Life History of

Sultan ul Arifeen

Genealogical Chain

Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh belonged to the ‘Awan’ tribe and Awans’ genealogical tree goes back to Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem. Awans are Hazrat Ali’s progeny from wives other than Hazrat Fatima Razi Allah Anha.

Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh used to write a few introductory lines about himself in the preface of all his books, just as other authors of his age did, and then put light on the objectives of the book. Wherever, he has given his introduction, he has always written ‘Awan’ with his name. In Noor-ul-Huda Kalan he says; “The writer of this book Sarwari Qadri Faqeer Bahoo, Fana-Fi-Hoo, son of Bazayad Mohammad, commonly known as Awan, resident of Qilla Shore (Shorekot, may Allah save it from all troubles and mischieves) always says truth.”

The same lines, with the change of a few words, are written in almost all his books which prove that he belonged to Awan tribe.

Research on Awans

Who were Awans and how did they reach India? Sultan Hamid Ali writes in his book “Manaqib-e-Sultani” that Awans are descendants of Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem. When Sadaats (Holy Prophet’s progeny through Hazrat Fatima Razi Allah Anha) left Arab due to troubles and started living in different areas of Iran and Turkistan, the Awan tribe helped them in that time of trouble, as they were their close relatives, that is why, their family name changed from Alvis and Hashmis to Awans which means “those who helped the Sadaats”. Sadaats continued their religious obligations of preaching Islam, even when, they left Arab but Awans indulged in wars and battles and captured Harrat.Qutb Shah, the ancestor of Awans, died while he was the ruler of Harrat. The title ‘Shah’ is usually a part of the names of Sadaats but Awans also use this title.

When Sadaats migrated to Kharasan, Awans accompanied them and entered Punjab through river Indus and the mountains of Kala Bagh. Here also Sadaats remained cut off with material statuses and kept engaged in religious preaching, thus Bukharies in Uch Sharif, Gillanis in Bhot Mubarik, Shirazis in Chohan Saidan Shah and Hamadani Sadaats in Danda Shah Billawal guided people towards Islam and benefited them. While Awans captured Kala Bagh and occupied the Hindu forts of Malik Dhani, Potowar, Koh Pakharo, Valley of Son Sakesar, Koh Patao, Koh Tawa, Koh Khaon and settled here. The Hindus of these areas accepted Islam due to the influence of Awans. Now Awans are in majority in these Areas.

Professor Ahmad Saeed Hamadani has elaborated about Awans and their forefather Mir Qutb Shah in his book “Ahwal-o-Maqamat-e-Sultan Bahoo”, he says:

  • “When Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi set for India to attack Somnath, a troop of Alvis headed by Mir Qutb Shah or Mir Qutb Haider requested to accompany him. Sultan Mehmood allowed them and named them „Awan‟. Afterwards, they became known by this title.
    Awans fought the battle valiantly so Sultan Mehmood was pleased with them. When they returned back, Mir Qutb Shah requested Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi to allow them to crush the Rajput landlords and nawabs who ruled other areas of the country. Sultan Mehmood accepted the request, so Mir Qutb Shah attacked the Janjuas and Chohans who ruled the surrounding areas of present Potowar and Kohistan-e-Namak and drove them down the mountains. Awans captured the beautiful valleys of these mountains and settled here. Later, they were known as Qutb Shahi Awan.” (Ahwaal-o-Maqamat-e-Sultan Bahoo)

An article writer of “Urdu Daera Ma‟arif Islamia” (Punjab University) writes:

  • “The ancestors of Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo came to India from Arab after the martyrdom of Imam Hussain Razi Allah Anhu. Firstly, they settled in Pind Dadan Khan, District Jehlum and spread Islam among the Hindus of that area. Later on they shifted to Shorkot District Jhang.”

