When I saw him for the first time, I said to myself, “This is Saidu Baba.” I was accompanied by my father. It was Friday. The officers living in Afsar Abad used to go to Saidu Baba Masjid for Juma prayers. They often took their young kids also with them. So my father asked me to go. The man I referred to, come out of one of the long row of rooms, situated to the south of Saidu Baba Masjid. He carried a bunch of large keys in his hand. He unlocked the door of the ‘Mazar’ of Saidu Baba, prayed there for some time and then came outside, locking the door as before. He was very fat, sweat dripping from his round face, as it was very hot that Friday. He went inside the big hall which was full to its capacity. The late comers took their seats in the verandah. We sat near the window. A peeped into the hall and saw three seats empty in the last row. I asked my father to go inside and sat there. My father said in a whisper that these were reserved for Wali Sahib and two closed aides.
The armed guards would stand outside the hall. A few seconds before the exact time, Wali Sahib came with his guards and two officers. He silently took his seat. The people in the hall did not move but remained sitting as usual.
The fat and short bulky man I thought Saidu Baba, stood up on the pulpit made of marble and started in loud clear voice, reciting the ‘Khuthba’. This word I learnt from my father. He sat for a few seconds and then rose again, resuming the ‘Khutba’. At a certain point he mentioned the name of Jahanzeb Khan and after a few minutes closed the ‘Khutba’ and the ‘Salath’ started. After two ‘Rakaths’ Wali Sahib left accompanied by his guards, and we continued our remaining ‘Rakaths’.
Why I thought this fat man was ‘Saidu Baba’ because I was told his name was ‘Abdul Ghafoor’ which I knew was Saidu Baba’s real name. Later when I grew up and continued going to Saidu Baba Masjid for ‘Namaz’ specially for the evening four obligatory prayers or ‘Rakaths’, I saw and knew more of Qazi Sahib as the fate man was called. In the evening, he taught his students, ‘Masnavi’ of Maulana Jalal Uddin Rumi. His voice was so melodious that though I could not understand the verses, sat silently at respectful distance, mesmerized. I knew about the book because I had in our house some big Persian books. My father afterwards told me translations of these verses. These were Masnavi of Romi, Gulistan and Bostan by Shiekh Saadi and Yusuf Zulikha by Jami.
A learnt more about Qazi Sahib that he has only daughters. So he adopted a boy, Muhammad Shirin by name, as his son. His father was a Subedar Major and they lived near Nasir Khel Masjid, above Saidu Bazar.
Qazi Sahib was very much attentive to his adopted son, though he belonged to a well off family and met out all his needs, clothed him the best and gave him enough pocket money.
When I grew up I also knew the Arabic words mentioning Wali Sahib’s name in Friday Khutba. These lines were recited in second part of ‘Khutba’ after interval in which the ‘Khateeb’ sits for a few seconds. The lines were:
ALLAHUMMA AIZZEL ISLAM WAL MUSLIMEEN.
WA AZILISHERKA WAL MUSHREKEEN.
BIDAWAME HUKOMATHE ABDEKA SULTAN.
ALLAZE HUWA SEBTH GHAWSUZZAMAN.
AL MAUSUMO BE ABDIL HAQQ JAHANZEB KHAN,
Khalladallaho tha’alla mulkhu wa hukumatha.