Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin Masood Ganjshakar was one of the most brilliant personalities of the Chishti Order of Sufis in India. After the untimely death of Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, the mantlepiece of India’s spiritual leadership within the illustrious Chishti Order fell upon the shoulders of Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin Masood Ganjshakar of Pakpatan, popularly known as “Baba Farid” and “Baba Ganjshakar“.
Family & Lineage
During the ups and downs of the political condition of Afghanistan, due to constant wars between the rulers of Ghazni and the Ghauri dynasties (548-584 A.H.), Hazrat Sheikh Shuaib, with his son Hazrat Jamaluddin Suleman (father of Hazrat Baba Fariduddin), was reported to have migrated from Kabul to Lahore whence he went to Kasur and, later on, to Multan and then finally settled down in Khotwal or Kenhiwsi (a village near Multan) which, at present, is known by the name of Chawli-Mashaikh.
Hazrat Jamaluddin Suleman married Bibi Qursum Khatoon who was the daughter of Maulana Wajihuddin Khijwandi, a very learned and pious gentleman, who was one of the descendants of Hazrat Abbas-bin-Abdul Muttallib and who had also migrated from Kabul to India and had settled down in a village called Kot-Kiror in the vicinity of Multan.
Bibi Qursum was a very pious lady. Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia reports that one night a thief entered her house. The Bibi Qursum was awake and as she cast a glance over the thief, he at once lost his eyesight and started wailing. Ultimately he prayed; “If Bibi Qursum would restore my eyesight, I pledge, I shall give up stealing forever.” Bibi Qursum felt pity upon him and prayed for the restoration of his eyesight and, by the grace of God, the thief’s sight was restored. He fell apologetically at the feet of Bibi Qursum in grateful submission. Next morning he and his whole family embraced Islam. He was given the Islamic name of Abdulla with the title of “Chawli-Mashaikh” which became the second popular name of village Khotwal. Hazrat Khwaja Shuaib, his son Khwaja Jamaluddin and Bibi Qursum Khatoon, all died in Khotwal and their ‘muzaars’ (tombs) stand there up to this day.
Hazrat Jamaluddin and Bibi Qursum bore 3 sons and one daughter:
- Hazrat Aizazuddin
- Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar
- Hazrat Najibuddin Mutawakkal
- Bibi Hajra, also known as “Jameela Khatoon”, who was the mother of Hazrat Makhdoom Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari, the 3rd Spiritual Successor in the Chishtia Order.
He was born on the night of 29th Shaabaan in 569 A.H. in Khotwal. There are different versions about his date of birth but, by consensus of opinion. 569 A.H. is taken to be the correct date. Two miracles surrounded his birth indicating that Hazrat Baba Fariduddin was indeed a born ‘wali’.
Miracles Surrounding his Birth
One day, during her pregnancy period, Hazrat Baba Farid’s mother wanted to pluck some plums from her neighbour’s tree without his permission. However, the child in her womb (Hazrat Baba Farid) created a severe pain in her stomach that forced her to abandon this idea. A few years after Baba Farid’s birth, his mother one day expressed: “My dear son, during your confinement I have never eaten anything which was unlawful,” Baba Farid however smiled and said: “But, dear mother, you wanted to pluck some plums from our neighbour’s tree without his permission when I had created a severe pain in your stomach which saved you from that unlawful act”, and on that note, he ran out of the house to play while his mother stood wonder-struck. She felt that the child would some day be a great saint.
Another miracle narrates that as stated above, Baba Farid was born on the night falling between the 29th of Shaabaan and 1st of Ramadan. Owing to cloudy weather on the evening of 29th, people could not see the moon to determine the beginning of the Ramadan month according to Islamic calendar, and were in a state of uncertainty as to whether they should or should not commence fasting from the next morning. They approached Hazrat Jamaluddin Suleman, father of Baba Farid, for a ‘Fatwa’ on this matter. He said: “If there was any doubt about the appearance of moon, then the commencement of fasting would be against the ‘Shariat’. In the meantime, a dervish appeared on the scene and, on being questioned about his opinion in this matter, he said:
|“||Why worry and remain in doubt? A child is to be born in the house of Hazrat Jamaluddin tonight who would be the ‘Qutub’ (spiritual monarch) of his time. If the child did not take its mother’s milk tonight you should think that the moon has appeared and the Ramdan month will start from tomorrow.”||”|
Thus, early in the morning at the time of ‘sehri’ (between 4 and 5 A.M.) people made anxious enquiries at Hazrat Jamaluddin’s house about the dervish’s prophesy and were surprised to learn that the newly born child had not taken his mother’s milk after midnight. With this corroboration, people started fasting. Later on, in the day, news came from Multan and other places that moon had appeared and the month of Ramdan had begun from that very day. Throughout the month of Ramdan, Baba Farid did not touch his mother’s milk during the day until the time of ‘Iftaar’.
- Amir-Ul-Momineen Hazrat Umar Farooq , father of
- Hazrat Abdulla, father of
- Hazrat Naasir or Hazrat Mansoor or Hazrat Salmaan, father of
- Hazrat Suleman, father of
- Hazrat Adham, father of
- Hazrat Ibrahim of Balakh, father of
- Hazrat Ishaq, father of
- Hazrat Waiz-ul-Akbar Abil Fateh, father of
- Hazrat Waiz-ul-Asghar Abdulla, father of
- Hazrat Masood, father of
- Hazrat Suleman, father of
- Hazrat Saamaan Shah, father of
- Hazrat Raseeman Shah, father of
- Hazrat Naseeruddin father, of
- Sheikh Ahmed Farrukh Shah Kabli, father of
- Hazrat Shihabuddin, father of
- Hazrat Mohammed, father of
- Hazrat Yusuf, father of
- Hazrat Sheikh Ahmed Shaheed, father of
- Hazrat Shuaib, father of
- Hazrat Jamaluddin Suleman, father of
- Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin Masood Ganjshakar. 
