Undoubtedly, Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah is the “King of Sufi poetry”. A
humanist, Sufi poet, philosopher, teacher, rebel, and internationalist,
Baba Bulleh Shah was truly a legend.
Early life and background
Bulleh Shah was born in 1680, in the small village of Uch, Bahawalpur,
Pakistan. His ancestors had migrated from Bukhara in modern Uzbekistan.
He relocated to Malakwal with his parents at a very early age. Bulleh
Shah received his early education from Pandoke and later moved to Kasur
for higher education. Maulana Mohiyuddin was his teacher. Eminent Sufi
saint, Shah Inayat Qadiri was his spiritual teacher and he played a
vital role in developing his love for Sufism. Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah
and his family descend directly from the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.).
Poetry Style of Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah
Bulleh Shah lived during the same period as of Sindhi Sufi poet Shah
Abdul Latif Bhittai. His lifetime also extended with the Punjabi poet
Waris Shah of Heer Ranjha fame, and the Sindhi Sufi poet Sachal Sarmast.
Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah practiced the Sufism of Punjabi poetry
established by poets like Shah Hussain, Sultan Bahu, and Shah Sharaf.
Verses narrated by Bulleh Shah are popularly known as “Kafi”. This kind
of poetry is popular in Siraiki and Sindhi poetry.
Baba Bulleh Shah’s work represented him as a humanist who wants to give
workable solution to the social problems of his surroundings. Bulleh
Shah’s poetry highlights his mystical spiritual voyage through the four
stages of Sufism: Shariat, Tariqat, Haqiqat, and Marfat. Bulleh Shah’s
poetry is in simple language that has been able to address the complex
fundamental issues of life and humanity. Islamic orthodoxy is being
criticized by Bulleh Shah’s poetry & philosophy.
In modern times, Bulleh Shah’s Kafi is modified to be used to music.
Every genre of singer like street- singers, to legends like Abida
Parveen, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sain Zahoor, and Waddali Brothers, UK
based Asian artists, and Pakistani rock band Junoon, has sung Bulleh
Shah’s Kafi in a beautiful manner.
Popular Poetry Collections
Baba Bulleh Shah wrote and narrated many poetic verses. Some of the most
renowned ones are: Makkeh Gaya, Gal Mukdee Naheen, Bulleya Ki Jana Main
Kaun, Verhe Aa Varh Mere, Main Jana Jogi De Naal, Aa Mil Yaar, Uth Gaye
Gawandon Yaar, Bas Karjee Hun Bas Karjee, Tere Ishq Nachaya, Ishq De
Naween Naween Bahar, to name a few.