ʿERĀQĪ,FAḴR-al-DĪN EBRĀHĪM

b. Bozorgmehr Javāleqī Hamadānī (b. Komjān, ca. 1213-14, d. Damascus, 1289), Sufi poet and author.

 

ʿERĀQĪ,FAḴR-al-DĪN EBRĀHĪM b. Bozorgmehr Javāleqī Hamadānī (b. Komjān, a village near Hamadān, ca. 610/1213-14, d. Damascus 688/1289), Sufi poet and author. A biography that may be as late as the beginning of the 9th/15th century provides most of what is known about his life (publ. in Kollīyāt, pp. 46-65); many of the anecdotes supply context for his ḡazals and have little historical significance, though they do suggest that ʿErāqī, like Aḥmad Ḡazālī and Awḥad-al-Dīn Kermānī (qq.v.), was known as a šāhedbāz, i.e., one who gazed upon the image of the divine witness in the faces of boys (e.g., Kollīyāt, pp. 49-50, 63). ʿErāqī was well-educated; he had memorized the Koran by the time he was six years old and was already lecturing at a school in Hamadān at the age of seventeen. As a young man he joined a group of wandering qalandars (designation of a class of dervishes known for their unconventional dress and way of life), eventually ending up in Multan, where he became a disciple of the Sohravardī shaikh Bahāʾ-al-Dīn Zakarīyāʾ and married his daughter (Kollīyāt, pp. 50-52). ʿErāqī remained in Multan as a disciple of Shaikh Bahāʾ-al-Dīn for twenty-five years. After Bahāʾ-al-Dīn died in 661/1262 or 666/1267-68 ʿErāqī left for Mecca, eventually reaching Konya in Anatolia, where he met Jalāl-al-Dīn Moḥammad Balḵī Rūmī and studied with Ebn al-ʿArabī’s chief disciple, Ṣadr-al-Dīn Qūnavī (d. 673/1274; Kollīyāt, pp. 53-55), whose students included Sufi authors Saʿīd-al-Dīn Faṟḡānī, Moʾayyed-al-Dīn Jandī, and ʿAfīf-al-Dīn Telemsānī. He attended Rūmī’s sessions of samāʿ and is said to have been present at his funeral (Chittick and Wilson’s introd. to Lamaʿāt, p. 43). The Mongols’ administrator, Moʿīn-al-Dīn Parvāna (for him see Kollīyāt, pp. 28-29; Cahen, index, s.v.), who had frequented Rūmī’s gatherings, became ʿErāqī’s devotee and built a ḵānaqāh for him in Dūqāt (Tokat). ʿErāqī became acquainted with the Il-khan Abaqa’s vizier, Šams-al-Dīn Moḥammad Jovaynī, who helped him escape when he was suspected of having assisted the disgraced Parvāna (Kollīyāt, pp. 59-61). He then went to Sinope, where Moʿīn-al-Dīn Moḥammad, a son of Parvāna, was the ruler and a patron of Sufis (Chittick and Wilson’s introd. to Lamaʿāt, pp. 65-66). From there he went to Cairo, where he spent some years, and finally to Damascus, where his son Ḵabīr-al-Dīn joined him. ʿErāqī died and was buried in the Ṣāleḥīya cemetery in Damascus next to Ebn al-ʿArabī. No trace of his tomb exists (Nafīsī’s introd. to Kollīyāt, pp. 43-44).

ʿErāqī’s dīvān comprises about 5800 bayts, mainly ḡazals. Many of the poems date from his time in India; only a few are clearly influenced by the teachings of Ebn al-ʿArabī and thus can be confidently dated to the period after he met Qūnavī, though many others may well have been written during this period (for a detailed study, see Baldick, 1980). Scholars of Persian literature have generally accorded ʿErāqī a high place among poets of love on the basis of his ḡazals and tarjīʿāt. Nafīsī, for example, considers his bold exposition of love mysteries to be unparalleled in all Persian poetry (Kollīyāt, p. 38).

