JAMĀL-AL-DIN MOḤAMMAD b. ʿAbd-al-Razzāq EṢFAHĀNI, poet and painter of the second half of the 12th century. His exact name is given by his contemporary Moḥammad Rāvandi, who also called him Jamāl-al-Din Naqqāš (Rāvandi, pp. 33, 57, see the correction of Waḥid, p. jim). However, according to Ebn al-Fowaṭi (IV, p. 129), his name was ʿAbd-Allāh and his patronymic (konya) was Abu Moḥammad.

Almost all we know about Jamāl-al-Din is based on his Divān, but some elements of information can be found in the writings of Rāvandi and Kamāl-al-Din Esmāʿil (and to a lesser extent Zakariyāʾ Qazvini, ʿAwfi, Dawlatšāh and Āḏar Bigdeli). He was born in Isfahan and spent most of his life there. He attended a local madrasa (Kamāl-al-Din Esmāʿil, p. 191, verse 3119). It was without doubt a Hanafite madrasa since he himself was a follower of that maḏhab (Divān, p. 285). He affirms that he was once more familiar with religious law (šarʿ) than with poetry (šeʿr; Divān, p. 264). Despite his education, he worked as a painter (naqšband) and a goldsmith (zargar) in the Isfahan bazaar (Divān, p. 335), probably as did his father (Kamāl-al-Din Esmāʿil, verse 3119). Jamāl-al-Din’s skill was great and in 580/1184-85 he was commissioned by the Saljuq Sultan Ṭoḡrel b. Arslān to illustrate a poetical anthology (Rāvandi, p. 57). In his poetry he makes frequent references to this activity and even boasts about it (“I am not a beggar, I am a poet without cupidity and I have a craft,” Divān, p. 247). Nonetheless, although this manual activity must have provided him with a certain degree of financial independence, the extent of his wealth is still a matter for conjecture (Dāmādi, p. 32). In the second part of the 12th century, Isfahan was no longer the seat of royal court. We do not know whether Jamāl-al-Din was reluctant to leave his native town on account of his activity in the bazaar, or whether he failed to find a permanent position of court poet outside Isfahan; perhaps his stammering (Divān, pp. 21, 300) prevented him from occupying such a position. He did, however, make at least one trip to Ganja, the capital of the Atābegs of Azerbaijan, who ruled Isfahan at that time. He dedicated several qaṣidas to the Bavandid Espahbad Ḥosām-al-Dawla Ardašir (r. 567-602/1172-1206), who granted him the title (laqab) of Sayyed-al-Šoaʿrāʾ (Divān, p. 34), but he might not have actually traveled to Māzandarān (Nafisi, 1921, p. 113). Likewise, he speaks on several occasions about his desire to live a more ascetic life, but there is no evidence that he actually took the plunge (Nafisi, 1921, p. 117). On the contrary, it seems that at the end of his life he was close to the last Saljuq sultan, Ṭoḡrel b. Arslān (d. 590/1194).

Jamāl-al-Din’s earliest datable qasida is from spring 555/1160 and his last from 583/1187-88. Thus his poetical activity spans a period of at least twenty-eight years. He alludes to his old age in numerous verses and was alive at the age of fifty-five (Divān, p. 292). We know that he passed away before 599/1202-03, because at that date Rāvandi (p. 33) speaks of him as if he was dead. The date of death given as 588/1192-93 by Charles Rieu (II, 581, apud Taqi-al-Din Kāšāni, Ḵolāṣat al-afkār) is plausible but not confirmed by other sources. Dowlatšāh’s assertion (p. 156) that Jamāl al-Din began to write “at the time of Ḵᵛārazmšāh Jalāl-al-Dīn” (i.e., 617-28/1220-31) is obviously not correct. Jamāl al-Din’s tomb is supposed to be in the graveyard of Ṭoqči Gate (Jāberi Anṣāri, p. 169). Of the four children he may have had (Glünz, p. 9), we know only of Kamāl-al-Din Maḥmud, who died before him, and Kamāl-al-Din Esmāʿil, whose fame as a poet overshadowed his.

