FAQĪR DEHLAVĪ, MĪR ŠAMS-AL-DĪN (also called Maftūn), Persian poet from the Indian sub-continent (fl. 12th/18th century). He was born in 1115/1703 at Delhi and traced his origin, on the father’s side, to an uncle of the Prophet Moḥammad, ʿAbbās b. ʿAbd-al-Moṭṭaleb. On his mother’s side he was a sayyed, which accounts for the designation “Mīr.” He obtained his education in Delhi and eventually became well-versed in Muslim jurisprudence, scholastic theology, tradition and, above all, in literature and poetics. At the age of twenty-five Faqīr Dahlavī traveled to the Deccan, where he stayed in Awrangābād for some five years. According to one source (Hamadānī Moṣḥafī, p. 80), he converted from Sunnism to Shiʿism during his stay there. It was also in the Deccan that he befriended Moḥammad Reżā Hamadānī, titled Qezelbāš Khan (d. 1159/1746), a nobleman and poet who used Omīd as his pen-name. In his company, Faqīr Dehlavī returned to Delhi and came to enjoy the respect of state dignitaries such as ʿAlīqolī Khan Ẓafar Jang Dāḡestānī and ʿEmād-al-Molk Šehāb-al-Dīn, the Amīr-al-Omarāʾ in the government of Aḥmad Shah Bahādor (r. 1161-67/1748-54; see Gōpāmavī, pp. 547-48; Beale, pp. 42, 143, 146). In the course of time he severed his connections with worldly affairs and retired to Agra to lead a life of seclusion. Toward the end of 1180/1767 he set out for a pilgrimage to Karbalāʾ and Najaf. While returning his boat sank near Baṣra, and he was drowned with other passengers on board; most writers place this in 1183/1769. His poetical output is represented principally by his dīvān of some seven thousand verses (Cat. Bankipore III, no. 411). In addition, he is the author of various maṯnawīs, the most celebrated of which is perhaps the one dealing with the tragic love of ʿAlīqolī Khan Wāleh Dāḡestānī, author of Rīāż al-šoʿarāʾ, for his first cousin Ḵadīja Solṭáān (Maṯnawī-e Wāleh Solṭān, Karachi and Dacca, 1971; tr. M. Mahomed and C. Spring-Rice as The Story of Valeh and Hadijeh, London, 1903). The poem, reportedly written at the instance of Wāleh Dāḡestānī himself (Šafīq, p. 282), contains 3,230 couplets and was completed in 1160/1747. Faqīr Dehlavī’s other maṯnawīs include Toḥfat al-šabāb (Ethé, Cat. Ind. Off., no. 1710), Dorr-e maknūn (ibid.), and Šams al-żoḥā (Cat. Bankipore III, no. 414), the last dealing with the praise of the Shiʿite Imams. These were composed in 1143/1730, 1169/1755, and 1173/1759 respectively. Of Faqīr Dehlavī’s prose works, the best known is the Ḥadāʾeq al-balāḡa (Lucknow, 1263/1847), on rhetoric, prosody, and rhyme, composed in 1168/1755.
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Originally Published: December 15, 1999
Last Updated: January 24, 2012
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