Gurudwaras in Iraq
Baghdad, capital of Iraq, was visited by Guru Nanak Dev on his way back from Mecca and Madina. He stayed outside the city of the west of Dajala (Tigris) River, about two kilometers north of Baghdad West railway station. He held discourses with Sajjadanashins (caretaker of mausoleum) of the mausoleums of Abdul Qadir gilani and Bahlol the Wise, who were greatly impressed by his views on God and religion. After the Guru’s departure, they raised a memorial in the form of a platform where the Guru had sat and discoursed. After some time when a room was constructed over the platform, a stone slab with the following inscription in Turki was installed in it:
Lo ! the Great God hath fulfilled the wish. A new building for Baba Nanak Darvesh has been constructed. Seven holy men extended their help in the construction. Its date as reckoned comes to 927. The lucky disciple caused a new current of water from the earth.
The last sentence is the customary phrase to work out the date according to alphabetical key. The date is 927 A.H. which correspond to A.D. 1520.
This inscription was first noticed by Swami Anandacharya who mentioned it in his book Snow Birds. Sikh soldiers who went to Iraq during the First World War, 1914-18, raised a Gurdwara here, but now only the room exists which is visited by Sikh and non-Sikh Punjabis who have gone to the oil-rich Iraq as workmen during decades. However, as it is located within the graveyard, visitors are banned from staying overnight, cooking meals, holding Langar and Kirtan in view of the sensitivities of the majority of Muslim community
After having travelled to Madina, Guru Nanak Dev ji soon arrived in Baghdad and took up a position, along with Mardana, outside the city. Guru Nanak Dev ji shouted the call to prayer, on which the whole population became wrapt in silent astonishment – the Guru omitted the usual words Muhammad ar Rasul Allah, and substituted Arabic words of a similar sound to express his own ideas, hence the astonishment.
The pir (saint) of Baghdad, Bahlol Dana on meeting face to face with the enthusiastic stranger, inquired who he was and to what sect he belonged. The Guru greeted him with his customary ‘Sat Kartar’ and replied, “I have appeared in this age to indicate the way unto men. I reject all sects, and only know one God, whom I recognise in the earth, the heavens, and in all directions.”
Upon this the Guru began to repeat the Japji. As the pir listened to his doctrines he said, “This is a very impious fakir. He is working miracles here, and informing us, contrary to the authority of our Holy Quran, that there are hundreds of nether and upper regions, and that at last men grow weary of searching for them.”
There are nether worlds beneath nether worlds, and hundreds of thousands of heavenly worlds above.
The pir then called upon the Guru to give a manifestation of his power. Upon this, it is said, the Guru laid his hand on the high priest’s son and showed him the upper and lower regions described in the Japji.
Address: Near Baghdad West Railway Station (on Baghdad-Samarra rail line), Baghdad (Iraq)
Gurudwara Pehli Patshahi (Tabrez)
TABREZ – A town in Iran visited by Guru Nanak Sahib and Bhai Mardana on their way from Baghdad in 1519-20.