Like his spiritual predecessors, Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin also lost his father at an early age, and so full responsibility of his education devolved upon his mother, who took special interest in providing the best education in Islamic tradition. After he had completed his early religious education at the age of 7 in Khotwal, she sent him to Multan for his higher education. Here he stayed in a mosque where he learned the Holy Quran by heart and studied Hadith, Fiqah, Philosophy and Logic under the tutorship of the famous Maulana Minhajuddin.
During his education at Multan, Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki of Delhi visited the city and happened to come to the mosque for his Namaz where Baba Farid was receiving his education. As soon as Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin saw Baba Farid, he was highly impressed by his demeanour and exceptional qualities which he perceived through his intuitive abilities. He at once accepted Baba Farid as his ‘mureed’ and so long as he stayed in Multan, Baba Farid visited him daily and derived much benefit through his association. When Hazrat Qutbuddin made his way for Delhi, Baba Farid offered to follow him but he was advised to remain and complete his studies, and also to undertake a tour in Islamic countries in order to mature his experience by coming in contact with the leading saints or Sufis. Baba Farid obeyed, and, soon after his Pir’s departure, he also started on a long journey towards Ghazni, Bhaghdad, Sewastan, Badakhshan, Jerusalem, Mecca and Medina.
For about 18 years, from 593 to 611AH, Baba Fariduddin remained on this prolonged tour, meeting many great dervishes and saints and thus gaining immense benefit and knowledge from their experiences in Sufism. He has mentioned these travels in his publication, Rahat-ul-Quloob.
Meeting with Hazrat Shahabuddin Suhrawardi Hazrat Baba Farid says that Hazrat Shahabuddin Umar Suhrawardi (b. 539 d. 632 A.H.) was one of the greatest Sufi saints of his time. Regarding his meeting with Hazrat Shahabuddin Suhrawardi, Hazrat Baba Farid says;
|“||When I was in Baghdad, I stayed with Hazrat Shahabuddin Suhrawardi for many days and received immense benefit from his vast reservoir of divine knowledge and magnetic association. I saw he used to get daily 10.000 to 12,000 gold mohurs as ‘nazrana’ which he distributed amng the poor before sunset in the name of God. By evening there remained with him not a single penny fromt his wealth. He used to say; “If I would have kept even a single pie from this money, I would not have been a dervish but I would have been known by the title of the rich.||”|
Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin had an ever lasting impression of and a very high regard for Hazrat Sheikh Shahabuddin Suhrawardi’s angelic personality, his vast religious knowledge and his unfathomable spiritual insight.
Meeting with a descendant of Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi
|“||During my stay in Baghdad I was always in search of ‘Buzurgaan-e-Deen’ (great dervishes and saints). One day I found a great saint who was living in a ‘ghaar’ (hollow) on the banks of river Faraat (Eupharates). When I called upon him he was in Namaz. When he finished, I offered him my ‘salaams’ he asked me to sit down. I noticed his face was shining like the full moon and that he had an overpowering personality. He said; “I have been living in this hollow for the past 50 years, and I am one of the descendants of Hazrat Junaid of Baghdad. I am living only on wild herbs and leaves of trees and I have not slept for the past 20 years. Last night I had a nap on my ‘musalla’ (prayer carpet) when I had the honour of witnessing (in a vision) the glory of the night of the Holy Prophet’s ﷺ ‘Miraaj, (the prophet’s visit to the 7th heaven). After relating this story, he said; “Whoever desires God’s nearness, God gracious also desires to be near him.”||”|
Meeting with Imam Hadadi
|“||When I was travelling in the surroundings of Ghazni, I met Imam Hadadi in a town during the month of Ramadan and stayed with him for some time receiving benefit from his spiritual experiences. Here I also met another dervish who was a perfect Sufi and used to finish the recitation of the Holy Quran three times every night. He advised me to be “punctual and painstaking in ‘mujahedas’ (strivings) on the path of Sufism without which success was not possible since “Ahl-e- ‘Suffa’ (great saints and Sufis) have given ‘mujahedas’ the utmost priority.||”|
Meeting with Sheikh Abdul Waahid Badakhshani
|“||When I reached Badakhshan, I met Sheikh Abdul Waahid Badakhshani, a descendant of Hazrat Dhul-Nun al-Misri — a great name in the Sufi world. He was old and lived outside the city in a hollow. Continuous ‘mujahedas’ had sapped up all his bodily vigour. He had only one leg on which he was standing with the help of a staff in a state of ‘sukr’. I offered my salaams and he reciprocated affectionately and asked me to sit down. He told his story: “I have been here for the past 70 years and my sustenance is from ‘ghaib’ (unseen). Some 30 years ago I saw a woman passing this way and, enticed by the human nature or ‘nafs‘, I was drawn towards her. Just then the divine voice warned me: “O you lover, have you forgotten your promise to Me that you would never look towards anybody else except Me?” I was stunned and immediately restrained myself and cut off the foot that had led me out of the hollow. From that day, I am in a state of shame and do not know how I shall be able to answer for the breach of my promise to God on the Day of Judgment.||”|
Visit to Mecca and Medina
According to ‘Gulzar-e-Faridi’, when Hazrat Baba Fariduddin went to Medina, after paying his respects at Mecca he was spiritually commanded by the Holy Prophet ﷺ to proceed to Baghdad and meet Hazrat Abdul Wahaab, son of Hazrat Ghausul-Azam Abdul Qadir Jilani Mahboob Subhani, and receive some ‘Tabarrukaat'(sacred relics) from him. Accordingly when Hazrat Baba Farid reached Baghdad, he received a box from Hazrat Abdul Wahaab which contained the following holy relics:-
- Two ‘Alums’ (flag poles) which were used by the Holy Prophet ﷺ in some of the battles fought by him in the defence of Islam.
- One pair of scissors.
- One turban which was used by the Holy Prophet ﷺ.
It is reported that Hazrat Abdul Wahaab put the sacred turban on the head of Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin and thus permitted him to take ‘mureeds’ in the name of Qadria silsila and to the Chishtia silsila to which Baba Farid belonged.
It is also reported that Hazrat Baba Farid visited Jerusalem where he swept the floors of that holy shrine for some time before returning to India, and there exists still a “Zaavia” of Hazrat Baba Farid where the visitors live for free according to Hazrat Naami of Lahore.
