Punjabi Wichaar
وچار پڑھن لئی فونٹ ڈاؤن لوڈ کرو Preview Chanel

Home Page > Punjabi Sufi Poets > FARD FAQIR


Lajwanti Rama Karishna
May 18th, 2008
5 / 5 (1 Votes)



(A.D. 1720-90)



FARD FAQIR is generally known as Peril Fakir. No bio- graphy of the Sufi or the poets known to us contains any de scri ption of his life and beliefs. Oral tradition is also silent. It may be that in some secluded village of the Gujrat district there is some tradition relating to this Faqir, but our efforts have not had any success. Fard, nevertheless, gives enough information about himself in his works. Though he does not give the date of his birth, yet he tells us in his Kaath-Nama Bafindgan that he lived in the eighteenth century A.D.

Yara sai trai satth barsa san nabi da aya
 eh rasala kamil hoya humam dhurao aya. 1

The eleven hundred and sixty-third year of the Prophet’s era  has come, 2 and this journal is complete according to the order  that had come from the start.3

This shows that when he finished the book in A.H. 1163 (A.D. 1751) he would already have been a man of thirty or forty years. We do not mean to say that a man below this age was not allowed to write a book, but because as he had disciples when he wrote the Kasab-Nama, and the  kasab-Name was written at the request of a weaver disciple.4 in all probability he had attained that age. A faqir cannot have disciples at an early age, because
almost all his youth passes in study and in discipleship. We can therefore safely say that Fard Faqir lived, Preached, and died between the years A.D.  1720 and 1790.

He was a resident of the Gujrat district in the Panjab as is stated at the end of his Bara- Mah1 5  Whether he was an inhabitant of Gujrat, town or of some village in the district
of Gujrat, it is impossible to say.

He was a Sufi as he reproaches those who are not true to their Sufi Professions:

Bahir bana sufia andar daga kamay. 6

Outside the guise of a Sufi and inside they earn deceit.

And again

Mim mimo mull vakandi ajj fakiri hatt
Ikk paise di unn lai gall nu seli vat
Geri rang lai kapare khol sire de val
Frda lekha laisia rabb kadir jul jalal.7

Mim: the faqiri  is sold today in the shop; buying one pice worth of wool (thread) the seli 8 is twisted round the neck; with geri 9 the clothes are coloured and the hair is let loose, Fard, the mighty radiant and glorious God will take account.10

His title Faqir also indicates that he was a dervish. Fard was a Sufi of the popular school. From his own account it is clear that he was a pir of the lower classes such as the weavers and the barbers 11 His imagination, his low and vulgar thought, so conspicuously shown in his Roshan dil, his lack of personality and his strong fanatic convictions so clearly manifest in his poetry, support our view.

The times during which he was born and lived and the political circumstances of the province were detrimental to the growth and development of art. Since the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 the Panjab had been a stage for dis –

sensions, and from 1739 to 1770 it witnessed no peace at all. The invasion of Nadir in 1739, the successive raids of Ahmad Shah Durrani, the first of which began in l748, and the desire of the provincial ruler to become independent  0f both Durrani and the weak Mughal court at Delhi, all contributed to create trouble and confusion This was an
opportunity for the suppressed Sikhs, who began to assert themselves by devastating the country and thereby creating trouble for the rulers. The Marathas for a short while entered the arena and were proclaimed masters But the Maratha sovereignty dissatisfied Durrani who returned once more, The Marathas retired in 1761, but henceforward there was a constant state of war between the nominees of  the Afghan and the rising Sikhs. It was only in 1770 that the Sikhs finally deposed and repulsed the Afghan officials and occupied the Panjab. It took them some years to establish a strong government in the province that had  long been a prey to the ambitious of different claimants. Poetry naturally could not flourish in such a state of affairs. Nor could there exist amicable feelings and tolerance between members of the various communities certainly not in the followings of the popular pirs. These pirs, moreover, were often utilized to preach the ca of one or the other party. To protect themselves against the ever hostile ulama and to save themselves from the fury of the powerful they had to adhere to the cause of one of the contending  parties. Their popular Sufiism therefore often turned into fanaticism Yet, in all fairness to them, it should be stated here that, in their private lives they tried to please
and respect, as far as possible, the beliefs of people belonging to different religions in public they preached the beliefs  of the Political party to which they gave allegiance, Fard was a Popular Sufi, the outcome of these circumstances, and  therefore we can easily forgive him his fanaticism and other  shortcomings.

Fard seems to have had a good knowledge of Arabic. His Roshan Dil abounds in words and quotations from the Qur’an. About his knowledge of Persian we do not know anything except that in his Kasab-Nama Bafindgon he says.

 Nasar farsi nu chadd asa ne hindi nazam banaya. 12

Abandoning Persian prose we have made 13 it in Hindi poetry.

