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
Attār
Shaikh Sa'adi
Kabir
Shah Hussain
Influenced Sachal Sarmast
Bedil
Shaikh Ayaz
Makhdoom Muhammad Zaman Talib-ul-Mola
Tradition or genre
Poetry

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." He is also known as the poet of Sindh.[2]

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
A recent statue of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai in front of the Bhit shah rest house.

Statue[edit]

A 16-foot-high statue of Bhitai was unveiled in front of the Bhit shah rest house on the occasion of his 274th urs. The statue was sculpted by Nadir Ali Jamali, who is associated with the fine arts department of the University of Sindh. It is planned to be permanently put up at the centre of the Karar Lake next to the Bhitai shrine. It took ten months to complete.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

A recent painting of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai

Urs[edit]

The Urs commences every year from 14th Safar (2nd month of Hijra calendar) and lasts for three days. [5]

In 2017, the 274th Urs of Shah Abdul Latif began at Bhit Shah,[6][7] and Mai Dhai, Abida Parveen and many other singers and artists performed. The ceremony's opening was done by interim Governor Sindh.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "saintsofislam". saintsofislam.com. Retrieved July 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (1974). "Rūmī and the Sufi Tradition". Studies in Comparative Religion. World Wisdom, Inc. 8 (2). 
  3. ^ https://epaper.dawn.com/DetailImage.php?StoryImage=05_11_2017_119_004
  4. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSBxltb7Ckw
  5. ^ Vaqar Ahmed (April 10, 2015). "Bhit Shah: After the dhamaal". Dawn. Dawn. Retrieved 22 December 2015. 
  6. ^ "Urs celebrations of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai begin today". www.pakistantoday.com.pk. Retrieved 2017-11-06. 
  7. ^ "Urs celebrations of Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai commence - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 2017-11-05. Retrieved 2017-11-06. 

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]

Biographies[edit]

Poetry[edit]

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