Ходжа Н. (hojja_nusreddin) wrote,
Ходжа Н.

Iraj Dehghan (University of Illinois), "JAMI'S SALAMAN AND ABSAL"

One of the curious poetical works of 15th century Iran is Jami's[1] rendering of the allegory of "Salaman and Absal".[2]
The purpose of this paper is to:
1. search for the source or sources of the allegory and its different versions and
2. discuss Jami's artistic achievement and to explore the quality of his poetry, particularly in this poem.


Although unprecedented in Persian, the recital allegory of "Salaman and Absal" has been in different versions treated in Arabic and perhaps in Greek, long before Jami.
The closest source chronologically to Jami in which the two names Salaman and Absal are mentioned is Ibn Tufail's[3] "Hayy ibn Yaqzan" - "the Living son of the Awake", written in the late 6th/12th century.[4] Here:
- Absal appears as a devout scholar
- teaching languages to Hayy ibn Yaqzan,
- taking him to his own native island,
- which is ruled by a devout king, Salaman, and
- commissioning him to disseminate the sublime verities that he (Hayy) has discovered.

This risala has nothing to do with Jami's version except that the names Salaman and Absal are identical in both.
Ibn Tufail, as expressly stated in the introduction, has borrowed the 2 names from an earlier and different version of Salaman and Absal by Ibn Sina (Avicenna, d. 428/ 1037).[5]

In Ibn Sina's "al-Isharat" there is a short passage[6] which, freely translated, reads as follows:[7]
When thou hearest the story of Salaman and Absal,
know that Salaman is a symbol typifying thyself,
while Absal is a figure typifying thy degree of attainment in mystical gnosis.
Then resolve the problem if thou canst.

Although this passage expressly refers to a certain "story," Fakhr al-Din Razi (d. 606/1209), the first to work over Ibn Sina's text, believed that it presented an insoluble enigma (a.hji) since the "story referred to in the text was not known. Razi suggested that the words Salaman and Absal were invented by Ibn Sina for purposes known only to himself. The best Ibn Sina's explication he could offer was that:
- Salaman meant "Adam, upon whom be peace," and
- Absal meant "Paradise."
- Thus Adam's exile from Paradise (as a consequence of eating the forbidden fruit)
- represented the descent of the Rational Soul (as a result of indulgence in physical pleasure)[8].

Razi's successor as commentator, Nasir al-Din Tusi (d.672/1274), was also puzzled, though he maintained that the 2 names could not be simply Ibn Sina's invention. There must be, he said, a story somewhere in which Salaman and Absal are mentioned:
- Salaman as the man in quest (Talib), and
- Absal as the object or goal (Matlib).

But where is the story?

Then Tusi was referred to the Ibn al-Arabi's al-Nawadir, in which, according to Tusi's informant:
- there was a story of 2 men taken captive,
- one, Salaman, known for his goodness; and
- the other[9] famous for his wickedness.
- In the story, Salaman was set free
- while the other one was kept in prison, where he died.

Tusi was unable to find the story in al-Nawadir. But even had he found it, he thought it would probably not be the story to which Ibn Sina referred.

20 years after having finished his commentary, Tusi finally found himself in the presence of Ibn Sina's version of "Salaman and Absal", the genuineness of which he could not doubt.[10] Unfortunately, the original work has come down to us only through Tusi's brief summary of it (in his commentary):
1. Salaman and Absal were half-brothers.
- Absal, the younger, was raised by his brother, the king, and
- grew up to be a handsome and intelligent young man.
2. Salaman's wife fell in love with him.
- Absal, however, did not return this love.
- In order to capture him she had Salaman marry Absal to her sister.
- On the wedding night Salaman's wife slept in her sister's bed
- A flash of lightning, however, revealed the deception to Absal

3. In order to be separated from her, Absal took an army and conquered various countries for his brother.
4. When he returned:
- Salaman's wife still desired him, but he again repulsed her.
5. Then an enemy appeared and
- Absal was sent to fight them.
- Salaman's wife bribed the soldiers of his army to betray him, and
- he was left for dead on the battlefield.
6. A suckling animal, however, nursed him back to health[11] and
- he returned to his brother's court to find him surrounded by enemies
- Absal again took the army and completely vanquished his brother's enemies
7. Then Salaman's wife persuaded Absal's cook and butler to poison him and he died.
8. Salaman was so grieved that he gave up his kingdom
- He prayed to God, and God told him what had happened
- Then Salaman made his wife, the cook, and the butler drink the same poison and they also died.

