Shah Abdul Karim, the saint
and the Founding Father of Sindhi Literature
Until lately, Shah Abdul Karim of Bulri was called “The Morning Star of Sindhi Literature“, meaning, to be the one and only earliest poet whose poetry has reached us in written form and the shape of the verses in sufficient number. The verses were incorporated in his Malfoozaat compiled posthumously by a devotee of his. It contained eight verses of his predecessor Qazi Qazan too, whose work has recently been discovered and published.
Nonetheless, Shah Karim still holds the revered place of the sage, the saint, the Founding Father and trend-setter of Sindhi literature. It is said that the whole poetry of Shah Abdul Latif is nothing but a detailed commentary on the poetry of his illustrious great grandfather and spiritual ideal Shah Abdul Karim of Bulri.
Shah Abdul Karim was born at Matiari, a centre of spiritualism and Islamic teachings in lower Sindh, in the year 944 A.H. Although he belonged to the family of Sayyids, revered for their piety and scholarship, and also being the descendents of The Holy Prophet (SAWS), he could not get a formal education, beyond the nazerah recitation of two paras of The Holy Quran. Instead, he felt himself attracted towards the gatherings of Sufis and the sessions of sama’. His elder brother did not approve of this and was harsh on the younger brother. But on the intervention of their pious mother, who was aware of the spiritual inclinations of the child, he changed his attitude. Yet he got him married in a comparatively younger age. During his youth, Shah Abdul Karim had a spiritual encounter with a wandering derwesh, one Sultan Ibrahim, a soldier-turned-faqeer from Bihar, India. The former was initiated into Qadri system of Sufis by the latter. Later on Shah Abdul Karim joined the circle of Makhdoom Nooh, an eminent saint of Suharwardi School. He might have been formally admitted into the system as well. It is supposed that it was on...
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