Maulana Khawaja Altaf Hussain Hali (Urdu: مولانا خواجه الطاف حسین حالی) was an Urdu poet, and writer. Hali occupies a special position in the history of Urdu literature. He was a poet, a critic, a teacher, a reformer and an impressive prose-writer. He was a close friend of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.
Moulana Altaf Hussain Hali has an important place in Urdu literary history. He is one of the Aanasar-e-Khamsa of Urdu. He has written the Musaddas-e-Hali which occupies an important position in Urdu literature.
Born in Panipat, circumstances did not permit him to attain formal education in a school or college, yet he managed to acquire , through sustained self-effort, perfect command of Urdu, Persian and Arabic, and a good working knowledge of English. He later moved to Delhi where he wished to study the Islamic theology and poetic tradition. As a poet he did not confine himself within the narrow bounds of the ghazal, but successfully exploited the other poetic forms such as the nazm, the rubai, and the Marsia. More particularly, he harnessed his poetic abilities to the higher aims of social and moral edification. His famous long poem, Musaddas-e-Hali, examines the state of social and moral degradation prevalent in the then contemporary Muslim society. His prose treatise, Muqaddama-e-Shair-o-Shairi, is a pioneering work of literary criticism. It dwells on the limitations of the traditional ghazal, and points to the hollowness of its hackneyed themes and imagery, especially when the form is handled by inferior poets and versifiers.
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