Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan (popularly known as Hazrat Shah Kamal) is a scholar of Meccan origin who is believed to have travelled to Bengal in search of his father, Hazrat Khwaja Burhanuddin Qahafan (also known as Khwaja Burhanuddin Qattal). Hazrat Khwaja Burhanuddin Qahafan was one of Hazrat Shah Jalal's 360 followers who came to Sylhet, Bangladesh to defeat Raja Gaur Govinda in 1303.
Hazrat Shah Kamal settled on the bank of Ratna river and this is how the name of the village 'Shaharpara' had been given - 'Shah' from Shah Kamal, and 'para' meaning bank of a river, therefore 'Shaharpara' literally means the 'river bank of Shah (Kamal)'.
Most of its inhabitants are related to each other; this is because most of them have descended from three sons, Shah Jalaluddin, Shah Moazzamuddin and Shah Jamaluddin, of Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan and their surnames are Shah, Khwaja, Kamali or Kamaly, Qureshi, Mufti and Siddiqi after their ancestor
Their keeping of family ties and relations with other clans are strikingly similar to that of Arab tribes. Outside of Shaharpara, descendants of Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan are settled in the village Patli Aurangabad and Muftibari in Dargah Mahallah in Sylhet. Today the Kamali population stands at approximately 5000 and most have emigrated to western countries for a better life, but they maintain a website that aims to bring all clan members together.
In 1303, Hazrat Shah Jalal (Shaikh-al-Mushaek Shah Jalal ad-Din Yamani) vanquished Sylhet (Gaur) with aid of his 360 disciples and the Mughal military might. After about a decade of Muslim governance of Sylhet, an expedition of 12 Sufi disciples was sent to Sunamganj under the leadership of Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan, commonly known as Shah Kamal, son of Hazrat Khwaja Burhanuddin Qahafan, who was a commander and companion of Hazrat Shah Jalal. The expedition suffered due a turbulent rainfall of monsoon season and thus Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan ended up in a village called Tilak in Jagannathpur upazillah in Sunamganj District with his disciples. It is assumed that the expedition was less adventurous because Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan was accompanied by his Arab wife, who was not accustomed to the local weather. Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan with his 12 disciples settled on the bank of river Ratna in Tilak. These twelve Sufi disciples of Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan are as follows:
1. Pir Kallu Shah, 2. Shah Chand, 3. Dawar Bakhsh Khatib, 4. Dilwar Bakhsh Khatib, 5. Shaikh Shamsuddin Bihari, 6. Shah Faizullah, 7. Shah Jalaluddin, 8. Syed Tajuddin, 9. Syed Bahauddin, 10. Syed Ruknuddin, 11. Syed Shamsuddin and 12. Shah Manik.
As Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan settled in Tilak, his settlement was given his first name, which is nowadays known as Shaharpara, though initially it was Shahpara; eventually, Tilak and other hamlets were incorporated into Shaharpara and Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan founded a mosque and khanqa in Shaharpara proper. Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan came to Sylhet with his wife from Mecca in Saudi Arabia and she begot three sons and daughter. Three sons of Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan were Shah Jalaluddin Qureshi, Shah Moazamuddin Qureshi and Shah Jamaluddin Qureshi. State of Moazzamabad (Iqlim-i-Moazzamabad) was established by Shah Moazzamuddin Qureshi. Descendants of Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan are settled in Shaharpara, Patli and Dargah Mahallah in Sylhet and they formed very distinguished families that are known as Kamalis of Shaharpara, Qureshis of Patli and Muftis of Sylhet. Kamali, Qureshi, Mufti, Khwaja, Siddiqui and Shah are the surnames invariably used the descendants of Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan. Descendants of Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan have mainly extended to five families: Mullah Family, Shahjee Family and Bogla Family in Shaharpara, Qureshi Family in Patli and Mufti Family in Sylhet Dargah Mahallah. Maulana Shah Shamsuddin Qureshi, who was a descendant of Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan, established the Qureshi Family in Patli and Maulana Shah Zia Uddin, another descendant of Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan, established the Mufti Family in Dargah Mahallah, Sylhet.
However, twelve Sufi disciples of Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan were conferred with a mission to propagate Islam in the vicinity of Shaharpara and, on completion of their mission, they were instructed to marry local women and raise their own family.
Pir Kallu Shah, in accordance with the instruction from Hazrat Shah Kamal Qahafan, settled within a walking distance of Shaharpara and the village was named Pirergaon. He was too old to marry so at one point he went to his native Patna (Pataliputra) in Bihar, India and died there. His tomb is in Azimabad, Patna, Bihar in India. His son, Shah Chand, established a village on the bank of the river Bharang (a tributary of the river Ratna) and the village later named as Chand Bharang on the periphery of Bishwanath upazillah [5:55, Shreehatté Islam Jyoti, Siddiqui M A U].
Dawar Bakhsh Khatib and Dilwar Bakhsh Khatib were brothers and learned Islamic scholars, who relentlessly campaigned in villages northeast of Shaharpara and enticed huge followers. Finally, both the brothers married and settled in a village that was named after the elder brother, Dawar Bakhsh Khatib, as Dawarshahi, Dawarshai and presently Dawarai, and the Khan Family of Dawarai or Dawarshahi are descendants of Dawar Bakhsh Khatib and Dilwar Bakhsh Khatib.
