KAŠMIRI, BADR-AL-DIN, a prolific writer active in Central Asia during the second half of the 16th century; he was closely linked with the eminent Juybāri shaikhs of Boḵārā, Ḵᵛāja Moḥammad Eslām (d. 1563) and his son Ḵᵛāja Saʿd (d. 1589), and with their patron, ʿAbd-Allāh Khan b. Eskandar (r. 1583-98). His extant works, in prose and verse, are important sources on the political, social, cultural, and especially religious history of Central Asia.

Most of what is known of Kašmiri’s life comes from his own comments in his extant works; outside these he is mentioned in just two 17th-century sources, one a poetic taḏkera by Moṭrebi Samarqandi, the Nosḵa-ye zibā-ye Jahāngir, completed in 1035/1625-26, and the other, a hagiography about the Juybāri lineage, the Maṭlab al-ṭālebin, completed in 1074/1663-64. The latter work names him among the disciples of Moḥammad Eslām Juybāri, referring to him as Mir Kašmiri, listing several of his works, and affirming, in connection with his poetic divān, that he used the pen name (taḵalloṣ) “Badri.” Moṭrebi likewise calls him “Mir Kašmiri,” but mentions only two verse works, and stresses his devotion to Ḵᵛāja Saʿd, affirming that he lived into old age and dwelled until the end of his life at Ḵᵛāja Saʿd’s burial place.

From Kašmiri’s own works we learn the fuller version of his name, Badr-al-Din al-Kašmiri b. ʿAbd-al-Salām al-Ḥosayni b. Sayyed Ebrāhim, and a rough chronology of his move to Central Asia. He left Kashmir in 959/1552, intending to perform the ḥajj, but in Qandahār he met a native of Ḵojand who, though previously a disciple of the contentious Naqšbandi shaikh, Mawlānā Loṭf-Allāh Čusti (d. 979/1571), had been deeply affected by a meeting with Shaikh Yunos Moḥammad, one of the lieutenants (ḵolafā) of “Ḵᵛāja Moḥammad Eslām Boḵāri,” and who urged Kašmiri to go directly to Marv in order to meet this master. Kašmiri followed this advice, arriving in Marv in 960/1553 and entering the service of Yunos Moḥammad; the latter, he writes, turned him away from his previous affiliation with the Kobrawiya (no doubt within a lineage stemming from Sayyed ʿAli Hamadāni in Kashmir) and induced him to attach himself to the Naqšbandiya (Kašmiri, Serāj al-ṣāleḥin, ed. Serāj al-Din, p. 268). Kašmiri remained with Yunos Moḥammad in Marv until the shaikh’s death in 961/1554, whereupon he moved to Boḵārā and joined the Sufi community led by Yunos Moḥammad’s master, Ḵᵛāja Moḥammad Eslām Juybāri; he specifies in one work that Moḥammad Eslām first directed him to perform “the silent ḏekr involving the retention of the breath” (ḏekr-e ḵafiya be-ṭariq-e ḥabs-e nafas) on a Friday morning in 963/1555- 56 (Ms. British Library, Or. 10,893, folios. 198a). After Moḥammad Eslām’s death in 971/1563, Kašmiri attached himself to his son, Ḵᵛāja Saʿd; Kašmiri notes that the death of Ḵᵛāja Saʿd, in 997/1589, prompted him to postpone the completion of one of his works and undertake another, and his latest known work was completed in 1001/1593, but otherwise we know nothing about his subsequent life or the date of his death. Most of the other information Kašmiri gives about himself in his works has to do with his literary production and consists of lists of the writings he had completed, or planned to complete, with dates and sizes (in terms of the number of couplets or of quires) assigned to most works (these do not always correspond exactly to what is known from his surviving works).

Kašmiri’s extant works are preserved in, altogether, seven known manuscripts; all of them, incidentally, include dedications to ʿAbd-Allāh Khan b. Eskandar as well as substantial praise of both Moḥammad Eslām and Ḵᵛāja Saʿd. Two of these are substantial narrative works in verse: one, a version of the legend of Alexander referred to as Eskandar-nāma and Qeṣṣa-ye Ḏu’l-Qarnayn, is preserved in Paris (Ms. Bibliothèque Nationale, Supplément Persan 501, in 264 folios); the other, a valuable verse history of ʿAbd-Allāh Khan’s reign known by the title Ẓafarnāma, was completed in 1001/1593 (it is his latest known work) and survives in two copies (one in Dushanbe, at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan, Inv. No. 779, in 597 folios, and one in the British Library, Ms. Or. 14,244, in 625 folios). Kašmiri’s other extant works are hagiographies, chiefly in prose, honoring his three Naqšbandi shaikhs. Best known among them is the Rawżat al-reżwān wa ḥadiqat al-ḡelmān, completed in 997/1589 following the death of Ḵᵛāja Saʿd and preserved in a single manuscript at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan in Tashkent (Inv. No. 2094, in 552 folios); it covers the lineage and lives of Moḥammad Eslām and Ḵᵛāja Saʿd, and its inclusion of the texts of letters and documents relating to their activities has drawn considerable attention to the work by historians of 16th-century Central Asia.

