How a Muslim Man in 1930 Became a Sikh After a Gurdwara Was Burnt Down

Brief Biography: Syed Prithipal Singh (né Mushtaq Hussein) was the only son of Mujafar Hussein, and the grandson of Pir-Bakur Shah of the famous family of Mirpur, Kashmir. The period from 1927 to 1930 was the most revolutionary in his life. During this time, his father decided to go to the Hajj and convinced his son to also go to Mecca-Medina for higher Islamic education.


While doing research at a university in Medina, Mushtaq Hussein came across a handwritten manuscript, Siyahto Baba Nanak Fakir, in a library.

This manuscript was written by an Arabic and Persian writer named Taajudin Naqshabandhi. Taajudin joined Guru Nanak in his journey around Undlas, a town between Erar and Baghdad. While living with Guru Nanak, he kept a diary—the Siyahto Baba Nanak Fakir manuscript—which he submitted to the library in Medina around 1512 AD1 that Guru Nanak Dev Ji was in the Middle East—in Mecca and Baghdad—for roughly one-and-a-half to two years in and around the years 1511 to 1513 AD.

Upon his return to Mirpur in 1930, Mushtaq was deeply saddened by communal violence stoked in Kashmir by Sheikh Abdulla’s supporters, and in Jammu, by his own father, Mujafar Hussain. In this region, the Sikh Guruduara of Kirtangarh was made the target of arson and destruction. This guruduara was constructed by Sant Baba Sunder Singh to care for the congregation and to promote education.

Rioters fueled by feelings of animosity towards Dogra ruler Maharaja Pratap Singh made the Sikh community their first target. Witnessing the destruction first hand, Mushtaq was troubled by these acts of persecution in the name of Islam. His appeals for peace fell on deaf ears.

Mushtaq had been touched by Taajudin’s accounts of Guru Nanak’s journeys, which were intended to promote the welfare of all humanity. Through these same accounts, he had also seen the ugly face of religious fanaticism, which resulted in the torture and death of Rukn-ud-din, a respected religious leader of Kaaba.

Disappointed, Mushtaq decided to leave for Lahore with his wife, Gulzar Begum, and his son, Mohamad Nazir. At Lahore, he initially studied the Arya Samaj sect, and then Christianity. Finally, he researched Sikhism carefully at the gurudwara built at the site of
Guru Arjun Dev ji’s martyrdom. It was at this guruduara that he received Khande di Pahul (Sikh initiation) from Giani Achhar Singh (later Singh Sahib Achhar Singh), after many persistent appeals to the Giani. Mushtaq became a Sikh on the fourth of Jeth (a month in the Indian calendar which roughly corresponds to May/June) in 1935, and later achieved renown as Sant Syed Prithipal Singh of Patiala. He dedicated his life in the service of the Panth.

Sant Syed helped in acquiring land and in establishing a gurudwara at the place where Sikh men and women were martyred in Lahore. Around

1950, he worked with Akali Kaur Singh in India and abroad. Later, he served at the Gurudwara Ghat Sahib in Ropar. He then went to England to help build the gurudwara in South Hall. In 1966, he was at the forefront of the campaign to return Guru Gobind Singh ji’s personal weapons to India. He completed his successful human journey in Kanpur while organizing the anniversary celebrations of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev ji. He is survived by his family living in England and in Patiala.

Publishing Syed Prithipal Singh ji’s notes from Mecca, Kunwarajit Singh has done praiseworthy work. This publication will bolster Sikhs’ knowledge and faith in the Guru. I congratulate Sardar Kunwarajit Singh for this service.

Doctor Himmat Singh

Vidya Nagar

Near Punjabi University


1 The original text references the year 1504 AD. I believe a mistake

was made in converting from the Hijri calendar to the Christian one

(the Arabic writer’s account mentions that Guru ji met Rukn-ud-din in

917 Hijri, which corresponds to 1511 AD). The dating of 1511 AD is

also consistent with other evidence found in Baghdad (see Appendix

for details).

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.