It is again evident that the only similarity between this version and Jami's is in the 2 names Salaman and Absal. However, before discovering Ibn Sina's version, Tusi came across an even earlier version which was said to be a translation from Greek into Arabic by Hunayn ibn Ishaq [al-Ibadi] (d. 260/873).[12]
Tusi gave the following summary which was, as we shall see, Jami's only source:
1. In ancient times there was a king who held Byzantine, Greece, and Egypt
2. Among his intimates was a Sage[13] who opened for him all the lands (climes)
3. The king wanted a son to take his place, but without cohabiting with a woman
The Sage thought of a way such that a son was born from the king's semen outside a woman's womb.
The son was named Salaman
4. A woman named Absal suckled him and brought him up.
When he reached maturity, Salaman fell in love with Absal and stayed with her.
She invited him to enjoy her embrace.
5. His father forbade him her, and ordered him to stay away from her.
Salaman disobeyed his father[14], and the two lovers eloped together beyond the Western Ocean

6. The king had an instrument by which he could find out everything that happened in all the lands and
by which he could manipulate the inhabitants of them[15].
Through this instrument he found out about these two[16].
He pitied them, bestowed upon them a source of sustenance, and left them alone for a time.
7. Then he became angry because Salaman continued in the company of the woman.
So he put them in a position where each yearned for the other,
but, although they could see one another, they could not be united.
So they were tortured by this.
8. Salaman became aware of this trick[17] and
returned apologetically to his father.
The king warned him that he would not attain the kingdom,
for which he had been nominated as long as he loved the lewd woman Absal.
9. So Salaman and Absal caught hold of each other's hand and threw themselves into the ocean.
10. Then (by the command of the king), the redeeming quality (spirituality) of the water
saved Salaman after he had been on the verge of destruction,
but Absal was drowned.
So Salaman became very unhappy.
11. Then, panicked, the king complained to the Sage of the affair of Salaman.
The Sage called Salaman and said: "Obey me and I will bring Absal to you".
Salaman obeyed him and the Sage brought him the vision of Absal.
Thus Salaman obtained consolation[18]
12. Gradually, he became [mentally] prepared to see the picture of "Venus".[19]
The Sage made him see her by inviting Venus to him.
So he was afflicted Zuhra, with love for Venus, and she remained with him eternally.

13. Then he began to hate the image of Absal and thus
became fit for the royal dignity by detaching himself from it.
Then he sat on the throne of the kingdom.
14. The Sage, with the help of the king, built 2 pyramids,
one for the king and one for himself.
And this story was placed along with their bodies in those pyramids, and
no one could bring the story out
15. except Aristotle, who got it out at the instruction of Plato
and then closed the door.
Then the story spread, and Hunayn ibn Ishaq translated it from Greek into Arabic

Tusi, trying with great pains to fit all the pieces of this "jigsaw puzzle"'[20] together realized that Absal did not fit. How could Absal who, according to this parable, actually prevented Salaman from perfection, be a symbol for "the Gnostic's degree in Gnosis"?[21]

This led him to doubt that the text was really a translation from Greek. Rather, he believed that the story must have been coined by one of the "common philosophers" in order to relate Ibn Sina's symbols to it.[22]

However, although no trace of the original Greek source or sources has yet been found, it is possible that Hunayn's version may have been a translation from a philosophico-religious work written in Greek and now lost.[23] We know that Hunayn was thoroughly versed in the Greek language and had translated about a hundred texts mostly from Greek into Arabic or Syriac, many of which have come down to us.[24]

If we accept Hunayn's version as a translation from the Greek, then the question is, has Ibn Sina borrowed the two words, Salaman and Absal, from it, or is this a mere coincidence?

Could it be that Ibn Sina and/or the Greek composer of the allegory borrowed the two names from the biblical Absalom[25] and Solomon?[26]
- The similarity of the names is remarkable
- Moreover, we notice that the biblical Solomon and Absalom are half-brothers as are Salaman and Absal in Ibn Sina's recital.
- The biblical Solomon is represented as a king, so is Ibn Sina's Salaman.
- King Solomon, according to Islamic legends, had a magic mirror, which revealed all places in the world.[27] The king in Hunayn's version has a similar instrument.