Jamāl-al-Din is said to have composed more than twenty thousand verses (Hedayāt, 1937, p. 292), but Waḥid Dastgerdi recovered only half of them. The affirmation that he also wrote a Divān in Arabic (Nafisi, 1921, p. 112; Waḥid, p. yah) is very unlikely, since ʿEmād-al-Din Moḥammad Eṣfahāni does not mention in the section on Isfahan of his Ḵaridat al-qaṣr, an anthology of 6th-century poets who wrote in Arabic. Jamāl-al-Din’s Divān contains 175 lyrics (ḡazal, q.v.) and 122 quatrains (robāʿi), but the bulk of his poetry is made of eulogies in the form of qaṣida and strophe poems (tarkib-band, 143 in total). These were dedicated to four kinds of mamduḥs: (1) The Prophet Moḥammad (see Dāmādi); (2) contemporary poets, such as Ḵāqāni and Mojir-al-Din Beylaqāni, with whom Jamāl-al-Din had turbulent relations (see de Khanikof, p. 177; Ṣafā, 1960, pp. 721-22); (3) rulers of Isfahan (Saljuq sultans, Atābeg of Azerbaijan Pahlavān b. Eldigüz) and their local representatives (Turkish amirs and Persian servants, such as Šehāb-al-Din Ḵāleṣ) and their allies (the Bavandid Espahbad Ardašir, who was allied to Atābeg Pahlavān); (4) notables of Isfahan, especially the Ṣāʿed family, leaders of the local Hanafites (thirty qaṣidas and tarkib-bands are explicitly dedicated to Rokn-al-Din Masʿud b. Qewām-al-Din Ṣāʿed). For a brief period, Jamāl-al-Din also praised Ṣadr-al-Din Ḵojandi, leader of the Shafeʿite camp, but he later admitted his mistakes when he came back at the court of the Ṣāʿeds (Divān, p. 288).

In his Divān, Jamāl-al-Din acknowledges his debt to Anwari (q.v.), Sayyed Hasan Ḡaznavi, and Rašid-al-Din Waṭwāṭ; he was also clearly influenced by Sanāʾi. Although all these poets were from Khorasan, he affirms the preeminence of “ʿErāq,” that is, ʿErāq-e ʿAjami (Western Iran). His own qaṣidas stand out for their simplicity of expression (especially when compared to those of his contemporary Ḵāqāni) and the visual strength of the poet’s descriptions (e.g., his description of the famine of Isfahan, in Divān, pp. 192-96). On the whole, his poetry reflects the troubled times in which he lived (see his qasidas “šekāyat az ruzgār,” Divān, pp. 25, 56, 250, 347, 354). Modern scholars are agreed on the high quality of his ḡazals, considered as a precursor of Saʿdi’s (Ṣafā, p. 733; Waḥid, p. yad; Rypka, 1968, p. 214; Maẓāheri and Qānuni, pp. 233-34). There are, however, differing opinions on his eulogistic production. Saʿid Nafisi (1921, p. 120) considers him as “the greatest Iranian poet of the 6th/12th century” and “the most eloquent poet of Iran after ʿOnṣori.”Waḥid Dastgerdi (p. ) affirms that only Jamāl-al-Din could compete with Sanāʿi; on the other hand, Foruzānfar and Rypka judge him more harshly.

The first edition of Jamāl-al-Din’s Divān, based on a single manuscript, was compiled by Adib Nišāburi and printed between 1926 and 1929. In 1941, Waḥid Dastgerdi delivered a more complete edition (quoted as Divān in this article), but it is sometimes faulty and it omits substantial parts of Jamāl-al-Din’s poetry, such as fifty-seven quatrains (robāʿi) contained in Šarvāni’s Nozhat al-majāles and a little maṯnawi (Maẓāheri and Qānuni, pp. 240-48). A critical edition is still awaited



The pioneer studies on Jamāl-al-Din were done by Saʿid Nafisi (1921) and Adib Nišāburi’s introd. to his edition of the Divān, both of which have been superseded by the studies of Waḥid Dastgerdi and Moḥammad Dāmādi and Maẓāheri and Qānuni.

Loṭf-ʿAli Big Āḏar Bigdeli, Ātaškada, ed. Ḥasan Sādāt Nāṣeri, 3 vols., Tehran, 1958-62, III, pp. 929-39, esp. p. 930, n. Moḥammad ʿAwfi, Lobāb-al-albāb, ed. Edward G. Browne and Moḥammad Qazvini, 2 vols., London and Leiden, 1903-06, II, pp. 402-4.

Moḥammad Dāmādi, “Moʿarrefi-e ejmāli-e sargoḏašt-e Jamāl-al-Din ʿAbd-al-Razzāq,” Gowhar 3, 1975, pp. 198-201, 320-25, 864-69, 982-87; 4, 1976, pp. 91-97; repr in idem, Šarḥ bar tarkib-band-e Jamāl-al-Din Moḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Razzāq dar setāyeš-e payāmbar, Tehran, 1990, pp. 25-60.

Dawlatšāh Samarqandi, Taḏkerat al-šoʿarāʾ, ed. Edward G. Browne as Tadhkiratu ‘sh-shuʿarāʾ (Memoirs of the Poets) of Dawlatshāh, London and Leiden, 1901, pp. 156-64.

D. Durand-Guédy, “Iṣfahān de la conquête salḡūqide à la conquête mongole,” Ph.D. diss., Aix-en-Provence, 2004, pp. 380-81.

Ebn al-Fowaṭi, Majmaʿ al-ādāb fi moʿjam al-alqāb, ed. Moḥammad Kāẓem, 6 vols., Tehran, 1994-95, IV, p. 129.

