Mian Muhammad Bakhsh
Mīān Muhammad Bakhsh was a Sufi saint and a Punjabi poet of great repute. He is especially renowned as the writer of a book of poetry called Saiful Malūk. He was born in a village called khanqa peir-E-shah Gazi Khari Sharif, situated near Mirpur District of Azad Jammu & Kashmir).
He belonged to the Gujjar caste and he was a fourth generation descendant of Pīr-e Shāh Ghāzī Qalandar Damriyan Wali Sarkar, who was buried in Khari Sharif. Pīr-e Shāh Ghāzī’s khalīfah was Khwājah Dīn Muhammad; and his khalīfah was Mīān Shamsuddīn, who had three sons: Mīān Bahāval Bakhsh, Mīān Muhammad Bakhsh – the subject of this article -, and Mīān ‘Alī Bakhsh. Mīān Muhammad Bakhsh’s ancestors originated in Gujrat, but had later settled in the Mirpur District of Azad Jammu & Kashmir. He was poet of Phari language (widely spoken in different parts of Kashmir.
There is much disagreement about his year of birth. Mahbūb ‘Alī Faqīr Qādirī, in a biography printed as an appendix to the text of Saiful Malūk gives the date as 1246 AH (1826 AD), a date also followed by the Shāhkār Islāmī Encyclopedia; 1830 and 1843 are suggested in other works but are almost cetainly erroneous. Mīān Muhammad Bakhsh himself states in his magnum opus – Saiful Malūk – that he completed the work during the spring in the month of Ramadan, 1279 AH (1863 AD), and that he was then thirty-three years of age- hence he must have been born in 1830.
Once he had advanced a little along the Sufi way he became more and more interested in composing poetry, and one of the first things he penned was a qasidah (quatrain) in praise of his spiritual guide. Initially he preferred to write siharfis and duhras, but then he advanced to composing stories in verse. His poetry is essentially written in the Pothohari dialect of Panjabi, and utilizes a rich vocabulary of Persian and Arabic words.
His works include:
Sakhi Khavass Khan,
Masnavi-e Nīrang-e ‘Ishq,
He also wrote a commentary on the Arabic Qasidat-ul-Burda of al-Busiri,
and his most famous work, entitled Safarul ‘Ishq (Journey of Love), but better known as Saiful Maluk.