Abu Mansur Muhammad ibn Ahmad Daqiqi

Written by
Iraj Bashiri

Abu Mansur Muhammad ibn Ahmad Daqiqi's name may not appear as important as the names of Rudaki, Farrukhi, or Firdowsi, but that in no way decreases the high esteem that he deservedly evokes in Persian literary circles. He is the first to versify the account of the kingship of Gushtasp, Gushtasp's acceptance of the Zoroastrian religion, and Gushtasp's altercations with Arjasp. More importantly, Firdowsi completed Daqiqi's unfinished work and therein lies Daqiqi's mastery in the epic genre.

The word "daqiq" has two meanings in Arabic. It can mean "flour," in which case the name of the poet would mean flour dealer, an unlikely penname for a young poet who worked at the court of the Chaghaniyan. The other meaning is "exact," a more likely interpretation given the fact that Daqiqi was well-known for his scrutiny of the meaning and the pronunciation of poetic forms.

There is very little information on either Daqiqi's birthplace or the formative years of his life. The cities of Balkh, Tus, Samarqand, and Bukhara are all mentioned as possible places of birth for him. The situation with his religious affiliation is not as complicated. According to his own poetry we can posit that he was devoted to the Zoroastrian faith:

Daqiqi's poetic career began at the court of the Chaghaniyan, but went on to sing the praises of the Samanid amirs, especially Abu Salih Mansur ibn Nuh (960-975) and Abu al-Qasim Nuh ibn Mansur (975-997). It is at the order of this latter amir that Daqiqi begins the versification of the Shahname which, due to his premature death at the hand of his own favorite Turkish slave (980) remains unfinished. Whether the poet's murder was related to his Zoroastrian creed, which at the time was unacceptable, remains a question. There is, however, no question that the work that he had started had enough merit for Firdowsi to spend thirty years of his life to bring it into full fruition. In fact, Ferdowsi emphatically asserts that he had had a dream in which Daqiqi had asked him to incorporate his 1008 verses into his Shahnameh.

Daqiqi has a very high place in Persian literature. His poetry, at least what remains of it, is stylistically well-constructed and aesthetically pleasing. In essence, a younger poet, but skilled in the art of the qasida (ode), ghazal, (sonnet), and qit'a (stanza), he promoted and, eventually established Rudaki's simple style also known as the Khurasani style of poetry.

Top of the page

Home | Tajikistan Update