Mir Qutb Shah is actually the person after whom Awans are called Qutb Shahi Awans. Under his leadership, Awans joined the army of Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi and then settled in the Valley of Soon Sakesar. Professor Ahmad Saeed Hamdani writes:

  • “Mir Qutb Shah’s genealogy traces back to Hazrat Imam Mohammad Bin Hanfia Razi Allah Anhu, son of Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhu. His ancestors helped and protected Fatmi Sadaats, fought for them and thus reached Afghanistan with them and settled in Harrat. Afterwards, they joined the army of Sultan Mehmood in his reign. The progeny of Mir Qutb Shah flourished in Potowar, they got the daughters of the defeated Rajas converted into Muslims, married them and had children. These newly converted Muslims and the tribes, who earlier came with Qutb Shah were now relatives, as they got inter married and had children. They related themselves to Mir Qutb Shah who was the source of link between them and the most famous and outstanding person among them. Even now, they call themselves Qutb Shahi Awans, wherever they reside. Although, it is known that Mir Qutb Shah lived in Anga in the Valley of Saun, Tehsil Naushehra, district Khaushab, Punjab Pakistan, but nothing about the year of his arrival, period of his stay here, year of death, or his shrine is mentioned by the writers”

Sultan Hamid Ali writes the genealogical tree of Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh in his book “Manaqib-e-Sultani” as:

  • Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo son of Hazrat Bazayed Mohammad son of Shaikh Sultan Fateh Mohammad son of Shaikh Allah Ditta son of Shaikh Mohammad Tameem son of Shaikh Mohammad Mannan son of Shaikh Mohammad Moghla son of Shaikh Mohammad Paida son of Shaikh Mohammad Saghara son of Shaikh Mohammad Anun son of Shaikh Mohammad Sala son of Shaikh Mohammad Bahari son of Shaikh Jaimoon son of Shaikh Mohammadd Hargan son of Shaikh Anwar Shah son of Shaikh Mohammad Amir Shah son of Shaikh Qutb Shah son of Hazrat Aman Shah son of Hazrat Sultan Hussain Shah son of Hazrat Shaikh Feroz Shah son of Hazrat Mehmood Shah son of Hazrat Shaikh Fartak Shah son of Hazrat Shaikh Nawab Shah son of Hazrat Shaikh Darab Shah son of Hazrat Adham Shah son of Hazrat Shaikh Abeek Shah son of Hazrat Shaikh Sikandar Shah son of Hazrat Shaikh Ahmad Shah son of Hazrat Hajar Shah son of Hazrat Ameer Zubair son of Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem bin Abu Talib. (Manaqib-e-Sultani)

The genealogy of Awans is correct and authentic from Mir Qutb Shah onwards but before him, there are some differences of opinion. Another genealogical record given by Malik Sher Mohammad, a member of Kalabagh family, in his book “Tareekhul-Awan” is different from that mentioned in “Manaqib-e-Sultani”. According to Sultan Hamid, the lineage of Awans reach Hazrat Ali through his son Ameer Zubair while Malik Sher Mohammad says that it reaches Hazrat Ali through his son Mohammad Bin Hanfia. The lineage given by Malik Sher Mohammad in “Tareekh-ul-Awan” is as follows:

  • Mir Qutb Shah son of Shah Ataullah Ghazi son of Shah Tahir son of Shah Tayyab Ghazi son of Shah Mohammad Ghazi son of  Shah Umar Ghazi son of Shah Malik Asif Ghazi son of Shah Batal Ghazi son of Abdul Mannaan Ghazi son of Mohammad Bin Hanfia son of Hazrat Ali son of Abu Talib.