Also devoted to these two Juybāri shaikhs is a hagiographical work preserved in an incomplete manuscript in the British Library (Ms. Or. 10,893, in 480 folios), which indicates the date of its completion as 983/1575-76, and bears the title Serāj al-ṣāleḥin wa meʿrāj al-kāmelin. This title in fact combines two titles mentioned by Kašmiri in his lists of his works, and this date matches neither of the dates assigned in his lists to those two titles; in a further complication, the manuscript elsewhere includes other comments that appear to refer to the work by only the second ‘half’ of the title. These discrepancies appear to signal shifts in Kašmiri’s own understanding of, and plans for, his works, and even though the first ‘half’ of the title in the London manuscript, Serāj al-ṣāleḥin, is semantically linked with specific imagery evoked in the text leading up to the announcement of the title, there is some reason to suppose that the bulk of this manuscript represents a work that Kašmiri intended (at some point) to entitle Meʿrāj al-kāmelin. What is evidently a more complete copy of the work represented in the London manuscript was recently identified in the collection of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, in Tashkent (Inv. No. 4816, comprising 537 folios bound in two volumes); in this manuscript, Meʿrāj al-kāmelin indeed appears to be the most common element among a still wider range of ‘titles’ (I am grateful to Dr. Nuryoghdi Toshev, Senior Researcher at this institute, for personal communication of his discovery).

The third hagiographical work by Kašmiri is preserved in a single manuscript in Islamabad and was published in 1997; it, too, bears the title Serāj al-ṣāleḥin (and includes an allusion to the title Meʿrāj al-kāmelin), but in this case both the date of its completion (986/1578-79) and its subject—it deals with the life of Badr-al-Din’s first Naqšbandi shaikh, Yunos Moḥammad Ṣufi of Marv—correspond to Badr-al-Din’s description of the Serāj al-ṣāleḥin in his lists of his writings. Those lists appear in three of his extant works, the Eskandar-nāma (evidently the earliest list), from 989/1581, the Rawżat al-reżwān, from 997/1589, and the Ẓafar-nāma, from 1001/1593 (see Serāj al-ṣāleḥin, ed. Serāj-al-Din, pp. 29-30; Rawżat al-reżwān, Ms. Tashkent, fols. 10b-11b; Eskandar-nāma, Ms. Paris, fols. 7a-11); they consistently date the Serāj al-ṣāleḥin to 986/1578-79 and describe it as a hagiography devoted to Yunos Moḥammad, and with equal consistency they date the Meʿrāj al-kāmelin to 981/1573-74, describing it as a much larger hagiography (more than three times as long as the Serāj al-ṣāleḥin) devoted to Moḥammad Eslām and Ḵᵛāja Saʿd.

In addition to these two hagiographies (and the Rawżat al-reżwān, listed only in the Ẓafar-nāma), Kašmiri’s lists mention three verse works, two of which are assigned specific dates, suggesting that they had indeed been written; none of them is known to have survived. One of these verse works, a maṯnawi entitled Šamʿ-e delafruz, is said to have been completed in 976/1568-69 and would thus be the earliest of Kašmiri’s compositions; another, entitled Rawżat al-jamāl and said to have been completed in 983/1575-76, was evidently a larger compilation including, Kašmiri writes, enšāʾāt, qaṣidas, ḡazals, and maṯnawis.  The third verse collection is not assigned a specific title, and its description varies from list to list: in the Eskandarnāma, Kašmiri simply refers to a majmuʿa, in 8,000 bayts, in praise of the prophets and the Naqšbandi masters (ḵᵛājas), completed in 988/1580; in the Rawżat al-reżwān, he gives the same subject and number of verses but mentions no date; and in the Ẓafar-nāma, he specifies 7,000 bayts, in qaṣidas and ḡazals, in praise of the Prophet, his family, and unspecified “ḵᵛājas” which he says he completed “at various times” (the shifts suggest that he might have withdrawn material from this collection to include elsewhere). It is also clear from these lists that his two surviving verse works, the historical Ẓafar-nāma and the Eskandar-nāma, were conceived by Kašmiri as merely parts of a much larger poetic collection, the structure of which he envisioned differently during the course of his life; in his latest list, he identified the Eskandar-nāma and the Ẓafar-nāma as the second and fourth parts, respectively, of a large ‘historical’ maṯnawi entitled Rosol-nāma, which was itself envisioned as the final component of a set of seven maṯnawis, each modeled on a work by a famous poet, bearing the collective title Baḥr al-awzān. The three lists are entirely consistent in their descriptions of the first six components of the Baḥr al-awzān, for which only their poetic models—and not their dates or lengths—are indicated. The first six parts are: (1) Manbaʿ al-ašʿār, on the model of Neẓāmi’s Maḵzan al-asrār; (2) Mātam-sarāy, on the model of ʿAṭṭār’s Manṭeq al-ṭayr; (3) Zohra wa ḵoršid, on the model of Sanāʾi’s Ḥadiqat al-ḥaqiqa; (4) Šamʿ-e delafruz, on the model of Amir Ḵosrow Dehlavi’s Ḵosrow wa Širin; (5) Maṭlaʿ al-fajr, modeled on Jāmi’s Sobḥat al-abrār; and (6) Laylā wa Majnun, modeled on Mawlānā Hātefi’s work of the same title and subject. The fourth of these appears earlier in the three lists, as noted, as a separate work said to have been completed in 976/1568-69; in the list given in the Rawżat al-reżwān, Kašmiri affirms that the Šamʿ-e delafruz was intended (at least at that point, if not originally) to be one of the “seven-fold” poems (yaki az maṯnawiyāt-e haftgāna) of the larger Baḥr al-awzān.

