His name was Abul Hasan, pseudonym Amir Khusrau, and title Yamin Uddin. His poetic name (pseudonym) became so popular that people forgot his original name. He was a great and prolific poet. He wished not had a title similar to the rich men and mentioned it to the Mahboobe-e-Ilahi. He said, "On the day of Resurrection People will call you Mohammed's admirer."
Born in 653 Hijri of Amir Saif Uddin Mahmud who was one of the nobles of Hazara, Balakh. Chingez Khan's incursions loomed large on them so he migrated to India during the reign of Sultan Altutmish, joined the court, and settled down at Patiali in the district of Etah. Because of his abilities he rose to a high and trusted rank in the court. Here he was married to the daughter of a noble, Imad-Ul-Mulk, who bore him three sons: Aiza-Uddin, Ali Shah, Hisam Uddin, and Abul Hasan; the later was the youngest.

His first tutor was his father who died when he was nine years old and his maternal grand father, Imad Ul Mulk, took over the responsibility of their education and up-bringing. His two elder brothers also gave their attention to his education. Consequently, he acquired proficiency in all material and intellectual subjects and was regarded a scholar of high repute. He was an intelligent and prolific poet, and sang melodiously innovated Qawwali, and invented several musical instruments. In addition to, he was a good prose writer.
When eight he went with his father and other members of family to Hazrat Nizam Uddin's residence. His father wished him to select his guide and teacher himself. Others went in but he stayed outside thinking that if he (Hazrat Nizam Uddin) were a perfect saint he would summon him himself. Hazrat Nizam Uddin's spiritual powers revealed to him his dilemma. He sent his servant to bring him in. Amir Khusrau was so much impressed of his personality that he accepted him his guide and teacher and entered the fold. Soon he became the dearest of his disciples and in course of time was granted the robe of his spiritual heir.

Despite his association with the court he continued to pray and meditate and traveled speedily on the road of conduct. Every night he recited seven chapters of the Qu'Oran melodiously after the Tahajjud prayer. The chronicles mention that he kept fasts continuously for forty years. He was engrossed every time in the intense love of God. There was so much incinerating heat generated in his heart that whatever he wore burnt on the chest. Hazrat Nizammuddin once said about it "If asked on the Resurrection day what have you brought? I would say the heat from the bosom of the Turk."

He loved his teacher deeply and spent most of his time with him. His teacher 'Hazrat Nizam-Uddin loved him more than any other of his disciples even more than his spiritual heir, Hazrat Nasir Uddin Roshan Chiragh Dehlavi. Once the Mahboob-e-Ilahi said, "I am annoyed by all, even by myself sometimes but never by you."
Buying his teacher's sandals for five lakhs rupees and carry them back on his head in the presence of Hazrat Nizam Uddin shows his deep love and faith for him.
He was not only a mystic but also a Persian poet of great caliber. His verses are available. One of his Urdu ghazal is found. Besides, he was sweet of tongue and interested in music.
He wrote about 92 books some of them are Rahat-Ul-Mohibbeen' Tohfat-us-Saghir, Gharra-tul-Kamal, Moghzan-e-Asrar-e-Nizami, Sheerin-Khusrau, Laila-Majnoon, Aina-e-Sikandari, Hasht-Bahisht, Taj-Ul-Futuh, Tughlaq-Nama, Manaquib-e-Hind.
It is said that when Sheikh Abul Fateh Multani said his funeral prayers, raised hands to bless him, he got tip and recited a Persian couplet.
Amir Khusrau was extremely grieved at the demise of his teacher. He was not in Delhi at the time and had gone to Lucknow. On hearing the news he returned to Delhi post haste and retired to his teacher's grave; resigned the service, gave away all his wealth to the poor, and needy, spent six months in mourning and in the end died in 725 Hijri. He was buried near the tomb of his teacher on a slightly raised platform popularly called "Chabootra-e-Yaran."

Some Anecdotes from Amir Khusrau's Life

Khusrau's first meeting with Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia

It is said that Khusrau, at the age of eight years, was coerced by his mother to visit the saint's KHANQAH (monastery) for the first time. When he reached there, he didn't enter at once - he wanted to test him out. He sat down at the gate and composed the following lines in his heart :

Tu aan shahi ke ber aiwan-e qasrat, Kabutar gar nasheenad, baaz gardad.
Ghareeb-e mustamand-e ber der aamed, Be-yaayad andaroon, ya baaz gardad
(You are a king at the gate of whose palace / even a pigeon becomes a hawk.
A poor traveler has come to your gate, / should he enter, or should he return?)

