Sanai

Sanai

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Hakim Abul-Majd Majdūd ibn Ādam Sanā'ī Ghaznavi was a Afghan Sufi poet
Poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

 who lived in Ghazna, in what is now Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 between the 11th century and the 12th century. Some people spell his name as Sanayee. He died around 1131.

Life


He was connected with the court of the Ghaznavid Bahram-shah who ruled 1118-1152. It is said that once when accompanying Bahramshah on a military expedition to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Sanai met the Sufi teacher Lai-khur. Sanai quit Bahramshah's service as a court poet even though he was promised wealth and the king's daughter in marriage if he remained.

Works


He wrote an enormous quantity of mystical verse, of which The Walled Garden of Truth or The Hadiqat al Haqiqa (حدیقه الحقیقه و شریعه الطریقه) is his master work and the first Persian mystical epic of Sufism. Dedicated to Bahram Shah, the work expresses the poet's ideas on God, love, philosophy and reason.

For close to 900 years The Walled Garden of Truth has been consistently read as a classic and employed as a Sufi textbook. According to Major T. Stephenson: "Sanai’s fame has always rested on his Hadiqa; it is the best known and in the East by far the most esteemed of his works; it is in virtue of this work that he forms one of the great trio of Sufi teachers — Sanai, Attar
Attar
Abū Hamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm , better known by his pen-names Farīd ud-Dīn and ‘Attār , was a Persian Muslim poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer from Nīshāpūr who had an abiding influence on Persian poetry and Sufism.-Biography:Information about Attar's life is rare...

, Jalaludin Rumi." Sanai taught that lust, greed and emotional excitement stood between humankind and divine knowledge, which was the only true reality (Haqq). Love(Ishq) and a social conscience are for him the foundation of religion; mankind is asleep, living in a desolate world. To Sanai common religion was only habit and ritual.

Sanai's poetry had a tremendous influence upon Persian literature
Persian literature
Persian literature spans two-and-a-half millennia, though much of the pre-Islamic material has been lost. Its sources have been within historical Persia including present-day Iran as well as regions of Central Asia where the Persian language has historically been the national language...

. He is considered the first poet to use the qasidah (ode), ghazal
Ghazal
The ghazal is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain, with each line sharing the same meter. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient, originating in 6th century...

(lyric), and the masnavi (rhymed couplet) to express the philosophical, mystical and ethical ideas of Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

.

Influence and Legacy


Rumi acknowledged Sanai and Attar as his two primary inspirations, saying, "Attar is the soul and Sanai its two eyes, I came after Sanai and Attar." The Walled Garden of Truth was also a model for Nizami's Makhzan al-Asrar (Treasury of Secrets).

Quotations

  • Sanai's poetry stresses the possibility of an "awakening";


While mankind remains mere baggage in the world

It will be swept along, as in a boat, asleep.

What can they see in sleep?

What real merit or punishment can there be?
  • He who knows not his own soul, how shall he know the soul of another? and he who only knows hand and foot, how shall he know the Godhead? The prophets are unequal to understanding this matter; why dost thou foolishly claim to do so? When thou hast brought forward a demonstration of this subject, then thou wilt know the pure essence of the faith; otherwise what have faith and thou in common? thou hadst best be silent, and speak not folly. The learned talk nonsense all; for true religion is not woven about the feet of everyone.


His means for this awakening is surrender to God, his poetry has been called "the essential fragrance of the path of love". He hits out at human hypocrisy and folly;
  • Others are heedless,—do thou be wise, and on this path keep thy tongue silent. The condition laid on such an one is that he should receive all food and drink from the Causer, not from the causes. Go, suffer hardship, if thou wouldst be cherished; and if not, be content with the road to Hell. None ever attained his object without enduring hardship.

Further reading

  • Sanai in original Persian
  • A Thousand Years of Persian Rubaiyat: An Anthology of Quatrains from the Tenth to the Twentieth Century Along With the Original Persian by Reza Saberi (Paperback - Nov 2000)
  • Diwan i Hakeem Sanai Ghaznavi - Foreword and research by Rahi Mu'airi. Maktab Kahkashan. Mashad, Iran.
  • Sanai, D. L. Pendlebury [Trans] (1974) The Walled Garden of Truth - Abridged (London: Octagon Press)
  • English translation of parts of the Hadiqa

See also


  • List of Persian poets and authors
  • Persian literature
    Persian literature
    Persian literature spans two-and-a-half millennia, though much of the pre-Islamic material has been lost. Its sources have been within historical Persia including present-day Iran as well as regions of Central Asia where the Persian language has historically been the national language...

  • Rumi
  • Nizami
  • Attar
    Attar
    Abū Hamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm , better known by his pen-names Farīd ud-Dīn and ‘Attār , was a Persian Muslim poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer from Nīshāpūr who had an abiding influence on Persian poetry and Sufism.-Biography:Information about Attar's life is rare...