Saadi Shirazi

Abu-Muhammad Muslih al-Din bin Abdallah Shirazi, better known by his pen-name Saadi was born in the city of Shiraz around 1200. He died around the year 1292 in Shiraz. His father died in Saadi’s early childhood. He completed his early education in Shiraz with the help of his uncle. Later he was sent to study in Baghdad at Nezamiyeh College which was a renowned place of education in the Muslim World; where he acquired the traditional learning of Islam.

The chaotic conditions following the Mongol invasion of Persia led him to travel abroad through Iraq Anatolia, Syria, and Egypt. It is said that he had also traveled to India and Central Asia. He also refers in his work to travels in India and Central Asia. In this case, Saadi is very similar to Marco Polo who traveled in the region from 1271 to 1294. It is said that Indians arranged a welcoming ceremony for him when he arrived in India due to his reputation.

Saadi is mostly known for his works “Gulistan” (The Rose Garden) written around 1258 and “Bustan” (The Orchard) written around 1257; but “Koliyat Saadi” or “The Complete Works of Saadi” is more thorough.

He had a great influence on Persian culture, language, mysticism, and literature. The following poem has been picked and translated from the original version of “The Complete Works of Saadi”:

No pest would ever go on/ a bdellium tree in the desert

Men throw stones at a palm tree/ because of the fairness and sweetness of dates

Nightingale would not stay in his cage for years/ only because of his talent

The damned raven is so ungenerous/ that no one is sent after his trace

The children would not pluck the feathers of a peacock/ only because of his elegance

Have you seen any friends of God/ that has not bared any suffering?

On the path to each heaven on God’s universe/ there exist a hell