Massage of Shah Abdul Latif
Message of Love & Hopes
Shah Abdul latif
Let us come together to the door of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai and pray for
Dignity, Prosperity of Sindh.
Every year intellectuals, journalists, social workers and people from different
walk of life commemorate this day,
Latif’s Message of Love to Mankind
O God, may ever you on Sindh
Bestow abundance rare;
Beloved! All the world let share,
Thy Grace, and fruitful be
(Sur Sarang: Monsoon)
It is not surprising that the man, who has succeeded in landing on the moon with
the help of his scientific, progress, is also the root cause of gross disorder
We have, no doubt, learnt to swim in the sea and fly in the air, but we have not
learnt to live in peace and harmony on this globe, which has been turned into a
village because of speedy means of communications.
In this context, the universal message of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, which
transcends all barriers of time and space, provides and appropriate remedy to
our social and moral ills. The philosophy behind the verses in the
‘Shah-jo-Risalo’ (the message of Shah) is so simple that it can be commonly
understood by peasants and scholars alike. Gifted with command over the niceties
of language and many other qualities including the music of alliteration, keen
observation of varying human nature and social customs with rare beauty of
expression, Shah Latif lays great emphasis on moral reformation by picking up
pieces of popular romantic stories with a touch of mystic thought. Since
individual is the basic unit of a family and family is the basic unit of
society, it is, therefore, essential to reform individuals, which will
ultimately mean reformation of society as a whole.
It is for this purpose; Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai exhorts people in his own
captivating style to liberate themselves from the shackles of arrogance as it is
an obstacle in the way of man who desires to get closer to his creator. Shah
believes that one who bows before the God Almighty and none else and touches his
forehead on earth in prayers gets an opportunity to learn his lesson in humility
and selfless love, five times a day. Shah Latif is of the view that such a
person who tosses away his arrogance and crushed sham notions of dignity under
his feet, will go back to society as a refined person, with qualities of fellow
feelings and love, without any selfish motive.
Another point which he emphasizes is that every person must cleanse his heart of
hypocrisy conceit, hatred, selfishness, jealousy and greed. He is of the view
that if thought processes of a person are distilled of such evils and if he or
she is protected against all such negative influences which convert human beings
into ferocious animals; it will help facilitate his/her positive contribution
towards building up a society, based on feelings of love, sacrifice, piety and
sympathetic attitude towards every human being.
The message of Bhittai, brings to light the ills of ‘inner self’, which can only
be cured through the touch of selfless love and the spirit of sacrifice to serve
fellow human beings. The crux of Latif’s poetry is love combined with humility
(without hypocrisy) which is the ethos of civilized human society. By now, 250
years have passed, but each passing year, the popularity of Shah Latif has been
growing not only in the East but also in the West. If we deeply study the Risalo,
we will note that Shah has sung popular romantic tales relating to ‘Sasui Punnu’,
‘Umer Marui’, Sohni Mehar’, Leela Chanesar’, ‘Noori Jam Tamachi’, etc., to
attract the attention of people and bring home to them the importance of moral
values of the development of individual as well as collective life.
In the story of ‘Sasui Punnu’, Bhittai teaches us to launch a relentless
struggle for the attainment of high moral values despite heavy odds and
obstacles. They story of ‘Umer Marui’, high lights the quality of patriotism and
love for the village folk.
Despite all ideal comforts of life offered by King Umer, who forcibly kidnaps
Marui to his palace; she consider herself like a prisoner, longing to return to
Malir to be with her relatives and her own village people.
Late A.K. Brohi, a great jurist and internationally reputed scholar of Pakistan
in one of his articles described the tale of Umer Marui as the autobiography of
human soul, which has to return to the world hereafter.
The story of Noori Jam Tamachi is a lesson in humility and self denial. Jam is a
king and Noori is fisherwoman, but still she is given more importance than other
beautiful queens of Jam, because of her humility and submissiveness. This is a
message that all human beings must cultivate in themselves, the qualities of
humility and tolerance as against arrogance, selfishness and jealousy so as to
make this world a better place to live in. Shah Latif has compared ‘Abyat’ of
Risalo with ‘Ayat’ i.e. guiding signals or signposts on the pathway to Allah.
In other words it may mean that the understanding of these couplets will take
one closer to the God Almighty, as one will earnestly desire to be close to the
Beloved as far as possible.
A renowned scholar, Dr. Umer Bin Muhammad Daoodpota has divided the Risalo into
the following four categories
According to another scholar Muhammad Yakoob Agha, the poetry of Shah Bhittai
has its roots in the holy Quran and therefore, he has described the following
main features of his poetry;
1. Fear of Allah and obedience to all his commandments
2. Love and reverence for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), who has been
mentioned as the greatest benefactor of mankind.
3. Symbol of sympathy and; mercy for the suffering humanity
4. Humility, forbearance and annihilation of ego, Dignity of human labor
5. Human equality
It will be interesting to know that Latif has vehemently condemned the act of
aggression, which is the main cause of turmoil on this earth today, whether it
is the problem of Kashmir or the issue of Palestine or anywhere else in the
world. However, the main cause of tyranny and turbulence may better be described
in terms of aggression or operation.
The United Nations despite her resources to contain military aggression and
unauthorized occupation of lands have miserably failed due to double standards.
The message of Latif while condemning aggression lays emphasis on the need to
promote human relations based on love and spirit of justice, fellow feelings and
decimation of ego. His beings with the reformation of individual and goes to the
reformation of human society as a whole. There is a lesson for educationalist
teachers as well as parents in Latif’s poetry, who are required to concentrate
on the character building of their students/children.
The best tribute to Shah Latif will be to understand and implement his message
not only for the reformation of individual life but also for a healthy change in
all spheres of society so that the message of love and humanity combined with
devotion and righteousness is translated into reality for the greater good of
“Whether hot or cold, march on,
there is no time to rest”
Translation of few verses from Shah Jo Risalo, here as under, may be found
containing inspiring thoughts, relevant to all times and climes.
“Seekers served keep reporting
There be no other God save him”.
“Though hundred times gallows be your lot,
Give not up the path of love for the lord,
Love’s secret from its original is to be sought”.
“Divine love’s saying are not bitter, but sweet
There is nothing bitter, if wisely perceived”.
“Killing equates with care,
Such always is beloved’s path,
The surgeon who incised your wound,
Is the same who is your soul’s solace”.
“Those who melted ore and made it steel,
Their worth blacksmith alone can feel”.
“When sufi purged his inner self
Only then, while alive, God’s vision be held”.
“Be humbly and gentle, anger brings sorrows and confusion,
True wisdom you will find, if you are firm in this decision”.
“Sit not besides those who increase your suffering,
Ignore the material gain, avoid such a gathering”.
“Sit close to those who lessen your pain,
Build your hut beside them and invest your time”.
“Work on the broken wheel, till you get the new one,
To vicious laziness accustom not yourself”.
“Those who love in their hearts, who spun coarse yarn,
Unweighed, the connoisseurs accepted their yarn”.