MOJIR-AL-DIN BAYLAQĀNI, Persian poet of the 12th century, born in Baylaqān in Arrān (now part of the Republic of Azerbaijan). He was a contemporary of Khāqāni (Ḵāqāni Šervāni), Aṯir-al-Din Aḵsikati, and Jamāl-al-Din Eṣfahāni; and, as a number of poems indicate, their relationship was at times marked by verbal sparring. Mojir was also a contemporary of Falaki Šervāni and lamented his death in a tarjiʿ-band (Divān, pp. 375-81). 

The quarrel with Khāqāni is most famously connected with a couple of short satirical poems Mojir had written on the city of Isfahan and for which Khāqāni had been partially blamed. Some poets from Isfahan, including Jamāl-al-Din, reacted to Mojir’s poems by composing retaliatory short satires of their own. By writing a panegyric on that same city, Khāqāni tried to distance himself from the satires of Mojir whom he only refers to obliquely as “a damned demon,” an anagram (R-J-I-M) of the letters in his name (“div-e rajim,” Divān, ed. Sajjādi, p. 356, v. 8). A few lines later he complains that “the teacher got the blame” while "the fault was the pupil’s” (p. 356, v. 17). This single verse, in a polemical context, may well be the origin of the long-held view that posits Khāqāni as Mojir’s teacher, since no other source, including the taḏkeras compiled before the end of the 16th century, contains this information (Beelaert, 1995, pp. 55-57). The satirical verses quoted by Reżāqoli Khan Hedāyat and considered by him to be directed against Khāqāni (Majmaʿ al- foṣaḥā III, pp. 1819-20), are extracted from a long qaṣida that incidentally contains both invective and praise (Divān, no. 52). More importantly, they are in fact aimed against someone else with the same laqab of “Afżal-al-Din” (Ābādi, introduction to the Divān, pp. xxii-xxiii; Zipoli, pp. 465-66). Mojir also wrote a long panegyric in praise of Khāqāni (Divān, no. 5; a shorter version is found in the Divān of Rašid-al-Din Waṭwāṭ, pp. 24-26, but Kandli Harisči, p. 259, has convincingly argued that the poem is Mojir’s).

Mojir and Aṯir shared a number of mamduḥs (see below), a situation that led to some rivalry. This is indicated for instance by a qeṭʿa that, according to ʿAwfi, alludes to a conflict with the ruler Qïzïl Arslān (r. 582/1186-587/1191) who, after Mojir’s temporary absence, favored Aṯir in his place. (Divān, ed. Ābādi, no. 18; ʿAwfi, Lobāb al-albāb, pp. 406-7).

The oldest poems in the Divān seem to be two qaṣidas dedicated to the Šervānšāh Manučehr (d. 555/1160-61; see Šervānshāhs) (ed. nos. 38 and 47); most of Mojir’s panegyrics, however, are dedicated to Eldigüzid Atabegs (see Atābakān-e Āḏarbāyjān), in particular Noṣrat-al-Din Jahān Pahlavān (r. 571/1175 – 582/1186) and his brother Qïzïl Arslān, and to the Saljuq Sultan Arslān b. Toḡrïl (r. 556/1161-571/1176). A number of poems dedicated to one Sayf-al-Din Mir Arslān, who can perhaps be identified with the ruler of Darband (r. ca. 530/1136 to ca. 559/1164-566/1170) are arguably also among his earliest compositions (Foruzānfar, 1990, pp. 584-85). Some thirty other people were the recipients of his praise and his invective (a small number of his qaṣidas and qeṭʿas can be classified as hajws). Several of these names, in particular the addressees of the qeṭʿas, are unidentified and, given the scant information offered in the poems, may remain so. The long introduction by Moḥammad Ābādi to his edition of the Divān does not address this issue, nor does it provide a descriptive list of the identified addressees.

Mojir’s voluminous Divān contains all the usual verse-forms: sixty-seven qaṣidas (many of them with multiple maṭlaʿs), four strophic poems, nearly ninety qeṭʿas, some eighty ghazals (eight of them panegyrics), more than one hundred robāʿis and more than fifty molammaʿāt. A separate section is devoted to šakwāʾiyāt, though it is not clear from Ābādi’s edition of the Divān whether this reflects a manuscript tradition (on these manuscripts see below). The section contains forty poems complaining of the fickleness of this world (donyā), the separation from friends, old age, and want of proper appreciation. 

Although the traditional claim that Mojir was Khāqāni’s ‘pupil’ is questionable, his poems, except for the early poems mentioned above, show the undeniable influence of Khāqāni’s style. In some cases this resulted in a good poem, even though the outcome may appear as a pastiche of Khāqāni’s verses. An example is the qaṣida with the radif  “suḵta,” in which he interweaves a complaint on his personal condition with a depiction of a cold winter (no. 77; which may be a second maṭlaʿ of no. 76). This influence does not, however, always lead to felicitous results. Khāqāni’s imagery may be ‘difficult’, but a reader who perseveres will perceive that the argument falls into place. Mojir’s images, on the other hand, are often far-fetched, miss an internal logic (for some examples, see Foruzānfar, p. 580, n. 4), and fail to induce the same poetic effect. Although his poems regularly appear in anthologies (see below), hardly any of them have achieved the status of a memorable ‘classic’.

Apart from an unpublished edition prepared as a doctoral thesis at the University of Aligarh (see bibliography), there are two published editions of Mojir’s Divān. Only the later edition, by Moḥammad Ābādi is a critical one. It is based on eight manuscripts of divāns and miscellanies or anthologies. Ābādi mentions another five, without a siglum, but they do not figure in his critical apparatus (introduction to the Divān, pp. lxxviii-lxxxvii.)  Storey/de Blois (1994, pp. 427-28) mentions six of the manuscripts to which Ābādi gives a siglum, as well as five more not mentioned by him.  Except for one miscellany dated 741/1340-41 that contains only some two hundred of Mojir’s verses (Ābādi’s lām), none of these manuscripts antedate the 16th or 17th century. Ābādi uses as copy-text a jong in the Lālā Esmāʿil collection (Hekimoǧlu Ali Paşa 669/4), which bears a waqf notice dated 1097/1685-86, while the manuscript itself is written in nasḵi and is obviously considerably older. However, Ābādi does not use (or even mention) the oldest manuscript in which some of Mojir’s poems are handed down, the unique manuscript, dated 635/1238, of Rāvandi’s history of the Saljuqs, Rāḥat al-ṣodur wa āyat al-sorur (Paris, Bibl. Nationale, Suppl. persan 1314). Mojir is Rāvandi’s most quoted poet (see Muḥammad Iqbál’s introduction to his edition, p. xxii). Apart from short quotations, Rāvandi includes six complete qaṣidas, dedicated either to the Saljuq Arslān or to the Eldigüzids Jahān-Pahlavān and Qïzïl Arslān (Rāḥat al-ṣodur pp. 301-27, in Ābādi’s edition nos. 9, 12, 20, 28, 32 and 79). Mojir’s poems are frequently quoted in many more anthologies, some of them existing in old copies, such as the well-known Moʾnes al-aḥrār by Moḥammad b. Badr Jājarmi, which exists in an autograph copy of 741/1341, and a manuscript of a jong in the Majles Library in Tehran, no. 14017, dated 695/1295-96; neither of these were used by Ābādi. These anthologies occasionally (such as the above-mentioned jong in the Majles Library) contain poems not included in the published Divān.



Editions of Mojir-al-Din Baylaqāni’s Divān.

Divān, ed. Taqi Bineš, Tehran, 1944 (non vidi; according to de Blois, PL V/2, p. 428, based on the incomplete London MS only).

Divān, ed. Kabeer Aḥmad Jaisi, unpublished PhD thesis, Aligarh Muslim University, 1973.

Divān, ed. Moḥammad Ābādi, Tabriz, 1979.

Primary sources.

ʿAwfi, Lobāb, ed. Nafisi, pp. 406-7.

Reżāqoli Khan Hedāyat, Majmaʿ al-foṣaḥā, ed. Maẓāher Moṣaffā, repr., Tehran, 2003, vol. I/3, pp. 1813-25.

Moḥammad b. Badr Jājarmi, Moʾnes al-aḥrār, ed. Mir Ṣāleḥ Ṭabibi, 2 vols., Tehran, 1958 and 1971.

Khāqāni Šervāni, Divān, ed. Żiyā-al-Din Sajjādi, Tehran, 1959; repr., 1978.

Moḥammad b. ʿAli Rāvandi, Rāḥat al-ṣodur wa āyat al-sorur, ed. Muḥammad Iqbál, London, 1921; rev. with brief corrections and notes by Mojtabā Minovi, Tehran, 1985. 

Secondary sources.

Anna Livia Beelaert, “La qaṣīde en honneur d’Ispahan de Xāqāni et la recherche du Xatm al-Qarā’eb,” in Christophe Balaÿ, Claire Kappler and Živa Vesel, eds., Pand-o sokhan. Mélanges offerts à Charles-Henri de Fouchécour, Tehran and Paris, 1995, pp. 53-63.

François de Blois, “Mudjīr al-Dīn Baylaḳānī” in EI², Supplement.

Badiʿ-al-Zamān Foruzānfar, Soḵan va soḵanvarān, Tehran, 1st ed., 2 vols., 1929-33; 2nd ed., 1971; repr., 1990.

Ḡaffār Kandli Harisči, Ḵāqāni Šervāni, ḥayāt, zamān va moḥiṭ-e u, Tehran, 1995; original Azeri edition, Baku, 1972.

Monzawi, Nosḵahā, vol. III, p. 2513.

Storey-de Blois, Persian Literature V/2, London, 1994, pp. 425-28.

Riccardo Zipoli, “Il Khāqāni polemico,” in Giovanna Pagani-Cesa and Ol’ga Obuchova, eds., Studi e scritti in memoria di Marzio Marzaduri, Venice, 2002, pp. 457-82.

(Anna Livia Beelaert)

Originally Published: November 14, 2014

Last Updated: November 14, 2014

Cite this entry:

Anna Livia Beelaert, "MOJIR-AL-DIN BAYLAQĀNI,"  Encyclopædia Iranicaonline edition, 2014, available at baylaqani (accessed on 14 November 2014).