Sunday, 22 July 2012

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Rabi'a Balkhi رابعه بلخی

Rabia Balkhi   رابعه بلخی

Rābi'a bint Ka'b al-Quzdārī (Persianرابعه بنت کعب‎), popularly known as Rābi'a Balkhī (رابعه بلخی) and Zayn al-'Arab[1] (زین العرب), is a semi-legendary[2] figure of Persian literature and was possibly the first poetess in the history of New Persian poetry. References to her can be found in the poetry of Rūdakī and 'Attār. Her biography has been primarily recorded by Zāhir ud-Dīn 'Awfī and renarrated by Nūr ad-Dīn Djāmī. The exact dates of her birth and death are unknown, but it is reported that she was a native of Balkh in Khorāsān (now inAfghanistan). Some evidences indicate that she lived during the same period as Rūdakī, the court poet to the Samanid Emir Naṣr II(914-943).[3]


Her name and biography appear in 'Awfī's lubābu 'l-albāb, 'Attār's maṭnawīyat, and Djāmī's nafahātu 'l-uns. She is said to have been descended from a royal family, her father Ka'b al-Quzdārī, a chieftain at the Samanid court, reportedly descended from Arab immigrants who had settled in eastern Persia during the time of Abu Muslim.[3]
She was one of the first poets who wrote in modern Persian, and she is, along with Mahsatī Dabīra Ganja'ī, among a very few female writers of medieval Persia to be recorded in history by name.[2] When her father died, his son Hāres, brother of Rābi'a, inherited his position. According to legend, Hāres had a Turkic slave named Baktāsh, with whom his sister was secretly in love. At a court party, Hāres heard Rābi'a's secret. He imprisoned Baktāsh in a well, cut the jugular vein of Rābi'a and imprisoned her in a bathroom. She wrote her final poems with her blood on the wall of the bathroom until she died. Baktāsh escaped the well, and as soon as got the news about Rābi'a, he went to the governor’s office and assassinated Hāres. He then committed suicide.
Her love affair with the slave Baktāsh inspired Qājār poet Rezā Qulī-Khān Ḥedāyat to compose his Baktāshnāma.


  1.  H. Rowley/P. Weis, Journal of Semitic studies, Vol. 23-24, Oxford University Press, 1978, p. 139
  2.  G. Lindberg-Wada, Literary History: Towards a Global Perspective, Gruyter; 1st ed., 2006, p. 204: "This does not mean that no women composed poetry [...] but the system kept obviously such efforts out of sight. The very few whom we know by name are more legendary than real, for example Rabi'a bint Ka'b Quzdari ..."
  3.  Indo-Iranica, Vol. 2, Iran Society India, Calcutta, 1947, p. 39


Unsuri عنصری

Unsuri  عنصری

Abul Qasim Hasan Unsuri Balkhi (Persian: ابوالقاسم حسن عنصری بلخی‎) (died 1039/1040) was a 10-11th century Persian poet.
He is said to have been born in Balkh, today located in Afghanistan, and he eventually became a poet of the royal court, and was given the title Malik-us Shu'ara (King of Poets').
His Divan is said to have contained 30,000 distichs, of which only 2500 remain today.


  • E.G. Browne. Literary History of Persia. (Four volumes, 2,256 pages, and twenty-five years in the writing). 1998. ISBN 0-7007-0406-X
  • Jan Rypka, History of Iranian Literature. Reidel Publishing Company. 1968 OCLC 460598ISBN 90-277-0143-1
  • Note: This information is not enough please if you know about Abolfazl Beyhaghi ابوالفضل بیهقی, historian send me @

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Abolfazl Beyhaghi ابوالفضل بیهقی, historian

