Sultan ul Arifeen
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo was born on Thursday, 1st Jumada ath-thani 1039 H (17th January, 1630 AD) in Shorkot, District Jhung, Pakistan (then India). It was the reign of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Sultan Bahoo belonged to the Awan tribe whose genealogy traces back to Ali ibn Abi Talib. Awans are the progeny of Ali ibn Abi Talib from wives other than Fatimah bint Mohammad.
Sultan Bahoo’s father Bazyed Mohammad was a soldier by profession and held distinguished position in Shah Jahan’s army. His mother Bibi Rasti was a Saint. Allah revealed upon her the grandeur and spiritual status of Sultan Bahoo before his birth. Hence, she named him Bahoo (one with Hoo ھو – the Divine Essence) according to his status of annihilation in Hoo (Fana-fi-Hoo). He says;
نام باھوؒ مادر باھوؒ نہاد
زانکہ باھوؒ دائمی با ھو نہاد
Meaning: Bahoo’s mother named him Bahoo because he has always remained with Hoo (ھو).
Undoubtedly, Sultan Bahoo was a Saint by birth. Hence he remained engrossed in heavenly experiences and revelations from his early age. Surprisingly, a non-Muslim would immediately accept Islam if his eyes fell upon the luminous face of Sultan Bahoo. Such was the intensity of Divine theophanies radiating from him.
Sultan Bahoo gained his early mystic education from his mother. However, he could not avail the opportunity to receive formal academic education. As, he was ever absorbed in the deep ocean of Divine Unity. He says:
- Like the Holy Prophet, I also did not get formal academic education. We have the esoteric knowledge. As a result of Divine experiences such inspirational knowledge revealed upon me inwardly and outwardly that a number of books are required to express it. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
He further says:
گرچہ نیست مارا علمِ ظاہر
زعلمِ باطنی جاں گشتہ طاہر
Explanation: Although, I did not get any worldly education but the esoteric knowledge has completely sanctified me.
OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
Sultan Bahoo states in his books, “I searched for a spiritual guide for thirty years but in vain”. It was mainly because he already held such elevated levels of Faqr where access of anyone is extremely arduous. Though, Sultan Bahoo relates a revelation in his books about his oath of allegiance to the Holy Prophet. One day, engrossed in Allah’s vision, he was wandering in the suburbs of Shorkot. All of a sudden, Ali ibn Abi Talib came and took him to the Mohammadan Assembly. In the assembly, the People of Cloak, the Rashidun Caliphs and Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani were also present. There, Sultan Bahoo took oath of allegiance at the sacred hand of Prophet Mohammad. Then the Prophet entrusted him to Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani for further spiritual guidance. That is why Sultan Bahoo always refers Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani as his spiritual guide in his books.
He says, “When Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani blessed me, I surpassed all spiritual levels from eternal beginning till eternal end.” Afterwards, following his orders, Sultan Bahoo took oath of allegiance at the hand of Shaikh Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi. He lived in India and was the Shaikh of Sarwari Qadri order and possessor of Divine Trust before Sultan Bahoo. It is important to realize that he entrusted the Divine Trust of Faqr to Sultan Bahoo in just a single meeting.
Aterwards, Sultan Bahoo re-organized the Qadri order of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani by the title of Sarwari Qadri order. He promoted this order particularly in the Sub-continent and provided complete knowledge about this mystic way through his books. The Qadri order infact reaches Prophet Mohammad through Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. There are two offshoots of Qadri order; Zahidi Qadri and Sarwari Qadri. However, Sultan Bahoo declares only the Sarwari Qadri order the proper and real Qadri order. He describes the marvels of Sarwari Qadri order in these words:
- The Qadri way is dominant over time and space. There are two off-shoots of Qadri way, the Zahidi Qadri and Sarwari Qadri. Basically, what is the difference between the two? Sarwari Qadri is the mystic way which the Holy Prophet conferred upon me……Consequently, every seeker whom I guided thereafter, physically or spiritually, through the medium of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and Ism-e-Mohammad, got presence of Mohammadan Assembly without any struggle or invocation. Then, there remained no veil between Allah and that seeker and he observed Ism-e-Allah Zaat wherever he looked. In short, Sarwari Qadri way is very beneficent and courageous. In other mystic ways, some seekers burnt to death by the blaze of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. While, some could not bear the burden of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and retreated whereas some apostatized and were cursed. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
TITLE AND STATUS
Title of Sultan Bahoo is Sultan-ul-Arifeen meaning ‘the king of Mystics’. He holds the status of fifth Sultan ul Faqr.
