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Fariduddin Ganjshakar

Fariduddin Mas'ud Ganjshakar
گنجِ شکر Ganj-e-Shakar شیخ العالم Shaikh-ul-Alam
Born 1179
Kothewal village in Multan, Punjab
Died 1266/1280
Pakpattan, Punjab
Venerated in Template:If empty
Influences Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki
Influenced Various, most prominent being Nizamuddin Auliya, Jamal-ud-Din Hansvi and Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari etc

Khwaja Farīduddīn Mas'ūd Ganjshakar (1173-1266) was a Sufi saint and Muslim missionary in Punjab region of South Asia, belonging to the Chishti Order.


Bābā Farīd was born in 1179 or 1188 AD (584 Hijri) at Kothewal village, 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 one of the founding fathers of the Chishti Sufi order.[1]

Farīd's lineage is traced back to the second Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab. Bābā Farīd received his early education at Multan, which had become a centre for Muslim education; it was here that he met his murshid (Spiritual guide), Quṭbuddīn Bakhtiyār Kākī, a noted Sufi saint, who was passing through Multan, from Baghdad on his way to Delhi.[2] 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.[3][4] When Quṭbuddīn Bakhtiyār Kākī died in 1235, Farīd left Hansi and became his spiritual successor, and he settled in Ajodhan[5] (the present Pakpattan, Pakistan) instead of Delhi. On his way to Ajodhan, while passing through Faridkot, he met the 20-year-old Nizāmuddīn, who went on to become his disciple, and later his successor Sufi khalīfah.

Bābā Farīd 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 Baṭūṭah once visited this Sufi saint. Ibn Battuta says that Fariduddin Ganjshakar was the spiritual guide of the King of India, and that the King had given him the village of Ajodhan. He also met Bābā Farīd's two sons. Fariduddin Ganjshakar's shrine darbār is located in Pakpattan.

Bābā Farīd'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.[citation needed] One of his descendants was the noted Sufi scholar Muhibbullah Allahabadi (1587–1648).[6]


Farīdā bhumi rangāvalī manjhi visūlā bāg

Fareed, this world is beautiful, but there is a thorny garden within it.

Farīdā jo taīN mārani mukīāN tinhāN na mārē ghumm

Fareed, do not turn around and strike those who strike you with their fists.

Farīdā jā lab thā nēhu kiā lab ta kūṛhā nēhu

Fareed, when there is greed, what love can there be? When there is greed, love is false.

Kālē maiḍē kapṛē, kālā maiḍā wais,
GunahīN bhariyā maiN phirāN, Lōk kahaiN darvēsh

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.

GallīN cikkaṛ dūr ghar, nāḷ piyārē nīNh,
ChallāN tē bhijjē kamblī, rahāN tāN ṭuṭṭē nīNh.

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.[1]

"Roti meri kath ki lawan badi bhukh"
"Jina khadi chopadi ghhane sehnge dukh"

My bread is of wood, which is enough to quench my hunger, But the one who feast on buttered breads, will eventually suffer (The Legend is that when Baba Farid ji went into the jungle to meditate, he took a piece of wood. 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 from bonds and sufferings).


One of Farīd's most important contributions to Punjabi literature was his development of the language for literary purposes.[7] 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.[8] By using Punjabi as the language of poetry, Farīd laid the basis for a vernacular Punjabi literature that would be developed later.[9]

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 Bābā Farīd, which today is known as Tilla Bābā Farīd. The festival Bābā Sheikh Farād Āgman Purb Melā' is celebrated in September each year from (21–23 Sep, 3 days), commemorating his arrival in the city.[10][11] Ajodhan[5] was also renamed as Farīd's 'Pāk Pattan', meaning 'Holy Ferry'; today it is generally called Pāk Pattan Sharīf.[12]

Faridia Islamic University, a religious madrassa in Sahiwal, Punjab, Pakistan, is named after him,[13] 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.[14][15]

There are various explanations of why Bābā Farīd was given the title Shakar Ganj[16] ('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.[3]


The small shrine, or tomb 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,which resulted in miraculous improvement in her health.

