Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakar r.a. Was born on the 29th Sha'ban in 569 A.H. [April 4, 1179 C.E.] in Khotwal, a village near Lahore [Pakistan]. He was a direct descendant of Hazrat Umar Farooq r.a., the second Caliph of Islam.
It is narrated that a miracle occurred before his birth proving his Saintship. One day, during the pregnancy of his mother, she wanted to pluck some plums from her neighbour's tree without his permission, but the child in her womb (Hazrat Baba Farid) created a severe pain in her stomach that forced her to abandon the idea of plucking. After a few years after Hazrat Baba Farid’s r.a. Birth, his mother lovingly expressed: “My dear son, during your confinement I never ate anything which was unlawful.” Hazrat Baba Farid r.a., however, smiled and said, “But, my dear mother, you wanted to pluck some plums from our neighbour's tree without his permission when I had created a severe pain in your stomach which saved you from this unlawful act.”
After he had completed his early religious education at the age of 7 in Khotwal, his mother sent him for higher education to Multan. Here he stayed in a masjid [mosque] where he learnt the Holy Qur'an by heart and studied Hadith, Fiqh, Philosophy and Logic under the tutorship of Maulana Minhajuddin.
During his studies, Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin Baktiar Kaki r.a. Of Delhi visited Multan where Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. Became his Murid (disciple) in the Chishtiyya Silsila. Upon the instructions of his Pir-o-Murshid, he undertook a tour of Islamic countries, for about 18 years from 593 A.H. To 611 A.H. [1196 C.E. To 1214 C.E.] he travelled to Ghazni, Baghdad Sharif, Jerusalem, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Mecca and Medina meeting many great saints and Sufis. After the demise of Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin r.a. The mantle of spiritual leadership in the Chishtiyya Silsila fell on the shoulders of Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. When Khwaja Qutbuddin r.a.nominated him to be his Khalifa or spiritual successor.
It is narrated that when Hazrat Baba Farid r.a.visited Medina Sharif he was spiritually commanded by the Holy Prophet s.a.w.s. To visit Baghdad Sharif and meet Hazrat Abdul Wahab, son of Hazrat Ghaus-al-Azam Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani r.a. He was to receive some sacred relics from him. Accordingly, when he reached Baghdad Sharif, he received a box from Hazrat Abdul Wahab r.a. Which contained the following holy relics: Two flag-poles which were used by the Holy Prophet s.a.w.s. In some of the battles fought by him; one wooden bowl in which the Prophet s.a.w.s. Used to eat from; one pair of scissors and one turban which was used by the holy Prophet s.a.w.s.
Because of political upheavals in Delhi, he was obliged to shift the centre of the Chishtiyya mission from Delhi to Ajodhan now known as "Pak Patan". The Khanqah of Baba Farid r.a., with his patronage, became a great university of "moral and spiritual training." Thousands of aspirants, scholars, dervishes and Sufis reaped benefit from this spiritual university. Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. Reached the pinnacle of spiritual glory through extremely hard Mujahidas (spiritual striving) to gain mastery over the Nafs.
Once Hazrat Khwaja Qutbuddin r.a. Ordered Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. To perform the "Chilla-e-Maakoos" for 40 days. This chilla was seldom undertaken by Sufis and was one of the most difficult tests of Hazrat Khwaja Baba Farid's r.a. Faith and courage. It was to be performed in a well by hanging himself in a reverse or headlong position with his feet tied up by a rope to a sturdy branch of a treetop.
Once, due to utter weakness, Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. Helped himself to walk with the aid of a staff. But after a few steps, the colour of his face suddenly became purple, as if he was under heavy punishment. He threw away the staff. When Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin r.a., who was escorting him, enquired the reason for this, Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. Replied, “I wanted to take help of the staff, but Allah’s Displeasure frowned upon me for depending on other’s help instead of His. I, therefore, threw away the staff and felt highly ashamed of this weakness in my faith in Rabb, the Almighty.”
It is also narrated that once a trader was taking a caravan of camels laden with sugar from Multan to Delhi. When he was passing through Ajodhan (now Pakistan), Hazrat Baba Fariduddin r.a. Enquired casually as to what he was carrying on his camels. The trader sarcastically replied, "It is salt." Hazrat Baba Fariduddin r.a. also affirmed, "Yes, it may be salt." When the trader reached Delhi, he was awfully perturbed to find that all his bags of sugar had turned to salt. He immediately returned to Ajodhan and apologized before Hazrat Baba Farid r.a.. Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. said: "If it is sugar then it shall be sugar." The trader returned to Delhi and was pleased to find that the salt had turned back to sugar by the Grace of Almighty Allah. This is how Hazrat Baba Sahib r.a. received the title of "Ganj-e- Shakar."
One of the devotees of Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. named Mohammed Nishapuri lived in Gujerat and was going to Delhi with three other companions. On their way through the jungle, robbers encountered them. Mohammed Nishapuri and his companions had no wepons to defend themselves. In such a helpless state, Mohammed Nishapuri remembered his Pir, Hazrat Baba Farid r.a., and also offered prayers seeking Allah's help in their predicament. Surpassingly, the robbers threw away their weapons and offered an apology to the party and went away.
One day some poor people came from Arabia to see Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. and said that they were strangers to the land and that all their money was spent before the end of the journey. Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. gave them some dried dates which were lying in front of him at the moment and said, “Take them and go. Your journey shall be completed by the Grace of Allah.” Apparently, these persons were very disappointed with such a "cheap gift". After leaving the Khanqah, they wanted to throw away the dates, but just as they were about to do so, to their amazement, the dates turned into gold. Regretting their thoughts, these people left happily uttering their heartfelt gratitude and prayers for Hazrat Baba Farid r.a.
He fasted throughout his life and maintained his nightly prayers and devotions. Fear of Allah always dominated him. He was a staunch devotee of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s. and dedicated his entire life to the veneration of the beloved Prophet's s.a.w.s. immortal glory. At the mention of the Holy Prophet's s.a.w.s. character he would often weep out of his love and devotion. Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. avoided kings, government officials and the rich. He also warned his Khalifas, devotees and Murids to avoid their company. He was a living picture of humility. Whatever he received was spent in the name of Allah and his chest overwhelmed with mercy and forgiveness. Many miracles are attributed to him during his lifetime and after his passing away.
On the 5th of Muharram, during the Isha prayer [evening prayer] ] while in the act of Sajdah, [prostration during prayer] he uttered "Ya Hayo Ya Qayum" [O Self-Subsisting, O Eternal -- two names of God] and with these words on his lips his soul disappeared into the eternal bliss of his beloved Allah. Immediately a "Nida" or Divine Voice declared: "Dost ba Dost Pewast" - Friend has merged into the unity of "Friend" (Allah).
An old woman that was one of the devotees of the Saint presented a piece of cloth for the kaffan [shroud] of Hazrat Baba Farid r.a.. She implored: “I have not spun even a single thread of this cloth without having Wudu [purification]. I had prepared it for my own coffin but if it is accepted for the kaffan of this great Saint, I feel confident, Allah would be pleased with to pardon my sins and grant me salvation.” Hazrat Baba Farid’s r.a. son accepted this cloth as the Kaffan.
His Mazar Sharif [noble shrine] is in Pak Patan, Pakistan. Hazrat Sabir Pak, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya and Hazrat Jamaluddin Hansi rehmatulla alaihim [may Allah have mercy upon them] are among his favourite Murids and Khalifas. It is generally recognized that he had three wives and many children. Hazrat Baba Farid r.a. was indeed one of the most brilliant stars of the Chishtiyya Silsila and is held in high esteem by one and all.