Rahman Baba


Abdur Rahmān Mohmand (1632–1706)[ (Pashto: عبدالرحمان بابا‎), or Rahmān Bābā (Pashto: رحمان بابا‎), was a renowned Pashtun Sufi Dervish and poet from Peshawar in the Mughal Empire (modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). He, along with his contemporary Khushal Khan Khattak, is considered one of the most popular poets among the Pashtuns in Pakistan and Afghanistan.His poetry expresses a peaceful mystical side of local culture which is becoming increasingly threatened by less tolerant interpretations of Islam
Rahman Baba was a Mohmand sub-tribe of Ghoryakhel Pashtun, a group of people who migrated from the Hindu Kush mountains to the Peshawar valley, between 13th to 16th century. He grew up in a small pocket of Mohmand settlers on the outskirts of Peshawar.Rahman apparently lived peacefully in the area, and never mentions his involvement in the fierce intertribal conflicts of his day.
Opinion is divided about Rahman’s family background. Several commentators are convinced that his family was village Malik (chieftains).However, R ahman Baba was more likely to have been a simple, though learned man. As he himself claimed: “Though the wealthy drink water from a golden cup, I prefer this clay bowl of mine.”[
Abdur Rahman Baba died in 1715 CE, and his tomb is housed in a large domed shrine, or mazar, on the southern outskirts of Peshawar (Ring Road Hazar Khwani). The site of his grave is a popular place for poets and mystics to collect to recite his popular poetry. In April each year, there is a larger gathering to celebrate his anniversary
Religious background
Rahman Baba was an ascetic but various unfounded theories have been made about who Rahman’s guide may have been, and to which Sufi order he was attached. Sabir suggests that Rahman had a Naqshbandi tariqa initiation in Kohat, as well as training from the sons of Pir Baba[c while Schimmel and Saad Ahmed Baksh assign Rahman to the Chishti order.[ Aqab, himself of the Qadiriyyah order, claims Rahman was a Qadiri. Some people claims that he (Rahman Baba) was a pure Hanafi
Published work
A collection of Rahman’s poetry, called the Dīwān (“anthology”) of Rahman Baba, contains 343 poems, most of which are written in his native Pashto. The Dīwān of Rahman Baba was in wide circulation by 1728. There are over 25 original hand-written manuscripts of the Dīwān scattered in various libraries worldwide, including ten in the Pashto Academy in Peshawar, four in the British Library, three in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, as well as copies in the John Rylands Library in Manchester, the Bodleian Library in Oxford and the University Library Aligath. The first printed version was collected by the Anglican Missionary T.P. Hughes and printed in Lahore in 1877. It is this version which remains the most commonly used to this day.
Reputation
Rahman Baba has received a large amount of praise. His work is regarded by many Pashtuns to be far more than poetry and next only to the Quran.”
Selected verses from Rahman Baba’s Diwan translated into English rhyme
About 111 verses were translated into English Rhyme and published by Arbab Hidayatullah, himself a Ghoryakhel Mohmand, in 2009. The original Pashto version has been transliterated into the Roman alphabet in order to make it easier to read for those who can not read the Pashto alphabet. This translation, with a tilt to the romantic side of Rahman Baba’s poetry, has been very well received