Bayazid Ansari & His Raushiniya Movement in the Af-Pak regions [16th-17th century]

By Naveed Tajammal


One fails to understand, the logic why the present Kabul government and the Pakhtun, literary circles in general are bent upon projecting Bayazid as a ‘saint’ and a ethnic Pakhtun, and the region of his, later abode [in present Waziristan] a old Pakhtun region.

And that he was the founding father of Pakhtun Renaissance.

Abdul Qadir bin Maluk, better known in the literary circles as ‘Badaoni’ writes of Bayazid, in his book, ‘Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh’ translated in English by W.H. Lowe and printed by Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta 1884 volume ll p-360/361.

”If the egg of a black-natured Crow,

you put under a pea-hen of paradise,

If at all time of sitting on that egg,

You give it, its millet from the figs of paradise,

If you give it, its water from the fountain of salsabil,

If Gabriel, breathe his breath over that egg,

In the end the young of a crow is a crow.

And the pea-hen will spend her trouble in vain.”

Bayazid Ansari, was born in Jalandhar in around 1525 AD, he hailed from a old hereditary Qazi family, his father was Qazi. Abdullah and his father, Qazi. Shaikh Mohammad and line went to Qazi. Siraj ud Din, the first of the Qazi, entrusted with the region in remote past. In the childhood of Bayazid had shifted to the Barrak region [later called Karni-garan, or the stone-town],

Bar’rak the old town as then called, was till that time still on a major trade route, known historically as ‘the Rah e Sangh e Surakh’, it was the passage between Indus, and across through ‘Dar’ban’ a big staging area of Camel Caravans, on the west of present Dera ismail khan[at that time Dera ismail as such did not exist], This Barrak route[sang e surakh] was longer one, compared to the Gomal route, for onward move to Farmul and Ghuzz’nih’.[importance of Kabul had yet to emerge],The Gomal route had a problem, it was alright in dry seasons, but, come the rains, which came often, Gomal, had to be criss-crossed, for laden camels it was a serious issue on account of losses, sustained when waters were rapid.

This region was totally inhabited by people, who were non-Pakhtun, and the Language like-wise, was ‘Bargista’ or Barraki’. A book was compiled later in 1881,by Ghulam Mohammad khan, ”Qawaid e Bargista’, which is a book on the structure and Grammar of the Language, it were the later new-comers, who called the locals, as ‘Ormuri’ and they in return called them ‘Kash’. Lieut. R. Leech [J.A.S.B. vii 1838] gives a short ormuri-English vocabulary and quotes a few phrases of the language. According to Leech, and the tradition gleaned, as to how this lot [barraki] got settled on this old route, That, it was Sultan Mahmud of Ghuzz’nih who as a re compensation for the services rendered by this tribe in the extraction and safely bringing the Gates of Somnath, and their installation in Ghuzz’nih, that they were awarded this region in a perpetual grant.

However as per Major H.G. Raverty they were of Tajik origin [J.A.S.B,xxxiii.1864],but the fact remains their past is like a fly in amber.

As far as the Language was concerned it was admitted in the 19th century, that, Barraki or Ormuri had indeed borrowed by then freely from pushto yet, it was a borrowing only, and nothing ‘More’.

The fact remains it is strongly influenced by the old Dardic of the Indus region, which is also the base of our Lhandha, as termed by western linguists. The print of Barraki was seen till old Tirah valley and the Logar valley in present Afghanistan at one time.

Even in the Ayeen e Akbar era, it was still the Toman of Daur and Not as yet termed, as Waziristan as it presently is so-called.

And it would be out of context here to go in details of standard list of words and sentences of Barraki, at the moment in time.

Qazi Abdullah, sent his son first to the Khanqah of Shaikh Baha ud din Zakria in Multan, later Bayazid became a horse-trader, a profession which enabled him to travel far and wide, it was in ‘Kalinjar’ in India that he came under the extra ordinary charm of a Ismailia preacher/missionary, a Mullah Ismail.[who were called ‘Da’i, amongst themselves]. These Da’i, as the custom amongst them would commonly adopt a profession, such as that of a merchant, physician, oculist etc, and when they arrived in a new place, would first try and establish, in the minds of their neighbors, their piety, and benevolence and so consequently be very generous, with alms, and prayed in the common Mosque, here they picked the new, ‘proselytes’, as their reputation grew of a devout living and a crowd / circle of admirers increased, they picked the most apt, to whom they propounded cautiously, the doctrine, of their creed, in the first stage the curiosity of the hearer was aroused, and a spirit of inquiry as well, and so was impressed by the wisdom and knowledge of the Da’i, but it was a guarded affair, if any sign of restiveness were seen, or suspicion suspected on the face of the hearer the Da’i withdrew, but in the case it was seen that the hearer wanted more, the Da’i, proceeded into the hidden science of the religion, and the symbolic characters of its prescription, and if the hearer was seen hooked, the Da’i ,would go to the stage of hinting the outward, observation of prayer, the fast, the pilgrimage and the alms-giving, stating that they were of No consequence, unless, their spiritual significance was Not understood, now the new novice, was seen eager to learn more, The Da’i would start his preamble but, break it in between, hinting that such divine mysteries maybe only discussed or disclosed to one who had taken the oath of allegiance to the imam of the age, the chosen representative of Allah, on the ‘ruh e zamin’ .[the face of earth],and thus the sole repository ,of this hidden science, which can only be confided to those who prove themselves worthy to receive it.

