Khoja Ubaidulla Ahrar

Khoja Ubaidulla Ahrar – Sufi Saint, Thinker, Miracle Worker

Khoja Ubaidulla Ahrar is not the saint’s own name. People began to call him by that name for his good deeds when he was already matured. His name was Khoja Ubaidulla.

He was born in a mountain kishlak of Bogiston near Tashkent in the 806 year of hegira (1404) According to a legend the boy was born at the “night of predestination” in the month of Ramadan, when Allah sent the holy Koran to Prophet Muhammad. His mother’s family line descended to the sacred house of the second blessed caliph Omar. Khoja Ahrar’s father Khoja Mahmud was a younger brother of Khoja Muhammad, a Khoja Shakhobiddin Baki-Bagdadi’s son who was famous for his scholarship. He was an insider of the Sufi teaching.

The Khoja Ahrar’s family chronicle runs that the blessed Khoja Shakhobiddin before his death called Khoja Makhmud, Khoja Ahrar’s father and asked him to bring him his grandson. Khoja Ahrar was still a baby at that time. When he was brought to his grandfather, the latter taking him in his hands pronounced with tears of tenderness in his eyes - “Oh how regretful it is for me to die and not to see him in his palmy days! He will be a God’s favorite and will be able to work wonders, and kings will be asking him for advice”. He kissed his grandson and gave a follow-up to his son Khoja Muhammad to protect little Khoja and bring him up in care.
When Khoja Ahrar was 22 years old his uncle sent him to Samarkand to study. There such scholars as Qazi Zadeh Rumi, Kashi were reading lectures to the students, and Ulugbek himself also liked to converse with the madrasah students. But Khoja Akhrar was not attracted with this aspect of life. He was not interested in the exact sciences; he had other internal needs and he was striving for them. Young Khoja was only doing Arab graphics in the madrasah.

Khoja Ahrar did not live long in Samarkand. He did not find true counselors and teachers for himself there. And Khoja Ahrar went as a pilgrim to Bukhara, the centre of Islamic enlightenment and native city of Shaikh Bahouddin Naqshbandi, the founder of world-famous dervish Order –Naqshbandiya. On his way to Bukhara the young Sufi visited outstanding Bakhauddin’s disciples, listened to their follow ups and then he appeared before the famous sheikhs of the Naksbandiya Order.

After that in the age of 24 he set forward to Herat, the capital of Islamic scholarship, not less famous in the East. Khoja Ahrar was studying hard with Sayd Tabrizi, the most famous from the Herat sheikhs and also attended discussions with Bakhauddin Umar and Zainutdin Khavafi. When Khoja Ahrar was in Herat he heard about prominent knowledge in Sufism and good life of the famous Sheikh Bahouddin Naqshbandi’s disciple Yakub Charkhi, in whom Khoja Ahrar would soon found an agreeable teacher for himself.

He went on foot from Herat to Khisar to mountain kishlak of Khalatu where holy sheikh Yakub Charkhi lived. After study with Yakub Charkhi, Khoja Ahrar returned to Tashkent to lead the life deserving a Sufi. Very soon a fame of the heavenly-minded sheikh reached Turkestan, Bukhara and Samarkand.

As the history runs this prominent person was not only a thinker, miracle worker and protector of the poor but also a sophisticated politician. This unsuspected aspect of the sheikh’s activity was confirmed eloquently in “Nasaim al-Mukhabbat min Shamail al-Futuwwat”, a prosaic work written by Alisher Navoi, the great contemporary of Khoha Ahrar. “In the year to follow he gained an amazing influence to empires and an ineffable closeness to the rulers and sovereigns. The Mawerannahr rulers considered themselves to be his murids and companions, but many sovereigns from Egypt to China and India considered themselves to be Khoja’s companions and his subjects. His scripts exerted different influence to the rules from moderate to the strongest…”

His role as a politician and protector of people was also esteemed high by Abdurakhman Jami, his great contemporary poet.

Khoja Ahrar died in the age of 89, in the year of 895 of hegira (1489) on Saturday in the day of 24 month of rabi-al-ahir in the settlement of Kamangaran near Samarkand.