in the category of Qutub lay under one dome.
Hazrat Miyan Sahab was the Spiritual Guru of great Sunni Scholar of Bareilly, Hazrat Shah Mustafa Reza Khan, known as Mufti-e-Azam-e-Hind. (Click here for more information : http://www.razaacademy.com/spiritual.html ) Hazrat Noori Miyan was the author of many books on various topics. His treatise on mysticism entiltled Sirajul Awarif is well recognized among the elite Sufi circles. He also wrote Al-Noor Wal Baha which contains the hierarchy of narrators of Hadith right upto the Holy Prophet. The seat of Hazrat Noori Miyan was inherited by his cousin Syed Shah Mehdi Hasan Sahab who was very much revered by the rulers of princely states like the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Nawab of Farkhabad and the Nawab of Rampur State. Syed Shah Mehdi Hasan denounced the world and always lost in spiritual thoughts. People regarded him as a Majzoob, one who absorbs the light of the Almighty. Syed Shah Mehdi Hasan had no male issue to inherit his worldly and spiritual property. He declared his sister’s son as his heir apparent. Syed Shah Aley Mustafa alias Syed Miyan was very much on the footsteps of his uncle and mentor Shah Mehdi Hasan. He too denounced the worldly comforts and dedicated himself to the service of Islam. Popularly known as Syedul Ulema, he proved himself to be a real Dervish. He was a registered medical practitioner in Unani medicine with a Diploma in Indigenous Medicine and Surgery from the famous Tibbia College of Aligarh Muslim University. The Syed Miyan of Marehra was also an established Aalim and Mufti of his time. He obtained his post graduation degree in Islamic Studies from Ajmer and Lahore. His Fatwas were produced in the High Court of Bombay to settle the property disputes or Talaq issues. He was the community Qazi of the Bakr Qassab Jama’t in Mumbai and was their Imam as well.
The Syed Miyan was the Founder-President of the All India Sunni Jamiatul Ulema which enjoyed a principal position among the organizations for the religious, cultural and political welfare of Indian Muslims. He was the Sajjadah-Nasheen and Mutawalli of Dargah Shah Barkatullah in Marehra. He toured almost every part of the country and communicated to the masses the message of oneness and brotherhood. He authored three books namely, Muqaddas Khatoon, Nai Roshni and Faiz-e-tambih. The Syed Miyan was a versatile Urdu poet of high standard. He belonged to the famous lineage of Dagh Dehlavi through his poet uncle and the most favourite disciple of Dagh, named Hazrat Ahsan Marehravi. Syed Shah Aley Mustafa left his legacy to be handled by his only son Syed Shah Aley Rasool Hasnain Nazmi. A popular poet, an all-round prolific writer, an experienced journalist, Nazmi graduated from the National Islamic University of Delhi, the Jamia Millia Islamia with English literature and Islamic Studies as his main subjects of studies. He joined civil service as Assistant Journalist in the Press Information Bureau of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. He served the nation in various high grade capacities in different departments of the Union Government including All India Radio and Directorate General of Field Publicity. While serving in Shillong as Additional Director General, he opted for voluntary retirement in August 2002, five years before the date of superannuation. As an author Nazmi has got a remarkable record. He penned over 36 books in English, Urdu and Hindi covering different branches of Islamic Studies. Nazmi earned a name in writing poems in praise of the Holy Prophet and other great seers. He has published several compilations of his poems. The most remarkable contribution of Nazmi’s pen is the Hindi translation of the Holy Quran.
He has also written an encyclopedic dictionary of the Glorious Quran covering first 2 ½ chapters of the Holy Book. This commentary in English entitled Nazm-e-Ilahi has been included in the curriculum of several Madarsa in UK and Malavi. He has also written a handbook for the field workers of Sunni Dawat-e-Islami Nazmi entitled ‘Islam the Religion Ultimate’. Besides, his books ‘Destination Paradise’, ‘Gateway to Heaven’, ‘The Great Beyond’ ‘The Way to Be’ are in regular circulation among Sunni circles. His Urdu book ‘Kya Aap Jante Hain’ is a wonderful book on Islamic knowledge and is included in the syllabus of many Islamic Madarsas all over India. The Hindi translation of the book is also available in the market. Nazmi, like his father, is the Sajjadah-Nasheen and Mutawalli of the Dargah Shah Barkatullah in Marehra. Nazmi is a multi-lingual man with a close access to Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Hindi, English, Gujarati, Sanskrit and Marathi languages. Nazmi has appointed his eldest son Syed Shah Sibtain Haider as his vice-regent and heir apparent to inherit the twin Gaddi of Nooriya and Amiriya order. Sibtain Miyan has graduated from the Arabic University Al-Jamiatul Ashrafia of Mubarakpur. He is an orator par excellence and is very popular among the Sunni youths. Like his grand father Syed Miyan, Sibtain Haider also tours various parts of the country enlightening the masses with the message of love and spiritual bliss. Sibtain Miyan believes in revolutionizing the thought process of the Sunni youths and make them responsible citizens of the Islamic cosmos. He lays stress on education especially technical education so that Muslim youth may compete others in almost all socio-political and cultural spheres. He has founded Jamia Aley Rasool (proposed multi-purpose seminary) in his native town Marehra with the sole objective of cultivating a crop of useful and competent Islamic scholars who could lead the community towards brighter horizons. Syed Sibtain Haider can be termed as the Lighthouse of Marehra, the ancient seat of seers and sires.
The small town of Marehra boasts itself of being the homeland of world’s great mathematician Dr. Sir Ziyauddin Zuberi upon whom the Crown conferred the knighthood for his extra-ordinary genius in the field of mathematics. Dr. Sir Ziyauddin was a member of the academic council of Aligarh Muslim University.
Marehra is a city and a municipal board in Etah district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh near Aligarh. As of 2001 India censusGRIndia, Marehra had a population of 17,772. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Marehra has an average literacy rate of 40%, lower than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 49%, and female literacy is 30%. In Marehra, 18% of the population is under 6 years of age.