AḤMADPURĪ, GOL MOḤAMMAD (d. 1243/1827), a Panjabi saint and Češtī hagiographer. He is best known for his taḏkera, Ḏekr al-aṣfīāʾ, which he wrote as a supplement (takmela) to Amīr Ḵord’s Sīar al-awlīāʾ (see Storey, 1/2, pp. 943-44). Gol Moḥammad was born into a family which traced its descent from Maʿrūf Karḵī. His ancestor Shaikh Ẓahīr-al-dīn came to India from Bokhara during the reign of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahān (1037-68/1628-57) and was appointed šayḵ al-eslām of Multan. Gol Moḥammad’s father Allāhyār settled at Ahmadpur, where Gol Moḥammad received a good education in the traditional sciences and medicine and became the disciple of Qāżī Moḥammad ʿĀqel Češtī (d.1229/1814). Following the tradition of the preeminent Češtī saint, Shah Kalīmallāh Dehlavī (d. 1142/1729), Gol Moḥammad maintained a madrasa where hundreds of students received instruction in religious sciences and were provided with free food. He died on 9 Moḥarram 1243/3 August 1827, leaving behind two sons, Ḵᵛāǰa Maḥmūd Baḵš (d. 1289/1872) and Ḵᵛāǰa Moḥammad Baḵš (d. 1297/1880), to continue his work. A building over his grave was completed in 1305/1887.
While Amīr Ḵord confined his narrative to the saints of the Češtī selsela, Gol Moḥammad introduced other selselas into his work, perhaps because his ancestor, Maʿrūf Karḵī, had been viewed as the elder saint of many Sufi orders. This diversity of content mars the book’s unity of focus, and Gol Moḥammad’s style of composition downgrades the work still further. Dictating his hagiography to a “pious brother,” Moḥammad Yūsof, he relied mostly on memory and consulted few books, and even those cursorily. Therefore, the work reads like a series of casual remarks and does not match the high standard of Sīar al-awlīāʾ . Nonetheless, its content is of some interest. Amīr Ḵord had carried his narrative up to Shaikh Naṣīr-al-dīn Čerāḡ-e Dehlī (d. 757/1356). Gol Moḥammad picks up the thread of description from Naṣīr-al-dīn but for the sake of continuity covers briefly all the saints introduced by Amīr Ḵord, ending his narrative with Qāżī Moḥammad ʿĀqel Češtī, his own spiritual master. Accounts of the early Češtī saints, from ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭāleb to Naṣīr-al-dīn, are brief and perfunctory sometimes amounting to only two lines, with unconfirmed birth and death dates. Another series of accounts covers the Češtī selsela from Shaikh Kamāl-al-dīn ʿAllāma (d. 756/1355) to Shaikh Yaḥyā Madanī (d. 1101/1689); they are more informative than the preceding accounts, though far from complete. Then follow detailed biographies of Shah Kalīmallāh Dehlavī (d. 1142/1729), Shah Neẓām-al-dīn Awrangābādī (d. 1142/1729), Shah Faḵr-al-dīn Dehlavī (d. 1199/1785), and Shah Nūr Moḥammad Mahāravī (d. 1205/1791). Gol Moḥammad consulted some important sources of information for these saints, arranged his material well, and included certain details that are not found in other taḏkeras of the period. The last portion of the book deals with the life and discourses of Qāżī Moḥammad ʿĀqel; it is valuable for what it conveys about the spiritual discipline of a major Panjabi Češtī saint.
The Ḏekr al-aṣfīāʾ was published in lithograph form by Rizvi Press, Delhi, in 1312/1894. A manuscript copy in the possession of the writer of this article (undated; transcribed by Sayyed Qalandar Shah) differs from the lithographed text in many details; even the title of the work is given as Takmela-ye sīar al-awlīāʾ. The editor of the printed text, Naǰm-al-dīn, may have been responsible for many of the additions and deletions, but it is possible that among the manuscripts of the work he consulted there was an earlier version by the author himself.
Storey, 1/2, pp. 1037-38 (containing no manuscript citations).
K. A. Neẓāmī, Tārīḵ-emašāʾeḵ-e Češt, Delhi, 1953.
(K. A. Nizami)
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: July 28, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 6, p. 666
K. A. Nizami, “AḤMADPURĪ, GOL MOḤAMMAD,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/6, p. 666; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ahmadpuri-gol-mohammad-d (accessed on 28 March 2014).