The Saints and Shrines of Multan

Posted on March 26, 2010
Filed Under >Roshan Malik, Architecture, Culture & Heritage, Religion, Travel
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Roshan Malik

Multan is one of the ancient towns in Pakistan. Beside its historical importance in the geo politics of Subcontinent, the city has been the hub of great sufis and saints who were the harbingers of Islamic teachings.

Bahauddin Zakariya ShrineShah Rukn Alam Shrine

Shah Shams Sabzwari ShrineShah Gardez Shrine

Just as Bahawalpur’s architecture is defined by its political heritage, Multan’s architecture is defined by its religious heritage. Multan is commonly described as the city of saints and shrines. Within the radius of twenty five miles, one finds hundreds of Mausoleums of those saints who propagated Islam in subcontinent with a message of love, peace, fraternity and tolerance and religious harmony.

Sometime back ATP carried a post on the Gateways of Multan. Today, I want to share this pictorial about the Multan’s saints and shrines.

Sheikh Bahauddin Zakariya commonly known as Bahawal Haq was born in 1170 in Layyah. He went to Iran and received religious education from Sheikh Shahab-ud-Din Suhrawardy in Baghdad. After performing Hajj, and visited Jerusalem, Syria, Baghdad. On his return to subcontinent he settled in Multan in 1222 AD and preached his teachings.

His Mausoleum is visited by thousands of people and has great number of followers in Southern Punjab and Sind. Many of his followers when arrive Multan, they put off their shoes as a gesture of respect to this sacred land (Multan Sharif).Shah Rukn-e-Alam was grandson of Bahawal Haq and continued the message of grandfather to the public at large. Thousands of people accepted Islam due to his inspirational teachings. He died at the age of 88 and was buried in the lofty dome built by Ghias-u-Din Tughlaq for himself.
Beside religious importance of the Mausoleum (pictures above), its archeological value cannot be undermined. It is one of the iconic building in Multan with loft dome that stands 100 feet high from the ground. The use of red bricks with wooden beams is ornamented with blue and white ceramic tiles (Multani tiles) brings a majestic beauty in the building.The descendents of this family have always been influential in government and politics. Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi is currently the custodian of this Mausoleum.

Shah Shams Sabzwari, also known as Shah Shams Tebrez, came to Multan in thirteenth century and preached his teaching among the inhabitants of the area. He died in 1276.

Many miracles are associated with his personality. Lot of people comes to this shrine (picture on the left) to pay homage.

Musa Pak Shaheed, was originally from Uch Sharif and descendant of Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jillani. He died in eleventh century and is buried inside the wall city called Pak Gate. The famous Gillani family is the descendant of Hazrat Musa Pak Shaheed.

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Yousaf Shah Gardezi came to Multan in 1060 and preached his teachings to his disciples. He died in 1088 AD and was buried inside Bohar Gate. He has rectangular Mauseleum with white and blue tiles. His descendant family is still very influential in the area.

Following are some of the famous shrines in Multan.

  • Shrine-Bibi Pak Daman
  • Shrine-Hameed-ud-Din Hakim
  • Shrine-Qutab-al-qutaab “Moj Dariya”
  • Shrine-Syed Pir Sakhi Shah Hassan Parwana
  • Shrine-Qazi Qutab-ud-Din Kashani
  • Shrine-Syed Hasan Khanjzee
  • Shrine-Hazrat Shah Dana Shaheed
  • Shrine-Abu Hassan Hafiz Jamal-ud-din “Musa Pak Shaheed”
  • Shrine-Hazrat Shah Kamal Qadari
  • Shrine-Hafiz Muhammad Jamal Chisti Nazami
  • Shrine-Pir Chup Wardi Waly
  • Shrine-Mollana Hamid Ali Khan Naqshbandi
  • Shrine-Allama Syed Ahmad Saeed Kazmi
  • Shrine-Hazrat Khawaja Awais Khagga
  • Shrine-Pir Syed Wali Muhammad Shah(Chadar Wali Sarkar)
  • Shrine-Hazrat Gul Shah

Roshan Malik is a development practitioner; his earlier posts at ATP include one on the architecture of Bahawalpur. All pictures except those of the shrine of Shah Shams Sabzwari are by the author.

