This post gives a brief account of the life of Hazrat Sachal Sarmast who was one of the great Sufi saints and poets of Sindh. He is an important name when it comes to Sufism and the role of Sufi Saints in the spread of Islam in the Indo-Pakistan region.
Name, birth, and birthplace
Sachal Sarmast (1739-1827) was a Sufi saint and poet of Sindh. He was born in 1739 in Daraza Sharif, near Ranipur in Khairpur district in Sindh province of Pakistan. His real name was Abdul Wahab Farooqui. Sachal was his nickname which he used in his poetry. Sachal is derived from Sachu which means truthful. Similarly, the name ‘Sarmast’ means ecstatic in Sindhi. Thus the name ‘Sachal Sarmast’ literally refers to a ‘truthful mystic’ or ecstatic saint. The name perfectly defined the personality of the great saint.
The father of Sachal Sarmast was Khawaja Salahuddin Farooqui, who died soon after the birth of Sachal Sarmat. In absence of his father, Khawaja Abdul Haq Farouqui, the uncle of Sachal took responsibility for his upbringing. He taught Sachal both religious and secular education and played an important part in his grooming. To put in other words, Khawaja Abdul Haq ended up being his teacher, spiritual leader, and also father-in-law.
Sachal’s poetry and philosophy
Hazrat Sachal Sarmast was a real follower of the Sufi philosophy of unity of existence called Wahdat-ul-Wujood in Arabic. This Sufi philosophy is an Islamic philosophy that is more or less similar to the philosophy of Hama Oost (all from one).
The devotees of Sachal Sarmast called him Shair-e-Haft Zaban which means poet of seven languages as he had full command over seven languages, e.g. Sindhi, Persian, Punjabi, Seraiki, etc. Another title that the great saint is known with is Sartaj-us-Shuara which means the crown of poets.
Sachal Sarmast composed poetry in different languages including the Persian language. However, the most prominent of his poetry is in Sindhi and Saraiki. His Persian poetry has been compiled into 9 different books consisting of mainly philosophical verses, e.g. Dard Nama, the Diwan-i-Ashkar and Dard Nama, etc.
Shrine and urs of Sachal
The Shrine of Sachal Sarmast is 40km southwest of Khairpur, Sindh, Pakistan. It is near the N-5 Highway and Gambat-Ranipur Road in Daraza Sharif. A large number of devotees from across the country attend the urs of the great saint at Daraza Sharif. Urs-related celebrations such as mehfil e Sama and mushaira take place for three days. A committee named Sachal Yadgar Committee performs tasks related to the Urs management and event arrangements.