Waris Shah was born in Jandiala Sher Khan, Punjab, and present-day Pakistan into a reputed Syed family and was a descendant of Syed Muhammad Al-Makki through his son Syed Badruddin. Waris Shah's parents are said to have died when he was young. Waris acknowledged himself as a disciple of an ustad from Kasur, namely Hafiz Ghulam Murtaza from whom he received his education.
After completing education Waris Shah moved to Malka Hans, a village 12 kilometers north of Pakpattan. Here he resided in a small room, adjacent to a historic mosque now called Masjid Waris Shah, until his death.