Jami's "Salaman and Absal" is:
- in 1,131 couplets
- based, beyond a doubt, on Tusi's summary of the Hellenistic romance
- In several places the literal translation from Tusi's summary is obvious[28]
- Moreover, wherever Tusi's omission seems to have damaged the logical progression of the story, Jami, who had probably not seen Hunayn's text, is at a loss[29]

However, Jami has made several alterations in Tisi's version:
1. The king rules only over Greece

2. There is no mention of the king's unwillingness to cohabit with women.
Rather it is the Sage, who criticizes women and physical pleasure
3. It is Absal who, seeing the infant, falls in love with him and then, when he reaches maturity, tries to make him fall in love with her
4. The "instrument" in Tusi's summary appears as d'ina-yi giti-numay.[30]
5. The two lovers build a huge fire and jump into it,
while in Tusi's text they throw themselves into the water
6. There is no mention of:
- the 2 pyramids
- the Greek origin of the story, and
- its translation into Arabic

In the way of detail and elaboration, Jami has made a few additions:
1. descriptions of Absal's beauty and her love for Salaman
2. Salaman's beauty, his intelligence, bravery and generosity
3. the description of the ocean, the island, etc.
4. a number of extraneous stories upsetting the lineal progression of the tale.
Jalal al-Din Rumi's "Masnawi", more than any other classical work, contains these kinds of stories and, as we shall see, Jami seems to have assimilated this particular poem to Riumi's literary style.

The poem's style:
1. choice of masnavi as the form seems quite natural.
Traditionally this form, among all other forms of poetry, is the vehicle used for long stories.
All surviving Persian romances, as well as Firdausi's "Shah-nama", are written in masnavi
2. The meter chosen is "ramal", type "musaddas mahzuaf/maqsur":
(-u- -/-u- -/-u-), used also by Rumi in his monumental masterpiece.

3. Outwardly a romance, as we know, and as is confessed at the end of the poem

The poem opens in a more or less mystic fashion:
1. with the praises of God and the Prophet,
2. followed by panegyrics on:
- Sultan Yaqub,
- Beg of Aq Quinlu, "The White Sheep," (d. 896/1490)[31]
- his brother Amir Yusef, and
- his father Usun Hasan.
3. as the poem was composed in the last period of Jami's life (1479 or 1480), the poet speaks of his old age.
These preliminaries occupy many pages.

After that the story begins (without even a mention of its source):
- The story is a pure allegory
- designed to show how the soul can be freed from the lusts of the flesh.
- Here also Jami, with little modification, is merely translating Tusi's interpretation of Hunayn's version
- The king represents the Active Intellect
- the Sage that Emanation, which comes from above, and
- Salaman is a symbol for the Rational Soul.
Salaman's being born without a mother is an allusion to his detachment from material things
- Absal is the symbol of animal physical power.
- The love of Salaman and Absal for each other shows the love of the Rational Soul for physical pleasure.
- The Western Ocean is their indulgence in transitory affairs, remote from the Truth.
- Their yearning for and deprivation from one another are due to old age when, despite the inclination of the soul, the physical powers can no longer perform their functions.
- The return of Salaman to his father refers to his awareness of perfection.
- Zuhra (Venus) represents the rational perfection.

The book ends with a prayer for the long life of the Sultan.

Forbes Falconer first published the poem in Persian in London in 1850. Edward FitzGerald's translation of the story into English verse (based on Falconer's edition) appeared anonymously in the spring of 1856, three years before the translator's famous paraphrase of the Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam. This translation, FitzGerald's first from Persian, was later substantially revised.[32]
A French translation in prose appeared in 1911 by Auguste Bricteux.[33]
In 1964, the Persian text was published along with several other works of Jami in the Tajik SSR, in contemporary Tajik transcription,[34] on the occasion of the poet's 550th anniversary.[35]
In Iran the poem seems never to have been popular. It was first published in 1305 Shamsi/1926, some 434 years after the poet's death, with an introduction to the allegory by the late Gh. Rashid-Yasimi; and again, in 1337 Shamsi/ 1958 as a part of Haft Aurang.[36]
Jami's work was treated in Turkish by the prolific poet Lami'i, who died about 938 Shamsi/1531-32.[37]

The judgment of all of Jami's contemporary critics on him is wholly favorable:
1. Zahir al-Din Muhammad Babur (d. 1530), the founder of the Timurid empire in India, describes him as:
"unrivalled in his day of esoteric and exoteric knowledge"
Then he adds that Jami's "dignity is out of my power to describe; it has occurred to me merely to mention his honoured name and an atom of his excellence, as a benediction and good omen for this part of my humble book".[39]
2. Mu'in al-Din Muhammad Isfirazi[40], Sam Mirza[41], Daulatshah[42] and Khwandmir[43], to name a few, all speak of him in a similar strain.
3. Mir Ali Shir Navai, the great patron of men of letters at the brilliant court of Sultan Husayn Mirza, besides a brief mention of him in his "Majalis al-Nafdis"[44], devotes an entire book - "Khamsat al-Mutahayyirin", to praise of Jami.

