BESMEL ŠĪRĀZĪ, ḤĀJĪ ʿALĪ-AKBAR, also known as Nawwāb, Persian writer and poet of note of the 12th-13th/18th-19th centuries, who, as he says himself in the Taḏkera-ye delgošā, was famous among his contemporaries as Ḥājj Akbar Nawwāb. Besmel’s forefathers resided in Isfahan during Safavid times, but, after the Afghan invasion of 1135/1722, left that city for Shiraz. It was there that Besmel’s father, Āqā ʿAlī, was born and where, in 1187/1773, Besmel was himself born. He attended one of the old schools of Shiraz, the Madrasa-ye Ḥakīm, where he, as he says in the Taḏkera-ye delgošā, became so adept in literary, philosophical, and religious learning, and became so familiar with Sufi teachings that he surpassed his contemporaries in general erudition. Besmel sought to ingratiate himself with Ḥosayn-ʿAlī Mīrzā Farmānfarmā (the fifth son of Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah, d. 1251/1835; see Bāmdād, Rejāl I, pp. 438-42) by marrying one of his daughters; though he then was given the title Nawwāb, he never abandoned his literary and scholarly activities. He continued to live in Shiraz until 1263/1846, the year of his death. Ḥājī ʿAlī-Akbar is not to be confused with his contemporary Ḥājī Molllā Ḥasan (Safīnat al-Maḥmūd II, p. 511).
Ḥājī ʿAlī-Akbar’s works include a long Dīvān containing a variety of poetic forms; an independent poem, the Andarz-nāma; and a biographical compendium known as (Taḏkera-ye) Delgošā, which contains notices on 185 contemporary poets, including Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah and twelve Qajar princes. The Taḏkera is also important for the information about Shiraz, its surroundings, its mosques, religious schools, and buildings contained in four introductory essays. The work was completed in 1237/1821. Among Besmel Šīrāzī’s other works are Eṯbāt al-wājeb and Nūr al-hedāya on theology (kalām); a commentary on the Sī faṣl of Ḵᵛāja Naṣīr-al-Dīn Ṭūsī on astronomy; glosses on the Koranic commentary by Bayżāwī and on another in Persian; Ḥāšīa-ye madārek and Ḏaḵīrat al-nejāt on Islamic jurisprudence (feqh); Toḥfat al-safar on rhetoric (maʿānī wa bayān) in Persian; and Baḥr al-laʾālī, biographies of the Prophet Moḥammad and the imams of the Shiʿites in several volumes. One of the most complete manuscripts of his works is found in the Central Library of the University of Tehran (no. 2999).
Besmel Šīrāzī, Taḏkera-ye delgošā, ms., al-Ḏarīʿa VII/1, p. 137.
Ḥājj Mīrzā Ḥasan Fasāʾī, Fārs-nama-ye nāṣerī II, Tehran, n.d., pp. 37, 143.
Goḷčīn-e Maʿānī, Taḏkerahā I, pp. 225-38.
Reżāqolī Khan Hedāyat, Majmaʿ al-foṣaḥāʾ III, Tehran, lithograph, n.d., p. 82.
Idem, Rīāż al-ʿārefīn, Tehran, 1316 Š./1937-38, pp. 414, 422-24.
Raḥmat-Allāh Mehrāz, Bozorgān-e Šīrāz, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969-70, p. 342.
M.-ʿA. Modarres Tabrīzī, Rayḥānat al-adab fī tarājem al-maʿrūfīn be’l-konyā wa’l-laqab I, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1335 Š./1956-57, p. 172.
Esmāʿīl Pāšā, Īżāḥ al-maknūn fi’l-ḏayl ʿalā Kašf al-ẓonūn I, Istanbul, 1945, cols. 166, 250, 478, 493.
Aḥmad Ḵarāb Qājār, Maṣṭaba-ye ḵarāb, ed. ʿA. Ḵayyāmpūr, Tabrīz, 1344 Š./1965-66, pp. 27-28.
Maḥmūd Mīrzā Qājār, Safīnat al-Maḥmūd II, ed. ʿA. Ḵayyāmpūr, Tabrīz, 1346 Š./1967-68), pp. 507-10.
Forṣat-al-Dawla Šīrāzī, Āṯār-e ʿajam, Bombay, 1354/1935-36, pp. 243-44.
Ḥājj Moḥammad Maʿṣūm Šīrāzī, Ṭarāʾeq al-ḥaqāʾeq III, Tehran, 1316/1898-99, p. 156.
Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Šoʿāʿ-al-Molk Šīrāzī, Šekārestān-e Pārs, ms.
Originally Published: December 15, 1989
Last Updated: December 15, 1989
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Vol. IV, Fasc. 2, p. 171