Tuesday, 19 January 2016

History of Pir Roshan and his successors

According to the Makhzan-ul-Islam of Akhund Darweza, Bayazid was an Ormur (Warmur) from Kaniguram (South Waziristan). But according to Halnama (of Ali Muhammad), he claimed to be an 'Ansari' and a descendant of Hazrat Ayub Ansari. Though Ansari Arabs by blood, his family had long before his birth, settled and been naturalised among the Ormur tribe of the Pashtuns in Kaniguram. Daulat Lohani, a khalifa of Pir Roshan, mentions him as an Urmar in one of the couplet of his poetry and call him "Bayazid Maskeen Urmar". Bayazid Ansari was given the title of Pir Roshan (enlightened guide) by his followers, but his opponents called him Pir Tarik (the darkened guide). He was also called "Mian Bayazid", Mian being the title of respect for Pashtuns in India.

Bayazid Ansari was born in Jalandhar (East Punjab, India) in 1524-25 AD. His family was living in both Kaniguram and Jalandhar. His father Abdullah was a learned man and was a Qazi (judge) of his area. Bayazid's paternal grandfather, Shaikh Muhammad, was a trader of horses and lived in Kaniguram, but used to go to India in connection with his business and used to stay with his brother Shaikh Abu Bakar at Jalandhar who had permanently settled there. Once he requested the hand of Shaikh Abu Bakar's daughter Aimanh for his son. Shaikh Muhammad married Aimanah to one of his son who died leaving two daughters from her. After hearing the news of his brother's death, Abdullah left Kanigurm for Jalandhar and married his brother's widow due to the custom of Pashtuns i.e after death of a brother, another brother marries his widow. Aimanah gave birth to Bayazid in her father's house. As Abdullah had another wife and a son, and property in Kaniguram, he left his second wife and the son by her (Bayazid) and returned to his original homeland (Kaniguram).

When Babur invaded India in 1526 and defeated Ibrahim Lodi, the Afghan families in India suffered greatly at the hands of Mughals. The Afghan families at Jalandhar dispersed and sought refuge in Bihar (India) which was still in the hands of Afghans. Halnama says;
"During the time when Mughals invaded Pashtuns in Bihar, the Pashtuns were disturbed and dispersed here and there. In the meantime, much of the caravans of Pashtuns were departing for Kohistan (i.e Afghanistan), Shaikh Khudadad (brother of Abdullah and uncle of Bayazid), alongwith the family of Qazi Abdullah, joined a caravan. When the caravan reached Kannauj (U.P, India), the son-in-law of Babur had come to that area. The people informed him of the caravan of Pashtuns. He ordered his people to kill the Pashtuns and loot their property. Most of the Pashtuns were murdered and looted. Their women were insulted and their daughters were taken by the Mughals cruelly. When the Mughals came near the family members of Shaikh Khudadad, he said to the Mughals that he was not a Pashtun but an Ansari."

Shaikh Khudadad, after suffering great hardships and troubles at the hands of the Mughal forces, arrived to Kaniguram in 1530-31 AD, and handed over six years old Bayazid and his mother to his brother Abdullah. 

Abdullah appointed his trusted friend and student Mullah Painda to tutor Bayazid in religious education. After acquiring the necessary religious education, Bayazid joined his father in business. He married his cousin Shamso, the daughter of Shaikh Khudadad. He traded in horses which he used to buy from Central Asia and sell them in India. During such business trips he happened to meet Mullah Suleiman from the town of Jalandhar. Bayazid became interested in the tenets of jogis and became a convert to Metapsychosis, or transmigration of souls. On these doctrines he engrafted some of his own doctrines., the most remarkable of which was that the complete manifestation of the Divinity were made in the persons of holy men. Since then he started unorthodox belief which was bitterly resented by his tribe and family. Once while on a trading trip to Kandahar, he was looted and captured by Akbar's tutor Bairam Khan, then governor of Kandahar. According to his book "Seerat-ul-Tauheed", wherein he has written his religious meditations and teachings, he was produced in the presence of Bairam Khan and when he was on his knees, with head bowed down, he heard the divine voice :-
"Recite Isma-i-Azam and you who consider yourself a pious man, has disgraced yourself for worldly gains. Now when you reach home, mediate in seclusion for five years"
On his return to Kaniguram, he mediated for five years in a basement of his house. After completion of meditation, he claimed receiving divine massages. His father and brothers opposed him most strongly. His stepbrother Usman was his most active and bitter opponent whom Bayazid used to address as 'Shaitan'. His infuriated father once stabbed him, however, he survived the wound. Shaikh Farid, the chief of Burki clan, ousted him from Kaniguram. He, along with his wife Shamso, daughter Kamala, son Umar and few of his disciples, migrated first to Tirah, and later to Peshawar where he stayed in the tribe of Khalil.

