Khwaju Kirmani

Khwaju-yi Kirmani, Kamal al-Din Abu al-‘Ata’ Mahmud ibn ‘Ali ibn Mahmud Murshidi (1290-1349), a poet with nom de plume Khwaju and a notable and Khwaja hailing from Kerman, hence his title Khwaju-yi Kirmani and his nom de plume Khwaju. He impressed others in his childhood by composing the Qasida-yi Tarikh-i Hammam-i Yazd which was inscribed on the walls of the building and remained there for long time. Having spent his childhood in his hometown, he traveled in search of knowledge and perfection in horizons and souls. He traveled on foot to Tabriz, Isfahan, Shiraz, Baghdad, Mecca, and Egypt and met many notables, belletrists, Sufis, like ‘Ala’ al-Dawla Simnani. He was a contemporary of Sultan Abu Sa’id Bahadur and composed qasidas eulogizing him and his vizier, Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad and some of the Muzaffarid sultans. He met Hafiz in Shiraz and was supported by Shah Shaykh Abu Ishaq Inju. During his stay in Shiraz, he established intimate friendship with Hafiz, though he exceled the latter in terms of years and poetical experience. Khwaju is termed as ‘Nakhlband-i Sha’iran’ for his masterly displays in the domain of poetry. His divan is marked by his terse and acrostic poetry. He also composed numerous qasidas in praise of the Shi’i Imams, particularly Imam ‘Ali. He followed the styles of ‘Iraqi and Sa’di in his ghazals and Hafiz refers to him as his master. His book does not open with meditations, but with the tales of two lovers, Humay and Humayun and Gul and Nawruz. He was a eulogist of the Chengizid Sultan Abu Sa’id Khan, but his association with some of the Shaykhs led him to abandon eulogizing and lead a secluded life. His works are numerous and his complete works are voluminous. He was interested in poetical compositions from his youth and continued to create his different works in verse, and at times prose, to his last day. Collections of his poetry run to about 44,000 couplets. He was one of the poets that the collection of his poetry, besides his already compiled and well-known mathnavis, began in his lifetime. Taj al-Din Ahmad, a well-known vizier patronizing belletrists and poets, was the vizier of the governor of Kerman, Qutb al-Din Nikruz, in the late Ilkhanid times and was later appointed vizier by Amir Mubariz al-Din, but after a while was executed on the orders of the Amir. It was at the behest of the vizer that Khwaju, collaborated by some assistants, collected his poetry and Epistles and a contemporary belletrist wrote an introduction to the collection. His works include his divan of qasidas, ghazals, qit’as, tarji’s, tarkibs, and quatrains, divided into two parts: Sana’i’ al-Kamal and Bada’i’ al-Jamal. His qasidas include eulogies, councils, and merits of religious figures. He composed six mathnavis in different meters, following the styles of Nizami and Firdawsi, reflecting his mastery, vigor, and innovation. Samnama is an epico-lyrical composition in the meter of mutaqarib muthamman maqsur or mahdhuf, composed on the model of Firdawsi’s Shahnama, similar to all poetical compositions of a like nature, treating of the accounts of Sam Nariman and his loves, battles, and adventures. Numerous manuscript copies of the work are extant, none of is seemingly complete. The Bombay (1940) edition runs to 14,500 couplets. Khwaju dedicated Humay u Humayun and Samnama to Abu al-Futuh Majd al-Din Mahmud, the vizier. The date of completion of the latter composition is unknown. Humy u Humayun is a lyrical mathnavi, composed in the meter of mutaqarib, completed in 1331 in 4,407 couplets, about Humayun’s love for Humay, the daughter of the Chinese emperor. He composed the work in Baghdad, where he stayed for a few years, and intending to dedicate it to Abu Sa’id Bahadur Khan upon his arrival in Azerbaijan, he opened it by eulogizing the Ilkhan and his vizier, Ghiyath al-Din, but since his arrival coincided with the death of Abu Sa’id Bahdur Khan and the accession of the Ilkhanid Arpakha, Khwaja Taj al-Din Ahmad suggested him to dedicate it to Shams al-Din Sa’in and his son, ‘Abd al-Malik Rukn al-Din. Gul u Nawruz, composed in August 1341 in 5,302 couplets, in the meter of hazaj musaddas mahdhuf or maqsur, is about the love of a prince, by the name of Nawruz for Gul, daughter of king of Rum (Roman emperor). The poet undoubtedly followed the model of Nizami’s Khusraw u Shirin. Rawzat al-Anwar, completed in 1342, is composed in a branch of the Sari’ meter (mufta’alun mufta’alun fa’ilun or fa’ilan), modeled on Nizami’s well-known Makhzan al-Asrar. The number of couplets hardly exceed 2,000. It is divided into 