The Sharwan-Sayyid lineage of Hadhratji (Hazrat Moulana Maseehullah ) رحمه الله
The Maulana Sahib who had come a bit late and was now sitting near Hadhratji, asked, “Where
did the title Sharwani’ originate from?” Hadhratji replied:
Sharwan is a town in Kabul in Afghanistan. The label of Khan-Sharwani that is attached to us
came about as follows: Our forefathers were of the Sadat (Sayyids – the progeny of Rasulullah
Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and came from Arabia. When they came, some had wives, others did
not. In those days journeying was by foot. They reached Kabul, in Afghanistan, and stayed there
for a very long time. The nation of Pathans used to honour the Sayyids tremendously,
irrespective of the person’s qualities. The mere fact of him being a Sayyid was sufficient to
honour him. Also, it comes in the kitabs that, if there is any doubt about a person being a Sayyid,
respect and honour him even more! Why? If somebody is a Sayyid from the lineage of both
parents, the mother and the father, then you yourself will respect them. However, if somebody
claims to be a Sayyid and there has arisen a doubt for no reason whatsoever, then you should
respect him even more.
So, the Pathans used to respect and honour the Sayyids a tremendous amount. The people of
Kabul welcomed them with open arms. Among them were young unmarried men as well. When
they married, they did so locally, seeing that they had been there for some time.
In time to come, when they left Afghanistan, their lineage was traced to the nearest relatives,
these being the father and grandfather. This normally happens. One does not go back to the
generations before that, the great-grandfather and others before him. Seeing that the immediate
family came from Sharwan, the family came to be known as Sharwani.
Very interestingly, once, when I was in Pakistan right in the north, on the border of Afghanistan,
one evening I was taking a walk. My host was with me. While walking, my eyes fell on a
milestone. These are stones along the road to indicate the distance to various places, as we see
here in India as well. This milestone had written on it “Sharwan”. I asked my host, “How does the
name Sharwan appear here?” He explained that this was the road to Kabul and the sign
indicated the direction to Sharwan in Kabul.
When the family came to India, seeing that they had come from Kabul in Afghanistan, which was
famous as being the land of the Pathans, the family came to be known as Pathan, but we are
Sayyid. We are Sayyid from the paternal side and Pathan from the maternal side. The maternal
Pathan side was remembered when the family came to India, but the paternal Sayyid side was
forgotten. So, that is our ancestral history, both Sayyid and Pathan, but Sayyid in reality, because
in the Shari’at, lineage is based on the paternal lineage and not the maternal lineage.