Nevertheless, none of these works gives us any reasoned evaluation of the merits of his poetry. This holds also for most of the comments of recent critics.[45] Jami is universally referred to as the last of the great classical Persian poets.[46]

The late E.G. Browne finds him "one of the most remarkable geniuses whom Persia ever produced".[47] Regarding Jami's literary style, as compared to Nizami, he frankly admits that "in question of literary taste it is very difficult for a foreigner to judge."[48] Then, quoting his Persian colleague, Mirza Bihruz,[49] he continues:
"Jami's verses... rival, and perhaps even excel, those of Nizami in poetical form, sweetness and simplicity, being unlaboured and altogether free from artificiality;
but they fall far short of them in strength (matanat), poetic imagination and eloquence.
To appreciate and enjoy Nizami a profound knowledge of the Persian language is required, while Jami can be read with pleasure by all, whence his greater fame and popularity, especially in India, Turkey and other lands where Persian literature is an exotic."[50]

Jami is one of the most versatile and prolific writers of Persian. His great fame could have been based on his profound knowledge of the Islamic sciences, Arabic language and grammar, poetics and prosody, music, and riddles as well as his mystical life, but he is best known as a poet. However, though he definitely is the greatest of his contemporaries, Jami cannot compete with any of the great classical poets. Therefore most of these complimentary descriptions of him are questionable. This is certainly the case with Saldman and Absal which is considered one of Jami's best poetical works.

Jami in this poem seems little more than an industrious translator of no very remarkable poetic power. His artistic achievement does not seem to equal his industry. It takes the greatest stretch of the imagination to equate Jami in "poetical form, sweetness and simplicity" with Nizami or any other great poet of the earlier classical poetry.

In "poetical form" Jami is only an imitator and almost always unsuccessful. In his ghazals, like most of his contemporaries, Jami largely imitates Hafiz and Saadi. Of course it is quite legitimate for a poet to take the rhyme, the form, and even the general sense from a great predecessor or contemporary and try to improve the work by expressing it in a more attractive way. Hafiz also imitated several ghazals of Khwaju of Kirman, Salman of Sava, and even of Saadi. But in each instance he tremendously improved the ghazal and added to its beauty in a multitude of ways. Jami, although he has some good ghazals, was unable to approach the heights attained by the two great masters whom he imitated. In masnavi, Jami, like most of his contemporaries, imitates Nizami, Amir Khusrau of Delhi, and, in a lesser degree, Firdausi and others. Nizami, although to some extent an imitator of Firdausi,[51] and in lesser degree, of Sanai,[52] is recognized as the all-time master of story telling. Many poets have imitated at least one or two masnavis of his Khamsa.[53] Nevertheless, no one has been able to excel Nizami. Even Amir Khusrau, the best imitator of the entire Khamsa, fell short of it, as he frankly admitted in the opening of his Qaran al-Sadain.

Jami's "Saba" is an imitation of Nizami, and he makes no secret of it. But, as admitted by Browne and his colleague, although "here and there he introduces topics and dissertations entirely his own", he imitates "Nizami in the titles, meters, and subdivisions" and "even in minute personal details"[54]. In "Salaman and Absal", since no one has treated the subject in Persian poetry before, he is at a loss. Thus, while still impressed by Nizami, Jami rather unsuccessfully imitated Jalal al-Din Rumi. Besides the meter and the short didactic anecdotes, there are references to and quotations from that poet.[55]

That his poetry is simple, "unlaboured, and altogether free from artificiality" appears to be a great misjudgment. Jami's poems, although not as artificial as those of some of his contemporaries,[56] definitely rank as examples of labored and artificial Persian poetry.
"Inat or iltizam" - "supererogation", also called "luzum-i ma la yalzam" - "making necessary the unnecessary" is characteristic of extremely elaborate and artificial poetry[57].
Jami's ghazal, in which he used the word "ashk" - "tear," in every couplet[58],
or his qasida[59] in each couplet of which he has used the word "zar" - "gold",
are not the only poems where he has employed "inat".

