Sarmad (Persian)

  • Saleem Kidwai


Sarmad (eternal, inebriated) was born a Jew in Kashan, around 1590.2 He became a trader and acquired knowledge of mystic traditions and of Arabic and Persian poetry. Before he arrived in the port city of Thatta in 1632, he had converted to Islam. In Thatta he met a Hindu boy named Abhai Chand. The attraction was mutual and soon after meeting him, Sarmad abandoned his trade and became a naked faqir.3


Young Brother Classical Pattern Port City Biographical Detail Mystic Tradition 
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  1. 2.
    Biographical details from M. G. Gupta, Sarmad the Saint (Agra: M. G. Publishers, 1991). Also see the book published by the official keepers of Sarmad’s shrine, Sayyid Muhammad Ahmad Sarmadi, Tazkirah Hazrat Sarmad Shahid (Delhi: Kutub Khana Sarmadi, no date).Google Scholar
  2. See also I. A. Ezekiel, Sarmad, the Jewish Saint of India (Beal, Punjab: Radha Soami Satsang, 1996).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Other naked faqirs were Shaikh Badhni and a eunuch named Rahat (M. Mujib, The Indian Muslims, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1967), 157–59. There were (and are) orders of naked Hindu ascetics too, such as the Nagas, and of Jains, the Digambaras. Some individual Bhakta mystics threw off all clothing when they renounced the world. Among them were the women poets Mahadeviakka and Lal Ded.Google Scholar

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© Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai 2000

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  • Saleem Kidwai

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