By Rana Safvi
Raseed Imshab Ki Nigaar Khwahi Aamad
Fidaa-E Raah-E Ki Sawaar Khwahi Aamad
received word that you,
O beloved, would
May my head be
sacrificed to the road
along which you
- Hazrat Amir Khusrau
Amir Khusrau was born as Abul Hasan
Yameenuddin in Patiyali village of modern-day Kasganj, in 1253, to Amir
Saifuddin Turk Lachin Mahmood, a Turkish soldier from Balkh, and an Indian
woman. His maternal grandfather Imad-ul-Mulk Rawat Arz was sultan Balban’s
minister of war.
It is said that when he was born, his
father swaddled him in a piece of cloth and took him to a mystic neighbour. He
cast a glance at the baby and said, “Amir Lachin, you have brought to me one
who will go two steps beyond Khaqani.”
At the age of eight, Abdul accompanied his
father to the Khanqah of Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.
When his father went inside, the young boy
remained at the door, remarking:
“I shall choose my 'Peer/Spiritual guide'
myself, and if bestowed with Divine Power, he will converse with me even from a
Thus, sitting at the door, he composed:
Shah-E-Ke Bar Aiwan-E-Qasrat.
Nashinad Baz Garded.
Mustanande Baradar Amad.
Be Ayat Andar
Un Ya Baz Gardad.
You are such a
that if a pigeon
sits in your palace, it turns into a hawk.
An outsider and
a man of need has reached your doorstep,
please let him
know whether he should come in, or go away.
Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, who it was said
had supernatural powers, sent him the following verse as a response, via a
Andarun Marde Haqiqat,
Nafas Hamraz Gardad,
Buwad An Mard Nadan,
Azan Rahe Ki
Amad Baz Gardad.
The person who
knows the truth may come inside
so that we may
exchange divine secrets for a moment.
If this person
is ignorant, he should return
on the same path
he has come from
Hazrat Amir Khusrau immediately rose and
ran to the saint, and fell at his feet and wept!
After this famous spiritual exchange, the
saint accepted him as his Mureed — his seeker. Gradually, the two became
Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya called his Mureed
Miftah-al Sama (the key of religious ecstasy).
According to legend, “Mehboob-e-Ilahi” — as
Nizamuddin was called — rubbed his Luab e Dahan (saliva) on his
disciple’s lips and that led to his voice and words becoming sweeter.
He recited the verse:
Za-Har-Do Jaanib, Khoonrez E Aashiqaan Ast
Cheezey Namii Tawaan Guft, Roo E Tu Darmeyaan Ast
tresses shed lovers’ blood from both sides
Your face, in
the middle, robs them of any power to complain
Thus he received the title of Tooti-e-Hindustan,
or the parrot of Hindustan.
That was an era of cultural attainment and
there were many incomparable poets in the Khilji Sultanate but according to the
famous historian Ziauddin Barni, “The incomparable Amir Khusrau stands
unequalled for the volume of his writings and the originality of his ideals;
for, while other great masters of prose and verse have excelled in one or two
branches, Amir Khusrau was conspicuous in every department of letters. A man with
such mastery over all forms of poetry has never existed in the past and may
perhaps not come into existence before the Day of Judgement.”
He was not just a poet but also a musician,
a venerated composer and is credited with the invention of several musical
instruments and laying down the theoretical basis for much of Indo-Muslim
Amir Khusrau is credited with turning the Sama
music into Qawwali as it is sung today. He was entrusted with developing
it as a complete form of music, and chose 12 young students to accomplish the
task — and called them the Qawwal Bachcha. It is through them that he
presented Qaul Qalbana and other forms of Qawwali. Munshi Raziuddin and his
sons Farid Ayaz and Abu Mohamed are descendants of those very Qawwal
Khusrau is said to be the inventor of many
musical instruments, including the Tabla.
He composed numerous new ragas and is said
to have created six forms of music — namely Qaul, Qalbana, Khayal, Tarana,
Naqsh and Gul. The last two have lapsed into obscurity while the
Safinat-ul-Auliya mentions that he was always burning in the flames of passion and
longing, so much so that often the clothes on his body would be charred. (A
beautiful way of expressing his emotions; I am sure it is not to be taken
He (Amir Khusrau) was one of the chief
disciples of Sheikh Nizamuddin Auliya; and a disciple with a firmer faith in
his master I have never seen. Of love and affection, too, he had his full
share, and he was a man of ecstasy and rapture.
Khusrau, a fervent devotee of Hazrat
Nizamuddin Auliya, was devastated when the saint left this world. At the time,
he was in Lakhnauti on official work and upon hearing the tragic news, he gave
up all his worldly possessions, left the imperial service and immediately left
On reaching the Dargah, he recited the
Gori Soye Sej
Mukh Par Dare
The fair maiden
rests on the wreath (of roses),
covering her face,
Oh Khusrau, go
The dark dusk
settles in four corners
Though those around him tried to alleviate
his agony, especially Hazrat Nasiruddin Chiragh Delhi, Khusrau was utterly
inconsolable. He spent his entire time weeping at the foot of his master’s
shrine six months after he died at the age of 74 on Friday, the 20th , Zil
Qayda 725 AH (1324 AD).
Their love for each other had been so great
that Mehboob e Ilahi had said that Amir should be buried near him as they could
not share a grave as per Islam. And so he was buried at the Yaarani Chabutra
— next to his master, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.
Chronicler Basheeruddin Ahmed writes in Waqeat
e Darul Hukumat Dehli that there had indeed been spare space next to Hazrat
Nizamuddin’s grave, but one Khwaja Sara remarked that if the two graves lay
next to each other, those who came to pay respects would get confused.
Thus, he was buried a little away from his
master, resting in a separate tomb. It is said that Khwaja Sara, who had gone
against the saint’s will, died in his sleep a few days later.
For ages, his grave had no dome or
enclosure and was built much later, in 1014 AH/1605 AD.
In the last years of Akbar and the initial
years of Jahangir’s reign, Imaduddin Hasan — known as Tahir — had an enclosure
and a beautiful marble dome constructed on his grave, with the following verse
inscribed on it:
Benazeer E Aalam
Beh Rauza Tu
Mora Niyaaz Ast
I have faith in
Rana Safvi is the author of 'Where Stones
Speak' and other books.