Another example of labored poetry is the choice of extremely difficult rhymes in ghazal or qasida. Jami seems to enjoy employing difficult ryhmes in which he can show off his poetical skill. Here are the rhymes of a few of his matlas[60]:
- nas(s) and qafas
- 'ivaz and 'araz
- murtaz and iraz
- matla and maqta
- khat(t) and nuqat
- inqita and vida[61]

Another example of his artificiality in rhyme is a ghazal with the following double-rhymes which is definitely a "luzam-i ma la yalzam":
- zaban/zabun
- baran/burun
- kunan/kunun
- daran/darun
- ayan/uyun
- sitan/sutin

The choice of difficult radifs[62] is another example of labored poetry. Jami seems to enjoy it as can be seen in the following:
- mi-khanamash
- azfiraq
- tu yabam
- ra chi kunam
- nist laziz
- nimi rast nimi kaj[63]

In fact no other poet of his age, perhaps with the exception of Baba Faghani, has employed so many and so difficult compound radifs as Jami. One wonders how any poet, no matter how talented, can express his own feeling and ideas when he has to repeat the phrase "nimi rast nimi kaj" - "one half straight, one half crooked" every six or seven words!

Fortunately, "Salaman and Absal", as compared with Jami's ghazals, contains far fewer decorative devices, with the exception of the occasional employment of:
- tajnis - "homonymy"[64]
- zu-qafiyatain - "double-rhymes"[65]
- tazadd - "antithesis"[66]
- muraat al-nazir - "parallelism"[67] and
- mubalagha - "hyperbole"[68]
the poem is not too artificial.

While it contains several passages of beauty, Salaman and Absal is somewhat uncouth in language. The occasional grammatical mistakes[69], the employment of incorrect word forms,[70] and the use of certain everyday expressions and phrases[71] render the language of the poem defective.

Lofty thoughts and subtle ideas expressed with lively and vigorous diction which were the characteristics of earlier poetry are often replaced in this poem by commonplace ideas expressed in clumsy and immature language. Although displaying some of the marks of the great classical poets, the descriptions in Salaman and Absal lack the vividness, originality, and directness of the earlier works. They are characterized not only by ingenuities of fancy, an excessively subjective interpretation of reality, and curiosities of expression, but also by conventional patterns of similies and metaphors. The descriptions of Absal[72], Salaman[73], and the ocean[74], thus appear as patch-works of worn-out cliches[75].

Communication of the poet's own thoughts and feelings does not seem to be the main concern anymore. This is perhaps partly due to the censorship of ideas and beliefs which was the result of the great power wielded by the "fuqaha" - "legalists", and mullas throughout the 15th century - a trend which lasted even into the Qajar period. There is not one single ghazal in Jami's entire Divan which could be considered an indication of his real feelings and ideas.

Another characteristic of Jami's poetry, as well as that of his contemporaries, is the lack of an independent poetical style. It is almost impossible for a connoisseur of Persian poetry to identify Jami's works.

It is these same contagious characteristics in Jami's age which later appeared in Deccan and in Delhi and which brought about the so-called "Indian Style" in Persian poetry.

It has often been said that Jami was indifferent to the favor of rulers and prices. This assertion is based on one of his qita's[76] in which he says:
... If you examine them [i.e., his divan's]
from end to end,
turn them a hundred ways, and then return,
you will not light, in all these panegyrics,
upon a single thought of selfish greed ...[77]

That this, however, is not the case is borne out by the several panegyrics scattered throughout his works, especially the descriptions of Salaman's generosity in this poem. Here, after a highly hyperbolical panegyric on Salaman and after relating the story of how the poet Qatran fled from the excessive bounty of his patron, he quotes one of the most beautiful couplets of Rumi:
Sweeter it is that the description of sweethearts
should be spoken in the story of others, ...

to say:
... my object in this panegyric is another king,
who now wears on his head the crown of prosperity.