After a period of nearly 18 years spent travelling. Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin started his journey back to India. During this journey, he met many other renowned dervishes.
Baba Fariduddin reached Multan which had become the cradle of Sufism during his long absence due to the illumination spread by Hazrat Khwaja Bahauddin Zakariya Suhrawardi. When these two spiritual giants met, Baba Fariduddin was asked by Hazrat Bahauddin as to how he had progressed spiritually. Baba Farid replied: “If I ask the chair on which you are sitting to fly in the air, it will fly.” As he uttered these words, the chair of Hazrat Bahauddin began to rise in the air.
From Multan, Hazrat Baba Farid went to his home town Khotwal to kiss the feet of his dear mother after a prolonged absence. Having spent a few days in her company, he left for Delhi to present himself before his Pir-o-Murshid, Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki.
Arriving in Delhi, he went straight to Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin. Hazrat Baba Farid says the following about his meeting and initiation:
|“||When I had the honour of presenting himself in the presence of Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin, he at once placed the “Kulah-e-chahaar Tarki”(a symbolic cap confirming four important pledges taken by Sufis at the time of their initiation) upon my head in a well attended majlis in which Qazi Hamiduddin Nagauri, Maulana Allauddin Kirmani, Syed Nooruddin Mubarik, Sheikh Nizamuddin Moid, Maulana Shamsuddin Turk, Sheikh Mahmood, Haz, Burhanuddin Balkhi, Maulana Ziauddin Rumi and many other prominent dervishes were present. Hazrat Qutbuddin said: “O Farid, a Master must have such a nearness to God that he should be able to cleanse the dirt from the chest of his mureed at the very first glance through his spiritual abilities and, after accepting a mureed, he should be able to introduce him to God directly. If the Murshid (Master) has no such power then both he and his mureed do not know their destination in Sufism.||”|
After his initiation, Hazrat Baba Farid was ordered to perform certain mujahedas (spiritual practices) in order to achieve his perfection and for this purpose Hazrat Qutbuddin selected a hujra’ (cell) near Ghazni Gate in Delhi for Baba Farid. Baba Farid carried out these mujahedas with his characteristic devotion, forbearance and courage.
Visit of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti
During this period, Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer arrived in Delhi to see Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin. When Khwaja Moinuddin heard of Baba Farid’s extraordinary success, he went to see him at his hujra with Khwaja Qutbuddin. As soon as Baba Farid saw both of these illustrious Murshids at the dooro f his hujra, he immediately got up to pay his respects but due to extreme weakness, as a result of his difficult ‘mujahedas’, he fell down. He was however picked up and embraced affectionately by both the great saints. At the very first glance, Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti recognised what marvellous qualities Baba Farid had and then, turning to Hazrat Qutbuddin, the great saint of Ajmer said:
|“||Baba Qutub, shahbaaz-e-azeem dar daam awurdayee ke hajuz Sidrat- ul-Muntaha aashian nagirad —shama aist ke zaanawada-e-dervishaan munawwar saazad.||”|
|“||Baba Qutub, you have captured a great shahbaaz (hawk) whose nest is not lower than “Sidrat-ul-Muntaha” (7th heaven). From his light, the progeny and silsila of dervishes will be illuminated.”||”|
This prediction of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of course proved to be true. After his meeting with Baba Farid, Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin bestowed a “Khil’at” (dress of honour) upon him and Hazrat Qutbuddin wrapped the “Dastar-e-Khilafat” (a turban symbolic of this recognition) upon Baba Farid’s head. When Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin prayed for his success after the ceremony, a “nida” (divine voice) declared: “Farid raa bargazidaim” — “We have accepted Farid”.
Death of his Pir
After Hazrat Baba Farid had settled down in Hansi, he had a dream where Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin had passed on. Perturbed by this dream, Baba Farid immediately left for Delhi where the death of his Pir was confirmed. On his arrival in Delhi, Qazi Hamiduddin Nagori handed over the sacred relies of his Pir to Baba Farid, according to the deceased’s will, in the presence of a majils of leading dervishes. From this day (634 AH) the burden of India’s spiritual leadership in the Chishtia Order fell upon the shoulders of Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin Ganjshakar.
During, 633-34 AH/1235 AD, Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer also passed away. The political situation also changed after Sultan Shamsuddin Al-Tamish died after an exemplary rule of piety and justice. His daughter and successor, Razia Sultana was faced with fierce opposition and was eventually murdered after numerous wars.
Hazrat Baba Farid thus shifted the centre of Chistia mission from the turmoil of Delhi to the peaceful seclusion of Ajodhan (Pakpattan). After remaining in a chilla in Ajmer for 40 days, where he seeked the spiritual blessings of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin for the success of his forthcoming mission, he proceeded to Ajodhan with his family.
According to Indian history, Ajodhan (in Punjab) was first conquered by Sultan Ibrahim of Ghazni from Hindu rule in 1079 AD/473 AH. Ever since, the town continuously remained under the sovereignty of the Muslim rulers of Ghazni and Lahore and thus had a large Muslim population.
The spiritual light of Hazrat Baba Farid, however, coneverted this town into a fountainhead for Divine Knowledge and blessings. His Khanqah (monastery) became a university of Islamic teaching and spiritualism where thousands of aspirants, scholars and dervishes flocked to receive training and guidance under the patronage of the great saint. Emperor Akbar, when he visited Ajodhan during Hazrat Dewan Tajuddin Mahmood’s time, changed the name of Ajodhan into “Pakpattan” (the holy town).
One day, it is reported that Baba Farid had a vision whilst in “muraqba” (contemplation) in which his Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin instructed him to stay in Ajodhan permanently as his presence there was needed. According to another report, one day, during his devotion, he heard a ‘nida’ (divine voice) which instructed him; “
|“||O Farid, you are appointed to lead people to the path of truth. You should not be scared by the crowds but in the service of God, His friends should be prepared to face hardship from the public with a smiling face.||”|
Hazrat Baba Farid thus settled down permanently in a western corner of Ajodhan under a Karee tree commonly found in the Punjab. After he settled down, his reputation spread far and wide and thousands visited Ajodhan due to their overwhelming love for the saint.
