JĀJARMI, MOḤAMMAD B. BADR, Persian poet and anthologist. His father Malek-al-Šoʿarāʾ Badr-al-Din ʿOmar Jājarmi (d. 686/1287; q.v.), a poet from Jājarm, a small town in the district of Jovayn in Khorasan, had moved to Isfahan. There, Badr-al-Din entered the services of Ḵᵛāja Bahāʾ-al-Din Moḥammed b. Šams-al-Din Jovayni (q.v.), the governor of Isfahan and ʿErāq-e ʿAjam in the Il-khanid kingdom.

Moḥammed was a poet himself, but his fame rests only on his Moʾnes al-aḥrār fi daqāʾeq al-ašʿār (“The Free Men’s Companion to the Niceties of Poems”), a voluminous anthology which is his only surviving work and the only source about his life. In the Moʾnes he includes eight of his own poems, none of which can be dated from before the death of the Il-khanid Abu Saʿid (q.v.) in 736/1335 (Morton, in Swietochowski and Carboni, p. 49).

At the beginning of the 20th century, the art dealer Hagop Kevorkian (see below) acquired an incomplete illustrated autographed copy of this anthology, dated Ramadan 741/February-March 1341. Morton (in Swietochowski and Carboni, p. 51) convincingly argued that the manuscript was written and illustrated in Isfahan.

The Moʾnes al-aḥrār is divided into thirty chapters (bāb), according to criteria of form or content, and begins, like thematically arranged divāns, with chapters containing poems devoted to praises of God and the Prophet and those of ethical content. The majority of the chapters contain almost exclusively qaṣidas, while separate chapters are devoted to strophic poems (mosammaṭāt and tarjiʿāt, respectively), “fragments” (moqaṭṭaʿāt), ḡazals, robāʿis, and isolated single verses (fardiyāt).

Most of the chapters containing qaṣidas are concerned with devices that would appear rather frivolous in the view of modern critics and hardly include first-rate poems (e.g., the chapter on maṣnuʿāt “artificial poems,” containing, amongst others, poems which have a different figure of style in each verse, or which can be scanned in more than one meter). Fortunately, the subject of some chapters is general to the point of being all-inclusive, such as those on tašbihāt, “poems containing similes” (I, pp. 214-369), ašʿār-e moqaffā, “rhyming poems” (II, pp. 453-663), and ašʿār-e moraddaf, poems with radif (II, pp. 664-778). These chapters contain also by far the most qaṣidas, and very beautiful ones among them (e.g., several by Anwari and two prison poems [ḥabsiyāt] by Masʿud-e Saʿd). The order of the poems within these chapters is mainly associative. Poems follow one another because of a common rhyme, meter, or theme, and thus this anthology is an ideal source for a study of the phenomenon of naẓira. Jājarmi includes few poets from the earliest period (e.g., Daqiqi and Rudaki are represented by only a single qaṣida each). Likewise, the poets attached to the court of the early Ghaznavids (e.g., ʿOnṣori, Farroḵi and Manu-čehri) are represented by only one or two qaṣidas each. Poets from the Saljuq period fare a little better, but unevenly (Anwari and Ẓahir-al-Din Fāryābi [qq.v.] get much more attention than Ḵāqāni Šarvāni, for example). The Moʾnes al-aḥrār, however, is particularly rich in qaṣidas of some 13th-century poets, such as Kamāl-al-Din Esmāʿil Eṣfahāni, Šams-al-Din Moḥammad Ṭabasi, Najib-al-Din Jorbādaqāni, Rafiʿ-al-Din Lonbāni (the younger), and Farid-al-Din Aḥwal. Understandably, Jājarmi pays much attention to poets attached to the Il-khans and their entourage like his own father, Badr-al- Din, and Saʿid Heravi.

The chapter on the ḡazal (II, pp. 952-1133), containing nearly three hundred poems by more than a hundred poets (most of them known only because of the Moʾnes), gives us a picture not entirely in keeping with modern critical consensus. There are, curiously enough, only three ḡazals by Farid-al-Din ʿAṭṭār (q.v.), and five by Jalāl-al-Din Moḥammad Balḵi Rumi; the latter’s contemporary, Saʿdi, however, is better served with sixteen ḡazals. Jājarmi includes many poets who were his (near)-contemporaries when they had some connections with the Il-khans, such as Awḥadi Marāḡaʾi (q.v.), and, most of all, Ḵᵛāju Kermāni, who are represented with sixteen and nineteen ḡazals, respectively. On the other hand, Amir Ḵosrow Dehlavi (q.v.), who had lived in far-away India and died there less than two decades before the composition of Moʾnes al-aḥrār, appears to have been unknown to Jājarmi. Ḥāfez (q.v.)á, still in his teens, had yet to enter the stage.