[1] Nur al-Din Abd al-Rahman Jami, the greatest Persian poet of the 15th century, was born in Jam (Khur&asn) on 23 Sha'ban, 817 (Nov. 7, 1414) and died at Herat on 18 Muhaarram, 898 (Nov. 9, 1492)
[2] The second of the seven masnav1's known as Sabca, "Septet," or Haft Aurang, "Seven Thrones," this recital must have been composed in 885/1480, see cA. A. Hikmat, Jami, Tehran (1320 Shamsi/1941) p. 190
[3] Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Malik ibn Tufail of Andalusia, died in 581/1185 in Marrakish
[4] For editions and translations as well as the summary of the story see A. M. Goichon, "Hayy ibn Yaqzan," in The Encyclopaedia of Islam (new ed., 1966), pp. 330-34. A scholarly translation of Ibn Tufail's risala into Persian with the author's biography was published in Tehran, 1334 Shamsi/1955, by the late Professor Badi al-Zaman Furuzanfar
[5] He also borrowed the name "Hayy ibn Yaqzan" from Ibn Sina
[6] Al-Isharat wal-Tanbihat with commentary by Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, ed. by S. Dunya, III and IV (Cairo, 1958), 790-93
[7] Cf. H. Corbin, Avicenna and the Visionary Recital, trans, W.R. Trask (New York, 1960), p. 206. See also Auguste Bricteux, Djami, Salaman et Absal, poeme allegorique persan (Paris, 1911), p. 48
[8] Sharhai al-Isharat ... (2 commentaries of al-Tusi and al-Razi on the Isharat) (Constantinople, 1290/1873), p. 448. Cf. H. Corbin, op. cit., pp. 206-7; Gh. Rashid Yasimi, Saldaman va Absal (Tehran, 1305 Shamsi/1926), pp. 15-16; Tusi's quotations from Razi, S. Dunya, op. cit., p. 791
[9] Corbin, op. cit., p. 207 n., and Yasimi, op. cit., pp. 17-18, mention "Absal" in regard to the name of the other. But there is no mention of such a name in the commentary which apparently is their only source. Perhaps the word ibsal, "imprisonment," has caused the mistake. Cf. Sharhai ..., op. cit., p. 365
[10] The allegory is mentioned by Juzjani amongst Ibn Sina's works. There is also a cross reference to Absal in Ibn Sina's risala on Destiny; see A.F. Mehran "Le Trait d'Avicenne sur le Destin," Museon, IV, 38
[11] It is worth noticing that the suckling animal appears also in Ibn Tufail's risala, nursing Hayy ibn Yaqzan
[12] The manuscripts (see Corbin, op. cit., p. 204), as well as the text given in Tis' Rasail (Cairo, 1326/ 1908), expressly state the story to be translated from Greek.
[13] In Hunayn's text the names of the king and the Sage are, respectively, Hermanos and Aqliqilas. H. Corbin (op. cit., p. 210 n.), proposed investigating the similarity of these two names with Hermes and Agathodaimon, who are supposedly buried in the great pyramids; see Walter Scott, ed. and tr. Hermetica IV (Oxford, 1936), 253 n.
[14] According to Hunayn's text the king told him to stay single until he (the father) would find a bride for him from the celestial world who would be with him until eternity. Salaman went home and related the conversation to Absal. Absal suggested that he ignore the king's advice. Finally a compromise was reached: Salaman would devote half of his time to study and half to doing whatever he wanted. Then the king decided to have Absal killed. Upon hearing this, the two lovers eloped.
See Cairo ed., pp. 162-64
[15] In Hunayn's text it consisted of two golden reeds with thaumaturgic designs and seven holes representing the 7 climes, ibid., p. 164; see n. 27 below
[16] And their sufferings from poverty and exile (ghorbat), ibid., p. 164
[17] Salaman realized that this was caused by his father's great anger, ibid., p. 165
[18] In Hunayn's text, this procedure was repeated for 40 days. Absal would sit beside him and talk to him lovingly, ibid., p. 166; cf. H. Corbin, op. cit., p. 216
[19] At the end of 40 days, according to Hunayn, there appeared a strange form whose extraordinary beauty surpassed every anticipation of beauty. This was the figure of Zuhra,
see Cairo ed., p. 166. Cf. H. Corbin, op. cit., p. 216
[20] The expression is H. Corbin's, op. cit., p. 219