With regard to the seventh component of the Baḥr al-awzān, the Rosol-nāma (modeled, says Kašmiri, on the Bustān of Saʿdi), he gives more specific information, but gives it differently in the three lists:

(1) In the Eskandar-nāma, he says that he began the Rosol-nāma, which was to include 150,000 verses, in 989/1581, completing it in the same year; despite listing it as the seventh part of the Baḥr al-awzān, he says that he began it after completing the Baḥr al-awzān (which he had begun in 988/1580).

(2) In the Rawżat al-reżwān (997/1589), he says that he began the Baḥr al-awzān in 989/1581-82, completed it (in 10,000 verses) and presented it to Ḵᵛāja Saʿd, and then began the Rosol-nāma in 991/1583 (even though, again, he refers to the Rosol-nāma as the seventh component of the full Baḥr al-awzān). Here too he describes the Rosol-nāma as a work in 150,000 verses and as divided into four sections, but he assigns no titles to the four sections (and he makes no mention of the inclusion of Eskandar among the topics covered, even though the Eskandar-nāma had evidently already been completed); his description of the subjects and lengths of each section differs from the presentation in the Ẓafar-nāma, as reviewed below. Finally, he refers to the Rosol-nāma as a work he had completed and presented to Ḵᵛāja Saʿd (who gave him 2,500 silver tangas and several fine robes as a reward), but then says that he ceased work on the Rosol-nāma after Ḵᵛāja Saʿd’s death, in order to write the Rawżat al-reżwān. Both this list and that in the Eskandar-nāma thus refer to the Baḥr al-awzān—presumably including all its components except the Rosol-nāma, which Kašmiri treats differently—as a completed work.

(3) In the Ẓafar-nāma (1001/1593), Kašmiri writes that he began the Baḥr al-awzān in 991 Š./1583 (he does not refer to its completion), and that its seventh component, the Rosol-nāma, comprised 160,000 verses and covered the entire history of the sons of Adam, in four parts bearing independent titles:

A. Ṣafi-nāma, in 33,000 bayts, on the pre-Islamic prophets (vs. 40,000 bayts on the pre-Islamic prophets, mentioned in the Rawżat al-reżwān);

B. Eskandar-nāma, in 7,000 bayts, on Ḏu’l-Qarnayn (not mentioned in the Rawżat al-reżwān, where, however, the higher figure given for part A no doubt reflects coverage of Eskandar among the pre- Islamic prophets);

C. Moṣṭafā-nāma, in 104,000 bayts, including accounts of the Prophet Moḥammad (40,000 bayts, the same figure given in the Rawżat al-reżwān for the life of Moḥammad, which is counted in that earlier work, however, as the second part of the Rosolnāma), of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (30,000 bayts, again the same figure assigned in the Rawżat al-reżwān to the account of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, counted there as the third constituent of the Rosol-nāma), and of subsequent Islamic history, “from the time of the caliphate of Moʿāwia b. Sofyān down to the time of the emergence of Šïbāni Khan” (34,000 bayts, vs. 40,000 bayts on Islamic history “from the time of Moʿāwia down to the present” mentioned in the Rawżat al-reżwān and counted there as the fourth and final component of the Rosol-nāma);

D. Ẓafar-nāma, in 16,000 bayts, devoted to the history of ʿAbd-Allāh Khan (not mentioned separately in the Rawżat al-reżwān).

