|Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin Masood Ganjshakar|
Hazrat Fariduddin Ganjshakar’s mausoleum in Delhi, India
569 AH/1179 AD|
Khotwal, Multan District, Pakistan
661 AH/1263 AD|
|Resting place||Pakpattan, Pakistan|
|Title(s)||Ganjskahar (treasury of sweetness)|
|Predecessor||Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki|
Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin Masood Ganjshakar was one of the most brilliant personalities of the Chishti Order of Sufis in India. After the untimely death of Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, the mantlepiece of India's spiritual leadership within the illustrious Chishti Order fell upon the shoulders of Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin Masood Ganjshakar of Pakpatan, popularly known as "Baha Farid" and "Baba Ganjshakar".
Family & Lineage
During the ups and downs of the political condition of Afghanistan, due to constant wars between the rulers of Ghazni and the Ghauri dynasties (548-584 A.H.), Hazrat Sheikh Shuaib, with his son Hazrat Jamaluddin Suleman (father of Hazrat Baba Fariduddin), was reported to have migrated from Kabul to Lahore whence he went to Kasur and, later on, to Multan and then finally settled down in Khotwal or Kenhiwsi (a village near Multan) which, at present, is known by the name of Chawli-Mashaikh.
Hazrat Jamaluddin Suleman married Bibi Qursum Khatoon who was the daughter of Maulana Wajihuddin Khijwandi, a very learned and pious gentleman, who was one of the descendants of Hazrat Abbas-bin-Abdul Muttallib and who had also migrated from Kabul to India and had settled down in a village called Kot-Kiror in the vicinity of Multan.
Bibi Qursum was a very pious lady. Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia reports that one night a thief entered her house. The Bibi Qursum was awake and as she cast a glance over the thief, he at once lost his eyesight and started wailing. Ultimately he prayed; "If Bibi Qursum would restore my eyesight, I pledge, I shall give up stealing forever." Bibi Qursum felt pity upon him and prayed for the restoration of his eyesight and, by the grace of God, the thief's sight was restored. He fell apologetically at the feet of Bibi Qursum in grateful submission. Next morning he and his whole family embraced Islam. He was given the Islamic name of Abdulla with the title of "Chawli-Mashaikh" which became the second popular name of village Khotwal. Hazrat Khwaja Shuaib, his son Khwaja Jamaluddin and Bibi Qursum Khatoon, all died in Khotwal and their 'muzaars' (tombs) stand there up to this day.
Hazrat Jamaluddin and Bibi Qursum bore 3 sons and one daughter:
- Hazrat Aizazuddin
- Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar
- Hazrat Najibuddin Mutawakkal
- Bibi Hajra, also known as "Jameela Khatoon", who was the mother of Hazrat Makhdoom Allauddin Ali Ahmed Saabir of Kalyar, the 3rd Spiritual Successor in the Chishtia Order.
He was born on the night of 29th Shaabaan in 569 A.H. in Khotwal. There are different versions about his date of birth but, by consensus of opinion. 569 A.H. is taken to be the correct date. Two miracles surrounded his birth indicating that Hazrat Baba Fariduddin was indeed a born 'wali'.
Miracles Surrounding his Birth
One day, during her pregnancy period, Hazrat Baba Farid's mother wanted to pluck some plums from her neighbour's tree without his permission. However, the child in her womb (Hazrat Baba Farid) created a severe pain in her stomach that forced her to abandon this idea. A few years after Baba Farid's birth, his mother one day expressed: "My dear son, during your confinement I have never eaten anything which was unlawful," Baba Farid however smiled and said: "But, 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 that unlawful act", and on that note, he ran out of the house to play while his mother stood wonder-struck. She felt that the child would some day be a great saint.
