Biography of Rahman Baba

Rahman Baba

Abdullah Qazi/ January 2001
Last updated: March 7, 2009

Rahman Baba was a prominent philosopher, and he is considered one of the greatest Pashto poets. He was born in 1632 at Bahadur Kala, a village, 4 km south of Peshawar. It is believed that Rahman Baba lived a secluded life, and most of his poems were written around 1660 and 1710. His poems had a touch of mysticism in them, and were usually about God, morality, and brotherhood. Rahman Baba’s mausoleum, constructed by the Pakhto Tolena of Afghanistan in 1954 is in Hazarkhwani area close to Peshawar city in North West Frontier province (NWFP) of Pakistan. Sadly in March 5, 2009, Pakistani militants set up remote control bombs and partially destroyed the mausoleum. Apparently, the militants were upset that women were visiting the shrine. Every year in April, fans of Rahman Baba’s poetry hold a festival at the mausoleum.

A poem by Rahman Baba translated into English:

Sow flowers so your surroundings become a garden
Don’t sow thorns; for they will prick your feet
If you shoot arrows at others,
Know that the same arrow will come back to hit you.
Don’t dig a well in another’s path,
In case you come to the wells edge
You look at everyone with hungry eyes
But you will be first to become mere dirt.
Humans are all one body,
Whoever tortures another, wounds himself.