PERSIAN LITERATURE OF EARLY TIMES
The earliest remnant of the Aryan languages of
For about nine hundred years the people of
A special script was at last invented for this book in the third century A. D. The Avesta written in this particular script has been known as the Zend Avesta. At times it has been just mentioned as the Zend. The French scholar Anquetil du Perron who was the first to have studied it in
Much has been speculated on the origin and times of Zoroaster, and different theories have been advanced in this respect from the earliest times. What appears to be most authentic at present, however, is that Zoroaster preached his religion between 660 and 583 B. C. in the north-eastern zone of the Iranian plateau in
From the philological point of view, the extant parts of the Avesta were not written in one period of history. On the contrary, its composition may be divided into three sections. The Gathas, which are composed in poetry, doubtlessly constitute the earliest part of the book. The Avesta is a collection
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of the Canon Laws and decrees of the Zoroastrian faith which were formulated in different ages. The last of these is contemporaneous with the rise of the Achaemenian power in the sixth century B. C. Possibly when Old Persian, i.e., the language of the coins and inscriptions of the Achaemenians, was current in the western and southern regions of the country, namely, Media and Parsa, Avestic happened to be the language of the eastern or at any rate of the north-eastern provinces of Iran.
Philologically speaking, the Avestic language runs parallel to and is contemporaneous with Sanskrit and, apparently, the origin of both these languages can be traced back to yet another ancient language which was perhaps the original language of the Indo-Iranian Aryan stock.
The language of the coins and inscriptions of the Achaemenians, ever since they came to power in the middle of the sixth century B.C., is distinctly Aryan in character and is known as Old Persian. This language is also contemporaneous with Avestic, and' the growth and development of the two dates back to the same age. There are reasons to believe that when Avestic was passing through the early stages of development in the eastern provinces of the Iranian plateau the Old Persian language was also making headway in the west and south-west of
With the establishment of the Achaemenian Empire the people of
The establishment of the Achaemenian Empire saw the people of western
From 330 B.C. when the Macedonians conquered
span of three centuries and a half the Iranian languages continued to flourish. Old Persian, however, is an exception, which gradually went out of use. We can witness definite marks of decay in the Old Persian writings of the later Achaemenian period in contrast with those of the earlier one.
At the dawn of the Christian era we find two languages in the Iranian plateau running parallel to each other. One of these grew and developed in the eastern regions. This has always been called "Dari" by the Iranians. The other which flourished in the western parts of the country was known as "Pahlawi." These two languages have come down to our own times. Many dialects of "Dari" still continue to exist in the eastern regions of the Iranian plateau as far as the Chinese frontiers; the most important of these are spoken in the
The Pahlawi language has lived in the form of verse known as "Fahlaviyyat," in the books written in Persian on the art of poetry and in dialects spoken in the north, south, and west of the country.
The above-mentioned two languages have very intimate relationship and these have apparently stemmed from the same origin. A number of Aramaic words, however, entered Pahlawi and these have been known as "Huzvares_h" or "Zuwaris_hn." These words found their way also into books of lexicography. In the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent these have been erroneously given the name of the "Zend and Pazand" language. "Dari" was too far away to receive the impact of the Aramaic language. On the contrary, it accepted the influence of the eastern languages such as Tukhari, Sughdian, and Khwarizmi.
At first the Aramaic script was adopted for both the languages. Later, however, a change took place and certain Aramaic letters were put together in Pahlawi to form what later came to be known the Pahlawi script.
The Orientalists did not fully grasp the significance of these subtle technical differences and they have been treating old Pahlawi and Dari as one language. Consequently, they have been employing the terms
The number of the extant pre-Islamic works of these two languages is very small. The most important ancient work in Dari consists of the Manichaean texts and translation of parts of the Avesta into old Dari known as "Pazand." The contemporary Dari has also been employed in some of the inscriptions of Sassanian kings.
Both Dari and Pahlawi possessed literature of their own before the advent of Islam. This literature, unfortunately, has not come down to us.
The history of the earliest Iranian dynasties during the Islamic period begins from the year 205/820. The dynasties which sprang up in the eastern regions raised the structure of their national politics on the basis of language. Since the language of these tracts was "Dari," the literature produced in it was bound to outshine Pahlawi literature.