Another miracles narrates that as stated above, Baba Farid was born on the night falling between the 29th of Shaabaan and 1st of Ramadan. Owing to cloudy weather on the evening of 29th, people could not see the moon to determine the beginning of the Ramadan month according to Islamic calendar, and were in a state of uncertainty as to whether they should or should not commence fasting from the next morning. They approached Hazrat Jamaluddin Suleman, father of Baba Farid, for a 'Fatwa' in this matter. He said: "If there was any doubt about the appearance of moon, then the commencement of fasting would be against the 'Shariat'. In the meantime, a dervish appeared on the scene and, on being questioned about his opinion in this matter, he said:
|“||Why worry and remain in doubt? A child is to be born in the house of Hazrat Jamaluddin tonight who would be the 'Qutub' (spiritual monarch) of his time. If the child did not take its mother's milk tonight you should think that the moon has appeared and the Ramdan month will start from tomorrow."||”|
Thus, early in the morning at the time of 'sehri' (between 4 and 5 A.M.) people made anxious enquiries at Hazrat Jamaluddin's house about the dervish's prophesy and were surprised to learn that the newly born child had not taken his mother's milk after midnight. With this corroboration, people started fasting. Later on, in the day, news came from Multan and other places that moon had appeared and the month of Ramdan had begun from that very day. Throughout the month of Ramdan, Baba Farid did not touch his mother's milk during the day except at the time of 'Iftaar'. 
- Amir-Ul-Momineen Hazrat Umar Farooq , father of
- Hazrat Abdulla, father of
- Hazrat Naasir or Hazrat Mansoor or Hazrat Salmaan, father of
- Hazrat Suleman, father of
- Hazrat Adham, father of
- Hazrat Ibrahim of Balakh, father of
- Hazrat Ishaq, father of
- Hazrat Waiz-ul-Akbar Abil Fateh, father of
- Hazrat Waiz-ul-Asghar Abdulla, father of
- Hazrat Masood, father of
- Hazrat Suleman, father of
- Hazrat Saamaan Shah, father of
- Hazrat Raseeman Shah, father of
- Hazrat Naseeruddin father, of
- Sheikh Ahmed Farrukh Shah Kabli, father of
- Hazrat Shihabuddin, father of
- Hazrat Mohammed, father of
- Hazrat Yusuf, father of
- Hazrat Sheikh Ahmed Shaheed, father of
- Hazrat Shuaib, father of
- Hazrat Jamaluddin Suleman, father of
- Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin Masood Ganjshakar. 
Like his spiritual predecessors, Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin also lost his father at an early age, and so full responsibility of his education devolved upon his mother, who took special interest in providing the best education in Islamic tradition. After he had completed his early religious education at the age of 7 in Khotwal, she sent him to Multan for his higher education. Here he stayed in a mosque where he learned the Holy Quran by heart and studied Hadith, Fiqah, Philosophy and Logic under the tutorship of the famous Maulana Minhajuddin.
During his education at Multan, Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki of Delhi visited the city and happened to come to the mosque for his Namaz where Baba Farid was receiving his education. As soon as Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin saw Baba Farid, he was highly impressed by his demeanour and exceptional qualities which he perceived through his intuitive abilities. He at once accepted Baba Farid as his 'mureed' and so long as he stayed in Multan, Baba Farid visited him daily and derived much benefit through his association. When Hazrat Qutbuddin made his way for Delhi, Baba Farid offered to follow him but he was advised to remain and complete his studies, and also to undertake a tour in Islamic countries in order to mature his experience by coming in contact with the leading saints or Sufis. Baba Farid obeyed, and, soon after his Pir's departure, he also started on a long journey towards Ghazni, Bhaghdad, Sewastan, Badakhshan, Jerusalem, Mecca and Medina.
For about 18 years, from 593 to 611AH, Baba Fariduddin remained on this prolonged tour, meeting many great dervishes and saints and thus gaining immense benefit and knowledge from their experiences in Sufism. He has mentioned these travels in his publication, Rahat-ul-Quloob.
