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
Title Bahu(with God) and Faani fi'llahi (Annihilated in God)
Religion Islam

Sultan Bahu (or Bahoo, Punjabi: سلطان باہو, literally "with Him",[1]:4 or Bahu A'wan; ca 1630–1691) was a Muslim scholar who founded the Sarwari Qadiri Sufi order, a saint and a Sufi poet. 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]:12 as well as Sultan Bahoo: the Life and Teachings[2] On the Thursday of 1st Jumada al-Thani 1039 Hijri/17 January 1630 at the time of Fajr, Sultan Bahu was born in Shorekot, Jhang in the Punjab Province of modern Pakistan.[3] More than forty books on Sufism are attributed to him, mostly in Persian, and largely dealing with specialised aspects of Islam and Islamic mysticism.[4] 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. Tradition has established a unique style of singing his couplets. The Punjab region became predominantly Muslim due to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape of Punjab region.


Sultan Bahu was directly descended from Ali, the cousin of Muhammad, through the Awan tribe,[1]:12 which claims to trace its ancestry to one Ameer Shah, son of Qutb Shah. He was born on the 1st Jamadi-us-Sani/Jumada al-Thani 1039 of the Islamic calendar/ 17 January 1630 AD, in Shorekot, Jhang, in the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan. He was named "Bahoo"by his pious mother Bibi Raasti meaning "With God". In Mehek-ul-Faqr Kalan he writes: "Bahoo’s mother named him Bahoo because he always remains with Hoo. Thousands of praises for the mother of Bahoo. Bahoo, who is the son of Bibi Raasti, finds pleasure only in the Zikr of 'Ya Hoo'. "


Sultan Bahu was of the progeny of Hazrat Ali, cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad. His family is thus Hashemi, and his tribe Awan. The Awan tribe trace their ancestry to Ameer Shah, son of Qutub Shah.

After the incident of Karbala, the household of Muhammad had to migrate to other lands. Many of his descendants who lived in Egypt and nearby lands departed for Turkistan and Iran due to persecution at the hands of Hujjaj bin Yusuf.

As time went by, they resettled in places such as Bukhara and Hamadan in Turkistan, and Baghdad in Iraq. Some migrated to Khurasan and others to Herat in the mountainous regions of present day Afghanistan. The ancestors of Sultan Bahu migrated and settled in South Asia, and the father of Sultan Bahu, Bazid Muhammed, became an important titleholder at the court of the Mughal emperors of South Asia.

The complete genealogy of Sultan Bahu is as follows:

Sultan Bahu, Bazid Muhammed, Fatah Muhammed, Alla-Radatta, Muhammed Tameem, Muhammed Mannan, Mogila, Peera, Muhammed Sughra, Muhammed Noor, Sulla, Muhammed Baharie, Muhammed Jayoon, Muhammed Hargun, Noor Shah, Ameer Shah, Qutub Shah, Emmaan Shah, Husein Shah, Firoze Shah, Mahmud Shah, Fartak Shah, Nawaab Shah, Darrab Shah, Awhum Shah, Abeeq Shah, Ahmed Shah, Ameer Zubeir, Abbas ibne Ali, Caliph Ali, Abu Talib, Abul Mutallib (Grandfather of Muhammad), *Hashim, *Abdul Munaf


Sultan Bahu belonged to the Qadiri Sufi order, and later initiated his own offshoot, Sarwari Qadiri. He refers to Mohi-ud-Din Abdul Qadir Jilani as his spiritual master in a number of his books and poetry, though Abdul Qadir 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.

Sultan Bahu's education began with his mother, Mai Rasti, herself a saintly woman who has her own mausoleum in Shorkot. She told him to seek spiritual guidance from Hazrat Shah Habib Gillani whose shrine is in village called Baghdad Sharif which is situated near Abdul Hakim (tehsil Mian Channu district Khanewala Punjab Pakistan)on the bank of Ravi river . After some time he moved to Delhi for further 'polishing' under the guidance of Sheikh Abdul Rehman al Qadari. Soon Sheikh Abdul Rehman al Qadari felt that he can not add anything to Sultan Bahu's knowledge as Sultan Bahu already knew more than Sheikh Abdul Rehman al Qadari. This did not take long, after which Sultan Bahu returned to his own, familiar surroundings. He says, "Although, I have not got worldly education but spiritual knowledge has sanctified me so much that all the knowledge is absorbed in my body and mind.” In his book Ain-ul-Faqr, he says: “I did not get worldly education like Prophet Muhammad but I have got such spiritual and Divine Knowledge due to the heavenly experiences, that a lot of books are required to express it...I could not find time to get education due to excess of revelations and effects The Divine Self Disclosures and neither had I ever done excessive prayers or mystic exercises.”

Shrine of Sultan Bahu near Jhang, Pakistan.


Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan-ul-Faqr Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo/Bahu was a saint by birth and even his mother gave him enough spiritual education and guidance because she herself was an Arifa (Perfect Knower of Allah). However, writes in his books: “I searched for a Murshid for thirty years but in vain.” He had already sworn spiritual allegiance upon the hands of Muhammad but his mother told him that outward oath is also necessary. He travelled long distances in search of the Perfect Murshid and met many saints and dervishes but none could fulfill his desire. Then he heard about Shah Habib Allah Qadri Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh who belonged to the progeny of Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, and lived in Garh Baghdad (Mian Channu, district Khanewal, Punjab Pakistan) a village near Ravi River. Sultan-ul-Arifeen went to Garh Baghdad to meet him. Shaikh Habib said, "What could I tell you? I do not have what you desire. You can get your destiny from Hazrat Abdul Rehman Jilani Qadri who is in Dehli.”