Though, Sultan Bahoo could not read or write, even then he has authored 140 books. Whatever he stated verbally as a result of Divine revelations, his spiritual successors wrote it there and then. All his books are in Persian except the collection of his poetry which is in the form of Punjabi quatrains.
Undoubtedly, Sultan Bahoo’s books are masterpieces of the Divine knowledge. He proclaims that his books are a medium to reach the perfect Sarwari Qadri spiritual guide. Moreover, if any seeker has demoted spiritually, he can regain his status through his treatise Risala Roohi Sharif. Specifically, his writings are so persuasive and influential that they envelop the reader completely. If a seeker reads his books respectfully after ablution, certainly an ocean of spiritual beneficence pours down to him.
Presently, Urdu Translations of Sultan Bahoo’s following books are available:
Abyat-e-Bahoo (Punjabi poetry) (2) Divan-e-Bahoo (Persian poetry) (3) Ain-ul-Faqr (4) Majalisa-tul-Nabi (5) Kaleed-ul-Tauheed (Kalan) (6) Kaleed-ul-Tauheed (Khurd) (7) Shams-ul-Arifeen (8) Ameer-ul-Kaunain (9) Taigh-e-Barhana (10) Risala Roohi Sharif (11) Ganj-ul-Asrar (12) Mehak-ul-Faqr (Khurd) (13) Mehak-ul-Faqr (Kalan) (14) Asrar-e-Qadri (15) Aurang Shahi (16) Jamay-ul-Asrar (17) Aqal-e-Baydar (18) Fazal-ul-Laqa (Khurd) (19) Fazal-ul-Laqa (Kalan) (20) Miftah-ul-Arifeen (21) Nur-ul-Huda (Khurd) (22) Nur-ul-Huda (Kalan) (23) Taufeeq-ul-Hidayat (24) Qurb-e-Deedar (25) Ain-ul-Arifeen (26) Kaleed-e-Jannat (27) Mohkim-ul-Fuqara (28) Sultan-ul-Waham (29) Deedar Bakhsh (30) Kashf-ul-Asrar (31) Mohabbat-ul-Asrar (32) Tarfa-tul-Ain (this book is also known as Hujjat-ul-Asrar).
Until now, Sultan-ul-Faqr Publications has published English translation of following books of Sultan Bahoo:
- Risala Roohi Sharif (The Divine Soul)
It also includes exegesis alongwith translation
- Kashf-ul-Asrar (Revelation of The Divine Secrets)
- Ganj-ul-Asrar (The Treasure of Divine Secrets)
- Shams-ul-Arifeen (The Enlightening Sun for the Knowers of Allah)
- Sultan-ul-Waham (The Sultan of Communication with Allah)
- Ain-ul-Faqr (The Soul of Faqr)
- Ameer-ul-Kaunian (The Master of Worlds)
- Mohkim-ul-Fuqara (The Strength of Fakirs)
- Kaleed-ul-Tauheed (Kalan) [The Key of Divine Oneness (Detailed)]
- Qurb-e-Deedar (Closeness of Divine Vision)
- Nur-ul-Huda (Kalan) [The Light of Divine Guidance]
Further translations of his books are in the pipeline.
In addition to these, books on biography and teachings of Sultan Bahoo have also been published by Sultan-ul-Faqr Publications. Their titles are;
- Sultan Bahoo
- Sultan Bahoo-The Life and Teachings
- Spiritual Guides of Sarwari Qadri Order (It includes biographies of all Shaikhs of Sarwari Qadri order from Sultan Bahoo till date)
Sultan Bahoo has not used the conventional terms of sufism or mysticism for his teachings, rather he calls them Faqr. In essence, Faqr is the spiritual way which leads to the Divine knowledge and vision of Allah. In all his books, he particularly lays emphasis on acquiring Faqr under the guidance of a Sarwari Qadri spiritual guide. Moreover, he declares the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat the key to sanctity of innerself and purgation of soul. Subsequently, the purged soul attains vision of Allah and presence in the Mohammadan Assembly, the most elevated spiritual stations. In order to achieve them he strictly persuades the seekers to renounce love of world and paradise. Furthermore, he teaches to abstain from the desires of innerself and seek only Allah with pure intention. Also, the seeker must get rid of spiritual diseases like arrogance, malice, conceit, backbiting, miserliness, hypocrisy, pretense etc.