It is said that Nizamuddin Aulia at once asked one of his servants to go out at the gate and narrate the following lines to a boy who is sitting there :
Be-yaayad andaroon mard-e haqeeqat, Ke ba ma yek nafas hamraaz gardad
Agar abla buvad aan mard-e naadan, Azaan raah-e ke aamad baaz gardad
(Oh you the man of reality, come inside / so you become for a while my confidant /
 but if the one who enters is foolish / then he should return the way he came.)

Hearing this Khusrau decided that he has come to the right place and entered.

The Crooked Cap

Nizamuddin Aulia and Khusrau sat one morning on the banks of river Yamuna looking at the people bathing and worshipping. Nizamuddin Aulia drew Khusrau's attention to them saying :

Har qaum raast raahay, deenay wa qibla gaahay
(Every sect has a faith, a qibla which they turn to.)

Incidently Nizamuddin Aulia wore his cap in a slightly crooked way, to which Khusrau pointed and said :

Men qibla raast kardam, ber terf-e kajkulaahay.
(I have straightened my qibla in the direction of this crooked cap)

Dhunia's Rhythms

Khusrau was walking in a market-place with some of his music shaagirds (disciples), when they came across a shop where a Dhunia (a cotton-carder) was carding cotton with his traditional dhunki (a large, crude wire contraption that is plucked and sounds more like a modern-day cello). Khusrau and his disciples were very fascinated with the sounds this instument created and stood there for a while listening to its rhythmic melody. One of Khusrau's shaagirds wondered, "How would it be, Sir, if we were to convert these sounds into words?" Khusrau responded quickly by imitating the Dhunki sounds into the following track in Persian :

Darpai-jana jaanhum raft, jaanhum raft, jaanhum raft.
Raft raft jaanhum raft, aihum raft-o aanhum raft,
aanhum raft, aanhum raft
Aihum aanhum, aihum aanhum aanhum raft, raftan raftan raftan dah etc.

(A literal translation of this into English wouldn't make much sense except something like this : At the feet the beloved, he went, he went, he went; went, went, he went; went there, went here, went. Here, there, there, here etc. etc. One would enjoy the original persian track better if one listens to the sounds of a dhunki, which incidently can be found being used in much of Indian sub-continent even today, including for instance in the city of Delhi. Interestingly, according to some traditional musicians, the above track is also the basis of a specific taal (rhythm) of the tabla ascribed to Amir Khusrau in Hindustani classical music).

The Four Word Riddle

Khusrau was walking on the road one morning when he felt thirsty, and saw a few young women filling their pots on a well. He approached the well and asked the women if they could give him some water. One of the girls recognized him and told others that this is Khusrau who composes riddles and songs. All four women decided to some fun. They refused to give water to Khusrau unless he composes a new riddle for them. Khurso said, "Ok. I'll make you a riddle, but what should it be about?" The women started thinking and each one came up with her own option - one said kheer (rice pudding), the second one demanded diya (lamp), the third one asked for kutta (dog) and the fourth one's choice was dhol (drum). Khusrau is supposed to have told them the following verse :

Kheer pakaai jatan say, charkha diya jalaa;
Aaya kutta khagaya, tu baithi dhol bajaa.

You prepared the kheer with much hard work, and lit up the lamp;
There came the dog, and ate it all, now sit and play the drum.

The Sweetness of Verse

Khusrau once read out a ghazal which so pleased his pir Nizamuddin Aulia that the latter asked him if he had any wish to be fulfilled. Khusrau said he wished his verse be filled with sweetness. To which Nizamuddin Aulia said, "Ok, Go get that tray from beneath my cot". He pointed.

Khusrau brought the tray which had some suger in it. Nizamuddin Aulia asked him to eat some and also pour some on his head. Khusrau obeyed him, and claimed that he has attained the sweetness in his poetry ever since.

