Project Reports

Report of Seminar on Mystical Teachings of Sultan Bahoo & Modern Era


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 where as 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 seminar. Diplomats, academicians, politicians, journalists, researchers and people from different walks of life participated in the seminar.

img

Brief summary of views expressed by speakers is given below:

Hazrat Sultan Bahoo, an eminent Sufi mystic of 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”.

img

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 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 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 Persian language was dominant in sub-Continent. The Muslim world was facing political instability as well as intellectual decline. Hazrat Sultan Bahoo’s efforts speaks 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.

img

One of among great contributions of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo towards various languages is 200 Abyats in 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 Punjabi language.

Hazrat Sultan Bahoo wrote down one hundred and forty books in 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 strange coincidence with Umar Khayyam who is also famous for his four line poetry, not for his prose work. Similar fate was faced by his other contemporary writers who contributed in 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 Aurengzeb Alamgir, Zebun 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. 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 travelled to different places to spread the teachings of Islam. He also played a great role for 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.

img

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 is 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, 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

img

Sultan Bahoo emphasized on the morality and ethics in society. Sultan Bahoo was great exponent of harmony, tolerance and love. In his Punjabi poetry Sultan Bahoo says:

Wish to die while in life than with in faqeers (mystics) robes remain Hoo
If rubbish and refuse is thrown at you like rubbish mound than sustain Hoo
If someone humiliate and taunts you, be polite to him again and again Hoo
For friend accept complaint taunts notoriety and humiliating proposal Hoo
Most powerful holds my reins ‘Bahoo’ He treats me as he likes I am at his disposal Hoo


Modern era is era of materialism and conflict. We neither respect nor love other human beings. Hazrat Sultan Bahoo propagated the message of love for mankind and by loving mankind one can attain the love of Almighty Allah. Different nations can live together in peace if they believe in universal spirituality and that is possible if they adopt moral and spiritual teachings of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo and other mystics.

Interactive Session

img

After speakers expressed their views, interactive session held and speakers answered various questions in detail and said:

We should strongly condemn prevailing dogmas about spiritualism that one is devoid of social responsibilities. In fact, obliging social duties while acting upon the teachings of Islam in letter and spirit is the subject matter of Sultan Bahoo's teachings. Honesty, equality and truthfulness are fundamentals of a society. Similarly, "Deen", while granting these virtues the status of "Ibadah" has increased the likelihood of their applicability in a society manifold. The essence of "Deen" is to bridge the gap between material and spiritual world and build a peaceful and prosperous society. In this respect, social transformation has been the sole objective of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo's teachings. It is a matter of great concern that the ability to absorb these teachings in ourselves has fallen a victim to perpetual decline. If we are unable to understand the spiritual message of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo then at least we should act upon their societal guidance.


Download pdf

Releated Publications