Showing posts with label Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai. Show all posts

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai

Shah Abdul Latif
Shah Abdul Latif, a great scholar, saint and spiritual poet, was born in Hala Haveli near the Khatiyan village of Hyderabad District, Sindh in 1689. His ancestral roots lay in Afghanistan. It is said that the Shah’s father, Syed Habib Shah, had migrated from Matyaru, his ancestral home in Afghanistan to Bhainpur in Sindh, in order to gain spiritual contact with Bilawal, a local pious man.
Abdul Latif received his early education from a Madrasa run by Akhund Noor M. Bhatti. He was proficient in the knowledge of Quran and the traditions. He always carried with him copies of the Quran, Masnavi Maulana Room, and Risalo of his great grand father Shah Abdul Karim of Burli. The poet excelled in the Sindhi language. He was also proficient in the Persian, Sanskrit, Saraiki, Urdu and Baluchi languages.
Shah was a missionary and believed in practical learning. It is through his journeys that he acquired the background for most of his poems. He denounced extravagance, injustice and exploitation in all forms and at all levels, and praised simplicity and hospitality. His spiritual and mystic poetry carries a message of love and universality of the human race.
In 1713, the Sufi poet married Bibi Saidha Begum. It was a love marriage. His wife died at an early age, before she could have any children. Shah never married again.
In 1742, Shah Abdul Latif decided to settle in Bhit, meaning “The Sandy Mound”. Having a great passion for music, one day he ordered the musicians to play music. They played continuously for three days. When they stopped playing from pure exhaustion, they found the poet dead. He died in 1752, and is buried in Bhit. A mausoleum was later constructed there.
Before his death, fearing that people might ignore his poetry, he destroyed all his writings by throwing them in the Kiran Lake. But at the request of one of his disciples, the sufi poet asked his servant, Mai Naimat, who had memorized most of his verses, to rewrite them. The message was duly recorded and compiled. A copy of the compilation known as “Ganj” was retained at the mausoleum. The original copy disappeared sometime in 1854. It was in 1866, 114 years after the poet’s death, that Ernest Trumpp, a German scholar who knew Sindhi as well as many other languages, compiled “Risalo”, a complete collection of Shah Abdul Latif’s poetry, along with two other Sindhi scholars.
Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai is always remembered for his great poetry with love and reverence.

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai

Timeline (1689 - 1752)

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai (sometimes written Bhittai or Bhittaii) was a devout Muslim Sufi, but his spirituality was broad and welcoming, making room for Muslim and Hindu alike. He is one of the most revered poets and saints of the Sindh region of what is today Pakistan.

Although born into a well-respected family, he turned away from the comforts of life, revealing a natural ascetic tendency. He adopted the saffron-colored robes and simple lifestyle of the wandering fakirs and sanyasins of the region.

In his quest for inner truth, still a young man, Shah Bhitai left his home and began to travel extensively, favoring small villages and the countryside, interacting with the common people and other Muslim and Hindu ascetics. He quickly developed a reputation for holiness and absorption in meditation. At this time disciples began to gather about him.

Shah Bhitai returned to his family home for a while, where he married Bibi Saidha Begum, a young woman who was respected in her own right for her great piety. Sadly, she died at a young age, and Shah Bhitai never remarried.

Bhitai and his growing circle eventually moved to a place of retreat, a sand hill ("bhit") next to scenic Kiran Lake.

A fascinating story is told of his poetry. When Shah Bhitai was nearing death, he didn't want his poetry to simply waste away, so he had his writings thrown into the nearby lake. But, at the request of a disciple, Bhitai allowed his poetry to be re-written down by another disciple who had memorized them.
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