Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, one of the great Sufi poets of the world calls for struggle, leaving the comfort zone to achieve the goals
As we explore the history of Sindh, we come to know that we are blessed with a long list of great people who served the motherland and its people and made the history, a golden past. These people served in their own ways. Such heroes include warriors, high caliber intellectuals, painters, religious scholars, musician, poets and leaders etc.
One of these is a most remarkable name – Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, who was different in his nature essence, but was a kind of institutions in himself. He is one of the greatest poets, intellectuals, musicians and mystics of South Asia. There is no end and limits to Bhittai’s admirers, followers and fans. Every Sindhi has the saint’s verses in his memory and can aptly use it in daily business.
The great saint poet Shah Abdul Latif (Nov. 18, 689 to December 21, 1752), lovingly called Lal latif by his devotees, was born at Hala Haveli, a small village of Sindh to Shah Habib. When Shah Latif grew up he became scholar of Arabic and Persian. Shah Sahib received his early education from a Madrasa run by Akhund Noor Muhammad. Mostly, it is said that Shah Sahib was self-educated. Although he received scanty formal education, the Risalo (Collection of his poetry) gives us an ample proof of the fact that he was well versed with Arabic and Persian.
One of the pioneers of Sufi poetry, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai is undoubtedly considered among the greatest poets and intellectuals the subcontinent has ever produced. His captivating narrative speak of love, equality, struggle and chivalry among many other themes.
We find in his verses a deeper relationship with God, patriotism, sense of courage and sacrifice and empowering the women. The whole poetry of Shah Sahib gives us the message of love, peace, courage as well as quest. His poetry encourages us to search and differentiate between good and bad. Shah Latif says:
“O’ people! Don’t sleep long, now you have time and there is energy in your bones, pick the courage and do something for your future, as when the time passes, you will be crying then.”
In Shah’s poetry there is always a strong sense of hope and optimism. Come what may, one should never be hopeless. This bright side of life is the keynote of Bhittai’s poetry. Life is full of tragedies but Bhittai has never given darker side. He encourages that be ready for upcoming sorrows. Theme of his poetry is to struggle and search. According to Shah Sahib, a man should always be ready to face sorrows and difficulties. It’s only the struggle that get him fulfill his dreams, reach destination and achieve the goal. These lines are taken from the Sur Sussui:
Do not relax, sacrifice thyself,
Punhu (The beloved) will be yours,
If you die, before the death.
Bhittai says ‘so long you are alive, you must search your love. Punhu, the beloved, will be yours. But if you look at this verse, with another perspective, it means ‘if you want success in achieving your goal, you must not take rest.
At another place Shah Sahib says in Sur Khhahori that leave your comfort zone and wake up from deep sleeping; do something for your goal.
Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, one of the greatest poets of the world, through his verses explains the philosophical aspects in his own way – for instance what is wrong? What is right?
He also calls for continuous struggle despite whatever physical or emotional setbacks one receives in life. These struggles inevitably shape an individual’s personality and outlook of life. No doubt, Bhitta is the poet of courage.
Shafqatullah Soomro is student of BS-English at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, Nawabshah Sindh