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Fariduddin Ganjshakar

  (Redirected from Baba Farid)

Farīd al-Dīn Masʿūd Ganj-i-Shakar (c. 4 April 1179 – 7 May 1266) was a 12th-century Punjabi Muslim preacher and mystic.[3] who went on to become "one of the most revered and distinguished ... Muslim mystics" of the medieval period.[4] He is known reverentially as Bābā Farīd or Shaikh Farīd by Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus of the Punjab Region, or simply as Farīduddīn Ganjshakar.

Farīd al-Dīn Ganj-i-Shakar Rahmatullah Alaih
فرِیدُالدّین گنج شکَر
Sheikh ul Alam
Bornc. 4 April 1175[1]
Kothewal, Multan, Punjab, Ghurid Sultanate (present-day Pakistan)
Diedc. 7 May 1266[1]
Pakpattan, Punjab, Delhi Sultanate (present-day Pakistan)
Venerated inSufism especially of the Chishti order, Sikhism[2]
Major shrineShrine of Baba Farid, Pakpattan, Pakistan
InfluencesQutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki
InfluencedMany, most prominent being Nizamuddin Auliya, Jamal-ud-Din Hansvi and Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari


Fariduddin Masud was a great Sufi master who was born some time in 571 H.(1175 A.D.) at a village called Kothewal, 10 km from Multan in the Punjab region of what is now Pakistan, to Jamāl-ud-dīn Suleimān and Maryam Bībī (Qarsum Bībī), daughter of Sheikh Wajīh-ud-dīn Khojendī. He was a Sunni Muslim and was one of the founding fathers of the Chishti Sufi order.[1] Baba Farid received his early education at Multan, which had become a centre for Muslim education; it was there that he met his teacher Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, a noted Sufi saint, who was passing through Multan on his way from Baghdad to Delhi.[5] Upon completing his education, Farīd left for Sistan and Kandahar and went to Makkah for the Hajj pilgrimage with his parents at the age of 16.

Once his education was over, he moved to Delhi, where he learned the Islamic doctrine from his master, Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki. He later moved to Hansi, Haryana.[6] When Quṭbuddīn Bakhtiyār Kākī died in 1235, Farīd left Hansi and became his spiritual successor, and he settled in Ajodhan[7] (the present Pakpattan, Pakistan) instead of Delhi. On his way to Ajodhan, while passing through Faridkot, he met the 20-year-old Nizamuddin Auliya, who went on to become his disciple, and later his successor Sufi khalīfah. His nephew and disciple and successor Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari was amongst the greatest Sufi saints and from him Sabiriya branch under Chisty order started.

Baba Farid had three wives and eight children (five sons and three daughters). One of his wives, Hazabara, was the daughter of Sulṭān Nasīruddīn Maḥmūd.

The great Arab traveller Ibn Battuta once visited this Sufi saint. Ibn Battuta says that Fariduddin Ganjshakar was the spiritual guide of the Sultan of Delhi Sultanate, and that the Sultan had given him the village of Ajodhan. He also met Baba Farid's two sons.

Baba Farid's descendants, also known as Fareedi, Fareedies or Faridy, mostly carry the name Fārūqī, and can be found in Pakistan, India and the diaspora. Fariduddin Ganjshakar's descendants include the Sufi saint Salim Chishti, whose daughter was the Emperor Jehangir's foster mother. Their descendants settled in Sheikhupur, Badaun and the remains of a fort they built can still be found. Baba Farid also visited Budaun during Iltutmish period to meet Sultan-ul-Aarfeen Khwaja Syed Hasan Sheikh Shahi Rehmatullah, Bade Sarkar.[citation needed] One of his descendants was the noted Sufi scholar Muhibbullah Allahabadi (1587–1648).[8]

Fariduddin Ganjshakar's shrine darbār is located in Pakpattan, Punjab, Pakistan.