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In 429/1038 the Saljiiq Turks poured out of Turkestan to invade
The first specimens of Pahlawi literature which belong to the early centuries of the Hijrah consist of a number of books of religious nature which the Iranian Zoroastrians had written with the specific object of preserving their Canon Law. These books were taken to the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent when the Zoroastrians migrated there. European scholars have been publishing their texts since the last century. Amongst these, certain books are claimed to have belonged originally to the pre-Islamic Sassanian era. There is ample evidence, however, to prove that these were composed during the Islamic period.
What is now known of Pahlawi literature is confined to these very books and treatises. They suggest that Pahlawi literature had, at any rate towards the end of the Sassanian period, flourished on a vast scale. It is an undeniable fact that, while during the four hundred years which immediately preceded the Saljoq period, Dari had been recognized as the literary language of the country, Pahlawi had flourished in the north, south, and west of the presentday
THE BEGINNING OF MODERN PERSIAN LITERATURE
The present-day language of
The Persian language of today, namely, Dari, originated, as mentioned above, during the Muslim period in the east of
extended even to Sistan. This explains why the most eminent poets of this language down to the Salj 5q period hailed from these particular cities. Gradually, Dari expanded from Khurasan and Transoxiana to other parts of Iran, so that by the Ghaznawid period it had extended to Gurgan, Damg_han, and Rayy, and by the Saljdq era it had travelled as far away as AharbAijan, Isbahan, and Hamadan. In the province of Fars it did not achieve the status of a popular language even in the days of Sa'di and Ilafiz. That is why these two great poets have revelled in the mastery of this language and in the expression of their poetic genius through it. Both of them also composed verse in the Pahlawi dialect of Fars, popularly known as the Shirazi language.
The rules of prosody of Arabic poetry were formulated by Khalil ibn Abmad. These were assiduously observed by the Iranian writers in their Persian works. Considerable literature was produced on the subject both in Iran and in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent. Consequently, the same Arabic names were retained for Persian metres and rhymes, so much so that even the same Arabic word a/d`il was employed for purposes of scansion. Metres can be classified into three groups, i.e., metres common to both Arabic and Persian, metres which were the outcome of the Iranian genius and did not exist earlier, and metres which were, on the reverse, typical of and exclusive to Arabic poetry.
Amongst the exclusively Persian metres the most well-known is the one employed in the quatrains of Baba Tahir `Uryan of Hamadan. In the preIslamic times right up to the Achaemenian period the only verse known was the blank verse. Specimens of poetry preserved in the Avesta and Old Persian are all composed in blank verse. This type of poetry was also in vogue in Pahlawi and Dari, the two languages so closely related to each other.
The forms of Persian verse have also an independent character and they have not always followed the Arabic pattern. The "mathnawi," "tarjs'-band," "tarkib-band," "musammat," "muthallath,"` "murabba`," "mukhammas," "mustazad," and "rubd`i" are all exclusive to Persian poetry, and they have originated solely in the Persian genius. Persian verse has also influenced Urdu and Turkish poetry. Similarly, the rhymed verse and many figures of speech owe their origin to the creative genius of the Iranian mind. "Muwashs_hah" and "mulamma"' are also Persian in origin.
DIFFERENT EPOCHS OF PERSIAN POETRY
The oldest extant specimens of Persian verse date back to the middle of the third/ninth century. But these fragments are not sufficient to afford us a true picture of the contemporary Persian poetry. What emerges beyond doubt, however, is the fact that the Tahirids (205/820-259/872) and later the Saffarids (254/867-296/908) played a worthy role in ushering in a new era of Persian literature.
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Throughout the fourth/tenth century Persian literature continued to flourish with remarkable success at the Samanid Court and in the vast regions lying between the Chinese frontiers and Gurgan on the Caspian Sea. The Court of Nasr bin Abmad, the Samanid ruler, is especially famous for the large number of poets associated with it. Since then the current of Persian literature has flowed continuously.
