Lal Shahbaz Qalandar(R.A)'s Biography (Sawaan-eh-Hayat)
mosque that is built in the hearts of the saints Is
the place of worship for all, for God dwells there (Jalaluddin
The real name of "Lal Shahbaz Qalandar"
was Syed Muhammad Usman who was born in 1177 AD in Marwand,
Iran. His father, Syed Ibrahim Kabiruddin, was a
virtuous and pious dervish, and his mother was a high-ranking
princess. His ancestors migrated from Iraq and settled
down in Meshed, from where they again migrated to Marwand.
During the Medieval period, Meshed and other cities
of that region were renowned centers of learning and
Even as a young boy, Shahbaz Qalandar showed strong
religious leanings. He learnt the Holy Quran by heart
just at age of seven, and at twenty embraced the Qalandar
order of Sufism. "Qalandar" is a type of dervish
who is generally dressed in beggarsâ€
clothes, likes poverty and austerity and has no permanent
dwelling. Lal Shahbaz Qalandar wandered throughout Middle
East and came to Sind from Baghdad via Dasht-i-Makran.
In 1263, he arrived in Multan, which at that time was
at the height of glory and splendor. The people of Multan
besought him to stay but he continued his journey southward
and eventually settled down in Sehwan, then a famous
center of learning and popular place of worship for
Hindus, in the southern part of Sindh, where he lived
in the trunk of a tree on the outskirts of the town.
He stayed at Sehwan for six years and during this period
he disseminated the light of Islam, providing guidance
to thousands of people.
Sehwan is probably the town with the oldest continuous
existence in Sind.It rises on the top of a conical hill,
and nearby lie the ruins of a huge fort believed to
have been founded by Alexander the Great. Some coins
of Alexander's time are reported to have been found
here. Sehwan was the capital of a Buddhist ruler who
was brother of Chandragupta II, the third of the Guptan
dynasty in the 4th century AD. From the time of Arab
invasion in 712, Sehwan was very important in the history
of Sind since it commanded the route from the Upper
to the Lower Indus, through which all invaders from
either north or south had to pass. And possession of
the fort was essential to the success of every campaign.
Lal Shahbaz Qalandar is an overwhelmingly popular patron
saint cherished and adored alike by Hindus and Muslims
of Sind. He was a great missionary, mystic, scholar,
philologist and poet. Several books in Persian and Arabic
on philology and poetry are attributed to him. He was
"Lal" (red) because of his red attire, "Shahbaz"
due to his noble and divine spirit that soared like
a falcon higher and higher in the boundless heavens
and "Qalandar" since he belonged to Qalandria
order of Sufism and was saintly, exalted and intoxicated
with love for eternal being of God. The legend goes
that the incumbent fakirs in Sewhan sent him a bowl
of milk filled to the brim indicating that there was
no room for anything more. But surprisingly, he returned
the bowl with a beautiful flower floating on the top.
This legend spread far and wide by the time of his death
in 1274, after living a good span for 97 years.
The shrine around his tomb, built in 1356, gives a dazzling
look with its Sindhi kashi tiles, mirror work and two
gold-plated doors - one donated by the late Shah of
Iran, the other by the late Prime Minister Zulfikar
Ali Bhutto. The inner sanctum is about 100 yards square
with the silver canopied grave in the middle. On one
side of the marble floor is a row of about 12 inch high
folding wooden stands on which are set copies of Quran
for devotees to read. On the other side, beside a bundle
of burning agarbattis (joss sticks), are rows of diyas
(small oil lamps) lighted by Hindu devotees. The Hindus
regarded him as the incarnation of Bhartihari, the saintly
brother of King Vikramaditya, who is believed to have
worshipped Shiva at the venue where Lal Shahbaz's shrine
is situated with all its grandeur and glory.
Thousands of devotees flock to the tomb while every
Thursday their number stands multiplied. Especially
at the time of his "Urs" (death anniversary)
being a carnival as well a religious festival and celebrated
every year on the 18th day of Shaban, Sehwan springs
to life and becomes the focal point of more than half
a million pilgrims from all over Pakistan. On each morning
of the three day feast, the narrow lanes of Sewhan are
packed to capacity as thousands and thousands of pilgrims,
fakirs and devotees make their way to the shrine to
commune with the saint, offer their tributes and make
a wish. Most of the people present garlands and a green
chadar (a cloth used to cover a tomb) with Qurâ€anic
inscriptions in silver or gold threads. Humming of verses,
singing and dancing in praise of the saint continues
till late at night. A devotional dance known as "dhamal",
being a frenzied and ecstatic swirl of the head and
body, is a special ritual that is performed at the rhythmic
beat of the dhole (a big barrel-shaped drum), some of
them being of giant size and placed in the courtyard
of the shrine. Bells, gongs, cymbals and horns make
a thunderous din, and the dervishes, clad in long robes,
beads, bracelets and colored head-bands whirl faster
and faster in a hypnotic trance, until with a final
deafening scream they run wildly through the doors of
the shrine to the courtyard beyond.