[21] While agreeing that Avicenna was not consciously thinking of this version of Salaman and Absal, H. Corbin suggests that "it might still be true to say that the Absal of the Hermetistic version represents 'thy degree in mystical gnosis,' or in the language of... Razi ... that Absal represents thy Paradise," ibid., p. 218
[22] Tis Rasail, op. cit., p. 172; S. Dunya, op. cit., p. 794; Yasimi, op. cit., pp. 18-19
[23] Corbin, op. cit., p. 204. "... the tale may not have been Hellenistic at all, but the invention of some austere Christian monastic moralist, or even conceivably a Manichean." A.J. Arberry, FitzGerald's Salaman and Absal (Cambridge, 1956), p. 41
[24] For Hunyan's biography and works see The Encyclopaedia of Islam (new ed., 1967), pp. 378-81; see also M. Mu'in, Farhang-i Farsi V (Tehran, 1345 Shamsi/1966), pp. 468-69
[25] Hebr. Abisalom, 'Absalom; Gk. Apsalomos, Abes[s]alom[os]
[26] Hebr. Slomoh, Gk. Solomon
[27] See The Encyclopaedia of Islam, IV (1934), s.v. Sulaiman, 520: Carra de Vaux, Abrege des Merveilles, p. 122. Firdausi (in the story of Bizhan and Manizha) refers to a similar instrument as jam-i Kaikhosrau, "Kaikhosrau's cup," or jam-i Gitinumay, "the world displaying cup." There is also a glass or mirror in Alexandrian legends which reflected whatever took place in the entire world. Later, when Jamshid, half-legendary king of ancient Persia, became identical with Sulaiman (see, for example, Firdausi's verses about Jamshid in Shah-nama, ed. Barfikhim, I, 25; Mujmal al-tavarikh wal-Qisas, ed. M.T. Bahar, p. 38) the cup was called jam-i Jam or jam-i Jamshid. Alexander's mirror is also referred to as jam-i Iskandar, "Alexander's cup." See M. Murtazavi, "Transformations des mythes" (Part II), Revue de la Faculty des Lettres de Tabriz, VI 1 (Tabriz, 1333 Shamsi/1954), 42 ff. Jami uses dina-yi giti-numay, "the world-displaying mirror"
[28] See lines 297, 302, 401, 678, 1095-1110 in Falconer's ed. (to which, henceforth, all the references to the Persian text will be made.)
[29] For the examples see nn. 14-19 above
[30] See n. 27 above
[31] Sam Mirza, son of Shah Ism'il I, in his anthology Tuhfa-yi Sami (Tehran ed., n.d.), pp. 23-25, after writing a few abusive words about Ya'qub, quotes a rubai from him and praises his support of poetry
[32] E. FitzGerald, Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam and Salaman and Absal (London, 1879). A.J. Arberry, FitzGerald's Salaman and Absal, op. cit., contains the two texts as well as a literal translation of Jami's work by Arberry
[33] See n. 7 above
[34] From the ninth century A.D., the Tajiks used the Arabic writing system. For a short period, 1928-1940, they used the Latin alphabet. Since 1940 the Russian writing system has been introduced. See V.S. Rastorgueva, A Short Sketch of Tajik Grammar, trans. and ed. by H.H. Paper (The Hague, 1963), pp. 10-13
[35] See Jiri Becka, "Publications to Celebrate the 550th Anniversary of the Birth of 'Abdurrahman Jami," Archiv Orientdlni, XXXIV (1966), 606-11. The main celebrations were held in Dushanbe, the Tajik SSR, in December 1964; and a great number of guests from Iran, Afghanistan, and Czechoslovakia as well as delegates from several Soviet republics attended
[36] Ed. Mudarris-i Gilani (Tehran, 1337 Shamsi/ 1958)
[37] See E.J.W. Gibb, A History of Ottoman Poetry, III (London, 1964), 20 ff
[38] The Babur-nama in English, trans. A. S. Beveridge, I (London, 1922), 283
[39] Ibid
[40] Rauzat al-Jannat, etc., ed. S.M.K. Imam, pp. 25-29, 235-41
[41] Op. cit., p. 143
[42] Tadhkiratu'sh-Shuara, etc., ed. E.G. Browne (London, 1901), pp. 483-94
[43] Habib al-Siyar, IV (Tehran, Khayyam ed., n.d.), pp. 337-38
[44] Ibid., in Persian, ed. A.A. Hikmat (Tehran, 1323 Shamsi/1944), p. 56
[45] See for examples H. Pizhman's introduction to Divan-i Jami (Tehran, n.d.); Gh. Rashid-Yasimi, op. cit.; A.A. Hikmat, Jami, op. cit.; H. Razi's exhaustive introduction to Divan-i Kamil-i Jami (Tehran, 1341 Shamsi/1962); etc. The best account of Jami's literary merits known to me is A.H. Zarrin-kub, "Jami," Ba Karvan-i Hulla (Tehran, 1343 Shamsi/1964), pp. 287-97
