Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo was a Saint by birth
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo was a Saint by birth. Moreover, his mother gave him sufficient spiritual education and guidance because she herself was the perfect Mystic. Sultan Bahoo writes in his books:
“I searched for a spiritual guide for thirty years but could not find one of my standing.”
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo’s spiritual oath of allegiance (bayat / al-bayah)
One day, engrossed in Allah’s vision, he was wandering in the suburbs of Shorkot. Suddenly a celestial rider appeared who held his hand and affectionately said:
“I am Ali ibn Abi Talib.”
Sultan Bahoo was young of age, not of intellect. He immediately recognized Ali and wished to sacrifice himself upon him. Ali ibn Abi Talib said to him:
“Son! Today you have been summoned in the court of Holy Prophet.”
The Mohammadan Assembly (Majlis-e-Mohammadi)
In a moment, he found himself in the Mohammadan Assembly. Abu Bakr Siddiq, Umar ibn Khattab, Usman ibn Affan and the People of Cloak (Ahl al-Bayt) were also present there. First of all, Abu Bakr Siddiq blessed him with his beneficence and left the court, then Umar and Usman blessed him and left. Then, only the People of Cloak remained.
Oath on the hands of Prophet Mohammad
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo says:
“I thought that the Holy Prophet would ask to take oath of allegiance upon the hand of Ali but he held out his hands towards me and ordered, ‘Hold my hands’, then I took oath of allegiance upon his sacred hands.”
“When the Holy Prophet taught me the Islamic creed (Kalimah Tayyibah), all the veils of spiritual stations and stages were removed by reciting it once. Hence, the beginning and end became equal for me. Then, Fatimah-tuz-Zahra honoured me by saying, ‘You are my son.’ I kissed the feet of Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali and entered the circle of their slavery. The Holy Prophet ordered me, ‘Call the people towards Allah. Persuade and guide them. Your position will be raised day by day till eternity because this is the eternal order of the Lord’.”
Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
Afterwards, the Holy Prophet gave the responsibility of spiritual training of Sultan Bahoo to Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. He blessed him with the spiritual treasures and ordered him to persuade and show the path of righteousness to people. Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo says:
“When the great leader of Faqr, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani cast his kind eyes upon me, I surpassed all the spiritual levels from pre-existence till the eternal end.”
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo writes his experience of oath in his famous book Risala Roohi Sharif
He writes about his experience of presence in the Mohammadan Assembly:
“I saw and experienced everything spiritually as well as physically.”
In Risala Roohi Sharif, he says:
دست بیعت کرد مارا مصطفیٰؐ
شد اجازت باھوؒ را از مصطفیٰؐ
خواندہ است فرزند مارا مجتبیٰؐ
خلق را تلقین بکن بہر خدا
Explanation: I have taken oath of allegiance at the sacred hands of Prophet Mohammad sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam and he has called me his spiritual son. He has allowed and ordered me to persuade and guide people on the path to Allah.
فرزندِ خود خواندہ است مارا فاطمہؓ
معرفتِ فقر است برمن خاتمہ
Explanation: Fatimah bint Mohammad razi Allah anha has taken me as her son. Hence, I have reached the extreme levels of gnosis of Faqr.
Physical oath was necessary according to Sultan Bahoo’s mother
After being blessed with this spiritual benevolence, Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo returned home and told his mother about the experience. On hearing the incident she said:
“Now you should take oath of allegiance physically at the hand of the perfect spiritual guide.”
Sultan Bahoo replied:
“But I have already taken oath of allegiance and have been blessed directly by the Holy Prophet through the Awaisi way*. Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani has also blessed me with the spiritual treasures and allowed me to persuade and guide people.”
(*Awaisi way is the mystic way in which the seeker is spiritually blessed by the Holy Prophet or by the soul of any passed away Saint directly without taking apparent oath of allegiance to the spiritual guide in this world.)
However, his mother informed him that he had taken spiritual oath of allegiance. In the way of Faqr, physical oath of allegiance is must and for this he should find the perfect spiritual guide. He innocently inquired:
“Why should I find a spiritual guide when you are like a spiritual guide to me?”
“My son! Women cannot take oath of allegiance or perform the duty of persuasion. Neither Hazrat Fatimah nor Rabia of Basra did.”
Then Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo asked:
“Where should I find a spiritual guide?”
“Search in the entire world”
She pointed towards the east. He once again set out to find a spiritual guide.
Meeting with Shah Habibullah Qadri
He travelled long distances in search of the perfect spiritual guide and met many Saints and Dervishes but none could fulfill his desire.
Then he heard about Shah Habibullah Qadri who belonged to the progeny of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. He lived in Garh Baghdad (Mian Channu, Khanewal district, Punjab, Pakistan), a village near river Ravi. Now Sultan Bahoo went to Garh Baghdad to meet him. When he entered his khanqah, he saw that it was crowded with Dervishes, Fakirs and servants. Further a cauldron filled with water had placed on fire. Large number of people came and put their hands in the cauldron to get their wishes fulfilled. Sultan Bahoo sat at a side and silently observed everything.
