Iranian notables, sources of global honor (98)
Welcome to the 98th weekly episode of the series Iranian Notables, Sources of Global Honor. Today, we introduce Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Jaami.
Last week, we spoke of the prominent Iranian thinker, poet, literary figure, author, and politician of 9th Century AH, Amir Ali Shirnavai; a global figure who rendered valuable services in different domains and left behind ever-lasting works.
It was said that the era of rule of Timurid Dynasty was one of the most glorious phases of time in Iran, marking a glittering era in the history of Iran’s culture and civilization, given the support Timurid Dynasty offered to Iran’s culture and art. This era was characterized with the empowerment of cultural elites. The knowledgeable and art-loving vizier of Sultan Hussein Baiqra, Amir Ali Shirnavai, was one of the prominent figures of this era. Born in the city of Herat on February 9, 1441, in a virtuous and knowledgeable family, Amir completed his academic studies in his hometown. Upon the instatement of Sultan Hussein Baiqra as the ruler, Amir was instated as vizier, rendering valuable services to people. In this period of time, art-lovers headed for the royal court; enjoying Amir’s support and leaving behind ever-lasting literary and artistic works.
Meanwhile, Amir tendered his resignation later on, as the consequence of resentment and jealousy of the courtiers toward him, and was later appointed as the governor of Astarabad Province upon the order of Sultan Hussein Baiqra. Amir passed away over there in the year 906 AH.
Amir was one of the supporters of art in the Timurid era, and managed to render valuable services in this realm. He made every effort for growth and development of culture and art. The relentless efforts and vast interest of Amir in art and artists turned him into a unique figure.
One of the important cultural measures of this Iranian vizier was his support for artists. He promoted Herat’s literary and artistic school of thought to its peak and turned this city into a hub of poetry, literature, music, painting, and calligraphy. Under his unwavering support, many artists grew and developed.
Amir prioritized support for poets and literary figures. He composed poems in Farsi and Turkish languages, both.
In addition to his skill in composing poetry, Amir supported the poets and artists of his era and provided material and spiritual support for Ulema. Upon rendering educational and welfare facilities, he made it possible for artists and thinkers to produce science and arts without any concerns about their livelihood.
This was certainly true in Amir’s relations with the cultural elites of his era. Amir never treated cultural figures from a position of power.
If we consider his relations with figures such as Jaami, Behzad, and Vaez Kashefi, who were the pioneers of poetry, arts, and mysticism in that era, we realize that the said figures owed their success to Amir’s untiring support for art and culture.
Jaami is one of the most important scientific and cultural figures of Timurid era, whose valuable books and works proof his scientific talents and skills. His relations with the then rulers, such as Sultan Hussein Baiqra and Amir, go to show his popularity in the then political structure.
The cultural figures of Amir’s era lived within the framework of the royal court and next to Amir; and their perpetual relations with Amir had highly contributed to cultural growth in that period of time. What meets the eye in Jaami’s biography is his amicable and cordial ties with Amir, such that Jaami has hailed and lauded Amir in majority of his works. In regard to reasons behind inclination of poets and artists toward royal courts; innumerable researchers opine that talents of many cultural figures would have not grown, had they not attended the royal court. The political and economic conditions of Jaami’s era made it impossible for artists and thinkers to continue their cultural existence without attending the royal court.
Innumerable letters which were exchanged between Amir and Jaami prove the strong bond established between the two of them. Contents of these letters show the amicable ties between them. These letters also signify the historical events; a background on their compilations; the cultural and political conditions of that era; the then state of sciences, arts, and literature; and their personal relations. The interesting point is that throughout these letters, Jaami has never made a personal request and has only spoken of assistance to people’s welfare, and downfall of the unjust.
Jaami made utmost efforts to help maintain Amir’s position of power, in a bid to assist people’s welfare.
Jaami has penned many of his books upon Amir’s request. Upon the study of the letters exchanged between Amir and Jaami, one realizes that Amir was indomitably resolved to further promote the cultural current of that era by supporting cultural figures and their compilations.