DĀNEŠ-NĀMA-YE QADAR KHAN (Book of knowledge [dedicated to] Qadar Khan), a Persian dictionary compiled by Ašrāf b. Šaraf Moḏakker Fārūḡī primarily in Malwa, India, and completed on 21 Ḏu’l-ḥejja 807/20 June 1405. It was dedicated to Qadar Khan, a son of Delāvar Khan Ḡūrī, ruler of Malwa (794-809/1392-1405). Ašrāf came from the Chandiri district of the kingdom, but nothing is known about his life or other works.

Only one manuscript of the dictionary is known; it is in the Institute of Manuscripts at the Academy of Sciences of the former Azerbaidzhan S.S.R. and is complete and well preserved. It consists of 227 paper folios measuring 23 x 13.7 cm, with nine or ten lines per page, and is bound in codex form. The script is a large calligraphic ṯolṯ (see calligraphy) in black ink; the words defined and the names of poets cited are written in cinnabar. The colophon on fol. 227a includes the date when it was copied, 29 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 811/15 April 1409, and the name of the copyist, Esḥāq b. Ebrāhīm Boḵārāʾī.

The existence of this text became known only in the 20th century, and it remains unpublished. The work consists of a preface (fols. 1b-10b) and twenty-two chapters. In the preface the author claimed to have defined words from Ferdowsī’s Šāh-nāma, Neẓāmī Ganjavī’s Eskandar-nāma, and the works of other poets, but he also meant the dictionary to be useful to those reading scientific works: “I have made a key that will unlock the treasures of scholars and poets” (fol. 4b). In particular, medical terms and the names of medicines are defined. Toward the end of the preface are lists of the old Persian names of months and days and of Persian calendar holidays (fols. 8b-10b).

The dictionary includes 2,419 definitions ranging over a broad general vocabulary, as well as names of flora and fauna. The chapters (bābs) are arranged according to the final letters of the words defined, and the sequence is that of the Arabic alphabet. There are no other structural divisions; within each chapter the entries are arranged without apparent order. The definitions are short, sometimes only synonyms. Pronunciation is not given, except for occasional interca­lation of vowels. Arabic lexical elements and words of Greek and Syriac origin are included, though usually without indication of the original languages. Some­times instead of Persian definitions the author offers only the Urdu equivalents. Like most medieval Per­sian dictionaries Dāneš-nāma-ye Qadar Khan usually does not include all the meanings of a defined word but rather only one.

One distinctive characteristic of this early example of the genre is, however, the abundance of corrobora­tive citations. Many words are accompanied by two or three examples from poetry. More than seventy-five poets from Transoxania, Khorasan, and Azerbaijan in the 10th-14th centuries are cited, including Abū ʿAbd-­Allāh Jaʿfar Rūdakī, Abū Šakūr (or Šokūr) Balḵī, Šahīd Balḵī, Abū Moʾayyad Balḵī, Abū Manṣūr Moḥammad Daqīqī, Ferdowsī, Asadī Ṭūsī, Abu’l-Qāsem Ḥasan ʿOnṣorī, Masʿūd-e Saʿd-e Salmān Gorgānī, Nāṣer-e Ḵosrow, Awḥad-al-­Dīn Moḥammad Anwarī, Ẓahīr-al-Dīn Fāryābī, Kamāl-al-Dīn Esmāʿīl, Moḥammad b. ʿAlī Sūzanī Samarqandī, Neẓāmī, Abu’l-Ḥasan ʿAlī Farroḵī Sīstānī, Abu’l-ʿAlāʾ Šoštarī, Abu’l-Maṯal Boḵārī, Amīr Ḵosrow Dehlavī, Azraqī Heravī, and the female poet Doḵtar-e Kāḡaḏ-māl. There are also many anonymous stanzas, introduced with the words Bozorg-ī goft “A great one said” or Qāʾel gūyad “The bard says.” An examination of the text reveals that the authors of these stanzas include Rūdakī, Sūzanī, Labībī, Afżal-al-Dīn Badīl Ḵāqānī Šīrvānī, Abu’l-ʿAbbās Ṭayān, Ormozdī, Abu’l-Ḥasan ʿAlī Monjīk Termeḏī, Abū Šoʿayb Heravī, Abū Šakūr Balḵī, Šahīd Balḵī, and others.

Although the author mentioned in his preface that he used earlier Persian dictionaries, he did not name them, nor did he cite them in the definitions. It is possible, however, to discern the influence of the 11th-century Loḡat-e fors of Asadī Ṭūsī. Subsequent lexicographers did not mention Dāneš-nāma-ye Qadar Khan. The Persian lexicographical tradition, which can be traced back to the 11th century, began to be developed intensively in India at the end of the 13th century. Dāneš-nāma-ye Qadar Khan belongs to this school, along with such authoritative works as Farhang-­nāma of Faḵr-e Qawwās (late 13th century), Dastūr al-afāżel fi’l-loḡāt al-fażāʾel of Ḥajīb Ḵayrāt Rafīʿ Dehlavī (743/1342), Ādāt al-fożalāʾ of Qāżī Khan Badr Moḥammad Dehlavī Ḏarvāl (822/1419), Farhang-e zafāngūyā wa jahānpūyā of Badr-al-Dīn Ebrāhīmī (before 837/1433), and Baḥr al-fażāʾel of Moḥammad b. Qawwām Balḵī Karʾī (837/1433).



S. I. Baevskiĭ, “Sposoby podtver­ditel’nogo tsitirovaniya v rannikh persidskikh slovaryakh” (Methods of corroborative citation in early Persian dictionaries), in Pis’mennye pamyatniki i problemy istorii kul’tury narodov Vostoka (Written sources and cultural history of the peoples of the Orient; 8th annual scientific conference, Leningrad section, Institute of Oriental Studies, Academy of Sciences of the S.S.S.R.), Moscow, 1972, pp. 3-8.

Sh. Khuseĭnzoda and R. Khoshim, “"Donishnomai Kadarkhon" va akhamiyati on dar omukhtani merosi adabii mo va osori Rūdakī” (Dāneš-nāma-ye Qadar Khan wa ahamīat-e ān dar āmūḵtan-e mīrāṯ-e adabī-e mā wa āṯār-e Rūdakī) in Sukhansaroi Pandzhrūd [ba yodi ustod Rūdakī] (Soḵn-e sarāī-e panj rūd be-yād Ostād Rūdakī), Stalinabad [Dushanbe], 1958, pp. 64-83.

M. Mamedova, “O rukopisyakh, otnosyashchikhsya k grammatike i leksike farsidskogo yazyka” (On manu­scripts dealing with grammar and vocabulary of the Persian language), in Trudy respublikanskogo rukopisnogo fonda (Transactions of the state manuscript collection) I, Baku, 1961, pp. 108-14.

(Solomon Bayevsky)

Originally Published: December 15, 1993

Last Updated: November 14, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VI, Fasc. 6, pp. 653-654