MĪĀṄ MĪR, HAZRAT (1550-1635), well-known Sūfī saint of the Qādirīyah order, was a contemporary of Gurū Arjan (1563-1606) and Gurū Hargobind (1595-1644). His real name was Shaikh Mīr Muhammad. He was born the son of Qāzī Sayandanah (Sāīṅ Dattā to some chroniclers) bin Qāzī Qalandar Fārūqī in 957 AH/AD 1550 at Sāhvan (also called Sevastān) in the present Dādū district of Sindh in Pakistan. The family claimed descent from Hazrat Umar Farūq, the second Caliph successor to Prophet Muhammad.

         Mīr Muhammad's father died when he was a young boy and he grew up under the care of his mother, Bībī Fātimah, daughter of Qāzī Qazan, who put him under Shaikh Khizr Sevastānī for study of Qādirī Silsilā (School) of Sūfī thought. Under the guidance of his renowned teacher, he traversed various ‘stations' and 'stages' of the mystic Sūfī pāth in rapid succession and completed his studies at a comparatively young age of 25. He then shifted to Lahore where he joined the school of Maulānā Sa'ad Ullah and subsequently of Maulānā Ni'mat Ullah and Muftī Abdus-Salām to study traditional and rational philosophies. He remained steadfast in his devotional prayers and spent most of his spare time in meditation in gardens and forests outside the city. He soon became known as a distinguished 'Alim (scholar) much sought after by seekers of religious instruction. But Shaikh Mīr Muhammad demurred at the publicity he was receiving and liked solitariness and was very selective in making disciples. Perhaps for this reason he left Lahore and went to stay at Sirhind, but the climate at the latter place did not suit him and he returned after a year to Lahore where he stayed for most of his remaining life revered by kings and commoners alike.

         Emperor Jahāṅgīr in his Tuzuk (autobiography) praises his piety and selflessness. Prince Dārā Shukoh was one of his devout murīds (disciples). The Sikh tradition is inclined to count several years of mutual friendship between Hazrat Mīāṅ Mīr and Gurū Arjan, though their actual spans of life will not support this. The latter is said to have had the foundation-stone of the Harimandar in the midst of the sacred pool of Amritsar laid by the former in 1588. Mīāṅ Mīr could not save Gurū Arjan from the bigotry of Jahāṅgīr which resulted in the Gurū’s martyrdom in 1606, (probably the Emperor had not met the Shaikh by then), but he was instrumental in securing the release of Gurū Hargobind from Gwālīor Fort where he had been detained under Jahāṅgīr's orders.

         Hazrat Mīāṅ Mīr died at Lahore on 7 Rabī' ul-Awwal 1045 AH/11 August 1635. His mausoleum in Hāshimpurā outside the old city lends his name, Miāṅ Mīr, to the whole locality.


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Z. H. Faruquī