Dr Mohammed Najeeb Shahzore
The Nizams of Hyderabad were known for their philanthropy. It is well documented that Mir Osman Ali Khan, the Seventh Nizam, donated generously for the propogation of knowledge in India. Among a long list of his donations his financial assistance for the publication of Mahabharatha and development of Benares Hindu University stand out. The Asaf Jahs also contributed greatly to the service of pilgrims who travelled to the Muslim holy city of Makkah.
Sometime in the late 1850s, the then Nizam V, Nawab Mir Tahniyath Ali Khan who is otherwise known as Afzal Ud Daula, decided to purchase land close to the Masjid Al-Haram or the Grand Mosque in Makkah. A school for the locals was set up along with over 40 lodges constructed for pilgrims coming from the Nizam’s Dominion for the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage. They are known as Rubaaths (from Arabic meaning places to stay).
Located about 2 km from the Grand Mosque the Rubaath came under the Awqaf (Endowment) Committee of The Nizam’s Charitable Trust. The Chairman of this trust is Prince Barkath Ali Khan or Mukarram Jah. His title now has changed as Mutawalli of the Rubaath. The prince had visited the Rubaath some years ago where he reaffirmed his personal commitment and that of the Nizam’s Trust for the service of the pilgrims. Prior to his ascension, the Rubaaths were private property of the Nizam under the Sarf-e-Khas or the Private Estate. He brought it under the Nizam’s Charitable Trust in 1967.
With the massive expansion of Makkah’s Grand Mosque, the 140 year old Rubaath today comprises 3 buildings in all containing 500 rooms that can accommodate over 1200 people. The people who avail the facility of Rubaths do not have to pay any fee. Pilgrims from the erstwhile Nizam’s dominion are accepted here. That means the travelers from Telangana, Marathwada and the Hyderabad Karnataka. Since there is great demand for accommodation during the Hajj season, the pilgrims are selected through a draw of applicants.
The Rubaaths are managed by a Naazer or Administrator that is selected by the Royal Court at Makkah. The current Naazer is Mr Hussain Al-Shareef with Sheikh Yusuf Al-Ahmadi. The Nizam’s Trust is working to get few more buildings for the Rubaath so that up to 5000 pilgrims can be accommodated without having to go through a draw process.
Dr Najeeb is a specialist physician based in Kuwait, with a keen interest in Hyderabad history and culture.