It is also said that Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani ordered Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo/Bahu, after completing his inward training, to swear allegiance upon the hands of Syed Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi. Sultan-ul-Arifeen immediately set for Dehli to obey this order. Sultan-ul-Arifeen met Shaikh Abdul Rehman Jilani on Friday, 29 Ziqa'ad 1078 Hijri (11 May 1668). The Shaikh took him in privacy. Sultan-ul-Arifeen received his eternal destiny in the form of Ism-e-Allah Zaat in only one meeting with his Murshid. He found everything he wanted and returned replete and brimful with the emotions to benefit people with this favour and benevolence. Further, Sultan-ul-Arifeen spent all his life wandering in streets and cities searching for the Seekers of Allah and taking them to the Divine Oneness, as he was ordered from the court of Muhammad to do the duty of guiding people towards God.

Spiritual Lineage or Silsila[edit]

The complete spiritual lineage (silsila) of Sultan Bahu is as follows:

  • Mohammad (sm)
  • Ali ibn Abi Talib
  • Imam Khawaja Hassan Basri Razi / Hasan of Basra
  • Shah Habib Al Ajami
  • Shaikh Daud Tai
  • Sultan Maruf Karkhi
  • Shaikh Sir'ri Saqti
  • Syed-Ut-Taifah Shaikh Junayd Baghdadi
  • Shaikh Jafar Abu Bakr Shibli
  • Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Hars Bin Asad Tameemi
  • Shaikh Abu-al-Fazal Abdul Wahid Tameemi
  • Shaikh Mohammad Yousaf Abu-al-Farrah Turtoosi
  • Shaikh Abu-Al-Hassan Ali Bin Mohammad Qureshi Hankari
  • Abu Saeed Mubarak Makhzoomi
  • Ghaus-ul-Aazam Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
  • Shaikh Taj-ud-Din Abu Bakr Syed Abdul Razaq Jilani
  • Shaikh Syed Abdul Jabar Jilani
  • Shaikh Syed Mohammad Sadiq Yahya
  • Shaikh Syed Najm-ud-Din Burhan Puri
  • Shaikh Syed Abdul Fattah
  • Shaikh Syed Abdul Sattar
  • Shaikh Syed Abdul Baqqa
  • Shaikh Syed Abdul Jaleel
  • Shaikh Syed Abdul Rehman Jillani Dehlvi (Dhhli)
  • Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sakhi Sultan Bahoo / Sultan Bahu

Literary works[edit]

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

  • Abiyaat-e-Bahoo
  • Risala-e-Ruhi or Risala Roohi Sharif[5]
  • Sultan-ul-Waham[6]
  • Nurul Huda (Kalaan)
  • Nurul Huda (Khurd)
  • Aql Baidaar
  • Mahq-ul-Fuqar (Kalaan)
  • Mahq-ul-Fuqar (Khurd)
  • Aurang-Shaahi
  • Jami-il-Asraar
  • Taufiq-Hedaayat
  • Kaleed Tauheed (Kalaan)
  • Kaleed Tauheed (Khurd)
  • Ainul Faqr
  • Shamsul Arifeen
  • Magzane Faiz
  • Asrare Qaderi
  • Kaleed Jannat
  • Muhqamul Fuqar (Kalaan)
  • Muhqamul Fuqar (Khurd)
  • Majaalis-tun Nabi
  • Muftahul Arifeen
  • Hujjatul Asraar
  • Jannatul Firdaus
  • Kash-ful Asraar
  • Muhabbatul Asraar
  • Panj Ganj
  • Fazlul Laqa


Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo/Bahu died at the age of 63 years on Thursday 1st Jamadi-us-Sani 1102 Hijri (1 March 1691 A.D) at the time of Asr prayer. Sultan Mohammad Nawaz says that Muhammad spent 63 years in this world, similary, Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo/Bahu also spent the same period of time in this world.

Sultan-ul-Faqr VI Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh said, while he was talking about the birth and death date of Sultan-ul-Arifeen "His age was exactly 63 years in accordance with the age of Hazoor Alayh Salat-o-Wasalam. Neither a day more nor less. His date of birth and death are the same".

Sultan Hamid has not mentioned the date of birth of Sultan-ul-Arifeen in Manqib-e-Sultani, but writes that he died on the night of Friday 1st Jamadi-us-Sani 1102 Hijri.


The shrine of Sultan Bahu located in Garh Maharaja,[7] Punjab, 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 with great fervour. The urs festival is celebrated every year on the first Thursday of Jamadi-us-Sani/Jumada al-Thani. People come from far off places to join the celebrations.

Sultan Bahu used to hold the urs of 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.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d 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. ^ "S". Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "Sultan Bahu Life & Work". Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "Risala Roohi Sharif". Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Sultan ul Waham with urdu translation". Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Sadia Dehlvi. Sufism: Heart of Islam. HarperCollins Publishers. pp. 185–. ISBN 978-93-5029-448-2. 

External links[edit]