Makhdoom Mystics of Hala

Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro on the life and legacy of Makhdoom Nuh and his descendants

Makhdoom Mystics of Hala
Makhdoom Lutufullah alias Makhdoom Nuh Sarwar was a great mystic, teacher, scholar and spiritual master in 16th-century Sindh. His ancestor Makhdoom Fakharuddin Kabir, who traced his genealogy back to Hazrat Umar Siddiq (RA), hence called Siddiqui, migrated from Kot Karor from Punjab and settled at Bubak in the present taluka of Sehwan. Another eminent Siddiqui mystic Makhdoom Fakharuddin Saghir, who was the great-grandson of Makhdoom Fakharuddin Kabir son of Sheikh Abu Bakr Katani, migrated from Bubak village and settled in Hala. The tomb of Makhdoom Fakharuddin Saghir is located in Hala.

Makhdoom Nuh Sarwar, the great-grandson of Makhdoom Fakhruddin Saghir, was born in Tori village near Halakandi in 1505. His father Makhdoom Naimatullh was an eminent Suhrawardi Sufi. Makhdoom Nuh Sarwar obtained his early religious education in his village Halakandi from the eminent teacher Makhdoom Arabi Dhayno alias Shah Dino. Makhdoom Arabi Dhayno (d. 1572) was an erudite scholar of the Arabic language. He was the brother of Pir Asat, who was a disciple of Syed Muhammad Jaunpuri (d. 1544). Pir Asat’s tomb is located at the Makli Hill. The tomb of Arabi Dhayno is located at Old Hala.

Interestingly, Makhdoom Nuh Sarwar did not obtain initiation from any eminent Sufi of that time. His ancestors were adherents of Suhrawardi silsila. He was a Suhrawardi-Awaisi Sufi and the founder of the Sarwari order in Sindh. And he was the first religious scholar and Sufi of Sindh who translated the Holy Quran into the Persian language. This shows his command on both Persian and Arabic languages.  He was also an accomplished scholar of all the esoteric and exoteric subjects of his time.

Chaukhandis of Nazar Muhamamd and Jalal Muhammad

Many religious discourses and lectures used to take place at Makhdoom Nuh’s khanqah at Halakandi, where eminent Sufis and dervishes of that time used to take part. During these religious discourses, many people were impressed by his mystic knowledge and became his disciples. The following sources which were mainly compiled by his disciples and descendants give detailed information on his hagiography, religious education, activities, miracles and mystic knowledge. The  sources also give information about his descendants and disciples.
He was the first religious scholar and Sufi of Sindh who translated the Holy Quran into the Persian language

1) Risala Bahauddin Dalqposh, compiled by his disciple Bahauddin Dalqposh who discussed hagiography and adages of Makhdoom Nuh Sarwar.

2) Risala Fatahia, compiled in 1610 by Makhdoom Fatah Muhammad Siddiqui Qureshi, the grandson of Makhdoom Nuh Sarwar. It is the first comprehensive treatise on the history of Sufism of Sindh.

3) Daleel ul-Zakirin, compiled in 1695  by Haji Panhwar.

4) Israr ul- Auliya by Mian Pir Muhammad Qureshi

5) Irshad ul-Talibeen compiled by Ghulam Rasool Qureshi Halai.

6) Siraj ul Arifin complied in 1800 by Ghulam Rasool Siddiqui Qureshi Halai.

7) Ganjina Auliya complied in 1922 by Akhund Muhammad Saleh.

8) Safinat ul-Nuh by Pir Ghulam Hyder Siddiqui

9) Anis ul Fuqra by Makhdoom Ghulam Rasool Siddiqui

10) Chound Malfuzat Ghous ul Haq Hazrat Makhdoom Nuh Halai by Qazi Muhammad Shoukat Ali Qureshi

In the shrine

Apart from these sources on Makhddom Nuh Sarwar, there are many other books namely Hadiqat ul Aulia by Abdul Qadir Thattvi, Tufat ul-Tahirin by Shaikh Muhammad Azam bin Muhammad Shafi Thattvi, Bayan ul-Arifin by Muhammad Raza bin Abdul Wasiu, Tuftal ul-Kiram and Maayar-e-Salikan Tariqat by Mir Ali Sher Qani (d. 1778), Mukhtasar Sanwah Umari Makhdoom Nuh by Moulvi Abdul Hai Sahib Qadri, Rahat al Ruh by Din Muhammad Wafai, Paigham-e-Nuh by Moulai Sheedai, Makhddom Nuh Sarwar Ja Sehogi by Professor Mehboob Ali Channa and many others.

Makhdoom Nuh passed away in 1589, leaving behind many deputies and disciples in Sindh and Punjab. Those who were directly initiated into the Sarwari order or Jamat (community) by Makhdoom Nuh are known as ‘Sarwari Tor’. Many of his Sarwari deputies and disciples spread his teachings not only in Sindh but also in Punjab and Indian Kutch.

