HOMĀM-AL-DIN B. ʿALĀʾ TABRIZI, Persian poet of the Il-Khanid period. His name can be established on the basis of one of his ḡazals (Divān, ḡazal no. 85, pp. 97-98). His birthplace is unknown, as are the specific details of his early life and education. The introduction to Homām’s divān, which was compiled shortly after his death, states that he died at the age of 78 (Ṣafā, Adabiyāt III, p. 713). Since his death occurred in Ṣafar 714/1314-15, his birth date would have been in about 636/1238-39. Most sources follow Dawlatšāh (Taḏkerat al-šoʿarāʾ, ed. M. ʿAbbāsi, p. 242) and hold that Homām was a student of Naṣir-al-Din Ṭusi. He was also either a student or an associate of Qoṭb-al-Din Širāzi (Walbridge, p. 189).

Homām rose to prominence in political and intellectual circles in Tabriz and was close to the Jovayni family. He was a friend and boon companion of Šams-al-Din Ṣāḥeb Divān Jovayni (d. 1240-41), brother of ʿAṭāʾ Malek Jovayni, and accompanied him on an administrative journey to Anatolia (Divān, pp. forty-three, forty-four). This friendship is further reflected by the fact that the Ṣāḥeb-Divān endowed the ḵānaqāh that Homām had founded with an income of 1,000 dinars per year (Ṣafā, Adabiyāt III, p. 714), that Šams-al-Din mentions Homām in the farewell letter to his friends that he wrote shortly before his execution (text in Tāriḵ-e Waṣṣāf, p. 141), and that Homām dedicated his maṯnawi “Ṣoḥbat-nāma” to Šams-al-Din’s son Šaraf-al-Din Hārun Jovayni (Divān, pp. 265-67).

With regard to other travels, Homām mentions a journey to Baghdad in a qaṣida dedicated possibly to Rašid-al-Din Fażl-Allāh (Divān, p. 49); and the Ṣoḥof-e Ebrāhim, an unpublished taḏkera, states that Homām made the pilgrimage to Mecca, although there is no further evidence to confirm this (Divān, pp. 45-46).

Homām left one prose piece, a commendation (taqriẓ) of Rašid-al-Din’s "Ešārāt,” contained in ms. no. 166-jim in the library of the University of Tehran (Divān, p. twenty-three). The most important of Homām’s literary works is his divān of 3,944 verses. The two principal manuscripts are in Paris (Cat. Bibliothèque nationale III, pp. 179-80, no. 1508, copied in 816/1413) and Lahore (Punjab University Library, in Majmuʿa-ye davāvin, copied in 821/1418: Divān, pp. fifteen-eighteen). Homām’s divān, which contains poetry in Arabic and Persian, was collected shortly after his death by order of his friend Rašid-al-Din Fażl-Allāh (Ṣafā, Adabiyāt III, p. 713).

Homām is best known for his ḡazals, which follow those of Saʿdi in style and tone. Many of them are replies (jawābs) to specific ḡazals of Saʿdi (see, e.g., Ḥabib al-siar II, p 564; IV, p. 653), and later Homām was called “the Saʿdi of Azerbaijan” (Ātaškada I, p. 146). The story that Homām and Saʿdi met in Tabriz, first related by Dawlatšāh (Taḏkerat al-šoʿarāʾ, pp. 324-25) and repeated later by many authors of taḏkeras, is unlikely (Ṣafā, Adabiyāt III, p. 718). Nevertheless, Homām’s ḡazal no. 196, written as a reply to one of Saʿdi’s, was inspired, according to Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi (Tāriḵ-e gozida, ed. Navāʾi, p. 756) by Homām’s jealousy of Saʿdi’s fame. Among Homām’s ḡazals are a bilingual poem (molammaʿ) in standard Persian and a Central Iranian dialect similar to that found in the quatrains of Bābā Ṭāher (q.v.) and another, the last line of which is in the same dialect (Divān, ḡazals no. 12, 158).

Among the maṯnawis in Homām’s divān are two worthy of special mention. One is in the meter and style of Sanāʾi’s Ḥadiqat al-ḥaqiqa (q.v.) and focuses on similar themes (Divān, pp. 225-56). The other, “Ṣoḥbat-nāma,” is a disquisition on love dedicated to Šaraf-al-Din Hārun Jovayni, son of Šams-al-Din Ṣāḥeb-Divān, and includes four interpolated ḡazals in the same meter as the main poem (Divān, pp. 259-81).

Just as Homām’s poetry was influenced by earlier poets such as Sanāʾi, Anwari, and Saʿdi, his poetry in turn was admired by later poets such as ʿObayd of Zākān, who included two ḡazals of Homām’s in his “ʿOššāq-nāma” (Kolliyāt, ed. Maḥjub, pp. xxiv, 156, 176); Ḥāfeẓ, who interpolated two bayts of Homām’s in his ḡazals (Divān of Homām, p. sixty-eight); and Kamāl of Ḵojand, who used a meṣrāʿ from Homām in a qeṭʿa (Divān, II: 2, p. 1030, qeṭʿa no. 1045).



Dawlatšāh Samarqandi, Taḏkerat al-šoʿarāʾ, ed. Moḥammad ʿAbbāsi, Tehran, 1958.

Edgar Blochet, Catalogue des manuscrits persans de la Bibliothèque nationale, 4 vols., Paris, 1905-34.

Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia. Ḡiāṯ-al-Din Moḥammad Ḵvāndamir, Tāriḵ-e ḥabib al-siar, ed. Jalāl-al-Din Homāʾi, 4 vols., Tehran, 1954.

Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi, Tāriḵ-e gozida, ed. ʿA.-Ḥ. Navāʾi, 2 vols., Tehran, 1957-60.

Homām-e Tabrizi, Divān, ed. Rašid ʿEyważi, Tabriz, 1972.

John Walbridge, The Science of Mystic Lights: Quṭb al-Din Shīrāzī and the Illuminationist Tradition in Islamic Philosophy, Cambridge, Mass., 1992.

Kamāl-e Ḵojandi, Divān, ed. K. S. Šidfar, 2 vols. in 4, Moscow, 1970.

ʿObayd Zākāni, Kolliyāt, ed. M.-J. Maḥjub, New York, 1999.

Reżāqoli Khan Hedāyat, Majmaʿ al-foṣaḥāʾ, ed. Maẓāher Moṣaffā, 6 vols., Tehran, 1957-61.

Šehāb-al-Din ʿAbd-Allāh Waṣṣāf Ḥażra, Tajziat al-amṣār wa tazjiat al-aʿṣār, ed. M. M. Eṣfahāni, Bombay, 1269/1853.

(William L. Hanaway and Leonard Lewisohn)

Originally Published: December 15, 2004

Last Updated: March 23, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XII, Fasc. 4, pp. 434-435