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Nezami Ganjavi whose formal name was Niżām ad-Dīn Abū Muḥammad Ilyās ibn-Yūsuf (1140 – 1202) is considered the greatest romantic epic poet in Persian literature, who brought a colloquial and realistic style to the Persian epic. His heritage is widely appreciated and shared by Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Tajikistan. Nezami was not a philosopher in the sense of Avicenna or an expositor of theoretical Sufism in the sense of Ibn Arabi. However, he is regarded as a philosopher and gnostic who mastered various fields of Islamic thoughts which he synthesized in ####a way that brings to mind the traditions of later Hakims such as Qutb al-Din Shirazi. His poems show that not only he was fully acquainted with Arabic and Persian literatures and with oral and written popular and local traditions, but was also familiar with such diverse fields as mathematics, astronomy, astrology, alchemy, medicine, botany, Quranic exegesis, Islamic theory and law, Iranian myths and legends, history, ethics, philosophy and esoteric thought, music, and the visual arts. He was buries in a mausoleum in Ganja – Azerbaijan Republic.
1-Quinary ("Panj Ganj" or "Khamsa")
Nezami is best known for his five long narrative poems, which have been preserved. He dedicated his poems to various rulers of the region as was custom of that time for great poets, but avoided court life. Nezami was a master of the Masnavi (double-rhymed verses). He wrote poetical works; the main one is the Panj Ganj ( Five Jewels) "Quinary". The first of his five 'Treasures', called The Storehouse of Mysteries was influenced by Sanai of Ghazna's (d. 1131) monumental Garden of Truth. The other ‘Treasures’ were medieval romances. Khusaw and Shirin, Bahrām-e Gur, and Alexander the Great, who all have episodes devoted to them in Ferdowsi's Book of Kings, appear again here at the center of three of four of Nezami's narrative poems. The adventure of the paired lovers, Leyli and Majnun, is the subject of the second of his four romances, and derived from Arabic sources. In all these cases, Nezami reworked the material from his sources in a substantial way. The Quinary(Five Treasures) includes the five Persian books of Nezami:
1- Makhzan al-Asrar "The Storehouse of Mysteries" (1163)
The ethico-philosophical poems of about 2,250 Persian distichs was dedicated to Fakhr al-Din Bahramshah, the ruler of Erzinjan. The story deals with such esoteric subjects as philosophy and theology. The story contains twenty discourses, each of them portraying an exemplary story on religious and ethical topics.
2-Khosrow and Shirin (1177–1180)
A story of Persian origin which is found in the great epico-historical poems of Shahnameh and is based on a true story that was further romanticized by Persian poets.
3- Layla and Majnun (1192)
A story Of Arabic origin, the poem of 4,600 distiches. poem is based on the popular Arab legend of ill-starred lovers: the poet Qays falls in love with his cousin Layla, but is prevented from marrying her by Layla's father. Layla's father forbids contact with Qays and Qays becomes obsessed and starts signing of his love for Layla in public. The obsession becomes so severe that he sees and evaluates everything in terms of Layla; hence his sobriquet "the possessed" (Majnun).
4-The Book of Alexander" (1194) or (1196–1202)
The Romance of Alexander the Great" contains 10,500 distiches. It consists of two books, Sharaf-Nama and Iqbal-nameh. The poem narrates the three stages in Alexander's life: first as the conqueror of the world; then as a seeker after knowledge, gaining enough wisdom to acknowledge his own ignorance; and finally as a prophet, traveling once again across the world, from west to east, and south to north to proclaim his monotheistic creed to the world at large.
5- Haft Peykar “The Seven Beauties” (1197)
A story of Persian origin. It is a romanticized biography of the Sasanian Persian empire ruler Bahram Gur. Nezami is admired in Persian-speaking lands for his originality and clarity of style, though his love of language for its own sake and of philosophical and scientific learning makes his work difficult for the average reader. The legacy of Nezami is widely felt in the Islamic world and his poetry has influenced the development of Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish and Urdu poetry amongst many other languages. orientalists of many countries consider Nezami as a significant Persian poet and hail him as the greatest exponent of romantic epic poetry in Persian literature.
Encyclopedia of Islam
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