A.A. Seyed-Gohrab, Courtly Riddles Enigmatic Embellishments in Early Persian Poetry, Leiden  University Press.

A.A. Seyed-Gohrab & S. McGlinn, One Word - Yak Kaleme: Mirza Yusof Khan Musthashar ad-Dowla Tabrizi's Treatise on Codified Law, Leiden University Press.

A.A. Seyed-Gohrab, Martelaren: van mystieke weg tot oorlogspad. in the series Mededelingen, deel 72, No. 4, Amsterdam: KNAW Press.


A.A. Seyed-Gohrab, G.R. van den Berg, M. van Zutphen,  Perzisch-Nederlands: een basiswoordenboek Leidschendam: Quist. (amounting to more than 14.000 entries). 

A. A. Seyed-Gohrab, Layli and Majn‎un: Love, Madness and Mystic Longing in Nezâmi's Epic Romance, Leiden / Boston: E.J. Brill. 

A. A. Seyed-Gohrab & N. Pourjavadi, Mirror of Meanings: By Jamali-yi Dihlawi, Bibliotheca Iranica: Intellectual Traditions Series 8, Mazda Publishers. (A Parallel English-Persian Text. Translated By A.A. Seyed-Gohrab. Critical Persian Text By N. Pourjavadi.


A.A. Seyed-Gohrab, Martelaren: van mystieke weg tot oorlogspad.
In the series Mededelingen, Amsterdam: KNAW Press, 2009, deel 72, No. 4. 

ISBN 978-90-6984-599-9

Martelaarschap is een veel voorkomend thema in de Perzische kunst, literatuur en cultuur. Het is een favoriet onderwerp in religieuze literatuur, maar ook in liefdespoëzie. Het martelaarschap was al voor de komst van de islam een cultureel thema. Vanaf de middeleeuwen treedt het ook juist in een mystieke en romantische context op, waarbij liefde, lijden en ascetisme centraal staan. In de literatuur is het meestal een metafoor, een quiëtistisch concept dat de onschuld van het personage benadrukt.

In de loop van de twintigste eeuw is deze literaire traditie gebruikt om het martelaarschap in een gewelddadige context te activeren. In dit betoog ben ik ingaan op de manier waarop conservatieve geestelijken het martelaarschap hebben gepopulariseerd en gepolitiseerd in Iran, en hoe metafoor tot werkelijkheid is geworden, waarbij een individu bereid is om letterlijk haar/zijn leven op te offeren voor een collectief doel.


Mirror of Meanings: By Jamali-yi Dihlawi, Bibliotheca Iranica: Intellectual Traditions Series 8, Mazda Publishers. (A Parallel English-Persian Text. Translated By A.A. Seyed-Gohrab. Critical Persian Text By N. Pourjavadi.

2002: xii+237, glossary,bibl.,index.

Hamid b. Fadl Allah Jamali of Delhi (A.D. 1483-1542) is one of the outstanding Indian poets, who followed the rich tradition of Persian mystical poetry. Jamali was the poet-laureate of Sultan Sikandar Ludi (reigned 1489-1517) and wrote several works, among which a memoir of fourteen Indian mystics of the Chishti order, entitled The Spiritual Journey of the Mystics (Sayr al-‘arifin); an allegorical romance The Sun and the Moon (Mihr u Mah); and many lyrics and odes. The Mirror of Meanings is his finest expression of Sufi thought and made him immensely popular in India, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia. Jamali composed the poem at the request of people who wanted to know the symbolic significance of the terminology used by Sufis. It is written in the figurative and erotic language of Sufis, exposing in 38 chapters their ecstatic experiences, their exertion on the path of love and their union with the divine beloved, concentrating on the spiritual symbolism of the beloved's body, the meaning of wine, wine-seller, and cupbearer. In this poem, Jamali shows how the mystic can be united with the Beloved through Gnostic knowledge of the formal body. It is a journey from the phenomenal world into one's real self, which is the Truth. Each part of the body is a road, leading the mystic lover to the eternal Living. The road of the tresses, symbolizing the realm of darkness, brings the lover to the Fountain of Life, i.e. the Beloved's sweet lips.

This book is the first English translation of The Mirror of Meanings, presented with a parallel critical text edition in Persian. Seyed-Gohrab's thorough introduction and comprehensive glossary of technical Sufi terms and A. Pourjavadi's critical edition of the orginial Persian text together give ample background to and explanation of the figurative language of Sufism to make this work accessible to the non-specialist. Students of Persian literature, Sufism, and spirituality have now access to the symbolic universe of the Persian and Islamic mysticism.


