Guru Nanak Dev ji visited Baghdad, capital of Iraq, on his way back from Mecca and Madina. He stayed outside the city to the west of Dajala (Tigris) River, about two kilometers north of Baghdad West railway station.
Guru Nanak Dev ji shouted the call to prayer, on which the whole population became wrapped in silent astonishment. Guru ji omitted the usual words Muhammad ar Rasul Allah, and substituted Arabic words of a similar sound to express his own ideas, hence the astonishment.
The pir (saint) of Baghdad, Bahlol Dana on meeting face to face with the enthusiastic stranger, inquired who he was and to what sect he belonged. Guru ji greeted him with his customary Satkar (respect) and replied, I have appeared in this age to indicate the way unto men. I reject all sects, and only know one God, whom I recognize in the earth, the heavens, and in all directions.
Upon this the Guru ji began to recite the Japji Sahib. As the pir listened to his doctrines he said, “This is a very impious fakir. He is working miracles here, and informing us, contrary to the authority of our Holy Quran, that there are hundreds of nether and upper regions, and that at last men grow weary of searching for them.”
There are nether worlds beneath nether worlds, and hundreds of thousands of heavenly worlds above. The VeDas say that you can search and search for them all, until you grow weary. The scriptures say that there are 18,000 worlds, but in reality, there is only One Universe. If you try to write an account of this, you will surely finish yourself before you finish writing it. O Nanak, call Him Great! He Himself knows Himself. ||22||
The pir then called upon the Guru to give a manifestation of his power. Upon this, it is said, Guru ji laid his hand on the high priest’s son and showed him the upper and lower regions described in the Japji Sahib ji.
He later held many discourses with Sajadanasbins (caretaker of mausoleum) of the mausoleums of Abdul Qadir Gilani and Bahlol the Wise, who were greatly impressed by his views on God and religion. After the Guru ji’s departure, they raised a memorial in the form of a platform where Guru Nanak Dev ji had sat and discoursed. After some time when a room was constructed over the platform, a stone slab with the following inscription in Turki was installed in it.
Lo! the Great God hath fulfilled the wish. A new building for Baba Nanak Darvesh has been constructed. Seven holy men extended their help in the construction. Its date as reckoned comes to 927. The lucky disciple caused a new current of water from the earth.
The last sentence is the customary phrase to work out the date according to alphabetical key. The date is 927 A.H. which corresponds to A.D. 1520.
Sikh soldiers who went to Iraq during the First World War, 1914-18, raised a Gurudwara here, but now only the room exists which is visited by Sikh and non-Sikh Punjabis who have gone to the oil-rich Iraq as workmen during recent decades. However, as it located within the graveyard, visitors are banned from staying overnight, cooking meals, holding Langar and Kirtan in view of the sensitivities to the majority of Muslim community (No Iraqi citizen is a Sikh)’.
The Gurudwara was founded by Mohamad Pasha Amoot, follower of Pir Bakol. Among religious celebrations, till march 1989, a regular weekly Diwan and Langer was held. Presently weekly Diwan is held every Friday. Langer is not permitted by the authorities. The emigrant Indian community comprising Hindus and Sikhs numbered around 8000 in 1989.
Address: Near Baghdad West Railway Station (on Baghdad-Samarra rail line), Baghdad (Iraq)