(Persia Digest) - Iran on Sunday marked national day of Attar, 12th-century great Iranian poet with global reputation.
IRNA reports that Iran's history, culture and literature is intertwined with the names of numerous great figures and intellectuals who have made major contributions to civilization in Iran with an effective role in creating the civilization of the entire international community.
Abu Hamid Farid ud-Din Muhammed bin Abu Bakr İbrahim of Nishabur is well known to Iranians and people from other nations as well. Attar is the pen name of the same person who is very well-known in Iran and has a fair reputation around the world.
Attar was a 12-centruy poet in the northeastern ancient city of Neyshabur (or Nishabur), currently a city in the Iranian Province of Khorasan-e Razavi. His mausoleum has rendered beauty to the city with a turquoise tomb, a tourist attraction in Iran.
Attar (Apothecarist) was also a renowned figure in medicine and pharmaceuticals in his time; that's the reason for his appellation. But he is now known for his literary works, best known for his Manteq al-Tayr, or The Conference of the Birds. The book is a long epic poem that symbolized birds of various kinds each as a human moral behavior. Throughout the story, Attar has highlighted ethical lessons via metaphors and other literary techniques and figures of speech.
In addition to the above mentioned masterpiece, the famous Iranian poet has other works, including Pand-Nama, which is the first work of Attar translated into other languages. Attar, is also known as a Sufi and has devoted his only prose work, Taḏkerat al-awlia, to biographies of classical Sufis.
Other prominent poetic works of the Iranian poet include Khosrow-nameh, Ilahi-Nama, Khosrow-nama, and Divan. Attar has been named as the master by some other Persian Sufis and poetes. Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, for instance, has called him the 'spirit' with himself the 'shadow'.
The name of Attar went beyond the borders of Iran and Persian-Arabic speaking communities when his works were translated into other languages. Antoine Isaac Silvestre de Sac, a French linguist and Orientalist was among the first scholars who translated Attar's works. A.J. Arberry, Baron Eric Hermelin and Gabriel GaiTelin are just a few to name. There have been also other non-Iranian intellectuals who have commented on Attar's works.
The prominent Argentine poet, essayist, and short-story writer, Jorge Luis Borges, has compared Attar's The Conference of the Birds with the Divine Comedy of Dante. “That anyone has ever been able to surpass one of the great figures of the Divine Comedy seems incredible, and rightly so,' he says in his Nine Essays on Dante, adding that 'nevertheless, the feat has occurred.”
The poet has been valued by Iranians throughout history. In contemporary Iran, April 14 is designated as Attar's National Day on the Persian calendar to mark the contribution his works have made to Persian literature.
This year, too, the day is being commemorated in recognition of Attar's works and personality. Neyshabur, 125 km west of Mashhad, the home town of the great poet, is hosting a conference with attendances from across the country.
In an official message to the conference, the Iranian Minister of Culture Abbas Salehi said that 'Attar has a precious gem in his thoughts that still has many buyers despite the long time that has passed since his time and the rise of technologies. This gem is spirituality, approaching the world in a humane way far from meanness, combined with tolerance.'
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