The primary aim of the Da’i was to secure from the ‘Proselyte’ his allegiance, ratified by a binding oath, and expressed by the periodical payment which then, was followed in the initiation in the nine degree’s.

It was this Ismailia-Doctrine, which deeply impregnated the mind of Bayazid, the Ismailia emphasis on interiorization of religious rites and their secretive methods of work, fascinated Bayazid, and we find Bayazid a deeply introspective and seclusion loving later in life.

And so we find him travel ling to Qandhar in his quest, as a seeker, Earlier in the same Qandhar had come another ‘Mahdi’, and had established for a short period his ‘Mahdavia tenets, the man, Syed Muhammad Jaunpuri [1443-1502] had declared himself as the imam Mahdi of the time, and sent letters all over, inviting them to come and testify his claim, and accept him as the promised Mahdi.

He traveled all over India and came to Thatta [Sindh] in 907 Hijri and in 908 Hijri moved to Qandhar and later died in 1502 AD in Farah, and, was so buried there. The mahdavi thought laid great emphasis on ‘Zikir’ which we see, equally emphasized by Bayazid, and his followers.

Bayazid short of claiming prophet-hood, for himself had picked from the mahdavi and Ismailia traditions all such elements which could augment his religious prestige and establish his superiority, over the public at large.

Ismailia dogma preached the divinity of the ‘living imam’, and the Mahdavi the concept of the Mahdi or The Deliverer’, who would set the things right.

These two elements as are seen, became the focal point of the teachings of Bayazid, and his heresy. which were, to establish his spiritual superiority, and control over the Pakhtun people, who hailed such concepts, as long as they did Not, directly or indirectly, affect their tribal traditions.

The maximum, criticism was from two major personalities of the time, Syed. Ali of Tirmiz [1501-1584] and his khalifa, Akhund Darwaza [1533-1615] it was the pir-baba [syed ali] who had dubbed Bayazid pir e Ta’rik [the pir of darkness].

The Mughal power played the ‘Wait & Watch, as it suited them to see, the internecine conflict of various pashtun tribes, as a result of this Raushaniya movement on the frontiers of their Empire, which was slowly weakening the tribes. And so thought it unwise to jump in the fray till the whole situation crystallized. And as soon as it did, and posed a threat to the empire, the war was unleashed.

One of other major reason of Mughal intervention was the claim of Bayazid of being the Mahdi of his age, a person who, sets, right, all that has gone wrong in the religious and the political matters. Akbar the emperor with all his free-thinking, could never allow a new Mahdi to emerge, especially as this one had ambitions to conqueror his newly established Empire.

The British had followed the concepts of Akbar in relation to their so called scientific frontier of the forward policies, one finds almost a similar pattern, and, the region as well.

Abdullah khan Uzbek was a constant thorn, outwardly he maintained good relations. with Mughals, yet, inwardly as is seen helped to aid this movement, Akbar to pre-empt, this had created, a large extended Qandhar suba [province] and in between various Tomans, and sarkars, The successors of Bayazid [died in 1574] played havoc from the foot mountains of Kashkar [Chitral] down to Qandhar, and the trans-Indus regions. final credit to crush this movement goes to the Generals of the Mughal Army who as is seen, constantly waged a War against this movement it was only in 1626 AD, that the last of Mahdi ‘Ahdad’  was killed by a sniper shot fired from a musket, after Ahdad had moved to Qandhar, But even then his in-line successor, Abdul Qadir continued the war, and defeated the Mughal army under Zaffar khan, in 1627 AD, however in another encounter Zaffar Khan  turned the tables and forced Abdul Qadir to surrender, which he did, and was later inducted in the mughal army as the commander of 1000 men, Thus died the Raushiniya movement, and slowly people reverted to their old faith.

