Maulana Altaf Hussain Hali (1837-1914) (Urdu: مولانا الطاف حسین حالی) was an Urdu poet, and the last pupil of Mirza Ghalib. He is also one of the most well-regarded biographers of Ghalib's life, and a commentator of his poetry.
Moulana Hali was Born in Panipat in 1837, he was educated in the same city and later ran away to Delhi where he wished to gain further education in the Indo-Islamic poetic tradition.
It was here he chose the cognomen of Khastah ("The Spent One", or "The Tired One"). He was forced to return home, and pursued a government job until displaced by the Mutiny of 1857.
After this turning point in his life, he drifted from job to job for several years, arriving eventually in Lahore in the mid 1870s, where he began to compose his epic poem at the request of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the Musaddas e-Madd o-Jazr e-Islam ("An elegiac poem on the Ebb and Tide of Islam") under the new poetic pseudonym of Hali ("The Contemporary"). The Musaddas, or Musaddas-e-Hali, as it is often known, was published in 1879 to critical acclaim, and considered to herald the modern age of Urdu poetry. Hali also wrote one of the earliest works of literary criticism in Urdu, Muqaddamah-e- Shi'r-o-Sha'iri.
Musaddas e mado jazr islam, one of Hali's most famous works describes the rise and fall of the Islamic empire in the sub-continent. It speaks about the Islamic empire and its best and worst. The aim of this writing was to forewarn the Muslims of the sub-continent and make them more aware of their past and help them learn from their forefathers' mistakes.
Taryaq Masmoom, Mussadas-e-Hali, Hayat-e-Saadi, Hayat-e-Javaid, Yadgar-e-Ghalib and Muqaddamah-i Shi'r-o-Sha'iri are his famous books.