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An analytic investigation of aesthetics and imagery of wisdom in Sanaei's poems.


For those who more or less are familiar with Sanaei's poems, in the first place it might seem that Sanaei is not capable of using figurative speeches which can be due to representation of rational judgment in his poetry, so that it doesn't make an opportunity for the manifestation of the poetic images. But if Hadigheh, Masnavi, and especially Divan are going to be studied, it can be found that in his poetry in addition to philosophical and rational thoughts, certain poetic and artistic emotions exist as well. Sanaei was a Sufi, a poet and a philosopher, so his works can be studied from three perspectives; mystical, philosophical and literary views.

He is a Sufi, so his poems are somehow unique with Sufi and mystical instructions, narration of various stories and historical tales and dialogues and debates among elders. He is a philosopher and his philosophical terms and his ability to use these concepts and his description of the terms such as; Hades va Ghadim (substance and old: what exist now doesn't exist first), Johar va Arz (Ousia and Accident: being independent and dependant to the other),and Hayoouli (materialism: each creature has a nature)... and his philosophical and allegorical Syrolabad Masnavi indicates the extent of his knowledge in this field. Furthermore, he is a creative poet who created beautiful concepts and artistically described the eulogy of elders, and in this respect he took advantage of other poets' virtual language. In order to make his works more effective and beautiful, he benefited from abundance elements of imagery. In the virtual language, Sanei went beyond the vocabulary language and by relying on rhetorical arrays created new images "The term imagery is used for all uses of virtual language, however, in this regard, the image consists any virtual use of language, including all figurative speeches and rhetorical devices such as simile, metaphor, symbolism, exaggeration, hyperbole, visualization, myth virtual instruments, personification, synesthesia, and paradox. [16]

One of the main purposes of this study was how to present different images of wisdom in expressional and common terms, by using imagery and beautification tools in Sanaei poems. Based on the researches which have been done on this issue, no independent research has been done in this area; therefore, since Sanaei was a great poet in Persian literature, and also due to special position of imagery in Persian poetry, it seems necessary to investigate his works.

Speaking poetry in Sanaei poems:

Although Sanaei used imagery elements in his poems differently, sometimes some verses can be seen which are free of any imagination and figurative speeches. These poems are called speaking or direct poems which can be seen among Sanaei poems. "Speaking poetry is kind of poem with prose logic in which without use of poetic techniques (creation and expression), a concept is expressed. In fact, this kind of poetry just benefits from prosodic meter and just from the perspective of literary criticism, it must be called poem " [13].

"Anyone who is familiar with the wisdom, he is separated from all faults" [7]

"Anyone who you don't know is a stranger; anyone who doesn't have any wisdom is crazy.".

In these lines, the conceptual relevance of two verses is easy, and you don't need any hard effort to understand the artistic point. However, it doesn't mean that speaking poems don't have any artistic or literary value or they are ineffective. For example, in the abovementioned verses, the poet kept up the goodness of wisdom and the verses are didactic and praising. "The powerful and effective words are not just imagery, the powerful and philosophical words are a lot which can play with readers' emotions and they are not less than the most beautiful poems [16].

Arrays of words in Sanaei poetry:

Most of poets are interested to pay specific attention the beauty and form of the words and Sanaei as well as other poets benefited from figurative speeches in various ways, for example notice the use of Pun. "Clutch at your wisdom to get released, if not you might roam in any way the same as Rahi"

In the original verse, two words (Rahi), one means way, the other means slave, while they make Total pun.

"If the disciple wisdom gets a spokesman, the dead stays but the Dave is rejected"

In the original verse, two words (Morid and Marid), one means follower, the other means rejected, while they make Letter pun.

"When the intellect remembered God, it removed futile garment" [7] In the original verse, two words (Bar Kard), one means remembered, the other means removed, while they make complex pun.

