ABU’L-WAFĀʾ ḴᵛĀRAZMĪ, famous Sufi of Kobrawī affiliation, esoterist, scholar, poet, and musician, known as “angelic master” (pīr-e ferešta) or “angel on earth” (ferešta-ye rū-ye zamīn). Ḵᵛāǰa Abu’l-Wafāʾ, as he is usually called, died in 835/1431-32 in Ḵᵛārazm. From one of his quatrains, in which he speaks of himself as an old man of seventy-four years about to leave this world no wiser than he entered it, we may infer that he was born around 760/1359. In an often quoted poem, he establishes his Kobrawī affiliation as follows: Naǰm-al-dīn Kobrā (d. 618/1221) to Bābā Kamāl Jandī to Aḥmad (known as šayḵ-e ʿālem, elder son of Šams-al-dīn Moftī in Jand) to Bahāʾ-al-dīn Kobrawī to Moḥammad (known as dānešmand mawlānā, younger son of Šams-al-dīn Moftī) to Abu’l-Fotūḥ (son of Bahāʾ-al-dīn). The latter thus would appear to have been Abu’l-Wafāʾ’s direct Sufi master. However, according to an additional verse quoted already by Abu’l-Wafāʾ’s direct disciple, Kamāl-al-dīn Ḥosayn Ḵᵛārazmī (d. probably 839/1435-36), there was still another master, named Ḵᵛāǰa Saʿīd, between Abu’l-Fotūḥ and Abu’l-Wafāʾ. At any rate, it is noteworthy that Ḥosayn Ḵᵛārazmī distinguishes, generally speaking, the way of affiliation through a chain of masters (ṭarīq-e selsela) from the esoteric way (ṭarīq-e serr), i.e., direct communication between the archetype (ʿayn ṯābeta) of a mystic and his lord (rabb), and that he identifies this esoteric way, which is evidently conceived in Ebn ʿArabī ’s terminology, with Kobrā’s “third way” called ṭarīq-e šoṭṭār. Abu’l-Wafāʾ himself explicitly acknowledges the greatness of ʿAyn-al-qożāt Hamadānī and Ebn ʿArabī, and the influence of their monism on his thought is evident from his poetry. Yet he is clearly a Sufi, not a philosopher. In one of his quatrains, he has only biting criticism for Ebn Sīnā; and in another, he displays the typical Sufi skepticism towards formal learning generally. His mystical love poetry seems to take its inspiration from Mawlānā Jalāl-al-dīn Rūmī; indeed, he refers to Rūmī’s verse, pīštar ā pīštar ay Bu’l-Wafā (Dīvān-e kabīr, ed. B. Forūzānfar, Tehran, 1336 Š./1957, no. 251) as having been addressed to himself “one hundred years before my birth.”

About 250 verses of Abu’l-Wafāʾ’s poetry have come down to us in a unique manuscript available in the Malek Library, Tehran. This collection contains, among many others, several robāʿīs quoted already by Ḥosayn Ḵᵛārazmī, as well as all those attributed to Abu’l-Wafāʾ by Jāmī, Gāzargāhī, Ḵᵛāndamīr, and Reżā-qolī Khan Hedāyat. Since Gāzargāhī specifies that Abu’l-Wafāʾ inserted many robāʿīs in his prose work Naṯr al-ǰawāher, including one which is also found in the Tehran collection, it seems likely that the latter was gathered by someone from one of Abu’l-Wafāʾ’s lost works. The work referred to by most other secondary sources as Kanz al-ǰawāher is perhaps the same.


Ašʿār-e Ḵᵛāǰa Abu’l-Wafāʾ, ms. Tehran, Malek, ǰong no. 5306.

Kamāl-al-dīn Ḥosayn Ḵᵛārazmī, Jawāher al-asrār wa ẓawāher al-anwār, ms. Tehran, Mellī, farsī no. 1315, pp. 27ff., 33ff., 68ff.

Idem, Yanbūʿ al-asrār fī naṣāʾeḥ al-abrār, ed. M. Deraḵšān, Tehran, 1360 Š./1981, pp. 227ff.

Jāmī, Nafaḥāt, pp. 433ff.

Mīr ʿAlī-Šīr Navāʾī, Maǰāles al-nafāʾes (not consulted).

Kamāl-al-dīn Ḥosayn Gāzargāhī, Maǰāles al-ʿoššāq, ms. Basel, University Library, no. M III 19, maǰles 46. Ḥabīb al-sīar (Tehran) IV, pp. 8ff.

Ebn al-Karbalāʾī, Rawżat al-ǰenān, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970, II, p. 328.

Haft eqlīm III, pp. 329-30. Reżā-qolī Khan Hedāyat, Rīāż al-ʿārefīn, Tehran, 1344 Š./1965, pp. 40ff.

Maǰmaʿ al-foṣaḥāʾ IV, p. 8.

Maʿṣūm-ʿAlī Shah Šīrāzī, Ṭarāʾeq al-ḥaqāʾeq, Tehran, 1339 Š./1960, especially II, pp. 107 and 337ff.

Moḥammad ʿAlī Tabrīzī, Rayḥānat al-adab, Tehran, 1335 Š./1956, I, p. 426, no. 944.

Ḵayyāmpūr, Soḵanvarān, p. 25.

(H. Landolt)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 21, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, p. 394

Cite this entry:

H. Landolt, “ABU’L-WAFĀʾ ḴᵛĀRAZMĪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/4, p. 394; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abul-wafa-kvarazmi (accessed on 2 January 2014).