43 Comments on “The Saints and Shrines of Multan”

  1. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    April 6th, 2007 11:17 am

    Mr. Roshan Malik: Thank you for this interesting post. Just like your earlier post on ‘Architecture of Bahawalpur’, this post gives us glimpses of not only the religious but also the architectural aspect of these wonderful historic buildings. May be one day you will give us an exclusive survey of ‘Architecture of Multan’. From your pictures it appears that there are three domed structures here. Two white domed ones belonging to Shaikh Baha-ud-Din and his grandson Shah Rukn-e-Alam respectively and one green domed one belonging to Shah Shams Sabzawari-Tebrez. The forth structure is a beautiful rectangular building without a dome. All buildings appear to be well preserved and maintained. It is ironic that our people are capable of preserving religious-historic structures and not the non-religious-historic structures. It is a reflection on our social values. We are willing to go for an extra mile for religious and spiritual reasons but not for purely historical and architectural reasons. Case in point the relative conditions of the Mausoleums of Emperor Jahangir and others in Lahore and that of Hazrat Gung Buksh for example. Anyhow, thank you again for this lovely treat. Keep them coming please.

  2. Farrukh says:
    April 6th, 2007 1:07 pm

    Very informative. Feel bad again for not knowing my own country as well as I should.

    The domes of teh shrines of Bahauddin Zakariya and Shah Rukne Alam are very very similar. Was that on purpose because they are grandfather-grandson?

  3. Bhindigosht says:
    April 6th, 2007 4:23 pm

    Thanks Roshan for an informative post. Keep them coming.

  4. Owais Mughal says:
    April 6th, 2007 4:41 pm

    Few years ago, Shah Rukn-e-Alam’s mausoleum also received Aga Khan architecture award.

    I visited Shah Rukn-e-Alam’s mazaar in summer of 1984. there was a local pir sahib sitting in the center of the mausoleum. He and his disciples were holding some sort of court with lots of people around them. Then the ‘pir’ started distributing one ‘rewRi’ (don’t know English word for this) each to every participant. On my turn I asked for more b/c I liked sweet ‘rewRi’ but was told everyone gets one b/c they’ve been read upon with holy verses. Whatever that means. I think I said aloud ‘andha baaNTay rewRiaaN’ and was ushered out.

    We had just gone there to do ‘fateha’ but got into this whole, pir and rewRi episode. That is why I can still remember the whole incident :)

  5. Roshan says:
    April 6th, 2007 5:10 pm

    Pervaiz Munir Alvi Sb,
    These are not only well maintained but still their descendants are into the corridors of power after being elected by the people of the area. And quite interestingly in most cases their opponents are also Pirs like the Faisal Saleh vs Abida Hussain, Shah Mehmood Qureshi vs Javed Hashmi and so on so forth…
    Following are some MNAs from South Punjab who are associated with one or the other saint.
    Makhdoom Syed Faisal Salah Hayat- Jhang (Shah Jewana)
    Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan -Jhang (Sultan Bahoo)
    Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Hussain Qureshi -Multan (B Zakariya)
    Syed Asad Murtaza Gillani- Multan (Moosa Pak)
    Mukhdoom Dewan Syed Jaffer Hussain Bukhari- Multan (Jalalpur Pirwala)
    Khawaja Sheraz Mahmood- D.G.Khan (Taunsa Sharif)
    Makhdoomzadaza Basit Bokhari -Muzaffargarh (Kandh Sharif)
    Makhdoomzada Syed Ali Hassan Gillani -Bahawalpur (Uch Sharif)
    Syed Tasneem Nawaz Gardezi -Bahawalpur
    Makhdoom Syed Ahmad Alam Anwar- Rahim Yar Khan (Kandh Sharif)

  6. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    April 6th, 2007 5:10 pm

    Owais: Your “pir and rewRi episode” reminds me of Oliver Twist when he says to Mr. Bumble (or some thing like that), “More Sir, may I have some more soup, Sir”. He is shouted back and the chorus breaks out, “Oliver, Oliver. Never have seen such a boy before”.

