A Short Biography of the Great Mystic Baba Farid (Farīd al-Dīn Masʿūd Ganj-i-Shakar)

The Life, Times & Poetry of Baba Farid

The father of Punjabi poetry Baba Farid (1173-1266) was born in the city of Kothiwal, near Dipalpur in the Punjab. It is now called Pak Pattan; the ancient name has been recorded as Ajodhan. It was an important metropolis on the Multan-Delhi route. The day Baba Farid was born (on the first day of the fast of Ramadan) a holy man was consulted about the breaking of a fast. He advised that a great soul had been born in the house of Jamal-ud-din Suleiman and that the community could break the fast only when the infant suckled. It is said that the infant Baba Farid was fasting.

Farid’s father Jamal-ud-din Suleiman married the daughter of Sheikh Wajih-ud-din Khojendi called Qarsum Bibi who was a lady of great piety. According to legend it was she who influenced Farid to pray by placing small cubes of brown sugar under Farid’s prayer mat. One day it is said that although she did not place the sugar, nevertheless there was a piece under Farid’s mat. Khwaja Bakhtiar Kaki was Baba Farid’s Spiritual Master. Kaki met Mu’in ud-din Chishti at Baghdad and being impressed by the man became his disciple. Chishti migrated to Delhi and Kaki followed him, staying for a while in Multan. Because of rivalry and jealousy between some other Sheikhs in Delhi, Mu’in ud-din Chishti left for Ajmer. The king at Delhi, Balban, welcomed Farid in Delhi and introduced him to his family; Balban’s daughter was married to Farid and the gifts for the marriage were distributed among the poor. Baba Farid’s poetry was later to influence the Sikh religion… such was the universality of Baba Farid, the Sufi Master poet laureate from Punjab who is most famous for his couplets (slokas)… 112 of them are recorded in the bible of the Sikhs the Guru Granth. Punjabi, like Urdu is written in the Persian script. There are hospitals and factories and even a town named after him.

References:

Farid, Baba. The Book of Baba Farid (pp. 7-9). New Humanity Books. Kindle Edition.

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