Meeting with Hazrat Shahabuddin Suhrawardi
Hazrat Baba Farid says that Hazrat Shahabuddin Umar Suhrawardi (b. 539 d. 632 A.H.) was one of the greatest Sufi saints of his time. Regarding his meeting with Hazrat Shahabuddin Suhrawardi, Hazrat Baba Farid says;
|“||When I was in Baghdad, I stayed with Hazrat Shahabuddin Suhrawardi for many days and received immense benefit from his vast reservoir of divine knowledge and magnetic association. I saw he used to get daily 10.000 to 12,000 gold mohurs as 'nazrana' which he distributed amng the poor before sunset in the name of God. By evening there remained with him not a single penny fromt his wealth. He used to say; "If I would have kept even a single pie from this money, I would not have been a dervish but I would have been known by the title of the rich.||”|
Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin had an ever lasting impression of and a very high regard for Hazrat Sheikh Shahabuddin Suhrawardi's angelic personality, his vast religious knowledge and his unfathomable spiritual insight.
Meeting with a descendant of Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi
Hazrat Baba Farid says:
|“||During my stay in Baghdad I was always in search of 'Buzurgaan-e-Deen' (great dervishes and saints). One day I found a great saint who was living in a 'ghaar' (hollow) on the banks of river Faraat (Eupharates). When I called upon him he was in Namaz. When he finished, I offered him my 'salaams' he asked me to sit down. I noticed his face was shining like the full moon and that he had an overpowering personality. He said; "I have been living in this hollow for the past 50 years, and I am one of the descendants of Hazrat Junaid of Baghdad. I am living only on wild herbs and leaves of trees and I have not slept for the past 20 years. Last night I had a nap on my ‘musalla' (prayer carpet) when I had the honour of witnessing (in a vision) the glory of the night of the Holy Prophet's ﷺ 'Miraaj, (the prophet's visit to the 7th heaven). After relating this story, he said; "Whoever desires God's nearness, God gracious also desires to be near him."||”|
Meeting with Imam Hadadi
Baba Fariduddin continues :
|“||When I was travelling in the surroundings of Ghazni, I met Imam Hadadi in a town during the month of Ramadan and stayed with him for some time receiving benefit from his spiritual experiences. Here I also met another dervish who was a perfect Sufi and used to finish the recitation of the Holy Quran three times every night. He advised me to be "punctual and painstaking in 'mujahedas' (strivings) on the path of Sufism without which success was not possible since "Ahl-e- 'Suffa' (great saints and Sufis) have given 'mujahedas' the utmost priority.||”|
Meeting with Sheikh Abdul Waahid Badakhshani
Hazrat Baba Farid goes on:
|“||When I reached Badakhshan, I met Sheikh Abdul Waahid Badakhshani, a descendant of Hazrat Dhul-Nun al-Misri — a great name in the Sufi world. He was old and lived outside the city in a hollow. Continuous 'mujahedas' had sapped up all his bodily vigour. He had only one leg on which he was standing with the help of a staff in a state of 'sukr'. I offered my salaams and he reciprocated affectionately and asked me to sit down. He told his story: "I have been here for the past 70 years and my sustenance is from 'ghaib' (unseen). Some 30 years ago I saw a woman passing this way and, enticed by the human nature or 'nafs', I was drawn towards her. Just then the divine voice warned me: "O you lover, have you forgotten your promise to Me that you would never look towards anybody else except Me?" I was stunned and immediately restrained myself and cut off the foot that had led me out of the hollow. From that day, I am in a state of shame and do not know how I shall be able to answer for the breach of my promise to God on the Day of Judgment.||”|
Visit to Mecca and Medina
According to 'Gulzar-e-Faridi', when Hazrat Baba Fariduddin went to Medina, after paying his respects at Mecca he was spiritually commanded by the Holy Prophet ﷺ to proceed to Baghdad and meet Hazrat Abdul Wahaab, son of Hazrat Ghausul-Azam Abdul Qadir Jilani Mahboob Subhani, and receive some 'Tabarrukaat'(sacred relics) from him. Accordingly when Hazrat Baba Farid reached Baghdad, he received a box from Hazrat Abdul Wahaab which contained the following holy relics:-
- Two 'Alums' (flag poles) which were used by the Holy Prophet ﷺ in some of the battles fought by him in the defence of Islam.
