Friday, April 19
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Soul-searching poetry of Khawaja Farid

By Mazhar Iqbal Mazhar

Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid (RA) was a 19th-century Sufi poet and saint from Punjab. He is known as the poet of the desert for his loving references to the Cholistan desert. Prof. Dr. Ismatullah Shah, a native of Bahawalpur near Cholistan, is a scholar and teacher of the Saraiki language. He has done a Ph.D. on the poetry of Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid (RA). He is also considered a specialist in the spiritual Saraiki poetry of Sufi poets. Dr. Shah recently wrote the book Rang-e-Farid, in which he has beautifully translated selected poetry from Dewan-e-Farid, the anthology of Khawaja Farid (RA). The Islamia University in Bahawalpur has published the book.

Prof. Dr. Ismatullah Shah

Rang-e-Farid is the thematic selection of Kalam-e-Farid. The book has twelve different topics. Since Saraiki is a melodious language, it is important to consider its melody and depth while translating. Moreover, Kalam-e Farid has a lot of imagery, so it needed accurate translation while keeping intact the cultural and social aspects of the language.

Dr. Ismatullah, with a conscious effort, has kept the translation simple and plausible for a greater impact on non-Saraiki readers. While translating, he has kept in mind the greatness of thought as well as the quality and dignity of the eloquence of a mystical poet.

Khawaja Farid (RA)’s creative work is not just poetry but a vivid description of the otherworldly journey of a great spiritual sage. It takes flight within the realm of imagination and takes the reader to fly high in the pursuit of eternal truth. Khawaja Rawal Mueen Koreja is the custodian of the shrine of Hazrat Khwaja Ghulam Farid (RA) and is also the Honorary Head of Khawaja Ghulam Farid Chair in Islamia University Bahawalpur. He stated in the short introduction written for Rang-e-Farid that Khawaja Ghulam Farid gave the message of true love and life, which can spiritually change not just individuals but generations.

Khawaja Farid (RA)’s poetry has a distinct character. It is the perfection of its linguistic and rhythmic harmony with nature that makes the great poet’s sublime creation a fusion of art and nature. There is great depth and profound wisdom in this work. The nobility of a refined soul, the secrets of life hidden in the eyes of an eloquent sage, and a bright description of the perfect scenery—all these characteristics make it a universally appealing piece of literature.

The Sufi poetry of Khawaja Ghulam Farid is inspirational, stimulating, and philosophical. The style of his poetry is shaped by sophistication and modesty. His poems, written in the Saraiki language, are decorated with Sufism, Ishq-e-Haqiqi, Kaif-e-Masti, and Zaat-e-Haq.

Kaafi is a popular genre of Saraiki poetry, and it has a great diversity in form and subject matter. In this respect, many strands of structure, approach, and idea are found in the Kaafi of Khawaja Farid (RA). It also has a unique position due to being a favorite medium of expression among the Saraiki saints, who used it to express mostly mystical and romantic subjects. In terms of expression through Sufi poetry, after Hazrat Sachal Sarmast’s highly sublime themes of knowledge and love of God, Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid’s Kaafi has got a distinctive and traditional Saraiki tone embedded into it. And that is in addition to his mystical and spiritual domain.

There is no doubt that in the territory of Islamic spiritual teachings, there are many prominent saints, sages, sheiks, and spiritual leaders who have an inimitable place. They got a high position, among others, due to their explicit spiritual training, thinking, elevation, wisdom, and emotional balance. These factors have also influenced their language and oratory. Khawaja Farid (RA) is among those spiritual souls who got prominence in their expression due to their transcendent nature and thinking.

The aim of Sufism is the transformation of human personality through moral training. In the words of Khawaja Farid (RA), the change of heart is composed in an interesting pattern. He generally uses feministic references and representations to express and adore the beauty of the soul. She swings, wears jewelry, and keeps her hair trimmed, but all this is metaphorical.

It is very difficult to estimate whether Khawaja Farid (RA) ‘s position is higher as a Sufi poet or as a religious leader and preacher. On his spiritual journey, he does not portray love as worldly love, nor does he come closer to intoxicated fascination and captivation. He considers an everlasting love for the eternal creator the axis of his life.

Dr. Ismatullah Shah has divided Kalam-e-Farid into various topics such as divinity, spirituality, closeness, and reverence. The first three topics are the love of Allah (SWT), the love of the Prophet (SAW), and the love of the spiritual mentor. All his poetry is written in recognition of the real self, and it is a mesmerizing story of a delicate soul that is fully embedded in the passionate love of Allah (SWT). The reverend poet has paid a loving tribute to the sacred places of Hijaz.

Other selected themes of Rang-e-Farid include topics such as Wahdat-ul- the greatness of man, and hope and optimism. Under these themes, we see numerous colors in his beautiful, soul-searching poetry. He utilizes many tools of poetic expression, such as simile and metaphor. There are abundant allegorical references to hills, sand, rocks, dunes, fog, greenery, rivers, and streams that he uses to express the beauty of Saraiki culture and society. While referring to the beauty of the soul, he also extensively uses the imagery of passionate love, affection, beauty, lust, and grief, along with a wonderful expression of various ways of beautification.

This effort of Dr. Ismatullah helps to appreciate the great message of Kalam-e-Farid. It is a huge contribution to spreading and understanding the lofty goals of truthfulness, humanity, and universal love preached by Sufi poets, preachers, and spiritual leaders

Mazhar Iqbal Mazhar

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