The first poet to write in the Urdu language was a man named Amir Khusro. He was given the name Abul Hasan Yaminuddin when he was born in Patiyali (Agra), which is located in Uttar Pradesh, India, in the year 651 AH (1253-4 AD). Before migrating to India, his father, Amir Saifuddin Mahmud, served as the chief of a Turkistani clan known as “Lachin” under the reign of Changez Khan. Following his relocation to India, he was given a position of prominence in the administration of Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish’s court.
There is a story that his father, Amir Saifuddin Mahmood, kidnapped him as a child while he was wrapped in a cloth and brought him to a Sufi who held a high spiritual status. The Sufi turned his attention to the young child and stated, “This youngster will be God-inspired and unique in his age.” His name will outlive Khaqani and endure until the end of the world. After he had lived in Patiyali for four years, his father moved the family to Delhi and made the most favourable arrangements possible for his son’s education and moral upbringing.
His mother was a member of a prestigious Indian Rajput family, and she was the daughter of the well-known military minister of Balban, Nawab Imadul Mulk (Rawat Arz). In addition, he had a brother named Aizazuddin Ali Shah and a brother named Husamuddin. When he was nine years old, his devoted father went away unexpectedly.
Following the passing of Amir Khusro’s father, Nawab Imadul Mulk, Amir Khusro’s maternal grandfather, raised him in luxury after the passing of Amir Khusro’s father. He became well-versed in a variety of academic fields, including the arts and literature, Fiqh (Islamic law), astronomy, language, philosophy, logic, theology, and mysticism. He began writing verse at the age of twelve, not long after he first developed an appreciation for poetry at a young age. In the introduction to his book, “Diwan Ghurrat-ul-Kamaal,” he writes, “At an age when toddlers lose their teeth, I composed poetry, and the quality of my writings rivalled pearls.”
In addition to being fluent in Turkish, Persian, and Arabic, he also acquired a strong command of a variety of Indian dialects because to the city of Delhi’s rich cultural diversity.
Introduction To The Sufi Order
Amir Khusro inherited not just an honourable standing in society and a high status at the royal court from his father, but also the history of respect for Sufis and men of piety.
His father took him to Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya when he was eight years old. As his father entered the renowned Saint’s Khanqah, the young Amir Khusro boldly stated that it was up to him, not his father, to choose his Pir. His father left him at the door and went in alone to talk to the saint. Meanwhile, Amir Khusro penned a quatrain in Persian to test Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s spiritual skills. Amir Khusro promised himself that he would only become a mureed of Hazrat Nizamuddin if he could produce a good answer to the following quatrain:
Toa aa’n shahey ke bar aiwaan-e-qasrat
Kabutar gar nashinad baaz gardad.
Gharib-e-mustamandey bur dar aamad,
Beyayad androo’n yaa baaz gardad
(You are that great a king that, if on the roof of your grand palace a pigeon were to sit, it becomes a skylark.
A poor and humble soul has come to your door, should he enter or should he go away?).
Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya immediately replied and sent the following reply to Amir Khusro in the same form as the initial quatrain:
Beyayad androo’n mard-e-haqiqat
Ke baa maa yak nafas hamraz gardad.
Agar ablay buwad aa’n mard-e-naadaa’n,
Azaa’n raahey ke aamad baaz gardad
(Do come in, oh truthful soul, so that we may become close and become trusted friends.
But if you are ignorant and have no wisdom, then you better go back the way you came).
When Amir Khusro heard the quatrain, which to him was a perfect reply, he entered the room and became a mureed of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya — faithfully serving his master throughout his life.
Amir Khusro was a devoted Muslim, a sophisticated ethical thinker, and a staunch Sharia follower.
Every day, after offering tahajjud (late night) prayers, Amir Khusro would recite seven chapters of the Holy Qur’an. “Tell me, O Turk, how did you find your devotion?” Nizamuddin Auliya once asked. “Sir, it just so happens that I severely weep late at night,” Amir Khusro explained. “Praise be to Allah, now some signs are appearing.”
Association With Kings
Amir Khusro took great pride in his position as Nayak (a perfect master of music). Amir Khusro initially made his way to the court of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban, who ascended the throne of Delhi in 664 AH, thanks to his skill as a poet, his extensive education, and his command of the art of prose (1265 AD). There, Malik Chajju Kishli Khan, a relative of the Sultan, became his patron and supported him financially.