[46] S.R. Shafaq, Tarikh-i adabiyyat-i Iran (Tehran, 1312 Shamsi/1942), p. 325; A.J. Arberry, Classical Persian Literature (London, 1958), p. 425; Jiri Becka, op. cit., p. 606; H. Kamshad, Modern Persian Prose Literature (Cambridge, 1966), p. 39; etc.
[47] A Literary History of Persia, III (Cambridge, 1928), 507
[48] Ibid., p. 540
[49] Mr. Zabih Bihriz, a distinguished scholar, is now residing in Tehran
[50] Ibid., p. 540. Jami's influence in the period, 1600-1900, was "extraordinary" in India, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Central Asia. See A. Mirzoev's preface to Abdurahmon Jomi, Asarhoi muntakhab, I (Dushanbe, 1964). See also Jiri Becka, op. cit., p. 607
[51] In the Iskandar-nama (in the meter and the subject matter) as well as in Shirin u Khusrau, and Haft-Paykar (in subject-matter only) Firdausi's influence is noticed
[52] Sanai's influence is more noticeable in Makhzan al-.Asrar than in Haft-Paykar (identical in the meter with Sanai's Hadiqa) where one can see only occasional similarities in subject-matter
[53] Nizami's romance of Laili u Majniun alone was imitated by Jami and at least six of his contemporaries in the latter half of the century. They are: HilAli, Mir Haj, Hatifi, Suhaili, Maktabi, and Misali of Kashan
[54] Browne, op. cit., p. 541
[55] See pp. 11 and 34 in Falconer's edition.
[56] Ahli of Shiraz, a contemporary of Jami, has a long masnavi, Sihr-i Halal, which is zu-bahrain (has two meters), zu-qafiyatain (has two rhymes), and contains a tajnis, "homonymy," in every couplet. It is an outstanding example of the excessive attention paid to the artifice. Katibi, the poet of the first half of the 15th century, has 3 qasidas in imitation of Salmin of Sava which contain all imaginable sorts of artifice and may be considered the best example of artificiality in all periods of Persian poetry
[57] One kind of i'nat is to use a given letter, word or words in every misra', "hemistich," or bayt, "distich or couplet," see Shams-i Qays, Al-Mujam fi Maayir Ashar al-Ajam, ed. Mudarris-i Razavi, p. 317
[58] His Divan: ashki ki tu-ra bar gul-i rukhsar davida
[59] With ast as radif
[60] I.e., the first couplet of a ghazal or a qasida
[61] Divan
[62] I.e., word or words repeated after the rhyme throughout an entire qasida, qita
[63] Divan
[64] As in 'ud and 'ad, p. 9, khirad and kharad, p. 13, pusht and pushti, p. 19, mardum and mardumak, p. 25, naf and nafi, p. 27, etc.
[65] As in andisha khast and pisha rast, p. 19, hija chu tigh and a'da chu migh, p. 19, etc.
[66] As in shur and shirin, p. 52. surat and ma'ni, p. 44, tar and khushk, p. 31, etc.
[67] Such as badr and hilal, p. 29, Misr and Nil, p. 26. Kuh-kan, Parviz, and Shirin, p. 52, etc
[68] As in the descriptions of Salaman's bowman ship, p. 32, or his munificent generosity, p. 33
[69] Such as the use of a singular verb with a plural rational subject: guftiyash yundniydn ni'm-al-baiydn, p. 30, or the use of the present tense for past, like ni instead of nabud, pp. 52 and 58, or the use of the wrong prepositions such as bi in place of ba, p. 29. 1. 479, to name just a few
[70] Such as khalasi for khalas p. 43, or 'Arabi for A'rabi, p. 58
[71] Such expressions as muttasil (for hamlsha, etc.), p. 20, yik pisar (for pisari), p. 21, and sometimes an entire hemistich or couplet like: uzha andishagari pisha kard, p. 47, pay naburd asla ki an ushtur kujast, p. 59, anchi khud dani ravish mikun bar an, vanchi ni mi-purs az danishvaran, p. 63, are commonplace
[72] Pp. 25-27
[73] Pp. 29-30
[74] Pp. 49-50
[75] See especially the descriptions of Absal's ears, mouth, lips, waist, etc., pp. 26-27
[76] In his 3-rd Divan called Khatimat al-Hayat
[77] Cf. Classical Persian Literature, op. cit., pp. 433-34
[78] Pp. 33-34. Cf. Arberry's trans, op. cit., pp. 169-71
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