Poems of Abundant Benefit with Chronograms by Sardār Ghulām Muḥammad Khān, Known as Ṭarzī Ṣāḥib Afghān, Together with his Chronograms


This work is a collection of poems in the qaṣīda (ode) form by Ghulām Muḥammad Khān (1830–1900), a prominent Pashto Afghan intellectual of the 19th century. Known by his pen name Ṭarzī (the Stylist), he was a member of the important Bārakzay tribe of Kandahār. In 1882 Ghulām Muḥammad Khān fell into disgrace with the Afghan ruler Amir ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān (reigned 1880−1901) and was expelled from Afghanistan along with his family. He spent three years in Karachi, before immigrating to Damascus, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. Ghulām Muḥammad Khān died and is buried in Damascus. (ʿAbd al-Raḥmān’s son Amir Ḥabībullāh, reigned 1901−18, was to reverse the policy of his father and confer amnesty on those exiled under his father’s reign, allowing Ghulām Muḥammad Khān’s family to return to Afghanistan.) In Persian poetry the qaṣīda denotes a poem consisting of an initial verse with two rhyming hemistiches, followed by a collection of paired hemistiches in which the second member only is rhymed. The qaṣīda form started out as a vehicle for panegyrics, but was soon adopted for didactic, philosophical, religious and even satirical purposes. Many of Ghulām Muḥammad Khān’s qaṣidas are poems in praise of the Prophet Muhammad and of other notable religious figures, such as the four rightly-guided caliphs and Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī (died 680), grandson of the prophet. Other figures who are subjects of poems in the collection include Maulānā Jalāl al-Dīn Balkhī (Rumī, 1207–73), and ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī (1077–1166), whose tomb in Baghdad Ghulām Muḥammad Khān visited on the way to Syria. Ghulām Muḥammad Khān also composed panegyrics for statesmen of his own era, including the Afghan ruler Dōst Muḥammad Khān (1793–1863), the Persian ruler Nāṣir al-Dīn Shāh (1831–96), the Ottoman sultan Abdülaziz (1830–76), whom Ghulām Muḥammad Khān calls “martyred,” and Ottoman sultan Abdülhamid II (1842–1918). The final section of the work contains chronograms depicting the birthdate of relatives and the dates when some of the notable men of his era died. The book was published by Sardār Muhammad Anwar Khān on April, 18, 1892, at the Fayḍ Muḥammadī press in Karachi. The calligrapher is listed as Muḥammad Zamān.

Last updated: September 30, 2016