Shah Inayat Shaheed

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Mystic
Shah Inayatullah
Title Sufi Shah Inayat Shaheed
Born 1655 (AH 1665)
Died 7 January 1718 (Safar 17,1130 AH)
Ethnicity Sindhi
Era Medieval
Region Sindh, Mughal Empire
Main interest(s) Sufi poetry, Dhikr, Social reformer
Notable idea(s) Mysticism, Sindhi Sufi poetry

Shah Ïnayatullah (Sindhi: شاه عنایت اللہ ) (c. 1655 – 1718), popularly known as Sufi Shah Inayat Shaheed, Shah Shaheed, sometimes referred as the First Social Reformer of Sindh was a 17th-century Revolutionary from Jhok, Sindh who was executed at the hands of Mughal Emperor in early eighteenth century. Sufi Inayat was accused of leading small army of peasants (Harees) of his area to challenge the domination of Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar, local feudal landlords and Mullahs. His mantra was “Jo Kherray so Khaey” (Sindhi: جو کيڙي سو کائي ), means the one who ploughs has the foremost right on the yield. The popularity of Sufi Shah Inayat forced the feudal landlords of the area to contact Mughal King Farrukhsiyar who on wrong information ordered the ruler of northern Sindh Mian Yar Muhammad Kalhoro to uproot the Sufi Inayat and his companions. A prolonged siege of Jhok resulted in the offer of negotiations from Kalhora commander and Sufi Inayat accepted the offer to avoid further bloodshed. As he arrived for the negotiations in the enemy camp he was arrested and later executed in Thatto.

Early life[edit]

Shah Inayat's Lineage is traced through Fazlullah to Sadu Langah whose family was quite influential in Multan. Sadu langah's ancestors had migrated from Baghdad and settled in Uch near Multan where they became attached to Suhrawardi saints of this place.Makhdoom Fazlullah Langah later settled at Pargana Bathoro on being granted land by the Mughal governor of those times.
Shah Inayat was born in 1655 at Jhok in Bathoro,east of Hyderabad.It was also called Miranpur after Miran Shah Mahdi. Shah Inayat spent entire period of his youth in town of Jhok. He had his education in Persian and Arabic at Miranpur and was well conversant with popular folk-songs and classical poetry in Sindhi.

Journey in quest for Truth[edit]

He wandered around in search of a mystical leader until he met Shah Abdul Malik ibn Shah Ubaidullah Jilani Qadiri (d. 1699) in Bijapur. After he had apparently transgressed the stage of fana fi'sh Shykh, the complete identification with mystical leader, and had reached the highest degree of mystical leadership himself, Shah Abdul Malik sent him to Delhi for learning outward sciences at the hand of Shah Ghulam Muhammad; then he returned Sindh. His teacher, deeply inspired by his spiritual achievements, followed him and settled too in Thatta. Since Shah Inayat had reached highest degree of annihilation and was free from tribulation of outward world, the orthodox theologians of Thatta and 'Scholars of outward knowledge' disapproved him declaring him heretic. The only theologian in Thatta who accepted Shah inayat's claims enthusiastically was Makhdoom Muhammad Moeen Thattvi (d.1748). Shah Inayat considered it wiser to leave hostile atmosphere of Thatta with a group of disciples and returned to his home place: Jhok, literally, a place where camels kneels down or where a large number of people settle down.

Shah Inayat's influence on people[edit]

Once back in Miranpur, Shah Inayat spent his days in meditation and prayers. His message was one of love, tolerance and equality.He established a Khangah a monstary at Miranpur and distributed his land among the landless tillers(Harees).A Sufi in action,he was opposed to Zamindar(Landlords) on the one hand and to the orthodox theologian on the other.Thus Countless people came under his spiritual light. Soon the population of Miranpur increased many folds.His influence with the people around him caused jealousy among the landlord and orthodox Mullah who conspired against him by complaining to Azam Khan,governor of Thatta Sarkar,that shah Inayat was trying to overthrow the government.

Battle of Jhok or Siege of Jhok[edit]

Sufi Shah Inayat's rising influence among his followers in the area of lower Sindh (Thatta Sarkar) caused much discontent in the heart of Mian Yar Muhammad Kalhoro who enjoyed political sway over Bakhar Sarkar(Northern Sindh) and Sehwan Sarkar (Central Sindh) and thus wanted to control over Thatta Sarkar which was still under the direct rule of Mughal Nawabs.
Mian Yar Muhammad Kalhoro's drive to consolidate his power on whole of Sindh, found this 'Social Movement of Sufi Shah Inayat' as main hurdle in realizing his ambition. Thus,he in connivance with other influential landlords of the area,and Pirs of Dargah succeeded in persuading the Delhi government to act against Shah Inayat and his band of peasant followers for rebellion against Mughal Empire.Thus a battle was launched on the order of Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar by the combined forces of Kalhora Chief and Mughal army of governor of Thatta.
A siege was laid to the town of Jhok for about four months but the follower of Shah Inayat gave stiff resistance. Finally,Shah Inayat was preparing to attack the invaders on 1 January 1718 AD when Kalhora chief sent Shahdad Khan Talpur with the Holy Quran to invite Shah Inayat for peace talks. However, when Shah Inayat met the Kalhora Chief, Yar Muhammad Kalhoro, for talks, he was arrested, brought to Thatta and presented to Mughal governor.

Shahadat of Sufi Shah Inayat[edit]

Shah Inayat was questioned and beheaded a few days later on 7 January 1718.
During his trial Shah Inayat appeared to long for death and therefore is known as Hallaj of Sindh and is venerated as crowned head of Sufis. His last words to his executioner was in the following verses:

"You have released me from the chains of existence, May Allah bless you now and hereafter."

The slain head was taken to Delhi in the court of Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar. On the way the head recited 700 verses, proving that those martyred in the name of Allah live on till eternity. In Farrukhsiyar's court were present two ardent devotees of Shah Inayat Shaheed. When they saw what had happened, blood rose in their eyes and in an act of fury, both of them blinded Farrukhsiyar with red hot irons. Chaos ensued and One of the disciples was killed while the other managed to escape with the head of his Shaheed Master and made it to Jhok.
A sayyid from Thatta built a shrine, where Shah Shaheed was buried. The other thousands of martyrs were buried in seven mass graves each known as 'Ganj-e-Shaheed'
A total of 24,000 followers were martyred during this battle, which is comparable only to the Battle of Karbala.
Battle of Jhok was not a fight between two rulers but it was a clash between the mighty Mughal forces along with their local cronies, and a band of brave Sufis who chose to revolt against the corrupt feudals and imperial order of the day.

Melo[edit]

The Urs or Melo of the 18th century socialist Sufi who laid down his life with a large number of disciples in a battle to protect a commune he had established in the Jhoke area, is entirely different from other Urs celebrations held at different shrines throughout the year.
It is a solemn event that offers little to common devotees by way of entertainment and creates a spiritual ambiance in Jhoke rarely seen at other shrines.The only attraction at Shah Inayat`s Urs is its unending sessions of Sufi singing held here and there on the premises of the vast shrine consecutively for three days and nights.

Legacy of Sufi Shah Inayat Shaheed[edit]

Shah Inayat`s struggle was aimed at exploring hardships faced by humanity on the whole and addressing people`s problems without any discrimination of caste, creed and religion.He preferred to get killed but refused to surrender to the oppressors.Shah Inayat took up sword against tyrant rulers and feudal lords and his message “Jeko Khere So Khaye” (he who tills has the right to eat) was addressed not only to Sindh but to the entire world, he said.

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