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9). Preaching of Islam in Hathala and Martyrdom:

After travelling for a day or so Syed Wilayat Ali Shah’s horse came to a stop and wouldn’t go any further. He understood the sign and decided to settle right there. This place was known as Hathala. Hathala is about 60 kilometers west from Dera Ismail Khan and is accessible through Tank road in Tehsil Kulachi. Although the names Batala and Hathala rhyme, they are not the taken as the same.

According to a folk lore when Syed Wilayat Ali Shah arrived at his destination he uttered the word “Batala”. The Saraiki speaking natives took that word and named that location Hathala. However, there is no written documentation to support this claim.

The place of residence of Syed Wilayat Ali Shah was towards the southwest outskirts of hathala city population. He started his preaching and started making acquaintances. Mostly people would come to him when they or someone they loved got sick so he could pray over them to get in Allah’s good graces. The word of his power of prayer and miraculous recoveries spread quickly and the heavily Hindu population started to convert to Islam. In a short period of five years all of hathala had accepted as their religion and most of the population became Syed Wilayat Ali Shah’s subjects.

Under the rapidly changing environment and religious landscape change, a few hardliner Hindus and Sikhs got together to plan the murder of Syed Wilayat Ali Shah. Disguised as robbers, they succeeded in martyring Syed Wilayat Ali Shah along with his horse in early 1844 AD ~ 1261 Hijri. The local natives, subjects, and disciples decided to bury him in Hathala. A shrine was built later in Syed Wilayat Ali Shah’s honor and to date people from nearby places come to visit the shrine for votive offerings and get blessed. It was due to this untimely death that there were no direct descendents of Syed Wilayat Ali Shah and neither did the natives know of any known family to send any news of his sad demise.

Back in Dera Ismail Khan, Syed Ameer Shah received the news of his son’s martyrdom through oneiromancy. After receiving the dream for third consecutive night Syed Ameer Shah understood that his beloved son has met his maker. He shared this news with his younger son Syed Inayat Ali Shah but neither of them knew the exact whereabouts of Syed Wilayat Ali Shah except that he travelled westwards of Dera Ismail Khan. In the later part of 1844 the demise of Syed Inayat Ali Shah’s wife struck the last straw and with a heavy heart both the father and son set out for the pilgrimage after selling the mansion and the garden.