Abolfazl Beyhaghi ابوالفضل بیهقی, historian

Abul-Fazl Bayhaqī (Persian: ابوالفضل بیهقی‎, Ibn Zeyd ibn Muhammad Abul-Fazl Mohammad ibn Hossein ibn Soleyman Ayyoub Ansari Evesi Khazimi Bayhaqī Shafe'i), was a Persianhistorian and author.[1]
He wrote the famous work of Persian literature Tarikh-e Mas'oudi ("Masoudian History", also known as "Tārīkh-e Bayhaqī").
Bayhaqi was born in the village Haares-Abad of Bayhaq in Khorasan Province nearSabzevar. He studied various sciences in Neishabur city, and then he was employed as a clerk in the Secretariat of King Mahmud. Abolfazl could show his efficiency there.
In 1039 his master and chief Bu-Nasr Moshkan passed and a few years later King Abd ul-Rashid elected him as the chief of the Royal Secretariat.
After the retirement in 1058, Bayhaqi started the editing of his daily notes and historical data and published them in a book, named it "Tarikh-e Baihaqi".
His book is one of the most creditable sources about the Ghaznavid Empire, and his fluent prose style has made the book considerable in Persian literature too.
In his book he has a famous chapter about the execution of Hasanak vazir.


  1.  An Oriental Samuel Pepys? Abuʾl-Faḍl Bayhaqī's Memoirs of Court Life in Eastern Iran and Afghanistan, 1030-1041, C. Edmund Bosworth, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Third Series, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Apr., 2004), 13.
  • E.G. Browne. Literary History of Persia. (Four volumes, 2,256 pages, and twenty-five years in the writing). 1998. ISBN 0-7007-0406-X
  • Jan Rypka, History of Iranian Literature. Reidel Publishing Company. ASIN B-000-6BXVT-K
Note: This information is not enough please if you know about Abolfazl Beyhaghi ابوالفضل بیهقی, historian send me @

Abu Mansur Daqiqi ابومنصور دقیقی

Abu-Mansur Daqiqi  ابومنصور دقیقی

Abu Mansur Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Daqiqi Tusi (935/942-976/980[1]), (Persian: ابو منصور محمد بن احمد دقیقی‎) sometimes referred to asDaqiqi (also Dakiki, Daghighi, Persian: دقیقی‎), was an early Persian[2] poet who is said to be born in Tus[3][4] in Iran; or in Balkh,[5]located in modern-day Afghanistan; as well as in Samarqand or Bukhara, both in today's Uzbekistan and Marv in today'sTurkmenistan.[6]
Daqiqi supported the nationalistic tendencies in Persian literature and attempted to create an epic history of Iran which is begun by history of Zarathushtra and Gashtasb. Questions have been raised as to whether Daqiqi harbored some Zoroastrian beliefs, or was simply promoting Sassanian cultural trends in the wake of Samanid domination.[7] Nevertheless, he is viewed to have been a Zoroastrian convert to Islam.[8] A large number of couplets by him were included in the epic Shahname (Book of Kings) by the Persian epic poet Ferdowsi. Daqiqi was murdered by his favorite slave.[9]
Some scholars speculate that Daqiqi wrote more, but the content was too controversial to be included in Shahname and later lost. Other poems by him have survived, published, among others, in Le premier poet Persan by G.Lazard.

Further reading

External links

Abusaeid Abolkheir ابوسعید ابوالخیر

Abū-Sa'īd Abul-Khayr   ابوسعید ابوالخیر

Abusa'id Abolkhayr or Abū-Sa'īd Abul-Khayr (Persian: ابوسعید ابوالخیر‎) (December 7, 967 - January 12, 1049), also known as Sheikh Abusaeid or Abu Sa'eed, was a famous Persian Sufi and poet who contributed extensively to the evolution of Sufi tradition.
The majority of what is known from his life comes from the book Asrar al-Tawhid (اسرارالتوحید, or "The Mysteries of Unification") written byMohammad Ibn Monavvar, one of his grandsons, 130 years after his death.
The book, which is an important early Sufi writing in Persian, presents a record of his life in the form of anecdotes from a variety of sources and contains a collection of his words.
During his life his fame spread throughout the Islamic world, even to Spain. He was the first Sufi writer to widely use ordinary love poems as way to express and illuminate mysticism, and as such he played a major role in foundation of Persian Sufi poetry. He spent most of his life in Nishapur.


