He was born on the 29th Sha’ban in 569 A.H. (About 1179 AD) in Khotwal, a village near Lahore (Pakistan). His father, Maulana Kamal-ud-din, belonged to the royal family of Kabul. Farrukh Adil shah, a famous ruler of the dynasty, ruled over Kabul with dignity for a long time. Maulana Kamal-ud-din was a descendant of Umar Farooq (The 2nd Caliph) and had twenty of his ancestors in between. When Chingez Khan directed his attention towards Kabul, he left the place and came to Punjab and finally settled down in the village of Kotwal of Multan. His mother, Qarsam Khatun, was the daughter of a renowned learned man.
One day, during the pregnancy of his mother, she wanted to pluck some plums from her neighbour’s tree without his permission, but the child in her womb (Hazrat Baba Farid) created a severe pain in her stomach that forced her to abandon the idea of plucking. After a few years after Hazrat Baba Farid’s birth, his mother lovingly expressed: “My dear son, during your confinement I never ate anything which was unlawful.” Hazrat Baba Farid, however, smiled and said, “But, my dear mother, you wanted to pluck some plums from our neighbour’s tree without his permission when I had created a severe pain in your stomach which saved you from this unlawful act.”
He was born on the 29th Shabaan, as the night was cloudy, people did not know whether Ramadan had begun or not. But a dervish told them that a wali (God’s friend) had been born who would be the Qutub (spiritual monarch) of his time, and that they must look to the child for their answer. Sure enough, the one-day old Baba Farid did not touch his mother’s milk after “sehri”, indicating to all that Ramadaan had in fact begun.
After he had completed his early religious education at the age of 7 in Khotwal, his mother sent him for higher education to Multan (Pakistan). Here he stayed in a Masjid (mosque) where he learnt the Holy Qur’an by heart and studied Hadith,
Fiqh, Philosophy and Logic under the tutorship of Maulana Minhajuddin. Once during his early ages, Baba Farid went to Hazrat Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti for Bay’t (Oath of allegiance), as Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti was one of the greatest Sufi of that time. When young Baba Farid reached to him, Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti was sitting under a withered tree by supporting his back by that. Baba Farid thought, Alas! A great Sufi is sitting with the support of a withered tree! Baba Farid looked at the tree, the tree turned greeny with green leaves & fruits. Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti looked at the tree, the tree again became withered as it was before. Baba Farid again made the tree green, and Khwaja Moin made it withered again, and asked Baba Farid: “Have you come here to learn Faqiri (Sufism) or to fight with God? It’s God’s will that, this tree should be withered, but you are making it green. Now go to Qutub-ud-din, he will teach you.”
Since that time, the descendant of Baba Farid have one eye larger than the other one till today.
Upon the instructions of his Shaikh (Spiritual Teacher), he undertook a tour of Islamic countries, for about 18 years from 593 A.H. to 611 A.H. (1196 AD to 1214 AD) he traveled to Baghdad, Jerusalem, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Makka and Madina meeting many great saints and Sufis. He also travelled through Karachi city of Pakistan, where his Chillagah (Place of Spiritual contemplation) is still present in Karachi’s Manghopir area. At that time Karachi was a deserted
place, and the caravans of Hajj (pilgramage) were used to pass through Karachi from India towards Makka. And at that time Karachi was the ideal place of bandits, who always looted the caravans. Sultan Manghopir was the leader of the bandits, he also looted Baba Farid when he was in his way to Makka. But Baba Farid’s divine sight completely changed him. He left his looting habbit, and became a desciple of Baba Farid, and practiced Sufism. Today his shrine is well known in Pakistan as “Sakhi Sultan Manghopir”. After the demise of Hazrat Khwaja Qutub-ud-din, Baba Farid became his spiritual successor.
When Baba Farid visited Madina, he was spiritually commanded by the Holy Prophet to visit Baghdad and meet Hazrat Abdul Wahab, son of Hazrat Ghaus-al-Azam Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. He was to receive some sacred relics from him. Accordingly, when he reached Baghdad, he received a box from Hazrat Abdul Wahab, which contained the following holy relics: Two flag-poles which were used by the Holy Prophet in some of the battles fought by him; one wooden bowl in which the Prophet used to eat from; one pair of scissors and one turban which was used by the holy Prophet. Because of political upheavals in Delhi, he was obliged to shift the centre of the Chishtiya mission from Delhi to “Pak-Pattan”. The Khanqah (Spiritual school) of Baba Farid, with his patronage, became a great university of “moral and spiritual training.” Thousands of aspirants, scholars, dervishes and Sufis reaped benefit from this spiritual university. Baba Farid reached the pinnacle of spiritual glory through extremely hard Mujahidas (spiritual striving) to gain mastery over the Nafs.
Once Hazrat Khwaja Qutub-ud-din ordered Hazrat Baba Farid to perform the “Chilla-e-Maakoos” for 40 days. This chilla was seldom undertaken by Sufis and was one of the most difficult tests of Baba Farid’s faith and courage. It was to be performed in a well by hanging himself in a reverse or headlong position with his feet tied up by a rope to a sturdy branch of a treetop. Once, due to utter weakness, Baba Farid helped himself to walk with the aid of a staff. But after a few steps, the colour of his face suddenly became purple, as if he was under heavy punishment. He threw away the staff. When Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin, who was escorting him, enquired the reason for this, Baba Farid replied: “I wanted to take help of the staff, but Allah’s Displeasure frowned upon me for depending on other’s help instead of His. I, therefore, threw away the staff and felt highly ashamed of this weakness in my faith in Rabb (God), the
He fasted throughout his life and maintained his nightly prayers and devotions. Fear of Allah always dominated him. He was a staunch devotee of The Holy Prophet Muhammad, and dedicated his entire life to the veneration of the beloved Prophet’s immortal glory. At the mention of the Holy Prophet’s character he would often weep out of his love and devotion. Baba Farid also wrote devoted Sufi poetry in Punjabi language.
Once Baba Farid was passing through a jungle. He became thirsty & looked for water, but there was no water around. At last he saw a well but there was neither bucket nor rope to draw water. This dismayed him and he sat there. A short while later a herd of deer’s appeared at the well. The well water rose upto the brim of the well. The deer drank to their fill. But when Baba Farid reached it the water lowered. He said complaining to God: “Am I inferior to the deer that water came up for them but for me it went down?” He heard the answer: “The deer depended upon Me, but you trusted the bucket and rope. What to complain for now!” Baba Farid realized his mistake and felt ashamed. On the 5th of Muharram, 1265 AD during the Isha prayer (night prayer) while in the act of Sajdah (Bowing God), he uttered “Ya-Hayyu Ya-Qayyum” (O Self-Subsisting, O Eternal — two names of God) and with these words on his lips his soul disappeared into the eternal bliss of his beloved Allah.
An old woman that was one of the devotees of the Saint presented a piece of cloth for the “kaffan” (shroud) of Hazrat Baba Farid. She implored: “I have not spun even a single thread of this cloth without having “Wudhu” (purification). I had prepared it for my own coffin but if it is accepted for the kaffan of this great Saint, I feel confident, Allah would be pleased with to pardon my sins and grant me salvation.” Hazrat Baba Farid’s son accepted this cloth as the Kaffan. His Mazar (shrine) is in Pak-Pattan, Pakistan. Hazrat Sabir Kaleri, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya and Hazrat Jamaluddin Hanswi are among his favourite Murids (desciples). It is generally recognized that he had three wives and many children. Baba Farid was indeed one of the most brilliant stars of the Chishtiyya Silsila and is held in high esteem by one and all.