Bayazid sent his Khalifas (disciples) to many courts and common people preaching his 'maslik'. One of his Khalifa , Mullah Daulat, visited Emperor Akbar and presented to him one copy of "Sirat-ul-Tawheed" authored by Bayazid Ansari. Similarly another disciple, Yousaf was sent to the court of Mirza Suleiman of Badakhsan. He sent Khalifa Mullah Arzani Kheshigi to India to propagate his mission there. Khalifa Mawdud was sent to Kandahar to propagate his mission there. He also sent some Khalifa to Balkh and Bukhara.

Once his followers from Toi tribe of Afghans plundered the trading caravan en-route from India to Kabul. Mirza Hakim, the ruler of Kabul, sent 500 men to punish the Toi tribe. The Mughal army killed men of Toi tribe and took women and children as prisoners of war. Bayazid, knowing the situation, wrote to Mizra Hakim, requesting him to release women and children, since their men had been punished for their offence. This infuriated Mirza Hakim, and he wrote to Masum Khan, the then governor of Peshawar, to kill him if he refuses to surrender. When the news reached Masum Khan, he had in his company Painda Khan and Bahar Khan, the chiefs of Muhammadzai tribe and followers of Bayazid. Painda Khan passed this news to Bayazid. Bayazid left Hashtnagar along with his followers and went to Yousafzai region to seek shelter from Mughals. Masum Khan's army pursued him and besieged at the foot of the hill. A battle took place in which Bayazid got victory.

After this, Bayazid went to Tirah and stayed there for some time. While Bayazid was in Tirah, Mirza Suleiman, the ruler of Badakhshan, came from Kabul with the intention of neeting Mughal emperor Akbar. When he arrived at Khyber Pass, some of the Afridis attacked him and robbed him of his possessions and goods. Bayazid, after hearing about this incident, was shocked and angry with the people who had attacked the caravan. Then the governor of Peshawar took a huge army and went to Tirah in pursuit of Bayazid. Afridi, Orakzais and Tirahi tribes blocked their way. Mughal army could not reach Tirah and thus returned to Peshawar. However Akhund Darweza claims that a battle took place in which Mughals gained victory over Bayazid. Bayazid went to the region of Yousafzai and stayed there for some time. He died there in 1572. Halnama says that he died a natural death in the Yousafzai region and and was buried there but Akhunda Darweza says that Bayazid collected his army and went to Nangarhar and attacked Baru village. After this attack, he went towards mountains. The Mushsin Khan came from Jalalabad and attacked him in Tur Ragha. They defeated him and killed a number of his followers. Bayazid fled and took position in the mountains. He was affected by the hot wind and severe thirst. He then made his way to Hashtnagar, and as he had been affected bu hot winds, he died in Hashtnagar and was buried there.

Shaikh Omar

Bayazid was succeeded by his eldest son, Shaikh Umar. Akhund Darweza , along with his followers , continued his opposition , even after the death of Bayazid. He instigated the Gujjars (The Yousafzai's 'hamsaya') against Shaikh Umar. The Gujjars dug out the dead body of Bayazid. Shaikh Umar got timely information and before the Gujjars could take away the coffin, he reached the graveyard , intercepted the Gujjars, some of whom were able to escape while some were captured. He brought the coffin to his house. On interrogation, the captured Gujjars told them that they are Hamsayas (dependents) of Hamza Khan Akozaey Yousafzai. The followers of Shaikh Umar retaliated and took away the cattle belonging to Hamza Khan Akozaii . Consequently, because of Akhund Darweza's pressures , Shaikh Umar had to quit and cross over into the Mandanr's territory. Hamza Khan chased him out to Khanpur. Shaikh Umar carried along his father's body also. He took refuge with the Dilazaks along the river Indus where he was betrayed and killed along with his staunch followers , namely Mullah Zikriya, Mullah Umar Kheshgi , Mullah Meru and Ayub. The Dilazaks threw away Bayazid's coffin in the river Indus. However , it was recovered by some followers of Bayazid.  They informed the surviving son of Pir Roshan Jalaluddin about it (the injured Jalaluddin had escaped Dilazaks by jumping into the river Indus).  Jalaluddin buried his father's coffin in Idak at Tochi valley (North Waziristan).


