Waris Shah (1722–1798) was a Punjabi Sufi poet, renowned for his contribution to Punjabi literature. He is best known for his seminal work Heer Ranjha, based on the traditional folk tale of Heer and her lover Ranjha. Heer is considered one of the quintessential works of classical Punjabi literature. The story of Heer was also told by several other writers—including notable versions by Damodar Das, Mukbal, and Ahmed Gujjar—but Waris Shah's version is by far the most popular today.
Waris Shah was born in Jandiala Sher Khan, Punjab, India (Present day - Pakistan) into a reputed Syed family who claimed descent from prophet Muhammad. His father's name was Gulshar Shah. Waris Shah acknowledged himself as a disciple of Pir Makhdum of Kasur. Waris Shah's parents are said to have died when he was young, and he probably received his education at the shrine of his preceptor. After completing his education in Kasur, he moved to Malka Hans, a village twelve kilometers north of Pakpattan. Here he resided in a small room, adjacent to a historic masjid, now called Masjid Waris Shah. His mausoleum is a place of pilgrimage today, especially for those in love. The mausoleum complex was completed in 1978 and is a mixture of the Lahore School and Tughlq Architecture.