Syed Muhammad Azeem a.k.a. Qalandar Baba Awliya was born in 1898 in Khorja township of Buland Shehr,U.P., India. He was the direct descendent of Prophet Muhammad through Imam Hasan Askari, the eleventh. Qalandar Baba’s maternal grandfather was a cousin of the great Indian Sufi Saint Baba Tajuddin of Nagpur. His mother was adopted by Baba Tajuddin and hence Qalandar Baba always referred him as his maternal grandfather.
He completed his primary education in Khorja, and high school in Buland Sheher. After completing the 12th grade education at Aligarh, Baba Tajuddin summoned him to Nagpur. During his stay in Aligarh, Qalandar Baba used to spend his evening at the cabin of a local recluse Sufi Kabuli Baba.
In Nagpur, Baba Tajuddin told him to abandon his formal education to stay with him. Initially his father raised his objection but when Baba Tajuddin informed him that it was his decision, he agreed.
Qalandar Baba Auliya lived with Baba Tajuddin in Nagpur for 9 years and received the divine knowledge.
During his stay in Nagpur, his mother died, leaving four daughters and two sons. Qalandar Baba Auliya was the eldest son and most of his siblings were very young at the time. It was becoming difficult for him to serve as the surrogate parent for his siblings. Realizing that Baba Tajuddin arranged his marriage with one of his disciples’ daughter in Delhi. Qalandar Baba moved his family to Delhi and worked there as a journalist until the partition of India in 1947.
After the partition, he migrated to Pakistan along with his family, and stayed in Karachi’s Lyari subdivision. At the time, Karachi was not a fully developed city and finding a job was hard. He believed in hard work and was not ashamed of odd jobs to support his family. Later on, he joined the local daily English newspaper Dawn and became its sub-editor.
In 1956, a famous dervish of Suhurwardiya Sufi Order, Hazrat Abul-Fayz Qalandar Ali Suhurwardi, came to Karachi. Qalandar Baba Auliya met and asked to be initiated in his Order. The visiting Shaykh told him at arrive at his hotel room at three in the morning. It was during winter; nevertheless, Qalandar Baba Auliya went at 2 A.M. to the hotel where Hazrat Abul-Fayz was staying and sat at the doorsteps.
At 3 A.M sharp, Shaykh Abul-Fayz opened the door of his room and summoned him inside. Qalandar Baba Auliya sat before Hazrat Abul-Fayz, and Hazrat Abul-Fayz blew three times on the forehead of Qalandar Baba Auliya. On first blow, the Alam-e-Arwah (Cosmic World) was revealed to Qalandar Baba Auliya; on the second blow, the Alam-e-Malkut (Angelic realm); on the third one, the Arsh-e-Mu’alla (The Divine Throne).
Hazrat Abul-Fayz Qalandar Ali Suhurwardi completed his teachings of Qutub-e-Irshad to Qalandar Baba Auliya, in three weeks. After that, he spiritually received divine knowledge from many saints including Shaykh Najamuddin Kubra. That phase ended when he received the divine knowledge directly from the Prophet. During that entire phase, he remained sleepless for ten days.
When Qalandar Baba Auliya was working as a journalist in the local magazine in Karachi, it was his routine that he would go to the residence of his beloved disciple Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi. There people from all walks of life would come to discuss various topics.
Once Qalandar Baba Auliya told Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi that he saw some angels standing on a roadside in Karachi, and when he asked them what they were doing? They replied that after few moments there would take place an accident, the people whose time of death has not yet come, they would have to save them. On the next day, the news about an accident published in the newspapers of Karachi, and the details of that accident were same as told by Qalandar Baba Auliya.
Once Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi was discussing with Qalandar Baba Auliya about the “Aura”, he asked him if the Aura also could perform all the works that our material body performs. Qalandar Baba Auliya replied, “Yes, that’s true” Khwaja Shamsuddin then asked, “Is it possible for someone to turn the electric swtich on or off by using his Aura?” Right when Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi finished his words, he heard the sound as some one pushed the switch button and the lights were turned off, then again, he heard the same sound and the lights were on.
On one occasion, Qalandar Baba Auliya said, “Miracles are not that strange thing to be performed. When a person’s conscious is subdued by his subconscious, he would do such things that are not considered normal. This could happen voluntarily or involuntarily. However, it has nothing to do with that person’s spiritual knowledge or spirituality.”
One week before of his death, he told to his disciples and friends that, “I’m a guest here for a maximum of one week”. He appointed Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi as the head of the Sufi Order of Azeemia. He made parda from the world on January 27, 1979. His tomb is in the Shadman Town subdivision of Karachi.