Pir Sabir Shah (the spiritual pir of Ahmad Shah Durrani)

Pir Sabir Shah placing a cluster of wheat on Ahmad Shah Abdali’s turban, proclaiming him as a king. Painting by Ustad Abdul Ghafur Breshna (1907-1974).


Pir Sabir Shah was a dervish and Ahmad Shah Abdali’s spiritual pir. Bayan-i-Waqai mentions Pir Sabir Shah as a son of a farrier of Lahore and mentions Lahore as ‘his country’. While Siyar al-Mutakherin mentions him as a grandson of a famous farrier of Kabul. It appears that his family was originally from Kabul which migrated to and settled in Lahore. [1]

Sabir Shah abandoned Lahore in his youth and travelled to Kabul, Kandahar and Herat. Few days before the assassination of Nadir Shah, he predicted the rise of Ahmad Khan Abdali to the kingship. At the jirga of Abdalis at Kandahar, he proclaimed Ahmad Khan Abdali Badshah, Durr-i Dauran (King, the Pearl of the Age), which Ahmad Shah later changed to Durr-i-Durran (pearl of the pearls). [2]

In 1748 Pir Sabir Shah visited his native city Lahore. The Tarikh-i-Sultani says that Sabir Shah repeated his old game of small tents in the bazars of Lahore and said that he was bringing the rule of Ahmad Shah Abdali to the country. Shah Nawaz Khan (Mughal governor of Lahore) could not bear to hear this, he ordered the dervish to be put to death. [3] 

The tomb of Pir Sabir Shah is situated on a raised platform at the back of Badshahi mosque towards the Taksali Gate. [4] 

The cluster of wheat on the national flag of Afghanistan, is a reference to the cluster of wheat put in the turban of Ahmad Shah Abdali by Pir Sabir Shah Lahori.
Shrine of Sher Surkh where coronoation of Ahmad Shah Abdali took place. Source:  “Ahmad Shah Baba Afghan” by Mir Ghulam Muhammad Ghobar


1- “Bayan-i-Waqi” and “Siyar al-Mutakhireen”. 
2- “Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan” by Thomas H. Johnson, ‎Ludwig W. Adamec 
3- “Ahmad Shah Durrani by Ganda Singh 
4- Ibid

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