It is clear from these lists that Kašmiri’s vision of the structure, content, and length of some of his works changed, whether because of his own shifting plans or because of the interests of patrons, and that he sometimes revisited works he had completed, either for revision or for major reformulation in the context of his work as a whole. What is left unclear is which of the works he mentions, beyond those that survive, were actually written, and which were merely proposed, conceived, or envisioned, but not actually completed. It might seem reasonable to suppose that the dated works, at least, had indeed been written, but this is in fact not always clear, and the cases of the Serāj al-ṣāleḥin and the Meʿrāj al-kāmelin suggest that even the dates and titles of Kašmiri’s extant works might not correspond to what he describes in his lists; it is, moreover, precisely in connection with the section of the Baḥr al-awzān of which we know, from their survival, that parts were actually written, that is, the Rosol-nāma, that we find the most glaring shifts in the dates and structure assigned to the work. In any case, Kašmiri’s attention to the structure and ‘volume’ of his works offers an interesting example of a 16th-century writer’s vision of his approach to his literary endeavors; and his surviving works stand as essential, though still largely untapped, sources on the reign of ʿAbd-Allāh Khan, on the activities of the Juybāri shaikhs, and on the history, doctrine, and practice of Naqšbandi Sufi communities in Central Asia.



Badr-al-Din Badri Kašmiri, Serāj-al- ṣāleḥin, ed. Sayyed Serāj-al-Din, Islamabad, 1376 Š./1997.

Two external sources mention Kašmiri: Moḥammad Ṭāleb, Maṭlab al-ṭālebin, MS Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Or. oct. 1540 (described in Verzeichniss der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland XIV/1, no. 158), fol. 49b.

Moṭrebi Samarqandi, Nosḵa-ye zibā-ye Jahāngir, Qom, 1377/1998, pp. 143, 144.

Studies focused on Badr-al-Din and his works. Devin DeWeese, “The Problem of the Sirāj al-ṣāliḥīn: Notes on Two Hagiographies by Badr-al-Dīn Kashmīrī,” in Écrit et culture en Asie centrale et dans le monde turcoiranien, Xe XIXe siècles/Writing and Culture in Central Asia and the Turko-Iranian World, 10th-19th Centuries, Studia Iranica, Cahier 40, ed. Francis Richard and Maria Szuppe, Paris, 2009, pp. 43-92 (with references to catalogue descriptions of Badr-al-Din’s extant works).

Paul E. Losensky, “Badrī Kashmīrī,” in EI³ IV, 2009, pp. 97-99.

ʿĀref Nawšāhi, “Aḥwāl wa āṯār-e Badr-al-Din Kašmiri” (in Urdu), ḵodā Bakš Lāʼibreri Jarnal, nos. 75-77, 1992, pp. 300-308; Persian tr. Najm-al-Rašid in Nāma-ye pārsi 3, 1377 Š./1998, pp. 19-27.

ʿAbd-al-Ḡani Mirzāyif [A. M. Mirzoev], “Badr-al-Din Kašmiri wa eštebāhāti dar taʿyin-e taʾlifāt-e u,” Waḥid 12, 1353 Š./1974, pp. 700-713.

See also the brief discussions in the following. Ch. A. Storey, Persidskaya literatura: bio-bibliograficheskiĭ obzor, tr. Yu. È. Bregel, Moscow, 1972, II, pp. 1133-35.

Ḏabiḥ-Allāh Ṣafā, Tāriḵ-e adabiyāt dar Irān, 2nd ed., V, pt. 2, Tehran, 1364 Š./1985, pp. 713-17; Sayyed Ḥosāmal- Din Rāšedi, Taḏkera-ye šoʿarā-ye Kašmir (Takmelaye Taḏkera-ye šoʿarā-ye Kašmir-e Moḥammad Aṣlaḥ Mirzā), 4 vols., Karachi, 1967-69, I, pp. 132-33.

Saʿid Nafisi, Tāriḵ-e naẓm va nar dar Irān va dar zabān-e fārsi tā pāyān-e qarn-e dahom-e hejri I, Tehran, 1344 Š./1965, p. 444.

Discussions of the Rawżat al-reżwān. M. Abduraimov, “O maloizvestnom istochnike po istorii agrarnykh otnoshenii v Sredneĭ Azii XVI veka,” Narody Azii i Afriki, 1968, no. 3, pp. 121-28.

B. A. Akhmedov and I. Saidakhmedov, “Agiograficheskaya literatura kak istoricheskiĭ istochnik (“Rauzat ar-rizvan” Badr ad- Dina Kashmiri),” in Bartol’dovskie chteniya VIII, Moscow, 1987, pp. 15-16.

B. A. Akhmedov, Istorikogeograficheskaya literatura Sredneĭ Azii XVI-XVIII vv. (Pis’mennye pamyatniki), Tashkent, 1985, pp. 182-87.

(Devin Deweese)

Originally Published: May 1, 2012

Last Updated: May 2, 2012

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