AMRĪ ŠĪRĀZĪ, ABU’L-QĀSEM MOḤAMMAD (d. 999/1590-91 [?], poet and Sufi from Kūhpāya, a village near Isfahan. In one of his poems he mentions serving the Safavid Shah Ṭahmās b I for thirty years before falling into disfavor in 973/1565-66 (Haft eqlīm II, pp. 431-32); thus he was probably born in the first quarter of the 10th/16th century. He came from a rich landowning family and soon became renowned as a scholar, a master of the occult sciences, and a Sufi; he traced his spiritual lineage to Bāyazīd (Nehāvandī, Maʾāṯer-e Raḥīmī, ed. M. Hedāyat Ḥosayn, Calcutta, 1924-31, III, pp. 1497-1506; partly tr. in Āʾīn-e Akbarī, pp. 677-78). Amrī was held in great esteem by Shah Ṭahmāsb and is said to have controlled awqāf revenues, large sums of which he disbursed to scholars, Sufis, and travelers; he appointed awqāf officials and was surrounded by a retinue of poets, admirers, and disciples. Accused of subversion by jealous opponents, he was convicted of heresy and blinded in 973/1565. He withdrew to his native village and lived in seclusion, composing most of his poetry in this period. He wrote a eulogy to Shah Ṭahmāsb in which he exonerated himself; his confiscated property was returned, and he was granted a pension. According to Nehāvandī, Amrī died in his native village; according to Balyānī (ʿArafāt-e ʿāšeqīn, ms., in Ṣ. Kīā, Noqṭawīān, Tehran, 1320 Š./1941, pp. 58-61) and Reżā-qolī Khan Hedāyat (Rīāż al-ʿārefīn, ed. M. Gorgānī, Tehran, 1344 Š./1965, pp. 275-76) he was executed in Shiraz in 999/1590-91 by Shah ʿAbbās I as a Noqṭawī heretic (see also Nafīsī, Naẓm o naṯr, p. 709). Nehāvandī states that Amrī employed his student and nephew, Mawlānā Daḵī, to arrange his poems, but the collection is lost; Balyānī estimates that Amrī wrote about 7,000 verses. The Nezārī Ismaʿilis of Iran regard Amrī as a Nezārī, and Ivanov, who examined Amrī’s poems in Ismaʿili anthologies, considers his poems eulogies of Nūr-al-dīn and Morād Mīrzā, the thirty-fifth and thirty-sixth Nezārī imams (Ivanov, Ismaili Literature, Tehran, 1963, pp. 144, 189). Amrī is author of Resāla-ye ḏekr o fekr and Jawāb-e merʾāt al-ṣafāʾ.
See also I. K. Poonawala, Biobibliograpby of Ismāʿīlī Literature, Malibu, California, 1977, pp. 277-78.
(I. K. Poonawala)
Originally Published: December 15, 1989
Last Updated: August 3, 2011
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Vol. I, Fasc. 9, p. 996