Abdul Rahim was born in Lahore (now in Pakistan) on 14th Çafar 964; he was the son of Bairam Khan, later, Bairam Khan’s wife became the second wife of Akbar, which made Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khan his stepson, and later he became one of his nine prominent ministers, the Navaratnas, or nine gems.
Although a Muslim by birth, Rahim was a devotee of Lord Krishna and wrote poetry dedicated to him! He was also an avid Astrologer.
He was well known for his strange manner of giving alms to the poor. He never looked at the person he was giving alms to, kept his gaze downwards in all humility. Someone asked him- “Sir, Why give alms like this? Where’d you learn that?, Your hands are as high as your eyes are low”
Rahim’s beautiful answer was -“The Giver is someone else (he was referring to God), giving day and night, the people receiving praise me, that’s why my eyes lower with humility..”
His two sons were killed by Akbar’s son Jehangir and their bodies left to rot at the Khooni Darwaza because Rahim was not in favor of Jehangir’s accession to the throne at Akbar’s death.
His tomb is situated in Nizamuddin on the Mathura road ahead of Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi, it was built by him for his wife in 1598, and later he was himself buried in it in 1627. Later, in 1753-4, marble and sandstone from this tomb was used for the making of Safdarjung’s Tomb, also in New Delhi.
Popular Couplets of Rahim
“The truly great never reveal their worth. Nor do those who are truly worthy of praise, praise themselves. Says Rahim, when does a diamond reveals its value.”
“Says Rahim, when you are introduced to an important/rich person, do not ignore or forget your poor friends. For if, for example, you need a needle to successfully complete a job, of what use is a sword!”
“Says Rahim, don’t allow the (delicate) thread of love (between individuals) to snap. Once it snaps, it cannot be rejoined and if you do rejoin it, there is a knot in it.”
“Says, Rahim, this mind (body) is like a sieve (winnowing fan), sort out your friends through it. Let the light (bad) ones and go (fly in the wind) and carefully keep the heavy (good) ones.”
“To cure a bitter cucumber, we cut its head off and rub in salt. Says Rahim to cure a bitter mouth we should apply the same remedy”
“Says Rahim, How will evil corrupt, he who has an excellent character? After all does the sandalwood become poisonous by having snakes lie around its trunk?”
“Says Rahim, people will find many ways to be related to fortunate ones. But only he is a true friend, who stands by you in misfortune”
“Says Rahim, he who has to beg is no longer a man. But he who refuses a beggar was never a man to begin with.”