Mausoleum of Bahauddin Zakariya

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The city of Multan in Pakistan, known as the city of Sufis or mystics, is where the mausoleum of the great Sufi saint, Bahauddin Zakariya, can be found.  Standing in the centre of the city, within the north-eastern corner of the old Fort, the shrine was built in 1263 and is visible for miles, dominating the skyline of Multan.

Bahauddin Zakariya (the ornament of the Faith), also known as Bahawal Haq, was born in 1170 AD in Kot Kehror, a town near Multan. Although his father died when he was a child, he gained religious teachings from Sheikh Shahabuddin Suhrawardy in Baghdad and became his Khalifa, or spiritual successor after only 17 days. For many years, Zakariya travelled far and wide preaching about Islam, from Mecca to Jerusalem, before settling in Multan in 1222 AD. Soon, his piety and wisdom spread throughout the country, gaining him infamy along with thousands of followers, particularly since he introduced the Suhrawardiya branch of Sufism to the subcontinent and founded a university in Multan. During the siege of Multan in 1848 AD, the tomb came close to destruction at the hands of the British, but was later repaired by Makhdum Shah Mahmud. Although there is no original inscription on the tomb to show the date of construction or subsequent repairs, it is thought that Zakariya constructed the tomb himself before he passed away in 1267 AD.

The tomb occupies a vast oblong area measuring approximately 260 feet by 203 feet and is enclosed by a brick wall perimeter and two main gates, on the east and west side. The mausoleum itself is a wonderful piece of architecture built with red bricks, decorated with intricate woodwork, with the dome measuring more than 50 feet in diameter and over 100 feet high. The square base is augmented by an octagonal second storey, supporting the dome, with ornate blue tiles and Arabic inscriptions. Besides Zakariya, the tombs of the saint’s descendants can also be found in the mausoleum, including his son, Sadruddin, and the small grave of Nawab Muzaffar Khan, who died fighting the Sikhs in 1818 AD.

Usually, there are hundreds of devotees to be found at any time along with many beggars making entry to the tomb difficult.

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