Literary Legacy of Abd al-Majid Tabrizi
(Persian Poet of Azerbaijan in the 8th/14thcentury)
Assistant Professor, Department of Persian Language and Literature,
Islamic Azad University, Varamin-Pishva Branch, Tehran, Iran.
E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abdolmajid Tabrizi, a less well-known poet of the 8th century AD. Is. There
is not much information about him. About 699 AH. He was born in Tabriz and
probably between 757 and 768 AH. In the past, what is his poem is that he
was engaged in farming and at the age of 55 he went over to Hajj, and after
returning from the pilgrimage of the house of God, he went to Shiraz and spent
some time there. In various forms of poetry, such as poetry, sonnets,
compositions, pieces, masnavi and quatrains, they have experimented with
various concepts and subjects, including the prayer of God, the promise of the
Holy Prophet (s), the exhortation of the rulers, love, mysticism, counsel and
Wisdom forms the theme of his poems. In the chanting, followers of such
poets as Elementary, Anvari, Zahir Faryabi, and in Ghazalsarai, are the meta
tags of Saadi's lyrics. His contemporary poets like Hafez have also been
influenced by his poems.
Keywords: Abd al-Majid Tabrizi, Tabriz, Persian poetry, Al-e Jalayer
36 Persian Language and Literature, Vol. 71, Issue 238, Fall & Winter 2018- 2019
Abd al-Majid Tabrizi is a less known poet of the 8th/14thcentury. There
is little information available on his life. We know that he was born in
699/1300 in Tabriz, and probably died around 757/1356 to 768/1367. It
is understood from his poems that he was engaged in agriculture, made
a pilgrimage to Mecca when he was 55 years old, and stayed in Shiraz
for a while on his return. He was a devout and pious Sunni Muslim, and
there are signs of his deep devotion to the Prophet Muhammad and his
household in his poetry.
He has attempted with different poetic forms such as odes (qasidah),
sonnets (ghazal), refrained verse (tarkib band), couplets (mathnavi),
and quatrains (ruba’i). Praising God, describing virtues of the Prophet,
eulogizing statesmen, love, mysticism, admonitions, and morals form
the main themes of his poetry.
Abd al-Majid’s collection of poems (Diwan) consists of 4405 verses
(bayts) of poetry in various poetic forms of ode, sonnet, refrained verse,
fragments, couplets, quatrains, and simple distiches (mufradat). His
odes are mostly of panegyric nature written in high praise of
distinguished personalities and statesmen, but some of them eulogize
virtues of the Prophet Muhammad and his greatness as the Noblest of
all Creatures. There are only 22 odes among the 666 bayts in his extant
collection of poems though, according to Abd al-Majid himself, he had
written greater number of odes.
There is a 98-bayt refrained verse in his collection of poems which deals
with the virtues of the Prophet. His fragments also deal with various
themes such as giving up writing poetry, complaining about
ineffectiveness of his poems on ordinary people, disapproving of the
worldly life and its ephemeral nature, self-glorifying, praising Sheikh
Uways and Rukn al-Din and others, speaking about his occupation,
describing the sites and landscapes of Tabriz, lamenting the ruins,
remembering God, describing stages of pilgrimage to Mecca, practicing
contentment, describing horses, and the like.
Abd al-Majid’s couplets (mathnavis) also deal with various themes. The
first mathnavi in his collection is about the invasion of Tabriz by Malek
Ashraf and Yaghibasti in 743 and the destruction and murder of its
Literary Legacy of Abd al-Majid Tabrizi 37
people. The second mathnavi recounts the poet’s pilgrimage to Mecca
in 754/1353 when he was 55 years old, and his return home during
which he saw the fantastic sites of KuhLur, Shul, and Kurd, and stayed
in Shiraz for a while. The third mathnavi describes the serenity and
verdurous nature of Tabriz, the poet’s hometown, when he is old. The
fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth mathnavis deal with the theme of blaming
the arrogant self, repentance of past deeds, complaining about the old
age, and seeking God’s asylum. The seventh mathnavi describes the
House of God clad with black curtains, and the eighth mathnavi
addresses the month of spring and separation from the beloved.
Sixty two quatrains (ruba’i) and single distiches (bayt) have come down
to us from Abd al-Majid that also deal with the separation from and
reunion with the beloved, blaming the arrogant self, disapproval of
worldly life, description of the beauty of the beloved, complaining
about the old age, praising God, longing to return to Tabriz from Shiraz
and the like.
He followed poets like Unsuri, Anwari, Zahir Faryabi in his odes, and
imitated Sa’di in his sonnets (ghazal). Contemporary poets like Hafiz
were influenced by his poetry. He wrote his odes in eloquent language
full of figurative devices and new poetic imagery. The most frequently
used literary device in his poems is simile. His sonnets (ghazal), like
that of his contemporaries, mostly deal with the subject of love with a
touch of mysticism.
Although Abd al-Majid has praised several statesmen, commanders,
and scholars of his time including Muiz al-Din Uways (739-776/1338-
1374), Rukn al-Din Ala al-Dulah Simnani, and Delshad Khatun, he
does not consider himself a panegyrist and believes that his poems deal
mostly with morals and moral lessons.
Abd al-Majid was born and brought up in Tabriz and he does not hide
his attachment to the city and its fantastic landscape with its high-rise
palaces and mansions. He calls Tabriz dar al-aman (House of Safety)
and dar al-Islam (House of Islam) in his poems and beautifully
describes its natural geography for his readers.
38 Persian Language and Literature, Vol. 71, Issue 238, Fall & Winter 2018- 2019
His life, especially when he was 36, coincided with the decline of the
Mongol Ilkhanid rule and their appointed rulers in Iran. He
eyewitnessed many of the events that happened in Azerbaijan,
especially in Tabriz and recounted them in his verse which are highly
There are three known manuscripts of Abd al-Majid’s Diwan:
1. Manuscript of the Mellat Library in Istanbul. It was copied in
the first half of 9th/15thcentury and consists of 22 odes, 286
sonnets, 1 refrained verse, 8 mathnavis, and 47 quatrains.
2. Manuscript of the Halat Effendi Library in Istanbul in the
collection of Diwans kept under no. 699. It was copied in
950/1543 by Murshid Amir Sheikh Katib Shirazi and consists
of 302 sonnets, 5 mathnavis, 53 quatrains, and 1 distich.
3. Manuscript of the Library of Istanbul University in the
collection of Diwans kept under no. 485. It was copied in
1307/1890 by Ibad Mirza Aqakhan Kirmani and consists of 303
sonnets, 4 mathnavis, 53 quatrains, and 1 distich.
In addition to these manuscripts, some of Abd al-Majid’s poems have
been recorded in literary and historical sources including collection no.
280 kept in the Chalabi Abdullah Library in Istanbul, Iskandar Mirza’s
Jung (Literary Anthology) kept in the British Library under no. 27261,
and Majmu'ah-'i litafat va manzumah-'i zirafat kept in Cambridge
university Library under no. 657.