Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani (1314-1385) is renowned in Kashmir as Bani-a Musalmani or the Crescentader who brought them en-masse within the fold of Islam. In fact, it was his Sufi massage of love, harmony, and brotherhood which made Islam popular among the Kashmiris.
While giving the spiritual message, he did not ignore the material needs of his disciples. He imported about seven hundred craftsmen from Central Asia for introducing several handicrafts which were not know to the people.
Kar-i-Qalam-dani or Paper-Mashe; Khatum-band or Ornamental wooden ceiling; Calligraphy; Shawls, Paper making: Namdas or felt carpets, and some metal and leather crafts came from Samarkand, Kashgar, Yarkand, Khotan, Hamadan, and Mashad. Kashmir had its own tradition of embroidery and needle work, carpet weaving, tile making, metal work, wood work but the arri-val of mas-ter craftsm-en resulted in introducing new forms, technique and orientation.
After having absorbed creative influences, the Kashmiri artisans reached the highest pinnacles of glory. The credit for making Kashmir handicrafts renowned in the world goes primarily to Mr. Sayyid Ali Hamadani and afterwards to Sultan Zain-al-abidin Budshah (1420-1470) of Kashmir. However, Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani is considered nation - builder of the Kashmiris. Allama Iqbal Lahori lauds the achievements of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani in these verses: "This great Master from Iran, who was a direct des-cendent of the Holy Prophet, worked like a mason to build the fate of Kashmiri nation. Great and magnanimous as he was, he gave them education, wisdom, culture and religion.
He was a dignified mentor of this beautiful Valley - a dervish for the poor and an advisor to the Sultans. The people of this "Little Iran" learnt arts and crafts through his guidance, thus obtaining fame in the world." Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani deputed his chief disciples to various parts of the Valley, for establishment of the Sufi communes, known as Khanqahas. These became the centres of the economic, social, cultural and spiritual activities of the Akhis or the Sufi broth-erhood. At these centres, the Akhis would carry on producing works of arts and crafts and engage themselves in economic activities. They would conduct the Sufi practices for their personal spiritual elevation and for the benefit of others.
These spiritual exercises included Ashgal or Sufi therapy exercises, Zikr or incantation are recitation, Muragabah or meditation and same or whirling.