Not only the people congregating from all over Pakistan
but also the tourists and the foreigners are enthralled
at this fascinating scene and aspire to enjoy it time
and again. Such were the persons who really attained
the lofty mystical experience. Through their transcendence,
their relation to God is such that in them the Divine
personality seems to reflect itself and through them
is revealed to his followers, and the grace of God is
dispensed to those who invoke God in his name. In Iqbalâ€s
inspirational poetry we find so many verses about who
is Qalandar and what are the attributes of a Qalandar.
A few instances are as below:
Lal Shahbaz Qalandar's journey to Sehwan Shareef
Miracles : As
it has been stated in the biography section, Lal Saeen(RA)
was originally from Marwand Shareef; that is now in
part of Afghanistan, near the border of Iran. However,
we couldnt find ample material in the course of
Lal Saeens spiritual journey to Sehwan Sharif.
However, we can identify from history (-) that he visited
several places in Indian subcontinent, parts of Iran,
Iraq and Hijaz (Makkah and Medina). Many historians believe
that he paid a holy visit at the Shrine of Hazrat Imam
Ali Reza (AS) the son of Hazrat Imam Musa-e-Kazim (AS).
He performed pilgrimage in Makkah and visited Medina
Munawwara: the holy shrine of Holy Prophets (Peace and Blessings be Upon him).
During this course he visited Karbala Mualla: Hazrat
Imam Hussain (AS)s holy shrine and came to Baghdad
Shareef (current capital of Iraq); and met Hazrat Ibrahim(R.A)
by whom he took Baiat (Reference). In other words Hazrat
Ibrahim R.A)became his Shaikh. By his spiritual guidance
Lal Saeen came to Sindh, spread the message of love,
equality and truth; and met several saints of that time.
One thing we forgot to mention is his companion from
Baghdad was Hazrat Ali Sarmast (RA), a holy saint whose
shrine is in Sehwan Sharif besides the shrine of Hazrat
Lal Saeen (R.A). He accompanied him during the holy
journey and in every step served him with devotion.
Baghdad, he travelled to Makran and stayed sometime
in Panj-Kor (area near/in Makran). Because of Lal Saeen's
blessings and holy stay, he becamse renowned and people
started knowing his presence, many became Mureeds. That
place is still renowned of his stay, even the name of
the town is known as Dasht-e-Shahbaz. During
his time in Panj-Kor, many people became enlightened
and embraced Islam by his teachings, and life style.
Every year in the eve of annual death anniversary (Urs
Mubarak), caravan of people from Makran visits Sehwan
Shareef and pay respect with deep devotion, and great
zeal perform holy Dhamal (Sufi Dance).
coming to Sindh Hazrat Lal Saeen's first destination
was Multan, where he met Hazrat Bahauddin Zakaria Multani
(RA) and stayed sometime there. Hazrat Bahauddin Zakaria
(RA) was one of three friends of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz
respect to his visit at the Shrine of Hazrat Sadruddin
Badshah (RA): I must quote very important event that
he was on way to Sehwan in Sukkur, travelling by means
of his miracle of flying in air (Parwaaz), and came
across the shrine of Hazrat Sadaruddin Badshah (RA).
Hazrat Sadaruddin (RA)s is holy saint and his
shrine is situated between Sukkur and Rohri in Sindh.
Hazrat Lal Saeen (RA) was spiritually ordered from Allah
(SWT) to stay sometime at his Shrine. Some people believe
that he was about to fly over the holy shrine, and because
of the high spiritual level of the Hazrat Sadruddin
(RA) Allah (SWT) ordered Lal Saeen (RA) to meditate
there. He stayed there for 40 days there and then by
the will of Allah (SWT) continued his holy journey to
Sehwan. The place where Lal Saeen(RA) meditated (Chilla
Gah) is still preserved as a holy place; people use
to visit there, and use to make Dua.
Qalandar's famous Persian verses showing his love and
honour for Hazrat Ali are engraved on his shrine:
Haiderium Qalandram Mastam
Banda e Murtaza Ali Hastam
Peshwa e tamam Rindanam
Ke Sag e Koo e Sher e Yazdanam!
I am Haideri (relating to Haider, a second name for
Ali ibn e Abu Talib), Qalandar and Mast (intoxicated
I am a slave of Ali Murtaza
I am leader of all saints
Because I am a dog of the lane of "Allah's Lion"
(referring to Ali)
Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar's Genealogy (Shujra-Nasb)
In arabic the word Genealogy means Shujra-Nasb. This
page presents the Shujr-Nasb of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar(R.A).
There are many books written on the life of Hazrat Lal
Shahbaz (R.A) and each presents shujra-nasb with some
difference, but in every book it is evident that his
lineage links to Hazrat Imam Jafar Sadiq(R.A) who is
fifth descendent of Hazrat Syedena Ali (A.S). The genealogy
below has been taken from Tarikh Tohfatul-Karam.
Syed Usman (Lal Shahbaz Qalandar) (R.A)
Syed Kabeer-u-Din (R.A)
Syed Shams-u-Din (R.A)
Syed Noor Shah (R.A)
Syed Mehmood (R.A)
Syed Ahmed (R.A)
Syed Hadi (R.A)
Syed Mehdi (R.A)
Syed Ghalib (R.A)
Syed Mansoor (R.A)
Syed Ismail (R.A)
Syed Imam Jafar Sadiq (R.A)