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, Persian poet, 1184–1291. b. Shiraz. Orphaned at an early age, Sadi studied in Baghdad, where he met Suhrawardi, a major Sufi figure. Having to flee Baghdad because of the Mongol threat, he went on a long journey that took him to central Asia and
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(pen name of Mushrifuddin ibn Muslihuddin Abdullah). Born between 1203 and 1210 in Shiraz; died there Dec. 9, 1292. Persian writer and thinker.
Saadi was the son of a religious man of modest means. In the mid-1220’s he studied at Nezamiyeh College, a theological academy in Baghdad. In the 1230’s he visited Mecca and for more than 20 years wandered throughout the Islamic world dressed as a dervish. In Damascus he wrote the narrative poem called the Bustan (The Garden, 1257); the author’s own name for the poem was Saadi-name. On returning to Shiraz, Saadi presented the work to the local ruler, Abu Bakr ibn Sad (1226–60), to whom he also dedicated the Gulistan (1258). He led a semihermitic life as a spiritual “elder” in a modest residence on the outskirts of Shiraz until his death.
Two editions of Saadi’s collected works are known. One was prepared in 1334 by a certain Ali Bisutun, who made what were alleged to be minor changes in an earlier edition. This edition is reproduced in most manuscript copies and lithographic editions and in the best scholarly edition, published by Dr. M. A. Furughi in Iran in 1941. Another version, significantly different from the first, is found in four manuscripts dating from the early 14th century. Since the manuscripts have not been used in preparing an edition of Saadi’s works, none can be considered critically verified.
The published editions of Saadi’s collected works contain a preface that is empty rhetoric and cannot be thought the work of Saadi. They also contain Five Majlises, a prose work with interspersed verse that consists of religiophilosophic epistles, exhortations to kings, and answers to complex moral and theological questions. In addition to the Gulistan and the Bustan, the collected works also include Arabic and Persian qasida; elegies; macaronic love, lyrical, and moralistic verse; the Tarjiband, a cycle of 22 love ghazals with a common refrain; four books of ghazals; the Book of Sahib, a collection of panegyric, lyric, and didactic verse; and four sections of short-form lyric works, including rubaiyat, qitah, and fragments. They also contain a section of pornography, the authenticity of which is doubted by some researchers.
The flowering of Saadi’s poetic work coincided with the years of Mongol rule. In contrast to other poets of his time, who wrote panegyric and mystical verse, Saadi addressed himself to a broad popular readership. Enlightened and humane ideas formed the basis of his literary sermons, which he expressed both through clear and musical ghazals that revealed a whole world of simple human joys and sorrows and through the pointed, bold, and humorous parables of the Gulistan and the Bustan.
Both Saadi’s fame and his influence on the development of literature were great. Although Saadi must share the title of greatest lyric poet with Hafez, he has no equals in his ability to use art to promote active, democratic humanism.
WORKSKulliyati Sadi-yi Shirazi az ruye nuskhah-i jenabe aga-yi Muhammad Ali Furughi tashih namudaand. Tehran, 1320 A. H. (A.D. 1941).
Muntakhabi kulliyot. Stalinabad, 1956. (Compiled by I. Alizoda and A. Dekhotī.)
In Russian translation:
Izbrannoe. Stalinabad, 1954.
Gulistan. [Critical text, translation, preface, and notes by R. M. Aliev.] Moscow, 1959.
Bustan: Lirika. Moscow, 1962.
Sa’di-name (Bustan). [Preparation of scholarly text and research by R. Aliev.] Tehran, 1968.
REFERENCESBraginskii, 1. 12 miniatiur. Moscow, 1966.
Sami Ali. “Shinasai-i Sa’di dar Urupa.” Hunar va mardum, 1967, nos. 61–62.
A. N. BOLDYREV