- One pair of scissors.
- One turban which was used by the Holy Prophet ﷺ.
It is reported that Hazrat Abdul Wahaab put the sacred turban on the head of Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin and thus permitted him to take 'mureeds' in the name of Qadria silsila and to the Chishtia silsila to which Baba Farid belonged.
It is also reported that Hazrat Baba Farid visited Jerusalem where he swept the floors of that holy shrine for some time before returning to India, and there exists still a "Zaavia" of Hazrat Baba Farid where the visitors live for free according to Hazrat Naami of Lahore.
After a period of nearly 18 years spent travelling. Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin started his journey back to India. During this journey, he met many other renowned dervishes.
Baba Fariduddin reached Multan which had become the cradle of Sufism during his long absence due to the illumination spread by Hazrat Khwaja Bahauddin Zakariya Suhrawardi. When these two spiritual giants met, Baba Fariduddin was asked by Hazrat Bahauddin as to how he had progressed spiritually. Baba Farid replied: "If I ask the chair on which you are sitting to fly in the air, it will fly." As he uttered these words, the chair of Hazrat Bahauddin began to rise in the air.
From Multan, Hazrat Baba Farid went to his home town Khotwal to kiss the feet of his dear mother after a prolonged absence. Having spent a few days in her company, he left for Delhi to present himself before his Pir-o-Murshid, Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki.
Arriving in Delhi, he went straight to Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin. Hazrat Baba Farid says the following about his meeting and initiation:
|“||When I had the honour of presenting himself in the presence of Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin, he at once placed the "Kulah-e-chahaar Tarki"(a symbolic cap confirming four important pledges taken by Sufis at the time of their initiation) upon my head in a well attended majlis in which Qazi Hamiduddin Nagauri, Maulana Allauddin Kirmani, Syed Nooruddin Mubarik, Sheikh Nizamuddin Moid, Maulana Shamsuddin Turk, Sheikh Mahmood, Haz, Burhanuddin Balkhi, Maulana Ziauddin Rumi and many other prominent dervishes were present. Hazrat Qutbuddin said: "O Farid, a Master must have such a nearness to God that he should be able to cleanse the dirt from the chest of his mureed at the very first glance through his spiritual abilities and, after accepting a mureed, he should be able to introduce him to God directly. If the Murshid (Master) has no such power then both he and his mureed do not know their destination in Sufism.||”|
After his initiation, Hazrat Baba Farid was ordered to perform certain mujahedas (spiritual practices) in order to achieve his perfection and for this purpose Hazrat Qutbuddin selected a hujra' (cell) near Ghazni Gate in Delhi for Baba Farid. Baba Farid carried out these mujahedas with his characteristic devotion, forbearance and courage.
Visit of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti
During this period, Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer arrived in Delhi to see Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin. When Khwaja Moinuddin heard of Baba Farid's extraordinary success, he went to see him at his hujra with Khwaja Qutbuddin. As soon as Baba Farid saw both of these illustrious Murshids at the dooro f his hujra, he immediately got up to pay his respects but due to extreme weakness, as a result of his difficult 'mujahedas', he fell down. He was however picked up and embraced affectionately by both the great saints. At the very first glance, Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti recognised what marvellous qualities Baba Farid had and then, turning to Hazrat Qutbuddin, the great saint of Ajmer said:
|“||Baba Qutub, shahbaaz-e-azeem dar daam awurdayee ke hajuz Sidrat- ul-Muntaha aashian nagirad —shama aist ke zaanawada-e-dervishaan munawwar saazad.||”|
|“||Baba Qutub, you have captured a great shahbaaz (hawk) whose nest is not lower than "Sidrat-ul-Muntaha" (7th heaven). From his light, the progeny and silsila of dervishes will be illuminated."||”|
This prediction of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of course proved to be true. After his meeting with Baba Farid, Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin bestowed a "Khil'at" (dress of honour) upon him and Hazrat Qutbuddin wrapped the "Dastar-e-Khilafat" (a turban symbolic of this recognition) upon Baba Farid's head. When Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin prayed for his success after the ceremony, a "nida" (divine voice) declared: "Farid raa bargazidaim" — "We have accepted Farid".