In Manaqib-e-Sultani, Sultan Hamid states while writing the lineage record of Sultan Bahoo that the lineage traces back to Hazrat Ali in twenty eight steps through his son Ameer Zubair whose mother‟s name was Memna and she belonged to the progeny of Rostam Farrokhzad. However, none of the reliable books of history (e.g. Ma‟arif Ibn-e-Qateeba, Tareekh-e-Tibri) mention any son of Hazrat Ali by the name “Ameer Zubair” nor any grandson by the name “Hajar Shah”. Some people solved the confusion by concluding that Abu Zubair must be the patronym of Hazrat Mohammad Bin Hanfia, which is why, some people have written only Zubair instead of his full name. Only the writer of “Anees-al-Waizeen” Shaikh Abu Bakr Sindhi has briefly mentioned about Hazrat Ameer Zubair in his book in these words:

  • “Ameer Zubair came forth from the army of Hazrat Imam Hussain Razi Allah Anhu. At that time Ameer-ul-Momineen Hazrat Imam Hussain had three brothers with him i.e. Zubair Ali, Talha Ali and Jaffar Ali. Zubair was the only son of his mother. When he came forth to fight, Hazrat Imam Hussain said to him “O‟ dear! Don‟t hurt your mother. She does not have any other son.” His mother replied loudly from her place, “O‟ Hussain! Please do not say so. Let me and my son‟s life be sacrificed upon you. Without you our life is useless. “Hazrat Imam Hussain wept on listening this and embraced Zubair.”

The writer of Anees-al-Waizeen writes that after this, “Zubair attacked the enemy with all his power and got martyred.”
Mohammad Sarwar Khan Awan disagrees with both of the above mentioned lineages. In his book, “Wadi Soon Sakesar (Tareekh, Tehzeeb, Saqafat)”, he writes:

  • “It is historically proved that Awans are the descendants of Hazrat Ali and their lineage reaches him through his son Hazrat Abbas Alamdar. Some historians and writers have ignored all the historical witnesses and tried to prove that Awans are the descendants of Hazrat Mohammad Bin Hanfia, merely on the basis of assumptions, which has made the history of Awans doubtful. Some references are given below which will prove that Awans are the progeny of Hazrat Abbas and that their forefather was Qutb Shah Baghdadi instead of Malik Qutb Haider:
    • According to the historians, only five sons of Hazrat Ali had families. Rest of them either did not have children, died before getting married or got martyred in some battle. It is clearly written on page 377, chapter “Matam”, of the Persian book “Roza-tu-Shohada” (published by Noval Kishwar): “Only five sons of Ameer (Hazrat Ali) were left, Hassan, Hussain, Mohammad Akbar (generally known as Mohammad bin Hanfia), Abbas Shaheed and Umar Ataraf.”
    • In the book “Sanaqib-ul-Mehboobeen”, it is written on page under discussion about Hazrat Ali; “The family of Hazrat Ali continued from his five sons only, who were Imam Hassan and Hussain, Mohammad bin Hanfia, Mohammad Abu-al-Fazal Abbas and Umar Ataraf.”
    • According to the books “Nasab-ul-Aqwam” “Zikr-ul-Abbas” and “Mirat-ul-Asrar”, the family of Hazrat Ali continued from his five sons i.e. Imam Hassan and Hussain, Abbas Alamdar, Mohammad bin Hanfia and Umar Ataraf.

All the above given references prove that the lineage of Hazrat Ali continued from these five sons only. According to “Kitab-ul-Takhfeed”, the children of all his sons are called Alvis, although in Indo Pak there is a difference that the children of Imam Hassan and Hussain are called Syeds and those of other sons are called Alvis.

According to the books “Meezan Hashmi”, “Meezan Qutbi” and “Khulasa-tul-Ansaab”, Qutb Shah, the ancestor of Awans is considered the descendant of Hazrat Abbas bin Ali. The actual statement of this book is:

ومن العلویین الاعوان و شجرتھم  ھذا’’عون بن علی بن حمزہ بن طیار بن قاسم بن علی بن جعفر بن حمزہ بن حسن بن عبداللّٰہ بن عباس بن علی بن ابی طالب ہاشم القریشی‘‘ و عون بن علی المشہور علی بن قاسم و عبدالعلی و عبدالرحمن و ابراہیم و قطب شاہ کال من البغداد مافرالی الھند و قام فصاد اولادہ اکثر ھم المشہورون بالعلویین و لبقیتم بالاعوان۔

