The Historical Significance of Khanqah Estate in Sasaram’s Evolution

In the 17th century, Syed Shah Kabir-ud-Din Ahmed Darwish founded Khanqah Kabiriyah in Sasaram. Kabir-ud-Din was born in 1618 and came to Sasaram under the guidance of his spiritual mentor, Hazrat Najm-ud-Din Qadri Darwish. He was a direct descendant of the great Sufi Saint Hazrat Syed Abdul Qadir Gilani, with his family having migrated from Baghdad Sharif to Delhi. Shah Kabir was married to Hazrat Bibi Faheema, Hazrat Salimullah's daughter, who was from the progeny of Sayyid Imam Zain-ul-Abidin.

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The Shahabad region, steeped in spiritual significance, had been renowned for its deep-rooted spirituality. As the Suri Empire’s influence waned, a new era began to unfold in the Shahabad region, with Sasaram emerging as its vibrant center. During the early 1600s, Sasaram was a hub of renowned Islamic spiritual leaders, each with their own importance.

However, the spiritual landscape underwent a profound transformation with the establishment of Khanqah Estate also known as Khanqah Kabiriyah, marking a pivotal turning point. Khanqah Kabiriyah’s contributions were truly exceptional, with a focus on literature, higher education, social work, architecture, and politics. It established one of the earliest higher education institutions in India, opened schools, promoted poetry and literature, started a printing press, engaged in social work, participated in the construction of roads and bridges, and played a role in renovating historic places.

OʼMalley, mentioned in the Bengal Gazetteer that it was the most important institution in Bengal after the Mohsin Endowment. These endeavors played a significant part in the nation’s development, setting it apart from other Khanqahs primarily known for their spiritual practices. As a result, it attracted foreign travelers exploring India, such as Francis Buchanan, Lewis Sydney Steward O’Malley, Thomas Twining, William Tayler, Messrs. D. B. Allen, and many others, who documented their experiences in their books and journals.


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Khanqah Kabiriyah has been a perennial topic of discussion, its significance etching a lasting mark in the town’s history. While some might have forgotten its name, the streets and colonies in Sasaram bear witness to its enduring legacy. Places like Khanqah, Kabirganj, Khilanganj, Madarsa Road, Mohiuddin Ganj (now known as Mohaddiganj), Fazalganj, Daira Kabiriya, and Kabeer Colony all serve as a testament to its once-prominent presence.

In the 17th century, Syed Shah Kabir-ud-Din Ahmed Darwish founded Khanqah Kabiriyah in Sasaram. Kabir-ud-Din was born in 1618 and came to Sasaram under the guidance of his spiritual mentor, Hazrat Najm-ud-Din Qadri Darwish. He was a direct descendant of the great Sufi Saint Hazrat Syed Abdul Qadir Gilani, with his family having migrated from Baghdad Sharif to Delhi. Shah Kabir was married to Hazrat Bibi Faheema, Hazrat Salimullah’s daughter, who was from the progeny of Sayyid Imam Zain-ul-Abidin.

Khanqah Kabiriyah has a rich history of generous endowments from their followers and Mughal emperors, highlighting their deep respect and devotion to Hazrat Shah Kabiruddin. These donations played a pivotal role in sustaining the well-being of Khanqah Estate. As per the Bengal Gazetteer, Siyar ul Mutakherin, and other historical documents, Nawab Murtaza Khan made the first known donation to Khanqah Kabiriya Sahasram in 1716 by offering a Mouza, a type of administrative district or specific land area.

One year later, in 1717, Emperor Farrukhsiyar made a substantial contribution by gifting 18 Mouza to the shrine, granting them rent-free status. These lands were estimated to produce an annual income of a lakh of dams, roughly equivalent to Rs. 940 per year, and were designated for the expenses of the Khankah. In 1733, Nawab Fakruddin added to the endowment by donating 17 Mouza. Then, in 1762, Emperor Shah Alam made a significant addition by granting 41 villages to the shrine, which were estimated to yield an annual income of Rs. 3,000 and were also made exempt from revenue.

Soon, with all this land and power, the Khanqah Estate became like a mini Empire, influencing significant political changes in the Shahabad region.


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Syed Altamash Ahmad

Founder Taarikhnama