Persian literature, especially its poetry, constitutes one of the world’s great literary traditions. Amongst the foremost, but in the West least known, medieval Persian poets was Nāṣir-i Khusraw. A great thinker of the early Islamic world, whose writing inspired the intellectual development of Ismaili Islam, Nāṣir-i Khusraw’s poetry – lyrical and deeply human – has so far received surprisingly little attention from translators in the West. Unique and important for our understanding of the times in which he lived, Nāṣir-i Khusraw’s ideas, expressed with consummate artistry, will appeal strongly to readers of today. His descriptions of the world around him and his skills in the use of language and metre, all serve to fascinate the enthusiast for poetry, as well as students of the medieval Islamic world and Ismaili thought.

Here, the noted Islamic scholar Annemarie Schimmel provides a translation of some of Nāṣir-i Khusraw’s qaṣīdas, together with a detailed study of the poet and his work. The result will appeal to readers of poetry, literary history and philosophy, as well as those interested in the Ismaili contribution to Islamic thought and culture.