Death of his Pir
After Hazrat Baba Farid had settled down in Hansi, he had a dream where Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin had passed on. Perturbed by this dream, Baba Farid immediately left for Delhi where the death of his Pir was confirmed. On his arrival in Delhi, Qazi Hamiduddin Nagori handed over the sacred relies of his Pir to Baba Farid, according to the deceased's will, in the presence of a majils of leading dervishes. From this day (634 AH) the burden of India's spiritual leadership in the Chishtia Order fell upon the shoulders of Hazrat Khwaja Fariduddin Ganjshakar.
During, 633-34 AH/1235 AD, Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer also passed away. The political situation also changed after Sultan Shamsuddin Al-Tamish died after an exemplary rule of piety and justice. His daughter and successor, Razia Sultana was faced with fierce opposition and was eventually murdered after numerous wars.
Hazrat Baba Farid thus shifted the centre of Chistia mission from the turmoil of Delhi to the peaceful seclusion of Ajodhan (Pakpattan). After remaining in a chilla in Ajmer for 40 days, where he seeked the spiritual blessings of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin for the success of his forthcoming mission, he proceeded to Ajodhan with his family.
According to Indian history, Ajodhan (in Punjab) was first conquered by Sultan Ibrahim of Ghazni from Hindu rule in 1079 AD/473 AH. Ever since, the town continuously remained under the sovereignty of the Muslim rulers of Ghazni and Lahore and thus had a large Muslim population.
The spiritual light of Hazrat Baba Farid, however, coneverted this town into a fountainhead for Divine Knowledge and blessings. His Khanqah (monastery) became a university of Islamic teaching and spiritualism where thousands of aspirants, scholars and dervishes flocked to receive training and guidance under the patronage of the great saint. Emperor Akbar, when he visited Ajodhan during Hazrat Dewan Tajuddin Mahmood's time, changed the name of Ajodhan into "Pakpattan" (the holy town).
One day, it is reported that Baba Farid had a vision whilst in "muraqba" (contemplation) in which his Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin instructed him to stay in Ajodhan permanently as his presence there was needed. According to another report, one day, during his devotion, he heard a 'nida' (divine voice) which instructed him; "
|“||O Farid, you are appointed to lead people to the path of truth. You should not be scared by the crowds but in the service of God, His friends should be prepared to face hardship from the public with a smiling face.||”|
Hazrat Baba Farid thus settled down permanently in a western corner of Ajodhan under a Karee tree commonly found in the Punjab. After he settled down, his reputation spread far and wide and thousands visited Ajodhan due to their overwhelming love for the saint.
Mother's Tragic Death
Hazrat Baba Farid wanted to bring his mother from Khotwal to stay with him in Ajodhan, so he sent his younger brother Hazrat Najibuddin Mutawakkil to escort her. Accordingly, the Sheikh put her on the back of the horse for the journey to Ajodhan whilst he walked on foot. On the way they had to pass through a dangerous jungle full of wild animals. As they were crossing this jungle, the old lady felt thirsty and Sheikh Najibuddin, putting her under a shady tree, went in search of water. As he returned, he found that his mother was not there. He looked for her desperately but it was in vain. He then returned to Ajodhan and reported the matter to Baba Farid. A search party was dispatched to the scene of the mishap but again, the search was in vain. Baba Farid was now sadly resigned to the will of God and ordered to arrange for a 'Fateha' ceremony and the feeding of the poor for the peace of his dear mother's soul.