Farīdā jo taīN mārani mukīāN tinhāN na mārē ghumm
Farīdā jā lab thā nēhu kiā lab ta kūṛhā nēhu
Kālē maiḍē kapṛē, kālā maiḍā wais,
GunahīN bhariyā maiN phirāN, Lōk kahaiN darvēsh
GallīN cikkaṛ dūr ghar, nāḷ piyārē nīNh,
ChallāN tē bhijjē kamblī, rahāN tāN ṭuṭṭē nīNh.[1]
Roti meri kāṭh di, lawan meri bhukh
Jina khaadi chopadi, ghane sehenge dukh

Fareed, do not turn around and strike those who strike you with their fists.
Fareed, when there is greed, what love can there be? When there is greed, love is false.
Laden with my load of misdeeds, I move about in the garb of black garments.
And the people see me and call me a dervish.
My promise to my love, a long way to go and a muddy lane ahead
If I move I spoil my cloak; if I stay I break my word.
My bread is of wood, which is enough to quench my hunger,
But the one who feast on buttered breads, will eventually suffer

(The folk legend is that when Baba Farid ji went into the jungle to meditate, he took a piece of wood with him. And he would often chew it whenever he felt hungry as not to get distracted from meditation. In the above verse, he is pointing to the fact that one should follow the path of enlightenment to free oneself from sufferings of this world).


One of Farīd's most important contributions to Punjabi literature was his development of the language for literary purposes.[9] Whereas Sanskrit, Arabic, Turkish and Persian had historically been considered the languages of the learned and the elite, and used in monastic centres, Punjabi was generally considered a less refined folk language. Although earlier poets had written in a primitive Punjabi, before Farīd there was little in Punjabi literature apart from traditional and anonymous ballads.[10] By using Punjabi as the language of poetry, Farīd laid the basis for a vernacular Punjabi literature that would be developed later.[11]

The city of Faridkot bears his name. According to legend, Farīd stopped by the city, then named Mokhalpūr, and sat in seclusion for forty days near the fort of King Mokhal. The king was said to be so impressed by his presence that he named the city after Baba Farid, which today is known as Tilla Baba Farid. The festival Bābā Sheikh Farād Āgman Purb Melā' is celebrated in September each year from (21–23 Sep, for 3 days), commemorating his arrival in the city.[12][13] Ajodhan[7] was also renamed as Farīd's 'Pāk Pattan', meaning 'Holy Ferry'; today it is generally called Pāk Pattan Sharīf.[14]

Faridia Islamic University, a religious madrassa in Sahiwal, Punjab, Pakistan, is named after him,[15] and in July 1998, the Punjab Government in India established the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences at Faridkot, the city which itself was named after him.[16]

There are various explanations of why Baba Farid was given the title Shakar Ganj[17] ('Treasure of Sugar'). One legend says his mother used to encourage the young Farīd to pray by placing sugar under his prayer mat. Once, when she forgot, the young Farīd found the sugar anyway, an experience that gave him more spiritual fervour and led to his being given the name.[6]


The Shrine of Baba Farid is one of Pakistan's most important Sufi shrines.

The small Shrine of Baba Farid is made of white marble with two doors, one facing east and called the Nūrī Darwāza or 'Gate of Light', and the second facing north called Bahishtī Darwāza, or 'Gate of Paradise'. There is also a long covered corridor. Inside the tomb are two white marbled graves. One is Baba Farid's, and the other is his elder son's. These graves are always covered by sheets of cloth called Chaddars' (the green coloured chaddars are covered with Islamic verses), and flowers that are brought by visitors. The space inside the tomb is limited; not more than ten people can be inside at one time. Ladies are not allowed inside the tomb, but the late Benazir Bhutto, then Prime Minister of Pakistan, was permitted to enter inside by the shrine guardians, when she visited the shrine. Another rare exceptional case was the late Hajjah Kainz Hussain of Jhelum, wife of the late Haji Manzoor Hussain, who was allowed inside the tomb and was given a Chaddar,.

Charity food called Langar is distributed all day to visitors here[18] and the Auqaf Department, which administers the shrine.[19] The shrine is open all day and night for visitors. The shrine has its own huge electricity generator that is used whenever there is power cut or loadshedding, so the shrine remains bright all night, all year round.[19] There is no separation of male and female areas but a small female area is also available. There is a big new mosque in the shrine. Thousands of people daily visit the shrine for their wishes and unresolvable matters; for this they vow to give to some charity when their wishes or problems are resolved.[18][20] When their matters are solved they bring charity food for visitors and the poor, and drop money in big money boxes that are kept for this purpose.[18][21] This money is collected by the Auqaf Department of the Government of Pakistan that looks after the shrine.

On 25 October 2010, a bomb exploded outside the gates of the shrine, killing six people.[22][23] Since then, the shrine surroundings and compound area has been renovated.[citation needed].

