Mystical Poetry of Great Sufi Poet of India, Amir Khusro

 Amir Khusro (1253-1325) 

The outstanding 14th century Persian-speaking Sufi Poet of India

عرفان حضرت امیر خسرو بلخی مشهور به دهلوی, یکی از بزرگترین شاعران پارسیگوی قرن 14 میلادی هندوستان

Amir Khusro's father had also hailed from the same city where Rumi was born, Balkh (in northern Afghanistan), and his mother was from Delhi, India. Beside writing mystical poetry in numerous languages, Amir Khusro is also credited as the founding father of the world famous Sufi Qawwali Music of Indian Subcontinent. Fluent in Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Sanskrit, as well as other regional Indian dialects, Amir Khusro remains as one of the most respected and revered medieval Persian speaking Sufi poets of india. For detailed biography of Amir Khusro, please read further below.

I'm an infidel of love,
I don't care about the faith of Muslims!
Every vein in my body has already turned into a string,
I have no need for non-Muslims' cord-string.*
Go away from my bedside
you foolish physician!
For a lover unwell with the sickness of love,
there is no other cure except a glimpse of His sight.
If there is no captain to guide my ship,
I have my Lord Almighty as my guiding Captain.
Who needs a regular captain anyway?!
People are murmuring: Khusro is worshiping the Idols.
I don't care about those kind of People.
Amir Khusro

*Khusro's alluding to 'non-Muslims' cord-string' above is in reference to the following historical fact: Back in the old days, all non-Muslims living in Islamic societies or Islamdom were forced to wear a distinctive garment so they could be distinguished from Muslims (similar to Christians' medieval Jewish badge). The Islamic medieval badge, or the distinctive garment, was normally a green belt or girdle, a yellow badge; or in the case of non-Muslims in India, a cord string or a chain worn around the neck.

کافر عشقم، مسلمانی مرا در کار نیست
ہر رگ من تار گشتہ، حاجت زُنار نیست
از سر بالین من برخیز ای نادان طبیب
دردمند عشق را دارو بہ جز دیدار نیست
ناخدا بر کشتی ما گر نباشد، گو مباش
ما خدا داریم ما ناخدا در کار نیست
خلق می‌گوید کہ خسرو بت‌پرستی می‌کند
آری! آری! می‌کنم! با خلق ما را کار نیست

حضرت امیر خسرو بلخی مشهور به دهلوی

The news came to me tonight
that you my beloved might be coming over .
I'll sacrifice my head upon the road
upon which you might be riding tonight.

All the gazelles of the desert
have laid their heads upon their hands,
hoping one day
you will come and hunt them all down.

My life is barely hanging on my lips
come visit me so I can remain alive.
What good will it do
If you show up but I'm already gone?

The seductive memories of our love
will not leave you unmoved,
even if you don't show up at my funeral
you will one day visit my graveside.
Amir Khusro

خبرم رسيد امشب كه نگار خواهي آمد
سر من فداي راهي كه سوار خواهي آمد
به لبم رسيده جانم، تو بيا كه زنده مانم
پس از آن‌كه من نمانم، به‌چه كار خواهي آمد
غم و قصه فراقت بكشد چنان كه دائم
اگرم چو بخت روزي به‌كنار خواهي آمد
منم و دلي و آهي، ره تو درون اين دل
مرو ايمن اندر اين ره كه فگار خواهي آمد
همه آهوان صحرا سر خود گرفته بر كف
به‌اميد آن‌كه روزي به شكار خواهي آمد
كششي كه عشق دارد، نگذاردت بدينسان
به‌جنازه گر نيايي، به مزار خواهي آمد
حضرت امیر خسرو بلخی مشهور به دهلوی

As a good devout Hindu Brahman
I know you've already rejected ten times
My Islamic conversion attempts.
But I'm so lost when it comes to finding my way to faiths,
that I can't even find my way
to go and worship your Idols!
Amir Khusro

ای برهمن بار ده رد کرده یی اسلام مرا
با چو من گمراه را در پیش بت هم راه نیست
حضرت امیر خسرو بلخی مشهور به دهلوی

Take a step deep inside your own soul
before setting foot on the Alley of Friend.
For the seekers traveling on the path of love
there is no other advice more worthy than this.
Amir Khusrao

یک قدم بر جان خود نه یک قدم در کوی دوست
این نکوتر رهروان عشق را گفتار نیست
حضرت امیر خسرو بلخی مشهور به دهلوی

So much for living all our lives
like good devout Muslims.
O Lord what happened,
this whole world is full of Infidels?!!
Amir Khusrao

آنچه کرد مسلمانی آخر چه شد
این چه شد یارب جهان کافر گرفت
حضرت امیر خسرو بلخی مشهور به دهلوی

O pious Imam,
If you're planning on saying
a nice prayer for me,
then say it like this:
May that wanderer of the alley of Idols
remain even more wanderer!
Amir Khusro

گر ای ذاهد دعای خیر میگویی مرا این گو
که آن آواره یی کوی بتان آواره تر بادا
حضرت امیر خسرو بلخی مشهور به دهلوی

Even a non-Muslim won't do
what you've done to my heart.
I didn't know if it's halal in Islam
to break a Muslim's heart like that!
Amir Khusro

کافر نکند با دل من آنچه تو کردی
یعنی که در اسلام روا باشد از اینها
حضرت امیر خسرو بلخی مشهور به دهلوی

حضرت امیر خسرو بلخی مشهور به دهلوی

I don't know what kind of place was it 
where I visited last night
I was surrounded by half-slaughtered victims of love, 
dancing around in sheer agony. 
There was a nymph-like beauty 
with cypress-like form and tulip-like face, 
ruthlessly playing havoc
with the bleeding hearts of poor lovers.
God Himself was the Master of ceremony
in that place-less gathering.
O Khusro, 
even Muhammad was shedding light like a candle, 
in that magical place where I was invited last night. 