To achieve great desires, one has to go through great hardships
After a few moments, Shah Habibullah Qadri noticed him and said:
“Your condition shows that you have travelled a long way to reach here, then why are you sitting silently? Put your hand in the cauldron and let your wish be granted.”
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo replied respectfully:
“I am not impressed by such miracles nor can my wish be granted in this way.”
Shah Habibullah Qadri looked at him surprisingly and said:
“No doubt! Your desire is great but do you know that to achieve great desires, one has to go through great hardships.”
Sultan Bahoo replied:
“Surely I know that, and that is why I have travelled so long. I am ready to obey all your orders.”
Trial # 1
Shah Habibullah Qadri gazed at his sacred face for some time and then said:
“Well! Fill the pond first.”
A servant came and gave him a water skin. He took it and filled the large pond with only one bag. Everyone was surprised.
Then Shah Habibullah Qadri asked him:
“Are you ready for the trial?”
He nodded in yes. Shah Habibullah questioned:
“Do you have any worldly wealth?”
He nodded. Shah Habibullah said:
“Dervish has nothing to do with worldly wealth. You are trying to keep two passions in one heart! How can two swords be kept in one sheath?”
Hearing this, Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo set for his house at once. When he reached home, he collected all his wealth and threw everything away, even the small gold ring in his infant’s finger.
Trial # 2
Next day, he travelled a long journey back to Garh Baghdad. Shah Habibullah welcomed him warmly and said:
“Although you have got rid of material wealth but not of women. Whose due you want to pay, Allah’s or your wives’?”
As soon as Sultan Bahoo listened this, he again travelled back home. His mother knew the intention of his son by inspiration but pretending to be unaware, she asked:
“What have brought you back home?”
He told her the reason politely. His mother Bibi Rasti advised him kindly:
“You must not think of divorcing your wives. I assure you that from now onwards your wives would have no right upon you, although they would always respect your rights upon them. If you succeed in achieving your destination of the Divine union, you can come back, otherwise you do not need to come home for the sake of family.”
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo accepted her advice and returned satisfied to Shah Habibullah who again welcomed him warmly. He blessed Bahoo with his spiritual attention (tawajjuh ) and asked:
“O Bahoo are you satisfied? Have you had any Divine observation?”
He replied respectfully: “O Shaikh (spiritual guide)! I am acquainted to such observations since my infancy. I desire much more than this.”
Shah Habibullah remained silent and disappeared suddenly.
Trial # 3
Sultan Bahoo knew that the Shaikh was testing him, so he also went after him and found him working in a field in the guise of an old farmer. He went near him and said:
“Such hard work in this old age! Please allow me to serve and you take rest.”
Shah Habibullah smiled and removed the guise, walked a few steps with him but disappeared again. Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo chased him and found him in the appearance of an old Brahmin pandit, who was applying tilak on people. Sultan Bahoo went near him and requested smilingly:
“My forehead is clean, am I not fortunate enough to have tilak by you.”
Shah Habibullah returned to his real form, smiled at Sultan Bahoo and moved forward with him. After a few moments, he disappeared again. Sultan Bahoo followed him again and saw him in a mosque in the guise of an old imam teaching Quran to children. Sultan Bahoo also appeared as a child with the holy book in his hands and putting his finger on a word, inquired innocently:
“What is this?”
Shah Habibullah burst into tears of love, embraced him and said:
“That is enough Bahoo!”
However, Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo did not change his appearance and kept on asking:
“What is this?”
Shah Habibullah exclaimed:
“What could I tell you? I do not have what you desire. You can find your destiny only from Shaikh Abdul Rehman Jilani who lives in Delhi.”
Who was Shah Habibullah Qadri?
Shah Habibullah Qadri came to India in the reign of Shah Jahan and took oath of allegiance at the hand of Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi.
Shah Habibullah Qadri according to book Sirr ul-Habib
According to his book Sirr ul-Habib, his lineage record is as follows:
Shah Habibullah Qadri son of Sayyid Fatehullah son of Abdul Ghani son of Attaullah son of Jahan Alam son of Ahmad Abdal-ul-Haq son of Ishaq son of Mehboob Ganj Asraar son of Mohammad son of Sultan Rehman son of Tajuddin son of Sayyid Musa son of Sayyid Ismail son of Shahabuddin son of Mohiyuddin Dawood son of Abu Nasar Musa son of Shaikh Sayyid Abdul Razzaq Jilani son of Sayyid Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani.