Mother’s Tragic Death
Hazrat Baba Farid wanted to bring his mother from Khotwal to stay with him in Ajodhan, so he sent his younger brother Hazrat Najibuddin Mutawakkil to escort her. Accordingly, the Sheikh put her on the back of the horse for the journey to Ajodhan whilst he walked on foot. On the way they had to pass through a dangerous jungle full of wild animals. As they were crossing this jungle, the old lady felt thirsty and Sheikh Najibuddin, putting her under a shady tree, went in search of water. As he returned, he found that his mother was not there. He looked for her desperately but it was in vain. He then returned to Ajodhan and reported the matter to Baba Farid. A search party was dispatched to the scene of the mishap but again, the search was in vain. Baba Farid was now sadly resigned to the will of God and ordered to arrange for a ‘Fateha’ ceremony and the feeding of the poor for the peace of his dear mother’s soul.
According to Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia‘s version of this tragedy, when Sheikh Najibuddin returned with the search party, he brought back some human bones in a ‘kharita’ (bag). Baba Farid ordered them to be placed upon his musalla (prayer mat) but when the ‘kharita’ was opened, there was nothing in it. The disappearance of the bones from the ‘kharita’ was taken to be a divine phenomenon.
Plot to Murder Hazrat Baba Farid
The official Kazi of Ajodhan, who was also the Imam of the local mosque, could not bear the popularity of the saint. Firstly he incited government officials against Baba Farid and his sons, but when he did not succeed, he then raisd objections against ‘Sama’ (Qawwali) which was Baba Farid’s and his predecessors in the Chishtia Order were especially fond of. Baba Farid, however, took no notice the Kazi’s activities so stung by humiliation, he raised the question of Sama’s validity under Shariat and wrote a letter to the leading Ulema of Multan seeking their ‘Fatwa’ against ‘Sama’, complaining that Hazrat Baba Farid had held musical concerts.
The Ulema of Multan however, flatly refused to entertain the complaint and pass any ‘Fatwa’ against Hazrat Baba Fariduddin – a great dervish and the Qutub of his time, besides being a recognised Khalifa of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. They wrote back to the Kazi that Hazrat Baba Fariduddin himself was the highest authority on Shariat who knew its commandments far better than them and hence it was beyond their powers to raise any objection or pass a ‘Fatwa’ against such an exalted personality of Islam in India.
The Kazi did not stop there however and he offered money to a vagabond “Qalandar” to murder the saint. This man, carrying a dagger beneath his garment, reached Baba Farid’s Khanqah and found him in the act of devotional ‘sijda’. Only Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia, his beloved mureed, was in attendance at the moment. Hazrat Baba Farid, without raising his head enquired: “Is anybody present?” Hazrat Nizamuddin responded at once – “Yes, your honour, your slave Nizamuddin is present”. “Is there a Qalandar standing outside who is wearing a pair of white earrings?” asked Baba Farid whilst still in a state of sajda? Hazrat Nizamuddin replied in the affirmative. “This man has a dagger around his waist and has come here with the intention of killing me. Tell him to go away and not to ruin his ‘Aaqibut’ (end).” The Qalandar, who had been listening all the while, was so frightened that he ran away and told the Kazi that he could not perform the task entrusted to him.
The Kazi still did not give up. After the previous failure, he instigated a Patwari (a land revenue officer) to oppress Hazrat Baba Farid’s sons in their land revenue affairs. Hearing of the Patwari’s oppression, Baba Farid violently struck his ‘usa-e-mubarak’ (staff) on the floor and at that very moment, the Patwari experienced a severe pain in his stomatch. He at once understood its cause and begged his people to take him to Hazrat Baba Farid. However, as he was being carried to the Khanqah of Baba Farid, he died on the way. This spelt the end of the Kazi’s continued efforts against Baba Farid.
Hazrat Baba Fariduddin reached the pinnacle of spiritual glory through extremely hard “Mujahedas” and persistent “Riyazaat” in order to gain complete mastery over the Nafs (apptetive soul).
It is reported that Baba Farid, under his Pir-o-Murshid’s command, performed many awe-inspiring ‘Mujahedas’ (strivings) which drained his vitality although he persevered through spiritual nourishment and determination.
Hazrat Baba Fariduddin fasted daily throughout his life and yet he regularly maintained his nightly programme of prayers and devotion. So great was his spiritual vitality that he never gave up fasting even when he was sick. During the nights of Ramadan, he used used to finish two readings of the Holy Quran. Fear of God always dominated him and very often he used to weep penitently, sometimes loudly, out of God’s fear.
Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar was one of the biggest ‘Mujaheds’ of Sufism. He performed many mujahedas both before and after getting Khilafat.
Once Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin ordered Baba Farid to perform the chilla-i-makus (devotional act in a reverse position of body) for 40 days. This ‘chilla’ was one of the most difficulttests of Baba Farid’s faith, courage and endurance; perhaps the only one of its kind ever performed by him during his lifetime. It was performed in a well by hanging himself in a reverse or headlong position with his feet tied up by a rope to a sturdy branch of a tree at the top. Its conditions were equally hard and extremely difficult to obtain. The first condition was that the well should be situated in a mosque, and must have an overhanging tree from which Hazrat Baba Farid could hang himself headlong in it. The second condition of the chilla was that the ‘muazzin’ (one who gives the call to the faithful at the timings of Namaz) of the selected mosque must himself be a very honest and trustworthy dervish, who should perform the acts of lowering and taking out of Hazrat Baba Farid after the Isha (9 p.m) and before the ‘Fajr (5 a.m) prayers, i.e. when nobody else; except the ‘muazzin’ was in the mosque. The third condition was that this ‘muazzin’ must be a most trustworthy confidant of Baba Farid and should keep the secret of the chilla to himself.
Baba Farid found a mosque called “Masjid Hajj” and a muazzin named Rashiduddin Meenayee-Hansvi which fulfilled the necessary conditions. By the grace of God, Baba Farid successfully withstood this most difficult test of his spiritual integrity and after completing the chilla, he reported the matter to his Pir-o-Murshid, who was naturally extremely pleased.
