ʿEMĀD-AL-DĪN ʿALĪ FAQĪH KERMĀNĪ, mystic and poet of the 8th/14th century who used ʿEmād or, more rarely, ʿEmād-e Faqīh, as a pen name. He was born in Kermān toward the end of the 7th/13th century. Both his father, Maḥmūd Faqīh, and ʿEmād-al-Dīn were religious scholars and mystics whose spiritual pedigree reached back, through the teacher Neẓām-al-Dīn Maḥmūd, to Zayn-al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Salām Kāmūʾī, a companion of Šehāb-al-Dīn Abū Ḥafṣ ʿOmar Sohravardī (d. 632/1234; on Zayn-al-Dīn, see the passage quoted from Pīr Jamālī Ardestānī’s Kanz al-daqāyeq in Homāyūn Farroḵ’s introd. to ʿEmād’s Dīvān, pp. 27 ff.; Ritter, pp. 38, 41). Neẓām-al-Dīn founded a ḵānaqāh in Kermān which he and ʿEmād’s father directed. When they both died in 705/1305, young ʿEmād and his brother took over the direction of the convent. This institution continued to play a major part in his life and his poetical works. He reportedly used to recite his ḡazals in the ḵānaqāh, exposing them to the criticism of the congregation (Jāmī, p. 101). Some of his maṯnawīs concerned the history of his ḵānaqāh and the communal life of the Sufis.

ʿEmād probably spent most of his life in his native Kermān, but he was also in close contact with the court of Shiraz during the reigns of Abū Esḥāq Īnjū (d. 736/1336; q.v.) and the Mozaffarid Amīrs Mobārez-al-Dīn Moḥammad (713-59/1314-58) and Shah Šojāʿ (765-86/1364-84). According to a popular legend, he taught his cat to perform the ritual of prayer (Ḥabīb al-sīar, Bombay, III/2, p. 37). This legend is based on a line in one of the ḡazals of Ḥāfeẓ, which has been interpreted as an allusion to the rivalry between the two poets (Ṣafā, pp. 986-87). The same story describes him as competing with his contemporary Ḥāfeẓ for the favor of Shah Šojāʿ (cf. Homāyūn Farroḵ’s introduction to ʿEmād’s Dīvān, pp. 81 ff.). ʿEmād also praised officials of the Il-khanid state. As recorded by Dawlatšāh (ed. Browne, pp. 254-56), he died in 773/1371-72. For several centuries his tomb and the convent were held in veneration (Ṣafā, pp. 987-88). A less likely dating of his death is 793/1391, which was first mentioned by Taqī-al-Dīn Kāšī (cf. Sprenger, p. 18 no. 82) and then repeated by other taḏkera writers.

The Dīvān of ʿEmād contains a large collection of ḡazals, a small number of panegyrical qaṣīdas, and poems in other lyrical forms. Ebn Yūsof (1321 Š/1942, pp. 361-62) and others have pointed out a number of similar motifs and expressions in the ḡazalsof ʿEmād and Ḥāfeẓ. Yet, ʿEmād’s style markedly differs from that of his younger contemporary. His language is much simpler, and his poems show a greater coherence of motifs and imagery, subordinated to the central theme: the longing of the mystic for his transcendental beloved.

The second part of his poetry consists of maṯnawīs, all of moderate length, which show several original features. A set of five poems was transmitted under the heading Panj ganj: 1. Homāyūn-nāma, also called Fāteḥat al-eḵlāsá, is a short piece written as introduction to the collection. 2. Ṣafā-nāma or Moʾnes al-abrār, in the meter sarīʿ in imitation of Neẓāmī Ganjavī’s Maḵzan al-asrār, was written in 766/1364-65 for Shah Šojāʿ (ed. M. Iqbal, in Oriental College Magazine, 5-8, 1929-32). The introduction contains a panegyric of Shiraz, with special mention of the graves of prominent Sufis, and an account of the conquest of that city by Mobārez-al-Dīn Moḥammad in 754/1353. The second of its three maqālas tells the story of the founding of the ḵānaqāh in Kermān. In the third chapter the poet relates ten visions and dreams (dah wāqeʿa) which marked his spiritual progress. 3. Ṣoḥbat-nāma, in motaqāreb meter, was completed in ten discourses (maqāla) in 731/1330-31 and dedicated to Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn Moḥammad b. Rašīd-al-Dīn Fażl-Allāh, the vizier of the Il-khan Abū Saʿīd (qq.v.). The poem teaches the rules of conduct (ādāb) in the company of the mystics. It also addresses the management of a ḵānaqāh and the cult of love as practiced by the Sufis, including the behavior of the “beautiful ones” (ḵūbrūyān) and the singers. The seventh maqāla, on the ethics of fotowwat, was published and translated into German by H. W. Duda (1934). 4. Maḥabbat-nāma-ye ṣāḥeb-delān, in hazaj-e mosaddas-e maḥḏūf and dated 732/1331-32, contains dedications to the Il-khan Abū Saʿīd and his vizier Ḵᵛāja Tāj-al-Dīn ʿErāqī. A prose introduction defines the text as a series of disputations (monāẓaras) based on the device of the “speech of condition” (zabān-e ḥāl). Confrontations occur between soul and body, atom and sun, iron and magnet, straw and amber, bee and palm, candle and moth, rose and nightingale, and elephant and gnat. Each chapter contains stories about a pair of lovers famous from Arabic and Persian literature. 5. In Dah-nāma, belonging to a genre of poetical letters exchanged between lovers (cf. Ganjeï), ʿEmād alternatively used the forms of the maṯnawī and the qaṣīda, written in various metres. Most of these letters are addressed to the poet’s royal patrons.

ʿEmād’s most extensive work is Ṭarīqat-nāma, a maṯnawī in hazaj-e mosaddas-e maḥḏūf, composed about 755/1354 for Mobārez-al-Dīn Moḥammad. This mystical poem is an adaptation of Meṣbāḥ al-hedāya, a Persian version of Sohravardī’s ʿAwāref al-maʿāref, by ʿEzz-al-Dīn Maḥmūd Kāšānī (d. 735/1334-35). A number of anecdotes were added to the original.

Although ʿEmād’s work was eventually overshadowed by that of other renowned mystical poets, he apparently enjoyed a great reputation during his lifetime and for some time thereafter. This is attested in a number of manuscripts dating from the 8th/14th and 9th/15th centuries. One of these early copies, now in the collection of the Majles Library in Tehran (no. 1030), is probably an autograph. The complete works of ʿEmād were edited by Rokn-al-Dīn Homāȳun Farroḵ, with extensive introductions.


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

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(J. T. P. de Bruijn)

Originally Published: December 15, 1998

Last Updated: December 13, 2011

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