Abū Sa‘īd Abū'l-Khayr

Abū Sa‘īd Abū'l-Khayr was an 11th century Sufi poet from Khorasan. His divan, consisting entirely of quatrains (and a few miscellaneous couplets) is among the earliest surviving collections of Persian Sufi poetry.

‘Attār, Farīd ad-Dīn

Farīd ad-Dīn ‘Attār-e Neyshāpūrī was a 13th century Sufi poet, hagiographer, and pharmacist (hence the pen name ‘Attar,’ meaning ‘pharmacist’) famous for his large divan (collected poems), as well as Manṭiq-uṭ-Ṭayr (Confrence of the Birds) and Tazkirat al-Awliya‘ (Biographies of the Saints).


Bābā Tāher

Nothing about Bābā Tāher-e Hamedānī is known for certain. His name tells us he is from Hamedan, however his birth and death dates are not known, and the estimates vary from the 10th to 13th centuries. His poems are all quatrains written in his local dialect of Persian. His use of non-standard Persian sets him apart from all other poets in the classical Persian canon.


Hāfez, Shams ad-Din

Shams ad-Dīn Muhammad known as Hāfez-e Shīrāzī was a 14th-century court poet. His poetry addresses spirituality, religious hypocrisy, sadness, loss, love, and more. He is widely regarded as the most popular Persian poet today.

Iqbāl Lahorī

Allama Muhammad Iqbāl-e Lahorī (born 1877, died 1938) was a poet, lawyer, politician, and theorist who is considered Pakistans national poet and an ideological founding father, though he never lived to see the states creation. Allama Iqbal studied Law in Germany and the United Kingdom, before returning to British India where he began to practice. The state of the Muslim world - which had been declining with the colonization and the collapse of the Ottoman and Mughal empires - as well as his own search for identity, inspired much of his poetry. Although both his Urdu and Persian poetry are written in the classical style, the ideas and subject matter are unmistakably modern.

Rūdakī, Ja‘far

Abū Abdollāh Ja‘far ibn Moḥammad was born in Rudak, Khorasan (modern-day Tajikistan) hence his pen-name. He is considered the first major poet of the Persian cannon. He served in the court of Sāmānid ruler Nasr the Second (914–943) in Bukhara until he fell out of favor with the court, he eventually died in poverty. Among the many works attributed to him, little remains.

Rūmī, Jalal ad-Dīn

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī was an 13th century Sufi poet and jurist. Rumi was born in Vakhsh to a Balkhi family in the Eastern end of Persia in a region named Khorasan. He was an orthodox cleric until his chance encounter with wandering mystic Shams ad-Din of Tabriz, who introduced him to Sufism and fundamentally changed his worldview. Rumi left behind the Masnavi-e Ma‘navi, a six-book epic consisting of stories and fables to guide the spiritual traveler, the Divan-e Shams, a large volume of mystical love poetry, and two other books of sermons collected by his students. His legacy lives on in the Mevlevi Sufi order, founded by and still maintained by his descendants.

Sa‘dī, Muslih ad-Dīn

Abū-Muhammad Muslih al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, pen name Sa‘di, was a 13th century court poet from Shiraz. Sa‘di lived in a tumultuous time, witnessing both the Mongol invasions and collapse of Baghdad. He spent three decades travelling, and upon returning wrote the Bustan (Orchard) and Gulistan (Rose Garden), he also left behind a large divan. Sa‘di was considered the peak of Persian prosody and eloquence - in the pre-colonial Muslim world, students from Bosnia to Bengal begin learning Persian with his Gulistan.