ABŪ BAKR ṬŪSĪ ḤAYDARĪ, 7th/13th century Indo-Muslim saint. Nothing is known of his pre-Indian background, but reliable taḏkera writers describe him as a contemporaryof Shaikh Neẓām-al-dīn Awlīāʾ (636-725/1238-39 to 1325) who was on the best of terms with him and with other Češtī saints (Jamālī, p. 67; ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq, p. 73). His ḵānaqāh, situated on the bank of the Jumna river, was frequented by Sufis from Delhi and elsewhere, especially for musical gatherings (maǰāles-e samāʿ). Jamāl-al-dīnHānsavī, the note poet and Češtī saint of Panjab, would stay with Abū Bakr whenever he visited Delhi.
Abū Bakr’s disciples are not known, nor has any literary testament of his survived. Even his affiliation with the Ḥaydarīs poses historical problems. In an early collection of the conversations (malfūẓāt) of Neẓām-al-dīn, Ḥaydarīs are described as asocial ascetics wearing iron rings around the neck and arms (Amīr Ḥasan Seǰzī, Fawāʾed al-foʾād, Lucknow, 1302/1885, pp. 19-20), but Abū Bakr is not mentioned. He does appear in Sīar al-awlīāʾ, a taḏkera about Neẓām-al-dīn written some thirty years later; but its author cryptically suggests that Abū Bakr, though called “Ḥaydarī,” did not act like a Ḥaydarī (Amīr Ḵord, Sīar al-awlīāʾ, Delhi, 1302/1885, p. 181). None of the works on Indo-Muslim qalandars (who are usually assumed to be the parent group for Ḥaydarīs) cites Abū Bakr in the prefatory spiritual lineages (šaǰarāt).
Two unpleasant incidents involving Abū Bakr are mentioned in the medieval taḏkeras. According to Jamālī (pp. 67-68), Abū Bakr became jealous of a fellow saint from the selsela-ye ʿešqīya, Malek Yār Parrān, because the latter established his ḵānaqāh too close to the spiritual territory (welāyat) which Abū Bakr had arrogated to himself. Malek Yār Parrān, however, obtained permission from the sultan to occupy the area in question, and Abū Bakr never troubled him again. A second incident is first narrated by the historian Żīāʾ-al-dīn Baranī (Tārīḵ-e Fīrūzšāhī, Calcutta, 1862, pp. 208-10) and later summarized by ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq. Though the role of Abū Bakr is by no means clear, Baranī implies that the shaikh assented to the gruesome execution of a fellow Sufi, Sayyedī Mawlā, who had been suspected of harboring political dissidents. ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq (p. 73), following Baranī, states that Sayyedī Mawlā “was executed by the qalandars of Shaikh Abū Bakr Ṭūsī during the reign of Sultan ʿAlāʾ-al-dīn Ḵalǰī” (695-715/1296-1316).
The death date of Abū Bakr himself is not known, though his ʿors is annually celebrated on 20 Ramażān. His tomb in Delhi is alleged to occupy the same space as his former ḵānaqāh; it overlooks the Jumna river and is adorned with pots of various shapes and sizes. Since the saint is revered by Muslims and Hindus alike for his ability to provide water (as well as other forms of relief) to those in distress, he is commonly invoked as Maṭkā (“Pot”) Pīr.
Jamālī, Sīar al-ʿārefīn, Delhi, 1311/1893-94, pp. 67-68.
ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq Moḥaddeṯ Dehlavī, Aḵbār al-aḵyār, Delhi, 1280/1863-64, pp. 73-74.
K. A. Nizami, Some Aspects of Religion and Politics in India during the 13th Century, 2nd ed., Delhi, 1974, pp. 287-91.
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 19, 2011
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Vol. I, Fasc. 3, p. 265