Sultan Bahu

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Sultan Bahoo
سلطان باہو
Shrine of Sultan Bahu
Born 17 January 1630
Died 1 March 1691
Other names Sultan-ul-Arifeen
Ethnicity Punjabi
Education Marifat
Known for Sufism, poetry, Sarwari Qadiri Sufi order
Religion Islam

Sultan Bahu (also spelled Bahoo; Punjabi: سلطان باہو, ca 1630–1691) was a Sufi mystic, poet and scholar active mostly in the present-day Punjab province of Pakistan. He belonged to the Sufi order known as Qadiri, and the mystic tradition he started has been known as Sarwari Qadiri.

Little is known of Bahu's life, other than a hagiography written by a descendant of his seven generations later, entitled Manaqib-i Sultani.[1] Sultan Bahu was born in Shorekot, Jhang in the current Punjab Province of Pakistan.[2] More than forty books on Sufism are attributed to him, mostly in Persian, and largely dealing with specialised aspects of Islam and Islamic mysticism.[3] However, it is his Punjabi poetry which had popular appeal and earned him lasting fame.[1]:14 His verses are sung in many genres of Sufi music including qawwali and kafi, and tradition has established a unique style of singing his couplets.


Sultan Bahu's lineage, like that of many famous personalities in Islam, is traced to Ali, the cousin and son in law of Muhammad, through the Awan tribe,[1]:12 which claims to trace its ancestry to one Ameer Shah, son of Qutb Shah.[4] The genealogy is traditionally presented as follows:[5][6]

  1. Imam Ali al Murtaza
  2. Abbas ibn Ali
  3. Ubaydullah al Madani
  4. AbulAbbas Hasan
  5. AbulQasim Hamza
  6. Jafar ibn Hamza
  7. Ali ibn Jafar
  8. Qasim ibn Ali
  9. Muhammad at Tayyar
  10. Abu Yalla Hamza
  11. Yalla Qasim
  12. Qutb Shah
  13. Sheikh Ameer Shah
  14. Sheikh Noor Shah
  15. Muhammad Hargun
  16. Muhammad Jayoon
  17. Muhammad Baharie
  18. Muhammad Sulla
  19. Muhammad Noor
  20. Muhammad Sughra
  21. Muhammad Peera
  22. Muhammad Mogila
  23. Muhammad Mannan
  24. Muhammad Tameem
  25. Sheikh Allah Ditta
  26. Sultan Fateh Muhammad
  27. Sultan Bazid Muhammad
  28. Sultan Bahu (1630–1691)


Sultan Bahu's education began with his mother, Mai Rasti, herself a pious woman who has her own mausoleum in Shorkot. She told him to seek spiritual guidance from some Shah Habib Gilani whose shrine is found in the village of Baghdad Sharif, near Mian Channu, to this day.

Around 1668 Sultan Bahu moved to Delhi for further training under the guidance of Sheikh Abdul Rehman al-Qadri, but soon returned to Punjab where he spent the rest of his life.

Literary works[edit]

The actual number of books written by Sultan Bahu is not certain. According to tradition, he has authored over one hundred and forty works and treatises. The following is a list of the works that still exist today and can be traced back to Sultan Bahu with a degree of credibility.[citation needed]

  • Abiyaat-e-Bahoo
  • Risala-e-Ruhi
  • Sultan-ul-Waham
  • Noor ul Huda (Kalan)
  • Nurul Huda (Khurd)
  • Aql Baidaar
  • Mahq-ul-Fuqar (poem)
  • Mahq-ul-Fuqar (prose)
  • Aurang-Shaahi
  • Jami-il-Asraar
  • Taufiq-Hedaayat
  • Kaleed Tauheed (poem)
  • Kaleed Tauheed (prose)
  • Ain-ul-Faqr
  • Shams-ul-Arifeen
  • Shams-ul-Fuqara
  • Magzan-e-Faiz
  • Asrar-e-Qadri
  • Kaleed Jannat
  • Muhqam-ul-Fuqar (poem)
  • Muhqamul Fuqar (prose)
  • Majaalis-un-Nabi
  • Muftah-ul-Arifeen
  • Hujjat-ul-Asraar
  • Jannat-ul-Firdaus
  • Kashf-ul-Asraar
  • Muhabbat-ul-Asraar
  • Panj Ganj
  • Fazl-ul-Laqa

Spiritual lineage[edit]

"Sarwari Qadiri" redirects here.