20 maqalas, each of which include a prelude, a tale, and conclusion. These sections treat of ethics and mysticism. It is dedicated to Shams al-Din Mahmud Sa’in, the vizier. The poet makes mention of the founder of the Murshidiyya Order, i.e. Shaykh Abu Ishaq Kaziruni, and his spiritual guide, Amin al-Din Balyani. Kamalnama, completed in 1343 and more or less in 1,849 couplets depending on different manuscript copies, is a mystical composition in 12 babs (chapters) in the meter and on the model of Sana’i’s Sayr al-‘Ibad. It includes dialogues with elements, spirits, intellects, and other things. Khwaju began its composition in the name and memory of the chief shaykh of the Murshidiyya Order, Shaykh Murshid al-Din Abu Ishaq Kaziruni, but completed it in the name of Shaykh Abu Ishaq Inju. Gawharnama or Guharnama is a composition in 1,022 couplets in the meter of hazaj musaddas maqsur or mahdhuf, completed in 1345, dedicated to Amir Mubariz al-Din Muhammad and his vizier, Baha’ al-Din Mahmud ibn ‘Izz al-Din Yusuf, an ancestor of Nizam al-Mulk Tusi. The poet devoted separate chapters to the virtues and meritorious deeds of the vizier and his ancestors which is the best source on the genealogy of the house of Nizam al-Mulk Tusi to mid-14th century; Mafatih al-Qulub, selections of his poetry dedicated to Amir Mubariz al-Din in 1346; Risalat al-Badiya, in prose, about the events en route to pilgrimage to Mecca, completed in 1347; Sab’ al-Mathani, completed in 1347, dedicated to Amir Mubariz al-Din Muhammad, a dialogue between a sword and a pen; Risala-yi Munazira-yi Shams u Sahab, composed in prose after the completion of Risala-yi Sab’ al-Mathani. His compositions in prose and verse reflect his knowledge of some of the sciences and his erudition in some others, astronomy and astrology. His exalted diction in qasidas, ghazals, tarkibs, tarji’s, mukhammas’s, mathnavis, and musammats indicate his poetic vigor. Nevertheless, he followed the models of earlier masters, as he followed the styles of Sana’i, Khaqani, Zahir, Jamal Isfahani, and other poets flourishing in late 6th and early 7th centuries in creating delicate themes and meanings and expressing them in exalted and elegant diction inclined towards difficulty and using difficult radifs. He also followed Nizami and other mathnavi versifying poets flourishing in the 7th century in his own mathnavis, though he follows the forms and methods rather than fundamentals. It is worthy of note that he does not closely imitate Nizami nor does he reproduces his stories. In his Samnama, he tries to follow Firdawsi. He is generally regarded as a follower of Sa’di in his ghazals, but the fact is that he is one of the poets whose ghazals lie between those of Sa’di and Hafiz in the development of this form; namely, in his ghazals, he intertwines mystical themes and councils with lyrical ones and such quality is particularly reflected in his exquisite and uniform ghazals in Bada’i’ al-Jamal. Khwaju’s total independence in versification of ghazals is reflected in the same ghazals, such that they are not in the least influenced by Sa’di’s style. In his ghazals, Khwaju makes use of numerous difficult rhymes and radifs, though his diction is elegant and fluent and such qualities, imbued with his lyrical and impressive tone, has seemingly led some critics to regard him as a follower of Sa’di’s ghazals, but the fact is that contrary to their claims, he did not heavily rely on Sa’di’s themes. Khwaju’s style in ghazal attained perfection in Hafiz, and even the latter composed ghazals on the models and used some of the themes of the former, such that Hafiz composed more than 120 ghazals on the models of Khwaju and at times made use of his hemistiches or couplets with slight changes in his ghazals. Hafiz’s style in ghazal is deeply influenced by more elegant ghazals of Khwaju in the collection titled Bada’i’ al-Jamal. Some of his qasidas are about piety, councils, and divine unity and attributes; some treat of the nobilities of the Infallible; some of them, together with some of his qit’as, include critical, and at times, jocular, material. Following the style of Nizami, he composed Saqinama as well. He died in Shiraz and was buried at Tang-i Allah u Akbar, facing the present day Darwaza Qur’an (The Gate of the Qur’an) in Shiraz. His mystical poetry is exquisitely elegant and at times marvelous. In his poetry, he presents exquisite, mystical meanings by elegant depictions.



Asar-afarinan (2/ 338-339); Az Sa’di ta Jami (301-312); Tarikh-i Adabiyyat dar Iran (3/ 886-915); Tazkira-yi Sha’iran-i Kirman (222-239); Divist Sukhanvar (91-94).