To him Panjabi was Hindi as it was the language of the Hindustanis or the Indians. 14 Whatever the name he gave to his mother-tongue, the above indicates that he was accustomed to write in Persian prose. 15 His Panjabi verse is more or less rustic in expression but lacks that sweet flavour which rustics impart to it. It is all a sort of bait
which is abrupt in itself. Its flow is not smooth; it is, however, powerful and emphatic.
The following are his works:

Bara-Mah or bara-masa. MSS. of this are very numerous and are found in different libraries and with private individuals. They differ slightly in minor details. These differences, occurring mostly in words, are due to the fact that the copyist was never the same person. Apart from this, they are all the same. There is one such MS. in the India Office Library. 189  Fard’s Bara-Mah has many a time been published in the Pnnjab.
Siharfi. This is very popular with orthodox Mussulmans and the lower orders of the community and has had various editions.

Kasab-Nama Bafindgan, a treatise on the profession of weavers, was completed in 1751. This describes weaving

On spiritual lines, praises the weavers, and condemns the rulers who tyrannized over them. It was Published  two or three times at various places in the Panjab. Of all the
editions, the one published by the Muslim Steam Press, Labors, and also containing the other two works, the Bar-Mah and Sihrafi and entitled Darya-e-Ma’rifat  16 is the best. We have therefore utilized this for quotations.

Roshan Dil is a manual of instruction on dogmatic religious duties. The work is very popular and has been frequently publish. There are many MSS. Two are in the India Office Library’ 17 In one of these the author  is said to be Fard Faqir but in the second copy the scribe Murad ‘Ali in the appended verses ascribes the authorship to Maulvi Abd-Allah. After a careful study of Roshan Dil we come to the conclusion that it could not have been written by an open-minded Sufi. We believe that, under stress of circumstance, Fard was either forced to claim authorship of this work or was made to write it There are two reasons for this belief.

First, that his name rarely occurs in it while in his Siharfi , Bara-Mah and Kasab-Nama Bafindgan his name occurs at the end of every few lines.  Second, that in one place in the Roshan Dil he says:

mai darda gall na akkhda mat maran ulmah,
ehse karan rakkhia farad bhed chupa. 18

For fear I do not say the matter, lest the ‘ulama  should kill me, therefore Fard (says) 1 have kept the secret concealed.

Roshan Dil is a great favourite of the ‘ulama, so the secret must have been considered great heresy, punishable by death, which the unfortunate poet could not freely
These two facts therefore make us believe that either he was forced to write the book, or at least some parts of it,

or he wan compelled to accept Its authorship. Of all the printed editions of the Roshan Dil the one published by Abdul Rashid is the only well-printed edition ; 19 we have
referred to It in these pages.

In his Kasab-Nama Bafindgan Fard tells us how the rulers at that time ill-treated the artisans. They exacted forced labour whenever it pleased them, without considering how the arts, crafts, and industry, and consequently the poor artisans, would suffer.

Hokim ho ke bain galice bauhta zulam kamade
mehantia nu kami akkhan khun uhna da khade
phar vagary lai lai javan khauf khuda nahi
fard fakira dard manda dia ikk din pausan ahi
kasabia nu maihar mukaddam jabran catti pade
bhar gariba da sir laike ape dozakh jade. 20

Being rulers they sit on carpets 21  and practise tyranny; artisans. They call menials and drink their blood. By force they take them to work without fearing God, Fard, the sufferer’s sighs will fall on them one day. 22 The artisans have (to pay) the first tax and they have to suffer this loss. Carrying the load of the poor on their heads  23 they (rulers) themselves go to hell.

Fard is very bitter against the Hindu avataras and goes out of his way to curse them:

Jehre ism khudaye de, likkhe andar nass
uhe na bhulavana, ram kishan sir bhass. 24

Those names of God which are written in the veins,25 do not forget those, and ashes be on the head of Rama and Krishna.

A new convert to Islam is ever welcome among the Muhammadans, but he is looked down upon by those Muslims who uphold their pure Islamic origin, for his non Islamic descent. Considering him to be by origin a descendant of the kafirs, they sometimes give him the same treatment

as is given to non-Muslim. 26 Fard, however, does not approve of this and advises them to be more benignant:

Jo koi kindu ayke hove musalman
mai na ghannan os da na kar bura guman
kaid na karna katal bhi adios iman
bajho hujat shara de diyo na azar. 27

Any Hindu who comes and becomes a Mussulman, do not take away his wealth nor harbour evil thought, do not imprison or slay him, for faith has brought him (to Islam); without the permit of the shari’at  do not give (him) trouble.

In spite of his orthodox beliefs, Fard could not help believing in the karina and he often enjoins upon his followers the duty of doing good actions. One specimen will suffice here:

Ghain garurat na karo, rovo dhai mar
bajho amala cangia kaun langhasi par
chadd dunia de vahde kaul khuda da bhal
farad lekha laisia rabb kadir jul jalal. 28

(Ghain: do not bear pride but wail bitterly  29 instead, (because) without good actions who will see you across ? I Abandoning the prosperity of the world understand the word of God. Fard, the mighty, radiant and glorious God will take account.