Modern Persian poetry, in its earliest stages, was characterized by a note of realism. The realist school held its own for two hundred years till the end of the fifth/eleventh century. The greatest Iranian poets of this school who flourished during the fourth/tenth century were Rndaki (329/941), Shahid Balkhi (325/937), and Daqiqi (341/952). Early in the sixth/twelfth century it gave way to naturalism. In the meanwhile the Iranian Sufis had discovered in poetry a most suitable vehicle to disseminate their philosophical message to the people. Sufism or Islamic mysticism had become popular in Iraq in the middle of the second/eighth century. In its earliest stages it merely laid emphasis on piety and godliness and no elaborate system had yet evolved. Kufah and Basrah were the earliest centres of this movement. Later, however, Baghdad stole the limelight and became associated with great names in mysticism. From Baghdad it spread out in two directions, viz., North Africa and the "Maghrib" on the one side and north-east of Iran, that is, Khurasan and Transoxiana on the other. In the West it came to be linked up with Greek thought, especially with Neo-Platonism and with certain Israelite doctrines. In the East, especially in Khurasan and Transoxiana, it developed kinship with the teachings of Manichaeism and Buddhism which had enjoyed wide popularity in these regions for centuries. From here it travelled to India and developed in what may be called the Indo-Iranian school of mysticism. This latter school gained immense popularity and through Iran it spread to Western Asia and even to North Africa. It still continues to exist in the entire Islamic world from the borders of China to Morocco. The great mystics of Iran chose Persian for imparting their noble thoughts to all classes of people. That is why most of the books of the Indo-Iranian school of mysticism were written in Persian prose or verse and the language of mysticism in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent has always been Persian. Symbolism inevitably enjoys profound importance in the mystic cult. For fear of opposition at the hands of the devout the mystic poets were constrained to express their views and beliefs in the language of symbols. They were, thus, destined to contribute to the special school of symbolism in Persian poetry. This tradition still lives in mystic verse, no matter Persian, Urdu, or Turkish. The earliest amongst the great Sufis to compose verse in this fashion is the celebrated poet abu Said abu al-Khair (357/967-440/1049). Sana'i (437/1046-525/1131), Farid al-Din `Attar (627/1229), and Maulana Jalal alDin Rumi, (604/1208-672/1273) may be considered the greatest of the symbolists among the poets of Iran. Hadigat al-Hagigah of Sanai, Mantiq al- Tair of `Attar and the Yfathnawi of RGmi may be regarded as the most
important books of mysticism ever written in Persian. On account of this great tradition Persian poetry produced during the whole of this period in Iran and the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent is steeped in mysticism. The recital of this kind of verse in the assemblies of prayer and devotion among different sects of Snfis, at times to the tune of music and occasionally to the accompaniment of dance, has been regarded as one of the most important observances of the mystical creed. Even men who did not belong to any school of mysticism had to compose, whether they liked it or not, their poetical works, especially their "ghazals," in a mystical strain.
Mystic poetry of
It may be pointed out that mystical verse in the Persian language has provided the civilized humanity with the most cosmopolitan type of poetry, and this branch of Persian literature excels all other kinds of poetry both in sweep and charm.
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of poets wrote under his unique influence, amongst the most notable of them being Amir Khusrau of Delhi (651/1253-725/1325), Khwaja-i Kirmani (689/1290-763/1362), and Jami (817/1414-898/1493). This typical epic style has left a deep impress on the Turkish language, and many Turkish poets have imitated it, some of them merely translating the same contents into their own language. Amongst these may be counted the epic poems of Mir 'Ali Skier Nawa'i (844/1440-960/1500) composed in the Chaghata'i, i.e., the eastern dialect of Turkish, and the epics of Fuzeli of Baghdad (970/1562) in the Azari, i.e., the western dialect of the Turkish language.
Amongst the other chief characteristics of Persian poetry are the composition of philosophical verse and the introduction of philosophical generalities in poetry composed in simple language. We have it on the authority of the oldest specimens of Persian poetry that poetry and philosophy had forged a close link together ever since Persian poetry originated in Khurasan and Transoxiana. The most important book on practical philosophy to have gained immense popularity amongst Muslims in general and the Iranians in particular in the early Islamic period was Kalileh n Dimneh which was at first translated from the original Sanskrit work Panchatanlra into Pahlawi and presumably brought to Iran in the sixth century A. D. in the reign of Khusrau Anus_hirwan (Nus_hirwan the Just). It was translated from Pahlawi into Syriac about the same time. In the early Islamic period the famous Iranian scholar ibn al-Muqaffa' rendered it from Pahlawi into Arabic. It was later versified by Radaki, the greatest poet of the Samanid period and one of the great names in Persian poetry in its whole history of the last twelve hundred years. Only a few couplets of this long poem have survived.
