Hazratbal Shrine

Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir

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The Hazratbal Shrine is a Muslim shrine in Hazratbal, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India. It contains a relic, the Moi-e-Muqqadas, believed by many Muslims of Kashmir to be a hair of Muhammad. The name of the shrine comes from the Urdu word Hazrat, meaning "respected", and the Kashmiri word bal, meaning "place". Thus it means the place which is given high regards and is respected among the people.

According to legend, the relic was first brought to India by Syed Abdullah, a purported descendant of Muhammad who left Medina and settled in Bijapur, near Hyderabad in 1635.

When Syed Abdullah died, his son, Syed Hamid, inherited the relic. Following the Mughal conquest of the region, Syed Hamid was stripped of his family estates. Finding himself unable to care for the relic, he sold it to a wealthy Kashmiri businessman, Khwaja Nur-ud-Din Eshai.

However, when the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb came to know of what had transpired, he had the relic seized and sent to the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer, and had Khwaja Nur-ud-Din Eshai imprisoned in Delhi for possessing the relic. Later, realizing his mistake, Aurangzeb decided to restore the relic to Khwaja Nur-ud-Din Eshai and allowed him to take it to Kashmir. However, by that point, Khwaja Nur-ud-Din Eshai had already died in imprisonment. In the year 1700, the relic finally reached Kashmir, along with the body of Khwaja Nur-ud-Din Eshai. There, Inayat Begum, daughter of Khwaja Nur-ud-Din Eshai, became a custodian of the relic and established the shrine. Since then her male descendats have been caretakers of the relic.

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