MONJIK TERMEḎI

 

MONJIK TERMEḎI, ABU’L-ḤASAN ʿALI B. MOḤAMMAD, a Persian-language poet of the late 10th century.

Termeḏi’s name, Monjik, is probably derived from monj “honeybee,” as in one distich he calls himself small like a monj and refers to his poems being as sweet as honey: Har čand ḥaqiram soḵanam ʿāli-o širin / Āri ʿasal-e širin nāyad magar az monj (Although I am humble, my word is excellent and sweet / Yes, sweet honey can only come from a honeybee; Monjik Termeḏi, p. 39, bayt 301). Little is known about him. In the latter half of the 10th century, Termeḏi was a panegyrist of Āl-e Moḥtāj (Čaǧānid) rulers in Transoxiana, during a period that roughly corresponds to the years intervening between the presence of Daqiqi and Farroḵi Sistāni at their court.

The two major rulers praised by Monjik were Abu’l-Moẓaffar Aḥmad b. Moḥammad Čaǧāni (in two qaṣidas: Monjik, pp. 3-4, bayts 32-42; pp. 15-20, bayts 141-85) and Abu Yaḥyā Ṭāher b. Fażl Čaǧāni (d. 991) (in three qaṣidas: pp. 6-7, bayts 54-62; p. 10, bayts 99-106; pp. 21-22, bayts 192-99). Two other Čaǧānid notables who were praised by Monjik were Abu Moḥammad ʿAbbās (probably Ṭāher b. Fażl’s brother: see Edāreči Gilāni, p. 187; Monjik, p. 5, bayts 48-53) and Abu’l-Moẓaffar ʿAbdollāh b. Abu ʿAli Aḥmad (Abu’l-Moẓaffar Aḥmad’s uncle: see Nafisi, p. 1264; Monjik, pp. 11-13, bayts 111-27). Monjik was contemporary of many master poets in the court of Čaǧānids, including Daqiqi, Badiʿ Balḵi, Labibi, Farroḵi, and even Ṭāher b. Fażl himself. Šahid Balḵi satirized Monjik in a distich quoted by Wafāʾi in his Farhang (p. 36), which is similar in rhyme with two satirical distichs of Monjik quoted by Asadi in Loḡat-e fors (p. 272). It seems therefore likely that these two distichs of Monjik (p. 14, bayts 139-40) probably refer to Šahid. Monjik was also satirized in two distichs by an anonymous poet named Borqaʿi (Monjik, p. 29, bayt 252; p. 59, bayt 405), which are the only surviving sources to bear his name. In some memoirs and anthologies, Monjik is credited with being a harp-player (e.g. see Awḥadi Balyāni, p. 3874 and Hedāyat, p. 1176).

According to Nāṣer Ḵosrow in his Safar-nāma (p. 9), the divāns of Monjik and Daqiqi were extant in the 11th century. Of Monjik’s divān, however, only some fragments have survived in poetical anthologies and biographical memoirs (taḏkeras), dictionaries, and other literary prose works. Poetical anthologies such as Lobāb al-albāb (ʿAwfi, 1906, II, pp. 13-14; idem, 1956, pp. 252-53), ʿArafāt al-ʿāšeqin (Awḥadi Balyāni, VI, pp. 3874-83), Haft eqlim (Rāzi, III, pp. 84-86), Ḵayr al-bayān (Sistāni, p. 138), Majmaʿ al-foṣaḥā (Hedāyat, V, pp. 1176-80), and anthologies still in manuscript (e.g., Yaǧmāʾi, pp. 116-18; MS. 2446, pp. 642-44; MS. 53-D, pp. 437-41) include some complete poems rather than fragments, including some qaṣidas, the longest of which contains forty-five distichs. Other sources, such as Loǧat-e fors, Tarjomān al-balāḡa, Ḥadāʾeq al-seḥr, Al-moʿjam fi maʿāʾir-e ašʿār al-ʿajam, Ṣaḥāḥ al-fors, and Farhangs of Qawwās (see FARHANG-E QAWWĀS), Wafāʾi (see FARHANG-E WAFĀʾI), Awbahi, Ḥosayn Enju (see FARHANG-E JAHĀNGĪRĪ), Soruri (see FARHANG-E SORŪRĪ), ʿAbd-al- Rašīd Ḥosaynī (see FARHANG-E RAŠĪDĪ), and Šoʿuri, contain some single distichs.

Moḥammad Dabirsiāqi (1955 and 1972) and Gilbert Lazard (1964) were the first to collect and edit the extant fragments of early Persian poetry. In 1991, Aḥmad Edāreči Gilāni (pp. 196-216) and Moḥammad Modabberi (pp. 218-251) published two new edited collections of the verses surviving from Monjik as well as the other leading Persian poets. Subsequently, some newly found verses of Monjik were published by ʿAli Ašraf Ṣādeqi (pp. 289-95) and Ehsan Shavarebi [Eḥsān Šavārebi] (pp. 10-12). The last effort to collect and edit the poems of Monjik was that of Ehsan Shavarebi, which led to the publication of a reconstituted version of Monjik’s Divān from his remained poems. Altogether, 410 distichs are gathered in this edition, about 50 of which are newly found. Among these poems, 170 distichs are found singly, and the others are mostly part of some qaṣidas, chiefly in the metrical forms of możāreʿ, mojtaṯ, hazaj, motaqāreb, and monsareḥ with the exception of two distichs that belong to a maṯnavi in hazaj (Monjik, p. 26, bayts 239-40).

Monjik, in most of the memoires and anthologies, is mentioned as an outstanding master among the early Persian poets. His fragments contain some usual themes of early Persian poetry, namely description of nature, love, eulogy of wine, wisdom, panegyrics, and satire. He is, however, mostly known for his satires (both hajv “lampoon” and hazl “jest”;  cf. Behzādi Anduhjerdi, pp. 31-32), as witnessed by the reference in Suzani Samarqandi’s divān in which he compared himself with Monjik in satire: Man ān kasam ke čo kardam be hajv goftan rāy / Hezār Monjik az piš-e man kam ārad pāy (I am the one that if I decide to satirize / A thousand ones like Monjik would be at loss; Suzani, p. 93). We do not know the persons who are addressed in the satires of Monjik, but the word vāja is frequently seen in his poems, especially in the satires, for example in the following verses concerning the meanness of an unknown Ḵvāja:
Gugerd-e sorḵ ḵvāst ze man sabz-e man parir,
Emruz agar nayāftami ruy-zardami;
Goftam ke nik bud ke gugerd-e sorḵ ḵvāst,
Gar nān-e ḵvāja ḵāsti az man če kardami?
(Rāzi, p. 376; Monjik Termeḏi, p. 25, bayts 225-26)

The day before yesterday, my beloved asked me for red sulfur [philosopher’s stone, lapis philosophorum].
If I do not find it today, I will be “yellow-faced” [ashamed].
I said to myself that it was good that the request was for the philosopher’s stone;
For what would I do, had I been asked for bread from the Master’s [Ḵvāja] table?

His panegyrics are also of a great importance, as his fellow-citizen poet, Adib Ṣāber-e Termeḏi (see ADĪB ṢĀBER) points out in dealing with Šahid and Monjik’s poetical output (Adib Ṣāber, p. 382). Monjik was one of the first Persian poets to replace tašbih “simile” with esteʿāra “metaphor” (Šafiʿi Kadkani, p. 347). He also utilized many novel kenāyas “periphrasis” and eḡrāqs “exaggerations,” which brought him success in satire.

 

Bibliography:

Sources.

Adib Ṣāber Termeḏi, Divān, ed. M. ʿA. Nāṣeḥ, Tehran, 1964.

Asadi Tusi, Loḡat-e fors, ed. ʿA. Eqbāl, Tehran, 1940.

