Persian Language & Literature

Nour o-Din Abdorrahman Jami


Nour o-Din (Nuruddin) Abdorrahman Jami the son of Moulana Nezam o-Din (Nizamuddin) Ahmad was born in Jam, a small town of Khorasan in 1414 CE (A.H. 817). Jam is now the Ghor province of Afghanistan. His poetic name is Jami, the word Jam means "wine goblet" in Farsi and "Nour o-Din" means "Light of Faith." His genius made the literary men of his time uncomfortable because no man is great unless he appears humble.

When he was only a child, he learned the basic Persian and Arabic from his father. He went to a school at Herat (presently Afghanistan) and then to school in Samarghand (Samarkand). In Samarghand, he studied with Ghazi-zadeh Ruhm, one of the great researchers of the time.

Jami returned to Herat and studied mathematics and philosophy with Ala o-Din Ali Ghoshchi. Hakim Jami later joined Khaja Saad o-Din (Saaduddin) Kashghari, the chief of Naghshbandis and became his disciple. It is said that when Khaja Saad o-Din gathered with other dervishes at the Jame Mosque of Herat every time Jami passed the mosque Saad o-Din said of Jami, "I am fascinated by him, this man is truly worthy. I don't know with what trick and how to attract him to become a student."

In 1472 CE (A.H. 877), Jami started his pilgrimage to Mecca as every Muslim who can afford to is expected once in his life to do. One of the praiseworthy characteristics of Jami is that he had conviction in what he said and wrote. Jami said, "There are many seekers but mostly seekers of personal improvement. There are very few real seekers after real truth."

Contemporary monarchs of his time made offers of large amounts of gold and other gifts for him to participate in their courts. These offers constantly annoyed Jami. He was also annoyed by people who wanted to make him a hero rather than do something about themselves. Jami said "Ordinary human love is capable of raising man to the experience of real love".

Jami was well known for his playful sense of humor. Jami paid special attention to Saadi and Hafez in poetry and followed Nezami in his masnavi. When Jami was seventy, he wrote his masterpiece "Yousef and Zolaikha". Different people attribute Jami to writing from 44 to 99 books of grammar, poetry, and theology. Some of his well known works include his prose works, "Nafahatol Ons" (Breaths of the Breeze of Friendship), "Baharestan" (Abode of Spring), and a collection of biographies of Sufi Saints. Baharestan is in the style of Saadi's "Golestan" (Rose Garden) and he wrote it for his son Zia o-Din Yousef. His major poetic work includes "Haft Awrang" (Seven Thrones of Grace), which consisted of over twenty-five thousand couplets. Some of the well known writings of "Haft Awrang" are tale of "Salaman and Absal", a version of the story of "Leyla and Majnoun", "Khiradnameh Iskandar" (Alexander's Wisdom), and poetic masterpiece of "Yousef and Zolaikha".

He died in Herat on the 13th of Moharram in 1492 CE (A.H. 898).