Another book which dealt with practical philosophy like Kalileh wa Dimneh was the famous work Sindbdd Ndmeh. This was also rendered into verse by Riidaki. That is why his name has been prefixed with Hakim or philosopher since old. This also suggests that there was a considerable element of philosophy in his poetical works. Another great contemporary of Radaki, namely, Shahid Balkhi, was known as one of the famous philosophers of his time. He had also entered upon a controversy with yet another famous physician-philosopher Mubammad bin Zakariya Razi and composed some treatises in refutation of his views. Afterwards many Iranian poets expounded valuable philosophical themes in their works and were known as philosophers. Kisa'i of Merv was one of them. Firdausi and `Unsuri also enjoyed the title of Hakim or philosopher for having introduced philosophical themes in their works. The great poet Nasir Khusrau (394/1004-481/1088) expounded philosophical thought in all his poetical works in addition to a few books of philosophy that he wrote in Persian prose from the Isma`ilite point of view. The Isma`ilites of Iran always attached great importance to the Persian language in disseminating and inculcating amongst others the philosophy of their own sect. That is why they were even known as the "educationists" or "Ta' imites." The poets of this sect always introduced an element of philosophy in their
works. Amongst the eminent Iranian philosophers and thinkers, Persian verse has been ascribed to abu Nasr Farabi (d. 339/950), ibn Sina (d. 428/1037), Khwajah Nasir al-Din Tiisi (597/1201-672/1274), Imam Fakhr al-Din Razi (554/1159-606/1209), Afdal al-Din Kas_bani (d. 615/1218), Shihab al-Din Suhrawardi Magtiil (d. 587/1191), Jalal al-Din Dawwani (830/908-1426/15021503), Mir Sayyid Sharif Gurgani (740/816-1339/1413), Mir Muhammad Bagir Damad (d. 1041/1631), Sadr al-Din Shirazi, i. e., Mulla Sadra (d. 1050/1640-1641), and Haji Mulla Hadi Sabziwari (1212/1295-1797/1878). One can say that there was hardly any philosopher in Iran who did not express his beliefs in poetry. Some of them like Afdal al-Din Kashani composed a considerable amount of verse. Philosophical thought also found expression in the quatrains of the famous scholar and philosopher `UmarKhayyam (d. 517/1123-1124). The collection of these quatrains forms today one of the most famous books in the world, and has been translated into almost all the civilized languages including many dialects of Pakistan and India. One of the most important features with which we are confronted in Persian literature, irrespective of prose or poetry, is the effort on the part of the Iranian philosophers to effect a close harmony between Greek thought, i.e., the philosophy of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, the Stoics, Zeno, and scepticism as well as a part of the philosophical teachings imparted in Alexandria and Edessa, and the fundamentals of Islam. Some of them harmonized mysticism with philosophy and divine Law, and in this field Persian is decidedly the richest language in the world.
In the eighth/fourteenth century Hafiz, the great immortal poet of
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Sa'ib (1012/1603-1083/1672) had been attracted from Iran and they provided both stimulus and schooling to numerous well-known poets of the local origin. The most brilliant amongst this galaxy of poets were Faidi (953/15461004/1596), abu al-Barakat Munir (1055/1645-1099/1688), Qhani (1072/1661), Nasir'Ali (1108/1696), Qhanimat (1107/1695), Ni'mat Khan 'Ali (1121/1709), Bidil (1134/1722), Nur al-'Ain Wagif (1190/1776), Siraj al-Din 'Ali Khan Arzd (1169/1756), Ghalib (1213/1798-1285/1868), 'Ubaidi Suhrawardi (1306/ 1889), Shibli Nu'mani (1274/1857-1332/1914), Girami (1345/1926), and many others. The literary tradition bequeathed by them still lives in the IndoPakistan sub-continent.
