is the religion of peace. God sent the Prophet as a blessing
to mankind. He won people¡¯s hearts by his kind nature and
gentle ways. His noble example was followed by many of his
followers, in all ages, all over the world. It was through
the efforts of these saintly men that Islam spread far and
wide. These holy men were, extremely successful in bringing
non-Muslims to the fold of Islam.
every part of our country, there are shrines of such saints.
In Lahore, are the shrines of Data Ganj Bukhsh and Mian Mir
Sahib. In Pak Pattan lived and died Baba Fareed. In Multan,
is the shrine of Ghous Bahaul Haq. In Peshawar, in Quetta,
and in countless other towns and cities there are the tombs
of these men of God. In Sindh are the tombs of two great saints,
Shah Abdul Latif and Qalandar Lal Shahbaz.
great saint Shah Abdul Latif; who is lovingly called Lal Latif
by his devotees, was born in 1102. Hijra in a small village
called ¡°Hala Haveli¡±. The good Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb then
ruled the country. Shah Abdul Latif¡¯s ancestors migrated to
Sindh during the days of Tamerlane. They had come from Hijrat.
Sindh was then a centre of Muslims culture and Shah Abdul
Latif's ancestors liked it so much that they decided to make
it their home. But no one would have remembered their names
or learnt about them, if many centuries later, one of their
descendants, Sayed Habib Shah, had not been blessed with a
son who grew up to be saint Lal Latif.
Latif had a very sensitive mind. His heart was soon filled
with the love of God. The beauty of nature aroused his feelings
strongly. While he was only a boy, he started composing poetry.
He was also keen on acquiring knowledge and he grew up to
be a scholar of Arabic and Persian. When he was twenty he
married a noble and good lady. He showed great kindness to
his wife and lived at home for many years. His heart, however,
turned more and more towards religion and devotion, and he
felt restless in living a normal domestic life.
his father died, Shah Latif left his home and went to live
on a mound at some distance from his village. A mound of sand
is ca1led "Bhit" in Sindhi. Due to the fact that
he lived on this mound for the rest of his life, Shah Latif
came to be known as "the Saint of Bhit". To this
day, he is famous all over the country as Shah Abdul Latif
Bhitai or Shah Latif of the Mound.
days passed, Latif's love of God grew more and more, until
he found pleasure only in devotion and spent most of his time
in prayer and deep thinking. His spiritual power grew stronger
with prayer and devotion, so much so that people began to
be attracted towards him. Any one, who came to him was strongly
impressed by his gentle ways and his followers increased day
by day. Closed to the mound on which Lal Latif came to live
is a natural lake. His poetic nature loved the calm atmosphere.
He would spend much of his time sitting on the bank of this
lake. As he sat there, he prayed to God and sometimes composed
verses in His praise.
Latif was not only a saint and a poet, but also a musician.
He found great comfort in music. His skill in this art enabled
him to make many improvements and changes in the difficult
music of his time. As in everything else, he loved simplicity
in music and musical instruments. He did not agree with the
idea that music should be difficult. So he made it simple.
He also invented a simple musical instrument and called it
¡°Tambooro¡±. It was like an instrument used by the Arabs but
the number of strings was different. To this day the 'Tambooro'
is popular all over Sindh. Old and young play it and sing
the songs of Latif to its simple but moving tunes.
Latif Died in 1165 Hijra on the Mound where he had lived and
was buried there. A famous king of Sindh. It, Ghulam Shah
Kalhoro, was so devoted to him that he built a shrine over
his grave. Latif¡¯s devotees collected his poetry and this
collection came to be called the Risalo of Shah Abdul Latif.
He was a poet of the people, so he wrote poetry in the language
of the common man. This collection of his poems is so valued
that it has been translated into many languages. One great
quality of Latif¡¯s poetry, besides its simplicity, is its
moving music. When you listen to it, even if you do not understand
a word of it, you will be moved by its melody.
"urs" is held at his shrine every year on 14th Safar,
the second month of the Muslim calendar. Many thousands of
people gather, listen to the Saint's songs sung on the ¡°Tambooro¡±
and offer their prayers. Many learned men read papers that
tell about Latif¡¯s life and his poetry. Recently a library,
a rest house and a museum have been built. The shrine itself
has been rebuilt and connected with the main road. Its lovely
white dome representing the purity and dignity of Latif, can
be seen from many kilometres.
message is the message of love. He believed in the brotherhood
and equality of men and in pleasing God by good deeds. This
according to him is the goal of life.