In spite of the fact that Amir Khusro lived through the rise and fall of multiple kingdoms in Delhi, he maintained his association with each succeeding emperor and made an effort to win his favour through the eulogies he wrote. As a result, we can observe that he praised Alauddin Khilji (695-715 AH), Qutubuddin Mubarakshah (715-720 AH), and Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq (720-725 AH, 1320-1324 AD). These kings, for their part, accorded respect and honour to Amir Khusro and took pride in him for his scholarly accomplishments, knowledge, wisdom, and most importantly, his piety and purity of heart. As a result of this, he was given the title of Tut-i Hind (Parrot of India).
Alauddin Khilji presented him with one hundred tanka (gold coins) on an annual basis, and Amir Khusro, as a gesture of gratitude, documented all of the king’s victories in a beautiful masnavi titled “Khazain-ul-Futuh.” Alauddin Khilji’s gift to Amir Khusro. Another masnavi entitled “Taj-ul-Futuh” was written to celebrate Jalaluddin Firuzshah’s conquests in the year 718 AH (1318 AD). In addition, Amir Khusro devoted his masnavi known as “Nuh-Sipihr” to the memory of Qutubuddin Mubarakshah.
Malik Muhammad was Amir Khusro’s son, and he bore the name of his father. His son, like his father, was gifted with the ability to have a critical awareness for poetry, and he was also talented in the art of poetry. He also had a daughter who went by the name Afifa. When Amir Khusro was writing the Hasht Bihisht, he devoted a few couplets to her in this masnavi when she was seven years old. This masnavi is known as the Hasht Bihisht.
Amir Khusro was accompanying Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughluq on his voyage to Bengal when Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya passed away during that period. It came as a complete surprise to him when he learned that his murshid had passed away, and he hurried back to Delhi as quickly as he could. On the way there, he gave away everything he owned to those who were less fortunate. As soon as he arrived at the tomb, he wept uncontrollably while embracing the tombstone and wearing all black clothing, he did this out of desperation. Following that, he addressed everyone who were there, saying, “Who am I to mourn for this monarch? I am saddened by the fact that I will not be able to outlive him for very much longer.
In an act of complete renunciation of the world, he started devoting the majority of his time to sitting at the grave of his spiritual leader. After around six months of living in this manner, he was unable to withstand any additional separation. His last breath was taken on the 18th of Shawwal in the year 725 AH, and he was laid to rest a short distance away from where Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya was laid to rest.
Over ninety of Amir Khusro’s works have been published. The teachings of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya are collected in this author’s well-known work, which bears the title Rahat-ul-Mohibbeen. The following are the most notable of his other published works:
Deewan Tuhfat-us-Saghir (Offering of a Minor)
Deewan Wast-ul-Hayat (The Middle of Life)
Deewan Ghurrat-ul-Kamaal (The Prime of Perfection)
Baqia-Naqia (The Rest/The Miscellany)
Qissa Chahar Darvesh (The Tale of the Four Dervishes)
Nihayatul-Kamaal (The Height of Wonders)
Qiran-us-Saadain (Meeting of the Two Auspicious Stars)
Miftah-ul-Futooh (Key to the Victories)
Masnavi Noh Sipahr (Masnavi of the Nine Skies)
Tarikh-i-Alai (‘Times of Alai’- Alauddin Khilji)
Tughluq Nama (Book of the Tughluqs)
Ejaaz-e-Khusrovi (The Miracles of Khusro)
Khazain-ul-Futooh (The Treasures of Victories).
Allama Shibli Nomani asserts in Shir al-Ajam that Hazrat Amir Khusro, in addition to enhancing the previously existing tunes and rhythms, invented a great deal of new ones. Hazrat Amir Khusro did this by fusing the rhyme and rhythm of Persian and Hindi in such a way that it completely transformed the entire world of music. The level of mastery attained by the art was such that it could not be surpassed, not even after seven hundred years had passed since it had been created.
Pioneer Of Urdu
In a nation like India, where each state speaks its own unique language and has its own set of regional idioms, it was essential to have a method of communication that was both universal and straightforward in order to maintain national cohesion. In order to accomplish this goal, he wrote a significant number of couplets and verses using a vocabulary that included Turkic, Arabic, Persian, and Braj Bhasha, which is a dialect that is closely linked to Hindi. These works lay the groundwork for the development of a brand new language called Urdu.
Here are some couplets from his famous Ghazal:
“Yaka yak az Dil do chashm-e-jaadu,basad farebam ba-burd-e-taskee’n,
Kise padi hai jo jaa sunaawe piyare pi ko hamari batiyaa’n,
Shabaan-e-hijraa’n daraaz chu’n zulf-o-roz-e-waslat chu’n umr-e-kotaah,
Sakhi piya ko jo main na dekhu to kaise kaatu andheri ratiya’n