  7. king_faisal says:
    April 6th, 2007 5:26 pm

    relating to this, following is a youtube performance by an artist who would be at home on these shrines. his name is sain zahoor and i would urge people to give this a listen if they have not heard him before. also i heard another version of this song which was even better becuse it did not have bansri which tends to dilutes sain zahoor’s amazing voice.

  8. Allah Vasaya says:
    April 6th, 2007 11:08 pm

    Nice song by Sain Zahoor, I wonder where he is performing, does not seem like a Pakistani venue.

    I also have an interesting anecdote to share, please bare with me. Long time ago I went to Multan (from my moms side I am a Multani!) and visited the shrine of Bahauddin Zikriya. I was offering fatiha close to the grave of the Saint and notice this guy looking for something in every nook and crany of the place as if he had lost something valuable. Then he reached behind the donations chest and pulled out a “JhaRoo” (a broom for cleaning the floor) and started rubbing it on his whole body and kissed it. I was looking at him in amazement, and he probably thought I wanted to wash my sins away with that Jharoo as well and proceeded to rub it on me too!, I pushed him away and told him to stop, in a classic saraiki accent he said “Dafa thii, main tenu tabarak piya dena thay toon mekooN dhakay piya denaiN” I smiled at his simplicity and left.

  9. MQ says:
    April 6th, 2007 11:55 pm


    very informative post. I spent almost a year in Multan but didn’t know as much about all these shrines. Perhaps I was not too keen about receiving “rewRees” (Mughal) or the “jharroo treatment” (Allah Vasaya).

  10. pindiwalla says:
    April 7th, 2007 12:41 am

    I hear the Jamia Hafsa hooligans are going after the CD / DVD and video shop owners now… next are the barbers in Islamabad and of course the doctors that prescribe polio and other life saving vaccines.

  11. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    April 7th, 2007 9:45 am

    Mr. Roshan Malik: Your list of the Members of the National Assembly (MNA) connected with Shrines is very interesting. I suppose one could also compile lists of members of Senate, Provincial Assemblies, Cabinet Ministers, Provincial Governors, Secretaries and Ambassadors and so forth and so on connected with these major Shrines in Pakistan. For these powerful “Shrine Families”, these Shrines and the Land that goes with it is a family business. Just like the Non-Shrine land lords, it is in the interest of these families to keep the masses as ignorants and illiterates. Let the “broom” bless them for ever.

  12. Samdani says:
    April 7th, 2007 10:55 am

    I wonder what these saints who first brought Islam to this region woudl be thinking today about the people who have highjacked their religion, in Islamabad with Lal Masjid and elsewhere.

  13. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    April 7th, 2007 11:51 am


    Wow! That takes the cake. He must be a very important person.

  14. tina says:
    April 8th, 2007 2:17 am

    Interesting story about Multan–

    I was visiting Multan and I passed a small jewelry shop in which I saw a pretty small chandi kohl bottle in the shape of a fish, so I went in.

    The shop owner weighed the item and named a price that was actually a bit lower than its value as per the weight of silver, so I asked him why and he said, “I want you to have a good experience of Multan and not think that anyone here would try to cheat you”.

    Well in the end I wanted to give him more for the bottle but he wouldn’t take it. If he had been practicing reverse psychology, it would have worked wonderfully.

    That really did make Multan stand out in my mind, and of course the shrines. I went to the government small industries shop for the famous Multani tile and they actually had not so many tiles but many other lovely ceramic objects.

    It was a nice visit, friendly and relaxed people. But I went there in July, so it was rather hot……*ironic understatement*

  15. allenazark says:
    April 12th, 2007 9:06 pm

    allah akhbar

  16. S Murtajiz Hussain Gardezi says:
    July 19th, 2007 3:25 am

    Salam & Ya Ali Maded………

    we see your website this very interesting .
    i like your website.
    in the present we see again again

  17. August 30th, 2007 6:16 am

    Please Add My Grandfather Web Site

    Sufi Saint

    Sufi Faqeer Sayed Anwar Ali Shah Bukhari
    Dargah Aliya Jahanpur Sharief District Ghotki Sindh Pakistan
    Sufi is True Life sufi is love sufi is life

  18. September 6th, 2007 1:18 pm
  19. kamran says:
    November 4th, 2007 3:09 pm

    I want to see all shrines in pakistan.Because I love holly people

  20. harunrasid says:
    November 11th, 2007 3:32 am

    as salamo alaykum
    sir i want to visit mazar of gos bahauddin zikriya multan.

  21. abdul rahman says:
    November 20th, 2007 3:18 am

    explain me wahdathul wojood

  22. January 28th, 2008 5:21 pm


    This is UnIqUe plaaaaaaaat faraam about MulTani Olllllllliyaaa ALLAH …….. i love SuFisaaam ……..
    Hussian Gardezi Syed

  23. Daktar says:
    March 23rd, 2008 1:31 am

    So, the news is saying that Yousuf Raza Gillani is the “gaddi nasheen” of Multan. What does that mean? Is he a descendent of any of the above?

  24. mustafa zaidi says:
    March 24th, 2008 3:36 am

    Shah Shams Tabriz was teacher of Molana Roomi famous for his Masnawi and introdoced him to the true love.
    He took his inspiration from the greatest of all Walis ie Mola Ali.
    Shaheed Moosa Pak is the descendant of Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jillani who does not consider Ali amongst his favourites
    Yousaf Raza Gillani is his descendant

  25. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    March 24th, 2008 6:19 am

    Roshan Malik,

    Drama- Bazi hay sab neshinaan-e-Gad’dian,
    Hayra-pheri hay jo under and over Gad’dian

    Kufr-o-Shirk atta hay nazar, nazar mein yun,
    hotay hein Buzurg, nazar Tokri-e-rad’dian

    @Multan Sharif, Gujrat Sharif, Uch Sharif, Golara Sharif
    So many Sharifs, the whole Pakistan seems to be a Shrine,
    only shrines, left behind, have they taught something else??
    Do they serve anything to a muslim in Pakistan ?
    if all these thousands of shrines everywhere in Pakistan only
    “removed the confusion”, on differences between, Hindu,
    Sikh, Muslims, Christians, jews, Jains, Parsis, Marxists
    and seculars, believers and non-believers, then they are no
    more ” HOLY ” , therefore,
    replace them with ONE AND ONLY GOD.


    Wahdat-ul-wajood = ” Wajood ki wahdaniat ”
    Wahdaniat, qualificative of GOD’s Wajood =
    “ONLY GOD” posseses eternal wajood, therefore,
    Wajood is GOD, and GOD is Wajood, The Creator of
    Wajood itself, but only with “unique” wahdat = unity, oneness, without a second & onwards, as you know, countless is the opposite of oneness.

    Further research on
    Muntaha, Inteha, La-mutanahi = Al-Fanah

    Mystics say, He is One as well as Countless (I refrain from
    borrowing Indo-European very limited terminologys ).
    Even Greek mythology could’nt challenge ” oneness ” among
    its waste pantheiesm.

    any short comments ??

  26. qasim says:
    May 14th, 2008 4:17 am

    this is a true effort to promote and flouris the religion info and courage among the people of world.

  27. May 21st, 2008 3:58 am

    I am also descendent of Hazrat shah shams subzwari. I am feeling lucky that I have visited many sufi saints mazaars.I love Sufiaaaaasm because It gives the message of love, peace and to help others.and to deliver the true message of Islam without any change. this website is very usefull for people like me because I am doing research work on sufiaasm. Thanks

  28. faisal ismail khan says:
    May 21st, 2008 5:06 am

    This website is much more better then others. But there is a lack of data about the “SUFI’s”. You must write about the bio-graphy of the “Sufi’s”, on the whole life of sufi.


  29. zaynabsyed says:
    August 26th, 2008 9:03 pm

    wow i was just looking into my roots and even though im not from pakistan my parents are..they once took me 2 shah shamas in multan ..whom are also my ancestors..looking at this now brings back many memories ..x

  30. Shehryar Suhael says:
    September 29th, 2008 5:30 am

    The write-up on the shrines of Multan was very educative, informative and inspiring; the colourful photographs made it more so. Iwould like to see more of such articles on the other cities and towns of Pakistan that have shrines.

