Mirza Bidil and the Rubāʿiyāt of ʿUmar Khayyam


This book is an anthology of the poetry of Mirza ʿAbd al-Qadir Bidil (1644‒1721) and Omar Khayyaam (1048‒1131). The bulk of the work showcases the ghazals (lyric poems) of Bidil, and concludes with a selection of his rubaʿiyat (quatrains) and mukhammasat (singular, mukhammas, “five-some” or poems with five verses). The ghazals appear in a rectangular field around which runs a wide border containing material pertaining to Khayyam. Presented first in the border area is a biography of Khayyam. Subsequently are presented the celebrated rubaʿiyat (for some of which the attribution to the famed poet-astronomer of Persia is controversial). The book employs an unusual layout in which Bidil’s words are encased within those of Khayyam. The anonymous compiler-editor of the work refers to this form metaphorically as a guldasta (bouquet). In its classical form in Persian poetry, the ghazal deals with the topics of love and longing. In Bidil’s hand, however, this poetic form often served as a vehicle for the expression of the poet’s reflections on the nature of existence and the world, conveying as well his deep-seated skepticism regarding the hypocrisy of the pious and of the Muslim clergy. These concerns permeate Khayyam’s poetry as well, thus clarifying the purpose of the compiler of this book in juxtaposing the work of the two poets. Long neglected by scholars of the Persian language in Iran and the West, Bidil, who was born in Mughal India, only recently has been afforded the attention that is his due. In contrast, his popularity has never waned in Afghanistan and Transoxiana (where this anthology was published). It is possible that the city of Aq Masjid, listed as where the work originated, refers to Ak-Mechet (present-day Kyzyl-Orda, in Kazakhstan), although in a second colophon the compiler dedicates the work to a judge from the far-off city of Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The book is dated to “the end of Jumada II, in 1326,” (July‒August 1908).

Publication Information



Title in Original Language

ميرزا بيدل مع رباعيات عمر خيام

Type of Item

Physical Description

147 pages ; 25 centimeters

Last updated: January 10, 2018