Chilla at Ajmer (Chilla Baba Farid)
After the death of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Hazrat Baba Farid visited the saint’s shrine at Ajmer where he performed a chilla in an underground cell which is still preserved today and is known by the name of “Chilla Baba Farid”. It remains closed throughout the year and is opened for visitors only for a day on the 5th of Moharrum, the date of Hazrat Baba Farid’s annual death anniversary. This underground cell lies just below the shrine of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin at his Dargah in Ajmer.
Story of the Sparrows
It is reported that once Baba Farid was engaged in one of him ‘mujahedas’ in a jungle under the shade of a tree upon which a group of sparrows were siting and creating a great noise by their chattering. This distracted his attention from devotion. When he could not tolerate the chattering any longer, he exlaimed: “Die, O sparrows, you are disturbing me in my devotion.” Suddenly, the sparrows died and fell down in front of Baba Farid. The soft-hearted saint could not bear this and at once repented and prayed to God to restore life to the sparrows. The sparrows were then revived through the grace of God.
Hazrat Baba Farid and his illustrious predecessors in Sufism are illuminating examples of true human character. They strictly followed the teachings of the Holy Quran and the traditions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, both in letter and spirit, during every step of their life.
Hazrat Baba Farid had no secrets to preserve; he was straight-forward and truthful. Whatever he thought was right, he advocated it fearlessly before the world. Hazrat Khwaja Badruddin Ishaq, who was one of Baba Farid’s beloved mureeds:
|“||As a confidant of Hazrat Baba Farid, I noticed that whatever he said in privacy, he boldly preached the same thing publicly and he knew no intrigues. He never did anything privately which he did not disclose openly. Whatever he said, he did, and whatever he did, he said.||”|
All great writers of Hazrat Baba Farid’s life story agree that he was extremely sweet in conversation as well as in his dealings with the people — a quality for which he enjoyed the divine title of “Ganjshakar”. People who had the privilege and honour of hearing him talk never got tired or bored of his sweet sermons.
Apart from common people, Baba Farid’s devotees included kings, influential courtiers and the rich aristocracy. They all used to visit him and he treated them all alike with affection and extreme humility, and never allowed anybody to think that they were superior or inferior to anybody else.
Despite having thousands of followers and devotees including many ruling monarchs, wazeers, courtiers and the rich, he and his dependants often had to go without food for several days together and, for many years, they lived on the leaves of ‘peeloo’ or ‘karar’ (wild plants mostly found in the Punjab).
Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia reports that:
|“||Those living in Baba Farid’s Khanqah also lived in a state of extreme poverty. All the dervishes in the Khanqah had been assigned different duties, such as collecting firewood from the jungle, gathering ‘peeloo’ leaves and flowers, drawing water from the well, cooking and other domestic work. Hazrat Baba Farid strictly forbade borrowing and preferred to go without food rather than incurring any debt. He said; “If a debtor died under debt, he would be ashamed before his creditor on the Day of Judgment. There is as vast a gulf between debt and contentment as it is between East and West. It is better for a dervish to die than to borrow.||”|
Hazrat Baba Farid always slept on the floor. His dress was simple and bore conspicuous patches of repair. Once his torn shirt was beyond repair, so one of his devotees presented him with a new shirt. After wearing it,the great saint said: “That comfort and pleasure which I had in my old shirt are not felt in the new one.”
Everything, including money was immediately distributed among the poor. He used to say : “Whoever saves or makes provision for the morrow, he is deprived of the favours of God.” He was a great friend and benefactor of the poor, the widows and the orphans and he never refused a demand or disappointed any needy person at his door.
Hazrat Baba Farid had a big kitchen where food was prepared for the poor everyday. Whatever income he received, he spent it in maintaining this kitchen. If there was no provision in the house or the kitchen, then whatever Baba Farid ate was offered to the poor and guests with great humility. He also often gave away his own clothes to the poor. During his lifetime, he received thousands and thousands of rupees in ‘nazranas’ but he every single penny on the poor and left nothing, or made any provision whatever, for his family after his death.
Hazrat Baba Farid bore no grudge against anybody and his heart was free of jealousy and revenge. He loved every human soul and was quick in forgiving even those who came to murder him. He could not bear to see others in trouble and did his best to alleviate their suffering.
Once 4 dervishes came to Baba Farid’s Khanqah and hurled all sorts of abuse at the saint for no apparent reason. However, the saint continued to talk to them politely and did his best to entertain them. When they were ready to leave, Baba Farid warned them not to take a particular route which he thought would endanger them. However, they took no notice of the saint’s warning and when they had taken that route; Hazrat Baba began to weep. Later, those dervishes were found to have perished in a serious storm that raged over the route they had taken contrary to the saint’s warning.
Fear of God
Hazrat Baba Farid feared none but Allah. He carried a very soft and God-fearing heart. Fear of God dominated his life. If anybody ever talked of a Divine Truth, or if he himself was develivering a sermon regarding Divine Truth, he would often start weeping so much so that sometimes, due to overwhelming fear of God, he would faint for several hours. If there was a mention of the tragedy of Kerbala and the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Husain , if there was a mention of God’s anger ascribed to the month of ‘Safar’, if there was a mention of death of any divine personality, or, if there was a mention of the treacheries of the Nafs, Hazrat Baba Farid could not control his tender sentiments of piety and sorrow, moving the hearts of all present so much so that the audience also joined his weeping.
