KAYFI SABZAVĀRI, Mir Moḥammad (fl. 17th cent.), Persian poet, also known as Kayfi Sistāni and Kayfi Now-Mosalmān. He was born and raised in a Jewish family in Sabzavār and converted to Islam in his youth during a trip to Sistān. Kayfi was a wandering dervish for twenty years and traveled in India during this time. The biographical details about him are chiefly recorded by two of his contemporaries, namely, Taqi Awḥadi (V, pp. 3232-33; Golčin Maʿāni, II, p. 1189), and Mollā ʿAbd-al-Nabi Faḵral- Zamāni (pp. 876-77). Both authors had a high opinion of Kayfi’s poetry. Taqi Awḥadi writes that Kayfi was in Bengal for a period, and he saw him in Agra and Ajmer in 1615-16. He adds that Kayfi was in the service of the Mughal prince Ḵorram (later the emperor Shah Jahān), son of the emperor Jahāngir. Faḵr-al-Zamāni records that in 1025/ 1616, when he met Kayfi in Lahore, the poet had not yet compiled his poems in a divān. He also notes that he was still in Mughal service in 1619. Kayfi wrote a poem, titled Āgāh-nāma, in imitation of Mawlānā Jalāl-al- Din Rumi’s Maṯnawi-e maʿnawi, two lines of which are quoted by Faḵr-al-Zamāni (p. 876). It seems that his divān has never been compiled; only a few lines from his lyrics (ḡazal) and quatrains (robāʿi) are found in biographical dictionaries.



Taqi Awḥadi, Taḏkerat al-ʿarafāt al-ʿāšeqin, ed. Moḥsen Nāji Naṣrābādi, 7 vols., Tehran, 2009.

Mollā ʿAbd-al-Nabi Faḵr-al-Zamāni Qazvini, Taḏkera-ye may-ḵāna, ed. Aḥmad Golčin Maʿāni, Tehran, 1961, pp. 876-77.

Aḥmad Golčin Maʿāni, Kārvān-e Hend, 2 vols., Mashad, 1990, II, pp. 1189-90.

Nabi Hadi, Dictionary of Indo-Persian Literature, New Delhi, 1995, p. 290.

Mollā Vāleh Dāḡestāni, Riāż al-šoʿarāʾ, ed. Moḥsen Nāji Naṣrābādi, 5 vols., Tehran, 2005, IV, p. 1928.

(Sunil Sharma)

Originally Published: May 31, 2013

Last Updated: April 8, 2013

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Vol. XVI, Fasc. 2, p. 176