Dur Wali Khan
Hazrat Zinda Peer was a famous Sufi saint, Wali and religious scholar of his time. His real name was Shah Muhammad Rizai Wali (some claim his real name was Syed Shah Rizai Wali). He was forefather of my late father-in-law Syed Farman Shah of Mastuj in Upper Chitral.
According to available documents with his descendants, Zinda Peer was a Fatimid Syed belonging to the descendants of Hazrat Musa Kazim.
According to documents available with Syed Maulaiddin Shah and Syed Amir Hamza, who are also descendants of the saint, Zinda Peer migrated from Badakhshan (Khurasan) in Afghanistan to Chitral for preaching of Islam during the dynasty of Shah Tahir, Mehtar Chitral, in 1520-1536 AD, and settled at Sonoghur village of Upper Chitral. He passed away in 1556 at Sonoghur and his shrine is located in that village, where his descendants still live.
According to Syed Mauladdin Shah and Syed Amir Hamza, Zinda Peer had a wife from Badakhshan when he migrated to Chitral and he also got married with the daughter of Shah Tahir, the then Mehtar of Chitral, because the Mehtar was very impressed with his preaching.
Zinda Peer had two sons: one from Khonza (daughter of Shah Tahir Mehtar) and one from Badakhshani Nani (Badakhshani Begum). But according to documents available with Syed Mir Hussain Shah, a descendant of Zinda Peer, he had three sons.
Zinda Peer volunteered his life for the preaching of Islam and had many followers in Chitral and Badakhshan. He remained busy in meditation and prayers most of the time. He always used to show mercy and kindness to everyone. He was kindhearted and soft-spoken and whosoever met him once or heard him became his admirer and disciple.
The Peer inspired people around him by his preaching and fair actions. That is why he became so popular among the people. Many people still visit his shrine to pay tribute to the great Sufi saint, Wali and religious scholar of his time.
According to documents available with Syed Mir Hussain Shah, Zinda Peer and Shah Burai Wali were brothers, and both migrated from Badakhshan to Chitral. The tomb of Shah Burai Wali is located at Jang Bazaar Chitral town. His tomb was rebuilt by Mehtar Shujaul Mulk (1895-1936).
The local people narrate a famous story that when Zinda Peer settled at Sonoghur, there was a giant in the village who made the lives of the local residents miserable. The local people complained to Zinda Peer about the troubling creature.
Zinda Peer told the residents that Insha Allah they will get rid of it soon. After offering prayers, Zinda Peer recited specific Dua to protect the local people from the giant and compelled him to leave the place without making harm to local people. After that, the local people never saw the giant again.
The local people say that in 2007 the flood washed away everything in Sonoghur and within a moment the beautiful Sonoghur turned into ruins, but it was surprising that the deluge changed its direction before reaching the shrine of Zinda Peer and the shrine remained safe.
The local people narrate many such stories about miracles of the peer. The above quoted stories reveal that Zinda Peer was really a Sufi saint and Wali of Allah.
I am quoting the following verses from the Holy Quran about the saints and Walis of Allah.
وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مَخْرَجًا (And whoever is wary of Allah, He shall make a way out for him), and إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ. ﴾Indeed Allah does not waste the reward of the virtuous).
The well-known figures both, religiously and politically, amongst the descendants of Zinda Peer of the past were: Syed Aulad Hussain (Zait), Syed Qalandar Shah (Kuragh), Syed Balandi Hussain, Syed Shabir Hussain (Booni), Shahjee Subedar of Sonoghur, Peer Syed Aulad Hussain (Sani), Shah Syed, Syed Ali Shah, Syed Dur Hayat Shah, Syed Shah Bul Wali, Syed Wazir Shah, Syed Mehramat Shah, Syed Mukharam Shah, Syed Riza Shah, Syed Musa Hashmi and Syed Munawar Shah.
In the present, Syed Amir Hamza, Syed Sardar Hussain Shah (ex. MPA Chitral), Syed Mir Hussain Shah, Syed Takbir Hussain Shah, Syed Shahzad Ahmad, Peer Syed Aulad Rasool, Syed Ghulam Muhammad, Dr. Profssor Syed Mukharam Shah, Syed Bulbul Ali Shah, Principal Syed Sahib Uddin, Syed Sultan Wali Shah, Syed Nizar Ali Shah, Syed Shehzda Ibrahim, Syed Amir Ali Shah, Syed Mauliaddin Shah, Syed Qamaruddin Shah, Syed Imamuddin and Syed Karam Ali Shah Advocate are prominent figures and notables among his descendants in Upper Chitral.
The descendants of Zinda Peer are settled in the following villages of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan: Drosh Zait, Kuragh, Booni, Sonoghur, Parwak, Sarghuz, Mastuj, Ghoru, Chuinj, Khuzh, Brep, Dizg, Bang Upper Yarkhun, Harchin Laspur, Gupis, Ishqaman, Yasen, Puniyal.