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Sunday, May 10, 2020

My Nānihāl … 2

Syed Iftikhar Husain was my Nana Jan. His father was Afzal Ali who traced his roots back to Hazrat Ali's son, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyah. He was the third son of Hazrat Ali', and was born to his 6th wife, Khaula Binté Ja'fariya, who was the daughter of Jafar Hanafiyah. 

Muhammad's surname was taken from his mother's family of Banu Hanifa. When I was helping edit Ziauddin Kirmani's book on the Prophet ('The Last Messenger with a Lasting Message') he mentioned that a group among some Muslims did not like Muhammad at all. This is because he was sent by Hazrat Husain to Khalifa Yazeed after hearing that Yazeed was very immoral and extremely nepotistic. He came back and told Hazrat Husain that while Yazeed was nepotistic, he was not - otherwise - an immoral person. In addition, when Hazrat Husain wanted to go to Karbala, Muhammad advised him to not go. But Hazrat Husain did go and was killed at the Battle of Karbala.

While all the sets of Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyah's children write Syed before their name, considering that Hazrat Ali's children should all be Syeds, many people agree that word 'Syed' was only applied to Hazrat Ali's children from Bibi Fatima, since she was also the daughter of the Prophet. This, certainly, is also a controversial notion: Hazrat Usman (written in Arabicized English as Uthman) was married to two of the Prophet's daughters. His children most generally don't write Syed.

(I have really no idea what all this means because the Arabic News when Gandhi died mentioned him as Syed Gandhi and also mentioned Nehru Ji as Syed Nehru when he met their King.)

Afzal Ali had three sons (Ba∂ay Abba, Altaf Ali, Iftikhar Husain) and three daughters. The daughter's names are not mentioned in the shajrah that I have. They were called dukhtar here (and bibi in their husband's shajrah). Not much use: All names must be written, if you decide to write your shajrah on the net or on paper!

Ba∂ay Abba … that's what Ummi and Māmooñ Jan called him! I couldn't remember his name. I now know from an old shajrah that he was Riaz Husain Alvi and was born on 5th April 1848.

He was a really strange person and stayed separately in an outhouse that he preferred. He was also a bit of an Afeemchi (=Opium taker). Apparently he gave up before his later life, well before he was married. He did travel for Hajj with one of his maternal aunts but came back to his outhouse.

Ba∂ay Abba did go out often for a walk … and fell in love with a Mughal neighbour's daughter (who didn't know about this, of course). He would walk past her house where she used to swing in the garden.

One evening - imagine this is just over 150 years ago!!! - he was walking past her house and 'grabbed' the Mughlani from her swing and took her to his outhouse. Her servant informed her father who came to Nana Jan and was terribly upset and angry.

Nana Jan said that he is my eldest brother and while I apologise to you here, there is very little I can do. Nana Jan finally put his cap on the father's foot (an old tradition of respect and pleading) and said if you agree I will ask him to marry her right away. This was agreed upon.

Nana Jan went to his elder brother's outhouse and said that he has to marry the girl right away. I am sure Ba∂ay Abba must have been thrilled and agreed … so they were married. Wow!

Ba∂ay Abba had a son by this wife who was named Agha (to make sure that her Mughal relationship was confirmed somehow in the shajrah). His first wife gave birth to Moonis, Mateen, Musharraf. He also married again - after his first wife's death - within his own biradari, and had three children from his second wife: Murtaz, Murshid-un-nisa, Mursil-un-nisa.

Altaf Ali (another Deputy Collector!) was very disturbed at his father's death. He lived peacefully until his own death. He was a wonderful person and a blogpost about him will be put up soon.

Nana Jan had three older sisters. 

The eldest sister, Ummé Mumtaz, had a son, Qazi Iftikhar Ahmed, who was married to Wasi-un-Nisa. Among her children are Shakeela, Jalees, and Saghira. They will be mentioned in this series on another blogpost.

