Syed Abdullah Shah Qadri or Syed Abdullah Shah Gilani (Punjabi: سید عبداللہ شاہ قادری (Shahmukhi); ਸੱਈਦ ਅਬਦੁੱਲਾਹ ਸ਼ਾਹ ਕਾਦਰੀ (Gurmukhi); 1680–1757), known as Bulleh Shah (Punjabi: بلھے شاہ (Shahmukhi); ਬੁੱਲ੍ਹੇ ਸ਼ਾਹ (Gurmukhi)), was a Punjabi philosopher and Sufi poet during 17th-century Punjab. His first spiritual teacher was Shah Inayat Qadiri, a Sufi murshid of Lahore. He was a mystic poet and is universally regarded as “The father of Punjabi enlightenment”. He lived and was buried in Kasur.
He was born in 1680 in Uch, Mughal Empire (present day Pakistan). After his early education, he went to Lahore where he met Inayat Arian, and became his disciple.
Later years and death
He died in 1757, at the age of 77. He was buried in Kasur, and a dargah was built over his grave. He was declared non-Muslim by a few “Mullah” of Kasur and it was prohibited to offer the funeral prayer of Bulleh Shah. His funeral prayer was led by Qazi Hafiz Syed Zahid Hamdani, a great religious personality of Kasur.
He was buried in Kasur when he died in 1757. There is a clean and very huge veranda which leads to the Tomb of Baba Bulleh Shah as you enter the shrine. The ceiling of shrine is decorated with the verses of Bulleh Shah in elegant calligraphy.
Bulleh Shah lived after the Pashto Sufi poet and saint Rahman Baba (1632–1706) and lived in the same period as Sindhi Sufi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (1689–1752). His lifespan also overlapped with the Punjabi poet Waris Shah (1722–1799), of Heer Ranjha fame, and the Sindhi Sufi poet Abdul Wahab (1739–1829), better known by his pen name Sachal Sarmast. Amongst Urdu poets, Bulleh Shah lived 400 miles away from Mir Taqi Mir (1723–1810) of Delhi.
Bulleh Shah practised the Sufi tradition of Punjabi poetry established by poets like Shah Hussain (1538–1599), Sultan Bahu (1629–1691), and Shah Sharaf (1640–1724).
The verse form Bulleh Shah primarily employed is the Kafi, popular in Punjabi and Sindhi poetry.
Many people have put his Kafis to music, from humble street-singers to renowned Sufi singers like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pathanay Khan, Abida Parveen, the Waddali Brothers and Sain Zahoor, from the synthesised techno qawwali remixes of UK-based Asian artists to the Pakistani rock band Junoon.