According to Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia's version of this tragedy, when Sheikh Najibuddin returned with the search party, he brought back some human bones in a 'kharita' (bag). Baba Farid ordered them to be placed upon his musalla (prayer mat) but when the 'kharita' was opened, there was nothing in it. The disappearance of the bones from the 'kharita' was taken to be a divine phenomenon.
Plot to Murder Hazrat Baba Farid
The official Kazi of Ajodhan, who was also the Imam of the local mosque, could not bear the popularity of the saint. Firstly he incited government officials against Baba Farid and his sons, but when he did not succeed, he then raisd objections against 'Sama' (Qawwali) which was Baba Farid's and his predecessors in the Chishtia Order were especially fond of. Baba Farid, however, took no notice the Kazi's activities so stung by humiliation, he raised the question of Sama's validity under Shariat and wrote a letter to the leading Ulema of Multan seeking their 'Fatwa' against 'Sama', complaining that Hazrat Baba Farid had held musical concerts.
The Ulema of Multan however, flatly refused to entertain the complaint and pass any 'Fatwa' against Hazrat Baba Fariduddin - a great dervish and the Qutub of his time, besides being a recognised Khalifa of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. They wrote back to the Kazi that Hazrat Baba Fariduddin himself was the highest authority on Shariat who knew its commandments far better than them and hence it was beyond their powers to raise any objection or pass a 'Fatwa' against such an exalted personality of Islam in India.
The Kazi did not stop there however and he offered money to a vagabond "Qalandar" to murder the saint. This man, carrying a dagger beneath his garment, reached Baba Farid's Khanqah and found him in the act of devotional 'sijda'. Only Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia, his beloved mureed, was in attendance at the moment. Hazrat Baba Farid, without raising his head enquired: "Is anybody present?" Hazrat Nizamuddin responded at once - "Yes, your honour, your slave Nizamuddin is present". "Is there a Qalandar standing outside who is wearing a pair of white earrings?" asked Baba Farid whilst still in a state of sajda? Hazrat Nizamuddin replied in the affirmative. "This man has a dagger around his waist and has come here with the intention of killing me. Tell him to go away and not to ruin his 'Aaqibut' (end)." The Qalandar, who had been listening all the while, was so frightened that he ran away and told the Kazi that he could not perform the task entrusted to him.
The Kazi still did not give up. After the previous failure, he instigated a Patwari (a land revenue officer) to oppress Hazrat Baba Farid's sons in their land revenue affairs. Hearing of the Patwari's oppression, Baba Farid violently struck his 'usa-e-mubarak' (staff) on the floor and at that very moment, the Patwari experienced a severe pain in his stomatch. He at once understood its cause and begged his people to take him to Hazrat Baba Farid. However, as he was being carried to the Khanqah of Baba Farid, he died on the way. This spelt the end of the Kazi's continued efforts against Baba Farid.
Hazrat Baba Fariduddin reached the pinnacle of spiritual glory through extremely hard "Mujahedas" and persistent "Riyazaat" in order to gain complete mastery over the Nafs (apptetive soul).
It is reported that Baba Farid, under his Pir-o-Murshid's command, performed many awe-inspiring 'Mujahedas' (strivings) which drained his vitality although he persevered through spiritual nourishment and determination.
Hazrat Baba Fariduddin fasted daily throughout his life and yet he regularly maintained his nightly programme of prayers and devotion. So great was his spiritual vitality that he never gave up fasting even when he was sick. During the nights of Ramadan, he used used to finish two readings of the Holy Quran. Fear of God always dominated him and very often he used to weep penitently, sometimes loudly, out of God's fear.
Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar was one of the biggest 'Mujaheds' of Sufism. He performed many mujahedas both before and after getting Khilafat.
