Ashraf Jahangir Simnani

Ashraf Jahangir Simnani a saint lying buried at Jaunpur (North Province, India) who had some liaison with Bengal. His full name was Mir Sayyid Ashraf Jahangir Simnani. Though said to have been the son of a king, he preferred a saintly life. The word Mir appended to his name probably suggests his high ancestry, even if he did not belong to a royal family. He came to Bihar just when the famous saint Shaikh sharfuddin yahya maneri died in 1380 AD.

Ashraf Jahangir came to Bengal and became a disciple of SHAIKH alaul haq of Pandua. The latter was a Chishtiya saint and a disciple of SHAIKH akhi sirajuddin lying buried at gaur, and who was a disciple of Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi. Ashraf Jahangir passed six years at Pandua receiving training from his teacher. He became 30 spiritually developed that his teacher granted him khilafat and asked him to go back to his country and preach Islam there. Shaikh Ashraf visited various places in India and finally settled at Jaunpur and laid the foundation of the famous khanqah of Kachancha Sharif.

Shaikh Ashraf and Shaikh nur qutb alam of Pandua were fellow-students. Both of them received spiritual training from Shaikh Alaul Haq, father of Shaikh Nur Qutb. Some letters written by both Shaikh Ashraf and Shaikh Nur Qutb have been discovered, and they throw light on the ascendancy of raja ganesha in the politics of Bengal. During Ganesha's ascendancy Shaikh Nur Qutb Alam invited Sultan Ibrahim Sharqi of Jaunpur to invade Bengal and to free the Muslim kingdom from the clutches of Raja Ganesha. Nur Qutb Alam wrote a letter to Shaikh Ashraf Jahangir who was then living at Jaunpur, requesting him to induce the sultan of Jaunpur to invade Bengal. Shaikh Ashraf, in turn, wrote to the sultan of Jaunpur requesting him to invade Bengal.

Some writers erroneously hold that Shaikh Ashraf Jahangir Simnani died in 1405 AD. However, Shaikh Ashraf's letters suggest that he lived at least up to 1415 AD, which is the accepted date of the death of Shaikh Nur Qutb Alam. Ganesha grabbed power a little before his death. [Abdul Karim]

Bibliography Shaikh Abdul Haq Dehlavi, Akhbar-ul-Akhyar fi Asrar-ul-Abrar; Bengal Past and Present, LXVII, 1948; ME Haq, A History of Sufism in Bengal, Dhaka, 1975; Abdul Karim, Social History of the Muslims in Bengal, Chittagong, 1985.