Of the Muslim devotees who came to Baba, the one about whom the greatest amount of information is available and who is revered by large numbers of Sai devotees is Abdul. Abdul is the one Muslim, who permanently attached himself to Baba for nearly thirty years during Baba’s life in the flesh and for thirty six years after Mahasamadhi, sticking on to Baba, and living upon the doles he got from the public.
Abdul was born in about 1871 and died in April 1954. He was a native of Nanded on the banks of Tapti. When he was very young, and under the care of Fakir Amiruddin of Nanded, Sai Baba appeared in the dream of that Fakir, and gave him two mangoes telling him to give the fruits to Abdul and send Abdul to Shirdi. Accordingly the Fakir told him of that dream, gave the fruits and directed him to go to Sai Baba of Shirdi. So, he came in his 20th year, about 1890, to Baba. At that time even Nana Saheb Chandorkar had not come to Baba. Baba welcomed him at Shirdi with these words: ‘Mera Kabla Ala’, that is, ‘My crow has come.’ Baba directed him to devote himself entirely to his service. So, his work was to feed the five perpetually burning oil lamps, such as those at the Lendi, the Masjid and the chavadi and to keep them lighted.
As for the food, at first Baba did not give him any food. Baba himself was going out begging and Abdul for himself. He lived at the stable near the Masjid. He was always by Baba’s side rendering service. He read the Koran sitting near Baba at the Mosque. Baba occasionally opened the Koran and made him read or rather recite passages at which he opened the book. He occasionally quotes passages from the Koran. Abdul went on writing down what Baba was saying, and Abdul had a note book in Marathi and Modi script which contain Baba’s utterances. That was Abdul’s Koran. Everything which fell from Baba’s lips is sacred and is enshrined in that book.
Abdul stuck on to Baba right up to the end, doing all menial and even scavenging services. After Baba passed away, he was the one Muslim in the establishment, and his work was to decorate the tomb of Baba, arrange the clothes and the flowers on it, and to receive first Prasad for his sustenance. As for his record note book he had got full faith that what Baba said was sufficient to guide him and every one. When anybody wanted to know about the future or about any problem and came to him, he consulted this book and the answer came out of the page opened. This proved to be effective. This is the gift of prophecy, which he got by Baba’s grace.
There are two instances of such prophetic consultation. In the Sai Mandir, a well was dug. The water proved salty. Baba was in Mahasamadhi at that time. So, Abdul consulted Baba’s book of sayings. The reply he got was, “If deeper the well is dug the water will become sweeter”. Accordingly the well was dug deeper by 2 feet, and the water was not salty.
Another instance was this: Barrister Gadgil wanted to know if his son would come back from England and where he would stay then. After consultation, Abdul Baba said, “He will return”. And so, he did return with his English wife and children. Abdul Baba used this manuscript book as his Koran. He used to go on reading reverently, got absorbed in it and rolled beads in his hands at the same time.
Nanda deepam or the perpetual lamp at the Lendi is now covered by a Pillar. In 1936 when Abdul Baba was maintaining it, it was only a pit. There was nothing above to protect it, and on its four sides 20 pieces of cloth were tied and the hole was covered with zinc sheet. Baba used to sit behind that lamp and ordered him to fill up two pots with water and place them near him. Baba would pour out water in various directions from those pots. Why that was done, Abdul could not say, nor whether any mantra accompanied the action. Except Abdul no one else would be present when Baba scattered the water. Except Abdul Baba no other Mohammedan was reading the Koran or any other Holy book sitting by Baba’s side. Baba would occasionally utter sacred words. And all of them were noted in that book. By Baba’s order or permission, Abdul took them all down. This script is neither Devanagari nor Modi. Abdul used this book not merely for daily reading but also for prophecy. Abdul died in April 1954 and till then, he was in the establishment of the Sai Sansthan. Abdul had great faith in Baba, and would give udhi with Baba’s grace to many and help them achieving their objects such as cure of diseases. As he was for 66 years, worked either as the bodyguard of Baba or the attendant on his tomb, he is esteemed as the Hanuman of Baba; constantly attending on the Guru, never expecting any payment or reward, but simply out of faith sticking on to his master. His was noble example of complete and perfect devotion and active service with fullest faith that is Nishta in the Guru. He had both Shraddha and Saburi and Baba on occasions, told him that Abdul would live in storeyed houses and terraced houses and would have glorious time. Abdul lived for some time in Butiwada upstairs and he commanded the respect of a very wide circle of Hindus and Muslims.