The second sister, Umme Ahmad Ali Alvi, was married in to a rich family who settled in a large gāuñ where a train stopped. She had two sons: Mumtaz Ahmad (Kallan) and Iftikhar Ahmad (Chuttan).

The story that we heard was that her sons would go to the station when a train came in. They would see if there was someone whose family or friends hadn't arrived to receive them. If there were people like that, they'd be brought to their home for dinner. Later they would trace their families/friends and leave them there.

The family was extremely strong Muslims. After the cooks had prepared their meal they'd serve it and then join them and eat with them.

When her husband died there was a battle over property. Finally the sons agreed to divide it 'in half' , and, as a result, almost everything was halved 'properly'. If for example there was a teapot, it had to be cut in half and divided. To me this sounds like a legend but some members of my family believed this to be true. This part of the story was always told to the children so that they understood how not to behave :)

The third sister, Umme Shafique, also Nana Jan's favourite sister, was married to Maqbool Hasan Alavi. Children: Nisar-un-Nisa, Inam-un-Nisa, Shafique Hasan.
— Nisar Fatima was married to Shahid Husain Kidwai, a close friend of Nana Jan. Children: Zakia, Razia, Reshad, Attiya, Fuad.
— Inam Fatima was married to Sheikh M Habibullah, another close friend of Nana Jan. Children Ali Bahadur, Inayat (once written as Enaith), Isha'at, Tazeen.
— Shafiq-ul-Hasan was married to Asrar-un-Nisa (aka Saira). Children: Qamar, Shams, Suraiya, Najma (aka Safia)

This sister's children will be on another blogpost.

Nana Jan's children were: Shamim (died young); Vasim. Married to Asad Ali Qidwai (No children); Kishwar. Married to Azhar Kidvai (they had Kehkeshan, a daughter who died in infancy; Me); Arif. Married to Safiya. (No children); Asaf. Married to Sarwar (Amir, Khalid, Nuzhat, Tariq, Belal, Shariq).

My next blogposts will focus on my immediate family
followed by my cousins and their children.

Aisha Amir Ahmed
Farhan Hafeez Kermani
 Muneeza Shamsi
Shama Habibullah
Tanveer Fatima,
Iram Ansari
Tauqeer Kirmani
Sami Ansari
Roohi Abbasi

Thank you all for your help.

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Blogger Farhan Kidwai said...

Interesting. Waiting for your next post. My dadas sister Naseem Fatima ( daughter of Sheikh Mohsin Ali of Juggaur) was married in Kakori Alavi family. Had three sons, Sharaf Ather who lived in England, Iqbal Ather, lived in Belgium. He was posted in Belgium as Pakistan's Ambassador, and Jamal Ather who was in Bangladesh

10 May, 2020 11:14

Blogger Fhk said...

I'm.from that family. Azhar ali alavi ( Ajja mian) was my nanis sagay Mamoon.v

10 May, 2020 16:45

Blogger Fhk said...

Many thanks for all this update on your family. It's a pleasure reading your blog and also for mentioning me.

10 May, 2020 16:46

Blogger romanaankh @gmail said...

Such an interesting account,and your funny comments,but so informative

10 May, 2020 17:02

Blogger Fhk said...

The reason why Arabs added Syed with Gandhi is because the word means a noble man. Normally they say al saidi. In UAE they pronounce it as an see-thee

10 May, 2020 21:25

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Fhk - I know that. It's really not the Syed that we seem to mean here.

11 May, 2020 12:13

Blogger Fhk said...

Haha of course. Our syeds are the chosen ones.

13 May, 2020 16:30

Blogger Shahid Alvi said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

23 May, 2020 01:53

Blogger Shahid Alvi said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

23 May, 2020 01:54

Blogger Shahid Alvi said...

Salam Zaheer chacha,
Hope you are very well.
I have learned so much about my family.
Grateful sir.
Best regards.

23 May, 2020 01:57

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Dear Shahid Alvi - So good to hear from you. Please share the Shajrah with me on my What's App account +923008237911 and once the Covid is ever over do visit us. Love.

23 May, 2020 10:32


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