Shaikh Sharafuddeen Bu Ali Qalandar Panipati (1209-1324 CE, born at Ganja, Azerbaijan) was a Sufi saint of the Chishtī Order who lived in India. His dargah (mausoleum) in the town of Panipat is a place of pilgrimage.
His real name was Shaykh Sharfuddin but he is famous by the title Bu-Ali Shah. His father, Shaykh Fakhar Uddin was a great scholar and saint of his time. He completed his studies at an early age and subsequently taught near the Qutub Minar in Delhi for 20 years.
He wrote the famous couplet in Persian about Hazrat Ali:
Haiderium Qalandaram Mastam
Banda-e-Murtuza Ali Hastam
Translation: I am Haideri (a follower of Haider, aka Ali ibn Abi Talib), I am a Qalandar and I am intoxicated (with inspiration).
I am a servant of Ali Murtaza (aka Ali ibn Abi Talib)
I am leader of all saints
Because I am a dog of the lane of “Allah’s Lion” (referring to Ali Murtaza)
One account says he was born in early 1400 in Panipat, India. However an epitaph on his tomb in Persian gives his birthplace as Ganja in present-day Azerbaijan. It traces his descent from Numan Ibn Thabit Hazrat Abu Hanifa. His father, Sheikh Fakhar Uddin was a great scholar and saint of his time. His mother, Bibi Hafiza Jamal, was a Syeda; the daughter of Maulana Syed Nemat Ullah Hamdani.
The dargah (mausoleum or shrine), mosque and enclosure at the Qalandar Chowk in Panipat were constructed by Mahabat Khan, a general in the service of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Mahabat Khan’s own tomb in red sandstone is adjacent to the saint’s mausoleum. The tombs of Hakim Mukaram Khan and the Urdu poet Maulana Altaf Hussain Hali are also located within the enclosure. A nearby structure is the tomb of the last Lodi dynasty ruler of Delhi, Ibrahim Lodi, killed in the First Battle of Panipat (1526).
The left wall of the mausoleum has a qasida (panegyric) embossed and painted in blue and gold, written by Zahuri Neishabouri who visited India during the reign of Akbar.
A large number of people from all walks of life – Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians – visit the tomb and offer prayers there each Thursday and during the annual Urs Mela.
Various legends exist about the saint. One legend says after the ibadah (act of obedience and submission) of 36 years standing in the water in Karnal he was awarded the status of “Bu Ali” (Fragrance of Ali) by Muhammad (saw). After achieving this Rutba (rank) he was visited by many other Sufi saints. An alternative legend to explain his name says that Muhammad appeared to him in a dream and offered him a wish. The Qalandar asked for prophethood and was told that all positions have been filled and Muhammad was the last one. He asked to be Ali and was told that position was also filled. He then asked for at least the fragrance of Ali and that wish was granted. A scholarly view of his name is that Bu Ali is simply another form of Kuniyyat Abu Ali.