Abubakr Muhammad Kaffal Shashi, a disciple of the historian at-Tabari, and spiritual heir of al-Bukhari was born in 903 in the territory of Shash (modern Tashkent). Kaffal Shashi was widely known in Muslim world as one of the first imams, proficient in Koran, khadis and Islamic Law. He was popularly known and respected as a great scholar and poet-mystic. The Kaffal Shashi’s contemporaries believed that there was nobody equal to him among the scholars from all over Mawarannahr. He travelled much: made khadj to Mecca several times, visited Bagdad, Damascus and Hejaz. According to a legend, Kaffal Shashi received its nickname al Kaffal, which means a “locksmith”, for his agility and skill in making locks and paddles. As an old-time lore says, al Kaffal once made a distinguished paddle with its key weighting as little as 0,5 g.
The exact date of Kaffal Shashi’s death is not known, the great imam died in 976 or 977. He was buried in the picturesque Bogi-Keykaus garden located at the walls of ancient Tashkent. Kaffal Shashi gained respect and esteem among the people and sometime later, when the news on the imam’s death spread about, his deposition place became a hegira for many Muslims. The first building of the Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum at his deposition was erected in the X century, unfortunately the time did not spare the structure and it did not survive. The Mausoleum building, located currently in Sebzar residential estate of Tashkent city, belonged to the XVI century.
The Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum is a cultic building of the mid-XVI century featuring an asymmetric dome portal design, which adds a peculiar appearance to it. The al-Kaffal’s tomb became a place of adoration that is why it was built up with a mausoleum in a form of khanakah - a dervishes’ mansion, consisting of cells for pilgrims to stay, as well as a refectory, mosque and madrasah. Located on a platform, this solid construction dominates over the Kaffal Shashi followers and disciples’ gravestones, located around the mausoleum. The 12m-high entry to the mansion is fitted with a decorative grid. Over the door, decorated with a skillful carving, there survived a historical inscription specifying the architects and calligraphers’ names who took part in the mausoleum construction, as well as a citation from the Koran - “Those, who read this, let them pray for me”. The Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum façade is decorated with an ornament from majolica, a rare and very valuable décor for Tashkent. The imam’s tomb, occupying the western part of the shrine, is located in a faceted niche, fenced with a wooden grid. The khanakah is crowned with a blue dome erected on a drum of a rectangular prismatic form. There exist many legends connected with the most ancient mausoleum in the Tashkent territory, one of them says that a son of Zaynutdin-bobo, the founder of Sufis order Sukhravardiya made a pilgrimage to the Kaffal Shashi’s tomb through an underpass laid from another part of the city.
The Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum, a part of the Khazret Imam (Khast Imam) Ensemble is considered to be its main sanctuary.