BĀBĀ FAḠĀNĪ, a Persian poet in the 9th/15th and early 10th/16th centuries. Born and brought up at Shiraz, he began work as a cutler in his father’s and brother’s shop. For this reason he chose the pen-name Sakkākī, but later on he used Faḡānī instead. After the sultan Yaʿqūb Bāyondorī (Āq Qoyunlū) had given him the title bābā (an appellation of leading dervishes and qalandars), he was most widely known as Bābā Faḡānī. He left Shiraz when he was thirty years old and went first to Herat, where his poetry was not well received, then to Tabrīz, where he worked for the sultan Yaʿqūb and his successors until the Āq Qoyunlū régime began to disintegrate. He then returned to Shiraz, but at the time of Shah Esmāʿīl Ṣafawī’s rise to power he moved to Khorasan, where he lived for a time at Abīvard and then at Mašhad. He died at Mašhad at an age of over sixty in 925/1519 or, according to some accounts, 922/1516.
Bābā Faḡānī’s dīvān, which has been printed, comprises qaṣīdas, tarkīb-bands, tarjīʿ-bands, ḡazals, and robāʿīs. All are pleasing and well-written. His qaṣīdas are in praise of Twelver Shiʿite imams and Bāyondorī sultans, particularly Yaʿqūb (d. 896/1490), Bāysonqor (d. 897/1491), and Rostam Beg (d. 902/1496); the last one which he wrote is a eulogy of the Safavid Shah Esmāʿīl. In all these qaṣīdas the simplicity of the poet’s diction and the fluency and vividness of his rhetoric are impressive. He deserves praise for his attention to these qualities at a time when other poets were imitating abstruse odes of old masters or concocting purely cerebral lyric and narrative pieces. In his ḡazals the same fluency and objectivity are found together with new phrases and compounds, moving expressions of feeling, and original themes. This caused his style to be seen as different from that of his contemporaries and to be taken as a new and acceptable model. Literary critics even described him as a “Lesser Ḥāfeẓ.” His method of ḡazal writing, in particular, was widely studied in the 10th/16th, 11th/17th, and 12th/18th centuries and is reflected in the works of poets who regarded him as a master. In all fields Bābā Faḡānī exercised a lasting influence on Persian poetic style in the Safavid period.
Bābā Faḡānī, Dīvān, ed. with introd. A. Sohaylī Ḵᵛānsārī, Tehran, 1317 Š./1938, repr. 1340 Š./1961.
Sām Mīrzā, Toḥfa-ye Sāmī, Tehran, 1314 Š./1935, pp. 102-03.
Qāżī Nur-al-Dīn Šūštarī, Majāles al-moʾmenīn, lithographed, Tehran, n.d., p. 512.
Rāzī, Haft eqlīm, ed. Jawād Fāżel, Tehran, 1340 Š./1961, vol. 1, pp. 219-20.
Āḏar Bīgdelī, Ātaškada, Bombay ed., p. 291.
Mīr ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Ḵᵛāfī, Ṣamṣām-al-Dawla Šāhnavāz Khan, Bahārestān-e soḵan, Madras, 1958, pp. 528-31.
Moḥammad Qodrat-Allāh Gōpāmavī Hendī, Natāʾej al-afkār, Bombay, 1334/1916, pp. 528-31.
C. Rieu, Catalogue II, p. 651.
Nafīsī, Naẓm o naṯr, pp. 437-38.
Ṣafā, Adabīyāt IV2, pp. 411-12.
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: August 18, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 3, p. 291