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Archive for category MYSTIC POETS



by Aadil Farook

Allama Iqbal said (in Urdu),

“Khudi ko kar buland itna ke har taqdeer se pehle

Khuda bande se khud pooche bata teri raza kya hai”

The most common translation in English with which I do not agree at all is:

Raise your self so that before every decree
God will ascertain from you: “What is your wish?”

The entire misuderstanding arose due to this false translation. Many people did not get what Iqbal meant. Secular people saw link between this & self-actualization of Western thinkers. Some religious people saw conflict between Khudi (self) and Sufism’s self-annihilation / self-negation (khud ko mitana / khud ki nafi). Both parties are wrong.

1. Self-actualization as understood in the West means to unleash one’s maximum potential as far as abilities/skills/talents are concerned. The sole focus is on brilliance (qabliat). It has nothing to do with spirituality (rohaniat). Steve Jobs, Wasim Akram & Michael Jackson were self-actualized individuals because they attained genius in their fields irrespective of whether they were spiritual or not. Spirituality is not the criterion here at all.
2. Iqbal was a spiritual thinker. His entire thought can only be understood if seen with spiritual lenses. Iqbal actually did not say anything different from what Sufis had been saying. Sufis say that due to sins, the corrupted self of people has to undergo many stages of inner purification before it reaches its true real original self. That is why there is so much importance given to denial or opposition of one’s Nafs-e-amarah (lower-self NOT self). Iqbal obviously knew all that. What he really meant can be translated as:-  
Raise your PURIFIED self so that before every decree
God will ascertain from you: “What is your wish?”
Thus Iqbal did not say anything new at all. However, his greatness lies in the exact choice of words selected. Why did he use words that seem totally different from what Sufis say?
3. Iqbal’s entire goal was waking, motivating & inspiring Muslims especially of subcontinent whose spirits, courage, confidence and energy level was completely zero. Since his audience was already demotivated shattered crushed demoralised, he could not afford to use words like khud ko mitana (diminish your self) or khud ki nafi (negate your self). His deep wisdom was using words which do 2 things at the same time – endorse spirituality and raise morale of Muslims.
4. Islam is obviously not against self-actualization at all but it demands humans to first cross the spiritual path before pursuing self-actualization so that their genius has ikhlaas (purity of intention) in it. The aim of a momin (genuine believer) is not glory itself at all but to benefit humanity or glorify Islam with his God-given gifts or knowledge or caliber in anything. If Allah grants him glory in the process, he thanks Him. If Allah does not grant him any glory at all, he is still equally happy. That is sign of Nafs-e-Mutmainah (contended soul).
Holy Prophet (SAW) is the ideal human because his spirituality & brilliance both reached their highest possible level. That is why he is still the most influential person in history!

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Seminar on Mystical Teachings of Sultan Bahoo & Modern Era Organized by MUSLIM Institute



Seminar on 
Mystical Teachings of Sultan Bahoo & Modern Era 
Organized by
MUSLIM Institute
MUSLIM Institute and Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), Islamabad organized a seminar titled “Mystical Teachings of Sultan Bahoo & Modern Era” on Thursday, December 8, 2016, at CIIT, Islamabad. Former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral (R) M. Asif Sandila chaired the session whereas other prominent speakers include Chairman MUSLIM Institute Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali, Head of CPS, CIIT Amb. (R) Fauzia Nasreen, Chairperson Dept. of History International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI) Dr. Mujeeb Ahmad, Former Director Iqbal International Institute for Research & Dialogue, IIUI Dr. Talib Hussain Sial and Principal Govt. Post Graduate College for Women, Rawalpindi Dr. Aalia Sohail Khan. Research Associate of MUSLIM Institute Mr. M. Azizullah Shah moderated the proceedings of the seminar. Diplomats, academicians, politicians, journalists, researchers and people from different walks of life participated in the seminar.

A brief summary of views expressed by speakers is given below:

Hazrat Sultan Bahoo, an eminent Sufi mystic of the Muslim world, is also known as Sultan-ul-Arifeen & Sultan-ul-Faqr due to his spiritual excellence. Hazrat Sultan Bahoo was born in the year 1629, in the city of Shorkot, nowadays part of district Jhang. His mausoleum is located near Garh Maharaja, district Jhang. Hazrat Sultan Bahoo belongs to the Awan Tribe who are non-Fatimid decedents of fourth Caliph of Islam Hazrat Ali R.A. Hazrat Bazid Muhammad (R.A), father of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo, was a pious man and served as a military commander in the Mughal army. Similarly, Hazrat Bibi Rasti, mother of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo, was also from Awan tribe and a virtuous lady having a profound knowledge of spiritualism. She was spiritually intuited to name his son “Bahoo”.


