Lal Shahbaz (1177-1274)

  • “I know nothing apart from love, intoxication and ecstasy.”

    Lal Shahbaz is the most famous Sufi saint in Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of believers come to his shrine to commemorate the anniversary of his death, his “mystical wedding with God”. Lal Shahbaz is venerated by both Muslims and Hindus.

    Lal Shahbaz, “the red royal falcon”, was born as Seyyed Osman in Marvand in today's Afghanistan. His father was already a dervish. Lal Shahbaz was a charismatic saint, a strict ascetic who venerated God, his “divine beloved” in ecstatic dances. After many travels he finally settled around the mid-13th century in Sehwan Sharif, a place in the centre of the Pakistan province of Sindh. He was a member of the Order of the Qalandar dervishes.

    Many miracles were attributed to Lal Shahbaz. He is said to have undertaken the pilgrimage to Mecca in the form of a royal falcon (shahbaz). As a sign of his glowing love of God he used to wear red (lal) garments.

    The shrine of Lal Shahbaz in Sehwan is situated on the site of a former Hindu Shiva temple. The saint is venerated by Muslims and Hindus.