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Hakim Abul-Majd Majdūd ibn Ādam Sanā'ī Ghaznavi was a Persian Sufi poet who lived in Ghazna, in what is now Afghanistan between the 11th century and the 12th century. He died around 1131. He was connected with the court of the Ghaznavid Bahram-shah who ruled 1118-1152. It is said that once when accompanying Bahramshah on a military expedition to India, Sanai met the Sufi teacher Lai-khur. Sanai quit Bahramshah's service as a court poet even though he was promised wealth and the king's daughter in marriage if he remained.
Sanai's best known work is The Walled Garden of Truth (Hadiqat-ul Haqiqah), Dedicated to Bahram Shah, the work expresses the poet's ideas on God, love, philosophy and reason. The work contains 10,000 couplets in 10 section. For close to 900 years, in the East at any rate, The Walled Garden of Truth has been consistently read and employed as a classic and Sufi textbook. According to Major T. Stephenson: “Sanai’s fame has always rested on his Hadiqa; it is the best known and in the East by far the most esteemed of his works; it is in virtue of this work that he forms one of the great trio of Sufi teachers — Sanai, Attar and Rumi”. Sanai taught that lust and greed, emotional excitement, stood between humankind and divine knowledge, which was the only true reality. Love and a social conscience are for him the foundation of religion; mankind is asleep, living in what is in fact a desolate world. Sanai's view on common religion was that it was only habit and ritual. Sanai's poetry had a tremendous influence upon Persian literature. He is considered the first poet who used verse forms as the ode, the lyric, and the rhymed couplet to express the philosophical, mystical, and ethical ideas of Sufism. His book of poetry (divan) contains some 30,000 verses.
Influence and Legacy
Rumi acknowledged Sanai and Attar as his two primary inspirations, saying, "Attar is the soul and Sanai its two eyes, I came after Sanai and Attar." Sanai's walled garden of truth was also a model for Nezami's Makhzan al-Asrar (Treasury of Secrets).
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