Name: Hazrat Khwaja Abul Hassan Amir Khusro
Titles: Mehboob Mehboob-E-Illahi, Shirin Sokhan, Tottiy-E-Hind, Yamin-Ud-Deen
Predecessor: Hazrat Khwaja Sayed Nizamuddin Auliya (رحمتہ اللہ علیہ)
Date of Birth: 1253 A.D.
Date of Wisaal: 1325 A.D.
Date of Urs: 17th, Shawwal
Resting at: Delhi, India.
Khusro was born in 1253 A.D. in Patiyala, India, His paternal ancestors belonged to the nomadic tribe of Hazaras from Transoxiana, who crossed the river Indus and migrated to India in the thirteenth century. Khusro’s father served the Sultan of Delhi, Shamsuddin Il-tutmish, in a high position, and Amir Khusro was educated in theology, Persian and the Quran. From his mother who was of Hindustani origin and from his maternal grandfather he acquired both, an intimacy with the local languages as well as a rooting in the immediate cultural ambience. When his father died when Khusro was only eight he came under the care of his maternal grandfather.
Amir Khusro was writing poetry from a tender age. His genius thrived and sustained itself with the support of his industrious temperament and, indeed the fortune of getting generous patrons in nobles, princes and kings. He emerged as one of the most original poets of India, innovating new metaphors and similes. To him the sun, for instance, would be the galloping deer, streams of fire, darts in the sky, washing agent for water and earth, and so on.
With his second collection of verses, Wast-ul-Hayat, Amir Khusro’s name spread from house to house, wide and far and he came to be known in Persia as well. The famous poet of Persia, Sa’di sent him compliments.
It was with his long, unique poem, Qiran-us-Sa’dain, written with ceaseless labour of six months, at the age of thirty six, that Khusro became the poet-laureate of King Kaiqobad at Delhi. This poem also got named as Mathnavi dar Sifat-I-Delhi because it is embellished with rich and poetic descriptions of Delhi that was the Garden of Eden for Khusro. The poem is soaked in his love for Delhi ; he also writes on the mutual love between Hindus and Muslims there.
In Nuh Sipihr (1318), Khusro’s fascination with India’s birds and animals, flowers and trees, its languages and people finds an impassioned expression. It was indeed due to his Sufi orientation, acquired mainly from his spiritual mentor, Nizamuddin Auliya, that he chooses to appreciate some aspects of Hindu religion and customs in Nuh Sipihr. In fact, through an anecdote in Hasht-Bihisht, he preaches religious toleration by narrating a dialogue between a Muslim Haji going to Mecca and a Brahmin pilgrim going to Somnath. Amir Khusro’s poetry offers a powerful metaphor for secular thinking and living.
He wrote poetry in Persian as well as what he called Hindvi,a combination of local Bhojpuri and Persian, which later evolved into Hindi and Urdu.
He composed songs and riddles in the more common spoken dialect of the time, called “Dehlavi Hindi” though he himself did not take these seriously they appealed greatly to the common people. Jawaharlal Nehru,the first Prime minister of Independant India in his book,”Discovery of India” (1961) has ritten “Khusro’s enduring fame in India rests on the riddles, quibbles and songs written by him”.
Khusro’s contribution to the Hindi language and Hindi poetry is even acknowledged by the hindi critics of today. The language he used later developed into Hindustani. Many of his poems are even today used in Hindustani Classical as bandishes and as ghazals by Ghazal singers.
