Sultan Bahu

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Sultan Bahoo
سلطان باہو
Shrine of Sultan Bahu
Born Bahoo
17 January 1630
Shorkot Jhang District British India
Died 1 March 1691
Resting place Village Sultan Bahoo via Gharmaharaja Jhang District Pakistan
Ethnicity Punjabi and Persian
Education Marifat
Known for Sufism, poetry, Sarwari Qadiri Sufi order
Title Sultan-Ul-Arifeen
Predecessor Syed Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi
Successor Syed Mohammad Abdullah Shah Madni Jilani
Religion Islam

Sultan Bahu (CE 1630 – 1691) was a Muslim Sufi and saint, who founded the Sarwari Qadiri sufi order. Sultan Bahu belonged to Awan tribe. Awans are the descendants of Ali. Like many other sufi saints of the South Asia, Sultan Bahu was also a prolific writer, with more than forty books on Sufism attributed to him. However, as the majority of his books deal with specialised subjects related to Islam and Islamic mysticism, it is his Punjabi poetry that has generated popular appeal and made him a household name in the region. His poetic verses are sung in many genres of sufi music, including qawaalis and kaafis. Tradition has established a particular style of singing his couplets, which is not used in any other genre of sufi music.

The Mausoleum of Sultan Bahu is located in Garh Maharaja, Punjab, Pakistan. It is a popular and frequently-visited sufi shrine, and the annual festival is celebrated with the usual fervour, which is now a distinguishing feature of what is being called a ‘shrine culture’ of the South Asia.

Little is known of Bahu's life, other than a hagiography written by a descendant of his seven generations later, entitled Manaqib-i Sultani.[1] Sultan Bahu was born in Shorekot, Jhang in the current Punjab Province of Pakistan.[2] More than one forty books on Sufism are attributed to him, mostly in Persian, and largely dealing with specialised aspects of Islam and Islamic mysticism.[3] However, it is his Punjabi poetry which had popular appeal and earned him lasting fame.[1]:14 His verses are sung in many genres of Sufi music including qawwali and kafi, and tradition has established a unique style of singing his couplets.


Sultan Bahu's lineage, like that of many famous personalities in Islam, is traced as

  1. Imam Ali al Murtaza
  2. Abbas ibn Ali
  3. Ubaydullah al Madni
  4. AbulAbbas Hasan
  5. AbulQasim Hamza
  6. Jafar ibn Hamza
  7. Ali ibn Jafar
  8. Qasim ibn Ali
  9. Muhammad at Tayyar
  10. Abu Yalla Hamza
  11. Yalla Qasim
  12. Qutb Shah
  13. Sheikh Ameer Shah
  14. Sheikh Noor Shah
  15. Muhammad Hargun
  16. Muhammad Jayoon
  17. Muhammad Baharie
  18. Muhammad Sulla
  19. Muhammad Noor
  20. Muhammad Sughra
  21. Muhammad Peera
  22. Muhammad Mogila
  23. Muhammad Mannan
  24. Muhammad Tameem
  25. Sheikh Allah Ditta
  26. Fateh Muhammad
  27. Bazid Muhammad
  28. Sultan Bahu


Sultan Bahu's education began with his mother, Mai Rasti, herself a pious woman who has her own mausoleum in Shorkot. She told him to seek spiritual guidance from some Shah Habib Gilani whose shrine is found in the village of Baghdad Sharif, near Mian Channu, to this day.

Around 1668 Sultan Bahu moved to Delhi for further training under the guidance of Syed Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi , but soon returned to Punjab where he spent the rest of his life.

Literary works[edit]

Sultan Bahu written one hundred and forty books.All books in Persian Language except Abyat-e-Bahoo which is Punjabi poetry.[4]Only Following books are available now.

