Persian literati discuss Naser-e Khusraw’s Book of Travels

January 6, 2021 - 18:31

TEHRAN – Literature scholars discussed the Safarnamah (Book of Travels) of Abu Muin Naser-e Khusraw al-Marvazi al-Qubadiyani, known as Naser-e Khusraw, during an online session on Tuesday.

The session was organized by the Persian literary monthly Bokhara and Elmi Farhani Publications to celebrate the release of a new edition of the book by the publisher.

The edition has been corrected by Mohammadreza Tavakkoli-Saberi, who delivered a speech during the session, which streamed through and

Mohammad Emadi Haeri, Bahram Parvin Gonabadi, Pajand Soleimani, Nadereh Rezai and also Ali Dehbashi gave lectures during the session.

Tavakkoli-Saberi is also the author of “The Wanderer of the Yamgan Valley”, a novel he has written about the life story of Naser-e Khusraw who lived during the eleventh century. 

Naser-e Khusraw‘s most-celebrated prose work, The Safarnameh is a diary describing his seven-year journey through Syria and Palestine. It is a valuable record of the scenes and events that he witnessed.

Tavakkoli-Saberi followed the route in a similar journey to write his book “The Lapsable Journey”, which was published by Elmi Farhangi in 2018.

Born in 1004 in Qubadiyan, Merv, Khorasan (Iran), Naser-e Khusraw came of a family of government officials who belonged to the Shia branch of Islam.

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 Ismaili sect, an offshoot of Shiism, 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 Ismaili 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 Ismaili 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.

His 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 Rawshanainameh (“Book of Light”). 

He also wrote more than a dozen treatises expounding the doctrines of the Ismailis, among them the Jami al-Hikmatayn (“Union of the Two Wisdoms”), in which he attempted to harmonize Ismaili 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.

He died c. 1072/77 in Yamgan, Badakhshan, Central Asia, which is now in present-day Afghanistan.

Photo: Front cover of Naser-e Khusraw’s Safarnamah (Book of Travels) corrected by Mohammadreza Tavakkoli-Saberi. 


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