Qasim-i Anvar

Mu'in al-Din Ali Husayni Sarabi Tabrizi, commonly known by his laqab (honorific title) of Qasim-i Anvar (Persian: قاسم انوار; 1356 – 1433) was a Sufi mystic, poet, and a leading da'i (preacher) of the Safavid order.[1]

Qasim-i Anvar
1492 copy of Qasim-i Anvar's diwan. Persian manuscript, probably made in Shiraz
1492 copy of Qasim-i Anvar's diwan. Persian manuscript, probably made in Shiraz
Sarab, Azerbaijan
DiedOctober/November 1433
Kharjird, Khurasan


Born in 1356 in Sarab in the Azerbaijan region,[1] According to the historians H. Javadi and K. Burrill / Encyclopædia Iranica, Mu'in al-Din Ali was a native speaker of Azeri Turkish, while the historians Siavash Lornejad and Ali Doostzadeh state that he was most likely a native speaker of Fahlavi.[2] Mu'in al-Din Ali preferred to use Persian, which he was fluent in.[3] He grew up in the neighbouring city of Tabriz, where he received his education.[4] In his mid-teens,[4] he became a disciple of Sadr al-Din Musa (died 1391), who was the head of the Safavid order.[1]

Due to a vision seen by Mu'in al-Din Ali, he was given the laqab (honorific title) Qasim-i Anvar ("Distributor of Lights") by Sadr al-Din Musa. Following his completion of his training at the city of Ardabil, Qasim-i Anvar given the khirqa by Sadr al-Din Musa. This cloak granted Qasim-i Anvar the right to convert others to his faith and offer spiritual teaching. Qasim-i Anvar later stayed in Gilan for some time as a missionary, and then went to Khurasan.[1] He initially stayed at Nishapur, but was forced to move to Herat due to facing hostility from the ulama (clergy).[1] According to his own writings, Qasim-i Anvar had established himself at Herat by 1377/78, and would stay there until his banishment in 1426/27.[1]

Following his banishment from Herat, Qasim-i Anvar went to the city of Samarkand, where he stayed at the court of Shahrukh's son, Ulugh Beg (died 1449). A few years later, Qasim-i Anvar went back to Khurasan, where he died at Kharjird in October/November 1433.[1]


Qasim-i Anvar composed several mystical treatises, ghazals, ruba'is, and mathnawis.[1] The vast majority of his poems were in Persian.[2] Some of them were in Azeri Turkish and Gilaki.[1] His poems in Azeri Turkish may have only been written during his stay in Khurasan, in order to promote the Safavid order, and due to both Turkic and Persian experiencing a "literary renaissance."[2] However, it may also indicate the rise of bilingualism in Qasim-i Anvar's birth region, where Fahlavi and Turkic speakers started to get in touch with each other.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Savory 1978, p. 721.
  2. ^ a b c Lornejad & Doostzadeh 2012, p. 151.
  3. ^ Javadi & Burrill 1988, pp. 251–255.
  4. ^ a b Lewisohn 2019, p. 190.
  5. ^ Lornejad & Doostzadeh 2012, pp. 151–152.


  • Javadi, H.; Burrill, K. (1988). "Azerbaijan x. Azeri Turkish Literature". In Yarshater, Ehsan (ed.). Encyclopædia Iranica, Volume III/3: Azerbaijan IV–Bačča(-ye) Saqqā. London and New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul. pp. 251–255. ISBN 978-0-71009-115-4.
  • Lewisohn, Leonard (2019). "Sufism in Late Mongol and Early Timurid Persia, from 'Ala' al-Dawla Simnānī (d. 736/1326) to Shāh Qāsim Anvār (d. 837/1434)". In Babaie, Sussan (ed.). Iran After the Mongols. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 177–211. ISBN 978-1788315289.
  • Lornejad, Siavash; Doostzadeh, Ali (2012). Arakelova, Victoria; Asatrian, Garnik (eds.). On the modern politicization of the Persian poet Nezami Ganjavi (PDF). Caucasian Centre for Iranian Studies.
  • Savory, R.M. (1978). "Ḳāsim-i Anwār". In van Donzel, E.; Lewis, B.; Pellat, Ch. & Bosworth, C. E. (eds.). The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume IV: Iran–Kha. Leiden: E. J. Brill. pp. 721–722. OCLC 758278456.