Shah Habibullah Qadri according to Oriental Biographical dictionary
In Oriental Biographical dictionary, Beale has written about Sayyid Habibullah Qadri that two persons by the name of Habibullah Qadri are present in history. First was a poet of Agra and other was the writer of Arabic book Bahr-ul-Mantik. This is not true. According to the Indian books Asaar-e-Dehli, Rehnuma-e-Mazaraat-e-Dehli and Tareekh Mashaikh-e-Qadiriyya (Vol-III) Sayyid Habibullah Qadri was a well-known Saint of Qadri order in Dehli. He died on the 14th Shawwal 1068 H (1656 A.D) and had buried in Katra Aaqil Shah which is also famous by the name of Katra Gul Shah (Delhi). His shrine is also there. According to the writer of Rehnuma-e-Mazaraat-e-Dehli:
“The genealogy of Sayyid Habibullah Shah traces back to Husayn ibn Ali. His spiritual guide was Shah Abdul Latif Qadri of Lahore. Sayyid Habibullah lived in Lahore and got beneficence from his spiritual guide thus reached the highest spiritual status. People celebrate his death anniversary on 14th Shawwal. His shrine is in Katra Gul Shah, Bazar Seeta Ram Delhi 6”.
But this Habibullah Shah is not the one whom Sultan Bahoo met. Whom he met was the one discussed in the above lines. His shrine is at the bank of river Ravi in Garh Baghdad Abdul Hakim, Mian Channu, district Khanewal, Pakistan.
Another tradition relating physical oath of Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo
Another tradition follows that after Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani completed the spiritual training of Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo, he ordered him to take oath of allegiance upon the hand of Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi. Thereafter, Sultan Bahoo set for Delhi in obedience to the given order. When he was a few miles away from Delhi, a man met him, touched his feet and told him that Shaikh Abdul Rehman sent to welcome him. Then that man guided him to the Shaikh.
Physical oath of
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo met Shaikh Abdul Rehman Jilani on the Friday of 29 Dhul al-Qadah, 1078 H (11th May, 1668 AD). The Shaikh took him in privacy and granted him the eternal Divine treasure he had been searching since years. Hence, Sultan Bahoo received his eternal destiny in the form of Ism-e-Allah Zaat in a moment in single step during his only meeting with his spiritual guide.
Making benevolence common
He returned completely satisfied and brimful with the emotions to benefit people with this Divine favour and benevolence. On his way back, he started benefiting everyone and made the Divine blessing common. Consequently, such a large crowd gathered around him that the roads got blocked. The news spread around the city. When Abdul Rehman Jilani heard it, he immediately called him back and asked:
“I blessed you with the most special favour, why did you make it common?”
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo replied:
“Respected spiritual guide! When an old woman buys a pan from the market, she first checks it to ensure whether it will serve the purpose or not. Likewise, when a young boy buys a bow, he first determines its elasticity. Similarly, I was just checking the effects of the bounty I have received from you, as I am ordered by the Holy Prophet that if I benefit and persuade people towards Allah, this Divine favour will flourish day and night till eternity.”
Abdul Rehman Jilani smiled on this argument and said:
“O Bahoo I do not forbid you to benefit people but you must keep in mind that everyone cannot bear these effects.”
Then Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo went to the grand mosque of Delhi. Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was offering Jumma (Friday) prayer with his courtiers and members of the government. The mosque was so crowded that Sultan Bahoo could not find any place to sit. So he stood at the end of mosque where shoes of the praying people are usually kept. When he benefited the people in the mosque with his spiritual attention, everyone went ecstatic. Only the emperor, the chief of police and the judge deprived of the effects of his attention. When Sultan Bahoo restrained his attention, everyone returned to the normal state. The three of them came to Sultan Bahoo and asked why did they remained deprive of the blessing. He answered:
“I blessed everyone equally but you remained unaffected because you are callous.”
They requested for his favour. Sultan Bahoo said:
“You can get this blessing but on the condition that you and your children would not keep any kind of relation with me and my family nor favour us with material wealth so that your worldly matters may not indulge my descendants in property conflicts and worldly tribulations.”
When Aurangzeb promised to follow his order, he blessed him with his spiritual attention. On Aurangzeb’s request, Sultan Bahoo composed his book Aurang Shahi there and then as a souvenir for him. The royal scribes immediately wrote it.
Different meetings with Aurangzeb
It was the third meeting between Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo and Aurangzeb which took place in the grand mosque of Delhi immediately after the physical oath of allegiance of Sultan Bahoo in 1078 H.
According to the writer of Tazkirah Auliya-e-Jhang and Tareekh-e-Jhang Sultan Bahoo had met Aurangzeb twice earlier in Garh Maharaja. Their first encounter was in 1059 H when Aurangzeb had returned from the war of Kandahar and Emperor Shah Jahan had made him the governor of Multan, Sindh, Bhakar and Siwistan (now Sehwan Sharif, Sindh). In 1062 H, they met again when Aurangzeb went to conquer Kandahar and passed from the river Chenab on his return journey.
Both these meetings took place in the reign of Shah Jahan before Aurangzeb acceded to the throne. It was that period of Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo’s life when he was travelling in search of Truth and used to remain busy in dawat-e-qaboor*.
* Recitation of Quran at the grave of a Saint to communicate with the soul of Saint and have beneficence from him.