For centuries, Punjabi prose and poetry have been woven with the teachings of Sufism. This has greatly influenced the way these poems are written, read, and interpreted. Much like Rumi’s style of poetry, which is filled with personal meaning and spiritual depth, Punjabi poetry has followed suit. Mian Muhammad Bakhsh is renowned as one of the best Punjabi Sufi poets in history. His contributions to Sufism can be remembered as the masterpiece of Sufism. If you want to understand how Sufism is related to Punjabi folklore and read some amazing poems about Sufism in Punjab, then this post is for you.
What is Sufism in Punjab?
Sufism, the ascetic and mystical tradition of Islam, has been a part of Punjabi culture for centuries. The teachings of Sufism have influenced the way Punjabi poems are written and read, making them more poetic and deep.
Punjab is home to many poets who write Punjabi poetry that is heavily influenced by Sufism. These poets often write about various topics such as love, death, and life’s journey that can be seen as both pessimistic and optimistic depending on how it is interpreted.
One example of a renowned poet in this tradition is Waris Shah. His most famous work is called Heer Ranjha which tells the story of two lovers who are tragically separated by family feuds. Baba Bulleh Shah is another renowned Punjabi poet whose Literary work is full of wisdom. If we talk about Punjabi poetry and Sufism, It would be unfair not to mention the name of great Sufi poet Baba Ghulam Farid. So, there are also many other Sufi poets who contributed to Punjabi Sufi poetry and literature.
In fact, Sufism is an Islamic spiritual tradition that began in the Middle East in the 12th century. The tradition soon spread to India, where it developed into a popular form of Islamic mysticism. Sufi poets are often celebrated for their spiritual insights into the human condition, and many Punjabi poems are considered to be masterpieces of Sufi literature.
The legacy of Punjabi Sufi poets continues to shape the cultural landscape in modern-day Punjab. The work of these poets is still read and recited by people all over South Asia and is often used in Punjabi folk music. The Punjabi Sufi poetic tradition has also had a significant influence on South Asian literature in general. Indeed, many eminent Pakistani and Indian poets have written poems in the Punjabi language.
Mian Muhammad Bakhsh and Sufi Poetry
Punjab has always remained a fertile ground for Sufi Poets. Mian Muhammad Bukhsh was one of those significant Punjabi poets who devoted their lives in the search for truth (Haqq). Mian Muhammad Bakhsh was a great Sufi Poet and Philosopher. He was born in Chak Thakra near Mirpur Azad Kashmir. Nobody knows exactly about his date of birth. But most historians agree on 1830 AD as his year of birth.
Mian Muhammad bakhsh along with his brother joined a local school (Madrassa) and received his early education under the guidance of Hafiz Nasir Uddin. He learned Arabic and Persian languages there which enlightened him towards the reality of life.
Arifana Kalam & Sufi Literature
Mian Muhammad Bakhsh compiled 18 books. Most of his books are in the Punjabi language except one which is in the Persian language. He used symbolic language in his Arifana Kalam. Among all of his literary work, Saif ul Malook gained huge popularity among the masses.
Mian Muhammad Bakhsh was such a great soul who always preached selflessness in his poetry. He devoted his life to writing about the mystic thoughts in a quiet Sufi manner. His Arifana Kalam is the manifestation of his mystic approach. In His Sufi Kalam, he always emphasized the oneness of Allah and believe in the preachings of Prophet Muhammad (SA).
In his renowned book Saiful Malook, his message of oneness and self-denial is predominant. He preached the notion of self-denial and humbleness in all his poetry. All bitter realities of life have been portrayed in the poetry in a very beautiful way. Religious, social, and cultural matters, all have been discussed in such a philosophic way that the reader starts absorbing each and every word while reading his poetry.
Sufi school of Thought
Mian Muhammad Bakhsh belonged to the Qadri school of thought. There are different schools of thought in Sufism. And each school follows its own traditions and ways of practicing. Sufism is also termed as Tasawwaf and Fakr.
Since it is believed that Sufi Traditions emerged from the Middle East and are rooted around the world. Sufi schools of thought have emerged in almost all societies nowadays. More and more people are keen to know about Sufism. The literary work of these Sufi poets gives a great insight to the people to feel themselves close to nature.
All Sufi schools of thought have strong penetration in the South Asian region. Whereas the Punjab region is blessed with the base camp of most of the Sufi Saints. Mian Muhammad Bakhsh is considered as one of those Sufi saints whose poetry and literary work shed a deep impact on the mind of the local masses.
So, if we go to any of the villages in Punjab, we can observe the local people reciting his poetry. His Sufi kalam is highly appreciated and recited not only in Punjab in Pakistan but also in Indian Punjab as well. Many renowned singers gained popularity by reciting the kalam of Mian Muhammad bakhsh. In fact, His poetry is famous for his devotion to the oneness of God. Even these days, on every special occasion, People organize special programs and listen to his poetry.
His tomb is situated in Mirpur, A city in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Thousand of visitors visit his grave and recite his poetry. Every year, the organizers arrange his anniversary (Urs). Thousand of visitors around the country attend the ceremonies on this anniversary. During these days, the organizers of the tomb make huge arrangements for the visitors to stay and eat there.
Every day people visit his tomb and get the wisdom of mystical spirituality. On account of the literary work of Mian Muhammad Bakhsh, his name will shine ever like a star in the sky.