Jalal-ud-din alias Jalala, in 1581, succeeded Shaikh Umar. Soon he was captured by the Dilazaks and Yousafzais. However, Emperor Akbar managed his release, bestowed on him honour and privileges and took him along tom Delhi. Subsequently, on instigation of Shaikh Muhammad Khalil, his deputy, he escaped from Delhi, and went to Tirah. He collected his followers ad revolted against Akbar. He along with his brother Kamal-ud-din, displayed extraordinary deeds of bravery and both became famous as Jalala (generally called Jalalaey) and Kamalaey ; legends in the area. It is said that once Akbar was boating in the river Indus near Attock. Two protruding rocks on the western side of the river made the boat landing difficult and dangerous. One of the Akbar's boat struck the rock, got broken into piece and was sunk. Akbar, alluding to Jalal-ud-din and Kamal-ud-din, remarked that the rocks were as dangerous as Jalalaey and Kamalaey, and these two names are still used by the local ferrymen.

In 1584 the Roshaniyas blocked the passage of Mirza Shah Rukh near Ali Masjid in Khyber Pass who was on his way to Agra in order to seek asylum at Akbar's court. He had to flee to Badakshan and reached India only when Akbar's help went to him. Again, when Mirza Hakim's sons were en route to Akbar's court, in 1585, after their father's death, the Khyber Pass was blocked by the Raushanias. The party reached India only after the Pass was opened with the aid of Mughal arms.

In 1586, Jalala succeeded in gaining the support of Mohmand and other Ghoria Khels and with their help Invested the fort of Begram (Peshawar). They killed Sayyid Hamid Bokhari, the Mughal fief holder of Peshawar, who had sallied against them. Man Singh, turning to attack them, found the Khyber closed and was repulsed, but subsequently joined Akbar's forces.

In 1587 A.D. Akbar a strong force to the Bangash region under the command of Abdul Mutalib Khan to root out Jalala. One day Jalala surprised the imperialist van under Beg Nuri Khan and Salim Khan, and took away considerable property. But reinforced soon afterwards with Mahammad Quli Khan, Muttalib Khan inflicted a severe defeat on the Afghans and at the battle of Dar Samand alone 550 of the enemy's soldiers fell in the field and about 1,000 were killed during their flight. Jalal-ud-din escaped to Tirah, after great difficulty and danger to his life.

Jalala was forced to quit Tirah for Bajaur. Zain Khan followed him up and posted Ismail Quli Khan and Sadik Muhammad Khan to watch the passes. Jalala managed to elude them and return to Tirah. Sadik Muhammad Khan, however, so troubled the Afridis and Orakzais that they gave up Mulla Ibrahim, who was looked on by Jalala like a father. Jalala was compelled to run away to Abdullah Khan Uzbek of Turan and seek shelter at his court (1588). In his absence, his family was delivered to the Mughals by the Afghans. During the absence of Jalala, the work of resistance against the Mughals was taken up by one of his relations, Wahdat Ali by name.

Abdullah Khan Uzbek seems to have declined his request for help against the Mughals. Consequently, Jalala returned to his native land in 1592 to carry on the struggle against the Mughals single handedly.In 1592 Muhammadzais and Gigyanis joined the Roshaniyas and Yousafzais in an attack on Begram fort. Zain Khan came to the relief of Begram fort and dispersed the tribal lashkar. The Roshaniyas retreated to Bajaur while Jalala went to Tirah to organize another insurrection there. Wahdat Ali captured the fortress of Kanshal some where in the Hindu Raj range south of Chitral and occupied the territory around the fort. While Jalala set out from Tirah to Bajaur, he came to know that Wahdat Ali, Walidad, and others with all the tribesmen have fallen into the hands of Mughal commander Zain Khan. Jalala was greatly grieved, and though he defeated a party of Mughals, most of his men were killed and he returned to Tirah. Wahdat Ali, Walidad and well known Roshaniyas were sent to the fort of Ranthambore by Akbar. Kamaluddin had already been sent there. All the three were put to death by the royal order.

