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Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE

Amīr Khurd
(821 words)

Amīr Khurd (Sayyid Muḥammad Mubārak ʿAlawī Kirmānī, d. 770/1368–9), was the author of a
Ṣūfī memoir renowned in mediaeval India. He was born in Delhi, the son of Nūr al-Dīn Mubārak
b. Sayyid Muḥammad Kirmānī (d. 739/1338) and the paternal grandson of Sayyid Muḥammad
Maḥmūd Kirmānī (d. 711/1311–2). His only known work is Siyar al-awliyāʾ dar aḥvāl va malfūẓāt-i
mashāyikh-i Chisht (“Biographies of the Ṣūfīs and the states and conversations of the Chishtī Ṣūfī
masters”), shortened to Siyar al-awliyāʾ (the Chishtī order was founded in about 318/930 in
Chisht, a small town near Herat, by Abū Isḥāq Shāmī, “the Syrian,” d. 328/940, and introduced
into India by Muʿīn al-Dīn Sijzī, d. 627/1230).

Amīr Khurd’s father and grandfather were disciples of the renowned Chishtī Ṣūfī Shaykh Farīd
al-Dīn Masʿūd (d. 664/1265–6), known popularly as Bābā Farīd, and had the privilege of meeting
him and his spiritual guide, Khwāja Qutb al-Dīn Bakhtiyār Kākī (d. 633/1235). One of Amīr
Khurd’s ancestors emigrated to Multan, in India. Amīr Khurd’s paternal grandfather was the
chief of the sayyids (people claiming descent from the Prophet) of Kirmān, who often visited
India to trade. Devoted as he was to Bābā Farīd, he became his disciple and settled in Ajodhan,
in the Panjāb, where Bābā Farīd lived. His eldest son (Amīr Khurd’s father) was also a disciple of
Bābā Farīd, but after the latter’s demise, he moved to Delhi, where Shaykh Niẓām al-Dīn Awliyā
of Delhi (d. 725/1325), the principal spiritual successor (khalīfa, lit., deputy) of Bābā Farīd,
resided. Amīr Khurd was born in Delhi and became a disciple of Shaykh Niẓām al-Dīn, spending
many years in his company. After his master’s death, he became a disciple of Shaykh Naṣīr al-Dīn
Maḥmūd (d. 757/1356), the khalīfa of Shaykh Niẓām al-Dīn. Later, on the orders of Sulṭān
Muḥammad b. Tughluq (r. 725–52/1325–51), he moved to Dawlatābād but returned to Delhi,
where he died. Shaykh Naṣīr al-Dīn Maḥmūd’s most renowned disciple and khalīfa was Khwāja
Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusaynī Bandanavāz Gīsū Darāz (d. 825/1422), who moved from Delhi to
Gulbarga in the Deccan.

Siyar al-awliyāʾ is considered the rst Ṣūfī memoir produced in mediaeval India. Amīr Khurd
composed it during the reign of the Delhi sultan Fīrūz Shāh Tughluq (r. 752–90/1352–88).
Because the author was himself a disciple of Shaykh Niẓām al-Dīn Awliyā, he presented an
Because the author was himself a disciple of Shaykh Niẓām al Dīn Awliyā, he presented an
eyewitness account of his life and teachings and those of his khalīfas and other contemporaries.
The work is based also on oral information that Amīr Khurd gathered from his father and his
paternal uncles and grandfather, so it o fers a rsthand account of the lives of their
contemporary Chishtī Ṣūfīs. He also relied on Fawāʾid al-fuʾād, the malfūẓāt (conversations and
discourses of Ṣūfīs compiled by their disciples) of Shaykh Niẓām al-Dīn Awliyā, compiled by his
disciple, Amīr Ḥasan Sijzī (d. 736/1335–6).

As with other literature on Ṣū sm, the distinct classi cation of Siyar al-awliyāʾ in Ṣūfī literature
is problematic, as it is neither a tadhkira (hagiography or biography of Ṣūfī masters) nor a
collection of malfūẓāt. It is a hybrid text, which combines the characteristics of the both.

The book has ten chapters, subdivided into sections and subsections. It serves as an important
authentic source for the biographies and teachings of the early Chishtī Ṣūfīs in mediaeval India.
It also provides valuable information about their invocatory prayers (awrād and waẓāʾif), their
views on divine love, samāʿ (audition, i.e., Ṣūfī devotional music) and its accompanying raqṣ
(ecstatic dancing), and Ṣūfī ethics and etiquettes.

Tanvir Anjum

Bibliography

Amīr Khurd, Siyar al-awliyāʾ dar aḥvāl va malfūẓāt-i mashāyikh-i Chisht, ed. Chiranjī Lāl (Delhi
1302/1885), 208–20, ed. Muḥammad Arshad Qurayshī, Islamabad 1978, Urdu trans. Siyar al-
awliyāʾ, Iʿjāz al-Ḥaqq Quddūsī, Lahore 1980

Muḥammad Ghulām Sarwar Lāhawrī, Khazīnat al-aṣ yāʾ (comp. 1864–5) (Lucknow 1873), 1:306,
391

Shaykh ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq Muḥaddith Dihlavī, Akhbār al-akhyār fī asrār al-abrār (comp. 999/1590–1)
(New Delhi 1914), 97

ʿAbd al-Ḥayy al-Ḥasanī, al-Iʿlām bi-man fī taʾrīkh al-Hind min al-aʿlām bi-Nuzhat al-khawāṭir wa-
bahjat al-masāmiʿ wa-l-nawāẓir (Rae Bareli 1991), 2:145 (for a review of its content, authenticity,
literary style, and historical value, see Mahmud Husain Siddiqui, The memoirs of Su s written in
India. Reference to Kashaf-ul-mahjub, Siyar-ul-auliya, and Siyar-ul-Ari n) (Baroda 1979), 56–81)

Bruce B. Lawrence, Notes from a distant lute. The extant literature of pre-Mughal Indian Su sm
(Tehran 1978), 31–2.

Cite this page


Anjum, Tanvir, “Amīr Khurd”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Edited by: Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson.
Consulted online on 02 June 2020 <http://dx.doi.org.proxy.library.nyu.edu/10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_24898>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 9789004282117, 2015, 2015-2

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