ḤADIQATAL-ḤAQIQA WA ŠARIʿAT AL-ṬARIQA a Persian didactical maṯnawi by Ḥakim Majdud b. Ādam Sanāʾi. The poem, written in the meter ḵafif-e mosaddas-e maḵbun-e maḥḏuf, was dedicated to the Ghaznavid sultan Bahrāmšāh (q.v.) shortly before the death of the poet, which probably occurred in 525/1131. Apparently, Sanāʾi did not complete a single final text. In a prose introduction, handed down in many copies of the Ḥadiqa, a certain Moḥammad b. ʿAli Raffāʿ reports that he had prepared, on the order of Sultan Bahrāmšāh, an edition of the text containing five thousand distichs from the materials left behind by the poet. He refers to earlier authorial editions, one of which, amounting to ten thousand distichs, was assembled by Sanāʾi to be dispatched to Borhān-al-Din Beryāngar Ḡaznavi, a religious scholar living at Baghdad, whose help against accusations of Shiʿite sympathies he invoked in an epilogue to the poem.

This confused state of the text at the very beginning of its transmission is reflected in the oldest manuscripts still extant. There are great discrepancies between them as concerns the number of the verses, their order, and the divisions made in the text. The poem is also given various titles: the earliest manuscript, copied at Konya in 552/1157 (now in the Süleymaniye Library, Istanbul, under the shelf mark Bağdatlı Vehbi no. 1672), contains a short version called Faḵri-nāma, which title perhaps refers to Faḵr-al-Dawla, one of the honorifics of Bah-rāmšāh; another ancient copy (in a private collection), dated 588/1192, has the title Elāhi-nāma, the same as Mawlānā Jalāl-al-Din Rumi used to refer to Sanāʾi’s poem. In the course of the centuries a more or less standardized form of the Ḥadiqat al-ḥaqiqa has come into existence through the amalgamation of different strains of textual tradition. In Mughal India, the philologist ʿAbd-al-Laṭif b. ʿAbd-Allāh ʿAbbāsi (d. 1048 or 1049/1638-39) prepared a new revised text in an attempt to harmonize the differences he found in the manuscripts. He also wrote a commentary to the poem, Laṭāʿef al-ḥadāʿeq men nafāʿes-al-daqāʿeq. Apart from other commentaries, some abridgements of the poem have been made, for which in particular the narratives were selected (see further on the textual history of the Ḥadiqa, de Bruijn, 1983, pp. 119-39).

In the oldest surviving copy of the poem, the Bağdatlı Vehbi manuscript, the text appears as a continuing homily dealing with many different ethical and spiritual themes. There is no encompassing frame story, and there are far fewer narratives illustrating the poet’s discourse than in the more extensive versions (cf. de Bruijn, 1995). The poem deals first with the Divine Being, then with praise of the Prophet and the Rightly Guided Caliphs, Shiʿite imams, Ḥasan and Ḥosayn, and two great imams of Sunni law, Abu Ḥanifa and Šāfeʿi. They are all held up as examples of spiritual perfection to the reader. Then Sanāʾi speaks about God’s creative command (amr) and, at length, about the Koran and its role in religious practice. The following sections focus the ascetic life and the metaphysical and psychological concepts underlying Sanāʾi’s view of the world. After a transition, marked by the allegory of a nightly meeting with a shining figure, an old man acting as the poet’s spiritual guide, the homily further treats a great number of topics related to man’s life in this world and his social relations, his struggle with the forces of the lower soul and the preparation for death and the life to come. This second part of the homily ends in a dedication of the poem to Sultan Bahrāmšāh and his son, Prince Dawlatšāh, which includes matters concerning the conduct of the righteous ruler. Finally, the poet declines the sultan’s request to become attached to his court (for a detailed analysis of the contents, see de Bruijn, 1983, pp. 218-45).

In the more extensive versions, the same material has been rearranged into ten books under thematic headings. It was also extended with didactical lines and narratives, the authenticity of which is difficult to assess. In the 19th century, the Ḥadiqat al-ḥaqiqa was lithographed several times in India. The edition of the first book with an English translation by John Stephenson (1911) is based on a selection of rather late manuscripts. A comprehensive text was published by Moḥammad-Taqi Modarres Rażawi (1329/1950); this edition fails, however, to provide a good picture of the intricate textual story.

The Ḥadiqat al-ḥaqiqa is not only one of the first of a long line of Persian didactical maṯnawis, it is also one of the most popular works of its kind as the great number of copies made throughout the centuries attest. Its great impact on Persian literature is evidenced by the numerous citations from the poem occurring in mystical as well as profane works. It has been taken as a model by several other poets, including Neẓāmi, ʿAṭṭār, Rumi, Awḥadi, and Jāmi.



J. T. P. de Bruijn, Of Piety and Poetry: The Interaction of Religion and Literature in the Life and Works of Ḥakim Sanāʾi of Ghazna, Leiden, 1983.

Idem, “The Stories in Sanâ’î’s Faxri-nâme,” in Christophe Balay, Claire Kappler, and Živa Vesel, eds., Pand-o Sokhan: Mélanges offerts à Charles-Henri de Fouchécour, Tehran, 1995, pp. 79-93.

Idem, Persian Sufi Poetry: An Introduction to the Mystical Use of Classical Persian Poems, Richmond, Surrey, U.K, 1997, pp. 88-96.

Ḥakim Majdud b. Ādam Sanāʾi, Ketāb Ḥadiqat al-ḥaqiqa wa šariʿat al-ṭariqa, ed. Moḥammad-Taqi Modarres Rażawi, Tehran, 1950; part. ed. and tr. John Stephenson as The First Book of the Hadiqatu’l-haqiqat; or, the Enclosed Garden of the Truth, Calcutta, 1911.

Idem, Kolliyāt-e ašʿār-e Ḥakim Sanāʾi-ye Ḡaznavi . . . čāp-e ʿaksi, Kabul, 1977 (facsimile of a ms. in the Kabul Museum).

Storey/de Blois, V/2, pp. 522-30.

(J.T.P. de Bruijn)

Originally Published: December 15, 2002

Last Updated: February 24, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XI, Fasc. 4, pp. 441-442