It would not be out of context to tell the tale of the rise of this family in the Mughal empire, another cousin much earlier by the name of Illahdad, had joined the Mughals, and taken service with Jahangir, emperor, who had bestowed the name of Rashid Khan upon him, this Rashid khan Ansari arose to the rank later of 4000 zat and 3000 sawar, and died in 1648 AD, his sons continued the service within the Empire, later we find one Asadullah Ansari, who had sided with Aurangzeb in his war of succession, and later arose to be the Governor of Orissa.

The writer has over 30 years of  experience in historical investigative research.

This is a cross post from Opinion Maker where it was first published:

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • Ajmal  On December 23, 2012 at 6:42 am

    A well researched paper. It appears that Pashtuns never accepted Bayazid Ansari and his teachings/cult died within 125 years and that too because of Moughals. Pashtuns/Pukhtuns will never accept a CROW amongst themselves.


  • Editor Rupee News  On December 23, 2012 at 7:05 am

    His name was Bayazid Khan. He had nothing to do with Ansaris.

    Bayazid Khan (Barak/Urmar/Burki) –popularly known as Pir Roshan—became known for his thinking with its strong Sufi influences, radical for the times and unusual for the region. As to claims by some Burkis of an “Ansari” connection, refer to “An Enquiry into the Ethnography of Afghanistan” by Henry Walter Bellew (1891). Bayazid’s people—currently referred to as “Burki”—who until the early twentieth century were known as Barak or Baraki were found in large numbers during the Greek period in their present environs (p. 62). On page 8, Bellew in this seminal work refers to the Baraki’s origins as “mysterious” but not of Arab/Ansari descent.

    Kindly correct his name!

    • Naveed Tajammal  On December 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      My dear Moin Ansari
      Your Tantrum,is indeed,’Ludicrous’ & subject study’Appalling’,nevertheless,enlighten i will,to clear your fog,now take timeout and first access,these books,before,you send me another,mail on the subject,of ‘bayazid ansari’,he was a ansari,of jalandhar,this,baraki/burki,or pathan/afghan,story is new,read the following references;
      John Leyden’s account of Bayazid ansari,as given,in his long article,published in Asiatic studies,in 1810 AD,The Oriental Biographical Dictionary’ of Thomas William Beale,published by Asiatic Society.1881,references on Bayazid ansari,as a ansari can be found,in the following works,’Muntakhab ut Tarikh of Badauni,i have aleardy quoted,but this work was translated by three,different people,Not all can be wrong ?,The Akbar nama of Abul fazal,the Tabaqat i Akbari of Nizam ud din Bakhshi,the Amal i Salih of mohammad salih kamboh,The Badshah-nama of Abdul hamid Lahori,the Zakhirat ut khawanin of shaikh farid Bhakkari,and the ‘Dabistan i Mazahib’ wriiten in the period of Shah Jehan,gives not only a personal account of Bayyazid ansari but gives the details of his descendants,Lastly do read the foot notes given in the tabqat i nasiri,translation by major,H.G Raverty,1881,and his,notes on afghanistan & balluchistan,1888 AD,after you have read them,you will leave your reliance on Bellew aside ! the gross errors done by Bellew i will write on, some other day.

      • pir saddam yousaf shah  On March 14, 2014 at 8:12 pm

        bayazid ansari belong to the pir (minkhel) tribe of kaniguram, south waziristan agency.He was never a burki, but due to the pir’s less popullation and no representation on internet people refer him to the burki tribe. He was the the descender of abu ayub ansari. i got the genealogy of Abu Ayub Ansari, who was a prominent Sahaba and an Ansaar if Madina….

  • SHOMU BHATTACHARYA  On December 23, 2012 at 11:11 am

    My following inquiry of you has nothing to do with article you posted. Until recently I had not seen or paid attention to any info on the historical figures the Af-Pak regions. This makes me aware of some history of a personality of this area. Txa.

    Another area I had very little info on is Baluchistan. I have been reading Dr Talpur’s article on and off and he comes across very knowledgeable on Baluchistan. For example, do you have opinion of the following?