Abū-Sa'īd was born in the village of Mihne, part of Greater Khorasan, today located near Torbat-e Heydarieh in Khorāsān-e Razavī Province. His father was a herbalist and physician with an interest in Sufism.
He then moved and lived a few years in the city of Nishapur, and subsequently moved back to Meyhaneh after a few years. Abū-Sa'īd’s formal education included Islamic scholarship and Arabic literature that he continued until the age 23 when he left them for Sufism.
He also traveled to and spent time in small towns around the same province visiting other Sufis or his teachers.


His mysticism is a typical example of the Khorasani school of Sufism. He extracted the essence of the teachings of the past Sufis of this school (and to some extent other schools as well) and expressed them in a simpler, and in a sense deeper, form without the use ofphilosophy.
He held a special reverence for earlier Sufis, especially Bayazid Bastami and Hallaj. Moreover, in Asrar al-Tawhid, Tazkiratul Awliyā and Noorul Uloom it has been written that Abū-Sa'īd went for the visit of Shaikh Abul Hassan Kharaqani and got deeply influenced by his personality and state.
His system is based on a few themes that appear frequently in his words, generally in the form of simple emotional poems.
The main focus of his teachings is liberation from “I”, which he considered the one and only cause of separation from God and to which he attributed all personal and social misfortunes. His biography mentions that he would never call himself "I" or "we" but “they” instead. This idea of selflessness appears as Fotovvat (a concept very near to chivalry) in his ethical teachings and as Malaamat, a kind of selflessness before the Beloved which he considers a sign of perfect love in his strictly mystical teachings.
Both of these concepts in a certain sense are spiritual forms of warrior ethics. Despite their simplicity he believed that the full application of these teachings to one's life requires both divine grace and the guidance of an experienced Sufi, and is impossible through personal efforts alone. His picture as portrayed in various Sufi writings is a particularly joyful one of continuous ecstasy. Other famous Sufis made frequent references to him, a notable example being the Persian Sufi poet Farid al-Din Attar, who mentions Abū-Sa'īd as his spiritual guide. Many miracles are attributed to him in Sufi writings.


Many short Persian poems are attributed to him and he is considered one of the great medieval Persian poets. The attribution of these poems has always been doubtful and due to recent research, it is generally believed that he wrote only two poems in his life. The attribution of so many poems to Abū-Sa'īd was due to his great fondness for poetry. His love for poetry can be seen from the fact that he usually used love poetry written by non-Sufis in his daily prayers. Even his last words were a poem, and at his funeral instead of the recitation of Qur’anic verses, he requested the following poem.
What sweeter than this in the world!
Friend met friend and the lover joined his Beloved.
That was all sorrow, this is all joy
Those were all words, this is all reality.
Another example of the poems attributed to him.
Love came and flew as blood in my veins
Emptied me of myself and filled me with beloved.
Each part of my being she conquered
Now a mere name is left to me and the rest is she.

Views on Islam

Abū-Sa'īd insists that his teachings and Sufism as a whole are the true meaning of Islam. He based his teachings on the mystic interpretation of verses from Qur’an and some hadiths and was considered a learned Islamic scholar. Nevertheless his interpretations ofQur’an were different from the mainstream Islamic thought of the time.
Also at his time the Islamic legitimacy of Sufi dance was a matter of debate among the scholars and some attempted to try him and his followers on charges of un-Islamic innovations, dancing and use of poetry in public sermons, but they failed to do so because of his popularity. Similar legal troubles had dogged other Sufis, notably Farid al-Din Attar and al-Hallaj.
He never fulfilled the pilgrimage to Kaaba, called Hajj, which according to all schools of Islamic jurisprudence is one of the five pillars of Islam and an obligation upon all Muslims. In his biography Asrar al-Tawhid, he writes: “God knows – and this word is worth a hundred oaths – that everyone for whom God opened the way of pilgrimage to Kaaba, was already rejected by him from the path of truth.”
To this day this has been one of the causes of criticizing him from a religious point of view. In general he was bold in expressing his mystic opinions as can be seen from his praise of Hallaj who was considered a heretic by most of the Sufis and all of the non-Sufi Muslims of the time, although the common opinion about Hallaj changed in time.

