Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai

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Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai
شاھ عبداللطيف ڀٽائي
Born 18 November 1689
Sui-Qandar (Bhit Shah) Hala, Sindh
Died 1 January 1752 (aged 63)
Bhittai Shrine, Bhit Shah, Sindh
Influences Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi
Shaikh Sa'adi
Shah Hussain
Influenced Sachal Sarmast
Shaikh Ayaz
Makhdoom Muhammad Zaman Talib-ul-Mola
Tradition or genre

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (also referred to by the honorifics: Lakhino Latif, Latif Ghot, Bhittai, and Bhitt Jo Shah) (18 November 1689 – 1 January 1752) (Sindhi: شاه عبداللطيف ڀٽائي‎, Urdu: شاہ عبداللطیف بھٹائی‎) was a noted Sindhi Sufi scholar, mystic, saint, and poet, widely considered to be the greatest Muslim poet of the Sindhi language.[1] His collected poems were assembled in the compilation Shah Jo Risalo, which exists in numerous versions and has been translated into English, Urdu, and other languages. His work has been compared frequently to that of the Persian poet Rūmī. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University, described Shah Latif as a "direct emanation of Rūmī's spirituality in South Asia."[2]

Bhittai's ancestry[edit]

Shah Abdul Karim Bulriwaro, whose mausoleum stands at Bulri, about 40 miles from Hyderabad, a mystic Sufi poet, was his great, great grandfather. His verses in Sindhi are existent and his anniversary is still held at Bulri, in the form of an Urs.[citation needed]

His father, Shah Habib, lived in Hala Haveli, a small village, about forty miles from Matiari and not far from the village of Bhitshah. Later he left this place and moved to Kotri Kabir, where Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai spent some part of his adolescent life.[citation needed]

The early life[edit]

Shah Abdul Latif was born to Shah Habib in the village of Hala Haveli, a few miles to the east of the present town of Bhit Shah (named after him), on Safar 14, 1102 A.H. i.e. November 18, 1690 CE. Latif was raised during the golden age of Sindhi culture. His first teacher was Akhund Noor Muhammad Bhatti[1] although he was largely self-educated. Although he received little formal education, the Risalo provides proof that he was well-versed in Arabic and Persian. The Qur'an, the Hadiths, the Masnawi of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, along with the collection of Shah Karim's poems, were his constant companions, copious references to which are made in the Shah Jo Risalo. He is also known for his calligraphy and hand writing skills. He made several copies of the Qur'an.[citation needed]

His correspondence in Persian with contemporary scholar Makhdoom Moinuddin Thattvi, as contained in the Risala-i-Owaisi, bears witness to his scholastic competence:[1]

Beloved's separation kills me friends,
At His door, many like me, their knees bend.
From far and near is heard His beauty's praise,
My Beloved's beauty is perfection itself.

— Bhittai [Sur Yaman Kalyan]

In his poems he writes about Sindh and its neighboring regions, he mentions distant cities such as Istanbul and Samarqand as well as Sindhi sailors (Samundi), their navigation techniques, voyages as far as the Malabar coast, Sri Lanka and the island of Java.

Clouds return and once again, it rains, Lighting's flash from all sides, and with them, Some go to Istanbul others turn to the west, Some shine bright over China and others take care of, Samarqand, some wandered to Rome, to Kabul and Kandahar, some lie on Delhi, Deccan thundering over... My beloved Allah, may you always make Sindh, a land of abundance, my beloved Allah, may you make prosperous the whole universe.

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Sur Sarang, Shah Jo Risalo.

Most of the information on the life of Bhittai has been collected from oral traditions. A renowned Pakistani scholar, educationist, and a foremost writer of plays, dramas and stories, Mirza Kalich Beg has collected details about the early life of Shah Bhittai from the dialogues that he has constantly held with some of the old folks, still living at that time, who knew these facts from their fathers and grandfathers for they had seen Shah Latif in person and had even spoken to him.

The next day I sat down, and listened to the
Story of the "Vairagis."
Their salmon-coloured clothes were covered with dust.
The lonely ones never talk to anyone about their being.
They move about unmarked amongst the common folk.

— Shah Latif Bhittai

The final years[edit]

The Urs commences every year from 14th Safar (2nd month of Hijra calendar) and lasts for three days.[3] Along with other features, like food fairs, open-air markets selling Ajrak and Sindhi Caps among others, and entertaining and competitive sports, a literary gathering is also held where papers concerning the research work done on the life, poetry, and message of Bhittai, are read, by scholars and renowned literary figures. His disciples and ascetics, singers and artists, gather around and sing passages from his Risalo. Scholarly debates and exhibitions of his work and traditional Sindhi artifacts are also organised.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

A recent painting of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "saintsofislam". Retrieved July 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (1974). "Rūmī and the Sufi Tradition". Studies in Comparative Religion. World Wisdom, Inc. 8 (2). 
  3. ^ Vaqar Ahmed (April 10, 2015). "Bhit Shah: After the dhamaal". Dawn. Dawn. Retrieved 22 December 2015. 
  4. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Butani, D. H. 1991. The Melody and Philosophy of Shah Latif. Promilla and Co., New Delhi. ISBN 81-85002-14-2
  • Sorally, H.T. 1967. Shah Abdul Latif of Bhit: His Poetry, Life and Times. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. ISBN 0196360293

External links[edit]



Coordinates: 25°48′24.21″N 68°29′28.76″E / 25.8067250°N 68.4913222°E / 25.8067250; 68.4913222