Bahauddin Zakariya

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Baha-ud-Din Zakariya
بہاءُ الدین زکریا
Bahauddin Zakariya Tomb 03.jpg
Died21 December 1262(1262-12-21) (aged 91–92)[1]
DenominationSunni, specifically the Suhrawardiyya Sufi order
Muslim leader
Based inMultan, Punjab
Period in office12th/13th century
PredecessorShahab al-Din Suhrawardi
SuccessorVarious, including Lal Shahbaz Qalander, Fakhr ud din Iraqi, Jalaluddin Rumi and Sayyid Jalaluddin Surkh-Posh Bukhari

Baha-ud-din Zakariya (Urdu and Persian: بہاءُ الدین زکریا‎) (c.1170 – 1262), also spelled Bahauddin Zakariya, and also known as Baha-ul-Haq and Bahauddin Zakariya Multani,[2] was a Sunni[3] Muslim scholar saint and poet who established the Suhrawardiyya order of Baghdad in medieval South Asia,[1] later becoming one of the most influential spiritual leaders of his era.[4]


Abu Muhammad Bahauddin Zakariya, later known simply as Bahauddin Zakariya, was born around 1170 CE in Kot Kehror (now known as Karor Lal Esan), a town near the ancient city of Multan, in the southern part of the Punjab province of modern Pakistan. His grandfather, Shah Kamal-ud-Din Ali Shah Qureshi, had arrived in Multan from Mecca, Arabia while en route to the Khwarezm region of Central Asia.[5]

Bahauddin Zakariya descended from the lineage of Asad Ibn Hashim, and was hence a Hashmi, or direct descendant of the same clan lineage as Muhammad.

The renowned Kurdish-Persian Sufi master Shahab al-Din Abu Hafs Umar Suhrawardi of Baghdad awarded Zakariya the spiritual title Caliph in Baghdad, and then assigned him back to the Multan region.[1]

For fifteen years, Zakariya travelled to different cities in southern Punjab, where the order was able to attract large numbers of converts from Hinduism.[6] Zakariya finally settled in Multan in 1222. Under his influence, Multan became known as "Baghdad of the East," and is referred by Zakariya in his Persian poetry:

Multan ma ba jannat a'la barabara
Ahista pa ba-nah ke malik sajda mi kunad.

Multan of ours is comparable to the great Paradise
Tread slowly, the angels are paying obeisance here.

Zakariya became a vocal critic of Multan's ruler at the time, Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha, and sided with Iltutmish, the Mamluk Sultan of Delhi when he overthrew Qabacha in 1228.[6] Zakariya's support was crucial for Iltutmish's victory,[7] and so he was awarded the title Shaikh-ul-Islam by Iltutmish to oversee the state's spiritual matters, in gratitude for his support. Zakariya was also granted official state patronage by the Sultan.[6]

During his lifetime, Zakariya befriended Lal Shahbaz Qalandar - a widely revered Sufi saint from Sindh's, and founder of the Qalandariyya order of wandering dervishes. As Shaikh-ul-Islam, Zakariya was able to assuage orthodox Muslims, who were offended by the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar's teachings.[8] Zakariya, and Shahbaz Qalandar, together with Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar of the Chisti order, and Zakariya's disciple Syed Jalalauddin Bukhari, became part of the legendary Haq Char Yaar, or "Four friends" group, which is highly revered among South Asian Muslims.[9]

Spiritual Philosophy[edit]

Zakariya's Tariqat, or Sufi philosophical orientation, was to the renowned Persian Sufi master Shahab al-Din Abu Hafs Umar Suhrawardi of Baghdad.[6] The Suhrawardi order rejected a life of poverty, as espoused by the Chisti order that was more prevalent in the Lahore region.[10] Instead, the Suhrawardis believed in ordinary food and clothing, and rejected the Chisti assertion that spirituality lay upon a foundation of poverty.[10] The Suhrawardis also rejected the early Chisti practice of dissociation from the political State.[11]