Relationship and Avicenna

There is evidence that Abū-Sa'īd and Avicenna, the Persian physician and philosopher, corresponded with one another. Abū-Sa'īd records several meetings between them in his biography. The first meeting is described as three days of private conversation, at the end of which Abū-Sa'īd said to his followers that everything that he could see (i.e. in visions), Avicenna knew, and in turn Avicenna said that everything he knew Abū-Sa'īd could see.


  • E.G. Browne. Literary History of Persia. (Four volumes, 2,256 pages, and twenty-five years in the writing). 1998. ISBN 0-7007-0406-X
  • Jan Rypka, History of Iranian Literature. Reidel Publishing Company. ASIN B-000-6BXVT-K

Ferdowsi فردوسی

Ferdowsi فردوسی


Statue of Ferdowsi in Rome, Italy
Born940 CE
PeriodSamanids and Ghaznavids
GenresPersian poetry, national epic
Hakīm Abu'l-Qāsim Ferdowsī Tūsī (Persian: حکیم ابوالقاسم فردوسی توسی‎) known as Ferdowsi(فردوسی; also spelled as Firdausi; 940–1020 CE) was a highly revered Persian poet. He was the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and related societies.
The Shahnameh was originally composed by Ferdowsi for the princes of the Samanid dynasty, who were responsible for a revival of Persian cultural traditions after the Arab invasion of the seventh century. The Shahnameh chronicles the legendary history of the pre-Islamic kings of Iran from Keyumars to Yazdegerd III. Ferdowsi continued work on the poem after the Samanids were conquered by the Ghaznavids. The new ruler Mahmud of Ghazni, a Turk, may have lacked the interest in Ferdowsi's work shown by the Samanids, resulting in him losing favor with the royal court. In later passages of his poem, Ferdowsi complains about poverty and the ravages of old age. Ferdowsi spent over three decades (from 977 to 1010) working on the Shahnameh, which became one of the most influential works of Persian literature.



Ferdowsi was born into a family of Iranian landowners (dehqans) in 940 C.E. in the village of Paj, near the city of Tus in the province of Khorasan, in northeastern Iran.[1] Ferdowsi was a Shi'a Muslim, which is attested by the Shahnameh [2] and also confirmed by early accounts.[3] Little is known about Ferdowsi's early life, even his precise name is in doubt. According to the 13th-century Arab translator of the Shahnameh, Bondari, the poet's full name was "al-Amīr al-Ḥakīm Abu’l-Qāsem Manṣūr ibn al-Ḥasan al-Ferdowsī al-Ṭūsī". It is not known when or why he adopted the pen name "Ferdowsi" ("man of paradise"). The poet had a wife, who was probably literate and came from the same dehqan class. He had a son, who died aged 37, and was mourned by the poet in an elegy which he inserted into theShahnameh.[4]


Ferdowsi belonged to the class of dehqans. These were landowning Iranian aristocrats who had flourished under the Sassanid dynasty(the last pre-Islamic dynasty to rule Iran) and whose power, though diminished, had survived into the Islamic era which followed the Arab conquests of the seventh century. The dehqans were intensely patriotic (so much so that dehqan is sometimes used as a synonym for "Iranian" in the Shahnameh) and saw it as their task to preserve the cultural traditions of Iran, including the legendary tales about its kings.[5][6]

The Muslim conquests of the seventh century had been a watershed in Iranian history, bringing the new religion of Islam, submitting Iranians to the rule of the Arab caliphate and promoting Arabic culture and language at the expense of Persian. By the late 9th century, the power of the caliphate had weakened and local Iranian dynasties emerged.[7] Ferdowsi grew up in Tus, a city under the control of one of these dynasties, the Samanids, who claimed descent from the Sassanid general Bahram Chobin (whose story Ferdowsi recounts in one of the later sections of the Shahnameh).[8] The Samanid bureaucracy used the New Persian language rather than Arabic and the Samanid elite had a great interest in pre-Islamic Iran and its traditions and commissioned translations of Pahlavi (Middle Persian) texts into New Persian. Abu Mansur ʿAbd-al-Razzāq, a dehqan and governor of Tus, had several local scholars compile a prose Shahnameh ("Book of Kings"), which was completed in 957.[9] Although it no longer survives, Ferdowsi used it as one of the sources of his epic. Samanid rulers were patrons of such important Persian poets as Rudaki and Daqiqi. Ferdowsi followed in the footsteps of these writers.[10]