For all these purposes, Sultan Bahoo declares the guidance of true Sarwari Qadri spiritual guide inevitable. He also clearly mentions the signs of true spiritual guide and fake guides so that the seekers are not deceived.
Certainly, the splendour of Sultan Bahoo is beyond anyone’s speculation. He uniquely adorns the ultimate level of Faqr. He says, “The Holy Prophet has ordered me to guide everyone. Whether Muslim or non-Muslim, fortunate or unfortunate, alive or dead. Further, he has titled me as Mustafa Sani (Mustafa the second) and Mujtaba Akhir Zamani (Mujtaba of the last era) with his pearl divulging tongue.” (Risala Roohi Sharif)
He mentions about his spiritual powers in these words;
ہر کہ طالبِ حق بود من حاضرم
ز ابتدا تا انتہا یک دم برم
طالب بیا! طالب بیا! طالب بیا!
تا رسانم روزِ اوّل با خدا
Explanation: For every true seeker of Allah I hereby render my guidance. I can take him straightaway from the initial stage of the spiritual journey to the final and supreme level instantly. Come to me O seeker of Allah! No doubt, I can take you to Allah on the very first day. (Risala Roohi Sharif)
He further says;
فقر را باخوش رسیدم باخوش بدیدم درکنار
فقر بودم, فقر ہستم, عاقبت با فقر یار
Explanation: I easily approached the station of Faqr and observed it fully. O dear! The fact is that I was Faqr, I am Faqr and I will remain Faqr till eternity. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Sultan Bahoo had many junior spiritual successors (Khalifa Asghar). However, he could not find any capable seeker to whom he could transfer the Divine Trust. Hence, he did not appoint anyone as his superior spiritual successor (Khalifa Akber) during his life. He says;
دِل دا محرم کوئی نہ ملیا، جو ملیا سو غرضی ھو
Explanation: Whoever came to me wanted to fulfill his worldly desires. No one deserved to be my spiritual confidant whom I could transfer the Trust of Faqr.
کس نیا بم طالبے حق حق طلب
می رسانم با حضوری راز رب
Explanation: I could not find any true seeker of Truth whom I could elevate to Divine presence, granting him Divine secrets. (Ameer-ul-Kaunain)
Hence, he left this world without transferring the Trust. Eighty four years after death of Sultan Bahoo, Sayyid Abdullah Shah Madni Jilani was born in Madina in 1186 Hijri. He was eternally chosen to be entrusted the treasure of Faqr. Thus, he came from Madina to India at order of Holy Prophet and under guidance of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. It was the year 1241 Hijri (1825 AD). Thereupon, Sultan Bahoo finally transferred him the Divine Trust of Faqr from his shrine. Then Sarwari Qadri order continued from Sayyid Abdullah Shah Madni Jilani.
Sultan Bahoo had four wives:
- His first wife belonged to the family of Makhdoom Burhanuddin Ahmad, resident of Langar Makhdoom, district Jhang, Pakistan.
- Second wife was also from Awan tribe.
- Third wife was his close relative.
- Fourth wife belonged to a rich Hindu family. She accepted Islam at the hands of Sultan Bahoo before he married her.
Sultan Bahoo had eight sons. Their names are:
- Sultan Noor Mohammad
- Sultan Wali Mohammad
- Sultan Latif Mohammad
- Sultan Saleh Mohammad
- Sultan Ishaq Mohammad
- Sultan Fateh Mohammad
- Sultan Sharif Mohammad
- Sultan Hayat Mohammad
Doctor Sultan Altaf Ali writes in Mirat-e-Sultani (Bahoo Nama Kamil) that he also had a daughter. Her name was Mai Rehmat Khatoon.
Sultan Bahoo’s family continued only from his three sons; Sultan Noor Mohammad, Sultan Wali Mohammad and Sultan Latif Mohammad. While, other sons died childless. One of his sons, Sultan Hayat Mohammad died in childhood.
Sultan Bahoo died at age of sixty three years on Thursday, 1st Jumada ath-thani, 1102 Hijri (1st March 1691 AD).
Shrine of Sultan Bahoo is in Garh Maharaja, tehsil Ahmadpur Sial, district Jhang, Pakistan. This shrine is free from all kinds of heretical practices. Here, hundreds of Mystics remain in seclusion for the sake of vision of Allah. Once entered in the shrine, one does not want to come out of it. Especially, the seekers of Divine Truth never return empty handed from this shrine.
The death anniversary of Sultan Bahoo is celebrated every year on the first Thursday of Jumada ath-thani. People come from far off places to join the celebrations.
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