'IBRATNĀMAH, a Persian work by Muftī 'Alī ud-Dīn of Lahore, completed on 13 September 1854, deals with the history as well as with the social and economic life of the people of the Punjab. It also contains an account of the Sikhs from their origin to the battle of Gujrāt fought against the British in 1849. The book was originally conceived and planned by Muftī 'Alī ud-Dīn's father, Muftī Khair ud-Dīn. Muftī 'Alī ud-Dīn, who had obtained an appointment in the British Political Agency at Ludhiāṇā, served in Various capacities at Fīrozpur, Bahāwalpur, Sindh and Multān, eventually settling down at Lahore. A manuscript of 'Ibratnāmah carrying the author's autograph, preserved in the India Office Library, London, contains 376 folios written in bold nasta'līq hand. It was' Colonel Wade, the British political agent at Ludhiāṇā, who had assigned the author's father, Muftī Khair ud-Dīn, to the work. The author, Muftī 'Alī ud-Dīn, dedicated it upon completion to Mr Charles Raikes, the Commissioner of Lahore. According to a note prepared by Charles Raikes, the manuscript was sent to the Imperial Exhibition held in Paris in 1855. Subsequently, it found its way into the India Office Library. In 1961, Dr Muhammad Bāqir edited it, and it was published at Lahore in two volumes.

         The work is divided into three main sections. Section I deals with the physical conditions of the Punjab, its rivers, mountains and fauna and flora, and section II with the political history and topography of Lahore. In section III the author has narrated the history of the Punjab from the rise of Sikhism to the annexation of the Punjab in 1849. To these three bābs or daftars there is added, on ff. 326a-376b, a kind of khātimah (without a general heading), dealing in detail with the customs and usages as well as with the prevalent philosophic and religious ideas of the people of the Punjab, beginning with a sketch of the sect of the Qādirīs. Among the numerous short chapters of this part the most prominent ones are: the great days of the Muhammadan (Hijrī) year, on fol. 331b, last line; the faqīrs of the three principal creeds, the Muhammadans, Hindus, and Sikhs, on fol. 333a; manners and customs of the Muhammadans, from the cradle to the grave, on fol. 334b; of the Hindus, on fol. 342b; of the Sikhs, on fol. 352a; scientific attainments of these three creeds, on fol. 353a; practices in eating, on fol. 356b, last line; in dress, etc., on fol. 360a; the court officials under Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh on fol. 364b, etc., etc. In writing this book the author seems to have made a close study of the preceding works. From among these he is highly critical of Sohan Lāl Sūrī's 'Umdāt-ut-Twārīkh which he calls partisan and one-sided, Būṭe Shāh's Tārīkh-i-Pañjāb which is described as complex in style and narration, and Dīwān Amar Nāth's Zafar Nāmāh-i-Raṇjīt Siṅgh dismissed as "full of confusion and unintelligible in diction."


  1. Kirpal Singh, A Catalogue of Persian and Sanskrit Manuscripts. Amritsar, 1962
  2. Ganda Singh, A Bibliography of the Punjab. Patiala, 1966

Gurbax Siṅgh