The History of Sufism in Multan

New Data from the Urdu Tadhkirah Tradition

  • MUHAMMAD TOUSEEF Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Ivry-sur-Seine, Paris.
  • ALEXANDRE PAPAS Senior Research Fellow, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris.
Keywords: Multan, Pakistan, hagiography, Suhrawardiyyah, Qadiriyyah, Chishtiyyah, marginal Sufis.


The medieval history of Sufism in Multan is relatively well known. A figure such as the famous Suhrawardi Shaykh Baha’ al-Din Zakariyya from the thirteenth century embodies this prestigious period. Our article shows that the Sufi brotherhoods have continued to flourish until today, far beyond what traditional historiography describes. Using unexplored sources—mostly modern Urdu hagiographies devoted to the sacred history of Multan—we reconstruct the biography and the bibliography of many Sufi shaykhs as well as the lineages, especially Qadiri and Chishti, from which they come; we identify several mausoleums and lodges across the city; eventually, we reveal the existence of marginal mystics who marked the religious memory of this heritage city of the Pakistani Punjab.

How to Cite
TOUSEEF, M., & PAPAS , A. (2019). The History of Sufism in Multan: New Data from the Urdu Tadhkirah Tradition. ISLAMIC STUDIES, 58(4), 471-501. Retrieved from