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    Sanaei the poet of Unique Words

    / 11th century and the 12th century
    Iran - Sanaei the poet of Unique Words


    • Works: The Walled Garden of Truth
    • Birthplace: Ghazni, Afghanistan

    Abul-Majd Majdūd ibn Ādam, penname Sanaei, was born around 1080 AD in the city of Ghazna, which is presently in Afghanistan, and died there in 1131 AD. Sanai spent his childhood and youth in Ghazna where he mastered the sciences of his day ranging from Arabic and Persian literature to jurisprudence, Hadith, medicine, astronomy, and rhetoric.

    He spent part of his life traveling around the cities of Greater Khorasan such as Balkh, Sarakhs, Herat and Neishabour, where he benefited from the knowledge of the great scholars of his time like Mohammad bin Mansour Sarakhsi.

    He was connected to the court of several rulers of the Ghaznavid Dynasty, especially Bahram Shah. After performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Holy Mecca, Sanai found himself a spiritually transformed man and decided to distance himself from court life. This spiritual development also affected his poems and other works, and he devoted himself extensively to ethical and Gnostic thought.

    Image result for ‫سنایی‬‎

    Among his famous works are 'Hadeeqat ol-Haqiqa', 'Seir ol-Ebad, 'Karnamey-e Balkh', and Makateeb. The Hadeeqat ol-Haqiqa, which means the Walled Garden of Truth, was dedicated to Bahram Shah, and expresses the poet's ideas on God, love, philosophy and reason. The work contains 10,000 couplets in 10 sections, and for almost the past 900 years has been extensively taught in the Islamic east.

    Sanai's Gnostic poetry was intended to enlighten scholars and laymen alike to the realities of life with discourses on such topics as piety, monotheism, ethics, and the quest for knowledge. He also criticized the political and social issues of his time.

    Sanai taught that lust and greed, emotional excitement, stood between humankind and divine knowledge, which was the only true reality. Divine love and a social conscience are for him the foundation of religion. He says mankind is asleep, living in what is in fact a desolate world. Sanai's view on common religion was that it was only habit and ritual. Sanai's poetry had a tremendous influence upon Persian literature.

    He is considered the first poet to use verse forms as the qasidah or the ode, the ghazal or lyric, and the masnavi or lengthy rhymed couplet to express the philosophical, mystical, and ethical ideas. His Divan or Book of Poetry contains some 30,000 verses. The famous poet, Mowlana Jalaleddin Mohammad Balkhi Rumi has considered Sanai as his mentor, although he did not meet him. 
    He used to say: Sanai is my two eyes.

    Here is a sample of Sanai's ethical poetry titled: Of him Who Feeds Me.
    "When they capture the hawk in the wilds, they secure it neck and feet; they quickly cover up both its eyes and proceed to teach it to hunt. The hawk becomes accustomed and habituated to the strangers, and shuts its eyes upon its old associates; it is content with little food and thinks no more of what it used to eat. The falconer then becomes its attendant, and allows it to look out of one corner of an eye, so that it may only see himself, and come to prefer him before all others. From him it takes all its food and drink, and sleeps not for a moment apart from him. Then he opens one of its eyes completely, and it looks contentedly, not angrily, upon him; it abandons its former habits and disposition, and cares not to associate with any other. And now it is fit for the assembly and the hand of kings, and with it they grace the chase. Had it not suffered hardship it would still have been intractable, and would have flown out at everyone it saw. 
    This piece of poetry means to impart the message that many are heedless, so be wise, and on this path keep your tongue silent. The condition laid on such a one is that he should receive all food and drink from the Causer, not from the causes. So, be prepared to suffer hardship, if you would like to be cherished; and if not, be content with the road to perfidy, for none ever attained his object without enduring hardship.


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    This workshop is designed according to the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme in order to give young people a chance to voice their concerns and to become involved in the protection of our common cultural and natural heritage. It seeks to encourage and enable tomorrow’s decision-makers to participate in heritage conservation and to respond to the continuing threats facing our World Heritage. The idea of involving young people in World Heritage preservation and promotion came as a response to Article 27 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention). Furthermore, Patrimonito means 'small heritage' in Spanish and the character represents a young heritage guardian. Patrimonito has been widely adopted as the international mascot of the World Heritage Education Programme.
    Date: 29th December
    Number of trainees: 7
    Duration: 3 hours

    The workshop of "Patrimonito" was held on 29th of December. Participants arrived around 10:30 and they were welcomed by hot chocolate and Persian cup cakes. After a little introduction by trainers and trainees, the process started by making two groups and letting them choose a name for their group, each group was accompanied by a mentor then each group was given some images of world heritage sites in Iran and some descriptions, each group was asked to match images and descriptions, the mentor was guiding them throughout the activity. All trainees were participating actively and trying to remember their experiences about their travels to these places. When they were done with the activity, the mentors started giving the answers and a brief explanation about each site; mentors were using trainees’ ideas and experiences to complete their tasks.

    Shortly after that, the second part started which was a presentation done by two of mentors. The aim of this presentation was to define the value of these world heritage sites and duties of each person as a "Patrimonito", and what happens if there is no "Patrimonito" and nobody cares about our tangible or intangible heritage. In this part trainees started questioning and understanding the whole concept of being a "Patrimonito", they also added their own suggestions on how to protect our heritage and by the end of this part, they were completely aware about their role as a "Patrimonito".
    Now it was a best time to have a short break, during the break trainees were introduced to some of intangible heritages as they were served by traditional food and snacks and even they way of serving was according to traditions and everyone had this opportunity to discuss about intangible heritage while enjoying some traditional food and snacks.
    When the break was done, everyone was asked to choose a heritage either tangible or intangible and they had to introduce their chosen heritage to a tourist by making a postcard using what they have learnt. They were given all of necessary tools such as color papers, color pencils, glue, scissors, images of heritage and a mentor was with them in order to help them completing the task.

    When they were done, they handed out their postcards and with the mentors they sat together and spent a few minutes asking and answering about what they have learnt. Then they were told to say their vows for protecting their heritage and caring about it, the mentor said the vow and the trainees repeated after her and they officially became a "Patrimonito".

    The last but the best part was when they were given the certificates, and they were told that since they are aware of the value of the heritage and they know how to protect it, they are chosen as "Patrimonito" and they should continue their mission by introducing the value of heritage to others. They were granted certificates and labels and the workshop of "Patrimonito" was finished by taking some memorial photos.