Hazrat Sultan Bahoo didn’t receive any formal education. He got initial spiritual training and education from his mother. He belongs to famous spiritual order Qadriya founded by Hazrat Abdul Qadir Gilani R.A of Baghdad and his shrine has the privilege of being one of the famous shrines of Qadriya spiritual order in sub-Continent and secures an eminent position in Qadriya order. In order to achieve spiritual excellence, he visited many Sufis of different orders but did not take the oath. At last, he was spiritually directed to take oath at the hand of Hazrat Abdur Rehman AlGilani R.A.

At his young age, sub-continent was being ruled by Emperor Shah Jahan who was succeeded by Emperor Aurangzeb. At that time the Persian language was dominant in sub-Continent. The Muslim world was facing political instability as well as intellectual decline. Hazrat Sultan Bahu’s efforts speak clear of the truth that how he manifested himself as a driving force against social evils as well as equipped general public spiritually to fight the menace of sectarianism and anti-Shariah Sufi rituals.


One of among great contributions of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo towards various languages is 200 Abyats in the Punjabi language which are rich of Sufi philosophy and spiritual teachings. His Punjabi work has got International Recognition world-wide for example Jamal J. Elias, Prof. at Amherst College (USA) translated Abyat e Bahoo in English which were Published by University of California Press. There is no denying the fact that Hazrat Sultan Bahoo

+’s Punjabi Abyat are considered a fundamental source of Punjabi classical literature. Abyat e Bahoo also secures an eminent position being a part of course named Mystical Islamic Poetry by Oxford University. In this respect, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London organized a session on Hazrat Sultan Bahoo & Hazrat Bulleh Shah’s poetry in 2015 in recognition of their contribution towards the Punjabi language.

Hazrat Sultan Bahoo wrote down one hundred and forty books in the Persian language which include one book of poetry named Devan-e-Bahoo and other books are prose writings. Unfortunately, his Persian writings are not known much in the world. He is well known for his four line Punjabi poetry but not for his great philosophical work in Persian and it is a strange coincidence with Umar Khayyam who is also famous for his four line poetry, not for his prose work. A similar fate was faced by his other contemporary writers who contributed to Persian literature like Ghanimat Kunjahi was a Persian poet from Punjab and has great contribution in Persian literature but the world is unaware of his contribution. Similarly, daughter of Aurangzeb Alamgir, Zeb un Nisa has been neglected. Mirza Abdul Qadir Bedil is another example who is known in Central Asia but in our region, he is not well known. The Reason of this unawareness is that Muslims severed their relations with literature, therefore, Persian literature lost in history. The great contribution of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo in Persian has also fallen a victim to this negligence and world is unaware of it. It is need of the hour that we recover such precious philosophical heritage and work upon it. The recovered work of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo shows that it is second to none in terms of prose work in Persian.

Hazrat Sultan Bahoo traveled to different places to spread the teachings of Islam. He also played a great role for the spread of peace and harmony in society. He has contributed a lot to eradicate the sectarianism and other divisions among Muslims. His efforts to establish knowledge friendly and spiritual oriented society are commendable and should be worked upon to unveil many important aspects of his philosophy & teachings.


Language is not just the gift of God but also the disclosure of God. There are many functions which a language performs but one function is to connect human being with God and this is what the mystical poetry does. Allah Almighty is too great to be encapsulated in human words. All the mystical poets have confessed the inadequacy of language to explain mystical experiences. The letter Alif is reiterated in Sufi teachings and also in the teaching of Sultan Bahoo. One of Turkish poet Yunus Emre says that wisdom all four divine books are contained in one single letter Alif and the secret of this letter Alif is that it is actually the supreme name Allah. The word “Hoo” used in Sultan Bahoo’s poetry stands for transcendence of Allah, the infinitude of Allah and love for Allah. 

It is not possible to attain delights of spirituality without sincerity and truthfulness in all actions. Heart of human beings is the residence of the true God so the dignity of human beings is the main theme of Sultan Bahoo’s teaching. Iqbal says “The Ultimate Reality, according to the Qur’an is spiritual and its life consists in its temporal activity. The spirit finds its opportunities in the natural, the material, the secular (worldly). All that is secular is, therefore, sacred in the roots of its being… the merely material has no substance until we discover it rooted in the spiritual”.

In a rhyme Hazrat Sultan Bahoo says:

The body of yours is the dwelling of true Sustainer O mystic glance in your inner self Hoo
Don’t beg Khidr the water of immortality is within your inner self Hoo
Kindle the lamp of passion in the darkness perhaps swiftly you might find shine Hoo



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