Qadam Shareef


In the centre of the enclosure of Dargah shah-e-Mardan, the most important of all the structures is Qadam Shareef. It is a small marble enclosure measuring 35' by 25', which contains a small piece of a white stone 7' 1/2'' by 1' 1'' impressed with a clear footmark of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) and is considered to be vary sacred for shia Asna Asha'ri Muslims. On the account of that stone (Qadam Shareef) of Maula Ali (as), this structure is called as 'Qadam Shareef'. Earlier this stone was set in the centre of the bottom of a marble tank measuring 4' 1'' by 2' 10'' by 1' 3'' deep, which was fixed on the middle of a marble platform measuring 7' 11" by 5' 4" by 2' 6" high. The platform was constructed in the centre of the structure, and was left uncovered without roof.  A distich on its northern edge by Nawab Qudsiya Begum reads as-

Translation "On the piece of ground where there is a mark of your foot, for years there will be prostrations by men of insight. The year 1173 A.H. (1759-60 A.D.)"

Currently this stone is resting in a black marble tank. When the devotee's 'mannat' (wishes) fulfilled, this 'hauz' (tank) was filled with milk and a 'Nazr' (offering) of Maula Ali (as)' was offered on this milk. This sacred milk then distributed among the devotees present there. Due to this practice and kissing the stone to exhibit the love and reverence to Maula Ali (as), by large number of devotees, the stone started losing the mark of foot of Maula Ali (as) that is why the tank is now covered with a thick tampered glass.  'Nazr' is still offered.

Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan in his book 'Aasar-us-Sanadeed', under 'Shah-e-Mardan' writes, that in the year 1137 A.H. (1724-25 A.D.) a stone came into possession of Nawab Qudsiya Begum having a footprint of Maula Ali (as). She had it set up here in a marble tank, constructed marble flooring under the tank and inscribed a distich on its edge. The distich is same as it is mentioned above.

In the year 1634 A.D (1144 A.H.) Mahabat Khan, a 'Mughal' General was buried in the vicinity of 'Qadam shared' as per his will. In the year 1399 A.D. (800-01 A.H.) Timur Lang, a 'Mongol' conqueror had buried the world's first 'Tazia' close to the 'Qadam shareef'. These two incidents leave no room for doubt. The year 1173 A.H. (1759-60 A.D.) inscribed on the edge of the marble tank containing the 'Qadam Shareef' may be the date of the construction of the tank or of the installation of the 'Qadam Shareef' into it from some other position. Sayyed Ahmad Khan in his book writes the date as 1137 A.H. (1724-25 A.D.), while the inscription has very clear date as 1173 A.H. (1759-60 A.D.). Bashiruddin Ahmad Dehlvi in his book ‘Waqiyaat e Darul Hukumat, Delhi', (vol. 3), writes the date as 1173 A.H. List of Monuments of Delhi also mentions the date as 1173 A.H. (1759-60 A.D.)  In fact Qudsiya Begum became the De facto co ruler in 1748 A.D. with her son Ahmad shah Bahadur accession to the throne after the death of Shah Alam II. Hence the story of 'Qadam shareef', how it was obtained and set up here, as given by Sayyed Ahmad Khan cannot be accepted as true, the learned author makes a mistake.

During the partition in 1947 when Delhi suffered the pain of partition, this area was no exception and the complete Muslim population had to flee from the area.  After the Shia community migrated from the vicinity, Govt. rehabilitated the 'non Muslim' migrants from Pakistan here on the waqf land. The big gates, boundary walls and properties of the Dargah Shah-e-Mardan and in its surrounding were brutally damaged and encroached by the refugees. It was during this time that Mr. Agha Mirza, concerned about the safety of ‘Qadam Shareef' and shifted this sacred stone having the footprint of Maula Ali (as) to Dargah Panja Sharif at Kashmiri Gate, Old Delhi. During this shifting the tank built by Qudsia Begum was demolished.   However, when conditions became conducive, Mr. Waqar Abbas Rizvi, a devotee of Maula Ali (as) rebuilt a tank and the ‘Qadam Shareef' was again put back in its original and rightful place at the Dargah shah-e-Mardan. In the main enclosure of ‘Qadam shareef' there was a small 20' by 11' 6'' enclosure. In 1983 Mr. Asghar Ali Soomar constructed a roof on it and shifted the ‘Qadam Shareef' into this room.

In   1754 A.D. (1167 A.H) Mirza Mansur Ali Khan, the Prime Minister of 'Mughal Empire' and the 'Nawab' of Oudh (Awadh),  better known as 'Nawab Safdarjung', died in Sultanpur, Awadh. He belonged to Shia faith. and for this reason his body was brought back to Delhi, and his last resting place occupied pride of place in the vicinity of ‘Qadam Shareef', next to Karbala.  His burial chamber is known as Safdarjung's Tomb.

Mirza Najaf Khan, a highest commander in Mughal army  from 1772 A.D. - 1782 A.D., also the Deputy 'Wazir of Awadh' had died in 1782 A.D. (1196 A.H.) in Delhi. He also possessed shia faith and was buried near to the 'Qadam shareef'. His resting place is known as Najaf Khan's Tomb. later in 1820 A.D. (1235 A.H.) his daughter named 'Fatima' was also died and buried next to him.


Monuments of Delhi, compiled by Maulvi Zaffar Hassan, Vol.1 (2008 A.D.) Originally Published in 1916 A.D.

Fall of the Mughal Empire by Jadunath Sarkar, Vol. 1 (4th Edition, 1991) Originally Published in 1932.

Aasar-us-Sanadeed by Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan, (2014 A.D.) Originally Published in 1847 A.D.

Waaqiyaat-e-Darul Hukumat by Bashiruudin Ahmad Dehlvi, Vol. 3, Published in 1919 A.D.

Dilli ki Dargah Shah-e-Mardan by Dr. Khaliq Anjum, Published in 1988 A.D.

Archaeological survey of  India (ASI) reports.

National Archives of India, New Delhi.

British Council Library, New Delhi.

Encyclopaedia Britannica.

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Philip Khuri Hitti on Hazrat Ali

(1886-1978)  Professor of Semitic Languages at Princeton University

q       “Valiant in battle, wise in counsel, eloquent in speech, true to his friends, magnanimous to his foes, he became both the paragon of Muslim nobility and chivalry (futuwah) and the Solomon of Arabic tradition, around whose name poems, proverbs, sermonettes and anecdotes innumerable have clustered.”

[History of the Arabs, London, 1964, p. 183]