  31. Zecchetti says:
    September 29th, 2008 8:31 am

    What’s the difference between visiting one of these shrines and visiting a hindu temple? After all, both involve asking and making dua to other than Allah to have your needs fulfilled!

  32. October 18th, 2008 6:51 am

    I love visiting the sofi shrines. This give us the message of peace and harmony and also to interact with the poor and needy people.

    May 19th, 2009 4:41 am

    BHAKKAR- a gateway to Pakistan for Taliban. The people of BHAKKAR district have elected a chief minister of Punjab and a prime minister of Pakistan in different elections. Although a goup of local leaders sponcer the occasion and personally benefited by this gesture but basically the people of Bhakkar elected these leaders in hope of a better Bhakkar. It

  34. VijayPaliwal says:
    August 29th, 2009 2:01 am

    Don’t you have any Jain Temples in Multan.Before partition Multan was famous for It’s Jain civilization.

  35. Wajiha says:
    March 27th, 2010 12:04 am

    Very informed and nice article

  36. syed says:
    March 27th, 2010 1:43 am

    one of the most beautiful and peaceful place of the world…..


  37. msb1606 says:
    March 27th, 2010 2:19 am

    What about the ancient Prahlad Soum ( Sun) temple which was destroyed in 1992, whose ruined pillars are still existing in the fort.
    And what about the Hindu temple which at present is being used as a madrassa.
    What about the ancient name of Multan being Moolistan ( the original root place) and its reputation for its holy dirt ( multani mati) to cure all skin diseases

  38. Tirmizi says:
    March 27th, 2010 4:08 am

    Very nice post sharing the history and historical places of Multan !!!

    the pictures did bring life to the post …

    Keep up the good work

  39. Zecchetti says:
    March 28th, 2010 6:28 pm

    You know I really find it hard to believe in these kinds of things. I mean, I’ve looked into the teaching Islam, and it actually teaches the opposite of over veneration of humans. The Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa salam cursed those who built houses of worship over the graves of the prophets:

    ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘May Allaah curse the Jews and the Christians, for they have taken the graves of their Prophets as places of worship.’” Sahih Bukhari and Muslim

    This is because worship should be for God alone, and if these intermediaries are brought into the equation, it can, and often does, lead to idolatry.

    For more info:

    I recently read a very good article on DAWN, which is pertinent to this discussion of contemporary sufism in Pakistan:

  40. Hira Mir says:
    March 29th, 2010 3:22 am

    Respect to them but lets not forget as they are many a times hidden locations for the terrorist and they is a lot of drug trafficking that takes place in these areas. Not all of them but some ofcourse and the Government has also taken notice of it. Their traditional heritage has definitely changed.

  41. EverybodysDAD says:
    March 29th, 2010 3:45 am

    thanks Zecchetti

    but no thanks at the same time. People in this part of the world (the decent ones at least) are getting tired of the whole ‘Curse Jews and Christians’ mentality….not least because of the amount of stupidity and needless violence that it brings.

    One day maybe you’ll learn the importance of tolerance and focus on solving the real problems like cowardly leaders who bend backwards to plz foreign powers, fanatics (both the secular AND religious kinds) and whatnot….instead of going after those eEEEEvil shrines…:D

  42. Ammar says:
    March 29th, 2010 6:57 am

    The preaching’s of the Sufi Saints are reflective of Islamic tolerance and diversity, the shrines offer not only peace of mind but also they act as the centers of enlightenment which defy the Taliban propaganda of hate and blood. These preaching are embedded in hearts of the masses in the shape of folk culture. It is pertinent that such messages of harmony are highlighted so that we can trace back to our original path.

  43. AWAIS-UL-MUSTAFA says:
    March 6th, 2011 1:17 am

    Please also add the pictures of other Mausoleums,especially Hazrat Wali Muhammad Shah( Chadar Wali Sarkar).

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