Love’s Martyr: Qutb ad-Din Bakhtiar Kaki



The great Indian Sufi shaykh, disciple of Mu’in ad-Din Chisti and master to Baba Farid, is said to have heard the following verses during a qawwali performance:


كشتگان خنجر تسليم را

هر زمان از غيب جان ديگر است


For the victims of the dagger of surrender

There is new life at every moment from the unseen


and fell into a trance for three days.  On the fourth day he died, and became known as the “Martyr of Love.”  These verses are now considered taboo in qawwali performances-you don’t want to kill the best members of your audience! 

Before he died, Shaykh Kaki wrote some beautiful poetry of his own that is still peformed
by qawwals today:




Translation and original (courtesy of Fuad Naeem):

 1.  Dil pareeshan deeda hairan kardah ee . . .  Jan-e mun too kardah ee haan kardah ee
دل پریشان دیدہ حیراں کردہ ای ۔ ۔ ۔ جانِ من تو کردہ ای ہاں کردہ ای
 You took away the peace of my heart, and dazzled my eyes . . . O! My life ! you have done that, have done that!


2.  Deedah giryaan, seena biryab kardah ee . . . ( 2nd part of the couplet is unintelligible ).
– – – – – – – – – – – –  – – – – دیدہ گریاں سینہ بریاں کردہ ای ۔ ۔ ۔
You make my eye shed tears, and my heart to burn . . .


3.  Shokhee o baibaki o naaz o adaa . . .  Behr-e yak-dil een cheh samaan kardah ee
 شوخی و بیباکی و نا زو ادا  ۔ ۔ ۔  بہرِ یکدل ایں چہ ساماں کردہ ای
 Your playfulness, openness, vanity and captivating demeanor . . . All this to enchant the one (poor) heart of mine!


4. Az kuja mee aayee aey toofaan-e husn . . . Aalmay ra khana weeran kardah ee
از کجا می آئی اے طوفانِ حسن ۔ ۔ ۔ عالمے را خانہ ویراں کردہ ای
Your beauty is like a tsunami . . . from where has it come to come to crash and lay bare the entire world?


5.  Jan hum shukrana ast aey dard-e ishq . . . Murdan-e dushwar az aasaan kardah ee
جان ہم شکرانہ است اے دردِ عشق ۔ ۔ ۔ مردنِ دئشوار از آسان کردہ ای
 My life is an humble offering at the alter of my (painful)  love for you . . .  You have  made my dying harder from easier ( i.e., I cherish your love so much and hence my life all the more, my life is of more value to me now as I cannot love you unless I am alive).


6.  Murgh-e sahra dar qafas afgandah ee . . . Bay-gunahay ra ba-zindaan kardah ee
مرغِ صحراء در  قفس افگندہ ای ۔ ۔ ۔ بیگئاہے را بزنداں کردہ ای
You have (captured and ) put in the cage the free bird of the wild  ( i, e , my carefree heart). . . O! you have imprisoned an innocent one!


7.  Mun cheh goyam hust too Khawja Mueen . . . Abd-e khud ra qutb-e dowraan kardah ee
 من چہ گویم ہست تو خواجہ معین ۔ ۔ ۔ عبدِ خود را قطبِ دوراں کردہ ای
O Khawaja Mueen! mine are  only the (vain) words, but you embody the reality . . . (As) you have elevated your slave to the Axial Saint (Qutb) of this age.


Sung lyrics:

Dil pareshan dida hairan kar gayi
Dil pareshan dida hairan kar gayi
Zanemangi kar dayi aaa kar dayi kar dayi
Dil pareshan
Sukhiyo baiba kiyo naazo ada
Behre ek dil eeche saama kar gayi
Man che goyam basbe to khwaja moinuddin
Ab de khudra khud pe daura kar gayi
Dil pareshan dida hairan
Kar gayi kar gayi



The following verse, which perfeclty expresses the connection between love, spirituality, and music, is also attributed to Qutb ad-Din Bakhtiar Kaki:


What is music and why there is so much of the enchantment of love in it?
Music is the secret of Love and Love is the secret of God


Sarod cheest ke chandeen fasoon-e-ishq daroast?
Sarod mehram-e-ishq ast-o-ishq mehram-e-oast



سرود چيست كه چندين فسون عشق داراوست

سرود محرم عشق است و عشق محرم اوست

3 thoughts on “Love’s Martyr: Qutb ad-Din Bakhtiar Kaki

  1. Dear author,

    Could you please mention the name of the book by Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhatiyar Kaki where these poems are collected? I would be ever so grateful if you sent me the name to this email address.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *