MADĀR AL-AFĀŻEL (The orbit of the learned), a dictionary of the Persian language compiled in 1001/1593 by the poet and historian Allāh-dād Fayżī b. Asad al -ʿOlamāʾʿAli-šir Serhendi, who lived in India during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1606) and wrote a brief history of his reign, called Akbar-nāma or Tāriḵ-e Akbar.
Madār al-afāżel is a detailed dictionary of 12,000 words, mostly of the kind commonly encountered in poetry and in historical works. The focus of the work is on explaining Arabic and Turkic loan words in Persian, with the primary emphasis on those of Arabic origin. The dictionary is comprised of an introduction, twenty-eight chapters (bāb), and an appendix on grammar. The entries are arranged into chapters according to their first letter, and each chapter is subdivided into sections (faṣl), in which words with the same final letter are listed. Within the sections, words are grouped in the order of Arabic, Persian, and finally Turkish. The language of origin for each word is indicated respectively by “ʿa"(ʿarabi), “f” (fārsi), and “t” (torki).
The entries are illustrated with examples taken from the works of famous Persian poets like Ferdowsi, ʿOnṣori, Šahid Balḵi, Kesāʾi Marvazi, Ḵāqāni Šarvāni, Rudaki, Saʿdi, Neẓāmi Ganjavi, and Ḥāfeẓ. There are also examples from the author’s own poetry.
Among the sources of Madār al-afāżel are the Persian dictionaries Farhang-e zafānguyā wa jahānpuyā of Badr-al-Din Ebrāhim (comp. 1434), Adāt al-fożalā of Badr-al-Din Moḥammad Dehlavi (comp. 1419), Farhang-e ebrāhimi (i.e., Šaraf-nāma-yeMonyari) of Ebrāhim Qewām Fāruqi (comp. 1473), Toḥfat al-saʿāda eskandari of Maḥmud b. Shaikh ŻIāʾ-al-Din (comp. 1510), Moʾayyed al-foẓalā of Moḥammad Lād (comp. 1519), and the Arabic dictionaries al-Ṣorāḥ men al-Ṣaḥāh of Jamāl-al-Din Moḥammad Qarši (comp. 1282), Mohaḏḏeb al-asmāʾ of Qāżi Maḥmud b. ʿOmar Zanji (13th cent.), Neṣāb al-ṣebyān of Abu Naṣr Farāhi (1221), andthe “two Tājs” (Tājayn, apparently meaning the Tāj al-maṣāder of Abu Jaʿfar Bayhaqi [d. 1150], and dictionary Tāj al-loḡa wa ṣeḥāḥ al-ʿarabiya compiled by the 10th-century lexicographer Abu Naṣr Jawhari).
Allād-Dād FayżI, Madār al-afāżel, ed. Moḥammad Bāqer, 2 vols., Lahore, 1959.
Muhammad Baqir (Bāqer), “Iranian lexicography with Special Reference to Madār-ol-afāẓel: an Unpublished Lexicon of the 16th Century,” in Akten des vierundzwanzigsten internationalen Orientalisten Kongresses München, Wiesbaden, 1959, pp. 456-58.
Solomon I. Bayevsky, Opisanie persidskikh rukopiseĭ Instituta narodov Azii (Description of the Persian manuscripts in the Institute of the Peoples of Asia), fasc. 4, Moscow, 1962, pp. 31-33.
Idem, “Srednevekovaya persidskaya leksiskografiya” (Medieval Persian lexicography), in Agniya V. Denitskaya and Solomon Davidovich Katsnelson, eds., Istoriya lingvisticheskikh uchenii: Srednevekovyi Vostok, Leningrad, 1981, pp. 115-29.
Idem, Rannyaya persidskaya leksikografiya, XI-XV vv. (Early Persian lexicography, 11th-15th cent. C.E.), Moscow, 1989.
Henry Blochmann, “Contributions to Persian Lexicography,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal 37/1, 1868, pp. 10-11.
Moḥammad Dabirsiāqi, Farhanghā-ye fārsi wa farhang-gunahā, Tehran, 1989, pp. 101-2.
Idem, Farhanghā-ye fārsi ba fārsi, Tehran, 1996, pp. 104-6.
Vladimir Alexandrovich Kapranov, Tadzhiksko-persidskaya leksikografiya v Indii XVI-XIX vv. (Tajik-Persian lexicography in India, 16th-19th cent. C.E.), Dushanbe, 1987.
Paul de Lagarde, Persische Studien, Gottingen, 1884, pp. 60-62.
David N. MacKenzie, “Ḳāmus ii: Persian Lexicography,” in EI2 IV, 1978, pp. 525-27.
Monzawi, Nosḵahā III, cols. 1947-48.
Nafisi, Naẓm o naṯr, I, p. 366.
Shahriār Naqawi, Farhang-nevisi-e fārsi dar Hend wa Pākestān, Tehran, 1962.
Ṣafā, Adabiyāt V, p. 386. Carl Salemann, “Bericht über die Ausgabe des Miʿjār i Jamāli,” in Mélanges Asiatiques 9, St. Petersburg, 1888, p. 530. Storey, III/1, pp. 22-23.
Originally Published: July 20, 2002
Last Updated: July 20, 2002