Sufism in Sindh
||This article is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay that states the Wikipedia editor's particular feelings about a topic, rather than the opinions of experts. (December 2011)|
Sufism in Sindh covers the incidence of Sufism in Sindh, the lower Indus valley in Pakistan, which is reputed to be an area of mystics. It is famous for enormous number of saints and mystics who are supposed to have lived here. According to popular legend, 125,000 of them are buried on Makli Hill near Thatta. The life of greatest of them, the poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, has been studied in Europe by Dr. H. T. Sorley.
The great mystic Husain ibn Mansur al Hallaj who is credited with utterance "Anal Haqq" (I am The Creative Truth) reached Sindh in 905, proceeding from Gujirat. He wandered along the river until he reached the northern areas of present day Pakistan. The strong spiritual wine which was poured out by Mansur in the sandy plains of Sindh has since then inspired many poets and musicians even more than was the case with other parts of Muslim world. He planted the seed of divine love and suffering into the hearts of not only learned but also the simplest and hublest villagers. Whoever has listened in a countryside to mystical folksongs in moonlit night will have heard the singers repeat time and again the refrain:
"If you want to know what Love is
ask it from those who are like Mansur..."
Many centuries have passed between Hallaj's travel into Sindh and his transformation into hero of popular mystical songs. Sachal Sarmast, the intoxicated ecstatic was one of the greatest admirers of Mansur Hallaj, whose name occurs on almost every page of his enthusiastic poetry. During this time, Sufism in its different ramifications was firmly established in the country. Suhrawardiyya tradition represented by Bahauddin Zikarya Multani took its roots in northern part of the province; besides, there is a dark figure of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan around whom be-shar (Outside Law of Sharea) dervishes assembled. Later, in the 15th century, Qadiriyya achieved a firm position in upper Sindh and expanded considerably during the following centuries. Last not least,the Naqshbandiyya reaction against too much emotionalism set in shortly after Ahmad Sirhindi's death (1624). Famous Naqshbandi Sufis of Sindh include Makhdoom Muhammad Zaman of Luwari, Khuwaja Abul Masakeen and Makhdoom Abul Qasim. Scholars like Makhdum Muhammad Hashim and his followers have largely contributed to the development of Sindhi language and have made accessible fundamental teachings of Islam to the rank and file in common, unsophisticated rhymes.
Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai
The most beautiful expression of Sufism in Sindh belongs to the Risalo of Shah Abdul latif Bhittai. This notable collection of mystical poetry conveys the great tradition of Sufism in an expressive and nuanced regional language. The influence of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi can be clearly seen in Shah Abdul latif's songs, but his real greatness lies in the ingenious combination of folk-motifs and mystical interpretations on one hand, and in the use of his mother tongue in hitherto unknown expressiveness.
After Shah Bhittai there comes Sachal Sarmast who was most vocal exponent of "Hama ust" (Every thing is He) and can rightly be called "Mansur of sindh". By his love songs,which unveils the secret of love and union, separation and suffering, Sachal immediately capture the heart of his listenor.he was great Sufi.
- Annemarie Schimmel, “Sindhi Literature,” A History of Indian Literature Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz (1974). See pp. 10.
- Annemarie Schimmel, Pearls from Indus Jamshoro, Sindh,Pakistan: Sindhi Adabi Board (1986). See pp. 150.
- Annemarie Schimmel, Pearls from Indus Jamshoro, Sindh,Pakistan: Sindhi Adabi Board (1986). See pp. 5.