His deep and growing attachment with Nizamudddin Auliya, took him away from more worldly ambitions and he turned more and more to spiritual seeking and ecstasy. When Nizammudin Auliya passed away Khusro tore his clothes and blackened his face and went to his master’s grave. In a few months’ time, in 1325 A.D., Khusro too passed away and was buried near that grave as desired by the master. These graves are a place of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Muslims to the present day
A Great Secular Scholar and Patriotic Poet
There is no country in the World whose cultural heritage is so much blended with divine touch. In Punjabi, Baba Farid and Nanak spoke in poem – thus the beginning of Punjabi literacy heritage. In Gujarat, Narsi Mehta and Meera Bai sang songs of the glory of Ranchchodji – thus the beginning of Gujarati Literature. In Kashmir, Lalleshwari and Nand Rishi (Sheikh Nurudedin) sang to the glory of God – thus the beginning of Kashmiri language. Urdu, (the rich language of India) was also born in the same fashion. His Holiness showed keen interest in the promotion of mutual love and goodwill among all classes of people. When His Holiness found that languages and dialectic obstacles clogged this harmony and hindered the understanding amongst the Afghans, the Iranians and the Turks and others, His Holiness ordered Hazrat Amir Khusro to invent a “new language” so as to facilitate inter-communication and homogenous oneness amongst the people of India. Hazrat Amir Khusro mixed the Persian with local Brij Bhasha (native language of the North) and this mixture laid the foundation of Urdu. With the passage of time and by its usage it developed into more refined Urdu cultural.
Delhi is proud of His Holiness and Hazrat Khusro. Delhi is proud of Urdu. It was in Delhi that Urdu was born, nourished and flourished. Hazrat Khusro is the father of Modern Urdu Literature. He composed the first poem in Hindi too. He is the pioneer of Hindustani Literature. He was a great scholar in Persian. He introduced Sitar, the five string instrument. He was a pioneer of Indian Classical music.
Hazrat Amir Khusro was not only a talented and highly learned poet of India having full command over Turkish, Persian, Arabic, Hindi and Sanskrit languages but he was a distinguished Sufi by virtue of his initiation and closeness to His Holiness. His poetical composition, specially the Persian-Hindi blending were aimed at cementing the bonds of culture and friendship between the Hindus and Muslims.
Amir Khusro was a leading poet in Persian and Hindi languages. In his introduction to ‘Ghurratul Kamal’ Khusro wrote that, “a few poems that I have composed in Hindi I have made a gift to my friends.” He was a Hindustani Turk. In another famous verse he said, “To speak the truth, I am an Indian parrot. If you want to listen from me some subtle verses, ask me then to recite some of my Hindi poems”.
Amir Khusro says that the Hindus are Mushrik, (i.e. pluralist in their belief of God) as under:
“Though Hindus are not men of our faith, yet on certain points they hold concurrent ideas in respect of our faith. They affirm that life is one and eternal and that God created everything.”
He was the monarch in the field of prose and poetry. His Holiness, Hazrat Syed Nizamuddin Aulia (R.A) says, “He is our Khusro not Nasiri Khusro, May God help my Khusro”. Amir Khusro remained wedded to truth, love and humanity.
Path of Sufism
Amir Khusro was very promising child. He became a scholar of philosophy and science in short time. At the age of twenty, he became a famous poet. He was a man of soaring imagination. The greatness lies in his breaking the mistrust and isolation in the then existing various culture groups and thus paving the way for reconciliation at the social and ideological levels. Such conciliation and concord amongst them was a moral and intellectual demand besides being an urgent social necessity. Hazrat Amir Khusro rose to a high status because of his connections in political circles and had opportunities of observing many important events from close quarters. He was a man of learning and helped the growth of Hindustani literary societies. His genius unfolded itself in poetry, music and prose.
After his father’s death, he migrated along with his mother to Delhi where he was brought up by his maternal grandfather Imadul Mulk Rawat Arz. Mir Khurd writes that His Holiness Hazrat Syed Nizamuddin Aulia (R.A) came to Delhi at the age of sixteen for the purpose of his higher education in the profession of Qazi. By a strange turn of fortune he stayed in the same locality where Amir Khusro lived i.e. in Namak Sarai. After some time His Holiness Hazrat Syed Nizamuddin Aulia (R.A) shifted to Rawat Arz house on the recommendation of Hazrat Amir Khusro. He further writes that when Amir Khusro reached his adolescence he became “Iradat Kash” of His Holiness Hazrat Syed Nizamuddin Aulia (R.A). Amir Khusro writes in the preface to his “Diwan” “Wastful Hayat” that he was sixteen years old when he found His Holiness Hazrat Syed Nizamudddin Aulia (R.A) as his spiritual mentor, along with Mufti Moizuddin Gharifi. Both of them guided him to the path of following the style of Shaikh Sadi and Ispahani.