Meaning: “Awans are from Alvis and their lineage is as: “Awn son of Ali son of Hamza son of Tayyar son of Qasim son of Ali son of Jaffar son of Hamza son of Hassan son of Abdullah son of Abbas son of Ali son of Abu Talib Hashmi Qureshi.” Awn Bin Ali was also known by the names of Ali bin Qasim, Abdul Ali, Abdul-Rehman, Ibrahim and Qutb Shah. He belonged to Baghdad and came from Baghdad to India with his family. They stayed in India for some time. Some of his children got known by the title of “Alvi” and some by “Awan.” (Wadi Soon Sakesar, Tareekh, Tehzeeb, Saqafat)

Mohammad Sarwar Khan Awan gives reference of the Persian book “Meezan Hashmi” while writing the life history of Qutb Shah in his book “Wadi Soon Sakesar (Tareekh, Tehzeeb, Saqafat)”. The same statement is given below in English:

  • “His real name was „Awn‟ and he belonged to the progeny of Hazrat Abbas bin Ali. His wife Ayesha was the real sister of Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani‟s mother Hazrat Fatima. At first, Hazrat Awn belonged to the Imamia sect. After the birth of his son Gohar Ali, some doubts occurred in his mind regarding this sect. Even after having long discussions with scholars of different sects, he was not satisfied, rather they confused him more. Then, in 471 Hijri, Ghaus-ul-Azam Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani Razi Allah Anhu was born to his wife‟s sister Hazrat Fatima. One day, Hazrat Awn went to her home with his wife. As soon as he saw the sacred face of Ghaus-ul-Azam, the Imamia faith was erased from his heart. He joined the sect of Ahl-e-Sunnat17 and offered prayer by their way on the same day. He then followed this school of thought till the end of his life. when Ghaus-ul-Azam‟s grand status became known to the whole world and Muslims from all around started taking bayat on his hand, Hazrat Awn also took bayat at his sacred hand but kept it secret from his companions unless he reached the status of “Qutb-e-Maddar”. Then, he shared this secret with his elder son Gohar Shah, who also took bayat at Ghaus-ul-Azam‟s hands. After a few days, they declared it openly that they have joined the Ahl-e-Sunnat sect and have become the disciples of Ghaus-ul-Azam. Hazrat Awn then took his whole family to Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani and all of them had bayat at his hand. Ghaus-ul-Azam ordered some of them to stay in Baghdad and others to travel to India. Obeying these orders, Hazrat Awn left some of his family members in the service of Ghaus-ul-Azam and set out for India with his sons Abdullah and Mohammad. Hazrat Awn promoted the Qadri Order in India while his stay there and was titled as “Qutb Shah” because of his spiritual status of Qutb-e-Maddar. Disciples of Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam call him “Qutb” while the Indians added “Shah” to his name.
    After some time, Qutb Shah returned to Baghdad on the orders of Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam. Here, he fell ill with diarrhea. Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam came to see him. He died on Friday 3rd Ramazan 506 Hijri. Ghaus-ul-Azam said his funeral prayer. He was buried in the Quraish Tomb. At that time his son Gohar Ali had four children. Gohar Ali, commonly known as “Golarah”, settled in the Subcontinent with his family at the orders of Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam. His progeny still lives in the Sub-continent. (Pg 105-106)

Mohammad Sarwar Khan Awan adds:

  • According to the books, “Meezan Qutbi”, “Meezan Shahi” and “Khulasa-tul-Nisaab”, Qutb Shah belonged to the progeny of Hazrat Abbas Alamdar. He was born in Baghdad, travelled to India and Herat, then returned to Baghdad, died and got buried there. His children still live in India. On the contrary, some Awan writers have tried to prove without any evidence that Awans were the children of Hazrat Mohammad bin Hanfia and were given the title of “Awans” by Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi for their services in his army. These are mere suppositions because they have not given any evidence from the authentic books of history to prove their statement. Their point of view is merely based on hear-say.” (Wadi Soon Sakesar, Tareekh, Tehzeeb, Saqafat)