Baba Farid's Serai in JerusalemEdit

In great old holy city of Jerusalem, there is a place called Al-Hindi Serai (Indian lodge or shrine), where it is claimed Baba Farid lived for many years in the early 13th century, almost 800 years ago. Baba Farid walked into Jerusalem around the year 1200, little more than a decade after the armies of Saladin had forced the Crusaders out of Jerusalem. The place is now a pilgrim lodge for people of the Indian sub-continent. It is claimed that this building is currently cared for by the 86-year-old caretaker, Muhammad Munir Ansari, in 2014.[2] "No one knows how long Baba Farid stayed in the city. But long after he had returned to the Punjab, where he eventually became head of the Chishti order, Indian Muslims passing through Jerusalem on their way to Mecca wanted to pray where he had prayed, to sleep where he had slept. Slowly, a shrine and pilgrim lodge, the Indian Hospice, formed around the memory of Baba Farid."[2] "Later accounts of his life said that he spent his days sweeping the stone floors around al-Aqsa mosque, or fasting in the silence of a cave inside the city walls."[2]


Death anniversary and UrsEdit

Every year, the saint's death anniversary or Urs is celebrated for six days in the first Islamic month of Muharram, in Pakpattan, Pakistan.[18] The Bahishtī Darwāza (Gate of Paradise) is opened only once a year, during the time of the Urs fair.[18] Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and visitors from all over the country and the world come to pay homage. The door of the Bahishti Darwaza is made of silver, with floral designs inlaid in gold leaf.[18] This "Gate to Paradise" is padlocked all year, and only opened for five days from sunset to sunrise in the month of Muharram. Some followers believe that by crossing this door all of one's sins are washed away.[18][24] During the opening of the Gate of Paradise, extensive security arrangements are made to protect people from stampedes. In 2001, 27 people were crushed to death and 100 were injured in a stampede.[25] The Urs is celebrated every year from the fifth through the tenth of Muharram. Some of his personal belongings were taken by his descendant Sheikh Salim Chishti, and kept in a fort built by his descendants in Sheikhupur, Badaun, where they are preserved in a conatiner called Pitari[citation needed]. To this day it is taken out in a procession for the first six days of Muharram[citation needed].

Mehfil-e-Sama (Qawwali live concerts)Edit

One of the significant features of the daily life of the shrine is Qawwali. It is performed all day at some part of the shrine, but at night it attracts a huge gathering. Every Thursday evening, there is a big Mehfil-e-Sama just outside the tomb, that lasts all night and attracts hundreds of people. Many famous and popular Qawwals (Qawwali singers) of the country participate in the Mehfil. Many listeners become so mesmerised that they start dancing a traditional religious dance called Dhamaal. The first Thursday evening of every lunar month attracts extra thousands of people, making the shrine jam packed.

Honor in SikhismEdit

Baba Farid, as he is commonly known, has his poetry included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the most sacred scripture of Sikhism, which includes 123 (or 134) hymns composed by Farid. Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the 5th guru of Sikhism, included these hymns himself in the Adi Granth, the predecessor of the Guru Granth Sahib.[1][26]

The town of Faridkot in Punjab, India is named after him.

Commemorative postage stampEdit

In 1989, on the 800th Birth Anniversary of Baba Farid, Pakistan Post Office issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor.[27]

