|Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi
ریاض احمد گوھر شاہی
Sarkar Gohar Shahi during a gathering in Kotri Sharif
|Date of birth:||November 25, 1941|
|Place of birth:||Dhok Gohar Shah, Rawalpindi, British India|
|Movement:||Anjuman Serfaroshan-e-Islam, Messiah Foundation International|
Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi (Urdu:ریاض احمد گوھر شاہی; born 25 November 1941) is a Muslim Sufi, author, and the founder of the spiritual movement Anjuman Serfaroshan-e-Islam and Messiah Foundation International.   Central to his beliefs are the concept of divine love and a non discriminatory approach to God in regard to a person's caste, creed, nation or religion. According to Shahi, every human has been granted the ability to develop a spiritual power to approach to the essence of God. Shahi was born in Pakistan, in the village of Dhok Gohar Shah in the district of Rawalpindi.
At the age of twenty, when he was the owner of F. Q. Steel Industries, Shahi began his search for spiritualism amongst the saints and dervishes of the time. Eventually he became disillusioned in this search, and, disappointed in not receiving spiritual benevolence, he returned to work. Gohar Shahi then married and had three children.
According to Shahi, at about the age of thirty four Bari Imam appeared before him and said: "My son your time has come, you must go to the shrine of Sultan Bahu to receive the Sacred Inner Dimensions of Spiritual Knowledge." Gohar Shahi then left his work, family and parents and went to Shorkot, where he read the book Nurul Huda (Light of Guidance), written by Sultan Bahu. He then went to Sehwan Sharif for self-mortification and peace of heart, and spent a period of three years in the mountains of Sehwan Sharif and the forest of Laal Bagh in self-purification.
Gohar Shahi authored a number of books and treatises, including one based on Sufi Poetry known as Taryaq-e-Qalb, roughly translating to "The cure for deceased hearts". One of his most prominent books is 'Deen-e-Ilahi'. Works by Gohar Shahi include:
Shahi also authored a magazine, Hatif-e-Mehdi, which was banned in Pakistan for allegedly containing material offensive to the religious feelings of Muslims there.
The teachings of Gohar Shahi have been a source of controversy. Some orthodox theological scholars condemn his teachings as blasphemy. However, some Sufis, including Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, Nazim al-Qubrusi, and Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri praised Shahi. When meeting Shahi, Kabbani sat at his feet in a display of respect.
Opposition towards Gohar Shahi and his followers stemmed from claims made by Shahi and his followers that were strongly opposed by orthodox theologians in Pakistan and abroad. Shahi was accused of claiming the status of prophet but Shahi denied such accusations.
Shahi faced strong opposition from different religious leaders and orthodox theological scholars, and his teachings have been condemned by Muslim religious leaders and the Pakistani government.
Many attempts were made on Shahi's life, including a petrol bomb attack, thrown into his Manchester residence, and an attack with a hand grenade during the discourse at his home in Kotri, Pakistan. A high price tag was put on his head in Pakistan.
Gohar Shahi was booked in 1997 on alleged charges of murdering a woman who had come to him for spiritual treatment; Gohar Shahi, and many of his followers, were later convicted under Islamic blasphemy laws by an antiterrorist court in Sindh. Gohar Shahi was convicted in absentia—as he had previously fled to England —resulting in sentences that totaled approximately 59 years. In February 2002 prior to any decision on appeals filed with the High Court of Sindh , Ardeshir Cowasjee claimed in an article he wrote in Dawn the Pakistani newspaper that unnamed people that he said identified themselves to him as office-bearers of the All-Faith Spiritual Movement told him that Gohar Shahi died abroad, this report was unconfirmed.
Gohar Shahi claimed to have met with Jesus in America. Shahi's supporters claim that his face became prominent on the moon, sun, nebula star and the Black Stone in Mecca, and that these appearances were signs from God that Gohar Shahi was the awaited Imam Mehdi, Messiah, and Kalki Avatar. The alleged images induced greater legal and religious opposition. Shahi has also supported this claim, saying that God had revealed the images of Shahi on the moon and various locations, for which Shahi himself was not responsible, and if questions should be raised, they should be raised at God . Messiah Foundation International claims the alleged images to be signs from God, pointing towards Shahi being the awaited Mehdi, and quote religious texts and sayings from the likes of Nostradamus, and Ja'far al-Sadiq to support it.