Love of the Holy Prophet ﷺ
Hazrat Baba Farid was a staunch devotee of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and had dedicated his whole life to the veneration of the beloved prophet ﷺ. At the mention of the prophet’s ﷺ glory, at the mention of the prophet’s ﷺholy characteristics and his noble life stories and traditions, Hazrat Baba Farid often started weeping, overwhelmed by love and devotion. He followed every tradition of the prophet ﷺ most scrupulously and preached to all Muslims to obey and follow the same strictly. Once at the mention of the demise of the holy prophet ﷺ in a majlis, Baba Farid breathed a long sorrowful sigh and said:
|“||When God most gracious did not keep his holy prophet ﷺ alive in this world, for whom He created the whole universe, then what is the value of me and you as compared to the prophet ﷺ, and on what grounds should we desire to live? We should consider ourselves among the departing caravan and tear down the screen of ignorance that prevails between us and God, so that we may not be put to shame on the Day of Judgement.||”|
Title of “Ganjshakar”
Historians have recorded four different but reliable stories as to how Hazrat Baba Farid’s most popular title of Ganjshakar (meaning treasury of sweetness or sugar), came about:
There are innumerable examples of wonderful miracles that have been performed by Hazrat Baba Farid. A few are related here:
It is generally recognised that Hazrat Baba Farid had 3 wives. His first marriage took place in 621 A.H. with Bibi Najib-un-Nisa who was the daughter of Mohammed Azim Shah Siddiqui-ul-Qureshi of Multan and sister of one Sheikh Zakaria Shah, a pious gentleman. This marriage appears to have been arranged by Hazrat Baba Farid’s mother (after his Pir-o-Murshid’s order) at Khotwal. Hazrat Baba Farid also lived with her in Hansi for several years before going to Ajodhan. This marriage is reported to have bore the following children:
- A daughter named Khadija also known as Sharf-un-Nisa who was married to Hazrat Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari. She is reported to have died on the very first night of her marriage.
- Two daughters named Asghari and Basari, both of whom died in their childhood in Hansi.
- Four sons named Mohammed Naimuddin, Mohammed Sultanuddin and Mohammed Farid Baksh, all of them dying during their childhood in Hansi. Mohammed Azizuddin reportedly died as the result of Hazraat Allauddin Sabir’s jalal (wrath).
The second marriage of Hazrat Baba Farid was solemnised on 15th of Rajab, 634 A.H. with Bibi Hazira Khatoon or Khatoon Begam. Following are the children from this marriage:
- Hazrat Shahabuddin Ganj-e-Ilam.
- Hazrat Nizamuddin Shaheed who was killed in war at Ranthambore during the Khilji period.
- Hazrat Badruddin Suleman who succeeded as first Sajjadanashin of Hazrat Baba Farid and was supposed by some writers to be the eldest son of the saint.
- Hazrat Mohammed Yakub who went to Amroha and joined the holy company of “Abdaals”.
- Bibi Fatima (daughter) who was married to Hazrat Badruddin Ishaq, the most beloved mureed and confidant of Hazrat Baba Farid.
- Bibi Sharifa (daughter) who died at a young age.
- Sheikh Abdulla Bayabani who was killed by some enemies and is buried at Pakpattan in the graveyard known by his name.
- Bibi Mastura (daughter) was married to Sheikh Umar Sufi but died at a young age.
- Bibi Hajra and Bibi Zainab(daughter) also died at a young age.
There is a difference of opinion about the eldest son of Hazrat Baba Farid although Hazart Badruddin Suleman succeeded him as his first Sajjadanashin by unanimous consent which also had the approval of Hazrat Shahabuddin Ganj-e-Ilam.
The third marriage of Hazrat Baba Farid took place in 639 A. H. with Bibi Umme-Kulsoom who was the widow of Syed Inam-ul-Haq, a devoted mureed of Hazrat Baba Farid. He had gone to Ajodhan with the saint where he died in 639 A.H. Bibi Umme-Kulsoom was the daughter of Syed Nisar Ali and had a son Nasirullah aged 1 1/2 years at the time of her husband’s death. Hazrat Baba Farid married her out of his religious compassion and treated her child as his adopted son. All the other children born of Bibi Umme-Kulsoom died at tender ages.
All the surviving sons of Hazrat Baba Farid were very able and learned dervishes and held their father’s principles and reputation high after his death. Some of his successors from his progeny were indeed great dervishes and lived up to the reputation of Hazrat Baba Farid. Among them Hazrat Alauddin Mauj Dariya, Khwaja Ibrahim Farid Sani and Dewan Tajuddin Mahmood deserve special mention.
According to most sources, Hazrat Baba Farid breathed his last on the 5th of Moharrum, 661 A.H., at the age of 92. A few days befor his death, Shams Dabeer, one of his devoted mureeds, read out poet Nizami’s famous ‘Masnavi’ in Persian to Baba Farid. This masnavi sent Hazrat Baba Farid into the state of ‘wajd’ (ecstasy). When he regained consciousness, he bestowed his own sacred shirt to Shams Dabeer as a reward. In the following days, the great saint observed complete silence and did not talk except for when performing his Namaz and reciting the Holy Quran. When physicians were summoned for his treatment, he refused to be treated and repeated the follwing famous couplet of Amir Khusro:
|“||Az sar-e-baaleen-e-mun barkhez aye naadaan tabib,Dardmand-e-Ishq raa daru bajuz deedar naist.||”|
|“||Get a way, O ignorant physician, from my bedside,for the victim of Love, there is no remedy except meeting his beloved.||”|
On the 5th of Moharrum, his condition worsened and he became unconscious after the Isha prayer. When he regained consciousness, he enquired of those present: “Have I offered my Isha prayer?” Those present affirmed ‘Yes’, upon which he said: “Let me offer it once more lest I may not get another chance”. So he refreshed his ‘wazoo’ and offered the Isha prayer for the second time, and after prayer, he again became unconscious. On regaining consciousness, he once more refreshed his ‘wazoo’ and offered the prayer for the third time. While still in the act of ‘sajda'(prostration) he uttered “yaa Hayyo Yaa Qaiyum” (God is ever omnipresent) and with these Quranic words on his lips, relinquished his mortal body and his soul disappeared into the eternal bliss of his beloved God. Immediately a ‘nida'(Divine voice) declared:
|“||Dost ba dost pewast||”|
|“||Friend has merged into the unity of friend (God).||”|
The news of Hazrat Baba Farid’s death spread rapidly in the city of Ajodhan and its surroundings. Thousands of people beagan to gather at the Khanqah of Baba Farid to pay their last respects to the beloved saint whose favours they had enjoyed for nearly 50 Years.
