Multan – City of the Saints

Hazrat Bahuddin Zakaria (R.A)

Multan is one of my favourite places to visit. The city is also called ‘Mandinatu-Aulya’, the city of saints. It has tombs, mosques and ‘Khanqahs’ of saints. All these monuments are beautifully decorated and ornamented with blue tiles and mosaic work, and some with the delightful and soothing Kashi and Naqashi work for which Multan is famous. The city has been developed a lot in recent years. Its new residential colonies, Cantonment Market, Askari Park, Holiday Inn Hotel, KFC and Pizza Hut Outlets displays the new lifestyle the city is adopting, however, together they have not at all diminished the grandeur of its history.

The old city exists and the Bazaar exists today. Old Multan was actually a walled city built on a huge ancient mound with six gates set at different places. The six entrances to the old city are; Dault Gate, Bohar Gate and Lahori Gate. Three of these (Dault, Lahori and Pak) Gates have been destroyed while the remaining three are intact. The walled city is densely populated with narrow streets and old style houses.

But the most attractive feature of Multan is the Historical Tombs of great Sufi Saints. Tombs of Hazrat Baha-ud-din Zakariya and the mausoleum of Shah Rukn al-Din Rukn-I- Alam, are known as ‘one the most splendid memorial ever erected in the honour of the dead.

Shrine of Hazrat Shah Rukan e Alam(R.A) - 2Standing at the northeastern side of the old fort which is situated on the high mound, is the tomb of Shikh-al-Kabir, Bahauddin Abu Mohammed Zakariya Al-Qurashi (R.A). The tomb occupies the centre of a vast oblong open area measuring 260 feet N.S by 203 feet E.W and is enclosed by a perimeters brick wall. It has two main gates one on the east and the other on the West Side. It is said that it belongs to the early decades of the 13th century. The Shaikh died on the 7th of Safar (661/21 December 1262).

The mausoleum of Hazrat Shah Rukn-e-Alam (R.A.) is also situated on the fort mound. The Shaikh was the son of Pir Sadar-Al-Din Arif born at Multan on the 9th of Friday Ramazan 649/26 November 1251. He was the grandson and successor of Shaikh Baha-Al-Din Zakariya.

Shaikh Rukn-i-Alam (Rukn-al-Din) died on the 7th of Friday (735/3 Jamadial-Awwal, January 1335). He was buried in the mausoleum of his grandfather, according to his own will. After sometime, however, his coffin was transferred to the present mausoleum. It was constructed, according to a popular belief, by Ghiyas-al-Din Tughluq (1340-1350) during the days of his governorship of Depalpur, but was given by Feruz Shah Tughluq to the descendents of Shah Rukn-I-Alam for the latter’s burial. The mausoleum of Rukn-I-Alam has been admired by not only the travelers but also by the historians and archaeologist who wrote the architectural history of the subcontinent.

The tomb was built on octagon plan, 90 ft in diameter with walls which are 414 ft high and 13.3 ft thick. As the tomb is standing on a high artificial mound, it is visible from about 45 kilometers. Most of its patterns are geometric-created by arranging the glazed tiles-and a living testimony to creative genius of their designers. The building is also decorated with some floral as well as calligraphic patterns.

The city is well connected with the country through National air, road and rail links. Traveling by Daewoo Express Bus Services is most convenient and comfortable. The city is peaceful and the people of Multan are soft spoken. But Multan is also famous for its hot weather so next time you are planning to go to Southern Punjab, do visit this magnificent city. Choose Winter or Spring season as these are the best times for visiting the city.

(Photo Credit: Author)

12 thoughts on “Multan – City of the Saints”

  1. FIVE REGIONAL CITIES should be upgraded with in the provinces in Pakistan. Regional cities of Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP, Gawadar/ Qalat in Balouchistan, Sukkar/ Larkana in Upper Sind, Jehlam/ Rawalpindi and Multan in Punjab province. These regional cities have been ignored by the federal and provincial governments although these cities have their own history, culture and languages.Dera Ismail Khan in south of Pakhtun khwa/MWFP is under seige, MULTAN/ DG Khan in south of Punjab is next target of religious extremists,Sukkar/ Larkana is being rule by criminals, Gawadar/ Qalat is trouble some. The people of these regions have to travel to provincial capitals for every small issue and requirement of the daily life which should be provided in nearby cities. A good number of population travel to big cities for their survival to earn livelihood as the local feudal own majority land and keep the common man as their slaves. Creation of regional government and upgrading of the regional cities will save a lot of money and time of the poor people of these regions. Circuit benches of the High Courts are already working in these areas and only requirement is the additional staff of different departments involved in additional work at the provincial capitals. The concern authorities should immediately consider to upgrade the regional cities. And immediate attention should be given upgrade/build the airports,TV station, civic center, libraries,hospitals, educational institutes and investment opportunities for Pakistanis living abroad and foreign firms to create jobs in the area as majority population in rural Pakistan do not have enough resources to survive. It remind me the condition of pre Islamic revolution of Iran in Shah time when the rural Iran was ignored and the capital Tehran was developed in a way to call it Paris of Middle East with modern life style. Couple of other big cities like Isfahan and Caspian sea was taken care of because of foreign tourists but rural area was ruled by cruel police and intelligence. Then what happen rural population supported the Islamic revolution and moved to Tehran and other big cities later on. The new government after revolution developed, built and upgraded the rural areas of Iran accordingly. A fund to upgrade/build these regional cities in Pakistan should be intoduced by public and private sector and Pakistani government, our foreign friends and Pakistanis living abroad may be asked to participate in this development mission in the country..KHWAJA AFTAB ALI,( former secretary, Iranian embassy, Saudi Arabia,1975-88) Advocate High Court & I.P. Attorney-first & the only Pakistani lawyer who earned Intellectual Property laws scholarship in USA,presently residing in Florida, USA.

  2. Salam,
    Please note all, the dead are dead no matter how holy they are. Allah alone is the Judge of how holy anyone is. After death a person is in aalam-e-barzakh, so i fail to understand how come they are more alive than living human beings. Please adhere to teh sunnah of the Prohphet (pbuh). Muslims in pakistan have been very influenced by the Hindu culture and many other cultures.
    Give one reference from the Qur’an and/or sunnah that states teh Auliya Karam are still alive.

    May Allah guide all muslims, ameen!


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