Amir Khusro

Amir Khusrau Dehlavi 
by Iraj Bashiri

Known as the "Tuti" (songbird) of India, Amir Nasir al-Din Abu al-Hassan Khusrau ibn Amir Saif al-Din Mahmud Dihlavi is India's foremost Sufi poet using the Persian language as the medium of his poetry. His father, Saif al-Din Mahmud was one of the chiefs of the Lachin tribe of the Karakhitais of Kush, Transoxania. During the Mongol invasion, Saif al-Din moved his family away from Kush and settled in India. There, he had married the daughter of Imad al-Mulk, an Indian nobleman. Amir Khusrau is the fruit of that marriage. He was born in Patiali, in the district of Etah, Uttar Pardesh, in 1253. Although he became an orphan at the age of seven, he managed, due to the high status of his family, to elevate himself and become a major figures at the courts of Indian sultans. Amir Khusrau died in 1325. Amir Khusrau spoke Persian fluently and was familiar with Arabic, Hindi, and Sanskrit. From his early days, he was attracted to Persian literature, especially the poetry of the poet of Ganja, Nizami. Emulating the poetry of Nizami, he himself, over the years became one of the most celebrated Sufi poets of his day. Additionally, Amir Khusrau was a born musician. He mastered the art of Indian music at a very early age and went on to perfect it. His invention of the sitar, an instrument with three-strings, testifies to his dedication to the art. Like musician poets Rudaki and Farrukhi before him, Amir Khusrau adapted to the life at court and distinguished himself in the circle of the dignitaries as a grand poet. His prestige became even more noticeable when Shaykh Muslih al-Din Sa'di recommended him as a worthy candidate for a position originally offered to himself at Prince Muhammad's court. It is related that one day, Saif al-Din Mahmud took his three sons to the presence of the chief of Sufi poets Shaykh Nizam al-Din Muhammad ibn Ahmad Dihlavi popularly known as Nizam al-Din Auliya of the Chishtiyya order. Nizam al-Din took a particular interest in Amir Khusrau who himself, following the advice of the Shaykh became one of the major figures of the order.Nevertheless, Amir Khusrau never publicized his writings unless they had been read and sanctioned by the Shaykh. In fact, their lives mirror each others, both in mundane success and in spiritual ascension. Living in a milieu suffused with turmoil and intolerance, they shared the same tendency towards tolerance and struggle to rise above petty conflicts. And both rebelled against the confines of narrow orthodoxy to redefine the limits of philosophical profundity and devotional spirituality. 

Altogether Amir Khusrau has written several multi-volume works, a collection of lyrics, and three prose works. His multi-volume collection the Panj Ganj (five treasures), with the following specification:

1) Tuhfat al-Saghir: Youthful melodies, sonnets and odes composed when he was between sixteen to nineteen years of age.

2) Wasat al-Hayat: poems composed when the was between the ages of twenty and thirty-four.

3) Ghurrat al-Kamal: middle age poems collected at the request of his brother. A brief biography of the poet introduces the collection.

4) Baqiyya-i Naqiyyah: miscellany or old-age poems in praise of kings of India

5) Nihayat al-Kamal: Amir Khusrau's last poems.

His other multi-collection, referred to as Samaniyyah Khusraviyyah (eight Khusravi Mathnavis), includes:

1) Duvalroni Khizirkhan: deals with the love of Khizir Khan for the daughter of the Raj of Gujarat. The love story composed on request of Khizir Khan is prefaced with a brief history of the spread of the Islamic faith in India under the Ghurid dynasty.

2) Taj al-Futuh is composed in honor of the ascension to the throne of Sultan Jalal al-Din Firuz.

3) Noh Sepehr: a mathnavi in nine chapters composed in honor of Qutb al-Din Mubarak Shah Khalaji.

4) Tuqluq Namah composed on the occasion of the establishment of the Tuqluq dynasty of Delhi by Ghiyas al-Din Tuqluq Shah.

5) Matla' al-Anwar: A treatise on Sufi thought along the line of Nazami's Makhzan al-Asrar.

6) Shirin wa Khusrau: An imitation of Nizami's Mathnavi of the same name. A scene in which the king invites the learned of the realm to his palace and discusses philosophical points with them is original to Amir Khusrau.

7) Majnun-i Layli: Also a poor imitation of Nizami's Mathnavi of the same name.

8) A'ina-i Sikandari: A continuation of Nizami's Mathnavi of the same name. Amir Khusrau, however, deals mostly with Alexander's post-conquest train of thought and his death.

9) Hasht Bihisht: A response to Nizami's Haft Paikar.

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