In the following he speaks like a free Sufi:

Sin sunaye khalak nu kar kar masale roz
Loka de nasihata andar tere cor
Ki hoya je laddia gadha kitaba nal
Farad lekha laisia rabb kadir jul jalal. 30

Sin: you preach to the public, treating problem after problems 31 each day, (you) give instructions to others and inside you is the thief; 32 what avails it if the ass is loaded with books? Fard, the mighty, radiant and glorious God will take account.

Here Fard Faqir demonstrates his anxiety to hide his knowledge of things:

Zal zikar khuday da nakar zahir khalak dikhay
Andar kart tun bundgi bahar parda pay
Mul na veci ilam nu na kar kisse saval
Farad lekha laisia rabb kadir jul julal. 33

Zal: discuss not God openly showing to the public; inside (in the heart) you should pray to Him and outside put the veil ;  34 do not in the least sell your knowledge nor question any person. Fard, the mighty, radiant and glorious God will take account.

 Such pious ideas of the poet are strikingly in harmony  with his repeated orthodox injunctions. With all his prejudices against the kafirs (Hindus), Fard did not hesitate to state the efficacy of the pandits’ knowledge with regard to the future, as:

Mai vedi pas parosia nit pucchdi pandit joshia. 35

1 see near ones and neighbours and ever consult the panditsand
jotashis (astrologers).


Rahi dhund kitaba phol ke sabh pothi pandat khol ke. 36

I am engaged in search, turning over the books and opening all the pothis   37  of the pundits
The following verse depicts well how the very popular  Sufi imagines his union with the Beloved:

Ajj hovan lef nihalia kol niyamat bharia thalia
Bauhnal payare khaviye, hor mushk gulab lagaviye. 38

Today (there) should be covers and mattresses 39 and plates full of rare preparations sitting with the Beloved should I eat (them) and should apply the scent of roses.






1 Darya-e-ma’rifat, p. 13.
2 Has begun
3 From eternity or God.
4 Darya-e-Ma’rifat, p. 6.
5 Darya-e-‘Ma’rifat, p. 24.
 6 ibid., p. l.
7 ibid., p. 3.
8  seli is a twisted woolen thread tied round the neck of the Sufis,
especially the popular ones, to indicate that they are mystics. The
Sufis in India do not put on woolen clothes. Seli is a remnant of the
woolen garment.
9 Soft red stone, used as a dye.
10 Explanation for hypocrisy practiced to deceive fellow human
11 Darya-e-Ma’rifat, p. 6.
12  Darya-e-Ma’rifat, p. 5.
13 ‘ Have written it.
14  Mussulman writers of the Panjab often called Panjabi, Hindi.
It might be that originally it was called Hindi but later on when the
language of Dehli and of the United Provinces was called Hindi it came
to be termed Panjabi. Muslim tradition however, continued to call it
15 We have not seen anything by him in this language.
16  MS. D, Fol. 7.
17 Allah vale ki kaumi Dukan, Kashmiri Bazar, Lahore.
18 MS. D, Fol. 44 and Fol. 77.
19 Roshan Dil, p. 23
20 Feroz Printing Works, Lahore.
21 Darya-e-Ma’rifat, p. 9.
22 Galica is a Persian carpet.
23 The sighs will invite evil for the rulers.
24  Accompanied by the curse of the poor.
24 Roshan Dil, p. 10.
25 The ordinary simple-minded Panjabi Muslim faqirs of all denomina-tions believe that the Islamic names of God, being true, are written inside
the veins of man and so he should repeat them.
26 Major Abbott puts this Muslim sentiment clearly: All converts
to Islam are ashamed of that page which preceded their conversion. They cannot bear to think themselves the sons of Kawfurs (infidels). As the Strongest expression of scorn is not “you dog” but “you son or grandson
or great grand of a dog “, so to be a remote grandson of a Kawfur is
more terrible to an Asiatic than to be merely himself a Kawfur.’ (Journal Of the Asiatic Socciety, Vol XXIII, 1854
27  Roshan Dil, p. 8
28 Darya-e-Ma’rifat, p. 3.
29  Wailing for not having acted rightly.
30  Darya-e-Ma’rifat, p. 2.
31 The problems of religion from the sacred texts.
32 Inside you is mischief installed.
33 Darya-e-Ma’rifat, p. 2.
34 The veil of orthodox beliefs which were established at the time.
35 Darya-e-Ma’rifat, p.10
36 ibid. p. 18
37  The books of the Hindus in nagari scri pt are generally called pothis.
38 Darya-e-Ma’rifat, p.22.
39 Spread on the bed and elsewhere in honour of the Beloved.


Visitors Comments

Date:4th July

Comment: was FARD FAQIR a Muslim?

Your Name:
Your E-mail:

Support Wichaar

Subscribe to our mailing list
نجم حسین سیّد
پروفیسر سعید بُھٹا


Site Best Viewd at 1024x768 Pixels