Marble slab bearing the geneology of Makhdoom Nuh and sajjada-nashins of his dargah

The list of disciples and deputies of Makhdoom Nuh is very long. However, Dalil ul Zakirin, Anis ul Fuqra, Bayan ul Arifin, Hadiqat ul Auliya, Tufat ul Tahirin and  Tufat ul Kiram mention some of the names of his deputies and disciples which include Syed Ali Shiraz Sani, Dervish Qasim Jolah, Miran Katiyar, Ladho Bahar, Dervish Qutub, Dervish Bado, Makhdoom Abu Mustafa Thattvi, Mian Mitho Faqir, Sajan Sawai, Syed Abdul Karim Bulri, Syed Abu Bakar Lakiyari, Dervish Umar, Usman Chaki, Mitho Faqir, Bahauddin Dalqposh, Dervish Khman, Syed Taib Shah, Dervish Arisar Sodho, Sheikh Mehmood walad Siddiq Fakhari, Dervish Zakariya Samo and many others.

Ali Gohari Kachhi, the author of Azkar Qalandari, also mentions the disciples of Makhdoom Nuh which include Pak Sinhgar (dargah at Pak Singhar village), Haji Jalal, Hussain Singhar (dargah at Bukera Sharif), Syed Abhuro (dargah at Kesano wah, Hyderabad), Shah Bango, Pinio Kapri (dargah near Sajan Sawai) and others.
The earthly remains of Makhdoom Nuh were shifted again from Mula Sanwani village to new Hala in 1777 AD – when the Indus river inundated villages near Halakandi

I have seen all these shrines which Ali Gohari Kachhi has mentioned in his book.

In Punjab, four of his khalifas are noteworthy. Haji Dewan Naimatullah (d.1603) was initiated into the Sarwari Tariqa of the Suhrawardi silsila by Makhdoom Nuh. Haji Dewan Naimatullah was from a Dogra tribe. After receiving the khirqa (robe of initiation) from his mentor Makhdoom Nuh, he established his Khanqah which came to be known as Khanqah Dogran. The tomb of Haji Dewan Naimatullah is located in Khanqah Dogran which is now located in Safdarabad tehsil in Sheikupura district.

Makhdoom Nuh was buried in Tori village near Halakandi. His earthly remains were shifted in 1010 AH/1601 AD to the nearby village of Mula Sanwani when Indus River inundated the village. The earthly remains of Makhdoom Nuh were then shifted again from Mula Sanwani village to new Hala in 1191 AH/ 1777 AD –  when the Indus river inundated Mula Sanwani and other villages near Halakandi.

Today the shrine complex of Makhdoom Nuh at New Hala houses the graves of Makhdoom Nuh and his descendants. As per an inscription, the tomb over the grave of Makhdoom Nuh was built by Makhdoom Pir Muhammad Zaman in 1205 AH/1790 AD. The tomb of Makhdoom Nuh also contains the graves of sajjada nashins of his dargah: Muhammad Amin Muhammad (1545-1606), Makhdoom Muhammad Zaman I (1645-1706), Makhdoom Abu Al-Khair (1572-1641), Makhdoom Amin Muhammad Salis, (1836-1886), Makhdoom Zahiruddin alias Paryal Jam (1863-1928) Makhdoom Ghulam Muhammad alias Gul Sain (1886-1944) and Makhdoom Muhammad Zaman Talibul Moula (1919-1993).

To the south of the tomb of Makhdoom Nuh is the tomb of Makhdoom Mir Muhammad I which, according to an inscription, was built by Mir Fateh Ali Khan Talpur in 1210 AH/1795 AD, the founder of Talpur dynasty in Sindh. This tomb also contains the graves of sajjada nashins of the dargah of Makhdoom Nuh. The tomb of Mir Muhammad houses the graves of the following sajjada nashins: Makhdoom Mir Muhammad (1687-1737), Makhdoom Muhammad Zaman II (1707-1770), Makhdoom Mir Muhammad Sani (1737-1787), Hakeem Makhdoom Muhammad Zaman III (1766-1807) and Makhdoom Mir Muhammad Masoom.

tShrine of Makhdoom Nuh

To the north of the tomb of Makhdoom Nuh is a three-domed mosque which, as per an inscription, is believed to have been built by Mir Karam Ali Khan Talpur in 1222 AH/1807 AD. To the south and southeast are the Chaukhandis of Makhdoom Naimatullah, Mian Nazar Muhammad and Mian Jalal Muhammad respectively.

Many of the descendants of Makhdoom Nuh were also famed mystics, scholars, authors, poets and politicians, whose graves are also located in the shrine complex.

The writer is an anthropologist. He may be contacted at

His upcoming book is titled ‘Saints, Sufis and Shrines: A Journey through Mystical Landscape of Sindh’

The author is an anthropologist. He tweets at: @Kalhorozulfiqar