In his writings, Sultan Bahu refers to Abdul Qadir Jilani as his spiritual master, even though Jilani died long before the birth of Sultan Bahu. However, most Sufis maintain that Abdul Qadir Jilani has a special role in the mystic world and that all orders and saints are always indebted to him directly or indirectly in some way.[7] Thus, whilst referring to Jilani's Qadiriyya tradition, Sultan Bahu has left an offshot of his own which he named Sarwari Qadiri.

Bahu's Sarwari Qadiri tradition (or Sufi order) is similar in its overall philosophy to the Qadiri order. However, unlike many other Sufi orders, the Sarwari Qadiri tradition does not prescribe specific dress code, ascetic practices, breathing exercises, etc., and instead focuses on mental exercise, an important one being visualisation of the word الله (Allah, God) as written on own heart.[citation needed]

According to tradition, the lineage reaches Sultan Bahu as follows:[citation needed]

  1. Mohammad
  2. Ali ibn Abi Talib
  3. Hasan al Basri
  4. Habib al Ajami
  5. Dawud Tai
  6. Maruf Karkhi
  7. Sirri Saqti
  8. Junaid Baghdadi
  9. Abu Bakr Shibli
  10. Abdul Aziz Bin Hars Bin Asad al-Tamimi
  11. Abu-al-Fazal Abdul Wahid al-Tamimi
  12. Mohammad Yousaf Abu-al-Farrah Turtoosi
  13. Abu-al-Hassan Ali Bin Mohammad Qureshi Hankari
  14. Abu Saeed Mubarak Makhzoomi
  15. Abdul Qadir Jilani
  16. Abdul Razzaq Jilani
  17. Abdul Jabbar
  18. Syed Mohammad Sadiq Yahya
  19. Najm-ud-Din Burhan Puri
  20. Abdul Fattah
  21. Abdul Sattar
  22. Abdul Baqqa
  23. Abdul Jaleel
  24. Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi
  25. Sultan Bahu

The tradition has been continued to this day by Sultan Bahu's successors.


Shrine of Sultan Bahu near Jhang, Pakistan.

The shrine of Sultan Bahu, located in Garh Maharaja, Punjab,[8] was originally built on his grave but has had to be moved twice when the Chenab River changed its course. It is a popular Sufi shrine, and the annual Urs festival commemorating his death is celebrated there with great fervour on the first Thursday of Jumada al-Thani month. People come from far off places to join the celebrations.[9]

Sultan Bahu also used to hold an Urs to commemorate the martyrs of Karbala every year in Muharram from 1st till 10th. This tradition is still carried on. The Urs festival is also held during the month of Muharram. Every year, thousands of pilgrims visit the shrine during the first 10 days of Muharram, while in the last three days their number reaches to lacs. In this way, two big congregations are held every year, at his shrine, where thousands of people are benefited.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Sult̤ān Bāhū (1998). Death Before Dying: The Sufi Poems of Sultan Bahu. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-92046-0. 
  2. ^ "Sultan Bahoo The Life and Teachings". Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sultan Bahu Life & Work". Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Sayyid Shāh Gul Ḥasan, Qalandarī Qādirī. Tadhkira Ghauthya. 6 bonhill street London EC2A London UK: Sage Publication. ISBN 0761989846. 
  5. ^ "Sultan Bahoo Lineage". 
  6. ^ J. R. Puri, K. S. Khak. Sultan Bahu. Satsang Beas India: Radha Soami. ISBN 9788182560260. 
  7. ^ S. Padam, Piara. Dohrhe Sultan Bahu. s. n. 
  8. ^ Sadia Dehlvi. Sufism: Heart of Islam. HarperCollins Publishers. pp. 185–. ISBN 978-93-5029-448-2. 
  9. ^ Book Name: Tareekh-e-Jhang, Author:Iqbal Zuberi, Publisher: Jhang Adabi Academy, Jhang Sadar, Pakistan, First Edition, Date: 2002
  10. ^ Sarwari Qadiri Order. India: General Books LLC. ISBN 9781158473861. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]