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Ustad Momin Khan 1800-1851

Momin Khan (1800-1851 مومن خان)

Momin Khan Momin

was an Indian poet famous for his Urdu Ghazals and used “Momin” as his takhallus.

He was born in Delhi.

He was also called “Hakeem Khan” because he was a physician also.

Hakeem is an Urdu word for physician.

Momin is known for his particular Persianized style and the beautiful use of his takhllus. According to legend, Mirza Ghalib (his contemporary and also a rival) offered Momin his entire “Deewan” (collection of poetry) in exchange for a particular verse of Momin. The couplet in question was:

“Tum mere paas hote ho goya / Jab koi doosra nahi hota”

which translates to:

You are close to me [as if] / when no one else is.

This couplet’s beauty is in its succintness and multiple layers of meaning, which are impossible to convey in any English translation (not least because of the difficulty of translating the word “goya”).

And if we just interpret the couplet there is another meaning can be derive from it that

“When I am surrounded by people you(lover)always on my mind but when I am alone I feel like having you in front of me”

One of his very famous ghazals starts with the following “Matla” (the first line of the opening couplet of a Ghazal).

Woh jo hum mein tum mein qaraar tha, tumheiN yaad ho ke na yaad hoo

Vohee yaani va’ada nibah ka, tumhaiN yaad ho ke na yaad ho

That understanding which we had between us… whether you remember it or not…

That promise of trust and faithfulness…whether you remember it or not…

He is also famed in Pakistan for the saying:

Umar sari toh kati ishq-e-butaN mein Momin/

Aakhri waqt mein kya khak MusalmaN hoNgay?

All your life you spent in love for idols o Momin [Believer] / In the last moment, how can you become a Muslim?

NOTE: The meaning of the first line is perceived to be: “All your life you lived in non-Muslim ways”

and the second line would mean:

“in your last times, how will you prove Yourself as a Muslim”

Ishq means love/faith & ButaN (plural for “but” that means statue), however,

the term ISHQ-E-BUTAN suggests love/faith in statues of God (which is considered sin in Islam),

though the literal translation of ISHQ-E-BUTAN is “love for statues or idols”.


1. nighat - July 1, 2010

Dear Farzana ,
I posted a comment for your work earlier as well.Did you read that?
I did not get a reply………I wonder why?

I like reading classic urdu ustads in poetry and prose both.
Can you please post more work of Pitras Bukhari?
Why do not we get Pitras works in the markets easily?
Can you also do some work on Iltaf fatima,an urdu writer,whose novel wa “Dastak na do”
hope to hear from you.

Farzana Naina - July 2, 2010

Thank you so much dear Nighat, I’ll try to fulfil your wish, I’ll look forward to your comments on more posts….Cheers. 🙂

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