The Bargain

A poor man came to Nizamuddin Aulia asking for alms at a time when there was nothing left in the khaneqah to be given. The saint expressed his helplessness, but pointed to a torn and tattered pair of sandals that belonged to him, saying if those could be of any help to the poor man, he could take them. The faqir, having no choice, decided to take them any way, and left. When he was on his way to some other city, he met Amir Khusrau who was returning from his royal journey with camels and horses loaded with wealth. Khusrau sensed something odd as he met this man, and told him -

"Bu-e Shaikh mi aayad, Bu-e Shaikh mi aayad"
(I smell my master, I smell my master)

This man dejectedly told him the story about how he could only get these sandals from Nizamuddin Aulia.

It is said that Khusrau after seeing his pir's belongings decided to trade his entire entourage of wealth for this pair of sandals, placed them on his head and came rushing to see Nizamuddin Aulia. His pir saw the sandals and asked Khusrau how he found them. When Khusrau told him about the price he has paid for them, Nizamuddin Aulia said, "Arzaan khareedi". (Well, you 've got them quite cheap).

Dance to denounce the world

It is said that Amir Khusrau was once present in a mehfil of Sam’a (Assembly of music-listening) at the khaneqah of Nizamuddin Aulia, when he got so ecstatic with the music that he stood up and almost started dancing. Nizamuddin Aulia waved at him to sit down, and said “you shouldn’t dance, you are a worldly man.” He further added : “If you must dance, then do it in such a way that your hands are raised to the sky as if calling out to God, and your feet should hit the earth as if denouncing it.”

Risking the Faith

Sultan Jalaluddin Khalaji once expressed to Khusrau his desire to meet Nizamuddin Aulia but asked him not to disclose his plan to the saint. Khusrau was perplexed in the beginning, but finally couldn’t keep his promise and told Nizamuddin Aulia about Sultan’s desire. His pir who did not wish to meet the king left the Khaneqah for a far away place on the fixed day. When the Sultan came to know about this, he asked Khusrau why he betrayed him. Khusrau replied that in betraying the king he risked only his life in this world, but in betraying his spiritual king he would be risking his Iman (faith), and his afterlife. The Sultan was left speechless.


  • Tuhfa-tus-Sighr (Offering of a Minor) his first divan, contains poems composed between the age of 16 and 19

  • Wastul-Hayat (The Middle of Life) his second divan, contains poems composed at the peak of his poetic career

  • Ghurratul-Kamaal (The Prime of Perfection) poems composed between the age of 34 and 43

  • Baqia-Naqia (The Rest/The Miscellany) compiled at the age of 64.

  • Qissa Chahar Darvesh The Tale of the four Dervishes

  • Nihayatul-Kamaal (The Height of Wonders) compiled probably a few weeks before his death.

  • Qiran-us-Sa’dain (Meeting of the Two Auspicious Stars) Mathnavi about the historic meeting of Bughra Khan and his son Kyqbad after long enmity

  • Miftah-ul-Futooh (Key to the Victories) in praise of the victories of Jalauddin Khalaji

  • Ishqia/Mathnavi Duval Rani-Khizr Khan (Romance of Duval Rani and Khizr Khan) a tragic love poem about Gujarat’s princess Duval and Alauddin’s son Khizr.

  • Mathnavi Noh Sepehr (Mathnavi of the Nine Skies) Khusrau’s perceptions of India and its culture

  • Tughlaq Nama (Book of the Tughlaqs) in prose

  • Khamsa-e-Nizami (Khamsa-e-Khusrau) five classical romances: Hasht Bahisht, Matlaul-Anwar, Sheerin-Khusrau, Majnun-Laila and Aaina-Sikandari

  • Ejaaz-e-Khusrovi (The Miracles of Khusrau) an assortment of prose compiled by himself

  • Khazain-ul-Futooh (The Treasures of Victories) one of his more controversial books, in prose

  • Afzal-ul-Fawaid utterances of Nizamuddin Auliya

  • Ḳhāliq Bārī a versified glossary of Persian, Arabic, and Hindvi words and phrases attributed to Amir Khusrau, but most probably written in 1622 in Gwalior

  • Jawahar-e- Khusrovi often dubbed as the Hindvi divan of Khusrau

  • Laila Majnu

  • Ayina-i-Sikandari

  • Nuh siphir

  • Mulla-ul-Anwar

  • Shrin-wa-Khusrau

  • Khazain-ul-Futuh