Moḥammad ʿAwfi, Lobāb al-albāb, ed. E. G. Browne and M. Qazvini, Leiden, 1906; ed. S. Nafisi, Tehran, 1956.

Taqi-al-din Moḥammad Awḥadi Balyāni, ʿArafāt al-ʿāšeqin va ʿaraṣāt al-ʿārefin, ed. Z. Ṣāḥebkār, A. Faḵr-Aḥmad, and M. Qahramān, Tehran, 2010.

Reżā-qoli Hedāyat, Majmaʿ al-foṣaḥā, ed. M. Moṣaffā, Tehran, 1961.

Monjik Termeḏi, Divān, ed. E. Shavarebi, Tehran, 2012.

Ms. 2446, Central Library, University of Tehran.

Ms. 53-D, Library of the Faculty of Letters, University of Tehran.

Nāṣer Ḵosrow, Safar-nāma, ed. Nāder Wazinpur, Tehran, 1971.

Amin b. Aḥmad Rāzi, Haft eqlim, ed. J. Fāżel, 3 vols. Tehran, 1961.

Šams-e Qeys Rāzi, Al-Moʿjam fi maʿāʾir-e ašʿār al-ʿajam, ed. M. Qazvini, Tehran, 1956.

Malek Šāh Ḥoseyn Sistāni, Ḵayr al-bayān, Ms. 923, the Majles Library, Tehran.

Suzani Samarqandi, Divān, ed. N. Šāh-Ḥosayni, Tehran, 1959.

Ḥoseyn Wafāʾi, Farhang-e Wafāʾi, ed. Teng Huizhu, Tehran, 1995.

 

Studies and recent anthologies.

F. de Blois, Persian Literature: A Bio-Bibliographical Survey V/1, London, 1992.

E. G. Browne, A Literary History of Persia, 4 vols., London, 1953.

Ḥ. Behzādi Anduhjerdi, Ṭanz-pardāzān-e Iran, Tehran, 2004.

M. Dabirsiāqi, Ganj-e bāz-yāfta, Tehran, 1955.

Idem, Piš-āhangān-e šeʿr-e pārsi, Tehran, 1972.

A. Edāreči Gilāni, Šāʿerān-e ham-ʿaṣr-e Rudaki, Tehran, 1991.

B.-Z. Foruzānfar, Soḵan va soḵanvarān, Tehran, 1971.

G. Lazard, Les premiers poètes persans. Fragments rassemblés, édités et traduits, 2 vols., Tehran and Paris, 1964.

S. Nafisi, Aḥvāl va ašʿār-e Abu ʿAbdollāh Jaʿfar b. Moḥammad Rudaki Samarqandi, Tehran, 1930.

M. Modabberi, Šarḥ-e aḥvāl va ašʿār-e šāʿerān-e bi-divān dar qarnhā-ye 3, 4, 5 hejri-e qamari, Tehran, 1991.

J. Rypka, History of Iranian Literature, Dordrecht, 1968.

ʿA. A. Ṣādeqi, “Ašʿār-e tāzeh-i az Monjik,” in Jašn-nāme-ye ostād ʿA.-M. Āyati, ed. Ḡ. ʿA. Ḥaddād-e ʿĀdel, Tehran, 2010, pp. 289-95.

E. Shavarebi, “Ašʿār-i no-yāfte az Monjik Termeḏi,” Gozāreš-e mirāṯ 46, 2011, pp. 10-12.

M. R. Šafiʿi Kadkani, Ṣovar-e ḵiāl dar šeʿr-e fārsi, Tehran, 1979.

Z. Ṣafā, Tāriḵ-e adabiyāt dar Iran, 5 vols. in seven, Tehran, 1990.

Idem, Ganj-e soḵan, 2 vols. Tehran, 1960.

Ḥ. Yaḡmāʾi, ed., Nemune-ye naẓm va naṯr-e fārsi az asātid-e moteqaddem, Tehran, 1964.

(Ehsan Shavarebi)

Last Updated: June 27, 2013