Once Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin ordered Baba Farid to perform the 'chilla-e-maakoos'(devotional act in a reverse position of body) for 40 days. This 'chilla' was one of the most difficulttests of Baba Farid's faith, courage and endurance; perhaps the only one of its kind ever performed by him during his lifetime. It was 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 tree at the top. Its conditions were equally hard and extremely difficult to obtain. The first condition was that the well should be situated in a mosque, and must have an overhanging tree from which Hazrat Baba Farid could hang himself headlong in it. The second condition of the chilla was that the 'muazzin' (one who gives the call to the faithful at the timings of Namaz) of the selected mosque must himself be a very honest and trustworthy dervish, who should perform the acts of lowering and taking out of Hazrat Baba Farid after the Isha (9 p.m) and before the 'Fajr (5 a.m) prayers, i.e. when nobody else; except the 'muazzin' was in the mosque. The third condition was that this 'muazzin' must be a most trustworthy confidant of Baba Farid and should keep the secret of the chilla to himself.
Baba Farid found a mosque called "Masjid Hajj" and a muazzin named Rashiduddin Meenayee-Hansvi which fulfilled the necessary conditions. By the grace of God, Baba Farid successfully withstood this most difficult test of his spiritual integrity and after completing the chilla, he reported the matter to his Pir-o-Murshid, who was naturally extremely pleased.
Chilla at Ajmer (Chilla Baba Farid)
After the death of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Hazrat Baba Farid visited the saint's shrine at Ajmer where he performed a chilla in an underground cell which is still preserved today and is known by the name of "Chilla Baba Farid". It remains closed throughout the year and is opened for visitors only for a day on the 5th of Moharrum, the date of Hazrat Baba Farid's annual death anniversary. This underground cell lies just below the shrine of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin at his Dargah in Ajmer.
Story of the Sparrows
It is reported that once Baba Farid was engaged in one of him 'mujahedas' in a jungle under the shade of a tree upon which a group of sparrows were siting and creating a great noise by their chattering. This distracted his attention from devotion. When he could not tolerate the chattering any longer, he exlaimed: "Die, O sparrows, you are disturbing me in my devotion." Suddenly, the sparrows died and fell down in front of Baba Farid. The soft-hearted saint could not bear this and at once repented and prayed to God to restore life to the sparrows. The sparrows were then revived through the grace of God.
Hazrat Baba Farid and his illustrious predecessors in Sufism are illuminating examples of true human character. They strictly followed the teachings of the Holy Quran and the traditions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, both in letter and spirit, during every step of their life.
Hazrat Baba Farid had no secrets to preserve; he was straight-forward and truthful. Whatever he thought was right, he advocated it fearlessly before the world. Hazrat Khwaja Badruddin Ishaq, who was one of Baba Farid's beloved mureeds:
|“||As a confidant of Hazrat Baba Farid, I noticed that whatever he said in privacy, he boldly preached the same thing publicly and he knew no intrigues. He never did anything privately which he did not disclose openly. Whatever he said, he did, and whatever he did, he said.||”|
All great writers of Hazrat Baba Farid's life story agree that he was extremely sweet in conversation as well as in his dealings with the people — a quality for which he enjoyed the divine title of "Ganjshakar". People who had the privilege and honour of hearing him talk never got tired or bored of his sweet sermons.
Apart from common people, Baba Farid's devotees included kings, influential courtiers and the rich aristocracy. They all used to visit him and he treated them all alike with affection and extreme humility, and never allowed anybody to think that they were superior or inferior to anybody else.
Despite having thousands of followers and devotees including many ruling monarchs, wazeers, courtiers and the rich, he and his dependants often had to go without food for several days together and, for many years, they lived on the leaves of 'peeloo' or 'karar' (wild plants mostly found in the Punjab).
Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia reports that:
|“||Those living in Baba Farid's Khanqah also lived in a state of extreme poverty. All the dervishes in the Khanqah had been assigned different duties, such as collecting firewood from the jungle, gathering 'peeloo' leaves and flowers, drawing water from the well, cooking and other domestic work. Hazrat Baba Farid strictly forbade borrowing and preferred to go without food rather than incurring any debt. He said; "If a debtor died under debt, he would be ashamed before his creditor on the Day of Judgment. There is as vast a gulf between debt and contentment as it is between East and West. It is better for a dervish to die than to borrow.||”|
Hazrat Baba Farid always slept on the floor. His dress was simple and bore conspicuous patches of repair. Once his torn shirt was beyond repair, so one of his devotees presented him with a new shirt. After wearing it,the great saint said: "That comfort and pleasure which I had in my old shirt are not felt in the new one."
Everything, including money was immediately distributed among the poor. He used to say : "Whoever saves or makes provision for the morrow, he is deprived of the favours of God." He was a great friend and benefactor of the poor, the widows and the orphans and he never refused a demand or disappointed any needy person at his door.
Hazrat Baba Farid had a big kitchen where food was prepared for the poor everyday. Whatever income he received, he spent it in maintaining this kitchen. If there was no provision in the house or the kitchen, then whatever Baba Farid ate was offered to the poor and guests with great humility. He also often gave away his own clothes to the poor. During his lifetime, he received thousands and thousands of rupees in 'nazranas' but he every single penny on the poor and left nothing, or made any provision whatever, for his family after his death.
Hazrat Baba Farid bore no grudge against anybody and his heart was free of jealousy and revenge. He loved every human soul and was quick in forgiving even those who came to murder him. He could not bear to see others in trouble and did his best to alleviate their suffering.
Once 4 dervishes came to Baba Farid's Khanqah and hurled all sorts of abuse at the saint for no apparent reason. However, the saint continued to talk to them politely and did his best to entertain them. When they were ready to leave, Baba Farid warned them not to take a particular route which he thought would endanger them. However, they took no notice of the saint's warning and when they had taken that route; Hazrat Baba began to weep. Later, those dervishes were found to have perished in a serious storm that raged over the route they had taken contrary to the saint's warning.
Fear of God
Hazrat Baba Farid feared none but Allah. He carried a very soft and God-fearing heart. Fear of God dominated his life. If anybody ever talked of a Divine Truth, or if he himself was develivering a sermon regarding Divine Truth, he would often start weeping so much so that sometimes, due to overwhelming fear of God, he would faint for several hours. If there was a mention of the tragedy of Kerbala and the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Husain ﷺ, if there was a mention of God's anger ascribed to the month of 'Safar', if there was a mention of death of any divine personality, or, if there was a mention of the treacheries of the Nafs, Hazrat Baba Farid could not control his tender sentiments of piety and sorrow, moving the hearts of all present so much so that the audience also joined his weeping.
Love of the Holy Prophet ﷺ
Hazrat Baba Farid was a staunch devotee of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and had dedicated his whole life to the veneration of the beloved prophet ﷺ. At the mention of the prophet's ﷺ glory, at the mention of the prophet's ﷺholy characteristics and his noble life stories and traditions, Hazrat Baba Farid often started weeping, overwhelmed by love and devotion. He followed every tradition of the prophet ﷺ most scrupulously and preached to all Muslims to obey and follow the same strictly. Once at the mention of the demise of the holy prophet ﷺ in a majlis, Baba Farid breathed a long sorrowful sigh and said:
|“||When God most gracious did not keep his holy prophet ﷺ alive in this world, for whom He created the whole universe, then what is the value of me and you as compared to the prophet ﷺ, and on what grounds should we be proud of ourselves? While still alive, we should therefore, count ourselves among those who have gone before us, and must remove the false mask of our worldly life from ourselves, keeping ourselves ready to go, so that we may not be put to shame on the Day of Judgement.||”|
There are innumerable examples of wonderful miracles that have been performed by Hazrat Baba Farid. A few are related here: