This Ramadan as we invest in ways to understand and adapt the teachings of our religion, including following the sunnah of our beloved Prophet SAW, wouldn’t it be an absolute delight to witness in person some of the belongings of the Last Messenger of Allah SWT? Hafiz Syed Arsalan Gilani, founder of ‘The Gilani Sacred Relics,’ has been conducting exhibitions not just in Pakistan but around the world, where he allows visitors to peek into his fascinating religious collection of relics, most of which have been inherited from his family, while others were gifted to him from various countries. Social Diary spoke to him about his incredible journey and passion, some of the most valuable items in his collection and where he will be exhibiting next. Read On:
SD: Kindly share with us a little about yourself.
Hafiz Syed: I am a Ph.D. scholar from Lahore. I am the eldest son of my father, Syed Farooq ul Hassan Gilani. Alhamdulillah! I am blessed to be one of the direct descendants of the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ from both the paternal and maternal sides. My grandfather was Syed Ahmad Hassan Gilani RA who was also a direct descendant of Hazrat Imam Hassan bin Ali bin Abi Talib RA and Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al Jelani RA, while my mother is the daughter of Syed Mahmood Ahmad Gilani RA who too is Hussaini belonging to Imam Musa Al Kazim RA’s and Hazrat Imam Hussain Bin Ali bin Abi Talib RA’s family. I am privileged to have the custody of several Holy Relics Attributed to Prophet Muhammad SAW and many other Awlia-e-karam.
Blessed Sandal (Na’al) of Prophet Muhammad SAW
SD: What are your exhibitions about?
Old Qandeel of Khana e Kaaba
Hafiz Syed: These exhibitions provide the locals as well as the foreigners a chance to physically come and feel the spirituality around these holy relics. It’s about providing Muslims, especially those who have an intense love for our Last Messenger SAW, a chance to see His SAW belongings in front of their eyes! In the exhibitions, we showcase different holy relics, for example, the Sacred Hair of the Prophet’s SAW and strands from His SAW
Highness’s Holy Beard, Mud which is the container He SAW used to do partial ablution from, Nalain (Na’layn) Shareef which is the Holy Sandal, His SAW’s Footprints, Chamber’s Key, Blessed Shirt etc. The exhibit also allows people to see the belongings of Prophet Muhammad SAW. Because not everyone can afford to go to places like Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. So, the exhibition is basically about presenting treasured relics so that people can have an incredible religious experience here in their very own country.
Blessed Hair of Prophet Muhammad SAW
SD: How long have you been conducting these exhibitions?
Hafiz Syed: Initially it was only an in-house exhibition set up for local visitors, where I also used to give people virtual tours of the entire collection in the room through my social media platforms, but since the collection and the traffic on my social media accounts has increased, people tend to demand physical showcases where they could bring their families. We’ve been doing exhibitions on a domestic level for less than a decade, but our first international exhibition was held back in 2019. It was in Brunei Darussalam. We were invited by the Royal Family of Brunei Darussalam. There were also several other invitations from different countries but unfortunately, those all got postponed due to the pandemic. Alhamdulillah, the situation has since settled down globally; we look forward to continuing our journey and exhibiting our relics internationally once again Insha’Allah. We have done several exhibitions nationally for instance in Islamabad, Karachi, Wah Cantt and Azad Kashmir.
Mud of Prophet Muhammad SAW (Replica)
SD: What are the main items that you showcase in The Gilani Sacred Relics?
Hafiz Syed: Alhamdulillah, we have more than 200 relics, but honestly, we are not able to showcase those all simultaneously in each exhibition, however, we try to exhibit as many as we can! There are many special relics in our collection Masha’Allah, a few of which are the Blessed hair of Prophet Muhammad SAW, the Blessed Sandal of Prophet Muhammad SAW, the Blessed Shirt of Prophet Muhammad SAW, Replica of Footprint, Mud, Swords, Kiswa al Ka’aba Shareef, Kiswa Shareef of Blessed Chamber Madinah, Lock of Blessed Chamber, 3D Model of Grave of Prophet ﷺ. Shirts of the Ottomans Era, Letters from the Ottoman Empire etc.
SD: Since when have you been collecting these items?
Swords of Prophet Muhammad SAW (Replica)
Hafiz Syed: It’s been around 15 years since collecting these holy items has become a passion for me. Most of the relics I own have been passed on to me from my ancestors. I had already inherited many relics from my forefathers. The rest of the other artifacts have been gifted to me from different countries, for instance, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan etc.
SD: How important do you think it is to make people aware of these valuables?
Hafiz Syed: Our beloved Prophet ﷺ loved us and cared for us. Even though he went through so much hardship during his life, he always kept longing and praying for us, his Ummah. Enhance your longing and love for Prophet Muhammad SAW through the ziyarah of the Prophetic relics and Islamic artifacts. Through the well-preserved holy artifacts, learn about the Prophet’s legacy and his journey in promoting Islam.
Lock and Key of Blessed Chamber of Prophet Muhammad SAW
SD: What has been the most amazing experience when showcasing the exhibits?
Hafiz Syed: Generally, wherever we go, we witness the emotional reactions of the visitors. However, I was really moved by the love and respect Brunei citizens demonstrated during our exhibitions there! I have seen them standing silently and peacefully in the most respectful manner around the relics. I have observed their lower gazes, and how they did not even turn their backs toward the Holy Shirt! Also, I can recall a few of them who were on their knees while doing the ziyarah of the artifacts.
Footprint of Prophet Muhammad
SD: Where will you be showcasing next?
Hafiz Syed: There are many plans in the pipeline at the moment which we expect to finalize soon Insha’Allah. We would go for holding exhibitions nationally as well as internationally. People are just requested to stay connected with us through our Gilani Sacred Relics’ social media pages so that everyone knows when and where the next exhibitions would take place Insha’Allah
Swords of Prophet Muhammad SAW (Replica)