Abdullah Shah Ghazi

See also Ghazi and Gazi (disambiguation)

The shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Karachi, in Sindh province of Pakistan, built by Murshid Nadir Ali Shah of Sehwan Sharif in 1950s

Abdullah Shah Ghazi (Arabic: عبد الله شاه غازي‎) (c. 720) was an eighth-century Muslim mystic and Sufi whose shrine is located in Clifton, an affluent seaside municipality in Karachi, in Sindh province of Pakistan.[1] His real name was Abdullah al-Ashtar. His father, Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya, was a descendant of the prophet, Muhammad, through his daughter Fatimah. He is known for his commanding oratory skills, amiable demeanor, and impressive posture.


Inside the shrine of the Abdullah Shah Ghazi

Around the year 761 AD, Muhammad Nafs al-Zakiyah and his brother Ibrahim sailed from Aden to Sindh where they consulted with the governor, Umar ibn Hafs Hazarmard before returning to Kufah and Medina. His son Abdullah al-Ashtar, also known as Abdullah Shah Ghazi, married a woman from Sindh and had children by her. However, Umar received word from his wife in Basrah that Muhammad Nafs Al-Zakiyah had been killed in Medina (14 Ramadan 145/6 December 762). In consequence, Umar felt that their presence in the capital compromised his position as governor. Unwilling to take any definite action either for or against them, he summoned Abdullah al-Ashtar and suggested:

"I have an idea: one of the princes of Sindh has a mighty kingdom with numerous supporters. Despite his polytheism, he greatly honors [the family of] the Prophet. He is a reliable man. I will write him and conclude an agreement between the two of you. You can then go to him, stay there, and you will not desire anything better"[2].

Abdullah al-Ashtar went to that area spent some years there, probably from 762 AD to 769 AD. Eventually hearing of their presence in Sindh, the caliph al-Mansur replaced Umar ibn Hafs with Hisham ibn Amr al-Taghlibi on the understanding that he seize Abdullah al-Ashtar, and annex the non-Muslim region. When Hisham, after reaching Sind, also proved loath to undertake the task, his brother Sufayh (later a governor of Sindh) did it for him, killing Abdullah along with many of his companions.[3]


The shrine is situated next to what will be Pakistan's tallest skyscraper.

The tomb is built on a high platform, though the body is kept in a subterranean crypt. The shrine is made of a high, square chamber and a green-and-white striped dome, decorated with Sindhi tilework, flags and buntings. Devotees to the shrine caress the silver railing around the burial place and drape it with garlands of flowers. The shrine is said to be particularly popular with Urdu-speakers and Punjabis, although the shrine is also visited by some Christian and Hindu community members.[4]

Until the early 1950s, the shrine was a small hut on top of a sandy hill in Clifton. The shrine was built, expanded and beautified by the then custodian of the shrine, Murshid Nadir Ali Shah of Sehwan Sharif in the mid-1950s.[5][6] Traditionally there has always been a devotional connection between the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Karachi and the Nadir Ali Shah's Pathan Kafi in Sehwan Sharif.[7] The shrine expansion and pilgrims attracted the festivities, free meals for all and the devotional music such as Qawwali.[1] In 1962, the Auqāf department took administrative control of the shrine. In 2011, the shrine was handed over to a private company, M/s Bahria.[8] Bahria Town, a Pakistani construction giant, renovated the exterior of the shrine. This received a mixed response from the residents of Karachi.[9]

The Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine was attacked in 2010 by militants who detonated two suicide bombs at the shrine, killing 10 and injuring 50.[4]

The shrine's management still provides two daily meals free to anyone in need.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Asim Butt (11 August 2005). "Pakistan's mystical Islam thrives". BBC News. Archived from the original on 8 May 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  2. ^ Tabari, 3: 361; Ibn al-Athîr (Kâmi1, 5: 596); Ibn Khaldûn (3:422).
  3. ^ Tabarî (3:363) and Ibn al-Athîr (Kamil, 5:597) both read the name as Safannaj, but the proper form is Sufayh as recorded in another context by ,Ibn Khayyat (Ta'rikh,1:473).
  4. ^ a b Paracha, Nadeem (23 November 2014). "Abdullah Shah Ghazi: The saviour saint". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  5. ^ "غازی بابا کے مزارکی تعمیر قلندری بزرگوں نے کی تھی". ummat.net (in Urdu). Archived from the original on 26 July 2018.
  6. ^ "1290 سال پرانا مزار عبداللہ شاہ غازیؒ". ایکسپریس اردو. 4 August 2019. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  7. ^ Shaw, Isobel (1999). Pakistan Handbook. Pakistan: Moon Publications. p. 59. ISBN 0918373565.
  8. ^ "Takeover of shrines: Private company to run Abdullah Shah Ghazi - The Express Tribune". tribune.com.pk. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  9. ^ "City Faith – Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine revisited". thekarachiwalla.com. Retrieved 2 October 2019.