Lal Shahbaz Qalandar

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Lal Shahbaz Qalandar
Religion Islam, specifically the Suhrawardiyya Sufi order
Other names Lal Shahbaz Qalandar
Born 1177
Marwand, Afghanistan
Died 1274
Sehwan, Sindh
Senior posting
Based in Sehwan
Title Shahbaz
Period in office 12th/13th century
Predecessor Baha-ud-din Zakariya
Successor Various

Syed Usman Marwandi (Urdu: سيد عثمان مروند‎) also known as Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (1177–1274) (Sindhi: لال شھباز قلندر), Sayed sufi saint, philosopher, poet, and qalandar, born as Syed Hussain Shah,[1] he belonged to the Suhrawardiyya order of Sufis.

He preached religious tolerance among Muslims and Hindus. His mysticism attracted people from all religions. He was called Lal (red) after his usual red attire, Shahbaz to denote a noble and divine spirit, and Qalandar for his Sufi affiliation. Thousands of pilgrims visit his shrine in Sehwan every year, at the occasion of his Urs.


Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (Syed Usman Marandi) also known as Syed Shah Husain the name by his father Hazrat Syed Ibrahim Kabir Uddin Jawabi (Ibrahim Mujaab) was born in Marwand (now Marwand)[2] to a dervish, Syed Ibrahim Kabiruddin[2] whose ancestors had migrated from Baghdad and settled in Mashhad, a center of learning and civilisation before migrating, again to Marwand.

During his lifetime, he witnessed the Ghaznavid and Ghurids rule in South Asia.[3] A contemporary of Baha-ud-din Zakariya, Fariduddin Ganjshakar, Syed Jalaluddin Bukhari Surkh-posh of Uchch, Shah Shams Subzwari of Multan, and Rumi, he travelled around the Muslim world and settled in Sehwan (Sindh, Pakistan) where he was eventually buried.[4] Evidence shows that Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalander was in Sindh before 1196 when he met Pir Haji Ismail Panhwar of Paat. It is believed that he arrived in Sehwan, around 1251. He established Khanqah, and taught in the Fuqhai Islam Madarrsah, during this period; he wrote his treatises Mizan-us-Surf, Kism-e-Doyum, Aqd and Zubdah.

In Multan, Marwandi met Bahauddin Zakariya Multani of the Suhrwardiyya, Baba Farid Ganjshakar of the Chishtiyya silsila and Makhdoom Jalaluddin Surkh-posh Bukhari. Their friendship became legendary, they were known as Chahar Yar (Persian = the four friends). According to some historians, the four friends visited various parts of Sindh, Punjab (in present day Pakistan and southern part of India)[citation needed]. Saints of Sindh, including Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Makhdoom Bilawal and Sachal Sarmast were all followers of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.

Shahbaz's dedication to the knowledge about various religious disciplines, enabled him to become a profound scholar, eventually. He became fluent in many languages, including, Pashto, Persian, Turkish, Arabic, Sindhi and Sanskrit. Lal Shahbaz lived a celibate life and died in the year 1274 at the age of 97.

In poetry and prose[edit]

A qawwali sung by many Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi singers and musicians like Noor Jahan, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parveen, Sabri Brothers, Wadali brothers, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Mika Singh, Reshman and Runa Laila, "Lal Meri Pat Rakhiyo ..."(See Dama Dam Mast Qalandar). This poem later was modified by Hindu Sindhis to, "O Lal Meri Pat Rakhiyo Bala Jhule lalan....." to praise Hindu mystic Jhulelal.


The shrine around his tomb was built in 1356 and decorated with Sindhi 'kashi-tiles', mirror work and a gold-plated door which were donated by the late Shah of Iran, Reza Shah Pahlavi and installed by the late Prime Minister of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[5] The inner sanctum is about 100 square yards with a silver-canopied grave in the middle; on one side of the marble floor is a row of about 12-inch-high (300 mm) folding wooden stands, on which there is a set copies of Quran for devotees to read. On the other side, beside a bundle of incense, are rows of oil-lamps lighted by devotees. Thousands of devotees visit the tomb particularly every Thursday[citation needed].

Mela / Urs[edit]

Lal Shahbaz's annual Urs (death anniversary celebration) is held on the 18 Sha'aban – the eighth month of the Muslim lunar calendar. Sehwan springs to life and becomes the focal point of more than half a million pilgrims from all over Pakistan. On each morning of the three-day feast, the narrow lanes of Sewhan are packed to capacity, as pilgrims, fakirs (dervish) and devotees make their way to the shrine, to commune with the saint, offer tributes and make wishes. Most of the people present garlands and a green chadar (shawl)" with Quranic inscriptions in silver or gold threads, humming verses, singing and dancing in praise of the saint, till late-night. The devotional dance known as 'dhammal', an ecstatic swirl of the head and body, is performed to the rhythm of the naqqara, a big barrel-shaped drum, some of giant size and placed in the courtyard of the shrine. Bells, gongs, cymbals and horns make a thunderous din, and the dervishes in robes, beads, bracelets and coloured head-bands whirl faster and faster until, with a final deafening shout, they run out into the courtyard.

Mela of Lal Shahbaz Mast Qalandar is celebrated in India as well, by Sindhi people every year, for more than 30 years in Rajkot, Gujarat. The mela is held during the month of February, or beginning of the month March on special Monday. Sindhi people refer to Monday as 'Sao Sumar (Green Monday)' they usually celebrate on that day a lot – having fun and sing from morning 6am till the morning of next day 8am. They invite 'mandli (band of folk-singers)' from different regions, each year.

Legends and stories[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sarah Ansari (1971) Sufi Saints and State Power: The Pirs of Sindh, 1843–1947. Vanguard Books
  2. ^ a b I A Rashid (2004) Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. Story of Pakistan. 6 March. Retrieved on 27 January 2008
  3. ^ N B G Qazi (1971) Lal Shahbaz Qalandar ʻUthman Marwandi'. RCD Cultural Institute.
  4. ^ M Inam (1978) Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar of Sehwan Sharif[citation needed]. Karachi.
  5. ^ N M Mathyani (2002) Lal Shahbaz Qalandar: A great saint. Retrieved on 27 January 2008

External links[edit]