Bu Ali Shah Qalandar

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Shaikh Sharafuddeen Bu Ali Qalandar Panipati (1209-1324 CE or 606 AH, born at Panipat, Haryana)[1] was a Sufi saint of the Chishtī Order who lived in India. His dargah (mausoleum) in the town of Panipat is a place of pilgrimage.

His real name was Shaykh Sharfuddin but he is famous by the title Bu Ali Shah. His father, Shaykh Fakhar Uddin was a great scholar and saint of his time. He completed his studies at an early age and subsequently taught near the Qutub Minar in Delhi for 20 years. He published a collection of Persian poetry by the name of " Diwan Hazrat Sharafuddeen Bu Ali Qalandar"[2] which was later translated by Khawaja Shahudin in Punjabi. It's a great Sufi work in Persian language.[3][4]


One account says he was born in early 1400 in Panipat, India. However an epitaph on his tomb in Persian gives his birthplace as Ganja in present-day Azerbaijan. It traces his descent from Numan Ibn Thabit Hazrat Abu Hanifa. His father, Sheikh Fakhar Uddin was a great scholar and saint of his time. His mother, Bibi Hafiza Jamal, was a Syeda; the daughter of Maulana Syed Nemat Ullah Hamdani.


The dargah (mausoleum or shrine), mosque and enclosure at the Qalandar Chowk in Panipat were constructed by Mahabat Khan, a general in the service of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Mahabat Khan's own tomb in red sandstone is adjacent to the saint's mausoleum. The tombs of Hakim Mukaram Khan and the Urdu poet Maulana Altaf Hussain Hali are also located within the enclosure. A nearby structure is the tomb of the last Lodi dynasty ruler of Delhi, Ibrahim Lodi, killed in the First Battle of Panipat (1526).[5]

The left wall of the mausoleum has a qasida (panegyric) embossed and painted in blue and gold, written by Zahuri Neishabouri who visited India during the reign of Akbar.

A large number of people from all walks of life - Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians - visit the tomb and offer prayers there each Thursday and during the annual Urs Mela.[6]


Various legends exist about the saint. One legend says after the ibadah (act of obedience and submission) of 36 years standing in the water in Karnal he was awarded the status of "Bu Ali" (Fragrance of Ali) by Muhammad. After achieving this Rutba (rank) he was visited by many other Sufi saints. An alternative legend to explain his name says that Muhammad appeared to him in a dream and offered him a wish. The Qalandar asked for prophethood and was told that all positions have been filled and Muhammad was the last one. He asked to be Ali and was told that position was also filled. He then asked for at least the fragrance of Ali and that wish was granted. A scholarly view of his name is that Bu Ali is simply another form of Kuniyyat Abu Ali.

Tomb of Bu Ali Shah Qalandar

During those days, the ruler of Delhi married a girl but was unable to perform whenever he would try to go close to her, though otherwise he was healthy. This was really frustrating and humiliating for him. At last, he summoned all the scholars of Delhi and told them about his strange problem. They were unable to figure it out, as the ruler was able to perform with other women of the harem. The ruler became furious, and warned all of the scholars of Delhi, that if they could not find the reason of his problem until tomorrow, he would kill them all. Bu Ali Shah, who was only a religious scholar at the time, was also among them.

On the same day, a wandering dervish came to the school of Bu Ali Shah, and asked his students about him. They told him that he had gone to the palace. The dervish gave some written note to the students and asked them to give it to Bu Ali Shah. When Bu Ali Shah arrived at his school, his students told him about the dervish and gave him the written note.

It said that the ruler of Delhi has married his own daughter, that's why when he goes near her, God makes him impotent. In the past, the ruler had married a beautiful woman, and then for some reason he left her. The woman was pregnant at the time. She took refuge in the house of an old man, who was a launderer. She gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and died shortly afterward. Because the old launderer was childless, he took the baby girl and raised her as his own daughter. Since she was beautiful, the ruler had come to know about her beauty, and he married her. Through his condition, God saved him from committing a great sin. The next day, Bu Ali Shah went to the ruler, and told him the whole story. When the ruler inquired into it, he found it to be true.

After coming back to his school, Bu Ali Shah threw away all of his books, and then went to look for that dervish who gave him the written note. On the third day he found him, the dervish was the Sufi saint Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, the spiritual master of Fariduddin Ganjshakar. Bu Ali requested him to accept him as his disciple. Bakhtiyar Kaki declined his request saying that he was not authorized to do so. He then said that all he could do is to take him to his spiritual teacher (murshid). After saying that, Bakhtiyar Kaki took his hand and put it on the hand of Amirul Momineen Ali. Through Ali Murtaza, he received the required spiritual training, and after finishing Bu Ali Shah became a dervish. From then on, he became famous with the title of "Bu Ali", although his real name was Sharfuddin.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Shahudin, Maulavi. Diwane Bu Ali. Malik Chananuddin. 
  3. ^ Boota, Sohail (2007). Tazkara Aulia. Sialkot: Shahudin Acadmey. 
  4. ^ Qadri Sarwari, Mumtaz Ali. Hazeena Tul Uns. Sialkot: Zam Zama Printing Press. 
  5. ^ Ibrahim Lodi's Tomb
  6. ^ Ali-Shah-Qalandar-14137.htm Dargah of Bu Ali-Shah-Qalandar

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