Places named after himEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Sheikh Fariduddin Ganj-i-Shakar Ain-e-Akbari by Abul Fazal, English translation, by H. Blochmann and Colonel H. S. Jarrett, 1873–1907. The Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta; Volume III, Saints of India. (Awliyá-i-Hind), page 363.
  • Pakpattan and Baba Farid Ganj-i-Shakar, by Muhammad Abdullah Caghtai. Kitab Khana Nauras, 1968.
  • Baba Sheikh Farid: Life and teachings, by Gurbachan Singh Talib. Baba Farid Memorial Society, 1973.
  • Baba Farid (Makers of Indian literature), by Balwant Singh Anand, Sahitya Akademi, 1975.
  • Baba Farid-ud-Din Masud Ganj-i-Shakar, by Jafar Qasimi. Islamic Book Foundation. 1978.
  • Sheikh Baba Farid aur unka Kavya, by Jayabhagavan Goyal. 1998, Atmarama & Sons. ISBN 81-7043-081-X.
  • Savanih hayat Baba Farid Ganj-i Shakar, by Pir Ghulam Dastgir Nami. Madni Kutub Khanah.
  • Baba Farid Ganjshakar, by Shabbir Hasan Cishti Nizami. Asthana Book Depot.
  • Love is his own power: The slokas of Baba Farid. 1990, ISBN 81-7189-135-7.
  • Hazrat Baba Farid-ud-Din Masood Ganj Shakar, by Sheikh Parvaiz Amin Naqshbandy. Umar Publications, 1993.
  • Baba Farid di dukh–chetana, by Sarawan Singh Paradesi. 1996, Ravi Sahitya Prakashan, ISBN 81-7143-235-2.
  • Hymns of Sheikh Farid, by Brij Mohan Sagar. South Asia Books, 1999. ISBN 0-8364-5985-7.
  • Sheikh Farid, by Dr. Harbhajan Singh. Hindi Pocket Books, 2002. ISBN 81-216-0255-6.
  • " Great Sufi Poets of The Punjab " by R. M. Chopra, Iran Society, Kolkata, 1999.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e (Sufis - Wisdom against Violence) Article on Baba Farid on the South Asian magazine website published in April 2001, Retrieved 1 November 2018
  2. ^ a b c d Adamson, Daniel Silas (23 November 2014). "Jerusalem's 800-year-old Indian hospice". BBC News website. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  3. ^ Nizami, K.A., "Farīd al-Dīn Masʿūd "Gand̲j̲-I-S̲h̲akar"", in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs.
  4. ^ K. A. Nizami, "The Life and Times of Shaikh Farid-u'd-Din Ganj-i-Shakar," in Babaji, ed. M. Ikram Chaghatai (Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publications, 2006), p. 15
  5. ^ Sheikh Fariduddin Ganj-i-Shakar Archived 30 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine Ain-e-Akbari by Abul Fazal, English translation, by Heinrich Blochmann and Colonel Henry Sullivan Jarrett, 1873–1907. The Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta; Volume III, Saints of India. (Awliyá-i-Hind), page 363
  6. ^ a b Sheikh Farid, by Dr. Harbhajan Singh. Hindi Pocket Books, 2002. ISBN 81-216-0255-6. Page 11.
  7. ^ a b Ajodhan's former name: Ajay Vardhan
  8. ^ Schimmel, Annemarie. Islam in the Indian Subcontinent. BRILL. p. 98. ISBN 90-04-06117-7., Published in 1980, now on Google Books, Retrieved 1 November 2018
  9. ^ Omer Tarin, 'Hazrat Baba Farid Ganj Shakar and the evolution of the literary Punjabi:A Brief Review' in Journal of Humanities and Liberal Arts, 1995, pp.21-30
  10. ^ Tarin, 27
  11. ^ Tarin, p. 30
  12. ^ Manns draw crowds at Baba Farid Mela The Tribune, 25 September 2007, Retrieved 1 November 2018
  13. ^ Tilla Baba Farid The Tribune, 25 September 2007, Retrieved 1 November 2018
  14. ^ Pakpatthan Town The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1900, v. 19, p. 332, Digital South Asia Library website, Retrieved 1 November 2018
  15. ^ Faridia Islamic University, Retrieved 1 November 2018
  16. ^ Introduction Archived 5 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine Baba Farid University of Health Sciences Official website, Retrieved 1 November 2018
  17. ^ The original was probably the Persian Ganj-i Shakar, with the same meaning.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g name="Abdullah"
  19. ^ a b Tarin, p 30
  20. ^ Imperial Gazetteer 1900
  21. ^ Imperial Gazetteer
  22. ^ Reza Sayah (25 October 2010). "4 killed in blast at Pakistan shrine". CNN News website. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  23. ^ Kamran Haider; Mian Khursheed; Hasan Mahmood (25 October 2010). "Bomb kills six at Sufi shrine in eastern Pakistan". Reuters News Agency. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  24. ^ Tarin, pp 15-16
  25. ^ "Fatal stampede at Pakistan festival". BBC News website. 1 April 2001. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  26. ^ Sikh Wiki Article on Bani Baba Farid Retrieved 1 November 2018
  27. ^ Commemorative postage stamp issued by Pakistan Post Office on Baba Farid's 800th Birth Anniversary on website Retrieved 3 November 2018

External linksEdit