Doctor Memon Abdul Majeed Sindhi writes in his book:

  • “Pakistan Mein Sufiana Tehreekain” that Syed Qutb Shah Baghdadi was the Spiritual Successor of Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani and he got the Robe of Succession directly from him. He elaborates:
    • Hazrat Syed Awn Qutb Shah Alvi Baghdadi is also known by many other names such as Ali, Awn, Abdul Rehman, Abdul Ali, Ibrahim, and Qutb Shah. His lineage reaches Hazrat Ali as follows:
      “Syed Awn son of Qasim son of Hamza Sani son of Tayyar son of Qasim son of Ali son of Hamza Al-Akbar son of Hassan son of Abdullah Madni son of Abbas Alamdar son of Hazrat Ali.”
      Hazrat Qutb Shah was born in 419 Hijri (1028 A.D) and died on 3rd Ramazan 552 Hijri (1161 A.D). He is buried in the tomb of Quraish. His progeny lives in the Sub-continent, Arab and Iran in large number. The Awans of Pakistan claim to be his progeny.”
  • Ghulam Mohammad son of Khalifah Manzoor Ahmad of Uch Sharif has the following lineage record of Qutb Shah in his possession:
    • “Hazrat Awn Shah commonly known as Qutb Shah son of Ali Shah son of Hazrat Hamza Shah son of Hazrat Tayyar Shah son of Hazrat Qasim Shah son of Hazrat Ali Shah son of Hazrat Jaffar Shah son of Hazrat Hamza Shah son of Hazrat Hassan Shah son of Hazrat Abdullah son of Hazrat Abbas Alamdar son of Hazrat Ali.”
  • The author of “Mirat-e-Sultani” writes his lineage record as:
    • “Awn entitled as Qutb Shah son of Ali son of Ameer Tayyar son of Ameer Qasim son of Ameer Ali son of Ameer Ibrahim son of Ameer Jaffar son of Ameer Hamza son of Ameer Hassan son of Ameer Abdullah son of Ameer Abbas son of Hazrat Ali.

I have mentioned all the available lineage records to bring forth the facts. Though, it should be kept in mind that “Manaqibe- Sultani” is the first book on the life history of Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo. It is written by Sultan Hamid Ali who belonged to the seventh generation of Sultan Bahoo. He has given the lineage record of Awans which he extracted from a book of the library of the landlords of Kalabagh. The second lineage record is given by Malik Sher Mohammad Awan in his book “Tareekh-ul-Awan”. He also belonged to Kalabagh. Both these lineage records have been copied by the writers without any authentic research, but Mohammad Sarwar Awan has given the lineage record after substantial research and has also proved its authenticity. However, there is still room for further research.

Despite all these controversies and differences in the lineage record of Awans presented by various authors, the fact which is agreed upon is that all the genealogical trees reach Qutb Shah who is unanimously considered forefather by all the Awans, wherever they live. It is also an accepted fact that Awans are the children of Hazrat Ali from wives other than Hazrat Fatima. As far as Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo is concerned, he did not believe in racial pride. He had never emphasized upon the superiority of Awans being the progeny of Hazrat Ali. He writes:

  • Faqeeri does not depend on being Syed or Quraishi. It is attained by Mystic and Divine Knowledge. (Noor-ul-Huda Khurd)
  • Faqr is not ancestral property and hence, cannot be inherited. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
  • If you want to be a Syed and Sardar (the Ruler) then you must follow the footsteps of your great ancestors (Prophet Mohammad, his sacred Companions and Saints). (Noor-ul-Huda Kalan)
  • The Divine Knowledge is attained only by the Grace and Favour of Allah. He bestows this Favour on anyone He wants. The Gnosis of Allah neither depends upon family and nobility nor titles but results from the eagerness of heart (for Allah). It is related with courage and sincerity, not with being Syed or Quraishi. (Noor-ul-Huda Kalan)