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The great Iranian Sufi, mystic, literary figure, astrologer and poet, Hakim Nizami Ganjavi is one of the world’s greatest ballad poets. He was the master of allegorical poetry who was born in an ancient city in Iran called Ganja between 530 and 540AH. While some think that his hometown was Iraq or the city of Qom in Iran or the area of Tafrish near Qom; from where his father Yusuf migrated to Ganja where Nizami was born. He spent his whole life in Ganja.
It is clear from Nizami’s poems that his importance was not due to his poetry alone. He loved literature, fiction, art and history from his early youth. He worked hard in the study of science so he became an expert in astronomy. He was also perfect in the intellectual sciences, especially in philosophy, logic, mathematics, and astronomy, and he had complete expertise in other Islamic sciences such as the Qur’an, jurisprudence and hadiths.
The Atabak dynasty ruled over Iran during the Nizami era. Nizami’s dependence on Sufism and mysticism made his life more pious and secluded, and because of this characteristic he always stayed away from the courts of the sultans. Nizami Ganjavi has followed the Ash’ari school of thought in many important religious matters and beliefs. He, despite adhering to the principles of Islam, fanatically supported Iranian and Iranian ethnicity.
His most important poetic work is “Panjganj” (five reservoirs) or “Khamsa” (five collections), which contains about 20,000 verses. It includes: Makhzan-al-Asrar (repository of secrets), Laili and Majnoon, Khosrow and Shirin, Haft Pekar (seven figures) and Iskandarnameh (description of Alexander), written in Iraqi poetic style.
Nizams oldest masnavi (couplet poem) is Makhzan al-Asrar (repository of secrets), and the best of his poetic collections are Khosrow and Shirin.
“Masnavi Makhzan al-Asrar” contains 2260 verses. This “masnavi” was compiled around the year 570AH, dedicated to Fakhr al-Din Bahram Shah bin Dawood (died 622 AH). This book contains 20 chapters including many ascetic and mystical sayings. In each chapter, after the description of the subject of the main title, there is a short but comprehensive content, containing a pleasant story, told for greater impact.
Khosrow and Shirin’s “Masnavi” contains 6500 verses. This masnavi is a story about the love of Sassanid Iranian king Khosrow Parviz to Shirin Shahdukht of Armenia completed in 576 AH and dedicated by the poet to the king Atabak Shamsuddin Muhammad Jahan Pahlwan bin Eld Gaz (567-581) AH.
Masnavi “Laili and Majnoon” contains 4500 verses, written in the year 584 AH dedicated to the king Sharvanshah. This masnavi is actually a poetic translation of the burning and melting love story of Majnoon (Qais Ameri) of the Bani Amer tribe with Laili daughter of Saad, which is one of the famous stories of the ancient Arab period.
Masnavi Haft Pikar or Haft Gonbad or Bahramnameh with 5136 verses was composed in the year 593AH dedicated to Ala-ud-din Arslan, king of Maragheh. This is one of the classic Persian stories relating to the Sassanid period which describes the romantic relationship of the king Bahram Gure (420-348 AD) with the seven daughters of the kings of the seven regions; for each one Bahram built a dome of a special colour, and every day of the week he had to be the guest of one princess.
So, it tells the story of each princess. Masnavi Iskandarnameh, containing 10,500 verses and compiled into two parts named; Sharafnameh and Iqbalnameh. In the first part, he presents Alexander the Great as formidable
a conqueror, while in the second part, he presents him as a sage and a wise prophet. This Masnavi was completed in 599AH and named after Nusratuddin Abu Bakr Mohammad Jahan Pahlavan.
Nizami is one of the poets who should be considered one of the pillars of Persian poetry and one of the best masters of this language. He is one of those poets who, like Ferdowsi and Saadi, managed to create and follow a special literary poetic style and method. Although Nizami did not start telling stories in the Persian language, but he is the only poet who succeeded in bringing allegorical poetry to the highest level of achievement until the end of the 6th century (AH).
He is among those poets who could choose appropriate words and phrases to create unique combinations in order to invent novel and pleasant picturesque meanings and themes in Persian poetry. He has no equal in drawing accurate and detailed descriptions of landscapes, nature and people with the power of imagination, using similes and new pleasant metaphors.
Although Nizami’s works can be criticized in terms of the lengthy texts, play with words, use of scientific and philosophical terms, there are many Arabic combinations and the complexity of the meanings of some verses, but the qualities of his poetry are such that it should be considered. one of the greatest poets of Iran and the Persian language.
Nizami is the greatest public poet of Persian literature. We dare say that he is unique in composing moments of happiness, his language is sweet and his words are soft and gentle, and his speech is pleasant. In the same way that he could not escape the popular poetic style while narrating the epic moments, he has unconsciously given a lyrical color to his epic poems.
The great poet of the 6th century (AH) considers himself to adhere to Islamic ethics and values so, unlike many poets and composers, he never spoke about open topics in his poems.
Every year in Iran, March 12th is named after Hakim Nizami Ganjavi, the great Iranian poet, and this time literary gatherings of poets inside and outside Iran are held.
This time a literary gathering was held at the Cultural Center of the Islamic Republic of Iran-Karachi on Saturday, March 11, with the participation of the famous poets from the province of Sindh who discussed the personality and poetic style of this great Iranian poet.
The author is the Director of Cultural Center, Islamic Republic of Iran-Karachi