TOMB OF SHAH DANA SHAHEED
MUHALLAH KAMANRAN INSIDE DELHI GATE
PUNJAB (PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT).
PRESENT: TOMB – mosque and shrine.
Period / Date
Folk stories and popular beliefs apart, very little is known about the life of the saint. Historians confirm that his real name was Sheikh Sa’adud Din bin Naseerud Din, that he belonged to a Mughal Barlas family and that he was born in a place called Khalj. But he is also known by several popular names such as Shah Dana Shaheed, Shadna Shaheed, Shad Shaheed and Shadi Shaheed. Date of his birth is not known. He was a disciple of Hazrat Bahaul Huq Zakriya and a confident companion of his son Hazrat Sadrud Din Arif to whom he is said to have served as servant. But some scholars deny this position. Similarly, his position being a sipahsalar of a Muslim army is also disputed. He was killed during one of the invasions of Multan by Mongols in the year 669AH/ 1270 AD and was buried in Multan. Like the life of the Saint, nothing is known as to who built the tomb on his grave and when. The story of a prince having built it has no credibility. But as the tomb is a conscious attempt of copying the essential features of the tomb of Bahahul Huq Zakriya; the date of its construction may be placed somewhere in the last quarter of the 13th century i.e. close to the date of its progenitor. Whatever the reasons, the building appears to have been left unfinished soon after the structural work was completed. There is no proof, internal or external, to show that if ever the building was embellished with any kind of decoration. Towards the close of the 20th century, there were only some signs of plain plaster on the exterior. There has never been recorded any evidence of application of glazed tiles or nakashi (painting) – the most common mode of decorating buildings in Multan even till today. Present surface plaster hardly dates back to 1980’s when only the exterior of the dome was plastered. However, a fresh research may reveal some hidden traces of original decorations, both on the inner and outer sides of the tomb.
Description / Main Features
This building is a typical representation of Multani tomb architecture having a square chamber with octagonal second storey and the dome. It has a low dome adorned with finial with heavy cylindrical base. Four cardinal sides in the octagonal storey have arched windows set in rectangular frames. In front is a veranda with three openings which are superimposed by ventilators. The building currently is completely white washed.
Access / Environs
Access is through the narrow streets. The tomb is set in a thickly built and populated area; however once within the site there is an open area which is quite serene.
The structure has several accumulated coats of whitewash but dome and its walls show marks of dripping of mud mortar. The old structure has been plastered and white washed from outside. Out of front three arches, one is supported by a middle column due to structural weakness of the arch. The Tomb is located within the domed structure at the back of this verandah.
With the exception of structure, nothing original in the form of architectural decorations now remain. Present surface plaster hardly dates back to 1980’s when only the exterior of the dome was plastered. The building has been heavily plastered and re-plastered and repeatedly white washed. It will be laborious task to scrap the layer upon layer of plaster to reveal what lay underneath in the form of glazed tiles and naqashi painting, if any. However, fresh research may reveal some hidden traces of original decoration, both on the inner and outer sides of the tomb.
It seems that due to negligence and remissness of the authorities the original cladding of the tomb has been completely lost. An investigation is therefore recommended to find out the original finish and decoration.
Cunningham 131; Nazir 53; Huq 158; Aulia-i-Multan 235-36; Faridi, Tarikh-i-Multan 188;.Khan 199-205; Wasti 312-14, 430; Gazetteer 1926, 285-86.