Hadrat Pir Mian Muhammad Baksh al-Qadiri [ 1324 H / 1907 CE] ‘alayhir rahman w’al ridwan
Mian Muhammad Baksh May Allah be pleased with him was a Sufi saint and also a Potohari/Hindko poet of great repute. He is especially renowned as the writer of a book of poetry called Sayful Muluk. Such was his reputation that he attained the richly deserved of ”the Rumi of Kashmir”! He was born in a village called khanqa peera shah gazi Khari Shaeef, situated in the Mirpur District (now in Azad Kashmir).
He belonged to the Gujjar caste, and was a fourth generation descendant of Pir-e Shah Ghazi Qalandar Dumri-Vala, Allah be pleased with him, who was buried in Khari Sharif. Pir-e Shah Ghazi’s khalifah was Khwajah Din Muhammad; and his khalifah was Mian Shamshuddin, who had three sons: Mian Bahaval Bakhsh, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh – the subject of this article -, and Mian ‘Ali Bakhsh. Mian Muhammad Bakhsh’s ancestors originated in Gujrat, but had later settled in the Mirpur district of Kashmir.
There is much disagreement about his year of birth. Mahbub ‘Ali Faqir Qadiri, in a biography printed as an appendix to the text of Sayful Muluk gives the date as 1246 AH (1826 CE), a date also followed by the Shahkar Islami Encyclopedia; 1830 and 1843 are suggested in other works but are almost cetainly erroneous. Mian Muhammad Bakhsh himself states in his magnum opus – Sayful Muluk – that he completed the work during the spring in the month of Ramadan, 1279 AH (1863 CE), and that he was then thirty-three years of age- hence he must have been born in 1830.
Mian Muhammad was still only fifteen years old when his father, falling seriously ill, and realising that he was on his deathbed, called all his students and local notaries to see him. Mian Shamshuddin told his visitors that it was his duty to pass on the spiritual lineage that he had received through his family from Pir-e Shah Ghazi Qalandar Dumri-Vala; he pointed to his own son, Mian Muhammad, and told those assembled that he could find nobody more suitable than he to whom he might award this privilege. Everybody agreed, the young man’s reputation had already spread far and wide. Mian Muhammad, however, spoke up and disagreed, saying that he could not bear to stand by and allow his elder brother Bahavul to be deprived of the honour. The old man was filled with so much love for his son that he stood up and leaving his bed grasped his son by the arms; he led him to one corner and made him face the approximate direction of Baghdad, and then he addressed the founder of their Sufi Order, Ghawth al-Adham Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani May Allah sanctify his secret, presenting his son to him as his spiritual successor. Shortly after this incident his father died. Mian Muhammad continued to reside in his family home for a further four years, then at the age of nineteen he moved into the khanqah, where he remained for the rest of his life. Both his brothers combined both religion and worldly affairs in their lives, but he was only interested in spirituality, and never married – unlike them.
Despite the fact that he had essentially been made a khalifah (successor) of his father, he realised that he still needed to make a formal pledge of allegiance or bay’ah (oath) to a Sufi master. Having completed his formal education he began to travel, seeking out deserted locations where he would busy himself in prayer and spiritual practices, shunning the company of his fellow-men. He took the Sufi pledge of allegiance or bay’ah with Hadrat Ghulam Muhammad ‘alayhir rahman, who was the khalifah of Baba Baduh Shah Abdal, the khalifah of Haji Bagasher (of Darkali Mamuri Sharif, near Kallar Syedan District Rawalpindi), the khalifah again of Pir-e Shah Ghazi Qalandar Dumri-Vala. He is also said to have travelled for a while to Srinagar, where he benefitted greatly from Shaykh Ahmad Vali May Allah be pleased with him.
Once he had advanced a little along the Sufi way he became more and more interested in composing poetry, and one of the first things he penned was a qasidah (quatrain) in praise of his spiritual guide. Initially he preferred to write siharfis and duhras, but then he advanced to composing stories in verse. His poetry is essentially written in the Pothohari dialect of Panjabi, and utilises a rich vocabulary of Persian and Arabic words.
His works include:
Sakhi Khavass Khan,
Masnavi-e Nirang-e ‘Ishq.
He also wrote a commentary on the Arabic Qasidat-ul-Burda of Imam al-Busairi May Allah be pleased with him and his most famous work, entitled Safarul ‘Ishq (The Journey of Ardent Love), but better known as Sayful Muluk.