Hadrat Baba Fariduddin Ganje Shakr was born on the 29th Shabaan in 569 A.H. in Khotwal, a village near Lahore. He was a direct descendant of Hadrat Umar Farooq, the second Caliph of Islam.
It is narrated that a miracle occurred before his birth proving his Saintship. One day, during the pregnancy of his mother, she wanted to pluck some plums from her neighbour’s tree without his permission, but the child in her womb (Hadrat Baba Farid) created a severe pain in her stomach that forced her to abandon the idea of plucking. After a few years after Hadrat Baba Farid’s birth, his mother lovingly expressed: “My dear son, during your confinement I never ate anything which was unlawful.” Hadrat Baba Farid, however, smiled and said, “But, my dear mother, you wanted to pluck some plums from our neighbour’s tree without his permission when I had created a severe pain in your stomach which saved you from this unlawful act.”
After he had completed his early religious education at the age of 7 in Khotwal, his mother for higher education sent him to Multan. Here he stayed in a masjid where he learnt the Holy Quran by heart and studied Hadith, Fiqh, Philosophy and Logic under the tutorship of Moulana Minhajuddin.
During his studies, Hadrat Khwaja Qutbuddin of Delhi visited Multan where Hadrat Baba Farid became his mureed (disciple) in the Chistiya Silsila. Upon the instructions of his Peer-o-Murshid, he undertook a tour of Islamic countries, for about 18 years from 593 A.H. to 611 A.H. He travelled to Ghazni, Baghdad Shareef, Jerusalem, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Mecca and Medina meeting many great saints and Sufis. After the demise of Hadrat Khwaja Qutbuddin the mantle of spiritual leadership in the Chistiya Silsila fell on the shoulders of Hadrat Baba Farid when Khwaja Qutbuddin nominated him to be his Khalifa or spiritual successor.
It is narrated that when Hadrat Baba Farid visited Medina Shareef he was spiritually commanded by the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) to visit Baghdad Shareef and meet Hadrat Abdul Wahaab, son of Hadrat Ghaus-ul-Azam Sheikh Abdul Qaadir Jilani (radi Allahu anhuma). He was to receive some sacred relics from him. Accordingly, when he reached Baghdad Shareef, he received a box from Hadrat Abdul Wahaab which contained the folowing holy relics: Two flag-poles which were used by the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) in some of the battles fought by him; one wooden bowl in which Huzoor (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) used to eat; one pair of scissors and one Turban which was used by the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).
Because of political upheavals in Delhi, he was obliged to shift the centre of the Chistiya mission from Delhi to Ajodhan now known as “Paak Patan”. The Khanqah of Baba Farid, with his patronage, became a great university of “Moral and Spiritual Training.” Thousands of aspirants, scholars, dervishes and Sufis reaped benefit from this spiritual university. Hadrat Baba Farid reached the pinnacle of spiritual glory through extremely hard Mujahedas (spiritual striving) to gain mastery over the Nafs.
Once Hadrat Khwaja Qutbuddin ordered Hadrat Baba Farid to perform the “Chilla-e-Maakoos” for 40 days. This chilla was seldom undertaken by Sufis and was one of the most difficult tests of Hadrat Khwaja Baba Farid’s faith and courage. It was to be performed in a well by hanging himself in a reverse or headlong position with his feet tied up by a rope to a sturdy branch of a treetop.
Once, due to utter weakness, Hadrat Baba Farid helped himself to walk with the aid of a staff. But after a few steps, the colour of his face suddenly became purple, as if he was under heavy punishment. He threw away the staff. When Hadrat Khwaja Nizaamuddin, who was escorting him, enquired the reason for this, Hadrat Baba replied, “I wanted to take help of the staff, but Allah’s Displeasure frowned upon me for depending on other’s help instead of His. I, therefore, threw away the staff and felt highly ashamed of this weakness in my faith in Rabb, the Almighty.”
It is also narrated that once a trader was taking a caravan of camels laden with sugar from Multan to Delhi. When he was passing through Ajodhan (now Pakistan), Hadrat Baba Fariduddin enquired casually as to what he was carrying on his camels. The trader sarcastically replied, “It is salt.” Hadrat Baba Fariduddin also affirmed, “Yes, it may be salt.” When the trader reached Delhi, he was awfully perturbed to find that all his bags of sugar had turned to salt. He immediately returned to Ajodhan and apologised before Hadrat Baba Farid. Hadrat Baba Farid said: “If it is sugar then it shall be sugar.” The trader returned to Delhi and was pleased to find that the salt had turned back to sugar by the Grace of Almighty Allah. This is how Hadrat Baba Saheb received the title of “Ganje Shakr.”
One of the devotees of Hadrat Baba Farid, named Mohammed Neshapuri lived in Gujerat and was coming to Delhi with three other companions. On their way in the jungle, robbers encountered them. Mohammed Neshapuri and his companions had no arms to defend themselves. In such a helpless state, Mohammed Neshapuri remembered his Peer, Hadrat Baba Farid, and also offered prayers seeking Allah’s help in their predicament. Suprisingly, the robbers threw away their arms and offered apology to the party and went away.
One day some poor people came from Arabia to see Hadrat Baba Farid and said that were strangers to the land and that all their money was spent before the end of the journey. Hadrat Baba Farid gave them some dried dates which were lying in front of him at the moment and said, “Take them and go. Your journey shall be completed by the Grace of Allah.” Apparently, these persons were very disappointed with such a “cheap gift”. After leaving the Khanqah, they wanted to throw away the dates, but just as they were about to do so, to their amazement, the dates turned into gold. Regretting their miscalculations, these people left happily uttering their heartfelt gratitude and prayers for Hadrat Baba Farid.
He fasted throughout his life and maintained his nightly prayers and devotions. Fear of Allah always dominated him. He was a staunch devotee of Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and dedicated his entire life to the veneration of the Beloved Prophet’s (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) immortal glory. At the mention of the Holy Prophet’s (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) character he would often weep out of his love and devotion. Hadrat Baba Farid avoided to go near kings, government officials and the rich. He also warned his Khalifas, devotees and mureeds to avoid their company. He was a living picture of humility. Whatever he received was spent in the Name of Allah and his chest overwhelmed with mercy and forgiveness. Many miracles are attributed to him during his lifetime and after his passing away.
On the 5th of Muharram, during the Isha prayer while in the act of Sajdah, he uttered “Ya Hayyo Ya Qayyum” and with these words on his lips his soul disappeared into the Eternal Bliss of his Beloved Allah. Immediately a “Nida” or Divine Voice declared: “Dost ba Dost Pewast” – Friend has merged into the unity of “Friend” (Allah).
An old woman that was one of the devotees of the Saint presented a piece of cloth for the Kaffan of Hadrat Baba Farid. She implored: “I have not spun even a single thread of this cloth without having Wudhu. I had prepared it for my own coffin but if it is accepted for the Kaffan of this great Saint, I feel confident, Allah would be pleased with to pardon my sins and grant me salvation.” Hadrat Baba Farid’s son accepted this cloth as the Kaffan.
His Mazaar Shareef is in Paak Patan, Pakistan. Hadrat Sabir Paak, Hadrat Nizaamuddin Awliya and Hadrat Jamaluddin Hansi (radi Allahu anhum ajma’in) are among his favourite Mureeds and Khalifas. It is generally recognized that he had three wives and many children. Hadrat Baba Farid (alaihir rahmah) was indeed one of the most brilliant stars of the Chistiya Silsila and is held in high esteem by all.
BY MOHAMMED ANSIR AHMED