The chapter on the robāʿi (II, pp. 1134-1216) is divided into thirty-five sections (faṣls), with quatrains that are either thematically related, share the same figure of style, or are considered to be by the same author, like those by Mahsati (the collection has been used by Fr. Meier, pp. 117-18), or ʿOmar Ḵayyām (thirteen robāʿis, published as an appendix by Fr. Rosen to his edition of Robāʿiyāt).

One short chapter (II, pp. 841-60) is devoted entirely to selections from the Šāh-nāma; it contains no narrative passages, but primarily ethical and panegyrical ones. Others deal with light verse and facetiae (hazliyāt, moṭā-yabāt), divination based on the twitching of a part of the body (eḵtelāj; poems by the author’s father), and riddles. Chapter 29, known well to art-historians, contains two fully illustrated didactic works.

The first, ašʿār-e moṣawwar, under the name of Ostād Moḥammad Rāvandi, is to be considered, as has been demonstrated by Morton, as a riddle of which the illustrations give the clue. The second, eḵtiārāt-e qamar, by Badr-al-Din Jājarmi, a poem on ascertaining the (in)auspiciousness of the different lunar months, consists of a suite of quatrains with a short introduction in ramal (II, pp. 1217-21; Morton, in Swietochowski and Carboni, pp. 54-57).

Even if the Moʾnes al-aḥrār offers a rather idiosyncratic choice of poems (the extensive quoting of his own father is an example), it gives an idea of what was known and loved in Isfahan at the time. Moreover, it is an important source because, unlike most works belonging to the taḏkera-genre, it gives the full text of all the poems (although no particulars on the authors) instead of excerpts. Of many of the poets mentioned here no manuscript of a divān older than this autograph is extant.

There seems to be no information about precisely where and when Kevorkian acquired the autographed copy of the Moʾnes al-aḥrār. Six of the eight illustrated folios (that is, not the frontispiece, but all those making up chapter 29) were detached, and purchased by public collections in the United States (details in Carboni, in Swietochowski and Carboni, p. 9). The rest of the manuscript was sold in 1979, at Sotheby’s in London, and is now in the Dār-al-aṯār al–Eslāmiya in Kuwait (LNS 9 MS). In all probability the manuscript was not well known in the centuries after its completion and may have been part of a private collection during a long period. Apparently, no taḏkera earlier than the mid-19th-century Majmaʿ al-foṣaḥā by Reżāqoli Khan Hedāyat mentioned it explicitly (author’s Introd., p. xi). When Kevorkian acquired the autograph copy, it was bound together both with a full index of all the poems it should have contained, and thirty-five pages of poems missing in the autograph copy (even so the text was not complete). He offered the non-autograph part of the manuscript to the Persian scholar Moḥammad Qazvini (q.v.), who bequeathed it to the University Library in Tehran. Moḥammad-Taqi Dānešpažuh dated it from the 17th century, which would make it older than all the other manuscripts (pp. 504-6, MS no. 144b; full text of Qazvini’s note on the provenance and the value of these pages, Jājarmi, I, pp. yā-kāf).

The published text edited by Mir Ṣāleḥ Ṭabibi is based not only on various manuscripts (none of which is older than the 18th century, except for the autographed copy and the pages mentioned above), but also on other material: an untitled anthology dated 1021/1612 which itself heavily depends on the Moʾnes (II, pp. iii-iv), and both the published and unpublished divāns of the poets. The complete index which had been bound together with the autograph provided the information about the poems originally included. Curiously enough, whenever the editor was unable to find the complete text of the original poem, he added another poem by the same poet (on this procedure, Jājarmi, II, pp.vi-vii; examples a.o. II, pp. 795, 960, 961).

At least one more anthology, titled Daqāʾeq al-ašʿār by a certain ʿAbd al-Wahhāb Dawlatābādi, which is not dated, is dependent on the Moʾnes (Bodleian library, Elliot 37, Cat. Sachau/Ethé 1333: presumably 18th century; for the relation between the two texts, see Dānešpažuh, p. 505; Monzawi, Nosḵahā IV, pp. 2813, 3249; Storey/de Blois, V/2, p. 437, n. 3). Another anthology titled Mo’nes al-aḥrār, composed in 702/1302 by a certain Laṭif al-Din Kalāmi (or Kalāti), has been considered as the original version of Jājarmi’s text; this was disproved later on (Nafisi, Naẓm o naṯr, I, pp. 176, 204; Jājarmi, II, pp. v-vi).