The last great poet of the Persian language in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent was Muhammad Igbal (1289/1873-1357/1938) who infused a new life in Persian poetry, rejected the impressionist school that had preceded him, and revived the symbolist traditions with magnificent results.
In Iran a new movement in poetry made itself manifest at the end of the twelfth/eighteenth century which promised pastures anew. As a consequence, most of the poets returned to naturalism. The tendency to revitalize and revivify Persian verse and to bring it closer to Western poetry, is distinctly visible in Iran. There are even attempts at going to such extremes as surrealism. The younger Iranian poet is, however, passing through a period of transition and has yet to determine his final attitude. Nevertheless, one comes across exquisite pieces of poetry produced by some of the poets and poetesses of the younger generation. This augurs well for a great future. It is not unlikely that a new school of poetry will emerge before long.
One who wishes to study the evolution of Persian poetry and its different schools and styles in minute detail will perforce have to make a deep study of the works of quite a few hundred poets of Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Pakistan, India, and Turkey-men who selected this language as their medium of expression and stuck to the Iranian tradition of poetry.
It may be observed that all the important poets of Persian language, whether they were of the Iranian or Indo-Pakistani origin, or whether they hailed from certain Central Asian and Caucasian regions formerly treated as parts of Iran, were Muslims. Only with regard to Daqiqi, the celebrated poet of the Samanid period, it has been contested by a few scholars that he belonged to the Zoroastrian faith. But even this cannot be taken for granted. In the eighth/fourteenth century, however, a Zoroastrian poet Bahram bin Puzhdu rendered two books of the Zoroastrian religion into verse, namely Zartusht Nameh and Arda Virdf Nameh.
Modern Persian is today one of the richest languages in the world. It retains a link, close or distant, with all the Aryan languages in the East as
well as those in the West. It, thus, bears a close resemblance to all these languages in respect of grammar, syntax, and composition. However, on account of the deep attachment of the Iranian scholars to Islamic learning and sciences on the one hand and to Arabic language on the other, Persian became progressively a richer and vaster language.
In the middle of the first/seventh century when the people of
However, we find that some of the great scholars of Iran like ibn Sina, Nasir Khusrau, Afdal'al-Din Kas_hani, and abu Raihan al-Biruni have at times shown in their Persian works a tendency to coin fresh Persian words instead of employing the current technical and scientific Arabic terms. Certain other writers have also shown a tendency to employ new compound epithets of purely Persian origin in their works. The outstanding specimens of this trend in the Indo-Pakistani Persian literature are visible in A'in-i Akbari of abu al-Fadl.
The excessive use of Arabic words in Persian prose started in the fifth/ eleventh century. Kalileh wa Dimneh which was rendered into Persian by Nasr Allah b. 'Abd al- Hamid from the Arabic version of ibn al-Muqaffa' may be regarded as the first specimen of this type of writing. Amongst other books written in this style may be enumerated Marzban Nameh of Sa'd al-Din of
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Varivin, Tarikh-i Wassa/, Tdrikh-i Mu'jam, and Durrah-i Nadirah, the last being the work of Mirza Mahdi Khan, the historian of the Court of Nadir Shah. But the number of such books is very small. In fact, ninety-nine Persian books out of one hundred have been written in simple and direct style and they have always reflected the contemporary idiom, except where a writer has deliberately digressed from the natural style to employ Arabic phrases, a tendency which had been regarded as a kind of literary treat.
As a result of the systematic development of Persian poetry and use of symbolism, Persian prose evolved a new style in which the writer would lay the highest emphasis on allusions, metaphors, and rhetorical devices. We notice the same trend in the recent prose styles of some European languages. This exceedingly sophisticated style of Persian prose in which the content was obscured by vague rhetoric and long and repetitious sentences reached its zenith in the ninth/fifteenth and tenth/sixteenth centuries. It also penetrated into the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent where we find in Seh NaLhr-i Zuhuri and Rasa'il-i Tughhra-i Mashhadi its most outstanding specimens.