  1. Abyat e Bahu
  2. Risala e Ruhi
  3. Sultan ul Waham
  4. Nur ul Huda
  5. Aql e Baidar
  6. Mahq ul Faqr
  7. Aurang e Shahi
  8. Jami ul Israr
  9. Taufiq e Hidiyat
  10. Kalid Tauheed
  11. Ain ul Faqr
  12. Israr e Qadri
  13. Kaleed Jannat
  14. Muhqam ul Faqr
  15. Majalis un Nabi
  16. Muftah ul Arifeen
  17. Hujjat ul Israr
  18. Kashf ul Israar
  19. Mahabat ul Israr
  20. Ganj ul Israr
  21. Fazl ul Liqa

Spiritual lineage[edit]

"Sarwari Qadiri" redirects here.

In his writings, Sultan Bahu refers to Abdul Qadir Jilani as his spiritual master, even though Jilani died long before the birth of Sultan Bahu. However, most Sufis maintain that Abdul Qadir Jilani has a special role in the mystic world and that all orders and saints are always indebted to him directly or indirectly in some way.[5] Thus, whilst referring to Jilani's Qadiriyya tradition, Sultan Bahu has left an offshoot of his own which he named Sarwari Qadiri.

Bahu's Sarwari Qadiri tradition (or Sufi order) is similar in its overall philosophy to the Qadiri order. However, unlike many other Sufi orders, the Sarwari Qadiri tradition does not prescribe specific dress code, ascetic practices, breathing exercises, etc., and instead focuses on mental exercise, an important one being visualisation of the word الله (Allah, God) as written on own heart.

According to tradition, the lineage reaches Sultan Bahu as follows:

The tradition has been continued to this day by Sultan Bahu's successors.

Spiritual Title Sultan ul Arifeen[edit]

The spiritual title of Sultan Bahu is "Sultan ul Arifeen" (Arabic: سلطان العارفین‎) which literally means the king of the knowers or gnostics of Allah".[6] Sultan Bahu is referred to various titles due to his inclusion in considerable genres of religion, spiritual chains, poetry and even music . However, Sultan-ul-Arifeen is one of his most notable titles that has been used by saints to refer to him. In Sufi history, no other auliya shares this title with him.[7]


Shrine of Sultan Bahu near Jhang, Pakistan.

The shrine of Sultan Bahu, located in Garh Maharaja, Punjab,[8] was originally built on his grave but has had to be moved twice when the Chenab River changed its course. It is a popular Sufi shrine, and the annual Urs festival commemorating his death is celebrated there with great fervour on the first Thursday of Jumada al-Thani month. People come from far off places to join the celebrations.[9]

Sultan Bahu also used to hold an Urs to commemorate the martyrs of Karbala every year in Muharram from 1st till 10th. This tradition is still carried on. The Urs festival is also held during the month of Muharram. Every year, thousands of pilgrims visit the shrine during the first 10 days of Muharram, while in the last three days their number reaches to lacs. In this way, two big congregations are held every year, at his shrine, where thousands of people are benefited.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sult̤ān Bāhū (1998). Death Before Dying: The Sufi Poems of Sultan Bahu. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-92046-0. 
  2. ^ "Sultan Bahoo The Life and Teachings". Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sultan Bahu Life & Work". Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Sultan Hamid Ali,"Manaqib-i Sultani" Malik Chanan Din Publishers (Regd) Lahore Pakistan 1956
  5. ^ S. Padam, Piara. Dohrhe Sultan Bahu. s. n. 
  6. ^ "Title and Spiritual Status – Sultan ul Arifeen". 
  7. ^ Sult̤an Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman. Sultan Bahoo:The Life and Teachings. Sultan-ul-Faqr Publications. ISBN 978-9-699-79518-3. 
  8. ^ Sadia Dehlvi. Sufism: Heart of Islam. HarperCollins Publishers. pp. 185–. ISBN 978-93-5029-448-2. 
  9. ^ Book Name: Tareekh-e-Jhang, Author:Iqbal Zuberi, Publisher: Jhang Adabi Academy, Jhang Sadar, Pakistan, First Edition, Date: 2002
  10. ^ Sarwari Qadiri Order. India: General Books LLC. ISBN 9781158473861. 
  • "Great Sufi Poets of the Punjab" by R M Chopra, Iran Society, Calcuuta, 1999.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]