Syed Mohammad Ismail Baba
Syed Mohammad Ismail Baba

PESHAWAR: Noted spiritual guide and Pashto poet Syed Mohammad Ismail Baba was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard in Akbarpura village the other day, says a press statement issued from Pashto department, Islamia College University, here on Monday.

A large number of his disciples, notables and local literati attended his funeral.

He left behind a widow, Syeda Zakira Bibi, and five sons -- Syed Zainul Abideen, Attaur Rahman Syed, Mohammad Ilyas Syed, Mohammad Mashhood and Mustafeezur Rahman

Ismail Baba had been bedridden since very long and of late was on his visit to Syed Ali Tirmizi aka Pir Baba where after staying for a night at the shrine breathed his last on way to his village Akbarpura in Nowshera district. He was 60.

Literary circles, disciples and fans termed the demise of Ismail Baba aka Niharwala Badshah Sahib a great loss to Pashto mystic literature.

Prof Abaseen Yousafzai, head of Pashto department at ICU, said in the statement that Syed Mohammad Ismail Baba was not only a great Sufi but also a noted Pashto poet, who had thousands of followers.

Being a soft spoken person, he had never indulged in sectarian issues and believed in universal brotherhood and interfaith unity. He used to preach love, mutual respect and peace and wanted a society where people prospered and shared with other people everything best they had in their possession and spread spiritualism wherever possible.

According to Prof Yousafzai, the spiritual guide had published three Pashto poetry volumes but later his followers brought out his complete poetic works in two volumes titled ‘Diwan-i-Syed Mohammad Ismail Baba’ in 2015.

He was the spiritual successor of famous Sufi saint Syed Abdul Wahab aka Akhund Panju Baba (1530-1630) and remained a staunch devotee of Pir Baba. Being an avid fan of Sufi music and poetry, he would always be found being surrounded by poets and folksingers, who would love to sing his poetry in the form of Qawwali.

Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2019