Arthur J. Arberry, “Handlist of Islamic Manuscripts Acquired by the India Office Library 1936-38,” JRAS, 1939, no. 4600, pp. 380-81.

Taqi Bineš, “Moʾnes al-aḥrār fi daqāʾeq al-ašʿār,” Rāhnemā-ye ketāb 2/5, 1960, pp. 713-16; 16/4-6, 1973, pp. 265-74 (reviews of Ṭabibi’s edition).

Hugo Buchthal, Otto Kurz, and Richard Ettinghausen, “Supplementary Notes to K. Holter’s Check List of Islamic Illustrated Manuscripts before AD 1350,” in Ars Islamica 7, 1940, no. 48, p. 155.

Stefano Carboni, “The Muʾnis al-Ahrar Manuscript in the al-Sabah Collection, Illustrated Poetry for a Princely Patron,” in The Newsletter of Dar al-Athar al- Islamiyyah 6, Fall 1997, pp. 14-16.

Catalogue of Important Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures the Property of the Hagop Kevorkian Fund (. . .) which Will be Sold by Auction by Sotheby . . . London (. . .) 23rd April, 1979, no. 144, pp. 84-87.

Moḥammad-Taqi Dānešpažuh, Fehrest-e nosḵahā-ye ḵaṭṭi-e Ketāb-ḵāna-ye dāneškada-ye adabiyāt, MDAT 8/1, Tehran, 1960.

J. T. P. de Bruijn, “Djādjarmī,” in EI2, Suppl. (with bibl., read K. Holter for K. Hilter), pp. 235-36.

Exhibition of the Kevorkian Collection (. . .) Exhibited at the Galleries of Charles of London, New York, March–April 1914, nos. 68 and 264.

Reżāqoli Khan Hedāyat, Majmaʿ al-foṣaḥāʾ, ed. Mażāher Moṣaffā, Tehran, 1957-61.

Kurt Holter, “Die islamischen Miniaturhandschriften vor 1350,” in Zentralblatt für Bibliothekswesen, Leipzig, 1937, no. 48, p. 19.

Moḥammad b. Badr-al-Din Jājarmi, Moʾnes al-aḥrār fi daqāʾeq al- ašʿār, ed. Mir Ṣāleḥ Ṭabibi, 2 vols., Tehran 1959-71.

Georges Marteau and Henri Vever, Miniatures persanes: tirées des collections de MM. Henry d’Allemagne, Claude Anet . . . exposées au Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris 1913, pl. xlix, fig. 55.

Fritz Meier, Die Schöne Mahsatī: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des persischen Vierzeilers I, Wiesbaden, 1963.

Aḥmad Monzawi, Nosḵahā IV, pp. 3249-50.

Sa’id Nafisi, Naẓm o naṯr, Moḥammad Qazvini, “Moʾnes al-aḥrār,” in idem, Bist maqāla-ye Qazvini, 2 vols., ed. ʿAbbās Eqbāl, Tehran, 1928-34, II, pp. 138-55; 2nd ed., Tehran, 1954, II, pp. 184-206. repr. in the edition of the Moʾnes al-aḥrār I, Introd., pp. bā-yā.

Idem, “An Account of the Muʾnisu’l-ahrar: A Rare Persian MS. Belonging to Mr. H. Kevorkian,” BSO(A)S 5, 1928-30, pp. 97-108 (not a translation of his Persian article).

Friedrick Rosen, Robāʿiyāt-e Ḥakīm ʿOmar Ḵayyām, Berlin, 1925.

Eduard Sachau and Hermann Ethé, Catalogue of the PersiaŋManuscripts in the Bodleian Library I, Oxford, 1889.

Storey/de Blois, V. Marie Lukens Swietochowski and Stefani Carboni (with essays by A. H. Morton and Tomoko Masuya), Illustrated Poetry and Epic Images: Persian Painting of the 1330s and 1340s, New York, 1994 (contains photographs and a discussion of all the miniatures in the autograph, as well as the text and translation of the poems they illustrate).


(Anna Livia Beelaert)

Originally Published: December 15, 2008

Last Updated: April 10, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XIV, Fasc. 4, pp. 397-398

Cite this entry:

Anna Livia Beelaert, “JĀJARMI,” Encyclopædia Iranica, XIV/4, pp. 397-398, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/jajarmi (accessed on 30 December 2012).