Abdur Rahman Baba:
At the dawn of
seventeenth century, at the age of invasions from the West by Persians and
East by Moghols, a the time when Afghans were in the mist of war in every
corner of the nation, a the time when education was the last thing in
peoples' mind, a legend was born.
In the high hills of
the Afghan nation, in the provincial area of Mohmand, a child was born, by
the name of Abdul Rahman. Abdul Rahman would become one of the greatest
poet in the history of the Pashto literature. Abdul Rahman was a man of
character and great charisma. As a child, he loved to study and always
occupied himself in getting a good education, no matter what it took. He
spent much time and effort trying to teach himself.
At a young age, he
started studying and reading poetry and became fond of it. He had a gift,
poetry, which he would not realize, until later in his life. As he grew
older, he started having doubts upon what he was doing, which was studying
and writing poetry. He felt lost and not sure about what he was writing,
why he was writing and to whom he was writing. Because of this, he
entirely abandoned material needs of this world and gave himself to the
mercy of God.
The spiritual aspect
of God's presents upon him, made him understand that the true way of life
was through his religion, Islam. Living a life in solitude, he did not
want anyone bothering him when he prayed to God. He had a unique and
creative way of praying to God through the gift he had, poetry. He had a
deep passion for God, which resulted in writing numerous poems in His
honor. Through the understanding of his religion, he wrote magnificent
poems, which made him famous in a short period of time.
People admired his
work, from Afghanistan to Central Asia to the Indian Subcontinent.
Religious scholars found the real meaning of life in his poems. National
and political leaders used his poetry for independent uprisings. Musicians
used his poetry in their songs. Soon everyone wanted his books, be it for
political, religious or other interests and desires. Due to his
popularity, Afghans gave him an honorable name "Baba" (Grand father of the
One of the great
religious scholar of Suwat(A city in current Pakistan), Suwat Saheeb,
"If any other then,
the book of God, was permissible for prayer, I would have defiantly chosen
published two books from his collections of poetry, which were distributed
all over the Afghan nation. Soon his work became a model for new poets,
and as a result, many people started learning his way and his direction. A
school of poetry was built in his honor and many people came to study in
this schools. The Founding Father of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Baba, was one
of the students of his school of poetry.
mentioned that philosophers, poets and insane people are of one nature. A
person cannot become one of these just by trying, but they are born that
way and they have no choice other then to live by the nature of their
through Rahman Baba's poetry, one comes to the conclusion that this great
poet was born a poet and had brought the gift of poetry with him from
eternal life. Readers will not understand his poetry unless they feel that
what their reading is indeed their own thoughts. This might be hard to
comprehend but poetry was never meant to be easy. When one opens Rahman
Baba's book, they immediately realize that their heart is speaking to
them. A reader might wonder how a book written more then four hundred
years ago would have their feeling and thoughts of today. It seem as if
Rahman Baba's books were written for today's need of literature and one
can be sure, that is the case.
Rahman Baba has
written difficult poetry in such a unique way that one can immediately
grasp the meaning. He has put comprehensive subject into a very layman
term. Rahman Baba wanted to teach Afghans and, through Afghans, the whole
world the real meaning of life through the love and magnificence of God.
He fought against humans' greediness and mischief and promptly explains
this devilish worship in most of his poems.
Louis Dupree, in his
book "Afghanistan", pointed out to Rahman Baba's teaching: "Rahman Baba
was a mystic then warrior. But his mysticism, born of Sufism, also touches
the Pashtun cultural essence. Not so proud and fiercely militant as
Khushal Khan Khatak, Rahman Baba continually warned the ambitious and
proud of their base earthly origin."
Rahman Baba himself
Live not with thy
head showing in the clouds,
Thou art by birth the offspring of this earth,
The stream that passed the sluice cannot again flow back,
Nor can again return the misspent time that sped,
Consider well the deeds of the good and bad,
Whether in this thy profit lieth or in that.
Rahman Baba loved
music and dancing. He specially loved to play the Rabab (an Afghan musical
instrument similar to a guitar). By loving beauty of every kind, no matter
if it was a human, an animal, or nature, he would describe the eternal
beauty of God as a final stage. Considering the beauty here on earth as
merely small portion of the beauty to come, he always focused on eternal
greatness and beauty which to him was his love, God.
Dr. Abdul Hay Habibi
PHD, a great scholar of Afghanistan, described Rahman Baba's poetic
structure in these terms. He stated the following:
In this structure a
poet accepts eternal believes, which are completely dislodged with this
world, and are speaking of a world, great and wonderful, with all its
Poets are away from
all the misery of this world and are speaking of peace and humanity, and
are usually away from all the troubles of this world.
presentation of this structure are pure and wonderful, and the words
chosen are simple and to the point.
All types of poetry
speaks of pure love and morals. Believe in the true love and avoid evil
and use fantasy is a common theme.
Poets believe in
love being the center of human life,which depends on intellectual wisdom.
Rahman Baba's poetry
is still a great value to Pashto literature and still there are numerous
student of his structure today. His fans and students of his school come
to his grave side in Peshawar ( N.W.F.P) to remember him on his birth date
each year. Poets from all over come to honor him in this special occasion
by reciting poems and speeches on his honor, and this will continue for