This style won remarkable popularity in the field of Court documents, royal commands and decrees, and official correspondence. The tradition passed on to the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent and found its finest expression in Mans_haat-i Abu al-Fall Alldmi. It also found its way to Turkey and dining this period the official correspondence of the Ottoman Caliphs was wholly conducted in the same style as that in Persian. This "Court style" originated in Iran in the sixth/twelfth century, enjoyed a large, uninterrupted era of popularity and found its best specimen in Maus_haat-i Mirza Tahir Wahid composed in the eleventh/seventeenth century. It was, however, dealt a fatal blow by Mirza abu al-Qasim Qa'im Magam Farahani (1193/17791251/1835) whose prose was distinguished for the simplicity and purity of its style.
The contemporary Persian prose has a highly simple, facile, and elegant expression. It has freed itself from the conventional ornate and abstruse style. Today it has drawn itself far closer to the idiomatic and colloquial Persian expression than ever before.
During the long history of Persian prose a very large number of books have been written in all branches of knowledge such as jurisprudence, commentary on the Holy Qur'an, scholastic theology, mysticism, philosophy, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, arts, ethics, tales and fables, and even such subjects as handicrafts. However, a majority of prose works in Persian have always been confined to history and practical ethics. That also explains why all books on the history of the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent during the Islamic period have been produced in Persian. On this very account some knowledge of Persian may be regarded as an essential prerequisite for learning the history of some of the Asian countries. In fact, Persian literature may be divided into poetry and history as its two main component parts.
PERSIAN GRAMMAR AND LEXICOGRAPHY
For a long time the Iranians paid no heed to Persian grammar since they were no strangers to the rules of their mother tongue. The only expositions of Persian grammar in the past consisted of brief notices which some of the lexicographers would include in the prefaces to their works. The compilation of grammatical works started in right earnest when during the Mughul rule in India Persian became the literary as well as the Court language of the Muslims of the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent. That is why books on this subject were for a considerable time confined mostly to the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent alone.
In the field of Persian lexicography as in grammar, not much interest was shown in the past. The works produced contained a rather limited number of uncommon words employed in poetry. When a proof was required regarding the authenticity of a certain word, it was furnished from the couplets in which it had been used.
It is quite apparent that at first the necessity for such dictionaries arose in the western parts of
As mentioned earlier, the Saljugs had carried their official language, Dari, right into Adharbaijan in the wake of their conquests. Since the people of this province spoke Pahlawi, they found it difficult to understand meanings of certain words which were familiar to Dari but did not exist in Pahlawi. Hence the urge to compile these works in Adharbaijan.
The most important role in the compilation of dictionaries was undoubtedly played by lexicographers of the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent. During the Mughul period the Court language of the Empire was Persian. People, for whom it was not the mother tongue, stood in need of books for guidance and help. In the eleventh/seventeenth century special attention was paid to this work, though dictionaries had been in the process of compilation since a hundred years earlier.
For a long time the works of the Indo-Pakistani lexicographers or those of the Iranian scholars who had migrated to the sub-continent continued to be the most authentic source of reference even for the Iranians themselves. The most outstanding of these books are Farhang-i Jahdngiri of Jamal al-Din Inju, Farhang-i Rashidi of 'Abd al-Rashid of Thatta, Burhan-i Qd4i' of Mu}.ammad Husain Tabrizi, Asif al-Lughat of 'Aziz Jang Bahadur, Bahar-i 'A jam of Tek Chand Bahar, Chirag_h-i Hiddyat of Siraj al-Din 'Ali Khan Arzu, QhiyaLh al-Lughhhat of Mubammad Chiyath al-Din, Farhang-i Anand Raj of
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Mubammad Padshah Shad, and Mustalihat al-Shu'ara' compiled by Varasteh. The number of lexicographical works compiled in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent exceeds one hundred of which the oldest, viz., Adab al-Fudala' of Qadi Khan Badr Mulammad of Delhi, was completed in 822/1419. In other words, the period during which these works were diligently and assiduously produced extends to about five hundred years.
The necessity of compiling such dictionaries was also felt in Turkey where Persian enjoyed the status of a literary language at the Turkish Court of the Ottoman Caliphs and many a Turkish scholar produced literary works and composed poetry in Persian, so much so that even some of the Turkish emperors composed poetry in this language. As a consequence, a few dictionaries,
to wit, Lugghat-i Halimi, L ghal-i Sl a'uri, Dasinah-i Kabir, and Laghal-i Sltah
niameh of 'Abd al-Qadir Bag lid", were edited in
To no other area of the world does the Persian language and literature owe so profusely as to the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent. Not only have the scholars there written hundreds of very useful books on subjects as varied and diverse as history, lexicography, grammar, mysticism, biographies of poets, and commentaries on certain Persian texts, and have preserved and jealously guarded many books lost to posterity in other countries and even in Iran, but they have also special interest in the publication of literary works in the Persian language. There is hardly any big city in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent where a number of Persian books have not been published. The number of such published works stands at two thousand.