ʿErāqī’s short mixed prose and poetry classic, Lamaʿāt, was inspired by Qūnavī’s lectures on Ebn al-ʿArabī’s works. In modern editions, it has twenty-seven chapters, but early manuscripts suggest that one of the chapters is in fact two, which would give it twenty-eight chapters, like Ebn al-ʿArabī’s Foṣūṣ al-ḥekam (Baldick, 1981, p. 99). There are few other formal resemblances with the Foṣūsá al-ḥekam, even though the text is obviously based on Qūnavī’s interpretations of Ebn al-ʿArabī’s teachings (see Chittick and Wilson’s introd.). Some have questioned this judgment because ʿErāqī begins the Lamaʿāt by saying that he is following in the traditions (sonan) of Aḥmad Ḡazālī’s Sawānehá; this, however, refers to the focus upon love rather than to the doctrinal underpinnings of the work. Naṣr-Allāh Pūrjawādī (p. 75) goes too far when he suggests that, by writing the Lamaʿāt in the tradition of the Sawānehá, ʿErāqī meant to bring Ebn al-ʿArabī’s teachings into harmony with those of Aḥmad Ḡazālī. This ignores the fact that Ebn al-ʿArabī himself has a metaphysics of love that Qūnavī developed in great detail through his lectures on Ebn al-Fāreż’s Nażm al-solūk, also known as al-Tāʾīyaal-kobrā (recorded in Saʿīd-al-Dīn Farḡānī’s Mašāreq al-darārī, but see Pūrjawādī’s more nuanced remarks in Ḡazālī, pp. 9-10; Chittick and Wilson’s introd. to Lamaʿāt, p. 5). One of the earliest of commentaries on the Lamaʿāt, al-Lamaḥātfī šarḥ al-Lamaʿāt by the 8th/14th century Sufi Yār-ʿAlī Šīrāzī, is correct to explain ʿErāqī’s meaning mainly by reference to the works of Qūnavī, Farḡānī, and Moʾayyed-al-Dīn Jandī. The most famous of the commentaries, Jāmī’s Ašeʿʿat al-lamaʿāt (q.v.), also sees the work mainly in terms of the teachings of Qūnavī and his school (for other commentaries, see Nafīsī’s introd. to Kollīyāt, pp. 38-39, and ʿErāqī, 1984, p. 18).

A short treatise on Sufi terminology, often called Eṣṭelāḥāt, has been published in ʿErāqī’s name (Kollīyāt, pp. 410-27; Lamaʿāt, ed. Nūrbaḵš, p. 53-72), but it is more likely a version of Rašf al-alḥāẓ fī kašf al-alfāzá by the 8th/14th century Sufi Šaraf-al-Dīn Ḥosayn b. Olfatī Tabrīzī (ed. N. Māyel Heravī, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983). ʿOššāq-nāma, also known as Dah nāma, a mixture of maṯnawīs and ḡazals, has been attributed to ʿErāqī and translated into English (A. J. Arberry, The Song of Lovers, Oxford, 1939), but Baldick has argued convincingly that it is in fact authored by an admirer of ʿErāqī called ʿAṭāʾī (1983, pp. 49-60).

ʿErāqī’s only other known prose work is a letter to Ṣadr-al-Dīn Qūnavī (tr. in Chittick and Wilson’s introd. to Lamaʿāt, pp. 46-49). Written in the style of the Lamaʿāt, it has some historical importance because it mentions that Ebn al-ʿArabī (long since dead) had called ʿErāqī to Damascus, from whence ʿErāqī went to Jerusalem and then to Medina, where he wrote the letter. In it he complains of separation from Qūnavī. Presumably he returned to Konya after writing it, though perhaps not before Qūnavī’s death in 673/1274.

 

Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):

J. Baldick, Deux traités de Fakhroddīn ʿErāqī [Lamaʿāt and Eṣṭelāḥāt], thesis, Paris, 1976.

Idem, ed. and tr., The Poems of Fakhr al-Dīn ʿIrāqī, Ph.D. diss., Oxford, 1980.

Idem, “Persian Ṣūfī Poetry up to the Fifteenth Century,” in G. Morrison ed., History of Persian Literature from the Beginning of the Islamic Period to the Present Day, Leiden and Köln, 1981.

Idem, “The Authenticity of ʿIrāqī’s ʿUshshāq-nāma,” Stud. Ir. 3, 1983, pp. 49-60.

Browne, Hist. Pers. Lit. III, pp. 124-39.

Cl. Cahen, Pre-Ottoman Turkey, New York, 1968.

ʿErāqī, Kollīyāt-e ʿErāqī, ed. S. Nafīsī, Tehran, 1338 Š./1959.

Idem, Lamaʿāt, ed. J. Nūrbaḵš, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974; ed. M. Ḵᵛājavī, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984; tr. with comm. and introd. W. C. Chittick and P. L. Wilson as Fakhruddin ʿIraqī. Divine Flashes, New York, 1982.

Aḥmad Ḡazālī, Sawānehá, tr. with comm. N. Pourjavady (Pūrjavādy) as Sawāniḥ: Inspirations from the World of Pure Spirits. The Oldest Persian Sufi Treatise on Love by Aḥmad Ghazzālī, London, 1986.

Haft eqlīm II, pp. 534-39.

P. Ḵāʾefī, Maqālahā wa moqābalahā II, Shiraz, 1356 Š./1977, pp. 193-202.

Ḵayyāmpūr, Farhang-e soḵanvarān, p. 386.

H. Massé, “ʿIrāḳī,” EI2III, pp. 1269-70.

N. Pūrjawādī, Solṭān-e ṭarīqat, Tehran, 1358 Š./1979.

Mey-ḵāna, ed. Golčīn-e Maʿānī, pp. 27-56.

Ṣafā, Adabīyāt III, pp. 567-84, 1196-98.

(William C. Chittick)

Originally Published: December 15, 1998

Last Updated: December 15, 2011

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