Baba used to give Abdul excellent advice fitting him for a yogi’s life. Baba used to advice him to eat very little and not to go for a variety of eatables. Baba also advised him not to sleep much. Abdul followed this advice. He kept awake all night, and in a kneeling posture kept repeating his Koran, that is, Baba’s words. He was meditating on them.
One night, Abdul was tired and he tried to sleep, and held his palms in front of him to rest his drowsy head. Baba then said, ‘Are you trying to see the moon?’ That night when he fell asleep, he fell upon Baba and his gaddi. Baba gently stroked his feed, and then he awoke. The next day when he took water in his palms and looked at it, there was a big moon in that water. It was 2 p.m. This was what Baba had spoken of.
A zinc sheet was placed on the top of the pandal which protected the Lendi lamp. Twenty pieces of curtain cloth were tied all round the lamp to form something like a tent round it, and Abdul looked after the lamp, which was in the centre. That light has been shifted from its place now and is put inside a raised pillar of brick and mortar, containing a chamber for the lamp. Baba would get up from near the lamp and walk a few yards in each direction gazing intently into the distance evidently supervising with a parental eye the devotees in each of those directions.
Abdul’s services were washing clothes in the streamlet at the village boundary, sweeping the Mosque, the chavadi and the surrounding places, lighting the lamps in these buildings, feeding them with oil and sweeping the village streets and removing the night soil from the way of Baba. That was why Baba called him, Halalkoor and ‘My Mirambi’. He fetched water and also engaged himself in sundry services. Baba protected Abdul by providing him with food and ensured his safety and progress. About 1927, that is, 11 years after Ramakrishna Ayi’s death, in the Sala, which she had occupied Abdul was once reciting the Koran. Suddenly three walls of that dilapidated mud building collapsed, and Abdul was buried waist deep in the debris. But Baba saved him from harm.
Abdul’s first Guru later on came to Shirdi and wanted him to go back from Shirdi. But Abdul pleaded that nothing could be done without Baba’s permission. Baba not having given the permission, the former Guru went away from Shirdi.
Baba sometimes used to give blessings concealing them under abuse and violence. Baba beat Abdul and Jog many times. Abdul had various blessings and prophecies, and Baba sat with Abdul at the chavadi in the morning before he started for the Mosque. Abdul’s statement about Avatars, his book shows, has reference to all the Dasa Avatars, and there is a hint that Baba treated himself as one of the avatars. Baba also prophesied that the British Empire in India would have only nine rulers in India. In 1947, evidently at the time of the ninth king, India passed out of British jurisdiction.
Abdul Baba's Samadhi is situated inside Shirdi Sai Baba Temple Complex. This is the first Samadhi to your right opposite to the Museum on the way to Lendi Bagh.
Abdul Baba's cottage is in front of the Chavadi. Abdul Baba was conferred the title of Sultan and was called Chotu Sultan of Nanded Village. He was married to Umran Bi and had a son. Abdul was serving Amiruddin Baba and following a dream vision, Amiruddin sent him to Shirdi. In Shirdi he worked as a Sevak doing all sorts of menial jobs. As he did not have any income he begged for his food. He strictly followed Baba’s instructions of “Eat very little and sleep very little”.
He slept wherever he could. Then he built a small mud house where his cottage now stands. When the Sansthan was formed they leased this land and cottage to him. He kept busy looking after Baba’s Samadhi.
The devotees, who visit his cottage have an opportunity to venerate the Chimta (Prongs). It is said that it was given to him by Baba. Abdul treasured it and venerated it daily with Loban (incense). After Baba’s Mahasamadhi, Abdul used this for curing the pains and ailments of devotees. One can have darshan of the original photographs of Baba that are hung on the left wall.
Baba is also said to have given him a Satka and a Tin Mug. But we devotees should be most grateful to Abdul Baba for writing down the sayings, teachings and parables of Baba in a notebook. He read them daily like a Koran.
His descendant Ghani Bhai is given the honour of doing the Alankar Baba’s Samadhi every day at 10 A.M. The Samadhi is cleaned and a floral arrangement is done.
Abdul Baba's Grandson Hamid Baba is continuing the legacy of Abdul Baba even to this day.
For More Information about Abdul Baba and for downloading e-book on Abdul Baba log on to http://www.saiparchai.com
(Source: Life of Sai Baba by Late Shri.B.V.Narasimha Swamiji and www.saiparichai.com)