Word frequency of wisdom in Sanaei poems:

Literally, wisdom means forbidden because it is like a camel rein. Since wisdom stops his owner from vice, just like a rein which deters the camel from violation, sense in philosophy terms is inherently an abstract substance which is independent inherently and practically and is essentially abstract and actual.

"God created wisdom" which has been mentioned in above lines is one of the famous saying of Sufi [20] Words of wisdom in Sanaei poem have high frequency: In Hadigheh, different kinds of wisdom have been mentioned: acquired wisdom, logos, active wisdom, second wisdom (pp. 314, 298, 290, 308, 296) and the third wisdom [7], in some cases synonyms were mentioned for wisdom as well: intellect and soul, mind and heart, intellect and religion (Hadigheh, pp. 207, 682, 312, 656) and (Divan, pp. 498 286) knowledge and wisdom (Divan, p. 300) and sometimes certain compounds have been made of it : composed of intellect, wisdom Phoenix, shrub reason (Tarigh-al-tahghigh, p. 115), the beginning of wisdom, wisdom syrup, intellect library, layout of wisdom, common sense, wisdom treasure (Hadigheh, pp. 266, 299, 307, 194,364, 537), ear of reason, eye of reason, hand of reason, heart of reason and wisdom environment marine, workhouse of wisdom (Divane Ashaar, pp. 700, 66, 555, 61, 116 and 23). Sanaei has used these words in different occasions and he was such a Sufi who was involved in introducing the philosophical ideas in mystical texts. Meanwhile, his dual and paradoxical treating with wisdom is evident in his lyrics.

Sometimes he preferred love to the wisdom and said; reason is blind in front of love, wisdom is permanently peasant of love, love is superior to the intellect and the soul (Hadigheh, pp. 300, 156, 328) reason doesn't match with love; it is not good to do consultation with wisdom in front of love (Divan, pp. 987, 508), or love torn wisdom chain (Sanaei Abad, p. 96). "How can mind and hands know God, it is creature who can reach to God." (Sanaei, 1998: 90) "Reason is not able to know God, it is able to know itself not God" (Sanaei, 1998: 119) " Theism is not possible with wisdom, spirit cannot be scratched by a thorn " [7] A wit is not valuable against the Prophet who in Islamic mysticism after God has the highest rank:

Wisdom kneels before Prophet, intellect before prophet is like dirt and wisdom learned instructions from the Prophet (Hadigheh, 203, 209)

And sometimes wisdom has been stated with bad qualifications: barren intellect, ignoble wisdom, meddler mind, mean reason, crazy wisdom (Divan, 59, 418, 371, 228, 614), infected wisdom, helpless intellect, returning intellect, unfinished intellect, dirty mind, (Hadigheh, 81, 101, 185, 300) crazy reason (Sanaei Abad, p. 85).

Sanaei sometimes praised the wisdom and regarded it superior to sensuality, he said:

Flee from sensuality into the wisdom [7].

Wisdom is king and sensuality is its slave.

He sometimes believed that wisdom reaches to higher positions:

If you come from the carnal area to the wisdom porch, you like Saturn see yourself in the seventh heaven [7].

Wisdom doesn't do badly:

The reason does not ruin actions, it doesn't do anything disagreeable.

Wisdom in the creation system in the ultimate prize:

The first creature is intellect, the best choice is intellect [7].

Wisdom directs us to God: Our guide to know God is wisdom, Our existence is related to His existence .

Religion wisdom, noble wisdom, David-like wisdom, care-bless wisdom, far-thoughtful wisdom (Hadigheh, pp. 303, 305, 202, 306, 302) and the Supreme Wisdom (Divan, p. 475) are among the combinations in which it calls for a good reason. This paradoxical approach of Sanaei on wisdom suggests that Sanaei in his poems took into account the views of other poets such as Ghazali and also Eyn-al-Ghozat. "Due to the use of words and verbal images, it can be found that in writing the chapters of his book, Sanaei used Ehya-al-OloumAl-din Book in which Ghazali talked about inability to recognize, for example Ghazli said that this is the fact that our understanding fails His perception and our illusion is unable to imagine Him. These sayings are similar to the following Sanaei verses:

