Mian Muhammad Bakhsh, a Sufi and Punjabi poet.

Mian Muhammad Bakhsh
Mian Muhammad Bakhsh

Mian Muhammad Bakhsh, a Sufi and Punjabi poet.

Sufis are the mystics of Islam; they give their lives wholly up to God. They are not celibate like Christian monks. They live “in” the world, but are not “of” it. Dervishes are Sufis who have made a vow of poverty and travel around begging. This is to teach them humility and what they earn from begging they give to the poor.

Mian Muhammad Bakhsh was born in a small village in Kashmir called Khari Sharif. His father was Mian Shamsuddin, a Khalifah, or spiritual head of a Sufi Order of which Damriyan Wali Sarkar had been first Khalifah, four generations before. Mian Muhammad’s birth date is not known exactly but it is put at around 1829 or 1830 and he died in 1907.

He was from the Poswal branch of the Gujjar tribe. Poswal comes from the Arabic word Boswal, which means “one who asks questions”. The Gujjar tribe covers India, Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Poswals originated in Arabia where they still live in Saudi Arabia. They first arrived with Muhammad bin Qasim when he invaded Sindh from Arabia in 712 AD. Nowadays they are still living in the Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, (which was formerly the North West Frontier Province) and the Uttar Pradesh region of India.

He had a very religious upbringing and during his early years he was taught at home. He later went with his older brother Mian Bahaval to study religious sciences in a neighbouring village called Samwal Sharif. His teacher was Hafiz Muhammad Ali and he specialised in teaching Hadith. The Hadith are the reported sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. His teacher’s brother, Hafiz Nasir, was a Majzub, this is someone who has renounced all worldly things and given his life completely over to God. He was a Dervish and lived at the Mosque in Samwal Sharif.

Since early childhood, Mian Muhammad had liked poetry and his favourite poem was Yusuf o Zulaika by Nur ad-Dīn Abd ar-Rahmān Jāmī. This is the story of Joseph and Zulaika in the Qur'an. Hafiz Nasir would often ask him to recite some of it which would cause him to fall into a spiritual trance.

When Mian Muhammad was 15 years old, his father became ill and on his deathbed he called all his students and family to come and see him.

He announced that he had a duty to pass on the spiritual lineage from his ancestors. He told everyone that he wanted Mian Muhammad to take over as he considered that he was the only suitable candidate.

Everyone agreed except Mian Muhammad himself, who said that his older brother Bahaval should have the honour. When he heard this he stood up and took him by the arm leading him to the corner of the room, he then made him face the direction of Baghdad. He addressed the founder of their Sufi order Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (died 1166 in Baghdad) and presented his son as successor.

His father died a short time later and after four years Mian Muhammad left home and moved into the Khanqah, the house where the members of a Sufi order live. He was the only one of the brothers who was only interested in spirituality and never married.

Even though he was now the Khalifah after his father, he still needed to make a pledge of allegiance to a Sufi Master. After his formal education was completed, he began to travel to deserted locations where he could pray without interruptions by other people. After a while he pledged allegiance to Hazrat Ghulam Muhammad, the Khalifah of Baba Baduh Shah Abdal, who was himself the Khalifah of Haji Bagasher near Kallar Syedan district of Rawalpindi. He was also a Khalifah of Damriyan Wali Sarkar. He also travelled to Srinagar in Kashmir where he studied with Shaikh Ahmad Vali.

Eventually, he returned home and gradually began to compose his own poetry. He wrote poems about his spiritual guide and other short verses; he then began to compose stories in verse, mainly in Punjabi dialect but he also incorporated Persian and Arabic into them.

He wrote many stories in verse but his most famous one was entitled “Ishq” which means journey of love but is better known as “Saif-ul Malook” and is the story of a prince who fell in love with a princess. A giant was also in love with her and in his grief he wept so much that his tears formed a bottomless lake which is still called Saiful Muluk and is situated at the northern end of the Kaghan Valley in Pakistan. There is a belief that fairies come down to the lake on moonlit nights.

Most Sufi poetry speaks of love but it usually is love of God or spiritual teachers.

Mian Muhammad Bakhsh died in 1907 and was buried in Khari Sharif not far from his spiritual ancestor Damriyan Wali Sarkar. His tomb is still visited by people hoping to receive his blessings.

Here are a few verses of his from his poem, The Characteristics of Love and Lovers:

If the Beloved demands their heart, they offer it with grace;

If the Beloved wants their life, they give it up in haste.

Immersed in Love for the only one, they forget the whole world;

They cry their life away in yearning for the Beloved One.

Carrying the one Beloved in their hearts they roam town and wilderness;

Learned doctors find no cure for their healthy, incurable sickness.

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Those who do not have the sickness of Love will never taste the fruit of vision.

If you fall sick with the Love of God, no need for any cure.

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So here the Beloved is God and he is saying if you have God in your heart, what else do you need?

Tomb of Mian Muhammad Bakhsh
Tomb of Mian Muhammad Bakhsh
Grave of Mian Muhammad Bakhsh
Grave of Mian Muhammad Bakhsh
Lake Saiful Muluk
Lake Saiful Muluk

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Comments 7 comments

Lahoreee 3 years ago

I think this is big effort. You should send the link to APNA website. I love it.


Hummingbird5356 profile image

Hummingbird5356 3 years ago Author

Thank you. I am glad you liked my article. I will look at the APNA website.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 2 years ago

So incredible! Thank you for this vision. This is a true spiritual holy person.


Hummingbird5356 profile image

Hummingbird5356 2 years ago Author

Thank you for your comments Micky.


uzma shaheen profile image

uzma shaheen 2 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

your hub is lovely, I really enjoyed reading. sharing it.


marxy 14 months ago

nice work and design


Hummingbird5356 profile image

Hummingbird5356 14 months ago Author

Thank you Uzma and Marxy for reading my hub. I am glad you enjoyed it.

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