ه‍.ش. ۱۳۹۱ آبان ۱۲, جمعه

===== Few Moments with Hakim Omar Khayyam =====


 

Hakim Omar Khayyam Naishaboori (1048-1131) was born in Naishaboor, aka Naishapour, a town located in the Iranian province of Khorassaan. In his youth, Omar Khayyam studied under Imam Mowaffagh of Naishaboor who was considered one of the greatest teachers of the region. According to one disputed account, two other exceptional students were studying under the same teacher about the same time. One was Nezamolmolk, who became the Minister (in Persian: Vazir) to the courts of Alp Arslan Seljuk (1063-1072) and his son Malek Shah Seljuk (1072-1092).
The other was Hassan-e-Sabbah, who later became the leader of the Cult of Assassins (in Persian: Hashashin). Khayyam, of course, did not have any affiliation with the Cult. Khayyam, Nezamolmolk, and Sabbah are known as Three Fellow Students (in Persian: Seh Yaar-e-Dabbestaani), and according to some legends, those three men had made a pact that whoever makes a fortune or gets a governmental position would help the other two. Nezam became a Minister and fulfilled his obligation to the other two.
Khayyam turned down a high position in favor of mathematics, astronomy, and writing. Hassan tried to climb to the top by murdering those above him, from which evidently comes the word of assassin or Hashashin.
It is documented that after the completion of his studies, Khayyam spent many years at the Isfahan Observatory as a sort of a chief astronomer working on calendar reform, and he corrected the Iranian calendar which was put in effect since 1079. He also invented a method for solving cubic equations. Khayyam is famous today not only for his scientific accomplishments, but also for his literary works. He is believed to have written about a thousand four-line verses.
Today he is mostly famous for his Quatrains (in Persian: Rubayiat), which is both spiritual and earthy, expressing Khayyam's hedonism and cynicism. The English-speaking world has long known him for a translation of his Quatrains provided by Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883). Other translations have also been published, but that of Fitzgerald still remains the most famous. A part of his Quatrains can be viewed online as the Poetry House of Khayyam.
Oddly enough, Omar Khayyam was not in his own lifetime remembered as a literary talent. His love of wine (A drink which drives sorrow from the heart, as he composed in his poetry) and his hedonism and daily pleasure (The pleasure of today is better than a thousand promises for tomorrow, as he wrote in one of his quatrain) and the overall nature of his poetry did not make him popular among his peers at the time. After going for Hajj to Mecca in 1092, he returned to his native town of Naishaboor where he used to teach. He lived there till he died on December 4, 1131. Among the handful tombs in the outskirts of Naishaboor, the most famous one is that of Omar Khayyam, which was built at the Garden of Imamzadeh Mohammad in 1934 during Reza Shah  (1925-1941). Like the Mausoleum of Ferdowsi in the other side of Khorassaan, the Khayyam's tomb in Naishaboor is also a popular tourist attraction.
Epilogue
Every year, most Iranians honor Hakim Omar Khayyam and celebrate May 18th as the National Khayyam Day
Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD
Originally published online on 17 May 2007

REFERENCES
BROWN, E. G. (1924): A Literary History of Persia, ed, Cambridge Univ. Press.
LATIF, I (2001): Online Article on "Islamic Apathy".
SAADAT NOURY, M. (2007): Various Articles on "Persian Poetry".
SAADT NOURY, M. (2006): Online Article on "First Iranian Kings of Persian Poetry".
WIKIPEDIA ENCYCLOPEDIA (2007): Online Articles on "Persian Literature".