Details about Ferdowsi's education are lacking. Judging by the Shahnameh, there is no evidence he knew either Arabic or Pahlavi.[11]Although New Persian was permeated by Arabic vocabulary by Ferdowsi's time, there are relatively few Arabic loan words in theShahnameh. This may have been a deliberate strategy by the poet.[12]

Life as a poet

It is possible that Ferdowsi wrote some early poems which have not survived. He began work on the Shahnameh around 977, intending it as a continuation of the work of his fellow poet Daqiqi, who had been assassinated by a slave. Like Daqiqi, Ferdowsi employed the proseShahnameh of ʿAbd-al-Razzāq as a source. He received generous patronage from the Samanid prince Mansur and completed the first version of the Shahnameh in 994.[4] When the Turkic Ghaznavids overthrew the Samanids in the late 990s, Ferdowsi continued to work on the poem, rewriting sections to praise the Ghaznavid Sultan Mahmud. Mahmud's attitude to Ferdowsi and how well he rewarded the poet are matters which have long been subject to dispute and have formed the basis of legends about the poet and his patron (see below). The Turkic Mahmud may have been less interested in tales from Iranian history than the Samanids.[13] The later sections of the Shahnameh have passages which reveal Ferdowsi's fluctuating moods: in some he complains about old age, poverty, illness and the death of his son; in others, he appears happier. Ferdowsi finally completed his epic on 8 March 1010. Virtually nothing is known for sure about the last decade of his life.[4]


Ferdowsi was buried in his own garden, burial in the Muslim cemetery of Tus having been forbidden by a local cleric. A Ghaznavid governor of Khorasan constructed a mausoleum over the grave and it became a revered site. The tomb, which had fallen into decay, was rebuilt between 1928 and 1934 on the orders of Reza Shah and has now become the equivalent of a national shrine.[14]


According to legend, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni offered Ferdowsi a gold piece for every couplet of the Shahnameh he wrote. The poet agreed to receive the money as a lump sum when he had completed the epic. He planned to use it to rebuild the dykes in his native Tus. After thirty years of work, Ferdowsi finished his masterpiece. The sultan prepared to give him 60,000 gold pieces, one for every couplet, as agreed. However, the courtier Mahmud had entrusted with the money despised Ferdowsi, regarding him as a heretic, and he replaced the gold coins with silver. Ferdowsi was in the bath house when he received the reward. Finding it was silver not gold, he gave the money away to the bathkeeper, a refreshment seller and the slave who had carried the coins. When the courtier told the sultan about Ferdowsi's behaviour, he was furious and threatened to execute him. Ferdowsi fled Khorasan, having first written a satire on Mahmud, and spent most of the remainder of his life in exile. Mahmud eventually learned the truth about the courtier's deception and had him either banished or executed. By this time, the aged Ferdowsi had returned to Tus. The sultan sent him a new gift of 60,000 gold pieces but as the caravan bearing the money arrived in Tus it met a funeral procession: the poet had died from a heart attack.[15]


Ferdowsi's Shahnameh is the most popular and influential national epic in Iran and other Persian-speaking nations. The Shahnameh is the only surviving work by Ferdowsi regarded as indisputably genuine. He may have written poems earlier in his life but they no longer exist. A narrative poem, Yūsof o Zolaykā (Joseph and Zuleika), was once attributed to him but scholarly consensus now rejects the idea it is his.[16] There has also been speculation about the satire Ferdowsi allegedly wrote about Mahmud of Ghazni after the sultan failed to reward him sufficiently. Nezami Aruzi, Ferdowsi's early biographer, claimed that all but six lines had been destroyed by a well-wisher who had paid Ferdowsi a thousand dirhams for the poem. Introductions to some manuscripts of the Shahnameh include verses purporting to be the satire. Some scholars have viewed them as fabricated, others are more inclined to believe in their authenticity.[17]

