Farid-ud-din Gang Shakar

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Farid-ud-din Gang Shakar was the spiritual successor of both paragons of spiritualism, Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chisti and Qutub-ud-din Bakhtyar Kaki belonging to Chistiyah order of Sufism.

He was born in 1173 in Kothawal a city of Multan. His original name was Masood. His ancestors were from a noble family of Kabul who migrated to India during Mongol attack on Afghanistan. His paternal grandfather was Kothawal of Multan. His got his early education from Multan. When Baba Farid was sixteen, he went to Hajj and stayed in the house of Abdul Rahim Ansari. Since, Baba Farid used to talk in Punjabi, an unkempt faqir on hearing Farid’s language foretold the boy’s spiritual greatness.

When he was eighteen years he left for Delhi and met Khwaja Qutub-ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki. The Qutub advised him to complete his temporal education before starting spiritual education. Farid spent five years in Kandahar for education and came to Delhi. In a short period he acquired spiritual education from his mentor the Qutub as well. He preached the religion in western Punjab and trained Sufi saints like Sheikh Sabir and Sultan-ul-Mashaikh, Nizam-ud-din Aulia who initiated the Nazimia and Sabaria branches of Chistiyah order. Important tribes of Western Punjab including Siyal, Rajput and Watoo etc. accepted Islam because of his preaching. He always kept himself in seclusion aloof from both kings and general public and lived a life of poverty. After the death of the Qutub he went to Hansi, Kohatwal and lastly Ajodhan, the present Pak Pattan where he stayed and preached till his death in 1265. The manner in which the name of Ajodhan changed to Pak Pattan was that a canal which derived its water from the Sutlej passed near the town. It was usual for all who visited Baba Farid to wash their hands and feet there. The place then became known as Baba Sahib ji da Pak Pattan, or Farid’s cleansing ferry.

He was a poet and a great scholar. His poetry has great influence on Sikhism. In Adi Granth (Sikh scripture) his slokas (the sacred couplets) are given a place in line with the poetry of Kabir, Ramdev and Guru Ravidas. His services for the promotion of Islam are supreme as thousands of people accepted Islam due to his teachings.

This article was last updated on Monday, Jan 03, 2005