" Illusion and delusion are unable to describe Him, and they may boast about that." (Madras, p. 63)

(Hosseini, M. 2006. 'Position of intellectual sense in Sanaei ways of thinking. "& A berserk in Ghazni. Mohammad Khani,A.A & Fotouhi, M. V. I, Tehran: Sokhan, pp. 102-103)

Besides, Eyn-al-Ghozat Hamadani (who was contemporary with Sanaei) in Tamhidat book stated about wisdom value that wisdom is a correct scale and it has true and certain judgments that no lies can be seen in its path, and it is like justice where no wrongs can be expected of it. Sanaei attention and his effect from other elders in expression of his own ideas is obvious.

The elements of wisdom imagery in Sanaei poems:

Sanaei stepped into different kinds of literary, for example in addition to panegyric words, Dervish thoughts, asceticism and didactic and moral poems, the reader can see poems which can be investigated literarily. His description of the nature and his love poems are full of literary use of language. In poems like this, he was more careful in choice of words and observance of formal and conceptual relevance and appropriateness and imagery and the use of artistic language in his poetry varied in respect of public images. He reflected his philosophical views in the images and some of figurative speeches in Sanaei poems are as follow;


It is regarded as one base of the virtual language in imagery which plays an important role, and in respect of structure, simile is found in two forms in Sanaei's poems; additional form and non-additional from, the following is an example of non-additional from:

"When crow of sensuality flies, wisdom like a pheasant put his head in the dust."

Wisdom was likened to pheasant and its simile mode is putting the head in the dust and it is called posted and detailed similes. Conceptual relevance and appropriateness on the vertical axis (successor) resulted from proportion between reason and desire of the crow and pheasant which associate an image to the mind by making a metaphorical relationship between the parts of the image, however, on the horizontal axis (companion), the layout of phonemes in letter "Sin (S sound) " which is not that artistic, is the contrast between to sensual issues (crow and pheasant) with two rational issues (reason and desire)."Regard logos as a roof, the steps of ladder are toward roof of senses" (Ibid: 299)

Logos (total Intellect): the first sender which sends the second intellect, soul and body (and totally the world) is prior to the world, logos has been regarded as a roof where the conduct ends to it , and remember that the steps of the ladder of getting near to God are internal and external senses.

The meaning of this verse depends on the second verse where the logos is actually a vehicle in which two things were likened ; logos once was likened to a roof and once to a ladder (it is a plural simile), since the relevance of the two verses in indirect or ironic poems is done based on literary tools, the associated words in verbal succession axis (vertical) was based on simile (reason to sense in first verse) and in companion axis (horizontal letter "B", not pleasing to the ear and not perceptible, can be seen. On the other side, the roof of your senses (a metaphoric expression which is studied in succession axis) is involved to make the words imaginary.

"Wisdom in the hands of a rebellious herd, it is like a spot in respect of cleanliness"

Sanaei considered the wisdom of rebellious people so weak that he has been likened it to a spot in respect of cleanliness, the conceptual relevance of two verses in vertical axis (succession) is based on simile and the second verse is a vehicle to the first verse.

The following line is also a non-additional: "Wheels on your narcissus like eyes, wisdom is like breckland thyme on your ears"

Additional simile:

Additional simile constituents in Sanaei lyrics usually have a two-part structure (nominal composition). In such simile, since wisdom is a part of rational issues (not emotional), it is usually regarded as the first component of sensual vehicle and the second part is a rational simile for example syrup of reason in the following verses:

"The patient tastes syrup of reason, donkey carries due to being insane."

The syrup of reason is a two-part additional composition in which wisdom in case of sweetness was likened to syrup, and Sanaei believed that patience is result of being wise. Patience or "waiting is a mystical term and according to Sufis, it is imprisoning the sensuality and stop it from dissatisfaction even if this feeling is a latent disability, wisdom is symbol of human body, so the human body may suffer from being insane and a patient person is surely wise.

Other similes such as shrub of intellect and bat of wisdom in the following lines are classified in abovementioned:

"Shrub of intellect is blown of you, you fail due to your own."

"If the ball of ignorance doesn't come with bat of wisdom, if investigation doesn't follow suspicion" [7]

Alphabetical simile:

One characteristic of imagery in Sanaei poems is evocations of letters, while before him Rudaki also used them.

"Your hair was covered by whom? The one who made your face mole as the point of j." Alphabetic simile in Sanaei poems were used in two forms either alphabetically or according to appearance of letters.

"Don't look for monotheism with wisdom, don't scratch the soul eyes with thorn" "One who face to others not God, has hanged wisdom to two other branches" [7]

Wisdom in an implicit simile is likened to a human who has been hanged (which shows failure of rejection of Allah).

Or the similes whose structure is not metaphorical, so that it specifies one or two letters from a word an d creates themes. "The letters which can veiled the statements, the last part of religion is start of wisdom."

In this verse, in addition to position of letters (e.g. (Ayn letter) comes at the end of shar(religion) but at the beginning of Aghl (wisdom) it also refer to this point that letters can veil the statements. In the other word, Letters or words cannot state the meanings or secrets, so end of religion is the beginning of wisdom and wisdom can explain about Sharia (religion).


In Sanaei images, the readers face with many examples of figurative speech specially personification, the number of metaphors in Sanaei poems confirm BooAli ideas who said; "poets have a great interest in the use of metaphor, so that if they face something which has two names, one original and the other the changed, they tend into the changed name [6]

Structurally, metaphor was also used in two additional and non-additional forms in Sanaei poems. Metaphor with additional structure, metaphors in the form of common and additional compounds that are made of combination of two nouns are considerable:

"When God unity makes your eyes of wisdom light.

Eyes of wisdom is a metaphorical sense and in Snaei poems, the phenomena have life and human traits (personification) which doubled his poems' dynamism. In personification, the poet acted in two ways; he may either regard one of human trait for an object or consider a part of human body in that object. Sanaei used both forms; the frequency of these images is one type of Maknieh simile.

"You tavern, if you see the God destination with eyes of wisdom, with your body eyes look at us>> [7]

Metaphorical sense of Khaghani is also like this: "My pest is wisdom, but I hardly want it, but every morning I closed my eyes of wisdom" (Khaghani Divan, p. 783) Also hand of wisdom in following verse:

"If you are not the man of great effort, but with hand of wisdom break two legs of greed" [7]

And Kamal al-Din Muhammad Ismail in praising Prophet made the following compound: "For the hand of wisdom the light of your eyes are the light, for the sensuality, your prohibition is a frenum" (Kamalladin Divan, line 27)

Non-additional metaphor:

Personification of the objects is one of the artistic tools of Sanaei, in this method personification of the wisdom and regarding wisdom as an alive object can make an image imaginary. Besides, the poets entered the imaginary elements such as wisdom into senses world and therefore, he turned the abstract into the concrete and also he made kind of empathy and assimilation among them. Therefore, the reader regard wisdom as a human with human traits in Sanaei poems in different ways; wisdom is like human vagrant, sacrifice is zeal of wisdom, wisdom is blind before love (Hadigheh, pp. 62, 52, 300) wisdom is not entered the love region, wisdom is like a human who is surprised by his love beauty, wisdom is a jeweler who knows the value of a jewel, wisdom is a weaver who shouldn't sit on throne of love, wisdom is a teacher whose pen is broken, wisdom is naked before love, when wisdom is leaving pour some soil behind it, wisdom is a confidant who should sit on the heart court (Sanaei Divan, pp. 144, 22, 33, 44.33, 499, 509).

