Shah Inayat Shaheed

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Shah Inayatullah
TitleSufi Shah Inayat Shaheed
Bornc.1655 (AH 1665)
Died7 January 1718 (Safar 17,1130 AH)
RegionSindh, Mughal Empire
CreedSufism, Mystic
Main interest(s)Sufi poetry, Dhikr, Social reformer
Notable idea(s)Mysticism, Sindhi Sufi poetry
Senior posting

Shah Ïnayatullah (Sindhi: شاه عنایت اللہ ‎) (c. 1656 – 1718),[1] popularly known as Sufi Shah Inayat Shaheed, Shah Shaheed or Shah Ïnayat of Jhok, sometimes referred as the First Social Reformer of Sindh was a 17th-century Revolutionary from Jhok, Sindh who was executed on the order of the Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar in early eighteenth century. Sufi Inayat was accused of leading small army of peasants (Harees) of his area to challenge the domination of Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar, local feudal landlords and Mullahs. His mantra, “Jo Kherray so Khaey” (Sindhi: جو کيڙي سو کائي ‎), means the one who ploughs has the foremost right on the yield. The popularity of Sufi Shah Inayat forced the feudal landlords of the area to contact Mughal King Farrukhsiyar who on wrong information ordered the ruler of northern Sindh Mian Yar Muhammad Kalhoro to uproot the Sufi Inayat and his companions. A prolonged siege of Jhok resulted in the offer of negotiations from Kalhora commander and Sufi Inayat accepted the offer to avoid further bloodshed. As he arrived for the negotiations in the enemy camp he was arrested and later executed in Thatto.

Early life and Sufism[edit]

Shah Inayat was born in 1655/56 A.D in Miranpur. He had his early education from his father Makhdum Fazlullah. He travelled to different parts of the subcontinent to find a spiritual guide, or a murshid in sufi terms. He arrived in Burhanpur and became initiated into the Qadiriyya order. He then travelled to Bijapur and from there to Delhi.[2] In Burhanpur, he was a disciple of Shah Abdul Malik ibn Shah Ubaidullah Jilani Qadiri. When his learning was complete, he took leave from his murshid. Before his departure, Shah Abdul Malik placed four things before his disciple: a tasbeeh, a prayer mat, a karaa, and a sword. Shah Inayat chose the sword, to which his murshid asked: 'O fakir what price will you pay for this gift?' He replied: "The price is my head."[citation needed]

Shah Inayat's influence on people[edit]

Once back in Miranpur, Shah Inayat spent his days in meditation and prayers. His message was one of love, tolerance and equality.[citation needed] Peasants left their respective lands to work for Shah Inayat as he had organized collective farming on his lands.

He established a Khangah (monastery) at Miranpur and distributed his land among the landless tillers (Harees). He expressed opposition to the zamindar (landlords) as well as the orthodox theologians.[1] He attracted many followers among the peasantry, and he organized them against the rulers, landlords and religious scholars, urging them not to pay agriculture tax to the rulers or give a share of their produce to the landlords.[3] The landlords and orthodox mullahs then aligned against him and complained to Azam Khan, governor of Thatta Sarkar that Shah Inayat was trying to overthrow the government.[1]

Battle of Jhok or Siege of Jhok[edit]

Sufi Shah Inayat's rising influence among his followers in the area of lower Sindh (Thatta Sarkar) caused much discontent in Mian Yar Muhammad Kalhoro who enjoyed political sway over Bakhar Sarkar(Northern Sindh) and Sehwan Sarkar (Central Sindh) and thus wanted to control over Thatta Sarkar which was still under the direct rule of Mughal Nawabs. Mian Yar Muhammad Kalhoro, the first ruler of Kalhora dynasty, strove to consolidate his power on whole of Sindh but found the social movement of Sufi Shah Inayat a hurdle in realizing his ambition.[citation needed] Thus he, together with other influential landlords of the area, and Pirs of Dargah succeeded in persuading the Delhi government to act against Shah Inayat and his band of peasant followers for their rebellion against Mughal Empire. A battle was launched on the order of Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar with the combined forces of Kalhora Chief and Mughal army of governor of Thatta.[citation needed]

The Battle of Jhok was not a fight was a clash between the Mughal forces along with their local rulers, and a band of Sufis who chose to revolt against the feudal and imperial order of the day. A siege was laid to the town of Jhok for about four months but the follower of Shah Inayat gave stiff resistance. Finally, Shah Inayat was preparing to attack the invaders on 1 January 1718 AD when Kalhora chief sent Shahdad Khan Talpur with the Quran to invite Shah Inayat for peace talks. However, when Shah Inayat met Mian Yar Muhammad Kalhoro for talks, he was arrested, brought to Thatta and presented to Mughal governor.[citation needed]

Death of Sufi Shah Inayat[edit]

Shah Inayat was questioned and beheaded a few days later on 7 January 1718. During his trial Shah Inayat appeared to long for death and therefore is known as Hallaj of Sindh and is venerated as crowned head of Sufis. His last words to his executioner was in the following verses:[citation needed]

"You have released me from the chains of existence, May Allah bless you now and hereafter."

His head was taken to Delhi in the court of Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar. On the betrayal of Mian Yaar Muhammad Kalhoro, Shah said following verse:

"ڏونگري ڏني ڏاڙھي، ڪوه ڪتي جو پڇ."

(The oppressor had promised (by touching his beard), it [the beard] was just like the tale of a dog.)[citation needed]

In Farrukhsiyar's court were present two devotees of Shah Inayat Shaheed. When they saw what had happened, both of them blinded Farrukhsiyar with red hot irons. Chaos ensued and One of the disciples was killed while the other managed to escape with the head of his Shaheed Master and made it to Jhok.[citation needed]

A sayyid from Thatta built a shrine, where Shah Shaheed was buried. The other thousands of his followers were buried in seven mass graves each known as 'Ganj-e-Shaheed'. A total of 24,000 followers were killed during this battle, which is comparable only to the Battle of Karbala.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Mohan Lal (1991). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: Sasay to Zorgot. Sahitya Akademi. p. 3941. ISBN 9788126012213.
  2. ^ Clinton Bennett, Charles M. Ramsey, eds. (2012). South Asian Sufis: Devotion, Deviation, and Destiny. Continnuum-3PL. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-1441151278.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Peasant Movement in Sindh: A Case Study of the Struggle of Shah Inayatullah". Grassroots. 49 (2). December 2015. ISSN 2521-456X.

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