An old woman, who was one of the devotees of the saint, presented a piece of cloth for the coffin of Hazrat Baba Farid. She implored: “I have not spun even a single thread of this cloth without having ‘wazoo’ (ablution). I had prepared it for my own coffin but if it is accepted for the coffin of the great saint, I feel confident, God most gracious would be pleased to pardon my sins and grant me salvation.” Hazrat Baba’s sons, in view of the old lady’s cherished wish, accepted the cloth and used it for the saint’s coffin.
At the time of Hazrat Baba Farid’s demise, his Khalifas were not present in Ajodhan. His body was thus temporarily interred until his chief disciple and Khalifa, Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya arrived in Ajodhan. After his arrival from Delhi, the body was buried permanently, in the same ‘hujra’ (cell) where Hazrat Baba Farid used to remain in devotion and where in the Holy Quran had been recited thousands of times.
An impressive mausoleum was erected over the tomb of the great saint which has been attracting a multitude of people from all walks of life for ‘ziarat’, as well as during his annual Urs for the past 6 centuries.
Apart from Hazrat Baba Farid’s chief Khalifa, Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya, who succeeded him as the 4th Spiritual Succesor to Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in the Order of Chishtia silsila, the number of Hazrat Baba Farid’s Khalifas runs into four figures. After their in spiritual training, they were deputed to go to all corners of India to carry on the missionary work of the Chishtia Order.
Below is a list of some of the prominent Khalifas of Hazrat Baba Farid :
|Name of Khalifa||Centre of Work|
|Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Mahboob Elahi||Delhi|
|Hazrat Sheikh Jamaluddin Hansvi||Hansi|
|Hazrat Makhdoom Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari||Kalyar|
|Hazrat Sheikh Najibuddin Mutawakkil||Delhi|
|Hazrat Khwaja Badruddin Ishaq||Pakpattan|
|Sheikh Muntajibuddin Zarzari Zar Baksh||Baksh, Delhi & Devgir|
|Sheikh Imam Ali-ul-Haq||Sialkot|
|Sheikh Daud Pehli||Dehli|
|Sheikh Burhanuddin Mehmood Balkhi||Dehli|
|Syed Mohammed Kirmani||Dehli|
|Khwaja Alauddin s/o Sheikh Badruddin||Dyalpur|
|Sheikh Burhanuddin Hansvi||Hansi|
|Sheikh Mohammed Neshapuri||Gujrat|
Three new silsilas have emerged from the above mentioned Khalifas:
- “Nizamia” silsila from Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi
- “Sabiria” silsila from Hazrat Makhdoom Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari
- “Jamalia” silsila from Hazrat Sheikh Jamaluddin of Hansi. After some time, the Jamalia silsila merged with the Nizamia silsila.
Who is a Sufi?
According to Hazrat Baba Farid, a Sufi must possess the following:
- He must forget himself and the world in the love and devotion of God.
- He must overlook the faults of others however serious.
- He must close his eyes, ie. he must not look towards things declared haraam (forbidden) in Islam.
- He must become deaf also so that he may not hear all things undesirable.
- He must become dumb too so that he may not be able to speak about things which must not be spoken about.
- He must cut off his legs i.e. he must act lame so that he may not be able to move himself to comply his Nafs-e-Ammara which tries to take him to undesirable places.
Regarding these qualities, Hazrat Baba Farid says:
|“||If any of these qualities are absent from the character of a dervish, then he is a mere liar and hypocrite, A dervish who aspires to acquire wordly wealth and honour is not a dervish; he is a cheat who brings only disgrace to the noble Order of dervishes.||”|
“Toleration and forbearance”, the saint says” should be the salt of a dervish’s life, even if a naked sword were put upon his head, he should be forgivingly happy and should never curse the persecutor.”
“There are 3 important qualities of a dervish:
- To know the world and then renounce it.
- Faithful obedience to God.
- Fear of God and His retribution.
Hazrat Baba Farid has stressed upon the maintenance of a Sufi’s character which, he says, “can only be built if he stays away from the world and refuses to eat what is forbidden in Islamic law.” Quoting Hazrat Yahya, he says:
|“||Divine Light descends upon a heart that has no love for the world, that is free of envy and jealousy and that does not yearn for wealth and honour.||”|
On the dress of Sufis, Hazrat Baba Farid says:
|“||The dress of Sufis is the dress worn by great prophets and religious founders of the world and hence it must be given utmost respect, and that only deserving dervishes should wear it. One who adorns a Sufi’s dress must break up all relations with the world. If he uses this sacred garb to pursue or acquire worldly prosperity, he not only deceives himself but also deceives the world and Almighty God.||”|
Defining a few other important characteristics of a Sufi, Hazrat Baba Farid says:
- A Sufi is one who has nothing corrosive around his heart which he must keep transparently clear and clean, and which must know no treacherous intrigues.
- Sufis are those who observe strict silence and remain constantly bewildered under the influence of Divine Light.
- Sufis, merged wholeheartedly in the devotion of God, are lost to all the rest of creation (except God).
- It is one of the glories of Tasawwuf that Sufis transport themselves to the 7th Heaven five times daily during their Namaz.
According to Baba Farid, “Tasawwuf, is a code of man’s moral and religious life and conduct. Although a Sufi is cut off from the world, he never curses or looks down upon its affairs, i.e. he has neither love nor hatred for the world.”
Baba Farid emphasises that “a mureed must hold his Pir-o-Murshid in the highest reverence”. He says, “Seven days in the service and company of a Pir-o-Murshid are equal to 700 years of devotion.” He adds that “a Sufi dies when he gives up his devotion and ‘zikr’ and he lives when he is engrossed in them.”
He says “the more a Sufi suffers sorrow, pain and hardship, the more nearer he becomes to God. Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti always prayed to God to send more hardships and pain and sorrows upon him so that he could strengthen his faith in God.”
- God most gracious takes away prosperity from one who does not give cnarity or zakaat.
- God most gracious takes away health from one who does not offer ‘sacrifice’ in His name.
- God most gracious takes away faith at the time of death if one does not offer Namaz.
