Jami, Abd Al-Rahman Nur Al-Dinibn Ahmad

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Jami, Abd Al-Rahman Nur Al-Dinibn Ahmad


Born Nov. 7, 1414, in Jam near Nishapur in Khurasan; died Nov. 9, 1492, in Herat. Persian and Tadzhik philosopher and writer.

Jamïs work is considered to be the culmination of classical Persian poetry. The son of an influential religious leader, Jami was educated in Herat and Samarkand but rejected a court career. He joined the Naqshbandiyah order of the Sufis, which attracted the poet by its appeals for active goodness. In 1456 he succeeded his father-in-law as head of the order in Herat.

His early period included a number of Sufi poem works and the first part of the long narrative poem The Golden Chain (1472), a kind of encyclopedia of Naqshbandism, as well as secular works such as treatises on rhythm and metrics and a guide to composing riddles in verse (mu’amma)—a most difficult art form, which was widely popular in the 15th century.

The accession to power of Sultan Husein Bayqara in 1468, whose vizier was Ali Shir Navaïi, Jamïs pupil and protector, significantly strengthened Jamïs position. The prime period of his literary work, the period after 1474, began with his religious-philosophical qasidas (odes) “Sea of Secrets” (1475) and “Radiance of the Soul,” in which he condemned the rationalism of Avicenna, and with his collection of biographies of Sufi saints Waftings of Friendship From the Abode of Holiness (1476-78). Between 1480 and 1487, Jami completed his cycle of narrative poems The Seven Crowns (The Constellation Ursa Major). The narrative poems in this cycle, Salaman and Absal, YusufandZuleykha, and Leyla and Mejnun, used the classical genre of the love story to present the Sufi teachings on the need to overcome carnal love on the path to true, that is, divine, love. The narrative poem Gift to the Noble (1481-82) includes 20 parables containing denunciations of arbitrary authority and hypocrisy among the clergy. The narrative poems Rosary of the Just (1482-83) and The Golden Chain (parts 2-3, 1485-86) are remarkable for their exposure of charlatanry within Sufism and for their appeals for a wise and humane administration of the country. The cycle concludes with The Book of Wisdom of Iskandar (1486-87), a poetic reply to the Iskandar-name of Nizami.

In his last years Jami composed Baharistan (1487), three lyrical divans (1479-91), andA Treatise on Music. Conceived as a reply to the Gulistan by Saadi, Baharistan consists of prose anecdotal tales, interspersed with verse passages, and establishes a moral and ethical code conformable to Jamiïs ideas.

The humanistic works of Jami, instilled with lofty ethical principles, exerted a great influence on the development both of literature in the Persian language and of many other literatures of the Muslim world.


Baharistan. Vienna, 1846. (Text and German translation by O. N. Schlechta-Wscherd.)
Kulliyat. Tashkent, 1907.
Nafakhat-ol-ons. Tehran, 1336 A.H. (A.D. 1958).
Asarkhoi muntakhab, parts 1-5. Dushanbe, 1964.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1955.
Traktat o muzyke. Tashkent, 1960. lusufi Zuleikha. Moscow, 1964.
Salaman i Absal. Dushanbe, 1967.


Bertel’s, E. E. Navoi i Dzhami. Moscow, 1965.
A. Dzhami: Sb. statei. Dushanbe, 1965.
Rukopisi proizvedenii Abdarrakhmana Dzhami v sobranii Instituta vostokovedeniia AN Uzb. SSR. Tashkent, 1965.
Braginskii, I. S. 12 miniatiur. [Moscow, 1966.]
Istoriia persidskoi i tadzhikskoi literatury. Edited by Jan Ripka. Moscow, 1970.
Hekmat, A. A.Jami. Tehran, 1320 A.H. (A.D. 1941).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.