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Shah Shams Sabzwari | by TARIQ HAMEED SULEMANI
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Shah Shams Sabzwari

Shah Shams Sabzwari (d. 1276) was a celebrated Ismaili saint, about whom little is known. He has left a collection of poetry, and is known to have been a child in Sabzwar, where he was educated. He traveled, teaching Ismaili doctrine in various areas including Kashmir, Sind, Gujerat, and little Tibet, before moving to Uch, where he performed a miracle of life-restoration. In 1201, he moved permanently to Multan, where he established a popular and successful religious center. He died and was buried in Multan. His mausoleum was built by one of his grandsons, Sadr al-Din; the original building has been extensively renovated many times. The structure that exists today is considered an influential example of the Multani style of architecture.


The tomb stands in a large courtyard enclosed by a wall of brick tiles and mud mortar, decorated with arched panels recessed into the brick. Access is through a vestibule on the western wall, and through a domed prayer chamber in the south wall. The main mausoleum is in three stories, with a total height of 80 ft. It is a combination of wood frame construction and brickwork. Typical of the Multani tomb style, the square ground floor rises by way of squinches into an octagonal second floor, and into onto a circular third, a drum supporting a hemispherical dome. The dome is topped by a finial, bolted into the center of the dome by a lotus-shaped piece. A light bulb has more recently been placed on the very top of the composition.


The main chamber has a high platform, upon which a domed, pillared pavilion is set. Through arched openings, two brick-masonry cenotaph can be seen, one for the saint and another for his grandson. The interior is decorated with intricate geometrical fresco work.

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Taken on November 2, 2011