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 the Holy Prophet 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. The shrine is situated on the left bank of the Dal Lake, Srinagar and is considered to be Kashmir’s holiest Muslim shrine.
History of the relic
According to legend, the relic was first brought to India by Syed AbdUllah, a descendant of the Holy Prophet 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. Inayat Begum was married into the prominent Kashmiri Banday family of Srinagar, and since then, her descendants from the Banday family have been the keepers of the relic.
The relic was reported disappeared on 26 December 1963. There were mass protests all over the state on the disappearance of the Moi-e-Muqaddas (the Hair of the Prophet) with hundreds of thousands out in the streets. The Awami Action Committee was formed to recover the relic. On 31 December the Prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru made a broadcast to the nation on the disappearence of the sacred relic. The relic was recovered on 4 January 1964.