Country & History

Persian Literature

Contact Us

Art Arena

Arts & Crafts

Writer's Corner

Visitor's Book

Nizam-od-Din Obayd-i Zakani

A Classic Poet and Satirist from Qazvin

(c. 1300 - 1371)

Miniature by Hossein Behzad

(Miniature by Hossein Behzad)

Nizam-od-Din Obayd-i Zakani is a 14th century poet and satirist.
He lived in Qazvin and Shiraz and travelled to Baghdad.
He held a judicial post in Qazvin for some time; however, he died in poverty.
Among Persian writers, Obayd is the unequalled master of parody and social satire.
His serious poetry is written in a pure and elegant style.

Persian bar

The following are a selection of words and definitions from
Obayd-i Zakani's "Satirical Social Dictionary", which we can still
relate to today, although they were written seven centuries ago:

(Translated into English by Mahmud Kianush)

WORLD: A place where no creature can ever rest

WISE: One who lives free from the world and men

PERFECT: One who never gets excited either by sadness or happiness

GENEROUS: One who has no greed for position, or for wealth

HUMAN: One who strives for the welfare of others

THOUGHT: What uselessly makes people ill

LEARNED: One who does not know how to live

IGNORANT: Man of wealth and health

SAGE: One who has no health and wealth

MEAN: Wealthy

FAILURE: The man who seeks knowledge

TEACHER: The head of the failures


ORATOR: A donkey

PENSION: What would never be paid

BILL: A piece of rotten paper, which makes a hell of anxiety

UNJUST: Manager of endowment affairs

DESERVEDLY MURDERED: An income tax collector

NIGHT-WATCH: A person who robs people at night and asks them for reward by day

JUDGE: One who is always cursed by people

ASSISTANT JUDGE: One who has no faith

LAWYER: One who makes wrong out of right

BRIBE: The saviour of the poor and the helpless

JUSTICE: What never says the truth

MEDIATOR: One with whom God and men are always dissatisfied

JUDGE'S EYE: A pot which never gets filled

GRAVE: A Judge's end

ANGEL OF HELL: His waiter

HELL: His abode

HAPPY: One who never meets a judge

Persian bar


Return to the top

Copyright shall at all times remain vested in the Author. No part of the work shall be used, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the Author's express written consent.

Copyright© 1999 K. Kianush, Art Arena