History of Pir Roshan (Bayazid Ansari)

The real name of Pir Roshan was Bayazid Ansari. He was born in Pashtun-ruled Jalandhar (East Punjab, India) in 1524-25 AD. His family was living in both Kaniguram (in modern South Waziristan) and Jalandhar. He has been variously described as an Ormur and Ansari. His father Abdullah was a learned man and was a Qazi (judge) of his area. His mother’s name was Aminah.

When Babur invaded India in 1526 and defeated Ibrahim Lodi, the Pashtun families in India suffered greatly at the hands of Mughals. The Pashtun families at Jalandhar including Bayazid’s dispersed and sought refuge in Bihar (India) which was still in the hands of Pashtuns. From thence the family of Bayazid Ansari arrived to Kaniguram in 1530-31 AD.

Abdullah appointed his trusted friend and student Mullah Painda to tutor Bayazid in religious education. After acquiring the necessary religious education, Bayazid joined his father in business. He married his cousin Shamso, the daughter of Shaikh Khudadad. He traded in horses which he used to buy from Central Asia and sell them in India. During such business trips he happened to meet Mullah Suleiman from the town of Jalandhar. Bayazid became interested in the tenets of jogis and became a convert to Metapsychosis, or transmigration of souls. On these doctrines he engrafted some of his own doctrines., the most remarkable of which was that the complete manifestation of the Divinity were made in the persons of holy men. Since then, he started unorthodox belief which was bitterly resented by his tribe and family. 

He mediated for five years in a basement of his house. After completion of meditation, he claimed receiving divine massages. His father and brothers opposed him most strongly. His stepbrother Usman was his most active and bitter opponent whom Bayazid used to address as ‘Shaitan’. His infuriated father once stabbed him; however, he survived the wound. Shaikh Farid, the chief of Burki clan, ousted him from Kaniguram. He, along with his wife Shamso, daughter Kamala, son Umar and few of his disciples, migrated first to Tirah, and later to Peshawar where he stayed in the tribe of Khalil.

Bayazid sent his Khalifas (disciples) to many courts and common people preaching his ‘maslik’. One of his Khalifa, Mullah Daulat, visited Emperor Akbar and presented to him one copy of “Sirat-ul-Tawheed” authored by Bayazid Ansari. Similarly, another disciple, Yousaf was sent to the court of Mirza Suleiman of Badakhshan. He sent Khalifa Mullah Arzani Kheshigi to India to propagate his mission there. Khalifa Mawdud was sent to Kandahar to propagate his mission there. He also sent some Khalifa to Balkh and Bukhara.

Once his followers from Toi tribe of Afghans plundered the trading caravan en-route from India to Kabul. Mirza Hakim, the ruler of Kabul, sent 500 men to punish the Toi tribe. The Mughal army killed men of Toi tribe and took women and children as prisoners of war. Bayazid, knowing the situation, wrote to Mizra Hakim, requesting him to release women and children, since their men had been punished for their offence. This infuriated Mirza Hakim, and he wrote to Masum Khan, the then governor of Peshawar, to kill him if he refuses to surrender. When the news reached Masum Khan, he had in his company Painda Khan and Bahar Khan, the chiefsof Muhammadzai tribe and followers of Bayazid. Painda Khan passed this news to Bayazid. Bayazid left Hashtnagar along with his followers and went to Yousafzai region to seek shelter from Mughals. Masum Khan’s army pursued him and besieged at the foot of the hill. A battle took place in which Bayazid got victory.

After this, Bayazid went to Tirah and stayed there for some time. While Bayazid was in Tirah, Mirza Suleiman, the ruler of Badakhshan, came from Kabul with the intention of meeting Mughal emperor Akbar. When he arrived at Khyber Pass, some of the Afridis attacked him and robbed him of his possessions and goods. Bayazid, after hearing about this incident, was shocked and angry with the people who had attacked the caravan. Then the governor of Peshawar took a huge army and went to Tirah in pursuit of Bayazid. Afridi, Orakzais and Tirahi tribes blocked their way. Mughal army could not reach Tirah and thus returned to Peshawar. However, Akhund Darweza claims that a battle took place in which Mughals gained victory over Bayazid. Bayazid went to the region of Yousafzai and stayed there for some time. He died there in 1572. Halnama says that he died a natural death in the Yousafzai region and and was buried there but Akhunda Darweza says that Bayazid collected his army and went to Nangarhar and attacked Baru village. After this attack, he went towards mountains. The Mushsin Khan came from Jalalabad and attacked him in Tur Ragha. They defeated him and killed a number of his followers. Bayazid fled and took position in the mountains. He was affected by the hot wind and severe thirst. He then made his way to Hashtnagar, and as he had been affected by hot winds, he died in Hashtnagar and was buried there.


1- Abr Nahrain- Volumes 6-9
2- “The Rowshnites and Pushto literature” by Yar Muhammad Maghmum Khattak
3- Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Volume 47
4- Imperial Gazetteer of India, v-19
5- History of the Pathans, by Haroon Rashid, Vol-1
6- New Indian Antiquary, Vol-2, p-568
7- “Family of Bayazid Ansari” by Afzal Hussain, PIHC, 1994.
8- “Rowshni Movement: Bayazid Ansari’s Life and teachings” by Mir Wali Khan Mahsud
9- Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri: or Memoirs of Jahangir
10 -“The Roshanis and the Mughals” by Fatima Zehra Bilgrami, PIHC, 1995
11- “A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West”, Volume 3

Pir Roshan
Imaginary portrait of Pir Roshan

Pir Roshan



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