Journalists in Pakistan questioned Shahi,
"Many believe that you are the Mehdi, and you have revealed signs unto them which say that you are the Mehdi, but you do not officially announce that you are the Mehdi, why?". Shahi answered, "Does Imam Mehdi (signalling himself) not know the law of Pakistan? He knows that the law of Pakistan declares that whomsoever claims to be the Mehdi, jail him. I have given the signs of his (Mehdi's) characteristics, which the Mehdi knows and none other. Now, it is upon people to recognize him and believe him".
Gohar Shahi was reported to have "mysteriously" disappeared in 2001, in London, UK, which some followers took to be similar to occultation. Rumors regarding the disappearance spread, and while some thought he had died, some followers believe that he is to return soon, according to the prophecies of the Mehdi. Followers parted into two organizations after the alleged disappearance, one remained to be Anjuman Serfaroshan-e-Islam, whilst Younus AlGohar, a disciple of Shahi who has said that Shahi merely disappeared  formed Messiah Foundation International, claiming to be under the guidance of Shahi. This group of followers deny the demise of Shahi, and relay his apparent warning prior to the disappearance that he'd disappear one day but that he would return. International Spiritual Movement Anjuman Serfaroshan-e-Islam, assuming he had died, built a tomb for him at the Markazi Aastana in Kotri, where devotees perform pilgrimage to the building. Gohar Shahi's family still resides in Kotri, including his wife, five sons and a daughter.
Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi (ریاض احمدگوھرشاہی) (25 November, born in 1941 is a Pakistani author, spiritual leader and founder of the spiritual movement International Spiritual Movement Anjuman Serfaroshan-e-Islam and Messiah/Mehdi Foundation International. Most of Gohar Shahi's followers believe He is the awaited Messianic Figure awaited by all religions for centuries.
|Hazrat Sayyedna Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi Muddazullahul Aali|
|Full name||Hazrat Sayyedna Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi Muddazullahul Aali|
|Region||Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi|
|Main interests||Divine Love, Spiritualism, Religion|
Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi (ریاض احمدگوھرشاہی) (born 25 November, 1941)  is a Pakistani author, spiritual leader and Founder of International Spiritual Movement Anjuman Serfaroshan-e-Islam. He was born in the Indian sub-continent, in a small village of Gohar Shah in the district of Rawalpindi.
His full name is Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi, which is in Urdu. The meaning of first part of his name Riaz is "Peace" or "Garden", Ahmed is another name of Muhammad and Gohar Shahi means "Royal Gem". Gohar Shahi is used with his name because of his ancestor Baba Gohar Ali Shah who was a renowned Sufi and spiritualist. The village where Gohar Shahi was born is also dedicated to Baba Gohar Ali Shah for many centuries and called Dhok Gohar Shah, means “Village of Gohar Shah”. Gohar Shahi is the fifth generation of Baba Gohar Ali Shah.
[[File:|thumb|left|Sarkar Gohar Shahi blessings to Shia Community in Imam Bargah-e-Noor-e-Iman, Karachi in 1997]] He was born on 25 November 1941 in Dhok Gohar Shah, a village located in District Rawalpindi, Pakistan. At the age of twenty, when Gohar Shahi was the owner of F. Q. Steel Industries (Registered) he started to search for spiritualism amongst the saints and dervishes of the time. He soon found that his heart remained unfulfilled. Eventually upon becoming disillusioned with the saints and dervishes which he encountered, and being disappointed in not receiving Spiritual Benevolence he returned to his work. Gohar Shahi then married and had three children. At about the age of thirty four Bari Imam appeared before him and said: "My son your time has come, you must go to the shrine of Sultan Bahu to receive the Sacred Inner Dimensions of Spiritual Knowledge." Gohar Shahi then left his work, family and parents and went to Shorkot, where under the blissful supervision of Sultan Bahu made the book "Nurul Huda (Light of Guidance)" (a book written by Sultan Bahu), his journey's companion. He then went to Sehwan Sharif for self-mortification and peace of heart, and spent a period of three years in the mountains of Sehwan Sharif and the forest of Laal Bagh in Self-Purification.
