BORHĀN BALḴĪ, BORHĀN-AL-DĪN MOẒAFFAR b. Šams b. ʿAlī b. Ḥamīd-al-Dīn, a poet of the 8th/14th century from Balḵ. He was descended from Ebrāhīm b. Adham, the renowned Iranian Sufi of the 2nd/8th century. He was taken to India by his father Solṭān Šams Balḵī during the reign of the Delhi sultan Moḥammad b. Toḡloq (725-52/1324-51). After a short stay at Delhi his father moved to Bihar, a small town fifty miles south of Patna, and remained there for the rest of his life.
In 755/1354 or 756/1355 Borhān-al-Dīn Moẓaffar, then a young man and well-educated, joined the circle of devotees of a local Sufi shaikh, Šaraf-al-Dīn Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā. Later in life he became the shaikh’s successor. He spent some time in Bengal and at Mecca, but returned to the town where he had found spiritual guidance and remained there until his death in 788/1386 (or 803/1400 according to some sources). His successor as shaikh of the Sufis was his nephew Ḥosayn b. Moʿezz-al-Dīn.
Using the pen-name Borhān, he composed Persian poetry of average quality, mainly ḡazals. A collection of his mystic poems has been printed. A collection of letters and an essay by him on Bedāyat o nehāyat-e darvīšī (Start and destination of the dervish’s career) also survives, but other writings which he left are now lost.
Sayyed Ḥasan, ed., Majmūʿa-ye ašʿār-e Mawlānā Borhān-al-Dīn Moẓaffar Šams Balḵī, Patna, 1958 (see the English preface).
Ṣafā, Adabīyāt III, pp. 1056-58.
Originally Published: December 15, 1989
Last Updated: December 15, 1989
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Vol. IV, Fasc. 4, p. 368