Shah Abdul Karim Bulri

Not to be confused with the Bengali musician Shah Abdul Karim

Shah Abdul Karim Bulri(1536-1623) (Sindhi: شاه عبدالڪريم بلڙي ) was a famous Sufi poet of the Sindhi language from Sindh, Pakistan. Shah Abdul Karim Bulri was the great-grandfather of the famous poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.

Early life

He was born in a Sayed family in Matiari, presently in Eastern Sindh. Since he spent most of his life in Bulri, a village in the Tando Muhammad Khan, the word Bulri is often appended to his name. As his father died when he was young, he was brought up by his mother and elder brother Sayed Jalal. From childhood he took a keen interest in matters related to God and spirituality and often didn't pay attention to the lessons taught in school and instead spent his time immersed in thoughts of God. He often went to mystical gatherings in his village where Sufi songs accompanied by rural music were sung. This affected him so much, that little by little he started to compose his own Sufi songs.

When he was of age, Shah Abdul Karim married as per the wish of his elder brother, although he himself thought that marriage might hinder his path towards God. He met a Sufi in his local mosque named Sultan Ibrahim and impressed by him became his disciple. After the death of his elder brother, to take care of his family, he became a laborer as per the advice of Sultan Ibrahim. After Sultan Ibrahim left for performing Hajj, Shah Abdul Karim came in close contact with another mystic named Makhdum Nuh and came under his tutelage. The Makhdum's insistence of formal observance of the Shariat (Islamic law) helped temper the growing mystic fervor of Shah Abdul Karim (which may have gone out of control at this stage).

Shah Abdul Karim imposed a very stringent discipline on himself which few people around him knew of. He used to work in the day with interludes for prayer. In the night, he used to walk around the locality filling any earthen pots he found empty. As he grew older he wrote many spiritual poems in Sindhi and used them as a device to express his love for the Divine. During his old age, he was highly respected by the people and had a number of disciples.

His poetry and malfuzat appeared for the first time in Bayan-al-Arifin, a Persian work, written by a disciple he had later in his life named Mir Daryai Tharawi,in 1630, seven years after his death. One of the major poets of Sindhi, Shah Abdul Latif has been called the Chaucher of Sindhi Literature.

Poetry and beliefs

Shah Abdul Latif gave a pantheistic meaning to many Quranic expressions such as,

Shah sang,Separation and union are one and the same, God, the best of proposers, will unite the lover and the loved one. Shah Abdul Latif knew of the works of Ibn Arabi and his doctrine of Wahdat-ul-Wujood and based his life on those principles. He wrote 93 books.

See also


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