He described Bahram Shah in wisdom in the following verse: "Wisdom with a veil on his face, stand in bend of his hair like ball in the bat" [7]


metonymy is an element of imagery and a figurative speech. It means to get from one level to another, and a relationship between two present and the absent sides, it has a literary and artistic aspect." (Shmysa, 1991: 236). Where you can't speak with satire, metonymy is the best way to express ideas and militant thoughts. Struggle between reason and passion in the field of literary has made uses of this kind of works very wide. As it was mentioned, sometimes Sanaei blamed the wisdom, and sometimes he praised it in Hadigheh poems. And he stepped so far, that in a part of Fakhri nameh he dedicated an independent sector in eulogy and unity of wisdom and wise. Notice the following verses:

"Shorten one way to two wines, this long length crazy wisdom." (Ibid: 28)

Long length is an irony of stupid. "If love appears, haunt the body and live happily, when wisdom appears bent down and run away." (Ibid: 484)

Bent down is an irony of escape which is called bent down (glossary and irony of Astan Quds version) [7]

Mollana said: "Because your wisdom is the people's Aghileh, that wisdom is snake and scorpion." [5]

Aghileh is the camel shackle which is something that prevents movement and travel to the perfection.


Visualizing the strange images of wisdom in Sanaei poem is long with personification, in the following verses; wisdom associates the image of a child who is elusive to go to school. Sanaei with his poetic and delicate words personated the love hair and parotid line, and with his paradoxical words he believed wisdom is ignorant, and it should be trained and sent to school. In addition, in the above verses, wisdom is a subjective point which is taking physical and visual aspects with personification.


It is a distinctive characteristic of Sanaei poetry. Among the works that analogy is widely used Hadigheh and some analogies derived from the Qur'an can be mentioned, for example analogy in Uolaek Kalanam ... Va Nahno Qasmna ..., some analogies concerned the mystical issues such as endeavor, trust, abstraction, alliance devotion, regret, satisfaction, and poverty of enthusiasm and in respect of ethical issues such as failure in upbringing of a child, the worldliness, fun and humor, etc., some analogies of Hadigheh consisted philosophical and religious concepts in which " the form of narration is identically consistent with main thoughts (theme) which is comparable, story is an attempt to elucidate and explain and emphasize the thought in the form of an allegory free from ambiguity "[16], for example the tale of the town of the blinds which is known as a famous analogy. Masnavi of Konouz and Romouz (hidings ad secrets) that is known as Syrolebad-ala- Almaad is a philosophical allegory. In categorizing the allegories Masnavi Syrolebad-ala- Almaad is dream analogy, " Dream allegory is an allegorical narrative in which the narrator entered into the world of dreams and visions and experiences a spiritual journey and then returns to the normal world and narrate the story. In this imaginary journey, the narrator with help of a guide passes the steps and the events and things that he sees in dreams are completely analogous, and it refers to something other than his own, in Persian language Masnavi Syrolebadala-Almaad is one of these analogies." [16].

It means that logos is a king who after the order of God who said exist, came to existence, and base of all existence is due to Him and wisdom is a king whose quality is true order (Interptetation of Masnavi Syrolebadala- Almaad).

Equation method: Sanaei, like other Sufi poets, in order to express his complex philosophical and mystical ideas used equation method. " Equation method is that two verses be entirely independent syntactically and any conjunctive or anything even its meaning are not connected to each other (not just syntactically) " (Shafii kadkani (2010, pp. 63, 64). Equation method have been used a lot in Sanaei poems:

"it is not possible to tell the love secrets to the wisdom, how can hard rock be the same as thorn" [7].

Each of the above verses can be considered independently, in these lines usually the second verse is cited to explain the objective of the first verse.

"How can imperfect wisdom understand Quran, how can a spider hunt a Phoenix" (Ibid: 190)

In the above poems, the structure of verses is independent and there is no conjunction or conditional word and each verse independently induce its own meaning.

Paradox: Images with violation of habit and out of mind such as mentioned images in Sanaei Divan: "Crys laughter the lover out of you, laugh mystics out of you"

"The oldest examples of beautiful paradox poetry are in Sanaei works:

"Love is the speaker of secret talks, love covered the naked body."