Zakariya's preachings emphasized the need to conform to usual Islamic practices like fasting (roza) and alms-giving (zakat), but also advocated a philosophy of scholarship (ilm) combined with spirituality.[10] His emphasis on teaching all humans, regardless of class or ethnicity, set him apart from his contemporary Hindu mystics.[12]

He did not reject the traditional of spiritual music that was heavily emphasized in Chisti worship, but only partook in it on occasion.[10] He rejected the Chisti tradition of bowing in reverence to religious leaders - a practice that may have been borrowed from Hinduism.[11]


Zakariya's teachings spread widely throughout southern Punjab and Sindh, and drew large numbers of converts from Hinduism.[6] His successors continued to exert strong influences over southern Punjab for the next several centuries, while his order spread further east into regions of northern India, especially in Gujarat and Bengal.[11]


Coordinates: 30°12′02″N 71°28′35″E / 30.20056°N 71.47639°E / 30.20056; 71.47639

Baha-ud-Din Zakariya died in 1268 and his mausoleum (Darbar) is located in Multan. The mausoleum is a square of 51 ft 9 in (15.77 m), measured internally. Above this is an octagon, about half the height of the square, which is surmounted by a hemispherical dome. The mausoleum was almost completely ruined during the Siege of Multan in 1848 by the British, but was soon afterward restored by local Muslims.[13][14]

Many pilgrims visit his shrine at the time of his urs from different parts of Pakistan and beyond.[15][16]


  • Awrad-e-Shaikhush Shuyukh: Al-Awrad : Awrad-e-Suhrawardy

( اوراد شيخ‌ الشيوخ‌  : الاوراد : اوراد سهروردي‌)

See also[edit]

Commemorative honors[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Profile of Bahauddin Zakariya on website Updated 3 January 2005, Retrieved 15 February 2018
  2. ^ Shammsuddin, Khawaja (22 October 2017). Baran-e-Rahmat - The Rain of Mercy Part 2. ISBN 9781326752279.
  3. ^ Qamar al-huda. Striving for Divine union: The Spiritual exercises of the Suhrawardi Sufis. Routledge Sufi. ISBN 0700716874.
  4. ^ Karīma, Ānoẏārula (1980). The Bauls of Bangladesh: A Study of an Obscure Religious Cult. Lalan Academy.
  5. ^ "Bahauddin Zakariya Multani". website. 22 September 2012. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e Singh. The Pearson Indian History Manual for the UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination. Pearson Education India. ISBN 9788131717530.
  7. ^ Joshi, Rekha (1979). Sultan Iltutmish. Bharatiya Publishing House.
  8. ^ "Hazrat Bahauddin Zakariya Multani". Journey of a Seeker Of Sacred Knowledge. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  9. ^ Masood Lohar (5 October 2004). "Saint revered by people of all religions". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d Chandra, Satish (2004). Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals-Delhi Sultanat (1206-1526) - Part One. Har-Anand Publications. ISBN 9788124110645.
  11. ^ a b c Chandra, Satish (2004). Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals-Delhi Sultanat (1206-1526) - Part One. Har-Anand Publications. ISBN 9788124110645.
  12. ^ Sumra, Mahar Abdul Haq (1992). The Soomras. Beacon Books.
  13. ^ University of Calcutta (1891). Calcutta review. University of Calcutta. p. 251. Retrieved 10 January 2011. This section uses content copied verbatim from this source, which is public domain.
  14. ^ Mausoleum of Shah Bahauddin Zakariya "Multan City Online", Updated 2005, Retrieved 16 February 2018
  15. ^ Dawn Staff Correspondent (27 October 2017). "Urs of Bahauddin Zakariya begins in Multan". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Bahauddin Zakariya Urs celebrations begin in Multan". Pakistan Today (newspaper). 28 November 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  17. ^ Aamir Majeed (5 November 2016). "Fareed Express Train collision report to be submitted to minister on Monday". Pakistan Today (newspaper). Retrieved 15 February 2018.

External links[edit]