Scenes from the Shahnameh carved into reliefs at Ferdowsi's mausoleum in Tus, Ira

The Simurgh, a mythical bird from the Shahnameh. Relief from Ferdowsi's mausoleum

Scene from theShahnameh: the Akvan Div throws the sleeping Rostam into the sea

A scene from theShahnameh depicting theParthian king Artaban facing the Sassanid kingArdashir I


Ferdowsi is one of the undisputed giants of the Persian literature. After Ferdowsi'sShahnameh a number of other works similar in nature surfaced over the centuries within the cultural sphere of the Persian language. Without exception, all such works were based in style and method on Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, but none of them could quite achieve the same degree of fame and popularity as Ferdowsi's masterpiece.

Ferdowsi has a unique place in Persian history because of the strides he made in reviving and regenerating the Persian language and cultural traditions. His works are cited as a crucial component in the persistence of the Persian language, as those works allowed much of the tongue to remain codified and intact. In this respect, Ferdowsi surpasses Nizami,Khayyam, Asadi Tusi, and other seminal Persian literary figures in his impact on Persian culture and language. Many modern Iranians see him as the father of the modern Persian language.

Ferdowsi in fact was a motivation behind many future Persian figures. One such notable figure was Reza Shah Pahlavi who established an "Academy of Culture" in Iran, in order to attempt to remove Arabic and Turkish words from the Persian language, replacing them with suitable Persian alternatives. In 1934, Reza Shah set up a ceremony in Mashad, Khorasan celebrating a thousand years of Persian literature since the time of Ferdowsi, titled "Ferdowsi's Millenary Celebration" inviting notable European as well as Iranian scholars.[18]Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, is a university established in 1949 that also takes its name from Ferdowsi.

Ferdowsi's influence in the Persian culture is explained by the Encyclopædia Britannica:[19]
The Persians regard Ferdowsi as the greatest of their poets. For nearly a thousand years they have continued to read and to listen to recitations from his masterwork, the Shah-nameh, in which the Persian national epic found its final and enduring form. Though written about 1,000 years ago, this work is as intelligible to the average, modern Iranian as the King James version of the Bible is to a modern English-speaker. The language, based as the poem is on a Dari original, is pure Persian with only the slightest admixture of Arabic.


  1.  Ferdowsi, Dick Davis (2006). Shahnameh: the Persian book of kings. Penguin.
  2.  Khaleghi, I, pp. 10–11
  3.  Neẓāmī ʿArūżī, text, pp. 80, 83; Naṣīr-al-Dīn Qazvīnī, pp. 251–52
  4.   Iranica article "Ferdowsi"
  5.  Dick Davis The Shahnameh (Viking Penguin, 2006) p.xviii
  6.  Iranica article on Ferdowsi, section on "Social background"
  7.  Davis Shahnameh p.xviii
  8.  Richard N. Frye The Golden Age of Persia (Weidenfield, 1975) p.200
  9.  Iranica article on Abu Mansur
  10.  Frye p.202
  11.  Iranica article on Ferdowsi: sub-section on "Education"
  12.  Frye p.233
  13.  Dick Davis (translator) Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings (Viking Penguin, 2006) p.xxiii
  14.  Iranica article
  15.  Donna Rosenberg (1997). Folklore, myths, and legends: a world perspective. McGraw-Hill Professional. pp. 99–101.
  16.  Iranica article on "Ferdowsi"
  17.  Iranica article on "Hajw-nāma"
  18.  Cyrus Ghani, Sirus Ghani (2001). Iran and the rise of Reza Shah: from Qajar collapse to Pahlavi rule. I.B.Tauris. pp. 400.
  19.  "Ferdowsi". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2007.