Haji Ali

Haji Ali Bukhari better known as Haji Ali was a Sufi Saint who lived in the fifteenth-century Bukhara, a town in the Persian Empire, now in Uzbekistan. His Mazar Sharif is in Mumbai.

Arrival in India

Many folklores have been associated with Haji Ali's arrival in India. One such has it saying, he saw a crying woman passing by having empty vessel in her hands; When Haji Ali asked her why she was crying, she said: “What else can I do? My husband had asked me to cook for him. But there was no cooking oil at home. So I went to the market to buy oil. And whatever money I had, spent it on oil. My vessel was filled with oil. But, on my way home, I suffered a misfortune. I stumbled against a rock; and all my oil was spilled; the earth drank it. When I’m back at home, my husband will ask me about cooking oil. If I tell him the truth, he'll beat me up.” She started crying even more loudly than before. Haji Ali tried to calm her down. When her crying did not stop, he asked her to take him where her oil had spilled. She took him to the rock. Nearby was a patch of earth spattered with oil. Bending down, Haji Ali jabbed his finger into it. And to the woman's astonishment, oil gushed out directly into her vessel as though the earth—taking pity on her—had returned her oil. She thanked Haji Ali and, with her vessel now filled with oil, she went home to cook. After she was gone, Haji Ali reflected on his miracle. He had saved a poor woman; but he had wounded the earth. Out of remorse, he began to have bad dreams. And the dreams made him sick. A doctor advised him: “You need a change of scenery. Go to a faraway place you haven't seen. See a new land, a new horizon, breathe a new air. That'll do you good.” Haji Ali knew about India, her aromatic spices, their magically curative powers. So, with his mother’s permission, he journeyed to India with his brother. And the two Bukhari brothers landed on the Worli Seaface. India’s spices and Worli’s breezes: what more a sick man can ask for? When his health recovered, Haji Ali quickly made up his mind. He would live in India for good; he would preach Islam; he would do social work. He sent his brother home, and asked for his mother's forgiveness, and bid a good-bye to his country. Haji Ali spent the rest of his life in Bombay. He preached the message of Islam. He did useful social work. And in the course of time he attracted a very good following.


When he became old, he told his followers: “After my death, put me in a casket. Drop the casket into the Arabian Sea, and allow me to go wherever the casket goes. When you find the casket, bury me where you've found me.” Haji Ali died on a pilgrimage to Mecca. As he had wished, his followers dropped his casket into the sea. And they looked on—the waves taking it away from them, the distance shrinking it to a mere dot—until it vanished from their view. Convinced that they had seen the last of the casket, they returned home. Some days later a local fisherman, fishing off the shores of Worli, saw some object stuck between rocks; when he sailed close to the islet, he found it was a casket; inside was Haji Ali, undisturbed in his eternal sleep. He had come back to Bombay to the city by the Arabian Sea to his home. So they buried him on the islet. And they built the dargah in 1431.

Haji Ali Dargah

The monument of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari is accessible via a narrow road that disappears underwater at high tide. The main hall is decorated with emblems and patterns testifying the rich Islamic tradition of artistry.The ceiling is decorated with intricate pieces of glass with the 99 names of Allah. The main hall has mazar of the saint, covered with scented chadars.

The Urs festival of the saint is celebrated annually on the 16th of Rabi us Saani. The dargah Committee conducts all the required rasm (rituals) as per Islamic traditions and distributes tabarruk to the devotees.


  • Ashar, Parth (2021-02-05). BI My Choice! (In English). Notion Press. ISBN: 978-1-63781-513-7.
  • Waghmare, Soniya Gandle, Amol (2021-01-06). BRAVE SOUL: THE UNVOICED SCREAM (In English). Notion Press. ISBN: 978-1-63714-771-9.
  • "Haji Ali Dargah official website. Retrieved 2022-07-07