Naser-e Khusraw
Nationality: Persian author
Region: Iran, Afghanistan

Naser-e Khusraw Facts

Biography

Naser-e Khusraw, in full Abu Mu?in Naser-e Khusraw al-Marvazi al-Qubadiyani, (born 1004, Qubadiyan, Merv, Khorasan [Iran]--died c. 1072/77, Yumgan, Badakhshan, Central Asia [now in Afghanistan]), poet, theologian, and religious propagandist, one of the greatest writers in Persian literature.

Naser-e Khusraw came of a family of government officials who belonged to the Shi?ite branch of Islam, and he attended school for only a short while. In 1045 he went on a pilgrimage to Mecca and continued his journey to Palestine and then to Egypt, which was ruled at that time by the Fatimid dynasty. The Fatimids headed the Isma?ili sect, an offshoot of Shi?ism, and they sent missionaries to propagate their beliefs throughout the Islamic world. Naser-e Khusraw became such a missionary, though it is not certain whether he became an Isma?ili before his trip to the Fatimid capital or after. He returned to his homeland in what is now Afghanistan, but his vigorous advocacy of the Isma?ili ideology within Sunni territory forced him to flee to Badakhshan, where he spent the rest of his days, lamenting in his poetry that he was unable to be an active missionary.

Naser-e Khusraw's poetry is of a didactic and devotional character and consists mainly of long odes that are considered to be of high literary quality. His philosophical poetry includes the Rawshana?i-nameh ("Book of Light"). Naser-e Khusraw's most-celebrated prose work is the Safar-nameh ("Book of Travel"; Eng. trans. Diary of a Journey Through Syria and Palestine), a diary describing his seven-year journey. It is a valuable record of the scenes and events that he witnessed. He also wrote more than a dozen treatises expounding the doctrines of the Isma?ilis, among them the Jami? al-hikmatayn ("Union of the Two Wisdoms"), in which he attempted to harmonize Isma?ili theology and Greek philosophy. Naser-e Khusraw's literary style is straightforward and vigorous. In his verse he displays great technical virtuosity, while his prose is remarkable for the richness of its philosophical vocabulary.

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