    “The dispossessed are definitively disenfranchised” — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur;\12\23\story_23-12-2012_pg3_2

  • Arbab Daud  On December 25, 2012 at 1:09 am

    As per my knowledge on the issue of Pir Rokhan is very much debatable… I beg to differ with the writer.. he has just written the article quoting from a single source… Pir Rokhan is the writer of first book of prose of Pashto named “Khair-ul-Bayan” and he was against the Moghul rule of Akbar, who was supported by Pir Baba and Akhund Darveza… Pir Rokhan was a social reformer and not just self-proclaimed saint or mahdi. Even the recent social reform movement named Khudai Khidmatgar Tehrik by Bacha Khan is also regarded by many Pashto scholars as the part of Rokhania Movement. I must admit that this write up is quite biased or maybe based on a book which is very much biased to the thinking of Rokhanites.

    • Naveed Tajammal  On December 25, 2012 at 3:09 am

      Arbab Daud,
      My article,is certainly Not based on a single source,in my reply to moin ansari,please do read it [above],i have mentioned the sources,you too are welcome to read the same,if you find anything to the contrary you can object.On the issue of pashto,well try and go in the time period,leaving the linguistic love of pashto,aside,all men of letters wrote in persian,the arabic,was now limited to religious affairs,even so the court language was persian,and the medium of education like-wise of the Mektab,was persian,and the script indeed,was perso-arabic,i mean who would have read pashto ??? pashto was never taught in schools[in those times],,and i have explained above why so,because if you were well versed in persian you could get good employments,perhaps the baraki,language would have been much better developed.regards.

      • Naveed Tajammal  On December 25, 2012 at 7:34 am

        Arbab Daud.
        In pursuance to my last mail,for your own pure academic knowledge,with reference to the ‘Baraki and pashto’ if compared,you are kindly requested,to study,
        The Volume x of the linguistic survey of india,which was compiled and edited by Sir.George Abraham Grierson and published from Calcutta in 1921,by the Superintendent.Government printing.india.this volume has 549 pages,all concerning the Eranian family languages,The Pashto-grammar and other things are assigned 104 pages i.e page 17 to 121,the mis-called Ormuri and actual,’Baraki’ has 202 pages,from 123 to 325,which thereby proves,how well,developed, this language was compared to pashto,,Secondly in my book collection,i also have the first edition of ,Pukhto/Pashto,Dictionary,by Captain.H.G.Raverty,published in 1860 and that of ,Henery Walter Bellew,published in 1867,the first edition,and,i have carried out of,the both,a comprehensive,loan word,analysis,which leaves out pure pashto/pukhto words.which were not much in 1860,if that date or year be taken as a bench-mark.

  • Zarak Ormar  On January 9, 2013 at 12:45 am

    This is a biased article. Whatever their background, Barkis or Ormars are now a bonafide tribe of Pashtuns. I am myself a Barki from Ormar Payan near Peshawar. We have three villages there; Ormar Payan, Ormar Miana, and Ormar Bala. Pir-i-Rokhan was a Pashtun stalwart and historical figure who was a Sufi, a reformer, a Pashtun freedom fighter, and who proposed Pashtun alphabet and triggered Roshniya School of Pashto poetry (Mirza Khan Ansari, Arzani, Kheshgi, etc. were the famous poets of this school).

    Akbar himself was a heretic having invented Din-i-Ilahi. It was a war for imperial interests but it some Pakistani nationalist who not having any roots in history are trying to erase the history of different nations of Pakistan to invent a Pakistani nation and a Pakistani history. .

    Pir-i-Rokhan Baizid Ansari is recognized by all Pashtuns to both sides of Durand Line as a Pashtun hero..The University of Jalalabad is named after him.

    • Naveed Tajammal  On January 11, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      You are welcome to believe whatever your belief’s maybe,however ‘Facts are as always the Facts’.As to the University of Jalalabad being named after bayazid,well one of his Son,was so named,but this town,was named during humayun’s time,after his Son ,’Jalal ud din Mohammad Akbar.Do take out some time,and read the references given in my reply to moin ansari above,as well to your Media-person ‘Arbab Daud’.Mere negation of the books given,throws a poor light on the your intellectuals both sides of the Durand-line.As well on the present disciples of Bayazid in the Hasht-ghar [towns].
      Perhaps you failed to comprehend what i wrote,it were the immigrants who called the ‘baraki’ as the ‘Ormur’ and the baraki called them back as ‘Khash’.
      Barrak was a town enroute the old trade route,mentioned in the article,ethnically your lot is different.And certainly not even by a remote chance that of what are now called as Afghans.

      • Shoail khan  On July 24, 2014 at 11:42 pm

        Naveed tajamal what is ur caste ur such a cheap person shame on u.

  • Akbar Khan  On March 27, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Pashtuns never accepted Bayazid Ansari and his teachings/cult died within 125 years as it was against the teaching of Islam . Bagdadi is a copycat of him hence Muslim rejects him too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: