Among the great Azerbaijan poets, Nizami Ganšavi is one of the most powerful personalities. Early in his youth Ilyas Yusif oglu Nizami had mastered literature, philosophy, a number of sciences, as well as several foreign languages.
Plunging into the literary world of Nizami Ganšavi, as rich as a treasure-house and as great as world itself, picking the pearls it contains demands from one a highest capacity of scientific penetration o become a most persistent and courageous researcher, and a skilful "pearl-diver."
Nizami has left us an enormous legacy which we can only call a heroic accomplishment. His most famous works, regarded as the worthiest contribution to the world literature, are the five long poems consisting of 30,000 distichs and known as Khamsa (Quintiple).
His didactic poem The Treasure house of Mysteries written in 1173 and containing twenty chapters and "talks," with preachings and parables woven into the fabric of the narrative; his lyric poems that glorify the purifying and ennobling love of Khosrow and Shirin (1181) and Leili and Majnun (1188), Seven Beauties (1197) and his historico-philosophical poem Iskandar-Nama (Alexander the Great) are widely known in the Middle East and far beyond it. It is said that Shakespeare is the Nizami of the West!
The virtue of Nizami's poetry lies in his ability of expressing people's desires and yearnings, in humanism common to all mankind, in highest artistic skill, in delicacy of progressive ideas, in their fluency and simplicity, perceptibility, actuality and profoundness.
He reflected his socio-political and philosophical views in his last poem -- Iskandar-Nama. He created a social Utopia -- an ideal society, many centuries before the Western Utopists Charle Fourier, Robert Owen and Saint-Simon advanced this idea. In the society he depicted, people used to live happily without the state administration and its implements of the compulsion: the army, jails, etc. The people never fought each other, no blood was ever shed, all were willing to observe the rules of collective life.
Nizami noted the possibility of establishing a similar society only through the moral and spiritual perfection of the Man.
Nizami was not a poet of court, but he was obliged to dedicate his poems to rulers and eminent people, driven to it by the need to find protection. Thus, his Treasure-house of Mysteries was dedicated to Shah Bahram who liked it so much that decided to award Nizami a gift in person of a young slave girl, whose name was Appaq (Afaq). She became Nizami's first and only wife, and the mother of his son Muhammad.
A great number of researchers have studied Nizami's legacy, writing scores of monographs, hundreds of articles, defending numerous theses for their degrees. However there is still a lot to be learned and analyzed in Nizami's legacy. Undoubtedly his works and ideas will find way to the hearts of future generations, as they will preserve their topicality, significance and charm for many centuries ahead.
Read one of the available poems by Nizami
Nizami Ganjavi (by Encyclopedia Britannica)
(by Prof. J.S.Meisami)
Nizami (from Ganja-The Memories of Stones)
The Great Azerbaijani Poet Nizami Ganjavi (from Azerbaijani Nizami Museum)
Nizami Ganjavi - great Azerbaijani poet (response, in Russian, to all
Iranian and Armenian claims)