Two Poems by Rehman Baba

Posted on January 24, 2008
Filed Under >Aadil Shah, People, Poetry
Total Views: 98025

Aadil Shah

Abdur-Rehman (1650 – 1715 A.D) widely known as Rehman Baba was a great Pushtu Sufi poet who is regarded as the most read and quoted Pushtu poet of the larger belt of Afghanistan and the North Western Frontier Province of Pakistan. There isn’t much known about his life due to the lack of eyewitness accounts yet a few legends portray him to be a reclusive poet, singing his poems near the Bara River while strumming a Rubab.

His poetry shows him to be a poet who had full command on fiqah (jurisprudence) and tasawwuf (Sufism). A powerful Sufi touch in his poetry notwithstanding, he was not inclined to a particular order of Sufism and it is more likely that Rehman Baba was a free soul, with an individualistic practice of Sufism similar to that of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai in Sindh. Thus he says:

“On the path which I travel to see my love, make holy Khizer and Ilyas my guides”

His tomb is at Hazarkhwani, in the suburbs of Peshawar.

Why I’m not dying
Why I’m not dying,
Of the sorrow of separation,
Why I’m not dying,
Of this mourning intense.
Why I’m not dying,
Of the cruelty of this age,
Which snatches a lover from the lover.
Why I’m not dying
Of witnessing these mornings,
Which laugh at my sobs every rising day.
Why I’m not dying
Without my lover,
For it is a death, not to stare in the lover’s eyes.
Why I’m not dying,
To see these unfaithful drops of dew,
That leave the flower upon seeing a slight warmth.
Why I’m not dying,
Of this deadly miserable life,
That I’m carrying with myself,
O’Rehman from so long.


Such have your sorrows overpowered me,
That I’ve lost every place in and out.My sobs have rendered people restless,
Like fire of a burning dry wood engulfing the moistured.In your pain, I’m weeping like a candle,
But you are smiling at me like a bright morn.

My heart’s hanging in your path,
Like your black hair dangling in front of your face.

Tis’ a norm for all the sorrows to be crushed under your feet,
When you are burdened with that single grief.

They come towards you, leaving me behind,
All those who advisingly forbade me from your path.

Such is the effect of yours over the face of Rehman,
Like a flame of fire over a thinly dry stalk.

Credits: This article was earlier posted at Pak Tea House.

23 responses to “Two Poems by Rehman Baba”

  1. Shuja Ahmad says:

    He is one and only my favorite poet.

  2. hats off for the writer who has taken down some lines about one of the greatest poet of pashtu language. he was ,is and will be great.may the God Almighty give us the virtue to toe the line shown by Rehman baba

  3. Jalal HB says:

    Thank you for bringing to forth the beautiful litereary work of otherwise obscured Rehman Baba – this is my first exposure to his work (how naive of me) and I felt saddended for not having known his work before. I will add a section on Rehman Baba in my site on Pakistan soon ( to pay tribute to this great poet.

    I also felt saddened for the damage to his tomb by the militants – who know nothing except destruction and unrest in the country.

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