Rashhih (Zib al-Nisa)

Zib al-Nisa’, also well-known as Zib al-Nisa’ Biygum (1638-1700), a poet with the nom de plume Makhfi, the eldest of daughters of Awrangzib ‘Alamgir, the Gurkanid king of India. She was a calligrapher and poet following the Indian Style in Persian literature and Sufism. She was a daughter of Awrangzib and a granddaughter of Shah Jahan, a Gurkanid Emperor of India. She was of Persian descent on her maternal side. Her grandfather on her mother’s line of descent was the Safavid Mirza Badi’ al-Zaman (Shahnavaz Khan), a prince hailing from Mashhad, whose great grandfather was a son of the Safavid Shah Isma’il. She was born in India and, as the eldest daughter of the family, was loved by her father. A religious, strict, and biased man, her father appointed pious and erudite teachers for her. She studied Persian, Arabic, grammar, jurisprudence, and other Islamic sciences taught in her times. Further, she had learned paining and calligraphy from distinguished masters. She committed the Qur’an to memory in her student years and attended to devotions and charitable affairs. She was granted a great fortune and numerous servants and agents by her father. She had a splendid library. Many a poet and scholar frequented her palace and were rewarded by her. Her companions and visitors who shared her thoughts and tastes were great in number such that almost all her contemporary scholars visited her court. She was an artist and belletrist patronizing artists and scholars. She was a lover of Persian and Arabic literature and knew the Qur’an by heart. She also wrote the Nasta’liq, Naskhi, and Shikasta scripts in an elegant hand. Numerous books have been dedicated to her. She also composed poetry at times following the Indian style and was well-versed in poetical improvisations. Her works include Zib al-Munsha’at. She did not marry owing to her high-mindedness and magnanimity. Her tomb is in Delhi. 

Farhang-i Farsi-yi Mu’in (5/ 662).