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Hz Mian sahib was a scholar, sufi and poet of the nineteenth century (C 1830-1907) who is renowned for being the author of the Punjabi masnavi Saif ul-Malook. Biographical details can be found here and there is an interesting piece here.

Hz Mian sahib belonged to the Qadiri-Hujrawi line of Sufis and is revered to this day by those who know him directly (i.e. setting aside authorship of Saif ul-Malook) as a great gnostic and master. His grave is a place of frequent visitation and tremendous baraka and there are frequent reports by spiritually inclined people of encountering his ruhaniyya (spiritual form) and receiving guidance and blessings.

As with other masters he chose poetry as a medium to convey his teachings on the spiritual path and the higher realities in his native tongue thereby allowing access to the illiterate who could hear the verses and memorize them directly. This has been the way of the sufis throughout history and especially in the non-Arab areas. Literature for them is just a means of conveying the message and it has to reach out to the greatest number possible in a way that appeals to them. It is in this context that the Saif ul-Malook should be placed. To remove any doubt about the intention one has only to look at the title page of the original book: It is described there as “an epistle on tasawwuf and sulook called Safar ul-Ishq ( The Journey of Love) i.e. the tale of Saif ul-Malook and Badi’ ul-Jamal”. Today most people only remember it by the name of its main character: Saif ul-Malook.

The Saif ul-Malook is in the masnavi form and is outwardly a tale of the love of a prince named Saif ul-Malook for the fairy Badi’ ul-Jamal. All the trials and tribulations that have to be undergone before the two lovers can achieve union are described in detail. In reality though, it is an in depth description of the spiritual path, its way stations and its pitfalls and obstacles. Along the way Mian sahib offers jewels of gnosis for those that can recognize them as such. It is a truly amazing tale!

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