Farid al-Din Mas'ud Ganj-i-Shaka (b.c. April 4, 1179, Kothewal, Multan, Punjab, Ghurid Sultanate (present day Pakistan) - d. May 7, 1266 [5 Muharram 665 AH], Pakpattan, Punjab, Delhi Sultanate (present day Pakistan)) was a 12th-century Punjabi Sunni Muslim preacher and mystic who went on to become one of the most revered and distinguished Muslim mystics of the Golden Age of Islam. He is known reverentially as Baba Farid or Shaikh Farid by Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus of the Punjab Region, or simply as Fariduddin Ganjshakar.
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Farīd al-Dīn Masʿūd Ganj-i-Shakar (b, c. April 4, 1179, Kothewal, Multan, Punjab, Ghurid Sultanate (present-day Pakistan) – d. May 7, 1266 [5 Muharram, 665 AH], Pakpattan, Punjab, Delhi Sultanate (present-day Pakistan)) was a 12th-century Punjabi Sunni Muslim preacher and mystic.who went on to become "one of the most revered and distinguished ... Muslim mystics" of the medieval period. He is known reverentially as Bābā Farīd or Shaikh Farīd by Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus of the Punjab Region, or simply as Farīduddīn Ganjshakar.
Fariduddin Masud was a great Sufi master who was born in 1179 at a village called Kothewal, 10 km from Multan in the Punjab region of what is now Pakistan, to Jamāl-ud-dīn Suleimān and Maryam Bībī (Qarsum Bībī), daughter of Sheikh Wajīh-ud-dīn Khojendī. He was a Sunni Muslim and was one of the founding fathers of the Chishti Sufi order. Baba Farid received his early education at Multan, which had become a center for Muslim education. It was there that he met his teacher Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, a noted Sufi saint, who was passing through Multan on his way from Baghdad to Delhi. Upon completing his education, Farīd left for Sistan and Kandahar and went to Makkah (Mecca) for the Hajj pilgrimage with his parents at the age of 16.
Once his education was over, he moved to Delhi, where he learned the Islamic doctrine from his master, Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki. He later moved to Hansi, Haryana. When Quṭbuddīn Bakhtiyār Kākī died in 1235, Farīd left Hansi and became his spiritual successor. He settled in Ajodhan (the present Pakpattan, Pakistan) instead of Delhi. On his way to Ajodhan, while passing through Faridkot, he met the 20-year-old Nizamuddin Auliya, who went on to become his disciple, and later his successor Sufi khalīfah. His nephew and disciple and successor Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari was amongst the greatest Sufi saints and from him the Sabiriya branch under Chisty order started.
Baba Farid had three wives and eight children (five sons and three daughters). One of his wives, Hazabara, was the daughter of Sulṭān Nasīruddīn Maḥmūd.
The great Arab traveller Ibn Battuta once visited this Sufi saint. Ibn Battuta reported that Fariduddin Ganjshakar was the spiritual guide of the Sultan of Delhi Sultanate, and that the Sultan had given him the village of Ajodhan. He also met Baba Farid's two sons.
Baba Farid's descendants, also known as Fareedi, Fareedies or Faridy, mostly carry the name Fārūqī, and can be found in Pakistan, India and the diaspora. Fariduddin Ganjshakar's descendants include the Sufi saint Salim Chishti, whose daughter was the Emperor Jehangir's foster mother. Their descendants settled in Sheikhupur, Badaun and the remains of a fort they built can still be found.
One of Farīd's most important contributions to Punjabi literature was his development of the language for literary purposes. Whereas Sanskrit, Arabic, Turkish and Persian had historically been considered the languages of the learned and the elite, and used in monastic centers, Punjabi was generally considered a less refined folk language. Although earlier poets had written in a primitive Punjabi, before Farīd there was little in Punjabi literature apart from traditional and anonymous ballads. By using Punjabi as the language of poetry, Farīd laid the basis for a vernacular Punjabi literature that would be developed later.
The city of Faridkot bears his name. According to legend, Farīd stopped by the city, then named Mokhalpūr, and sat in seclusion for forty days near the fort of King Mokhal. The king was said to be so impressed by his presence that he named the city after Baba Farid, which today is known as Tilla Baba Farid. The festival Bābā Sheikh Farād Āgman Purb Melā' is celebrated in September each year for 3 days, commemorating Baba Farid's arrival in the city. Ajodhan was also renamed as Farīd's 'Pāk Pattan', meaning 'Holy Ferry'; today it is generally called Pāk Pattan Sharīf.
Faridia Islamic University, a religious madrassa in Sahiwal, Punjab, Pakistan, is named after Baba Farid, and in July 1998, the Punjab Government in India established the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences at Faridkot, the city which itself was named after him.
There are various explanations of why Baba Farid was given the title Shakar Ganj[ ('Treasure of Sugar'). One legend says his mother used to encourage the young Farīd to pray by placing sugar under his prayer mat. Once, when she forgot, the young Farīd found the sugar anyway, an experience that gave him more spiritual fervor and led to his being given the name.