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Sa’di of Shirazi a small window into Iranian Culture



by Seyban Samat

(November 12, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) From day one of the success of the Islamic Revolution in Iran the US and other Western powers have demonized and are continuing to demonize Iran so much so that among many people of the world, Iran is thought of as land of fanatical bigotten people, at the drop of hat amputating hands of thieves, proclaiming death sentences on apostates, persecuting Christians. Jews and Bahais living in Iran and executing children below 18years of age. Iranian men are also supposed to be wild, uncompromising and impolite Iranian women in their modest black hijabs dress-code are viewed as ghouls. Western culture has embraced the culture of nakedness while Iran has viewed Western culture as the nakedness of their culture.

The Western powers are aware of the rich culture and traditions of the Iranian nation, but they choose to ignore it, for the simple reason that Iran wants to remain truly independent. It has been the nature of Europe and the US to praise countries that will support their agenda and denigrate countries that will oppose and stand up to them. Iran is determined to be independent and will at any cost retain her religion, traditions and culture. Despite three sets of UN sanctions against Iran on account of its refusal to halt its nuclear enrichment programme for peaceful purposes Iran marches on. In the latest development, it has been reported that several investors are flocking into Tehran to invest their funds as Iran has not been affected by the present world financial crisis. Iran has had no deep trade relations with the US nor Europe where the financial crisis is rampant.

If Islamic Iran is a terror country how is it that Persian King’s Cyrus Cylinder which lists human-rights as far back as 5000 years ago is placed above the door of the UN Security Council office for all of 192 member nations of the UN to see. When the unprejudiced thinks of Iran they are quite aware of artistic Persian carpets, and sublime persons like Omar Khayyam, Rumi Jalaludin, Ferdowsi and Sa’di.. Those conversant with Iranian culture marvel at the beauty of Persian architecture and divine culture.. For the sake of brevity this writer wishes to pen a few paragraphs on the personality of one Irani’s loved writer and ethical poets, Shaik Sa’di Shirazi.

From among the best literacy works in Persian literature, Sa’di’s Golestan and Boostan are in every aspect, unique and perhaps matchless. These two treasures bound in knowledge and wisdom derived from Persian culture and are considered to be charming classic models in prose and poetry. Sa’di, who enjoys the distinction of being the lord of the literary world of Iran, has opened an endless field for the connoisseurs with these two master-pieces. Within this field, poets and writers have become his students forever. With his sound talent, sensitive and loving heart, Sa’di sings the theme of monotheism and preaches love for all good things, sympathy for orphans and the oppressed, and at the same time, advises and guides the mighty rulers, leaders and politicians.

Sa’di was born in 1184. He hailed from a family of clerics and was orphaned at an early age. After receiving his early education in Shiraz, he went to Baghdad and there studied at the Nezamieh Academy and other reputable institutes of higher learning. Thereafter, for 30 years, he wandered hither and hither in Muslim lands from India on the east to Syria and Hejaz in the West. He visited Balkh, Ghazna, North Africa and Asia minor. He traveled in sufi-dervish fashion, in all sorts of ways and mixed with all sorts of people to learn their manners, culture and traditions. Sa’di’s works were his two epics Golestan and Boostan in addition he wrote his Kulliyat or Collected works comprising Arabic and Persian panygrics, threnodies, poems partly in Arabic and partly in Persian, Tarji-band, ghazals or odes arranged in four groups, namely early poems, fine odes, cunning odes and signet rings or gems. He also wrote many quatrains, fragments and isolated verses.

Professor A..J. Arberry an English intellectual and scholar said “Sa’di composed his quota of panegyrics, but it is characteristic of his boldness that he did not hesitate to tell his royal patrons bluntly how they ought to conduct themselves and why. To advocate virtue and truth in time of terror and to preach justice to princes called for courage of a rare order, an unwavering devotion to the high principles of Islam.”

As for Boostan and Golestan Mohammed Ali Foroughi said “The Golestan and Boostan are a perfect syllabus of practical wisdom. Sa’di has written about politics, ethics, prudence and administration in the most admirable style. Although the subjects are serious, Sa’di is also witty and humorous at times. In his own words he has blended the bitter medicine of advice with the honey of wit, so that it is accepted for greater effectiveness. In fact one can never tire of reading the Golestan and Boostan. No other writer has ever guided the Kings and powerful officials, regarding good management, justice and the welfare of subjects to the extent of Sa’di. Nobody has laid greater emphasis on these subjects. He has also reminded the other sections of the society, such as the administrators and military officials, the privileged and the disadvantaged, the powerful and the weak, the poor and the rich, the pious and the gnostics, the merchants and the businessmen, the lovers and the profligates, the materialists and the spiritualists about there duties and obligations. He has availed himself of every opportunity to advice and even admonish them, and has concerned himself with their detriments and interests. Sa’di was deeply religious but not a fanatic. He was an embodiments of love, affection and was kind, benevolent and just to his friends, foes, relatives and strangers. Verily he was a great humanitarian in the true sense of the word. His sympathy for his fellow human-beings was boundless.

A window into the character and works of one Iranian notable should suffice to prove the sublime culture of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The demonization of Iran by the Western powers especially the US is an exercise in futility which in the near future will boomerang on them.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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