Afzal Uddin Ali Bin Khaqani alias Khaqani Sherwani was born in 520 AH at Shirwan. He is one of the best Persian poet. In the beginning, his surname was Khaqiaqi but soon he changed his surname to “Khaqani” due to relation with King Khaqan Akbar Manochehar Faridoon Sherwan Shah.
Early Life of Khaqani Sherwani.
Sherwani belongs to a poor family. He spent his early life in poverty. His father died in his childhood, which increased his problems. It was the crucial time of his life. His mother started bookbinding after the death of his father for earning livelihood.
Father of Khaqani Sherwani died in his childhood. His uncle Mirza Kafi Bin Usman took the responsibility of his education. Mirza Kafi Bin Usman was intelligent person and qualified in medicines and philosophe. He stressed on his education. Khaqani learnt knowledge of Arabic, astrology and medical from his uncle. He also learnt poetry from Abul Ala Ganjawi. Khaqani got married with the daughter of Abul Ala Ganjawi. He got job in the office of Khaqan Akbar Manochehar Bin Faridoon Shewan Shah on behalf of Abul Ala Ganjawi.
Khaqani Sherwani has sensitive nature and likes freedom. When his young son Rashid Uddin died at the age of twenty year, it badly affected his life. His life was full of problems and difficulties. He disliked the services of kings and monarchs due to which his life was not successful. Sherwani was fond of adventure and tourism and liked to see the world but King Khaqan Akbar did not allow him for visits. It was one of the main reason of his ambiguity and uncertainty. He has deep concern over this attitude of King Khaqan.
Once, Khaqani requested King Khaqan Akbar for visit to Khurasan but he regretted his request. Sherwani became angry and wrote an ode in which he showed his concerned. In this way, King Khaqan Akbar accepted his request and grant him leave for visit to Khurasan. When Khaqani left for Khurasan, he heard the news of Turkish attack on Khurasan and returned to home.
Paying of Pilgrimage.
Khaqani paid Hajj in 1156 AD. He narrated complete details and method of Hajj his book “Tuhfatul Araqeen”. During Hajj, he visited Madina (the holly city) and wrote an ode on its respect. He also visited Madain city during his trip. Madain remained the capital of Samanian rulers, where he saw the ruins of the castle of King Kesra. He impressed from the ruins of Old Iranian culture and wrote an ode on its rise and fall. This ode is one of the best poetry of Sherwani.
On return from Hajj, he passed through Isfahan. On the way, student of Khaqani Fajeer Balqani wrote an ode against the culture of Isfahan and propagated it with the name of Khaqani. In this way, the people of Isfahan protested against Khaqani. When Khaqani came to know about the anger of the people of Isfahan, he wrote an ode in the love of Isfahan which was well received among the people. In this way, the enmity of the people converted into love with him.
When Khaqani reached the office of King Khaqan Akbar from Hajj. The jealous collogues propagated that Khaqani is unhappy from the attitude of King Khaqan Akbar and will leave his office shortly. King Khaqan Akbar became angry and put Khaqani Sherwani in a jail at the castle of Shah Iran. Khaqani wrote a famous ode “Jailia” there.
Mother of Khaqani requested King Khaqan Akbar for release of her son. The king accepted her request and released him from jail. The king wanted to reinstate the poet in his old possession but he refused and preferred freedom. Khaqani Sherwani was confident, open-minded and liked freedom. Although, he was poor but never praised the kings in his poetry unless, he was compelled or paid for it. He never preferred monetary benefits in his life.
Khaqani Sherwani died in 1190 AD in Tabraiz city. He was buried in Moqbara-e-Shuraa (tomb of poets).
Fellow / Coeval Poets.
Abul Ala Ganjanawi was the teacher of Khaqani. Moreover, Rashid Uddin Tota, Jalal Uddin Isfahani, Asar Uddin, Falki Sherwani and Nizam Ganjnawi were the coeval poets of Khaqani.
Publications / Books.
All poetry of Khaqani Sherwani is grammatically correct but have deep words. He has explained deep thoughts in his poetry. His poetry is unique from all other poets. He was also influent in Arabic language apart from Persian language.
1) Book Titled “Tuhfa Tul Areqeen”. Complete biography of Hajj has been explained in this book. The book comprises of five volumes in the shape of monographs / dissertations.
2) Divan. Divan-e-Khaqani comprises of twenty two thousand couplets. All type of poetry is available in this book. This book comprises of odes, stories, quatrains and poems. Some quatrains in Arabic language has also included in the book.
3) Khatam-Ul-Gharaib. The book contains some incomplete MASNAVI poetry.
4) Manshat-e-Khaqani. This book comprises of some letters of Khaqani Sherwani.
Characteristics of Poetry.
Khaqani has used terminologies of Arabic language, Islamic history and astrology in his poetry because of his deep study in these fields. His poetry is a bit difficult but interesting for readers. It is approximately mandatory for a reader to known about the history of Iran and Islamic history.
Sabuk-e-Iraqi (Iraqi Style).
In those days, Sabuk-e-Khurasani (Khurasian poetry style) was the popular poetry style. Every poet of the era has expressed his views in this style but Khaqani has not used this style or used very rare. He has introduced a different style which is later known as Sabuk-e-Iraqi.
Scene, Story and Emotions in Poetry.
Khaqani Sherwani has explained different scene skillfully in his poetry. He has also used stories of fellow poets and kings in emotional way. When Khaqani was on the way to Hajj, he saw the ruined palace of King Kisra and explained it emotionally in poetry. His tragic odes are full of emotions, which reflects his personal life.
The King of Narration.
Khaqani was in-fluent in Arabic language apart from his mother tongue i.e. Persian language. He has used difficult words of both languages in his poetry fluently. Khaqani has also used sayings, bywords and Quranic verses in his poetry which made his poetry unique from other poets. His poetry is completely in a best sequence. He is also known as “THE KING OF NARRATION” in the field of poetry.