In a very short time the message of Gohar Shahi became fairly popular in Pakistan and internationally. Gohar Shahi was invited to mosques, Hindu temples, churches, Sikh temples, Imam Bargahs to deliver speech. He was the first ever Muslim Spiritual Leader who was invited by people of all faith in their places of worships.
Gohar Shahi wanted to preach the message of spiritualism, which was based on divine love of God. To serve this purpose he formed International Spiritual Movement Anjuman Serfaroshan-e-Islam in 1980. He also authored a number of books on spiritualism. His works includes a book on Sufi poetry as well known as “Turyaaq-e-Qulb” means “Cure for hearts”. The listing of books written by Gohar Shahi includes:
Gohar Shahi often talks about his three years in the wilderness, and sees them as the best part of his life. He claimed to have returned to the world on the Commandment of God. Contrary to his expectations, he had to go through humiliation and rejections. In first four years of preaching the message, only five people favored it. Then, gradually young seekers accepted his teachings. He turned the hearts of several hundred thousand people towards the Remembrance and the Love of God. Gohar Shahi sought a spiritual revival based on Divine Love of God and emphasized Self-Purification through Dhikr-e-Qulb (Remembrance of Allah with HeartBeats). Gohar Shahi was in favor of divine love and considers it most important for an approach to God and no discrimination of caste, creed, nation or religion is accepted for Divine Love of God as every human has been gifted with an ability to develop spiritual power to approach to the essence of God. However, orthodox theological scholars criticized and condemned the teachings of Gohar Shahi.
[[File:|thumb|right|Hisham Kabbani sitting beneath the feet, during Gohar Shahi's visit to America in 1997.]] Though orthodox theological scholars condemned the teachings of Gohar Shahi and criticized him heavily not just in Pakistan but throughout the world but on the other side number of internationally renowned Sufis including Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani and Sultan-al Awliya Shaykh Mawlana as-Sayyid Khwaja Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Haqqani al-Rabbani al-Qubrusi al-Firdausi an-Naqshbandi and Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri. They respected Gohar Shahi for his services rendered to the mankind to preach the Divine Love of God without any discrimination of Caste, Creed, Nation or Religion. Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani always used to sit beneath the feet of Gohar Shahi to show respect for him.  A number of Sufis including Pir of Ghamkool Sharif, Pir of Dhannakka Sharif, Pir Kaki Tarrur, Ghulam Nabi Kashmiri alias Samandri Baba and Siraj Baba also respected Gohar Shahi and said that he is the one who has been the most honoured person by Allah.
Muslim sufi history witnessed that most of Sufis faced opposition and criticism of orthodox theological scholars(The Mullahs), even some were executed like Hallaj. Gohar Shahi also faced very strong opposition from different religious leaders and orthodox theological scholars, The teachings of Gohar Shahi were strongly condemned by orthodox theological scholars of the time, Muslim extremists and bigots developed enmity with Gohar Shahi. Many attempts were made to his life. A petrol bomb was thrown in his Manchester's residence. There was an attack with hand grenade during the discourse at his home in Kotri, Pakistan. A high price tag was put on his head in Pakistan. He was the subject of entrapment through five serious allegations. Gohar Shahi's teachings have been condemned by Muslim religious leaders and the Pakistani government.
Gohar Shahi's supporters claim that the images of Gohar Shahi have been appeared on the Moon, Sun, and the Al-Hajar-ul-Aswad (Black Stone) of Kaaba caused greater opposition. He faced media-trial, due to pressure of religious extremists, the Government of Pakistan also used all sources to eliminate the organization of Gohar Shahi. His book was banned by the Government of Pakistan, public meetings are not allowed to his followers and also no press coverage is allowed to either Gohar Shahi or to his followers due to charges of blasphemy law. Several cases were filed against Gohar Shahi and his followers. Gohar Shahi, and many of his followers, were later convicted under Islamic blasphemy laws by an antiterrorist court in Sindh. Gohar Shahi was convicted in absentia—as he was in England at that time—resulting in sentences that totaled approximately 59 years.
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