ʿABBĀSĪ RABENJANĪ, ABU’L-ʿABBĀS (or ABŪ ʿABDALLĀH), a Samanid poet from Rabenǰān, a city near Samarqand, south of the Soḡd river. He flourished in the first half of the 4th/10th century; a one-line fragment of his poetry praises the ruler Naṣr b. Aḥmad (r. 301-31/914-42) at the beginning of the year 331/914, and another fragment laments his passing and congratulates Nūḥ I on his accession (Lazard, Premiers poètes II, lines 1, 18-22). This five-line piece is the longest sample of ʿAbbāsī’s verse among the eighty lines which have been preserved in lexicons, and it is one which found favor with later writers. Farroḵī quoted three lines of it in an ode upon the death of Maḥmūd of Ḡazna (421/1030), commenting that he heard the verses from a master poet (Dīvān, ed. M. Dabīrsīāqī, II, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970, p. 4). Bayhaqī reproduced the same three lines upon the death of Farroḵzād b. Masʿūd (451/1059; an accompanying verse is probably taken from a poem quoting ʿAbbāsī by one of his contemporaries). Ṯaʿālebī has a one-line quote in Ṯemār al-qolūb (Cairo, n. d., pp. 147-48), and Rabenǰanī is probably intended by “Abu’l-ʿAbbās, son of ʿAbbās” quoted by Rādūyānī (Tarǰomān al-balāḡa, Istanbul, 1949, p. 25). Rabenǰanī’s reputation evidently was high; Neẓāmī ʿArūżī, for instance, mentions him together with Rūdakī (Čahār maqāla, 3rd ed. M. Qazvīnī, rev. M. Moʿīn, Tehran, 1332 Š./1953, pp. 44, 78-79).
The abundance of obsolete Persian words in the fragments does not necessarily indicate a general trend in his poetry; neither should it be considered as the main reason for the loss of much of his works. Rather, the very occurrence of such obsolete words may have helped the survival of the fragments, since lexicographers used them to illustrate archaic terms. The bulk of his poetry, like that of Rūdakī and ʿAbbāsī’s other contemporaries, must have been in a simple and straightforward language (cf. the above mentioned elegy). One may argue that his maṯnavīs, since they were based ultimately on Pahlavi originals, may have tended toward archaic Persian words rather than to Arabic terms which were probably common in his time. His dīvān apparently included panegyrics, elegy, lyrics, and satire (even obscene satires).
Loḡāt-e fors, ed. Dabīrsīāqī, see index, p. 182.
ʿAwfī, Lobāb (Tehran), pp. 247-48. Ṣafā, Adabīāt I, pp. 398-99.
S. Nafīsī, Moḥīṭ-e zendagī va aḥvāl o ašʿār-e Rūdakī, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1335 Š./1956, pp. 398-99.
Lazard, Premiers poètes II, pp. 64-67 (texts); I, pp. 26-27 (biography and bibliog.), 85-93 (tr.).
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 13, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 1, p. 89