Hazrat Baba Farid says, “It is necessary for the dervish not to worry about “rizq” (provision of sustenance). If he worries, he commits a sin against his “faith” in God.”
Regarding contentment, Hazrat Baba Farid says:
|“||He is a wise and brave man who, in all his worldly affairs, depends upon the will and pleasure of God and remains patient and content under each and every circumstance. A content person must have faith in the love, fear and mercy of God. It will save him from sin and enable him to win the blessings of God.”||”|
Hazrat Baba Farid was fond of’ Sama and fought against its antagonists. Regarding Sama and its reaction upon great Sufis, he says:
|“||Sama pacifies the heart of a divine lover. Firstly it moves the heart; secondly, it creates unconsciousness and, thirdly, this unconsciousness becomes so absorbing that even if one thousand swords were raining upon his head, he would not know of it.||”|
Siar-ul-Aulia, made up off 22 chapters, is an authentic record on the life of Hazrat Baba Farid. Every chapter provides his learned discourses on Tasawwuf. The book starts with a chapter on Ishq-e-Elahi or Love of God. It is quite different from the Ishq of the Ulema (the learned) and the intellectuals.
Defining Divine ‘Ishq’ Hazrat Baba Farid says:
|“||The chief element of Divine Ishq is a fire which can burn the whole universe. The result of such a burning Ishq or love is that the lover forgets his own identity and merges himself in the One Supreme Beloved.In love, a lover performs mujahedas to be near to his beloved. In the next stage, the lover gains Mukashfa (divine glimpses) and later he receives ‘Mushaheda’, i.e. he now sees his ‘beloved’ dimly. After the Mushaheda stage, a lover’s Ishq becomes highly intensified and finally, the curtains enveloping the glory of Divinity are raised and the lover reaches a divine destiny where he is ultimately lost in the wonderment or sukr as it is called by Sufis.||”|
Elaborating upon the “path of divine love”, Hazrat Baba Farid continues:
|“||There are 700 stages in this Divine path. The first stage is to endure all sorrows, pains and misfortunes coming from the ‘beloved’ with fortified toleration and forbearance. There is no end of Ishq or love in this path. A lover is constantly intoxicated by his love for his beloved; his eyes see only the beloved, his ears only hear the speech of the beloved, he moves his hands and feet only for the sake of his beloved. In this difficult path, only those who are steadfast and who are constantly absorbed in the devotion of God succeed. It is the continued rememberance of God that ultimately leads the dervish to the glory of Ishq and finally, establishes his permanent relation with Divinity. In the long run, it will lead the lover to a stage where he knows the divine secrets but whose disclosure is strictly against the laws of ‘Divine Ishq’ and Sufism.||”|
Hazrat Baba Farid attaches great importance to the “Toba” of man. There are six kinds of Tobu according to him:
- Toba-e-Dil — It denies the budding desires that arise from the heart. It kills jealously and all other desires of the Nafs. It helps in raising the curtain between man and God.
- Toba-e-Zabaan — Restraining one’s tongue from indulging in vulgarity and training it in the constant remembrance of God and the recitation of the Holy Quran. In the path of divine love, only those who can control and use their tongue judiciously in the (remembrance) of God succeed. Mere toba-e-dil would not help greatly to see the Divine Light. Ears, eyes, hands and Nafs are slaves of the tongue, hence with Toba-e-Zabaan all these elements can be controlled and used profitably in following the divine path.
- Toba-e-Chashm — Avoiding to see all haraam (unlawful) things with the eyes and ignore the faults of others. A dervish, after Mushaheda, must never cast his eyes on anything unlawful.
- Toba-e-Gosh — A dervish must not use his ears to listen to anything else except the zikr of God.
- Toba-e-Paa — Restraining of one’s feet from proceeding towards evil or things ‘haraam’.
- Toba-e-Nafs — Restraining of all desires emanating from one’s “appetitive soul” or Nafs.
In addition to the above six kinds of ‘toba’ there are three more:
- Toba-e-Haal – repentance for sins recently committed and swearing to avoid them in future.
- Toba-e-Maazi – repentance for the past and pleasing one’s enemies at any cost.
- Toba-e-Mustaqbil – the sinner must pledge to God not to commit any sinful acts in the future.
Quotes & Sayings
31. Baba Farid said four questions were put to 700 saints and all of them gave the same reply. These questions were:i. Who is the wisest? “One who rejects the world,” they replied. ii. Who is the most saintly? “One who does not get changed at everything.” iii. Who is the richest and the wealthiest of all men? “One who is content.”
iv. Who is the most needy? “One who gives up contentment.’,’
The mazar is located in the city of Pakpattan and was first constructed under the supervision of Hazrat Khawaja Nizamuddin Auliya. The shrine is now made entirely of marble. It is open all day and night and it is visited by thousands from all walks of life. Charity food known as Langar is distributed during the day.
Baba Farid’s small tomb is made of white marble with two doors, one facing east and called the Nuri Darwaza (Gate of Light) and the second facing north called Bahishti Darwaza (Gate of Paradise). There is also a long covered corridor. Inside the tomb are two white marbled graves, one belonging to Baba Farid and the other belonging to his elder son. The graves are always covered by green sheets of cloth called Chadders and flowers that are brought by visitors.
Every year, Hazrat Baba Farid’s Urs (death anniversary) is celebrated for six days in the first Islamic month of Muharram, in Pakpattan. The Bahishti Darwaza (Gate of Paradise) is opened only once a year, on the 5th and 6th of Muharram, during the time of the Urs and is washed by rose water before the opening ceremony. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and visitors from all over the country and world come to pay homage to the great saint.
- ↑ Sheikh-ush-Shayookh-e-Alam by Taalib Hashmi
- ↑ Khazinat-ul-Asfia by Ghulam Sarwar of Lahore
- ↑ Rahat-ul-Quloob
- ↑ The Life and Times of Shaikh Farid-u’d-din Ganj-i-Shakar – Khaliq Ahmad Nizami
- ↑ Fawaid-ul-Fuad
- ↑ 101 Great Mystics of Islam – Muhammad Riaz Qadiri