Momin Khan Momin

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Momin Khan Momin
Native name
مومِن خاں مومِن دہلوی
Delhi, Mughal Empire, now India
Died1851 (aged 51)[1][2]
Delhi, Mughal Empire, now India
Resting placeParking Area of Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi, India
OccupationPoet, Writer and Hakim (Physician)[1]
GenrePhilosophy, Spiritualism
Notable worksKulliyat-e-Momin
(Momin's complete works of poetry)[3]

Momin Khan Momin (1800–1851) (Urdu: مومِن خاں مومِنؔ‎—Moʾmin Xān Moʾmin) was a Mughal era poet known for his Urdu ghazals and used "Momin" as his takhalluṣ (the Urdu word for nom de plume). He was a contemporary of Mirza Ghalib and Zauq. Today his grave lies near the parking area near Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi.[4]

Early life[edit]

Momin Khan Momin was born in Delhi into a Kashmiri [5][6] family of Mughal administrators and physicians. Momin's father, Ghulam Nabi Khan, was also a Hakim (physician). He was also called "Hakeem Khan" because he was himself a physician, Hakeem being the Urdu word for physician.[1] Momin got married to a woman who was related to the family of poet Khwaja Mir Dard (1720 – 1785) who was a Sufi saint of Delhi and was regarded, during his time, a mystical poet of Urdu language.[1]

Momin's other interests and where he was competent included mathematics, geomancy, astrology, chess or music.[7][8][9][1]


Momin Khan Momin's famous ghazal in Devnagri script.

Momin is known for his particular Persianized style and the beautiful use of his 'takhallus'. According to legend, Mirza Ghalib (his contemporary and also a rival) offered Momin his entire diwan (collection of poetry) in exchange for a particular verse of Momin. However, most modern poets believe this claim as an 'exaggeration' which poets commonly indulged in at that time. This exaggeration was usually done to emphasise some thing. The couplet in question was:

تم میرے پاس ہوتے ہو گویا
جب کوئی دوسرا نہیں ہوتا[2]
"Tum mērē pās hōtē hō gōyā
Jab kō'ī dūsrā nahīⁿˡ hotā"

which translates to:

You are close to me [as if]
When no one else is.[1]

This couplet's beauty is in its succinctness and multiple layers of meaning. One of the meanings is When you're with me(on my mind), no-one else is and a second meaning/interpretation is You are with me (on my side), when no-one else is. The two meanings emerge by the use of words gōyā and jab (when)."

One of his very famous ghazals starts with the following matla (the first line of the opening couplet of a ghazal).

وہ جو ھم میں تُم میں قرار تھا تُھمیں یاد ھو کہ نہ یاد ھو
وہی یعنی وعدہ نباہ کا تُھمیں یاد ھو کہ نہ یاد ھو
Woh jō ham mēⁿ tum mēⁿ qarār tḣā; tumhēⁿ yād hō, keh nah yād hō:
Wohī, yaʿnī waʿdah nibāh kā; tumhēⁿ yād hō, keh nah yād hō[3]
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...[2]

He is also famed in Pakistan for the saying:

عمر ساری تو کاٹی عشقِ بتا میں مومن
آخری وقت میں کیا خاک مسلماں ہو گۓ
ʿUmr sārī tō kāṫī ʿišq-e butāⁿ mēⁿ Moʾmin,
Āxrī waqt mēⁿ kyā xāk Musalmāⁿ hōⁿ gē?[2]


"You spent all your life in the love of Idols Momin
How will you become a muslim, now that the end is near?"

The word "xāk" translates to "sand" or "dust". It refers to the dust or 'dirt soil' that is used for burial of Muslim bodies. The poet refers here to the dirt in which his body will become mixed, after burial.

All your life you spent in love for idols, O Momin [Believer]!
At the last moment, how can you become a Muslim?

Example of Momin's work[edit]

Momin Khan Momin's poem: "Woh jō ham mēⁿ tum mēⁿ qarār tḣā..."; which is shown above, is one of the best known poems of Urdu literature. Momin was mainly a poet of romantic disposition, yet his poetry was simple and easy to understand.[1]


Momin Khan Momin died in 1851 at the age of 51.[2]

He also predicted his death by predicting that he would lose his limbs before his death and was mentioned in the verse 'dast-o-bazu'. This prediction came out to be true as he fell off a ladder and died.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Profile of Momin Khan Momin on website Retrieved 20 May 2018
  2. ^ a b c d e f Profile of Momin Khan Momin on website Retrieved 20 May 2018
  3. ^ a b Peerzada Salman (5 January 2017). "The triumvirate of Ghalib, Zauq and Momin". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  4. ^ "In the lanes of Zauq and Ghalib". Indian Express (newspaper). 15 March 2009. Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  5. ^ Abida Samiuddin, Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Urdu Literature, Global Vision Publishing House (2007), p. 342
  6. ^ Kuldip Salill, A Treasury Of Urdu Poetry, Rajpal & Sons (2009), p.72
  7. ^ K.C. Kanda, Masterpieces of Urdu Ghazal from the 17th to the 20th Century, Sterling (1992), p. 182
  8. ^ Ali Jawad Zaidi, A History of Urdu literature, Sahitya Akademi (1993), p. 181
  9. ^ D.J. Matthews, Urdu Literature, South Asia Books (1985), p. 86

External links[edit]