Masnavi Syrolebad-ala- Almaad reported a spiritual journey from birth to extinction in God and it is written in a complex paradoxical language. Sanaei in his dreams experienced the unity of opposites and therefore the his tongue became familiar with contradictions, Rhetoric images [16] paradoxical images of wisdom in his poetry appeared with kind of surprises and ambiguity. For example, in this line in order to show the power and ability of wisdom to achieve knowledge, he used a poetic, strange and exaggerative that reveals wisdom sees all the unseens"

When you opened the wisdom eye , you saw out of any mystery, when you say prayers you can solve the riddles>> [7]

Sufi denied the value of wisdom in its Greek and philosophical concepts. Sanaei imagined wisdom as a long length creature and attributed it paradoxically into foolishness. However, foolishness is due to loss of wisdom and in the other hand, it is in proverbs that any long length is foolish.

Infected wisdom to know the facts and claims to know and see the truth the reason is likened to Moses and desires met, but he does not tolerate expressions of Lights.


It is an outstanding characteristic of mystical texts, in which one refers covertly or indirectly to an object or circumstance from an external context. It benefits from an artistic and poetic aspect of Islamic religious allusions and the relation between wisdom and allusion is often based on metaphor and personification.

In the above poem, dementia is a wisdom which doesn't know how to understand the facts and claims to know and see God, it has been likened to Moses who asked to see God, but he did not tolerate expressions of His Lights.

"David-like wisdom before Him, is like a donkey which prays and regrets" (Ibid: 202)

"Wisdom in the God way to know Him suffice His reasons, wisdom in any position can understand Abraham story" (Ibid: 296)

"If wisdom face to sensuality like pharaoh, we will face him with Moses" (Ibid: 411) And then saw wisdom as an antichrist: " Love has one side which was shown to Jesus, wisdom is one eye which is like an antichrist>> [7] And said wisdom should be cleaned like Mary' place of prostration: "Make wisdom room fresh with spirit gift, as clean as Mary' place of prostration >> (Ibid: 499)

Or knew wisdom as Noah: "Injudicious breath is stupid, Noah without spirit is a boat." Exaggeration: Sanaei was a panegyrist and his highest exaggeration are in his eulogy odes and his exaggerated images associated with artistic expression images: "Wisdom cannot be eulogized, it is just full of nothing." (Ibid: 314) Sometimes he talked with an epic tone and superiorly: "Mars is not able due to my wisdom, sun is not shinning due to my generosity".


The imagery of wisdom in Sanaei poems is really various, so that he benefited from a variety of artistic elements and figurative speeches to depict the wisdom term in different concepts. He emphasized on the spiritual arrays more than verbal arrays, so his poems on the vertical axis is more artistic than in the horizontal axis. In addition to the above results of this study, other points about Sanaei poems can be summarized as follow:

1. Simplicity and avoidance from ambiguity in the presenting wisdom image

2. The multiplicity of figurative speech uses, metaphor and particularly personification

3. The multiplicity of equation method use

4. The multiplicity of metaphor use in explaining and understanding the difficult problems


Article history:

Received 25 October 2014

Received in revised form 26 November 2014

Accepted 29 December 2014

Available online 15 January 2015


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(1) Akram Mosaffa and (2) Dr. Morteza Razzagh Pour

(1) Ph.D student of Persian language and literature, Islamic Azad University, Hamedan Branch, Hamedan, Iran Univesity and a faculty member in Islam Shahr Azad University.

(2) Asst Prof ofIslamic Azad University, Hamedan Branch, Hamedan, Iran.

Corresponding Author: Akram Mosaffa, Ph.D student of Persian language and literature, Islamic Azad University, Hamedan Branch, Hamedan, Iran Univesity and a faculty member in Islam Shahr Azad University.
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Author:Mosaffa, Akram; Pour, Morteza Razzagh
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
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Date:Oct 1, 2014
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