ʿEmād-al-Din Moḥammad Eṣfahāni, Ḵaridat al-qaṣr wa jaridat alʿaṣr, ed. ʿAdnān Moḥammad Āl-e Ṭoʿma, 3 vols., Tehran, 1999.

Badiʿ-al-Zamān Foruzānfar, Soḵan o soḵvarān, Tehran, 1944, pp. 547-78.

Michael Glünz, Die Panegyrische qaṣīda bei Kamāl ud-dīn Ismāʿīl aus Isfahan: Eine Studie zur persischen Lobdichtung um den Beginn des 7./13.Jahrhunderts, Beirut, 1993, pp. 8-9.

Reżāqoli Khan Hedāyat, Riāż al-ʿārefin, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1937, pp. 292-95.

Idem, Majmaʿ al-foṣaḥā, ed. Maẓāher Moṣaffā, 6 vols., Tehran, 1957-61, I, pp. 470-96.

Jalāl-al-Din Homāʾi, Tāriḵ-e Eṣfahān: mojallad-e abnia wa ʿemārāt, ed. Mahdoḵt Bānu Homāʾi, Tehran, 2005, pp. 355-56.

Mirzā Ḥasan Jāberi Anṣāri, Tāriḵ-e Eṣfahān, ed. Jamšid Maẓāheri Sorušyār, Tehran, 1999, p. 169.

Jamāl-al-Din Ḵalil Šarvāni, Nozhat al-majāles, ed. Moḥammad Amin Riāḥi, 1st ed., Tehran, 1989 (contains 57 robāʿis of Jamāl-al-Din that are not in his Divān).

Jamāl-al-Din Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Eṣfahāni, Divān, ed. ʿAbd-al-Jawād Adib Nišāburi, Tehran, n.d.; ed. Ḥasan Waḥid Dastgerdi, Tehran, 1941, repr. 1982 and 2001 (the latter with a different pagination).

Kamāl-al-Din Esmāʿil Eṣfahāni, Divān, ed. Ḥosayn Baḥr-al-ʿOlumi, Tehran, 1969. Nicolas de Khanikof, “Mémoires sur Khâcâni, poëte persan du XIIe siècle,” JA 6/4, 1864, pp. 167-200.

Jamšid Maẓā-heri and Ḥamid-Reżā Qānuni, “Negareš-i-e now ba zabān wa šeʿr-e Jamāl-al-Din ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Eṣfahāni,” Majalla-ye ʿelmi-pažuheši-e Dāneškada-ye adabiyāt wa ʿolum-e ensāni-e Dānešgāh-e Eṣfahān, no. 41, 2006, pp. 229-50.

Saʿid Nafisi, “Jamāl-al-Din ʿAbd-al-Razzāq,” Armaḡān 6, 1921, pp. 109-18, 153-63.

Idem, Tāriḵ-e naẓm o naṯr dar Irān wa dar zabān-e fārsi tā pāyān-e qarn-e dahom-e hejri, 2 vols., Tehran, 1965, I, pp. 101-2.

Abu Yaḥyā Zakariyāʾ Qazvini, Āṯār al-belād, ed. Ferdinand Wüstenfeld, as Zakarija ben Muhammed ben Mahmud el-Cazwini’s Kosmographie, 2 vols., Göttingen, 1848, p. 197.

Moḥammad b. ʿAli Rāvandi, Rāḥat al-sodūr wa āyat al-sorur dat tāriḵ-e Āl-e Saljuq, ed. Muḥammad Iqbál, London, 1921, index.

Charles Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols. and Supplement, London, 1881-95.

J. Rypka et al., History of Iranian Literature, ed. Karl Jahn, Dordrecht, 1968, pp. 213-14.

Idem, “Poets and Prose Writers of the Late Saljuq and Mongol Periods,” in Camb. Hist. Iran V, 1968, pp. 584-85.

Ḏabiḥ-Allāh Ṣafā, Tāriḵ-e adabiyāt dar Irān II, Tehran, 1960, pp. 731-40.

Idem, tr., Anthologie de la poésie persane, XIe-XXe siècle, Paris, 1964, pp. 170-75. Maḥmud Šafiʿi, “Naẓar-i ba ejmāl az laḥāẓ-e sabk wa dastur-e zabān dar divān-e Ostād Jamāl-al-Din Eṣfahāni,” Armaḡān 44, 1975, pp. 644-54; 45, 1976, pp. 38-48, 88-96, 171-79, 214-20, 316-22, 387-92.

Moḥammad-Ḥasan Semsār, “Jamāl-e Naqqāš Eṣfahāni,” Honar o Mardom, no. 71, 1968, pp. 7-13.

Ḥasan Waḥid Dastgerdi, “Ostād Jamāl-al-Din Moḥamad b. ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Eṣfahāni,” Armaḡān 22, 1940, pp. 65-76, 169-82, repr. as the Introd. to his edition of the Divān.


Originally Published: December 15, 2008

Last Updated: April 10, 2012

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Vol. XIV, Fasc. 4, pp. 436-438