AHLĪ ŠĪRĀZĪ, MAWLĀNĀ MOḤAMMAD, poet (858/1454?-942/1535). He apparently lived all his life in his native Shiraz. Of his parentage there is no record, and his life style was retiring and contemplative and probably, to judge from several complaints in his works, attended by poverty. His works include ḡazals, qaṣīdas, robāʿīs (including a sāqī-nāma “book of the Saki” made up of this form), and other types. One ornamental qaṣīda imitates a famous rhetorical piece by Salmān Sāvaǰī. Prior to the Iranian Literary Return (bāzgašt), this poem was judged even more successful than Salmān’s original; but later Loṭf-ʿAlī Beg (Ātaškada) comments that such rhetorical devices are not the stuff of which true poetry is made. Of Ahlī’s maṯnawīs, an allegory on love entitled Šamʿ o parvāna (completed in 894/1489) is interesting for its treatment not only of the standard suffering of the lover (moth), but also of the affection that the beloved (candle) develops for the suffering lover, only for the two to be parted by “cruel fate” through the agency of the wind. Ahlī’s technical dexterity is apparent in his maṯnawī entitled Seḥr-e ḥalāl (Tehran, 1316/1898-99), written in imitation of both the taǰnīsāt and the Maǰmaʿ al-baḥrayn of Kātebī; every line contains homophones (taǰnīs), scans in two different meters, and has two separate rhymes (ḏu’l-qāfīatayn). Among those to whom Ahlī dedicated panegyrics were the Safavid Shah Esmāʿīl; the Āq Qoyunlū ruler of Tabrīz, Sultan Yaʿqūb; the Timurid vizier Mīr ʿAlī-Šīr Navāʾī of Herat; and a number of Safavid viziers and local dignitaries. Qāżī Nūrallāh Šoštarī comments in the Maǰāles al-moʾmenīn that Ahlī’s ḡazals have a “Saʿdiesque” flavor.
H. Rabbānī, ed., Kollīyāt-e ašʿār-e Mawlānā Ahlī Šīrāzī, Tehran, 1343 Š./1964.
Selections may be found in contemporary and later anthologies, e.g., Sām Mīrzā, Toḥfa-ye Sāmī; ʿAlī-Šīr Navāʾī, Maǰāles al-nafāʾes; Loṭf-ʿAlī Beg, Ataškada; Qodratallāh Gopamvī, Natāʾeǰ al-afkār; Taḏkera-ye Naṣrābādī; Ṣoḥof-e Ebrāhīm; Ḵolāṣat al-kalām; Maḵzan al-ḡarāyeb. Ḏ. Ṣafā, Ganǰ-e soḵan III, Tehran, 1350 Š./1971, pp. 20ff.
Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia IV, pp. 233-34.
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: July 28, 2011
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Vol. I, Fasc. 6, pp. 637-638