On the death of Qasim Khan, the governor of Kabul, in 1596, the Roshanias tried to take their chance and rebelled. In 1598 Qulij Khan, the new governor of Kabul, a marched against the Roshaniya insurgents in Tirah by an unfrequented route. Jalala tried to intercept his path, but failed to do so and Qulij destroyed a stockade that the insurgents had built. Jalala once again escaped from the Mughals.

Jalala again threw a challenge to the Mughuls in 1599 when he captured Ghazni with the help of a party of Lohani Afghans. The Mughals gathered a large army and sent them to cope with him. The battle was fought fiercely for seven days during which Jalala received a mortal wound by a Hazara. He could not continue fighting and surrendered Ghazni to the Mughals and went to the hills of Rabat where he was killed by Murad Beg and some other servants of Sharif Khan Atka, the Mughul warden at Ghazni, towards the end of 1600 A.D. His head was severed and sent to the court of Akbar.


Jalaluddin was succeeded by Ahdad, his nephew, and son-in-law. He was son of Shaikh Omar. He continued the struggle with considerable success. In 1611 Ahdad made a surprise attack on Kabul but he was driven away. Ahadad's bold enterprise greatly annoyed Jahangir and he replaced Khan-i-Dauran (the governor of Kabul) with Qulij Khan to lead the campaigns against Ahdad. In 1614 Ahdad invaded Kot Terah about sixteen miles from Jalalabad, killed a few Mughal soldiers and made prisoners of others. He then turned his attention to Jalalabad and Pish Bulagh. But a Mughal officer by name of Mutaqid Khan overtook him and defeated him. After this success the Mughals raised a pyramid of the skulls of Afghans after the tradition of Tamerlane. The Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri refers again in 1615 to the "disturbance in Kabul by Ahdad Afghan, around whom many Afghan tribes of the neighbourhood assembled", at his stronghold of Charkh (Logar province, Afghanistan). Khan-i-Dauran besieged the fort, but Ahadad managed to escape towards Kandahar where he spent several years.

In 1619 or 1620, Mahabat Khan, Subahddr of Kabul under the emperor Jahangir, treacherously massacred 300 Daulatzai Orakzai followers of Roshniya movement ; and, during his absence on a visit to Jahangir at Rohtas, Ghairat Khan was sent with a large force via Kohat to invade Tirah. He advanced to the foot of the Sampagha pass, which was held by the Roshanias under Ahdad and the Daulatzai under Malik Tor. The Rajputs attacked the former and the latter were assailed by Ghairat Khan's own troops, but the Mughal forces were repulsed with great loss. In 1625 Ahdad reached to an understanding with Yalingtosh Uzbek, a famous general of Nazar Muhammad Khan of Sheibanis, but, when the fighting started, Yalingtosh left him alone and made peace with Zafar Khan, the son of Abdul Hasan, the governor of Kabul. Ahdad died while fighting in 1626. Ahdad's daughter, unwilling to surrender to the Mughals, committed suicide by throwing herself from a fortress tower. His wife, Bibi Alai, Jalaladdin's daughter who had helped Ahdad greatly in leading the Roshani movement, escaped with her son, Abdul Qadir Khan who was twelve or thirteen years old then. Ahdad’s head was sent to Jahangir in Kabul, along with his seal of authority and scepter. At the sight of Ahdad’s head , Jehangir was besides himself with joy. He thanked Allah and ordered that Ahdad’s head should be hung over at the gate of Royal fort in Lahore for public viewing.

Abdul Qadir

Bibi Alia reached Tirah and sought protection with the Orakzis and remained in concealment for about a year. She got her minor son Abdul Qadir, recognized as the chief of Roshaniyas. Shah Jahan early in his first reignal year sent Zafar Khan as a governor of Kabul and instructed him to suppress the Roshaniya movement at any cost. In Tirah a fierce fight occurred between Abdul Qadir and the new Mughal governor, in which Zafar Khan suffered heavy losses. Baggage and ladies of harem of Zafar Khan fell into the hands of Afghans.

