BĀḴARZĪ ḴORĀSĀNĪ, RAʾĪS ABU’L-QĀSEM ʿALĪ B. ḤASAN B. ABI’L-ṬAYYEB, an Iranian littérateur of the 5th/11th century who composed poems in both Persian and Arabic and won a name for skill in the art of letter-writing (tarassol). After preliminary studies at Bāḵarz, his birthplace in Khorasan, he went to Nīšāpūr and received instruction in legal (šaṛʿī) subjects from Shaikh Abū ʿAbd-Allāh b. Yūsof Jovaynī, the father of Emām-al-Ḥaramayn Jovaynī. His friendship with ʿAmīd-al-Molk Abū Naṣr Kondorī began when they were fellow-pupils of this teacher. Despite his profound knowledge of religious subjects, particularly Shafeʿite jurisprudence, he chose not to work in that field, preferring to concentrate on Persian and Arabic literature. He soon acquired great skill in the arts of Persian and Arabic prose and verse composition. After ʿAmīd-al-Molk Kondorī had become the vizier of the Saljuq sultan Ṭoḡrel Beg, he invited Bāḵarzī, who had already spent some time in governmental service at Basra, to come to Baghdad, and appointed him a secretary. Bāḵarzī stayed only a few years at Baghdad before he resigned and went back to Khorasan. There he remained until he was murdered, while hosting a convivial party, at Nīšāpūr in 467/1074.
Bāḵarzī won a reputation for eloquence in Persian and Arabic alike. In ʿAwfī’s reckoning, he excelled with both languages and in both poetry and prose. ʿAwfī saw his dīvān entitled al-Aḥsan fī šeʿr ʿAlī b. al-Ḥasan and quotes some verses from it in Lobāb al-albāb. No copy of this dīvān has survived, but excerpts under the same title al-Aḥsan are preserved in a manuscript in the British Library. Some specimens of his poetry have been printed in the Aleppo edition of the Domyat al-qaṣr. ʿAwfī in his Lobāb al-albāb quotes twenty-two verses by Bāḵarzī and tells of seeing a collection of Bāḵarzī’s quatrains (robāʿīs), entitled Ṭarab-nāma and arranged in the order of the dotted letters, from which he quotes seven robāʿīs. Amin Rāzī quotes seven Persian verses by Bāḵarzī in his Haft eqlīm.
The best-known work of Bāḵarzī is his Domyat al-qaṣr wa ʿoṣrat ahl al-ʿaṣr, designed as a supplement to Ṯaʿālebī’s Yatīmat al-dahr. It is a taḏkera (biographical anthology) in seven parts, presenting Arabic poets of the Bedouin tribes, the Hejāz, Syria, Dīār Bakr, Azerbaijan, the Jazīra, Maḡreb, Iraq, Ray and Jebāl, Jorjān, Astarābād, Dehestān, Qūmes, Ḵᵛārazm, Transoxiana, Khorasan, Qūhestān, Sīstān, and Ḡazna. In addition, some prose pieces by writers of belles-lettres are included. This list is enough to show that the Domyat al-qaṣr is an important source of information on Arabic poets and writers in various Islamic territories up to Bāḵarzī’s lifetime. Also preserved is a book of selections from the Domyat al-qaṣr, made by ʿEmād-al-Dīn Moḥammad b. Moḥammad Eṣfahānī under the title Zobdat al-noṣra wa noḵbat al-ʿoṣra.
Bāḵarzī, Domyat al-qaṣr wa ʿoṣrat ahl al-ʿaṣr, Aleppo, 1349/1930.
ʿEmād-al-Dīn Moḥammad Eṣfahānī, Zobdat al-noṣra wa noḵbat al-ʿoṣra, Leiden, 1889.
ʿAwfī, Lobāb, ed. Nafīsī, pp. 66-69, and notes, especially pp. 625-26. Haft eqlīm I, pp. 166-68.
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: August 24, 2011
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Vol. III, Fasc. 5, p. 534