Saʿdī’s Gulistān (Flower Garden) is the most influential work of Persian prose, so popular that it became the standard textbook for Persian education from the Balkans to the Bengal for centuries, cementing the place of this text in the Muslim mind.
Many of Saʿdī’s quips, poems, and one-liners have become proverbs quoted by Muslims of all educational backgrounds.
Studying this valuable work will provide students an insight into the Turco-Indo-Persianate tradition that Saʿdī inhabited.
This class will cover an abridged text, giving learners an insight into the Persianate world, and equipping them with age-old wisdom needed to navigate life.
Class 1: Course Introduction.
Class 2: Text Introduction.
Class 3: Chapter One - The Conduct of Kings.
Class 4: Chapter Two - The Character of Dervishes.
Class 5: Chapter Three - The Virtues of Contentment.
Class 6: Chapter Four - The Benefits of Silence, Chapter Six - Feebleness and Old Age.
Class 7: Chapter Five - On Love and Youth.
Class 8: Chapter Seven - The Effect of Education.
Class 9: Chapter Eight - The Art of Conversation.
Class 10: Chapter Eight - The Art of Conversation, cont.
Time: 12:30 PM NYC time, 5:30 PM London time.
Duration: 60-80 Minutes.
Dates: December 16th/17th, 23rd/24th, January 6th/7th, 13th/14th, 20th/21st, 27th/28th, February 3rd/4th, 10th/11th, 17th/18th, 2
Days: English class - Saturday, Persian class - Sunday.
Students can attend only the English class or both classes:
The Saturday class consists of a short lecture, reading the Gulistān in English, and discussing the text.
In the Sunday class, students read the Gulistān in Persian to improve reading comprehension.
Do I need to know Persian/Farsi?
No, the class is bi-lingual.
Do I need any background knowlege?
No, the class will introduce all the Ho necessary information.
How will we meet?
The class will be conducted over Zoom with a complementary Whatsapp group to facilitate student discussion.
What if I miss some classes?
All classes are recorded and attendance is not mandatory.
“Sharghzadeh presents the poetry classes in a welcoming and sensitive manner. As a dedicated instructor, he provides examples from original manuscripts, multiple translations, and interpretations, as well as his own modern elaboration on the texts. This allows for a deeper understanding of the materials, which then opens up profound discussions and dialogues. The class provides a safe space for students to discuss personal and cultural anecdotes relevant to the presented materials. The diversity of the pupils allows for an elevated experience with regards to interpreting the Persian texts and poems. Students new to Persian are encouraged to take a leap and read from ancient texts. The experience improves their knowledge of the Persian language within historical/cultural contexts. Those who are already familiar with Persian poetry are also guaranteed to learn something new each session, whether it be a linguistic concept or a historical event.”Anahita, Toronto
“Muhammad Ali is a natural teacher! He has a deep passion for Persian poetry, and it shows through all his efforts. The classes are well structured, organised and I especially enjoy his efforts in explaining the context of the poems that he teaches, it makes the poems much more meaningful and memorable. It’s been insightful learning about the poets behind the poetry as well. ”Nilufar, United Kingdom
“Persian Poetics Poetry classes helped me connect with my heritage and learn more about the poetic origins of the well-known sayings and aphorisms of Persian culture. The classes are engaging and informative - and often entertaining! I’m glad I had a chance to read the literature both in the original Persian and the most famous English language interpretations of these works. By putting the poetry in cultural and historical contexts, one can better understand the Persian society of the past and how it has shaped our present day. I recommend these courses for anyone who would like to dive deeper into these works - not only as isolated, archaic lines of poetry - but as a nuanced explanation of a broader worldview and philosophy. ”Sara, Chicago
“I studied Persian on my own for a few years, and had a decent grasp of the grammar. But I struggled with understanding poetry - which is what I really wanted to be reading - both because of cultural and historical information I needed, and a general lack of experience. In lessons with Muhammad, I read through many stories and poems from Saʿdi’s Gulistān, improving my knowledge of the literature and also getting more confident in my ability to work through lines of verse at a faster pace. I’d recommend him to anybody seeking to improve their Persian reading and to learn more about this amazing body of literature.”Matt, Chicago
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