A.A. Seyed-Gohrab, Layli and Majn‎un: Love, Madness and Mystic Longing in Nezâmi's Epic Romance, Leiden / Boston: E.J. Brill, xi + 368 pp, 2003. 

This book is the first comprehensive analysis of Nezami's romance "Layli and Majnun" (1188). It examines key themes such as chastity, constancy and suffering through an analysis of the main characters. Majnun's asceticism, kingship, love-madness, poetic genius, ill-fate and love-death are treated in separate chapters.

The patriarchal society in which Layli lives, her anxieties and dilemmas, incarceration, secret love, imposed marriage and finally her death are discussed in detail.

One chapter is devoted entirely to the different ways parents raise their children and the consequences. Finally, the book gives an analysis of Nezami's style, the narrative structure of the romance and the symbolism of time and setting.


A.A. Seyed-Gohrab: Courtly Riddles Enigmatic Embellishments in Early Persian Poetry.

Riddles are among the oldest genres in many literary traditions. Literary riddles occur in early Persian literature from the tenth century, and they continue to be used in modern Iranian society. Riddles were composed at courts in the Iranian world for various purposes, especially highlighting the insignia of the ruler's administrative and military power. The riddle offers the poet a means to demonstrate his artistic accomplishment in a compact composition, and secure his social, professional and personal position at the court and in cultured circles. The aesthetic of puzzlement that happens outside the riddle and around it, was much appreciated at courts.

This book is the first study of Persian literary riddles to appear in English. It translates and analyses a wide range of complex riddling poems from the tenth to the twelfth centuries, including the masters of the genre. It also analyses the relationship between metaphors and riddles and the genre of literary description (wasf).



A.A. Seyed-Gohrab, G.R. van den Berg and M. van Zutphen, Perzisch-Nederlands: een basiswoordenboek, Leidschendam: Quist, 2007, 304 pp., 978-90-77983-12-6; 18,95 euro  

Dit handzame woordenboek geeft betrouwbare vertalingen van het Perzisch (Farsi) naar het Nederlands. Handig voor dagelijks gebruik thuis, onderweg, bij studie en werk. Inclusief weergave van de uitspraak van alle Perzische basiswoorden.

Nieuwperzisch is de officiële taal van Iran, Afghanistan en de Centraal-Aziatische republiek Tadjikistan. Daarnaast wordt Nieuwperzisch ook in delen van Oezbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbeidzjan, Pakistan, Irak en de Verenigde Arabische Emiraten gesproken. Dit basiswoordenboek biedt essentiële hulp bij het lezen en vertalen van moderne teksten en eenvoudige klassieke teksten.   In dit basiswoordenboek, dat ruim 13.000 lemma's telt, zijn de meestvoorkomende Perzische woorden en de belangrijkste afgeleide vormen van deze woorden opgenomen. Het woordenboek is bedoeld voor studenten en andere geïnteresseerden die Perzisch willen leren, en tevens als naslagwerk voor de duizenden Perzischtaligen die in Nederland wonen.   De auteurs, allen werkzaam aan de Universiteit Leiden, hebben bij het samenstellen van dit woordenboek gebruikgemaakt van jarenlange ervaring met tweedetaalverwervers van het Perzisch.

A.A. Seyed-Gohrab & S. McGlinn, One Word - Yak Kaleme 
Mirza Yusof Khan Musthashar ad-Dowla Tabrizi's
Treatise on Codified Law.


This book is one of the earliest and most influential treatises on the relationship between western-style law and Islam. Yak Kaleme means literally ‘One Word,' and the one word that is explained here is Qanun, codified law, which the author regards as the key to the regeneration and progress of Iran. ‘One Word' was influential in the lead-up to the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906, but the book's significance is wider than that, and its message is relevant today. It was one of the first treatises to demonstrate that Islam is compatible with the introduction of modern western forms of government, and specifically that the principles of the sharia can be incorporated in a codified law comparable to that found in European countries. This was a daring argument in the late 19th century Middle East, when it was extremely difficult to convince the rulers and religious class that a civil code of law was needed: would it not diminish the status of the ruler, and would it not be an admission that the religious law, the sharia, was deficient?

The author argues that the principles underlying constitutional government can be found in Islamic sources, particularly in the Quran and traditions of the Prophet. A codified law is simply a way of making these Islamic principles available to the people in a form they can understand. The intelligent and informed participation of the people in society contributes to their welfare and good governance. Unlike some contemporary Oriental travellers to Europe, he observes that European dominance derives not from a few technological advances, but primarily from the organisation of society, on the basis of codified law.