Charity food called Langar is distributed all day to visitors here[17] and the Auqaf Department, which administers the shrine.[18] 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.[18] There is no separation of male and female areas but a small female area is also there. 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.[17][19] 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.[17][20] This money is collected by the Auqaf Department that looks after the shrine[citation needed].

On 25 October 2010, a bomb exploded outside the gates of the shrine, killing six people.[21][22] Since then, the shrine surroundings and compound area has been renovated[citation needed].

Hindi Serai in Jerusalem

There is supposed to be an inn or lodging in Jerusalem, present-day Israel, called Hindi Serai, where it is claimed Baba Farid lived for many years[citation needed].It is claimed that this building is currently cared for by the 86-year-old caretaker, Muhammad Munir Ansari[citation needed].


A Chilla of Baba Farid is located in Dhirdan village of Lunkaransar tehsil in Bikaner district, Rajasthan, India.;Maharashtra, Wardha district samudrapur constituency in Girad a small town , in shakar baoli and in a small village Manegaon situated in Tehsil Barghat,District Seoni,Madhya Pradesh.

Death anniversary and Urs

Every year, the saint's death anniversary or Urs is celebrated for six days in the first Islamic month of Muharram, in Pakpattan, Pakistan.[17] The Bahishtī Darwāza (Gate of Paradise) is opened only once a year, during the time of the Urs fair.[17] 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.[17] This "Gate to Paradise" is padlocked all year, and only opened for ten 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.[17][23] Some critics say it is unholy to pass through this door only with this intention[citation needed]. Others argue that it is good to pass this door with a resolution not to commit sins in the future. 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.[24] 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)

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 Sikhism

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 Nanak, the founding guru of Sikhism, included these hymns himself in the Adi Granth, the predecessor of the Guru Granth Sahib.[25][26]

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

Places named after

Further reading

  • Faridnama by Zahid Abrol, (the first-ever Poetical Translation of Shiekh Farid's Punjabi Verses in Urdu and Hindi Scripts), 2003 Ajanta Book, ISBN 978-81-202-0587-1.[27]
  • 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 also


  1. ^ a b Sufis – Wisdom against Violence The South Asian, April 2001.
  2. ^ Sheikh Fariduddin Ganj-i-Shakar 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.
  3. ^ a b Sheikh Farid, by Dr. Harbhajan Singh. Hindi Pocket Books, 2002. ISBN 81-216-0255-6. Page 11.
  4. ^ Baba Sheikh Farid Shakarganj – Biography
  5. ^ a b Ajodhan's former name: Ajay Vardhan
  6. ^ Schimmel, Annemarie. Islam in the Indian Subcontinent. BRILL. p. 98. ISBN 90-04-06117-7. 
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ Tarin, 27
  9. ^ Tarin, p. 30
  10. ^ Manns draw crowds at Baba Farid Mela The Tribune, 25 September 2007.
  11. ^ Tilla Baba Farid The Tribune, 25 September 2007.
  12. ^ Pakpatthan Town The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1900, v. 19, p. 332.
  13. ^ Faridia Islamic University
  14. ^ Introduction Baba Farid University of Health Sciences Official website.
  15. ^ "District: Faridkot" (PDF). National Informatics Centre, Punjab State Unit, Chandigarh. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  16. ^ The original was probably the Persian Ganj-i Shakar, with the same meaning.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g name="Abdullah"
  18. ^ a b Tarin, p 30
  19. ^ Imperial Gazetteer 1900
  20. ^ Imperial Gazetteer
  21. ^ Reza Sayah (25 October 2010). "4 killed in blast at Pakistan shrine". CNN News. 
  22. ^ Kamran Haider, Mian Khursheed, Hasan Mahmood (25 October 2010). "Bomb kills six at Sufi shrine in eastern Pakistan". Reuters. 
  23. ^ Tarin, pp 15-16
  24. ^ "Fatal stampede at Pakistan festival". BBC News. 1 April 2001. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  25. ^ Sikh Encyclopedia
  26. ^ Sikh Wiki
  27. ^ Tanvir Siddiqui (29 April 2004). "Not lost in translation: This bank official is well-versed in poetry". The Indian Express. 

External links

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