Akhund Abdul Ghaffur

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Akhund Abdul Ghaffur
Saidu Baba
Tomb Of Saidu Baba
Born 1793
Jabrai, Upper Swat
Died 1878
Resting place Saidu sharif
Known for Ruling Swat area

Akhund Abdul Ghaffur (Pashto: اخوند عبدالغفور‎), commonly known as Saidu Baba (Pashto: سيدو بابا 1878-1793‎), belonged to the Gujjar tribe,[1] a prominent religious Mullah or priest, from Barr Swat. Akhund Ghaffur was a supporter of the Afghan Emir Dost Mohammad Barakzai, and opposed the Sikh and British forces.

Akhund Ghaffur was an influential mullah and his residence in Swat was the destination for numerous pilgrimages by his disciples to consult him. Akhund Ghaffur was succeeded by a notable line of other mullahs and theologians.


Saidu Baba was born at Jabrai Matta, upper Swat valley in 1793 AD. He got his early education from Mian Brangola. Later, he went to Mardan, Nowshehra and Peshawar for completion of his education. In 1835, he returned to Swat and settled in Baligram (now Saidu Sharif). In 1836, when the British tried to annex Swat valley, at that time Saidu Baba united the people against them and called for Jihad of Ambela, which discouraged the British expansion to the region.

Battles against Sikh and British forces[edit]

In 1831, when the Muslim activist Syed Ahmad Barelvi was killed by the Sikhs along with hundreds of Barelvi's mujahideen in the battle of Balakot, many of his mujahideen stayed in Buner under the protection of Akhund Ghaffur. They started a new uprising against the British Empire under Akhund Ghaffur's leadership in 1862.[2]:42

In 1834, Akhund Ghaffur cooperated with the Afghan Emir Dost Mohammad Barakzai in the battle against the Sikh Empire and brought a number of Ghazis and Talib al-'Ilm to the battle of Peshawar. In return, the Afghan Emir awarded Akhund Ghaffur with lands in Swat, Lundkhwar and Mardan among the Yusufzai Pathans, despite being an ethnic Gujjar[citation needed]. Eventually, when Akhund Ghaffur was about 43 years old, he permanently settled in Saidu Sharif and gradually turned it into a thriving city.

In 1863, Akhund Ghaffur lead the Yusufzai and other groups in a battle at the Ambela Pass against the British forces (see Ambela Campaign).[3]

Establishment of a united Islamic state of Swat[edit]

Akhund Ghaffur conferred a scheme for a united throne of Swat. In 1849, he nominated Sayyid Akbar Shah, a descendant of Pir Baba, as the emir of the Islamic state of Swat. After Akbar Shah's death in 1857, Akhund Ghaffur assumed control of the state himself till his own death in 1878.[2]:40

Religious rivalry[edit]

Akhund Ghaffur's greatest conflict was with Sayyid Maruf Bey Kotah Mullah, a supporter of the British-sponsored Emir Shah Shujah who had opposed the Barakzai Emir Dost Mohammad in the battle against the Sikhs. Akhund Ghaffur referred to Kotah Mullah as a disciple of Pir Roshan and practitioner of heretical rituals, and managed to convince the Yusufzai of Buner to push Kotah Mullah out of the village where he was being hosted.[2]:45

Literary allusions[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.chiefacoins.com/Database/Countries/Swat.htm
  2. ^ a b c Haroon, Sana (2011). Frontier of Faith: Islam, in the Indo-Afghan Borderland. Hurst Publishers. ISBN 1849041830. Retrieved 16 February 2013. 
  3. ^ Sabir, Muhammad Shafee (2005). "Akhund Sahib Swat". Khyber.ORG. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2013. 

External links[edit]

  • Anon, "The (British Raj) Indian Frontier", The Times, Issue 29100, (15 November 1877); p. 4; col D.
  • Our own Correspondent, "India", (Article contains the text: "The death of the Akhoond of Swat is announced"), The Times, No.29157, (Monday 21 January 1878), p. 5; col A.