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September 6, 2019

Baba Farid — a source of inspiration for truth seekers

Peshawar

September 6, 2019

PAKPATTAN: Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Masood Ganj Shakar, a great Punjabi poet and a personality of 13th century Sufi movement, has been a source of inspiration for truth seekers.

Historians differ on his place and date of birth. However, according to an estimate, he was born at Kothiwal village near Tataypur Railway Station, about 25km from Multan. The city existed when Alexander invaded it in 326BC. It was an important metropolis on Multan-Delhi route and the city is on the bank of Sutlej River.

The day Baba Farid was born, a holy man was consulted about the breaking of a fast. He told that a great soul had been born in the house of Jamaluddin Suleiman and that the community could break the fast only when the infant suckled.

Early in his life, the title of ‘Shakar Ganj’ (treasury of Sugar) was added to his name. There is a legend behind this. As a young boy, Baba Farid was asked to offer prayers daily by his mother. On asking about what he’d get after offering prayers, Baba Farid’s mother replied that she will give him sugar once he’s done. Baba Farid’s mother used to hide sugar under his prayer mat and after the completion of his prayers, she used to give him that sugar as a reward. One day Baba Farid’s mother forgot to keep sugar under the carpet, but to her surprise after his prayers she found the sugar under the prayer mat. Since that day she started calling her son ‘Shakar Ganj’. After getting religious education from his mother, Baba Farid proceeded to Delhi. Khawaja Bakhtiar was Baba Farid’s guru, who introduced him to his family. Balban’s daughter was married to Baba Farid. Later, he migrated to Ajodhan, now Pakpattan, and lived there till he breathed his last at 92.

Baba Farid had preached Islam in a simple way and remained a source of mysticism for the people of the sub-continent throughout his life. Baba Farid is an extremely difficult poet as his poetry is a mixture of Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit and Punjabi languages. His rhyming couplets are very popular among the people. The frequent use of metaphors gives a splendid touch to his poetry. Scholars are of the view that metaphysical and religious touch is subtle in his poetry. Baba Farid’s shrine attracts hundreds of thousands of people every day. His Urs is observed from Zilhaj 25 to Muharram 10 every year. There is a Bahishti Darwara (paradize door) at the shrine, which is opened for devotees from Muharram 5 to 10.