Abdul Qadir also rendered his whole-hearted support to Kamaluddin Daudzai who was fighting for the cause of Khan Jahan Lodi in Pakhtunkhwa. They attacked Peshawar and and invested the citadel in 1630. Peshawar though completely invested, was relieved by Said Khan, the faujdar of Bangash, and the Afghans who submitted reluctantly to Abdul Qadir, were defeated with loss. Said Khan, now a governor of Kabul, induced Abdul Qadir to submit. On the interference of Said Khan, Emperor Shah Jahan granted Abdul Qadir a mansab of 1000/6000 and a reward of Rs.10,000/- upon his submission in 1633 A.D .Abdul Qadir soon died a natural death while his mother Bibi Alia and other relatives and followers, were well treated by Shah Jahan in the court and sent to their relative Rashid Khan Ansari , who was posted at Deccan.


The Mughals, however, had to send their forces again into Tirah against the Roshanis, and Yusaf Afridi, and Azar Mir Orakzai, who were supporters of Karimdad, the blind grandson of Pir-i-Roshan, waged many good fights. However, using their favourite method of bribery of the rebels, Mughals induced Yousuf Khan Afridi and Aza Mir Orakzai to submit. Both of them were raised to the rank of commanders of 1000 horses and granted land near Panipat. From this time, the leadership of the movement was taken over by Jalaluddin's son, Karimdad.

In 1637-38 the tribes about Baghzan re-called Karimdad with his disciples who had been driven out by the Mughals and compelled to take in refuge in the Luhani country. From Baghzan the Roshaniyas advanced on Tirah which was disaffected by the Mughals. For the purpose of reducing Orakzais and Afridis the subahdar of Kabul, Muzaffar Khan assembled , 15,000 Afghan levies, with the troops under Raja Jagat Singh, thanadar of the Bangashat, and other leaders, and 2000 cavalry of his own contingent, placing the whole force under Muhammad Yaqub Kashmiri. But before this force reached Baghzan from Kabul , the people had put to death a brother of Karimdad and a brother of Azar Mir Orakzai. The people of Lakan in Khost, however , fled with Karimdad and his followers to maintain fastnesses and the Mughal force destroyed their villages. The winter snows, however soon compelled them to surrender Karimdad with the family and dependents and he was soon after , under orders from the Emperor, put to death at Peshawar in 1048 H/1638-39.

Thus Roshaniya nationalist-cum-spiritualist movement actually covered the reigns of three Mughal emperors i.e Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjahan and died out gradually.

Pir Roshan

Zain Khan Koka, late 16th century painting. Victoria and Albert Museum

Abdullah Khan Uzbek hawking, near Samarkand, 1618's painting. Victoria and Albert Museum


1- Abr Nahrain- Volumes 6-9
2- "The Rowshnites and Pushto literature" by Yar Muhammad Maghmum Khattak
3- Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Volume 47
4- Imperial Gazetteer of India, v-19
5- History of the Pathans, by Haroon Rashid, Vol-1
6- New Indian Antiquary, Vol-2, p-568
7- "Family of Bayazid Ansari" by Afzal Hussain, PIHC, 1994.
8- "Rowshni Movement: Bayazid Ansari's Life and teachings" by Mir Wali Khan Mahsud
9- Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri: or Memoirs of Jahangir
10 -"The Roshanis and the Mughals" by Fatima Zehra Bilgrami, PIHC, 1995
11- "A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West" , Volume 3

1 comment:

  1. I am Emeritus Professor & Special Lecturer at Columbia University, New York writing a research paper about how Afghanistan can be saved with all ethnic groups and sects as an well-armed, Independent sovereign, "One Nation Under the Protection of ALLAH (STA)" by being declared as 'Permanently Neutral Country' by International Congress, as Switzerland in same circumstances was made Permanently Neutral Country in 1815 and had peace & security for its multilingual and muti-ethnicity peole for 2003 years as Pir Roshan believed in unity of humanity, equality of genders, and access to knowledge for every one; manifest Truth of Tawheed erases all manmade boundaries. Tubingen University Library getting digialized, recently found Pir Roshan's "Khairal Bayan" which was circulated via England through Europe inspiring "The age of Enlightenment" . Vincent A. Smith in his "History of India . From Earliest time to end of 1911:IX Vols. in Book IV-V" referred to him 'Father of Pashtun Renaissance'... ?