HĀNSAVI, Shaikh JAMĀL-AL-DIN AḤMAD (b. 580/1184-5, d. in Hānsi, 659/1260-61), mystic, poet, and author. He was a senior deputy (ḵalifa) and close associate of Farid-al-Din (Bābā Farid) Ganj-e Šakar (q.v.; Mir Ḵord, p. 177; Moḥaddeṯ, p. 73), the leader of the Češtiya (q.v.) Sufi order at the time. Jamāl-al-Din was a descendant of Abu Ḥanifa, the eponym of the Hanafite school of Islamic law. He lived in Hānsi, a town in the Punjab, where he was a preacher (ḵaṭib) and owned extensive property, both of which he reportedly abandoned as a pre-requisite to enter the circle of Bābā Farid’s close disciples (Moḥ-addeṯ, p. 74). He became closely attached to Bābā Farid, who spent twelve years in Hānsi out of the great love that he had for Hānsavi (Mir Ḵord, p. 178). Hānsavi died in 659/1260 and was buried in Hānsi (Sarwar, II, p. 286; Moḥaddeṯ, p. 74). He left two sons. Ganj-e Šakar appointed the younger son, Borhān-al-Din, as his own deputy in Hānsi, depite his young age (Mir Ḵord, pp. 178-84; Moḥaddeṯ, p. 67).

Hānsavi is the author of Molhamāt, a collection of mystical aphorisms in Arabic prose (Delhi, 1891, and Alwar, 1306; Moḥaddeṯ, p. 74) and a divān of Persian poetry. The divān, the earliest collection of poetry by a Češti mystic, contains, besides mystical ideas, valuable information concerning popular beliefs and religious customs and practices of the time. It exists in two manuscripts: one is kept at the University of Uppsala (Zettersteen, 1928, pp. 298-302; idem, 1948, pp. 165-82; Neẓāmi, p. 217; Rizvi, I, p. 153) and another one at the University of Lahore (Monzawi, VIII, pp. 1427-28).


Shaikh ʿAbd-al-Ḥaqq Moḥaddeṯ Dehlavi, Aḵbār al-aḵyār fi asrār al-abrār, Deoband, n.d. Mir Ḵord Moḥammad b. Mobārak Kermāni, Siar al-awliāʾ, Delhi, 1309.

Ḵāleq Aḥmad Neẓāmi, Taʾriḵ-e mašāʾeḵ-e Češt, 2 vols., New Delhi, 1980 (in Urdu).

Aḥmad Monzawi, Fehrest-e moštarak-e nosḵahā-ye ḵaṭṭi-e Pākestān VIII, Islamabad, 1366 Š./1987.

Sayyed Athar Abbas Rizvi, A History of Sufism in India, 2 vols., New Delhi, 1978-83.

Karl Vilhelm Zettersteen, “Die arabischen, persischen und türkischen Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek zu Uppsala verzeichnet und beschrieben,” MO 29, 1928.

Idem, “Select-ions from the Divān of Jamāluddīn Aḥmad Hānsawī,” in Islamic Research Association Miscellany I, 1948.

(S. H. Qasemi)

Originally Published: December 15, 2003

Last Updated: March 6, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XI, Fasc. 6, p. 658

Cite this entry:

S. H. Qasemi, “HĀNSAVI,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, XI/6, p. 658, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/hansavi (accessed on 30 December 2012).