Shaikh Shamsuddin, who was also known as Shaikh Shamsuddin Bihari because he met and swore oath of allegiance to Shah Kamal Qattani in the city of Patna (also known by its ancient name Pataliputra) and joined his entourage in Bihar. It is also assumed that he was a native of Bihar and to distinguish him from Syed Shamsuddin, Bihari was post-fixed to his name. Shaikh Shamsuddin was well-read and committed to his faith. He was very much a Sufi mendicant and engaged in dawa by himself without much thinking of his personal safety. One day a gang of Hindu thugs took advantage of his vulnerability: he was harassed and incarcerated him in the village of Aatghar. Although, Shaikh Shamsuddin was alone and defenceless, his conviction in faith saved him from this cowardice attack on him. Miraculously, a sister of one of the attackers was taken by a surprised paroxysm; this caused a sudden confusion amongst assailants, who was divided into two camps. One group believed that wrath of God fell on them and they should seek forgiveness from Shaikh Shamsuddin and the other group wanted to test him by asking him to cure their sister. The latter won and Shaikh Shamsuddin was given the task to heal the young lady. It is said that Shaikh Shamsuddin got a bowl of water in front of him, did a prayer and splash the water on the face of the shuddered lady and she slowly recovered from the seizure. On her recovery, she demanded to marry her saviour and her demand was fulfilled. Eventually, the attackers of Shaikh Shamsuddin embraced Islam and Shaikh Shamsuddin settled in Aatghar near Khan-bari Bazaar on the periphery of Jagannathpur and Bishwanath upazilas. Four of the eight Khan Families of Aatghar are descendants of Shaikh Shamsuddin and the remaining four descendants of his in-law.
Shah Faizullah was also a learned and pious awlia (saint), who settled in a village near Shahrpara and it later named Faizi (commonly known as Fesi). He was actively involved in spreading the message of Islam and, apart from this, very little is known about him.
Shah Jalaluddin was another companion of Hazrat Shah Kamal Qattani and he was active in northeast of Shaharpara. Shah Jalaluddin established an outer-watch post or armoury (Quchi) far afield beyond the boarder of Shaharpara, which is nowadays on the periphery of Jagannathpur and Balaganj upazilla. Gradually a settlement was formed around the Quchi and later it was named Quchipur (commonly known as Kuskipur). Shah Jalaluddin’s tomb is there and his descendants are settled in Quchipur.
Syed Taj-ud-Din, Syed Bahauddin, Syed Ruknuddin and Syed Shamsuddin were brothers, sons of Syed Ala-uddin and nephews of Shah Kamal Qattani. Their father came to Sylhet with Hazrat Shah Jalal, but they came with Hazrat Shah Kamal Qattani from Baghdad in Iraq. Despite their relationship with Hazrat Shah Kamal Qattani, they were too instructed to engage themselves to promulgate Islam and in so doing they spread in different parts of Sylhet. Syed Tajuddin’s tomb is in Aurangapur (commonly known as (Orompur) in Balaganj and his descendants are found in Aurangapur and many different parts of Sylhet Division, including Shaharpara and Syedpur.
Syed Baha-ud-Din’s tombe is in the village of Bhadeshwar in Gulapganj upazillah of Sylhet District. It is believed that the name Bhadeshwar is corrupt of Bahadinshahr, which derived from (Syed) Baha-uddin and historians are silent on his descendants.
Syed Rukn-ud-Din’s tomb is in the village of Kadamhati in Maulvi Bazar District of Sylhet Division and his descendants are settled there. Syed Mustafa Ali, a renowned novelist, was a descendant of Syed Ruknuddin.
Syed Shams-ud-Din was the youngest of all brothers; some historian indicates that he was in his teen when he came to Sylhet and thus his name was not included when history Shah Jalal and his companions were initially penned. Nevertheless, Shah Kamal Qattani loved his youngest nephew and Syed Shamsuddin was not sent away like others. Syed Shamsuddin lived with his uncle, Shah Kamal Qattani, in Shaharpara till Syed Shamsuddin reached his maturity. His marriage was arranged with a daughter of Shah Dawood Qureshi of Dawoodpur in Renga, Sylhet and Syed Shamsuddin lived in Shaharpara for some years his marriage and then sojourned in Dawoodpur with his in-law’s family. Eventually, Syed Shamsuddin returned to Shaharpara and he was instructed settle with his family in a village west of Shaharpara and this village was later named Syedpur, which is in Jagannathpur upazillah, Sunamgaj District of Sylhet Division.
Shah Manik was very devoted to Hazrat Shah Kamal; he expressed his wish to live in Shaharpara with his spiritual mentor and he stayed in Shaharpara for many years. Finally, Shah Manik settled in a place near Shaharpara and it is nowadays called Manik Hara or Mani Hara. Historians are silent on his descendants.