ʿAṢṢĀR TABRĪZĪ, Mawlānā ŠAMS-AL-DĪN ḤĀJJĪ MOḤAMMAD, poet, scholar, and mystic of the 8th/14th century. In addition to literary skills, he had some knowledge of mathematics, astronomy, and astrolabes. He studied astronomy with ʿAbd-al-Ṣamad Tabrīzī, and in Sufism he was a pupil and disciple of Shaikh Maǰd-al-dīn Sīsī (d. 760/1359), as were the poets Maḡrebī and Qāsem-e Anwār. He wrote some treatises on branches of rhetoric, including a short handbook of rhymes in Persian entitled al-Wāfī fī teʿdād al-qawāfī.
ʿAṣṣār lived at the time of the collapse of the Il-khanid empire after the death of Sultan Abū Saʿīd Bahādor Khan in 736/1336 and the seizure of power in Azerbaijan by the Jalayerid amirs of Baghdad. He wrote some odes (qaṣīdas) in praise of the Jalayerid Sultan Oways (r. 757/1356-776/1374) but, as he says in his Mehr o Moštarī, he did not like writing panegyrics and seldom recited the ones that he wrote.
The work for which ʿAṣṣār won a measure of fame is a versified romance, entitled ʿEšq-nāma, better known as Mehr o Moštarī, which he completed in 778/1376. It tells of a relationship of pure and entirely spiritual love between Mehr, son of Šāpūr Shah of Eṣṭaḵr, and Moštarī, son of Šāpūr’s vizier, which began in their schooldays and endured throughout their lives. In the course of the story, various incidents separate Mehr from Moštarī and take him all the way to the Qefčāq (Qipchaq) steppe and Ḵᵛārazm, where he meets his sweetheart, the princess Nāhīd, daughter of the Ḵᵛārazmšāh. ʿAṣṣār’s Mehr o Moštarī runs to 5,120 verses in the hazaǰ mosaddas maqṣūr or maḥḏūf meter (see ʿarūż). It must be classed among the versified romances written on the model of Neẓāmī’s Ḵosrow o Šīrīn, but its subject-matter is new and original. It was translated into Turkish by ʿAlī b. ʿAbd-al-ʿAzīz known as Ebn Omm Walad (d. 908/1502). Another rendering, in Turkish verse, was commenced by Pīr Moḥammad ʿAzmī for the Ottoman sultan Salīm II and finished by ʿAzmī’s son, the poet Ḥālatī (d. 1039/1629).
ʿAṣṣār’s death is variously placed in 779/1377, 784/1382, or even 792/1389-90. The last date, given in the Selselat al-awlīāʾ of Sayyed Moḥammad Nūrbaḵš, the founder of the Nūrbaḵšīya dervish order, is unlikely to be correct.
Ātaškada, pp. 131-32. Cat. Bib. Nat. III, pp. 218-19.
Ebn Yūsof Šīrāzī, ed., Fehrest-e nosaḵ-e ḵetāb-ḵāna-ye Maǰles-e Šūrā-ye Mellī-e Īrān III, Tehran, 1321 Š./1942, pp. 691-92.
ʿA. Eqbāl Āštīānī, Tārīḵ-emofaṣṣal-e Īrān: ʿAhd-e Moḡol, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1341 Š./1962, p. 553.
EI2 I, p. 720.
Ḥāǰǰī Ḵalīfa, Kašf al-ẓonūn (Istanbul) II, cols. 1914, 1997.
Haft eqlīm II, pp. 227-29.
Nafīsī, Naẓm o naṯr, p. 203.
C. R. S. Peiper, Commentatio de libro Persico Mihr o Muschteri, Berlin, 1835.
Rieu, Pers. Man. II, pp. 626-27.
Ṣafā, Adabīyāt III, pp. 1022-31.
M. ʿA. Tarbīat, Dānešmandān-e Āḏarbāyǰān, Tehran, 1314 Š./1935, pp. 276-76.
Originally Published: December 15, 1987
Last Updated: August 17, 2011
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