INFLUENCE ON PERSIAN LITERATURE
The history of modern European powers in the East dates back to the Renaissance period.
The earliest Persian work to have been translated into a European language was Oulist~m of Sa'di. Gradually, the works of Firdausi, Iiafiz,,'UmarKhayyam,
Nizami, Jami, Jalal al-Din Ri mi, Farid al-Din `Attar, Nasir Khusrau, and others were also translated. These eminent stars on the firmament of Persian literature are now regarded in all Western countries as amongst the great immortals of world literature. It was the dissemination of their thought which provided stimulus to numerous European poets and writers of the thirteenth/nineteenth century to take inspiration from Persian writers. This influence was at times fully revealed in their works and at others was reflected in their thought. One of the earliest amongst them was Dante, the Italian
poet, who was inspired to write his Divine Comedy in which he describes his spiritual flight into heavens and the next world under the influence of
Iranian literature. Next it was the great German poet Goethe who was thrilled
by the sheer beauty of Persian literature through German translations of Persian poetry, and who bad even pursued for some time the study of Persian
language in order to have a fuller appreciation of its literature. He even dedicat
ed to it one of his famous works West-ostlicher Divan, and gave to a section of this book the title of "Kitab-i Hafiz." The well-known English poet Edward
Fitzgerald also published a small collection known as Ruba'iyat-i 'Umar
Khayyam which he claimed to have translated from the Persian collection of Khayyam's quatrains. Actually, however, not all these quatrains are by
Khayyam himself; some of these are the work of other Persian poets. As such, this collection reflects the thought of a number of Iranian philosophers.
Many of the European poets and writers who acquainted themselves with the thought of Persian poets through translations in Western languages have
produced delightful works associated with Persian literature. Mainly, however, they have come under the spell of Khayyam, Sa'di, and Hafizz.
Maneckji Nusservanji Dhalla, Ancient Iranian Literature, Karachi, 1949; Ali Asghar Hikmet, Glimpses of Persian Literature, Calcutta, 1956; S. M. Ishaque, Modern Persian Poetry, Calcutta, 1943; Four Eminent Poetesses of Iran, Calcutta, 1950; R. P. Masani, Court Poets of Iran and India, Bombay, 1938; Muhammad Abdul Ghani, A History of Persian Language and Literature at the Mughat Court, Allahabad, Part I, Babar, 1929, Part II, Humayun, 1930, Part HI, Akbar, 1930; G. K. Nariman, Iranian Influence of Muslim Literature, Bombay, 1918; Choeth Ram, A Short Survey of the History of Persian Literature, Lahore, 1927; Iqbal Husain, The Early Persian Poets of India, Patna, 1937; "Persian Letters," Life and Letters, London, Vol. LXIII, No. 148, December, 1949; A. J. Arberry, Persian Poems, London, 1954; Reuben Levy, Persian Literature, An Introduction, London, 1923; A. V. Williams Tackson, Early Persian Poetry, New York, 1920; H. I. Sadanangani, Persian Poets of Sind, Karachi, 1956; E. G. Browne, A Literary History of Persia, 4 Vols., London, 1906-1924; Umar Muhammad Dawudpota, The Influence of Arabic Poetry in the Development of Persian Poetry, Bombay, 1934; F. F. Arbuthnot, Persian Portraits, London, 1882; S. A. Storey, Persian Literature, London, Section I, 1922, Section II, Fasciculus 3, 1939, Vol. I, Part 2, 1953; Munibur Rahman, Post-Revolution Persian Verse, Aligarh, 1955; Ambikaprasad Vajpeyi, Persian Influence on Hindi, Calcutta, 1936; Hadi Hasan, Studies in Persian Literature, Aligarh, 1924.
A History of Muslim Philosophy