Tazkira Shaykh Bahauddin Zakariya Multani by Faqir Muhammad Javed Qadri

تذکرہ شیخ بہاؤ الدین زکریا ملتانی -از فقیر محمّد جاوید قادری

(First published 2009; Language: Urdu)

This is a hagiography, written in the old tradition of tazkira literature, of Shaykh Bahaud-dn Zakariya Multani (c. 1170 – 1267), who was the most prominent Sufi of the newly established Suhrawardi order in the regions of the then Northwestern India.

Given the nature of the book, I did not expect a comprehensive analysis of the belief system of this sufi, but, in addition to excessive praise, I at least expected to get a general view of his thought. In this respect this book has been an utter disappointment. So much so that I embarrassed myself by reading it from cover to cover.

The author sets out with the greatness and piety of the Shaykh, his steadfastness in faith, tireless quest for knowledge, travels to far off lands in search of the Truth (whatever it means), his numerous miracles and wonders which are identical to the miracles ascribed to the prophets, his clairvoyance, knowledge of the unseen and much more.

This book, however, contains some factual information about the life of Shaykh Zakariya and recounts a few prominent achievements for which he is known.

He left Multan (his birthplace, now in Pakistan) in early youth and set out on a long and perilous journey of Muslim mainlands for higher education in Islamic disciplines. He is reported to have travelled from city to city for almost three decades: Tus, Neshapur, Bukhara, Samarqand, Damascus, Aleppo, Mecca, Madina and finally Baghdad, spending time with the prominent teachers, before he returned to Multan in the latter part of his life.

He was primarily a jurist who, during his stay in Baghdad, got attracted to the teachings of Abu Hafs Umar al-Suhrawardi (who was the nephew of the eponym of the order Abu al-Najib al-Suhrawardi). who then initiated him into the Suhrawardi tariqah and ordered Zakariya to return to his homeland to spread the message of Suhrawardiyah.

Shaykh Zakariya’s life and activities back in his native city gets some detailed attention in the book. He belonged to a family of religious judges (qadis), a very wealthy family which enjoyed influence with Muslim overlords. In time he became heir to the family fortune which, according to the book, he spent in the cause of religion. He constructed a huge madrassa in Multan which housed students, travellers, shelterless and teachers imported from Muslim mainlands. His fame and piety won a lot of converts to Islam, which, in turn, he sent over to far off lands for tabligh. Shaykh Zakariya is reported to have sent teams of students to Far East countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and other areas to spread Islam. His disciple-preachers reported to have won multitudes of converts.

The book also tells about the schism between him and the governor of Multan Nasir al-Din Qabacha. The latter ruled the province under the authority of the Sultan of Mamluk Dynasty (Slave Dynasty of Delhi), Sultan Shams al-Din Iltutmish. The governor of Multan is reported to have been jealous of the Shaykh and tried to sully his name in the eyes of the people. He used many means to achieve this end but, according to the book, failed. But we don’t know the nature of the dispute between the Shaykh and the governor, whether it was theological or just political or a mix of both, because the author tends to ascribe all opposition to the Shaykh a result of jealousy and ill-will; a likely explanation a hagiography can offer.

My book rating: 1/5

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15 thoughts on “Tazkira Shaykh Bahauddin Zakariya Multani by Faqir Muhammad Javed Qadri

  1. wether Hazrath Bahauddin was the only son to his father if yes any reference book or any tazkira about his real brother or brothers and his family members supporting the upper line of shijra etc. is their any rivalry between him with the other sons of hazrath vajeeh uddin. The historians are mum in this topic and have ever quoted a common printed story extracted from the cyclopedia in stretching the sequence of multani clan and karamat of hazrath Bahauddin a self generated autobiography simply circling around himself and description of his personality just conferred upon him after attaining the young age “khilafat” how ? “In time he became heir to the family fortune to his so called down line decedents which, according to the book, he spent in the cause of religion.” individually.

    Hope no controversy if no knowledge on record.

  2. Hi. Sorry for the late reply. The book doesn’t provide information on Shaykh Bahauddin Zakariya’s brothers, if any, and about his tree of lineage. I am not aware of other writers if they had included such information in their biographies.

    I don’t quite understand rest of your comment. Please kindly rephrase it. Thanks.

  3. Hi I am working on the life history and family history of Shaikh Bahauddin. According to our Shajra he had at least one brother.

    Regarding Shahabuddin Suharwardi, you are mistaken , there were two Shahabuddin Suharwardi. One was a mystic other was a philosopher…………….

    Regards
    Khalid Bin Umar, New Delhi

  4. Thanks to Mr Khalid for his work on the life history and the family history of shaik Bahauddin Zakria Multani stating ” According to our shijra he had at least on brother” could you please share the specific information you had about his brothers name, his personality, association with the shaik and family down line etc,if any.
    With all regards:
    Syed Mateen Ahmed, Hyderabad, India.

  5. heloo i am working on the Bahauddin Zakria Multani ‘s social and political workinng how can i get information through specific websites?

  6. could you please tell me about Sheikh Hassan afghan ( Khujandi) who was one of the khalif of Sheikh Bahauddin Zakaria Multani.

  7. Hi, I am not aware of any websites detailing the life and works of Bahauddin Zakariya Multani. It seems that not much that has been written about him has found its way to the web.

  8. I will check the book and other resources to find out about the personality in question. I have, however, not read anything about him in the book I have reviewed.

  9. Asslaamu Aliakum

    Dear Hanif Sahib !

    Yes, Shaikah Hasan Afghan was a highly respected and beloved disciple of Shaikh Bahauddin Zakaria.

    Shaikh Hasan Afghan, in particular, was endowed with such extra-sensory faculties that, in spite of being illiterate, he could among other written texts make out the lines of Qur’ran because, thanks to his internal sight (bașı ̄rat) he could see the radiance emanating from them. Shaikh Bahauddin used to say about him , If tomorrow they ask me to bring forward a person from my household as a representative to face judgement on behalf of all the others, I would select Hasan Afghan.

    Few of his qualities are mentioned in Fawaid ul Fawad by Amir Hasan Sajzi.

    Was’saalam
    Khalid Bin Umar

  10. Aqeel Qureshi sahab, thank you very much for the link to the another biography of Shaykh Bahauddin Zakariya. I much appreciate it. I will read the book and will review.

  11. I interstingly read the conversation between Aqeedtmndaan e Bahauddin Zakaria, aap sb k liey bht Duaaen. Regards Dr. Waqar Azeemi

  12. Big thanks to aqeel qureshi for sharing book link. I was looking for this book. If other book of Noor Ahmed Khan Afridi written on Shaykh Sadar al-Din Arif and Shah Rukn-e Aalam) available on net please must share or email to nadeemahmad@uos.edu.pk. I am working on political and religious impact of Suhrawardi Sufis in India during 13th and 14th centuries.

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