Lhor Di Var
Where have we left our heart? Where shall we find it?
When looking for the loved one, lose yourself and search
(Master Altaf Hussain)
A look at his life
According to one group of historians, the name of Ayaz ranks the highest among those who laid the foundations of Lahore. While this may not be wholly true, it is certainly true that Malik Abul Najam Ayaz gets the credit for bringing Lahore back to life after it had been laid waste in the war against Raja Anang Pal. It is said about Ayaz that he was born a slave. In those days, slaves were bought and sold according to their rank, their color, their ancestry, their age and their personal qualities. In 396 Hijri (1006 CE) a group of about 120 slaves was brought to Ghazni.
At that time Ayaz was excessively thin and looked pale due to some illness. Nobody bothered to bid for him and the rest of the 119 slaves were sold. Gradually, Ayaz rose to become the chief of royal slaves due to his hard work. When Mahmood died, Ayaz was in Ghazni but his love for Lahore brought him back. He laid the foundation stone to rebuild the Royal Fort and built the protective wall around the city. He was popular among the people of Lahore and the stories of his bravery and generosity can still be heard. He is mentioned in works of poetry, in addition to books of history. Some of the poets have depicted the relations of Mahmood and Ayaz in a negative way, whereas Iqbal has seen this relationship in a positive way. Due to his poetry the names of Mahmood and Ayaz enjoyed a new fame in the twentieth cectury.
His date of death is disputed among historians, however the majority view is that he died in 433 AH, 1041 CE.
This tomb is one of the oldest in Lahore. Before partition, this place was also called Malik Ilyas’s Khanqah. Kanhayya Lal writes in Tarikh e Lahore:
Adjacent to this tomb was a big garden, which has disappeared with the passage of time. There are currently some shops near this tomb. During the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a mint was based here. Therefore the bazar is called Taxali. The building of the tomb is old. The platform is in the middle of the courtyard. This shrine in much respected among the citizens.
Now a days, if you go to Sooha Bazar from Shah Alami Chowk, there is a mosque called Jamia Masjid Hazrat Ahmed, across the road from Mission High School. The mausoleum is in front of the mosque entrance. The building of the mausoleum is round with an oblong dome. The place is quite small, not more than two hundred square feet. Below the centre of the dome is the mound slab of the grave. There is an information plaque next to the door of the mausoleum. On this one can find Ayaz’s name, his date of death and a description of his association with Mahmood. The mound slab is covered with a green sheet.
At the head of the grave oil lamps can be seen. The denizens of Lahore consider Ayaz a sufi and a religious figure. Nobody recognises him as a ruler or a general. People visit here say offer salutations and prayers. This mausoleum is in better state than many others in Lahore. The environs have been encroached upon after partition. Now the remaining area is so small that further encroachment is not possible.