Anvari Abivirdi

Anvari Abivardi, Awhad al-Din Muhammad, or: Awhad al-Din b, 'Ali, or: Awhad al-Din Muhammad b, Muhammad Anvari (d. 1189), well-known as Anvari Abivardi and Hujjat al-Haqq, a Persian scholar and astronomer under the Seljuks, whose nom de plume Khavari indicates that he was from Dasht-i Khavaran, wherein Anvari's hometown, Abivard, was located. He later changed his pseudonym to Anvari. He made made an important contribution to the evolution in genre of Persian poetry. His forte was the fluent expression of complex meanings, where his skill was especially manifest in his qasidas and ghazals. Besides his mastery of these forms, he was also a musician and calligrapher, as well as being a distinguished mathematician, philosopher and astronomer. His erudition in music is reflected in his poetry, such that some scholars have considered him to be effectively an ‘educated musician’. Anvari was from the village of Bazana (Badana), in the district of Abivard. His father was a court agent and reportedly superintendent of Mayhana. In his youth, he studied for a while at the Mansuriyya School in Tus, where he studied the traditional curriculum of sciences, including philosophy, astronomy, music, mathematics, medicine, logic and Arabic literature. In his poetry, he makes a reference to his interest in Avicenna's works to the point of copying out the latter's 'Uyun al-hikma. He traveled to Mosul, Baghdad, Balkh, Marv, Nishapur and Transoxiana, though his most prolific period of poetic composition was spent in Marv, the Seljuk Sultan Sanjar's seat of government. A jingle mocking the people of Balkh appeared in the name of Anvari, exciting the wrath of the citizens of that city, such that an attempt was made on his life. Fortunately a group of notables of Baklh interceded on his behalf and he had a narrow escape. He composed panegyrics for Sultan Sanjar, but when his astrological prognostication concerning the conjunction of the seven planets in the sign of Libra, whereby a mighty storm was to break out, turned out wrong, in fear of Sultan Sanjar’s reaction he fled to Bactria, where the mob assaulted and vilified him. In the end, he sought refuge with Majd al-Din Abu al-Hasan 'Umrani, a dignitary of Khurasan, and Qazi Hamid al-Din, the author of Maqamat-i Hamidi (‘The Stations of Hamid’). Anvari's tomb is by the shrine of Sultan Ahmad Khizrawayh (Khizruya) in Balkh.

Anvari was especially skillful in expressing delicate and complex meanings in a fluent style approaching the common usage of the time. His poetry is above all marked by his use of common parlance. He made use of all his predecessors' modes in poetry, while forging sathe innovation of blending daily language, simple and unadorned, with liberal use of Arabic vocabulary, even completely Arabic compounds, employing a full range of philosophical and scientific terminology, along with delicate themes, with an abundance of rich imagery and metaphor. In places he seems to have inserted everyday speech into his text, while elsewhere producing such subtlety and abstruseness of expression that they require reflective interpretation. His ghazals (sonnets) have a rich lyricism in their simple fluency, while his qit’as (epigrammatical verses) are brilliantly crafted to convey satire or panegyric, counsel or parable or social criticism. He was also distinguished for his eloquent qasidas (odes). His poetry abounds in scholarly terminology and allusions to fine points in sciences and philosophy, engendering three commentaries, respectively by Davud b. Muhammad 'Alawi Shadyabay, Abu al-Hasan Farahani Husayni, and 'Abd al-Razzaq Dunbuli. In poetic composition Anvari is said to have followed the style of Abu al-Faraj Runi. His works include his Divan of poetry running to some 14,700 verses; al-Bisharat fi sharh al-Isharat; and a treatise on prosody and rhyme. 

Asar-afarinan (1, 314); Tarikh-i adabiyyat dar Iran (2, 656-681); Da'irat al-ma'arif-i buzurg-i Islami (10, 403-405).