AMĪR ḴORD

 

AMĪR ḴORD, SAYYED MOḤAMMAD B. MOBĀRAK KERMĀNĪ, 8th/14th century Indo-Muslim author of the Sīar al-awlīāʾ, a detailed account of Shaikh Neẓām-al-dīn Awlīāʾ (d. 725/1325) and his immediate predecessors, disciples, and successors, with brief lives of other saints of the Češtī order. Amīr Ḵord, or Mīr Ḵord, belonged to a sayyed family of Kermān which migrated to India in the 7th/13th century. His grandfather, Sayyed Moḥammad b. Maḥmūd (d. 711/1311), was the chief Sayyed of Kermān, but on a visit to Lahore he resolved to join the community of Shaikh Farīd-al-dīn at nearby Ajodhan. There he lived until the death of Bābā Farīd in 664/1265, when he moved to Delhi and lived with Shaikh Neẓām-al-dīn. One of his four sons, Nūr-al-dīn Mobārak (d. 749/1348-49) was the father of Amīr Ḵord; born at Ajodhan, he had been a disciple of Shaikh Farīd, and then of Shaikh Neẓām-al-dīn. In Sīar al-awlīāʾ Amīr Ḵord describes his education, his teachers, and his life in government service at the southern capital, Dawlatabad. Perhaps because secular employment (šoḡl) was contrary to the traditions of the Češtī selsela, he regarded his life at Dawlatabad as something of a sin, in atonement for which he wrote the Sīar al-awlīāʾ (p. 363). He was able to assemble valuable data about the lives and activities of the Češtī mašāʾeḵ, since his family had known Shaikh Farīd and Shaikh Neẓām-al-dīn well; without his work our knowledge of the Češtī saints of the first cycle would be meager. He began at age fifty to compile Sīar al-awlīāʾ, in the reign of Fīrūzšāh Toḡloq (752-90/1351-88). In the last part of the lithographed text (p. 592) there is a reference to the death of Fīrūzšāh, indicating the work was completed after 789/1387. But this section, which is incongruous in its historical character and is not found in other manuscripts, is probably an interpolation. Sīar al-awlīāʾ deals with the lives of early Češtī saints and their associates and with the teachings of Shaikh Neẓām-al-dīn and the principles on which the Češtī order was based. Many later Indian hagiographers sought to emulate Amīr Ḵord’s work, but few achieved his eminence.

Amīr Ḵord used both literary and oral sources: For the teachings of shaikh Neẓām-al-dīn and some biographical details about earlier saints, he quotes Amīr Ḥasan’s Fawāʾed al-foʾād, an 5th/14th century Češtī handbook, but neither cites it by name nor supplements it where the record is incomplete. He cites extracts from lost works, and from the writings of Neẓām-al-dīn himself. He employs also the oral reminiscences of contemporary Češtī mystics. He sometimes records two different versions of the same incident, and cites works presumably known to his readers, mentioning the author only. He generally avoids the apocryphal malfūẓ literature. Although his style is concise, the work abounds in citations from the Sufi poets. The Sīar al-awlīāʾ is valuable as a historical source on the relations between Sultan Moḥammad b. Toḡloq and the Sufis, and on the life of the historian Żīāʾ-al-dīn Baranī. The Persian text was published by Čerangī Lāl in 1302/1885; in 1320/1902 Ḡolām Aḥmad Beryān published an Urdu translation at Delhi. Both texts are marred by lacunae and interpolations.

 

Bibliography:

ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq Moḥaddeṯ Dehlavī, Aḵbār al-aḵyār, Delhi, 1309/1891-92, p. 96.

Ḡolām Moʿīn-al-dīn ʿAbdallāh Ḵᵛešgī Qaṣūrī, Maʿāref al-walāya (ms. in personal collection).

Moḥammad Būlāq Češtī, Maṭlūb al-ṭālebīn (ms. in personal collection).

Ḡolām Sarvar Lāhōrī, Ḵazīnat al-aṣfīāʾ, Lucknow, 1873, I, p. 366.

Mīrzā Moḥammad Aḵtar, Taḏkera-ye awlīā-ye Hend (in Urdu), Delhi, 1928, I, p. 86.

M. Ḥabīb, “Chishti Mystic Records of the Sultanate Period,” Medieval India Quarterly 1/2, 1950, pp. 6-8.

Storey I/2, pp. 941-44.

(K. A. Nizami)

Originally Published: December 15, 1989

Last Updated: August 3, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 9, p. 963