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Guru Nanak & Shamsis

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Article by (Lucky 17:55, 15 July 2009 (UTC)).....under construction


Guru Nanak sahib met with Bahawal Haq, Rukn din and other members of a Sufi sect called the Shamsis in Multan in 1530 urging them into coming on to the right track. His message was to become followers of God and stop their worship of the graves of Pirs and their practice of saying the phrase "Anal Haq, Anal Haq".

Who were the Shamsis?

The Shamsis were/are followers of Shamas Tabrez, a Sufi faqir whose real name was Makhdoom Shah Shamas-Ud-Din. He was born on 17th rajab 560th hijri in Shabzawar (in Ghazini). Though he was a Muslim he had been preaching his own personal religious philosophy and decided to travel to Multan, which was the center of orthodox Muslims, but his slogan of anal-haq (I am God) offended them. Charging him with blasphemy, they declared him a rebel and complained to higher authorities. He was quickly sentenced to die, in a particularly gruesome manner; being skinned alive, but even as they slowly peeled his skin from his body he kept a smile on his face.

In Multan a mausoleum was raised in his remembrance by his followers who were known as shamsis. Shamas was a follower of God (Khuda - parasat), but Shamsis were becoming worshippers of graves as the time passed.

What does phrase "Anal-Haq" mean

Sufi faqirs shouting in ecstasy 'Anal-Haq, Anal-Haq' (I am God/I am the Truth). Mansur Al-Hallaj was a famous Sufi of the 10th Century who was executed (hung by the neck) in 922 AD for having stated: "Anal Haq" which means "I am the Truth".

The orthodox Ulema considered this as blasphemy, thinking that he was claiming to be God himself, whereas he was only proclaiming in a state of sublime spiritual ecstasy, a total annihilation of 'self' (his Ego). What he meant was that he mattered not; all that mattered was He (God)

The Philosophy of Sikhism is opposite to anal-haq, perhaps, best explained by Kabirs lines:

"kabeer maeraa mujh mehi kishh nehee jo kishh hai so thaeraa"
"Kabeer, nothing is mine within myself. Whatever there is, is Yours, O Lord."
(SGGS, p1375).

It's a message of "Toon Toon" - "You, You".

Background to the phrase "Anal-Haq"

Mansoor Al-Hallaj was condemned to hang by the neck for shouting in ecstasy "Anal-Haq, Anal-Haq (I am the Truth, I am the Truth)". The orthodoxy understood this to mean that he was claiming to be God himself, whereas he had proclaimed in his sublime spiritual ecstasy, simply a total annihilation of himself.

Mansoor Al-Hallaj climbed the gallows with his head held high, not the least daunted by his imminent death. Nor could his shouts be drowned in the tumult of abuses which were hurled at him; they rose loud and clear and high Anal-Haq, Anal-Haq until his soul departed to the fountainhead of his life on high.

What is Kabar Prasat

The Shamsis became "followers of a grave" (worshippers of graves). They started keeping Rozas (fasts) which is opposite to Sikhi philosophy and even against the philosophy of Shamas Tabrez. Sikhism says, "Jin jio pind dita tis chiteh nahi. Mari masani mure jog nahi (9)" which means "You do not remember Him, who has blessed you with soul and body. Visiting graveyards and cremation grounds does not provide union with God." (SGGS p1190)

Guru Nanak's discourse with Shamsis

In 1530 (according to Prof Sahib Singh), Guru Nanak went there and sat in a garden around Shama's maqbara (mausoleum). Guru Nanak Sahib who visited many of the lands to the East, North, South and West of India was known by many pirs, as he had met many during his journeys. When pirs (Sufi priests) came to know this, they went and met the Guru. They want to test guru sahib and prove that their philosophy was better and purer than his.

So they placed a container full of milk before guru ji and said that their path is as pure and as white as the milk without any blot. Guru Nanak plucked a jasmine flower from the garden and placed it on the milk and replied that one must have an open mind and live above maya (world illusion), in the same way that the jasmine flower was floating over the milk. The Guru also taught them not to worship graves. The Guru also taught them that once the holy water of the River Ganges merged into the ocean, it was no longer called the Ganges any more and that no one should say "I am God" even if he or she has reached an enlightened state.

Bhai Gurdas in his vaars said(Pauri 44.5 to 44.8:

  • ਮੇਲਿਓਂ ਬਾਬਾ ਉਠਿਆ ਮੁਲਤਾਨੇ ਦੀ ਜ਼ਿਆਰਤ ਜਾਈ॥
  • ਅਗੋਂ ਪੀਰ ਮੁਲਤਾਨ ਦੇ ਦੁਧ ਕਟੋਰਾ ਭਰ ਲੈ ਆਈ॥
  • ਬਾਬੇ ਕਢ ਕਰ ਬਗਲ ਤੇ ਚੰਬੇਲੀ ਦੁੱਧ ਵਿਚ ਮਿਲਾਈ॥
  • ਜਿਉਂ ਸਾਗਰ ਵਿਚ ਗੰਗ ਸਮਾਈ ॥44॥

Leaving the fair at Achal Vatala Baba went on a 'pilgrimage' to Multan. At Multan the Pirs came forward holding a bowl of milk full to the brim. Baba took out a jasmine flower from his bag and put it on the surface of the milk indicating that he would spread fragrance. Bhai Gurdas likened it to the river Ganga (Ganges) merging into the ocean.

Discourse with Bahawal haq and rukn - ud - din

In crowd, there were two faqirs which are mentioned in historical accounts named bahawal haq and rukn-ud-din, which were possibly descendants of Sheikh Bahawal Haq(1170-1267) and Sheikh Rukn-ud-Din(1251-1335) who were famous Sufi Saints of Multan. Generally, decendents and gaddi nasheen are called with names of their great ancestors, so guru nanak sahib have discourse with decendents of great sufi faqirs who were known as Bahawal Haq and Rukn-ud-Din. Bahawal Haq and Rukan Din asked many questions to which guru sahib replied very peacefully

Acc to Bhai Bala Janamsakhi, Bahawal haq asked, "We call maya false and without maya we can't survive". Guru sahib replied "like maya is false so survival is also false."

Pirs wanted Guru sahib to preach and advise them. Guru ji said, "Love everyone; don't go with woman married to another man. Any matter which generates friction with the saints, close it immediately. Don't keep company with evil minded persons. Do selfless service for the saints. Practice recitation of the Shabad."

They said guru nanak a true faqir.

The Pirs were enlightened and for the remembrance of the Guru's visit, they took foot prints of the Guru feet on paper. It is said that this paper was at Multan until the partition of 1947.


  • Bhai Bala Janamsakhi
  • Bhai Gurdass Vaar
  • History of Guru Nanak: Prof Sahib Singh

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