In 1954, he graduated from the Department of Journalism at Azerbaijan State University (currently Baku State University). He attended courses for two years studying Literature for Writers and Poets at the Institute of Literature named after Maxim Gorky. Upon graduation, he worked at Azerbaijani Woman magazine. Khalil Rza obtained his Doctor of Philology Sciences in 1985. From 1969 until his death, he worked at the Institute of Literature in Baku.
In January 1990, Khalil Rza was arrested as a leader of Azerbaijani National Movement against the Soviet Union and was imprisoned for 22 months in the notorious Lefortovo prison in Moscow. During Nagorno-Karabakh War, his son Tabriz was killed in fighting on the frontline.
Khalil Rza published about 35 books (about 20 during his lifetime, and the remainder when his wife collected his writings and published them). His most well-known books include:
In 1992, Khalil Rza was awarded the title of People's Poet of Azerbaijan and in 1995, he was posthumously awarded the Independence Order (Istiglal Ordeni). Khalil Rza died in Baku and is buried in the Cemetery of the Honored Ones (Fakhri Khiyaban).