Hazrat Bābā Farīduddīn Mas’ūd Ganjshakar ( Punjabi: ਫ਼ਰੀਦ-ਉਦ-ਦੀਨ ਗੰਜਸ਼ਕਰ) commonly known as Baba Farid (Punjabi: ਬਾਬਾ ਫ਼ਰੀਦ), was a 12th-century Sufi preacher.
Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar, a Muslim Sufi, is generally recognized as the first major poet of the Punjabi language and is considered one of the pivotal saints of the Punjab region. Revered by Muslims and Hindus, he is also considered one of the fifteen Sikh Bhagats within Sikhism and his selected works form part of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh sacred scripture.
One of Farīd’s most important contributions to Punjabi literature was his development of the language for literary purposes. Whereas Sanskrit, Arabic, Turkish and Persian had historically been considered the languages of the learned, the elite and used in monastic centres, Punjabi was generally considered a lesser refined folk language. Although earlier poets had written in a primitive Punjabi, there was little beyond Punjabi literature besides the range of traditional and anonymous ballads. By using Punjabi as the language of poetry, Farīd laid the basis for a vernacular Punjabi literature that would be developed later.
Baba Farid Ji was the first Punjabi saint or should we say the father of punjabi culture. A 12th century sufi preacher whose 116 hyms in punjabi were recognized and given the highest regard and status after they were procured by Guru Nanak Dev Ji from Sheikh Ibrahim, the 12th successor of Shiekh Farid and later preserved in Adi Granth, (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji). Baba Farid, a people’s poet, was a very pious, humble and religious man of impeccable character. He led a simple life.